Previously on Survivor after Mike defeated Jonathan in the firemaking challenge and won his spot in the final three, the trio enjoyed one final day in Fiji before heading to tribal council. After copping a respectful grilling, Maryanne dominated the Q&A with equal parts charm and wisdom while Romeo was surprisingly confident in articulating why he deserved to be here. Sadly for him, it wasn’t enough to secure him any votes as he finished in third place.
Jeffrey then read the votes and despite playing a strong game, only one vote turned up for Mike as he took out second place, handing Maryanne a near unanimous victory as the jury crowned her the Sole Survivor.
Once Mike was done smashing pizza on the after show, I pulled him aside to perk him back up after just coming up short. Mike had played such a dominant game, controlling his tribe before the merge and managing to form meaningful bonds that carried him far into the game. Never mind the fact he was smart and knew when to make a move, all while minimising the fact he was super buff and a massive threat.
Really the only major flaw was his game was not owning it and like Sharn in Australia – who suffered her third loss in the recent election – the jury couldn’t respect it and it cost him the game. While he was disappointed at the outcome, Mike being Mike, he was super upbeat and proud of Maryanne. Though it is easy to work through the pain when you’re smashing a Mikaarage Chicken Turger.
Super crispy chicken, velvety mayonnaise and creamy avocado, smooshed between two soft buns, how can you go wrong? Oh and did I mention crunchy lettuce and a punch of kecap manis. It is, so, good.
Mikaraage Chicken Turger Serves: 8.
Ingredients 1 tbsp mirin 1 tbsp soy sauce 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp ginger, minced ½ cup kewpie mayonnaise 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 100g cornflour sunflower oil, for frying 3 avocados, mashed 1 lemon, zested and juiced salt and pepper, to taste 8 burger rolls 1 butter lettuce 2 tomatoes ¼ cup kecap manis
Method Combine the mirin, soy, garlic and ginger and 1 tbsp of the mayo in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat, before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.
Pop the cornflour in a bowl and heat about 5cm deep of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and press the chicken into the cornflour to coat before transferring the chicken into the pot to fry, two at a time, for about 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until the chicken is done.
To assemble the burgers, mash the avo with the lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Split all the buns in half and toast on a griddle pan. Spread the avo on the base, followed by some lettuce and tomato, then the chicken, followed by a drizzle of kewpie and some kecap manis. Then devour immediately, greedily. Messily. Happily.
Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to keep the twists coming, this time going with the old faithful of splitting the merged tribe into two groups. Then offering out an immunity for someone on each group before they head to back-to-back tribal councils and each boot someone from the game. After trying to rally a sausage fest alliance earlier in the episode, Rocksroy was living his dream on group one where he was stuck with his allies Mike, Hai and Omar, and they were primed to get rid of Romeo. Sadly for him, Omar and Hai weren’t so keen on the all male alliance and everyone joined together to boot Rocks from the game instead. Upon seeing another African American had joined the jury, both Maryanne and Drea were nervous that unconscious bias had seeped into the game. As such, they each played their idols leaving Tori as the only option to be booted. Not because Lindsay was immune, but because she is a queen.
Back at camp Hai was thrilled that their tribal council went to plan, particularly grateful that Mike was on board and he doesn’t have to worry about him getting annoyed and blowing up their alliance. Despite Mike being a little salty to have had to do it. Sadly as he complained to Omar, the latter saw an opening to get Mike to ditch Hai in favour of him and as such plotted to absolutely trash their bond. The two groups then reunited where the latter group were still reeling from the emotion of their tribal council, though given it was Tori that went, not many people were actually bothered.
The next day Lindsay pulled Omar aside to talk shit about how bossy and stupid Jonathan was the day before as he was willing to risk Maryanne. And needless to say, Omar was just as unhappy to be aligned with Jonathan and was very keen to try and figure out how to make a break. Knowing that a new idol should be hidden around camp, Lindsay left Omar to go for a hunt. Sadly for her, she literally touched it in her search though missed it and kept on moving. Which gave Maryanne enough time to stumble on it while hunting for twigs and well, she was absolutely thrilled.
As the wind and rain whipped across the beach, the tribe met up with Jeff for the latest reward challenge. Which would have been tough if they had to stop shivering. Instead, they just had to balance a sack on a pole and manoeuvre through obstacles before tossing it at a target. The first one to finish winning an overnight reward complete with shelter, a bed and pizza. And did I mention pizza? While Jonathan got out to an early lead, Lindsay and Hai were nipping out his heels. And well, Lindsay straight up landed her bag on the second toss and it was so exciting to watch her cute reaction. Probst, being cheeky, then gave Lindsay the chance to take someone with her, opting for Omar since he has not received a reward yet. Feeling kind, she was then given one other spot, opting to take Mike to further build their relationship. And shit, they are ruining Hai on this reward, aren’t they?
Back at camp the tribe were miserable, in pain from how cold and exhausted they are. Showing far more strength than I could muster, everyone rallied around, pulling the shelter apart to fix it up and try to give them a much needed reprieve from the weather. We then learnt that Hai had a difficult upbringing as an immigrant, and hearing him talk about how this pain is only temporary, well, I fell in love with him again. Particularly when he and Lindsay whispered about banding together to get rid of Jonathan.
