Popbeef Capriness

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the biggest cast in herstory arrived in two little groups, each anticipating to compete in a little talent show. Little did they know, however, that Ruple and Co had grander plans for them all, bringing them together after their throwback mini challenges for one big ol’ talent show. And unlikely the last few years, one of the dolls would be exiting after said first challenge. While the show ended up being a sea of lip syncs – because, duh, they are performers – Anetra absolutely slayed, karate chopping her way into the first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack Loosey struggled singing live, while Amethyst and Irene struggled with premature e-joke-ulation and a complete lack of laughs which landed them in the bottom. And poor Irene a place in the Porkchop Club.

Backstage the dolls rallied around Amethyst, though were mainly gagged by the fact the competition is real and one by one they will go home. Thankfully that obvious revelation was brushed aside as Sugar or Spice asked Robin and Amethyst to talk about their brief relationship with both dolls insinuating they were the ones to end things. Mistress meanwhile was grateful that Loosey stuck around as she felt she had more to show, which well and truly fired up Loosey who felt she didn’t even deserve to be in the bottom and as such was pissed and ready to prove herself.

The next day the dolls were thrilled to still be alive in the competition before Ru straight up interrupted any chat to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, designing infomercials to sell us on the Queerafter. And as Anetra won, she would be the Team Captain of one team, lip sync victor Amethyst would lead the second and the third team – finally – would be made up of the leftovers. Which is messy and iconic and I love the producers for it. Anetra’s selected Luxx, Sasha, Salina and Marcia cubed while Amethyst went with Loosey, Aura, Spice and Poppy leaving Sugar, Mistress, Jax, Malaysia and Robin to form team all the rest, here on Gilligan’s Island.

With that Ru departed with the leftovers instantly fired up by the slight and ready to prove themselves while Anetra’s team immediately decreed Sasha as God and as such, she should play her in the ‘mercial. And their plot can just come second to that. Team Amethyst was throwing out all the ideas which made Loosey feel more and more anxious about proving herself, while Jax was busy trying to wrangle the leftovers as Sugar threw out all the ideas. Most of which, TBH, were good. And when they shut her down, her disappointment was bleedingly obvious to everyone except her team, apparently.

Team Leftovers were first up to shoot with Michelle and well, let’s just say they should have listened to Sugar given she was the only one that was remotely prepared or entertaining. Team Sasha-Colby-getting-the-label-she-deserves appeared to be getting the fake out edit as Sasha got in her head and struggled through the entire shoot. And by ‘appeared’ we’re getting the fake out, I bloody hope so. Meanwhile Team Amethyst’s script was confusing to Michelle, disappointing future WGA Award hopeful Princess Poppy. 

Elimination Day arrived with everyone energised and ready to turn it on the runway as Sugar and Spice caught up about what happened with their infomercials, with Sugar feeling like nobody is taking her seriously. Jax and Aura meanwhile were busy kiki-ing with Jax calling out the team for having too many big personalities, leaving her to pull everything together solo. Talk turned to religion with Malaysia opening up about her religious upbringing and how it impacted her coming into her self acceptance as a queer person, thankful for her luck at having a supporting family. As she sobbed Mistress opened up about her similar upbringing, sans a supporting family and as such, she cut off her family when she was 17 and opened up about how it was drag that saved her and pulled her out of poverty.

Ru, Michelle and TS were joined on the panel by Maren Morris as the dolls kicked off the Metallica runway with Anetra slaying in a foil warrior look. Sasha was stunning as a silver phoenix, Salina gave disco ball streetlamp, Luxx was a Grecian aflame in gold, Marcia was a sexy tin wo-man, Amethyst gave ruffled golden diva, Poppy looked like a space Sailor Moon, Spice gave the upcycled version, Aura again gave Power Ranger realness as a moon warrior – though this time, it was intentional – Loosey gave slutty space housewife, Jax went with Mortal Kombat realness, Robin was a golden warrior, Mistress was stunning in golden chains and a frill neck lizard embellishment while Sugar looked like Lizzie McGuire’s end performance in the movie. While Malaysia was stunning in a glam, silver gown.

When it came to the infomercials, Team Anetra’s was thankfully a fake out – you could tell Michelle wasn’t annoyed when giving direction – as Sasha slayed with glam and gags and ugh, I live. They had throwbacks to past seasons, shade and sex. But well, it was totally the Sasha show as she kept breaking her neck to transition scenes which obviously had Ru in hysterics. Team Amethyst was all sex all the time, until Loosey stole the show as their god, Dolly Parton. Which is correct. Team Leftovers meanwhile was Sugar’s show as the annoying straight girls at the club, while the rest of the dolls were stuck in their own personal hells.

Anetra, Salina, Marcia cubed, Spice, Aura, Robin, Mistress, Sugar and Malaysia were deemed safe before the judges lavished all the praise on Sasha. She listened to direction, she was hilarious and most importantly, she looked perfect. Because she is Sasha. Luxx was praised for a stunning runway and for serving all the comedy in the performance. Amethyst was read for once again not being funny while Michelle encouraged her to embrace her nose rather than hide it when painting her face. Princess meanwhile was read for fading into the background and for looking nice on the runway, but nothing more before Loosey received her praise for playing it smart in the infomercial and for looking stunning. Jax meanwhile was read for not padding or synching and not looking the best during the challenge. Never mind the fact their infomercial was a mess.

Backstage the safe queens were thrilled to be safe, while Anetra was excited to be able to get to know her sisters a little better since she was busy getting critiques the week before. Marcia was glad to get a turn to relax, though was disappointed to hear Michelle mock her make-up during her walk with Mistress giving her tips like the mother she is. Malaysia meanwhile was bitter to have not gotten the chance to hear from the judges, while Mistress continued to be iconic and said she was ready to get her moment when it happens and knows she can’t be good at everything. Robin meanwhile was glad that most of her team were safe, particularly since they were the leftovers. Which made Mistress step in to be an icon once again, pointing out she was shocked she wasn’t picked first. Like she deserved. Talk turned to Jax in the challenge and how she steamrolled without slaying, with Mistress asking Sugar why she didn’t clap back at her when she was mean and while Sugar admitted she struggles with speaking up, Mistress assured her that if she wants to be her daughter, she needs to defend herself and have confidence.

