JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini

Party Food, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the mega majority continued to dominate the game … until Ryan told random unnecessary lies about the idol to two of his closest allies, and Ben’s controlling nature started to irk Chrissy and Ashley. That left poor Mike to stir up some drama at tribal council to draw attention to himself before playing an idol. Sadly that was unnecessary as the mega-alliance piled all their votes on Cole and sent his glorious nips out of the game.

Back at camp Mike’s closest ally Joe started to chastised him for playing his idol unnecessarily. This made Chrissy super confident given the dead men walking have absolutely zero protections now. While Mike rationalised that by protecting Joe, he’d ultimately have two votes to help find a crack in the alliance rather than just one. Sadly, Joe remained pissed despite it being exactly what he did with Desi when Alan went home.

Not messing around Probsty arrived for the foot fetishist’s ultimate reward challenge. You know the one, they have to untie some wooden blocks and build a tower out of them with your feet. It is kinda creepy, but I’d do a lot more for some burgers and an island getaway. It is pretty hard to actually commentate on this challenge, given I haven’t obsessed over their feet but Mike and Lauren were out in front, with Ashley close on their tail. Tragically for Mike he couldn’t get it up – it being a flag – without knocking over a block, handing Lauren victory.

As with most rewards, Lauren was given the chance to bring some friends along, immediately picking Devon – who wouldn’t with that glistening torso – Ben and Ashley. While Probst tried to flag this as a concern for the rest of their alliance, Ryan was unconcerned. Though with the mute JP’s chest next to me, I’d feel safe too.

Back at camp Mike and Joe finally reconciled after their post-tribal feud before trying out some ameteur comedy to save themselves. How that is a logical plan, I would never know. I mean, what is worse than ameteur comedy? Not to be outdone, Ryan and Chrissy joined together to discuss their superior gameplay and spoke about how confident they are that they’ll get to the final seven before taking out Ben. Pride, fall, no?

Meanwhile Queen Lauren continued her ascension, downing some burgers before locking in a final four alliance with Ashley, Ben and Devon, vowing to turn against the rest of the alliance ASAP. Lauren then stepped it up another notch and got everyone to spill all of their secrets so they can pool their knowledge and take control. Idols and extra votes were spilled, Ashley realised she was the Jon Snow of the tribe and Lauren told Ben he needs to make peace with Joe to get enough votes. Devon was feeling super thankful to be her ally … before discovering letters from home, bringing everyone to tears. And further solidifying their alliance.

Ben excused himself to go read his letter – again sharing some personal information about his life *coughs winner’s edit* – before stumbling upon a map to another hidden immunity idol. He went straight into marine mode, searching him and low for the idol … eventually discovering it lodge in a pot in a tree. I mean, yay for him and all, but the way the camera was panning around, I was sure he was going to miss it. And it would have been hilarious.

Probst returned for the next immunity challenge where everyone would need to balance on small beams on an a-frame floating in the water. Given he seems hell bent on breaking up the alliance, he gave the castaways the opportunity to forgo the challenge and instead devour a shit tonne of peanut butter and chocolate. I mean, without even taking off their clothes for it. While Devon, Ben and Lauren got busy eatin’, the rest of the tribe got busy balancin’. After ten minutes JP fell off the platform before Chrissy and Joe quickly followed after transitioning to the top of the platform. Ryan soon followed, leaving Mike and Ashley to battle it out for immunity, which the latter won after Mike dropped out of nowhere.

Back at camp everyone told Mike how shocked they were by his killer challenge performance. While Ryan was pissed that three of his allies sat out of the challenge, he nor Chrissy seemed concerned that they could actually be blindsided. After the seven broke up their pow-wow, Lauren assembled her troops and debated who to take out, out of Ryan and Chrissy. Not to be outdone, Devon decided it was best to have Ben vote with Ryan and Chrissy to distance himself from their new alliance and allow him to get information after the blindside. Given the plan hinges on them, Lauren and Ashley pulled Joe and Mike aside to get them on board before they headed off.

Cole sadly chose to wear a shirt to tribal at the jury, which was hella distracting and, well, kinda rude. Mike started to promote he and Joe’s comedy show, which Chrissy was keen to tell them was completely terrible. She and Ryan then spoke about how confident they are in the seven, meaning this blindside it definitely going to be successful. While Devon and Lauren spoke in vague, non-committal statements which kind of signal change is afoot – am I Keith Nale? – both Chrissy and Ryan were completely shocked as the votes rolled out … and JP found himself exiting the game.

