Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash

RuPaul's Drag Race 14, RuPaul's Drag Race, Side, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race a new batch of queens were put through their paces while the pandemic raged on around them. But that sure as hell didn’t stop them from turning a show. From Symone charming from start to finish – and all the way to crown – to Mik’s iconic Snatch Game, Utica’s kindness saving her from the Pork Chop, Kandy living her best life, Lala Ri’s bag look and Rosé being, well, professional, the dolls served. Good and bad. But thankfully, with a new year, a new batch of dolls are ready to charm their way into our hearts.

First up was my dear Alyssa Hunter looking like the love child of Serena ChaCha and Rosé out of drag – in a swoon way – and like Lady Gaga as an old timey witch in American Horror Story when in drag. She was quickly joined by Bosco looking like Sasha Velour does the devil in drag, in the best way possible. And girl, she is very competitive and ready to fight. Up next was the iconic Kornbread giving Silky in the lip-sync episode levels of perfection – energetic, charming and so damn likeable. Up next was Willow Pill as an extra from Jawbreaker, giving totally vapid delight and ugh, I love her already. I mean, the shirt said ANGLE!

Though not as much as I love Kornbread’s shade for her comfort couture shoes.

Kerri Colby came in looking like an absolute angel – not angle – in full trans flag eleganza. And damn, she was ready to be the Aunty of the season with her good Judy, Kornbread. June Jambalaya was up next and once again, she has history with Kornbread and since she likens herself to Megan Thee Stallion and Phaedra Parks, you KNOW I have no choice but to stan. Rounding out the first group of queens with a screech was Orion Story, complete with an entry paragraph and looking like a star in boudoir glam.

The dolls were gagged by Ru’s arrival welcoming them to the competition and, you know, confirming that they are but half of the dolls to feature this season. And speaking of feature, they would immediately have to compete in the first mini challenge, posing for a photoshoot on the lip sync for the crown spinning wheel with the returning Bryce and Bruno of the Pit Crew who still make me swoon-o. Alyssa was up first and hit every damn angle while June managed to serve sex despite her nerves. Willow was up next serving fully demented and charmed Ru with her name. Orion went from glamour to smut, Bosco was fierce and focused while Kerri got a stunning shot despite nearly drowning in fabric while Kornbread and Ru had the best time ever with Kornbread spinning herself around the place.

Despite Ru’s early love for WIllow and Kornbread, it was ultimately Kerri who took out the win before Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be putting on a cheeky Charisma, Nerve and Talent Show to show off all of their mad skillz.

But before we could get to that, the dolls split up to find a workstation and get out of drag. With everyone gagged by Bosco and Willow’s transformation out of drag while Kornbread and June spoke for all of us by thirsting after Alyssa. Everyone turned their attention to Willow, questioning her age, which thankfully is something she is happy about, because she is ready to prove to them she is a star despite the fact they’re all underestimating her.

Oh and it adds nothing to the plot, but Kornbread convinced her new sisters that her talent would be eating hot dogs. And they believed her.

Ru dropped by to get to know the dolls with Kerri admitting her house name was inspired by Dynasty and that she is hoping to live up to the talent and showmanship of her family. Oh and she will be skipping her way through the first challenge. Literally. And again, literally, she learnt to skip at Shady Shores Elementary School. June was up next describing her looks as classy-ratchet to Ru, though when it comes to the talent show, she plans to perform an African dance. Orion admitted to being a shy reserved kid, though would be flipping the script and performing a comedy skit. Ru was still vibing with Willow Pill’s name before we learnt that she is a dear friend of Yvie Oddly’s before sharing that she has cystinosis, which is a kidney disease that causes problems with her eyes, throat and muscles. But most importantly, she described her talent as a lip sync, self-help hybrid. And again, I love her.

Oh and then Ru announced that Lizzo would be this week’s guest judge, delighting – and terrifying – her self-appointed #1 impersonator in L.A., Kornbread.

Elimination Day rolled around with Kornbread smudging her area before Alyssa shared she would be playing guitar, while Bosco will be Wagon Wheel Watusi-ing her way through a Burlesque. Kerri and Kornbread meanwhile were gabbing away while beating their mug, sharing how much they love each other and bonding over their traumatic experiences in the church. Which Kornbread dealt with by straight up farting on a priest like the damn icon she is.

CROWN KORNBREAD NOW.

The dolls were interrupted from beating their mugs by Lizzo who escaped the Green Room to give them some love and a cheeky pep talk. After she left, the dolls were fired up and ready to snatch the first win while all the girls continued to be confused about all things Willow. Which makes me sad because I love lil-low Willow already. 

Oh and then Ru performed a song from her new album and well, there were men in tight, white pants with their nips out, so I am happy. So we’ll let it slide, alright?

June Jambalaya opened up the talent show and while she slayed the performance, her headband kept falling over her face and you know Michelle will focus on that. Bosco was sultry as she stripped down, petal by petal, from her beautiful rose gown until she showed her rose bud. Alyssa confused Lizzo with her metal rocker performance and the dolls with the fact she was just air guitaring on an actual guitar. Kerri meanwhile was iconic, serving slutty schoolgirl as she lip synced before her skipping performance kicked into gear and just made me smile. Like Kornbread, just give her the damn crown, ok?

Orion was a trashy mess aerobics instructor and while I love that she went for something different, it went nowhere, until she joked about taking a massive dump which I obviously found hilarious. Kornbread meanwhile came out of the gate ready to make herself the frontrunner, nailing her performance to her own, hilarious, catchy song. Oh and she had a bag of groceries featuring a missing Merle Ginsberg on the milk carton. And that was before she even started eating her fried chicken necklace and intensely looking at the judges. Willow closed out the show and while her sisters were confused, her Enya lip sync around a bath before eating meatballs, tipping them in a bath and jumping in with a slice of toast was ICONIC.

And damn, did she finally have her sisters gagged.

On the Signature Drag runway, June served golden goddess realness while Bosco was a horny, black devil and Alyssa was a pageant-y, feathered delight. Kerri wore a stunning lion coat with a sexy bodysuit made of Ks. Orion was a red and white mushroom delight, complete with three titties. Kornbread meanwhile came out serving full Lizzo, serving eyes, face and swagger and I fucking love her. While Willow closed things out as a neon ugly-glamour mean girl.

June received praise for her performance while Michelle read her for not securing her headband and wearing control tops. Bosco’s performance was universally beloved for all that she did, while Alyssa was praised for doing something different, despite it being one note. Though the judges lived for her runway, despite the fact none of them understand who she is based on the variety she showed in the first episode. Kerri meanwhile received universal praise, despite the fact Ross wished she started skipping earlier and Michelle wanting her to lean into the stupid. Orion made Lizzo uncomfortable, and while the judges loved that she tried something different, they felt she needed more ‘funny’ in her skit. Michelle read Kornbread’s look for needing more polish, though everyone lived for her performance, none more so than Lizzo. Meanwhile Willow’s look was read for being weak, though they unanimously agreed that her talent was demented and PERFECT.

Backstage the dolls were gooped to finally be competing in the competition, talking about how wild it was to be on the mainstage. Kornbread was particularly thrilled to have made such an impression on Lizzo, while Bosco was thrilled that the judges got her. And to live up to her fellow Seattle queens, Jinkx and DeLa. Kerri meanwhile felt she would ultimately be safe which was enough for her in the first episode. The dolls all admitted that they were judging Willow for her entry look, though were gagged by how entertaining she was in her performance and praised her for being so talented as they gladly ate slice after slice of humble pie. 

