Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie

Lunch, Main, Sandwich, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor we experienced the ultimate – not the best, that is still Micronesia or Heroes vs. Villains – battle with 20 former winners taking to the island to become the champion of champions. Or to Tony, the King to Sandra’s Queen. Then, well, Rona happened and the show was off air for a year and a half and well, let’s just say, it is a relief that Jeffrey L. Probst is back on the screen.

More specifically, back on the screen to welcome us back and share how much he missed us all. No prizes for guessing who was standing directly behind the camera when he delivered that monologue! (It was me, FYI). Anyway, after pointing out a new beware advantage we learnt that the shorter game came with smaller tribes, no food and a lot of risks to make the game even more dangerous.

With that, the three new tribes jetted their way through the ocean where we met Evvie from the Yase tribe, who was thrilled to kick off the new phase of the show. Danny meanwhile binged the show in lockdown and was ready to put his NFL past to work on the Luvu tribe. And well, Heather is my early fave, given she is an older woman and hella charming. JD meanwhile rubbed me the wrong way, given he is young and I am aging. As a frontline worker Voce was just glad to be away from the hospital, Shan was ready to give Pastors a bad name – I think – Sara was just glad to not be stuck in 2020, Deshawn was ready to leave isolation, Erica felt ready to be uncaged and Xander looks like he is going to be a wild twink. And that is a compliment. Think Shawn Mendes playing Survivor rather than being dopey and sweet?

Poor Heather was dropped as my favourite to make way for the iconic Genie, who is perfection personified. Hippy, happy and just so damn charming (I still love you too Heather). She was joined by 17 others on a ship in the middle of the ocean where Jeff officially welcomed them to the new season, with Abraham talking about how ecstatic he is to just not have to wear a mask. Erica meanwhile was grateful she wasn’t dropped from the cast due to the delay, while Naseer won my heart talking about learning English from watching Survivor when he came to America. I mean, what?! He is adorable. Heather spoke about watching the show from the start with her boyfriend, who became her husband AND now with their children. They are all just. So. Sweet.

Jeff then challenged everyone to grow and evolve and have difficult conversations, which led to him questioning his use of the phrase ‘come on in guys’. And after queer, female, icon Evvie told Jeffrey she was ok with, everyone agreed and the game was afoot. We learnt that the blue tribe would go by Luvu, the yellow tribe would be Yase while the green tribe is Ua. Jeffrey then put them to their paces in the first challenge where they would scavenge the boat for six oars for their boat before climbing in and paddling around a buoy to retrieve a key with the first ones to finish getting some meager supplies, while the rest would have nothing. While Luvu got out to an early lead, Ua was hot on their tail as Yase wandered aimlessly around the ship. Ua meanwhile dominated the rowing, pulling away and secured victory as Jeff read Yase for filth for their dodge performance.

Oh and we learnt that Luvu were so shit at paddling because they didn’t unclip the anchor which is hilarious and iconic and I love them.

We first followed Ua back to camp where we met Sara, who shared that her grandmother tragically passed away from COVID and she is out on the island for her, given she is a fellow Survivor fan. She was joined on the tribe with Queen Genie, rancher Brad – who is adorable and sweet – Ricard, JD and Shan. We learnt that Brad also lost his father a week before flying out for the game and ugh, this is going to be super rough if everyone has suffered COVID losses. On the more upbeat end of the spectrum, JD quickly put their flint to use and made fire for the camp and ugh, their joy was so pure.

The Yase tribe meanwhile were embarrassed to have bombed the challenge, though were glad to be together. In their shame. Yase was made up of Liana, Tiffany, Xander, Voce, Abraham and Queen Evvie, who discovered a challenge set up for them on the beach. They had the option to do a brain teaser counting triangles or two of them could gather enough water to fill two buckets and if they failed whichever one they chose, they wouldn’t get any supplies until after the first tribal council.  Voce obviously thought it was a horrible idea to do the bucket challenge, which he and Xander were forced to do while the rest of the tribe got to work setting up camp and searching for idols.

Over on Luvu they too opted for the bucket challenge, leaving Danny and Deshawn to get it done. Before immediately snapping bambo and losing their first buckets of water. Meanwhile at Ua, Queen Genie was opening up about her wife and the support she has always had from her traditional family and ugh, why am I crying so much? Ricard meanwhile was opening up to Sara about his husband and how they met just before he was due to foster a child. But given her husband is a total babe, he was smitten, they quickly got married and had a baby. But now he is guilty about leaving his pregnant husband at home with a toddler that doesn’t understand where he went and when he is coming back.

Back at Luvu, the guys quickly gave up on the bucket challenge and instead were hunting for an idol. Sadly for them, however, Naseer went to make sure they were ok and spotted them, making him backpedal on his plan to not talk strategy until the challenge was done, pulling in the rest of the tribe for a final four.

Over at Yase the boys were struggling with the challenge, though powering along as best they could. Meanwhile Evvie and Liana were catching up, suggesting that the boys would be bonded by the challenge and as such, they should form a duo and side with them. Liana then caught up with Abraham and instead of a generic getting to know you conversation, Abraham opted to shade Tiff for diving off the boat in the opening challenge and paint a target on her back. Sadly for him, Liana pulled her aside and filled her in on everything before we learnt that she had a preemptive mastectomy which ultimately discovered that she had early-stage cancer. Which is just honestly so mind blowing to think about.

We returned to Ua where JD was trying to lay low and not talk strategy in the hope of hiding his superfan status. Obviously that didn’t go unnoticed though as Ricard, Sara and Shan caught up by the well to talk about how hard he is trying to charm everyone and as such, they suggested they should get rid of him ASAP. Well, maybe not Shan, given she was actively forming a ride or die alliance with every single member of the tribe.

Deshawn and Danny meanwhile had given up on the hunt for their idols and returned to working on the challenge while Xander and Voce trudged away on their beach and honestly, all I know is that my basement is flooded. As were all the barrels, as both tribes secured themselves supplies. As soon as it was done, Sydney pulled Deshawn and Danny aside to fill them in on Naseer dobbing them in and DON’T DO THIS TO SWEET NASEER!?

