Andrew Pucles Chips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the top eight fought it out for a car, with Dani taking out the reward but unwittingly cursed her own game. At the immunity challenge Hayley took out her first victory over queen Flick, much to the delight of Hayley. Everyone was finally realising that Cara and George only cared about each other, with Emmett trying to rally everyone together to target them. Thankfully Queen Cara found a hidden immunity idol which they were able to use as leverage to try and woo Wai and Hayley back to their side to boot the conveniently vulnerable Emmett. Which is exactly what they did, continuing George and Cara’s epic streak of somehow evading certain doom.

The next morning the dwindling tribe slowly started their day with Wai and Andrew catching up about her flip, with Wai explaining that she is simply at the point of voting to make it to the next step rather than joining with anyone per se. Hayley joined them to explain the flip, with Andrew annoyed by the fact they rightly made a move to better their place in the tribe given the alliance he wanted them to join left them at the bottom. George obviously arrived on the scene to make it awkward enough for them to stop the conversation, leading to Andrew catching up with Dani and bitch about the fact Hayley continues to flip every few votes, rather than brainstorming ways for them to move forward.

Speaking of hustlers trying to make their way to the end, George and Cara took a moment to celebrate their status as the underdogs and the fact that they have an idol in their back pocket to help propel them to the final two.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where they would break into two teams to release poles from a frame, cross a balance beam, retrieve sandbags, cross a mud pit and then add sacks to the end of their poles and shoot the sandbags into the sacks. First team to land three securing a massive Italian feast. Oh and the person that doesn’t compete gets to bet on who they think will win and joins them if they are correct. Andrew, Hayley and George were facing off against Flick, Dani and Wai, with Cara backing the girls to take out victory and score the four of them some food.

While the girls got out to an early lead, Hayley and the boys quickly managed to close the gap. Well, until George crossed the balance beam in a positively glacial pace and the girls pulled away again. Wai struggled over the mudpit, giving the other team the slightest of leads as they got to shooting their baskets. Sadly for them, Dani quickly got her eye in, landing two baskets before Andrew landed his first. Eventually Andrew closed the gap, leaving the teams desperately fighting for victory before Dani landed her final basket and sealed victory for the team.

And Cara.

Dani, Flick, Wai and a very lucky Cara arrived at their massive feast, delighted by the overwhelming smell of garlic. The girls toasted their success, with Dani quickly suggesting that they push for an all female final five and while Cara and Wai agreed that they want to see a girl win, me thinks they aren’t at the point of turning on George yet. Wai admitted that she has been playing it day by day and really only decided to get rid of Emmett on the way to tribal council. Dani told Wai that George had told them that Hayley and Wai were going to vote out the Brawns next, which Wai immediately denied. 

Dani then pushed for Cara to stop playing George’s game and instead make a move to get to the end. This fired Cara up who said that they are both making decisions and she is trying to temper the chaos that he loves. Though she did admit that she would turn on him, but only when it was at the point that she didn’t immediately become the next to go home. And given he is the only one that hasn’t lied to her, she needs to build trust with others before that will ever happen.

The next day George decided to dress up for the latest immunity challenge, while Cara, Hayley and George caught up by the fire. Cara admitted that she was confident with their trio, but was worried Wai would quickly flip on them should something spook her and as such, George needs to be quiet and listen to Wai when she floats plans and start relying on Hayley to help get the information to her. Wai joined them and explained that she would like to see Flick be the next one booted from the game, given she is protective of Andrew. Cara pointed out that that makes her and George vulnerable the further they move along the game, but didn’t push her point and wisely left Wai to talk through her logic.

Meanwhile Flick and Andrew were catching up about the Italian reward, with Flick explaining that she and Dani pushed to see whether anyone would be interested in getting rid of George. Flick explained that while Wai would easily flip, there is no way that Cara will follow along with any of them. Andrew reiterated that he doesn’t want to play for the others and the only way to break up George and Cara is to win immunity challenges and force their hands.

The tribe caught up with my love Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each hold a platform for themselves to stand on using a rope and ring above their heads. Last one standing taking out immunity, obvi. Bucking tradition, George didn’t drop within the first seconds of the challenge, instead Cara dropped after a few minutes with Wai just behind. After a long battle, George and Dani were the next to drop, leaving Hayley, Andrew and Flick to once again battle it out for immunity. After 90 minutes, Jonathan made the trio go down to holding the ring with only one hand which quickly took out Flick before Andrew dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley her second victory in a row.

Back at camp Andrew regretted his choice to go down to his left hand rather than his right before saltily suggesting the majority should instead be tending the fire rather than him and Dani. Speaking of the minority, they caught up to try and figure out who the majority would target with each of them listing compelling reasons why it would be them. As such, they locked in their votes for George and as such, Dani decided to try and flip Wai to help their cause.

Meanwhile George wanted to take out Andrew however was more concerned about doing something that would cause Wai to flip given he worried that would spell his doom. As such, he caught up with Hayley, Cara and Wai, talking about how Andrew just flipped out at him, suggesting that Wai is the most dangerous person and as such, needs to go. Surprisingly, Wai bought all of it and all of a sudden was less protective of Andrew, instead ready to join the others to vote him out.

The foursome split up, with Dani hunting for an idol before catching up with Wai and checking whether there is any point talking to her with Wai admitting that she is always open to talk, but she will also always be frank. Dani implored her to play her own game before they split up, with Wai admitting that she could ultimately go with either side, however going with George keeps a bigger target around.

Speaking of Geroge, he was eavesdropping on the minority trio and discovered that they haven’t had any success in finding the idol and as such, they’re good to go. Wai finally admitted to us that she doesn’t buy that Andrew was going to turn on her. As George praised Hayley for becoming the Queen of the tribe, Wai quietly looked on and really started to think voting out George would be best for her game. But TBH, she seemed like she was flip-flopping back and forth every few minutes.

At tribal council the tribe were surprised by a table with four urns sitting next to them which JLP explained would provide one of them safety once they are voted out. The catch being, they need to select the correct urn otherwise they’re booted for good. Hayley admitted that it is always nerve wracking to see someone come back after they were booted. Cara agreed that getting a second chance helps put a fire in your belly before George said that at this point in the game, you should just keep voting people out until it sticks. Dani opted to tell the majority alliance that they each need to start thinking about their individual games, unaware that sticking as a four for now – until say, top five – is the best option for all of them.

Andrew spoke about his nerves at the vote ahead, while Flick sold herself as a number that the majority alliance can use if and when it’s needed. Andrew played up George’s penchant for doing what is best for himself, though George admitted that even if he is the last man standing, there is no way he is a physical threat. Dani shadily said that once it is just him and the girls, they can come together and take him out then. George spoke about always feeling nervous, with everyone agreeing that only Hayley should actually feel ok. Wai shared that this tribal council doesn’t feel simple and easy for her and as such, anything could happen.

With that the tribe voted and George found himself becoming the last man standing as not only was Andrew booted but he also selected one of the unlucky urns and as such, officially exited the game and joined the jury. Given Andrew has been pretty even tempered throughout the entire game, despite being irritated by George, he took his boot in stride, with a big beaming smile.

Even when I smuggly made fire with a flint to prove that I am the ultimate survivalist, threatening to come for his gig. Given we’ve been friends for years – influencers and Youtubers go hand in hand, you know – he quickly told me I wouldn’t last a night in the wilderness without a bed or shower (so true) and as such, I should head into the kitchen and make us some Andrew Pucles Chips to smash while we catch up.

So, you know, I did.

Tangy and salty, crisp on the outside while gooey on the inside, these delights are oh so moreish. Though I do caution you, you will need a drink because these fried coins of perfection will make you thirsty. I recommended pairing with an icy IPA.

Enjoy!

Andrew Pucles Chips
Serves: 2 best mates.

Ingredients
vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dill pickles, sliced into coins and well drained

Method
These babies are pretty easy to make, so you can do everything all at once.

