Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 12 new dolls waltzed into the Werk Room and while their Season 1 sisters – led by The Vivienne – were icons, they walked so these calls could run. Because damn, this season was perfect from start to finish. We lost star Joe Black first before the sweetest frontline worker of all time Cherry Valentine was felled. The dolls were then gagged by ASOS loving Asttina followed her out the door with a win to her name before Ginny straight up quit the show and exited on her own terms.
Then the world happened and that little ol’ virus that could came a knockin’ at the studio doors with filming shut down for seven months.
When things kicked back off, Sister had a new face while Tia kept her JT style hair for continuity. Sadly, Veronica caught COVID and was unable to return to the show, leading to Joe making a triumphant return for another try. Sadly she became the first boot again before Tia and Sister followed her out the door. Despite having two wins to her name, A’Whora was felled by a bleep riddle comedy show leaving Ellie, Tayce, Bimini and Lawrence to battle for the crown.
Well, the latter three as Ellie was felled ahead of the final lip sync.
While Tayce dominated the lip sync and Bimini dominated the latter half of the competition, it was the all-rounder Lawrence that joined the UK winners circle. And well, it is what she deserves. While Bimini overtook her in the later stages of the competition, Lawrence was consistently in the top and you know she is going to go on to have a long, successful career given she is so damn charming and funny. As such, I was very proud to toast her success with a piping hot bowl of Lawrence Colchannon.
How do you make mashed potatoes even better? Pack it full of flavour and cover it in brown butter, of course! Rich and hearty, this colcannon is the perfect accompaniment for any dish and will have you questioning why you haven’t slathered brown butter over your mash before.
Lawrence Colchannon Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1kg washed potatoes 200g kale, stripped from stems and roughly chopped 1 cup milk 2 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp pepper 150g unsalted butter 4 spring onions, sliced
Method Pop the potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Add the stripped kale to the pan and cook for a further five minutes before draining everything. Return to the pan and place over the off burner to dry out all the excess liquid.
Aggressively mash the potatoes and kale until semi-smooth before stirring through the milk, salt and pepper and stirring to combine. Place over the lowest heat possible and stir frequently to avoid catching.
Place a small saucepan over a medium heat and slowly melt the butter before cooking until golden brown and starting to get brown bits catching on the bottom. Add in the spring onions, cook for a further minute and remove from the heat. Add half to the potato mixture and stir to combine.
To serve, pour the potato into a dish, whipping with a spatula to form peaks and valleys across the surface. Then drizzle with the rest of the brown butter and devour, like a true queen.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the top four slayed their final challenge before Ru decided to add one final bit of messiness to the proceedings and eliminated Ellie without a shot at the crown. With that, the newly minted top three took their places on the mainstage and turned out another epic performance as they lip synced for the crown. Despite Tayce obviously slaying from start to finish, however, that was as far as her superior lip syncing skills would take her as she finished as co-runner-up of the season.
Co-runner-up with Bimini, proving to be the gaggiest gag of all the seasons as Lawrence took the crown home to Scotland instead.
By the time Bimini found me backstage, following the sound of my heartbroken tears, I clung to her for dear life, disappointed that her epic run wasn’t rewarded with a crown. She tried to sooth me with assurances that proving herself was more than enough of a win and reminded me I should be as happy for Lawrence as she was.
And well, I am – particularly given you could argue that COVID really killed her momentum and things could have played out if they didn’t have a seven month pause – though that doesn’t take away from the fact Bimini was iconic. And well, if she doesn’t win the first UK All Stars, I will riot.
I have been a friend for Bims for close to a decade now, meeting while studying journalism together so it was so wonderful to see her shine and grow throughout the competition. And while it isn’t the crown that she deserves, a piping hot bowl of Biminestrone Bon Boulash is a close second.
Warming and hearty, this play on Nigella’s green minestrone is delicious. And more importantly, easily converted into a vegan option for our vegan queen. Sweet and fresh, it is the perfect trans-seasonal freshness to get you ready for soup season.
Biminestrone Bon Boulash Serves: 8.
Ingredients 3 tbsp garlic oil 1 tsp dried thyme 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 1 potato, diced 1 celery stalk, finely sliced 3 cups frozen peas a handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths 2 zucchinis, half-peeled and diced 1L vegetable stock salt and pepper, to taste a handful fresh basil leaves 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated (or a vegan substitute) 800g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 500g spinach and ricotta tortellini (or a vegan substitute)
Method Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook the thyme until fragrant. Add the leek, potato and celery, and sweat for about five minutes. Stir in the peas and beans, followed by the zucchini and stock. Pop on a lid, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through. Season to taste.