The next day Sydney was living her best life at camp before a boat arrived requesting one person jump on with absolutely zero information. Imagine if someone just stumbled upon camp and suggested this and they went with it? Chilling. Anyway, obviously nobody wanted the target that volunteering would bring, leading to Danny throwing his hand up to avoid them debating all day. Meanwhile Xander gladly took the nomination over at Yase given everyone felt he was least likely to lie to them, leaving the duo to battle or join JD from Ua, thanks to him picking a white rock.

With that, the trio joined together on a new island where they learnt they would take a nice stroll up to the top of a mountain and well, this is a movie I could watch all night. On the way up, we learnt that JD was bullied growing up and that he has worked hard to change his image, inspired by Survivor icons Ozzy and Woo. At the top of the island we learnt that the trio would tragically split up to make a private decision before returning home. Wisely, Danny suggested they come up with a consensus decision so their stories are the same. Sadly for him, the challenge was simply to choose whether to risk or protect their votes. If everyone selected protect, nothing changes. If everyone selected risk, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And if it is split, the people that selected risk people would get an extra vote.

Before we could learn anything, we followed Danny back to camp where he quickly filled the tribe in on the truth and surprisingly, everyone believed him. Xander too opted with the truth route, pointing out he went for the extra vote so that come swap or merge, the tribe now have something in their pocket to get ahead. JD meanwhile sat his tribe down for a very in depth story time and while he almost told the entire truth – minus his choice – he gave so much information that they felt they couldn’t trust him.

The tribes reconvened with Jeff for the first challenge of the season where Ricard gagged everyone by announcing that he had more time to process Jeff questioning ‘come on in, guys’ and requested he drop ‘guys’ which makes so much sense given his family, so don’t even try giving him hate internet. Before getting to the challenge, Jeff announced the new ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist where they would each get a die that they can play once throughout the game at tribal council when it came time to vote, where they can forfeit their vote for a one-in-six shot at a piece of parchment deeming them safe.

But enough about the twist, in the immunity challenge they obviously need to traverse a bunch of obstacles to retrieve puzzle pieces, push said puzzle pieces up and down additional obstacles before ascending a tower and solving said puzzle. Oh and the two tribes that lose will both be going to tribal council AND losing their flints until the next immunity challenge. All tribes were neck and neck before Ua took the slightest lead and Luvu dropped one of their bags, costing them valuable time and leaving them to languish at the back of the pack. Ua were first to start working on their puzzle, quickly joined by Yase while Luvu desperately tried to close the gap. Which they did, whipping through the puzzle and snatching immunity for their tribe.

Back at Yase, Evvie broke down in tears over losing the puzzle for the tribe, knowing it may paint a target on her back. Thankfully for her, Liana and Tiffany were more focused on getting rid of Abraham given he was so quick to target Tiffany on the first day. Meanwhile Abraham was trying to rally the boys to join him in getting rid of Tiff as the weakest. They then took the information to Evvie and while she sounded on board, she knew it was a bad idea for her game. As such, she pulled Voce and Xander aside to point out Abraham is more of a liability, I assume in the broadest sense of the word. She took the information back to Tiffany and while the latter’s gut told her that she would be safe at tribal, she knew not to be complacent and as such went hunting for an idol. Tragically not spotting it when it was right in front of her.

At tribal council the tribe dipped their torches in the fire before Tiffany praised the tribe for being so harmonious and loving. Abraham meanwhile turned things to strategy, suggesting the vote needs to focus on strength, given the tribe is so small. Tiffany spoke about how great Abraham is at talking without actually saying anything at all which led to him highlighting his strength again for good measure. Evvie meanwhile suggested it was a different game, but agreed that strength is still important while Voce crunched the numbers and suggested the ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist isn’t really that scary. Because, you know, maths.

Liana spoke about how nerve wracking the twist is for those that don’t roll their dice, while Xander just wanted the tribe to come together and prove themselves as assets slash challenge threats. Which Evvie reminded them is important for setting up their end game. With that the tribe voted, Xander stealthily pocket his extra vote and poor Abraham found himself becoming the first boot of the new era.

As someone that has posed as a cyber security analyst, you know I am a former best friend of Abraham’s. Who, for the record, I call by her legal name Eric. Anyway, as I spotted him in Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and gave him a massive hug, knowing how painful it would feel to go home so soon after such a long wait. Then I learnt that by going home, the pre-juror’s were truly going home. Effective immediately and as such, I reminded him he is a sweet, charming guy, handed him a Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie and bid him adieu. 

There are so many jokes I could make about how much I love the pickle, hiding said pickles etc. but at the end of the day, those tart little numbers are something I just don’t joke around about. I mean, pop them on a toastie and you take it to the next level.

Enjoy!

Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices sourdough 
2 tbsp Shayonnaise Swain
6-8 slices English leg ham
1 cup vintage cheddar, as sharp as you can find, grated
2 dill pickles, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, for spreadin’

Method
Lay out your bread on a chopping board and spread each with the mayo.

Top two slices with a quarter of the cheese each, followed by the ham, the pickle and the rest of the cheese. Season with a little salt and a good whack of pepper and top with the other slices of bread, mayo side down.

Spread a little butter on the top slices of bread and get a large skillet on the hob over medium heat. Once hot, place the sandies butter side down and cook for five-ten minutes, or until golden and crisp. Smear some butter on the top slices and flip over to cook for a further five-ten minutes. By which time that side should be crispy and the cheese, gooey and glorious.

Serve piping hot and devour.


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Dragfast Vulcanos

Breakfast, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España ten gorgeous queens entered the Spanish Werk Room and were quickly tasked with creating a look from trash. After riding uno toro bareback, which is my idea for a glorious Saturday night. The Macarena – who shared her passion with nudity – lacked polish on the runway, while Dovima’s polished look left her unable to walk. Despite flashing a ball on the bull, Carmen was bested by the artistic and glorious Hugáceo. And Dovima managed to lip sync her way to safety as my nude icon The Macarena found herself becoming the Chuleta de Cerdo.

