Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Jenneer Saagustin

Main, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders luck started to wear thin and try as they might, they couldn’t pull together a win in either challenge. Maybe in part because Lydia almost pulled Jenna’s ankle straight off her leg, but I digress. Heading back to tribal, the Contenders seemed split down gender lines with Paige trying to join the boys to get rid of Shonee, though they intended to target her and the girls and parents alliances  – aka the girls minus Paige and plus Heath – joining together to target Steve K. In the end, the boys and Paige were shocked to see their two different plans blow up and poor lil’ Steve sent from the game.

We opened up at the Champions where Moana and Mat were bonding over their football careers, and while sport chat normally makes me feel anxious, it was hella sweet to see them talking about their dreams like that. Sharn and the one true Steve then joined the fray and damn, wouldn’t this be a sweet final four? I can’t believe I’m rooting for the Champions.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where everyone was quiet after Steve K’s blindside. The most shocked, however, was Paige who not only landed in the minority but she only received votes from the people that she thought trusted her. For some reason, she went back to the boys to see whether she could trust them again instead of going to the girls and parents alliance. Meanwhile Zach continued his descent into villaindom, bitching about Paige’s fears while Benji and his fluctuating accent continued to dwell in the background.

Meanwhile back at the Champions everyone was feeling the love for one another. Well, except for Lydia and Sharn who were sick of Brian never doing anything to help. Ever. Though they could see the silver lining, agreeing that it makes voting him out that much easier. Speaking of Brian, he defended his laziness saying that if everyone else wants to work they can and he doesn’t need to prove himself. While I agree with that, the fact he thinks ‘Brian Time’ is not painting a target on his back and killing his strategic game, shows he has no clue.

Oh and Jenna is still well injured and is really emotional, which is heartbreaking to watch.

Jonathan quickly made his return to the screen for the reward challenge though Paige quickly turned it into a tea spilling session, sharing that the vote was not unanimous, much to the disgust of her tribemates. Before she could lay all their secrets bare, Jonathan announced that the challenge would require the tribes to make their way down a course using three barrels and two planks without anyone touching the ground. Once at the end, two castaways would try and fish four balls to them and attaching them to a frame. Once he announced that it was for an Aussie pub lunch, everyone was overcome with joy and desperate to smash a pint. The Champions got out to an early lead thanks to the leadership and all around perfection of Steve, crossing the line before the Contenders were even half done. Brian and Jackie snagged their balls while the Contenders continued to flounder, crossing the line as the Champions attached their first ball. Jenna and Zach quickly secured their balls and closed the gap … before briefly overtaking, only to drop their balls and hand victory to the Champions once again. Much to Robbie’s chagrin.

The dejected Contenders tribe returned to camp with Anita trying to boost everyone’s morale. Meanwhile Zach, Benji and Robbie pulled Tegan aside to talk about how poorly Paige performed in the challenge. To prove their point, Zach went down on the beach and held Robbie and Benji on his shoulders – I squat double them *eyeroll* – in full view of Paige and the girls. While I would normally be all in for such messy, pettiness … he is just a dick now.

Washing the taste of jerk out of my mouth we headed over to the beach pub where Steve and the Champions were thrilled to be downing a pint and smashing a pie before Shane noticed a photo board celebrating why they are Champions. They then swapped stories about their achievements and it was all sweet as hell, I assume until it got to Jackie as she trolled them with a picture of her playing with her rubix cube. It was iconic, but then Shane spoke about her achievements at 15 and Mat about his autistic son and how he and his iconic wife Chloe started a charity to help other families get help. Once again, fuck me dead, I am crying.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Robbie was desperate to get another win on the board and looked willing to kill to get it. Before getting to the challenge, Jonathan announced that the doctors were still concerned about Jenna’s ankle and she would be choppered out to undergo scans to make sure it wasn’t fractured. Thankfully though, it seemed to only be for the challenge and if cleared she will be able to return to the game. With those tears out of the way, each tribe would start on a large platform and one-by-one slide down and swim to platform before paddling a canoe out to a tower, retrieving three rings, returning to the top of the tower and landing the rings on a pole.

The Contenders got out to a slight lead on the slide portion, which continued to grow as Brian steered the Champions well of course with Steve as their only hope. Benji snagged all the Contenders rings before the Champions made their way to the tower. Then Steve happened, catching up and pedaling the boat at full speed backwards. Sadly they had to turn the boat around, giving the Contenders their lead back. And then some. The Champions snatched back the lead whilst hoisting themselves up the wall, until Brian struggled and allowed the Contenders to pull back in front. That is until they missed landing all of their rings. Mat landed the first ring for the Champions, followed closely by Jackie getting their second and while Zach managed to snatch one, it was all for nothing as Moana secured another immunity for the Champions.

