Stuphaning Prites

Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World – how much easier would that have flowed, amirite – nine dolls from around the globe said Bonjour! Hi! to the Canadian stage. The Season 2 dolls stuck together, as did the camp queens leaving Vanity, Silky and Ra’Jah to form the greatest Drag Race girl group this side of the Frock Destroyers. Obviously they destroyed the competition, while the other teams were a mixture of strong moments and a couple of missteps. Somehow Rita landed in the top with Vanity – I feel like this should have been Ra’Jah’s, but oh well – while Kendall and Stephanie landed in the bottom. Obviously Vanity dominated the lip sync – because, duh, it’s Vanity – before giving Stephanie another shot to shine by sending Kendall home.

Backstage Stephanie was feeling super grateful to have been saved before everyone toasted Kendall for being an absolute delight. Silky meanwhile led the dolls in praising Vanity, before they went for the tea as talk turned to who Rita would have sent home and while she tried to fake it out, admitted she too would have sent Kendall home as Stephanie was more in need of a second chance. Though shared with us that Kendall was actually more of a threat. Vanity shared that Stephanie talking about being the only Asian queen on the cast spoke to her on a deep level, as the only black queen on her original season. The talk of representation made Victoria feel brave enough to call out Stephanie for using the term fishy and while Stephanie spoke about the fact she has reclaimed it from the Philippines, Victoria explained that it is also deeply derogatory to women and as such hoped they could all learn about each other’s cultures and grow. And ugh, I love how maturely they handled it.

The next day the dolls were feeling energetic and ready to slay another week, none more so than Stephanie who was just glad to be around. Anita opened up about feeling a bit put out during the first week as the only person from her franchise, though had found her feet due to their kindness and was ready to slay. Icesis questioned if there were any alliances and while everyone downplayed it, Ra’Jah the icon called out Canada for pairing off in the first week and kind of sending that message. Before we could get any drama Brooke arrived to open the bibliotheque because what? Reading is fundamental. Victoria was charming and full of rhyme, Vanity was a total mess, Stephanie was not much better, Ra’Jah meanwhile was hard on her sister but no one else, Icesis was also a mess, Rita was also bad and well, is this the worst reading challenge of all time? Thankfully Silky brought some charm and while the jokes didn’t always land, her personality did. While Anita was cute and brutal which was more than enough to jag herself victory in the mini challenge.

Oh and did I mention this week’s Maxi Challenge is the Snatch Game? Because it is, but with a political twist.

Everyone split up to get into character with Silky and Anita hoping to go two from two in Snatch Game, while Stephanie was very nervous, given she never made it far enough in her first season. Brooke returned to kiki with the girls with Ra’Jah thinking she will play Big Freedia or Grace Jones, hoping to live up to her killer Latoya. Rita was excited to do French drag icon Guilda, while Icesis was going to be rocking Pamela Anderson until Brooke talked her out of it and into her back-up choice of Donatella. Anita is trying to follow-up her winning turn as Queen Elizabeth with Adele and ugh, this makes me nervous given Ginger did her SO well. Stephanie meanwhile was going with cursed celeb Snatch character Cardi B. Vanity was deciding between Megan the Stallion or Spice while Victoria would be giving us Kim Woodburn and Silky was planning to slay as Lizzo.

We pivoted to the Snatch Game Summit where Vanity had all the energy and charm. Stephanie started off energetic and ridiculous, Rita gave Parisienne glam, Anita was a bit of a mess, Silky was Silky and Icesis was killer from the very first moment as she read Brooke for filth. Speaking of filth, Victoria had Kim down. Icesis was hilarious and ridiculous from start to finish while Ra’Jah was bouncing off everyone like ping pong balls. At the other end of the pack Stephanie was an absolute mess, Silky struggled to land a joke and poor Anita was swallowed up amongst the pack.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone gagged to see Brooke backstage when she escorted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Werk Room. Prime. Minister. What the hell? Oh my God! The dolls kikied with the PM before he gave a global call to action to stop being bigotted and to embrace difference and well, I love it. I love him, I love them. I mean he read Brooke by asking where he would find RuPaul and ugh, gold! After he disappeared the dolls spoke about the power of having the PM enter the Werk Room with Stephnie breaking down about how politicians like him are the reason she could be an immigrant and ugh, I’m crying.

Sadly Justin disappeared by judging as Brooke and Traci were joined by Sarain Fox and fellow Snatch Game bottom and Season 1 victor, what’s her name? Priyanka, obviously. On the Celestial Bodies runway Silky was a perfect alien dragon deity, mid-tour of the galaxy. Ra’Jah was stunning in a glorious midnight blue outfit, giving a silver elf. Anita was perfect as the queen of the moon, shimmering across the stage while Rita was a flaming, smoking sun. Stephanie was stunning as a glorious golden deity, Vanity was a shimmering, spiky sex pot while Victoria was a beautiful molten Saturn before Icesis closed the show in a moody deity-does-Victorian-glamour number.

