Macaron Howard

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

The Emmys are but a day away and as such, Emmy Gold: Golden Family is coming to an end to allow enough time for me to get ready and sneak in to the auditorium. While it is always tragic to know that our awards season celebrations are coming to an end, having been able to spend time with Chris, Riz, Tat, Shelley and Matt are truly a gift.

And finishing with TV icon and multi-hyphenate Ron Howard is just icing on the bloody cake.

I first met Ron way back when we were starting out with our careers on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. While I was working as Andy Giffith’s stunt double, I was only a young lad – did I mention I suffer from Benjamin button disease? – so little Ronnie and I became the fastest of friends.

And that friendship spanned decades until Apollo 13, when my infamous feud with Tam Honks commenced. While I was cast out of his life for a few years – evil Tam’s doing, obvi – we were brought back together by Jess when Arrested Development was getting up. Thankfully, our friendship hasn’t had a set back since.

Given his status as a powerhouse actor, writer, director, model, I decided to run through the oft forgotten about critical categories of writing and directing. For Limited Series writing, I am backing When They See Us but wouldn’t be shocked to see Escape at Dannemora. Variety we both see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver taking it out again. Drama better go to anything but Game of Thrones with me thinking The Handmaid’s Tale may continue it’s hanging episode streak of wins while Ron thinks Killing Eve will come out victorious. Comedy is where we really struggled. It is always hard to bet against Veep, though Fleabag’s second season was near perfect … and I can see Russian Doll picking up a trophy here.

When it comes to Directing, we see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taking it out given live shows are truly a feat. I think that this once again comes down to Escape at Dannemora and When They See Us, with Ron backing Ben Stiller for the former, while I think whoever doesn’t win writing will grab this and shut out Chernobyl. I hope The Handmaid’s Tale takes it for Drama, but wouldn’t be shocked to see Adam McKay snag it for Succession, just for being Adam McKay. While Bill Hader is universally beloved, I don’t see him winning Comedy directing given he is up against Daniel Palladino for the majestic Catskills episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which should not be beaten.

With that, I thanked Ron for finally agreeing to appear on this patch of cyberspace and his many years of friendship, handed over a plate of Macaron Howard as I headed out to the awards.

 

 

There is nothing better than a sweet, melt in your mouth macaron. Delicate and delicious, this baby packs a nice blueberry punch that truly fills you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macaron Howard
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
75g almond meal
115g icing sugar
2 egg whites, at room temperature
55g raw caster sugar
a few drops blue food colouring
1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, finely crushed
60g butter, softened
1 ⅓ cup icing sugar
1 ½ tbsp double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl. Meanwhile place the egg whites and raw caster sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the food colouring and ¼ cup crushed blueberries and whisk until just combined. Fold through the dry mixture and transfer to a piping bag.

Line two baking sheets and pipe little macarons across the pans until the mixture is gone. Tap each on the bench a couple of times before transferring to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, crisp and glorious. Remove to rest for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

While they’re getting hella chill, combine the remaining blueberry with the cup-measure of icing sugar. Meanwhile cream the butter on medium for five minutes, or until pale and fluffy before slowly adding the sugar and blueberry mix in two batches. Once just combined, add the cream and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Dollop the icing on the exposed side of a biscuit and sandwich with another. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, regally. Like TV royalty.

 

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Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Andy Meldrumsticks waiting to be gobbled up by the hapless Australian Survivor ultrafan, Andy Meldrum

Andy Meldrumstick

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor a broken rope eliminated King Ross from the game, breaking the heart of the nation in the process. Prior to that the post-swap Champions tribe was dominated by two power couples – Daisy and Shaun and Luke and David – who were battling it out for dominance, though were laying in wait to take control. Andy meanwhile tried to play both sides, but botched it so badly that nobody wanted to play with him and quickly made enemies. Clearly not having heard about Julia getting run over in Koah Rong while standing in the middle of the road. Meanwhile at the Contenders the OG Champs had dominated the tribe, though when it came down to just them and Harry had considered getting into bed with him and forming an unlikely alliance to control the post merge.

We immediately checked in with Jonathan at the top of a hill where both tribes were still sad to have lost Ross to injury. While I was offended by the lack of mourning period, that didn’t stop the game as Jonathan told them all to drop their buffs – sadly John didn’t take his speedo off with it – as the merge had arrived. Pia was thrilled to have gone from potential first boot to in a good place post-merge, while Luke was pumped to have made it for the second time. Janine was excited for the game to restart, while Andy was excited that all those sharks are circling and ready to sacrifice their next victim. Which is likely to be him.

Before returning to their new camp, Jonathan introduced them to their first individual reward challenge where the would need to hold a weight tethered to bucket of water above their head, with the last person dry snatching a mystery crate of goodness. Mere minutes into the challenge Jonathan offered the first temptation, with Luke dropping out and snatching a packet of Tim Tams. Which will, tragically, run out. Pia and Harry were next, dropping out for phone calls from home with Pia’s partner giving her a pep talk while her daughter was more concerned about keeping her up to date with her ear-wear. Which is iconic. Abbey and JaQueen dropped out for tacos and margies, John, Shaun and Baden dropped out for red wine and some spaghetti and Andy dropped out for John’s love, a mexican parma.

Daisy, Simon and David stayed firm through bacon and eggs, cake, shampoo and conditioner, an advantage in the next immunity challenge and an entire pizza, instead choosing to battle it out for the big ol’ box. Wanting to hurry things along, Jonathan changed the rule to leaving both hands on the bag, which immediately claimed David while Daisy and Simon continued to fight. Well until Simon couldn’t handle it anymore, dropping the bag and handing Daisy the big box. Which she could open when she arrived at the new camp.

Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to be above average as a member of the newly merged tribe, which settled on the palatial digs of the camp formerly known as Champ Camp. While they tried to act like one big happy family and settle in, Andy brought up that they need to name the tribe. Obviously he had researched a name, suggesting ‘Soli Bula’ which means welcome together. After everyone agreed on it and laughed about how obvious a superfan he is, he shared that ‘Soli Bula actually means sacrifice and he can’t wait to sacrifice everyone on the tribe. Sadly unaware that he is likely to be the next person sacrificed.