Back at camp Zach didn’t care which female goes home, as he deems them all useless. Heath tried to give everyone a pep talk, saying that if Jenna returns they need to vote her out as they need to maintain their strength. While they all agreed to have a nice afternoon, Anita spread that Paige was sharing intell with the Champions at the challenge like wildfire, much to the rage of Queen Tegan and they tried to secure enough votes to take her out. Sadly that was interrupted by the return of Jenna who arrived on crutches and tearfully announced that she had been cleared to stay however was unable to do anything really, except for throwing, boosting morale and doing puzzles. While Heath continued to push to get rid of Jenna for the sake of the tribe, Tegan couldn’t bring herself to take out their ally and begged him to join them in getting rid of Paige instead.

At tribal council Jonathan asked for an update on Jenna’s health, leading to a heartbreaking monologue about how much she contributes to the tribe and how desperately she wanted to stay. Fenella praised her leadership and positivity as everyone nodded their heads in agreeance. JoJo got shady and questioned the boys about throwing their votes on their ally Paige. Paige tried to pretend it was all good between them and that they all trust each other. Anita started shaking her head, completely disagreeing that Paige can be trusted. Zach joined the fray talking about how great Jenna is, however she is useless to them at the moment and they need to take her out. Shonee and Tegan spoke about how much Jenna means to them and that trust is important to them. Heath wrapped things up talking about the fact they need to keep the tribe strong before they become extinct.

Jenna then jumped in and told everyone to trust their gut and follow their heart when it comes to the vote. She then told the girls that they need to remember how strong they all are, and not to let anyone push them around. Meanwhile Robbie and Benji started whispered about who else, if anyone, they could possibly vote for. With that, the tribe voted and one be one, the votes rolled in for Jenna and the poor, motivational icon found herself booted from the game she so desperately wanted to play.

While she was pretty upset when she arrived at Loser Lodge, she agreed that her tribe made the only decision they could. As hard as it may be to accept. We then cried for a bit about how sad we were to see her before settling in to smash a Jenneer Saagustin to cheer her up. Until it hit me …

 

 

Curry is the new Pizza Curse?! The curse was waiting out their on Ghost Island and since I – *spoiler alert* – didn’t make pizzas for anyone in this cast, its powers grew and transferred to curries. I mean, how else can you explain the back-to-back curry losses? You can’t.

Though … when they taste this good, how can you complain. Fresh paneer, creamy spiced spinach – YAS YAS YAS.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jenneer Saagustin
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
peanut oil
200g paneer, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 tomatoes, diced
500g frozen spinach, defrosted
½ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a good lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the paneer on either side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and transfer to some paper towel to drain.

Add a little more oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for five minutes or so, or until softened. Stir in the garam masala, cumin, chilli and turmeric, and cook for a further minute or until your kitchen is so fragrant you can barely contain yourself. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for about ten minutes.

Once the fragrant tomatoey goodness is starting to reduce, bring the heat back to medium and stir through the spinach. Cook for five minutes further before stirring through the cream and paneer, and cooking for an additional five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour with a tonne of rice, chapati, naans and/or papadums. Preferably and, not or.

 

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Stephunghi Gonzalizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on the 35 prior seasons of Survivor, the Survivor Gods started storing up every bad mistake any contestant made in a mental bank like a psychopath that is awful, but thinks they’re the victim (Janet – I know you hate millennials, so stop asking me about Microsoft Word as if it is my fault it isn’t working). You know them, we all have one. Erik handing over his hidden immunity to Natalie, Jay playing David’s fake idol, James getting booted with two idols in his pocket, Sierra handing off the legacy advantage to the person that blindsided her, the fucking stick and I assume, the entire Ulong tribe.

Anyway, they withdrew them from the bank and shoved them on an exile like island, and now it is up to 20 new castaways to reverse the curse or flame out in equal epic situations. Like the fucking stick.

Arriving on the beach to meet Probst, we were thrilled to discover they weren’t being shoehorned into a random theme and just got to form the Malolo and Naviti tribes. No heroes in sight … well except for zaddy Brendan of Malolo who was selected to represent the tribe for the ambiguous event Jeff teased to them after laying out the theme. On the flipside, young Chris volunteered to represent Naviti before anyone else had a chance to offer. Their task? Well it was thankless, having to select two people to complete an unknown challenge – one physical, one puzzle.