Ultimately Rita and Vanity were sent to safety before Silky was praised for bringing the fun on the runway though read for going round in circles during the Snatch summit. Ra’Jah meanwhile got wall to wall praise for being fun, energetic and entertaining during Snatch Game and for making yet another glorious runway. Anita’s runway received all the love, though the judges hated her Adele. She broke down about how much she was struggling in the season and ugh, it is hard to watch because she is usually so much fun. Stephanie was read for relying on the Cardi mannerisms and not giving any peaks and valleys. Though her runway, obviously, was beloved. Victoria’s outfit was praised though they felt she didn’t go far enough in Snatch Game. She opened up about the pressure of being the first cis contestant, though hearing everyone lift her up was great. Icesis’ look was loved, though her Snatch Game was only better given she absolutely dominated.

Obviously, it was Ra’Jah and Icesis that landed in the top two while Silky and Victoria were sent to safety, leaving Stephanie and Anita at risk of going home.

Backstage the dolls grabbed a drink before Stephanie opened up about how disappointed she was to land in the bottom again, while Anita admitted she feels heartbroken to be in the bottom, given this is what they do. Victoria meanwhile spoke about being disappointed to have not excelled, though agreed that Icesis and Ra’Jah were far and away the best. Anita caught up with Ra’Jah assuring her that she will turn things around and wanted to face challenges she didn’t get the chance to do in her original season. And while Ra’Jah knew that getting rid of Anita could make the upcoming comedy challenges easier, she is also losing confidence and that could make her easier to face. Icesis meanwhile asked Stephanie what she would give the competition if she stayed, though also admitted that she didn’t want to chop another Canadian. As the safe queens eavesdropped, Stephanie opened up to Ra’Jah about how she is struggling amongst the louder personalities while Anita tried to prove to Icesis she is a veteran and will turn a show, but just needs another chance.

After Icesis and Ra’Jah selected their lipsticks we returned to the mainstage where their new rocker outfits made a lot more sense as Avril’s Sk8r Boi kicked off. And well, despite the lols, the dolls killed it. Ra’Jah was brazen, bold and gave us ballet AND bating, Icesis meanwhile was full rocker, hitting every lyric and oozing attitude all over the floor. Sadly though there could only be one winner as Icesis took out victory and opted to give our Down Under hero another week to shine, eliminating her sister Stephanie from the competition.

As she hilariously called her a hoe via song on her way out the door.

Backstage, despite the disappointment, Stephanie was an absolute delight; thrilled to get to compete with her international sisters. And more importantly, grateful to be in the presence of zaddy Justin Trudeau, because duh. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she is always iconic – I mean, she was drag Sidney Prescott so don’t come for me – and as such, I was thrilled to toast her success with some Stuphaning Prites.

Sure, the name is a little clunky but we’ve ticked over into the festive season so you best believe, I will be eating festively whether it makes sense or not. And these little panettone stuffing bites – adapted from Nigella – are the perfect way to start. Sweet, salty and oh so carby, they will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Stuphaning Prites
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
4 shallots, sliced
2 granny smith apples, cored and quartered
400g sliced pancetta, diced
2 celery stalks
6 fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
200g tinned chestnuts, drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
500g slightly stale panettone, sliced
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the shallots, apple, pancetta, celery, sage, garlic and chilli flakes in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped and mushy.

Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring semi-frequently, for about 15 minutes. Or until fragrant and softened. Transfer to a large bowl and crumble in the chestnuts before stirring through the zest and juice of the lemon. Crumble in the panettone and give another good stir to combine until it forms a stodgy paste before folding in the eggs.

Line a 30x20cm baking dish and press the mixture in, smoothing the top as you go. Transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour or until browned and crisp on the edges and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about half an hour before cutting into bite-sized squares for a festive party snack, or larger portions if you’re using it as a side. Either way, devour.


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Dannaan Beard

Bread, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK 12 new dolls arrived in the UK Werk Room to battle it out for Ru’s love and attention. And when they get it, in the form of four badges, promptly lose the competition for being too good. But before we get there, Ru – and for one tragic week, Michelle – had to make some cuts with Just May sadly becoming the Gothy of the season despite being so damn sweet. She was followed out the door by the fashion queen of the season Starlet.

When the dolls formed duos, poor Copper came up short – rather than say, on top – before Sminty sad-twerked her way out of the competition and straight into our hearts, the history books and likely, an All Stars season. The pressures of the competition became too much for Baby who exited the competition to look after her mental health before Le Fil was too Polite for Snatch Game.

It was at that point that Ru chucked a sickie, leaving Michelle in charge who sadly cut the iconic Dakota for being too on brand. After Peppa and Jonbers both saved themselves from elimination with a killer lip sync, the top five put on a roast where comedy queen Pixie shockingly stumbled and landed in fifth.