Start by heating 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat until it is about 180C.

Combine the flour, buttermilk, paprika, chilli, oregano and cayenne in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until smooth.

Pop half the pickles in the batter and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden and crisp. About a minute either side. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until all cooked.

Season with salt and serve with some Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie. Then, you know, devour.


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Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brawn continued to take out victory after victory, with George sure that if he was put into a physical battle he could have changed their losing ways. That being said, he and Wai then single handedly took out immunity for the tribe earning their respect and saving George by the skin of his teeth. Back at camp, Janelle quickly became the target however for some reason Simon wanted Shannon gone instead. While he and the big guys targeted her, Janelle was having none of Emmett’s arrogance and instead tried to flip the vote on him. And while it failed and she found herself booted, she was still iconic and I love and miss her.

The next day the Brawn tribe were warming up by the fire and preparing to plan for the day ahead, while Simon was awkwardly trying to come to terms with the fact his plan is not the one that was executed. He then tried to dig his way out of the hole, putting it down to a simple miscounting situation. While Gavin quietly watched on as he and the rest of the alliance searched their minds for an answer before sharing with us that he booted Janelle because that was the last thing someone told him and as such, he thought it was the plan.

Flick, the other turncoat, was not unwitting and instead was glad to draw a line in the sand and save her friend Shannon, given she knows that going with the boys, she’d be forth at best. She was kiki-ing with Gerald and the girls and honestly, again, I love them all. Particularly since Flick was ready to take out a meathead at the very next opportunity.

Meanwhile over at casa de Brains, Laura was feeling her oats to have had the night off as the team woke up and enjoyed breakfast. That being said, she was starting to get desperate for a fire. Instead of focusing her energy on that, George suggested the group rest up so that they’re best placed to take out victory in the reward challenge and potentially win a flint. Rather than have their strongest player blister their hands and get weak. Given he has zero capital in the tribe, as soon as he disappeared the tribe got to work trying to start a fire. And given Andrew – aka not-Tommy Little – is a straight-up survival expert, I’m not actually sure why they haven’t had fire for the first five days. In any event, as George washed off in the water, Andrew and Baden started a roaring flame and just like that, the Brains are back in the game.

Well, the Brains minus George who was plum tuckered from his walk.

Dear, sweet Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would face off to hold a trough up the longest as the other tribe attempted to fill it with water and weigh it down. All for coffee, tea, sugar and Iced bloody Vovos. Rachel and Baden valiantly held it up for Brains as Daini and Gerald looked super chill and steady for the Brawn. Surprising Dr Mitch I assume, who was super shady about their brain power, Emmett and Simon lead the Brawn tribe to strategically fill the trough as quickly as possible and damn, Brains, you’re in danger. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a contest and once again, Brawn took out the reward giving them the most plush camp in Cloncurry.

Brawn were obviously overjoyed to return to camp to find their afternoon tea set-up, complete with a collage of photos of them with their loved ones. As everyone sobbed, Gerald popped the kettle on and whipped up their drinks before they settled in to talk about their families. Chelsea spoke about her close bond with her dad, Gerald opened up about his pride for his sister, Big D broke down in tears sharing how he and his mum had nothing growing up and her tenacity is what pushes him to work hard.

Kez felt like the reward brought everyone together before we learnt about her journey to becoming a bodybuilder after being bullied throughout school and ugh, I love Queen Kez and her lack of jumper so, so much. Particularly since she stumbled upon an idol clue while collecting sticks in front of everyone and like an icon, she quietly pocketed it and went to the bushes to learn where she needed to look.

Back over with the Brains, the tribe were feeling far from joyous but hey, at least they have fire? Oh and Andrew, who quickly dammed off their water and got to work deoxygenating the water to force the fish into the net and hot damn, they’ve got a bit of fight left in them as they’re heading into the immunity challenge.

Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race to solve a giant brain teaser to release a ring, which they would then use to climb a wall before crossing rope steps, knocking over a tower, then immediately rebuilding it on the end of a seesaw. Wai quickly took charge of the brainteaser for the Brains tribe, while the Brawn tribe just straight up struggled. Wai decided the Brains tribe needed a bit of muscle and despite George wanting in, Joey slotted in while Georgia tried to keep him calm. But thankfully for them, he was persistent and Baden finally listened and suggested the tribe switch him out and damn, George immediately solved the puzzle. As such, Brains quickly worked their way through the course and won the challenge, just as the Brawn tribe made it across the rope steps.

And once again, was George the hero of the challenge?!

The defeated Brawns returned to camp and while they appeared down, Flick was pretty pumped to be able to take a shot at Simon, Emmett and Gavin. She was already aligned with Shannon and Kez and as such, the girls got to work bringing in Gerald, Daini and Benny to form a majority alliance. Which they appeared to quickly secure with the vote locked in for Gavin. Shannon was excited to get her revenge on the boys and as such, suggested they talk up voting for Simon to throw the others off the scent.

Meanwhile Simon could see the writing on the wall and as such, got to work trying to flip Big D and take back the numbers and get rid of the eternally charming Shannon. And ugh, poor Big D, he was just feeling both anxious and spicy to find himself in the middle. Speaking of finding, Kez got nervous after witnessing Big D talking to the boys and instead turned her attention to the idol. Which she quickly found, the catch being that it was buried under a rock right in front of everyone in camp.

Unsure what to do, Kez enlisted Flick’s help, pulling her aside and sitting in front of the tomb to collect the idol. The catch being that since she didn’t pack enough clothes, she had to pretend to sunbake in the scorching sun until Flick rescued her and brought her some shoes to finally hide her idol in. And you best believe that she is willing to play it should she feel worried for her girls.

And given Big D is still unsure which side to go with, she just might have to. Particularly since he suggested they instead vote for Kez rather than Shannon and they all just folded to his preference. While Simon and Gavin were confident he was with them, Emmett was still nervous and well, I hate to agree with him but I am nervous. But for my girl Kez instead.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded them for being back so soon before Chelsea spoke about how hard it is to lose being so damn competitive. Shannon admitted that they overcomplicated the puzzle which ultimately cost them the challenge, while Simon doubled down on them voting out Janelle being the right move. Despite not actually voting that way. Kez coyly suggested that there is always a chance of a blindside and that she hopes this tribal council identifies the snake in the grass within their tribe. Emmett agreed that it is challenging trying to find your footing, though he knew who he was voting for and that is half the battle. Big D admitted that he naturally goes for people he vibes with, though in the game he will make his decisions based on strength for the tribe.

Immediately filling Kez with fear. 

Emmett was arrogant and cocky about his alliance having the numbers while Simon admitted that there can always be a spanner thrown in the works. That spanner usually being an idol. Big D suggested that the vote would be the one to draw a line in the sand, while Simon shared that he was shocked it wasn’t drawn sooner. Which immediately riled up both Queen Flick and Queen Kez, who said it was pretty obvious that Simon drew a line in the sand, but nobody else was that pigheaded. Essentially. Big D admitted that trust changes throughout the game, while Gavin and Dani were just wanting to prove loyalty.

With that the tribe voted and feeling nervous, Queen Kez pulled out her idol and played it for herself as the rival alliance looked like they were shitting their pants. That being said, it was unnecessary as Big D stuck with the good guys and Gavin was booted from the game by the new 6-person alliance. And ugh, he is so damn sweet it is almost hard to see him go.

As you know, I’m highly influential in the sporting world and as such, have known Gav for years and we’ve been the best of friends. We locked eyes with each other across loser lodge and I pulled him in for a hug, assuring him that being the third boot isn’t anything to sneeze at. Particularly when it comes with a side of sweet, sweet Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes.

