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The Amazement Begins

May 22, 2011 · 55 comments

15 friends

12 m2

Dozens of tiny hard-to-vacuum paper streamers

1 projector we couldn’t get working

1 TV that worked quite nicely, especially when raised up on multiple cardboard boxes

7 tasty dishes

2 sweepstakes prizes

1 Bintang shirt

Watch out world, the Aussies were coming.

You may know my sister as my partner in tennis love, yum cha discovery, buffet breakfast overindulgence, Baklava desire, bogan appreciation, pork infatuation, party throwing and cake decorating, wearing of see-through dresses, or you may simply know her as Prawnfinger.

I’ve known for a while that she sits more than a couple of standard deviations off to the right on the bell curve of Amazing, and now it seems the rest of Australia has cottoned on to this too. No longer are my sister and brother-in-law simply Kel and Dave. They are now MARRIED BIKERS. Amazing Married Bikers, in fact.

The Amazing Race has been a favourite show amongst many of my friends for years now, and the knowledge that Kel and Dave were going on be on the first ever Australian season was cause for many squeals of excitement and exclamation point laden text messages. We had no choice but to hold a viewing party in our lounge room.

Sushi, gado gado, chicken satay sticks, one lone pork bun left, and some nachos, ripe for pre-show plundering

People brought dishes to share, with standouts of delicious fresh gado gado, and freshly fried coconut and pandan roti (roti kaya? maybe?) that I completely failed to photograph and just about broke my heart not to eat (still FODMAPing and still can’t go near wheat, even when it is surrounding my favourite things). I also made peanut satay sauce from scratch for the very first time, using my amazing sister’s recipe which I will share with you at the end of this post so you can be as amazing as us! Everyone had worked up a healthy appetite by my housemate insisting that they all race from our front gate to our front door when they arrived, and soon there was nothing but a bit on the table but a lonely globe and some very good quality (mister!) Black & Gold cutlery.

Congratulations, you are team number two!

It was an action-packed episode, and lived up to all our expectations. I was tidying up my office the other day and came across a bag of Party Poppers that I suspect have been sitting around since my 21st, so I distributed these around the race viewers and we all got popping when the Married Bikers hit the pit stop mat in SECOND PLACE!

Awarding sweepstake prizes in my never-seen-out-in-public Bintang shirt

Last time I went to Bali, with Kel, I thought it was probably time that I bought myself the ubiquitous Bintang shirt. It has sat unworn in my shirt drawer since then, and I was glad to finally have an excuse to wear it (wear it ironically and sans-boardies and a Southern Cross tattoo) to suit the Indonesian theme of the first leg of the race. I also had a couple of tins of Silver Clove hanging around in my present cupboard from that trip, so I used these and some containers of my homemade peanut satay sauce as prizes for the team sweepstakes for the two lucky punters who had drawn Sam & Renae (I’m sure there’s a joke to be made here about wanting to do more than just draw Sam & Renae, or some such, but it seems a bit pointless if I can’t suggestively raise my eyebrows at you while I say it).

The party popper aftermath

Highlights of the night included hearing Dave promise to buy Kel a ‘nana if she managed to successfully complete the carrying-a-basket-of-vegies-on-your-head-through-some-markets-designed-only-for-very-short-people-to-do-such-feats task, and Kel exclaiming “holy shitballs!” when seeing the volume of Indonesian notes they had to accurately count to complete another task.

Lowlights of the night included being left with the aftermath of multiple party poppers being deployed. At least it wasn’t glitter.

The show continues tomorrow night, when they seem to be heading over to Vietnam. My sister has dreamt before that I married a Vietnamese man. Actually, a friend of mine has also dreamt that I married Luke Nguyen. This dream also involved catering for our wedding, and making poo and coconut rolls – most likely caused by my saying that I love coconut so much you could roll a turd in it and I’d happily eat it – so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into any of this.

Anyway.. The Amazing Race Australia continues tomorrow night on Channel 7!

Go Kel & Dave!

Bumbu Kacang (Peanut Sauce)


  • Oil for frying peanuts (recipe says 1 cup, I used about a quarter to a half of this)
  • 150 g raw unsalted peanuts (can use cooked beer nuts to save time)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 large red chilli, trimmed and deseeded
  • 2 small chillies
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 medium tomato
  • 1 Tb palm sugar
  • 2 tsp kecap manis
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded (I found my sauce quite strong in this flavour so will cut this down a little next time)
  • 2 Tb fried shallots
  • 1/2 cup water


1. Heat wok with oil. Fry peanuts a handful at a time until golden brown. Do not discard skin if any. Remember they keep cooking after they’ve been taken out (you really don’t want to burn them, so err on the side of being underdone if unsure – you may find you have to waste the first batch as you suss out just how quickly they can turn from nicely golden to overly brown!). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper, and sprinkle with the salt.

2. Remove most of the oil from the wok, leaving about 2 tsp.

3. Fry the shrimp paste for ~30 seconds. Mmmmmmmmm shrimpy.

4. Place all the ingredients except for the peanuts in a food processor and blend to a paste. Add half the peanuts and blend until nearly smooth. Add the remaining peanuts and blend until you’re happy with the consistency. You may want to add more water, or some oil. If you like a sweeter, darker sauce you may also wish to add more kecap manis.

5. Serve with satay or gado gado.


  • Make up a big batch and stick it in the freezer! It keeps for ages and is ready to use when required without making your house stink of shrimp paste again.
  • Although I added extra water, and some extra oil when blending it, I found it quite thick when I went to use it the next day so I stirred more water through before heating and pouring over my chicken satay sticks.
  • You can use this as a base for stir fries or noodle dishes too – perhaps add some coconut milk for extra moisture.
  • It really is worth making this from scratch!

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