And again, I love their bond.

Aura then got shady over the leftovers video, despite only Team Anetra’s being good. That summoned the tops and bottoms with everyone praising Sasha for slaying every moment this week. Particularly the neck cracks. Jax meanwhile opened up about how the judges kinda hated everything she did, quickly blaming taking control of the script and her sisters ad libbing for her predicament. Poppy meanwhile mocked herself, saying the judges lived for everything she served rather than hated that she faded into the background and isn’t standing out. She then opened up that she was thinking about quitting drag last year and as such, she isn’t bothered if she is eliminated given she just didn’t want to be the first boot. Poor Amethyst meanwhile started to sob about not doing well, questioning whether she is just making a joke of herself. Oh and then everyone congratulated Loosey for giving a killer Dolly before Maren Morris dropped by to kiki with the girls and while I didn’t know anything about her before she jumped on the panel, I love how sweet she was with the dolls.

Ultimately Loosey and Luxx were sent to safety as Sasha took out her first victory of the season before Jax narrowly avoided the bottom – with a challenge from Ru to step her pussy up – as Amethyst returned to the bottom two, this time with Princess Poppy for company. As soon as my girl Diana Ross’ version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough kicked off, it was clear Amethyst was not ready to go home, giving pitch perfect Diana which is the only way to rock it in front of superfan Ru. And while Poppy started off similarly, she leaned further into the camp as the song went off and while it served and showed us who she is, Ru was only going to save the person that did Di justice and as such, sent Poppy packing from the competition.

Backstage Poppy was pretty upbeat, grateful to have gotten her passion for drag back and to leave arguably the most iconic mirror message of all time – scribble! I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for showing us who she is and bringing such a chill, fun energy to all that she does. I assured her that her early departure isn’t a reflection of her talent and while she already knew that, I feel she really appreciated the fact she got to smash a Popbeef Capriness to lift her spirits.

This little local-butcher’s-number copycat is as soothing as everything else wrapped in pastry. Rich and earthy with a hint of sweetness, the tomatoes, spinach and feta work perfectly to elevate the beef into an elevated parcel experience.

Enjoy!

Popbeef Capriness
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
4 thin cuts of steak, like scotch (depending on size you could go with two and cut them in half
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
200g greek feta, cut into 4 rectangles
1 egg, whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut each sheet of pastry into four squares, and half of them into strips.

To assemble, place the steaks onto the centre of each square of puff pastry. Top with the spinach, sundried tomato, pesto and a piece of feta. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with some egg and layer the strips to form a crosshatch pattern, press in at the edges to hold in place.

Transfer the parcels to a lined baking sheet, brush with a little bit of egg and pop in the oven to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed – as the name would imply – and the meat cooked through. Then devour, with a generous helping of mash. 


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Irene Hamdubois Helper

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which started out as a teeny, tiny show whose first challenge was filmed in the car park behind WoW opposite the Jim Hensen offices – which I’m not sure is a legit fact, but for some reason I think it is so let’s run with it – turned into a global phenomenon. Icons were born, legends were made, moments were gagged, we were left gooped and Ruple and Co. became bonafide Emmy powerhouses. But most importantly, it gave us back rolls, Alyssa’s secret, do-wa, Aja jumping from there, a confession to killing Judy Garland and a Snatch Game throwback to that moment, absolving said veteran of said murder. But that was then and this is now, as Season 15 is ready to take its lap. Sadly without chocolate.

Womp womp.

First to enter for this fifteenth (main franchise) crown was Irene Dubois looking like a ginger COVID virus and well, she is hot out of drag and is Bosco’s drag sister, so I love her. She was followed by Luxx Noir London looking like Bowie and Dynasty era Joan Collins had a baby whose hair was inspired by Ariana Grande. So again, I love her. As the duo got shady, Aura Mayari arrived and gave glamour as she vogued her way into the Werk Room and straight into my heart. And loins, out of drag obviously. Giving cousin IT by Cher from Clueless, we met Marcia Marcia Marcia and after she flicked her hair back to reveal she was rocking the iconic broken nose look, I live for her.

Though not as much as I love people clocking her as looking like (a) Jan.

As she was busy regalling her new sisters with her love of Ariana Grande and serving it on Broadway thanks to her BFA (like Jan, TBH), we were joined by Anetra who is giving off fun punk showgirl vibes and well, I love her energy so much and feel like she is going to slay. Which I hope isn’t the kiss of death because my support usually curses trajectories. They were joined by Malaysia Babydoll Foxx serving the sluttiest depression kitty I have ever seen and I love her. LOVE. She is charming, cute and has a voice like velvet. Princess Poppy arrived serving Art Simone’s twink sister in the best way possible. Though her sticking her ears inside themselves scares me because I’m a child. Then Sasha Colby happened and well, yeah, I stand by what I said earlier, crown her. Now. She was serving as a Hawaiian warrior queen and had the energy that she was ready to have fun and slay.

We then had Ornacia make her triumphant return and ugh, I LIVE. Wait, no it is Ariana Grande. Whistle tone queen, icon, legend and well, let’s just say, I’m as gagged as the dolls.

As Marcia started to hyperventilate, Ariana gave the dolls a hug and thanked them for bringing so much joy to the world. While Luxx in turn thanked her for Break Free which TBH, is correct. Ariana regalled everyone with tales of her previous time on the judging panel and encouraged them to take in every moment and enjoy the journey. Ru then stole her thunder, dropping by to welcome his newest daughters to the race and officially announce the doubled up prize. Oh but first, they would have to compete in a little throwback Mini Challenge doing a sexy photoshoot washing the car. With the Pit Crew, so swoon. 