At least, I think that is his name, since he never speaks. In any event, he is the dude that stripped way back in episode one before Kat got voted out.

While I had no idea who he was when he rolled into Ponderosa, he quickly explained that he was JP … one of my dearest friends. I first met the fit fire-fighter when I was a firebug a few years back. I had decided that setting shit on fire was the best way to meet men, as they’d have to rescue me by carrying me out of a building. I mean, sure, questionable logic but it worked on JP and we were eating post-coital JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini in each others’ arms for six blissful months.

 

 

These perfect little delights remind me of everything I loved about our relationship. I mean, how can you go past such a creamy, salty delight … when it comes to meat?

Enjoy!

 

 

JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g baby bocconcini
100g thinly sliced speck
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
crusty bread, for serving … if you feel carbs are necessary

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Wrap each bocconcini with a piece of speck and place on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil, season to taste and bake for about ten minutes, or until the meat is juicy and starting to firm up and the cheesy inside is starting to ooze.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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Debbean Wanner Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the tribes merged and Zeke decided it was the perfect time to turn on his two closest allies Andrea and Cirie. Thankfully for the latter two however, Debbie decided it was the perfect time for the tribe to boot Ozzy, leading the charge to send him to the jury.

Back at camp Debbie basked in the afterglow of tribal, confident that her majority were locked in and would not budge. On the other end of the spectrum, Andrea was feeling uneasy about being left out of the loop and lashed out at Zeke for targeting her. This made Zeke feel unease and trapped with the majority, until Sarah pulled him aside and vowed to work together to sway the game.

Uttering lines being drawn for the 700th time in the episode, Sarah pointed out that the tide always comes up and washes them away. I wonder if she knew that Debs did hers in concrete, making it impenetrable?!

Not wanting to be left out of the fun my boy Jeff arrived to preside over a cheeky team reward challenge for a luxury picnic on the beach – which is an oxymoron, I know. Given that there are an uneven number of castaways, someone was left out and thankfully for our viewing pleasure … it was Michaela, who cussed out her competitors and provided sassy commentary while missing the secret advantage hidden until the sit-out bench.

Oh … and the challenge? The teams had to complete an obstacle course over the water which for the first time ever made me wish this were Australian Survivor because there was blurring aplenty as people lost their clothes over the obstacles.

Brad got his team out to a very early lead against Tai – which was no-doubt cemented by Debbie’s expert crawl across the balance beam – which never really went away. To add insult to injury, poor Cirie struggled to make it to the second platform until Sarah joined her to help her finish the course.

After Brad’s team secured victory, Troyzan returned to the game and joined Sarah, Tai and Zeke to help her finish the course. Which she did and then broke down in tears.

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

To make my face leaks worse, she then spoke about how she pushed herself to prove to her sons that you should never give up. I’m probs paraphrasing here but the tears distracted my vision.

While Brad, Aubry, Andrea, Debbie and Sierra left to enjoy their reward, Jeff summoned a boat to collect the losers when Sarah spotted the secret advantage that Michaela had been sitting on for the last hour, quickly snatching it for herself and cementing this episode as the Sarah show.

Back at camp the losers continued to win me over by holding a Cirie love fest with Sarah talking about how proud of her she was and Tai telling her that her kids would be proud of her achievements. Softening me and the cunning strategist that is Cirie Fields.

Getting us back into the game, Sarah removed herself from the rest of the tribe to discover her secret advantage was the cursed vote stealer – last used by Stephen Fishbach to boot himself from the game – which she vowed to use correctly.

Meanwhile Civil Air Patrol Captain Debbie Wanner and the rest of the victors enjoyed their flight to the luxury beach picnic which truly did look quite amazing. After Brad gloated about his move to split from his alliance of Sarah and Troyzan in the challenge to ensure they’d be able to keep abreast of what was happening in each location.

Andrea then vocalised her pain about Zeke turning on her for no reason, before Sierra ominously claimed that the game was locked down and she was in control.

Back at camp, Cirie got to work winning Sarah back over to her side as she appealed to her need to change how she played the game and make moves to earn her the win. While Sarah wasn’t convinced it is the right time to make a move, she definitely was ready for it … which doesn’t bode well for confident ol’ Sierra.

Sensing I was struggling with the lack of eye-candy left in the game Jeff returned for a(nother) classic immunity challenge where everyone has to spell immunity with blocks, balanced on a teetering table. Jeff got to work giving Tai sass for not being able to spell immunity – despite English being his second language – which as dear Joe del Campo can attest, is difficult on no food.