School teacher and owner of my heart Brendan selected baby Michael for the physical aspect and Michaela and Hannah’s baby Laurel for the puzzle, while Chris selected Sebastian – under the sea – for the physical and Desiree for the puzzle. On account of Morgan literally throwing herself out of sight to avoid being selected. The runner was required to, wait for it, run through obstacles to collect keys that the puzzle solver uses to unlock pieces and solve said puzzle. As Probst is want to do, added another twist to the the challenge where the winner would get a shelter building kit and a fishing kit, in addition to their meagre supplies. However if the loser knows their losing, they have a widow of time at which they can forfeit the challenge, get the booby prize of a fishing kit … and hand the winner 20 eggs and a flint in addition to their haul. See, thankless task.

The guys were neck and neck throughout the obstacles – Michael must have had a juicebox – before both falling apart towards the end. Of course Brendan gave his best fatherly, PE teacher pep talk and my basement flooded. Both Des and Laurel seemed to make quick progress on the puzzle, however Chris disagreed … pulling the plug on Naviti and handing Malolo a flame grilled feast to gorge in their dining room. Jeff immediately worked to stir up some drama, identifying all the people on Naviti – well the one – who wouldn’t have given up on the tribe.

Over at the camp of kings, Michael quickly worked his way into my heart which makes me feel all kinds of icky since he is 18.  Though not to his tribe, who he is telling he is 23. The tribe quickly got to work setting up home, where Donathan worked to learn who everyone was and warm my heart with his genuine, sweet nature.

Over at Naviti, Kellyn lived up to my own preseason hype, talking about how she recently made some major changes in her life and was genuinely super thrilled to be around everyone else on her tribe. Likeable Tony Lite Dom them led construction on their shelter, since he legit is in construction, and christened Sebastian Sea Bass on account of his occupation. Sadly that got him off on the wrong foot with old Sea Bass who quickly moved to align with Chris and set their sites on Dom.

The next day we checked in with Jacob who looks like Fozzie Bear and managed to lose his shoes while by the beach. This made him feel even worse, since he and Donathan are clearly not as physically fit as the rest of his tribe. To counter that, he went off hunting for an idol … which gave the rest of his tribe enough time to talk about said idol hunting, and paint a big ol’ target on his back. He then stayed back alone at camp under the guise of getting the fire going while the tribe bonded and looked for food together. Thankfully they weren’t aware that he used said time to pour the rice into his socks to see if there was anything hidden in the container.

Back at Naviti things seemed to be going better, with their shelter coming along well and Wendell building fish traps with bamboo like a total boss. He then shared with us that he studied Law and hopes that people are going to underestimate him. Things were looking up for Dom, as Wendell had taken a shining to him and he and Bradley gave him a heads up about the Chris/Sea Bass alliance.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would run across a net bridge, collect ropes and use them to wheel a sled of puzzle pieces towards a table before, obvi, solving said puzzle. To up the ante, he informed the tribes that someone from the losing tribe would be going to Ghost Island which is good for them, as it makes them immune from becoming the first boot. Naviti got out to an early lead while poor Brendan tried to coach the kids of Malolo to keep their heads held high. Sadly they were no match for Kellyn, who led her tribe to victory on the puzzle while Michael looked beautiful pushing the pieces in with his crotch.

While Jacob tried to keep morale up after their loss, the Naviti tried decided to punish his positivity and send him to Ghost Island. Though apparently, they fell straight into his trap and he wanted to find out what Ghost Island was and get himself immune. Sadly though, he said that out loud and his entire tribe know that what his game. But to reiterate, he is immune and he needed it. So yay Jacob.

Finally we met Ghost Island where Jacob was welcomed by two giant tiki statues, multiple immunity idols, all of the torch snuffers from seasons past and a row of small urns with the instruction to smash one. Inside he found a clue, telling him to follow a row of flames where he found a game of chance offering him a secret advantage … if he wagers his vote at the next tribal council. He saw three pieces of bamboo on the table in front of him, one of which was locked. He correctly assumed that the key was inside of one of them, and he simply had to pick which one. Which he did, opening it to find the Legacy Advantage from Game Changers that Sierra cursed by telling Sarah it existed, only to be blindsided by the eventual victor moments later. But of course, there was a twist, this one requiring him to hand it off to a person of the other tribe, the person he selected being puzzle-averse Morgan.