The top four faced off in the traditional rumix, kiki and performance combination and while the song was an absolute bop with every queen getting a moment to shine, Ru decreed that only two would be lip syncing for the crown, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa tied in third place.

With that the two four badge queens – begging the question, does the UK just require one person with four wins to lose and this is how they got around the tradition? – lip synced to the iconic Shirley Bassey’s This Is My Life. And like the aforementioned rumix, it was an absolute show. Like their runs on the show, both Cheddar and Danny were perfect from start to finish, leaning into who they are as performers and giving classic Drag Race. And while I feel this would have been the most deserving double crowning of all time, ultimately Ru settled on one, crowning Danny Beard as the UK’s Next Drag Superstar and leaving the iconic Cheddar as the runner-up.

While I would have loved to see a double crowning, that in no way means I am any less excited about Danny’s victory. From start to finish she ran a near perfect race, never really faltering and always being a front runner. Plus, she is so damn charismatic and charming, you just know she is going to take the title and run with it to build an even bigger and better career because honestly, she is a born performer. As such, join me in toasting our newest queen with a piping hot Dannaan Beard.

My favourite thing about Indian food is probably a naan and while Spinach and Cheese – dedicated to another winner, begging the question is this the anti-Pizza – is my fave, there is something so damn perfect about garlic. Soft, pillowy and lightly flavoured, it paris perfectly with any curry. Or just as a solo snack, TBH.

Enjoy!

Dannaan Beard
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
450g flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
7g dried yeast
⅓ cup lukewarm milk
2 tbsp yoghurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp nigella seeds
garlic butter, to serve (optional)

Method
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and let it set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast and leave to get all foamy and glorious for 10 minutes or so. Once it smells like a brewery, whisk in the milk, yoghurt and oil.

Using the hook attachment, fold in the flour, garlic and seeds by hand until combined. Pop the attachment into the mixer and knead for a couple of minutes, or until smooth. Remove and transfer to a greased bowl to rest for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size. Punch back the dough and divide into 8 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, oil each ball and using a rolling pin, roll out to form a nice thin naan shape. Place in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat the process. Brush with a little garlic butter – optional, but advised – and then devour, victoriously!


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Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK after the top four slayed the final challenge by putting on an epic show with their eliminated sisters. You know, Just May, Starlet, Copper, Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie! They stomped the runway in Grand Finale Eleganza and despite everyone nailing the assignment, only two were able to continue on in the competition as the four badge queens stuck around, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa to watch on from the back of the stage.

Danny and Cheddar took their places to lip sync for the crown to Dame Shrley Bassey’s This is My Life and well, the entire performance was an absolute slay. Cheddar leant into the emotion, was dainty and ethereal while Danny gave bold, brassy and all the fire to snatch the crown. Both of the queens were in the pocket from start to finish, well and truly proving why this is the strongest top two in any franchise of Drag Race. Ever. And while it should have been a double crowning, sadly Ru opted to stick with only one winner, handing the crown to Danny Beard and relegating Cheddar to the hall of four badge runner-ups alongside the icons Bimini and Ella.

Which honestly, is pretty damn good company.

While Cheddar was disappointed as she found me backstage, she held her head up high reminding me that as she said to Ru and Michelle, she is a star. And the win wouldn’t change that. Which TBH, made me feel a little bit better.

Like many a UK finalist before her Cheddar never really put a foot wrong, giving a collection of perfect runways that always had a message, bringing humour and charm to all that she did and well, to quote Ru, always being so damned polished. As such, I was thrilled to honour her win-worthy run with a big fat bowl of Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip to help dull the disappointment.

This copycat of my favourite dip growing up may not be as classy as Cheds, but it sure as hell is just as delicious. Rich, salty and smacking you in the face with all the flavour, you could eat the entire vat and never regret it.

Enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried until crisp
4 shallots, sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ tsp sriracha
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
small handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop everything in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Then remove and serve with crackers. Or you know, just devour with a spoon because cheddar truly is gorgeous!


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Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade

Breakfast, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with their final, epic challenge for the crown. Writing and recording verses on a Ruple mega mix and performing it live on the mainstage alongside their fallen sisters Just May, Starlet, Copper – yep, it’s happening – Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie. After a cheeky kiki with Ru and Michelle, obvi. Despite all four of the dolls killing the final challenge and serving stunning looks on the runway, the judges decided the final lip sync would be a two horse race and as such, kept Danny and Cheddar to fight for the crown and eliminated Jonbers alongside the iconic, lip sync assassin Peppa.

While I was heartbroken to miss out on one final lip sync from Peppa, I understand why the judges kept the final two around given their track records were so evenly matched. That being said, it didn’t make losing Peppa any easier.