The queens returned to the Werk Room, overwhelmed to have lost the first queen. They then danced the macarena as Dovima cleaned the mirror. Which is the right balance of a beautiful tribute and the ridiculous that I love. Inti was glad to have the weight of The Macarena off her back, while Dovima was just sad to have sent home someone that had supported her. Pupi being the icon that she is called shade on the show of emotion as Carmen kindly gave her a pep talk. Oh and then sweet Arantxa turned the attention to Hugáceo and congratulated her on her victory, before Vulcano shared that she thought Carmen should have won.

Which is deliciously shady.

The next day the dolls were feeling their oats, with Carmen, Dovima and Sagittaria forming a new villainous trio known as the Ugly Busters. Spraying everyone with hairspray and annoying the shit out of them and, sadly, us. The hole in the ozone layer was given a reprieve with the arrival of Supremme for this week’s mini challenge where they had to unscramble words using the letters pulled out of the sexy, super-sized pit crew member’s underwear. As is oft the case, let’s be honest, nobody cares about the words – and Hugáceo was only thinking about cold sores – all that matters is the pit crew are stunning and we get to watch them pull the coloured letters through the mesh sides of their underwear. Mesh, without pixelation. Swoon.

In any event Pupi apparently took out victory despite the fact I personally won, particularly as they started bouncing their junk around. Again, sans pixelation.

With the boys farewelled, the dolls were tasked with splitting into two girl groups and writing and recording a song about being a diva. As the winner of the mini challenge and the last maxi challenge, Pupi and Hugáceo were team captains with Pupi snatching Inti, Arantxa and Dovima for herself and Hugáceo going with Carmen, Sagittaria and Killer, and as the last queen standing Vulcano was allowed to choose her own team. Ultimately going with Pupi and Co.

Team Hugáceo quickly got to work brainstorming names, settling on The Metal Donnas while Team Pupi seemed to be living their best lives and were well and truly embracing their stupid. Pupi admitted that she can’t sing to save herself but assured her team that Killer Queen is definitely worse and will bring her team down more and as such, they shouldn’t worry about her.

Team Pupi were first to record the song with Supremme before she dropped the bomb that they’d also be premiering their song on the main stage with full choreography. After the queens worked past the gag, Pupi kicked off the recording and thankfully was nowhere near as bad as she made out, which is honestly a great strategy in these instances. And then when she added straight porn moans, I was sold. Arantxa meanwhile sounded like she was chanting, Vulcano seemed nervous, Dovima was dirty in all the right ways and Inti seemed to be better than the awkwardness that was coming across. Team Hugáceo was up next with Carmen needing to add more fire to her performance, Sagittaria needing to find the beat, Killer Queen killing it and Hugáceo feeling overwhelmed and then bombing as they couldn’t get out of their head.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with Hugáceo feeling nervous but ready to work her performance and save herself after struggling the record. Talk turned to Carmen taking over leadership of the team at the request of Hugáceo before Killer spoke about how well they worked together. Oh and Pupi, still, was not trusting anything about Killer. Because she has the word Killer in her name. Carmen was confident that The Metal Donnas were far and away the better group, with Five and a Quarter  – hopefully something is being lost in my inability to translate – quietly working away in the corner to serve the very best looks possible. As Pupi continued to be a shady icon. And then Carmen and Killer got into a fight.

It all happened very quickly.

On the mainstage Supremme, Ana and the Javiers were joined by the absolutely iconic Paca La Pirana. First up were Las cinco y cuarto, with Arantxa’s verse making far more sense as she slayed the opening like the love child of Katya and Miley Cyrus. Inti was sexy and smart, Pupi was wild and hilarious … on her way to her climax, Dovima was channeling a bit of Miss Fame  and then Vulcano looked gorgeous but kind of blended into the background despite being 7 foot.

Las Metal Donnas definitely came out strong with Carmen channelling Shakira and Beyonce’s love child, Sagittaria flipped and splitted all over the stage. And then Hugáceo then had a massive fall from last week, despite looking like absolute perfection. And after that Killer’s energy and rocker look really slayed. See what I did there?

On the Night of 1000 La Venenos runway Sagittaria slayed in a striptease reveal complete with balls pushed up to serve the most realistic fish. Pupi was a flashing delight in a leopard print bandage dress with all the cutouts, Vulcano was stunning in a reveal from a saint to a whore, Inti was stunning in a white mullet altar boy gown before revealing a fishnet and lace dress. Killer Queen was stunning as the sluttiest angel I have ever seen. Dovima was so damn sexy in a red latex bondage madam look, Aranta was channeling Courtney Love in the late 90s in a black bodysuit with shimmering mesh dress over the top. And obviously Hugáceo was a gorgeous sight as she dressed like a straight up superhero, complete with her buns out. And then Carmen stole the show in a red cape before revealing an Eve and the Garden of Eden snake look which was just absolute perfection. Particularly with her buns outs.

Paca praised Inti and Carmen as the most like her friend Veneno, before Sagittaria, Dovima, Hugáceo and Killer Queen were sent back to safety before the judges heaped praise on Pupi for her complete turnaround from last week. She was fun, funny and totally in the game. Vulcano received universal praise for her looks, but not much else. Inti too was praised for her looks, though was read for not giving enough in her performance. She then shared how she knew Veneno and she encouraged Inti to transition and damn, it was beautiful. Arantxa was praised for her charm but was read for having inconsistent energy and not giving an iconic enough Veneno look. And then Carmen received universal praise for literally everything she did in both the performance and the runway.

Backstage the queens were just grateful to be safe, particularly since they thought they would be in the bottom once Hugáceo was grouped with them. They explained how their superhero outfit was a tribute to Veneon. They speculated who would be in the bottom with them all agreeing it should be Arantxa and Vulcano. Just like that, the tops and bottoms joined them with them quickly sharing that Carmen clearly has the win on lock, crying tears of joy in the process. Vulcano meanwhile was annoyed that she was tasked with losing the platforms, despite the other queens not having to ditch their heels. The girls were interrupted by Inti breaking down over the emotion of talking about Veneno and sharing their journey as a trans person. But Arantxa, being a sweet icon, quickly gave her a hug and supported her before the rest of the queens rallied around her to remind them how brave they were to share their story. Pupi admitted that hearing Inti’s story really moved her. While Dovima was annoyed that she couldn’t hate them all like she wanted to.

