Noelle Lambertshranger

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was carved back into two for the now-annual split tribe double tribal round. And as we’ve come to learn, chaos well and truly ensued. Over at the losing group Queen Noelle led the charge against James, playing her Steal a Vote on Owen to lull him into a false sense of security before brutally blindsiding him from the game. Over at the winning group, Cassidy and Ryan’s feud came to a head with the former finally coming out on top, blindsiding him from the game with a full bag – and pair of pants – of seafood to boot.

Back at camp emotions were mixed as the groups came together and though Karla was meant to be out of the loop on the James plan, she was glad Sami told her about it. Obviously though, she was nervous. Cassidy meanwhile was thrilled to outplay her nemesis Ryan, particularly when he was still actively targeting her. Jesse on the other hand was feeling super powerful, knowing where all the advantages are and being super well connected with literally everyone in the tribe. Begging the question, is this the pride that comes before a fall or a strong thing to point out for a winner?

My love Jeffrey returned early in the episode for the latest reward challenge where they would each stand in a frame and spin around to wind in a buoy before racing over a cargo net and over a balance beam to collect a sandbag,  untying knots and tossing said sack on a pole. For an epic feast and luxury overnight reward. So yeah, it was a big one. Owen got out to an early lead, followed by Noelle, Cody, Sami and Karla. Eventually everyone made it to the balance beam which is where things got a little hard to watch as Noelle struggled due to her leg. While everyone started tossing their bag however, Noelle persevered as she fought through tears and the suction on her leg giving out before she finally arrived at the end of the challenge and straight up won on her second toss.

Like the damn queen that she is. I mean, oh my god she is amazing.

Everyone rallied around to congratulate her on such an epic come from behind victory before she opened up about how hard she tried and how losing her leg ultimately made her the resilient person she is (and I could only wish to be). Probst then dropped the bomb that in addition to food and a bed, she would also be getting letters from home and she’d be able to take two people to join her. After selecting Sami and Jesse, Jeffrey gave her one more, ultimately selecting Owen, perfectly splitting the tribe in two to no doubt cause some chaos.

At reward the foursome were well and truly thrilled as they sat down to smash the feast before they took time for a little bit of love from home. Owen sobbed, Jesse was brought back to being in juvenile detention and reminded of how far he has come in life and yep, it only took two people to have me crying like a baby. Noelle’s mum was an icon, sharing she was checking the weather and sending good vibes, while Sami’s dad had given up some food in his honour. After bonding over the love, Sami turned the conversation back to the game and suggested getting rid of Cassidy as soon as possible given she is allegedly a flipper. And while Noelle was more concerned about Sami being a flipper, she was onboard with Owen’s plan to split the vote on Karla and Cassidy and for the reward group to take control of the game with Gabler and Cody.

Back at camp the losers were far less energetic and jubilant as they ate a sad coconut over the fire. Not wanting to be left out of the fun chats they were having on reward, Cody tried to get people focused on the game and spoke about how untrustworthy Sami is. Cassidy took him for a walk and the duo spoke about instead targeting Noelle, given she is going from strength to strength in the game and as such, needs to be stopped in her tracks. Cassidy moved over to Gabler and Karla with them equally keen to get rid of Noelle. Though Gabler, TBH, was more excited about the fact he is the one with all the options.

The two groups came together to meet Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to balance a platform with a rope and build a house of cards first. Or, you know, the one to have it highest after a certain amount of time. Noelle and Karla quickly dropped as they found the rhythm of the challenge, followed by literally everyone multiple damn times. And as hilarious as it is to watch the supercut, I’m guessing it isn’t fun to read, so I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Cassidy won. Well, eventually, after almost winning multiple times before she finally put everyone out of their misery.

Back at camp Noelle was nervous about what to do now that they can’t split the vote, which only got worse when Gabler confirmed that the other women were going for her and tried to flip Cody. Speaking of Cody, he and Jesse caught up about what happened while the tribe was split and while he was grateful to Noelle for giving him the love from home, Jesse also knew she was a threat. And well, the letter reminded him why he is here, and as such, the duo locked in the vote against her. 