Andrea got out to an early lead before dropping her tower, allowing Troyzan to overtake her and take out his first immunity win of the season as blocks of letters rained down at the other end of the course. Sadly though Fiji does not appear to be his island.

With her ally winning immunity Sierra was feeling extremely confident and quickly threw the target on Andrea, which her alliance was all on board with … despite Michaela’s sass potentially moving the target to her back. Despite Debbie trying to get rid of Michaela, Brad – her nemesis from two episodes ago – was able to convince her that Andrea was the biggest threat at the moment.

Given that she was left out of all the discussion with her own alliance, Sarah started to feel nervous and decided that it was potentially time for her to make a move. She approached Zeke and decided they need to work with Andrea to flip the numbers and take out one of the alliance. Sierra then pulled Sarah aside to run the numbers and propose a final three with them and Debbie, making her feel like maybe she shouldn’t make a move.

Debbie continued to be a dominant strategic force and told Aubry to vote Michaela as a secret cover for their Andrea boot. Aubry didn’t love that and took the information straight back to Andrea, Michaela and Sarah and vowed that this is what happened before she booted Debbie the last time and she was too difficult to trust. This obviously made Sarah’s predicament even more confusing.

Wanting to put us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal and  – after a brief reflection on Cirie’s challenge experience – got to work going back and forth between how the numbers would go down. Debbie spoke about how strong the six were while Troy drew eyerolls talking about how people should be grateful to make it to six.

Zeke then argued that the deck of cards reshuffle after every vote, to which Sarah agreed … somehow upsetting Michaela who would benefit from said reshuffle. Which she did, with the votes rolling in between Andrea and Debbie – as she pulled out another prop and starting snacking on popcorn like the sass queen she is – with Sarah flipping on her alliance to send Debbie out of the game as the third member of the jury … again.

Illuminati confirmed?

As you know, Debs is a dear dear friend of mine and we’ve been lucky to be co-workers at 398 of our previous jobs ranging from when we were street mime in Paris, dance teachers in Stars Hollow, ran as part of Ned Kelly’s gang, were tour guides in Bonny Doon, ran a Japanese cat cafe, were nude models/#girlbosses in San Francisco and invented post-its. Needless to say, girl and I are close as fuck.

While Debs was disappointed to be vanquished by Aubry and her over-confidence for a second time, she was thrilled to be reunited with her favourite recurring co-worker in Ponderosa. Though she may have been thrilled to see the Debbean Wanner Salad.

 

 

Earthy, spicy and a little bit fresh … I honestly don’t think there is a meal that could better represent the wild and exciting nature of my dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Debbean Wanner Salad
Serves: 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side.

Ingredients
400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, cooked and left to drain
½ red onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
½ tsp ground chilli
¼ tsp ground cumin
olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the beans, corn, onion, celery, capsicum and parsley in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a large jug, combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, chilli and cumin with a good lug of olive oil and a good whack of salt and pepper. Add to the bowl and toss to combine.

Transfer the salad to the fridge and allow it to rest and absorb the flavours for a couple of hours … then serve and devour.

 

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Chris Jamon and Pear Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Probsty reminded us about all of the idols – ominous, no? – the olds started to talk smack about each other and Taylor tried to take Adam with him as he found his way out the door for stealing food.

Back at camp Adam got to work winning everyone back while Jay continued to throw him under the Kelley Wentworth memorial Dietz bus, before Jay – the hero who ate some of the stolen food – found and dug up the remaining loot. Giving zero fucks about the stolen food like the viewers at home, Chris and Bret went for a walk to reconfirm the fact they need to focus on getting rid of Jessica ASAP.

The next day Hannah and Ken sat together watching the sunrise which was strangely sweet, despite the fact the harpy was trying to steal my damn man. But honestly, so adorable and I’d ship that if Kengel and I weren’t dating.

Back at camp, Will and Zeke had a quick chat about the previous tribal council proving that James Earl Jones Jr. has some game. To further build trust between the two, Will told Zeke about Jay’s idol which set off what is arguably the greatest piece of editing in Survivor history as the information spread through the tribe one-by-one.

Seriously, fucking glorious.

Despite all the idol talk, Zeke and Chris are still planning to boot Jess … and are hoping to go one further and flush the idol in the process. Given that all happened in the first ten minutes, I don’t have much hope in that happening.

Wanting to challenge my inner pessimist, J-Pro arrived for the reward challenge – get it, challenge … the challenge. So many lols. After walking us through the challenge, David interrupted Probst to offer sitting out to avoid bringing the teams down. When everyone refused and encouraged him to have ago, he broke down to explain how nice it was to be accepted and supported.