The boys started spraying themselves as they washed the car before Irene dropped by and bathed in it, living her bukkake dream and TBH, that is the only way to do it. Luxx meanwhile got wet in all the wrong ways though thankfully still served. Aura was ready to touch them all and ugh, it was hot and I love it, while Marcia served good girl gone bad. Backstage Marcia was thirsty for boy Irene while Luxx was scared of her, meanwhile Anetra was drowning out in the carpark and had Ru cackling. Malaysia was heartbroken to ruin her good drag but hot damn did she serve while Poppy got her holes filled and Sasha tried to give supermodel, despite not loving the fact she didn’t get said moment.

As everyone dedragged they all clocked Aura as the trade of the season – including Aura – and were positively shocked that Marcia looks exactly the same in and out of drag. Talk turned to what the other group would look like before Ru interrupted them talking about Irene’s passion for  reading everyone to announce that she took out the win in the Mini Challenge. Much to Luxx’s surprise. Ru then filled the dolls in on the fact their first Maxi Challenge would be a little talent show titled One Night Only (said with jazz hands, obvi). And in addition to their individual performances, they would have to choreograph an opening number together.

The group quickly ventured backstage and talked through their skills, with Marcia pushing to take the reins in the choreography and while Aura tried to add to it, Mother Sasha quietly watched on, knowing that she would end up fixing whatever they came up with and get her new kids over the line. As the kids continued to fight back and forth for control Irene joined Sasha in asking one of them to just back out and let the other take the lead so they don’t get stuck with two different choreographies. 

As Group 1 descended into chaos, the crew reset the Werk Room just in time for Salina EsTitties arrived giving banjie energy and was totally jacked up on Mountain Dew and I live for it. She was quickly joined by Amethyst serving 2000 pop tween, claiming herself as the first viral TikTok queen to make it to Drag Race. Jax arrived ready to cheer the house down and called herself the Simone Biles of drag, so yeah, I stan. They were joined by Loosey LaDuca who looks like a campy, nice version of Sh3rry Pi3 in blonde. Which isn’t a read, despite how it may sound. Mistress Isabelle Brooks was up next serving short, goth Eureka and I love everything about her. Robin Fierce joined them looking like a stunning woman in tan and ugh, I love her. Oh and she and Amethyst have a past and while I was ready to ship, she told me I can’t, so that is that. We then got a double arrival as Sugar and Spice trotted in serving actual dolls and while Amethyst thought she was the TikTok superstar, these girls are the thing.

Though Mistress will not give them the pleasure of knowing she knows them.

As the dolls recovered from learning they are only bedroom queens, Sugar opened up about wanting to be part of the drag community and wanting friends which is equally sweet and heartbreaking. We then got another Ornacia entry, this time with the legit Vivacious who announced Ru’s arrival to welcome the rest of her daughters to the competition and put them to the test in their Mini Challenge, the drag race wind machine photoshoot classic. Salina was up first and served sex and speeding as her face blew away, Amethyst gave Timezone realness while snacking on leaves before Jax was all erotic, no auto. Mistress was smizing the house down, Loosey lived her Tippi Hedron fantasy through feathers while Robin was perfection, whether the fan gave her a beard or not. 

As the twins made it to the stage for their shoot, the other girls kikied about Sugar and Spice being inexperienced with Mistress opening up about how underwhelming they are to her. And while everyone reminded her they were cute and sweet, she felt like not knowing what wig glue is was a mortal sin. And well, I’m here for the shade. Sugar meanwhile was having fun on the bike, serving silly and ridiculous before Spice ripped off her wig against Ru’s advice, serving hairography with a shower cap. They rejoined the dolls as everyone dedragged with Sugar and Spice gagging over their sisters and praising them for looking so different out of drag. Mistress kinda admitted to reading them and threw down a challenge for them to impress her, while they just spewed talk at the girls, trying to make friends and well, I love everything about them despite myself.

Ru made yet another return to announce Loosey took out victory in the Mini Challenge, which emboldened her to declare she will be the first person to win every challenge. Which already ius not the case. Ru then gave them a spiel about the talent show before sending them off to the rehearsal space, where the other dolls finally appeared to be making progress. Well, until Ru dropped by to kiki and threw the two groups together. The factions lined up like the jets and sharks, ready for two to become one and put more choreographers amongst the queens before Ru announced that unlike last year, one of them will be going home before the end of the week.

After Ru departed the groups introduced themselves and sat down to get to know each other, with Sugar and Spice monologuing about their lives and while they annoyed everyone else, I love their lack of self awareness. Also Sugar kinda looks like young(er) Austin Butler minus the lingering accent work. Group 1 then got up to show their newest sisters their choreography with Mistress laughing through it with her soon-to-be-bestie Sugar. While Marcia tried to push through, Malaysia cut her off and then everyone started to fight before Mistress cut them off and asked them to focus on the task at hand because dancing is her weakness and she doesn’t want to bomb. Then she and Irene got sassy and Sugar and Spice started quietly laughing together.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls finally unpacking their gear and finding a station with everyone laughing it up and being silly. Sugar and Spice meanwhile just focused on beating their mugs because they take so damn long. Irene meanwhile measured up her wig against Luxx’s to confirm whether her entry was 40 inches. Defeated, Luxx then joined the twins to get ready, bonding over being social media queens and how it really is the only way they can start when they aren’t old enough to go to a club. Sugar then noticed Mistress and Irene were sitting together and was shocked that the enemies elected to get ready together, leading to the older girls explaining shade and how being a working queen works. Loosey, Anetra and Amethyst meanwhile were talking about their talents with Loosey opening up about her original song, while Anetra was keeping her cards close to her chest. Oh and then we learnt Irene is making ice water.

While Sugar and Spice were still nowhere near being ready to go on while everyone put on their finishing touches.

Ru, Michelle, Ross and Ariana took their places on the panel as the dolls made their debut for the opening number which was a campy, pageant delight and ugh, I’ve missed this show (in the two weeks we went without it). Malaysia meanwhile opened up the individual performances, lip syncing the house down to an original song and while it was repetitive, Bryce came out in gold speedos, so I love it. Spice meanwhile was silly and cute, having Ru and the dolls in hysterics, so well done babe. Luxx hit every line and lyric on her lip sync and was honestly just a delight. Though the gradual split really made me love her. Mistress went boxing for her lip sync which was a win when she pulled out a RuPaul chocolate bar and nearly slid off the stage.

