Vanitonne Milan

Bread, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.

After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.

Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.

Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.

As. She. Should.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.

They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.

The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.

Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.

Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).

The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.

Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.

After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.

Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.

Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup warm milk
7g dried yeast
150g raw caster sugar
250g butter, softened
5 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp kosher salt
80g raisins
80g sultanas
3 tbsp rum
100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped

Method
Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.

In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.

Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.

Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.

Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.


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Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche

Breakfast, Pie, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.

While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.

As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.

Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.

The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved
1 sweet potato, diced
1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
8 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to season
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
tomato relish, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.

Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.

Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.


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Pepperowen Knight Pizza

Main, Pizza, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the final four faced off in a massive final immunity challenge and while I’d love to say it was a hard fought four way battle, it really only came down to three. And then two, after Gabler faded away like Jesse and left Owen and Cassidy to fight it out for the final immunity of the season. After a late breaking drop from Owen, Cassidy earned her place in final tribal council and attention quickly turned to who would be the smartest person to potentially knock out Jesse in the fire making challenge. While both Owen and Gabler wanted the glory, Cassidy knew victory could give one of them the upper hand and as such, deemed Gabler the lesser threat to her victory, sending him in to the challenge to thankfully – for the rest of them, duh – eliminate the biggest threat of the season, Jesse.

The final three awoke on – shudders – Day 26, surprised to have made it all the way to the end. Owen was thrilled to just not have to worry about Probst snuffing his torch, while Cassidy was focused on prepping a compelling speech. Owen was nervous about what the jury wanted from their winner, though was glad to articulate how he managed to navigate the game as the underdog. Gabler was proud of how hard he worked to make it to the end and was hopeful his first votes of the season would be those needed to win. Cassidy meanwhile admitted she is living out her dream to have made it to the end, and was just hopeful she would be able to prove that she has been the dark horse all season and managed to get rid of everyone that came for her.

We pivoted to the final tribal council after some telling remarks from the jury, before Jesse kicked things off praising the trio on playing strong games, though reminded them they have to answer some tough questions honestly and with, dare he say it, fire. Noelle asked each how their games differed with Gabler articulating he focused on building trust and had so many alliances, he always had options to move forward. And it worked, given nobody has ever voted against him. Cassidy focused on the fact that she always knew who was going home before it happened and she built the right bonds at the right time to navigate to the end. Particularly since women were aggressively targeted pre-merge. Owen meanwhile opened up about how he had high hopes for the game as a super fan, though it all came crumbling down from the first tribal council and he has been fighting on the bottom since then And he has fought, every, damn, night.

James asked Owen if he ever put his neck on the line for an ally, which led to Noelle piping up and pointing out that he did the night he trusted her to use the Steal a Vote to get rid of James. Gabler spoke about bag gate with Jeanine copping to the fact she definitely went through the bag. He explained Elie painted a target on his back going out, but he expertly went back under the radar. Karla asked Cassidy what pre-merge move she did to propel her to the point, explaining trusting in James and Karla when they flipped on Lindsay was the biggest move. Gabler spoke about ducking back under water after Elie painted a target on his back was the biggest move, while Cassidy admitted she kept a mental list of everyone that came for her and as such, used her bonds to systematically eliminate them.

Jeanine pointed out that Cassidy’s core alliance was clear though asked the boys to explain theirs with Owen admitting to being close with Noelle, Cody and Jesse. Gabler spoke about how he had a bunch of alliances and while he tried to say he was only close with Jesse and Cody, which Sami called bullshit on. When he mentioned nobody had voted for him, Cassidy countered that maybe that is because nobody viewed him as a threat. And while Noelle and Jesse tried to defend him, it felt like a blow. Ryan turned talk to immunity wins with Cassidy surprised she won so many, particularly the final one, while Noelle admitted to being a Paralympian and assured her she should be proud of herself. Proud of herself, but wondered why she didn’t go to fire to prove herself. Which fired up Cassidy who felt that she played such a strong game that she didn’t need it and the most important thing was to take Owen with her to weaken him and take away the potential of him having another way to show he was an underdog.

Karla jumped in and asked how they all fought until they couldn’t go any longer. Owen opened up about the tragedy of Karla snatching the final advantage out from under him, though admitted the loss fired him up enough to take out that win. James jumped in and questioned how he felt about how he handled himself while on the bottom, with Owen wisely admitting that he wishes they never fought. Which lol, jurors, stop with those sorts of questions as they look petty. Queen Karla then asked them to point out their worst moves with Gabler worried about putting him neck on the line, Cassidy opening up about regretting how they spoke to each other before she was voted out while Owen felt he had a plethora of mistakes, though he doesn’t regret getting bamboozled since it carried him to the final tribal council.

Jesse then opened up about having a PHD in voting behaviours, asking them to articulate when they drove a vote their way. Gabler identified the Elie vote post-merge as his biggest move, while Cassidy turning people on Ryan was her move. Sadly for her, Ryan pointed out that wasn’t the case and the boys had been planning his demise beforehand. While Owen straight up admitted that he never drove any votes as he never had any sway or power in the game.

With that the jury voted and with a single vote to Cassidy’s name, the rest piled up and handed Gabler victory. Much to the absolute shock of Cassidy and Owen. And TBH, me. As Probst and Co. reset for the insta-reunion, I pulled Owen aside and into a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game with the hand he was dealt and as such, should be super proud of all that he achieved. Plus, he had a killer mane of long, luscious hair and as such, is my new go-to for inspo when I go for my blow out. Which was enough to distract from the fact I am the reason he had such a shitty hand, given I cursed him pre-season by lining up a delicious Pepperowen Knight Pizza.

Rich and spicy, there is nothing better than a simple pepperoni pizza. I mean, it is just bread, tomato, pepperoni and cheese, but that combination is powerful enough to solve all the world’s problems. And warm your heart.

Enjoy!