We then fast forwarded through said misery to when Lindsay, Omar and Mike arrived at the sanctuary, smashing pizzas before they were distracted by the sound of their loved ones. A wall of TVs then lit up, with photos and videos from home and ugh, I’m crying, they’re crying and well, it was just beautiful. After drying their tears and hugging it out, talk turned to the game with Omar quickly throwing Hai under the bus and well, Mike bought it hook, line and sinker and while I live for cheeky little Omar, I am heartbroken. As Mike seethed, Lindsay opened up about her amulet and as such, admitted she would be very willing to turn on Hai to increase her power. Despite being pissed with Jonathan.
The tribe regrouped with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a narrow balance beam and balance a ball on the curve of an upturned bow. Almost instantly Mike and Hai dropped out, while everyone else stood still like statues. Out of nowhere Romeo dropped his ball, followed by Omar before the final four moved down to a narrower stretch of beam. That saw Maryanne drop straight away, while Jonathan continued to struggle through. Drea dropped her ball out of nowhere while Jonathan defied the odds as he and Lindsay made it to the final round. Sadly for Jonathan, his giant feet couldn’t handle the twig-like beam beneath him and finally dropped his ball, handing Lindsay immunity.
And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!
Back at camp everyone was thrilled by the fact Lindsay took out immunity, meaning they could finally take their shot on Jonathan. Hai caught up with Mike, assuring him that they are 100% solid and that getting rid of Jonathan is the best for all of them. Sadly Hai did not realise Mike now hates him, as such immediately taking the information from Omar to Jonathan and floated the idea of getting rid of Hai instead. Meanwhile Lindsay was pulling Drea over to her side before she realised that every single person would be happy to just get rid of Hai and call it a day.
Oblivious to his impending doom, Hai caught up with Jonathan and assured him that he doesn’t need to play his Shot in the Dark tonight as he will gladly play his non-existent idol on Jonathan instead. Thrilled to have fooled him, Hai happily pottered around camp while Omar and Jonathan caught up over the plan. Which sadly made Omar nervous about getting rid of Hai, given he is actually loyal to him and that there is always the fear of Jonathan going on an immunity run to the end.
At tribal council Lindsay was feeling her oats over winning back-to-back challenges with Mike particularly thrilled to have had the chance to get warm for even one night on reward. Lindsay articulated how they are all a little mad for wanting to play the game, given it is so miserable though they are also living for it. Hai admitted that he was worried about what was discussed on the reward, though felt that every single one of them have no idea whether they were out in front or at the back of the pack. And one stumble could switch everything up in an instant anyway.
Omar agreed it was hard to decide on the right decision at any given moment while Mike shared that most of his decisions are based on what his gut is telling him. And then Maryanne likened the entire game to playing Jenga, with constantly moving pieces making it difficult for everyone. Lindsay then threw down the gauntlet, saying that her vote would be based on evening the playing field which immediately made Jonathan nervous. Luckily for him it was all for show as the tribe banded together to get rid of Hai instead.
Thankfully Hai is an absolute, pure delight and entered Ponderosa with a smile on his face despite being brutally blindsided by the entire tribe. Though I guess that is arguably the best way to go out, if you are voted out. I congratulated him on playing such a killer game and while I was disappointed to see him go, I am thrilled to have given him some loving comfort. In the form of Lentil Pie Giang.
A little bit spicy and oh-so-warming, this pie is not only life affirming – don’t tell me food isn’t – but it also is healthy, since it is vegetarian. So why have one, when you can have them all. You know?
Lentil Pie Giang Serves: 8. Or, as I mentioned, 1.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp ginger, minced 1 red chilli, finely chopped 1 carrot, grated 1 celery stalk, sliced 2 tsp black mustard seeds 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground turmeric 300g brown lentils 2 potatoes, cut into 1cm dice 400g can diced tomatoes 2 cups vegetable stock 1 cup coconut milk ½ cup peas ½ cup coriander, roughly chopped salt and pepper 2 sheets shortcrust pastry 2 sheet puff pastry 1 egg, lightly whisked
Method Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and celery, until soft and sweet. Stir through the mustard seeds and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, potato, tomatoes and stock, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently, for 1 hour or until lentils and potato are tender. Stir in coconut milk, peas and coriander, and season to taste and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut each pastry sheet into four squares.
Press the shortcrust pastry into the bases of eight individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture between the pie dishes before brushing the pastry with some egg. Cover the pies with the puff pastry, pressing the pastries together to steal. Neaten the edges, or scrunch it up, depending on if you love a little excess pastry around the edges.
Brush the tops of the pies with more egg, cut a little steam hole in the middle and pop them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.
Previously on Survivor, the Vati, Ika and Taku’s were dismantled however like last year, Jeffrey wanted to play things a little coy and delayed the merge. Through the power of a terrible twist that was once again trying to masquerade as time travel. After Jonathan doomed his group by leading them to victory, Rocksroy went to hourglass island where he rightly opted to give himself immunity. After Tori cussed him out for stripping her of her immunity, she then went and won it back in the first individual immunity. Which doomed everyone’s plans as she was public enemy number one, meaning out of nowhere, Lydia found herself felled and just missed the jury.
The tribe returned from tribal council, grateful to have officially made the merge and to be a part of the jury. Though according to Mike, that is as far as Romeo, Chanelle, Tori and Maryanne will go since they are left right out. Chanelle caught up with Hai, heartbroken to realise she hasn’t played the killer game she thinks she has after being left out of the last vote. Drea meanwhile was ready to drop Romeo like a newborn giraffe due to his growing shiftiness, while Lindsay was assuring Maryanne that they are still aligned and she will look out for her. Despite that assurance, Maryanne was still gutted to be on the bottom of the tribe and opened up about how it reminded her of being left out in school as a weirdo.
