Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

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

Previously on Survivor Baka finally got in on the excitement of bead idol-palooza as Jeanine stumbled across an ant covered note. She immediately looped in Elie and went to their allies to convince them to hand over their beads, while Sami waited until after the idol was powered to tell Gabler just what he had done. After Coco lost their second immunity challenge, Jeanine, Jesse and Geo were selected to go to Journey Island where they all risked their votes before Geo jagged the advantage. And Jeanine popped a bigger target on her back as Sami wondered why she would risk it when she already had an idol. When it came to Coco, it came down to Cassidy and Geo as the targets, and while Ryan thought he was valiantly pretending to be the one to go out, he was blindsided by the departure of his only ally Geo.

The next day Coco discovered treemail announcing the (non-)merge, offering them ten minutes to pack their things and get on a boat to leave camp. While everyone was feeling thrilled to have made it to the next phase, Karla wisley knew that Jeffrey would have some sort of shenanigans to officially make it to the merge and as such, was tempering her expectations. Over at Vesi, Jesse was ready to prove himself while Baka just got to stay at their camp, waiting to greet the other tribes and all their spoils. And while everyone was excited to meet new people, Cody knew it was about to descend into chaos and as such, wasn’t that happy to have new friends.

As everyone got together to kiki and get to know people, Noelle was nervous about the fact they don’t have buffs nor a feast. Because duh, that is the go now, listen to Karla! Owen meanwhile was concerned about all the potential advantages floating around their new mega-tribe. Noelle meanwhile dropped by Elie and Sami to talk about how wild Cody is, sharing an anecdote about him making a hat for tribal council, which did nothing more than announce that Cody is the one that owns the Vesi idol. A little fact Elie quickly took back to Jeanine.

Jeff made an early appearance to announce that once again they need to earn their place on the merge tribe, though this time, there would be no stupid hourglass of doom. The group would be split into two teams for the first opportunity to merge, racing to release a sled buried by sandbags and then drag it through obstacles to collect large blocks. They would then build a staircase to release a key, then climb up a platform, release puzzle pieces and then solve a word puzzle. With the winners officially part of the merge while the losers have to survive the upcoming vote to get there. And given there are 13 people left, someone would land in the middle and be given the chance to bet on the winner and if they were right, they would also be immune and get to partake in the merge feast with them.

Ultimately Noelle landed in the middle, opting to believe in the blue team, made up of Gabler, Karla, Jeanine, Ryan, Jesse and Dwight. Which seemed like a great choice, given they got out to the earliest of leads. Not to be outdone, the red team picked up the pace and overtook them while collecting their blocks. Things got worse for the blue team and Noelle as Karla crushed her hand on a block and started to bleed profusely as she tried to finish out the challenge. As the red team extended their lead and started to work on the word puzzle, the blue team worked together to get the bleeding Karla up the wall. And then completely dominated the puzzle, narrowly taking out immunity just ahead of the red team and proving Noelle was wise to back them. And hopefully Karla would soon get a bandaid.

Back at camp the losing team were heartbroken to be potentially going home tonight, with Elie in particular breaking down about bombing the puzzle. She rallied though and caught up with Owen, suggesting they lie to OG Coco and tell them that Cody is the target, and then split the vote on Cassidy and James, continuing to get rid of Coco. Elie quickly locked in Cassidy and James and while she thought they had bought it all, James felt she was being a little suss and as such, thought she could be the better option.

Meanwhile the victors and Noelle were busy smashing their feast and downing beers, before Karla floated the question of what they should do at tribal council. Ryan immediately suggested they could just lock it in as the final 7 at this point, which obviously annoyed Jeanine, who wanted to stick with her allies. The group pivoted, instead talking about who they wanted to protect with everyone trying to save their OG tribes. Except for Gabler, who admitted that she does not care for Elie and outed her for going through her bag. Which made Jeanine even more furious.

The two groups came together and filled each other in on the plans, with Elie throwing Cassidy under the bus for floating Cody, which was actually her plan. As they caught up with Dwight and Jeanine, the duo filled Elie in on the fact Gabler is coming for her which made her just as furious as Jeanine. Elie obviously went to confront Gabler, denying the fact she looked through his bag, though try as she might, he had no interest in listening. She cut her losses and instead went to confront Sami and Owen for outing her with Gabler and while they both denied it, they also offered to help clear her name. Well, until she was gone, when Sami decided that Elie was too dangerous to last another day.

Gabler then caught up with Jeanine and while she was just as angry, she calmly suggested they talk to Owen and Sami to try and reiterate the importance of staying Baka strong. With Sami eventually getting through to Gabler after Jeanine left, when he reminded him that Jeanine has an idol and as such, could save Elie and screw one of Owen or Sami if he doesn’t pull his head in. Vesi and Coco meanwhile were busy catching up, locking in Elie as the biggest threat. And after Ryan straight up told James and Cassidy that they were Elie’s actual target, it looked like everyone would be coming together to get rid of Elie.

At tribal council the soon to be merged tribe took their seats before Gabler spoke about the chaos of the day, failing to mention the fact that he was the one that kicked it off. Cody agreed that it was overwhelming, while Sami spoke about how nerve wracking it is to be one of the few options to go home within the broader group. Cassidy and Owen were nervous and unsure who to trust, while Jeanine said it was hard to even try and fathom what everyone else’s priorities were. Elie opened up about the fact her name was put out amongst the tribe while Karla spoke about the fact that there are a large number of potential advantages and as such, there is even more they have to worry about navigating. Sami mentioned how difficult a position it can be if you know about an advantage, given there are pros and cons to keeping your mouth shut, while everyone agreed that paranoia – about everything – is the most difficult thing to deal with.

With that the tribe voted and despite the chaotic afternoon pre-tribal, the final plan appeared to be solid as Vesi, Coco and Gabler banded together to boot Elie from the game. While Probst officially welcomed the other five castaways to the merged tribe.

Elie was obviously super disappointed as she arrived at Loser Lodge, particularly given she had only just been talking up how well she had been playing the game. Which I calmly explained is exactly what happens and to not let her down, particularly given she is a lock for a second chances season (sorry Lindsay) given she had an iconic feud with Gabler which cost her her game. Which proved enough to cheer her up as we plotted her second go over some fresh Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti.

While sometimes I worry that they will chip my teeth as I get older, there is nothing better than biscotti. Light and crunchy, these numbers pack a glorious punch of coffee alongside the chewiness of the cherries to create the ultimate textural sensation.

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup espresso powder 
2 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup raw caster sugar 
2 tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried cherries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Combine the espresso powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk the flour, raw caster sugar, baking powder and salt. Finally, beat the eggs and espresso-vanilla mixture in a stand mixer until thick and golden. Fold through the dry ingredients, walnuts and cherries, and beat until just combined.

Split the dough in half and form into two small, flat loaves. Pop on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour.

Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf into 4mm thick biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet. Once the biscotti are shaped, return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until perfectly crisped. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Then, devour.


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Biscopper Topp Blondies

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were split down the middle – kinda – to headline the Yassss-tonbury Festival. Aka Girl Groups, but make it rock. As a tertiary educated songwriter, Baby was ready to slay and take her moment in the spotlight. And while she well and truly did, nobody else on her team (other than Peppa, of course) was and as such, they landed in the bottom. And boy did they hear about it, as Baby told them all how disappointed she was backstage. Despite having the time of her life Michelle felt Starlet was all nerves while Jonbers went the Toto route and had too many lyrics for the beat and couldn’t keep up in the lip sync. As such, the duo lip synced and Starlet tragically exited.

Backstage Jonbers was a mixture of shocked and relieved to have survived the lip sync, while Cheddar was disappointed to see someone as strong as Starlet exit so soon. Jonbers opened up to the girls about how disappointed in herself she is, though trust and believe, she was ready to prove herself. Sminty pointed out that she saw Starlet as the ultimate look queen of the season and is gagged that she is gone. But also, kinda glad she is now the premiere look queen. Baby spoke about how she was gutted not to stake a claim on the challenge, though was ready to join the extensive badge club ASAP. While Cheddar just wanted Sminty to know that she and her mushroom look are not an old maiden silhouette, ok?

And, werk.

The next day the dolls were a little more zen – and Peppa looked sexy as hell – while Sminty shadily suggested that while the rival team all have a badge, maybe each of them didn’t deserve it. Baby pointed out that while she didn’t get the win thanks to her team bombing, she knows she slayed and for the moment, that is enough. And by moment, until she gets a badge. Ru dropped by to help the girls welcome our favourite season – awards! – as they voted for their sisters to win the Naff-ta awards. Oh and put on the show in their red carpet quick drag. Beast in Show – the doll with the most star quality – went to Black Peppa (as it should), Best Background Actress in a Non-Speaking Role went to Copper Topp, Best Scene Stealing, Attention Grabbing, Camera Hog rightly went to Danny Beard while Best Actress Resting on Pretty went to Baby and Best Hot Mess was deemed Sminty Drop.

With the awards out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be splitting into pairs to design looks ready for a night out at the Bingo Hall. The Brit Crew got out their balls to pair the dolls, with Le Fil getting Sminty, Baby and Dakota got paired up, Cheddar teamed with Copper, Danny and Pixie were an iconic duo which left Peppa and Jonbers together. Oh and since Sminty was deemed a hot mess, she was able to gift each pair with a box of fabrics. She jagged blue for herself and Le Fil, Dakota and Baby got black – so chic, Jamie – Cheddar and Copper got gold, Danny and Pixie got purple, leaving Jonbers and Peppa to rock acid green. Much to both of their chagrin.

The duos split up to kiki with Copper and Cheddar looking to help each other with their weaknesses, while Dakota and Baby were straight up ready to jag their badge. Sminty and Le Fil were talking styles before looking through their fabrics and regretting their choices, while Danny and Pixie were shitting on everything they got stuck with. Cheddar and Copper planned to sell luxury, while Jonbers and Peppa were thrilled with their haul. Oh and Baby and Dakota just continued to vibe, while Sminty wanted to scream over ALL the ugly fabrics.

Ru returned to check in on her daughters with Peppa and Jonbers thrilled to pull together a fashion warrior look, complete with kay-app. Copper and Cheddar sold their pairing, Baby and Dakota continued to vibe and were ready to enhance their sisters’ aesthetics – slay – while Danny and Pixie were not reinventing the wheel while Ru cautioned them to embellish a little before Sminty shat some dung to Ru talking about her feelings, rather than the concepts. And while she told Ru she was over hating her fabric, Ru told her she clearly wasn’t, but gave her a sweet peptalk and well, I love to see it.