Pepperowen Knight Pizza
Serves: 1 losing finalist and his curse-enacting bestie.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
200g pepperoni
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, followed by the pepperoni before topping, generously, with mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.


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Jesse Piccolopez Cone

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the final five settled into their new beach before facing off in earning an advantage in and then competing in the latest immunity challenge. While Karla managed to jag herself the upper hand it was Owen who took out the win, meaning the target was firmly placed on both her and Jesse’s back as the two biggest jury threats left in the game. As the rest of the tribe tried to figure out who was the better option, they floated the idea of painting a target on Gabler and Cassidy’s backs instead. At tribal council Jesse made a show of playing Jeanine’s long-lost idol for himself and while Karla worked tirelessly to make someone else a target, the rest of the crew rightly banded together to send her out of the game in fifth place.

We followed the final four as they met up with Probst for the final immunity challenge of the season where they would race to move a bowl using tongs through a spring maze and balance it on the top of the structure. First to build their tower, winning immunity and deciding who would be sitting next to them at the final tribal council. Cassidy obviously got out to the earliest of leads as Gabler and Owen nipped at her heels. As Gabler took the lead, his tower started to wobble in the breeze due to it being off centre, with it dropping down to three bowls and handing the joint lead to Cassidy and Owen. The duo picked up the pace to pull ahead before Owen dropped a single bowl, twice, eventually knocking his stack and giving Cassidy plenty of breathing room to land her final bowl and snatch final immunity.

Proving the fact that when one Queen falls, another rises. All hail Queen Cassidy.

While the boys were heartbroken to lose the challenge, Cassidy was so proud to be living her dream and hopefully be an inspiration to little girls like those that came before her were for her. Oh and she tellingly suggested this could be a million dollar necklace, soooo, she is taking Owen and hoping Gabler will eliminate Jesse in the fire challenge, right?

Back at camp attention immediately turned to who would be better to take on Jesse in the fire challenge. Owen felt taking him on would be best for his game, while Gabler was fairly confident he would be better at it. Well, I assume. Owen admitted to us that he was feeling defeated by the game but desperately practised and after getting a roaring fire, immediately went to Cassidy to assure her that he can easily beat Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, he was well and truly terrified about his chances given he can’t really make fire. Bless him though, he knew his only shot at winning the fire challenge was to face off against Cassidy so he approached her to suggest that the only way she has a shot at winning is to eliminate him.

Which she obviously saw right through.

Jesse broke down in confessionals, knowing his time is seeing more and more likely to come to an end, disappointed to not be able to win a challenge – and the money – for his kids. Cassidy approached Gabler to check in with him before straight up auditioning him in fire making, though sadly, it didn’t appear to be going very well. Gabler then opened up to us in confessional that he plans to donate the entire prize to charity should he win and damn, that would be a wild flex and I love it. Oh and poor Cassidy continued to debate who would have the better shot at taking out Jesse, and not just that, who would take him out but also wouldn’t be able to use the challenge win to push them over the line to victory.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about how proud she is to have taken out the most important win of the season, flexing that this is also her third immunity win, equalling the most for the season. She opened up about being the most popular person in camp and how it is also a burden, given if she makes the wrong move, it could cost her. Jesse pointed out he suggested she should face off against him to win in fire, with her calmly articulating that she is confident in the game she played and as such, didn’t need it to prove anything further. With it clear Jesse would be making fire, both Gabler and Owen agreed they wanted to be the one to earn their spot at tribal council. Which Cassidy said was all well and good, but the only thing she cares about is making the decision which is best for her game. With that, she took Owen through to the final tribal council, leaving Gabler to be their potential saviour against Jesse.

The duo took their places at the fire making stations and got to work building their stacks. Gabler quickly got a small flame which quickly grew as Jesse got his going. Gabler methodically added sticks and nurtured his flame while Jesse’s whimpered out. Gabler’s continued to grow as Jesse got another flame which continued to grow, though tragically it wasn’t enough as Gabler earnt the third spot at fire making challenge – in a record breaking amount of time. Poor Jesse, the jury and us at home were heartbroken by the loss as Jesse fought back tears, sharing with Probst that he feels like he disappointed his family by coming this close and losing. Gabler sweetly assured him that they would all be so proud of him as he continued to cry about how disappointing it was for the money to slip through his fingers. Cassidy jumped in and assured him that he was only targeted because he was unbeatable and ugh, I too am now crying. Particularly as the jury applauded him as his torch was snuffed.

He was obviously gutted to come so close to victory as he arrived at Ponderosa, but I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that he will go down as one of the great players. And like Karla, is guaranteed another shot at the title (though given he is such a threat, winning may prove even more difficult). As such, he was quickly perked up as we toasted his killer run with a big fat Jesse Picolopez Cone.

Piccolo cones are fast becoming my jam. Small enough to not feel guilty, big enough to fill you with joy. Add in the fact these babies are full of flavour and you’ve got a snack you’ll keep going back to.

Enjoy!

Jesse Piccolopez Cone
Serves: 1 robbed goddess and his unwavering cheerleader.

Ingredients
1 batch Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream
24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh
200g white chocolate
1 cup crushed oreos

Method
Whip up the ice cream as per star of Season 2 of The White Lotus Kara Kay’s recipe and transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.

While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate, sprinkle with some crushed oreos and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers

Drink, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the top six faced off for reward where Owen led himself, Karla and Cody to victory for a much needed pep in the form of coffee and pastries. Sadly for them, while enjoying said spoils, the losers were back at camp where Gabler was calmly pointing out both Cassidy and Jesse need to take out their closest allies if they want a shot at winning. After Cassidy took out immunity, it became a battle for the duo to make their allies the target. The initial plan revolved around getting Karla out by lulling her into holding on to her idol, though eventually it landed on Jesse playing Cody’s idol to spook Karla into burning hers while everyone else blindsided Cody himself. Which happened and was oh so brutal. But oh so glorious to watch.