Jesse meanwhile was nervous about it all falling apart, so told her the plan was still to get rid of Karla but that they would now split the votes on Sami. He then got busy throwing Sami under the bus by telling Noelle he is going for her on the split. Lastly he went to Karla to lock her in and while she was nervous about it coming together, he approached Gabler to lock in an outright majority to get rid of Noelle. Wisely though, Gabler knew it would be dangerous to burn Owen and Sami so close to the end, leading to Jesse dominating by calmly outlining just how threatening Noelle is. He then looped back to Cody to fill him in, while Gabler approached Karla to assure her that he will be voting Noelle to save her. And then target Jesse and Cody next, given they are clearly the power couple.

At tribal council Noelle spoke about how proud she is to overcome the challenge and prove to other people with a disability that they can do anything. Jesse pivoted to the reward, talking about how grateful he was to hear from home despite his ugly crying now going to be shown on TV. Gabler meanwhile alluded to a shake up, while Noelle admitted it was tough to navigate amongst the confusion while Owen was hopeful that relying on trust would pull him through again. Jesse agreed that trust is the currency, though shared that confirming whether it is real is the hardest part of the game. While Cody was more concerned about timing, given the contents of the conversations change minute by minute and as such, you can never tell whether you’re in power. 

Sami agreed and admitted none of them really know what will happen until they vote. Oh and then Gabler spoke about being snipers, while Karla was hoping to catch people out before it happens. Noelle acknowledged the fact there are still idols in play and as such, they have to play a quiet, sneaky game before Jesse reiterated what his son said, which was to get that money. With that the tribe voted and Karla wisely held on to her idol as the plan came together and Queen Noelle was tragically booted from the game.

Noelle followed the sound of my rage cries to Ponderosa where we pulled each other in for a massive hug. As a fellow famed athlete, I obviously met Noelle while a college athlete and we became the firmest of friends. And while I obviously gave it up due to scandal and laziness, we kept in contact, so I was thrilled to be able to be there to celebrate her killer game post-boot. And commence plotting how she will win her inevitable All Stars season over a piping hot Noelle Lambertshranger.

While a bushranger isn’t exactly a famed pastry dish, I spotted it in a local butcher and immediately knew I had to try my hand at a little copycat version. The rich, earthy lamb works perfectly with the mustard and SOMETHING ELSE to give you a light, hearty dish that will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Noelle Lambertshranger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 small boneless lamb steaks, flattened to about 1cm thick
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add in the garlic and cook it off for about a minute before stirring in the mustard, red wine, most of the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for another couple of minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens and becomea little claggy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To assemble the bushrangers, place the steaks on a board and divide the mixture amongst them to form a line across the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters and place the lamb parcel on one side. Brush the edges and cover with another piece of pastry, getting as creative as you like with crimping of using offcuts to decorate. 

Brush the parcels with egg, sprinkle with the leftover rosemary and transfer to the oven to backe for 20-3 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with either a creamy mash or a fresh salad, then devour. Like a Queen.


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Dwight Moorshroom Gravy

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the three tribes came together for not the merge, but the now traditional non-merge-but-earn-your-place-in-the-real-one-a-palooza. Now, thankfully, gloriously hourglass free. After Elie, Owen and Sami were left vulnerable, the Baka’s worked overtime to put the target on Cassidy or James. Though obviously told them to target Cody. Sadly as hard as they worked to get rid of anyone else, Gabler decided to air their dirty laundry at the merge feast and outed Elie for going through his bag earlier in the season (when it was in fact Jeanine). And while she valiantly kicked it into overdrive to save herself, it was all it took to unite the rest of the group against Elie and boot her from the game as the final pre-merger.

Tragically, for my drama loving heart.

We returned to camp where the Gaia Tribe were reeling from what happened at tribal council, specifically Jeanine who was ready to rise from the ashes despite being left out. Noelle pulled her aside and assured her that despite what happened to her closest ally, she is still safe and if her experience with being left out of the Justine vote is anything to go by, it may actually help things. As such Jeanine went person to person, assuring them that there are no hard feelings and she is glad to lose her partner. Though in private, she still kinda just wanted to just cry.