Loosey gave us something different by singing live and while I wanted to live for it, to quote the great Coco Montrese, find a key. Anyone will do. Marcia danced her way into my heart as a horny nerd sexing it up for a portrait of Ross. Robin was energetic and worked every corner of the stage as we went back to lip syncs before Irene bombed, hard, while making a glass of iced water and while I knew what she was going for, that wasn’t it. Anetra then followed it up by bringing the house down as she duck walked all over the stage as she lip synced to her original song – Walk the Duck – before straight up moving into karate chopping through boards. AND THEN KICKING A BOARD IN HALF.

Poor Sugar had to follow that up and while her lip sync was fun and silly like the sweet version of her sisters, she didn’t karate chop. Despite that, the fact she and her sister served it wore down Mistress which is a great win. Princess Poppy meanwhile gave parasite puppet lip syncing realness and it was perfect, before Salina gave red carpet lip sync into street glamour before referencing Will Smith’s slap so if Anetra doesn’t Anetra, I’d say this was a win. Amethyst then won my heart lip syncing to All Around the World as a drunk mum with a baby tethered to her back before Aura gave a fierce lip sync and while she had all the attitude, it felt a little flat by comparison. Mother Colby then lip synced to Zombie in a straight jacket and ugh, she is perfection. It was moody, it was fierce, it was powerful and well, the kids best watch out. And then Jax came out and lip synced before skipping with her own ponytails, which is yet another win for me.

And that was before she backflipped from the back of stage to the front, proving she really is the Simone Biles of drag.

When it came to the Who Is She? runways, Irene came in goth alien dominatrix, Luxx gave glamour pastel vixen going from the races to the boudoir before Aura gave all black Rita Repulsa, in all the right ways. Marcia gave sexy pastel prep, Anetra was an iridescent warrior, Malaysia gave sexy angel lounge singer in the hottest club in heaven before Princess Poppy gave lollipop ballerina delight. On and then Sasha gave the ultimate flex, rocking the gown she won Miss Continental in. Salina gave blue jean baby, Amethyst was a slutty, lilac Sailor Moon, Jax was NYC street in all the right ways before Loosey gave a glamorous gown version of Britney in Toxic. Mistress was iconic in a bejewelled, red cowgirl corset, Robin was an ice queen in shimmering baby blue, Sugar gave slutty Belle and ugh, I hate that I love Spice gave the other side of the look – kinda – with whore Ariel.

Luxx, Aura, Malaysia, Princess Poppy, Sasha, Mistress, Robin, Sugar and Spice were all sent to safety before Irene was praised for looking good on the runway though read for giving absolutely no humour in her performance. Marcia received universal praise for giving humour and dancing perfection, though told to give more than a streak of lip gloss when it comes to make-up. Anetra rightly was universally beloved for being perfection from start to finish, despite only learning to duck walk today. Amethyst was read for showing the baby too early in her performance, though she was praised for looking cute. Despite her lack of padding. Jax too got wall to wall praise, particularly for rolling her eyes while effortlessly doing acrobatics meaning poor Loosey was read for her performance, despite looking stunning.

Backstage the safe girls celebrated making it through the first week, particularly Princess and Robin who were shitting their pants. Talk turned to who was the best with everyone agreeing Anetra owned the show, while Poppy lived for Jax. Robin in turn congratulated the twins for surprising everyone with their sickening performances, with everyone rallying around and finally welcoming them into the drag family. This turned into a conversation about the stigma about the social media dolls and while Luxx pointed out social is a live portfolio, Malaysia explained she only questioned if they could translate their talents to the stage. Talk turned to how great Sasha’s performance was, with her opening up about her trauma while praising her father for raising her.

The dolls started to open up about who they knew before the season which was only an excuse to bring up the fact Robin and Amethyst briefly dated back home. That obviously summoned the tops and bottoms with Irene praising the tops for killing it before Amethyst announced she is definitely in the bottom, though hopefully not against her sister Loosey. That led to Loosey breaking down, heartbroken to have bombed, leading to the girls rallying around and praising her for killing it and pointing out they really only wanted her to lip sync so she could make the performance bigger. That led to Irene admitting that she will totally be the one in the bottom with Amethyst given they just hated her performance.

After everyone agreed that Anetra would totally be winning, Ariana dropped by to kiki with the girls and literally gave them the sweetest advice and well, I guess I’m all in on being an Ariana stan now? She bid the girls adieu, leaving Irene and Amethyst to rehearse their lip syncs and get their heads in the game.

Ultimately Marcia and Jax were sent to safety as Anetra took out the first victory of the season while at the other end of the pack it was Loosey that was saved, leaving Amethyst and Irene to battle it out for safety to my girl Ariana’s 7 Rings. While Irene leant into her alien kooky aesthetic, it was clear the song was perfect for Amethyst and her general vibe. Irene twerked and gave sex, which sadly wasn’t enough as Amethyst was saved and poor Irene joined the Porkchop Club.

Backstage Irene was rightly disappointed to be gone so soon and not get to show the world more, though I reminded her – as I do each season – it is more memorable to be a first boot than saying a mid-comp queen, giving you an air of mystery and an underdog spirit. Which seemed to be the pep talk she needed, thanking me for always supporting her – I am Bosco’s drag great-grandmother thrice removed, so we’re family – as we sat down to smash a heart bowl of Irene Hamdubois Helper.

Not to be confused with Australian hamburger helper – which is essentially seasoned breadcrumbs – this tweaked version of Half Baked Harvest’s take on the American classic is near perfection. Packing a punch of spice (sadly without sugar) and heat, while velvety smooth and creamy, it is an easy mid-week number to warm the cockles of your soul in winter.