Take out about 2 cups of vegetables and a little liquid and blitz in a blender with the basil and parmesan – being careful to avoid the steam blowing off the lid – and return to the pan alongside the beans and tortellini. Bring back to the boil and cook until the pasta is tender.
Remove from the heat and leave to rest for ten minutes or so before devouring, while manifesting a crown in Bimini’s near future.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the top four faced their biggest, ultimate challenge – writing and recording verses, learning choreography, lunching and performing live on the mainstage – and while they all slayed from start to finish, Ru felt only three had earnt the right to lip sync for the crown and viciously cut Ellie, leaving Lawrence, Bimini and Tayce to battle it out.
And hot damn did they turn it!
They took their places on the mainstage and as soon as my lover turned enemy turned frenemy to potentially back to lover’s Elton’sI’m Still Standing kicked off, they were all in their element. Lawrence came out swinging with camp, Tayce continued her glorious finale performance and Bimini hit every syllable and served all of the emotions. And then straight up squatted into front kicks like a cossack dancer, before splitting and flipping everywhere.
But sadly, only one of them could take the crown and with only one win to her name, it wasn’t the iconic Tayce. Thankfully though, we had her the entire season and there was not even one moment where she wasn’t charming and entertaining and that is all that really matters.
As she exited to the Werk Room for a final time, I pulled her in for a massive hug and thanked her for gifting the world with her presence. And just having the nerve, the gall, the cheek and the gumption to be that much of an epic vibe. Kinda like Drag Race’s answer to Shonee, TBH.
Given she is a woman that knows what she likes, I scraped my original plans – following in zaddy John Eastoe’s footsteps – and whipped her up a delicious Potayce Noodle Sandwich.
While I had never heard of this iconic confection before watching the dolls COVID-break special, it instantly became one of my faves. Soft noodles, softer bread and gooey butter and cheese – which I introduced to Tayce – work perfectly to cheer you up, feed your soul and have you living your best life.
Potayce Noodle Sandwich Serves: 1.
Ingredients 1 pot of pot noodles, any flavour your heart desires 1 tbsp butter, let’s go with the saltiest you can find 2 slices of the whitest, fibreless bread you can find 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
Method Cook the pot noodles as per their instructions before draining completely. Butter the bread, sprinkle it with some cheese and dump in the noodles.
Then close the sandwich and smash. And then, repeat because this is SO good.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the top four were cast in the iconic new soap Beastenders. And despite many a wobbly bit during the shoot, everyone slayed. Of course that didn’t stop Ellie and Lawrence from fighting with each other, given they are giving off big sibling energy. When it came to judging, Tayce was read for being too sexy on the runway, while Ellie didn’t take comedy far enough. Shocking nobody, Bimini won her fourth badge, while Tayce and Ellie landed in the bottom, before Ru deemed them all too good, saving them and sending them through to the final as a foursome.
The top four returned to the Werk Room after the shocking non-elimination, giddy to officially be the final four. Tayce was particularly thrilled to survive lip syncing four times, while Ellie was proud to make it to the end despite no wins. Lawrence congratulated her on making it, despite the fact she tried to throw her under the bus on the runway. Ellie thanked Lawrence and admitted that she inspired her to start drag and as they all hugged, all appeared to be right in the world. We then got a supercut reminding us that Bimini fought her way to the top and grew the entire time, Ellie was proud of herself, Lawrence was desperate to be the first big girl winner and make Scotland proud.
And Tayce, she knows she is an icon and is simply ready to show it.
The next day the queens were still on cloud nine about making it to the end, with Bimini worried about her chiropractic bill post show given she is holding up FOUR badges now. Ru interrupted their kiki to announce that for their final challenge they would be writing their own verse for the rumix of A Little Bit of Love, then learn choreo and you guessed it, perform it live on stage. After lunching with Ru and Michelle on the mainstage, of course. After Ru departed the girls quickly started writing their verses, with Ellie going the shady route which made Lawrence very concerned, given it is completely against the ethos of the song. Thankfully she got Tayce and Bimini involved and they agreed the song needs to be positive and fierce. Read: cohesive. Speaking of Bimini, she was very confident – as she should be – given she can perform the house down and can turn a funny verse.
