Chicken Shomein Fairfax

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Sharn and Shane were well and truly on the bottom, desperate to find a way to save themselves. Thankfully for them Brian voted Fenella out and upset the other half of Shonella, so when he took Monika on reward and left Shonee back at camp, the three of them formed a new alliance. Despite winning a car – a curse as powerful as my pizza curse – and not winning immunity, Brian survived tribal council thanks to his idol, leaving poor Monika to be blindsided by the SH clique who had a feeling he was packing said idol.

The next day Brian was feeling a bit salty, while Shonee rejoiced in surviving this long and being the final Contender standing. The four congratulated themselves on a game well played and were giddy about their only being three days left. Grubby continued to sulk around the camp, while Shonee listed off her impressive resume from surviving the tribal swap, navigating the post-merge flip-flop and most impressively, Benji’s nachos eating. Hopefully this is start of the winner’s coronation and not a send-off, because I can’t handle a Michelle Dougan situation again.

Meanwhile Shane was dolphin-ing it up in the ocean, talking about the complexities of the mind games and her stellar, not to be fucked with social game. She then shared that her ideal final two would be opposite Sharn, despite the fact she is a killer lawyer and would have an easier time against the disliked blindside. She followed Shonee, listing her resume of blindsides and knowing that going up against Sharn would show that she can defeat the barrister at her own game. Oh and obviously pulling off the blindside of Brian, flushing his idol and his ally in one foul swoop. Given she thinks he is villainous and wants to take him down, however isn’t sure whether taking him out next is the best idea.

Sharn and Shane went for a walk, leaving Brian time to approach Shonee to find out why she flipped on him at the previous tribal. While he pretended to trust her and accept her rational, he vowed to take her down and do what it takes. With that, he followed in the girls footsteps and listed his villainous resume and hoped that his final tribal speech would be interesting and exciting enough to hand him the win. Trying to find new friends, he went for a walk to check treemail with Sharn where they discovered a moral dilemma where a meal was sitting in the jungle and they could either choose to share with Shane and Shonee, both split it or if they can’t decide, the person that wants it for themself gets it. While they debated back and forth for a while, Brian chose to keep the food for himself while Sharn opted to split and as such, Brian got it all for himself. Which he ate, giddily and without remorse.

My boy Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways were required to weave discs through a maze suspended on a spring and then stack 12 on top of said maze without knocking them off. Brian and Shonee got out to an early lead while Shane started to close the gap and Sharn took the slow and steady wins the race motto. As you can imagine, this isn’t really something exciting to type about, let alone read … so Brian placed his twelfth and then dropped the stack, as did Shane … and Shonee, leaving Sharn to Steven Bradbury. Wait, nope, she dropped too leaving Brian to snatch immunity on his second attempt. This time with far less arrogance.

Back at camp the ladies congratulated Brian on his immunity win, while Brian was proud of taking out another immunity challenge and quickly identified Sharn as the next boot. He approached Shonee to lock in the vote against Sharn since they were each other’s best hope. Shonee was fairly confident she would be able to turn Shane against Sharn, so approached her to explain how well Sharn has played and how strong she will perform at final tribal. While Shonee would prefer to be taking out Brian, she continued to work Shane hard and assured her that if they are in the final three, she will take her to the end over Brian. Shane and Sharn went for a walk and marvelled at Brian’s luck in the game, before Shane spilt all the goss to Sharn and told her that they were planning to take her out. This allowed Sharn to explain to Shane that if there is a tie between their votes and Brian and Shonee’s, Sharn and Shonee would make fire and as such, they would win out in the end.

After locking in a deal with Sharn, Shane approached Brian to see where his head was at and told him that she would be interested in flipping to them and taking out Sharn as it is their best chance. They roped in Shonee and the three agreed they would vote together, which made Shonee feel even more nervous about the vote ahead. As such, Shonee approached Sharn as she felt she was the most trustworthy person left in the game and floated the idea of joining together to take out Shane instead. Sharn acknowledged that Shane was her biggest competition left in the game and as such was conflicted about which way to go at tribal council.

At said tribal council Brian spoke about only being able to trust immunity at this point in the game, Shane agreed that she doesn’t really know who she can trust, however admitted that she planned to stick with her loyalty and hope for the best. Sharn spoke about being nervous about tribal, though planned to trust her gut, while poor Shonee spoke about not being able to trust anyone until after the votes are read. She hoped that the people she spoke with during the day and felt on the same page as were being honest and things would work out for her.

Sharn acknowledged people needing to play for the jury, trying to sway Shane into staying loyal by painting the jury as not interested in an easy – sorry Steve, giving – win. Shane said that some of the jury actual prefer the villainous gameplay, though admitted that past loyalties would come into play in the final vote. This led to Brian admitting that all the contenders would potentially vote for Shonee and as such, she is a threat. Though he backed the game he played. Sharn spoke about not knowing if she can beat everyone in the end, while Shonee tried to sway her by talking about sticking with her gut. Fellow gut-gal Sharn said that she too would be sticking to hers and with that, they headed off to vote and Sharn and Shane stuck together while Brian and Shonee didn’t, leaving Shonee to be tragically felled in fourth place.

While I desperately wanted to scream at her for essentially 2-1-1-ing herself out of the game and not even trying to go to fire, I couldn’t stay mad at her and instead broke down in tears over the fact that not only were we robbed of a Shonella final two, she follows in the footsteps of Michelle and Flick of being the fourth place robbed goddess. She held me close as I sobbed for all that we, Australia, lost until I was strong enough to serve her a comforting bowl of my Chicken Shomein Fairfax.