All the damn feels. You’re crying, I’m not crying.

Despite the fact David’s swimming didn’t let the team down like he thought, his puzzle ability did as the purple team had a massive come from behind – sadly not a reference to Kengel and I – victory.

Hannah, Zeke, Adam and Sunday joined Bret the party guy at the floating pizza restaurant where Bret was just yolo-ing like he does on reward before the waiter surprised them with letters from home. Obviously poor Adam broke down speaking about his sick mother – again, I’m not crying, we’re all crying – finally winning him back after his irritating couple of episodes.

Back at camp Kengel and David continued their bromance with Ken checking in on David’s mental health, making sure that he was ok and proud of everything he had achieved in the game.

Swoon, Kengel. Swoon. Love heart eyes emoji.

After a quick strategy chat with Jess – where Kengel’s angels decided to target Chris – Probest reappeared for immunity which involved a lot of pole and keeping your idol up, with a pole? I’m not sure, but it was homoerotic.

Then ants started to walk on Ken, allowing the camera to pan over his beautiful torso – YAS YAS YAS. Thank you ants.

He quickly dropped out … then everyone else did until it was only Zeke and – wait for it … wait – David, the latter of who snatched immunity and completed a glorious half-episode redemption arc. And hopefully started a Colby Donaldson memorial immunity run.

Back at camp the tribe – excluding Jay – got to work splitting into either the boot Jess or boot Chris camps, whilst hoping Jay assumes he is the target to force him to play his idol. Jess, Chris, Jess, Chris – that was pretty much it, ok?

We arrived at tribal council where Taylor was sporting a delightful haircut – I assume given by Michelle … or himself whilst extremely drunk – where Jay mentioned his back was against the wall, Hannah then coined a new term for alliance, a trust cluster – which is only fractionally less annoying than voting blocks.

Chris sounded confident, Sunday was passive aggressive, Adam alluded to the civil war, Jess was anxious and Jay was nervous, though not enough to play his idol. Thankfully for him however, he didn’t need to as my dear ex-lawyer and current friend Chris found his way out of the game as the tenth boot / third juror.

As you’ve probably guessed – I mean, why wouldn’t you have – Chris was my lawyer after I was involved in slapping a cop with Zsa Zsa Gabor in the 80s. We quickly bonded – due to my love of redheads – and the rest is history. With the exception of my Chris Jamon and Pear Salad … which we share on the reg.

 

chris-jamon-pear-salad-1

 

I know Marge Simpson taught us all that you don’t make friends with salad, but this baby is the exception. Salty, sweet and packed full of meat … it reads like a night well spent.

Enjoy!

 

chris-jamon-pear-salad-2

 

Chris Jamon & Pear Salad
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
lug of olive oil
lug of balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups rocket leaves, washed
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
12 thin slices jamon iberico
100g feta, crumbled
½ red onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Whisk the honey, mustard, balsamic and olive in a small jug, and leave to rest.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Toss through the dressing.

Season.

Devour.

 

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Tomato Soup Clarke

Australian Survivor, Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribe were paranoid after Nick pointed out the bleedingly obvious except for Kylie who blindly followed Brooke and Flick who got more cocky by the second and JL returned from her six week absence to win immunity before Kylie found her trust misplaced and herself out of the game.

To the joy of everyone, who did not miss her despite the fact she was a loving lapdog for the last 40 days.

Thankfully JL is making the most of her return and is reiterating what Kate and Nick said on their way out days ago – it is time to make a move and fight the power. Or something, I’m not getting my hopes up as the last six episodes have been about someone fighting the dominant alliance … only for nothing to happen.

The next day the unholy trinity met in the water for Flick and Brooke to strategise about getting rid of the boys while El did her thing and agreed with everything that was said. JL, meanwhile continued to make the most of her second chance and went to Kristie to turn the tide against the girls and actually play for herself. Then – wait for it – she approached Sue and Sam in front of everyone at camp, while Flick stared at her with more anger than my resting bitch face.

While I was hopeful that with Kylie gone the girls wouldn’t have a snitch, Matt took everything that JL had then told him – which was true and he knew it – back to Brooke. After such a triumphant episode yesterday, I’m back to hating him. Obviously this annoyed the girls and they set their sights on JL, but more importantly Brooke allowed El to tell the story and feel like she was contributing to life. Their arrogance then went overboard and I’m back to wishing for their downfalls, even though they’re the only people that have played consistently the entire game.