I know, I know – you hear green tomatoes (which you’re inexplicable pronouncing tom-a-toes right now, aren’t you) and think, that is disgusting. But hear me out, because these are delicious. Salt, sweet and packing a kick of heat, they’re the perfect snack for whiling away an afternoon. Or processing post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes
Serves: 4 dear friends, two of which are obviously Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Ingredients
3 firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
⅓ buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup polenta
1 cup vegetable, canola or another appropriate frying oil

Method
Cut the tomatoes into 1cm slices, sprinkle with a good whack of salt and leave to rest on a chopping board for five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the flour and spices in one bowl with a good whack of pepper, the buttermilk and egg in another and the polenta in yet another.

Bring the oil to heat over medium heat and once nice and hot, dip the salted tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg wash followed by the polenta and into the oil three or four at a time. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further three minutes, or until golden and brown. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until down.

Serve piping hot with a bit of hot sauce and savour every bite.


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Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor we finished out All Stars on a bit of a whimper. I mean, sure, David played a dominant game and well and truly earnt victory, but it all ended in the midst of our first lockdown in Australia and well, if JLP isn’t reading the votes, I don’t want a bar of it. So needless to say, I’m thrilled that Osher is fiddler-ing on the roof and JLP’s gunshow is back front and centre for the new season.

Speaking of which, we kicked things off with snapshots of beaches, oceans and belly flops from the days of yore before venturing to the outback for this year’s season where the cast entered Mad Max style, though tragically without a flaming guitar or my dear friend Tina Turner in sight. 

We first met Dani, my first queen, who works in a prison and is ready to take on everyone and everything. She was joined by AFL legend Gavin Wanganeen who is a total zaddy and won the Brownlow, so I love him too, even though I don’t know what a Brownlow is. But he can definitely get low on my brown, you know? Next up was Flick, a pro big wave surfer who is bound to be a star if she lives up to my dear friend and fellow big waver Ross’ iconic ways.

In the Brains fleet of cars we were first introduced to George the Labor staffer and honestly, despite myself, I love him already. He is awkward, super upbeat and said ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ so, slay queen. He was joined by Cara the real estate tycoon slash empath which is a combination I am pumped to see playout. And rounding out the little intros was Baden, former cyclist and um, did he get dumped in the wrong tribe? The man has a Commonwealth Games medal!

Finally the tribes met up in the middle of nowhere before drag racing in to find my love JLP by a croc infested stream for the very first challenge of the season. But first, we heard from brainy Rach who felt their strategic prowess will take them far, while Wai was just glad to be around like-minded peers. Simon spoke for the Brawns, calling out the Brains for struggling to walk through the water to meet Jonathan which if true, really doesn’t bode well for their chances. We then met the most adorable person to grace the planet, Gerald, who literally tipped his hat to Jonathan and told everyone that the bush is tough but they’ve all got this. Basically, I think. I was too busy swooning over his sweetness.

I mean, he howdy ma’am’ed Zaddy JLP?!

But enough about that, the tribes would be facing off against each other to release a key by either chopping a log or solving a puzzle before one person ascended a tower to direct their tribe to solve a spinning puzzle which spells their tribe name. Oh and to make things super interesting, they could either select an outback survival kit or a flint. Immediately Gerald, the professional wood chopper, released his key while poor Queen Cara struggled to solve the puzzle. Simon and his nip-slip quickly got to work directing his tribe on the puzzle, though given JLP was already reading them for filth, me thinks this isn’t going to be the blowout we’re expecting given the lead. Cara then tapped out of the puzzle and after a couple of minutes, Dr. Mitch opted that he too was stumped and as such opted to chop through the stump instead while the Brawns solved two of their five puzzle arms.

So basically, I jinxed them, right?

Wai and her delightful quoka T was the caller and screamed at her tribe, telling them to cut the crap and listen to her – essentially – before they closed the gap. Why? Because Wai is my queen and I love her. Brawn then solved another arm and took the lead back, before Brains once again tied things up. It went back and forth until both tribes desperately tried to spell their final arm, until Brawn finally solved their last word and took out the first victory of the season.

We followed Brawn back to camp where we learnt that they opted for the survival kit rather than fire, and by they I mean Simon, who was thrilled to have won the kit for the tribe. The group quickly got to know each other, celebrating their success and for Gavin, downplaying his sporting past. Something he can’t deny? The fact he is an active babe. In any event, given the tribe is made up of an MMA fighter, bodybuilders and a pro surfer, he should just lean into it. Sticking out a little bit, we met model Shannon and I love her already, because she gives zero fucks that she is half the size of the rest of the tribe. Like a bloody icon. As the groups split up to set-up camp, Shannon shared that she wished the tribe chose the fire in the reward challenge as all the boys sat around rubbing their sticks together. Which isn’t the dream I just described.

Meanwhile the Brains were gagged to arrive at camp with next to nothing before everyone introduced themselves, with Hayley thrilled to wind up on such a diverse tribe. As a Pain Researcher, she did a bunch of spreadsheets to analyse past seasons’ gameplay and well, she had me at spreadsheet, so in my eyes, she is the winner. Shut it down right now. Not-Tommy Little who I didn’t catch the name of quickly advised the tribe how to build the shelter as everyone split up and got to work.

Back with the Brawns, the boys were still rubbing their sticks, with the girls quickly growing more and more frustrated with Simon as the one who promised he’d be able to get one going. As the sun went down so did everyone’s mood, as they settled in for a long, cold night shivering under the stars. The one thing providing everyone but Simon comfort no doubt being the fact that his choice put a massive target on his back.

The next day the tribe slowly thawed out, with Kez pissed at herself for not bringing a jacket to the outback. I love her. Over it, Flick quickly directed the tribe to reinforce the walls of the shelter, while the boys tried to mentally get themselves ready to attack the fire again. Oh and we then met Daini, or Big D, who was ready to prove himself because as a bodybuilder, when he is pushed to the limit his brain is at its best. And honestly, I thought I wouldn’t vibe with him but ugh, I love him too.

Over at Brains, Phil was living their best life as they woke up refreshed after fully slotting into bush living. Meanwhile Dr Mitch was quickly finding himself as somebody that the tribe looked up to as he directed them with what jobs they could do to help him set up the camp. On the flipside, he was feeling that Wai was out of her depth and unlikely to last long. Speaking of Wai, she was trying her best to work through her nerves and feeling uncomfortable in her surroundings and I relate to it on the deepest of levels, so I love her even more.

She and George caught up by the well, with George pointing out that Mitch is being a bit of a know-it-all and was dictating rather than helping, all while an idol, clue or some sort of advantage sat behind them both. They returned to camp with George shadily reading Mitch as he quietly worked away, before George was dismissively sent away to get sticks. Though instead, he circled back to the well where he finally noticed an advantage, which he learnt gave him the power to save half the tribe from their first tribal council. Which is huge and ugh, I’m scared for Dr Zaddy.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they had to race over a ramp, across a net, untie a ladder, climb up to a deck, ride a cart down the other side – which looked bloody fun – release balls and then shoot some hoops. Both tribes were neck and neck over the first two obstacles, though poor Wai appeared to be struggling at every step. Everyone arrived at the deck together with the Brains first to have a fun ride down while Brawn got their cart off the track, giving Brains a decent lead retrieving their balls. Eventually both tribes started shooting their balls, but Joey quickly got his eye in and scored the first point for the Brains as George barked at him to trade out. Sadly that meant that not-Tommy Little had to go through the learning curve to get his eye in, which was enough for Simon to get his head in the game and shoot ball after ball, redeeming his fire decision and handing Brawns immunity.

Back at camp Mitch was disappointed to have lost, though tried to use the loss as a teachable moment so the tribe could learn from their mistakes and do better in their future endeavours. He then went for a walk with Cara and Georgia, calling George out for being the know-it-all while Cara wanted to take out Phil – no Cara, no – and Georgia felt Wai was the weakest. They returned to camp to get Baden on board to take out Wai, before Mitch went person to person to spread the word. Though Phil was not loving it, given they could quickly become a target themself if Wai is gone. 

Wai thankfully wasn’t taking it lying down, catching up with Hayley and suggesting that maybe they should take out the dominant personalities like say, Mitch. Which Hayley agreed wasn’t the worst idea. George quickly took this spark and ran with it, as he tried to identify who would be the best group to leave behind with Mitch to get rid of him or risk sticking it out at tribal council to get rid of him himself.