Ultimately Pupi was sent to safety as Carmen was handed her first victory of the season. On the flipside, Vulcano was enraged to find herself in the bottom while Inti’s killer Veneno look saved herself, and Arantxa found herself lip syncing against Vulcano. As soon as Veneno’s Veneno pa tu piel kicked off it was clear that neither queen wanted to go anywhere, but it was truly Arnatxa’s demented, maliable performance that stole the show as she sold sex while flipping around the stage and tearing off her outfit. As such, when the votes came in it was Arantxa that was saved as my love Vulcano exited the competition.

Thankfully both Vulcano and I were filled with the same simmering rage about the fact she was felled from the competition. I mean, normally I am being talked down but this time, I was able to feel mature as I allowed myself to remind Vulcano that being eliminated is nothing more than bad luck and that she will always be a talented icon. Being a calming influence is nott something I am used to, but I’m glad I was able to put that mood to use and perk Vulcano back up.

Thought maybe that was my Dragfest Vulcanos?

Combining the holy trinity of breakfast items, these little numbers are a kitsch delight that are also a winner when it comes to flavour. A little salty, creamy and spicy, the oozing cheesy egg is the perfect way to start the day.

Enjoy!

Dragfast Vulcanos
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
3 large potatoes, washed or peeled depending on the variety
6 rashers streaky bacon
5 eggs, whisked
½ onion, finely diced
2 tbsp chives
1 tbsp smoked chilli sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Cut each potato in half and hollow out to form a potato shell, placing them on a lined baking sheet with the larger side down. Wrap each potato with a rasher of bacon and hold in place using some toothpicks. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until the bacon is golden and crisp.

While the potato is cooking through, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl with the onion, chives, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are prepped, add a sprinkle of cheese on the bottom then fill the potatoes with the egg mixture. And then topping with more cheese. Return them to the oven and bake for a further twenty minutes, or until cooked through. Top with remaining cheese and cook until melted.

Serve immediately and devour, happy in the knowledge that Drag Vulcano is an icon.


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Breked McKenziti

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Pasta

After spending the start of Oscar Gold hang with current nominee Quentin Tarantino, icon Nat Port, the inspiration for this year’s name – Gold Basketball – Kobe Bryant and the stunning screenwriter Di, I thought I should celebrate some of my favourite Anzac victors. And there is no victorious Kiwi that I love more than Bret McKenzie.

I first met Bret on the set – am I Dr freaking Zeuss? – of The Lord of the Rings, and we quickly bonded over our passion, and talent, for songwriting.

While our partnership fell through and he found success with Jemaine Clement instead, after a few years of mediation and a brief stint in prison for me, we put aside our differences and once again became friends.

In no small part to my dear Amy Adams, who wanted us to be friends again.

After blowing straight across the ditch into his arms in Wellington, I quickly begged him to use whatever sway he has to convince Jacinda to adopt our entire country and call us West Zealand. While he responded with a wry chuckle, I held his head like Gordon Ramsey calling someone an idiot sandwich, looked him dead in the eye and begged him to save us.

He calmly walked me over to his couch, sat me down and talked me through the shame I was experiencing not having Jacinda as Prime Minister before gently reminding me that we have a job to do. And that job is to run the damn odds.

So run the damn odds we did!

For Sound Mixing and Editing we both agree that 1917 is most likely to take it, since they both seem to favour war movies. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford v Ferrari snatch one or both away from the teams.

For Original Score Hildur Guðnadóttir should pretty much clear a space for her little man because she is a lock for Joker. And lastly, in Bret’s former category, Elts and Bernie have it in the bag for Rocketman and I am so happy that I can actually be happy for him.

With that out of the way we caught each other up on our lives and spitballed ideas for the next Muppets reboot before sitting down to a big, warm Breked McKenziti.

 

 

Cheesy and gloopy, yet all together comforting and spicy. A baked ziti is one of the most glorious things. Add in some buffalo chicken, and you’ve got perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Breked McKenziti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g ziti, cooked to packet instructions
3 tbsp butter
500g chicken mince
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
250g cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
2 tbsp Michelle Branch Dressing
¼ cups chives, roughly chopped
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160° and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile place a dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the chicken mince and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes, breaking up the back of the wooden spoon as you go. Add the flour and cook for a further minute, still stirring, until it is a sticky, gloopy mess.

Remove from the heat and stir in the milk until the sauce comes together. Return to the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing and stir until coming together. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes, or until thick.

Add the chives, cooked ziti and cheddar. Stir and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and goopy.

Serve immediately and devour. Victoriously.

 

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Spicy Macharroni Chills

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 Australians were dumped in the Fijian jungle, once again split up into tribes of Champions and Contenders with the latter desperate hoping to get revenge on Shane Gould. Who last year taught us that she is not to be fucked with. One by one they were sent from the game with Anastasia, Laura – yep, happening – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, booted before the merge, Ross was tragically medevaced, ultrafan Andy was felled before the jury, while Shaun, David, John, Daisy, Simon, Janine and Abbey were sent to the jury back-to-back. After losing the final four immunity challenge, all hope looked lost for Luke who tried to convince Pia to vote with him and force Baden into a fire making challenge against the returning Champion. Ultimately Pia knew her best shot was to trust in herself to get to the end and joined the Contenders to send Luke to the jury, breaking Australia’s hearts in the process.

The next morning the final three stood by the shore taking in the view, with Harry thrilled to finally be the odds on favourite to win the game. Clearly unaware that pride generally comes before the fall. Pia was lacking Harry’s bravado, struggling with the fact she had to vote out a dear friend to make it to the final three. She listed her impressive resume and hot damn, I need her to win. Baden was sick of being underestimated and honestly, I am just feeling guilty for essentially writing him off as a non-entity in the episode.

Finally they arrived at a clearing where Jonathan’s killer guns welcomed the trio to their final immunity challenge where they were required to stand on two narrow pegs while holding on to two ropes keeping heavy idols aloft, with the last one standing snatching immunity. Before the challenge got underway, Jonathan gave them all a little extra inspiration for the challenge and called out their family. Harry sobbed as his girlfriend and mother were wheeled out, Baden broke down as his parents and brother arrived on the scene, but Pia’s emotional reunion with her husband and kids was the true star of the moment. Pia was crying, her husband was crying, the kids were cute bewildered and desperate for a nap and honestly, my goofy grin couldn’t be wiped off my face. Then I cried happy tears.