And Lawrence meanwhile was stuck in his head trying to write the lyrics.
Tayce was up first for her tic tac luncheon, charming her way through the interview and dropping the epic reveal that her dad is the guitarist of mother fuckin’ WHAM! No wonder she was always encouraged to rock a wig and turn a look like the iconic toddler she no longer was. Talk turned to what she has learnt in the competition, with Ru admitting that she has grown so dramatically from the start of filming, through lockdown to now. Ellie was up next, still gagging Ru with how young she is. Ellie admitted that she has always wanted to make life fun and not stick around in situations that suck. She then taught Ru and Michelle the Ellie Diamond 8-count choreo and the judges were both living. Not to mention the fact she played the game strategically in the comedy challenge with the judges telling her not to feel bad about it for a minute.
It was clear from the first moment Lawrence arrived that he is still Ru’s favourite, with Ru looking on proudly talking about her first time in drag and the overall transformation it has built in her. Lawrence admitted that she loves Scotland and wants to make them proud, particularly since Scottish people often end up being the brunt of jokes in movies. And ugh, then came the queen of my heart Bimini with her admitting that she surprised even herself with how well she has done in the competition. She admitted to struggling with self-doubt through the break, but built herself up and after re-starting filming on a very special day for her, she vowed to fight. Michelle spoke about seeing the moment in Snatch Game where she realised Bimini was in it to win it. Oh and then she spoiled how we met each other – at journalism school, but we’ll get to that later – and spoke about her history with depression and how she has overcome it through yoga, meditation and Oprah.
And again, give. Her. The. Damn. Crown.
The queens they met Jay Ruvell to work on the choreography with two beautiful dancers who had all the girls’ basements floodin’. Or drippin’ if you will. While Lawrence was shitting bricks, Tayce was living her absolute best life and served that rehearsal like it was the opening ceremony of the Olympics and she was Nikki Webster. Bimini obviously destroyed her solo moment, reminding me of Katya in the finale of All Stars 2. Ellie was confident in her own choreo, Lawrence warmed into her performance after a little bit of encouragement from Ellie and fuck, how can you not love all of them? Particularly Tayce who was DTD (dance, duh) and seriously was soaking in every moment and her joy was SO DAMN INFECTIOUS.
Coronation Day finally arrived – I mean, they had a damn seven month lockdown – with the girls excited to have made it, despite the fact Lawrence’s body was completely falling apart. Bimini asked the girls what they all thought of each other when they arrived, with Ellie intimidated by Tayce and Lawrence, and wanting Bimini to brush her wig. Tayce and Bimini praised Ellie’s level of polish for such a young girl, while Bimini was just thrilled that she has earnt people’s respect and they now believe she deserves the crown. Lawrence spoke about the power of having two Scottish queens in the finale and being able to prove that someone from a small town really can dominate. Tayce meanwhile was thrilled to show the judges what she does best, though pointed out Ellie’s final boy outfit pants are the lowest point in her mind.
When it came time for the dolls to perform, I was barely distracted by the sexy dancers because the top four came to slay. Bimini looked stunning, rapped like a professional and hit every moment of choreo. Ellie proved she can own the stage, spinning all over and mesmerising the judges. Even Lawrence’s fear of dance wasn’t visible, with a verse that fit with the song and a charming performance. And Tayce? You know she owned it, with sharp moves and on point lyrics and well, can we just do a four way crowning? Wait, no – the eliminated queens joined them all on stage for the final chorus and NOW I want a 12 way crowning. Because this cast was absolute fire.
On the Final Four Runway Eleganza Extravaganza, Bimini looked stunning in a slutty white bridal gown. I mean, her make-up was flawless. Ellie was gorgeous in a blush Glinda number, and even twirled her skirt out and squatted in the exact right moment. Lawrence went for Ru’s heart, dressed in purple Drag Race eleganza, complete with her badges used as earrings. And then Tayce slayed in a nude illusion, bird number with a face inspired by Naomi Campbell.
The judges praised Bimini for her epic run, going from bottom two week one to absolutely dominating the competition. They lived for her performance and thought her outfit was glorious. Ellie was praised for her stunning, polished looks and the heart she injects into every one of her looks. Everything Lawrence did, the judges completely ate up despite being a little behind on her steps. Not that they cared, given her personality will drive her career. Tayce FINALLY got the glowing praise she deserved for annihilating the verse and her performance. And looking stunning. Ru then gave her a special shoutout for destroying every lip sync she did in the competition, particularly for injecting herself into such vastly different songs.