The next day Mike was working hard to get to know his fellow tribemates, knowing that as the old guy of the tribe, he needs to make sure people like him. And given he kindly sat and learnt about religion from Omar as he prayed and instantly made him fall in love with him, I think he’s going to be ok. At the very least, he warmed my cold dead heart.
My love Probst appeared to hide a little beware advantage on the sit out bench as the Kula Kula tribe arrived for the reward challenge. After telling us he’d be disappointed if the advantage went unfound like it did last season, he explained to the tribe that in teams of two they would swim out and retrieve five buoys in an obstacle course and then shoot them into a basket. Oh and the winners get PB&J and chips. And while Drea was chosen on one of the teams, she shared that she hates PB&J and as such, she was offered to tap out with Maryanne. Obviously Drea quickly snatched another advantage while Maryanne obviously lost the reward given she went to Drea’s former team which was decidedly lacking in Jonathan’s, who quickly got his team out to a lead. While Omar quickly shot four of the five baskets in a row, he then missed while Joanthan tagged out with Rocksroy and quickly shot all of their baskets in a row.
Meaning Maryanne shoulda just sat out and at least got an advantage.
Back at camp the victors were thrilled to discover their sandwiches and quickly smashed them, while the losers bonded over how much fun they had in the challenge. And how damn close it was. The groups combined and rehashed the order they wanted to take the outsiders out before Omar shared with us that he was also keeping said outsiders happy, pretending to try and keep them safe so he always has options should the alliance break.
Drea meanwhile was going hunting for her advantage, which was five paces away from the well hidden under a coconut. And that she needed to cover her tracks or get caught red handed. Which is what happened, since the producers hid the damn advantage in a pot of red paint like icons. While she desperately tried to clean her hands, she learnt that her latest haul is the Knowledge is Power advantage, which would grant her the power to steal one of the other idols – or any old advantage – in the game. As she returned to camp, Tori was worried she was bleeding when she saw the red on her hands. And while she lied and said she was painting something, the fact that their tribe flag was yet to be touched and all the paints were sealed, she knew there was something dodgy going on.
The tribe met up with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each balance on a narrow perch and hold a buoy between sticks. Well, everyone that chose to compete because Probst was willing to give them a bag of rice if enough people were willing to sit out of the challenge. The tribe offered two people, which annoyed Probst who then offered nine. Lindsay and Drea said they were happy to sit out, with Maryanne agreeing that she would also be willing to sit out, leading to Jonathan getting Probst to offer the big bag of rice if four people sit out. Which was enough to get Maryanne crying and make people feel bad about her choosing to sit out when she is on the bottom, leading to Omar agreeing to forgo the challenge too. And damn, she is going to emotionally blackmail herself to victory, isn’t she?
Turns out Hai should have been one of the people sitting out given he dropped within a second, quickly followed by Rocksroy and Mike. Romeo soon followed while the remaining trio made it to ten minutes. Tori and Jonathan started to wobble though managed to save themselves before Chanelle dropped out of nowhere. While Jonathan saved himself multiple more times, he eventually dropped and handed Tori her second immunity in as many episodes. Once again throwing the majority’s plans into chaos.
Back at camp Hai was thrilled to have jagged the rice without having to sit out and gladly started locking in the vote against Chanelle, since Tori had immunity. He and Mike went person to person while telling Chanelle that the actual plan was Romeo, in the hope she wouldn’t play her Shot in the Dark. While Mike assured him it was all a ruse, Romeo started to get nervous and checked in with Drea to find out why things changed between them since the merge. Tori told him that Rocks told her that his name was floating around, leading to him telling Rocks what she said and well, his paranoia started to drive everyone insane. As such, Hai tried to flip the vote on him and while everyone was keen, Mike was very against it and desperate to keep the target on Chanelle. Since she has been nothing but shady to him all game.
At tribal council Jonathan spoke about the fact he was very firm about the people sitting out of the challenge being off limits in the vote. Tori mentioned that while she is safe, it is always hard to not be in the majority since they want to focus on making unified choices. Romeo told everyone they need to stop deluding themselves before Hai clapped back and spoke about not wanting to align with paranoid people. Like Romeo. Drea talked about how aligning with people is dangerous given their bad moves can reflect on you too, before Chanelle and Mike spoke about being unsure who they can trust and what is the right choice to make.
Talk then turned to being in a car and well, it was wild and confusing, though I live for Maryanne talking about holding on to the little middle seat to try and stay in the game. But yeah, who cares about cars, you know they are cursed in Survivor like pizza is on this blog. In any event, the tribe put the car talk into park and voted, with Romeo narrowly avoiding the boot as Chanelle was sent out of the game to become the Queen of the Jury.
As she arrived in the empty Ponderosa, I quickly congratulated her on a game well played. I mean, sure, she tanked it a little after her trip to ship-wheel island, but she still managed to navigate to the jury and most importantly, rule over it as the Queen. With that, I toasted to her success and filled up our royal cups with a fresh batch of Trufelle Howaioli.
At this point in my life, my mantra could easily be, if there is truffle in it, it is in me. Does it make sense? Not so much. But given how good this truffle aioli is, who cares? Creamy and packing a beautiful punch of truffle, I’m in heaven.
Trufelle Howaioli Makes: 1-2 cups.