The next day Jesse was still thrilled that his plan went perfectly, blindsiding Cody and flushing Karla’s idol in a delightful show for the jury. That being said, he and the rest of the final five awoke on a new beach and had to start everything from scratch and well, that is just exhausting. So win some and lose some, I guess. Gabler was confident in his chances of taking out the win given he has been hiding in plain sight all season. Owen was shocked to have made it to the end, despite starting on the absolute bottom and being blindsided over and over. Jesse knew he now had a massive target on his back, while Cassidy was proud of having voted perfectly all game, though knew that she needed a big move to take out victory. While Karla was just grateful to still be alive given her body is straight up shutting down. But trust, our Queen is ready to FIGHT.

As the final five hunted for food in the jungle, they stumbled upon a clue each for the final advantage. They would have to unscramble words for directions to the phrase, with Cassidy just focused on making sure that Karla is not the one to get it given booting her will be her big move. Jesse meanwhile knew nobody intended to take him to the end and as such, was just as desperate. Despite Owen whipping through the phrase, Karla was the first to solve it and ran off to find it. Sadly for her, he ended up hot on her trail and overtook her as she limped to the rocks, before realising it had to be hidden in a tree. As the other trio struggled with the phrase, Karla and Owen hunted through trees with Queen Karla snatching it just ahead of Owen. Like, by a matter of centimetres.

Which obviously pissed him off. Karla meanwhile was obviously giddy as she learnt that the advantage would give her a leg up in the next immunity challenge. And given she is so beat up, this is an advantage she truly needs.

Right on cue Jeffrey appeared for said immunity challenge where the final five would race a buoy through a series of obstacles before walking blocks over a balance beam between two rods and then solve a word puzzle. Oh and in addition to immunity, they would get an epic steak reward. And since Karla won the advantage, she would only have to carry two thirds of her blocks to the puzzle table which is arguably a huge advantage, not a slight one. Everyone was neck and neck with the buoy, with Jesse slowly falling out of the challenge. Owen took a slight lead as the girls nipped at his heels as Jesse worked to close the gap. The balance beam proved to be the great equaliser, making Karla’s advantage all the more powerful as everyone raced to solve the word puzzle. Despite Karla thinking she had the phrase, it proved wrong allowing Owen enough time to step in and jag himself immunity.

As is tradition, Owen was given the power to take someone on reward with him, selecting Cassidy with zero hesitation as the other trio sadly returned to camp. But first, at the Sanctuary Owen and Cassidy were delighted to see a massive plate of food with Owen thrilled to have a guaranteed place in the final four. The duo started to talk through who would be the better person to eliminate tonight, given both Karla and Jesse are major threats, though they couldn’t really land on who was the most important to get out now. Owen felt like Jesse’s move at the previous tribal council made him unbeatable, while Cassidy was concerned about Karla’s ability to talk her way out of trouble. And say, into a million dollars. Plus Cassidy, like Mrs. Loomis, loves some good old fashioned revenge on people coming for her, so Karla would be her preference.

Back at camp Gabler – who the victors felt had no shot at final tribal council – was disappointed that Owen didn’t take him on reward, particularly since he was so damn fatigued. Karla and Jesse meanwhile were busy trying to figure out a way to avoid going out due to their threat levels, with Karla suggesting they loop in Gabler to get rid of Cassidy instead. Sadly for Jesse – or Karla, TBH – Karla actually was coming for Jesse after the Cody move and as such, wanted to lull him into a false sense of security. While Gabler wanted to stick with Cassidy and Owen, given he is fairly confident he would be able to beat them at the final tribal council. Begging the question, is he going to beat them at the final tribal council?

Owen and Cassidy returned to camp with Karla quickly pushing the importance of them banding together to get rid of Jesse first. While Owen was convinced, when it came to Cassidy she fought back as Karla explained how much better a game Jesse has played and how he will destroy her. Oh and then when that didn’t work, she straight up threatened Cassidy with smearing her name to the jury and guaranteeing she doesn’t win. Enraged, Cassidy pulled Jesse aside to tell him that Karla had been throwing his name out all afternoon and while he wanted to stick with the majority, his head told him that Cassidy was a bigger threat in the final immunity challenge. And that could cost him.

At tribal council Jesse spoke about the importance of throwing other people under the bus to reduce their threat level, specifically throwing out Karla’s name. She then pointed out that the last tribal council proves just why everyone needs to get rid of him. He then gagged literally everyone by announcing that none of it matters to him, given he is also immune since he is currently in possession of Jeanine’s idol. After Owen confirmed it looked legit, Karla immediately pivoted to suggesting getting rid of Cassidy and Gabler are also options. Cassidy downplayed it as nothing but a last ditch attempt, until Jesse and Karla got up to talk about another big move they could pull off. Eventually everyone was up and whispering as Karla pretended to not be coming for Cassidy, though when everyone sat back down, she admitted she knew Karla was still coming for her. While Gabler was just confused about which of the plans going around made the most sense.

With that the tribe voted and despite the theatrics of tribal council, Jesse stood firm and played the idol on himself as the tribe banded together to eliminate Queen Karla in fifth place. As she made her way to Ponderosa she was a little disappointed, though mainly just proud of how well she played and how much of a threat she had become. And while that threat level is what cost her, it totally guarantees her a second shot at the game and once I reminded her of that, she was positively joyous. Though maybe she just loves a Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers.

Yeah yeah, a Roy Rogers doesn’t have alcohol but it has all the sugar, which is sometimes better. Sweet cola mixed with joyous cherry-esque – despite the fact grenadine is pomegranate – flavour? Sign. Me. Up.

Enjoy!

Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
90ml grenadine
600ml cola
2-4 maraschino cherries, to garnish

Method
Divide the grenadine between two tall glasses and fill them with ice. Top with cola, stir and then garnish with a cherry or two.

Then down, obviously.