Bimini then advised lil’ Tommy to not dye his hair and not let people’s bullshit diminish his shine. Ellie wanted to tell little Elliott that despite his relationship with his father, to not stop believing in finding your Oz. Lawrence encouraged himself to not close himself off because of the bullies, relax, laugh and believe in yourself. And then Tayce told a glorious story about taking a wig from her neighbour as a kid, skateboarding down the street and to enjoy the Maccas she had after it. And then gave a charming speech about not giving trolls time and to practise.
Ru asked the girls to detail why they should win, with Bimini focusing on wanting to be a beacon of queer weirdness and to make everyone she knows proud. Ellie spoke about her ability to do literally everything and never bottoming (except that one time, which she slayed). Lawrence gave a heartfelt speech about wanting to be an escape for people and given Ru beaming as she looked on proudly and the stirring music, I am starting to worry Bimini may not actually have this in the bag. Tayce spoke about never letting people get to her and that she will take that strength into the crown, perform her tits off all over the world and FINALLY put beans on toast with ketchup and butter on the map. Direct quote.
The top four returned backstage to meet the eliminated queens with us finally learning that Veronica survived her rat bite fever – though I knew that already – with Lawrence disappointed she couldn’t make the top with them but knowing she will slay Season 3. Cherry asked them to chat about the biggest gags of the season, with Ginny Lemon getting up and trying to walk out again. She explained she is an icon and has never been eliminated, so the move made sense to her. Bimini was gagged that Joe left twice, A’Whora was shocked by Ellie’s track record and Tia, bless, loved that they all bonded and got to become the best of friends.
The dolls returned to the mainstage where Ru announced that only three of them would be moving on to lip sync for the crown and as such, Ellie Diamond was eliminated in fourth place and sent to the back of stage to join her fellow eliminated sisters. As the crew reset for the final lip sync, I quickly pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug, praising for such a killer run. I mean, look back at everything she served and you see a cohesive point of view that was never anything less than perfection. And as such, she is destined for greatness. Even more greatness than an Ellie Diamonte Carlo, TBH.
While Monte Carlos aren’t my favourite of biscuits, my passion is creating copycats of any and all ones I can find on the shelf for the inevitable day when they are discontinued like my beloved coffee scrolls. And well, these are pretty delish. Coconutty and sweet, they are the perfect substitute for the real thing. Or maybe even better.
Ellie Diamonte Carlo Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 250g butter, softened 100g muscovado sugar 1 egg 2 tsp vanilla extract 320g flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder 45g coconut 120g icing sugar 2 tsp milk ½ cup strawberry jam
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking sheets.
Using a stand mixer, cream 190g of the butter and the muscovado sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and 1 ½ teaspoons of the vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Turn off the mixer and fold through the flour, baking powder and coconut before beating on low until just combined.
Roll out teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and pressed onto the lined trays. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the biscuits get chill, cream the remaining butter and vanilla extract with the icing sugar and milk until soft and creamy.
To assemble, dollop a small glob of jam into the centre of half the biscuits before piping the buttercream in a ring around to enclose. Then sandwich with one of the naked biscuits.
Leave to set for about five minutes before devouring, triumphantly.
Previously on Drag Race UK the queens put on a comedy show about life’s grandest of comedie, love. In what is fast becoming tradition Bimini slayed, Lawrence got in her head, Tayce focused on sharing her gold another day and A’Whora was bleeped as quickly as a gay thot is banned from Instagram. More importantly, villain Ellie emerged, desperate to claim a win, scheduling the show to screw over Lawrence and A’Whora and while their rage ended up impacting Ellie’s performance too, it worked as A’Whora landed in the bottom opposite her bestie Tayce. Before Tayce, Tacye’d and eliminated her from the competition.
The queens ventured backstage in utter shock after A’Whora sashayed away with two badges against Tayce, who had only one to go with her three bottoms. Tayce on the flipside was not shocked, given she knows how to turn a lip sync and knows she will always slay. Ellie meanwhile was thrilled that A’Whora didn’t write a nasty message on the mirror to her about the set order. This led Lawrence to continue ranting about Ellie daring to play the game strategically, brutalising Ellie by pointing out that it wasn’t really worth it, given she never won that badge. Much to the delight of Tayce and horror of Bimini, as the two delights congratulated Ellie on having the guts to do it slash made sure she was ok.