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
500g small shell pasta
2 cups beef stock
300ml cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Method
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the mince and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, or about 10 minutes. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the tomato paste, chilli and paprika and cook for a minute before stirring through the zucchini, carrot and pasta to coat. Stir in the beef stock and cream, bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low to simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Once the pasta is al dente, stir through the cheeses, adjust the seasoning – you’ll probably need more pepper, less salt – and cook until everything has combined.

Serve piping hot with some token parsley for the appearance of health and devour, happily.


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Pepperowen Knight Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.


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Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde

Burgers, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?

The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.

As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.

Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.

White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.

Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.

The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.

And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?

Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.

And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!

Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.

On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.

The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve. 

Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.

Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.

And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.

The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.

The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.

Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.

This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tbsp gochujang
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 shallots, sliced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
675g pork mince
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 Briocher Bünsberg
butter lettuce, leaves removed
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 cup kimchi

Method
Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.

In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.

When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.

To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.


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Noelle Lambertshranger

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was carved back into two for the now-annual split tribe double tribal round. And as we’ve come to learn, chaos well and truly ensued. Over at the losing group Queen Noelle led the charge against James, playing her Steal a Vote on Owen to lull him into a false sense of security before brutally blindsiding him from the game. Over at the winning group, Cassidy and Ryan’s feud came to a head with the former finally coming out on top, blindsiding him from the game with a full bag – and pair of pants – of seafood to boot.

Back at camp emotions were mixed as the groups came together and though Karla was meant to be out of the loop on the James plan, she was glad Sami told her about it. Obviously though, she was nervous. Cassidy meanwhile was thrilled to outplay her nemesis Ryan, particularly when he was still actively targeting her. Jesse on the other hand was feeling super powerful, knowing where all the advantages are and being super well connected with literally everyone in the tribe. Begging the question, is this the pride that comes before a fall or a strong thing to point out for a winner?

My love Jeffrey returned early in the episode for the latest reward challenge where they would each stand in a frame and spin around to wind in a buoy before racing over a cargo net and over a balance beam to collect a sandbag,  untying knots and tossing said sack on a pole. For an epic feast and luxury overnight reward. So yeah, it was a big one. Owen got out to an early lead, followed by Noelle, Cody, Sami and Karla. Eventually everyone made it to the balance beam which is where things got a little hard to watch as Noelle struggled due to her leg. While everyone started tossing their bag however, Noelle persevered as she fought through tears and the suction on her leg giving out before she finally arrived at the end of the challenge and straight up won on her second toss.

Like the damn queen that she is. I mean, oh my god she is amazing.

Everyone rallied around to congratulate her on such an epic come from behind victory before she opened up about how hard she tried and how losing her leg ultimately made her the resilient person she is (and I could only wish to be). Probst then dropped the bomb that in addition to food and a bed, she would also be getting letters from home and she’d be able to take two people to join her. After selecting Sami and Jesse, Jeffrey gave her one more, ultimately selecting Owen, perfectly splitting the tribe in two to no doubt cause some chaos.

At reward the foursome were well and truly thrilled as they sat down to smash the feast before they took time for a little bit of love from home. Owen sobbed, Jesse was brought back to being in juvenile detention and reminded of how far he has come in life and yep, it only took two people to have me crying like a baby. Noelle’s mum was an icon, sharing she was checking the weather and sending good vibes, while Sami’s dad had given up some food in his honour. After bonding over the love, Sami turned the conversation back to the game and suggested getting rid of Cassidy as soon as possible given she is allegedly a flipper. And while Noelle was more concerned about Sami being a flipper, she was onboard with Owen’s plan to split the vote on Karla and Cassidy and for the reward group to take control of the game with Gabler and Cody.

Back at camp the losers were far less energetic and jubilant as they ate a sad coconut over the fire. Not wanting to be left out of the fun chats they were having on reward, Cody tried to get people focused on the game and spoke about how untrustworthy Sami is. Cassidy took him for a walk and the duo spoke about instead targeting Noelle, given she is going from strength to strength in the game and as such, needs to be stopped in her tracks. Cassidy moved over to Gabler and Karla with them equally keen to get rid of Noelle. Though Gabler, TBH, was more excited about the fact he is the one with all the options.

The two groups came together to meet Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to balance a platform with a rope and build a house of cards first. Or, you know, the one to have it highest after a certain amount of time. Noelle and Karla quickly dropped as they found the rhythm of the challenge, followed by literally everyone multiple damn times. And as hilarious as it is to watch the supercut, I’m guessing it isn’t fun to read, so I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Cassidy won. Well, eventually, after almost winning multiple times before she finally put everyone out of their misery.

Back at camp Noelle was nervous about what to do now that they can’t split the vote, which only got worse when Gabler confirmed that the other women were going for her and tried to flip Cody. Speaking of Cody, he and Jesse caught up about what happened while the tribe was split and while he was grateful to Noelle for giving him the love from home, Jesse also knew she was a threat. And well, the letter reminded him why he is here, and as such, the duo locked in the vote against her. 

Jesse meanwhile was nervous about it all falling apart, so told her the plan was still to get rid of Karla but that they would now split the votes on Sami. He then got busy throwing Sami under the bus by telling Noelle he is going for her on the split. Lastly he went to Karla to lock her in and while she was nervous about it coming together, he approached Gabler to lock in an outright majority to get rid of Noelle. Wisely though, Gabler knew it would be dangerous to burn Owen and Sami so close to the end, leading to Jesse dominating by calmly outlining just how threatening Noelle is. He then looped back to Cody to fill him in, while Gabler approached Karla to assure her that he will be voting Noelle to save her. And then target Jesse and Cody next, given they are clearly the power couple.

At tribal council Noelle spoke about how proud she is to overcome the challenge and prove to other people with a disability that they can do anything. Jesse pivoted to the reward, talking about how grateful he was to hear from home despite his ugly crying now going to be shown on TV. Gabler meanwhile alluded to a shake up, while Noelle admitted it was tough to navigate amongst the confusion while Owen was hopeful that relying on trust would pull him through again. Jesse agreed that trust is the currency, though shared that confirming whether it is real is the hardest part of the game. While Cody was more concerned about timing, given the contents of the conversations change minute by minute and as such, you can never tell whether you’re in power. 