At tribal council – which as an aside, is a damn work of art – Joey spoke about how great everyone was, with Phil agreeing that they absolutely froth the tribe. Which is honestly more Australiana than something even Art would say on Drag Race Down Under. Wai meanwhile was nervous about first impressions, though wanted everyone to look beyond that and focus on those that had the best intentions for the tribe. This made Mitch raise an eyebrow, wanting the tribe to stay as strong as possible to avoid coming back, despite the joy of kikiing with JLP obvi. This pissed off George who was annoyed about how focusing on strength would set up a society he doesn’t want to be a part of. And he wanted to give everyone enough time to shine, which Baden said was not what the game was about.

Baden and George then argued back and forth, with George pointing out that the tribe has a dictatorship and he wanted to make decisions that give everyone the chance to shine. This irked Mitch who felt like Geroge was out to get him – which he is – while Wai agreed with JLP that winning challenges isn’t the way to win the game and instead, they needed to be smart. Mitch started to stew about George coming for him, with the latter starting to fire up and really throw down. All with a smile on his face.

Just before everyone went off to vote, George stopped the proceedings to play his advantage, saving himself and taking Rachel, Baden, Cara, Georgia and Wai back with him to camp, leaving Micth at the mercy of Phil, Joey, Hayley, Laura and not-Tommy Little. And well, Mitch was straight up pissed because both of his targets just went back to camp. The remaining six agreed that George just blew up his entire game with literally everyone, while Phil was nervous that they could become collateral damage for the decision. Hayley reminded her tribe that she is an asset to them, while Joey admitted that he was just going to vote for whoever he thinks everyone else will vote for. Which is something Hayley quickly agreed with, I assume because she didn’t feel like the obvious target.

With that, the half-tribe voted and my dear friend Phil found themselves becoming the first boot of the season. And well, let’s just say, I was not bloody happy about it.

Not. At. ALL.

I mean, go on Tenplay, rewatch the episode and as the fourth Phil vote popped up you can hear an odd chop in the audio. That was where they had to cut around my screams from the heart of Cloncurry, enraged at the thought that an easily mid-Jury player and icon was felled by the same stinking twist that robbed us of Michelle Yi in the original Fiji.

As Phil made it back to town, they quickly found me in the kitchen as a small army of locals had corralled around to see what was causing the scene. Phil pushed his way into the kitchen, took me in their arms and wrapped me in a blanket that was freshly crocheted on the drive from tribal council to town. You see, as fellow social media sensations, Phil and I have been the best of friends for years now and they knew that the only thing worse than me playing Survivor and getting booted immediately, was me having to watch it happen to them.

As such, they held my hand as I shakily got to work, while still sobbing, plating up some comforting and brand appropriate Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson.

Given I was so grief stricken, I was thrilled that this dish was so simple. But despite the minimal effort, this one still packs a glorious punch! The tang of the cream cheese and the hit of chilli are the perfect duo for a nostalgic little snack while trying to distract from your heartache.

Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson
Serves: 2 dear friends.
Inspired by the delightful pre-tubbed dip birthed in the mid-00s & was absolutely ‘uuuge in Tweed.

Ingredients
250g Philadelphia cream cheese, or you know any brand but for the name alone, I was loyal
⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce
Jatz to serve, because this is a nostalgic trip and I’d have nothing else

Method
Now strap yourself in because this is a tough one, ok?

First, dollop some cream cheese on a plate and then pour over sweet chilli.

Then devour, still raging that George heroically saving Wai burnt my love Phil.


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Arantxa Choriza y La Manchego Gougeres

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Side, Snack, Tapas

Previously on Drag Race España, the queens were tasked with becoming influencers, while showing off their diversity in three separate categories. But that was all a moot point really, given all the drama went down on the In My Roots runway. Despite her stunning look, Inti was read for being both too much and not enough, while Dovima’s makeup was a mess despite a strong concept. On the flipside, the judges ate up Sagittaria’s crema catalana look and won the day, while Inti and Dovima landed in the bottom. Something which broke Inti, as the poor queen chose to withdraw from the competition.

The queens returned to the Werk Room, confused and overwhelmed by Inti quitting the competition. None more so than Dovima, who now wasn’t sure whether she would have survived otherwise and as such, if she was deserving of her place in the competition. After getting out of their funk, the girls congratulated Sagittaria on her win, with her growing more and more confident in her chances of taking out the crown. Which got Carmen fired up since she just landed near the bottom and as such, was determined to not go back there.

The mood was far more upbeat the next day as the girls synchronised swam their way back into the Werk Room, with Pupi hoping this week’s challenge would finally be an eating competition to give her a chance to break through and get a win. Sadly for her though, when Supremme arrived that was not announced. Instead the dolls were tasked with roasting each other as la biblioteca was officially opened because ¿ que ? Leyendo es fundamental. As is my love for the godly Pit Crew, who returned with glasses for the queens.

Up first was Killer Queen, reading Pupi for being old and Arantxa for being a mess, Hugáceo read Sagittaria for copying Aquaria though sadly, none of the queens were laughing. Dovima read Sagittaria for being ugly and Carmen for being plastic. Speaking of Carmen, she read Dovima for being a problem and Pupi for being an icon. And then Sagittaria bombed so badly that Pupi took over and owned her set. Arantxa was charming and cute calling Pupi old and then Pupi owned the girls, reading Dovima for being slow on the catwalk, Carmen for causing pollution from her plastic injectables and then had herself in hysterics about something I completely missed. But it didn’t matter because, she was so charming she took out victory winning underwear and swimwear. Sadly not the exact pairs worn by the Pit Crew.

Supremme then gagged the dolls with the knowledge that this week’s Maxi Challenge will see them finally playing Snatch Game. With that, she disappeared and they quickly split up to get into character and honestly I have no idea who any of them are, but the fact that Killer Queen and Dovima fought over the same role did make it interesting. Ultimately Dovima opted to stick with the character and told everyone else to do whatever they wanted as Killer fumed in the corner.

At Snatch Game we learnt that Carmen was playing someone called Dakota, Pupi was playing someone called Karina and Hugáceo was playing the Mona Lisa or Gia Condo to you – huzzah, one I know! Dovima stuck with the Duchess of Alba, Arantxa was Belen Esteban, Killer changed to Isabel Diaz Ayuso and Sagittaria completely transformed her face to play Encarnita. While honestly most of the game was lost in translation – despite my clearly advanced grasp of the Spanish language – Pupi, Killer and Sagittaria owned the show, having everyone in stitches and confidently leaning into their stupid. That being said, Hugáceo playing the Mona Lisa is totally iconic so I love her for that. Despite bombing, hard. Which is the same in all languages.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with the girls recovering from Snatch Game and Hugáceo focused on killing the runway in the hopes of saving herself. She shared that her little brother is her biggest fan and encouraged her to go with another character before she left and was upset to let him down. She then read a letter from home as the girls gathered around, while Pupi looked on from the back and Dovima focused on shaving. As they split up, Dovima then shared with Arantxa that her brother is the one that pushed her parents to be supportive of her.

On the mainstage we learnt that Snatch Game and the reading challenge evidently weren’t enough work for the girls as Supremme announced that the dolls would also be throwing a little ball. With that, they kicked things off with a Trashy Chick runway Carmen gave ‘00s stripper chic, Sagittaria was a slutty, emaciated Amy Winehouse, Killer looked ready to fight everyone, Arantxa looked like if Baby Spice was a prostitute, Dovima was a sexy waitress and Hugáceo looked terrifying in her tracksuit while Pupi was a breath of fresh air, slowly stripping out of a little black dress.