Willow shared that during the performance, she didn’t think the judges were getting her and as such, got into her head and was so negative on the runway. Leading to Kornbread pointing out that she now sees her as her biggest competition and she needs to start believing in herself. June opened up about feeling like she messed up her shot by messing up some of the details. She spoke about not normally wearing tights, though worried about being judged for her body on TV and now regretting letting those fears win. Alyssa then brokedown about the pressure of feeling like she is performing for her people and didn’t want to let anyone down. Leading to a huge pep talk from all the girls AND, obviously, some flirting from Kornbread.

Orion meanwhile felt she got far and away the worst critiques and knew she’d be in the bottom, opening up that she was going to do an original song, though ran out of time due to life and as such, had to pull something together and was glad she got to show off her brand of weird. Which this time led to a pep talk from Bosco. Kornbread asked the dolls who they thought would be in the bottom with everyone kinda agreeding June will likely be joining Orion in the bottom, though Kerri assured them that because there are so few girls in the competition, the judges had to be harder on all of them and as such, they shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they do have to lip sync.

Ultimately Bosco and Willow Pill were sent to safety while Kornbread rightly snatched her first victory of the season. Kerri too was deemed safe, followed by Alyssa Hunter who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving June and Orion to lip sync for their lives to Water Me by Lizzo. June connected with the lyrics and gave all the Lizzo swag while Orion gave campy, comedy and despite being charming and putting on a hell of a show, there was no way June was going home with that fire. As such, poor Orion became the first doll to exit the competition.

Poor Orion was heartbroken to be the first one to leave but I pulled out my old faithful pep talk, reminding her that first boots are always more memorable than the girls that go in the few weeks after and as such, she now joins the legendary group. I mean, fierce Broc-ally, Kahmora Hall, Jaymes Mansfield? There is enough talent in this group to fill an entire All Stars season!

With that wonderful reminder, Orion was ready and invigorated to go out and take on the world again. As such, we laughed, we cried – did I mention I’m a dear friend and the talent show was based around me? Because it was – and then sat down to a big, comforting bowl of Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash.

While I know it may feel like this isn’t an epic enough meal to be dishing out to someone post-boot, I counter that this is honestly the perfect salve. Cheese? Check. Potato? Check. Punch Flavours? Check. I mean, c’mon, sign me up.

Enjoy!

Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4-6 washed potatoes, cut into 2cm dice
salt and pepper, to taste
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup sour cream, plus extra if required
½ cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Pop the cut potato in a large pot and rinse with water. Fill with enough water to cover with about 2cm to cover, salt like the dead sea and pop on the hob over medium-high heat. Cook for about five-ten minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain, return to the hot pot over the hob with the heat off and leave for the moisture to evaporate for a minute. Season to taste, add the spring onions and sour cream and mash until the potatoes are smooth. Stir aggressively, fold through the cheese and return to the lowest heat possible and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Then devour, piping hot, with your favourite protein. Or, you know, in a bowl.


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Synthislaw Kiss

Canada’s Drag Race, Canada’s Drag Race 2, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the dolls were tasked with forming two country-pop girl groups in honour of my dear Tay-Tay, complete with a little revenge anthem. Though sadly lacking any reads about stolen scarves. As Team Captain, Gia led the Giddy Girls to the top of the charts and herself, victory. And while Team Synthia still slayed, the Dosey Hoes were not as cohesive which led to Synthia landing in the bottom with Eve, ultimately booting her from the competition.

Backstage Kimora praised Synthia for another knockout lip sync, while Pythia was thrilled to finally get some peace and quiet with Eve out the door. Kendall praised Eve for growing this week and letting her see a new side to her before Gia praised herself for finally taking out a win. Not feeling as joyous was poor Adriana who questioned why she was the last one chosen in the challenge with Gia blaming the rusical, while Synthia pretended she just wanted to take an unexpected route. Talk turned to their track records with Icesis shadily pointing out that only two of the dolls don’t have a win, which immediately made Kimora and Kendall ready to prove why they should be here.

The next day the top seven were feeling their oats until Pythia shaded Icesis for her sole bottom placement and not taking out a second win the week before, while Synthia and Kendall were just wanting to slay again. This little kiki was interrupted by my dear Amanda who tasked the dolls with getting into artist quick drag and painting a twerk of art of their inner saboteur. There was a sea of fringes, spectacles and blunt fringes before Adriana gave a stunning abstract painting I would genuinely put on the wall (FYI, I’ve had some wine). Pythia unveiled herself, commenting on her penchant for fucking up her own life. Gia was trying to give stoned Paris Hilton, Kendall took the comedy route painting douche water, while Kimora was all about dick. Synthia , meanwhile, was British and stunning while Icesis was fire. All fire.

After burning their demons, Icesis took out victory thanks to her madcap delivery. Before we could learn if there was any benefit to her win, Amanda announced that this week they would be throwing the Sinner’s Ball! The first catergory would see them selling rocker in a Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll number, followed by an Ugly as Sin look. And then a Seven Deadly Sins look, made from scraps they pilfer from a tombstone. And since Icesis took out victory, she was given the chance to allocate them, quickly snapping Wrath for herself. Instead of being shady, she opted to go the nice route, mainly because she wanted to beat the dolls when they were at their best. As such she allocated Greed to Synthia, Sloth to Gia, Pride to Kendall, Lust to Adriana, Envy to Kimora and Gluttony to Pythia.

The dolls split up to go through their tombs with Icesis confusing the leather daddy gear for her own wardrobe, while Adriana was ready to really lust it up this week. All of the dolls were living for their hauls, except for Kimora who had bland fake leaves while Kendall was terrified of her sewing skills bringing her down. As such, she planned to build a base garment, accentuating her curves and then glueing on stuff to finish it up. 

Feeling a bit guilty, Icesis approached Kimora to make sure she was ok with her box and offered her support should she need it, as she stuck her leaves together. Adriana meanwhile started to panic about toeing the line between sexy and not making an actual look and getting read for being in underwear. Synthia meanwhile realised she already designed a gold look in the first challenge, so immediately halved the items she could pull from, though was confident in her ability to pull it off. And well, Icesis was just hella confident in taking out another win because she is an icon, frankly.

Gia meanwhile was going to dress like she fell asleep in her make-up, while Pythia was just desperate to prove herself and stand-out over the other fashion queens in Sythia and Icesis. Speaking of which, the duo were talking about how nervous Kimora is about this week’s challenge while praising Gia from pushing through her lack of skills, while they grew nervous about how quickly Pythia was throwing together a look.

Elimination Day rolled around with the Kimora talking about her confusion regarding the growing queer community, wanting to know how everyone identifies so that she isn’t calling them the wrong label or pronoun. Kendall shared that she is a queer male, while Gia and Pythia opened up about being non-binary. The dolls praised Kimora about how she broached the subject and the fact she opened up the dialogue to help others to ask with kindness.

Brooke, Brad and Amanda were joined by the iconic Gigi Gorgeous Getty on the judges panel as the dolls unveiled their Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll runway with Pythia serving ‘00s punk rock queen with purple hair. Kendall was a metal stoner, Gia had them gagged as a literal guitar, while Adriana looked like a goth singer from the Matrix while Icesis was a technicolour delight in honour of Gem. Synthia meanwhile was Madonna does rock before Kimora kinda looked like an extra on Dancing with the Stars in her ode to Tina Turner.