Ingredients ½ cup Shayonnaise Swain ½ cup sour cream 1 tbsp white truffle oil, plus more for drizzlin’ 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 lemon, zested salt and pepper, to taste ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped ¼ cup rosemary, finely chopped
Method Pop everything in a jug or bowl. Stir until well combined. Adjust seasoning according to taste.\
Previously on Survivor after farewelling the last remaining other target in Swati, Tori was feeling very nervous on Ika and as such, beasted her way through the immunity challenge to guarantee her safety. Oh but not until after all of the idols were activated as Drea found Ika’s and Mike begrudgingly said his phrase. Knowing her vote was critical, Lydia didn’t bother to risk hers on her journey up the mountain with Rocksroy. Which was the right move, given she, Hai and Mike held all the power as Vati went back to tribal council and Daniel was booted from the game. Though not before Chanelle threw a random vote at Mike, making her all the more untrustworthy heading into the merge. Oh and Omar has no vote and Hai, Lindsay and Drea got an amulet advantage, in addition to the trio of idols activated last week.
Or non-merge, as the last season celebrated.
After tribal council, the Vati tribe were gagged to have pulled off the Daniel blindside, with Chanelle particularly thrilled to have bested Daniel in their feud. Though sadly for her, she threw out a vote against Mike to protect herself against any Shot in the Darks being played and thought he would be cool with it. Which he is NOT. Despite them hugging it out. Oh and while Hai would take a bullet for Lydia and Mike, Chanelle, not so much. So yeah Chanelle, you in danger girl. Meanwhile over at Ika Rocksroy was busy doing work around camp and picking fruits, while Tori tailed him like a hawk to try and find out what happened on the summit. Which annoyed the hell out of him as she wouldn’t accept his answers. Oh and as they fought, Drea and Romeo hid behind the bushes eavesdropping, agreeing that Tori is sketchy and not to be trusted. In the slightest.
We got to get a little whisper sesh from Jeff who explained that the merge twist would play out the same as last season, except for the fact they will know that the person going to exile will have a massive power and the victors are allowed to opt to go to exile instead of one of the sit outs. To further that sense of deja vu, the challenge was the same as last year too, where they will dig out a rock and then push it through obstacles to release a pair of keys and climb a wall before solving a puzzle. And the victors would get a massive Applebees feast, alongside a merge buff and immunity from the upcoming tribal council. Well, unless the exilee turns back time, that is. Lindsay and Rocksroy ultimately ended up pulling the grey rocks and landing on the sit out bench.
Jonathan, Tori, Maryanne, Hai and Lydia formed the orange team, while Chanelle, Drea, Mike, Omar and Romero were on blue. And almost immediately, Jonathan took the lead for the orange tribe, coaching them through building a ramp and getting a massive lead as they quickly released their first key. While the blue team tried to close the gap, there is no denying this was team orange’s to lose as the group literally climbed Jonathan to get up the wall before he effortlessly pulled himself up. As Rocksroy and Lindsay rightly marvelled at his prowess. Maryanne and Lydia looked very zen as they calmly sorted their puzzle pieces while Drea held up blue as she struggled to climb the ball and ugh, it was tough to watch. Thankfully Mike and Romeo literally put their bodies on the line and they worked together to get up the ball and yeah, it was heartwarming.
Obviously the headstart proved insurmountable for the blue team as the orange group took out victory and the win, which likely means one of the five will be going home tonight giving this immunity means nothing. The group then cursed Lindsay, selecting her to join them on reward while sending Rocksroy to exile for two days. With only the game changing twist which will make him immune, for comfort.
The victors were giddy as they arrived at their island Applebees, smashing their burgs and delighting in the fact they had officially made the merge. Which is a lie they are tragically unaware of, while Jonathan admitted that he had considered opting to go to Exile which would have kept everyone that won safe. But before we could think about what could have been, Tori talked a bunch of shit about Rocksroy and their OG tribe and then aired all their dirty laundry. Which may endear her to them, or piss everyone off.
Meanwhile the losers ventured to the eventual merge camp where they were thrilled to smash the pity rice they received from Jeff before Drea rightly clocked the merge twist, which is honestly, so damn iconic. Drea then caught up with Mike and suggested that maybe since they both have idols, they should work together and as such, combine their individual alliances to take control. Leaving Chanelle and Tori well and truly on the outs in the process.
We checked in with Rocksroy as he arrived at his desolate island where as predicted by Tori, he was absolutely thrilled to set up camp, whipping up a fire and shelter. And well, he was loving to have all this alone time to just live his best life and see all the vibrant colour the world has to offer (because he has a degenerative eye disease). Oh and he found the hourglass and hammer, but there were no instructions so he just moved them into his shelter.
The winners and losers reconnected at camp with Omar ready to befriend anyone and everyone to keep himself safe at the first tribal council. Lindsay meanwhile wanted to check in with Hai and Drea to discuss their amulet advantages and see whether they will stick together. And while they all said they would, Hai was nervous the women would eventually turn on him. Mike and Maryanne caught up, assuring each other they will work together before the iconic Maryanne started bonding with Romeo and assured him that the little people need to stick together. Oh and then she bonded with Tori too and while she looks well connected, I’m worried it will come back to bite her.
Mike and Jonathan meanwhile watched the sunset together on the beach, bonding over being gentle giants and agreeing to look after each other and ugh, I love them. And more importantly, how much they love each other.