 

 

Sweet, spicy and packed full of comforting carbs, chow mein is one of those dishes which look complex but are super easy. So easy you can cook while blinded by the combination of tears and rage.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Shomein Fairfax
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g fresh hokkien noodles
peanut oil
500g chicken mince
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 chillies, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
¼ cup oyster sauce
3 tbsp tamari
½ cup cooking sake
⅔ cup peas
½ cup baby corn
100g oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 bunch choy sum, roughly chopped
½ wombok, shredded
4 shallots, sliced

Method
Seperate the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes or so. Drain.

Heat a good lug of oil in a wok and cook the mince over high heat for five minutes, or until browned, breakin up any lumps as you go. Add the garlic, chilli, carrot and capsicum, and fry for a further minute. Add the curry powder, oyster sauce, tamari and sake and cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the remaining vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat, toss through the noodles and devour, piping hot, with plenty for hot sauce in honour of her spicy confessionals.

 

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Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Side, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders luck started to turn around in the reward challenge, in no small part thanks to Monika belly-flopping through the challenge. Sadly it was short lived as they found themselves back at tribal – in no small part thanks to Steve taking nut after nut for victory – where Paige’s stint playing the middle of the road ended, run over (thanks Aubry) by the rest of the tribe and booted from the game.

We kicked things off with zaddy Steve and Mat at the Champions, where Lydia talked us through how well the tribe is going and how much they are loving the experience. Lydia was focused on getting through the game and taking out victory, which sure doesn’t bode well for her, no? Mat too was loving things, learning to swim with Shane and controlling the tribe with Jackie and Brian on the left right out. Meanwhile over at the Contenders things weren’t as upbeat as they talked about Paige’s boot and sat around, two-by-two, unsure how things were going to play out on the tribe. Well, aside from the fact that Queen Tegan is channeling Queen Sandra and straight up doesn’t give a shit who goes home, as long as it isn’t her or Heath.

Jonathan decided to drop by nice and early this ep for the latest rewa, wa, wa, what – there isn’t a challenge in sight. This is a switch! Tegan looked giddy, the Champions looked terrified and to quote Big Kev, I’m excited. The new Champions tribe was made up of Tegan – who was less excited – Shonee, Steve, Shane, Mat, Sam, Jackie and Brian while Sharn, Lydia and Monika joined Benji, Fenella, Heath and Robbie as the new Contenders tribe. Tegan felt like she couldn’t catch a break in the game while Lydia was gutted to be slumming it at the Contenders.

At said camp Lydia was heartbroken to discover everything was awful and the camp was in disarray, before they all introduced themselves. Sharn made fast friends, pulling a fishing rod out of her bag and started feeding her new tribemates, Lydia got to work jushing the shelter and Robbie fell in love with Monika. Meanwhile Shonee was giving the producers hella sass at the Champions tribe, pissed about going from on top of the tribe to left right out with Tegan. Thankfully Tegan gave her a pep-talk and they got to work making friends with their new tribemates, while Mat was paranoid about how the numbers would fall on the new tribe. Tegan started the strategising early, asking to be shown the well … which Mat happily obliged to make sure he made a connection before Brian and Jackie got the chance. Jackie and Brian meanwhile seethed near the fire, taking everything in and biding her time to make a move. Jackie didn’t bide long however, with Jackie quickly cornering Tegan and lying that the boys plan to throw the next challenge to take them out ASAP.

Back at the Contenders Lydia was bonding with Benji and Robbie, hoping that her strength would be enough to keep her around. Lydia proposed a meatshield alliance – perfected by Stephen – with the boys joining with her Champions alliance to make it to the end. Sadly she decided sacrificing Fenella would be the best option, and given the fact she was the strongest Contender woman … I don’t see it panning out.

Lil’ JoJo made a return for the first immunity challenge as new tribes with Monika pretending they weren’t slumming it at the new tribe, while Tegan and Shonee could barely hide how nervous they were. Which was evident, as Tegan said she looked forward to making new connections ahead of the merge. Anyway, challenge. The tribes were required to pair up and balance a block between their feet, with the last block remaining winning immunity for their tribe. Sam immediately started to play mind games, seeing that Benji was struggling from the get go. Sadly though he and Tegan were also struggling, and became the first to drop out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Fenella and Monika dropped, and things were evened up. Steve couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Shonee and Shane as the last pair standing at the Champions while Benji and Sharn continued to struggle, dropping, leaving Robbie and Lydia as the new Contenders last hope. After forty-five minutes poor Shane could hold on no longer, dropping the cube and handing immunity to the new Contenders. Out of nowhere while everyone was comforting Shonee for putting in such a killer effort, Robbie hugged Mat and whispered for him to look after the girls like Rob to Lex in All Stars. And I don’t feel like that will actually work out for him.