Sami agreed and admitted none of them really know what will happen until they vote. Oh and then Gabler spoke about being snipers, while Karla was hoping to catch people out before it happens. Noelle acknowledged the fact there are still idols in play and as such, they have to play a quiet, sneaky game before Jesse reiterated what his son said, which was to get that money. With that the tribe voted and Karla wisely held on to her idol as the plan came together and Queen Noelle was tragically booted from the game.

Noelle followed the sound of my rage cries to Ponderosa where we pulled each other in for a massive hug. As a fellow famed athlete, I obviously met Noelle while a college athlete and we became the firmest of friends. And while I obviously gave it up due to scandal and laziness, we kept in contact, so I was thrilled to be able to be there to celebrate her killer game post-boot. And commence plotting how she will win her inevitable All Stars season over a piping hot Noelle Lambertshranger.

While a bushranger isn’t exactly a famed pastry dish, I spotted it in a local butcher and immediately knew I had to try my hand at a little copycat version. The rich, earthy lamb works perfectly with the mustard and SOMETHING ELSE to give you a light, hearty dish that will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Noelle Lambertshranger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 small boneless lamb steaks, flattened to about 1cm thick
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add in the garlic and cook it off for about a minute before stirring in the mustard, red wine, most of the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for another couple of minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens and becomea little claggy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To assemble the bushrangers, place the steaks on a board and divide the mixture amongst them to form a line across the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters and place the lamb parcel on one side. Brush the edges and cover with another piece of pastry, getting as creative as you like with crimping of using offcuts to decorate. 

Brush the parcels with egg, sprinkle with the leftover rosemary and transfer to the oven to backe for 20-3 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with either a creamy mash or a fresh salad, then devour. Like a Queen.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Dutch Baby

Breakfast, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls starred in the brand new chat show, Catty Man. After Pixie won the power to select teams, she, Danny and Cheddar all shone brightly. While she designed a meh team and a bomb team, to kinda guarantee their win. Sadly for her, it only worked out for Danny who joined Dakota in the two badge club. Sminty meanwhile appeared to completely black out during the challenge while Baby was a bit of a mess. Baby though was a phoenix, dominating the lip sync and saving herself. And while it was tragic to see Sminty go, she took out our hearts as she sad-twerked her way into the best exit since Vanjie.

Backstage Baby felt guilty about sending Sminty home, though reiterated that if you come against her in the lip sync, you will be losing. As they sat down to kiki Pixie opened up about always feeling like the bridesmaid, so wasn’t shocked that she was beaten at the final hurdle of the challenge. Dakota and Danny tried to remind her how much the judges loved her and while she doesn’t have a badge, they still love her and she needs to focus on that. Talk returned to Baby with everyone reiterating that Ru gave her some great feedback and she should still be proud of herself. Though Danny admitted to us that Ru is after a superstar and well, she – and Cheddar – is a powerhouse, so they best watch out. Essentially.

The next day everyone had processed the last judging, with everyone ready for another week. Baby opened up about still being a little in her feels and as such, admitted that she is really doubting herself, but best believe she is ready to rally. Pixie led the girls in praising Danny on her second win, with her admitting that she is speechless. Which doesn’t happen often. At the other end of the spectrum, the dolls pointed out Jonbers is the only one without a badge and well, she was not having it and I live. Before the shade escalated to any drama, Ru dropped by – dressed in high street, not H&M – to open the library. Because reading is, what? Fundamental.

Up first was Cheddar who calmly and devilishly savaged her sisters in a sweet, playful way. Baby was witty and nasty in equal, perfect measure, Dakota was hit and miss but so charming while Peppa was a delight. Pixie was smart, brutal and oh so silly, Le Fil owned it calling Jonbers Mr Smithers, Danny was Danny in all the right ways before Jonbers closed the show giving classic reads and being a total cutie. But obviously, victory went to Pixie Polite. For ironically being anything but.

Before Ru departed she announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be singing live in Lairy Poppins: The Rusical. And as the winner of the mini challenge, it was up to Pixie to cast the show before they received some vocal coaching with THE voice, Miselle Visage. The dolls sat down to read through the script as Dakota disappointed everyone with the news she had NOT seen Mary Poppins and also hates musicals. Le Fil was cast as OG Mary, Lick Van Dick went to Danny, The Bird Lady went to Jonbers, Mother Prude went to Baby and Rochelle La Roach went to Cheddar leaving the Prude Twins to be played by Peppa and Dakota. Much to Dakota’s disappointment. All the girls offered to trade out to make her feel better, but she admitted she isn’t really confident about any of the roles, so was just going to suck it up. Oh and Pixie obviously snatched the lead for herself.

Everyone split up to work through the script with Cheddar going method while Peppa tried to perk Dakota up and encouraged her to slay with the role she landed, rather than being frustrated. Pixie meanwhile started to get nervous, realising that Lairy Poppins is not the role for her and as such went to talk it through with Danny. Who graciously offered to swap.

The dolls dropped by the mainstage to work through the songs with Michelle as Dakota and Peppa were a bit flat, while Baby joyously embraced her inner Britney. Danny meanwhile was an absolute disaster given she only just took over the role, and while Pixie fared a little better, she was lacking confidence, Cheddar was pitch perfect which made her feel worse and worse. Jonbers was living her best life and was oh so fun, despite the lack of key. While Le Fil, obviously, was a delight. And given everyone was feeling kinda strong, Baby started to worry that she was not enough. Which is just heartbreaking.