The next day everyone ventured down to the beach for sunrise where Owen and Dwight quietly strategised about how to proceed, with Owen admitting he just doesn’t see himself working with Gabler any more given he is too unpredictable. Speaking of Gabler, he was busy talking to Cody about how chill he feels now that Elie is gone. He explained to us that he planned to continue playing like an ali-gabler. Aka duck back under water to chill until he next needs to strike.

Owen and Dwight continued their double act, collecting treemail which they thought was for art supplies to paint the tribe flag. Instead they learnt that the tribe would need to split into pairs for the upcoming challenge. And how those pairs were formed is completely up to them. While everyone obviously was desperate to get Ryan or Cody though, nobody outright said it and instead they decided to draw rocks.

We quickly pivoted to said epic challenge where Jeffrey confirmed it was for immunity and explained that the pairs would only be pairs for the first two stages of the challenge and after that, it was everyone for themselves. In the first stage, the pairs would race through a tangled net tube before digging up planks and a flag, with the first four back to their mat moving on. For stage two, they would race up a cargo net and cross a rope bridge and race to a mat with the last two pairs moving forward to the final stage, where they would each have to hold a bucket containing 25% of their starting weight. Last one holding the bucket jagging immunity.

Ryan and James were first through their tube followed by Karla and Cassidy. After Ryan and James moved on to the final round, Owen and Gabler and Cody and Dwight joined them, while Karla and Cassidy secured their spot in the next round with the other duos making it to the end as Noelle and Sami, and Jesse and Jeanine were eliminated without even exiting the tube. Before moving on to a new round, Probst gave a speech praising how hard Noelle fought in the challenge and while she was down on herself, seeing Sami and the rest of the tribe rally around her was heartwarming.

We then did a hard pivot as Probst set the second round in motion as Dwight and Cody blitzed through the competition and secured their place in the final round before Owen and Gabler narrowly joined them as the Coco duos dropped as they tried to rush to the finish. The four men took their place holding the buckets for the final round. Almost instantly Dwight dropped out as the other trio shared what was inspiring them before Owen lost concentration and dropped his bucket. Oh and then after 37 minutes of Gabler dedicating minutes to random people – which was far sweeter than I just made it sound – Cody put us out of our misery as he dropped his bucket and handed immunity to Gabler.

Back at camp Gabler opened up how much the veteran community means to him while the rest of the tribe washed the mud of themselves. In the water everyone started scrambling with the Baka and Vesi crew looking to stick together to get rid of James or Ryan. That is until James, Dwight, Owen and Sami went to get water and found a clue in the well, telling them an advantage was hidden under the shelter. While James assured them he wouldn’t take it until after tribal council, he obviously made a beeline for it. Dwight then went and looped Noelle in, who in turn went and told everyone about the advantage, rallying the troops against James.

Jesse and Karla meanwhile were spooked by how quickly Noelle was able to get everyone on side and as such, wanted to weaken her. When Jesse approached Cody about getting rid of Noelle, Cody suggested that getting rid of Dwight would be the better option, given Dwight is better at challenges and has always been sketchy to him. James meanwhile learnt that he had found the Knowledge Is Power advantage, fresh from Geo’s pocket. And rather than keep things quiet, he thought it could help build trust with people and as such, told his potential allies. Who were immediately spooked and started trading out idols and advantages so that he couldn’t snatch them. Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight, Owen scored Noelle’s extra vote and Jesse ended up in possession of Cody’s idol. Meaning everyone was nervous and mildly confused by the end of the day.

At tribal council Karla spoke about how reflective the immunity challenge was of the game, while Jesse felt like today truly levelled up the competition. Dwight spoke about how everyone has kicked in to playing their own game while Noelle felt like they needed a steady stream of plans to make sure they and their allies survive. James spoke about how advantages are only useful when played correctly and as such, people needed to spend less time focussing on them and, instead, just play the game. Cody spoke about surfing at Probst’s request, while most people admitted they were feeling confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Except for Sami who knew that there was always a risk and as such, they just needed to all play balls to the wall. Basically.