The next day the tribe went hunting for food, collecting crabs and before Jonathan snatched an octopus, then almost grabbed a shark and well, it was iconic. While he is clearly a threat, Hai was still keen to work with him and use him as a meatshield. With everyone bonding around camp, Hai spoke about how he met his boyfriend which led to Romeo pulling him aside and opening up about being gay and wanting to be as open and honest as he is and ugh, I love them. Hai encouraged him to share his story and love himself as Romeo spoke about his fear of people not loving him or worse, needing to silence himself to be accepted. And ugh, once again, I’m crying.
Omar soon joined the boys and talk returned to the game, with Hai telling them both that Chanelle can not be trusted. Which confirmed to Omar that he doesn’t have a vote. And well, she doesn’t care enough for him to let him know he doesn’t have a vote and as such, he was ready for her to go too.
The next day Omar charmed Mike by telling him that he is saving himself for marriage and well, he is ready to marry his partner ASAP. Lydia and Maryanne bonded over being the younguns with the old lady gang names, while Hai officially locked in his alliance with Jonathan. They then pulled in Lydia, Omar, Drea, Mike, Lindsay and Rocksroy, and just like that, they had a majority. Oh and Chanelle or Tori are their number one targets, with Maryanne identified as the next to go from Taku. Though only because Jonathan didn’t want his new allies to think he wasn’t willing to offer someone up.
Oh and then Chanelle walked up to try and find some allies, with them all pretending they have no plans to take her out. Which made Chanelle more and more nervous as they assured her they will not take her out. As Hai, Jonathan, Drea and Omar caught up to further solidify their bond, Omar admitted that he may not have a vote at the upcoming tribal council. Though after confirming they are tight, Drea shared that she has an extra vote and would be willing to give it to him, should they need it.
We ventured back to Exile Island where Jeff arrived to announce the twist to Rocksroy, who was honestly buzzing with joy to be left on his lonesome for a couple of days. Probst then explained the twist to him and while he was nervous about potentially pissing a bunch of people off, he obviously then smashed the hourglass and earnt himself immunity. And guaranteed his place in the merge. And most importantly, left Tori in jeopardy.
The castaways joined Jeff for the first individual immunity of the season where they were gagged to learn about Rocksroy’s power and the fact that the winner’s of the last challenge are now at risk and would be competing in the immunity challenge to guarantee their safety. Which obviously delighted Chanelle, Drea, Omar, Mike and Romeo. Tori on the other hand was irate and told Rocksroy that she was pissed he took away her safety after she gifted him an advantage. Which only made everyone even more weary of her.
But back to the challenge, where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and walk back and forth along a lane, spell out immunity using wooden blocks. With the first person to finish guaranteeing their place in the merge and a spot on the jury at the minimum. Fuelled by her simmering rage for Rocks, Tori got out to an early lead in the challenge alongside Jonathan, until Hai picked up the pace and took out the lead. Until he dropped and handed the lead back to the duo. Then Jonathan dropped, giving Tori plenty of time to calmly walk the course and jag immunity. Despite a late breaking pursuit from Lindsay. And then Maryanne.
Back at camp everyone congratulated Tori on taking out immunity and assured Rocksroy there are no hard feelings. Before everyone quickly split into factions to come up with a plan, with Jonathan assuring Rocksroy he already has an alliance and has nothing to worry about. After Romeo and Tori bitched about the meatheads in the game, Romeo led the charge to get rid of Jonathan. While Maryanne, Hai and Drea weren’t overly keen, Maryanne also just didn’t want to lose her place in the game. Lydia tried to pitch Jonathan to Lindsay and Chanelle, which made go into protection mode and suggested Maryanne would be a better option because she is super strategic.
Chanelle meanwhile saw through her plan to protect herself and Jonathan, which made her more focused on rallying the troops to keep the vote on Jonathan. While Omar desperately worked to protect Jonathan, which gave him a crack as Lydia admitted that she isn’t sure about this new majority alliance. And as such, he went person to person to turn the tribe against her instead. Which obviously pissed off Hai.
At tribal council Hai admitted that this vote is very defining to their season, particularly since the game has been so fluid thus far. Romeo meanwhile spoke about trusting his gut and reading the cues, with Drea countering that sometimes people are just too nervous to make a move even if they want to. While Hai wanted to take this moment to take control of the game. Lydia once again spoke about how playing Survivor has helped her accept all parts of herself. Jonathan wanted to be able to say that he did all that he could do in the game when it was over, while Omar tried to be chill despite knowing people would come for him eventually. While Rocksroy spoke about his nerves over missing two days of the game.
Maryanne said that she planned to make the decision that will help protect her long term, which Drea said is not the right way to approach the game. Maryanne then tried to get her to agree they are on the same page, which Drea, again, iconically refused to agree. Maryanne spoke about being nervous about how charming and chatty she is while Hai spoke about everyone having a different perception of the game. Oh and then a beetle landed on Rocksroy, which is important, if you ask me.
With that the tribe voted, as Lindsay, Jonathan and Maryanne all received a few votes before the rest piled up on Lydia and sent her from the game. Just missing the jury, tragically. Despite the brutal way she went out – the twist, again, is not great – Lydia was still super calm and zen, happy to have been given the opportunity to play the game. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that while it sucks to go out in such an unfair twist, it does put her in the epic company of Sydney and she can always use it to justify needing a second go at the game. With that, he laughed and cried before smashing some Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes
I know, I know – red velvet is just chocolate, but the elegant drama they bring to the looks department always make me excited to eat them. Delicate and fluffy, these babies are the ultimate way to sweeten the bitter after-taste of getting the boot. Or a rough day, TBH.
Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes Serves: 12.