David and the rest of the Champions went for a walk down the beach with David filling them in on what he and Luke went through on the other tribe with the idol plays and swift moves. Luke stayed with the Contenders to make them feel like he is in with them and hide how tight the alliance truly is. David warned them against Andy and his ways, though pointed out that Daisy and Shaun are the most dangerous and need to be split up ASAP. Speaking of Daisy, she was catching up with Baden and Harry who warned her against the target on her and Shaun’s back, before reiterating that if one of them goes, they all go one after the other.

Shaun decided staying Contender strong is the most beneficial for their games, approaching Harry and John to get them on board. Pia was feeling slightly more confident, knowing she has a meat shield in the form of JaQueen and that her social game has been so strong, nobody has bothered to notice the strategy. She also suggested that playing lowkey and hiding your superfan status is important, which is something Andy needs to learn ASAP. Pia and JaQueen went for a walk to the well, where she suggested that she still wants to take out David, though whether it is something that she needs to happen ASAP is unknown.

Finally Daisy went for a wander into the jungle where she discovered her box and learned that her reward was actually every single item that Jonathan offered at the reward, in addition to a bath. After a brief chat with her mum, she then read the advantage which sadly gave her no information. After smashing a few meals, washing her hair and smashing her margie, she then lifted up a final closh, discovering that she also won an individual immunity idol filling with with unending joy and a little bit of hope. She then returned to camp to fill them in on her reward, however David was not buying it since she didn’t mention anything about an idol. Or the obviously ball hiding it in her hand.

Daisy and Shaun caught up near the well, with her sharing that she found an idol in her box – direct quote – which made Shaun confident that they will be able to swing the odds in their favour, despite the target their alliance has put on their backs. That night David, Abbey, Pia and JaQueen decided to make Daisy feel so nervous that if she has an idol, she plays it while they target someone else.

The next day John flashed everyone is pearly white arse, before everyone headed off to find Jonathan for the first individual immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a rope threaded through a tile and attached to a bag holding 60% of their bodyweight, with the last person still holding their bag with their tile intact scoring immunity. Oh and we finally learnt Daisy’s advantage is starting ten minutes after everyone else. Out of nowhere Zaddy John and Luke started to struggle within the first ten minutes, dropping out first at the same time, followed closely by Harry. After Daisy joined the fray, Baden opted out of the challenge with everyone riding out the next ten minutes safely. Pia started to struggle before joining the boys on the bench, followed by David after everyone spoke about the dangers of being too confident. He was followed by Andy, and then Simon at the thirty minute mark. After 40 minutes Shaun and Janine started to struggle, with Janine needing more of a boost if she wanted to stay in the challenge. Abbey, Shaun and Daisy continued to fight it out with the latter dropping out despite her advantage. Finally, after 55 minutes in battle poor Abbey couldn’t hold old any longer, handing Shaun the first individual immunity just when he needed it.

Back at camp Andy was feeling nervous about his place in the tribe now that Shaun has immunity. Meanwhile David was frustrated that his number one target had immunity and his number two likely had an idol, and as such, wanted Andy out in retaliation for his failing ways as a snack. With David iconically referring to him as a worm. While everyone agreed to band together to take out Andy, Shaun wasn’t happy about getting rid of him as a number and instead suggested to Daisy that they need to stick together as Contenders and target Dave. They then floated the idea of playing their idol to save Andy JIC and while Daisy can’t trust him, she also was attracted to the idea of making a big move.

Pia too was struggling with the easy Andy vote, realising that getting rid of Dave would likely be better for her game. She, Abbey and JaQueen caught up, agreeing that getting rid of Dave would make sense, so approached Andy to see what went on at the post-swap Champions tribe. Luke and Abbey approached Shaun and Daisy to start making Daisy nervous enough to get rid of her idol. Eventually Andy and Dave caught up for Andy’s last attempt to save himself, sharing that he didn’t actually try to throw the challenge and instead was making it look like he was to keep Daisy and Shaun happy. Knowing it was a total lie, David told him that he trusted him and  that his only chance at surviving the night would be to join the Champs and vote for Daisy. And honestly after the mess of everyone scrambling, I am so confused about what is actually going to happen.

At tribal council JaQueen tried to downplay how tight the OG Champions were, suggesting that they are all contenders ready to battle. John pointed out that the original tribes were hard to break, before David joined in downplaying the day one alliances. Shaun admitted that he is aware of the target on his back but people need to realise he can not win ten immunities in a row. Andy spoke about loyalty being hard to come by now that the tribe merged, before Luke jumped in to remind him of the move he tried to make against Daisy pre-merge which showed a lack of loyalty. Andy tried to lie out of the hole, with Dave joining in to tag-team Andy with Luke saying that they would actually respect him if he owned his moves. Shaun asked Andy point blank if he had tried to make a move against Daisy, with him once again lying about it happening.

Baden said that it was the most important tribal of the game, while Daisy admitted that she is feeling very nervous. David jumped back in to point out that just because someone is taking a lot of heat, doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be the one getting the boot and honestly I don’t know if that should make Daisy more or less nervous. He and Janine questioned the vote coming down to tribal lines, while Shaun was hopeful that tomorrow everything will be clearer and people will then be able to figure out their next move. David then spoke about the vote being clear cut, though was sure that some people will likely be shocked by the outcome.

With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and the tribe joined together to rid the game of Andy. Though not before one final moment of making me feel confused about how I feel for him, joking about voting for Daisy a couple of times and following it up by outing Dave’s idol. While sure, he didn’t actually think that Dave has the idol which he has, but the fact that he dropped the bomb and has left drama is something I’ll be forever grateful for. Plus, the look of pain as he tried to not show how disappointed he was to just miss the jury is the exact way I would be looking, and as such, the man still deserved a comforting Andy Meldrumstick.

 

Andy Meldrum waiting to dry his tears with an Andy Meldrumsticks

 

While Andy’s big moves never went anywhere, those massive swings are what makes the game exciting … kinda like the combination of white chocolate, salted caramel and peanuts. As salty as his moments of loss and deceit, as sweet as his (surprising to me) numerous victories in challenges and as cold as his persona, there is no better way to toast the ultrafan. And distract from the fact he was outshone as a villain by David.

Enjoy!

 

Andy Meldrum washing away his pain with an Andy Meldrumstick or two

 

Andy Meldrumstick
Serves: 1 Sonic Look-a-like and his dearest frenemy

Ingredients
400g white chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
6 waffle cones
8 cups Vanilla Ice Cream, softened.
2 cups JL Salkeld Caramel
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over a rollicking boil until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and stir through the oil until well combined.