On the Ugly as Sin Runway, Pythia looked a stunning mess in a crochet gown while Kendall’s pussy vommed all over her coat before she coughed up a hairball. Which was confusing but made me love her for such an odd concept. Gia was gorgeous in a gown made of chewing gum, Adriana was demented as a peasant woman while Icesis slayed as a toilet paper doll. While Synthia was stunning as a lolly, though clearly missing the point of the assignment while Kimora was amazing in calling out slavery and damn, that hit me and all the judges in the feels.

Kendall’s Seven Deadly Sins look was a bit oddly constructed in the front, but cute otherwise. Pythia was stunning in a candy stripe dress while vomming candy, Gia looked amazing just out of bed while Adriana was gorgeous in a pink boudoir number complete with tits, which would delight Ru, TBH. Icesis meanwhile was a demonic, BDSM delight and poor Synthia was a mood in mis-matching patterns while Kimora served awkward anaconda.

The judges lived for everything Pythia did with each look while Gigi loved her make-up even more than her looks. Kendall meanwhile was praised for her clear messaging in the designed look though was read for her confusing cat lady. Gia received universal praise for all that she did while Adriana was praised for the comedy she gave the second look and showing diversity. Next up Icesis was beloved for giving non-stop couture, while Synthia was read for not really hitting the mark in any of the categories. Kimora was thanked for her beautiful slavery runway before the judges gave a hard pivot and praised her other looks for being so joyous.

Backstage the queens praised Kimora on her beautiful moment before talk turned to their critiques. Adriana was annoyed that the judges didn’t respect how hard she worked on her final look while Icesis was thrilled by her universal praise. And you know, likely second win. Gia suggested Synthia would once again be in the bottom before the girls rallied around to remind her how fierce she is. Because this is Canada, after all.

Ultimately Icesis took out victory before Kimora and Gia were sent to safety. On the flipside, Synthia was deemed one of the bottoms before pivoting again as Pythia was sent to safety for being amazing. Ultimately Adriana was also announced as safe leaving Kendall gagged to find herself in the bottom … against her damn bestie. As soon as DJ Sammy’s Heaven kicked off the dolls were ready to fight, ripping their legs free of their garment before moving around the stage, hitting her lyric and feeling all the emotions. While Synthia put up a good fight, Kendall was here to slay and proved why she deserves her place in the competition, she was flipping and fighting and totally dominated. Tragically at the cost of sweet Synthia’s place in the competition.

As soon as I saw sweet Synthia in the Werk Room, I started to sob before following the judges lead and pivoting hard, asking if I looked like a dove. While she was confused, she gave a half chuckle when I explained that my tears must be what it sounds like, when doves cry completely unaware that was a genuine thought that came into my head rather than a joke.

But that is the kind of friend Synthia is.

While she was disappointed to be leaving the competition, she is so kind and upbeat, that she couldn’t stop talking about how grateful she was for the experience. Win or lose. With that, I didn’t need to really cheer her up, so instead I toasted her success with a fresh and bitey Synthislaw Kiss.

Yeah, yeah – how many slaws can one make before they’ve exhausted their options? Well let me tell you, there is no limit to my passion for slaw. This Asian inspired number combines delicate wombok with a hit of sharp flavours to leave you wanting more. If only I had something to serve it with  …

Enjoy!

Synthislaw Kiss
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 cups wombok, finely shredded
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
45g peanuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped

Method
Ok, prepare yourself for a tough one!

Pop everything in a bowl and toss.

Then devour, obvi.


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River Mediterranean Salad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were tasked with promoting the new home assistant, Draglexa. And girl, it was a mess. While it often feels like everyone is getting the shady edit during the filming segments, this one didn’t appear to go badly … until their commercials were played for the judges and the rattlesnake sound came out. To the point where Ru gave no one the win. Feeling extra shady, the queens were asked to announce who should go home with the dolls split on sending Scarlett and Charity home. This pissed off Scarlett, who stormed out of untucked, followed by the lip sync which was a rematch against Charity with the latter tragically felled from the competition.

Backstage Scarlett looked like she was returning from war, heartbroken to have sent her sister home though proud to show the fire within herself. River tried to keep things positive by immediately going shady and asked if anyone thought Charity should have stayed, with most of the dolls agreeing that Ru made the right decision. Scarlett complained that everyone suggested she should go home before the lip sync, with Ella trying to remind her they had to answer a question and nobody hates her, so she needs to stop moping around. Choriza spoke about the fact that wins aren’t automatically granted anymore, leaving Vanity to ask whether Choriza will stop relying on comedy and show some diversity. And well, things were about to go south before Krystal suggested they de drag and go the fuck to sleep.

The dolls were feeling far more jovial the next day, conga-ing into the new week with them acutely aware that they need to bring it this week given they kinda bombed the last challenge. Scarlett meanwhile was still feeling salty about getting flagged as the person that should go home and then a myriad of other grievances, leading to Krystal rightly calling her out for bouncing between the things that were upsetting her and damn, how is she only 19?

The fights were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to open the library and damn, that is just what they need, no? Choriza kicked off the reading challenge landing some sick burns, getting the queens mixed up the entire time. Vanity went in on Ella for being bland and Scarlett for saying like a lot. River mocked Choriza being horny and Scarlett for interrupting, Krystal was savagely hilarious, Ella was witty and lovable, Scarlett went IN on everyone for her revenge while Kitty was wild and demented and I live for her. Rightly so, Choriza took out victory before the dolls learnt that this was only just the beginning, for this week, they’d be playing Snatch Game.

The dolls split up to talk about their chosen characters, with Vanity sharing she would be playing Jocelyn Jee Esien while Krystal would be rocking Charity Shop Sue. Ru arrived to kiki with the girls with Choriza sharing that she would be playing Margarita Pracatan aka a singing version of her, who used her charm to get by. Oh but Ru would prefer her to play Cher and well, I’m confused. Ella meanwhile was going to play Mystic Meg, though Ru preferred her back-up character of Nigella Lawson, so she too was likely to change things up. Scarlett planned to do Danny Dyer, so obviously Ru wanted her to do Tilda Swinton or Macaulay Culkin. Kitty thought she would play Cilla Black, so Ru tasked her with playing the GC despite that being played by her sister Cheryl in Sheeeeason One. River was going to play Amy Childs from TOWIE, but Ru surprisingly didn’t give her a new character to do instead.

We immediately pivoted to the Snatch Game set where Judi Love and Nadine Coyle were ready to play with the dolls. Ella, Scarlett and Kitty all opted to change to Ru’s suggested characters, while Krystal, Vanity, River and Choriza held their ground on their OG choices. From the very first moments it was Ella’s show, bringing the sultry smut of Nigella that was always destined for Snatch Game greatness. Kitty was delightful and demented, Scarlett screamed her way through the challenge – in a good way – while on the other end of the panel, River, Choriza and Krystal just kinda got lost in the pack. Most importantly, Ella DID say meek-ro-wa-vay and that alone is worthy of victory.