After Pia gave an inspiring speech about appreciating her family even more, the families were sent to sit out bench and the final three stood atop their perches. Baden, giddy for the fun ahead. Both Baden and Harry looked wobbly early on the challenge but the trio managed to power on for an hour, which was just long enough for the sun to set and the set to light up in fire in an epic manner. After two hours Baden started talking about stargazing, which his mum pretending to be interested though clearly not giving a fuck. Baden then started running his mouth like Christian Hubicki and honestly, I stan. After 4.5 hours the pain started to get to PIa, before Harry nearly tumbled off the pegs only to be saved by the love of his girlfriend. At five hours Pia buckled in pain, moaning through while her husband covered his eyes from the sidelines and tried to remind her that she could do it. While Pia fought back tears, her husband reminded her that she can drop if she wants however she reiterated that she isn’t ready to go home.

He then went full lamaze class, helping her stay focused, getting her to breathe through the pain and miraculously, she found the strength to pull her idols back to the top. The challenge then ticked over to 6.5 hours, earning the record for the longest challenge in Australian Survivor history. But at what cost, honestly. Harry was shaking and grunting in pain, Pia looked like someone was cursing her with an avada kedavra. Then, out of nowhere, Harry asked Jonathan to come over and help him out of the challenge and honestly, my heart broke for him in that moment and I’m back to loving everyone. Pia then asked for help getting out of the challenge, breaking down in tears and handing Baden final immunity.

Pia, why couldn’t you wait long enough to make a deal with Baden?!

We immediately arrived at tribal council where the jury were shocked to see Baden wearing immunity. He admitted that the power of being the only person voting tonight is really weighing on him, aware that both have played strong games and not sure who the jury will respect more. Pia jumped in to fight for her life, not willing to say Harry doesn’t deserve it and instead reminding Baden that he and Harry have played the entire game together and as such, Harry, the flashier player, already owns them and he won’t be able to claim them. Harry argued that his game is already transparent, while Pia has been stealth and letting her get to the end to argue her case is the bigger risk. Harry then pointed out the majority of the jury are also Champions, so already the odds would be stacked against him.

Pia jumped in to point out that she voted out every Champion but Janine and as such, she has made a lot of enemies and as such, he has the better shot against her. Harry pointed out that Pia makes very convincing arguments and as an actress, knows how to perform for an audience. He then pointed out that he wanted to take Baden before the final immunity challenge and honestly that just proves that he thinks he can beat him. Which Pia rightly pointed out before reminding Baden that everyone has tried desperately to get rid of Harry throughout the game and his final big move, would be taking him out in front of the jury.

With that Baden went off to vote and hot damn, Pia the icon somehow won the battle and Harry was sent from the game with the single vote.

Was Harry as likeable a villain as David? No. Was he as nude as my favourite Contender John? Of course not. Does his half-closed eye fill me with concern about what happened? Undoubtedly. But none of that takes away from his ridiculous staying power in the game. While cockroach sounds like a mean title, I explained that it was true and he should wear the title proudly because there were a lot of other people that didn’t survive their shitty hands – and then I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride – which only prove how strong a player he is. So despite myself and the fact Nick Wilson is his favourite player (a sign of a new fan), I whipped him up a Spicy Macharroni Chills.

 

 

Just when you thought chilli and macaroni cheese couldn’t get any more delicious, I go and mix them up in a vat and bake it with even more cheese. It may not be pretty or elegant, but like Harry’s game, it is effective in filling you with all the happy feels.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Macharroni Chills
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
olive oil
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, pricked
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh chorizo, casings removed
2 onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Heat oven to 150C and put a large pot of salted water over high heat, and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or so.

Heat a small lug of oil in a dutch oven and cook the chorizo, breaking up with the back of the wooden spoon, until browned and the fat has started to leak out. Add the onions and cook for a further five minutes, or until softened and sweet. Add the butter and cook until melted before dumping in the flour, mustard powder, sriracha and Worcestershire and stirring into a glorious gloop. Cook for a minute or so before bringing off the heat and stirring through the milk. Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes, or until the milk has started to thicken.

Once the pasta is ready, add it to the dutch oven with the blistered tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of each cheese and stirring until well combined. Decant into a large baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly.

Devour immediately, trying hard to avoid the ropes of molten cheese. Like Harry avoided the boot for longer than anticipated.

 

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David and Luke were riding high in control of the tribe, unaware that the Champion women were growing tired of their schtick. After Dave lost immunity, Pia led the crew to turn the tribe against David, with them approaching the former Contenders one by one until they were sure that everyone was keen to take him out. The poor boys thought the target was on Daisy’s back, with the only foil to the plan being their ability to hide the truth from the boys. Despite some near misses at tribal council, David held on to his idol one more time, which tragically was the wrong decision as everyone but Luke successful blindside him from the game. Though Luke to live for it and laughed with them as David found his way to the Jury Villa.

Back at camp everyone was in a celebratory mood after the epic blindside, with Pia admitting to being worried half-way through tribal since everyone was so good at lying to the boys. While Luke tried to keep his spirits up after being left out, he assured everyone that he is still happy to work with everyone and understands why he was left out of things. He then went wandering for an idol, though tragically was followed by Baden and Harry. Not one to waste an opportunity, he suggested they all steal the pot and rice and have themselves a killer little rice feast while everyone slept. Luke was feeling good about their bond after the shared theft, but I can’t help but feel like this will only come back to bite him.

The next day John returned for another glorious nude scene as everyone spoke about how beautiful the morning was – breach – before sitting down to a celebratory breakfast of rice, thrilled to take out their biggest competition. Daisy then roasted David’s looks before admitting to want to bone Simon – who? – or Shaun – duh – before Janine continued to relish in the Davidless world, feeling her power growing in the game. She caught up with Abbey and the two confirmed that playing Champions strong is their best idea for the next few votes. Pia joined her allies, to quietly celebrate before she started to worry about putting Luke offside. With that she approached Luke by the well to reassure him that while his ally was blindsided, she and him were still solid. Standing right next to an idol.

