Parmigiana Heals Sausage Rolls

Main, Party Food, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World, the remaining dolls were cast in the latest rusical, West End Wendys. Well after Jujubee took out her third reading challenge and was given the honour of casting it, before opting to just select her role and let the other girls scrap over them. Despite this fair approach, Baga was very angry about her role because she wanted Juju’s – should have won the reading challenge, no? Despite this, she honestly did a good job, while Jimbo faltered for the first time in the competition while Juju continued to struggle. At the other end of the pack, Pangina and Janey slayed and were deemed the top two of the week, with Juju assuring the latter she still has the fight and can’t go home. Which she didn’t, as Pangina won the lip sync and cut fellow front runner Jimbo.

Backstage the dolls were well and truly gagged by the loss of Jimbo, while Juju was just thrilled – and a little shocked – to have been saved once again. Pangina admitted she is probably the most hated person in Canada right now since she just can’t seem to stop eliminating their queens, while Baga was the angriest person in Britain, ropeable that her bestie was cut despite a stellar track record. When they sat down, Baga confronted Pangina about her choices and while she tried to say it was because Juju did better in the challenge, Baga told us that it was bullshit. Janey meanwhile had selected Jujubee to go, further frustrating Baga given it was the right call and therefore Pangina should just admit why she chose to eliminate Jimbo. 

While Mo just questioned what black magic Juju has tapped into to stop the girls from eliminating her. Oh and Baga vowed to get her revenge on Pangina for Jimbo, which could finally make Baga interesting again. Despite my love for Pangina.

Things were far more zen the next day with Pangina proud to have two badges on her chest, though admitted it is a new week and she is nervous starting over again. Almost as a subtle reminder that she chose Jimbo because she only focuses on their last challenge. Blu admitted anyone can be in the bottom at any time with Janey assuring her she is always just safe, so there is no need for Blu to worry about having to send someone home. While Blu didn’t want that storyline, Jujubee admitted she would gladly take the role of the consistently safe queen. While Mo read Baga for wearing a velvet smock, questioning whether it was laundry day in the Chipz household.

Before we could find out why Baga was wearing a repurposed theatre curtain, Ru dropped in to announce that this week the dolls would be playing Snatch Game. This time in a Family Feud style panel instead, with three dolls partnering with Michelle while the others would get to work with Katie Price. Sadly not as Katie Price, played by Bimini Bon Boulash. And as last week’s winner, Pangina could assign everyone’s family. As they sat down to kiki, Mo asked Pangina if she was nervous about Snatch Game while Jujubee just reminded her the job is to make Ru laugh. Nothing more, nothing less. Pangina then grabbed Juju and Baga to join her on the family Price, leaving Janey to worry she left the three weaker ones together to bomb on Team Visage. Even though her plan could backfire and she get overshadowed by her strong sisters.

Ru dropped by to check in with the dolls with Pangina sharing she is going to be playing Mariah Carey and while she doesn’t see herself as a funny queen, she had made Ru laugh before so was starting to feel confident. Janey meanwhile wanted to do tanning mum, though Ru suggested she should do her back-up option James Charles, despite the controversy. After Ru read Juju for doing Liza, Juju opened up about doing Cher and while she isn’t going to be the BEST Cher, she is going to make Ru laugh. Trust and believe.

Mo was up next with Ru reminding her she doesn’t have the best track record in Snatch Game, trying to talk her out of Gordon Ramsey and her back-up option BeBe Zahara, instead pushing for her to do Billy Porter. Aka Broadway Mo. Ru was thrilled to see how Blu would follow up her filthy Mary Berry, with Blu sharing she would be playing Mike Myers as Austin Powers. Ru praised her for being filthy and hilarious, leading to her breaking down over her insecurities in the past and using that filthy humour to distract from her doubts. And well, Baga is going to be playing Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes from Misery and you know she is going to knock it out of the park.

The dolls ventured to the set where Katie Price admitted she just wanted to make Bimini proud – icons support icons after all – while Baga had Ru in hysterics from the very first sentence. Pangina’s Mariah was great while Juju was ridiculous and nothing like Cher, though did have Ru in stitches. Which, again, is all the matters with Snatch Game. Janey started strong while Blu’s busted teeth for Austin Powers were an absolute delight while poor Mo just leant into the word pose and honestly, is Billy Porter just a heightened version of Mo?

Baga was hilariously scary as Kathy Bates, giving us a narrative from start to finish. While poor Pangina seemed bland by comparison when it got to the end, given Juju was as ridiculous as Ginger Minj doing Michelle Visage on Battle of the Seasons. And it was perfect. Poor Janey suffered a similar fate as Pangina given Blu and Mo were bouncing off each other and delighting Ru. Particularly sweet Blu who was just, well, perfection. As was Juju saying Cher was short for Cher-cuterie. But you know, Blu whipped out Dr Evil half way through and threatened that Graham was being held hostage over a hot vat of smegma, so there is no way she is losing.

Elimination Day arrived with Baga ready to claim her first victory, while Pangina gave Juju a kitty bag. I’m not sure whether it was important, but I did enjoy it. Janey asked the girls what they felt about Ru encouraging her to ignore the potential controversy of playing James Charles, which led to Blu vehemently suggesting they all need to stay safe and not piss anyone off on the internet. While Janey encouraged her to acknowledge any controversies that come her way and to power through it. Pangina opened up about being cancelled when she was a judge on Drag Race Thailand, leading to Juju questioning whether comedy has been impacted by cancel culture. 

Baga admitted she rarely edits herself, though she has never made jokes that aren’t about her which makes it hard for people to get offended by her. Mo pointed out that some jokes were never funny, they’ve just been allowed to get by until people finally started calling them out while Baga just encouraged everyone to live their lives and make themselves the jokes.

Ru and Michelle were joined on the panel by Clara Amfo and Michelle Keegan as the dolls stomped the Luck be a Lady runway. Blu was up first as a stunning forest green irish leprechaun dame – complete with B Witched quote. I mean, she said THE THING – some people say I look like me dad! Janey was a sexy roulette wheel barbie, Juju was a golden lucky kitty while Mo was perfect as a completely lit up showgirl. Baga was a more literal leprechaun than Blu, while Pangina was the sexiest slot machine ever, complete with coins dripping out of her pussy.

Blu received universal praise for her Snatch Game, particularly for flipping the script in the middle and knowing when to pivot with her humour. Oh and they lived for her runway. Janey’s choice to play James Charles was read given he isn’t really even funny, though everyone agreed she looked stunning. Juju was praised for her choice to be a parody of a parody of Cher and being so fun, while her runway was read for not being clear. Despite the fact she looked stunning. Mo received praise for having fun in Snatch Game, though it was her pink flamingo showgirl that was absolutely beloved. Baga received universal praise for her Snatch Game performance and for doing a different character, though her runway was read for being dressed up for St. Paddy’s day. While poor Pangina was read for not bringing Mariah Carey in Snatch Game, despite looking just like her. Though they loved her runway. LOVED it.

Ultimately Blu and Baga were named the top two queens of the week before Ru gagged everyone by announcing that should you not be in the top, you’re now in the bottom and as such, they’re all up for elimination.

Backstage Blu was thrilled to finally make it to the top, particularly in Snatch Game, despite the fact Baga was sure she did slightly better than her UK sister. Blu asked the bottoms whether they felt ok with their placements, with Janey and Juju admitting their critiques were justified. While Pangina was just straight up heartbroken.