Back at Malolo, Gonzalez decided it was a good idea to chastise everyone about their loss and tell them they should have used Donathan’s idea, which she tried to pass off as her own. Thankfully he wasn’t a wallflower, electing to tell James, Stephanie and someone else – it is episode one, give me a break – that he tried to speak up during the challenge and was instead told to shut up by Gonzalez. While Gonzalez tried to rally the troops, the other Stephanie worked hard to turn things on her and protect Donathan … which Michael was concerned about, since they really need to hold on to any strength they had.

Like Ghost Island, tribal council was creepy as hell, looking like the Blair Witch had sex with a tiki god. Probst got to work needling the tribe, leading to Gonzalez talking about Jacob being special … which no one seemed to take issue with. Laurel spoke about the need to stay strong, Jeff asked Donathan how he felt about that given he is so teeny tiny. Thanks Jeff. Obviously Mama Stephanie stepped in to defend he potential new boyfriend ally, saying that strength comes in different forms. Gonzalez then spoke about wanting to be a part of the puzzle section of the challenge, which Brendan alluded would have been super useful to know YESTERDAY.

Jeff then polled the tribe about whether alliances had formed, which everyone started giving answers to before Michael said something that triggered Gonzalez’s paranoia. She then got up and started whispering in Brendan and Michael’s ear to find out who they were voting for. Michael then adorably apologised for interrupting Probst to talk to Jenna and Laurel about what was said, while Donathan sat in the left-right-out position. Thankfully for him as the votes rolled in, Gonzalez’s efforts were in vain and she found herself out of the game unanimously as the first boot.

Make no mistake Stephanie don’t call me Stephanie Gonzalez was not a happy no longer camper to become the first boot. And while I didn’t add salt to her wounds by telling her I was thrilled her exit saved Donathan, it did take an extend period of time to calm her down. But how could you not calm down when a Stephunghi Gonzalizza is in front of you?

 

 

Earthy, sweet and full of flavour, there is nothing better than the simplistic beauty of a mushroom, goat’s cheese and truffle pizza. I mean, name a more iconic throuple. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephunghi Gonzalizza
Serves: 1 angry, sassy first boot.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
100-200g mozzarella, grated
½ cup goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp white truffle oil

Method
Make the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

While they’re proving, heat a lug of oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for a minute or so before adding the mushrooms and cooking for five minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme, rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 180C.

When the bases are good to go, sprinkle mozzarella over the bases, top with mushroom and crumble over the goats cheese. Drizzle over some truffle oil, transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until golden, crisp and delicious.

Devour immediately.

 

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Turkey Tom Westyum

Main, Poultry, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Palau

So I’m going to start by going a little off topic, which is so on brand for me that I really shouldn’t have had to say anything. Anyway I was already hitting peak excitement for Survivor’s return in less than three weeks, particularly given I got to reconnect with my dear friend Tom Westman today … and then I started listening to Josh Wigler’s First One Out, and now I’m surprised I haven’t had an aneurysm in anticipation.

Anyway … if you love Survivor, listen to it. If not, ignore the above par and continue on.

I’ve known Tom for years, meeting not long after 9-11. I was starting to fetishise all first responders following their bravery during the attacks, and was working my way through the ladder companies to find me a mans. While Tom ultimately wasn’t won over by my charm and sexuality, he did grow to love me and guided me like a big brother.

As is oft the case, he failed at turning me into a decent person but for some reason, never gave up on me. I repaid the favour by getting him cast on Palau … which earned him a mill, so technically I was a good investment. Fun fact: if he had made it farther on Heroes vs. Villains, I would have been his loved one visit.

Like me, he is hella excited for the new season and hopes that the cursed Stephenie LaGrossa doesn’t have to spend the entire time on Ghost Island, and can at least enjoy some tropical delights while sucking the life – literally – out of one of the tribes.

Was it a kind of dark way for our conversation to go? Sure. But when it comes with a side of Turkey Tom Westyum, how can you be mad?

 

 

Spicy, fresh and healthy – for the sole reason that turkey is healthy, duh – this tom yum, is the tom yum to beat all tom yums. Sorry Tom Yum Everett Scott, this is a winner.

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
1 bunch of shallots, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp tom yum paste
1L chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 birdseye chillies, halved
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the turkey mince in a bowl with a clove of garlic, lime zest, ginger and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge to semi-set.

Heat a lug of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook the shallots and remaining garlic for a minute or so. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock, lime leaves and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, gently place the balls in and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Stir through the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining coriander leaves and a good whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and devour, piping hot.

 

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