To assemble, pour a tablespoon of chocolate in the bottom of each cone and place into a couple of glasses and transfer to the freezer to set for ten minutes or so. Once set, remove from the freezer and pipe the ice cream into each cone, adding swirls and peaks to make it look legit. Using another piping bag, pipe a core of salted caramel into the middle and swirl over the top. Return to the cup and pop it into the freezer to set for half an hour or so, repeating the process until the ice creams are done.

Once set, brush with additional white chocolate and drizzle over the top, sprinkle with peanuts and return to the freezer to set for half an hour. Then devour, sadly, knowing you’ve missed the all winners season … even before losing the season in a spectacular fashion.

 

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Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Aubry and Joe were on the outs at Kama given the penchant of returning players to dominate in seasons with newbies. Unless of course they’re up against a trio of queens in the form of Danni, Sophie and Denise. At Manu Kelley and David were feeling a reprieve given Reem and Wendy callously tried to teach Keith to swim – and in turn help the tribe in challenges – moving the target on to them. As such, it was poor Reem that found herself becoming the first person voted out … and electing to go to the Island of Extinction.

We opened up with poor Reem who was bored and confused, unsure where she is and what she will have to do for her shot back into the game. No timeline and no instructions truly are the cruelest mindfuck and I already feel less angry about the twist. Though it was super hard watching Reem break down over how hard it was sitting isolated on a desolate island thinking about everything she left behind.

Meanwhile at Manu the tribe were laughing it up comparing their wrinkly hands before Wendy explained to Rick, and sadly David, about wanting to take out Kelley given she has had two shots. And she believes is the ringleader that has sent her to the bottom of the totem pole. While Kelley was befriended everyone else, Wendy’s words started to penetrate David and Rick as Wentworth’s power appeared to grow. Kelley was understanding of her position, given she spent most of Second Chances on the bottom – that Savage blindside though – and knew how dangerous it was to her game, so suggested the tribe went on a group idol hunt to mitigate the risk of Wendy finding one.

We jumped over to Kama where I shit you not, Ron was leading the tribe in some choreography which truly highlighted the need to get Alyssa Edwards on this show in full drag ASAP. Everyone was enjoying his high energy, except for zaddy Eric who was MIA and Aubry who wasn’t enjoying the kumbaya nature of a tribe that has not gone to tribal. But hold her drink, because she is about to approach the newbies one by one to find out how they feel about returning players which no one was interested in talking about. Proving the fact that they are totally screwed. Victoria, Ron and Julia swapped stories by the shore and realised that everyone has been told the same thing and as such, Victoria wants her out yesterday.

Over at Manu Kelley and Lauren were searching for an idol, while Rick and David speculated that the group hunt plan is the perfect may to hide the fact that idol-whisperer Kelley has one. They agreed that they were happy working with Kelley at the moment, but David knows that Kelley won’t let him get to the merge and as such, it isn’t the worst idea to join with Wendy who has zero allies and will be loyal. Wendy rejoined them to reiterate her pitch and point out her vote last week proved her loyalty to an ally, and with her gone, that is up for grabs.

Oh and Rick and David are all in and I kinda love it. And the fact that David is in the best position of the returnees, despite being the weakest.

Back at Kama Gavin and Eric commenced the idol hunting on their tribe, and damn, I got distracted by Eric. Zeric. Zadderic? Eraddy? Anyway this didn’t go unnoticed by Julie, who channeled Angelina and highlighted that men always find idols, while women don’t. While it was super confusing that she complained about not looking for idols instead of doing it, I do love that it was low-key pushing a women’s alliance with Victoria. I also love that she is as clueless about hunter-gatherer roles as I am.

Speaking of idols, Lauren was still searching over on Manu and followed in the footsteps of her heroes Wentworth and Parvati and found said idol. And proved that a guaranteed way to not find an idol is not looking for an idol.

My dear Probst returned to the fray for this week’s immunity challenge – a Game Changers classic – where the tribes were required to swim out to a cage, climb over it, release a big, fat snake, take it back to shore, release numbered tiles to solve a combination and release rings that they need to land on paddles to spell immunity. I think, I focused on snakes and rings. Given Keith wasn’t given enough time to learn to swim, Kama got out to a huge lead while Chris desperately tried to help him along. Keith also struggled with climbing as damn, Chris’ wet jocks look good. Despite it looking like it was going to be a blowout, Manu closed the gap as Keith rolled around in the sand. Both tribes were neck and neck as Joe and Keith tossed rings and sorry, distracted again. Despite a brief interlude of Keith showing that he couldn’t throw, Chris desperately tried to snatch victory to no avail, as Kama once again won immunity.

And Aubry reversed the curse. If that’s allowed without Ghost Island? I don’t know.

Back at camp the Kelley vs. Wendy war started to heat up, while Wardog – still a thing – suggested that Keith’s failure should be making him their number one target. He pushed that plan with Lauren, Kelley and Rick, which Kelley was not into as he is a threat to no one and Wendy is a threat to her, so needs to go. David too was disappointed, though because the plan to take out Kelley would have to be put on hold. Poor Chris also wasn’t loving the plan given he had apparently formed a close bond with him and didn’t want to lose his loyal idol.

Chris approached Rick to float the idea of getting rid of Kelley, which Rick was obviously thrilled about given that has been his goal the entire episode. He took the tea back to David, who was thrilled at how things were shaping up and to get the chance to get her before she gets him. They roped in Keith, who was obvi keen, before Wardog single handedly shut down the plan, convincing Chris that keeping Kelley would be the perfect meat shield should they get screwed by a swap. He then channeled Cirie and pointed out that keep goats around means it could take their spot, so they need to get him out before they realise he is an easy win. Kelley approached Chris and Wardog, and immediately knew something was up and rightly worried that she was about to be voted out.

At tribal council Wendy and Kelley admitted to being nervous after getting votes at the previous tribal council, as Kelley elaborated that being a returning player is a blessing and a curse. She then reiterated that she would be a perfect shield and is strong enough to help them win challenges, which is pretty much her only play. Probst shaded Keith’s challenge performance, with him obviously trying to point out good relationships mean more. But given they’re two-nil, I’d find it hard not to focus on strength since they’ll keep coming back and lose numbers – and potentially find themselves out – should they not think about it. Wardog was hopeful that a blindside may be coming, and after the vote, he will know whether he has placed his trust with the right people. David agreed a blindside is coming, which Keith agreed with because everyone ran the numbers and should be confident heading in to tribal.