Baga first caught up with Janey, vibing on how real she is by admitting she was one of the worst this week. Baga then asked her who she should send home, given she was unsure. Pangina admitted to Blu how sad she is to land in the bottom, while Blu told her that she loves her though she is tempted to take out her biggest competition. Baga meanwhile told Mo that she felt she did third best in the challenge and straight up won’t be eliminating her, while Juju told Blu that if the rules didn’t change, she knows she wouldn’t be in the bottom. This time. Blu asked Juju if she would save her next week, with Juju admitting she would have to judge on the challenge and as such, Blu should do it too. Which is wise.

Janey and Juju caught up, with Janey not sure about what the girls will do while Juju wanted them to vote on the smoothest balls. Since she would win each and every day. Baga and Pangina caught up next with Pangina suggesting Janey was worse in Snatch Game and wanted Baga to make the moral decision and be fair. Just like she was, which made Baga annoyed for Jimbo all over again. Mo meanwhile straight up told Blu that she will keep her in the competition if she is in the top next week, which Blu snapped up while Juju told Baga she knows she wants to compete against her in the final and as such, they should stay together. And then Baga assured her that she is safe. Janey meanwhile told Blu how much she wants to stay and feels she deserves it, with Blu admitting the season would be lacking something if she had ended up going home in the first week.

As Baga and Blu took the stage, Ru appeared to be judging Baga’s sloppy outfit while Blu was just thrilled to already have her win in the bag. And then when Let It Go by Alexandra Burke kicked off, it was a done deal. While Baga gave her brand of demented camp, Blu was intense, fierce and oh so cheeky and well, it was perfect! Even while Baga screwed up her cartwheel and rolled around the stage flashing her tuck, Blu was giving more, rocking star jumps and well, it was stupid in all the right ways. After Blu took out her rightful victory, the cluster of bottoms took the stage before they were even more gagged than last week as Blu went full Naomi Smalls and eliminated the iconic Pangina Heals.

Pangina straight up sobbed her way to exit while Janey, Mo and Juju held on to each other in absolute shock. While Blu looked like she was about to throw up, instantly regretting her choice to cut the icon as Pangina sobbed from the side of the stage. I mean, she was giving Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone by way of Scarlett Harlett, she was that damn scared.

There is no denying that Pangina was absolutely gutted by the time she reached me in the Werk Room. I immediately pulled her into my arms and tried to calm her as best I could, assuring her that she did a great job, is a star and her elimination will never, EVER, change that. With that, I finally cheered her up and reminded her that above all else, All Stars is a game and as such, this just positions her as the mostest robbed queen of all time. Which was enough to get her laughing as we smashed some celebratory Parmigiana Heals Sausage Rolls.

Like John Eastoe – bogan zaddy of Australian Survivor – before us, Pang and I have a passion for parmigiana varieties. We also live for sausage roll variants, which essentially makes this the greatest meal of all time. Cheesy and dripping in marinara sauce, these babies are near perfection.

Enjoy!

Parmigiana Heals Sausage Rolls
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g pork mince
500g Italian sausages, casings removed
200g ham, diced
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Amber Marinara Sauce
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
4 sheets puff pastry, just thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a pair of baking sheets with paper.

Pop the meats, onion, garlic, ½ cup marinara sauce, breadcrumbs, herbs and one of the eggs in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and scrunch until well combined.

Line all the pastry out on a bench and cut in half. Divide the mixture into 8 and form into a long sausage, laying each in the middle of each rectangle of pastry and sprinkle with some cheese. Whisk the remaining egg and brush either side of the sausage. Roll the pastry to enclose the sausage and cut into 2-4 portions, depending on the size you want. Pop the portions on the baking sheet and brush with some more egg. 

Place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven, drizzle with some marinara sauce and some cheese and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp. Devour immediately with more sauce, if required.


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Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.

The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.

The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.

Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.

Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.

Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.

We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.

Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.

And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.

Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears. 

Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.

Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.

Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.

At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.

This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.

Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.

With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown. 

My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.

Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.

While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.

As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.

Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.

Enjoy!

Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine
Jock Zonfrillo’s original recipe
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta
25g smoked salt
25g dark muscovado sugar
10g ground black pepper, to season
10g hot smoked paprika
10g ground star anise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.2kg pork belly
1 cup cloudy apple juice
150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs
230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
120g unsalted butter, diced
60g flour
2 ½ cups milk
130g blue cheese, diced
130g Fontina, coarsely grated
130g Talleggio, coarsely grated
salt and white pepper, to taste
400g smoked bacon lardons
1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.

Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.

Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.

In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.

When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.

And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!


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Birriana Goodchild

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new castaways were dropped into the middle of the lush, Australian bushland. While they entered the game as 12 pairs, Jonathan quickly split them up to form two tribes of individuals. Each had to face off in the first reward challenge where Nina beat her mother – Queen Sandra – to secure reward for her tribe. The Water tribe however bombed the following immunity challenge, while a poor, injured Alex looked on from the sidelines. Back at camp, Andy quickly suggested everyone should band together to get rid of him, however Nina had other ideas as she effortlessly rallied the tribe against Andy. At tribal, Shayelle and Briana were beaten to the idol by Chrissy which was ultimately pointless given Andy was booted anyway.

The next day Shayelle was worried about how her partner Ben was faring over on the other tribe, so focused her energy on leading the tribe in some yoga as a distraction. Because she is an actual yogi, rather than a Henry yogi. While everyone was living for her calming energy, Chrissy was more focused on the fact she was a goddess and instead decided she would try and beef her up in the jungle.

Meanwhile over at the Blood tribe, Sophie was struggling with the heat and completely shocked by life in the jungle. We then learnt that the tribe had still not gotten fire which is quite a concern on Day 3. Thankfully, Briana’s dad Dave finally got a flame as everyone gathered around to block the wind, which instantly changed everyone’s mood as they sat down to a pot of rice. Sophie caught up with Sandra, sharing that a bunch of people would love to learn from her while they are here which made Sandra feel mildly more relaxed about her standing. Though Sophie knew that as great as having Sandra is, she is always a threat. Which should in turn make her nervous. The tribe ventured to the well, worried about who had been voted out at the last tribal council with Kate already having a bad feeling it was Andy. While Sandra warned us that should Nina be voted out, she will be coming for anyone and everyone like the Hulk.

Speaking of Nina she was busy knocking up a washing line on the Water Tribe before they all lazed under the shelter to enjoy some shade. That is, until some of the logs started to snap and they had to rebuild the entire structure. Nina shared that while her mum prepared her for life in the game, she is wanting to play her own game and opened up to her allies that Andy being so keen to be in the presence of her mum is part of what made her nervous about him. Tragically though, while she was vibing on Mark, Alex and Jordie, she was unsure how to feel about Khanh, which is essentially my dream alliance. Particularly as Briana got in her ear talking about how threatening he is.

While that makes me nervous, given the fact that Chrissy is out for Briana’s blood after the way she treated her at the last tribal council, I am hopeful Chrissy will get her revenge before I lose my love Khanh.

Briana meanwhile was living her best life, loving her in-game bestie Shayelle and thinking she is a boss. We learnt a bit more about her, which essentially was that she rollerskates, wears rainbow stripes and is fun. Which is all you need to know – I mean, after the last two years, I’ll take an eternal optimist to bring up my mood! Thankfully, she is self-aware to know her performance at tribal council could be a problem for her game so approached Chrissy in the water to apologise to her and clear the air. And while I thought it was going to be a good thing, her apology was essentially, the game has started and as such, Chrissy was even more annoyed by how intense she is.

The tribes joined Jonathan by a river where poor Kate was heartbroken to see her big brother Andy had indeed been voted out and ugh, watching her hold back tears was heartbreaking. Until she shaded the Water tribe, pointing out he is weirdly good at both puzzles and throwing things and as such, they just made it easier for her tribe to win challenges. Speaking of which, today’s would see people from each tribe racing to climb out of a large, net cube before jumping off and grabbing a flag to secure a point. First to four winning fishing gear and comfort items.