Things were still tense the next day as Lawrence continued to shade Ellie’s track record, while Bimini was proud of herself for really cementing herself as a contender. Even more so than last week, when she cemented herself. Tayce meanwhile was more delighted by the fact that Lawrence could not let things with Ellie go, laughing that A’Whora would be over it as soon as she found herself under a cock. The only thing stopping Lawrence’s rage was the arrival of Ru for this week’s mini challenge requiring everyone to indeed love puppets. Yes, it is the puppet gloryhole shadefest. Ellie was first at the whole reaching deep to grab Tayce, Lawrence scored Ellie – oh god – Bimini scored Lawrence, leaving Tayce with the one and only Bimini Bon Boulash.
The dolls split up to drag up their puppets’ lives, before puppet Tayce arrived in her shocking dishrag dress talking a million miles an hour, sounding a bit like Baga Chipz but ultimately being entertaining as hell. Lawrence didn’t destroy Ellie as badly as I thought, being charming and sassy while reading her for filth. Once again Bimini was hilarious, charming and brutal and ugh, give her the crown now, please. I live. Oh and then Tayce was hilarious despite being nothing like Bimini. Once again – again – Bimini took out another well earned victory, this time earning her the right to cast the roles in this week’s Maxi Challenge, acting in the soap opera BeastEnders. Unlike Ellie however, Bimini opted not to be shady – probably because she was not really feeling threatened – and let the queens take the role that they liked after selecting herself the role of Scat Slater.
With that Bimini took Tayce aside to give her her breastplate for the challenge, allowing Ellie and Lawrence time to clear the air. And while Ellie was quick to apologise and explain why she did what she did, Lawrence really couldn’t let it go and Lawrence, you need to move on otherwise you’re only going to hurt yourself. Back over with the duo oozing with charm, Tayce was bouncing her tits and giddily planning not to blend the pale tits to match her skin tone to add more comedy.
Again, I love her.
Before we could see more from my loves, the girls were interrupted by the arrival of Eastenders’ own Natalie Cassidy to give the girls an acting masterclass via Skype. From screaming “Rickay” to working through their emotions saying “Bubbly’s in the fridge,” the take away was to add light and shade which is clearly something unique to British soaps, since Toadie’s mullet never screamed nuance to me. But I digress.
The queens arrived on set to shoot with Michelle Visage who encouraged the girls that this could be a classic … if they nail. Right out of the gate Bimini and Tayce slayed, while poor Lawrence couldn’t even get through the door on her first cue. She and Ellie then caused each other to spiral, missing line after line, even forgetting character names. Meanwhile my loves Bimini and Tayce sat on the sidelines thrilled that this is more likely to be the trainwreck of the scene rather than them. Michelle then stopped filming to give Lawrence a pep talk, reminding her to get out of her head ASAP, less she wants to bomb. Before immediately ending the shoot.
Elimination Day arrived with Ru inspired by Survivor and gifting the girls with letters from home. The top four gathered around to read their letters, with Ellie reading Bimini’s letter resulting in my love breaking down in tears about wanting to make their mum proud. Tayce’s letter was read to her by Bimini, with once again her mother lovingly backing her for the win and proving why parents need to back off their own bullshit and let kids feel their vibes because Tayce and Bimini are thriving because of it. Lawrence and Ellie’s mums were also delightful, loving and supportive, but you don’t need to hear me praise these four women in the same way. Just know that they are all amazing and have done a wonderful job with their children and fostered the environment to let them thrive.
On the Panto Dames runway Lawrence was a delightful sewing machine complete with stunning mint hair. Tayce meanwhile was a gorgeous Tinkerbell in blue, Bimini channelled full panto realness as a gaudy baby doll while Ellie was glorious as a shimmering queen of hearts. As is oft the case, the acting challenge fails proved to be a fake out as the girls all slayed the performance. Bimini was loud and trashy, Ellie was delightfully camp, Lawrence was a scrappy villain and Tayce was totally demented.
Ru praised all the girls for delivering a killer acting challenge before Michelle read Lawrence for getting in her head in the challenge and told her that she needed to trust in herself, because she delivered. That being said, they all lived for her panto inspired runway. Tayce was universally beloved in the acting challenge despite not leaning into the Karen of it all. That being said, Ru didn’t live for her runway given it was panto rather than panto dame. Bimini once again received universal praise for literally everything she did, from the arch of her back scrubbing the floor to her stunning, playful runway that was full panto dame realness. The judges loved everything about Ellie’s performance in the acting challenge and lived for her runway, before Michelle ominously praised everyone for delivering a killer performance and advised that this will well and truly be the most difficult challenge to judge both here and in the US.