Elimination Day rolled around with Ella proud to have slayed the Snatch Game, though felt a couple of the girls should be worried. Vanity meanwhile was triggered by the fact she had to play a character, given she had to play the character of a straight kid growing up. Kitty meanwhile shared that she never had to come out, given her parents always said she could bring a girl or boy home. Choriza meanwhile shared that she came out at 11, though it wasn’t until she was 18 that she realised that her father was holding her sexuality against her and always appeared to be angry with her. Krystal shared that she and her father never saw eye to eye, though Drag Race helped him understand who she was as a person. River meanwhile struggled with feeling that being gay is disgusting, with Ella reminding them that as queer kids, you’re constantly in a state of stress. With Scarlett agreeing that that is why she acts the way that she does now, while Ella shared that she just desperately tried to fit in and be straight.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined on the judging panel by the iconic Lulu – CHAMPAGNE FOR LULU – for the Feeling Fruity runway. Choriza was up first serving the most iconic Carmen Miranda inspired peach look, Krystal was the sexiest dragonfruit to grace the planet, Scarlett wore lime, though looked like an iceberg lettuce instead. River looked like a cup of Runts, Ella was a sexy, vampy watermelon, Vanity was a gorgeous African mama in a coral gown while Kitty was the juiciest cherry crossed with Little Red Riding Hood.

And Poison Ivy.

The judges lived for Choriza’s runway look, though they felt she needed to give more in Snatch Game. Krystal was praised for pushing herself in Snatch Game, though read for kind of missing the mark. And the fact she was repeating a silhouette on the runway. The judges lived for Scarlett screaming her way through Snatch Game, though was read for dressing as a lettuce. River meanwhile, was read for sticking in early-TOWIE Amy Childs and getting swallowed up by her sisters, while Michelle felt her look was crafty. Ella received universal praise for knocking Nigella out of the park and looking like a star on the runway. Vanity was read in the same way Krystal was, though was praised for looking beautiful on the runway. And Kitty, like Ella, received universal praise for start to finish. And had the judges in hysterics on the runway to boot.

Backstage Kitty was on cloud nine, thrilled to finally have her breakthrough moment in the competition. Ella too was proud of herself for nailing Snatch Game and surprising everyone with her improv skills. Choriza meanwhile was heartbroken to be read for just being there while River was disappointed to be down, but by no means was she ready to go out. Oh and Krystal was sure it would be her lip syncing, given she set such a high standard for herself in the first week’s of the competition. While Scarlett was thrilled to turn things around and prove herself again, leading to the dolls rallying around each other and ugh, I love the girls.

Ultimately Scarlett and Kitty were deemed safe, handing a well deserved victory to Ella. Vanity was sent to safety while Krystal narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving my faves River and Choriza to lip sync to Lulu’s Shout. And while I love everything about Lulu, I hate everything about this dark, dark timeline – NOT MY FAVES. 

Things only got darker as both Choriza and River were wacky and charming, but that lip sync kind of felt flat, despite Lulu living. And then when Choriza changed her wig on stage – not a reveal, changed – the timeline went pitch-black as Ru opted to send BOTH of them home. 

Some people say that you could hear my screams from outer-space at that moment, which reminds me, bravo to the editors for hiding it. And security for stopping me from getting to the mainstage as I tried to storm the get and force Ru and Michelle to change their damn minds. I could have handled one going, but both of my icons? I don’t think.

Eventually the security and on-set psychologists were able to get me calm enough to proceed with the usual culinary comfort but we agreed that it was best to do them one at a time to avoid me being triggered. As such, River was first up and immediately pointed and shuffled her way into my arms to try and lighten the mood. And while it didn’t change the sad outcome, it truly did help and I mustered a weak smile. Think SJP’s first little joke in Mexico in the SATC movie. That was my level of trauma.

After breathing my way through the pain, I was able to praise River on being one of the breakout stars of the season with her kindness, charm and raw talent. And then I realised, while she may have lost this season, she will undoubtedly win her next. Right? Right, Ru? RIGHT? With that, I was able to whip up a River Mediterranean Salad and toast to her success.

While I used to subscribe to the Springfield view of salad, this little number is a game-changing delight. Plus, it is great for a lazy person. Decadent and simple, the feta and crackers elevate the store-bought ingredients to give you a perfect mid-week (get it?) meal.

Enjoy!

River Mediterranean Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup roasted capsicum, drained and torn into strips
1⁄2 cup green Sicilian olives, rinsed
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
200g Danish feta, diced
2 cups mixed salad leaf, washed and drained
1 cup rosemary and garlic crackers
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
I am lazy when it comes to salad – probably because I’d rather be having fries but I’m north of 30, so shouldn’t – so this one is pretty basic.

Chuck everything in a bowl. Toss. Serve.

Then devour. Always devour.


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Herb Breadth

Bread, Canada’s Drag Race, Canada’s Drag Race 2, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race Ru blessed Brooke with her own franchise where 12 killer queens arrived and well, did they put on a show! From not being sorry aboot anything, to big days and the amazingness of Jojo Siwa’s hairwa, the dolls worked their way into my heart. Sadly not all of them could split the prize – I asked – so while Lemon couldn’t tap dance her way to the crown, Priyanka narrowly pipped Rita Baga and Scarlet Bobo, officially making her Bebe of the North.

But that was last year!

First up to serve their Canadian bacon in the upgraded Werk Room was Gia Metric who is shiny, bright and looks like a young Kelly Mantel but from space. She was joined by Kimora Amour in a stunning black crow bodysuit, serving old school glamour. Pythia joined them and was a pink, puffy delight giving me mullet-less Crystal Method realness. And damn, was she ready for the win. Eve 6000 had curves in all the right places and was charming in a two-tone number. Oh and has drama with Gia Metric, so I live.

Suki Doll slayed in an architectural red dress and stunningly elaborate wig. It was a serve and ugh, I love her too. Adriana shuffled in in a mermaid gown and for the comedy alone, I live for her. Beth arrived with a neon wig, slutty lilac number and social anxiety, so basically, I relate to her on a deep, deep level. Oh and she too has drama with Gia. Icesis was stunning, looking like Raven in an avant garde tartan number. She is cute, silly and charming, so I love her. Océane Aqua-Black arrived, slaying in a pink bodysuit and coat combo and giving off the vibe of Latrice’s charm in her first season. With the kookiness of Yara Sofia. 

Stephanie Prince loves cilantro which is a questionable take, though she slayed in a slutty, sexy Ronald McDonald number and I live. Oh and then Kendall Gender arrived, gagging all the other queens, serving body and well, flooding my basement out of drag. Rounding out the cast is Synthia Kiss and she too is fucking stunning out of drag and can serve a look, whilst also being crazy. Oh and she, Gia and Kendall are besties. So my future throuple with Kendall and Synthia should be an easy suggestion to make.

Before I could make my proposition, Brooke Lynn Hytes arrived to welcome the dolls to her competition. Before Brad Goreski wheeled himself out along with the iconic Amanda Brugel, the two new judges for the season (along with former Kitty Girl Tracy Melchor, but it was her off week). But enough about introductions because the dolls were immediately put to work in their opening mini challenge – a photoshoot jumping from a balcony into fire. Aka Dant-gay’s Inferno. 