Once again, Sandra refused to sit out of the challenge with Sam taking her place on the sit out bench as Croc and Jesse faced off against her husband Mark and Khanh. And damn, Khanh was a beast as he battled Jesse, climbed out and scored the first point for Water. Kate and Sophie then fought off Nina and Briana and damn, was it a fight as they all scraped and yanked at each other before Nina broke free and snatched another point for the Water tribe. Leading to Sandra apologising to Kate for her daughter’s behaviour.

We then had Mark introduce Khanh to Sam as his boyfriend and just like that, my basement is flooded. I mean, Mark and Sam are so relaxed and fun this year, and I’m living for it!

Up next were Shay and Chrissy fighting Sandra and Amy, with Shay single handedly fighting everyone off and taking out another point for Water. That meant KJ and Khanh faced off against David and Michelle for victory, where David literally tried to rip off Khanh’s shorts who nearly gave full Sugar, before pulling up his pants and securing the win for his tribe. Given this is Blood V Water, Jonathan gave them the opportunity to share their spoils with the other tribe with Water quickly opting to give their loved ones some comfort items while they hung on to the fishing gear.

Back at camp the Water tribe were thrilled by how well they performed in the reward challenge. Well, for a split second before Briana held on to the tackle box with a vice grip to hunt for an idol clue in front of all of the tribe. While she thought she was super smooth and bubbly about it, she was well and truly putting everyone off side as Khanh complained about her intensity. And vowed to keep how at risk she is from her so she continues to annoy the tribe until they boot her from the game.

Meanwhile the Blood tribe were grateful to have been given their comfort items, none more so than Kate who was still heartbroken to have lost Andy. As she walked off to clear her mind, Michelle joined her to make sure she was ok. As they wandered chatting and looking for firewood, Kate spotted Ben, Sophie, Amy, Jordan and Sam plotting by the well, suggesting that if Andy is cutthroat, it is likely Kate is too and as such, they need to keep an eye on her. We then learnt more about Sam who promised us that she has learnt from the mistakes from her first game, vowing to be less anxious and more observant. Oh and she and Mark just want to get to the merge so they can reunite and run the game to the end like Rob and Amber before them.

Back with the rest of the tribe, Croc was asking Sandra about whether there is a point in the game where everyone just loses their mind, with her wisely explaining how everyone gets paranoid at different times and you just need to be agile. Sadly for Croc though, while he was learning from the great, Sam and Sophie are already suggesting he can’t get to the merge and as such, he won’t last long enough to find out more.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would have to drag three barrels over hurdles before grabbing three more barrels, which they thenhad to navigate through a path and up to the top of a platform before rolling them down to knock vases off a series of poles. After Sophie took her place on the bench – Sandra wisely choosing to keep performing in the challenges – both tribes made their way to the second trio of barrels neck and neck. While Water had the slightest of leads, Croc’s leadership, and honestly brute strength, was enough to see them close the gap. Wait, no, Water pulled away again and then knocked over their first vase before Blood even joined the fray. Eventually Blood started rolling too, quickly tying things up as both tribes knocked off their second vases in quick succession. Before Jesse calmly knocked off Blood’s third and secured immunity for the tribe.

Back at camp Briana was ready to cause a little bit of chaos in the hope of saving her game, while Chrissy shared that she is feeling like a hot mess. She admitted to KJ and Mark that she is feeling very nervous, with Mark emphatically telling her not to worry. Chrissy then caught up with Mel, Jordie and Josh to lock in the vote for Briana, knowing that she has been playing too hard too fast and as such they need to take her out. Chrissy assured them that she watched Briana like a hawk yesterday but reminded them that somebody needs to watch her today to make sure she doesn’t find an idol and ruin any plans.

Oh and Chrissy shared she is aligned with KJ, Mark, Mel, Jordie, Josh and Khanh and ugh, why is Nina not included in this majority?!

Speaking of Nina, Briana pulled her and Alex aside to float going after Chrissy which they obviously agreed to. As Briana went person to person to woo them to her side, she got absolutely nothing and as such, grew more and more paranoid. She and Shayelle then went hunting for the idol, leading to the rest of the tribe sending out a search party, arriving just in time to see Shay unhook a hidden immunity idol from the top of a tree. As Briana ran to her to celebrate the moment and I assume, her safety.

While King Khanh threatened to steal it before making the real boss move of picking it up from the ground and handing it to Shay, reminding her it is hers and hers only. In front of everyone. After Briana went back to camp, Khanh and Nina got into Shayelle’s ear and told her that Briana was totally planning to steal the idol from her which is why he jumped in to give it to her. Sadly, the drama only made Shayelle more confused about tribal council given she will clearly either be sending her ally Briana home or instead Chrissy, who brings good vibes to the tribe.

At tribal council Alex opened up about how shocked he was to survive his first tribal council, though he shared how grateful he was, given he feels much better. Josh spoke about how that speaks to their desire for a cohesive tribe rather than tossing him aside at the first sign of injury, which immediately made Briana talk about how much she loves everyone. Though she did admit that she is closest to Shay. As Briana spoke about hoping the tribe valued her, Chrissy said that everyone should be expecting their name to come up and as such, she is nervous. Jordie said that everyone is performing in challenges, so like Josh, his vote would be based on keeping the tribe harmonious. 

Chrissy suggested she would have received more votes at the last tribal council if she didn’t find the idol. Mark suggested that this tribal council would be pretty logical and not problematic while Briana assured her allies that she trusts everyone she spoke with (like Andy last tribal, uh oh). Chrissy agreed she could trust her people though wasn’t exactly sure she trusts the plan. Briana then started whispering to Shay to vote for Chrissy before Khanh spoke about being close to a few people, which made Briana more and more nervous. Despite being confident earlier, Briana started to spiral before trying to pull it together. And then immediately threatened the tribe that she was ready to do something crazy.

With that, the tribe voted and nothing crazy happened as the tribe banded together to boot Briana from the game. Well except for Mark who threw a vote on Chrissy, ideally to paint a target on Shay though I feel he is way too nice and was just covering bases in case an idol was played.

But I’ve digressed. Like Andy yesterday, seeing Briana arrive in Loser Lodge was quite triggering because I see a lot of myself in her. I’m a little bit too much and when backed into a corner, try too hard to win people back despite it being the last thing people want. While Bri was disappointed to be out of the game, she was already hopeful to come back, learn from her mistakes and take out the win – which honestly, is the kind of energy the world needs right now. As such, I served up a big bowl of Birriana Goodchild and vowed to send all the good vibes for her second go.

Don’t let the looks fool you! While birria may appear to be a boring old stew, it is actually a feisty bowl of flavour and goodness. Which like Bri, is just what the world needs more off.

Enjoy!

Birriana Goodchild
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 dried guajillo chillies
4 dried ancho chillies
4 dried chiles de arbol
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
400g tinned crushed tomatoes
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1.2kg beef chuck, cut into a large dice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
1L beef stock
2 sprigs thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon cloves

Method
Place the chillies in a bowl and top with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before removing the stems and seeds. Combine the soft chillies with the apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin and 3 cups of the chilli water in a blender and blitz until smooth. Leave aside.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, season the chunks of beef and sear a few pieces at a time, until browned and caramelised on the outside. Remove to rest on a plate and repeat the process until done.

Return the beef back to the pot and top with the chilli mixture, onion, stock, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Stir and bring to the boil before covering and popping in the oven to cook for about 3 hours, or until juicy and tender.