After Ru exited, Copper wanted to make things messy, asking everyone who voted for her as most likely to fade into the background with Baby and Danny quickly owning up. While Jonbers told her she voted for her for being quiet, not a star. While Copper tried to fight against being quiet, she fought it out with her sisters while Cheddar tried to assure her that she is running a different race and to simply not worry. Because when you’re an icon like Cheddar, that is obviously how you play it. While Jonbers reminded her that Ru hates her name and as such, she had it the worst in the mini-challenge.

Everyone got quiet as they worked through their looks with Peppa and Jonbers continuing to feel good, while Copper was proud of how iconic Cheddar is while she in turn admitted she is always scared of being too drag and not ‘fashion’ enough. Sminty meanwhile made a smurf gimp mask and while it adds nothing, I love it. Baby and Dakota meanwhile continued to be perfection and honestly, is it that obvious they are winning, or are they going to be the surprise bomb of the episode? Le Fil questioned Peppa and Jonbers about how long they are taking to cut out their outfits and while they thought it was all good, I am not so confident. Just like Le Fil. While Danny felt it was all a mess.

Elimination Day arrived with Sminty unveiling a gorgeous, confident mood that made Le Fil oh so happy. Cheddar was confident in her architectural look and while she and Copper don’t look cohesive, she is confident they could sell it. Despite Copper wanting to sell Barbarella. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were still weaving. Pixie and Danny were kiki-ing about the latter’s boyfriend and ugh, I love hearing about how much they love each other. Pixie opened up about how she and Tia were a former power couple but after breaking up, she has struggled to be alone and to not have her biggest support system. Despite knowing Tia is rooting for her back home. Cheddar opened up to Dakota and Baby about dating as a drag queen and while it was a struggle, she is now in a happy relationship and she has learned to not care. Le Fil meanwhile spoke to Sminty about how they usually date straight men and the general struggles of finding love while being fluid.

Oh and Baby was only focused on the fact her sisters were relying on hot glue and a prayer. While Peppa and Jonbers were now just hoping to wear something.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leomie Anderson as the dolls stomped the Bin-go She Better Don’t runway where Sminty and Le Fil served Studio 54 synchronised swimmer realness and well, I love it. Peppa and Jonbers’ looks were barely done but I loved their attitude, Danny and Pixie were glam sisters who own 51% of the company and just divorced your uncle, Dakota and Baby were perfection from head to toe – STUNNING – while Cheddar and Copper gave synchronicity good vs. evil, though Cheddar clearly outclassed her sister.

Pixie and Danny were sent to safety before Sminty and Le Fil received universal praise for the look, vibe and charm. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were read for filth given how unfinished their looks were despite the clear concept they were selling, while Dakota and Baby received the most effusive praise possible, giving sisters though selling themselves as individuals. And ugh, I love it, condragulations dolls. Copper was read for being too simple while Cheddar received universal praise for being iconic as all hell. And bless, I love that Cheddar tried to raise her sister up in front of the judges.

Backstage Danny and Pixie were thrilled to be safe and sound, knowing they’d return next week. Their sisters joined them, with Peppa disappointed to clearly be in the bottom, while Jonbers was heartbroken to be going in the bottom again. While Cheddar felt great, she was heartbroken the judges clearly weren’t vibing with what she served. Copper started to break down about potentially leaving, with Peppa encouraging her to fight if it comes to it. While Le Fil was hoping for a second win, it was clearly Dakota and Baby’s week and well, both of them were feeling the hell out of their oats.

Dakota and Baby OBVIOUSLY took out the win before Sminty and Le Fil were sent to safety. Cheddar clearly joined them, given she was only low by association, while Jonbers surprisingly joined her, leaving Peppa and Copper to fight for safety to Jax Jones Ella Henderson’s This Is Real. And while Peppa is obviously an assassin, giving all the lines and dominating from start to finish, Copper stole the show with all the fire as she hit every lyric. Sadly for Copper, you just can’t beat dropping into a split on the beat over eight bars, followed by voguing and as such, she was eliminated. Despite me feeling like it was more than worthy of a double shantay, but alas, it wasn’t.

Backstage Copper was still a little heartbroken to be eliminated so soon, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her just how talented she is. I then pointed to her RuPeter Badge and reminded her that even without that win, she is a star and should be so proud of herself. She had a message, she was polished and she gave all the heart. Which is well and truly worthy of global adoration and a fresh batch of Biscopper Topp Blondies.

While I am only relatively new to the biscoff cult, these blondies reminded me why the spread is so beloved. Spicy, sticky and oh so delicious, they are also super easy to whip up meaning they are perfect when you need a hit of comfort.

Enjoy!

Biscopper Topp Blondies
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
120g unsalted butter
200g biscoff spread
200g muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the butter, biscoff and muscovado in a saucepan over low heat and cook stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, cinnamon and salt, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lined, square baking tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.


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Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish

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

Previously on Survivor despite bombing the first challenge Baka did as their name suggested and bounced back-a, coming together and winning immunity. I mean sure, there was still some drama in the form of Elie having to explore which of her island sons were her favourite and Jeanine going through Gabler’s bags to check if his idol was expired (it wasn’t). On Coco, Karla dominated socially, just like her tribe continued to dominate the challenges, leaving Vesi to head to tribal council. And despite Karla being a star, I am gutted she isn’t vibing with my zaddy Ryan. At Vesi, Nneka felt like she cost them the challenge, Dwight had no vote due to his visit to advantage island while Cody lost his just before heading out (though regained it). The three duos faced off with five votes in play, which led to Justine being tragically booted.

The next day Cody and Jesse caught up, with the former thrilled to have narrowly jagged his idol and managed to keep his vote. And more importantly, keep the numbers to get rid of Justine and protect his ally Nneka. Jesse on the other hand was nervous about how upset Dwight would be with him for turning against Noelle and Justine, who he wanted them to side with. Speaking of Noelle and Dwight, they were nervous to be on the outs and while they were wary of Jesse, they were willing to work with him if they needed to. Given Cody and Nneka are still super tight, which is always a problem.

Over at Baka Elie and Jeanine continued to be concerned about how Gabler was handling the elements and while he assured them he is fine, Elie was ready to get rid of him ASAP. The duo caught up with Sami to figure out how to navigate around Gabler’s idol situation, with Elie suggesting they should simply pretend it is dead and talk to him about using it as a fake ‘down the line’. Sadly for Elie, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to Gabler about it and when they shut it down, he took the information about the plan straight back to Gabler and cut them off at the knees. And while yeah, it locked in the alliance between the two boys, if Owen sticks with the girls, Sami will be the one to go home.

We checked in with Coco where the tribe were still zenning out and living their best lives as they celebrated James’ birthday and gifted him a bracelet. He then suggested they go for a walk amongst the rocks and look for an idol, which obviously got them all talking about idols and instantly paranoid. Cassidy, Lindsay and Ryan went fishing as James took a nap, leaving Karla enough time to go on said hunting expedition. And while she instantly found the Beware Advantage, once again, she opted against taking the risk for an advantage.

Back at Vesi Nneka was bonding with Dwight and Noelle, opening up about a Nigerian mission that she supports and how they inspire her to be better. And ideally win the money and be able to give back. 

We pivoted back to Coco where Karla was discussing idols with James and whether he believed there would be old school idols or just beware advantages, these days. As they were talking, she realised that her wife would want her to take a damn risk and as such, quickly snuck off to grab it. Upon learning she would need to steal beads, she quickly got to work bartering with her tribemates and making a fake necklace for her wife to get her vote back and score an idol. She was giving away earrings and beads, pretending she wanted them all to share a part of themselves with each other and honestly, it was beautiful to behold. Almost like Sandra in the opening of Pearl Islands, TBH.

Jeffrey finally arrived for this week’s Immunity Challenge where the tribes would dive off a platform, climb blocks and dive again, this time to retrieve keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzle. With the winners jagging a toolkit and some fruit, while second place would get budget versions of the reward, while last place would be heading off to tribal council. After Geo took his place on the sitout bench and Noelle took off her leg, the challenge got underway with Owen getting Baka out to an early lead. Despite Karla and Noelle closing the gap on the second leg, Baka continued to stay out in front until Ryan dominated the third leg. All three tribes got to work solving the puzzle and while Vesi got out to an early lead, the other tribes closed the gap and overtook them as Nneka and Jesse grew confused. Ultimately sending Vesi back to tribal council.

As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.

Before sending everyone out, Baka was given the chance to send someone from each tribe to go on a journey opting for Noelle, James and Owen. We followed Vesi back to camp where Nneka was feeling bad to have lost another immunity challenge due to the puzzle, quickly checking in with Dwight to see what he was thinking. She immediately started to break down, not wanting to get rid of Noelle, given she is so inspirational. Jesse and Cody meanwhile were busy debating the merits of getting rid of Noelle who is strong or Nneka who they are tight with. Jesse opened up to us about how Nneka reminds him of his mum and worried that voting her out would be just as hard.

We checked in with the trio on Journey Island where Noelle was concerned about being away from her tribe this close to tribal council. On the journey she opened up about how her amputation impacted her life and by impact, it kinda didn’t as she is still an epic athlete and ugh, I love her. On the walk she told the boys that she is on the bottom of the tribe, offering that should they look out for her and let her have the advantage, come merge, the trio will work together to take control. And well, it worked and I love her. What an icon.

ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?

As Noelle returned to camp, Dwight was still nervous about whether they could trust Jesse to work with him and how what happened to Noelle will dictate how things go. Despite telling everyone she didn’t risk her vote, she pulled Dwight aside and assured him that she did snag an advantage. And conveniently, it was the very one they needed – a vote steal – so should Jesse give them bad vibes, she could steal his vote to take out Nneka.

At tribal council Nneka once again took accountability for losing the challenge, with Jesse jumping in and blaming himself. Nneka admitted it was quite a heartbreaking afternoon as they came to terms with losing one of their tribemates and that she was struggling with ending someone’s journey. While Cody agreed it was sad, he realised it was a game and had accepted it. Dwight spoke about finding the balance between trust and strength, while Noelle was concerned about how her journey would impact things, given she couldn’t scramble. Though she assured them she is there to prove things to herself, rather than destroy the competition. While Jesse mentioned they are also concerned that maybe Noelle also jagged an advantage on her journey.