Gia was graceful and sexy, Suki pulled out a killer shot despite a rough landing and Eve just pencil dived like a young Denise Drysdale. Oh and then she got stuck in the foam pit, so I love her. So much. Kimora clucked like a chicken while putting her feathers to use, Pythia SERVED, Stephanie was serious, Synthia was stunning, Beth just went for it while Icesis almost drowned in her fringing, though looked amazing. Kendall put her hair to use, Adriana slayed and Oceane struggled in the funniest way possible. Well except for the fact she heard her knee crack like Victoria and Eureka before her.

The dolls reconvened backstage and got to work dedragging with Pythia’s basement, like mine, well and truly flooded. Before they could couple up however, the judges returned to announce that Suki rightly took out the first victory of the season. Oh and now it was time for their first Maxi Challenge, where they needed to create a premiere party eleganza couture look from items left in a fake coat check. But they couldn’t wear the clothes as is, instead needing to design something that shows who they are. And as is customary, Suki was given an extra 30 seconds to rummage before the dolls joined her. And join her they did, knocking over running rails and pillaging anything they could find.

Well, except for Beth who was too picky and ended up with next to nothing.

As the dolls split up to take stock of their haul and come up with a game plan, we learnt that Oceane wanted to rock a stunning gown, though instead decided it would be best to go the comedy route to work around her busted knee. Beth meanwhile was stressed about designing with unconventional materials and given Pythia was nervous about her plan, maybe she should worry. And poor Stephanie meanwhile was planning to sew some fabric to a corset, which immediately made the dolls nervous given it is a cardinal sin of drag race.

Suki was planning to be draped, flowy, meshy, complete with cut-outs and well, I’m nervous. Not nervous though is Eve 6000, who is confident in her design ability, despite the fact she has never sewed before. Icesis was going to rock ticket stubs while Adriana was going in the pink. Oh and she sees Icesis’ hot nurse partner and raises her a hot doctor as her man. And well, I love this amazing duo.

Elimination Day rolled around as poor Océane hobbled in while the dolls spoke about the importance of selling their looks more so than looking the best. Synthia meanwhile was nervous about losing the first girl, while Icesis was trying to block everything out and focus on beating her mug. Beth and Synthia kikied with the former admitting that Synthia and the Brat Pack girls inspired her to do drag, while Kendall worried that Beth would get stuck in her head and wouldn’t be able to finish her look. Oh and then we were gagged to learn that Kimora has a 17 year old son and damn, she looks good given she has a near adult.

Océane then admitted that she beats her mug without contact lenses or her glasses and ugh, I love her. So much.

The judges were joined by Caitlin Cronenberg on the panel for the debut of the dolls Haute Check Couture looks with Pythia looking like a demented Marge Simpson in a neon figure hugging rouched gown. Kendall served sexy-kitty  Dita Von Teese, Adriana was a charming mess in a pink and orange gown with a huge damn hat. Oceane was completely demented as the last drunk girl to exit the races, Beth was a curvy delight in a black and white number, Suki was STUNNING in a stunning – did I mention that? – green gown, complete with a bunch of awkward stumbles on the hem.

Eve 6000 was a slutty Hollywood glamazon serving horror snatch. Stephanie Prince was gorgeous in an architectural trans flag coloured gown, Gia Metric was kooky and pastel with a gorgeous permed wig. Icesis was avant garde and beautiful in a Westwood suit-dress, ticket gown, Kimora was a quinceanera delight, giving me Anita from West Side Story. Synthia meanwhile wore a golden jumpsuit and while she was stunning, it felt a little basic.

Pythia, Kendall, Adriana, Océane, Kimora and Synthia were sent to safety to untuck before the judges praised Beth for her bodice, along with her creativity. Though felt her dress was unfinished and she was trapped in her head on the runway. Though Brad surprisingly gave her a sweet peptalk and maybe I do love him? Suki was praised for looking stunning, though read for not putting many unconventional materials in her look. Eve was read for being unfinished, despite the judges living for her concept. Stephanie was praised for her polish and killer concept, particularly how well she designed for her body. Gia was praised for her confidence on the runway, though her look was read as a bit of a mess that misunderstood the assignment. And then Icesis received universal praise for everything she did, from her head to her toes.

Though Brooke wished her dress was shorter.

Backstage the tops and bottoms caught the dolls up with Gia and Eve battling for their place in the bottom two, while Beth stayed silent. Icesis spoke about her surprise at all the praise she received, given she has so much self-doubt. The dolls praised Océane for how well she sold the look, while Beth admitted that she is not confident. She then started to break down, leading to Kimora having to give her a pep talk. 

Ultimately Icesis rightly took out the first victory over Suki and Stephanie, while Eve 600 narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Beth and Gia to battle it out to my girl Nelly Furtado’s Maneater. Well after Eve sobbed to snatch a moment for five minutes. But when they got the chance to battle, boy did they battle. Beth was humping the stage, Gia was hitting every corner and stripping off. Which appeared to give her the edge as Gia was saved, again with the tears, while poor Beth became the porkchop of the season. Or Juice Boxx 2.0.

As soon as I saw how disappointed poor Beth was, I pulled her in for a massive hug and got to work doing my best drunk-person-you-met-in-the-bathroom. Through gritted teeth I madly explained how talented and perfect she is and to not let her departure get her down. I’m not sure if it was the fact my intensity made her nervous or whether she was truly feeling better, but she assured me that she would bounce back, knows she is a star and to not worry about her. Which was exactly the right thing to say to get me to relax enough to serve a big ol’ batch of Herb Breadth.

I know, I know – garlic bread is the best. Particularly when you add so much garlic it burns – thanks Karl! But I will fight to the death in defense of the majesty that is herb bread. The delicate combination of herbs work together to pack a punch, melting away in your mouth and taking all your troubles with it.

Enjoy!

Herb Breadth
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 baguettes
100g butter, at room temperature
¼ cup parmesan
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter, parmesan and herbs in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. You could also add a pinch of chilli flakes if you want, but no pressure.

Cut the baguettes into 2cm slices, leaving joined at the bottom. Spread the herb butter generously between the cuts and wrap each baguette in foil.

Place the herb bread in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden, crisp and glorious. Devour immediately.


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Veronica Green Salad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK after slaying the first challenge, Victoria and Krystal were tasked with lip syncing for the win. And while the latter took out the win, Victoria put her body on the line and injured her knee. After backing it up in a physical Dragoton exercise challenge where Krystal took out her second victory and Elektra was sent home, Victoria was summoned to the front of stage and sent to see the doctors to make sure she is ok to continue in the competition. The next day, Ru returned to chat to the dolls and officially announced that Victoria truly is s-gone, as she was pulled from the competition.

We then did a hard pivot as Ru challenged the dolls to make profile videos for the new dating app Findhr, swelling themselves as butch manses ready to find their lady. Vanity was up first looking super hot as a chav with a massive piece of meat, Choriza was as charmingly ridiculous as ever, Scarlett was an aggressively sexual lumber twink and once again, I’m so in love with her. Krystal looked like the most glamorous meth addict, Veronica was a hilarious nerd leather daddy, Charity was a sexy farmer with her nips out and yes, I’ve stopped mentioning the jokes and am solely objectifying the dolls. Kitty was demented as the highest voiced builder in all of the land, River was dementedly deadpan while Ella was the hottest, closet-case on the building site. 