Remove from the oven and remove the visible bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves – or play it fast and loose like me and eat around the cloves. Serve immediately and devour, glad to have played the game.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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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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Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – doesn’t it feel good to say that again?! – 24 new castaways Mad Max-ed into outback Queensland to find out whether brains or brawn is what is needed to prevail. They were immediately thrown into a challenge where Brawn destroyed Brains. Though clearly wanting to give the competition a leg up, Simon encouraged the tribe to choose a survival kit as reward because he had fire on lock, which he obviously didn’t. As such, they shivered through the first night. Thankfully for him, he redeemed himself by leading the tribe to victory in the immunity challenge. All hope seemed lost for Wai on the Brains tribe until George found a massive advantage, saved her and four others and then my love Phil found themselves tragically felled as the first boot.

The next day the Brains tribe were slowly trying to process George’s massive move, mainly just glad that they were the ones to survive despite none of the people that remained at tribal being on anyone’s radar. That being said, those that stuck around were angry about how it all played out and as such, vowed to get rid of George at the first possible chance. Wai meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game and as such, opted to get to work making the most of her second chance by making friendships. First she checked in with George and shared her gratitude that he saved her, with him admitting that he sees potential in her and as such wanted to change both of their destinies. Like a modern day Jesus.

George moved on to Rachel and Georgia and well, Rachel didn’t feel happy about it being saved at tribal given George called her out as weak in explaining his move and as such, she realised that he just wants power and that is it. And well, she isn’t a monarchist, so good luck on him being King. And just like that, she is my queen. Oh and then she went to kiki with Joey and Hayley and well, I ship the hell out of this trio.

Over at the Brawn tribe, poor Simon was still focused on getting fire and well, still wasn’t having much success. I mean, even Queen Dani couldn’t get it going and well, if she can’t, I don’t have hope for any of them. And honestly, everyone’s mood was so down I feel like they mustn’t have any hope either. The Survivor Gods/editors continued to immediately prove me wrong, as Emmett stepped in, confident in his ability to rub sticks together (relatable) which, combined with his plant based diet – direct quote –  did the trick as he earnt everyone’s love by building a fire, despite really leaning the David flair for the theatrical in a less charming way.

My love Jonathan made his return to the screens for today’s reward challenge where the Brawns were gutted to see Phil gone, as they bloody well should be. Still grappling with said shock, they learnt that the challenge would see them facing off one at a time under a net to retrieve a sandbag and then wrestle their opponent to land it in their tribe’s square, with the first to three winning. And given it was for a huge fishing kit, spices, bread, honey and let’s say other misc supplies, everyone was well and truly pumped to fight it out. 

The first duo to face off were pain researcher Hayley and MMA fighter Chelsea and well Chelsea could murder me in my sleep, so I fear for Queen Hayley. Thankfully she had a huge head start thanks to her speed and hot damn, with grit and determination, she snagged the first point for the Brains. Like a boss. Simon then faced off against Dr Mitch, who was carried with the bag by Simon to score a point for Brawns, no doubt to the chagrin of George. Georgia and Dani fought extremely hard before the prison guard snatched the lead for the Brawns, meaning Baden had to beat Gavin to stay alive. Which he did, after the ultimate battle of the zaddies was barely taken out by the Brains. As such, it was up to Emmett or Joey to snatch victory for their tribe and given the way Emmett cockily showboating almost cost them victory, I don’t see this as a good advertisement for a plant based diet or his stocks in the game.

But anyway, Brawn won again and I need the underdogs to score a win in the immunity challenge otherwise this will get old very quickly.

Back at the Brawn camp, the tribe were giddy from their latest victory and quickly got down to making a cheeky honey sambo as they surveyed the loot. The tribe then went for a swim, with Emmett assuring them that he was never at risk of losing the challenge for them despite everyone feeling nervous about the way Joey tackled him mid-taunt. Janelle meanwhile was the only one that rightly wasn’t having any of it, given his egocentric displays can cost everyone in the tribe. We then finally learnt more about Janelle, who is a hard working cleaner and highly competitive hockey player and well, she is now my new Queen. She then aired her frustrations with Benny and sweet Gerald, suggesting that Emmett, Gavin and Simon have banded together and they all need to watch out so they don’t find their footing and take over. Which is 100% correct.

Over at camp Brains, the tribe were reading George for offering to battle it out against AFL legend player, with Hayley pointing out that volunteering at the last minute when you know you can’t win isn’t helpful and just designed to cause disharmony. And if that isn’t what he wanted, that is what he got as Baden was well and truly sick of him and ready to take him out. George meanwhile was talking about how much quicker than Gavin he would have been in front of Baden, fed-up Baden point blank asked what his strategy was in doing what he did and how he believed he would actually beat Gavin. And when George wouldn’t back down, they started to argue back and forth with Baden ultimately telling him that they need to make decisions for the team and can’t get offended about it. When George countered that they need to end their losing streak, Baden pointed out that losing earlier is certainly not going to help the situation.

And oh was George feeling on the outs after being read for filth.

We pressed pause on the drama as Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would swim out to a deck, climb over some obstacles, release some balls, release a key and then solve a hanging puzzle. With George and Wai taking the hero role of the puzzle, meaning he just might get the chance to prove himself. Brawn obviously got out to an early lead, but given Simon was in budgie smugglers, I am now rooting for them, so yay team! Again, this immediately jinxed them as the Brains caught up and both tribes were neck and neck all the way through the physical part. The Brains started to pull away and quickly released their key and gave them a slight advantage as they headed into the puzzle. Not that they needed though, given Wai took charge and George trusted his gut, proving to be a winning combination as they went piece by piece and quickly scored the win for the Brains. 

And joyfully lapped up the praise of their tribe, which was honestly as heartwarming as the end of any Lifetime movie.

Back at camp the Brains were far less joyous with Big D feeling like the target would be on his back given he and Janelle lost the puzzle. Knowing that, he went hard on throwing Janelle’s name out to anyone and everyone that would listen. She too was feeling nervous, particularly because she saw Daini going person to person and whispering. As such, she was fired up and pulled Dani, Benny and Flick aside to further highlight the growing trio of Gavin, Simon and Emmett to knock them down a peg and, you know, stop them from finding their feet. Benny and Flick appeared to be all in on the Emmett vote, leaving Janelle to chat to the other girls and rally them around.

Simon noticed the girls whispering quietly and as such, he, Emmett and Gavin decided to pivot and pull the numbers together to get rid of Shannon instead. For some reason I’m not 100% sure of. As such, the boys decided that they should align with Dani, Chelsea and Flick to guarantee the strongest tribe members gain the numbers. This made Flick feel well and truly in the middle, not wanting to get rid of strength just yet but also not wanting to burn her bridges with Shannon, making her contemplate Janelle as the only other option in her mind.

So to summarise, Dani nervous, suggested Janelle. Janelle nervous, suggested Emmett. Emmett threatened, suggested Shannon. And then Flick circled back to Janelle.

At tribal council Simon was disappointed by their first loss, though ready to deal with the consequences. Which as we know, is never a good thing to say openly. Daini meanwhile wished they had some more smarts amongst them and admitted his vote will be about keeping the tribe strong. Janelle meanwhile was feeling the heat after losing the challenge, with Simon quickly telling her that she said puzzles were her strength and as such, it is on her. This fired her up like a damn icon, as she defended herself and the strengths she brings to the tribe, quickly calling Emmett out for being cocky. This annoyed Emmett, who tried to defend himself but given she is absolutely right, he should be worried.

He then was really patronising as he mocked her for firing up and as such, I don’t like Emmett and would die for Janelle.