Michelle tagged out with zaddy Giovanni Pernice for the choreography with Dakota getting more and more nervous, while Baby sweetly helped her get through all the steps. While Peppa just wanted her to pull it together and not bring her down. Danny too was a ball of nerves, though given Giovanni was flirty, she worked overtime to impress. Cheddar too struggled to get it down while Pixie nailed it all and Jonbers was ridiculously perfect. And Le Fil was simply a star, but will no doubt be under appreciated.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone full of energy and ready to put on the best rusical of all time. As they split up to beat their mugs, the dolls spoke about their pre-show routines, with everyone agreeing it is just nice to be able to kiki with sisters while prepping on the show. Oh and everyone was desperate and ready for another badge, except for Dakota, who just wanted to make it through and hope for the best.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by the legend herself Hannah Waddingham to witness the spectacle that was Lairy Poppins. And hot damn, was it not one of the greatest rusicals of all time. The script was on point, the lyrics and music were so much fun and the performances were all great. Baby was a diva, Peppa was charming and even Dakota was holding her own. Well until Danny arrived on scene as Lairy and let’s just say, Pixie is probably going to regret swapping rolls because she was demented and sooooo damn good. Jonbers was wacky, weird and living her best life, as the judges laughed hysterically. Pixie was silly and charming, Cheddar was delightful and fun before Le Fil closed the show as the perfect spoil to everyone’s fun before she ultimately let loose and experienced joy, stealing my heart and the show.

On the West End Wonders runway, Pixie slayed as Tracy Turnblad, serving charm, reveals and of course, hairspray everywhere. Jonbers was so damn sexy, inspired by Singing In The Rain, Black Peppa gave the sexiest Lion King known to man while Dakota gave Funny Girl as done by Sharon Tate. Cheddar was stunning serving Hedwig, Le Fil was full glamour in honour of The King and I and Baby was inspired by the first black Juliet on the West End in And Juliet and was STUN. NING. Oh and then Danny stole the show as The Little Shop of Horrors and well, shut it down, she wins.

Black Peppa and Cheddar – aka Cacio e Pepe – were sent to safety before the judges lavished praise on Pixie despite how poorly she did in rehearsals. Everyone thought her performance was stunning and lived for how she nailed the look on the runway. Jonbers too received universal praise for her demented bird lady and they loved the runway, despite the mismatched cages. Poor Dakota was read for being very nervous, particularly next to how energetic Peppa was. That being said, Ru assured her she was good, just everyone else was also so strong. Le Fil for some reason was told she could have gone further with the role, despite being perfect AND having a stunning runway. Baby too was read for her nerves, though praised for her energy and magnetism. Baby started to break down as Hannah told her she wants her to see how great she is, while Baby opened up about how hard it is to be in the competition and how she doesn’t know she can handle it mentally. But bless, Ru gave her a delightful pep talk.

Oh and then Danny received top marks for everything, from the performance to the runway. And well, condragulations again, Danny.

Backstage Cheddar was thrilled to be safe while Peppa was just glad she avoided the bottom. As the tops and bottoms joined them, Dakota opened up about how disappointed she is to clearly be in the bottom and while everyone tried to encourage her, she admitted it is even harder to process given she was told she was good but clearly, two girls have to land in the bottom. Baby meanwhile opened up more about how much she is struggling with her mental health and admitted that while she will kill a lip sync, it won’t change things. But thankfully, all her sisters rallied around and encouraged her to keep opening up and sharing. Le Fil too was struggling with being in the bottom despite nailing it before talk turned to the tops, with Jonbers giddy, Pixie just glad to have rallied and Danny, obviously, thrilled about nailing the assignment.

Ultimately Jonbers was deemed safe, leaving Pixie to once again be the bridesmaid to Danny Beard who rightly took out her third win of the season. At the alleged other end of the pack, Le Fil narrowly avoided the bottom leaving Dakota and Baby to battle it out to No Way from Six. And damn did they fight. Baby was obviously Baby, a star who hit every lyric and nailed the vibe and all the moves, while Dakota was an absolute firecracker as she valiantly fought for her life and turned the show. Sadly though before Ru had the chance to announce who had won the lip sync, Baby popped up her hand and announced that that was her farewell performance and like Adore and DeLa before her, she would like to tap out of the competition.

Thankfully, Ru didn’t make her feel bad about things, praising her for not only being a star and for knowing when to take herself out of the situation to look after herself. And well, while Ru kinda stole my entire speech to the icon that is Baby, it was so true and necessary, that I didn’t burn Ru’s dressing room to the ground. Instead, I pulled Baby in for a massive hug as she made it backstage and assured it that it was the right decision. And that even in those five short weeks, she proved she is a star. And oh so worthy of a warm, nourishing Dutch Baby.

The light and fluffy boat warmly hugs the earthy, nutty sweet filling to give you a gloriously hearty breakfast. Or a comforting way to work through the trauma of an intense competition series that makes you question your talent, which should never happen because you’re a star. Ok?

Enjoy!

Dutch Baby
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup milk, at room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
3 mushrooms, peeled and sliced
6 slices ham, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped

Method
Place a medium cast iron skillet in the centre of the oven and preheat to 200° for about 15 minutes, or until it is a hunk, a hunk of burning love.

Pop the eggs and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the balloon whisk attachment, whisk vigorously until light and frothy. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the melted butter, followed by the flour, salt and pepper until well combined and voluminous.

Pop on some oven mitts and carefully remove from the oven swirl the remaining butter to coat. Pour the batter into the skillet and immediately return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Carefully remove from the oven, sprinkle with some cheese, followed by the mushrooms, ham and the rest of the cheese and pop into the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Then sprinkle with the shallots and devour, like a wholesome, loveable, talented icon!


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Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43

Previously on Survivor the Vesi tribe finally started to turn things around with a dominating win in the reward challenge. Sick of seeing Coco win, they opted to use their reward to steal from them, setting off their downfall. At the immunity challenge Vesi continued their streak and then helped Baka solve their puzzle, sending Coco to their first tribal council. That set off a chain of events where paranoia got the best of Lindsay as she spiralled and despite the target being between Cassidy and Geo, the tribe opted for calm and booted her from the game. Thankfully earning her a place in Second Chances due to her iconic flame out.