Rightfully so, Scarlett took out victory before Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would be serving two looks on the runway. The first, the Happy Camper Runway,  would show off something you’d wear while walking the children in nature while the second, Camp Fire Couture runway would be made out of a bunch of camp supplies lying around the set. Which Scarlett got to start picking through 15 seconds ahead of the other queens. In that time, she managed to grab two kites and pulled over a shelf before the rest of the dolls charged at her and absolutely tore the set apart.

The dolls split up to look at what they snagged with Kitty eating marshmallows while Choriza took courage and inspiration from the owl figurine she found. River meanwhile was hoping that this would be the week she would be able to show Ru her style, while her table mate Ella was just terrified by the entire challenge ahead.

As the dolls started to work on their outfits, Ru arrived with Raven in tow to kiki with the girls with Kitty sharing her grandmother taught her how to sew before she came to the show. Choriza admitted that she has been training by sewing a dress a day since she found out that she made the cast while Veronica admitted that she was a bit lost when the last season shut down but tried to stay motivated and actually made the outfit she wore on last week’s runway. Charity shared that she was sure that this was the challenge that was up her alley while Vanity was just straight up wanted advice to make her make-up less shiny. Krystal meanwhile was just overwhelmed by meeting her idol Raven while Scarlett wanted Raven’s advice on working around her Boxxxy Mandrews jawline.

Again, Scarlett, I love you.

After Ru left, Veronica went around the room, giving the dolls advice and helping them with their runways while River helped Krystal figure out how to make her outfit work. With River wisely admitting that she doesn’t want to help anyone else as she needs to put herself first. Charity and Kitty started talking about how they came to drag with the former admitting that contracting HIV made her want to take control of her life, while Charity was still processing the trauma of one man turning her life upside down. She then broke down to Kitty about the fact she is still scared to put herself out there and be cast aside just because of her status. And ugh, I love them both and am so grateful for Charity sharing.

Vanity and Scarlet meanwhile were busy putting Ru’s advice into their outfits, as they made edits to ensure you could tell that they listened. Krystal meanwhile was continuing to panic, this time pulling Veronica aside to ask how in the hell she would get it done. While Choriza watched on, worried about Veronica finishing her own outfit amongst the chaos.

Elimination Day rolled around with the girls wildly putting the finishing touches on their looks. Or in River’s case, starting from scratch on a better outfit though worried that once again, she won’t be able to show the judges who she is. Ella meanwhile was living for her outfit and gagged by the fact she has been able to pull it together, despite her complete lack of skills. Kitty meanwhile was living for her sleeping bag look, while she and Scarlett read everyone for filth. Poor Veronica though finally realised that helping all the other queens wasn’t the greatest idea as she desperately tried to finish her own outfit as Krystal sat there, finished, with another killer look.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by Nicola Coughlan before the dolls shared their Happy Campers runways, with Krystal slaying in a stunning emerald scout gown. Kitty too was in a scout dress, though lost in the full bush. River was gorgeous as she went off the map, Charity was a crazed murder-bunny, Choriza served sexy blue backpack, Scarlet was a goth Robin Hood, Vanity was technicolour glamour bags – complete with smiles, as per Ru’s advice – while Ella was full-on Jane, though trying to catch butterflies as Veronica recovered from her hard day at the festival.

On the Campfire Couture runway, Krystal was stunning in an architectural bodice, Kitty was a slutty, shiny fembot, River was a beautiful, vintage flight attendant in a stunning burnt orange paisley rug. Charity was slutty, sexy and demented in a gingham stripper outfit, complete with cakes. Choriza gave bond villainess in gingham while Scarlett was stunning in a gorgeous pastel gingham rug, Vanity was dripping in ropes and knots, Ella was stunning in a check mini with a fluro couture raincoat while Veronica was tragically a mess in her meant-to-be-triumphant butterfly number.

Kitty, River and Charity were sent to safety before Krystal received her traditional rave reviews for every single thing she did. Though Graham did caution that while she is good, he now expects more from her. Choriza was read for the confusion for her first look and the second look for being sloppy, though her charm had the judges in stitches as she explained why she had an eye patch. Scarlett meanwhile was read for being a bit cosplay on the first look, though the judges lived for every tiny detail of her second look. And her Cher flick. Vanity meanwhile was read for not hitting the first theme, despite looking good. Ella received universal praise for the camp look and the killer construction of the second garment, while Michelle wants to know who Ella is. Veronica meanwhile was read for not being all the way there with the first look, while her second look was read for being an absolute mess. Though Veronica opened up to the judges about the pain of season 2 being split up by the pandemic, her depression and the look was meant to show her triumph over sadness and ugh, I will always love Veronica SO. DAMN. MUCH.

Backstage the safe girls were kikiing, with Kitty shocked to be safe but even more shocked that River was safe with her. Charity meanwhile praised her for serving a great concept, while Kitty was shocked Charity wasn’t in the top. Speaking of the tops – and bottoms – the rest of the queens joined them, with Choriza proud of her looks despite being read. Scarlet shared that while they loved her second look, they were concerned about the first. Krystal was gloating about all the praise she received, with Charity questioning whether she should really win another challenge given she was dragged to the runway by Veronica. Vanity meanwhile was reading Scarlett’s look for filth, while Veronica quietly shared how much the judges hated everything before she started breaking down. She admitted that her time management is never great, but she was also distracted by helping everyone else which could be what sends her home.

Ultimately Ella Vaday was sent to safety, followed by Krystal, handing Scarlett her first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack, Choriza managed to save herself with her demented brand of storytelling, leaving Vanity and Veronica to battle it out in the lip sync. And damn, did both the dolls bring it to ‘I’ve Got the Music In Me’. Vanity was fierce, hitting every lyric as she hit the floor in a split while Veronica channelled all of the emotions as she tore her dress apart on the stage. Tragically though, Vanity pipped Veronica at the post as our iconic comeback queen was forced to sashay away.

As she, the judges and most importantly, me, all sobbed.

I let out a guttural scream upon seeing her enter the Werk Room, before theatrically collapsing into her arms. Through sobs, I told her how heartbroken I was to see her go on a look that was meant to be her triumph over COVID and depression. We held each other for a long time, telling each other that it will be ok and that Veronica’s talent and pure heart would make her a star one day. Given how emotional I was, I couldn’t muster eating a massive meal so instead plated us up a quick Veronica Green Salad each.

Fresh and zingy, this super quick and easy salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer dinner. Or, you know, the sadness of your dear friend’s dreams being crushed.

Enjoy!

Veronica Green Salad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp French mustard
pinch of salt
3 cups mixed salad leaves, washed and dried
2 ripe avocados, sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
½ green capsicum, diced

Method
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, French mustard and salt in a jug and whisk together until well combined.

To serve, layer the salad leaves, avo, capsicum and cucumber in a bowl before drizzling with the dressing.

And you know, devouring.


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Elektra French Onion Gem Bake

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, 12 new dolls arrived in the Werk Room ready to slay the game and join the pantheon of UK Ru girls. To help the judges get to know them, the queens were tasked with serving two looks on the runway – one selling home town and the other, their favourite things. Ru gagged the dolls by making Victoria and Krystal lip sync for the win with the latter ultimately taking out the first victory of the season. On the flipside, Elektra and Anubis found themselves in the bottom with Anubis following in the footsteps of her fellow Brighton queen Joe Black, going out as the first boot.