With that the tribe voted and despite a solid 7 out of 10 he was sure he was on the right side of the numbers, Dwight was shocked to be voted out of the game. With Jeanine’s idol in his pocket, no less! Despite being crushingly blindsided as the final pre-juror, Dwight was in pretty good form and took his boot like an absolute champion. While he played a low-key game – at least in the edit, given he was on a tribe with Cody – it was clear he was a strong contender, having relationships across all the OG tribes and dare I say it, should he had survived the vote, had what it takes to go all the way. And given that was a super upbeat and nice assessment from me, he was feeling pretty happy with himself and as such, gladly drank a jug of Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to toast his success.

The earthy nuttiness of the mushroom and the punch of wine work perfectly with the cream to form a warm, soulful gravy. Pop it with chicken, steak or maybe even something coming up later this season, and you’re alway left with the same result. An empty plate and a happy belly.

Enjoy!

Dwight Moorshroom Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
⅔ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute for five minutes or until golden, soft and the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and leave to bubble up, cooking till it’s almost all absorbed before stirring in the cream. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes until it slightly thickens before seasoning to taste, alongside the parsley.

Then devour, either pour onto a protein or into a glass. No judgement.


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Samantha Bellinitines

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls put on a little talent show. Though not until after reading each other for filth, where Sharonne destroyed the competition and took out victory. In the talent show, Ariel was there, Samantha was messy and Sharonne was an absolute star. After demolishing both challenges and the runway, Sharonne took out victory while Samantha and Ariel landed in the bottom. And after another wild Samantha lip sync, she managed to save herself while Ariel exited the competition. And my basement became just that little bit less flooded.

Backstage Samantha was gagged to not only have lip synced again but to have survived over Ariel and as such, she was fired up to really shine. Drag Sethlas meanwhile was super gagged that Ariel went out so soon before Diamante interjected to explain that she feels like Samanatha lost the lip sync and that she should have been the one to go instead. Thankfully before it descended into chaos, Onyx cut through the shade and got the dolls to focus on Sharonne’s well deserved victory and led the girls in congratulating her.

The next day the dolls were going a little batty, impersonating animals and living their best lives. Things were still a little awkward between Samantha and Diamante as everyone spoke about how much they missed Ariel (for her cleaning services), before Supremme dropped by to task them with this week’s mini challenge. Where they would do some very quick, quick drag and complete the look with some shower caps. Which made sense when the Pit Crew were wheeled out to creampie them. El Gran Juego de la Loca style. As is oft the case when they are wheeled out, it doesn’t really matter what the queens were doing because the pit crew are muy guapo.

Ultimately though Onyx and Diamante took out victory and while I don’t know how exactly they got there, I do know what they won. As did all of us. While they also got the chance to decide teams in this week’s Maxi Challenge, improv-ing their way through an episode of Putricia’s Diario which seems to be a little like Sally Jesse Raphael. Though obviously far more wild.

As Supremme exited, Onyx and Diamante joined up to go through the scenes and figure out which parts were best slash they should take for themselves. Then surround themselves with the people they wanted, leaving the dregs for the final team. That led to Diamante, Estrella and Sharonne forming one team, Sethlas, Marina, Venedita and Jota Cara formed the dregs group, while Samantha, Juriji and Onyx were the final team. The dolls split up with the two former groups vibing well and very confident in their chances of taking out the win, while Team Onyx worried Diamante would be overshadowed by her loud sisters. While the leftover group were just ready to prove themselves.