Backstage the girls were excited to slay the challenge but slowly started to panic, realising the judges will be splitting hairs and as such, anyone could land in the bottom. Tayce in particular was terrified, given the judges didn’t love her runway given it was lacking the dame and she couldn’t fathom surviving a fourth lip sync ahead of the final. This led to her throwing Ellie and Lawrence under the bus for being under the bus, with Ellie shifting the blame solely on to Lawrence. Which led the Scots to once again start fighting over who was worse and to not start blaming each other.
Ultimately Bimini continued her victorious streak, taking out her record equalling fourth win of the season while Lawrence was deemed safe, leaving Tayce to once again face off, this time against Ellie. And oh did they battle from the very first note of Steps’ Last Thing on My Mind. Each queen hit every letter of every syllable, Tayce was duck walking, Ellie was cartwheeling into a death drop in a damn fucking hoop skirt. There were splits, flips, kicks, voguing and urgh, I was so grateful when Ru decreed that both queens shantay and stay, because THAT was a lip sync. Meaning all four queens would be progressing to the finale, which is convenient given Veronica finally received a negative COVID test and was able to join me to celebrate the season and her place in the pantheon.
As she walked into the Werk Room, I didn’t give her a traditional hug out of the utmost of caution against catching COVID – hey, I’m paralysed by fear, ok. I’ll get locked out of Australia – I did give her a really warm and loving smile, assuring her that while her momentum was stopped dead in its tracks, I am confident we will see her at the end of Season 3. Which proved to be enough to perk her up, as did the Veronica Green Curry.
Spicy and warming with an aggressive punch of freshness, there is honestly nothing better than a green curry. Which yeah, I say about most things, but I love food, ok?
Veronica Green Curry Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1kg chicken thighs, diced 1 tbsp cornstarch 1 onion, sliced ½ cup green curry paste 1 cup broccoli florets 2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins 1 red capsicum, sliced 1 zucchini, seeded and sliced 2 cups coconut milk 1 ½ cups chicken stock 5 kaffir lime leaves, bruised 1 red chilli, sliced 2 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp muscovado sugar ¼ cup thai basil leaves jasmine rice and coriander, to serve
Method Pop the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the chicken through the starch and add to the pan, and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet before adding the curry paste and cooking off for about five minutes.
Add the vegetables and stir until well coated before stirring in the coconut milk, stock, lime leaves, chilli and the cooked chicken. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce, sugar and basil.
Serve immediately, piping hot before devouring. Galvanised and ready for a triumphant return.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the queens turned themselves into superheroes, using all of the items we hoarded during lockdown. So basically, toilet paper, flour, yeast and eggs. After winning the reading challenge, Sister took hoarding to the next level and snatched literally everything from the loot before the other girls were even able to make a play for anything. Tayce drew inspiration from Baga with her steel wool scraps, while A’Whora destroyed and took out her second victory with one of the best design looks to ever grace the mainstage while Sister looks like she was living in the Mushroom Kingdom, on mushrooms. After Tayce landed in the bottom opposite her, the extra hoarding proved all for nought as Tayce once again assassinated the lip sync and sent home another Sister (Sister).
Backstage the girls were thrilled to make the top five, with Tayce particularly feeling giddy about felling another queen. To the point that she couldn’t even read her farewell message correctly. Lawrence meanwhile was nervous for Tayce, knowing that she can’t make it to the end on lip syncs alone. But given what we’ve seen, can she? The girls congratulated A’Whora on her second victory, before talk turned to Lawrence being on a bottoming streak and as such, A’Whora felt she needed to turn it up or get out of the way. Ellie decided to make things awkward and share that she felt they were going to be the top five after the COVID break, with A’Whora agreeing but telling her that she thinks she will be the next to go since she doesn’t have a badge.
Oh and Tayce admitted she has no idea what comes out of her mouth in confessionals which doesn’t add anything, but is important and adorable. And explains why I love her so.