Back at camp the Survivor gods decided to kick the Champions while they were down, heaping rain up them so they can not scramble for the vote ahead. Mat was confident that the OG Champions would stick together and send Shonee or Tegan home, while Jackie wasn’t feeling as hopeful so commenced making second plans. Jackie whispered to Shonee that they would likely split the vote at tribal and she would protect her. When the rain let up Jackie checked in with Mat to see that they would be splitting the vote, locking in the boys for Tegan and girls for Shonee. Sadly for her, Mat approached Tegan to make sure she and Shonee were ok with Tegan telling him that Jackie told her about the plan to throw the challenge to get them out. Which pissed off Mat, who approached Steve to get rid of Jackie or Brian instead since the girls would be sitting ducks for later. Brian and Jackie worried about the growing bond between Mat and Tegan, while Mat approached Shane to see if she’d be open to turning on Brian if it kept them safe.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded the Champions for losing the challenge before Mat turned it around and praised Shane and Shonee for dominating the challenge. Steve said the tribe was weaker post swap, while Shonee quickly threw some shade saying, again, that she and Shane dominated the challenge. Jackie, if she was a betting woman, would say that one of the Champions would have gone had the new Contenders tribe lost the challenge, Sam said he would hope to make new bonds with new tribemates, while poor Tegan was feeling like it is her time to go. Again. Shonee admitted that she was trying to make bonds with her new tribe mates, but it was be difficult given they’ve known each other for twenty-five days and them for one … but she does have faith in putting trust in people. Brian said it is a toss of a coin which of the girls go, which made Tegan feel like shit. Mat started talking about the importance of fake outs in sport, which started making Jackie and Brian quite nervous with Jackie encourage everyone to play safe rather than focussing on making a move for the sake of it. Mat said he was hoping to keep the tribe strong and play with people he can trust, while Jackie and Brian doubled down on keeping the Champions, specifically, strong.

With that the tribe voted and they rolled in for Tegan, Jackie, Shonee and Brian … before they all piled up on Jackie and Brian, with the poker player ultimately out played and sent out of the game. Much to her shock and feigned respect. While she was still smarting from the pain of a vicious blindside when she rolled into Loser Lodge, she couldn’t help but respect the game. Particularly given she had been looking for a way to make a crack at the other alliance. When distracting her by joking about how we both fucking suck at rubix cube stopped cheering her up, I pulled out a big batch of (verbose) Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings.

 

 

Yes, the name is clunky … but how can you not love the combination of honey, chilli and lemon so much that they require equal billing? Sweet, spicy and little tart, the flavours cut through the fatty wings and leave you with the ultimate comfort snack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
125ml honey
1 tbsp tamari
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 chilli, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
12 chicken wings, jointed in the disgusting process that makes me sad

Method
Combine the honey, tamari, lemon, chilli, garlic and shallots in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Line a large baking tray and spread out the wings with a little space between each. Transfer to hot oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, like a slob. Because that is the only way to eat wings, damnit.

 

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Kaytshu Whakaurrau

Main, Poultry, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Chani broke their losing streak – and Liam, a fence – snatching a much needed reward of fishing gear. Sadly said gear included a clue to the hidden immunity idol, which Eve stupidly shared with the entire tribe before ultimately grabbing it for herself. And insighting idol envy amongst her fellow castaways. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw poor Dylan continued to be left right out, though thankfully for him, Chani went back to losing and returned to tribal where Franky and Eve’s idol war resulted in Franky’s blindside.

Back at camp Chani went through the usual motions of being dejected following the loss of a member, none more so than Renee who felt bad about how kind she was on the way out the door. Oh, and she felt super concerned about the boys club ruling the tribe. Thankfully Dave was also disappointed by the outcome, so there just might be hope for her yet. Things were looking up slightly the next day as Liam, Renee, Eve and Dave joined together to brush their teeth using charcoal. Renee then continued to boost spirits, cooking up a delicious snack out of the rice.

Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw Dylan acknowledged that despite living the Survivor dream so far, he is under no delusion that he will go when they go to tribal. To confirm this, Adam ran us through the many faces of Dylan and really highlighted the fact that they aren’t friends. In turn Dylan confirmed that he has noticed that Adam hates him and I’ve just realised that they need to make out and cut the sexual tension. On camera, preferably. In any event, he has Kaysha on his side … though sadly not Lisa and fellow outcast Tara, as they’re less concerned about taking out the ‘jocks’ and more concerned about joining Josh and the zaddies to throw the challenge and finally get some freedom from the gloom.

Matty arrived for this week’s reward challenge where Sassy Dylan – as predicted by Adam – arrived to shade Chani for being sexist before Matt shared that they’d be competing in a muddy sumo challenge for drinking chocolate and biccies, aka smoko. Which TBH, I would love in the 40C heat. Josh – zaddy – made quick work of JT, as did Renee over Tess and Arun over Dylan. Out of nowhere Adam destroyed Dave, followed by Kaysha annihilating Eve before Liam and Matt battled it out and made me wish this challenge had more skin because it was glorious. Before my mind could wander too far, Josh beat Dave, Tess dominated Eve, Arun took one back over Matt, Liam beat Dylan, Kaysha beat Renee, Adam destroyed JT, Liam beat Dylan again and Kaysha bested Renee again before Josh secured victory for Khangkhaw against all odds over Arun.

The victorious Khangkhaw returned to camp and made quick work of the biscuits with Brad and Matt practically creaming their shorts thinking about how good they were. Meanwhile over at Chani everyone was feeling sad about missing out on said biscuits, though vowed that winning immunity is what matters and they need fight. Particularly Renee who feels way down the bottom and doesn’t feel like she has anyone that she can trust.

The next day we joined Kaysha who ran us through the alliances of Khangkhaw which seems eerily like they may be losing immunity. While she was concerned about Brad and Josh’s bromance, it is Tess and Adam that concern her. Feeling like Matt is on the bottom of the five-person alliance, she pulled him aside to continue building their relationship in the hope that she was parlay that into an alliance. That party was put on hold when Brad returned to camp to announce this week’s draw for a visit to The Outpost. Despite insinuating that Kaysha was rigging the draw, Josh pulled the short straw from Khangkhaw while JT did rig it for Arun to go for Chani.