The dolls quickly made it to the set to film Putricia’s Diario with Supremme where Diamante was immediately overshadowed by her sisters as they bounced off each other and lived their best lives. Except for when Estrella kept eating raw onion like Tony Abbott. She didn’t live for that. The team of leftovers were strong from start to finish, slapping it out like likeable Will Smiths and being equally camp and demented, just as the challenge required. Though given Venedita got to make out with the Pit Crew, she is the winner in my eyes. Rounding out the show, Samantha was committed and wild as an ageing dominatrix on Team Onyx. While Juriji writhed around in flan – only flans, geddit – Onyx was barking mad and tragically getting scene partners seemed to hurt Smanatha, as she struggled to keep up.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with Diamante happy with her strategy to pick a strong team, knowing it should be enough to keep her safe. Which is not a sentiment echoed by all of the queens who felt she was overshadowed. Before it could blow up the dolls split up to beat their mugs with Jota, Estrella, Marine and Onyx kiki-ing together, with Estrella struggling to buy any of Jota’s stories and well, it is a level of pettiness I live for. Venedita and Sharonne meanwhile were kiki-ing quietly, bonding over how hard they have worked and how much they love their careers. Sharonne opened up about how drag also gave her the flexibility to look after her sick father over the last decade as well and it was a sweet moment and I ship them hard. Oh and I love Sharonne’s dad dying on gay pride. I mean, iconic.

Supremme, Ana and the Javiers were joined by Eduardo Cassanova for my favourite runway theme across all the franchises – Night of 1000 Almodovar’s leading ladies! Drag Sethlas was stunning in a floor length red gown in honour of Tilda Swinton. Estrella chewed up the stage in honour of Kika – prosthetic teeth, get it? – Samantha Ballentines was a camp star in honour of Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Venedita Von Dash was iconic in honour of Bad Education and honestly, it was perfection from start to finish. Diamante slayed as The Skin I Live In, literally, as she bled all over the stage. Sharonne was a stunning old dame from High Heels, Jota was an avant garde delight in black and red in honour of Kika. Juriji was a perfect vamp as she served Penelope Cruz in Broken Embraces. Marina was a sexy tigress in honour of The Skin I Live In, while Onyx was a bit sloppy as Kika.

Ultimately Sethlas, Juriji, Marina and Onyx were deemed safe and sent backstage to untuck before the judges heaped praise on Estrella for all that she did from the challenge to the runway. Samantha meanwhile was somehow read for filth for not giving enough on the runway, despite looking the best she has looked. Venedita was praised for knocking each and everything out of the park. Diamante meanwhile was read for being overshadowed in the challenge, despite them loving her runway. Sharonne delighted the judges by staying in her runway character, though given how they ate up everything she served this week, it shouldn’t be a shock they loved her. Oh and then Jota was read for filth for getting lost in the challenge and not adapting the look well enough.

Backstage Marina was complaining about her team and the lack of connection she had with them. While Juriji just quietly, calmly took it all. And then lay in some calmly cold reads and ugh, I live for her! Particularly the way she effortlessly made them all giggle mid-fight about Marina’s farting, Marina included, which is iconic. Before Onyx told them to shut up and celebrate being safe. The tops and bottoms returned to the work room where Samantha shared that once again she is bottom while Diamante knew she would be the one facing off against her. Jota meanwhile admitted her team was a mess before they all put it to bed by having a drink.

Ultimately Venedita took out her first victory of the season before Sharonne and Estrella were sent to safety. When it came to the bottoms, it was Diamante that narrowly avoided lip syncing leaving Jota to face off against the undefeated lip sync assassin Samantha Ballentines. But as soon as Un año de amor by Luz Casal started, it was Jota’s spot to lose as she leant into all the emotion and hit every lyric. While Samantha gave us calm, muted comedy and was as iconic as usual, Jota pulled a Sasha Velour and flooded the stage with roses and honestly, had the judges feeling all the feels they were straight up crying. As such, Jota lived to fight another day while the iconic Samantha was finally felled.

Backstage Samantha was as upbeat and charming as she usually is, even before I praised her for such an iconic run, Despite her track record. There is no denying that Samanatha left her mark on the competition and her brand of silliness will truly be missed. And when we have that feeling, there will always be room for a Samantha Bellinitines or two!

I know I have the reputation for sucking alcohol out of a deodorant, but this drink it straight up the greatest thing. Even before it dulls all of your pains. The sweetness from the peach mix with the fizziness of the sparkling to sooth the soul and make everything alright.

Enjoy!