On the Aggressive Executive category, Carmen served suited supermodel, Sagittaria was full Chanel – until she revealed her arse – Killer Queen continued the trashy narrative and had her first runway character have an exec glow up. Arantxa was a baby executive, inspired by Legally Blonde. Dovima served sexy Vampire in a suit, while Hugáceo slayed in an architectural blue suit and Pupi was a dominatrix executive and damn, she is really turning it out this episode.

Rounding out the show was the Marbella Jet-Set category with Carmen a vision in shimmering pink and all the fake tan, Sagittaria stunned in a sheer silver gown, Killer meanwhile was a delightful drunk mess in a hot pink cover-up and Arantxa was out of it in all white, complete with sunglasses tan. Dovima was stunning as a mess in a little black dress, Hugáceo was a vision in yellow and Pupi gave a reveal, going from a pink tailored dress to rocking a gorgeous white caftan.

Carmen received universal praise for each of her looks and for giving something completely different in Snatch Game, despite not bringing any jokes. Sagittaria’s arse was loved, as were each of her looks and for shocking everyone with a great Snatch Game. Killer continued the trend receiving universal praise for everything she did this week. On the flipside, Arantxa was praised for her thong in the Baby Spice look, but read for not giving enough in Snatch Game. Dovima was praised for doing something different on the runway and doing well in Snatch Game, while Hugáceo was praised for transforming in each of the ball categories but read for not taking her Snatch Game where it needed to go. Despite looking perfect. And then Pupi received universal praise for each and every thing she did this week, particularly since she gave such different looks in the ball.

Ultimately Dovima was deemed safe and sent backstage, while the rest of the girls stayed an extra minute on stage before joining her. When they did, Dovima was thrilled to be safe, while the queens suggested she should have been on the top based on her Snatch Game alone. Talk turned to the bottom with Hugáceo confident she would be lip syncing, with Arntxa sure that she would be joining her. Carmen was thrilled to likely survive despite comedy being her weakness before debate turned to who should win, with them agreeing it was Killer or Pupi’s to lose. With Sagittaria suggesting that she’d be on top with them. 

When the dolls returned to the mainstage they learnt that Sagittaria was safe, as was – gay gasp – Pupi as Killer Queen took out her first victory of the season. On the flipside, Carmen’s ball looks were enough to make up for her subpar Snatch Game, leaving Hugáceo and Arantxa to battle it out in the lip sync. As soon as Bad Gyal’s Pussy started up, the duo were ready to fight and quickly proved how damn charming they both are. Arantxa was feeling her oats while Hugáceo was hitting every beat. Arantxa was dropping it and serving sexy, while Hugáceo was magnetic as she performed. Which tragically was enough to send my love Arnatxa from the competition.

As she entered the Werk Room, I screamed and dropped to my knees in horror that she lost. I know I already watched it happen, but I was hoping it was a dream and well, knew she would appreciate my camp display of theatrics. She ran to me and held me in her arms as I sobbed uncontrollably. While she was comfortable with her run on the show ending when it did, I was not and wanted her to win for all the other Hannah Montana fans out there.

You see, we first became the best of friends – and of both worlds – after meeting in an online Hannah Montana fan community. While I isolated a large portion of the group for rubbing their noses in the fact Miley is a close personal friend and they will never know what that is like, Arantxa knew my actions came from a place of weaknesses and made sure I always knew how loved I was. And I, in return, always made sure she had enough Arantxa Choriza y La Manchego Gougeres to keep her happy.

These smokey little pastries – slightly edited from a Curtis Stone recipe – pack oh so much punch. All at once light and fluffy little balls of dough and aggressively flavoured snacks, they’re the perfect distraction for after you’ve been eliminated on Drag Race. Or you know, when you’re hungry for a delicious snack.

Enjoy!

Arantxa Choriza y La Manchego Gougeres
Serves: 2 Hannah Montana stans.

Ingredients
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt flakes
½ cup water
60g unsalted butter
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
100g plain flour, sifted
3 eggs, at room temperature
80g chorizo, finely diced
80g Manchego, finely grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Combine the paprika and half the salt flakes in a ramekin and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and pepper to the boil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer and beat the dough for a couple of minutes, or until cooled. Add each egg individually, beating until just combined after each addition, followed by the chorizo and cheese.

Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the mixture into small, 3cm discs on the baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for expansion. Sprinkle each with a little bit of the paprika mixture and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Remove to cool slightly, if you can, before devouring.


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Kobe Beefant Sliders

Burgers, Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Snack, Tapas

As you could probably guess based on the name of this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, Gold Basketball, I had planned to honour my dear friend, the Academy Award winning basketball legend Kobe Bryant before he tragically passed away in the accident.

While I did jump in the time machine to go back and see him one last time, I opted to go to the day after his Oscar win and as such, didn’t get his help to run the odds. As such, I did them solo as I backed out the Delorean.

For Best Live Action Short, I think The Neighbors’ Window has it in the bag, despite overwhelming support for Brotherhood. Animated Feature will go to Klaus, despite Toy Story 4 being so beautiful. And as for his mother category, I predict Hair Love and that the vote tally won’t even be close. Not that you will ever know that.

It was hard to see him so soon after the accident, but it was wonderful to be taken back to him in that moment of pure, triumphant joy and be able to hug him one last time. A share an enormous platter of Kobe Beefant Sliders.

 

 

These little babies are so simple, yet so perfect. Prime beef patties, sticky caramelised onions and a herbalicious aioli fit for the king of basketball.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kobe Beefant Sliders
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
500g kobe beef, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Coolaoili
¼ cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
10 Briocher Bunsbergs in slider form, sliced
American cheese slices, cut to size (optional)

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions over low heat for ten minutes, or until soft and sweet.

Meanwhile combine the mince in a large bowl, season well and scrunch to combine. Form into 10 evenly sized patties.

Heat another lug of oil in a large skillet and fry the patties for a couple of minutes each side, or until cooked through.

While the patties are cooking, mix the tarragon through the aioli until well combined.

To assemble, split the buns, smear with aioli, add the patty, cheese – if you’re using it, which you should – followed by the onion and some more aioli.

Close, devour and honour your dear friend.

 

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Jericho Maloo Bonda

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 giants of the game returned to the island to get revenge, redemption or to detain their crown. John still loved speedos, Shonee is still a queen and Locky is still bae. After a gruelling opening reward challenge the Mokuta tribe got to claim a pre-built luxury camp, leaving Vakama to suffer through their first day. Thankfully though it lit a fire under them, or more specifically Locky, as he dominated the challenge and secured immunity for the flailing tribe. Back at camp Lydia quickly got to work getting revenge on Shane, rallying the numbers to take out our queen despite her valiant efforts to save herself.

The next day Mokuta were decidedly more upbeat, though mainly because Shonee was telling an iconic story where she pulled over an uber to pat a dalmation, bonding with its owner and then getting employed as his personal assistant. I mean, thank you Shonee. And thank you editors for making up for the severe lack of Shontent leading up to the season.

While everyone was falling under Shonee’s spell, Henry went slinking through the jungle to take a look at his latest idol. Rather than trying to make inroads with his tribe after isolating himself by aligning with Shane. He returned to camp and immediately started chatting to Harry by the fire, hoping to throw him off the scent that he voted for him the night before. Speaking of Harry, he got to work wooing Shonee, suggesting that the two of them should align with Nick. And just like that, I like Harry because he has exquisite taste and I want to be their best friend.

We finally checked in on Vakama where poor Locky was still rubbing his stick, desperate to start a fire while Jericho was like a phone when it is out of battery. Meaning, obviously, that he is running on empty. What a wordsmith?! While Phoebe didn’t call him out and calmly sat chatting, AK and David joined Locky to work on the fire. While once again AK grew tired of the calmness, hoping to lock in some allies and cause some chaos. The battle lines, apparently, were drawn by age lines with the old hags aligning, while the hotties – like him – all wanted to work together. Which was great for David, given he is super pretty but also almost 40. So I assume he is the swing vote, and honestly, I want to swing on him like a big old vine.