Janelle then pointed out Simon, Emmett and Gavin were already a strong trio which lead to Emmett calling it out and admitting that he knows that his name was thrown around back at camp. This led to more fighting back and forth before Jonathan dragged Flick into it, asking if she was scared of the three votes, with her admitting that yeah, it is a concern but there are nine other votes so at this stage, it isn’t that concerning. Emmett continued to be confident, Shannon admitted that the fact they can’t sit anyone out in the next challenge just changed things for her before Emmett gave a last ditch plea for everyone he trusts to stick to the plan. Basically. Flick meanwhile was focusing on sticking with the majority and guided solely by not wanting to come back to tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and despite it being far closer than anyone in the tribe expected, Janelle was narrowly, and tragically, booted from the game. And damn, you know there are going to be fireworks back at camp as the boys appeared just as shocked to see her go as she was.

As soon as Janelle arrived back at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a hug before raging over the fact that OF COURSE, the tribe votes out its oldest woman. You see, I’ve known Janelle for years and we became the best of friends as we systematically dominated the Townsville hockey scene. But that isn’t why I love her. No. I love her because I am convinced she is a time traveller, given she looks EXACTLY like my favourite barista from my favourite cafe in 2007, but as a grown-up. And, you know, I want to annoy her with my love until she admits that she is the second time-traveler to compete in Survivor after Malcolm/Jimmy Tarantino. My go to way to show my love? Whipping up a batch of Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls.

I love croissants and sausage rolls almost equally, but shamefully had never thought to combine them before. But damn, not that I have, I finally know what true joy is. Perfectly seasoned sausage and crumbly pastry? I challenge you to find a better way to dull the post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls
Serves: 12.
Inspired by these little numbers from Taste.com.au

Ingredients
500g beef mince
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ cup tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground sage
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
a dash of milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two baking sheets.

Combine the minces, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli and an egg in a bowl with a large whack of salt and pepper, and stir, scrunching with your hands until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, followed by each half into two triangles. Using about a quarter of a cup of the mixture, form into a small sausage and place against the longer end of the triangle. Whisk the remaining egg with the milk and brush the exposed parts of the pastry before rolling from the long end to the tip to form a croissant. Shaping into a half-moon, if you can be bothered. Continue the process until it’s all done.

Brush the assembled pastries with remaining egg wash and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then, you know, devour covered in a gallon of tommie sauce.


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Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Final Three arrived at the final immunity challenge, ready to face a no doubt brutal and traumatic bout of endurance to win their way to the final tribal council. Though not before their loved ones were wheeled out to make us all cry. While it was sweet to see everyone soften at the sight of their families, reminded of what they are playing for, Moana wins best family thanks to the iconic one-two punch of Queen Vinnie who is pure joy and love personified and her sweet wife Isabella. Tragically though, Moana was the first to fall out of the challenge and after David eventually took out the final victory, she was sent to become the final juror of the season.

The final two awoke on Day 50, shocked to have made it all the way to the end while Dave was still feeling guilty about having to blindside his friend Mo. Despite it not really being a blindside since she was one of two options. In any event, David reiterated how much he wants to win before listing his entire resume and hot damn, this is going to be a complete and utter blow-out, isn’t it? I mean, I forgot about the fire from scratch thing it was that long ago.

As they settled in for their final breakfast and mimosas – treat yo’ ‘self – by the shore, Sharn told us how big of a mistake Dave made by taking her to the end, given she is the first and only player in Australian Survivor to make it to 100 days in the game. Which yeah, it is super impressive. She spoke about how hard the first loss was on her and she assured us that she had a fire in her belly and was not going to lose again. And oh Sharn, I am starting to feel bad about you losing again.

At tribal council Sharn kicked things off with her opening statement, reminding them that she is the only person to have played 100 days in the game and the only one in their season that has never had their torch snuffed. She said that after the winners were booted first, she knew that runner-ups would be targeted soon after and as such, she kept things quiet. She highlighted that she played both sides all season, told them that not going to rocks was a huge move and her plan as the puppet-master was to ride the Golden God before turning him into her golden ticket. And well, it all just felt a little bit too staged no?

David followed that up with a super sweet, relatable speech, fanning over the jury and charming the shit out of everyone. He admitted to being the mole, he told them how he found his idols – playing Phoebe in the process – blindsided Locky out of a necessity, voted Harry out because he wanted more days played than him before switching tacts and apologising for voting out Tarzan because he loves him, but loves his family more.  Oh and then he welled up talking about how much of a beast Brooke was and how much he loved Mo. Hell, is Sharn going to vote for him too?

Things turned over to the jury, with Locky asking Dave why his desire for a big game disappeared at the merge and he started to hide in a big alliance. Dave explained that being the Golden God got him to tenth last time, and as such he had to pull his head in if he wanted to make it to the end. Shonee then savaged Sharn by asking why she would bother voting for Sharn this time, when she didn’t the last time she was in this situation. Sharn spoke about how well she played this time and built up the alliance that dominated the merge, but didn’t really add anything else. A.K. spoke about the fact Sharn talked him out of going to rocks, and suggested that she can pick rocks for a chance to win his vote. Or leave it up to her game alone and damn, Sharn, the fact Zach laughed should tell you everything about the lack of votes coming your way.

After what felt like an eternity, Sharn opted to back herself and her game and as such, lost another vote.

Brooke decided to add some messiness to the proceedings, asking Dave why Sharn doesn’t deserve to win. Ignoring the question, he spoke about how he was the idol whisperer of the season before circling to the point, I think, by saying his relationships are what brought him to the end. Harry dragged Sharn for constantly pretending to be in alliances with people and pretending she was going to flip and while she tried to highlight it as good gameplay, Brooke reminded her that she burnt a lot of people in the process and as such, she was too focused on going to the end, rather than winning.

Oh and then Tarzan reminded Sharn that she told him to vote Mo in the near-rock tribal and while she tried to pretend that she was testing Tarzan’s loyalty, he thankfully pushed and said it wasn’t a test because if he did, Moana would have gone. This pissed off Moana who joined Tarzan in dragging her and while Sharn tried to dance around it and said it turned out to be her biggest move, Mo pointed out it was actually just her doing nothing. Harry then told her to keep telling herself that – slay – before Moana pointed out that Dave voting her out proved him to be weak, given he preached non-stop of competing against the best. She then asked the boldest question, asking whether he felt she played the bigger game. David expertly praised her and her game, apologising for ruining her dreams, reminding her that taking her to the end weakened his chances and ultimately they are playing for the title of SOLE survivor.

Dave then listed why everyone played killer games, praising them for their moves which is the exact reason why he made sure they all ended up on the jury. I mean, hot damn – that is a Todd Herzog level tribal council performance!

With that speech sealing the deal, the jury voted and then because of COVID-19, we awkwardly got to experience the single weirdest winner reveal of all time – potentially until Winners at War, I guess – as Andrew G was wheeled out to talk to Jonathan who was trapped in the US because of travel restrictions, before he tallied re-written votes in the US … which ultimately crowned David the winner of the game. Much to poor Sharn and her family’s bitter disappointment via satellite from their lounge room.

Tragically poor Sharn’s biggest fears came to a reality and while once again she came second, she does hold a tonne of records which prove her to be one of our best players. Despite how messy her second game may have been as her fears started to play on her mind. As such, I am so glad I was able to be on hand to once again provide her culinary comfort with a hearty batch of Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies!