The next day Ellie was still fired up about the girls underestimating her, vowing to step it up, play the game and prove herself in the competition. With Bimini doubling down and sharing that if she really doesn’t get a win soon, she may as well pack up and go home. A’Whora and Ellie’s arguing about the crux of the last challenge was interrupted by Ru arriving for this week’s mini challenge where the dolls would dress in boy drag to compete in the Masc 4 Masc Singer to “Hey, Kitty Girl” with the butchest topping. Ellie opted to take a risk, pivot and go with ‘80s androgynous realness, while A’Whora was flooding Ellie’s basement in her leather daddy look. Lawrence looked like Conchita Wurst’s brother, Tayce was a young Iggy Pop and Bimini looked like Sid Vicious and Kid Rock had a baby.
All of the dolls were totally demented and while Tayce was my personal favourite and A’Whora’s hilarious assurances of not knowing who Lady Gaga is, it was Ellie who took out a well deserved victory. And as such, she was given the power to decide the order in this week’s love themed comedy show maxi challenge. Oh and perform in front of my legendary friend, Dawn French.
The girls split up to work on their sets before, as she promised, Ellie opted to go in and set each and every queen up for failure. She put the weaker girls at the start and end, with A’Whora and Tayce taking out each slot while popping herself after A’Whora followed by Bimini and Lawrence before the aforementioned icon, Tayce. Lawrence immediately blew up, pointing out it was a terrible line-up and not only set up everyone else poorly, but that it will also screw herself over. Ellie stood up for herself though, pointing out it is a game and she needs to play it. Lawrence questioned whether she thinks she can actually score victory, with Ellie pointing out that following A’Whora is her best shot and she needs to take it. Much to Tayce’s delight.
Oh and then Ellie made the mistake of asking whether everyone is happy with their place, with Bimini assuring her that she will slay no matter where she performs while Lawrence cussed her out yet again. As Tayce delighted in the drama. Poor Ellie started to spiral, with Tayce and Bimini assuring her that playing the game isn’t wrong and to not feel bad about it, the latter pointing out again that good material is good no matter where it is placed. As Lawrence and A’Whora continued to simmer in the corner.
Speaking of A’Whora she was first to meet Alan for a tutorial and given most of her jokes were beeped, we only know it was filthy and not much else. Ellie justified placing everyone where she did, before delighting Alan with her dirty, deep voiced alter ego. Despite the set feeling a bit confusing. Bimini admitted that she has only performed stand-up twice, meaning she absolutely destroyed her rehearsal and left with not once piece of feedback. Lawrence thankfully didn’t let her anger get in her way, landing her punchlines with minimal direction required. And Tayce, bless, walked out and charmed her way into the rehearsal, having Alan in hysterics before even getting to material. Then Alan told her to focus on her love for beans on toast and well, I hope that is good advice.
Elimination Day rolled around with Lawrence and A’Whora admitting that sleeping on the order only made them angrier at Ellie, willing karma to strike her down. Lawrence desperately tried to get the tawdry details out of Tayce and A’Whora’s past, with them admitting that they are just friends. Tayce then spoke about her first ever date, which resulted in multiple STDs and made her lose her trust in men and brought down her self-esteem as she questioned why she hasn’t found someone to love her. This bonded Tayce and Lawrence, united by their insecurities and how drag gives them the confidence to take over the world. And ugh, again, I love them all so much.
As A’Whora took the stage, it was very clear that she didn’t opt to clean up her act, having the entire second half of her set bleeped, while the start was all about sex and had the judges chuckling and cringing in equal measure. I mean, even Tayce was blushing in her confessional. Ellie Diamond was up next and delighted the judges with her demon voice, though I still didn’t really get it. That being said, she was having fun, she was smutty and when she started to confuse the judges, I loved it. Despite it ending out of nowhere.
Bimini was up next and owned the stage from the very first moment, with smart jokes, killer punchlines, references to the judges careers and a great rhythm. Again, just give her the down crown – Bimini is a star. As Lawrence feared, following Bimini was the order equivalent of climbing Everest. But damn if she didn’t work hard to overcome it, having the judges in stitches from the very first moment. Until she took an extended time to get to her final punchline and lost the momentum. Rounding out the show, Tayce brought her usual charm to the performance, shading her competitors and delighting everyone. Before Meg Ryan-ing over her passion for beans. Sadly that was it, as she then went through a series of small lines which ended with it being a story for another time, with her potentially needing to bring one of those stories up to flesh out this time.
As always A’Whora slayed on the Stoned on the Runway runway, complete with stoned IV and stunning headpiece. Ellie meanwhile was a sexy, angel Dolly Parton before Bimini killed it once again as a sexy, punk, acne breakout. Lawrence was a pink, stoned alien, while Tayce was glorious as a shimmering, metallic warrior and ugh, I love it.