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Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture

Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls recovered from Snatch Game by being immediately thrown into another large, epic challenge – the ball! This time focused on weather, since you know, Canada. Despite the group having a range of experiences with design challenges – from ball winners, to design challenge winner to ball loser, to queens sent home by designs and Ra’Jah, who is literally the best seamstress to ever grace the mainstage – they all managed to pull together decent looks. Victoria debuted a Drag King look in honour of Fabio – swoon – Silky was perfection from start to finish, while Icesis was super polished. At the other end of the pack, Anita didn’t heed Silky’s advice that less is more, landing in the bottom opposite Rita. And was tragically eliminated – farewell, Down Under – after Silky took out victory over Victoria.

Backstage Rita was glad to still have a place in the competition, though was disappointed it came at the cost of her bestie. Silky and Ra’Jah praised Anita for bringing such joyous energy to the competition, before Silky took it one step further and crowned her Miss Congeniality and offered to transfer her $500 Canadian dollars as the prize. As the survivors sat down to kiki, Ra’Jah praised her sister for getting redemption on the design challenge and Victoria for becoming an absolute icon. Rita opened up about how emotional she is to have survived, with both Silky and Victoria – who also picked Anita’s lip stick – assuring her that they made the right decision as Anita was ready to go. Oh and now that everyone has had a turn in the top, they’re all unsure whether it is time to start playing games.

Oh and Vanity somehow found a coffee enema or something and well, I need to have one based on her and Ru’s reactions.

The next day Icesis and Ra’Jah admitted they were a little shocked that one of them wasn’t in the top along with Victoria and Silky, which TBH, same. While Rita still just wanted to burn her outfit. Before she could get any matches out, Brad arrived to task the girls with a quick drag Cameo Mini Challenge. And well, Silky was Silky, Ra’Jah was a delight, Vanity came through with legit tips and Rita was horny. Icesis meanwhile couldn’t remember the national album and well Victoria was fired up and stunning. But well, it was Ra’Jah who grew more ridiculous with each round, which proved enough to give her the win.

Before departing Brad announced that for their Maxi Challenge the dolls would be putting on a little comedy show, with he and husband Gary Janetti dropping by to help them work through their sets. Oh and since Ra’Jah took out victory in the mini challenge, she would obviously have the power to decide the order of the show. They sat down to kiki with everyone offering themselves up as the first performer, while Victoria was desperate to go in last place and Icesis was happy to just go wherever. To keep things fair, Ra’Jah popped herself in first place, followed by Vanity, Rita, Icesis, Victoria and then Silky. Which obviously irked Victoria, given she was the only one to request it. 

With that decided, the dolls split up to work through their sets with Victoria questioning why she wasn’t put in last place to Rita. Speculating that Ra’Jah was looking out for her sister and trying to sabotage her in the process. Silky meanwhile was nervous to be doing her first comedy challenge across her three seasons, though was ready to show how damn funny she is. Ra’Jah meanwhile was terrified about writing jokes while Icesis was hoping to knock it out of the park once again and to get the chance to gloat about being the only winner.

Ra’Jah was first to meet the Goreski Janettis, laughing about how she wasn’t her mothers favourite child despite being her only one. And well, Ra’Jah was now very VERY nervous. Vanity opened up about hating public speaking, though was surprisingly brutal and charming with her jokes. Rita meanwhile was super confident given comedy is her bread and butter, leaning into bits and vowing to get naked if she wasn’t funny. Icesis was energetic and cute, but seemed to be stuck in her head while Victoria was ready to be as crude as humanly possible and well, I love it. There are cervixes, spunk and wet-wiped junk and this better not end up being a bomb. Oh and then Silky sauntered on stage and was a charming delight, talking a mile a minute and delighting everyone.

Elimination Day arrived and while Victoria and Vanity were bonding over their gameplans while beating their mugs, Icesis returned to the Werk Room and looked to be holding back tears. Silky checked in on her with Icesis not really wanting to talk, before Ra’Jah pulled her aside to see if she was ok. Icesis broke down in tears as she opened up about being absolutely exhausted and how she feels like she returned to the competition way too soon and honestly needs a break. As such, Ra’Jah and Rita assured her she will be fine if she needs to go and look after herself, reminding her that she owes nothing to anyone but herself and her health. Silky joined them and pulled her in for a hug as Icesis announced that she needs to leave the competition, as all her sisters rallied around and held her tight. And ugh, I am sobbing.

As soon as Icesis exited the Werk Room I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she made the right decision. While she was perfect and delightful over the course of a second season, she has nothing to prove to anyone – I mean, she already won before – but even if she did, she did that. She oozes warmth and charm, has more talent in her pinky toe than I could ever dream of and well, we are lucky to experience any amount of time she can give us. As such, I gave her one final hug and assurance she did the right thing, while sending her on her way with a warm, comforting Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture.

Yiros are one of my favourite street foods because, duh, chips are an integral part of the equation. Add in some gloriously hot peri peri chicken and you’re in heaven. Fluffy potato, creamy sauce and the burn of charred meat? Per. Fec. Tion. Just like Icesis.

Enjoy!

Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 small bird’s eye chillies, seeds in or out depending on how you like the heat
½ tsp chipotle chilli powder
4 cloves garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
600g chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
4 Pita Andre Breads
⅔ cup Coolaioli
2 tomatoes, sliced
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Blitz the chillies, chilli powder, garlic, lime juice and zest, paprika, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar in a food processor to form a paste. Transfer to large bowl with the chicken, toss to coat, cover and pop in the fridge to marinate for a good hour or two.

When you’re ready to go, cook the chips as per Jud’s recipe and pop a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and all the fiery juices and cook stirring for about five minutes or until they are starting to caramelise, depending on how thinly you sliced your chicken.

To assemble, heat the pitas in a dry pan – if not freshly cooked, obvi – and smear each with some aioli. Top with the tomato, cheese, chicken and then chips before rolling to enclose. Serve with some extra chips and then devour, gloriously.