I’m looking at you, disappearing JL.

Finally JoJo arrived to give us some more ball action for a spitSunday roast. Sue was given the joy of sitting out of the reward and gambling for the win. Given one team had an ex-cricketer who is also experienced with my balls, she rightfully backed the winning team and got to reap the rewards of their hard work.

While the cool kids and Sue were enjoying their reward, JL got to work on wooing the sole cool kid left at camp, Flick, to consider booting Brooke, who let’s be honest will beat both her and El. The next day, JL was further on the outs with the girls now straight up ignoring her after Matt continued his assault on my sanity after telling the girls everything she had said to Flick while they were away on reward. Seriously Matt, your actions make me feel bipolar – stop.

We arrived at the next immunity challenge where the tribe had to stand on their toes and keep a block balanced between their head and a plank above – sounds boring, looks boring, genuinely difficult. Thankfully JL, the one most in need of immunity won the challenge meaning the girls had to find a new target heading into tribal.

The tribes returned to camp with the absolute shits due to JL’s victory before focusing on voting out their alliance member Matt, while JL and Sue took the time to talk smack about Matt and mock his game. Sadly, obviously, making him safe. Right on cue, the alliance then had a change of heart and decided, quite rightfully, that Sue was the next biggest threat and needed to go, and opted to split the vote between her and Kristie.

Matt then continued to show his mentalist abilities and pressed his alliance to split the vote, repeatedly, in front of Kristie … despite knowing that they were splitting the vote on her. Unless we later learn this was his move to save Kristie, this was moronic. Thankfully JL and Sue continued to show that they were the true brains, planning to throw their votes on Kristie in the hope that split happens and they can force her out of the game.

We finally made it to tribal for JoJo to put us out of our misery. Well JL actually did the job, when she opened tribal by reading Matt for absolute filth and then berated him in front of the entire tribe, impressing the jury and making him look like a dweeb.

Yes, I say dweeb now.

Wanting in on the action, JoJo then jumped on the bandwagon and started to help JL twist the knife in and rub his face in it. JLP, you beautiful bastard – finally your heavy handed approach to tribal is paying off. Flick then admitted she would need to flip to get to the end, then said she doesn’t want anyone to flip, then Sue jumped in and commenced reading the trio of girls, pointed out the entire pecking order and questioned their every refute. Thankfully Sam was still around to make no sense and not understand the game. Sadly his presence was to the detriment of Sue’s game, who made her way out of the game into my loving/frustrated arms.

I first met Sue while she was working in customs – she broke up my budgie smuggling ring and sent me to prison for a decade. Being kind, Sue responded to my prison letters and we developed a bond while she tried to help me get my life back on track.

Obviously that all occurred over a piping hot bowl of Tomato Soup Clarke, my prison weapon of choice.

 

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While I’m a huge fan of some Big Red, I’d always wanted to try making my own tomato soup and thankfully the warmth of Sue’s kitchen showed me the light and gave me the confidence to try. Warm, rich and everything Big Red isn’t, in the best way possible.

No shade to Big Red though, I love it and would be their spokesperson in a heartbeat. Enjoy!

 

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Tomato Soup Clark
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg Roma tomatoes, halved
pinch of raw caster sugar
olive oil
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
50g unsalted butter
2 onions, roughly diced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped, roughly
4 garlic cloves, bruised and chopped in half
400g can – chopped – tomatoes, how much do I love chopped things in this recipe
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
2 bay leaves
small bunch of basil, leaves removed with some kept aside to garnish
4 cups vegetable stock
handful small buffalo mozzarella, torn

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the Roma tomatoes, cut-side up, on a baking tray like they are going to sunbake in the oven, rather than die. Top with sugar, drizzle with oil and season with a good whack of salt and pepper before roasting for half an hour or so, or until softened and starting to caramelise.

Remove from the oven and add their children  – aka cherry tomatoes – to the tray and bake for a further 15 minutes to ensure you’ve wiped the entire family from existence. Remove from the oven and allow to cook.

While the tomato corpses are chilling, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan with a good lug of olive oil. Cook the remaining vegetables for a couple of minutes, until softened. Stir through the canned tomatoes and paste before adding the bay leaves, basil, stock and cooked – read, dead – tomatoes.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or until tender.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blitzing. Once as smooth as Santana feat. Rob Thomas, return to the heat and cook  for a couple of minutes before adjusting the seasoning.

Generously serve amongst the bowls and top with the torn mozzarella and reserved basil. Devour.

 

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