Jeff asked everyone how confident they were that things would go their way and after they finally agreed on survey metrics, all but Noelle admitted they were very confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Which obviously meant that when the tribe voted one of them was wrong, as the tribe banded together to choose strength and booted sweet Nneka from the game.

Given she is a kind, sweet delight, she took her boot in stride and gladly thanked me for welcoming her to Loser Lodge. Nneka was a breath of fresh air in the game, at times feeling like a player from the earlier seasons in the way she quietly built up relationships and looked after the tribe. But alas, these smaller tribes leave little place for those games to survive if the person isn’t bringing it in challenges. And while that is a bitter pill to swallow, it was sweetened up by a Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish.

Flaky on the outside while all at once sticky, sweet and earthy on the inside, these decadent danishes fill you with joy. Though, I am a sucker for pastries so I am always going to say that. So why not give them a go and see for yourself!

Enjoy!

Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
50g whole blanched hazelnuts
200g whole blanched almonds
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g raw caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 sheets good-quality butter puff pastry, quartered
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved

Method
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pop the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (though leave the oven on).

Once the nuts have cooled a little, pop them in a food processor and blitz until they have formed a meal-like consistency and no further. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs and blitz until well combined.

Blend the cooled nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground – keep an eye on them and stop as soon as they’re ground or they’ll become oily. Transfer to a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and a little paler. Using a large metal spoon, slowly fold in the eggs.

To assemble, place the puff on a clean bench and place half a pear, face down, in the centre of each portion. Dollop over some of the praline, leaving a 1-2cm edge around. Crimp the edges to form whatever shape you desire and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp. Then, obviously, devour.


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Pfefferlix Godlo

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the tribe battled it out in an early morning reward challenge for lunch, some family love – via Skype, thanks pandemic – and an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. Phil emerged as a bit of a beast, quickly taking it out before Tejan invited himself along with the advantage Meryl gave him. Phil then parlayed that advantage into his second immunity win of the season, leading to a little bit of chaos back at camp as everyone tried to make the most of the pivotal final 7 vote. Eventually it came down to a battle of Felix and Tejan, with Felix giving an impassioned performance at tribal council, leading to Shane switching his vote and sending Tejan out of the competition.

The next day Marian and Dino caught up to lament their losses, unsure who flipped and voted out Tejan. That being said, Felix felt like both of them had a hand in saving him and as such, that was probably a good thing. While Phil had told them he was in on their final four, they both agreed that there is no way he actually meant it and given he now has a hidden immunity idol, it is even more critical that they weaken him. Phil woke up and grew nervous about people exiting camp, finding Marian and Dino to recap the last tribal council. Phil tried to pretend he didn’t lead the vote against Tejan, despite Marian clearly hearing him telling Killarney to get rid of him. Phil admitted to us that he and Marian are loyal to each other above anyone else, though he didn’t plan on going to the end with her. Which is convenient, as she shared with us that she no longer wants to play the game with him. At all.

Back at camp Felix was asking Shane why the plan was to get rid of him the night before, with Shane admitting to him that he was one of the Tejan votes. And as such, he should now know that he can be trusted. Felix meanwhile only cared about the fact that his alliance with Dino and Phil was clearly done. Speaking of that duo, Phil and Dino were busy catching up solo, with Dino going in on Phil to try and get him to admit that he was the one orchestrating the vote against Tejan. Dino could tell their alliance was done, while Phil was blissfully aware as he went to catch up with Felix and make sure the trio were still tight. Though like Dino before him, Felix did not really buy that Phil was still being truthful with him.

Shane meanwhile was focused on splitting up Phil and Felix, not really caring who to take out. He then shared with us that his current plan was to take Killarney to the end, despite being confident he could beat anyone left in his ideal final four. Said group then caught up to lock in the fact they can’t trust Phil or Felix, with Killarney thrilled to be in on the plan and move ahead. Dino meanwhile was confident that Marian and Shane had his back and that Killarney saw him and her as a pair, making him feel safe about letting Shane and Killarney drive the next vote to split up Felix or Phil and keep the target off his back.

Dino and Felix caught up, with Dino admitting that he was one of the votes against him though that he always had his back and never intended to get rid of him. And while Felix said he believes him and was grateful for the honesty, I am not so sure.

The tribe joined up with Nico where they faced off in a reward challenge in duos where they would need to release sandbags, shoot them at a net, manoeuvre them over said net and then shoot them into baskets. For a full on spa reward, with lunch and drinks included. Killarney and Shane, Phil and Felix and Marian and Dino got to work on the challenge with the last pair quickly falling behind. Phil and Felix started to pull ahead of Shane and Killarney, while Dino and Marian desperately tried to close the gap. Philix made it to the final part of the challenge well ahead, landing three points before anyone even joined them. While everyone eventually made it to the end, the lead proved too much as Philix landed their final four bags and jagged themselves a massive victory.

As they arrived at their reward, they immediately started smashing the food before trying to plot a way to the end. Phil told Felix they can’t afford any more paranoia at tribal council as it just makes everyone paranoid and distrustful. They seemingly were still tight with Dino, as they debated who was the smartest to eliminate out of Shane, Marian and Killarney, ultimately settling on Shane as their number one target. Though given Felix felt something was off between him and Phil, me thinks this alliance is well and truly about to completely implode. After washing away a month of the game, Philix enjoyed their massage before assuring each other they had to stick together.

Back at camp the losing quartet were disappointed to lose out on reward, though were well and truly ready to lock in their final four. Dino pointed out that he is guaranteed a visit to the Outpost the next day, sure that it will give them something powerful to use at the upcoming vote. Killarney admitted to us that she doesn’t trust Marian and Shane, though knows that the four of them all need to work together to move forward, so trusts them for now given nobody wants mutually assured destruction. Killarney pointed out Phil is the biggest threat and while Marian agreed he is a problem, his alliance with Felix makes him another one to focus on. 

At that point Marian spotted Phil’s bag and decided to rifle through it, finding the idol and sharing its existence with everyone. And pointing out that should he be aligned with Killarney, he surely would have told her. Dino then decided to go through Phil’s bag in the hope of finding a note that outlines what his idol is, putting a stop to their fears that it is an idol nullifier or something more dangerous. After the group once again reiterated their final four, Phil and Felix returned to camp and were immediately embraced so everyone could smell their abundance of cleanliness. That night Phil told Dino about his idol, with Dino making him paranoid about people going through his bag while they were out at reward. Dino then pulled Felix aside and assured him they were good, though he wasn’t so sure he could trust Phil. And while Felix also was a bit confused, he knew he could trust that Dino wanted to stay in the game. Which is helpful. To a point.

The next day Dino was sure that Philix were ready to turn on him, while Marian was looping in Phil on the fact everyone wants Felix gone. Though admitted that Dino is always nervous about going home too. Phil tried to convince her to help keep Dino calm, pointing out that Dino is due at the Outpost so should feel safe. Marian took the information back to her alliance, saying that Phil appears to be in on the plan to take out Felix, though the group were still nervous about trusting him.

We finally made it to the Outpost where Dino was gagged to find champagne and strawberries and chocolate, as he watched a video announcing he had won an epic river safari holiday. And an extra vote, meaning this final six tribal council just got even more exciting for them. Oh and he got to take a bowl of fruit back for the tribe, which is helpful to create a lie about having to choose between the extra vote and food for the tribe. But he promised that he planned to tell Marian the truth in the hope of building some trust.

Shane was waiting by the sign as Dino returned, desperate to get any and all intel from the trip to the Outpost. Though given he was kinda intense, if I was Dino I’d consider flipping the vote on Shane instead. Returning back to camp, he unveiled the fruit and nuts and said the only other thing he got was a video from home. Which Felix quickly deduced was bullshit, given they always get something at the Outpost. Phil pulled Dino aside to catch up with him, lying and telling him that he got to practice part of the upcoming immunity challenge, which he quickly bought with both of them trying to assure each other that they trust each other. We then learnt that Dino snuck some chocolates back for Marian and Killarney and while the latter wasn’t sure why Marian got a treat too, she was solid with Dino. Marian then explained that they had implemented a Boston Rob style buddy system to keep an eye on Killarney, given her penchant for flipping and as such, this little pair were going to be spending a lot of time together.

The tribe reunited with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to race to launch balls into a shoot and run through netting to the other end to catch it. Once they’d successfully caught them, they then dig under a log before taking their final balls to solve a puzzle. Felix and Dino got out to the earliest of leads, while Phil nipped at their heels. Felix was first to make it to the puzzle, with Dino and Phil quickly joining him while Shane trailed behind. As the boys worked on their puzzles, Marian and Killarney continued to stumble at the end before Phil put everyone out of their misery by taking out immunity. Meaning they now have one less option on the split vote.

Back at camp Dino was concerned about Phil and his idol, now that he can use it for someone else should he want to make a move. Dino obviously was feeling like the biggest threat, as such caught up with Shane and Killarney to loop them in on the extra vote. As Killarney went to babysit Felix, Dino floated the idea of splitting the vote between Felix and Killarney to Shane. Who was obviously thrilled by the idea, given he won’t get his hands dirty should something fail. Felix and Phil meanwhile caught up, with Phil suggesting their only hope would be to rope in Killarney. Which obviously made Felix nervous that Phil intended to take Killarney to the end before Dino joined and told them to vote for Shane.

Killarney and Marian caught up at the shelter with Killarney assuring her to just play along with any and all plans Felix and Phil pitch to her while they are desperate. Back at the boys club, they floated the idea of a 2-2-2 vote, given everyone would get rid of Killarney in a tie. Though Dino cautioned them not to approach Marian about voting out Killarney, given they appear to have grown close. I mean, haven’t they noticed the girls hanging out together?

Phil and Dino then caught up with Marian, with the former suggesting that Killarney makes the most sense at the upcoming tribal council. While Marian was obviously keen on getting rid of Felix instead. Phil and Dino caught up, with Phil ready to make a move against one of his allies and feeling like getting rid of Felix is the safer option, as Dino going would make Felix nervous. While Dino was just constantly nervous. Phil meanwhile was feeling ready to play his idol, offering to do it for Dino as a way to build trust before blindsiding him next. Sadly for him, Dino was sceptical, given he had previously floated giving him the idol outright, leading to Dino and Marian coming up with a rival plan to play a fake idol nullifier to spook Phil into sticking with them.