Peppa exploded out of the gate in the very first episode, giving an iconic entry, an artistic photoshoot and perfection on the runway. And while she landed in the bottom a couple of times, she was never really bad, leading me to question whether Ru just wanted to see her turn out another show just like Alan and myself.

After shooing Jonbers away to finish off his pity burger, I pulled Peppa in for a hug and thanked her for not just being an icon, but also for gracing us with her presence. Because that honestly feels like the only appropriate way to react to seeing her perform. As such we laughed, held each other tight and toasted her run with a piping hot Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade.

This little basque brunch number almost is almost the personification of Peppa herself, a little bit fiery with surprises dotted throughout – pancetta, in this case – and ultimately a positively lovely way to spend your time. Though instead of watching her perform, you eat.

Enjoy!

Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil
200g pancetta, cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
800g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs
¼ cup basil leaves, shredded
crusty bread, to serve

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a deep frying pan or dutch oven and cook the pancetta and onion for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the pancetta crisp. Add the capsicums, tinned tomato and tomato paste with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has started to reduce slightly.

Make 4 wells in the stew and crack an egg in each. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. Sprinkle the basil over the top and serve immediately. Before devouring alongside a tonne of bread, because duh!


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Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde

Burgers, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?

The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.

As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.

Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.

White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.

Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.

The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.

And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?

Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.

And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!

Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.

On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.

The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve. 

Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.

Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.

And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.

The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.

The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.

Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.

This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tbsp gochujang
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 shallots, sliced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
675g pork mince
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 Briocher Bünsberg
butter lettuce, leaves removed
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 cup kimchi

Method
Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.

In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.

When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.

To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.


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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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Kendall Gendircher Muesli

Breakfast, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on vs the World the BBC kindly hosted the inaugural United Nations of Drag battle royale, featuring finalists, robbed icons – looking at you, Lemon and Chez – and even a mother tucking host. And let’s just say, things got wilder than Jimbo flinging bologna at Ru pretty quickly. In addition to the lunch meat, there were gaggy eliminations, gaggier lip syncs and for consistency’s sake, a Jujubee appearance in the finale. Sadly for her, the crown went to the UK as Blu Hydrangea snatched it from Mo Heart and took it home to Northern Ireland.

But that was then and now we’ve changed out the Curry Chipz for poutine as we return to the northern part of North America as Rita made their triumphant return to the Canadian Werk Room. Well, mainstage, as is apparently the tradition for the International battles. In any event, she looked stunning in a glorious green gown before Stephanie Prince joined her, ready to rectify the robbery of her being eliminated on her first season. And while I love her, girl, nope, it was not a robbery. Though she was cute as the green fairy. Kendall joined her fellow Canadians looking perfect in a regal blue superhero number, followed by former mother tucking winner herself Icesis and damn, you can tell she has the money. That lilac look was glorious.

And her Season 2 sisters – and even Rita – were not happy about her presence.

Representing us south of the equator, Down Under’s Anita was giddy, delightful and ridiculous and ugh, I love her and know she will make us proud. They were joined by Brooke’s sister, the one with the good milk, Silky and ugh, I love her and can’t wait to see her dominate again and earn our love like her run in All Stars 6. Speaking of queens who got rudemption and then some on All Stars 6, purple queen Ra’Jah arrived and ohhh-hhh my go-ooood, crown her now. Whether she is concerned about Icesis or not. Vanity arrived from across the pond and well, she was stun-ning in orange. Dirty rice, indeed. Thankfully she also assured us she won’t be serving Baga Chipz, which is important for all contestants to clarify TBH. Rounding out the cast is the iconic first cis female cast member of any Ru franchise, Victoria Scone and well, she is still as gorgeous and stunning as I remember.

Brooke soon dropped by to welcome her cast and announce that their first maxi challenge would see them split into groups of three to form Girl Groups. Rita, Anita and Victoria formed the first band, Kendall, Icesis and Stephanie kept it in their season while Silky, Vanity and Ra’Jah would no doubt dominate together. Each band would have to write and record a verse on the new single Bonjour! Hi! with the top 2 lip syncing for the right to eliminate one of the bottoms. Again, as is tradition.

The dolls ventured backstage to get to know each other and find their place in the Werk Room, where Team USA vowed to be the Top 2, which feels right. Anita meanwhile was loving how kind everyone was and as such, read Silky for absolute filth every chance she got. Rumail interrupted their de-dragging experience to welcome them to the competition – despite Brooke already telling them what was happening – before they split up to work on their lyrics. Silky, Ra’Jah and Vanity agreed on calling themselves SRV while Victoria was thrilled to be on team nana, despite her literally being the youngest on the cast. Stephanie meanwhile was super confident and assumed her band would be the top three before talk turned to how obvious a target Icesis is. And well, I love her admitting that she knows everyone will come for her, so she just plans to destroy and never give them the chance.

Dripping winner’s energy all over the stage.