Ingredients 150g flour 1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp bicarb soda ¼ tsp kosher salt ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened 150g raw caster sugar 1 large egg 1 tbsp vanilla extract 100ml buttermilk 50ml vegetable oil 1 tsp champagne vinegar 1 tbsp red gel food colouring 100g butter, softened 225g icing sugar 100g cream cheese, softened
Method Preheat the oven to 160C and line a cupcake tin with cases.
Combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl and pop the unsalted butter and raw caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the unsalted butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and beat in the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and vinegar until just combined. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry until just combined, before mixing through the food colouring. Again, until just combined but also a consistent colour.
Divide the batter amongst the cupcake cases and pop in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
While they are chillin’, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and beat for another minute or so, or until just combined. But for realsies, because the longer you beat cream cheese, the softer it gets.
Once the cakes are cool, piping the icing on top (or dollop with a spoon and hope for the best) before devouring.
Previously on Survivor despite blowing up his game at tribal council as he threw anyone and everyone under the bus, Daniel opted against apologising to his former allies. While they were all busy forming bonds with each other despite the fact they had just tried to vote each other out. Taku continued their winning streak before Ika narrowly lost the immunity challenge, leading to absolute chaos back at camp. Despite wanting to work together, both Tori and Swati busily tried to turn the tribe on the other. Then at tribal council, Swati played her Shot in the Dark and once again, it came up without safety and she found herself booted from the game. While a shocked Rocksroy looked ready to explode with rage.
Back at camp Tori was very grateful to still be in the game while Rocksroy tried to stay calm and find out what the hell changed between camp and tribal council to result in Swati going home. Romeo explained that she was busy playing both sides with Rocksroy appearing to be genuinely grateful to them for taking her out, while suggesting he can ride their social coattails through the game as a strong four. Which is something that Tori has zero interest in, instead looking to jump ship ASAP as she pulled faces about him in the dark.
The next day Maryanne was busy gloating about how great she is at Mario Kart at Taku, with her and Lindsay’s incessant conversation driving Jonathan absolutely mental as he desperately wished for a moment of peace and quiet. And well, the editors definitely picked the best clip to highlight this because even I was confused and frustrated and i’m a Chatty Cathy myself! Instead of completely blowing up, he got to work fishing and chopping wood until Maryanne popped her foot under the bamboo he was cutting and she made a very big deal about it. While they tried to clear the air, it was clear things were going nowhere so Jonathan instead suggested they just move on. And then went to the well with Lindsay and suggested they get rid of Maryanne should they go back to tribal council, given she is annoying. Which is what Maryanne was telling Omar she was worried about at that very moment, while he just wished everyone would get along!
Meanwhile over at Vati Hai was nervous about lingering tensions, knowing that he is still well and truly on the bottom of the tribe. Daniel and Chanelle were busy assuring each other that their last tribal council won’t come between them as they know they need each other, while Hai and Lydia caught up to figure out how they will get themselves out of the minority and make the merge. Just like that, Daniel tried his hand at fishing which allowed Hai and Lydia to question how he was able to fish for the tribe given he keeps sitting out of the swimming challenges due to his dislocated shoulder. Which well and truly pissed off Mike once the duo pointed it out to him.
Back at Ika, Drea and Romeo were busy trying to find their as-yet-unfound idol, with Romeo opening up to us about how he wanted to align with Drea initially because he wants to support strong women in honour of his mum. And the women he coaches to pageant glory back at home. Right on cue Drea then found the Ika idol, celebrating how advantage rich with advantages she is and knowing that Maryanne already has the Taku idol, it means she could have an active idol very quickly.
To womp-womp that though, we pivoted back to Vati however, where Mike was assuring the tribe that he has no plans to activate his idol at the immunity challenge given the idol is automatically powered at the merge and at which point he also gets his vote back. Which must be in very fine print because that has never been mentioned before.
We obviously then headed to meet up with Probst for the immunity challenge where Maryanne opened the show with her bunny line. Drea skillfully spoke about her potato-ness before Mike gagged even me by saying his damn line, activating all of their idols and locking in everyone’s vote for the tribal council ahead. But first, the immunity challenge, where each tribe would race up and over a net and untangle ropes to release a key. Then unlock a machete, chop free some sandbags and then knock over targets. Oh and the winning tribes would also get a tarp.
Following Sandra’s lead, Daniel once again sat out as Ika got out to a very early lead as Taku nipped at their heels. While calling out Jonathan for being a beast last week, it was Tori that absolutely dominated the challenge, burning through the key and machete portion giving Ika a huge advantage shooting at the targets. As Omar made Taku fall further and further behind, Ika took out the first immunity while Vati started shooting at their targets. Sadly for them, Taku finally joined them with Jonathan quickly knocking out the targets and narrowly taking out immunity for the tribe.
Ika then got to select someone from Vati to go on the special journey, opting for Lydia, with their very own Rocksroy offering to be the one to join her.
Back at camp Hai reminded everyone that they are a family and to keep that in mind while they scramble. Daniel admitted that he felt nervous and asked for everyone to meet with him, which is a sentiment that Chanelle echoed. As Hai and Daniel caught up, the former admitted that he believes Chanelle is the least trustworthy of the two and that she is the most likely to flip come merge. Mike and Chanelle meanwhile were busy locking in the vote against Daniel. We finally got a clearer picture of things as Mike and Hai caught up, debating the merits of each of them while they both agreed that it is critical that Lydia holds on to her vote on the journey.