Talk turned to ticking off the checklist of the Survivor experience, which blindsides are a part of while Wardog cautioned everyone that focus on a checklist rather than rational gameplay isn’t a great move. And just like that, I’m ok with calling him Wardog again. With that the tribe voted and they piled up on Keith who they either really did a number on convincing him he was safe, or was desperately playing for the camera as he walked out of the tribal council. And played for the back of the theatre as he deliberated over going to the Island of Extinction. Which, spoiler alert, he obviously does but not before a verbal beatdown from me telling him to cut the theatrics and a big bowl of Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding.

 

 

Sticky date pudding would have to be one of my favourite desserts. Light and fluffy yet rich and sticky, it melts in your mouth and fills you with joy. Add in some ice cream and well, consider my shorts creamed themselves.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
250g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
185g butter, softened
2 cups muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
300ml thickened cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base of a 22cm cake pan.

Combine the dates and bicarb in a bowl with 1 ½ cups boiling water and leave to steep for half an hour.

Once the dates are foamy and glorious, cream 125g of the butter, 1 cup of the sugar and 2 tsp vanilla in a stand mixer on medium. Once it’s light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined before removing and folding through the date mixture, flour and baking powder.

Spoon in the pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to rest while you make the sauce.

Speaking of which, combine the remaining sugar, vanilla, butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Invert pudding onto a serving plate and stab wildly with a skewer. Slowly pour over ½-1 cup of sauce, allowing it to soak in but not flow over the edge. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving, slathered in more sauce and a generous heap of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Irish Creem Daly

Drink, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor wait, no, what – when will I learn? New season, new rules, same ol’ chain of Fijian Islands. While last season we went biblical to distract from the fact Survivor lives in Fiji, leading to a glorious season with David toppling Goliath, this time we’re journeying to the Edge of Extinction which I have numerous reservations about. But you know what else I thought would suck? David vs. Goliath and look how wrong I was.

We ominously open on a barren island with a lone figure walking around before finding 14 newbies on a sailboat in the middle of the Fijian ocean. We first meet Wardog who I want to like but no I will struggle with for the first few episodes since we’re going to be calling him Wardog. In any event, he is from the military but is now on his way to being a lawyer and, obvi, plans to keep that hush, hush, hush. Swap meet vendor Wendy is super excited to be here as a super mega best value fan, before even finding out that she will be competing against David, Aubry, Kelley and Joe who are returning for another shot at the title. Joe finally realising that being a challenge beast is intimidating and as such, he plans to lay low and uplift people. And TBH, as much as I want to hate him, I can’t help but love him.

I am basic and I don’t care.

Joining them in making their triumphant return is a hybrid of the Outcast and Redemption Island twists, where once you’re voted out you can either sit on the aforementioned island and wait around for a chance to compete to reenter the game, or continue on your merry way into Ponderosa. In any event, this season is a logistical nightmare for me and I appreciate your care and concern.

Foregoing any form of introductions, Probst welcomed the newbies to Survivor and then told them that someone is going to be booted within 72. He then elaborated and tried to sneak in the twist by telling them they’re always on the edge of being booted, or extinction if you will, before reminding them that even good players can’t win. And as a matter of fact, he has four past contestants that have lost 7 times between them back to the competition for another shot.

We then met Lauren who is a superfan of Kelley and like me, thirsts for Joe, so she was thrilled to see them. Ron loves David, Julia loves Aubry and everyone was jumping out of their skin with excitement before Probst ran through the returnees’ report cards, filling Kelley with rage given he made her and Aubry sound like the biggest threats. Kelley and David were sent to join the Manu tribe, featuring Wentworth superfan Lauren while Aubry and Joe will lead the Kama tribe. From the very first moment, given the tribes were tasked with looting the ship before making it to their boats. Amongst the madness Ron from the Kama tribe found a secret advantage and poor little Keith came close to drowning until Lauren, thankfully,  saved him.

We arrived at the Manu tribe where everyone introduced themselves and congratulated themselves on surviving the marooning. They then started to wonder whether they will survive Rick, who started telling themselves about his life as a news anchor and made a bunch of jokes that it appeared no one actually found funny. Amongst the introductions, the tribe got to work setting up the camp with Kelley and David lamenting that it is so hard to trust anyone. Instead of making an alliance with each other, Kelley got to work approaching Lauren to form an alliance and generally make as many bonds as possible. David and his newfound confidence seemed to be finding his footing, as did Wendy who shared the fact she had tourettes with the tribe and instantly endeared herself to literally everyone. Myself included. Wendy 4 lyf.

Meanwhile over at Kama we met Victoria who desperately loves survivor. Speaking of loves, Joe tried to hide the fact that he is amazing, however proceeded to feed everyone and start fire with Aubry as soon as they landed on the beach. I mean, he even stole Aurora’s heart and she is gay. Julie proved to be the most relatable, hating the outdoors and totally struggling in nature. Well until she started chopping wood and vowed not to be perceived as the weak older woman trope. Sorry Wendy, but you’ve been usurped.

Wait, no. I love them both.

We then caught up with Ron who vowed that Kama was the greatest tribe of all time, which let’s be honest, didn’t bode well for, I want to say Jacob on Ghost Island. Though given they had a tonne of food next to a roaring fire, he is kinda right. He took a quick moment away from the dream tribe to read the note to his advantage, which he followed to the well and dug up to discover he won himself a menu, where he can either steal a reward, get an extra vote or get immunity … but it expires by the third tribal council.

Joe joined fellow zaddy Eric and Gavin to discuss what the hell Edge of Extinction could mean before checking in with Aubry to see how she felt. While she agreed that they’re both getting good vibes, they won’t need them around to make fire forever and as such she needs to lay low until the right time to strike. And I feel like I’ve already seen more of Aubry this episode than we did during all of Game Changers. Gavin and Eric meanwhile were discussing how long they will need to keep the returnees around, vowing to get rid of Aubry ASAP and keeping Joe around as a shield for as long as required.