Vanity was busy tackling racism within the fandom in her verse before Brooke dropped by with Anjulie to see how they were going, with Anita glad to say g’day to the duo. Rita was charming and Victoria was thirsty and ready to show Anjulie a soggy bottom. Icesis meanwhile was silly and fun on her verse while Kendall was a little repetitive and Stephanie was straight up not interested in getting feedback from an actual popstar. SRV were up next with Brooke excited to see her sisters and well, it was clear that they are the team to beat despite Ra’Jah looking like she was about to drown in her lyrics like Toto have before her.

Team Nana – aka Touche – dropped by the mainstage to work through the choreography with Victoria taking the lead and despite keeping it simple, poor Rita got stuck in her head and spiraled. Stephanie assumed power in team Season 2 and filled Icesis with nerves, given she and Stephanie were in the bottom two in their girl groups. SRV meanwhile were perfect from start to finish and ready to slay.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls giddy with nervous energy, before talk turned to how everyone intends to eliminate people. And while everyone agreed they wanted to play fair, Rita knew it would be different when the moment actually happens. The dolls split up to get ready with Ra’Jah talking to the UK girls about the scene back home, with them agreeing it is quite segregated and they need to open themselves up more. Kendall praised Vancouver for always pushing for diverse lineups in their clubs before Miss Silky spoke about the horrors of racism in the US but how hopeful she was for things to change. Eventually.

Brooke and Anjulie took their places on the judges panel alongside Traci – donde esta, Brad?! – before Touche debuted their version of Bonjour! Hi! and well, it was just as camp and infectious as I hoped. Anita was a delight, Rita was a damn star and Victoria was so stupid and fun and ugh, I love it. Maple She-rups – a name Icesis earlier tried to kill – were up next and despite her sisters being way more confident, it was Icesis who owned the song and hit every piece of choreography. Oh and then SRV molly whopped the girls with Vanity stamping her place on the competition from the very first line. But that does not mean her sisters didn’t slay as they served all the charm and energy possible. It’s just that Vanity was THAT good.

On the Queen of the World runway Anita was glorious in a fuschia, frilled gown, despite it not really fitting that well. Rita served pineapple queen realness and well, it was stunning. Victoria paid homage to her name, covered in jam and cream and well, she was stunning. Kendall gave superhero glam in white, Icesis was glorious in a shimmering silver gown while Stephanie was stunning in a traditional Filipina look. Vanity was full Victorian realness in a golden quilted number, Ra’Jah was glorious in a purple pantsuit dripping in roses while Silky was glorious as the sexiest widow before revealing a stunning jeweled ball gown. And ugh, it is a toot.

Victoria, Icesis and Silky were sent to safety before Anita was praised for being high energy and sticking to herself, though read for blending into the background. Rita meanwhile received universal praise for everything she gave this week, before Kendall was read for being stuck in her head rather than bringing the fire to her performance and for looking good, but not on theme, on the runway. Stephanie explained her runway was an homage to her grandfather whose funeral she couldn’t attend due to COVID and while the judges loved it, everyone was nervous about her dropping the pot on her head. Including her. And they felt her performance was just going through the motions. Vanity rightly only got praise, with Brooke rightly announcing she murdered the entire challenge. And then she did that on the runway, so yeah, she is in the Top 2. Ra’Jah too was beloved, despite Brooke missing some of her lyrics. 

Despite Ra’Jah doing that though, it was Rita that joined Vanity in the Top 2 while Kendall and Stephanie found themselves up for elimination. 

Backstage the dolls congratulated the Top 2 on their performances, with Rita praising her bandmates for raising her up. Vanity meanwhile praised Silky and Ra’Jah for being such delightful role models for her and making her feel welcomed and able to slay. This led to Silky giving a beautiful speech about how welcome she feels and how grateful she is for her new sisters and ugh, I love it. Victoria checked in on the bottoms with Kendall admitting she knew she is better than how she performed, while Stephanie is heartbroken to potentially end her rudemption run already. Rita kikied with Kendall who admitted she was super nervous, though assured Rita she will do better and have her back, should the tables be turned. Stephanie meanwhile stuck to the task at hand, pointing out she did better in the challenge and as the only Asian queen on the cast, she wanted to represent her heritage. 

The safe girls meanwhile were busy gossiping with everyone agreeing it would be a close call and as such, Ra’Jah was thinking the decisions could get competitive. Kendall meanwhile was checking in with Vanity, telling her how disappointed she is and how she is super focused on turning it next time. With her worried she would be Pangina’d, which, no. But bless. Rita meanwhile told Stephanie that she loves Kendall, but eliminating her as a threat is still an option. Which obviously made Stephanie very nervous, given Rita gave her nothing.