The boys arrived at The Outpost to discover that this week’s visit didn’t come with a challenge and instead issued them a dilemma. They would each select one person from their tribe to not to attend the immunity challenge which in turn, would make them immune should their tribe lose. Josh and Arun then started talking with Arun making quick work of finding out what was going on at Khangkhaw and trying to form an alliance with Josh for down the track. Going one step further, Josh they identified everyone he wants to boot on Khangkhaw, while Arun stayed mum and tried to throw him off the scent. With the excitement out of the way, Josh suggested they both sit themselves out of the challenge with Josh following through and taking himself out, while Arun decided to stick with strength and sit Eve out.

Arun returned to camp and proceeded to share the dilemma with the rest of Chani, throwing Josh under the bus for taking himself out and telling Eve that she would be left out of the challenge … and would be immune should they lose. While Renee felt even worse about her place, Arun reiterated that Josh seemed not to care whether they win or lose and he felt they were going to throw it. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw Josh shared that he was resting himself, filling his alliance with glee and making Kaysha realise just how little she meant to the rest of the tribe.

Everyone but Eve and Josh arrived for this week’s elaborate immunity challenge where the tribes were required to run an obstacle course while tethered together to grab balls. Once they had collected all their balls, they were to then use said balls and the chains from their legs to form bolas which they would use to toss at a ladder for victory. Chani got out to a huge lead, though it kind of seemed like Tess wasn’t hiding the fact she was throwing it, so it isn’t much of a surprise. Khangkhaw caught up at the first obstacle where they focused on hindering Chani’s progress. Sadly it was all for nought as they escaped the obstacle and managed to collect all the balls from the second obstacle before Khangkhaw arrived allowing Arun to snag his three bolas before Brad even had a chance to start tossing. Handing Chani their first victory.

Tess was feeling responsible for the loss, which she was, though her mild sadness didn’t fool Kaysha who was livid that she threw the challenge. While she desperately wanted her gone, she knew she didn’t have the numbers so was just hopeful she could flush her potential idol. Adam and Tess caught up to run the numbers with Tess starting to freak out while Adam tried to calm her down and assure her that worst case, they will play the idol to protect her. Meanwhile Dylan tried to do anything to survive just another day, approaching Josh to save him on account of being a superfan which truly is the worst thing you could try and sell. Brad joined Tess and Adam to lock in their vote for Dylan, while Kaysha and Dylan were hoping to convince everyone that he has an idol to force them to split the vote and muster up enough votes to take out Adam. Kaysha joined Matt, Brad and Tara to float the idea of a contingency plan in case Dylan plays his imaginary idol, slowly working them around to targeting Adam which they all appeared to agree with despite saying they couldn’t trust her. While Kaysha went to comfort Dylan, Brad took the plan to Lisa and then assured her that it wouldn’t happen and to still vote Dylan. Which works for her because she is an icon and getting rid of him bring some calm to camp which will allow her to continue laying low.

At tribal council Matt acknowledged their shock to finally arrive at tribal while Lisa said she’d rather not be ticking this off her Survivor bucket list. Dylan was quick to verbalise the fact that he is royally screwed and went in on the tribe for pretending they have been playing the game since day one. Adam mentioned he felt the tribe had one bad egg, whilst not actually saying it was Dylan whom he was sitting next to. This lead to an iconic moment, where Dylan turned to share everything he hated about Adam followed by Adam telling Dylan just why he hated him. In my head, they then made out and it was angry and sensual. Instead Adam shared that Dylan has been trying to get rid Tara, Tess and/or Brad, everyone, since day one. Adam then called him a snake, which Matty Chis shared that that is kind of the point. Adam quickly pointed out that he needs to be smarter about it, thats all and that he is playing the game too.

Lisa joined the fray saying she felt it was just 18 years of super-fandoming exploding in ten days and it may be too much for Dylan to overcome. Kaysha jumped in and broke down about how Dylan was being attacked before acknowledging that she too was feeling nervous. Sadly said nerves were well placed as the tight-five or whatever they’re calling themselves turned on her and sent her from the game as the fourth boot, much to the shock and horror of Dylan.

I was still struggling to comprehend what I was watching via the little camera feed Matt patches me from tribal when she arrived at Loser Lodge. I mean, sure, I should be used to losing one of the strong women based on the way things are going this season … but damn, that was a blindside yo. I continued talking like this for a good hour or so before I realised that Kaysha too was struggling to comprehend what just happened. While she was upset to lose the game, she is such a sweetheart that she couldn’t hold it against any of her tribemates. Though she definitely wanted Dylan to prevail in the battle, somehow. In any event, we were both so sad that we needed something hella comforting which led to us smashing a couple of bowls of Kaytshu Whakaurrau.

 

 

Rich creamy curry heaped over fresh, crispy katsu chicken and served on a bed of the fluffiest rice possible. What is there not to love? That, my friends, is comfort food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kaytshu Whakaurrau
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2-3 chicken breasts
½ cup flour
salt and pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbsp milk
olive oil spray
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
500g chicken thighs, roughly diced
2 carrots, cut into rounds
1 potato, finely diced
¼ cup flour
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp ketchup
1 cup long grain rice
pickled daikon, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Beat the chicken breasts using the back of a frying pan until they’re roughly 1cm thick. Combine the flour and a good whack of salt and pepper in one bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and the egg and milk in a third. Coat the chicken in the flour, dusting off any excess before coating it in the egg wash, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Spray the chicken with a generous amount of olive oil spray and transfer to the oven for twenty minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Remove from oven and keep warm while you work on the rest of the components.