Back at Manu Reem went to check on the washing she put on the shore to dry, which she thought was helpful but was actually pissing everyone off. Except Keith who tried to bond with Reem because she is a mother figure and he is a literal kid, however she didn’t want to be seen that way and kinda shut him down. Though she then taught him to swim with Wendy and I love them so much. As did Lauren who was proud of Keith learning to swim. That didn’t stop her from being thrilled by the fact they isolated themselves, allowing the other six – featuring a total zaddy who I think is Chris – to joke about being the majority.

My boy Jeffrey returned to the screen for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes were required to run through a rope obstacle before someone rings a bell and everyone crosses a balance beam, release a bar to make the beam wider, climb a crows nest, drop a slide and then, obvi, solve a giant slide puzzle.

Chris hopped through the ropes in his jocks – swoon – before battling Joe to climb a rope and ring the bell and let me tell you, these boys are ringing my damn bell. Joe made quick work of the balance beam giving Kama an early lead while Manu floundered, except for challenge beast David who got across while everyone else struggled. Kelley in particular who fell off the beam and literally smashed her damn face. Kama continued to extended their lead, working on the puzzle before Manu even crossed the rope bridge. Despite David’s best efforts to guide Manu through the puzzle, their comeback was too late as Julia – I think, she hasn’t been shown otherwise – figured out the puzzle and coached her tribe to victory.

Back at camp Kelley was devastated to be heading to her second first tribal council, knowing that one tiny thing can send you home when you’ve only been around people a couple of days. Keith, Reem, Wendy and Rick caught up by the well, with Reem pushing hard to take out Lauren or Kelley whose bond was obvious. Though given how hard she is pushing the point, it got Keith offside, who them went and told both the girls, Wardog, David and Eric about the plan. Which solidified their plans to get rid of Reem, given Wendy is stronger in challenges.

Speaking of Wendy, she approached Wardog – I’m trying to get into it – and David about getting rid of Lauren, though they told her that they will be getting rid of Reem tonight. Wendy told them that no matter what, she will vote with Reem out of loyalty which rubbed Wardog the wrong way, as he said it was proof of her being stubborn rather than a super loyal ally he could pick up the next day. Wendy then took the information back to Reem, who got super angry and approached David to save herself though was holding a machete and kind looked wild.

At tribal council Rick spoke about factions quickly forming based off which jobs they were doing before Reem immediately started to spit fire, pissed that her name has been thrown out there. Kelley explained that is part of the game and her name had been thrown out, before Reem explained that it was because she was a legend and she should be honoured. Kelley countered that being voted out doesn’t make it an honour, while Reem continued to dig a hole for herself, saying that she is a target due to age discrimination and would like to wrestle to prove her strength. Probst then questioned whether she has a passion for confrontation before Zaddy Chris said that she may be a little too much and it is pissing people off, which she immediately got defensive about before Wardog – who I will now write without cringing – said he felt she was too much and wished she would just stop moving people’s shit.

She defended trying to help everyone out and while Wardog agreed him clothes were dry thanks to her, she needs to stop dwelling on the one issue. Wendy admitted that she likes Reem for all the reasons everyone else is struggling with her, due to her close bond with her mum. Reem continued to rage, wondering why they didn’t just ask her not to touch their stuff. Probst admitted that it seems like everyone is pretty much against her, and Wendy agreed that they’re likely losing Reem tonight which lead to Reem talking about how painful it would be and while I feel sorry for her, she should be in for a pleasant suprise if it comes to fruition. Which it did, making her the first person voted out.

And potentially the winner if she makes it back in. Who knows.

While the smart of ironically – is it Alanis? – being reemed by her tribe and becoming the first boot was dulled by discovering she has a chance to return to the game, it wasn’t until I was tucking an icy cold bottle of Irish Creem Daly in her bag – don’t tell Abi, but I think Peih-Gee tried to steal it – to get her through the first few days alone that I saw a fire return to her belly. No doubt because of the alcohol.

 

 

Like Old Gregg before me, I am quite partial to drinking Baileys, though preferably not from a shoe. Though I totally would in a pinch, or Tom Schwartz level blackout. Packing a punch of whisky, a hit of coffee and the sweet, sweet nectar known as condensed milk, there is no better way to usher in retired life.

I can retire at 32, right? You know what, so what, who cares – enjoy!

 

 

Irish Creem Daly
Serves: 1 lonely first boot sitting on an island alone in a downpour.

Ingredients
1 cup double cream
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1⅔ cup Irish whiskey
2 tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh espresso, cooled

Method
Chuck everything in a blender – or a magic bullet or something if they were so inclined to sponsor me, but they’re not – and blitz for a minute or so, or until smooth.

Transfer to a bottle and leave to chill in the fridge before downing.

 

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Nick Blintzon

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Sweets, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor twenty Americans were marooned on a cyclone ravaged Fijian Island and separated into two biblically themed tribes based on whether they were successful or not. Ironically – I think, Alanis help me out – the first boot wasn’t taken out by a vote but instead Pat was felled by an act of God as a wave sent their arc flying and cracked his back. He was followed out the door by Jessica – after my pizza curse struck again – and Jeremy before Bi up and quit – due to a torn ACL, but don’t tell Jeff –  just as the tribes were switching.

Despite being in a Goliath majority on her newly formed tribe, Natalia became the second and final victim of my pizza curse before Natalie became a victim of herself, exiting without so much as turning to face Angelina as she begged for a jacket, followed by poor Lyrsa who was wondering how in the hell she would tolerate the pre-jury vacay with the boss.

With that the tribes merged and Elizabeth started to accrue a Harem of Hunks, as she was followed into Ponderosa by John, Dan, Alec and Carl before Gabby broke the drought after trying to turn on Christian. Turns out she was one vote too soon, as he followed her out the door before Davie, Alison and Kara arrived to round out the jury.

The final three plead their case to the jury with Angelina completely shut out, no doubt in part because she opted to humiliate Alison on her way out the door – but she gave up her shot at immunity for rice, guys! Despite a strong game Mike proved that Goliath’s always have a weakness, as Nick overpowered him at final tribal council and snatched the title of Sole Survivor slash $1M.

While poor Nick struggled to find his feet in the first few days, Pat’s medevac saved him from the fate of becoming the first one out and allowed him to reset his game. And reset he did, taking control of the original David tribe with Christian, and then manoeuvring out of a minority position on the post-swap Jabeni tribe.