Samantha Bellinitines
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 peaches, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp sugar syrup 
2 cups sparkling wine

Method
Pop the peaches in a blender and blitz with the sugar syrup for a minute or to before straining into a bottle and chilling for an hour or so.

When you’re ready to drank, pour 1 tbsp of puree into a champagne flute and top with sparkling. Down and repeat until buzzed. Or satiated.


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Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies
Serves: 4-8.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

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

Then devour.


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Frosé-K

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Sharn decided it would be a good idea to continue playing in the middle, despite how much heat it was clearly causing her. She continued to make more and more promises to Vakama, followed by pledging her undying loyalty to Moana and David and given each alliance will make up a bulk of the jury, she is pretty much a non-entity. After Brooke took out immunity again, David and Shonee became the respective targets for each side. Knowing he was in danger, David showed off his idol to woo or intimidate Sharn. While Shonee played for the jury, calling out Sharn for flip flopping and making promises to them, screwing her should she choose to not flip. Which she obviously didn’t, sending the iconic Shonee to the jury (again).

The weather was miserable the next day, no doubt in retaliation for the heinous boot of Queen Shonee. Sadly Moana has no clue, however, and was thrilled by the turn of events, glad that her bestie Sharn proved to David and Tarzan that she was loyal to them until the end. Despite how boring that may be for us at home. Sharn and Moana caught up in the shelter, with Sharn breaking down over missing her family and hoping to prove to her kids that she can win, given she came so close last time. She then spoke about her uncertainty in trusting David, though was hopeful that him showing her the idol was honest on his part. She then mentioned – again – how close she came to winning last time and hot damn, she is losing again at final tribal, isn’t she?

Brooke meanwhile was thrilled to have made it as far as she has, disappointing me by not acknowledging the tragedy of losing Shonee. Wait, no, she and AK were well pissed, heartbroken and desperately want to get revenge on Sharn, post haste and damn – GET THEM BROOKE! I mean, she then cut laps of the beach to psych them out. The Queen is dead, long live the Queen. Tarzan continued to play his own game, picking about 20 pawpaws for everyone and then wandering around aimlessly. And for some reason, I am shocked by this completely expected behaviour. AK thankfully was still simmering in his juices, handing some salty sass to Moana and Sharn. Continuing the whip around, Moana too was thrilled about how close her allies all are to her, though she was starting to get nervous about the growing bond between Sharn and David. Moana pulled her aside to casually test her loyalty, and when she didn’t mention knowing about Dave’s idol, Moana seemed to be pissed. But alas, no, she told Sharn to continue playing Dave while she works on Tarzan. And the four can continue voting out the minority.

Are the greatest endgame EVER ads the new Sue’s big move?

My dear sweet Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which was a beast of a challenge where the tribe would race to swim out to a pontoon, run through obstacles, leap up a ladder, collect a monkey fist from a tower, slide down, get to the shore use the monkey fist to release puzzle pieces and – deep breath – solve the puzzle. David tragically got out to an early lead, though our new Queen Brooke was nipping at his heels. And thankfully overtook him at the monkeyfist. While Sharn, Tarzan and Moana caught up with the leaders, AK became paralysed with fear at the top of the ladder. Which led to some sweet cheering from Brooke while she desperately tried to snag her puzzle pieces, eventually resulting in him jumping and getting back in the challenge.

Despite Brooke earning good karma with her kind cheering, David, Moana and Tarzan reeled in their puzzle pieces in quick succession, while the other three just tried to snag the pieces. Out of nowhere AK snagged his puzzle pieces, with a massive comeback. Sharn started to get salty about not being able to catch up since she and Brooke were so far behind, which seemed to be enough to give Brooke a boost. Almost instantly she snagged her bag, before getting to work at the puzzle table and quickly solving the word phrase that had stumped everyone, winning yet another immunity. And more importantly proving Sharn to be a very unreliable narrator.