At tribal council Dino admitted he was very nervous about the vote again, not wanting to join the jury any time soon. Phil was glad to wear immunity once again, while Felix spoke about his own nerves and the need to figure out who you should face off at final tribal. Killarney admitted that she has a few ideas about who she would like to face – lol – while Marian spoke about keeping her options open, given her priority is still surviving long enough to plead their case. Shane reiterated it is always hard to figure out who to trust, while Dino felt that everyone feels they have a case, while some are starting to feel desperate about needing to make a big move for their resume. Marian mentioned that tonight’s the night to make a move, given all the advantages are due to expire, with Shane agreeing big moves will definitely impress the jury and tonight could get confusing.

With that, Marian pulled out her fake idol nullifier and assured everyone that she knows where the idol is and has a good idea who it will be played on. As such, she will nullify the idol of the person she votes for to guarantee they go home. With that the tribe voted before Phil played his idol on Dino before the votes rolled up three-three between Felix and Killarney. After Nico pointed out there was no such thing as an idol nullifier, the tribe revoted where Felix was unanimously eliminated from the game. While Dante mimed to Marian to get rid of Dino ASAP from the jury. While Felix was disappointed to find himself out of the game, he was thrilled to have a far superior run on his second try. And to play such a solid social game. As such, their were no tears as we laughed the night away, toasting his success over a batch of Pfefferlix Godlo.

While Christmas is still a few months away, I would gladly smash a pfeffernusse any day. Spicy and sweet, they’re the perfect little snack to add a little joy to any occasion.

Enjoy!

Pfefferlix Godlo
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground allspice
⅛ tsp ground cardamom
⅛ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp ground star anise
pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ cup almond meal
½ cup muscovado sugar
⅓ cup honey
75g unsalted butter
3 tbsp double cream
1 egg
2 ½ cups icing sugar

Method
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, star anise, nutmeg and almond meal in a large bowl and set aside. Then pop the muscovado, honey, butter and double cream in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined before finally folding through the egg. Transfer the dough – which is wet and sticky – to a piece of cling and wrap into a disc. Transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170C.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Roll each piece into a 3cm thick sausage before cutting them into 3-4cm lengths. Roll each piece into a ball and pop on a lined baking sheet. Once done, pop the biscuits in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and after five minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To glaze, whisk the icing sugar with a couple of tablespoons of boiling water until smooth, adding more water if you’d prefer a lighter consistency. Dip each cookie in the glaze and return to the wire rack to set. Before devouring, greedily though in a festive manner.


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La Grande Damarretto Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top four were given one final hurdle before battling for the crown and oh boy, was it a doozy – making over their besties! And while there are normally more than a few questionable choices, the quartet all served it as they stayed true to themselves while looking out for their friends. While that doesn’t help a competition format reality show, Nicky solved the little deadlock with a classic lip sync lalaparuza. As such, Soa defeated Lolita and booked the first spot in the top three. She was followed by Paloma before La Grande Dame narrowly completed the top three as Lolita Banana was tragically felled.

Backstage the top three were well and truly gagged to have made it to the end, before toasting to Lolita’s epic run to the top four. Though they didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, given they had a big week ahead if they wanted to snatch the crown. The next day the top three returned excited and ready to claim their crown. But after Nicky arrived to announce their final Maxi Challenge, they were a little less excited and erring more on the side of nervous. First up they would have to learn the lyrics to RuPaul’s Catwalk, in ENGLISH, then learn extensive choreography and perform it live on the mainstage. Then stomp the runway in front of fashion icon Olivier Rousteing.

Oh and obvs they will be having a little madeleine lunch with Nicky, as the French are wont to do.

After Nicky disappeared, they split up to speculate how painful their choreography would be, with everyone hoping for some camp disco moves. While La Grande Dame was only confident in her old white man moves. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long to find out as they quickly joined Nicolas Huchard on the mainstage to rehearse. And let’s just say, the performance is going to be very, very detailed and very, very intense. While Soa was in her element, Paloma was feeling super anxious and struggled to get it down and bring enough attitude. While Grande Dame was mildly confident, given she wasn’t the weakest. Well, unless this is a fakeout edit and Paloma is going to absolutely demolish the final performance.

Soa was first to kiki with Nicky, already feeling like a winner to have made it to the end. But hopeful to keep that fire and take the crown in honour of her dear friend Mrs Rose. La Grande Dame was next to drop by, simultaneously shocked to be there and proud of all that she has achieved. She revealed that she came to the competition because she had a difficult time growing up and wanting to show her mother another side of herself after difficult years apart, due to her queerness. Paloma meanwhile spoke about how the competition has made her feel like less of an imposter and that she has a place in the world. And ugh, I honestly love them all.

Nicky, Daphné and Kiddy were joined by Nicolas and Olivier on the judging panel as the top three took the stage for their performance of Catwalk and while Paloma looked tentative in rehearsal, she hit the stage with a fire and was so damn charming. La Grande Dame served non-stop moody glamour; ethereal and damn fierce. Soa meanwhile had all the energy, hitting every move and giving us sex from start to finish.

The Dragnifique runway was opened by our eliminated queens where La Kahena was a pretty princess in nude before stripping near nude and showing bum. So swoon. Lova gave showgirl glamour, La Briochée was a patchworked voodoo-Dorothy delight, Kam was peach-puff perfection while Elips was so gorgeous in a black, shimmering jumpsuit. Big Bertha went from red vamp, to revealing a bodysuit carving up her meat while Lolita was gorgeous in a gaudy quinceanera kinda way. When it came to the top three, Paloma was perfect in a moody red gown, complete with Bette Midler Hocus Pocus wig. Soa was sexy in a bead and leather outfit, giving structure and skin in equal measure while La Grande Dame was camp as hell in a shimmering lilac gown of frills and ruching.

Paloma received universal praise for all that she sold on the runway and for the diversity of her performances throughout the season. And for having so much fun. Paloma opened up to the judges, explaining how she wants her potential victory to inspire people to follow their dreams. Soa was praised for looking stunning on the runway, and for kicking off the season in such a strong fashion with her talent show performance. Oh and never mind her killer track record and dominating each lip sync she appeared in. She thanked the judges for their kindness and for embracing her. La Grande Dame meanwhile received praise for giving constantly evolving glamour on the runway and mixing it with such fun humour. And frankly, a whole lot of stupidity.

Nicky then wheeled out the baby pictures, with Paloma encouraging her younger self to stand firm and love herself and trust that everything will work out, despite the trauma and upheaval that is sometimes thrown her way. Soa told her baby self to use the pain that comes her way as fire to make something of herself and to fight. And again, I love her so much. La Grande Dame meanwhile told her even younger self that while life may be strange and confusing at times, to always keep hope and focus on her happiness.

Before they ventured to untuck, Nicky then announced that the queens had privately voted prior to the show with Elips crowned the first Miss Sympathie. Backstage the finalists reunited with their eliminated sisters, toasting to a killer season before Grande Dame shared that watching her sisters leave in tears was the hardest part of the entire competition for her.

The girls returned to the mainstage to lip sync for the crown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. And given the dolls are icons, none of them really tried to steal the spotlight from anyone else, calm and confident in their skills as they all turned a killer show. Soa was obviously moody and fierce, Paloma served all the emotion while Grande Dame was stunning and on every lyric. Complete with glitter. Sadly, while everyone nailed the performance (and the season more broadly), Nicky had to pick a winner. And tragically, that was not La Grande Dame who finished as one of the two runner-ups. This is going to become quite repetitive, but the top three were so damn strong that any of them could have taken out the crown and while I’m thrilled for the winner, both La Grande Dame and the as yet unmentioned here other runner-up were worthy.

As soon as La Grande Dame stepped offstage for the crowning, I pulled her in for a massive hug and marvelled how someone so young could do what she did. I then went on a rant about my own fading youth and asked her to give me hers, before I snapped out of it and congratulated her on a job well done with a glorious La Grande Damarretto Cake.

The only thing elegant or decadent enough for La Grande Dame’s aesthetic is this barely-tweaked Nigella number. Rich, dense and velvety smooth, it is essentially the perfect cake. And I’d be willing to fight anyone that disagrees.

Enjoy!

La Grande Damarretto Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened 
4 eggs, at room temperature
125g raw caster sugar
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dustin’
¼ cup amaretto liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until smooth and glossy, before removing from the heat to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, glossy and doubled in volume. Combine the almond meal and cocoa, before folding through the sweetened eggs.

Mix the amaretto and vanilla with the melted chocolate, then fold through the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until it is coming away from the edges and is cracked on the top. It should be dense and moist, but only just cooked through with a few crumbs left on an inserted skewer.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, before unclamping the tin and gently transferring the cake to a plate. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa before devouring, triumphantly. Despite not winning. 


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Bluebrey Hainish

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under ten new dolls arrived in our baby Werk Room ready to gift the world further flavour from our neck of the woods. After putting the dolls through their paces in the traditional photoshoot – this time, with sausage – Ru tasked the girls with making outfits from natural or recycled materials. Faúx Fúr sang and generally added a cacophony of sounds while rocking black granny panties under a sheer skirt, while Spankie, potentially distracted, just forgot to work panties into her design at all. While Yuri’s look was a work of art, she couldn’t walk in it on the runway and as such, Molly, who also nailed the challenge, took out the first win of the season. Meanwhile Spankie and Faúx’s own version of the Erika Girardi pantygate landed them in the bottom with Spankie sending sweet Faúx home.

Backstage everything was feeling a little more real after seeing their first sister go home, with Spankie heartbroken to have been the one to have officially done the deed. While everyone, unsurprisingly, was just gagged by how quiet things were now that Faúx was gone. Minnie was proud of Spankie for turning the lip sync for the old girls – despite her being in her 30s – while Spankie was just focused on rising from the ashes and proving to everyone that she is not to be fucked with.