By the time he was playing a pivotal role in snatching back the majority on the merge tribe, keeping a meat shield long enough to avoid being targeted and snatching a string of late game immunity challenges, he pretty much had the game on lock. And what an exciting game it was. And by game, I mean season. This season was great. So great, the only way I could toast his success was splitting a big plate of Nick Blintzon.

 

 

Picture it: crepes, rolled into cheese filled tubes and then fried (or baked). Still with me? Then you dust with icing sugar and go to heaven. Because these are delicious.

Enjoy!

 

 

Nick Blintzon
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 eggs
400ml milk
250g flour
1 tsp salt
butter, to grease
1 cup ricotta cheese
250g cream cheese
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp vanilla
icing sugar, to garnish

Method
Whisk three of the eggs and milk together in a small bowl, and the flour and salt in another. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, whisking continuously, until smooth and combined.

Melt a good knob of butter in a skillet and pour ⅓ cup of mixture into the pan to make a crepe. Repeat the process until the batter is all used. Leave them to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Beat the remaining egg, ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth and combined.

Place a couple of tablespoons in the centre of each crepe and fold like a burrito. Brush with some melted butter, place on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, dusted heavily with icing sugar.

 

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Nutellyrsa Eclairres

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jabeni were riding high on their egg reward however tragically the protein wasn’t enough to get them immunity, sending them to tribal council. While that appeared to mean certain doom for Lyrsa and Nick, Natalie continued to grate on her tribemates. She then attempted to bully Lyrsa or Nick into giving up their jackets for a cold Angelina to secure themselves safety, which backfired as they all joined together to blindside her while Angelina desperately begged her for her jacket.

Natalie. Natalie. Natalie ..?

The next day Jabeni were feeling positive without Natalie’s negativity to bring them down, while Lyrsa was just shocked to still be there. Angelina apologised for writing Lyrsa, explaining it was all a ploy for the jacket which did not sit well with Lyrsa. They lay around bonding, laughing and reminiscing about Natalie epically ignoring Angelina. Speaking of whom, Mike, Nick and Lyrsa got together to talk smack about Angelina’s desperation at tribal, with them all agreeing that they do not trust her and that she is the next to go. If it gets to that.

Over at Tiva the nerdmance continued to be adorable as Christian explained fishing and Gabby was sweet. Suck it haters who are done with her crying. Wouldn’t you cry if you had to live through multiple cyclones? Anyway, Christian wasn’t successful but he did lure John to the shore and I am moister than an oyster.

Speaking of flooding my basement, Jeff arrived for this week’s reward challenge where the tribes would have a bag of coconuts tethered to one tribe member with the remaining members forced to lug it about as they go through an obstacle course, release four rings and then land their rings on a long, hard pole. Given it was for cooking utensils, spices and kebabs, everyone was salivating and ready to dominate. Alec and Gabby got Vuku and Tiva out to an early lead, as Alec’s junk bounced everywhere. Sadly Alec’s BDE wasn’t enough to land the rings allowing John and Dan to snatch the win for Tiva while Nick snatched second for Jabeni. But they get to look at Alec so everyone got some meat, you know?

Tiva returned to camp to celebrate their victory and cook up their kebabs, and most importantly, the brochachos were feeding each other by hand and I love it. Christian, John and Dan are the throuple we deserve, the latter’s pining for Kara be damned. Gabby and Alison however started to notice that the throuple hooking up was bad for them, so the girls got together and pledged their allegiance to each other. Gabby then started to break down, leading to Alison tearing up and damn I need this tribe to all make the merge. So they can stay dating, obvi.

Though Alison’s plan to blindside Dan is definitely something I can get behind, given a blindside of someone with two idols is always fun.

Meanwhile over at Vuku Kara and Elizabeth seemed to be getting closer again, with Kara trying to massage her back which she injured four weeks before heading out to the island. They then started splitting the bamboo in the shelter in an attempt to make things more comfortable, which Davie and Carl felt was a bad idea given it would be dark soon and the shelter would be uneven. This annoyed Elizabeth, who felt that they were being unfair and she can’t take it anymore, while the boys were frustrated that she was doing it while everyone else was trying to relax. The only person thrilled by the turn of events seemed to be Kara, who knew that should they lose the upcoming immunity challenge, Elizabeth is the most likely target.

Speaking of which, Jeff returned for said challenge where the tribes were required to carry a large heavy saucer to a water tower, fill it with water, carry it through obstacles, pour water into a well, release puzzle pieces and, wait for it, solve said puzzle. Vuku and Tiva got out to an early lead, until Vuku lost most of their water, followed by Jabeni, leaving Tiva to storm ahead. Tiva made quick work of the puzzle, followed by Vuku handing them both immunity before Jabeni even released their puzzle pieces. TBH, it wasn’t easy to watch. Particularly when they dropped their saucer on the third attempt and opted to give up.

Back at camp Mike was feeling emotional about crushing someone’s dreams at the upcoming tribal council. Given there are 7 people left from each of the original tribes and he was anticipating a merge, Mike was growing concerned that he will need to turn on Nick and Lyrsa to save himself moving forward. While Angelina was hoping to work with Lyrsa, the latter still didn’t trust Angelina after jacketgate and as such, Angelina was stuck working with Mike. Angelina approached Mike and locked in the vote for Mike and agreed that they need to get Nick on board. Lyrsa and Mike got together to talk about getting rid of Angelina, with Mike open to the idea while Nick was being worked Angelina to turn on Lyrsa. Rounding out the pairings, Nick and Mike approached each other to decide which way they will go giving Angelina is a bigger threat … but Mike is scared about taking her out and screwing over all of the Goliaths.

At tribal council Nick spoke about how tight the tribe has gotten in such a small time, Mike spoke about loving everyone but being concerned about navigating the next part of the game. Lyrsa agreed that trust and loyalty were the key factors in her decision tonight, while Angelina added strategy which is pretty much a given, no? And kinda just paints a target on her back. Angelina channelled Keith and spoke about sticking to the plan, Lyrsa mentioned everyone has a plan and Nick pledged his loyalty to Jabeni rather than the OG tribes. Angelina then jumped in to sing Nick’s praises which seemed a bit desperate. Thankfully Lyrsa called her out for trying to buy his vote, while Mike reiterated that tonight’s vote will dictate the remainder of the game. With that the tribe voted and it seemed Mike chose to set the game up for the Goliaths – maybe – by taking out Lyrsa and sending her to the jury.