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Cody Assenmars Bar

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Sami was feeling nervous after being left out on the last vote, immediately trying to do damage control with Karla. And despite knowing he couldn’t be trusted, Karla was open to working with him moving forward. With the glimmer of hope, Sami got to work turning Cassidy and Karla against each other. A boat arrived announcing a new mystery clue hidden in the jungle with everyone darting off and walking directly past it multiple times before Cody finally jagged it, allowing him to bet on the next immunity challenge. After Owen and Karla literally outlasted the tide, Probst decreed they were both immune which made Cody also immune, given he bet on Owen. At tribal council Sami’s double dealing finally caught up with him and despite a late-breaking threat to play his Shot in the Dark, the tribe banded together to boot him from the game.

The next day the top six watched the sunrise together, reflecting on Sami exiting as wildly as he played. Owen meanwhile was happy that the plan came together – and that he was in on it, for once – though was annoyed that they weren’t able to embarrass Karla in the process, thanks to her late breaking flip to voting for Sami rather than Cassidy. But don’t despair, he was more than ready to find another way to splinter the girls’ relationship. He pulled Cassidy aside for a walk, talking about how glad he was that she was still in the game given Karla had almost gotten the votes to flip things on her. While she knew she couldn’t completely trust Owen, she didn’t want to be naive and as such got to work figuring out where the truth lay. Cassidy immediately approached Karla and while she assured her that she never brought her name up – when she did – she could tell Cassidy wasn’t believing her. And then straight up turned on the waterworks to guilt her and ugh, it was iconic.

I. Love. Her.

Karla approached Jesse to get him help convince Cassidy she didn’t throw out her name and while he agreed, he instead went and confirmed Karla was coming for her. And just like that, Karla and Cassidy are now gunning for each other. For realsies.

The tribe met up with Probst for a reward challenge in teams of three, where someone would be strapped in a ball to guide two blindfolded players to navigate them through a course to a table maze. And then have to direct the still blindfolded people to solve the maze, with the first trio to finish getting to smash coffee and pastries at the Sanctuary. Aka a gazebo decked out with treats. Owen directed Cody and Karla into the earliest of leads while Cassidy desperately tried to keep Jesse and Gabler hot on their heels. Despite Owen getting his team to the puzzle with a massive lead, both teams managed to be working on the puzzle at the same time and it became a race to the finish with Owen, Karla and Cody winning the reward by a matter of seconds.

We followed the victors to said Sanctuary where they joyously smashed their reward, which instantly made Cody giddy. After dancing off the sugar, talk turned to the game with Karla feeling like she has a massive target on her back. She lied to the boys that she doesn’t even have the idol everyone thinks she does before turning on the tears to help convince them, lamenting how she has had a target on her back all season long. After going for a walk, the boys conferred that they finally think Karla doesn’t have an idol though they agreed that one of Karla or Cassidy has to go. And while Cody would prefer the latter, Owen still thinks Karla is the biggest threat.

Back at camp Gabler was proposing they lock in a final three, highlighting how you can’t really split Jesse and Cody or Cassidy and Karla’s game, and as such, both of them need to axe their allies to take out the win. They started to debate the merits of getting rid of both of them before Cassidy straight up told them about Karla’s idol. The two groups came together with Gabler quickly catching Cody up on the existence of said idol and while he was feeling good about Karla on reward, he is now sure that she needs to go next to ensure he is the only person in the final five with immunity.

The tribe met up with Probst again for the latest immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles to release numbers, which they would then use to release a key, which they then use to unlock puzzle pieces. And then, you guessed it, solve the puzzle! Cody got out to the earliest of leads with Cassidy nipping at his heels. While Jesse was at the end of the pack, he whipped through the numbers and darted out in front. Despite the excitement, everyone made it to the puzzle at the same time – obviously – as Cassidy started to inch out in front as Karla nipped at her heels despite the fact her hands were literally numb and cramping, which is honestly concerning. In any event, she tried to power through but it was all for nought as Cassidy slotted in the final piece just ahead of Cody and snagged herself immunity.

Back at camp Owen and Gabler lamented that Cassidy’s win was the worst case scenario for them, given the fact both Karla and Cody can be protected by their idols. Speaking of which, the duo caught up to admit they each have idols and locked in a plan to bluff about playing them to get people to flip the vote on to Gabler or Owen and then use their idol at the next tribal council. Both Gabler and Owen were fine to vote for the other as Karla locked in Cassidy. Sadly for Karla, Cody caught up with Owen to tell him it is all a ruse to get Karla to not play her idol so they can actually blindside her tonight. Which obviously worked for all the guys.

Except for Jesse, who knew that taking out Karla boosts Cody’s resume and not his.

Jesse pulled Owen aside to let him know that he is actually in possession of Cody’s idol and as such, they can actually use it on Owen to spook Karla into playing her idol, while actually taking out Cody, which essentially moves all the credit on to Jesse. That plan then whipped through camp before Cody and Karla decided to do show and tell with their idols, meaning Jesse was no longer in possession of the idol and all the plans could be thrown into disarray. But trust, Cody is still sure tonight will be the biggest blindside of the season. Which feels ominous. For him.

At tribal council Karla opened up about how her body is completely shutting down and how she is struggling with hunger and exhaustion. Cody meanwhile was bummed that he lost immunity by seconds, while Jesse pointed out that he and Karla are also safe given they have idols and they are going to be playing them tonight. Owen played up how nerve racking it is to know he could go home from just one vote, while Jesse admitted that while Cody and Karla could be bluffing, he feels he doesn’t have any power to call them on it. Cody agreed that he and Karla had spoken about the fact they planned to use their idols to keep going forward and decide who goes home, while one of the few without immunity, Gabler, was still confident he will be here tomorrow. Which lol, of course. Jesse meanwhile was worried about which plan would come together, while Owen admitted that he was just leaning into the school of Sandra and assuring everyone he will vote anyway, as long as he is safe.

Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.