By the shore Daisy was still feeling her oats after the killer acting performance at tribal council, boldly approaching Janine and Abbey to find out who would be the next to go. While she didn’t appear to be too concerned about their deflections, Harry was nervous and decided to take matters into his own hands and commenced searching for an idol. Sadly for him, Daisy was one step ahead of him, reaching into a rock wall and grabbing her second idol of the game, which she intends to use to get out a massive threat. While she panicked about finding a place to hide it, Luke and Pia returned to the well with her nervously trying to pretend that she didn’t just find one. Luke being Luke, he straight up asked her whether she just found an idol with her giggled out her admission before he and Pia suggested they could work with her to find a way to play it successfully and make yet another big move.

Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would be paired up to balance an idol on the end of long sticks that they need to rub together. They were playing for a giant Chinese banquet so everyone was thrilled, as they paired up and Harry was forced to sit on the bench. Though he was given a reprieve, told that if he picked the winning pair he would join them, selecting Abbey and Janine for a throuple date. All the duos – Luke & Baden, John & Simon, and Pia & Daisy – were strong through the first two lengths of pole before Pia and Daisy dropped their idol adding the third segment. Everyone survived the next three extensions before Luke and Baden dropped sticking their last length of pole in. The were quickly followed by Simon and John, handing Janine and Abbey the win, and Harry for his killer betting abilities. Realising it was awkward to eat as a throuple, Jonathan allowed them one extra guest, with Harry selecting Simon to join them to hopefully find an in with the Champion crew.

The victors arrived at the jungle Chinese banquet, relaxing as they sat down to share a meal. Janine joked about the four of them being plotted against by the five back at camp, before getting super bold and floating plans for the next tribal council, hopeful to work with Harry given he is more predictable to some of her other options. After finishing the meal, Simon started casing the joint and discovered the plates from everyone’s family before we got to know Simon a little better, learning that he has three kids and is kinda hot. He then praised how good his son’s handwriting has gotten and hot damn, I guess I’m in love. Abbey cried about her plate, Janine showed off her sexy family and Harry outed himself as a superfan as his girlfriend wrote about Survivor being his lifelong dream. Oh and the plate made him realising that aligning with Janine is in his worst interests, making him focused to reunite the Contenders and find a way to take back control.

Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to have another idol to her name, though was unsure just how she will make it work. Particularly since she was court in the act – not Courtney Act – by Luke and Pia, and kinda needing to play along with them to make it work out.

Jonathan made his triumphant return for the next immunity challenge where everyone was forced to balance themselves between two long poles while planking. Oh and to update, John’s buns look great in his speedo. Harry dropped mere minutes into the challenge, followed closely by Abbey who let rip some glorious old man noises. Luke fell after three minutes, followed closely by Pia and my love, John. At ten minutes Baden started listing sequences until someone guessed them, after Simon identified the Olympic hosts, Daisy correctly guessed Eurovision and dropping out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Janine dropped, leaving King Baden to face off against our mute love Simon. The boys continued to fight, both desperately wanting a win under their belt leading to John starting to coach Baden in the hope that the youngo could secure the win. Sadly it was all for nought, as he couldn’t hold out any longer and Simon snatched himself immunity.

The tribe returned to camp to kick off their scrambling. Abbey was thrilled that Simon won the immunity challenge, though was more thrilled about the fact it was a Champion. Speaking of the Champs, they pulled themselves aside while Daisy rallied the Contenders to share that she has the idol. She then suggested that they all stick together and load the votes on one person, and she will play the idol to even up the numbers. While it isn’t a full-proof plan, they all agreed that it was their only shot. The Champions meanwhile were keen to get rid of Daisy, which led Luke and Pia to spill the knowledge of her idol. With that, the vote flipped to Harry as the easy(ish) option.

Luke and Baden then caught up by the well, with the latter hopeful to use their bond to keep the Contenders safe. Baden told Luke that he knows about Daisy’s idol, while Luke lied and said that he hadn’t told any of the Champions which made sweet Baden over confident and hot damn, am I nervous. Luke returned to JaQueen and Pia to fill them in, leaving the three to bounce back and forth between who to vote for before Pia admitted their only hope is to make Daisy so nervous that she blows the idol on herself.

At tribal council Daisy immediately put her idol around her neck, hopeful her brazen display would be enough to bamboozle the Champions. JaQueen was surprised to see her wear the idol, though was fairly sure that she had it. She then questioned why she was wearing it, unsure whether it was a bluff, or she planned to play it on any former Contender. Abbey and JaQueen agreed that old tribal lines were hard to break, though Janine mentioned that no matter what the game resets after every tribal council. With that Harry interjected to ask how that is true, given she always has control before John interrupted them to say that no matter what they believe, a pecking order exists and that won’t change unless the people on the bottom join them and switch things up.

Harry played into everyone’s fear, reminding them that they need to start making moves before their options join the jury. John doubled down, telling them that playing for fourth and fifth is pretty weak and they need to finally have a crack. Abbey admitted that they were aware of the idol all day and had just tried to figure out a way to navigate it. Daisy joined the fray to admit that playing the idol is her only hope and she’d rather play it on the wrong person than not have a crack. JaQueen started to make Daisy nervous, hopeful that she could make her burn the idol on herself. Abbey spoke about the Champions having two recurring targets, which John identified as a way to spook the Contenders away from playing the idol on him and as such, maybe he is their one true target.

With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and while the Contenders piled their votes on Abbey, someone cast a random vote for Harry and the rest voted for John. The tribe then revoted between John and Abbey with them coming in three apiece before tragedy struck and Zaddy John was sent from the game. With his budgies back at camp to boot.

While I was heartbroken to think that John’s pert butt won’t be kicking off every episode anymore, I was thrilled to see him expanding my Jury Villa harem. I took him in my arms after tribal council, congratulated him on a game well played before leading him back to the aforementioned villa for what I coined ‘an explosive surprise.’