While Lyrsa – the bright, sparkling gem that she is – took her boot in her stride, she wasn’t hella salty about the fact she would be vacationing with Natalie and then has to suffer through sitting next to her at the reunion special. And while I love Natalie with all my heart, I also loved Lyrsa so I let her talk smack about my friend before trying to sweeten the deal with a couple of big fat Nutellyrsa Eclairres.

 

 

Eclairs are perfect. Nutella too, is perfect. So therefore it should go without saying that Nutella flavoured eclairs are perfect, however I do have that theory that two hot people can have a really ugly baby? In any event, this is delicious. Like the random hot child born of two classically unattractive peeps. Though this isn’t random, since eclairs and nutella. I’ll stop talking.

Enjoy!

 

 

Nutellyrsa Eclairres
Serves: 1 salty boot, or 12 happy peeps.

Ingredients
1 batch Eclair Danes, including crème pâtissière but not the chocolate glaze
1 cup nutella
½ cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Prep the eclairs as per Claire’s recipe, up to filling the pastry but before you glaze.

Once that is done, fill a piping bag with nutella and chill for half an hour or so.

Pipe on to the top of the eclairs, sprinkle with hazelnuts and devour. Knowing that cutting out the difficult part of the recipe on this page lulled you into a false sense of security.

 

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Steve Biliss Balls

Uncategorized

Previously on Australian Survivor Benji continued to slither his way through the competition however taking out Mat and humiliating Sharn made him a target. Particularly with Shane, who reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould. Shane and Sharn took their opportunity at reward, swinging Monika and Brian back to their side. Not to be outdone, Brian found an idol and then won himself individual immunity. Things got tense at tribal council as Shonee whipped out her vote steal and snatched away Sharn’s vote in the hope of getting her out. Sadly for her, Monika and Brian flipped on Benji and rendered her move useless, sending the self proclaimed king out of the camp.

Back at camp Sharn was shocked to still be in the game, pulling Monika and Steve in for a big hug and hot damn I am jealous. Full of joy, she was hopeful that Brian and Monika were back with them and she can make it to the end. Sadly for her however, Brian immediately caught up with Shonella to assure them that he just wanted to get out Benji and the four of them will stick together to get to the end.

The next day Sharn was still feeling zen to be back in the game while Steve further slipped into my heart, loving the lack of people around to interact with. They then marvelled at Shane  and how much of a tough icon she is, dominating at camp, kicking ass and providing Steve with life advice and I’m crying. I mean, Steve was giggling like a school when Shane called him a grumpy old man … which is what MISH BRIDGES says to him. He then went down a Mish rabbithole and please let this be a family visit episode. Anyway – I ship Steve and Shane and need a moment to feel my feels.

Shane meanwhile is glad that they’ve become close friends, but more importantly she wants to win and she is not going home without a title. She is thrilled to be leading the Champions alliance, however she isn’t happy that Brian and the girls used Shonee’s advantage to take a shot at Sharn. Nor is she happy about them flushing Brian’s ego. Shane then decided that she plans to split up Shonella to weaken Brian’s game, and debated the merits of Fenella or Shonee first.

Speaking of Shonella, they were watching Brian catch fish and skinny dip while they stroked his ego. No doubt much to Shane’s chagrin. Meanwhile Brian was worried about what Monika was thinking, given they both flipped on the girls and she seemed to be gravitating towards the Champions. Monika caught up with Shonella to assure them that she was still with them and Brian, while they all started to worry about Steve trying to find a bond with Monika. On day 40, which they all agreed was sketchy slash extremely obvious.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where everyone would balance an idol on the end of a seesaw, with the last idol standing winning immunity. Brian and Steve spoke about the pain in their glutes before Shane became the first one out, followed by Fenella and Sharn after seven minutes. Brian did his best tennis player impression, grunting his way through the pain while Steve stood like a sta … nope, Steve was next to drop leaving Brian, Shonee and Monika to battle it out. After twelve minutes Brian dropped, leaving the girls to stand still in a battle of wills before Monika dropped and Shonee was shocked to take out immunity. I mean, Shane may be over her but damn that reaction was gorg.

Oh and then Jonathan dropped dropped a bomb on everyone, telling them that instead of booting someone at tribal tonight, the person that gets the most votes becomes the Dead Man Walking. While it sounds hella ominous, it only strips the person of their vote at the next two tribal councils. And while yes, that sucks, they can still win immunity and participate in everything at camp, so if you’re smart, you could make it work.

Back at camp Sharn knew that the end game would come down to whichever side doesn’t get lumbered with the dead man walking. She and Shane went to get water and discuss who to target, agreeing that Fenella is the best bet as it instantly neutralises Shonella being a duo. Sharn approached Monika to talk about targeting Fenella, which she quickly agreed to before having a minor breakdown over how hard the game is getting. Sharn went to Steve and Shane to tell them all the good news, which seemed to arouse suspicion in Brian. And Shane, who really felt like she couldn’t trust Monika despite the fact she desperately needs her. With both Monika and Shane agreeing to take each other to the final three, despite neither believing it.

Brian pulled Shonella and Monika aside to discuss who they should target for dead man walking, with Brian pushing for Steve and the girls desperately wanting to take Shane’s vote. While Brian wasn’t convinced about targeting her, Fenella worked overtime pointing out how Shane is the better option. Brian then pulled Monika aside to point out how important it was to get rid of Steve’s vote, leading to her breaking down about how difficult the entire thing is.

At tribal council JoJo quickly filled the jury in on the final twist of the season before Sharn admitted to being shocked by it and Shane pragmatically said that she isn’t scared of the dead man walking going back to camp, since it is a straight up fact. Sharn quickly went in pointing out that people need to take advantage of the twist to neutralise some of the bigger threats. Monika sounded like she started to falter about flipping, leading to Sharn reminding her that fortune favours the brave. Shane admitted that the tribe is fractured and identified Shonella as a power couple, while Steve shared that they are a non-factor to him as other people are busy trying to work with them, so he can’t be bothered. Jonathan tried to hype up their power status, while power Monika grew more and more confused. Sharn continued to play hard to get her over to their side, while Shonee and Brian whispered to change their target to Steve. With that the tribe voted and Monika played it smart, sticking with her alliance and voting for Steve to become the dead man walking.

