Vanitonne Milan

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

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

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

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

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

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

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

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

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

As. She. Should.

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

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Jesse Piccolopez Cone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which she obviously saw right through.

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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Cody Assenmars Bar

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

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

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

I. Love. Her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cody Assenmars Bar
Serves: 12.

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

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

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

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


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Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls finally revealed their snatches as Ru tasked them with playing the Snatch Game. As is oft the case, there were many highlights alongside some shocking lowlights. Specifically Pixie and Danny who got stuck in their heads, despite being the leading comedy queens of the cast. On the flipside, Cheddar was hilarious and shone oh so brightly, while Jonbers and Dakota stamped their place in the competition with smart performances. And then Peppa was a mess while Le Fil was there like her very polite character. Ultimately Cheddar took out victory while Le Fil landed in the bottom opposite. Peppa, with sweet Le Fil exiting stage left after a delightfully wacky lip sync. Or right, TBH – I don’t know the difference.

Backstage the girls were reeling from Le Fil’s departure, with everyone missing her kind, fun ways. And her wild lip syncing skills. Danny praised Peppa on how much she killed the lip sync before everyone toasted how killer Cheddar was in Snatch Game. Danny opened up about how badly she got into her head before the game, though wisely she just laughed it off and was ready to slay another day. Talk turned to how strong they are as a top six, with Pixie shading Jonbers for coasting and Danny went for Peppa for being the best lip syncer. Which she iconically agreed that yeah, that is her skill so you best watch out.

The next day the dolls were giddy and excited to slay whatever Ru had to throw at her. Dakota meanwhile opened up about feeling lighter after getting past Snatch Game, hoping for this week’s challenge to be something more within her wheelhouse. Which obviously summoned Ru to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be doing makeovers on the crew. Specifically, the Queen Team aka their handlers and well, if this doesn’t give us the second coming of Wintergreen, I don’t want it. Despite how excited the dolls were to makeover their heroes. Ru introduced the six lovely women – Fleur, Gemma, Lucie, Mystique, Olivia and Wendy – before pairing them up with the queens alphabetically. As such Peppa got Fleur, Cheddar went to Gemma, Dakota was partnered with Lucie, Danny scored Mystique and Jonbers got Olivia, leaving Wendy and Pixie to become sisters. 

With that Ru excited stage left – for the episode, no less – with Danny quizzing Mystique on her comfort levels and ugh, I love their vibe already. Dakota meanwhile almost broke down talking about how much Lucie means to her and how confident she is to kill the Schiffer-isation. Peppa was busy vowing to look after Fleur and turn things around and glam her up and while she was initially confident, Fleur’s aversion to heels had her bricking it. Cheddar was busy heaping Gemma with praise and seeing them giggle and vibe was just lovely. Particularly since Gemma was living for her new name, Brie Gorgeous. And then Jonbers and Olivia were just having a craic, while Pixie was giddy to have gotten the mother hen Wendy who was ready to go full glam. Though wanted to be called Hugh Jarsse, despite not wanting to be a King.

We ventured back to Danny where he was unveiling Mystique’s beard wig and well, to say she wasn’t vibing it is an understatement. While Pixie was getting Wendy working on her runway walk, Dakota was delighting Lucie with her gown. As Cheddar and Gemma continued to kiki, Raven dropped by to talk to the dolls about their concepts with Peppa sharing they would be going club kid leading to Raven reminding her to make sure the makeup is sharp and cuts through. Pixie and Wendy meanwhile had Raven giggling over her history of backstage bullock tucking and a general passion for heels. At funerals only. Cheddar and Gemma meanwhile delighted Raven with their energy, while Raven lived for Jonbers plan to clown it up, dishing out even more make-up tips.

Which coming from an Emmy winner is a real treat for the dolls!

Dakota and Lucie were super sweet and while Raven suggested they go with more drama in the make-up, I’m not sure their versions of drama are the same. Mystique meanwhile opened up about her reservations about wearing a beard on the runway and while Danny was happy to go with what she likes, Raven gave her a sweet pep talk and encouraged her to let go and embrace the concept of gender fuckery that is drag.