Full disclosure, John forced me to change my practices this season, partly because of his passion for nudity and the other part because I wanted to woo him. To pull back the curtain, I usually arrive in Fiji with a recipe list for all of my friends with a suitcase full of groceries – so really the winner loses as that food is rotten by Day 50 – but seeing John parade around in speedos, flooding my basement in the process, I knew I had to give the man what he wanted. In the hope that he realised that he wanted me to. While I don’t kiss and tell, I can confirm that he was thrilled I pulled a Cher Horowitz, hauled arse to the kitchen, rearranged things and served him up a Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe. Aka a meal worthy of my King.

 

 

And boy am I glad I did. While it isn’t exactly what he sultrily described to Daisy and Shaun, this baby still filled him with joy. Juicy chicken enveloped in a spicy corn-chip crumb, slathered with salsa, ham and a tonne of dripping cheese, finished off with a dollop of sour cream and guac? Let’s just say a way to this man is definitely through a Mexi-parm.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two fillets each
200g corn chips, blitzed to a crumb
1 cup flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg
2 tsp milk
1 cup salsa, store bought or Struthers, I don’t mind
100g ham, sliced
⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
100g vintage cheddar cheese, sliced
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the corn chips and flour in two bowls and mix each with half of each spice, and the corn chip mix with parmesan. Then whisk the egg and milk in a third.

Working one at a time, dip the breast in the spiced flour, followed by the egg wash and then into the corn chip crumb, pressing to make sure it is heavily coated. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat until the chicken is done.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, drizzle with salsa, top with sliced ham, drizzle with more salsa, dot with jalapenos, and cover with cheese. Return to oven and bake for a further ten minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Serve immediately and devour, seductively, wooing your man. Is anyone else feeling short of breath and sweaty?

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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Loadesiree Potatafuye

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

Previously on Survivor, the end of the Chris v. Dom feud led to a unified Naviti splitting the vote between Michael and Libby to continue the desolation of Malolo. While Ozzy’s glowed up stick – not this NSFW one – saved Michael, poor Libby found herself heading out of the game and straight to the jury.

Given it was a rather straightforward tribal, we joined Lavita the next day with Dom telling Laurel about his dream from the previous night which featured a cameo from Martin Sheen – or maybe Michael TBH, I can’t remember – and a killer bacon and egg roll. While I would have loved to hear more about the dream and the BER, Des joined us to share that while the food situation is dire her experience being homeless set her up to deal with it. I’m a terrible person for caring more about the dream story, aren’t I? Des then joined Laurel, Donathand and Jenna to tell them that she was looking to make a move, put an end to Kellyn’s Naviti strong and take her out, followed by Wendell and Dom. While that is the best idea, she is telling Wendell and Dom’s closest ally and therefore it seems doomed to backfire.

Before we can hear more about her BIG MOOOOOVEEEESSSS, Probst returned to lord over yet another team reward challenge where they were required to have two people rescue the remaining members of their team, collect puzzle pieces and then, obvi, assemble said puzzle. Sebastian and Michael got the orange team out to an early lead and I noticed that Michael is once again wearing shorts instead of his holey jocks, making me yearn to see how large the holes are now. Anyway, Wendell is still rocking the jocks and I’m moister than an oyster. So anyway, the orange team of Sebastian, Michael, Chelsea, Kellyn and Jenna dominated while Donathan – who wasn’t selected – looked on and purple languished at sea. While purple did their best to close the gap, boy wonder Michael lead his team through the puzzle and to victory of a chopper ride and picnic. Once again, the victors couldn’t come to consensus about who to send to Ghost Island leaving the Survivor Gods to send Angela for a trip while they headed to the chopper.

Michael and Co arrived at the reward site, struggling to comprehend how epic their victory was and gave Michael the chance to find cracks in the majority. Which I hope for my lust’s sake, they listen to. While Chelsea and Sebastian were making him feel better, Kellyn was confident it was all a rouse and they were still – wait for it – Naviti strong. Meanwhile over at Ghost Island Angela was given the opportunity to play for an advantage and given she has the majority without her vote, she went for it. Sadly for her, she picked badly and finished with no vote at the next tribal which could screw her if a flip does happen.

Back at camp Laurel and Donathan decided they were better off sticking with Dom and Wendell, so went to them to share that the people on the bottom of the Naviti alliance were planning to flip on them ASAP. While Dom admitted it was in their best interests, he made quick work of putting out the fire by telling Kellyn that her closest allies wanted to kick her out at the next tribal council. She was mildly concerned that it was true, she felt confident enough to trust her gut that they would never turn on her.

Laurel and Donathan continued their dominance, encouraging Michael to go searching for yet another idol to try and ensure his safety. While Michael was a man on a mission, Donathan wanted to join him and then snatched it out from beneath him. Said idol was Scot’s Kaoh Rong idol which was cursed when Tai refused to join it with his idol to save him. As such, said idol was powerless unless Donathan could get the idol under the middle of the shelter to restore its power. He then returned to the shelter and with Laurel, Michael and Jenna’s help was able to distract the tribe long enough to make the grab and reverse the, yep, curse.

Probst returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribe was required to balance a ball on a disc suspended like two ropes, so you know Probst is going to have fun with ball puns. Wendell dropped almost instantly, I assume because his balls were covered by shorts. He was quickly followed by Jenna, Laurel, Des and Angela, before Michael proved adept at ball play and could keep it up. Not long after Donathan and Dom dropped out, followed by Michael just before the next section of the challenge. While the final three looked solid, Kellyn dropped soon after getting to the next stage before Sebastian couldn’t keep up his luck, dropping the ball and handing Chelsea victory. I think, since she is barely on screen.

After briefly congratulating Chelsea, Des celebrated the fact Kellyn didn’t win and got to work rallying the troops to take her out. Sadly Kellyn confronted Des and Chelsea about their potential flip assuming it was just a lie Laurel told Dom rather than the truth. Des then approached Laurel and the remaining Malolo members about her alleged lies to Dom to cover her tracks. Sadly for her, Donathan was also present for the conversation and quickly pointed out that it happened. Laurel and Dom reconvened, vowing the strong need to stick together and take Des out on the defensive. Dom then pulled in Michael, while Laurel and Jenna went to convince Kellyn that the conversation actually happened. Which she kinda did, despite still feeling it was too early to destroy the OG Naviti tribe. She then confronted Dom and accused him of starting an all male alliance with Michael which made me extremely confused as they headed off to tribal council.