The dolls returned to the Werk Room, gassed and shell shocked to have lost their first sister. And rightly acknowledged that Brighton is officially a cursed city for Drag Race UK. After Elektra climbed on to the desk to wipe off the message, we learnt that Victoria disappeared to see a doctor about a knee injury from the lip sync for the win. As the dolls kikied, Krystal shared how thrilled she was to take out the first win while Elektra vowed to never bottom again. Before clarifying, on the show. Victoria thankfully returned and explained while her knee was busted, at this stage, she would still be able to continue in the competition as long as she takes it easy   the next couple of days. Oh and fun fact, Kitty’s tits are as heavy as Krystal’s badge.

The next day Krystal was feeling her oats even more, confident that it won’t be her last victory in the competition. While Veronica was left to wonder how someone with such a tiny head could also have such a big one? The dolls congratulated River on her charming runway performance saving herself from the bottom, while Victoria told them that while she has to stay off her feet as much as possible, she will still turn it out. So beware.

They were interrupted by Ru, who arrived and put Krystal to task playing a game called ‘Rupermarket Sweeps’ where she would find superlatives amongst grocery items before handing them out to her fellow queens. First up, she identified Victoria as the biggest competition – denying she was threatened and only gave it to her due to her size – followed by River as having the worst taste, Ella as the trade of the season and Veronica as out of date. But not to worry Veronica, she thinks Elektra will be the next one to go.

With that out of the way – along with the casual fat shaming of Victoria – Ru announced that this week, the dolls would be put to work at Ru’s new fitness business – Dragoton. Choriza, Vanity, Elektra Fence were tasked with leading a spin class, Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty will be working out their (exercise) balls, leaving Charity, Victoria, Scarlett and Ella to do a little mummy and me class. But always making it drag, obviously.

As the dolls split up into their groups, Veronica read Krystal for being a bit too harsh in her reads but encouraged everyone to put it all aside and embrace the fact they are all vastly different and make that an advantage for their werk out routines. Ella meanwhile felt typecast as a yummy mummy/trade of the season and was confident she and Victoria will lead the group, given they are trained dancers. Elektra was so excited by the challenge she was spitting on herself, while Choriza was just going to wing it and lean into the comedy given she was paired with two killer dancers. And has zero skills.

Mama Ru made her ruturn, immediately making Kitty nervous about how to act. As she watched on quietly, Veronica and River were shady about Krystal in their kiki with the latter admitting that she is ready to go with the pose every week if it takes her to the end. Kitty finally found her voice, and suggested she should have been the trade of the season and had Ru in hysterics. Which made her tell Ru to shut up, essentially. Oh and Krystal was nervous about the challenge. Up next were team yummy mummy, with Victoria doubling down on being a legit threat and was glad that she had the girls on her side, before we learnt Charity’s accent game is weak at best. Rounding out the chats, Choriza was charming as always while Elektra vowed to turn it out this week, given it plays to her strengths and ugh, that always makes me nervous. Very, very, very, very nervous.

As Ru left, the queens ventured to the mainstage to meet Oti Mabuse to get the choreography down. Or in Victoria’s case, she was DTF and well, relatable. Oti is gorgeous. Team Bike were up first and well, poor Choriza was immediately confused but as she suggested, she bought the personality. And more importantly, she vowed to ride it harder than a dick. While poor Elektra was just wishing they got her a toddler’s bike. The yummy mummies were next with my favourite twink Scarlet not sure what was happening, while Ella was just glad to be guaranteed not landing in the bottom since everyone else was falling apart. Rounding out rehearsal was Veronica in lycra with her mick out while River was terrified about keeping up with the tempo. And relatably, Krystal can’t figure out her left from right while Veronica gave her a peptalk to keep her from spiralling from nerves.

Elimination Day rolled around with Krystal still nervous while Victoria admitted that her knee had blown up and she was struggling through the pain. Though vowed to fight through. Kitty and Charity kikied as they got ready, admitting that they are ready to push outside of their comfort zones. Victoria and Krystal meanwhile caught up with the former suggesting they should clear the air, with Krystal immediately offering a genuine apology and admitting that she looks up to her and doesn’t ever want to bring her down. Victoria admitted that she has struggled with eating disorders and has been every size under the sun and as such, she has finally accepted it and is happy and healthy but found Krystal’s comments were triggering.

Ugh, I love Victoria so much and I’m so glad she was mature enough to have the conversation and work through it. Elektra then opened up about how much she hated her freckles growing up, though her boyfriend helped her learn to love them. She then opened up the floor for the rest of the dolls to share their insecurities, with Vanity talking about being told that she is too dark. And uggghhhhh, hearing them all be so vulnerable with each other was so empowering and gorgeous.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined on the judges’ table by Oti Mabuse for the debut werk outs of Dragoton. While I have no idea what was happening most of the time, I do know Choriza stole the show in the bike group with her unique and charming brand of ridiculous. Team Ball Busted were hilarious and a little bit frightening, with everyone getting a chance to shine. While poor Victoria was stuck performing on a stool with the yummy mummies, she was still charming enough to keep up with Ella.

On the Red Carpet Showstoppers Runways, Choriza was stunning in a spotted icy blue flamenco number. Elektra too was sparkly with an awkwardly matt black split while Vanity was stunning in a sheer lilac number. Kitty was full glamour in a Marilyn inspired gown, Krsytal was perfect – aside from the tits – in a green dress, River looked her version of glam in a purple number, complete with a few of her signature points while Veronica was inspired by our KYLIE in a frilly, saffron gown. Charity was a demented orange, fringed, Gatsby’s inspired number, Ella was an absolute peach in peach, while Scarlett was pale and perfect in a scarlett gown while Victoria desperately just tried to hide the fact she was wearing sneakers, while looking gorgeous.

Choriza, River, Ella, Scarlett and Victoria were sent to safety leaving the remaining queens to hear from the judges. And well, poor Elektra was once again read for filth for going out too hard in the performance and ended up looking out of place. And once again was read for a subpar runway, looking more wizard than red carpet. Vanity was read for having a wig that didn’t make sense, while Oti was more concerned about the lack of cohesion between them in the performance. Though they loved her outfit. Kitty was praised for the madness she brought to the work out and for serving too completely different looks. Once again, the judges ate up everything Krystal was serving though Michelle challenged her to start showing more of herself. Veronica too received universal praise for knocking it out of the park while making sure everyone in the team looked good. Charity meanwhile was praised for stepping outside of her comfort zone, though they felt her look felt like it was wearing her.

Backstage Victoria was thrilled to be able to sit down, which was a sentiment echoed by Scarlett before Ella shared how disappointed she felt to not be a top. River too was disappointed to not land in the top, though accepted she was the weakest in her team. While Choriza was just glad her personality kept her safe. The tops and bottoms joined them with the safe girls shocked that Krystal was in the top and while she agreed, Veronica cut in and told her to believe in herself given she listened and took advice and she needs to embrace her performer side. Veronica and Kitty shared that they too would be on the top with her. Charity meanwhile was feeling like she was in the bottom and was emotionally prepared to be lip syncing. Vanity too was feeling heartbroken to be in the bottom, though was ready to show the judges what she is made of. 

While poor Elektra was just nervous about facing off against her, given she slays.