Place a good lug of oil in a pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic and ginger for about five minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the chicken thighs and cook, stirring, until just starting to brown before adding the carrots and potatoes and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Add the flour, curry powder, garam masala and cayenne with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to come together. Stir through the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare the rice as per packet instructions.

When the curry is starting to come together, stir through the honey, tamari and ketchup and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and stay warm.

To serve, place a generous dollop of rice in a bowl. Slice the katsu into diagonal strips and place on top of the rice before topping with the curry. Serve with pickled daikon and devour, greedily.

 

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Tyramen Banks

America's Next Top Model, Main, Poultry, Soup

Oh my GOD – you would not believe the week I have had! I was quietly resting off a post-boozing-with-Cath hangover on Thursday morning, minding my own business, when I received a call from my dear friend Tyra Banks.

“Ben, just wanted to check when your recap of our premiere would go live?”

I stayed quiet, hoping she would think I wasn’t there.

“Ben … Ben … BEN?”

“Um, you see, I wasn’t actu … ”

“I was rooting for you. We were ALL rooting for you.

“Tyra, you never invited me out to set so I couldn’t …

“Stop talking. Ben, stop talking. Be quiet, be quiet … STOP. I have never yelled at a friend like this before. I know you have a time machine, I
know zthat isn’t an excuse. I want us to work together to become next level fierce.

“When I yell at a friend like this it is because I care … “

“Sorry Tyra, I’ve got another call coming through. It is Naomi, she wants to … “

“Ben,” she said as sweetly as possible. “I love you, you’re fierce, you make me smize, you pop. Maybe I should pop … on the next plane and we should reconnect and discuss making this all work.”

True to her word, my girl Tyra arrived on my doorstep the next day, held me in her arms, apologised for yelling at me. Given we’re such old dear friends – we met whilst supermodelling, obvi – and the fact I was pretty cold bringing up Naomi Campbell, I forgave her. And yeah, I guess you could say this is happening. ANTM is joining the ranks of Survivor, Australian Survivor, Drag Race and Survivor New Zealand, and getting the whole culinary condolence treatment … and our friendship is renewed.

That, I guess, is the soothing power of my Tyramen Banks.

 

 

Crazy hot with a little bit of sweetness, this baby is everything you want from a ramen. And is super easy to whip up, making it look like you’ve been planning it for ages. Because I was, Ty, I was.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyramen Banks

Serves: 2.
Ingredients

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp tamari
400g egg noodle
500g chicken breasts
1L chicken stock
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
½ cup bean sprouts
½ red capsicum, finely sliced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the soy, tamari, minder ginger and chilli in a large bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and leave to marinate for about eight hours or so. Or while you’re at work, for example.

Preheat the oven to 180C and prep all the ingredients.

When you’re ready to go, place the chicken on a lined baking tray and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile bring two saucepans of water to the boil and cook the eggs until soft in one, and the ramen noodles per packet instructions in another.

And in a third saucepan, cook the chicken stock and sriracha over medium heat until piping hot.

To serve, place the noodles on the bottom of your bowl, pour over the chilli stock and top with bean sprouts, capsicum, spring onion and chilli. Slice the chicken on an angle and place over the top before breaking the eggs in half and adding them to the bowl.

Garnish with coriander and a wedge of lime. Squeeze said lime in the broth before devouring, and curing all that ails ya.

 

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Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

How good is season 2, right? I mean, sure, there are always things that disappoint you when you’re expectations are so high – like Rory not ending up with Jess on the Gilmore revival – but Stranger Things has proven it isn’t a one season wonder. While I binged the episodes while catching up with Shan, Mil and Gats, I still won’t be dropping spoilers whilst catching up with the rest of the cast as we barrel towards Halloween. So relax.

Like Gats, I’ve been friends with Caleb for years after working as a consultant on The Lion King on Broadway. While I was swiftly fired after de-anthropomorphising the production and turning it into a gay spectacular – I mean it is set in the Pride Lands, duh – he admired my spirit, and we’ve kept in touch.

While he oft even takes my horrible advice – like when I told him appearing in Shades of Blue would be a good idea – the suggestion that he audition for Stranger Things truly was a career making move, so he still loves me.

Cal has been so excited to be featured on the blog – what a doll – so giddily arrived at my door ready to gossip about where his character will go in season 3 and whether appearing in Shades of Blue again is a good idea. The answer to the latter, obviously, was a big fat no.

While the reminder of that little career hiccup brought up a lot of guilt on my part, little Cal, like he co-stars, didn’t see to harbour any PTSD related resentment. Though with my Chillieb McDucklin Dumplings on the menu, how could he?

 

 

Now I don’t like to play favourites when it comes to recipes, but this is up there as one of my faves. Though I have a mild duck obsession, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise? Packing – rather than peking – a killer whack of chilli, the cook into perfectly crinkled brains. Then cover them in some chilli? Well my friends, then you’ve go a delicious Halloween blood bath.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
30 gow gee wrappers
1 large duck breast, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 shallots, roughly chopped
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup tamari
¼ cup hoisin
¼ sriracha
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method
Roughly chop the duck and blitz in a food processor until it is finely minced. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until well combined.

Line the wrappers out on a dry clean bench and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water, crinkle close and place on a lined baking sheet until done.

Bring a large pot of shallow water to a rollicking boil. Place a lined steamer in and cook for 5 minutes, or until they’re at their brainy best.

While they’re cooking, combine the tamari, hoisin, sriracha and sesame. Once they’re done, toss the dumplings through the sauce and serve, blood splattered.

Devour, like a zombie.