The judges lived for A’Whora’s outfit, though she was cautioned to maybe edit her material for the audience, given the show is on the BBC. That being said, Alan commended her on coming out and opening the show with such confidence. Ellie was read for not having rhythm in her set, though the judges lived for her snow queen runway. As is becoming a trend, the judges lived for everything Bimini did, praising her killer material, her intelligence and her chameleon, brave and stunning runways. Lawrence was praised for everything she did, however as feared, she clearly couldn’t overcome following Bimini despite comedy coming most naturally to her. Tayce was praised for surprising everyone with her comedy chops, despite the judges wanting to hear the end of some of her stories. And rightfully, they loved everything about her runway.
Backstage A’Whora’s rage exploded, furious that Ellie’s plan worked and she clearly landed in the bottom. Ellie once again tried to explain her position and admitted that she felt horrible about upsetting her and Lawrence. This obviously didn’t sit well with Lawrence, who tore into Ellie again because at the end of the day, she could have changed the order if it bothered her, but she didn’t. Once again Tayce was the only one seeing sense, reminding us that if you stumble, maybe you should have looked at the floor if you thought someone was trying to trip you. Ellie pointed out Ru was delighted by her choices, which made Lawrence even more incensed with Bimini rightly pointing out that the latter’s rage runs much deeper than the order.
Ultimately Lawrence was once again pipped at the post by Bimini, which in my opinion would have happened no matter where either of the performers placed in the line-up. Ellie meanwhile managed to save herself, simply by not being as filthy as A’Whora, who landed in the bottom with Tayce. Poor A’Whora was fighting back tears as Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me started up, but boy did she push through. The besties channelled their obvious emotions into the performances, hitting every lyric and selling the pain of the song as they fought for their places in the competition. Sadly for A’Whora, it wasn’t enough as Tayce well and truly took her place as the lip sync assassin of Drag Race UK, sending her best friend and roommate home.
A’Whora quickly found me by following the sound of my screaming tears all the way back into the Werk Room. While I wasn’t willing to jump in and pile more hate on Ellie – I live for the drama she caused, obviously – I did admit that she and Lawrence were hard done by, though I don’t really think their order in the performance would have changed things for either of them. A’Whora and I then started screaming at each other before I pulled her in for a hug, apologised and told her how heartbroken I was she didn’t make the finale. But as always, I reminded her that being robbed is always better than overstaying your welcome and as such, we both felt better. Though how can you not when you’ve got a big bowl of Pork A’Whoragu and Gnocchi in front of you?
This tweaked Laura Sharrad number – hey, we all watched a lot of Masterchef during lockdown, ok? – is near perfection. Light, fluffy gnocchi and the aggressively spiced ragu pair perfectly to create a heart, robust meal that soothes any and all pains. Particularly of the post-boot variety.
Pork A’Whoragu and Gnocchi Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 onion, diced 2 sticks celery, diced 1 carrot, grated 4 garlic cloves, minced salt and pepper, to taste 650g pork mince 2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground clove 1 cup red wine 1.6kg canned diced tomatoes 500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into a generous dice (larger pieces, less water absorbed) pinch freshly grated nutmeg 1 egg, beaten 110g plain flour, plus extra to dust shaved parmigiano, to serve
Method To make the ragu, heat a good lug of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until soft and sweet. Season well. Stir in the pork, cinnamon and clove and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Add the wine and tomatoes, bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for a couple of hours, or until reduced and thick.
While the ragu is simmering, get to work on the gnocchi which despite my best instincts, I make from scratch from this given I feel it is necessary for the delicious ragu. As such, pop the potatoes in a pan of cold water – this is important – bring to the boil and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, for a minute or two to get rid of all the excess moisture. Allow to cool completely.
Pass through a ricer or mash aggressively until smooth and your rage sorted. Add the nutmeg, eggs, a pinch of salt and flour and gently bring together with your hands until it has just come together and no more
Once it has come together, dust the bench and your hands with flour and take about a quarter of the dough, roll into a 1.5cm thick log. Slice into 2cm lengths, use the back of a fork to roll the gnocchi to give you the imprint – press the fork down into the length and pull towards you – and place on a floured baking sheet to rest. Repeat the process until they are all done and allow them to rest for an hour or so.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and repeat until they’re done. Then fold through the ragu and serve with a generous heap of the parmigiano. And devour, regally.