Now lamb shanks and I have a complicated past. I mean, despite what you may think, I’m not a fan of sucking meat off a bone (well, in the kitchen). But in pie form? Sign me up! Earthy, rich and encased in a gorgeously buttery pastry, there is no better may to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 lamb shanks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, finely sliced
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cup red wine
1 ½ cup beef stock
6 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 bay leaves
2-4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 sheets butter puff pastry

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss through the shanks to coat. Heat a good lug of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the shanks, cooking for five minutes or until nice and caramelised on the outside. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Add the remaining oil to the dutch onion and saute the carrot, celery, onion and garlic for five minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process with the wine, followed by the stock before adding the thyme, bay leaves and shanks to the pan, covering and popping in the oven to cook for 2 ½-3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Once cooked, remove from the oven – leaving it on – and carefully remove the meat from the bone and roughly chop into largish chunks. Return the meat to the pan, remove the bay leaves and cook over medium heat until the sauce has reduced. 

To assemble, line 8 individual pie dishes with a square of shortcrust pastry to fit the mould. Line each and fill with some baking weights. Pop them on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for ten minutes, or until the pastry is starting to cook. Remove from the oven and remove the baking paper and weight combo.

Fill each dish with some of the shank mixture and brush around the rim of each dish with some egg, followed by closing with the puff pastry and cutting a little slit into the top. Brush the pie tops with more egg and transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour, or until golden and puffed.

Then devour.


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Roast Chooke Jowett

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brooke was all alone, with only the love and dreams of the nation to keep her company. Well, that and the immunity necklace, which she won for a record breaking fifth time, despite the fact we’re all forgetting the pre-merge victory. Back at camp David and his bland (well, dominant) alliance realised that they needed to flip on themselves, splitting down gender lines with Tarzan pushing to get rid of Sharn and Moana suggesting they get rid of Tarzan in the hope that David could defeat Brooke at the next immunity challenge. Ultimately though, David sided with the girls, while Brooke tried to vote for Dave – despite his idol – and poor Tarzan was booted from the game.

The next day Sharn was doing ASMR about Tarzan to David to make sure he knows just how much she really, truly valued him and everything he did. Though love me, David, LOVE ME is all I heard. Thankfully Brooke was acting as the voice of the public, calling out Moana and Sharn for playing a boneheaded game and not trying to take a shot at David when they had the chance. Though once again, she was hopeful to win immunity, fuck up their plans and force them to send him out of the game and start writing her winner’s cheque.

Meanwhile Dave joined Brooke near the shelter and after coughing like you would pre-COVID, sat down with her to ask if she is still hellbent on facing off against him. Brooke laughed it off, saying she literally has no options and nobody wants to work with her, so he is safe … unless he is interested in working with her. Knowing that he is completely falling apart after back-to-back seasons, he said that he would be interested to work together since whoever loses the next challenge is going home. But if they work together, they can save themselves and make this interesting.

After putting the idea out into the universe, Dave approached Moana to reiterate the importance of getting rid of Brooke at the next tribal council. Moana then spoke about how much she, David and Sharn need to win the game, which honestly annoys me, because this game shouldn’t be about need. I mean, that is what GoFundMe or my fellow high school alumni Celeste Barber is for!

We then got some generic filler supercuts with Brooke reminding us that Sharn and Moana dogged her at the last tribal council, Dave reminded us that he is playing his game for his kids and to be able to spend more time with them. He then started to cry about spending so much time away from them playing two seasons and just like that, I am back to wanting Dave to win. Or well, being ok with it … if Brooke can not.

My love Jonathan arrived for the penultimate immunity challenge of the season and hot damn, it’s a doozy! The final four would race to roll a ball down a shoot, race through obstacles and catch it before it hits the ground. They would then shoot the ball into a cup before shooting coconuts at a wall to break two tiles, then crawl under a ladder dragging a bag, building a ladder and scaling a wall before collecting three bags each containing a ball. Which they would then guide to the top of an upright maze to land them in three holes. And then they win immunity. As has become the way, David and Brooke were neck and neck at the start of the challenge with Brooke the first to catch her ball on the obstacle. Sadly while she struggled to land her ball in the cup, David made it past the first obstacle and quickly landed his ball. He then continued to extend his lead, crashing through the first tile as Brooke landed her ball. She quickly cracked her first tile, evening things up and making things more interesting than Jonathan’s spicy commentary. That being said, I do love David busting nut after nut. Brooke cracked her second tile just before David, as they went neck and neck under the net.

Oh and Sharn and Moana were absolutely nowhere. That isn’t relevant, but lol.

David made it over the wall first and had a slight lead going into the maze, before Brooke caught up. Both of them shaking from fatigue as they worked on the maze as Brooke landed her first ball which was quickly followed by David’s first. Brooke tried to play it fast to get a lead, though dropped right at the top giving David a lead as he landed his second. And while she fought valiantly, he landed his third and secured immunity. Back at the start of the challenge, Sharn and Moana were just thrilled to be able to stop while David and Brooke hugged, both crying as he congratulated her on being a beast and apologised for crushing her dreams. Well since it is obvious that Brooke is joining the elite group of fourth place robbed goddesses, I guess I am thrilled that it is Dave that will be taking out the win.

The final four returned to camp where David couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, praising Brooke on her continued challenge prowess. She then went to quietly reflect on the end of her game, while Dave worked to assure Sharn and Moana that they too are safe. Knowing that she needs to dig deep, Brooke caught up with Sharn by the fire and suggested that she is ending her own game by voting out Brooke, given that Moana and David will both take the other to the end over her. This made Sharn paranoid and contemplated her options, giving Brooke enough ammunition to approach Moana and let her know that Sharn, once again, is playing both sides. Because Brooke wants to battle Moana at final tribal council

While they were chatting, Moana and Dave caught up about the fact that they don’t have anything to worry about given at worst, it will be a tie and she and Brooke will need to face off in a fire challenge. That being said, Moana was hopeful that her real world friendship would be enough to stop Sharn from flipping. Brooke didn’t even need to talk to Moana, as Sharn’s growing cockiness at the thought of having the game locked up made Moana nervous about what her friend was planning. As such Moana approached Brooke to find out what Sharn was playing at, with Brooke pointing out that Moana truly needs to make sure she is in the final three with two other people that want to take her to the end and keeping her in the game means both she and Dave would take her, guaranteeing her a shot at final tribal. Which honestly is the best possible pitch because Moana is literally the only person that would be guaranteed to make the end in that situation. And realistically won’t go if she is in the final three with David and Sharn who would take each other, for some weird reason in Sharn’s case.

At tribal council – which was interrupted by another confusing, meandering presser from the PM (just tell us to stay inside and act like we hate COVID like Jacinda, please) – David spoke about his shock at making it to this point, a guaranteed shot at the final immunity challenge. While he was elated, he was kind of surprised that nobody went after him despite the mammoth target on his back. Continuing to play to the jury and the audience, David rightly lavished Brooke with praise and said that playing against her has been the biggest honour and joy for him. On the flipside, Brooke was disappointed to have lost immunity though took it with grace. But not lying down, advised Moana and Sharn that whoever joins her tonight will be the one she takes to the end. She then read them both for filth, pointing out they both told her that they can’t win at the end against Dave, and nor can they beat him at final tribal and as such, they’re stupid not to at least try going against her.

This annoyed Sharn who said that while that was Brooke’s pitch, she never actually said that she didn’t think she could beat Dave and lol. I mean, I loved Sharn in her first season but how in the hell can she not see that she has – to quote Spencer – zero percent chance of winning the game? Brooke called her out for lying and told her that she has admitted that she has no chance against Dave, then went in on her and continued to paint her as a shady liar. Brooke then heaped praise on Dave as the best Survivor player in the world, trying to scare Moana into action. This led Sharn to step in and fight, reminding everyone (read: Moana) that this is the only path for Brooke and honestly, she will win final immunity if she gets there. Sadly that logic is flawed, given she has said time and time again that Dave will win in the end, so if she does win final immunity, she will take anyone but him. And while they’re both kind of guaranteed to lose unless they are against each other, they surely have a better chance against Brooke.