 

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Stephanie Fried Rice

Main, Side, Snack

It felt like such a relief to be able to just jump in the car and drive a couple of suburbs this week, rather than having to get my people to organise the logistics of transferring major A-list celebrities to-and-from Brisbane Airport without anyone realising they are in town. I don’t want to complain about my blessed life, but sometimes it does get exhausting.

As I mentioned, I was once a swimming trainer – mainly to fulfill my passion for men in speedos and/or super tight pants – here in Brisvegas, as we oft loathsomely say. While my students feature the who’s who of Australia’s swimming elite – obviously though Grant Hackett and I used to booze together and Kowalski and I … well – my personal fave was little Stephy Rice.

I mean, sure, she felt it appropriate to tweet a homophobic sledge at a rugby team in 2010 but she did actually seem remorseful – plus, it’s not like I haven’t forgiven someone for making stupid statements – and apologised profusely. Shockingly I made the mature choice and accepted her apology and moved on … on the express condition that she appear on The Celebrity Apprentice.

While I stacked the cast with an actual businesswoman to shame her out of the competition and my nemesis Dawn Fraser – who hates that we’re close – she somehow won the game. Sure it further inflamed my rage for a couple of hours, but then I had to admire her moxie and we’ve been the dearest of friends ever since.

Sadly for the ailing Australian swim team, I couldn’t convince her to join me in staging a comeback but it was such a treat to catch-up and reconnect. We laughed, I briefly made her cry like she was apologising for a homophobic slur – despite her aggressive suggestions to the contrary, she is obviously voting ‘yes’ in the offensive same-sex marriage postal survey – and we ultimately became closer than ever before.

Though maybe that is just the Stephanie Fried Rice talking?

 

 

There is nothing better than fried rice, particular when it is sans prawns. Spicy, fresh and with a kick of heat, this is the perfect comfort meal to mend friendships and alleviate hunger.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephanie Fried Rice
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain rice, cooked as per packet instructions
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked and drained
1/2 cup peas, cooked and drained
1 capsicum, diced
2 tsp char sui sauce
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp rice wine
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat half the vegetable oil in a small frying pan, and lightly cook the eggs until they form a delicate omelette. Leave to rest.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon, frying until crisp. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrot, corn and capsicum and cook for a further five minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for ten minutes before adding the sauces and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Devour.

 

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Pake Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Ben and Henry were warmly welcomed after opting to swap to Samatau. Well Henry was liked, making him a threat while poor Ben continued to be a non-entity. At the reward challenge, Asaga came from behind to win a trip to the Survivor ice cream parlour where Anneliese found a clue for an idol. Sadly for her, it was hidden at the next immunity challenge. Luckily, kinda, Asaga completely bombed the challenge allowing her to snatch the idol while feigning heartache while Henry slipped Jericho an idol clue which I assumed is dead. After a heated tribal council between Michelle and Kent, my speedo loving god couldn’t sway anyone over to his side and found himself exiting the game.

Asaga returned from tribal council where Luke was feeling very confident about how things played out, while Odette was feeling mega-shitty … only exacerbated by their lack of fire at camp. While she put herself to bed, Michelle dropped by and saw Luke’s confidence and raised him with arrogance.

Things were looking up the next day when Luke tried to outdo Locky by catching not one, but two sharks. Speaking of Locky, he and his Samatau tribe mates were struggling without fire or a flint to make one. While he, Ben and Tessa tried to get a fire going, ol’ arrogant AK continued to lay back and do nothing to try and bait Locky into snapping at him to further isolate him from his tribe mates.

Back at Asaga, Luke noticed his mate Jericho running off down the beach to find the idol that Henry and Jacqui found episodes ago, thanks to the clue Henry handed him at the last immunity challenge. Please, please, PLEASE – tell me they hid a fucking stick in the tree. Meanwhile at Samatau, Henry was reclining – literally like a healthy, friendly AK – in the hammock where he filled us in that yes he gave Jericho a dead clue to try and woo him back to his side come the merge.

Odette returned to our screen to finally let us know who she is. Given the fact Henry’s plan to switch has left her without any allies, she was feeling extremely sorry for herself and missing her son back at home. Right on queue, she and Luke arrived at treemail to discover that they all got gifts from home to celebrate making it to day 25. Luke was likeable, Odette’s story broke my heart, Ben got a Thomas the tank engine, Locky got me hot by getting a jersey that inspired some NFL fantasies before Henry brought the house down by getting a necklace from his mum who died six weeks before the game began. I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

Also … I know I talk about Locky a lot, but Henry is hella bangin’.

Wanting to quell my thirst, JLP finally made an appearance for the next immunity challenge where Henry discovered he lost another ally. Not wanting to dwell on his loss, Samatau arrived with every reward they had won thus far to barter for a flint. The challenge required three people to jump off a platform to collect keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces. Two people then had to build the puzzle before the remaining two knock it down with some bag. But turns out, it isn’t for immunity but for the winning tribe to attend tribal council where they will vote for someone to get the chance to snag a massive reward. Aka the super idol – thanks ads!

Samatau got out to a huge lead thanks to Ziggy’s experience in the olympic pool and Michelle’s general ineptitude. Despite that, AK completely choked the puzzle portion, allowing Asaga to take the lead … then Jericho and Tara struggled to knock pieces off allowing Samatau to close the gap and Ben – BEN – to secure victory for the tribe. That my friends, was a nail biting challenge.

Back at camp Samatau were feeling good about their win and to find a flint attached to a pot. Despite it feeling like they wouldn’t actually snag fire, Locky eventually got the fire going allowing them to eat some rice and switch their brains back on as they commenced scrambling to figure out a) how tribal council can be a win, b) what said win could mean and c) how they convince people to vote for them to get the reward.