The next day Kween was also ready for a little bit of a comeback, while Yuri was just hoping to be able to walk in whatever look she pulls out this week. Aubrey meanwhile was happy to be safe for the challenge, before Minnie jumped in and apologised for the drama between them about their safe-ness last week. Before we could dwell on it further, Ru dropped by and promptly announced that since Molly won the first challenge, she would be able to rate her competition with the help of the zaddy Pit Crew. And well, were we paying attention to anything but the Bonds packages? Yuri Gaii was crowned Greatest Competition, not Good Cunt as Spankie thought. Daggiest Drag was given to Spankie, You Beauty was obviously Kween Kong as trade of the season while the final winner – Taking the Piss aka Next to Go – was Beverly Kills. Mainly because Aubrey looked stressed and Molly was way too scared to give it to Minnie.

For this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be starring in a Prisoner parody – Caged Queens – with those winning a title and wearing a sash forming Team #1 with Molly, while the rest would form Team #2. As soon as the sash dolls got together Molly admitted that she actually wanted to say Minnie was the next to go and while they started kiki-ing about it, Kween cut them off and told them to put some respect on Minnie’s name and well, I love Kween for standing up for the icon. Speaking of Minnie, she and Aubrey assured their team they will gladly put their former issues aside. Minnie opened up about being dyslexic and requested they run through the scene orally and ugh, I love her. We ventured back to Team Sash where Spankie was nailing rehearsal, while literally everyone else was bombing.

Team Sashless were first up to film with Michelle and Rhys where Aubrey looked like Baby Willam and appeared to be struggling. Pomara meanwhile was iconic in a Casey Donovan wig and well, it made me moist and I love her and her power hungry ways as a prison guard. Minnie and Molly were demented and so much fun as prison hooch producers. Spankie meanwhile knocked it out of the park for Team Sash while Yuri was apologetic to everyone for how bad she was doing. Rounding things out, Kween was ditsy, Molly was funny and Beverly was awks.

Elimination Day arrived with Kween showing off a nip, so yeah, I’m wet. Team Sashless were ready to take out victory, while Minnie wanted to publicly thank her team for being so understanding about her dyslexia which the other team hadn’t known. This led to Pomara trying to hide her laughter as she had heard it multiple times this episode, which obviously set off a new feud between Minnie and her. Once it was resolved that Pomara was laughing about it not being a secret, rather than Minnie having dyslexia, everyone split up to beat their mugs with Kween and Pomara feeling uncertain about how they went in the challenge but hopeful about improving on last week’s performance. Yuri opened up to Spankie about how her family offered to help fix her gayness and how they don’t support her drag, with Spankie going into mumma mode pulling her in for a hug and telling her that she is enough and is always welcome in her family. And ugh, I’ve had too long a week to process this emotion because that was beautiful.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Lucy Lawless as Molly slayed the Fly Girls runway as a neon green prey mantis. Kween Kong was perfection as a sexy black and white moth, Aubrey was gorgeous in Etcetera Etcetera’s entry-slash-promo look and Minnie was stunning as a 50s glam butterfly. Beverly was the sexiest latex mozzie, Pomara was stunning in an iridescent blue cicada gown, Spankie was a Cabaret style fly and looked a treat while Hannah was a glamorous ‘20s golden dame bug. And well, then Yuri Gaii was an acidic prey mantis and well, sorry Molly, Yuri did it better. Like the one you ordered, versus what you get.

When it came to Caged Queens, Hannah and Minnie were right in the pocket and gloriously, Home Alone-esque in their delivery. While Pomara and Aubrey were kinda-sorta just there. Spankie was delightfully demented, Yuri was sexy, Molly and Kween were fun and Beverly was a little awks. But given her character was being executed for writing all the RuPaul’s Drag Race acting challenges, so yeah, I appreciate a self-aware show.

Molly, Beverly and Pomara were deemed safe and sent to untuck before the judges praised Kween for looking stunning as all hell. Though read for kinda just being there in the challenge. She admitted that she hated the challenge and is embarrassed to have bombed in front of Lucy Lawless, before opening up about her depression and assured Ru that she will do better and ugh, I love her. Aubrey was read for being weak, though they praised her for fighting through the struggle of being first on set. Oh and while she looked good standing still, her gags on the runway all fell flat. Minnie received all around praise for everything she did in the challenge and on the runway. Yuri was declared the fashion queen of the season, though read for filth for her performance in the challenge. And then Spankie received wall to wall praise for being silly, leaning in to the joy and being fun. And then Hannah was praised for her Marlene Dietrich runway and for nailing the performance.

Backstage the safe girls were shocked that Kween and Aubrey were in the bottom, while Kween assured Yuri that she wants her baby sister to bring it in the lip sync. Minnie and Pomara then unleashed their issues, with Minnie offended about what happened this morning, while Pomara called her out for saying she didn’t deserve to be paid as a performer to other queens in Sydney. Oh and Minnie told her that she was entitled and difficult to mentor. But then they buried their issues and moved on, causing whiplash for everyone on the sidelines and watching along at home.

Ultimately Spankie took out her first win of the season while Hannah and Minnie were deemed a very deserving safe. As was Yuri, thanks to her perfect bloody outfit. As soon as The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself kicked off, Kween absolutely came alive and commanded all the attention, proving she is a damn star. She was cartwheeling and splitting and while Aubrey had a fire and gave camp comedy, Kween made sure she was not going home any time soon. Which meant poor Aubrey had to go, ironically – maybe, who knows thanks to Alanis – to a song featured in Austin Powers, which birthed her name. 

Backstage Aubrey was understandably disappointed to be going home so soon, but thankfully was still proud of how skilled she is despite still being a baby-queen. Do I feel like a part of her started drag for the sole purpose of getting on the show and getting a recipe named after her? Sure. But can you really blame her? Thankfully like me, she is an icon and I pulled her in for a massive hug, congratulating her on being so damn talented, winning over hearts during her short stint and getting into a memorable fight. Which, in my eyes, makes her more than worthy of a piping hot Bluebrey Hainish.

Tart berries, sweet, velvety cream cheese and the glorious crunch of almonds work together to create a pastry so decadent and life affirming that all your troubles are solved. Kind of like Marge’s banana bread.

Enjoy!

Bluebrey Hainish
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
400g cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 cups blueberries
1 egg, whisked
icing sugar and flaked almonds, for dusting and sprinkling

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and cut each sheet of puff pastry into four squares. Divide the squares between two lined baking sheets.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and extracts in a bowl and smear in the centre of each square of pastry, leaving a 2cm rim around the perimeter of each. Divide the blueberries between the squares and gently press into the cheese.

Brush the edges with a little bit of egg and transfer the baking sheets to the oven to cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for five minutes or so, before dusting with icing sugar and sprinkling over the flaked almonds. Then devour, lukewarm.


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Passhonafruit Macarons

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa twenty castaways returned to the game, divided into two tribes based on whether they managed to stick around to the merge or not on their first go around. While The pre-mergers dominated the early portion of the game sending Chappies and PK home back-to-back, things took a turn as queen Tania and Tevin. While everyone was expecting some sort of switch, the tribes stayed the same and after losing a third immunity challenge, Yontau weren’t sure who exactly to go home. Despite Pinty bringing down the vibe and Killarney being well on the outs, the tribe banded together to blindside the more threatening Seamus from the game.

We checked in with Yontau the next morning where Pinty was gloating about pulling off the blindside, frustrating the very people that saved her and making them question turning on poor Seamus. While Phil wanted to gag her, Dino was grateful for her now-undying loyalty though felt she was overplaying her role in the move when it was really Shona that orchestrated it. Whether Pinty can see that or not. At Masu Toni was still nervous about Dante’s vendetta against her, though was grateful that his reasons for targeting her – Tevin and PK – were now gone. While she didn’t feel safe, she was trying to stay quiet and keep her mouth in check. Well, until she has to. Palesa on the other hand continued to watch everything, quickly identifying Steffi as the one most likely to flip on the alliance and patiently waiting for the right time to make a move. Not wanting to overplay it.

The tribes then got treemail warning them to be prepared, making Dino certain that it was finally, FINALLY, time to swap. While Felix just wanted everyone to stop speculating about said swap. Masu meanwhile were just as confused, though were quietly confident in their ability to stick together. Whatever it is they were preparing for.

Right on cue the tribes met up with Nico where they discovered no challenge set-up which was all the confirmation they needed before he even uttered the words, drop your buffs! Much to Toni’s absolute delight. Everyone then took a place behind a table with a vase before Nico handed out vials of dye which they poured into said vases. Which TBH, is a visually stunning way to split tribes. Toni, Steffi, Tejan, Pinty, Thoriso, Killarney and Felix landed on new Masu, while Phil, Dino, Marian, Meryl, Palesa, Shane and Dante formed the new Yontau tribe. Oh and Shona pulled yellow dye, meaning she tragically wasn’t immune for the round, but instead, she was able to select which tribe she joined. Ultimately opting to stick on Yontau with Phil and Dino, despite the OGs being dangerously out-numbered.

The tribes ventured back to camp with their new tribes with Phil shocked that Shona decided to join them, but grateful to have landed with his ally Dino. Meryl meanwhile was super confused about why Shona made the decision she did, questioning whether she was aligned with Dino or Phil, had an advantage or was just kind of a mess. Shona then floated the idea of voting on consensus, which immediately pissed off Palesa who doesn’t want anyone dictating how she plays. Oh and Shane was even more frustrated by her, as he rifled through bags to check for idols.

Over at new Masu Toni was feeling renewed in the game, finally on a tribe with people she felt she could work with. And presumably, glad to be away from Dante. Steffi meanwhile was feeling screwed, isolated from all of her allies and unsure where she stood. Felix went the Baby Jane route and called his new camp a dump, though was glad to at least have a tarp. Pinty was feeling like a guest, which hopefully might make her more likely to keep from running her mouth too aggressively. 

Back at Yontau Phil wasn’t thrilled to be on a tribe with his fellow castmates from Champions, Marian and Shane, knowing they were snakes. That being said, he felt he and Marian had built a good relationship post-game and got to work pulling her in to help him survive the next few rounds. With Marian too open to the idea of keeping a secret ally around to help come the merge. Dante meanwhile continued to be focused on getting out Dino, though tragically now, he has the opportunity to.

They received treemail about returning to the Outpost to barter for supplies left behind, with Dante selected to represent Yontau and Tejan joining him from Masu. Despite Steffi pushing to go again, making Thoriso nervous about how she and Pinty are going to get along. While Steffi just wanted to restock the pantry as the unofficial camp chef.