Adding to his beauty, he continued to rub his stick well into the night until finally, he got an ember and started a fire for his freezing tribe. I mean, what a beautiful provider?!

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where three people at a time from each tribe would face off on a platform at sea, working to push the others off until only their tribe remains. It was for the chance to shop at the Survivor store, getting the choice of a range of critical items to make their camp life a little bit easier. In the first round Lydia, Abbey and Sharn were shockingly destroyed by Daisy, Moana and Brooke, thanks to Daisy crushing Lydia in an iconic scene. Zach, Lee and Nick were net to wrestle Locky, Mat and David, and honestly I didn’t care who won, only that they were all writhing around with each other. After Locky pulled Mat into the water, the round was halted as Zach heard his knee pop leaving Nick to battle against Mat and David all by himself. Which was adorable, particularly when David refused to battle to give Nick a fair shot.

I mean, fucking swoon.

Queens Shonee and Michelle eventually climbed onto the platform with Abbey to battle against Jacqui, Phoebe and Flick. With Flick and Jacqui quickly taking out our Queens, Abbey and Phoebe battled for over 20 minutes, with Abbey twerking in Phoebe’s face like she was angling for a rimjob until Phoebe freed herself from her clutches. After pacing around each other, Abbey lunged at Phoebe’s jugular leading to yet another epic battle before Abbey eventually scored a point for Mokuta. The boys made a return to the fray with John, Henry and Lee facing off against Locky, David and Mat – again – leading to another stunning sight of shirtless men wrestling, with Henry showing some crack and John trying to dack his opponents before going into the drink with Mat. Locked in a hug, Henry and David decided to chat about their positions in the tribe. Much to Moana’s – who I keep forgetting is in the cast – chagrin. Ultimately David pushed Henry in, leaving Lee to fight for his tribe’s survival, ripping Locky’s shorts off to stay alive. Unaware that Locky has zero qualms about getting nude in a challenge.

After securing victory, Jonathan surprised Vakama with the twist that only two of them will be going to select their reward from the shop. With the tribe selecting Phoebe – who had never, ever won a reward – and Locky, who took off his shorts to score the win.

With the duo off shopping, the rest of Vakama returned to camp and quickly congratulated Daisy for embarrassing Lydia and Abbey in a physical challenge. Focusing on the wrong things, Jericho asked what the shop would look like before suggesting that since they were split up, they likely will be getting a dilemma. And oh my goodness, have I been too hard on Jericho because that is the perfect thing to point out after seeing the only other winner of the cast just became the first boot.

Meanwhile over at the shop Phoebe was just excited to actually win a reward before they discovered they were able to snatch five rewards, either for themselves or the entire tribe. With that, they selected the chance to invite 2 people to a reward that their tribe loses – for themselves), a flint for the tribe, a bowl of cookies … which they cracked before leaving the store like a tantruming toddler, and then a boring old tarp and some potatoes. Trust solidified, the sneaky duo returned to camp with Phoebe wisley choosing to stay quiet and let Locky tell the story. Well until Daisy, AK and Jericho started to see holes in their story, crunching the numbers and making them nervous. Which led to Locky and Phoebe relenting and telling their allies that they also received cookies, which they stashed to share with the rest of the Heathers.

Before we could find out whether they would be sprung with the cookies, my love Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where each tribe was required to run under an obstacle, up a tower and release six barrels which they would race like Sierra-Dawn Thomas Anglim before standing them on discs and tossing sacks on each of them. Once they stand them up. As prophesied by Queen Michelle, Mokuta took an early lead, motivated by their loss at the reward challenge. Mokuta continued to slowly pull away, until Vakama’s final barrel got stock in their chute. Allowing Mokuta to push further ahead, with Queens Michelle and Shonee riding a barrel like it was their throne. Vakama slowly started to close the gap until Moana slipped off her barrel, meaning Mokuta could start the sack tossing before the others had even finished the course. Despite flailing in the previous throwing challenge Lee redeemed himself, scoring the first two points, with Henry scoring another before Vakama finally joined the fray. While Mat and AK desperately tried to close the gap, the lead proved too much to overcome, with Lee and Henry scoring immunity by the skin of their teeth.

And proving Queen Michelle to be a trusted psychic.

Back at camp the tribe quickly smashed a meal before everyone started to scramble, with the Heathers excusing themselves to scramble while the olds were left back at camp to find a way to save themselves. Jericho suggested they eat all the food while they were away, which takes away from his earlier wisdom. Meanwhile over with the young’uns, they were locking in the vote against Moana who was terrible at the camp with the bonus being that it would break up her close alliance with Mat. David however wasn’t sold on the idea, feeling it was way too obvious for them and as such, suggested they too get rid of their tribe’s previous winner. The group quickly locked in the vote and split up, before Phoebe shared that she didn’t want to vote for Jericho but also didn’t want to rock the vote earlier.

Speaking of Jericho, he was rallying the minority group, suggesting that they join together to vote out Daisy. With that done and dusted, Mat and Jericho bid adieu to Jacqui, Moana and Tarzan and got to work trying to woo AK and Phoebe over to their side instead. And while Phoebe was sold on their pitch, knowing she and Daisy have no plans to work together long term, like Nick last night, she didn’t want to put her neck on the line.

At tribal council Phoebe was nervous to be back at tribal council after her losing ways on Aganoa. David felt like no time had past since his last stint at tribal council before Flick put her foot in it, saying that she is voting for who is best for ‘us’. Jericho quickly questioned who the ‘us’ are before Moana straight up pointed out the 7-5 split amongst the tribe. Phoebe tried to downplay alliances before Mat played up his loyalty, reiterating that you need strong allies to make it to the end. AK shared that he was just keeping an ear out to the answers at tribal council before making his decision, making everyone in his alliance nervous and poor Phoebe look like she wanted to throw up. Phoebe changed tact and reminded everyone that she came from the worst tribe on her season and as such, she was really focused on staying strong to avoid losing again.

Jericho played the emotional card, trying to squeeze out some tears and sharing how much he loves everyone and how sad it will be to see someone go. Surprisingly the tears made Phoebe start to feel guilty, and as such, question if she was making the right decision. With that, Moana saw hope – get it? – and told Jonathan that the tribe would be going to vote before the opportunity passed themselves by. With that, Jonathan heeded her advice and the tribe voted, with the Heathers winning the battle and sending the only remaining victor from the game.

While I wasn’t his biggest fan in his first season – I mean, he was competing for my affections with Locky so never stood a chance – I truly felt sorry for him as he wandered into Loser Lodge. I mean, as soon as he saw Shane had gotten the boot you could see that he knew he would be following her straight out the door. As such, I pulled him in close, apologised for being harsh, threw out a confusing metaphor and then whipped out a big ol’ plate of Jericho Maloo Bonda.

 

 

Essentially the Indian equivalent of his first season’s victory meal, bondas are gloriously crisp balls of fluffy, spicy potato. Do you even need me to say anything else to convince you? Get thee to a kitchen, stat!

Enjoy!

 

 

Jericho Maloo Bonda
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
olive oil, to taste
2 onions, diced
2 green chillies, diced
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 cups rice flour
salt and pepper, to tase

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until semi-translucent. Add the ginger, chilli and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat and stir through the lemon zest and juice.

Place the pre-mashed potato into a large bowl and add the zesty onion mix and rice flour. Season and stir with the wooden spoon until it is well combined.

Form into balls, somewhere between the size of golf balls and tennis balls, and transfer to a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is done.

Drizzle with oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some raita, in a state of mixed-metaphor bliss.

 

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Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Tapas

Get your flagging finger ready and sidle up to my face because Survivor: Island of the Idols is back in less than four weeks and my girl Alicia Calaway is finally making her triumphant debut on this here anthropological study.

I’ve known Alicia for years after training as personal trainers together in NYC and when Probst was casting Australian Outback, I knew she would be a perfect fit. While her epic finger-waving fight with Kimmi made our friendship difficult for a couple of years, we eventually buried the hatchet as I aggressively tried to help pre-game for All Stars.