Moana jumped in and said that while Brooke doesn’t think either of them have the ability to beat Dave, it is up to them to prove her wrong. And while I admire the confidence, I don’t know if they are accounting for who is sitting on the jury. That being said, if Moana didn’t think she could beat everyone left, she would have blindsided them. Sharn agreed that she also thinks she can win – lol – before David admitted that he is fully aware that should he lose final immunity, he knows that he is going to come in third. Smelling blood in the water, Brooke said that taking someone strong to the end is the boldest play you can make and already, she would award Dave the title knowing what he is visibly done. Though she knows that he has played harder than that and will have a compelling case.

Moana said she was confident in the direction she has chosen to take, while Brooke said that people have suggested they may vote with her, they all need to realise that loyalty won’t get you to the end. More specifically, it won’t give you money to buy your family a house, Mo. With that the tribe voted and tragically Brooke was finally felled from the game, though thankfully she joined the illustrious ranks of our fourth place robbed goddesses – Flick, Michelle, Shonee and Luke.

Through tears, I stood at the doors of Jury Villa and applauded our newest queen as she arrived to officially join the ranks of the iconic fourth placers. Please note that every fourth placed robbed-goddess has also played the game twice, which is a testament to their skillz and charm. Given I was overwhelmed by emotion (and knowing that Brooke’s loss likely put us on the trajectory we’re currently on in corona-ville) and I knew Brooke would be in need of some much needed nourishment, I quickly whipped up a Roast Chooke Jowett and toasted on playing the best losing game of the season.

Like her underdog journey, there is something so nourishing and wholesome about a perfectly roasted chicken. Your home is filled with a gorgeous aroma, there are leftovers for days and honestly, you feel a little bit smug because it always seems much more daunting than it is. Essentially, it is a culinary hug, which is what Brooke deserves.

Enjoy!

Roast Chooke Jowett
Serves: 4-6, depending on the amount of leftovers you want.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled (or just washed, no judgement) and cut into 3cm lengths
2 sticks of celery, just into 3cm lengths
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and bruised
olive oil
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, ideally thyme, rosemary and sage
1 lemon, pierced with a skewer
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp flour, ¼ cup vermouth and 2 cups of chicken stock, should you want to make an accompanying gravy

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C and take the chicken out of the fridge for about half an hour to come to temperature.

Throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a large baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine. Grab the chicken and shove the herbs and lemon inside the carcass. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, rubbing over to make sure it is well coated. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, reduce the oven to 200°C and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.

Remove chicken from the oven, transfer to a plate, cover and rest for fifteen minutes at which point, mash all the veggies in the pan juices should you be making a gravy. Add the flour and cook over medium heat on the stove until bubbling. Whisk in the vermouth and stock and cook, stirring, until a thick, glorious gravy is formed. Season with pepper.

Serve the chicken with your fave roast veggies, drowned in gravy with some white crusty bread for sopping up – like a queen – as you devour.


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Phoebeef Wellingtimmins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2016), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the swap left David and Phoebe all alone on Mokuta, forcing them into a tight alliance. Sadly for Phoebe, it was short lived as she decided to also align herself with her fellow season 1 contestant Nick. Feeling slightly, David immediately cut her off emotionally. To make matters worse, he then found a hidden immunity idol and vowed to use it to get some humiliating revenge on her. Thankfully for her though, she found a clue to a hidden immunity idol at the last reward. Despite coming very closing to a humiliating defeat at the immunity challenge, Nick destroyed the puzzle and single handedly sent Vakama back to tribal council once again. With no other option, Mat desperately tried to convince Locky that the tribe couldn’t afford to lose any more strength and set his sights on targeting Shonee. And again, uuugggh. Thankfully Shonee’s charm won out once again however, as the tribe banded together to send Mat from the game.

We first checked in with Mokuta where Lee was doing some nerdy-host cosplay, leading the tribe in an island version of Young Talent Time. First up David showed off his best island modelling, stomping through the sand in his leather jacket WITH HIS BUM HANGING OUT. Oh god, I am wet – have mercy! Jacqui did some body building, Sharn did a tongue twister – and got massively burned by Nick, who pointed out that if she spoke like that at final tribal, maybe she wouldn’t have lost – before Zach shocked everyone, stopping my heart for a brief second, with a sultry flamenco.

Meanwhile at Mokuta everyone was clothed, while AK was suffering in his jocks for having kept Mat as long as he did. Harry on the other hand was growing more and more nervous, unsure whether getting Mat was the right move, given he a Shonee are now on the bottom. Harry pulled AK aside and the duo ran through the numbers on both sides and tried to fashion a series of plans to get to the end. While Harry wanted to keep him on side, he was concerned that AK’s mind was wandering even further and needed to be wary of when he started crunching the numbers to get rid of him. But for the moment, he was confident that everyone was trusting him.

Back at Mokuta the tribe were keeping themselves busy doing house work and bonding. Sharn shared that she was thrilled that their winning streak had allowed everyone a little more time to bond, before listing out all the alliances on the tribe – OG Mokuta, OG Vakama, Zach, and lastly, Phoebe and David. Phoebe was well aware that she was on the bottom on the tribe, however, and that Moana will vote her out at the very first opportunity she gets. That being said, Phoebe did find a clue to an idol and as such, was confident that she could snatch that and that she and her only ally David can take back control. With that, Phoebe pulled David aside to let him know about the idol clue and pledge her undying allegiance to him. Sadly for her, while he made her everyone promise under the sun, he has no interest in ever working with her again.

Phoebe ventured off to collect the idol, going from termite mound to termite mound, but alas, she couldn’t. With that, David went to find her and share that her absence from camp was arousing suspicion, so he offered to check for idols for her, while directing her away from the one he assumed it would be hidden in.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge which was simply tug of war over a pool, with the person to pull the other in scoring a point for their tribe. With the first tribe to three scoring a delightfully packed lunch, complete with juice box. First round saw Locky face off against the washed-up gladiator slash reformed misogynist, with Locky easily washing Zach by pulling him straight into the drink. Moana tied things up by destroying Brooke before Lee gave the lead to Mokuta by pulling off AK. Sorry, AK off the platform. Flick tied things up against Phoebe leaving Shonee to battle Jacqui for the win. AND HOLY SHIT, Queen, icon legend Shonee, absolutely destroyed her and won the challenge for her tribe. Because with Mat gone, somebody needed to step up. ICON.

Who’s strong now Abbey, Lydia, John and Mat, huh?

Vakama returned to camp to find their packed lunch, complete with sambo, snack, juice box and a little treat from home. Shonee’s being a sweet pair of sunnies like the absolute icon that she is. We then learnt that Harry proposed between his seasons, with her sending photos while his son Oscar couldn’t be bothered sending him shit. Locky got a letter from his sister, Flick broke down over her message from her fiance, as did AK and then everyone followed suit. Except for Shonee, who’s future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades. Wait, no, Shonee started crying when she discovered the size of her club sandwich. This woman is an icon and needs a GoFundMe right about now.

Back at Mokuta, Moana was doing her best Evil Kermit cosplay which made Phoebe feel super nervous. That and the fact she is quiet and also managed to build a super strong alliance. Meanwhile Phoebe caught up with who she thought was her super strong ally and the duo agreed to hunt for the idol again, with Phoebe venturing into the bush while David quickly grabbed the idol behind their shelter without arousing suspicion. He quickly found Phoebe and continued to help her search for the idol in an ever growing panic, gleefully trolling her.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were forced to pair up once again and hold themselves up, leaning over a mud pit, with the last pair left standing securing immunity for the tribe. Sharn and Jacqui quickly became the first duo to drop, followed by Brooke and Shonee – with the latter body slamming her on the way down – and Locky and AK back-to-back, leaving Harry and Flick to fight it out to protect their tribe. After a long struggle Phoebe and Nick dropped, leaving David and Tarzan to fight for Mokuta. And you just know David has no interest in winning immunity. With that  the two duos put in a valiant effort before Tarzan of all people fell in, handing new Vakama their first immunity win.