Speaking of which, Rocksroy and Lydia were in awe of their surroundings as they climbed the mountain, with Lydia sharing that the game has truly changed her as a person and made her feel more confident in her own skin. At the top Rocksroy tried to find out who would be the target on Vati, while Lydia tried to dance around the facts and admitted that she wouldn’t be shocked if she was in trouble again. Both of them admitted to us that neither had any interest in sharing too much information about their respective tribes and as such, the awkward as hell conversation made a lot more sense. After splitting up, the duo faced their dilemma with Rocksroy worried about Lydia’s nerves getting the best of her and as such, opted to protect his vote. Which is the same decision she made, given her PTSD from their last tribal.
Lydia returned to camp and quickly admitted that she felt there was too much at stake to risk her vote. She then caught up with everyone one by one to figure out what she missed with both Chanelle and Daniel pledging their undying loyalty and praising her for being in charge. Thankfully Hai gave her the real run down and assured her that they are safe and not to worry.
At tribal council Mike admitted that while somebody had to go home tonight, they are still a strong unit. Daniel praised him for being such a team player which is necessary at certain points during the game. Hai said that while they may be tight, somebody has to be being lied to right now given they still need for someone to go home. Daniel pointed out that Mike means the tribe are a team until the end of their lives, not just the game which made Chanelle point out that he is clearly playing into Mike’s affection for him. Lydia meanwhile pointed out that after tonight, each tribe will have four people remaining and should they merge next week, they need to guarantee their four is a solid one. Which is a sentiment echoed by Hai and Daniel, while Mike reiterated that his vote is based on game and he still cares for the person getting booted.
With that the tribe voted and somehow was split 2-2-1 between Chanelle and Daniel, with a random vote cast against Mike. Mike, Hai and Lydia then revoted and officially sent Daniel out of the game. While Mike angrily acknowledged Chanelle’s vote against him.
As soon as Daniel arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug which elicited massive screams from the sweetheart as I held tight on his busted shoulder. Proving definitively that yeah, he hurt! Given Daniel is a delightful superfan, however, he took that and his boot in stride, grateful to not just have had the opportunity to play the game, but also to get culinary comfort from me in the form of some Chicken Dianiel Strunk.
Yeah, yeah, Steak Diane Keaton is great – and oh so kitsch – but have you ever tried it with a chicken rissole? Because damn, does it taste good. Packing a lightly herbaceous punch, the juicy rissoles pair perfectly with the diane sauce to create a delicious and quick meal.
Chicken Dianiel Strunk Serves: 4.
Ingredients 500g chicken mince ½ cup panko breadcrumbs 4 shallots, thinly sliced 1 egg, lightly whisked ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnishing 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup tomato paste ⅔ cup cream roughly chopped parsley, to serve
Method Combine the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, shallots, egg, parsley and half the Dijon and Worcestershire in a bowl. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Divide into 8 rissoles, pop on a lined plate and cover with cling. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 140C.
Once the rissoles are holding it together, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook half the rissoles at a time, cooking for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a lined baking tray and pop into the oven to keep warm.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and saute the onion over low heat for five to ten minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before stirring through the tomato paste and the remaining Dijon mustard and Worcestershire with half a cup of water. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until gloriously fragrant, before stirring in the cream.
Remove the rissoles from the oven and pop them into the pan to simmer for a further fifteen minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glorious. Sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve immediately, ideally with a glorious mash for optimal devouring.
Previously on Survivor Ika were coming to terms with voting out Zach at their first tribal council. Though their pain or concerns or guilt were nothing compared to how Maryanne was feeling, who upon discovering Zach had been booted, opened up about her passionate love for him. While Jeff waited to explain the challenge, she regaled everyone with a tale about how he is essentially every skinny white guy she has ever loved and it when they locked eyes on the beach, she dared to dream that she may get the win and the guy. Sadly it didn’t translate into winning the immunity challenge as Taku lost, went to tribal council and booted Marya from the game. Thankfully keeping Zach and Maryanne from falling in love too soon.
The next day the Taku tribe were feeling good to have voted together and to be able to stay united, though Lindsay was nervous about the fact Maryanne had an extra vote. Well, unless they use it for the advantage of their alliance. The group then went for a group idol hunt, with Queen Maryanne stumbling across the Beware Advantage too. While she was nervous about the risk, she assured us that she would rather go down in flames than not take any and all advantages that come her way. That being said, she was terrified by the thought of not having a vote until the idol is activated.
Over at Vati Daniel lost his shoes, while Hai and Lydia read him for filth for being so hapless. Daniel reminded us that the tribe is split up into two loyal duos, with him and Chanelle stuck in the middle as another duo by default. Daniel dropped by the Jenny and Mike duo, with Daniel asking for another chance to read Mike’s idol note to confirm the fine print. And upon discovering the fact voting out Mike won’t get rid of all the idols, he decided to not take a shot at Mike and then returned everything to Mike. Well, after losing the idol and joining together to retrace his steps and find it while Mike just tried to stay calm and not cuss him out.
The tribes reconnected with Probst where Maryanne creatively made up her favourite story about the bunny in the mailbox to explain why she will continue to say her phrase every damn week until her idol is activated. But back to the immunity challenge where the tribes would collect a ladder from the ocean floor, use the ladder to collect a key and then retrieve sandbags which they have to land on five ledges. First to win getting a toolkit and fruit to sweeten the deal, with second getting some fruit in addition to their safety.