After selecting their lipsticks, Vanity and Rita returned to the mainstage and took their places for the first lip sync of the season. And well, duh, Vanity was perfection from start to finish of Brand New Bitch by Anjulie, despite Rita leaning into her ridiculous drunk ‘80s diva character. As we saw in the performance, Vanity knows how to perform, splitting and flipping and hitting every lyric and well, it was great to watch her triumph and prove just why she made it to the top four of UK 3. As such, she rightly took out the first win of the season – with a cash prize to boot! – and promptly sent poor Kendall Gender home as the first boot.

Backstage Kendall was obviously disappointed, but given she is so kind, chill and literally made the finale less than a year ago, she quickly perked up and was glad Stephanie would get more of a chance to show what she can do. I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her that becoming a First Boot on an All Stars season is iconic and outside of winning, that is the way to do it. I mean, when you are in the company of Lemon, Pandora, Coco, Thorgy – on a technicality – Jasmine Masters, Derrick Barry and THE Serena ChaCha it is hard to be disappointed. As such, we laughed, toasted to her ongoing success and smashed a healthy and delicious Kendall Gendircher Muesli.

I know, I know – how can muesli be comforting, you ask? But I challenge you to try this and not fall in love. Fresh and light, while packed full of flavour, all while being healthy, it truly is the ultimate way to start your day.

Enjoy!

Kendall Gendircher Muesli
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup apple juice
½ cup natural or Greek yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
¼ cup flaked almonds
¼ cup walnuts
2 tbsp pepitas

Method
Grate the apple and mix it in a bowl with the rolled oats, juice, yoghurt, cinnamon and honey until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to infuse overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add half the almonds, walnuts and pepitas to the muesli and stir to combine. Divide the mixture among the bowls and sprinkle with the remaining almonds, walnuts and pepitas, and some extra yoghurt. Then, devour.


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Pixie Poliaf

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls did a makeover on their dearest minders, the Queen Team. Oh and Ru was sick and skipped out on most of the episode. While everyone was perfectly paired – by accident, no less – results were a little more mixed. Danny was able to make her newest sister feel confident enough to don a beard while Cheddar and hers were having a while dripping in gold. At the other end of the pack, however, Pixie aged up her new sister badly. Oh and apparently Dakota’s perfect makeover and consistent branding wasn’t enough, as the judges placed her in the bottom with Pixie. Cheddar rightly took out the win before Michelle continued to glitch and booted Dakota.

Incorrectly.

Backstage everyone was gutted to lose sweet Dakota, none more so than Pixie who had to deal with the guilt of eliminating her. Cheddar meanwhile led the dolls in praising her for being so damn strong and making such a splash on the competition, while Danny assured Pixie that they are glad she stayed. Despite how terrible her outfit was. Pixie meanwhile was glad to have lip synced given she has been coasting and that moment in the bottom she was able to be shaken out of her head. As they sat down to kiki, Danny sobbed talking about how she felt like Dakota had much more to give and she felt like she didn’t even deserve to be in the bottom. Which is true, but I hate the fact it came at the expense of Jonbers feeling like she doesn’t think she is worthy. Because she is.

The next day everyone spoke about how surreal it is to make it to the top five, with Cheddar admitting that she is shocked to have made it this far given she wasn’t sure her drag would come across. Peppa obviously saw herself here, while everyone admitted that they thought Dakota would get there. This led to Pixie reiterating that she didn’t think Dakota should have been in the bottom, which again led to Jonbers getting frustrated and when Pixie continued to go in, Cheddar stepped in to assure her they just want to know more about the story she is telling.

Before things got physical, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would be overacting in The Squirrel Games. A murder mystery set in the Big Mother house, overseen by a deranged squirrel. And as Cheddar won the last challenge, she would be casting the show before they acted with director – and Dakota robber – Miselle Visage. They sat down to read through the script with everyone excited by the range of iconic British reality stereotypes, while Pixie was laser focused on getting the lead hero role. Jonbers meanwhile wanted to play a dog given she dreamt it, Peppa went with the Bear Grylls character, Cheddar went with the vapid influencer, Danny got the Davina McCall role leaving Pixie with the easiest win, Kim Woodburne. Everyone split up to learn their lines with Danny concerned about Peppa and Jonbers bringing the group down, but damn were they having fun.