Sadly for him, his was not the plan that came together as the tribe voted and Jesse played Cody’s idol for Owen, which instantly spooked Karla into playing hers while Cody had no way to protect himself. With that votes came in for Owen and Karla before the rest piled up on Cody and blindsided him from the game. Brutally. But entertaining as hell for us, obviously.

While I was living for the epic late-breaking move, I kept my joy to myself and instead focused on how sad I was that poor Cody was the victim. I mean, Cody would have been like a smart, strategic version of Fabio winning which TBH, is something I would have loved to have seen. Which was obviously more than enough to cheer him up post-boot, as I pulled him in for a hug and congratulated him on a game well played with the recipe of the season, a Cody Assenmars Bar.

While I’m always Team Snickers if I have to choose, a large portion of my heart is still dedicated to the Mars Bar. Melt in your mouth, all at once light and rich, this copycat bulks up the ratio of the filling and enhances all the joy. In my not-very-humble opinion.

Enjoy!

Cody Assenmars Bar
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 ¾ cup glucose syrup
3 ½ cups raw caster sugar
1 cup cream
½ cup milk
2 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup water
1 tsp malt extract
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
800g milk chocolate, melted

Method
Kick things off by getting to work on your caramel, combining 1 cup of the glucose syrup, 1 ½ cups of raw caster sugar and the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat without stirring until it reaches 119C. Pour into a lined, heatproof 8x30cm dish and place it into a cold water bath. Leave to rest.

To make the nougat, combine the egg whites, ¼ cup glucose syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, and the remaining sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan with the water and malt extract. Pop the saucepan over low heat and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 116C. At that point, turn on the stand mixer and whip the whites on high speed. Once the saucepan hits 127C, remove from the heat and add into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Once it is gloriously thick, reduce to medium and add the cocoa powder and a quarter of the chocolate and beat until well combined. Remove and pour over the caramel and allow to cool completely before popping in the freezer to set for a few hours.

To assemble, cut the caramel and nougat into 12 equal bars. Dip each into the chocolate and place on a lined baking sheet to set for a further hour before devouring, gloriously.


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Anita Pike’lits

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

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls were thrown into the challenge of all challenge, Snatch Game. Now with a political edge because mother tucking Justin Treudau straight up dropped by to kiki with the girls. And while that adds absolutely nothing to the trajectory of the season, he is a zaddy so it needs to be referenced. In any event, previous Snatch winners Anita and Silky struggled while Stephanie committed the gravest sin of being forgettable. At the other end of the pack Icesis dominated as Donatella Versace – redeeming Dons on Drag Race – alongside Ra’Jah pitch perfect Big Freedia, which landed them in the top two. And after Icesis took out the lip sync she saved Down Under icon Anita and sent Stephanie packing.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gagged that Icesis sent home her Season 2 sister, while Vanity felt she was going to miss Stephanie’s energy. Anita on the other hand was just glad to survive. Ra’Jah and Icesis praised each other for turning a show, before Rita suggested that maybe everyone could take a break on eliminating Canadians for a wee bit. That led to Icesis opening up about wanting to play it fair with the eliminations and as such, saved Anita due to her track record despite her being the worst in Snatch Game. Talk turned to who Ra’Jah had been planning to eliminate and after a little Bebe-esque fake out, she admitted that she had also picked Stephanie’s lip sync, due to the fact they already gave her another chase.

The next day Vanity led the group in congratulating Icesis on her win, while Icesis shaded the US girls for not having scored a win yet. Thankfully that was quickly brushed aside as everyone told Anita she needed to stop coasting – rude – before Brad made his triumphant return to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be competing in The Weather Ball. And well, the dolls were excited. Well, some of them. Particularly Icesis, who was ready to take out another victory. First they would stomp the runway in Air Body Lace looks – aka lingerie – followed by serving Arctic Foxy Lady looks before debuting a high fashion look they made for Caught in the Rain Couture. Oh and the materials used will be thoroughly unconventional.

After Brad departed the dolls battled over a table of rainwear and fabrics before splitting up to kiki. Victoria was nervous about things given she has never done a design challenge, while Icesis was con-fi-dent given she won two of the three design challenges in Season 2. Ra’Jah was nervous given she has such a reputation as a seamstress, while Vanity was busy looking for redemption for her flop outfit. And well, now she can sew. Silky was very confident, emphasis on was, given she discovered she had left her patterns at home. Anita too was ready for her redemption after being sent home on a design challenge, while Rita was hoping to be as successful as she was in design challenges rather than how she bombed the ball.

Brad returned to kiki with the girls, with Icesis going with a look serving a fish caught in a net. Silky was confident in her hip hop concept though TBH, should probably focus on cashing the literal cheque she had lying around in her notebook. Anita was going with an asymmetrical blue look with yellow raincoat embellishments, which immediately made Brad talk her out of it. Ra’Jah was going with an architectural rain gown, Rita was going with golden 80s drama, Vanity planned to give ruffles and rain while Victoria was going high concept with the dew hitting an English rose in the morning. Which is just, chef’s kiss.

The dolls got to work applying Brad’s advice, which felt weird to Rita given she can normally rely on designers to do it for her now that she is successful. Icesis meanwhile was busy checking in with Silky to see who she thought would be in the bottom, with Silk mainly concerned about the number of bodysuits floating around the room. Victoria meanwhile was worried about Vanity looking like an ice skater, as Silky got to wandering around the room questioning why everyone was using the same blue fabric. She then checked in with Anita, advising her to take a few moments off the look to make it less circus and more fashion.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls beating the mugs as Vanity shared how proud she is to have actually sewed an outfit. Anita meanwhile got messy, asking if anyone has actually watched Down Under with Ra’Jah essentially admitting to have only watched Vanity and Victoria’s seasons and nobody else’s. Which is hilarious and iconic, but also super sweet in the end, given she opened up about rooting for Vanity given she saw a lot of herself in Season 11 in Vanity throughout the competition and it made her want to protect her.