Over at the Outpost Dante was shocked to see Tejan there, given they were on the same starting tribes. They found some juice and snacks for them which Tejan immediately smashed before they discovered they would each receive a bag of rice but were cautioned to keep their eyes open. They then bartered a grill and a fishing rod, before talk turned to alliances. Dante encouraged Tejan to approach Felix to join him and form a new majority on Masu to keep him safe. Which is all well and good, if Tejan didn’t see it as a win for Dante’s game more than his. Before splitting up, the boys opened the bags of rice to discover clues to new hidden immunity idols back at their camp and well, things could get very interesting, very soon.

Back at Yontau Shona admitted that she was feeling on the outs at the original tribe, talking extensively about how out of the loop she was. While Dino and Phil looked like they wanted her to shut up. Dante returned – in speedos, swoon – and was open about everything that went down at the Outpost, except for the idol clue. Which immediately made Dino wary of his rival. At the new Masu, Killarney was bonding with Steffi over training, while Thoriso quietly watched on wondering how she ended up in the situation. Tejan made his heroic return with everyone overjoyed to discover the massive bag of rice he was carrying, giving the exact same story – and omission – as Dante. Which made Thoriso as suspicious as Dino.

Tejan then excused himself and went hunting for his idol, while over at Yontau Dante waited until the cover of darkness to run off and snatch his. Which he did, grateful to finally have guaranteed safety across his seasons.

The next day the tribe reconvened with Nico where they would battle in trios to manaeuvre massive balls through a mud pit. First tribe to push their ball over the line scoring a point, with the first to 2 winning immunity and a big bowl of bunny chow. And should new Masu lose, Marian intended to hand off her diplomatic immunity to Steffi to save her ally. Tejan, Felix and Steffi were up first against Dante, Palesa and Shane. As Dante and Tejan wrestled and whispered, the other duos were locked in their own battles. After a good half hour, we got a little bit of Dante crack, while Palesa and Steffi both fell over. With Steffi hurting her already injured knee, leading to a visit from the medic.

Given the first round was abandoned, they decided to forgo a third round and instead it was up to Toni, Pinty and Killarney to fight Shona, Meryl and Marian. And well, it was well and truly a fight, as Pinty almost got the upper hand against Marian before it descended into chaotic wrestling and then Pinty graduated from pushing her opponents to straight up body slamming Shona into the mud with her back, leading to Shona requiring medical attention. And well, it was not fun to watch as she screamed in agony. 

Everyone watched on as poor Shona was stretchered from the field while Pinty sat in shock over what she did, crying with guilt. Thankfully she was only officially out of the challenge until she was checked by medical to see whether she could remain. Felix and Shane traded out for Shona and Killarney and reset, which TBH, is a total vibe. Oh and then Nico added two more balls for shits and giggles. As everyone wrestled for more than an hour, Toni put everyone out of their misery as she scored the single point for Masu handing them immunity and reward. And well, maybe everyone should get a cheeky reward after that, Nico? After the challenge Meryl and Marian broke down in tears, disappointed to have lost Shona to an injury and to have let the team down. While everyone assured them that that is definitely not what happened while even Dante cried from exhaustion.

Back at Masu everyone ran into the water to wash off the mud, shell shocked by how brutal the challenge was, though glad they were able to smash some Bunny Chow to make up for it. Steffi shared how proud she was of each and every one of them, while Toni was glad to give everyone something to bond over. Pinty too shared how emotional she was to get the win before Tejan thankfully asked everyone to take a moment to send good vibes to Shona. Which made Pinty talk about how horrible she feels over the thought of hurting her and taking her out of the game. Killarney meanwhile was thrilled to have a little bit of redemption in the challenge and to have proved herself to the new tribe.

Back at Yontau the mood was far more miserable as they washed off. Dino kicked things off going person to person knowing it was likely him going home tonight, while Phil’s plan was just to survive one more day. Marian was feeling proud of herself for standing up to her anxiety and working through the pain, though Dino and Phil tried to figure out how best to navigate a potential split vote, unsure whether Shona will return to the game and give them another much needed number. Dino then went hunting for an idol, sharing he had searched camp day and night, though was yet to find one. The OG Masu tribe agreed that getting rid of Shona should be their priority, though should she not come back, they would vote out Dino. And what do you know, that is the exact moment he found the hidden immunity idol.

Dino caught Shane up on the idol find which well and truly gave Phil hope as they tried to figure out who would be the most likely to flip from original Masu. Quickly deciding on the correct answer, Palesa. Instead of approaching her though, Dino went with another option. That being to guilt Meryl and Marian about potentially voting him out. Tearfully asking if there is anything he could do to change his fate.

Nico gagged the tribe by arriving at camp to advise them that Shona is in pain, though she is not out of the game and is ready to fight another day. Everyone was overjoyed by her return and even more so when Nico announced that he felt like everyone has been through enough for one day and as such, they could have the night off and instead go vote someone off tomorrow. As Shona regaled everyone with tales of her injury, Meryl and Marian were glad to no longer vote out Dino as he is so nice and sweet. As Meryl caught up with Dante to flip the vote back to Shona, he strongly pushed for Dino and their making smart moves in general, rather than being swayed by emotions.

Over at Masu, Thoriso admitted that she didn’t sleep a wink last night, trying to think of a way to protect herself as well as she was over at Yontau. She approached Tejan and floated the idea of locking in a final four alliance between them, Toni and Felix, while Felix would have preferred they pulled in Steffi instead. As Tejan, Thoriso and Felix caught up by the well, Tejan told them that should the alliance work, they need to get rid of one of their own first. Which was fine with Thoriso, given she had wanted to get rid of Killarney for weeks. Speaking of Killarney, she, Steffi, Toni and Tejan were also locking in a four person alliance.

Back at Masu Shona was feeling far better than the previous day, while Palesa felt beat-up after the challenge. That being said, Shona started to worry about what she missed while she was away receiving medical attention. Dante, Meryl, Marian and Palesa caught up and agreed to lock in Shona, given she had annoyed Dante by suggesting they don’t burn much wood throughout the day. Fixated on Dino however, Dante hatched a plan to split the vote between Shona and Dino, but use Dino and Phil’s votes to get it done. As he looped them in, Dino felt suss about Dante’s story, while Marian and Shane caught up, with the latter sure that Dante’s fixation will be his undoing. And frankly, he doesn’t really care if it blows up in his face. Oh and Shona and Dino were planning some idol shenanigans, be it the real one or her fakey at tribal council.

Dino looped Phil in on the fake idol, hopeful that Shona pulling it out at tribal council would create enough chaos to flip the votes back on to him in the hope of using the real one to idol Dante out of the game. To help get it over the line, Dino finally pulled Palesa aside to float the plan and hoped that her good reads on the game would be enough to help get Dante out. And well, she was well and truly keen and assured him that her keeping his idol a secret from the others will be proof of her loyalty moving forward. And yas, Queen Palesa, werk!

At tribal council Marian spoke about how emotionally draining the last immunity challenge was, while Shona was glad to give it her all and prove that she isn’t a weaker player. That being said, she was nervous about being taken out to be checked for medical and not having enough time to form bonds like the rest of the tribe. But you know, she trusts in the universe – or her fake idol – having her back. Dante admitted that he is very nervous at tribal council while Meryl was confused about the fact no idols had come up yet, not even knowing what they look like to make a fakey. Shane meanwhile was glad no idols had come up and felt like it had forced them to play differently. Phil meanwhile spoke about the first post-swap tribal giving everyone a clearer picture of the playing field.

Right on cue, Palesa spoke about needing to make smart moves and sticking with the numbers, while Dino felt like he had a lot to lose. Which made Dante step in and talk about figuring out when is the right time to take a step back and turn on people, even if they’ve known them for years. He then spoke about how disappointed he would be if people didn’t stick to the plan, while Shona reiterated they all need to put their own games first. This got Meryl and Marian whispering, which got Dante involved while Dino looked like he was about to throw up. As did Phil and Shona, though the latter never got out her fake hidden immunity idol.

With that the tribe voted, Dino played his hidden immunity idol – as Dante cussed out Meryl and Marian for not believing him when he told them Dino had an idol – before Shona was narrowly blindsided from the game over Dante after Phil switched his vote in a panic. And I love me some feel, but damn, why do that to my girl Shona!

Thankfully despite all the trauma she had experienced in the preceding 24 hours, Shona was feeling pretty upbeat and was proud of how she played her second go around. Improving her placement and proving to herself and her tribemates how strong she can be. I pulled her in for a massive yet gentle hug, suggesting that maybe she should add me to the list of people that are proud of her. Despite everything that was thrown at her, she was always energetic, friendly and kind and while that is definitely not how things would go for me in the game, I do admire how such kind hearted people exist. Which, in my opinion, makes someone worthy of all the world has to offer and a big platter of Passhonafruit Macarons.

I always hated passionfruit growing up, terrified about the seeds cracking my teeth. Thankfully my mother-in-law started making seedless variations of passionate items and I was finally able to fall in love with them. Sweet, a little tangy and oh so delicious, these macarons are perfect for any and all occasions.

Enjoy!

Passhonafruit Macarons
Serves: 1 delightful person, her salty friend and 2-4 others should you want.

Ingredients
105g almond meal
105g icing sugar
100g egg whites
100g raw caster sugar
a couple of drops yellow food colouring
Icing
2 egg whites
½ cup raw caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
⅛ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup Passjohnfruit Hennigan Butter

Method
Sift almond meal and the icing sugar together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the whites in a clean, dry electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until dissolved. Then add food colouring and beat until just combined. Remove from the mixer and gently fold through the almond meal until just combined, thick and glossy.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe into 4cm rounds on lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and tap on the bench to remove air bubbles. Leave to sit for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 130°C.

Place the cookies in the oven, one tray at a time, and bake for twenty minutes, or until the tops are firm. Remove to cool on the tray on wire racks.

While they get chill, start working on the icing by whisking the whites, caster sugar, cream of tartar and salt until combined. Place over a double boiled and cook, whisking, until the mixture reaches 60C. Transfer to a stand mixer and whisk on high speed for five minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Fold through the vanilla and passionfruit butter and leave to rest.

To assemble, pipe the icing on to the base of half the biscuits and sandwich with the naked ones. Once complete, devour. Greedily.