Back at camp everyone pretended to be happy for Brooke while she casually laughed about spoiling their tribal council plans. Well, until she realised that her victory put a nail in AK’s coffin and it started to make her feel guilty. Moana, Sharn and David all casually whispered about obviously voting AK, hoping that the next tribal will be their chance to get her out. Which again, I hope is wrong. Moana started to get nervous about them potentially having an idol and saving AK, but everyone felt there would be no benefit to split the votes. Meanwhile alone at the shelter Brooke and AK agreed to vote for Sharn before hunting for idols, hoping that their votes would be enough to get rid of her. Sadly for AK though, Moana decided to channel Andrea and babysit him the entire time, putting salt in the wound that is his likely elimination.

He then also straight up tipped out all of the water from the well to get rid of his shadow, which worked as Moana went to camp to dob on him. This bought him ten minutes of peace for hunting, which tragically proved fruitless. Though David did follow him and Brooke into the jungle to check in on them and nervous about them finding the idol, asked them who they were planning to vote for. Wisely they filled him in on the plan to vote Sharn, suggesting that if they didn’t split it would be a bad idea, and as such, he simply needs to vote for Sharn to guarantee his safety. Sharn then started to sense danger and panicked to Moana and Tarzan, which the former quickly seemed to allay. Though Sharn did say she never wants to be on the jury, and honestly, it seems more and more likely that she won’t, and she will be roasted at final tribal council twice, instead.

At this tribal council though, AK sadly spoke about the inevitability of getting voted out at this tribal council. He then spoke about his fear at the challenge and how brutal it was to watch his chances slip away from that moment. Through tears, he then spoke of his pride at Brooke and her achievements and oh my god, I think I love AK. Sharn pretended that his boot isn’t inevitable, and commenced trying to soften her flip flopping by explaining that everything she did to humiliate the minority and get their hopes up, was all done for the alliance. Moana and Tarzan tried to pull out a bit of a cheeky stick to the plan before Jonathan pointed out that if they don’t have a plan B, they’re handing the power over to AK and Brooke. Sharn tried to lowkey threaten her allies to not turn on her, while David was simply hopeful that everyone would stick together.

With that the tribe voted and as Jonathan was just about to read the votes, he offered the person that felt in danger to accept an offer for a trial by fire instead of reading the votes. The remaining four people would then need to select a competitor unanimously, and if not, draw rocks to find out who would be competing. If the volunteer wins, nobody goes home and if the challenger wins, the volunteer leaves. Obviously AK selected to go through with a trial by fire, which gave Queen Brooke the chance to be even more of a bad arse, refusing to budge on anyone but Moana competing against him. Again fearing rocks, everyone bowed down and forced Moana to face off with him. Sadly the badassery was all for nought and while AK worked hard, Moana once again dominated a fire making challenge and sent him out of the game in sixth place.

Given how I fell in love with AK this season, I pulled him in for an epic hug as soon as he got out of the 4WD at the Jury Villa. I apologised for my shadiness his first time playing the game, explaining that I saw a lot of myself in him and it hurt to watch a superfan go out in the way he did. Which I guess, is why his second go was so touching to me. With that, we laughed, we cried and toasted to our newfound friendship with a jug (or two) of Frosé-K.

Being white, gay, in my 30s and basic, I am obviously the perfect kind of person to love frosé. I mean, it is like a rosé slushy – does life get better than that? (The answer is no, no it does not).

Enjoy!

Frosé-K
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
3 cups frozen strawberries
750ml dry rosé wine
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
3 cups ice

Method
Pop the strawberries in a blender and blitz to a pulp. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds – which reminds me of a time I was an apprentice in a kitchen and was made to de-seed strawberries. Spoiler alert, I did such a good job the chef questioned why it was a joke. Also, I hate the feel of strawberry seeds on your tongue, which is why it made total sense to me.

In any event, pop the seedless pulp back in the blender with the rosé, sugar and ice. Blitz again until gorgeously slushy.

Pop into a jug or some glasses and down, gloriously. 


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Duck Risottozryski

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Alan Meatballs

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Poultry, Snack

Ok, so full disclosure – I didn’t really think about category diversity when organising this year’s soiree. For that, I am sorry … but also, not sorry – these people are my friends and you’ll just have to accept that we’ll be spending a lot of time discussing the screenwriting categories.