The dolls joined Michelle on set where Danny was a charming mess, unable to get her lines down, but well, you know she is going to slay so this is a fake out. Peppa was very loud and intense, Cheddar’s accent was less consistent than DK – aka Dorit Kemsley – while Jonbers just could not remember her dog’s name. While Pixie was doing a perfect character study, though struggled with light and shade. And her lines. So yeah, it was an absolute mess.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls split up to beat their mugs with Jonbers opening up about how much she is missing her family. Particularly since her family is super supportive, with her dad desperately pushing her to audition for the show. Cheddar too opened up about her supportive family and how her dad calls out homophobes on the reg, while Danny’s dad kinda took coming out, out of his hands, letting him know that he knew and will always love him. Pixie too is grateful for building a relationship with her dad the older she has gotten, while Peppa spoke about how much her chosen family mean to her and that they lift her up when her birth family don’t.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by the stunning Lorraine Pascale as Danny opened the Ruff and Ready – aka ruffles – runway in a stunningly gaudy blue gown, Jonbers was perfection in a white and green fluffy number – complete with playing some sexy flute – while Cheddar was a gorgeous living pansy in honour of the pansy project, where pansies are planted at the sites of homophobic crimes. Peppa was stunning in a denim-does-Oz look and ugh, she is per. Fect. Pixie meanwhile was gorgeous as a slutty Elizabeth, which was bested only by Michelle’s queen puns. We then settled in for the premiere of The Squirrel Games and well it was better than the shoot would have us believe, but well, it wasn’t exactly stunning. Though watching Cheddar go full demented, vapid delight was an absolute joy to behold. As was Pixie’s Kimmy performance.

The judges lived for Danny’s character and how hard she went in, making Davina a wild caricature and obviously felt she looked gorgeous on the runway. Jonbers meanwhile was read for giving one note despite having two characters, though they lived for every single moment she served on the runway. Cheddar was praised for giving light and shade and slaying the acting, with the praise only getting better when it came to her beautiful look. And the story behind it. Peppa was read for screaming through the challenge despite everyone living for the depth she brought to the runway, while Pixie received universal praise for the performance despite the fact she didn’t bring herself to the character. And Michelle felt she didn’t bring enough ruffles to the runway, despite looking gorgeous.

Backstage Jonbers was thrilled by Ru calling her outfit one of the best of all times, particularly given it proved to the other dolls that she has a brand. Peppa too was happy with how they felt about her runway, despite knowing it will be her and Jonbers lip syncing tonight. Danny reiterated how much they all love Jonbers before Pixie praised her for serving stunning tonight, which led to Danny breaking down about feeling good looking. Pixie too was emotional about the fact Ru told her she was proud, while Cheddar was just thrilled to be having so much fun in the game. And well, is she starting to feel competitive? The dolls then received messages from home with us learning Jonbers brother is a total zaddy, Peppa’s loved one is also a zaddy and so is Danny’s partner. And that is the end of zaddy watch.

We returned to the mainstage where Danny was sent to safety before Cheddar took out her fourth win of the season – please don’t go the route of Bimini and Ella and be robbed, Cheds – before Pixie joined them, leaving Jonbers and Peppa to battle it out for safety to Some Kinda Rush by Booty Luv and well, it is was a show. Both the dolls had a fire within them, desperate to avoid missing out on the top four, hitting every lyric and giving tricks, hitting every line and flipping and splitting around the stage and well, I was glad to see Ru bring some sense back to the judges panel – who would have thought?! – as she saved both the dolls, leaving the top five to fight another day.

Backstage Jonbers and Peppa were on cloud nine, thrilled to have both made it through. And while Danny led the other girls in congratulating them for turning out the show, she was disappointed to have been beaten by Cheddar. Particularly since she felt her runway was superior. But well, she best be scared because now that Cheddar has her fourth badge she is hungry for the win.

The next day the top five were feeling deja-Ru to be starting another week as a fivesome (or do we just say orgy). Danny was feeling less bitter today, congratulating Cheddar on her win while the latter joked she is aware that she now has a massive target on her back. Before we could unpack any of that, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would need to participate in the General Erection where they will roast their opponents and the eliminated queens. Immediately filling Peppa with dread, even though they will be coached by Bafta winning comedian Aislin Bea. Though given she survived the week before, she and Jonbers were given the power to decide the order which could help her. If she plays it wisely.

As soon as Ru exited, Peppa and Jonbers pulled themselves aside to strategise the order with the former wanting to hide in the middle. Jonbers meanwhile didn’t want to put Pixie in the end and give her the chance to finish strong, given Pixie is very confident in her ability to roast. Cheddar meanwhile was terrified of the challenge, so told the girls that she would like to go early or in the middle. Danny just didn’t want to follow Pixie, who was reading the dolls and not charming them, which was a vibe. Ultimately the order was Danny, Jonbers, Peppa, Pixie and then Cheddar, with her positively ropeable given she felt her style will end things on a flat note. And well, things were well and truly tense in the Werk Room. And, well, work. One by one the dolls met with Aislin and well, she was an absolute delight, giving wonderful, smart advice and uplifting the dolls who were more nervous. I mean, even Peppa left rehearsal confident in herself!

Elimination Day arrived with Danny opening up about how nervous she is about the challenge, particularly given everyone expects her to do well. Cheddar agreed that the competition is terrifying and despite being successful, stepping outside of your comfort zone is risky and always fills her with fear. Peppa meanwhile was glad to surprise people while Pixie was looking forward to absolutely roasting everyone.