Brooke and Brad were joined by Hollywood Jade and the iconic Jeanne Beker as Vanity opened the Air Body Lace runway looking like a Victoria’s Secret glamazon, from Smurfville. In the best way possible. Icesis was glorious in a seductive grape number before Victoria debuted her Drag King persona Victor Stone giving full Fabio and ugh, I’m wet. Ra’Jah meanwhile served sexy Cruella, Rita gave old Hollywood glam before Silky slayed in a canary yellow curtained number and Anita gave blue and white with her tits out.

When it came to the Arctic Foxy Lady runway, Vanity gave the sexiest ski movie villainess, Icesis was stunning in a high fashion snow woman look before Victoria gave an angry snow queen. Ra’Jah gave sexy diva in fur, Rita served old dame skiing in the 1920s, Silky was all drama as the deity of snow before Anita closed the show looking gorgeous in a shimmering white gown. Vanity’s Caught in the Rain Couture look was kind of a mess before Icesis was perfection as a suffocating sea monster. Victoria’s rose look was perfect from start to finish, Ra’Jah’s dress was polished and creative, Rita looked like the upcycled version of Baga’s brillo dress, Silky slayed as a hip hop Cheetah girl, on her way to the club, before Anita served her stormy look.

Icesis and Ra’Jah were sent to safety – when they should have won, but whatever – before Vanity was praised for serving perfection in the first two categories, though her design look was read for being a mess. Victoria received universal praise for each and every look, with the judges agreeing her Fabio look was far and away the best of the night. Rita was praised for her performances on the runway, though read for not padding enough for the looks or taking things where they needed to go. Silky too received universal praise for each and every look and well, condragulations Silky and Victoria. Silky opened up about particularly needing to hear the love from the judges since she didn’t feel beautiful today. Anita meanwhile was read for her first look though praised for slaying the middle category and doing a solid job on the third look. Despite not serving couture.

Obviously it was Silky and Victoria that landed in the top before Vanity was sent to safety, leaving Rita and Anita up for elimination. Backstage Silky and Victoria were feeling their oats, while Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted that both of them felt like they kinda, sorta should have been in the top. Rita praised Victoria for debuting a Drag King look before Icesis checked in with the bottoms. Rita admitted she isn’t surprised by any of her critiques, though was sad to be in the bottom with her bestie. Anita meanwhile was proud of what she pulled together, though was surprised she was in the bottom rather than Vanity.

Before a fight could erupt, Victoria caught up with Rita who reminded her of how strong her track record has been thus far, which kind of made Victoria question whether she should take out her competition. Silky meanwhile made sure Anita was ok though was worried she wasn’t taking in what the judges told her, which made Anita realise Victoria is her only hope of survival. The safe girls were busy speculating who would be going home, with everyone agreeing it should be Anita though if the dolls were going to be shady, who knows. Anita broke down as she spoke to Victoria about how proud of herself she is and that she wants to fight, while Rita straight up told Silky that should she look out for her this week, she will have her back should the tables be turned. Which she iconically took her up on, given duh, alliances are great.

After Victoria and Silky selected their lipsticks – guaranteed to rhyme with Peter as Victoria pointed out, which made me laugh more than it should have – they headed to the mainstage to battle for the cash tip and the chance to eliminate their sister. As soon as Deborah Cox’s Nobody’s Supposed to be Here kicked off – heck, before for Silk – both of the dolls swung for the fences. They gave all the attitude and emotion, hit every lyric and thankfully, didn’t tear any ACL’s. It was clearly Silky’s show though, giving gospel does flag twirling and ugh, it was perfection. The only thing I wasn’t vibing though, was her tragically eliminating our homegrown hero – because we steal all good Kiwis, duh – Anita from the competition.

As is oft the case, Anita followed the sound of my guttural screams backstage and quickly pulled me in for a hug and assured me that she is ok with her exit. Despite not getting the star moment she deserved – outside of being the only good person in the reading challenge – I reminded her that her perennially delightful personality and charm always shone through, so I am glad the world got to see it. Plus, now she has the added bonus of an underdog storyline for Down Under All Stars which was enough to perk her up alongside my Anita Pike’lits, of course.

Yes, yes – pikelets are nothing more than baby pancakes, but they honestly do taste different. It may be the change in ratio or the fact I feel you can get away with popping more toppings on them, but these little delights are perfect for any occasion.

Enjoy!

Anita Pike’lit
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
butter, honey, jam and/or whipped cream, to serve

Method
Whisk the milk and egg in a jug, and the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for about five minutes or so.

When you’re ready to party, heat a small knob of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Once hot and foamy, drop 2 tablespoon sized dollops of the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, pop and form craters (about a minute) and then flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until done.

Devour with your favourite condiments, which in my opinion should differ based on the occasion; butter and honey for a brunch treat, while go with jam and cream for morning tea or lunch. The important thing is to enjoy them.


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Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow

Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor the tribe competed for an epic overnight reward complete with snacks, a shower, a bed and the added surprise post-challenge of letters from home. Despite Noelle falling behind the pack on the balance beam, she powered through tears and her leg almost falling off to pull off the most epic come from behind win ever seen on Survivor. After taking half the tribe with her for the reward, those left behind started to plot, realising that while she keeps getting knocked down, she always bounces back and finds new allies. And as such, the tribe banded together to blindside Noelle for being too big of a threat to win.

Back at camp Sami was disappointed to be left out of the vote, feeling like his game is going to be difficult to salvage. But bless him, did he try! He tried to pretend that Gabler wrote down Karla’s name at tribal council and then when everyone told him that no, that was not the case, he eventually admitted he did it, but only to try and flush the idol. Gabler meanwhile was busy filling in Owen on what happened, assuring him that he still plans to go to the end with him and has a plan to take out the biggest threat/s – the duo that is Jesse and Cody. And while it sounded great, Owen was still frustrated, given once again he keeps being left out of votes and is essentially the joke of the season.