Back at camp the tribe rallied together as Cassidy reflected on how Lindsay’s nerves alone caused her downfall. That being said, she was super disappointed to have received one vote and requested that whoever did it talk to her to explain their process. And while mastermind Ryan wanted to smooth things over, Geo owned up and went for a walk and straight up made the entire situation worse, accusing her of voting against him – despite Lindsay clearly being the one to do it – and showing no remorse. After debriefing with Karla however, the girls were galvanised and once again ready to take out Ryan or Geo.

The next day Elie and Jeanine were busy hunting for the Baka hidden immunity idol, finally finding it, covered in ants. Jeanine threw caution to the wind and grabbed the Beware Advantage, learning that she now had to go through the bead saga. While filling in Elie though, they were caught by Owen, their second option for third place in their alliance. As such, they filled him in and while he considered holding on to his bead to screw her out of her vote and take control with Gabler, he ultimately handed it over to build trust. Elie then took the information straight to Sami, pointing out that he is actually the one they trust over Owen. Sami meanwhile was feeling safe with his place in the tribe, though he was concerned for Gabler, who had no idea what was going on. 

Oh and despite Gabler wanting to hang on to his special bead, he ultimately gave it over to Jeanine and powered her idol. Thankfully, Sami woke up and chose chaos this morning, pulling Gabler aside and pointing out that he just powered Jeanine’s idol and um, is Sami actually a savvy player that is going to win this?

The tribes reconnected with Jeffrey for the next immunity challenge where they would be tethered together to run through a series of obstacles carrying buckets of water to release a gate. And then, instead of the usual puzzle, they would roll three balls up a ramp and land them on a platform. Oh and the victors would get a tarp each. While Coco got out to an early, massive lead, they struggled to roll the balls, leaving Vesi and Baka plenty of time to close the gap. As the three tribes faced off, Dwight and Sami quickly got their eye in, overtaking Ryan – who knocked off his two balls – and secured immunity for Vesi, followed by Baka. Kinda proving Vesi’s strategy to weaken Coco was a good idea, given they would now be down two people by the end of the episode. Before heading out, Vesi was given the power to send people on this week’s journey, opting for Geo, Jeanine and Jesse. 

Oh and we then learnt that Ryan threw the challenge to get rid of Cassidy. Back at camp however, he pretended to be disappointed in himself while locking in the vote against Cassidy with James and Karla. Sadly for him, James took that information straight back to Cassidy and assured her that they can load their votes on Geo with Karla and get rid of him without Ryan noticing. Cassidy approached him to talk things through, with each pretending that Ryan would be the next one out, with neither of them deviating from their supposed scripts. And while Ryan thought he was playing it all expertly, it was looking more and more like the group would be targeting him and Geo, just in case he gets an advantage on the journey.

Speaking of which, we caught up with Jesse, Jeanine and Geo where they discovered they had to row a boat through very rough seas until they reached an island to get their risk options. Geo used the very long row to talk about how close he was to being voted out the night before to garner sympathy and while Jeanine didn’t buy his story, the fact that Geo was confirmed to be risking his vote, makes it dangerous for them to play. Sadly for Geo, neither of his fellow journey-ers cared about him and ended up taking the risk. But turns out, he did get lucky, given he was the one that jagged the Knowledge Is Power advantage on his return to camp.

While Jesse and Jeanine sadly discovered they were now without votes at the next tribal council, Jesse reading his note in public while Jeanine learned the news in private. And then admitted what happened to the rest of the tribe, though pretended it was her first time reading it. Which annoyed Sami, given they all knew she already risked her vote the day before to secure an idol and now they know just how hard she is willing to play.

We ventured back to Coco where Geo filled the tribe in on the journey, lying to them and explaining he didn’t risk his vote. Before pulling each of his allies aside to share the truth, showing them his Knowledge Is Power advantage and while he thought it would build trust, it made Karla and James nervous enough to turn their attention to him, rather than Ryan, who had somehow become the actual target. While filling in Cassidy, she then started to get nervous about her doing a Lindsay and starting to spiral, which made them actually consider voting out one of their allies. Again.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about the fact that while their momentum has waned, she believes they can swing it back. Ryan spoke about synergy – corporate buzzwords for the win, I guess – before opening up (in lie form) about feeling like he is the target tonight, given he bombed the challenge. Which Cassidy pointed out was noble, but kind of hard to believe. As he continued to play the aw shucks role, Karla admitted that easy votes are always tempting and given he offered himself up, it could make things good for the rest of them. Geo spoke about feeling uneasy given he missed so much potential scrambling time though was hopeful he had done enough, while James praised him for being so honest after the journey.

Probst then made Geo nervous about how to vote, while Karla – after a brief mental blank – slyly told him that he should trust in his alliance rather than being nervous. Oh and then Ryan asked everyone to say what they liked best about him as they voted, while Cassidy was just looking forward to having another chance for the tribe to prove trust by doing what they planned. With that the tribe voted before Ryan and Geo were shocked as the latter was booted from the game, with an advantage barely in his pocket.

While Geo was both surprised and disappointed to find himself booted from the game, he is such a delight that he took it all in his stride. I pulled him in for a massive hug as soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, assuring him that he played a strong game and while I love the three tribe format, it truly is the hardest one to navigate given there is no room to hide. So between that and his personal story, I was thrilled to be able to toast his success with a big fat bowl of Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken.

I am normally a basic girl that lives for a good old honey chicken or something of that ilk when it comes to Chinese take away, but this little number has that trumped. Complex, spicy and sweet, it is the perfect comforting dish to eat through your feelings or finish out the week.

Enjoy!

Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
2 star anise
3 tbsp coriander seeds
4 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup kosher salt
8 black tea bags
1kg chicken breast or thighs, diced
2 shallots, sliced, to garnish

Method
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once shimmering, add the ginger, garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant, before stirring in the water, soy and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea to steep for ten minutes or so. Remove the tea bags and the brine to cool completely. Pop the chicken in the large bowl and pour over the chilled brine. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken and heat the remaining oil in a wok over high heat. In batches stir fry the chicken until cooked through and repeat the process. Serve piping hot with a garnish of shallots and devour, regally.


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