Back at camp Jacqui wasn’t overly disappointed to have lost the challenge, more concerned about figuring out how to spend Phoebe’s name. Moana and Tarzan too were worried about spelling, before Moana admitted that she is thrilled to target Phoebe again as she is too bigger threat. And more importantly, underestimates her. Moana then got to work rallying the troops, pulling Zach in to her larger alliance to replace Mat while Jacqui worked on Sharn and Tarzan worked on Nick. Zach then joined the fray, going to Lee to pull him in before Lee suggested that getting rid of Phoebe may not be the best idea given she has allies on the other tribe and as such, should they make the merge, she may be able to protect them.

Moana checked in with Zach and didn’t feel overly concerned to have lost Lee’s vote, while Lee caught up with his season mate to assure her that she does have people supporting her and to go out and rally them. With that, she charmed Sharn and Zach before reporting back to Nick, with him assuring her that they can be trusted. Oh and then she caught up with David, who told her that they need to stop being paranoid and just relax and trust in the people that they trust in. And then vowed to us that he will blindside her in a humiliating fashion.

Deep in the jungle David and Sharn caught up in the hopes of locking in an unlikely alliance before Moana joined them to round out the final three. They trio pledged allegiances, swore on their families and promised to share any intel they collected. After dispersing, Sharn shared that while she wants to align with them, she can’t get rid of Phoebe tonight as it will burn her bridges with Nick and Lee. As such, she pulled them aside and told them everything they wanted to hear before making her final decision at tribal council.

At tribal council Moana spoke loving the honesty of tribal council, while David was just looking forward to finding out where exactly the lines would be drawn. And becoming a bird of prey, or something? Phoebe admitted to being nervous, given she has already been voted out of this tribe once before, though was hopeful to scrape through again. Moana on the flipside was unsure why she was targeted at the last tribal council, leading to Phoebe brutally eviscerating her, sharing that she became a target because she socially isolated herself on the original Vakama and sat alone in the shelter. Oh and she was targeting her. Moana defended herself as being quiet before Phoebe spoke about being swap screwed, thanks in no small part thanks to Moana shit talking her to anyone and everyone. Nick admitted to just wanting tribal cohesion, before Moana interrupted proceedings to assure everyone that she doesn’t have an issue with Phoebe and everyone insinuating it is driving her mental.

Sharn calmed things down and shared that her vote was all about building relationships before David decided to put on a bit of a show, pulling out his idol – well, one of – and telling everyone that he is out of play tonight and that he would burn his tribal and play it tonight. While Phoebe called him out given he was safe, Nick reminded everyone that pulling it out doesn’t necessarily mean he will play. With that the tribe went off to vote, Nick cast his second vote and David held on to both of his hidden immunity idols. As the votes were tallied, they piled up at five apiece on both Mo and Phoebe, much to the confusion of the tribe, given there are only nine people in the tribe. This meant that everyone had to revote and with Nick’s second vote out of play, Sharn flipped her vote to avoid rocks and joined David, Jaqcui, Zach and Tarzan to boot Phoebe from the game pre-merge. Again.


I honestly think this is the worst reaction that I have ever in the history of my reality TV commiseration meals. As soon as I saw her walk into Loser Lodge, I dropped the glass I was holding and screamed for what felt like an eternity. I then threw my arms back, started spinning on the spot and asked the ether what they were waiting for.

I then realised that I had gone full Jennifer Love Hewitt, asked Pheebs to slap some sense into me and then collapsed into her arms and sobbed uncontrollably. I mean, Phoebe, icon of the game and killer player, once again found herself booted pre-merge again. AGAIN?! It literally took all the strength I had in me to make my way into the kitchen and plate up a deliciously crisp,medium-rare – and what I assumed would be the victory meal – Phoebeef Wellingtimmins without making the pastry soggy with my tears.

 

 

Delicate and flaky on the outside, rich, robust and full of flavour on the inside, there is nothing better than a beef wellington. The perfectly cooked piece of beef, generously slathered in mushroom and wrapped in prosciutto? It is simply put, perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Phoebeef Wellingtimmins
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 x 200g beef fillets
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
50g butter
250g mushrooms, finely, finely diced
1 tsp fresh thyme
100ml dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
4 slices puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat oven to 200C.

Place the fillets on a lined baking sheet and rub with olive oil and season with a little bit of salt and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and leave to cook for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven to cool, then transfer to the fridge while you prep the rest.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil and the butter in a large skillet and cook the mushrooms for about ten minutes, or until very soft. Add the thyme and cook for a further minute before adding the white wine, bringing to the boil and reducing to a simmer for a further ten minutes. Remove from the pan to cool completely.

Once both components are chill, lay the prosciutto out in overlapping groups of three on a chopping board. Spread with half the mushroom, top with the fillets and smear with the remaining mushroom. Roll each group into a tight bundle, leaving you with four, meaty mounds. Is this Drag Race?

Place the sheets of puff pastry on a work surface and top with the aforementioned meaty mounds. Brush the far end of each with the egg and roll and fold until you have a beautiful little pastry pocket, using as much or as little creative flair as you like. I was sad to see Phoebe go pre-merge – FUCKING AGAIN –  and as such, channelled my pain into some creativity.

Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and transfer to the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Allow to stand for five minutes before devouring, with some comforting Gabriel Mash.

 

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Mushroom & Turka Pattitis

Main, Poultry

Not only is Taika one of the most beautiful men I’ve been lucky to have a fling with, he is also insanely talented, intelligent, hilarious and caring. And now the man has a freaking Oscar? I can’t. Honestly every time I dwell on that thought for more than a second, I started to well up with pride and joy, in equal measure. Despite his victory costing Greta Gerwig – who I really need to see ASAP – once again.

As soon as he landed in Brisbane, I ran onto the tarmac, jimmied open the plane and pulled him in for the biggest, most celebratory hug you could imagine. While I was then detained by police for breaking hundreds of security protocols, Taika being a total babe, bailed me out and drove me back to my house while I made out with his Oscar like Bong had gotten a hold of us.

Once inside, I broke down in tears and told him how proud I was. And how grateful I was that The Suicide Squad production could be paused to celebrate with me.

That being said, I didn’t tell him that it was actually Margot that hooked us up with the down time. But anyway …

Once inside, we laughed, we cried and I desperately tried to get him to write a new gay, weak and chubby version of Thor to debut in the next movie. While he may have been non-committal, he was still so kind and asked me to send him videos of me fleshing out the character – sicko – before we sat down to demolish some Mushroom & Turka Pattitis.

 

 

Light and fresh, packing a very herby punch, these patties are the perfect accompaniment to a salad. Or thrown on a burg. Or topping a garlicky mash and drowned in gravy. Or paired with a muffin, egg and cheese. It can do anything. And by that, it is versatile … like Taika and I.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mushroom & Turka Pattitis
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil, to taste
250g mushrooms, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g turkey mince
2 tbsp chives, sliced
1 egg
1 cups breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground chilli

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool slightly.

Once cooled, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and scrunch together with your hands until well combined. Shape into 8 patties, place on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve immediately with a salad. Or all of the potential options I listed earlier. I’m too lazy to list them again.

 

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