While Alicia’s most famous moves in the game are the aforementioned fight and providing a break to the Mogo Mogo pagoning in All Stars, she also holds the joint distinction of being the first person to vote for the winner of two seasons.

Given she has a history with Rob, I thought it would be entertaining to bring her over to celebrate his return with Sandra to pal around Gilligan’s Island style. Though tragically, they had moved on from their All Stars dramas and instead she was excited to see him back. And hopes it isn’t as long between this season and his next.

Again, I won’t say anything here about warring winners.

We laughed and caught up on life, toasted to the ongoing success of the show despite its ever worsening twists and gorged on Alicia Caraway Meatballs in the hope that Island of the Idols will follow David vs. Goliath and be a killer season despite the shitty title.

 

 

I stumbled upon this recipe on Taste.com.au in a desperate hunt for something quick, easy and featuring caraway, and it quickly won my heart. Delicate meatballs, with a good whack of spice and sticky sweetness? They’re now the second favourite balls I like in and around my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Method
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, egg, caraway, chilli and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined and form into golf sized balls.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, toss through the balls and cook for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the maple syrup and toss to coat.

Serve immediately and devour, careful not to wag the balls near my face. Though there would go my social life.

 

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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Lamby Slidaris

Lamby Slidaris

Burgers, Main, Tapas

What a way to kick off my triumphant return to this anthropological study slash international fashion lifestyle brand!

Ames arrived in full Ronnie Vino look and attitude, dancing her way through my door and into my arms, before launching into a rapid fire greeting as she poured us glasses of wine I swiped from a hotel minibar and left at her house.

“Ben! Thank god you agreed to come back, I was worried about you after your tragic loss but always knew that coming back to you fans would help you heal.

“And to return with a date with me? What an honour!”

But truly the honour is all mine. As you know, I first met Amy through her brother Dave – Annelie and I were department store elves with him. It was this point I invented twerking, which I taught to Miley. Eventually he took us back to Raleigh where we immediately fell in love with the broader Sedari clan, none more than dear Amy.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

Amy’s career has deservedly gone from strength to strength over the years, and while she didn’t hook me and Justin Theroux up after his split from Jen-An and is yet to cast me on At Home, nothing will ever come between us. I mean, at the very least, we will always have Lamby Slidaris.

 

Amy Sedaris preparing to devour a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Inspired by her Greek heritage, though not necessarily Lou Sedaris – or Loudaris, as I’ve tried to turn into his nickname – approved, these little babies are melt in your mouth perfection. The earthy lamb, salt haloumi and the sweet, sweet hit of beetroot work together for a tops tapas treat.

Enjoy!

 

Amy Sedaris smashing a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Lamby Slidaris
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano, roughly chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
100-200g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into
10 Briocher Bünsberg in slider form
¼ – ½ cup Beetrootina Wesley Tzatziki

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine the mince, garlic, oregano, chilli, mint, cumin and coriander in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch until well combined, divide into 10 little patties and flatten on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spread the halloumi slices on a second lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes, or until starting to crisp on the outside.

To assemble your sliders, split the buns – my favourite pastime – lather with beetroot tzatziki, top with the pattie and cheese, and close before smashing. Greedily. Immediately.

 

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Sosatie-Anne van Renen

Main, Party Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa wait, no, I’ve only dreamt about being alone in a tropical fantasy with Nico. We haven’t done this before. Deep in the South Pacific, Nico was was looking bae as he was about to dump 21 new castaways on the islands of Samoa. First up we met the Sa’ula tribe’s Nathan who was also a total babe and who was totally keen to play into his banging looks and pretend to be a dumb jock. Which I am here for if he is in on the joke, and preferably, is wearing a legit jock. On the Laumei tribe, typical first boot bait Laetitia was concerned about being an early target due to her age. Congratulations Laetitia, you’re immediately my favourite. Meanwhile the Ta’alo tribe was home to Jacques the superfan, who had a man bun but did not appear to be a total douche, making me wonder, maybe I actually can pull off a man bun if I can commit beyond the Rizzo phase my hair will go through?

Jacques’ tribemate Felix wasn’t feeling confident in their collective physicality and was concerned about their challenge prowess, despite them having a guy who’s guns and thighs were so built I would happily suffocate under them. Sorry, this is too much … but damn they have cast some banging men. On the flipside Geoffrey could see that the cast was stacked, but hoped to be able to navigate through them all given they look like the have throbbing … egos. Beauty Queen Nicole was clean to shed off the shine and get dirty, while Lee-Anne was confident her pageant past will help out her social game, Mike was interested to see just how rugged he will become, Steffi looked forward to winning and Rob was fearful about his passion to trust way too easily.

Oh and did I mention there is now an Island of Secrets which sounds like Ghost Island and New Zealand’s The Outpost had a child?

Finally the tribes arrived on shore to meet Nico where Ting Ting immediately won my heart by putting everyone into their stereotypical boxes of hotties and notties. Rob was feeling confident in Sa’ula’s prospects given they’re all built, which immediately makes me fear for their chances while Cobus was confident he will be able to dominate his tribe despite diplomatically saying how much he loves them all on site. Durao was happy to be on a tribe with the hulk, aka Rocco who was concerned that given he is so built he will be targeted as soon as the merge hits. And Laetitia was channelling Lisa, thrilled to tick off an item on the bucket list and with a full heart for the people sharing the mat with her. She is an icon and I stan her. Paul too was thrilled to be on a tribe with buff dudes, though was concerned that his age might put his on the outside straight away.

Not wasting any time, Nico asked each tribe to select a leader prior to the first reward challenge, with Paul, Rocco and Cobus immediately identified. Being a messy bitch, Nico then asked the three thrown under the bus upon taking the leadership mantle to identify their tribe’s weakest member with Paul giving Sa’ula’s title to Seipei, Rocco branding Laumei’s as Laetitia – because she’ll take the least offence – and Cobus giving the mantle to Jacques on Ta’alo. Nico then complicated things further by sending the leaders off to the Island of Secrets for the first day, while the weakest members were given the hero roll in the reward challenge, guiding their blindfolded tribemates to a bounty of supplies.

Given that he isn’t an idiot, Jacques noticed that there was a single item at the end of the course and realised it must be an advantage so sent Felix and Ting Ting to fetch it for him while everyone else focused on supplies. Given everyone is winners and losers, I will just focus on the fact that their weren’t really enough crotch smacks on the obstacles.

We quickly checked in with the zaddies of the Island of Secrets where they discovered a note which informed them to find a coloured station for each tribe offering them with a choice between flint or a clue to the hidden immunity idol back at camp. Rocco opted for the flint, while Cobus and Paul decided it was more important to focus on their own safety and went for the clue. Wait, no, Paul planned to find a tribe idol which you know is going to end terribly. After Paul stripped down, Rocco searched through his pants to read the clue giving him both rewards and damn, I love him.

Over at Ta’alo Ting Ting was thrilled to be playing the game, while Jacques wanted to do introductions. Tania though had no interest, desperate to get some water instead. We also but a name to the fine face that is Dante, who loves the ocean as much as I love the site of him. Meanwhile back at the well Tania was fast becoming my favourite, berating Jacques for getting married before 30 and then awkwardly hung around as Meryl casually dropped the fact she got married at 22. Oh and she is a proud rock climber slash stoner, and is the self-appointed strongest woman in the game. And yes, she is my favourite. Jacques quickly disappeared to learn that his advantage turned out to an extra vote that was only valid for the first tribal council after the merge.