At tribal council Des was quick to throw Des under the bus for causing all of the drama at camp. While she tried to deflect and make it seem like Laurel was making things up, Laurel, Donathan and Jenna joined Michael in completely dominating tribals and read Des for filth and called her out for all of her lies. While Chelsea was concerned about being thrown under the bus by Des’ plan, she had immunity and was kinda blase about the sitch. Michael was still feeling nervous about the upcoming vote since he is still on the bottom – I wish – while Donathan seethed about the fact no one was trusting them when it came to Des. Kellyn tried to channel her inner Jessica Jones and get to the truth while Des just seemed over sorting it out and just wanted to vote. Tragically for her that was a mistake as said vote resulted in her becoming the third member of the jury.

Poor Des was hella exasperated by the time she arrived at Ponderosa, though given the fact she was the one that spent the last 24 hours lying to save herself I was kinda confused. I mean, sure, be disappointed … but exasperation at people not buying your lie. I call sour grapes. Obvi I didn’t tell her this to her face, instead opting to hold her tight, let her cry through the pain and then cheer her back up with a Loadesiree Potatafuye.

 

 

While my primary school tuckshop referred to them as stuffed potatoes, there is nothing better than a loaded potato. I mean, how can you go wrong with a bed of gloriously baked potato stuffed full o’ – wait for it, waaaaaaiiiiit for iiiiiiit – all the fixin’s?

Enjoy!

 

 

Loadesiree Potatafuye
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 large potatoes
¼ cup sour cream
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp smoked paprika
small handful of chives, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 shallots, roughly chopped
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Prick potatoes with mental skewer, wrap tightly in foil and place on a lined baking tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for an hour or so, or until soft.

Unwrap the potatoes and slice off the tops. Scoop out the flesh and mash in a large bowl with the sour cream, butter, paprika, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir through half the shallots, bacon and cheese and spoon the mixture back into the potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining shallots, bacon and cheese, and transfer to the oven to bake for a further ten minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately. Full of glee.

 

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Lindsay Lohand Fries

Main, Side, Snack, Street Food

Don’t you just love a good comeback story? And no. I’m not referring to the sublime TV show The Comeback based on an unnamed friend of mine – Mickey was modelled after me – I’m talking about the upcoming resurgence of my dear friend la Lohan.

As you could probs surmise, I first met Linds on the set of The Parent Trap. You see, I had convinced my dear friend Nance Myers to do an updated version to one-up the Olsen Twins and It Takes Two – it was during a brief feud – but was bested in the audition process by Lohan. Thus telling her it was the inferior movie, despite it being a modern classic and her performance – no doubt – inspiring Tatiana Maslany’s brave performances in Orphan Black.

Anyway, Nance offered to become my kitchen designer to soften the blow and that defused the on-set tension enough for Linds and I to realise that we’re essentially the same person, and as such would make the best of friends. Ever.

As an apology for being quite vicious early on in filming, I got Linds cast opposite my girl Tyra in Life-Size … then Freaky Friday with Jamie, followed by Mean Girls with Ames and Teens, after which, she became the star she was destined to be.

It was such a delight to finally have Linds over and to celebrate her reaching the halfway point of our career rehab plan. While I don’t want to spoil much of what is ahead for Queen LiLo, I can say that my Lindsay Lohand Fries aren’t the only bright point in her future.

 

 

Are loaded fries hella basic? Yes. But let’s be real, I am a basic bitch, Linds loves me for it, and the combination of bacon, shallots, cheese and piping hot fries are something that never fails. Ever.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lindsay Lohand Fries
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into fries
olive oil
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
salt, sour cream and/or sriracha, to serve … optionally

Method
Preheat oven to 200C.

Toss the freshly cut fries through olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

While the fries are baking, bring a skillet to heat. Once piping, reduce heat to medium and add the bacon. Cook, stirring, until crispy and glorious.

When the fries are done, lightly salt them and transfer to a bowl before topping with the cooked bacon, shallots and a generous helping of cheese. Sour cream and sriracha are optional extras, but come highly recommended when you’re ready to devour.

 

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Matt Cheeseballm

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

Good news everyone! Survivor NZ returns in less than a week, and while Thailand is far less likely to result some butchered pronunciations – remember Knee-Coo-Argh-Goo-Ah? – my dear, dear, dearest friend Matty Chisholm is back on the case to carry the show to greatness once again.

While sure, it felt very old school compared to what we’re used to these days … and both Tom and Barb were egregiously robbed of a deserved win, Survivor NZ had its moments of greatness. And had the ability to fix some of its mistakes heading into the second season.

Or so Matty assured me before I was whisked away to share a villa with him in the Thai jungle for 40 days whilst cooking for the latest cast-offs.

(“I’d be too nervous unless we share Matt!” I lied through my teeth).

Anyway, as a fellow, classically trained journalist, Matt and I have been close friends for years. I was working on the 20/20 crew that was interviewing his family about his inspirational brother’s story, and took Matt under my wing after spotting a fellow storyteller.

While Matt is hella busy with press and the impending arrival of his second child, he was thrilled to be able to follow in Probst and Jonathan LaPaglia’s footsteps and countdown to the latest season / celebrate all things Survivor.

Obviously we can’t spoil too much other other than to say that this season is nik livil – dare I say it, school yard pick tribes are on the horizon to start – though after a belly full of my Matt Cheeseballm, why wouldn’t you be happy?

 

 

Now first things first, yes, this recipe sounds like jizz ball. But I will counter by saying, how doesn’t that sound appetising? Creamy, salty, meaty and packing a kick, what more do you want to smear on a cracker? I’m talking about the dip FYI. And a cracker, not a SAO.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matt Cheeseballm
Serves: I say one, you say 6-8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
1 ½ cup vintage cheese
1 red capsicum, diced
4 shallots, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and drained
a handful of chives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Blitz the cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

Remove to a bowl, fold through the capsicum, shallots, bacon, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge, shape into a ball and roll through the roughly chopped parsley to coat. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge to fully set for an hour or so.

After that, it is open slather so demolish with you fave crackers.

 

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