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Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa after losing the first two immunity challenges, the Masu tribe were feeling deflated. But boy were they busy. Dante was trying to improve on his last game, playing out in front and keeping his options open, while Meryl, Steffi and Marian had formed a tight trio. Over at Yontau, Dino fell asleep and into the fire which was far from the most dramatic thing as Pinty and Tania continued to feud. At tribal council the tribe was split over who to get rid of, ultimately trusting in Pinty pulling her head in (or wanting a bigger target around), as Tania was booted from the game. Potentially due to the Survivor Pizza Curse.

Things were far more zen the next day as Seamus and Phil caught up, agreeing that Pinty is kind of out of control and Tania was correct about everything she said. Though Phil admitted that he kept Pinty for the sole purpose of using her abrasive behaviours as a shield. Speaking of Pinty, she caught up with Thoriso to put the target on Seamus instead, given he played the idol he found with Tevin, even though he clearly didn’t need to (ignoring the fact it expired that night and he also had first boot trauma). And while Thoriso agreed they were a dangerous duo, she felt that Tevin was a far bigger threat than Seamus and as such, he should be their priority.

Over at Masu Toni was still fuming over Dante taking control of the tribe, while Marian approached her to clear the air. Like a boss, she told her to never use her skin as a reason to boot her again, while Toni explained she was trying to give people a gentler reason to get rid of her. Which doesn’t make much sense, but hey, she accepted it. Marian realised that Toni was feeling like she had no room to play, given she had been backed into a corner, so she tried to make her feel heard and loved. And like she had options. And you know, stick with the Masu tribe come the surely-impending swap. Before both of them locked things in officially, knowing the pre-mergers will definitely be out for blood come the merge.

Palesa meanwhile was cosying up to Dante as they both assured each other that they were keen to work together and were glad they didn’t feel the need to talk constantly. Which was all a ruse as Palesa shared with us that she knows Dante is a massive threat and clearly working at dismantling everyone else’s options and as such, she was biding her time until she could start dismantling his, instead.

The tribes met up with Nico for the latest reward-immunity combo where they would face off one at a time, running down an alley opposite their rival and attempting to pull a trigger before them. First tribe to five winning immunity and a huge bounty of comfort items. And ingredients to make toasties. Steffi and Shona were first and while Shona boldly tried to tackle her, Steffi Steffi-ed and quickly scored the point. Meryl then destroyed Pinty, Tejan continued the streak over Seamus before Queen Palesa scored Masu’s fourth point over Queen Killarney. Dante then ran for the win against Felix, which he narrowly did. Much to the agony of Yontau.

Back at Masu the tribe were completely overjoyed, sitting around smashing their sandies and feeling like real people again. On and then Steffi found the hidden immunity idol while the tribe were in food comas, proving she learnt a lot from King Chappies in his short time on the island.

The mood, however, was far more sombre over Yontau, embarrassed by how badly they lost. Felix tried to give them a pep talk and encouraged everyone to believe in themselves since they have been excelling when they work together. Killarney meanwhile was nervous after she bombed her point, which proved to be a good read as Pinty approached Tevin to float the idea of voting her out. Which he was obviously keen to do. When she made the same pitch to Seamus, she was far less successful as he pointed out both of them also lost their points and as such, they shouldn’t target her for that. He then approached Tevin, Dino, Thoriso and Felix to float getting rid of Pinty instead. Given she is still abrasive. While they appeared to be making headway, Dino grew nervous, given it is obvious Tevin and Seamus are leading the tribe and given he is injured, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and instead would like to keep targets like Pinty around.

Thoriso too was feeling like Tevin was more of a problem, though knew she couldn’t be the one to float his name to Felix, Phil or Seamus. And what do you know, she is in luck as Phil approached Felix about prioritising getting rid of Tevin. Given Pinty will Pinty every day until she is gone. Speaking of which, she then caught up with Felix and opened up about how frustrated she is by Tevin and Seamus being out in front and as such, she wanted to get one of them out ASAP as she was feeling nervous about trusting the boys. 

Killarney meanwhile was hanging out with the boys who told her that she is their pawn, though not to worry as they were planning to end Pinty’s reign of terror. As Tevin and Seamus were bonding with Shona over her being voted out on Day 9 on her first season, Phil noticed how tight their hold had gotten over the tribe. As such, he approached Dino and Felix to seriously work on flipping the vote on Tevin to continue dismantling the Philippines alliance. Tevin and Seamus meanwhile were successful in locking in their numbers with Shona, as Phil continued to work the boys and assure them that saving Pinty will only make her more and more loyal.

Oh and then Tevin found the hidden immunity idol. 

Phil and Pinty finally caught up with Pinty herself pitching the idea of splitting up Tevin and Seamus, which obviously worked given that was his plan himself. She then filled in Thoriso on the change in plan, who was frankly thrilled. And lol, what do you know, Seamus was keen to do a Shona and stash a hidden immunity idol at tribal council for down the road. And well, I look forward to seeing the other person’s face when the first one to do the fake play steals their thunder. So. Many. Lols.

At tribal council Seamus admitted it was difficult to lose, though was confident they were the stronger, more cohesive team. Phil spoke about how disheartening it can be to lose, though was glad they were ready to keep pushing forward. Throiso reiterated that everyone working together is their collective goal, with Shona agreeing that they wanted to get as many of the tribe members as far as possible. Tevin agreed that was his strategy on the first go around and while it may be boring TV it works, despite the fact that it got him blindsided his first go around. Dino meanwhile wanted to keep his options open while Tevin focused on the unpredictability of the game.

Talk turned to Pinty being the star of the last tribal council, with her agreeing that she is still on the block this one though felt Killarney is more of a weakness for the tribe. This fired Killarney up, who called Pinty out for being a difficult personality to deal with and that nobody won their point and as such, her argument was moot. As Pinty tried to defend herself as the strongest woman, she threw Shona and Thoriso under the bus, leading to Pinty backpedalling and praising them for trying. Unlike Killarney. Who well and truly was over her pitch and encouraged everyone to ignore her scrambling for the desperation it is. 

Nico bought up the potential of another idol being in play, with Seamus nervous about having to split votes so soon while Dino and Phil tried to distract and keep playing up the tribal unity. With that the tribe voted and they were anything but unified as the votes landed four a piece between Tevin and Pinty before the final vote blindsided Tevin from the game. With an idol in his pocket.

Despite the fact he experienced the same fate on his second go around, Tevin exited with his head held high and was proud of what he achieved. Which I guess is easier to deal with when you’re constantly targeted for being a threat. I guess. As he re-entered loser lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how disappointed I was to see him go. And then got a little cheeky and pointed out that his exit really improves Toni’s standing in the game and as such, we should all be grateful. Though, maybe that was the Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu.

So crunchy you could chip a tooth, these biscotti are so damn tasty. Sweet and delicate chocolate, cooked to a perfect crisp with lightly toasted hazelnuts? Perfection. Perfection, I tell you!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
325g chocolate, roughly chopped
5 eggs, 4 whole plus 1 separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
225g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two baking sheets with baking paper or silpat.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and half the chocolate in a food processor and blitz until combined and chocolate is in smaller chunks.

Meanwhile whisk the four eggs, vanilla and the raw caster sugar in a stand mixer on medium until it forms light, creamy ribbons. Trade in the paddle attachment and fold in the flour mixture, remaining chocolate and hazelnuts until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface – very floured – and split into four. Roll each portion into a log and place on the lined baking sheets. Whisk the remaining white and brush over each, followed by a generous sprinkle of sugar. Pop the logs in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about half an hour.

Once they are cool enough to cut, transfer to a cutting board and slice into 1.5cm slices using a serrated knife. Line the biscotti flat on the lined baking sheets and return to the oven to cook for another 20 minutes. Remove when nice and crisp, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or just devour piping out, fresh from the oven. Because these are good.


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Liquidita Von Däshcake

Baking, Cheese, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the top four made over older gay men from the Fundación 26 de Diciembre. One of whom was famous fashion designer Petro Valverde, meaning the pressure was well and truly on Sharonne to do well. Thankfully she did as the duo formed a tight bond and pulled together a killer performance. Estrella and Marina meanwhile landed in the bottom for not having their details down pat. Ultimately though it was Venedita who won the challenge and went straight through to the final alongside Sharonne, leaving the duo to battle it out for the final slot. The gag of the season however was that both of the girls slayed the lip sync and as such, Supremme had no choice but to have a top four this year.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to stay as the top four, particularly Estrella who was sure that she was the one being eliminated. She opened up about how she was trying so hard to put on a brave face on stage, so was overwhelmed by the fact Supremme saw something in her that was worthy of saving. Sharonne reminded everyone to focus on the fact they are the first top four in Drag Race España history and that is because they are all icons. While Venedita continued to try and woo the audience to her side by subtly hashtagging in the background. Estrella on the other hand was ready to Showgirls her way to the end, while Sharonne was going to try her best, which is arguably the strongest track record ever.

The next day the finalists returned to the Werk Room feeling nostalgic about the experience and emotional that it is ending. Venedita reiterated that she would love to be the first bearded queen to win, while everyone agreed it is currently Sharonne’s crown to lose. Though that doesn’t mean anyone is going to make it easy for her. Speaking of which, Supremme eventually arrived to announce that for their final challenge the dolls would be performing alongside her in a music video, including writing and recording a verse and learning a tonne of choreography.

Oh and everyone would get to join her for a light lunch, with Venedita first on the guest list, opening up to Mama Supremme about how happy she is to make it to the end and that it was like a dream to her. She opened up about the explosion of social media leading to her starting drag and inspiring her to play with androgyny in her performance. Estrella was next and couldn’t believe she had made it to the end and how much the judges loved her. Hilariously she got her start in drag by befriending three queens in the street when trying to avoid someone picking her up. Which is as wild and iconic as you’d expect from her.

Sharonne opened up about the pressure that comes with going into the competition as an already successful, famous queen, though was proud of herself for continuing to evolve throughout the season. She opened up about being inspired to do drag by listening to her dad’s old records and wanting to perform like them. Marina meanwhile spoke about how drag to her is conceptual and creative and hard to explain, though she was proud of the character she created and looked forward to reflecting on the experience to see just what she has learned and how much she has grown.

With that out of the way, the dolls finally got to work writing their verses with Estrella and Venedita working well together and agreeing it is good to play into their strengths and keep it on the safer side. Marina and Sharonne were being a bit more creative and sensual with their approach and honestly were living their best lives as they bounced off each other. One thing all four of them could agree on is that they all have a massive challenge ahead of them and that this season truly has upped the ante. As has Marina, who the dolls were living for as she continued to drop killer lyric after killer lyric.