AK, obviously, was annoyed when people tried to suggest themselves for the prize, despite also trying to convince people to give him the reward. I mean, it may be my boner talking, but Locky’s logic that if it is a tribal reward, they’re better off voting for the strongest guy there to snatch it for them.  I mean, at least he’s trying to appear altruistic?

Putting us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal where JoJo continued to be very vague about the details of the reward. The tribe tried to get information as to what the “ultimate reward” could be, and how it would benefit them and/or the tribe. All they did get is that the person would not be returning to camp with them that night, though they would still be a member of the tribe.

After a lot of passive aggressive back-and-forth with AK and his alliance trying to put Locky down, while Locky tried to fight for himself as the best person to secure victory for the tribe – and I truly believe that is what he thinks it will be – they deemed Ziggy to be the best all-rounder / trustworthy enough to send. The tribe then filed out of tribal council, leaving Ziggy to be handed a map to the mangroves where she learnt that a super idol – as predicted by Ben – was hidden amongst the trees and she had until sunrise to find it. Despite what Ben thought that meant, the idol split in two allowing one half to cancel out a hidden immunity idol at tribal, while the second half could be played as normal. She meandered all over the swamp for close to five hours before finally laying eyes on the super idol, leaving her with the dilemma of what to do next.

Zigs awoke on a pedestal near the swamp to find a bountiful breakfast while she pawed the super idol. With that, came a great deal of confidence bordering on arrogance begging the question, is it actually the start of a winner’s edit or the beginning of her downfall. She then returned to Samatau with the dilemma of trying to decide what to share with her tribe mates. She then told everyone a very confusing story to cover up what her advantage was, which became so convoluted I almost started to believe it. As did Jarrad and Tessa. Locky then threw some hella shade, which was glorious, while AK was not buying anything she was selling.

Over at Asaga Tara was feeling proud to have made it beyond the halfway point of the game. She then reminded everyone that she harbours will will towards Samatau, none more so than AK. Luke then spoke about being the king of the jungle and made me wish for his downfall as quickly as possible.

Hopefully in a prophetic manner, JLP arrived to lord over the next reward challenge … but wait a minute, everyone is dropping their buffs and switching up the tribes. JoJo meandered around the tribes offering up platters of concealed buffs for them to select their news tribes. AK and Peter ended up switching to new Asaga, with the former’s nemesis Tara while new-Samatau welcomed Anneliese back, this time with Michelle. AK tried to downplay the magnitude of shit he just walked into, before Jonathan introduced the actually reward challenge, where each tribe would select one person at a time to battle balancing an idol on a paddle … for a taste of home and everything Samatau gave up for flint.

Ziggy and Tara were first to face off, with Ziggy grabbing Tara’s tit on the way to victory. Sarah easily defeated Anneliese, a sadly clothed Locky was bested by AK, Henry took out Odette, Luke took out Jarrad, Pete destroyed Ben and Michelle, obviously, was bested by Jericho. Once again, Ziggy beat Tara, Anneliese even things up with Sarah, Locky got one up on AK, , Henry – again – took out Odette before Luke tied things up over Jarrad. Match point came down to Pete and Ben, with Pete, obviously, taking out victory for new Asaga.

Despite being gutted by the loss, Locky – being the babe that he is – was seeing the bright side with AK now screwed on the new tribe and hopefully about to be kicked to the kerb by Ta-tas. On that note, AK and Pete arrived at their new tribe where AK was shitting himself … though hoping to turn things around on Tara. While they devoured their favourite treats AK was trying to work overtime making friends … and then tried to show he had a heart by talking about his girlfriend, proving to Tara that her feelings towards him were more than founded.

Over at new Samatau, Locky was feeling great to no longer have to deal with AK. On the flipside, Anneliese was feeling uneasy to be back with the jerks that voted her off a few days ago. Michelle was also hating life, given the fact she went from top to bottom – it’s called vers, babes – though she quickly got to work connecting with people and gossiping, knowing Ziggy’s friend Jono outside of the game. That obviously annoyed Locky, who missed the sound of silence, who tried to pull numbers to take her out ASAP.

Back at Asaga 3.0 AK continued his faux-charm offensive, emphasis on offensive, playing hard to try and save himself. He and Pete then went for a walk to discuss how best to save themselves, agreeing that Sarah and Odette were their best chances for survival. Thankfully Odette emerged as a queen, dismissing his attempted sweet-talking before Sarah too, didn’t see through his bullshit. That being said, Tara was watching it like a hawk leading her to approach Luke and Jericho to assure their allegiance slash get her revenge. Luke however had very little sympathy, thinking the entire thing is hilarious … leading him to approach AK to form an all boys alliance to take out Tara. Which he was obviously faking about, making him fractionally more likeable.

That obviously lead into the immunity challenge which Samatau are obviously winning given all the focus has been on Asaga. AK continued to sound confident ahead of the challenge, which involved one man and woman to hold a barrel, while the other tribe tried to fill it with water to make them drop it. Locky and Ziggy were in charge of the barrels at Samatau, while nemeses Tara and AK had to carry Asaga. Asaga focussed on taking out Locky, making him glisten in the sea water before AK became the first to drop out of the challenge, leaving a half-full barrel for Tara to hold while Ziggy was still empty. Out of nowhere, Henry threw a huge bucket of water into Tara’s barrel, handing Samatau immunity – shock – and sending AK and Tara to tribal for their latest showdown.