Which you know pissed Shane off and will hopefully give us the glorious reminder not to fuck with Shane Gould.

Back at camp, Steve was feeling pissed and served some killer facial expressions whilst going in on Monika. Reminding her that he, Sharn and Shane are the only ones working around camp and she is completely blinded by Brian. And though I love zaddy Steve, it was the best move for Monika TBH. Shane and Sharn pretended to be sympathetic to an emotional Monika, telling her she was played by Brian and they’d be willing to work with her moving forward.

The next day Shane and Sharn caught up to work through their pain, while Shonee was giddy about how everything fell out at tribal. And now that Brian and Monika are loyal, she is excited to no longer be playing the bottom. Which is probably the first time we’ve disagreed. Brian too was thrilled that Steve is the Dead Man Walking and to be in control. Sadly for both of them, Sharn was confident in her abilities to pull Monika back to their side and highlight how dangerous the Brionella trio are.

Monika arrived back at camp with treemail where they learnt that as part of being Dead Man Walking, Steve would be sent immediately to Exile Beach and wouldn’t return until the next immunity challenge. With one less person in camp, Sharn decided to corner Monika to commence pulling her back over to save her game. And most importantly, Sharn’s. Monika proved her skills as a master barrister playing on her ego and her insecurities to rebuild their relationship.

At the reward challenge the tribe were split in half to compete in an obstacle course for an Indian feast – Samosas, Saag Paneer or Mango Chicken, anyone? I think this reward is just my leftovers?! Anyway the teams would be required to send two people out in the ocean to use symbols to decode a puzzle which they would then use to open a lock … releasing balls which the remaining person will land on a trough. Shonella and Monika faced off against Brian, Sharn and Shane, with Monika using Shonee and Sharn’s time in the drink – Matt Chisholm forever – to get advice from Shane, who was having none of it. Shonee got her team out to a sizable lead until Monika found a new nemesis other than bellyflopping, drifting out to sea while Shane closed the gap and took a lead for the Champion trio like the graceful dolphin that she is. Brian shot his first balls before Monika even made it back to shore, oh wait no, he won reward for his team while she was still adrift.

At reward – which I can confirm, I made – Sharn and Shane were delighted to see the paint and cutlery. The girls toasted their success before Queen Shane asked Brian where he stood and what his thoughts were for the endgame. He admitted that he voted against Steve because like Shonella, he sees him as a threat leaving it open for Shane to start working on getting rid of Fenella instead of Steve, if they guarantee his safety moving forward. Brian however didn’t trust it, and told them that if Steve won immunity one of them will be going next. Which Shane shockingly opted out of commenting on.

Speaking of Steve, we checked in with him at Exile Beach where he endeavoured to see the positives and treat it like a holiday. He then looked through his photos and letters from home, and reflected on how great a relationship he has with Sharn and Shane. He then was fired up and hot damn am I thirsting for zaddy Steve.

Everyone reunited at the immunity challenge – with Steve the happiest we’ve seen him all game – where they would each be required to balance a ball on the end of an ever-extending pole while scaling obstacles, before using a ledge to drop it into a bucket. Steve, Fenella and Shane got out to an early lead, while Brian and Shonee languished at the back of the pack. Steve continued to extend his lead with his killer ball and pole workmanship, with Fenella and Brian desperately working the pole to try and close the gap. I mean, who can’t manage two metres of pole? Sadly zaddy Steve dropped his ball allowing Brian to catch-up, the boys were back and forth at the gutters until Brian, somehow, snatched victory.

Back at camp Shonella congratulated Brian on his victory, while Shane and Sharn simmered. Shonella, Brian and Monika then discussed plans for the upcoming tribal, with Brian suggestion they should split the votes between Steve and Sharn to safeguard against the idol. The underdogs went to get water with Steve sharing a haul of fruit his allies whilst trying to figure a way out of their mess. Shane Gould spoke about herself in the third person whilst trying to formulate a way to save her friends and break up the power structure. Shane decided Sharn should work to pull Monika over to their side and blindside Fenella during the split. Proving to be as wily as they say, Brian could see what they were planning and worked overtime to convince Monika to stick with him. Sharn however was a formidable foe, working her magic on Monika to swing back to the Champions.

Before heading out to tribal Steve joined the fray trying to sow some distrust in Brian’s mind, pointing out that if he goes Brian will become the biggest threat and as such he needs to adjust his game. Steve then spoke sports and while I was confused, I loved it all.

At tribal council Steve continued to let his zaddy flag fly, talking about the fact he may not have a vote but he still has a vote. Fenella deemed him a threat, leaving Steve to point out that he is yet to win a challenge while the likes of Brian, Sharn and Shonee have dominated. While Shonee admitted she felt her’s was a fluke, Steve told her that he believed she is a threat – motivational zaddy. Monika said that what makes a threat is different to everyone, while Steve went aggressive and said that this tribal is him or someone else and if it is him, he will work that jury to not reward anyone he doesn’t like/respect.

Shane then threw shade at Shonella for not being helpful around camp, suggesting everyone go out to Exile and see who really can survive. Brian countered that Shane has been carried through challenges, leaving Steve to rise to be the feminist-ageist icon that he is and defend her honour and tell him to treat her with some respect. He then said that Monika too has been carried, pissing her off and making me hella confused. With that, the tribe voted and surprisingly the vote split remained and were divided equally amongst Sharn, Fenella and Steve. On the revote, however, things didn’t go zaddy Steve’s way and he found himself becoming the latest member of the sausage-fest jury. Which is a movie I’d watch the shit out of. Anyway, as a close personal friend of The Biggest Loser franchise, I’ve been friends with Mish and Steve for years and was honoured to be on site to whip him up a batch of Steve Biliss Balls to dull the pain.

 

 

While they are healthy enough to keep Steve happy, these babies are totally delicious. Nutty and smooth, sweet and salty, I just can’t get enough of these balls in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Biliss Balls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 5 mins
⅔ cup almond meal
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup desiccated coconut for rolling

Method
Drain the dates and place in the food processor with the almond meal, peanut butter, chia seeds and vanilla. Blitz until well combined. If the mixture is too crumbly, add some more peanut butter until it is just holding and sticky. Fold through the dark chocolate.

Shape the mixture into little balls, roll in coconut and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour.

Devour, giddily, knowing you’re loved. Like we all love The Commando.

 

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