The dolls ventured to the mainstage to work on their choreography with Drag Race choreographer Carmelo and a series of flexible daddies. Venedita was feeling the pressure of pulling everything together at one time, while Sharonne was well and truly feeling her oats. Despite worrying about the complexity of the choreography. Marina was encouraged to give more confidence before Carmelo decided that their eliminated sisters should join them for the final performance and well, the reunion was sweet to see. Despite it distracting from the sweats-clad Pit Crew.

Speaking of sweats, Estrella’s had a massive hole in the crotch and well, I live.

It was family only on the panel as Supremme, Ana y Los Javis took their places at the table as Carmen arrived to drop off her crown – please tell me she doesn’t actually have to return it – and kick off the film clip. The dolls all turned it out, though it truly was Sharonne’s show as she gave it her all and hit every damn note. Marina was sensual, Estrella had all the personality and Venedita looked stunning. More importantly, why weren’t the Pit Crew wearing jockstraps?

On the My Best Drag runway Venedira was a sumptuous, blue belle, serving glamour and sex and looking oh so expensive. Marina was a dramatic black flower and was completely stunning. Estrella was full pastel perfection, camp and fun as she went back to the 19th century. And then Sharonne shut it down in a shimmering gown complete with a massive heart on her chest, ready to rebirth and take flight as a phoenix.

The judges lived for Venedita’s versatility and for alway bringing fashion to the runway and looking stunning. Marina meanwhile was beloved for always being smart and thinking outside the box and giving them something different. And for serving some of the most iconic looks on the runway and always telling a story. Estrella was praised for constantly evolving and being present, serving not just comedy but for doing it in the right way thanks to her impeccable instincts. She was fun, warm and smart, and well, the judges clearly love her. When it came to Sharonne, she received universal praise for being a star and being versatile enough to succeed at anything and everything she put her mind to. And for her ability to keep her ego in check.

Backstage the dolls were overwhelmed by all the love from the judges, despite the fact they were all completely exhausted. Estrella was emotional about the fact it was all coming to an end, while Marina shared how proud she was to be sitting alongside her three sisters with Sharonne agreeing that she is leaving the competition with a family she will treasure forever. Talk turned to who they thought would win with Venedita feeling like Sharonne is still the front runner, while Sharonne admitted that they are all stars though that she always felt like Venedita would be a worthy winner. While Estrella praised Marina for bringing mystery.

The eliminated queens walked the runway one final time with Marisa serving red-hot arse, Ariel gave sexy Ariel, Samantha was ravishing in red, Jota gave drama in shimmering bondage black, Onyx gave alien queen, Diamante was a black and white delight while Sethlas brought all the papal drama you’d expect from the Canary Islands while Juriji was sexy in a gorgeous mulberry tulle number.

Ultimately though, the top four were the stars. Well, top three as the judges opted to cut Marina just ahead of the final lip sync to Ni tú ni nadie by Alaska y Dinarama. And well, all three were desperate for the crown and ready to fight. Estrella leant into comedy and gave many a gag, Venedita gave burlesque beauty, though it truly was Sharonne’s victory lap as she hit every lyric and gave drama and emotion. And even a wig reveal, followed by showering herself in confetti followed by exploding her heart in glitter. And well, it was only correct that she took out the win.

That being said, Venedita was impeccable throughout the entire competition and well and truly deserving of her place in the final. From the very frist moment she entered the Werk Room, it was clear she was a star which is exactly what I told her as we caught up backstage. While she was disappointed to not take out the crown, she knew that she had done herself proud so after a big hug from a dear friend like me and a bowl of Liquidita Von Däshcake, she was well and truly ready to take on the world.

Another Milk Bar delight – actually the filling for Jonathan’s bun (pie) – this velvety smooth confection is hard to describe. Packing the flavorful punch of cheesecake but with the texture of custard, this versatile sweet is perfect spread on cookies, baked into a pie, turned into ice cream, or better yet, eating solo, gladly.

Enjoy!

Liquidita Von Däshcake
Serves: 1 runner-up and her bestie.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
150g raw caster sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp milk
1 egg

Method
Pop the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes and scrape down the sides.

Combine the cornstarch, salt, milk and egg in a jug and whisk together until smooth, before adding to the mixer and beating for another 3 or 4 minutes, or until beautifully smooth.

Pour into a lined square cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is just setting, but it is still jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven to cool. Then devour, greedily.


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Cinnamon Bunathan Young Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, Sweets, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor the final five appeared to be neatly split into two pairs or Jonathan and Mike on one side and Lindsay and Maryanne on the other with Romeo left right out. Before heading to the immunity challenge, treemail arrived with a puzzle which they had to solve for a clue to an advantage in the challenge and while Lindsay jagged it, it didn’t help as Mike powered through the puzzle and snatched it out from under her. Back at camp Maryanne was confident Mike would play his idol for her despite the fact he literally promised everyone by Romeo the exact same thing. Ultimately though, his idol play for Maryanne – who sat on hers – didn’t matter, as she joined with the boys to take out the biggest threat left in the game, Lindsay.

The final four arrived at the final immunity challenge where they were all feeling exhausted and nervous about what lay ahead of them. Speaking of which, the challenge is the iconic simmotion one that famously cost Wentworth the game in Second Chances, and many other icons throughout the years. The tribe would each have to drop balls into a metal contraption, slowly adding more throughout the challenge with the last one still juggling balls taking out the win.

Everyone spoke about what was driving them to take out the challenge, though it was Maryanne who gave us all the heart, opening up to Probst that she is just grateful to be there in that moment, because she knows it means that everyone in her family will be watching along at home, cheering her on. And since there is a bit of a feud in her family, she is hoping the power of Survivor brings everyone back together, and that would mean more to her than a million dollars. And well, give her the money too please.

Almost as soon as the challenge got under way, Mike dropped his ball out of his hand in a lapse of concentration. Everyone else made it to their second ball before Maryanne tragically dropped hers. As she broke down in tears, Romeo and Jonathan continued to fight through as they added a third ball followed by a fourth, which was enough to end Jonathan’s game, handing Romeo – yes, ROMEO – individual immunity. Like a damn icon. He opened up about how his entire game has been completely exhausting, constantly on the bottom and everyone’s plan B, but not only is he now safe, he has made it to the final tribal council.

Back at camp Romeo was well and truly feeling his oats, ready for everyone to finally treat him with a bit of respect as they tried to make their way to the end. Mike pulled Romeo aside to assure him that he knows he will be making fire, but it is important that he makes the right decision of who exactly he needs to face, given Maryanne is more of a threat to win than Jonathan. Speaking of the duo, Maryanne was coaching Jonathan on how to make fire, given she would far prefer to sit next to him than Mike in the final three.

Mike and Romeo returned, with Mike taking Jonathan to the shore to convince him that it is critical that should Romeo offer to take him to the end, he takes it. Because he needs to take his place in the final however he can get it. Which Jonathan could tell was just him trying to get into his head before the unsafe trio split up to continue practice making fire.

The jury were shocked as Romeo arrived at tribal council wearing the immunity necklace before he spoke about finally having his star moment and how proud he is to take out immunity. Maryanne admitted that she is very much ready to vom, despite how confident she is in her firemaking skills. Jonathan too was busy hyping himself up while Mike admitted he knows he is making fire, though is worried about who his opponent may be. Romeo meanwhile spoke about second guessing himself and worrying about who to save, though that he ultimately is sticking with his gut, taking Maryanne along for the ride and leaving the boys to battle it out in fire.

With that, Mike and Jonathan took their place at the fire making stations and while Jonathan made fire with ease back at camp, he struggled to get a meaningful flame. Mike meanwhile quickly got his flame and started to build a stack, burning through all the husk as he built an epic teepee. Jonathan soon got a flame and quickly worked to close the gap as Mike’s flame started to lick at the ropes. While Jonathan was methodical as he built his fire, Mike literally threw everything on the table and despite the chaos, he managed to burn through the rope and secure his spot at final tribal council.

Jonathan was very zen about his exit, accepting that there is nothing he could do to change the outcome and he reiterated that loves everyone in the tribe very much. He held his head high as he became the final juror to enter Ponderosa for the season and I quickly pulled him in for a hug to congratulate him on making it so far despite his massive target. Which coincidentally is why I pulled him in for a massive hug, because I wanted to feel the warmth of all of that man mountain. And then smash a celebratory Cinnamon Bunathan Young Pie, shirtless in each other’s arms.

Like everything else that comes out of Milk Bar, this little number is near perfection. Kinda like Jonathan’s body? Delicate creamy filling, earthy browned butter and super spicy, it is the ultimate celebratory dessert. Which is good for all occasions.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Bunathan Young Pie
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
‘Mother Dough’
3½ cups flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 ¾ cups water, at room temperature
Liquid Cheesecake
250g cream cheese
150g raw caster sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp milk
1 egg
Cinnamon Streusel
¼ cup flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter melted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Assembly
¼ cup brown butter
¼ cup brown sugar tightly packed
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Method
To start, get to work on your mother dough by combining the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and stir with the dough hook by hand until just combined before transferring it to the mixer and kneading on low for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, soft ball forms.

Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Next, get to work on the liquid cheesecake – which you will learn about its sole majesty very soon, I promise – by popping the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beating on medium for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes and scrape down the sides. Combine the cornstarch, salt, milk and egg in a jug and whisk together until smooth, before adding to the mixer and beating for another 3 or 4 minutes, or until beautifully smooth. Pour into a lined square cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is just setting, but it is still jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven to cool.

While that is chill and the dough is busy proving itself, turn your attention to the streusel by tossing the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar until combined. Fold through the melted butter and vanilla until clusters start to form.

Turn the oven up to 180C.

Punch down the dough, dust a surface with some extra flour and roll it out to form a 25cm disc that is about 1.5cm thick. Press into a large pie pan and place said pie pan on a lined baking sheet. Brush half the brown butter over the dough before pouring half the liquid cheesecake over the top in an even layer, followed by the remaining brown butter and the brown sugar, gently pressing into place. Sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon, followed by the remaining cheesecake and finally, the streusel.

Transfer the pie to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until the centre is slightly jiggly while the edges have set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for fifteen minutes or so before serving. And devouring, thrilled to be back in the land of 6000 calories a day.


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