Adding to my flock of seagullsscreenwriters is my dear friend, Best OG Screenplay winner and – of course – ex-lover Alan Ball.

I first met Al whilst working on Cybill – him writing, me as part of Chrissie B’s entourage – and our attraction was instantaneous. After a torrid affair, I broke things off assuming he would amount to nothing – I don’t admit it often but I was wrong. He was obviously heartbroken and injected his pain into a little known screenplay called American Beauty.

Yes, you’re welcome – I inspired the classic film.

After seeing that I was wrong I tried to grovel my way back into his heart – well I don’t know if I grovelled but I definitely recall being on my knees – and the Oscars. While he sadly declined my offer to rekindle our romance and we’ve helped each other creatively ever since.

Fun fact: I’m the one who inspired him to cast Skarsy in True Blood. Again, you’re welcome.

Now for the most important part of the event – oh, after catching up with my dear friend obvs – Al agreed that Manchester by the Sea will take out Best OG and Moonlight will take out Best Adapted Screenplay … though Lion and Arrival are worthy challengers.

Given my love of Alan and (his) balls, there was no way I was going to whip up anything other than my Alan Meatballs.

 

alan-meatballs-1

 

You know I love balls as much as Jenna Maroney but these minimally altered lil’ Meatball Shop numbers are as pure perfection as Skarsky (obvi NSFW). Big, thick and juicy, they are everything you want in and around your mouth and are absolutely exploding with flavour.

Enjoy!

 

alan-meatballs-2

 

Alan Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
a good lug of olive oil
500g chicken mince
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
30ml white wine
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground chilli
a generous whack of freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Combine all the ingredients – excluding the olive oil – in a large bowl and scrunch together in your hands.

Roll the mixture into a golf ball size, packing firmly as you go. You will need to wet your hands frequently as you go to smooth out the edges. Place on the sheet and repeat until done – you should end up with a dozen balls.

Place into the oven and bake for twenty, or until firm and crisp. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with your favourite salad or as sliders … and devouring.

 

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Zendgria

Drink

As you know – well should, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it … I got Susan Lucci inducted too – I am a Disney Legend and as part of that honour, I am required to mentor young Disney stars.

I don’t if that is a blanket rule for the legends but Walt asked me on his deathbed, so I kind of feel obliged.

After releasing dear Miley Cyrus into the wild, I was lost trying to find a replacement until Zendaya came along. As soon as I laid eyes on Z, I knew she would become my new mentee as she is the only person that possessed even half of my talent.

That isn’t a dig, it’s just that I’m amazing.

Anyway my tutelage has led to Z’s career blossoming from Disney starlet, to DWTS runner-up and more importantly a starring role in the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

While I would normally relish the opportunity to destroy someone reaching my dream – Spider-Man can shoot his web on me any day – Z is just such a sweet girl, that it makes me happy to see her succeed.

Plus, she owes 99% of it to me.

Like there is a rule to not wear white after Labour Day, I have a rule to not be sober after Halloween. Now before you get all grumpy, yes Zendaya is under 21 but she was visiting Australia so she can participate in my post-Halloween drinkstravaganza.

Particularly when it doubled as a meeting to finalise the signature cocktail for her 21st next year which we decided will be a Zendgria.

 

zendgria-1

 

We wanted something that adequately highlighted the fruity influence I’ve had on her life but also had a depth and a richness, like her many talents.

Our decision really was a no brainer – enjoy!

 

zendgria-2

 

Zendgria
Serves: 6. Lol – nope, 1.

Ingredients
2 apples
2 oranges
1 lemon
750ml red wine aka a bottle
½ cup brandy
¼ cup cointreau
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups soda water, chilled

Method
Core and dice the apples, and add them to a large pitcher.

Slice the oranges and lemon, and add them to the pitcher.

Pour the wine, brandy and cointreau into the pitcher, sprinkle in the caster sugar and cinnamon. Stir, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add soda water, give and quick stir and down. Greedily.

 

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