Back at camp Tara confirmed that once again, she would be voting for AK, which annoyed the shit of AK who feels he is entitled to outlast her. He and Luke went for a walk, with Luke lying that Tara was annoying him and she wanted her out next. Luke then approached Sarah to tell her that the plan is still to get rid of AK. Everyone started to get quite confident about the plan to blindside AK, making me anxious given that there is half an hour left in the episode.

Almost like I manifested it, AK started to feel concerned about Luke and Tara tending the fire together leading to AK and Pete meeting up by the well to try and come up with a safety plan, which lead them to Sarah. While Sarah knows that he is a snake, she rightly pointed out that she needs to stick with bottom-feeders and humour AK that she was willing to flip to the old Samatauns to take out Tara. He then approached Odette to firm up numbers, with her simply gloating about being the swing vote. While it seemed like she was kicking him while he was down, I do have a sinking feeling that AK and Luke are both about to survive tribal.

JoJo quickly got to work zeroing in on the ‘AK is fucked and is feuding with Tara narrative,’ with the feuders walking us through the brief history of their drama. Luke then brought up the fact that they are low on strength and need to focus on keeping people that can win challenges, spooking Tara that she may actually lose the battle. Odette then mentioned that she was starting to question what she was doing tonight, making AK equally as nervous. After everyone mentioned that they were now quite confused about how the votes would go down, said votes went down and AK became the tenth person voted out of the game.

As much as I’ve verbalised my rage for AK, we used to be dear friends … until he refused to fly himself to New York to DJ my wedding at his own expense. Despite the fact that that is clearly disgusting behaviour on his part, I decided to take the high road and whip him up a comforting Pake Bowl.

 

 

Spicy and fresh, this is the perfect dish to work through the pain of a brutal, swap-fucked blindside. And, obviously, rub in the pain a little … we all know I’m not nice enough to just kindly whip up a comfort meal for a frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pake Bowl
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
300g firm tofu, cut into 2cm dice
1 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp gochujang
200g udon noodles
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
2 bok choy, halved
250g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine the tofu, sesame oil and gochujang in a bowl and toss to cover. Spread the tofu over a lined baking sheet – leaving the sauce in the bowl – and place in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp.

While the tofu is in the oven, cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

Get three skillets on the flame over medium heat with a lug of sesame oil. Place the bok choy, cut side down, in one pan, and cook for a couple of minutes each side. In pan two, add the capsicum and toss them for a couple of minutes, or until bright, fragrant and cooked. Then, in pan three, add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the white of the shallots, tamari and honey and cook for a further minute. Add the sesame seeds and then cook for a further, further minute.

Drain the noodles and toss them through the saucy bowl.

To serve, place some noodles in a bowl and add each element on top, finishing with the fresh greens of the shallots and let it get fresh with you. Ak … a devour it.

 

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Saramen Lacina

Main, Soup, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Ciera exited first – not able to throw the target on to her mother, followed by Tony, Caleb, a screwed but-not-in-the-way-I-want-to-screw-him Malcolm, J.T., Queen Sandra, and a desperate Varner. Hali was once again Queen of the jury, quickly followed by Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Andrea, Michaela, an eliminated by default Cirie, Aubry and Tai, leaving Troyzan and Brad to round out the final three with my girl Sarah Lacina crowned our newest Survivor.

From the very beginning, Sarah knew that she needed to change up her game if she wanted to have a chance … giving us close to 6000 separate quotes about Officer Sarah playing like a criminal. But hey, when it works, you can’t really mock her!

While Sarah was also lucky to avoid most of the pre-merge tribal councils, if they did attend she was well enough positioned that she likely would have survived all the carnage.

When some members of the jury weren’t thrilled with the way she made personal connections only to turn on people, I started to fear she was about to get the Dawn Mehan treatment. Thankfully the new jury format allowed for people to jump in and defend her, and also allowed her more time to address these issues and help win people back to her side.

Despite the heartbreak of not being able to celebrate Sandra’s third win (yet), I was super excited that my dear friend Sarah had learnt from her mistakes was able to convert that into victory. While our friendship started in a questionable manner – she arrested me during one of my wild phases – she took me under her win and tried to do the opposite of her game changers game, turning me from criminal to cop.

Sadly for her, my prior arrests nipped that in the bud … but we always stayed friends and try and catch-up as often as we can for a Saramen Lacina.

 

 

Hot, spicy, sweet and fresh – ramen is always a delicious option. Throw in barbecue pork belly and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

 

 

Saramen Lacina
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g pork belly, skin removed (by that … 600g sans skin)
⅓ cup char siu sauce
peanut oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha
200g ramen noodles
4 eggs
2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthways
100g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 long red chilli, thinly sliced

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Brush the pork with half the char siu sauce and place in the oven for half an hour. Reduce heat to 120°C and bake for a further twenty minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest, brushing with the remaining char siu sauce.

While the pork is resting, heat a lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes, or until super, duper fragrant.

(It is now that you should also bring a small saucepan of water to the boil over high heat).

Back to the fragrant pan, slowly add the stock, tamari, fish sauce, Sriracha and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add the noodles, bok choy and mushrooms, and simmer for about five minutes.

With the ramen simmering, the saucepan should be boiling, at which point you should add the eggs and cook for four minutes, or until soft boiled. Peel the eggs.

Then, slice the pork into 1cm thick pieces.

Transfer the ramen to a bowl, top with pork and an egg sliced on top. Probs avoid drizzling Sriracha over the top if you’re wanting to photograph it … but otherwise, that’s the only addition I’d suggest … before devouring your victory meal!

 

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