As soon as the challenge started the surf went absolutely wild, with Jonathan straight up swimming his tribemates back as they veered off course. Vati and Ika both struggled to even make it to their buoys, with Taku only surviving thanks to the sheer heroics of Jonathan who single handedly released their ladder and carried it to the pole before swimming off to collect his tribemates once again before pulling even further ahead. Ika eventually released their ladder, though they were quickly swept off course. Jonathan straight up landed each of his sandbags and won immunity for Taku before Probst decided to press pause on the challenge before someone drowned. For the first time in history, Probst decided that they would be skipping the key portion of the challenge and as such, the last two tribes would fight it out at landing sandbags only.
After receiving their keys, the exhausted tribes raced to collect said sandbags and while Hai landed Vati’s first, Rocksroy evened things up. He then got his eye in and continued to land them back to back leaving him and Mike to fight to land the final bag before Drea and Chanelle switched in, with Drea narrowly eking out the win and sending Vati to their first tribal council. Before sending everyone off, Probst singled out Jonathan for his rightly dominating performance. Oh and he then gagged Taku with the chance to send someone on a summit, opting for Chanelle and their very own Omar.
Back at Vati, Jenny was nervous about Chanelle risking her vote and potentially making their 4-2 majority a 2-2 tie. Jenny and Mike quickly locked in their votes, well Jenny’s vote, for Lydia while Daniel caught up with Lydia and Hai, with that duo locking in the vote for Jenny. While Hai was nervous about trusting Daniel, he was confident he would be on the right side of the numbers. Daniel dropped by Mike and Jenny and assured them that he will be voting with them, despite being very nervous about the fact they only have a vote between them. Meaning they are very much relying on Chanelle to play it safe.
Speaking of Chanelle, she and Omar were bonding on their trek and vowing not to screw each other over with their choices with Chanelle particularly reiterating the fact she can not afford to lose her vote at the upcoming tribal. Though both of them continued to say they’d love to take an advantage, which ended up with both of them losing their votes.
We dropped back to Vati where Daniel assured Lydia that while Mike and Jenny pitched for him to join her, she had nothing to worry about. Which is far less committal than what he told Jenny. Daniel was walking on the shore as Chanelle returned with the latter quickly admitting she may be without a vote and as such, they needed to convince Hai to split the votes on Jenny and Mike to navigate around her potential lack of vote. But given she is normally calm, her paranoia made Hai nervous and he began to question her motivation.
At tribal council Hai sassed Probst out for not giving any of them rice to start the game with while Chanelle lied about playing it safe on her journey, rather than taking a risk. Which is exactly what she did. Hai was confident that while there would be a line drawn in the sand tonight, he is sure they will be able to come back together as a tribe. Oh and then Daniel opened up about being in a constant state of panic, admitting that Chanelle and Mike calm him down. Which made Hai very, very nervous. He then straight up saw Chanelle mouth Lydia’s name to Daniel, while Jenny was talking about her own nerves because there is always the chance people don’t believe she is telling the truth about her journey.
With that the tribe voted where Chanelle learnt that she had lost her vote, resulting in a 2-2 vote between Lydia and Jenny. Probst then announced that there were no more votes in the urn and as such, everyone but Jenny and Lydia would vote again for one of the duo. Which again, came back as a tie. This meant that those people that voted had to come up with a unanimous decision about who goes home and since Mike and Chanelle didn’t vote, their opinions did not matter and the other two would need to make a decision. And if they couldn’t, Lydia and Jenny would be immune and the rest would draw rocks.
Daniel opened things up by saying that he desperately wants to avoid drawing rocks, before trying to blame his vote solely on Chanelle. Which irked both Chanelle and Mike. Mike tried to implore them to make a decision and go back to camp as a strong five, with Hai admitting that he will not be budging from Lydia and would prefer to draw rocks. Daniel continued to throw Chanelle under the bus and completely blew up their alliance, before Hai and Lydia convinced him to flip and save Lydia, changing his vote to tragically boot the iconic Jenny from the game. And honestly, dooming his own.
As Jenny arrived at Loser Lodge, she was obviously disappointed to go out due to a series of errors made by those in her alliance. Particularly when she could have convinced everyone to turn on Daniel and not only keep a 3-2 majority, but also keep the appearances of them being united. Thankfully, I was able to wheel out my old ‘at least you went out during an iconic tribal’ line and as such, she quickly perked up. Though how could you not, when downing some Jenny Pimms Punch with a dear friend.
Pimms Punch is arguably the most delicious, refreshing drink. Picture it, outside on a cool summer afternoon watching the sunset, with a sweet, warming Pimms in your hand. It. Is. PERFECT.
Jenny Pimm’s Punch Serves: 8.
Ingredients 2 cups Pimm’s 3 cups lemonade, chilled 3 cups dry ginger ale, chilled ½ cup mint, washed and roughly torn 1 lebanese cucumber, halved and sliced 1 orange, sliced 200g strawberries, halved 4 cups ice
After more than a year wallowing in the off-season, Survivor made its triumphant return last year complete with a few little nips and tucks as it entered its 40s (but you know, drop that 4)!
Less days meant less rewards, creating a brutal environment as the castaways were forced to utter nonsense phrases, risk their votes, steal advantages or my personal favourite, theatrically smash a clock with a hammer to go full Cher-cuterie and turn back time.
And well, Jeffy Pop loved it so much, they’re doing it all again for 42 (or again, two, depending on whether Jeff wants us to drop the four again)!
Who will follow in Erika’s footsteps and book their eligibility for Winners at War two? Check back next week for the first batch of culinary comfort!