After Raven departed the dolls rallied around their new sisters and got them prepped with Cheddar corseting, Peppa training walks and Jonbers discovering Olivia has no idea how shoe sizing works. Mystique meanwhile was coming out of her shell after getting the padding on, living her best life and ugh, I love it. Oh and Pixie was just making a horror show of an outfit. Peppa and Fleur meanwhile bonded over their coming out journeys and ugh, I hate hearing how difficult it was for Peppa in the Caribbean, though I love how strong she is to have lived through that trauma and built such a beautiful life for herself.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls quickly getting to work on their sisters, with Danny still worried about whether Mystique would go with the beard. Peppa noticed she and Danny had similar concepts, but like the battle of the Blobbies, she was confident she would be coming out on top. Wendy meanwhile was reading Pixie – werk – while Cheddar was thrilled by how perfect Gemma’s skin was. Dakota continued to gush about how much she loves Lucie, before they bonded over the trauma of stereotyping and how they’ve come into their own when it comes to gender. While everyone was kinda just vibing, though Cheddar was nervous about it all playing out, given everyone was strong.

We transitioned to the mainstage where Michelle stepped in for Ru, Raven for Michelle and Graham for himself. Alongside Dorit and PK’s cash cow, Boy George. Jonbers Blonde and Nanu Noir opened the Drag Family Realness runway serving black and white mime perfection and ugh, I love them. Pixie Polite and Trixie Truelove were beautiful butterflies – despite Pixie making Trixie look older than she is – Danny convinced Mizzie Moustache to don the beard as they served pastel, mod glamazons and ugh, I love it. Cheddar and Brie Gorgeous were alien, ethereal glam and ugh, hand her the badge, this is perfection. Black and Chilli Peppa were connected by their hair and giving club, bondage cutesie before Dakota and Bridgette gave all the dolls in the valley.

The judges lived for Jonbers simple vibe and perfect presentation, though she was read for not serving any family resemblance. Pixie was read for her weak padding and make-up skills on her sister, despite slaying the performance and serving sisters. Danny meanwhile received universal praise from the colour and the looks to the resemblance, and hearing how Mystique felt all the love from Danny was just beautiful. Cheddar too was lavished in praise for everything she and Brie served, particularly for giving such rich, glam, artistic looks. Peppa was praised for the concept, though read for kind of stopping all the work at their waists before Dakota was praised for pushing her make-up to the next level, despite Michelle wanting her to give her even more.

Oh and then Michelle gave everyone in the Queen Team a RuPeter badge!

Backstage Jonbers didn’t immediately point out she was the only person in the room without a badge, instead Dakota toasted everyone on a job well done. Jonbers spoke about how confused she is about the critiques, not sure who will land in the bottom. Pixie pointed out that everyone else’s looks kind of spoke to who they are as drag queens, while Jonbers kinda didn’t tell them anything. While Cheddar tried to kindly explain her signature, Jonbers was having none of it while Pixie continued to just go in on her. Dakota opened up about how much fun she has been having, though was worried to potentially land in the bottom. Pixie meanwhile was ok with potentially landing in the bottom, while Peppa read her for filth – to us – for making Trixie look so damn fucking old. Before Danny toasted the Queen Team on giving them the best week of the competition.

Pixie was immediately put up for elimination before Danny was sent to safety with the highest of commendations, while Cheddar took out her third win of the season. Peppa joined them in safety before Jonbers narrowly joined them at the back of the stage, leaving Dakota to battle Pixie. And damn, did Dakota turn it OUT. As soon as Culture Club’s Miss Me Blind kicked off, she absolutely commanded the stage and hit every lyric and trill and ugh, I loved it. Pixie meanwhile gave camp drama however, and that appeared to be enough, as Dakota was tragically felled from the competition. As she and I sobbed, cursing Miselle for bungling her first chance in the main seat. 

Backstage I pulled her in for a massive hug, putting down her silly elimination as nothing more than a gaggy exit for gaggy exit’s sake. Because from the makeover to the lip sync, she well and truly nailed the assignment this week (and honestly, shouldn’t have even landed in the bottom two). That being said, going out as a robbed queen is always better than overstaying your welcome. And that little factoid, alongside a sweet Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer were all it took to take away the bitterness of the elimination!


I don’t know if it is because I feel like it is healthier to eat piccolo cones, but these are essentially my new personality. Petite yet chunky, packed full of nuts and a sweet stuffed base – they are perfection.

Enjoy!


Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 cup shelled hazelnuts
600ml thickened cream
395g condensed milk
1 tbsp hazelnut liquor
1 tbsp vanilla extract
24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh
200g milk chocolate
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Method
Start by blitzing the shelled hazelnuts in a high speed blender until a smooth paste is formed.

Combine the condensed milk, cream, liquor, vanilla and paste in a large bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium speed until the-softer-end-of-firm peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.

While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts before folding in the roasted hazelnuts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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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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