We dropped by Sa’ula where they were all introducing themselves and Seipei was proving to be the icon of the tribe, explaining the pronunciation of her name as see it, you pay for it. Sadly her confidence was starting to wear on her tribemates as she directed them in building their shelter. While she and Lee-Anne were lugging supplies around, Nathan, Rob, Nicole and Steffi used the opportunity to form a tight alliance. We then learnt that Lea-Anne and Nicole had prior beef with each other as Nicole beat Lee-Anne in the Mrs South Africa pageant two years ago, and that she was out for blood now that she is the current reigning. Nicole wasn’t feeling as badly though, given that she was a winner. Oh and Steffi too is a beauty queen too. Lee-Anne and Seipei watched the four bond and despite the fact it should worry her, Lee-Anne wasn’t concerned about their obvious closeness on day one.

Finally we ventured over to Laumei where the tribe appeared to be getting on quite well, celebrating their wins and laughing about the absurdity of camp life. Geoffrey and Laetitia went to get water for the tribe, with the iconic Laetitia quickly checking for an idol without him noticing.

Back at Ta’alo Tania proved to be South Africa’s Debbie, working on fire and quickly annoying Felix, Ting Ting and Jacques giving that she doesn’t actually deliver on her promises. That night she continued to list an elaborate resume and background, including a bank-robber father. The next day Tania was confident about her mature brain, pulling the girls in to form an alliance as she has no interest in vote out women as she needs to further womankind. lInstantly Tania reneged on that deal, pulling Ting Ting aside to point out Meryl as their weakest and potentially icing her out and going with the strong boys that Tania is confident will want to align with her. Which obviously made Ting Ting nervous as you literally can’t predict what she will do. Before we could learn anything further, Cobus arrived to the delight of his tribe – until they discovered he didn’t come bearing a flint – as he covered the fact he took an advantage. Sensing a psychic link, Tania pulled Cobus aside to assure him that they will be allies if he can pull in Dante. And giving Dante is wearing speedos, I really need to pull … well, you know. Despite Tania’s intensity being a boner killer for Cobus and Dante. But those read jocks? No boners killed here.

Paul returned to Sa’ula and immediately shared the clue for the hidden immunity idol and suggested it be used to further their tribe when needed. Which Seipei loved, given it shows he isn’t the most cut-throat competitor. Rob, Nicole and Nathan pulled Paul aside to assure him that he is part of their alliance with Steffi. The tribe were busy hunting for the idol, with Lee-Anne feeling insecure as Nicole ultimately snatched the idol. The alliance of four and Paul were thrilled to have discovered the idol, however were annoyed that Lee-Anne was around and they couldn’t keep it a secret. They then handed it over to Paul for safe keeping, which is quite possibly the worst decision. But whatevs.

Rocco arrived at the Laumei tribe and immediately threw Cobus and Paul under the bus, pulling out his rock-hard flint and letting everyone know that the others selected a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Rocco continued to be swoon worthy, saying he loves Laetitia because that is his mum’s name and then asked everyone what they’d like him to help out with. He then followed Mike and Durao to collect supplies and float the idea of an all male alliance before sharing the  clue to the hidden immunity idol with him, which immediately makes me question him. Just like Mike, who knows all male alliances suck. Rocco then approached Geoffrey who was more keen on an alliance, not caring who the other members are as long as they’re in the majority. Mike and Geoffrey then caught up in the ocean, with Mike airing his concerns about aligning with Rocco since her wants a four with Rose, Mmaba and Geoffrey given it has the potential to be more stable. Sadly Geoffrey feels left right out in Mike’s alliance and would prefer to be with Rocco, which TBH is totally my vibe too.

Nico finally returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would start by disassembling a puzzle on a pontoon in the ocean and bringing the pieces to shore over obstacles, including a fuck-off-tall a-frame, before solving the puzzle on the beach. More importantly Dante was wearing speedos, so he is currently my favourite. Laumei got out to an early lead, with Ta’alo close behind while the physically stacked Sa’ula bringing up the rear. Ta’alo arrived to build the puzzle well ahead of the other tribes, while poor Laetitia struggled to cross the balance beam, sending Laumei into last place. Eventually all three tribes arrived at the puzzle stations, while Nathan appeared to have injured his ankle. The puzzle proved extremely difficult, as the tribes continued to work for over an hour and a half before Ta’alo finally put us out of our misery and took out the first immunity before Durao secured the second one for Laumei, sending the stacked Sa’ula to the first tribal council of the season.

Rob carried an injured Nathan back into camp, assuring him that he is not going to be targeted and he is still not the weakest person on the tribe. The tribe then handed off the idol to Nathan as a sign of good faith, filling Seipei with dread given she and Lee-Anne are clearly on the outs. She approached Nathan to assure him that she wants to stay in the game and will do what it takes. Steffi and Lee-Anne caught up by the well, with the latter throwing Seipei under the bus and suggesting Nathan as an option because of his injury. Lee-Anne then mentioned that she wanted to go to the final three with Steffi and Nicole given their shared pageant history, though Steffi questioned her as to why it took her until day three to actually talk to her and damn, Steffi is good. Real good. We then learnt that Paul was doing some teenager cosplay as he caught up with Nicole and Rob to debate the merits of keeping Lee-Anne or Seipei, with Nicole scared that she can’t trust her. Lee-Anne approached them to explain why she hasn’t spoken to them, as she was busy babysitting Seipei the first few days. Steffi broke things up and pulled Nicole, Rob and Paul to talk to Seipei about why they should target Lee-Anne rather than balls terrible attempt at modern streetwear. While Steffi didn’t like Seipei’s bossy, chatty approach, Nicole still wasn’t sure whether she could trust Lee-Anne. Lee-Anne was laying it on thick, breaking down talking about how much she looks up to her and that she will be loyal to the end. Which Nicole agreed with, neglecting to mention the ‘loyal to the end’ part.

At tribal council Nicole was quick to point out how much the bonds are already meaning to her, while Steffi pointed out that Lee-Anne has been struggling to bond with people which made her feel nervous. Lee-Anne sold it as adapting to her current situation, while Steffi, Rob and Nathan started whispering to each other about turning on Lee-Anne as she spoke about her struggles. Nico called out Nathan, who defended himself by saying it is just such a difficult decision. The whispering continued as Seipei spoke about the importance of diversifying their options, Rob admitted to being confused about the vote given everything has changed by the whispering.

Lee-Anne wanted to know what she did wrong, Steffi felt everyone needs to fight for their life at tribal and stay strong to avoid coming back, Nicole and Nathan admitted to being confused about the vote ahead before Nico opened the floor for everyone to discuss who to take out. Steffi laughed as no one spoke up, Seipei pointed out that she wanted to have these discussions back at camp before Nathan assured everyone that his vote hasn’t changed. Lee-Anne tried to convince everyone that she should stay as she lifts everyone up and wants to get to know everyone before Rob cut her off and just requested to vote. And vote they did. For Lee-Anne, who was heartbroken to find herself becoming the first boot.

While Lee-Anne was gutted to become the first boot, she was thrilled to hold the distinction of being the first South African castaway to join the party that is this here patch of cyberspace. Conveniently she is also a dear friend of mine, after we met on the pageant circuit. She hired me to coach her after her first Mrs. South Africa competition and under my tutelage, she finally snagged the crown. In no small part thanks to a diet of solely Sosatie-Anne van Renen.

 

 

Did I mention that this season is full of South African delicacies? Well it is. And thanks to this sweet number, I am well on my way to becoming a fan of the cuisine. Rich, tasty lamb, sweet apricots and a kick of spice are the perfect way to welcome Survivor SA to the fam.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosatie-Anne van Renen
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup apricot jam
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zested with extra wedges to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
4 whole cloves
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
24 dried apricots
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
mint sprigs, to serve

Method
Combine the jam, vinegar, lime zest and juice, garlic, ginger, coriander, cloves, chilli, allspice, cumin and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss through the lamb and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once almost ready to assemble, place the apricots in boiling water to plump up for half an hour and then drain completely.

Now to assemble, thread the lamb on a skewer, followed by apricots and onions, alternating until the skewer is full. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done. Place the skewers in the oven and bake for half an hour, brushing with marinade every five minutes or so, and cook until golden and glorious.

Devour with a good squeeze of lime and some mint leaves.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.