In the words of my dearly departed friend Nat King Cole, smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by, knowing that despite finishing as the co-first alternate / runner-up with Detox after Roxxxy was eliminated, my dear, sweet friend Katya was the true winner of All Stars. Just sans crown.
But what high class hooker wants a crown, anyway?
Like Detox, Katya had a consistently good run to the finale – minus the back-to-back stints in the bottom which was production’s fault for giving her a dud character and the fact it was a bottom three rather than two, respectively – and more importantly had grown since her first season and was able to work through the crippling anxiety that plagued her last time.
The true hooker with a heart of gold – take that Julia ‘I love my life, Denzel Washington’ Roberts – Katya was our last, great hope to topple Rolaskatox headed into the finale after the brutal second cut of Alyssa Edwards.
While Alaska was heading into the final with the best track record – despite an epic, EPIC series of meltdowns making me question my support – Katya truly shone in the finale by announcing that she would have sent Roxxxy home … again, before performing a killer Russian rap, her stage-smashing pussy moves (try to grab that one Trump) and an emotional speech as to why she should win, which started in Katya’s signature Russian accent and finished up with Brian proudly talking about finding his confidence and himself.
Despite being crowned as the co-first alternate – Katya, you’re the true winner baby. She worked through her issues, showed her growth between seasons and firmed up / expanded her fandom (see: pointless social media voting for the winner where is had more votes that the clique did combined).
Obviously after such a positive experience, Katya wasn’t feeling disappointed when we sat down for a post-race catch-up. I first met Katya while studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where we bonded over a love of gymnastics, she performing and me watching men in lycra and have enjoyed an extremely close friendship ever since. So while she wasn’t disappointed by her experience, I knew she would still want to share a big old comforting Fokatya.
Not being one to choose, this focaccia is an orgy of flavours that work together to deliver a meal worthy of an All Star Supergroup. Like Seduction.
And I mean, why choose one flavour when the pillowy dough can support them all?
500g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g dried yeast
2 tsp raw caster sugar
300ml water, lukewarm
Onion and taleggio
extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
balsamic vinegar, to taste
handful taleggio, broken up
½ bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
1 handful ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
salt and pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
champagne vinegar, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
50g Taleggio cheese
50g goat’s feta
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
Pumpkin and feta
100g pumpkin, diced and roasted with oil, salt and pepper for twenty minutes at 180°C
50g goat’s feta
a couple of leaves of sage, sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a jug, add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, combine and allow to rest for about ten minutes or until foamy and glorious.
Slowly pour the yeast water into the flour, stirring as you go. Once it comes together, remove to a floured surface and knead for about five minutes until smooth to work through your rage that Katya couldn’t take the crown.
Oil a large bowl, add the dough ball, dust with flour, cover and move to a warm place to prove for an hour.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
While the dough is proving, get cracking on the toppings. And by that, fry the onions with a good lug of olive in a large saucepan over low heat for ten minutes. Add the thyme leaves and balsamic and cook for a further two minutes, or until the liquid is reduced. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Cut up the tomatoes and basil, combined them in a bowl with salt and pepper, a quick lug of olive oil, a dash of champagne vinegar and garlic.
And obviously I told you to bake the pumpkin up top in the ingredients, so get to that now if you forgot.
Anyway, the focaccia should have well and truly proven itself by now, like Katya, so remove it from the bowl, pound it like a pussy on the stage during the splits and spread it out of a lined baking tray until it is a couple of centimetres thick.
Bash it with your fingertips to form a sea of holes, cover a quarter of the focaccia with each of the toppings, allowing them to blur over to each other.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt, allow to prove why Katya was the true winner for a further 20 minutes and then bake for about half an hour, or until golden on top and soft in the middle. Devour and relish the orgy of flavours in your mouth.