Which again, is why I would suck at Survivor because I am not this resilient and would totally have this happen to me.

The next day the tribe were feeling a bit more chill as Sami got the fire going, while Cody laughed about not wanting to participate in the fire challenge against him. Which totally means Cody is coming fourth or winning, right? We then had a deep dive with Sami who opened up about how desperately he wants to make his family proud and as such, he would hold his head high and fight. He approached Karla to apologise for voting for her, asking that they move past it and be open to working together. As such, he lied and told her that Cassidy was the first person to float her name and despite the fact she and Karla were solid, she immediately wanted to target her. We then learnt that Karla had told Cassidy about her idol and as such, she decided Sami knowing about its existence made Cass guilty. The girls then caught up, with Cassidy rightly flagging the fact she is nervous about Sami trying to sow distrust between them.

And while she was correct, I’m worried Karla isn’t vibing with her anymore.

We fast-forwarded an entire day when a boat arrived at sunrise advising them all to run into the jungle to find a hidden advantage. So they obviously did as told and immediately went hog wild trying to find the needle in the haystack. Sami literally walked past it multiple times before Cassidy dropped by and missed it too. Gabler then suggested they band together to try and find it war style, this time with Owen and Gabler also missing it. As Jesse, Karla and Cassidy spoke about giving up, Owen stood in front of it alongside Gabler and Sami before Cody straight up leant against the advantage. Before he eventually noticed it, quickly grabbing it off the tree and pocketing it without anyone noticing.

He learnt that to win immunity at the upcoming tribal council, he would simply have to guess who would win the next immunity challenge, the infamous last gasp! Meaning he can either just win the challenge himself, or guess the one least likely to panic as water lapped at their face.

The tribe pivoted to Probst in the ocean where they took their places under the grate in the ocean to wait it out as the tide rapidly made things more difficult. Well, after Probst explained the challenge to everyone but kept the person Cody bet on secret from everyone. Gabler was the first to drop out of the challenge before the swell became too much for Sami and he followed. Jesse was next to drop before Cody fought valiantly for a couple of minutes before ultimately exiting. After two hours of absolute hell, Cassidy exited leaving Karla and Owen to battle it out and well, they were insane. So good at the challenge that after three hours the tide literally started to turn, meaning the challenge would either have to go for another 12 hours or they could both have immunity. Which is obviously the option Probst and Co. went with. While Cody looked on with a big, telling grin.

Back at camp Sami was very nervous about there potentially being three people immune at the upcoming tribal council. As Karla and Owen spoke about how proud they were for making history, Cassidy felt heartbroken about the fact she tried so damn hard and still came up short. She was also very nervous about the fact people may target her to weaken Karla, given she is immune. She approached Karla to float the idea of getting rid of Sami and while she said she was on board, Karla immediately went to Sami and locked in the vote against Cassidy. We then got a supercut of telephone as Sami locked in Cody, Cody went to Jesse and then Jesse spoke to Gabler.

Sadly for the plan, Jesse wasn’t so sure it was best for his game and after confirming with Karla that she wants Cassidy gone, he immediately decided that getting rid of Sami is safest given he is so good at making fire. As Jesse filled Owen in on the plan, he floated the idea of flipping it on Sami instead, given it would have Cassidy and Karla fighting each other in the final six and make it easier for them to go to five. Which is genius. Owen agreed to go talk to Gabler while Jesse caught up with Cody, who agreed that making Karla look silly would be good though he still finds Sami more trustworthy than Cassidy.

Oh and Cody told us that he is immune after correctly backing Owen in the challenge.

At tribal council Probst gave a monologue about tides before Gabler spoke about the importance of the final seven tribal council at setting up the end game. And given three people are immune, it is even more terrifying than usual. Karla admitted the dance is both confusing and scary, while Owen was even more nervous, though maybe because he is always left out of the plans. Sami spoke about clearly being on the bottom and he reiterated he is a free agent, while Jesse mentioned it is crucial to never rule out someone as an option. Cassidy felt like the closer they got to the end the game changed to not just who needs to go but who you can beat, which makes every decision even harder.

Sami then straight up told everyone he would be playing his Shot in the Dark tonight and that if everyone told him the truth, his vote wouldn’t matter anyway. This irked Karla who called him out and told him it was offensive, while Gabler gave zero fucks and literally said he was planning to vote the way he was going to either way, so doesn’t care if Sami is performing. While Jesse reminded everyone he could also just be bluffing. With that the tribe voted and it wasn’t a bluff, as Sami played his Shot in the Dark – which didn’t give him safety – Cody announced his immunity to the tribe which was unnecessary as the tribe banded together to boot young Sami from the game. Meaning their gamble paid off.

As Sami arrived at tribal council, I licked a handkerchief and started wiping the dirt off his face as my long-lost parental instincts kicked in. I assured him he is a very good boy and that me and his family are so proud of not just the young man he has grown into, but the game that he played. While like young Julia from Kaoh Rong he got run over for playing in the middle, the fact that he managed to make it that far was impressive. As such, I gave him a pat on the back and toasted his run with a fresh and healthy Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow.

This vegetarian version of san choy bow is jam packed full of veggies – hidden for the kids, obviously – and even more so with flavour. Plus, you can feel super smug when you eat it since it is so healthy. Which is a personal fave flavour enhancer.

Enjoy!

Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups long grain white rice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
450g firm tofu, crumbled
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 red onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves removed
1 long red chilli, sliced
small handful coriander, leaves picked
sriracha hot sauce or hoisin, to serve

Method
Pop the rice and 2 ¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once rollicking, reduce to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside, covered for 5 minutes to steam.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat and add the tofu and cook, stirring for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Add the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes or until just tender. Add palm sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and shaoxing, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

To serve, divide the lettuce leaves among plates, top with rice, followed by the tofu mixture and a sprinkle of chilli, coriander and any sauces you like before devouring.


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