We ventured to the mainstage where Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Olly Alexander for the General Erection Roast where Danny opened the show and absolutely demolished, going for Olly’s teeth and slaying Starlet’s lack of personality. Then she pivoted back to teeth, reading Peppa and Alan’s too, before casually destroying everyone. Completely. I mean, just give her the badge now. Jonbers followed and was an absolute delight, leaning into her drunk persona and joking about her gender reveal being a bomb scare because she is from Northern Ireland. I mean, she was delightful, charming and a ball of fun. Peppa destroyed Pixie’s messy makeover – and gurl, she was angry – but the jokes stopped there until she just told them to laugh whenever she wanted. 

I mean, at least she is a self-aware icon and her telling everyone to laugh at her bombing was adorbs.

Despite following such a mess, Pixie seemed to be even worse as she got into her head under the pressure of the expectation she would easily win. And ugh, it was hard to watch as she botched her jokes, lost her way and looked absolutely broken. Cheddar thankfully bought some energy back to the roast, leaning into a solid character and going with safe jokes. While it got a little derailed, she was charming and that saved things.

On the Pretty in Punk runway Danny continued her triumphant week in yellow tartan in honour of fucking gender and well, it was glorious. Jonbers gave showgirl punker, complete with giant safety pin through her front and well, I loved it. Peppa served sexy Beyond Thunderdome and it was a total slay, while Pixie served a punky Queen Liz and Cheddar closed the show looking classic punker, giving Sid Vicious Ts.

The judges rightly gave Danny universal praise for everything, from dominating the dolls in the challenge and giving all the Westwood glory on the runway. Jonbers too received only praise, particularly for playing it smart in the roast with the drunk character and for giving a killer look on the runway, despite Michelle not living for the wig. Peppa was praised for being so bad she was good and the fact she had everyone rooting for her, though they sure as hell lived for the runway given it was absolute perfection. Pixie was read for bombing the roast and not even mentioning Alan’s teeth with the stonehenge joke, though they liked the runway despite it swallowing her a little. Oh and then Cheddar was read for showing her first sign of weakness and playing it too intellectual, though her runway was deemed perfect.

Backstage the dolls kikied about the critiques, with Jonbers gagged to have landed in the top, while it was obvious Danny won. Cheddar felt the judges were fair with what they wanted, before reiterating that her going at the end was kinda bad for everyone. Particularly since she verbalised not wanting to go last. Pixie meanwhile was gutted to have bombed, with Danny assuring her that she would have done well if she just had a couple of laughs in the first 30 seconds to build momentum. While Peppa was just ready to send someone home. The eliminated queens dropped by to chat with Dakota talking about how funny they were, while Le Fil wanted them to go harder on her. Talk thankfully turned to Sminty’s iconic exit and how much Ru lived.

Obviously Danny took out victory with Jonbers joining her as safety, before Peppa was gagged to learn that she would be facing off against Pixie for safety. Meaning Cheddar earnt her spot in the finale, because, duh. As soon as Another One Bites the Dust began, Peppa was on fire and while Pixie also turned it, Peppa is Peppa and knows how to turn a show. And then poor Pixie literally stumbled mid-performance and while she recovered well and powered on, it wasn’t enough as she became the last person eliminated, sending Peppa through to the finale. 

Backstage I pulled Miss Polite in for a massive hug and praised her for doing such a killer job throughout the season. And more importantly, for not being too polite all season and for giving us some iconic moments. Speaking of which, while she only had one win, Pixie was consistently killer from the first week and while she had her stumbles, they really only happened when she got in her head, proving the inner saboteur is real. Real, but easily vanquished with a piping hot, herby Pixie Poliaf.

While pilaf is a basic kind of French side, it proves that sometimes classics are the best – right, Pixie? Gently spiced, full of herbs and a little sweet, pilaf pairs perfectly a French stew. Or TBH, devoured from the fridge at midnight (being mindful of the rice is poison situation, of course).

Enjoy!

Pixie Poliaf
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups long grain white rice
120g butter
1 onion, diced
1L chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and pop the stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. 

In a dutch oven, heat the butter and saute the onions and rice for a few minutes, or until the rice becomes opaque. Slowly stir in the hot stock and bay leaf before covering and popping in the oven to braise for 20 minutes.

Once cooked, separate with a fork, stir through the thyme and remove the bay leaf. And then serve and immediately devour.


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Ryan Wedgranos

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.

But first, let’s take a little step back.

We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.

Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!

At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.

Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.

After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.

You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Ryan Wedgranos
Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.

Ingredients
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.

Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.

Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.


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Fig James Jones

Condiment, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.

Leaving us with just three more women.

Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?

We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council. 

Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.

We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.

They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.

At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.

James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.

And well, he was salty.

When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.

While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.

Enjoy!

Fig James Jones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg figs, trimmed and diced
500g raw caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips

Method
Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.

The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.

Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.


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