Ultimately Krystal narrowly took out her second victory over Veronica while Kitty too was sent to safety. Charity Kase meanwhile narrowly avoided the bottom two, leaving Elektra’s fears to come true as she faced off against Vanity to M People’s Movin On Up. And damn, did the dolls live up to the song. Vanity was splitting and flipping around the state, Elektra was bouncing into splits and careening wildly with acrobatics. I mean, the girls came to play and ugh, what a lip sync! Elektra was break dancing and playing air flute before death dropping off the front of the stage. But tragically, her track record appeared to be the deciding factor as Vanity narrowly took out the win while Elektra found herself becoming the second queen eliminated.

As soon as she exited the stage, I screamed, started crying and ran over to hug her, reminding her that she is so damn talented and such an icon. You see, Elektra and I first met each other a few years ago at a casting. Given I am continually half a foot shorter than the general public, I was immediately taken by Elektra because she made me feel tall. Beyond that petty reason to start a friendship, I was quickly won over by her kindness and as such, I was so glad to be on hand to pay her back with a piping hot Elektra French Onion Gem Bake.

Tangy, creamy and oh so sweet, this dish is near perfection. Then you add a bunch of crispy, gorgeous little gems and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Elektra French Onion Gem Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potato gems, cooked per the recipe or packet instructions
1 ½ cups milk
1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the milk and soup mix in a jug. Meanwhile, pop the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once foamy, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring, until the flouriness is gone. Remove from the heat, whisk in the milk mixture and sour cream before returning to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the bubbly liquid to a 20x30cm baking dish, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a single layer of gems. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, before topping with chives and serving joyously. Like a champion. And devouring.


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Andrew Pucles Chips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the top eight fought it out for a car, with Dani taking out the reward but unwittingly cursed her own game. At the immunity challenge Hayley took out her first victory over queen Flick, much to the delight of Hayley. Everyone was finally realising that Cara and George only cared about each other, with Emmett trying to rally everyone together to target them. Thankfully Queen Cara found a hidden immunity idol which they were able to use as leverage to try and woo Wai and Hayley back to their side to boot the conveniently vulnerable Emmett. Which is exactly what they did, continuing George and Cara’s epic streak of somehow evading certain doom.

The next morning the dwindling tribe slowly started their day with Wai and Andrew catching up about her flip, with Wai explaining that she is simply at the point of voting to make it to the next step rather than joining with anyone per se. Hayley joined them to explain the flip, with Andrew annoyed by the fact they rightly made a move to better their place in the tribe given the alliance he wanted them to join left them at the bottom. George obviously arrived on the scene to make it awkward enough for them to stop the conversation, leading to Andrew catching up with Dani and bitch about the fact Hayley continues to flip every few votes, rather than brainstorming ways for them to move forward.

Speaking of hustlers trying to make their way to the end, George and Cara took a moment to celebrate their status as the underdogs and the fact that they have an idol in their back pocket to help propel them to the final two.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where they would break into two teams to release poles from a frame, cross a balance beam, retrieve sandbags, cross a mud pit and then add sacks to the end of their poles and shoot the sandbags into the sacks. First team to land three securing a massive Italian feast. Oh and the person that doesn’t compete gets to bet on who they think will win and joins them if they are correct. Andrew, Hayley and George were facing off against Flick, Dani and Wai, with Cara backing the girls to take out victory and score the four of them some food.

While the girls got out to an early lead, Hayley and the boys quickly managed to close the gap. Well, until George crossed the balance beam in a positively glacial pace and the girls pulled away again. Wai struggled over the mudpit, giving the other team the slightest of leads as they got to shooting their baskets. Sadly for them, Dani quickly got her eye in, landing two baskets before Andrew landed his first. Eventually Andrew closed the gap, leaving the teams desperately fighting for victory before Dani landed her final basket and sealed victory for the team.

And Cara.

Dani, Flick, Wai and a very lucky Cara arrived at their massive feast, delighted by the overwhelming smell of garlic. The girls toasted their success, with Dani quickly suggesting that they push for an all female final five and while Cara and Wai agreed that they want to see a girl win, me thinks they aren’t at the point of turning on George yet. Wai admitted that she has been playing it day by day and really only decided to get rid of Emmett on the way to tribal council. Dani told Wai that George had told them that Hayley and Wai were going to vote out the Brawns next, which Wai immediately denied. 

Dani then pushed for Cara to stop playing George’s game and instead make a move to get to the end. This fired Cara up who said that they are both making decisions and she is trying to temper the chaos that he loves. Though she did admit that she would turn on him, but only when it was at the point that she didn’t immediately become the next to go home. And given he is the only one that hasn’t lied to her, she needs to build trust with others before that will ever happen.

The next day George decided to dress up for the latest immunity challenge, while Cara, Hayley and George caught up by the fire. Cara admitted that she was confident with their trio, but was worried Wai would quickly flip on them should something spook her and as such, George needs to be quiet and listen to Wai when she floats plans and start relying on Hayley to help get the information to her. Wai joined them and explained that she would like to see Flick be the next one booted from the game, given she is protective of Andrew. Cara pointed out that that makes her and George vulnerable the further they move along the game, but didn’t push her point and wisely left Wai to talk through her logic.

Meanwhile Flick and Andrew were catching up about the Italian reward, with Flick explaining that she and Dani pushed to see whether anyone would be interested in getting rid of George. Flick explained that while Wai would easily flip, there is no way that Cara will follow along with any of them. Andrew reiterated that he doesn’t want to play for the others and the only way to break up George and Cara is to win immunity challenges and force their hands.

The tribe caught up with my love Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each hold a platform for themselves to stand on using a rope and ring above their heads. Last one standing taking out immunity, obvi. Bucking tradition, George didn’t drop within the first seconds of the challenge, instead Cara dropped after a few minutes with Wai just behind. After a long battle, George and Dani were the next to drop, leaving Hayley, Andrew and Flick to once again battle it out for immunity. After 90 minutes, Jonathan made the trio go down to holding the ring with only one hand which quickly took out Flick before Andrew dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley her second victory in a row.

Back at camp Andrew regretted his choice to go down to his left hand rather than his right before saltily suggesting the majority should instead be tending the fire rather than him and Dani. Speaking of the minority, they caught up to try and figure out who the majority would target with each of them listing compelling reasons why it would be them. As such, they locked in their votes for George and as such, Dani decided to try and flip Wai to help their cause.

Meanwhile George wanted to take out Andrew however was more concerned about doing something that would cause Wai to flip given he worried that would spell his doom. As such, he caught up with Hayley, Cara and Wai, talking about how Andrew just flipped out at him, suggesting that Wai is the most dangerous person and as such, needs to go. Surprisingly, Wai bought all of it and all of a sudden was less protective of Andrew, instead ready to join the others to vote him out.

The foursome split up, with Dani hunting for an idol before catching up with Wai and checking whether there is any point talking to her with Wai admitting that she is always open to talk, but she will also always be frank. Dani implored her to play her own game before they split up, with Wai admitting that she could ultimately go with either side, however going with George keeps a bigger target around.

Speaking of Geroge, he was eavesdropping on the minority trio and discovered that they haven’t had any success in finding the idol and as such, they’re good to go. Wai finally admitted to us that she doesn’t buy that Andrew was going to turn on her. As George praised Hayley for becoming the Queen of the tribe, Wai quietly looked on and really started to think voting out George would be best for her game. But TBH, she seemed like she was flip-flopping back and forth every few minutes.

At tribal council the tribe were surprised by a table with four urns sitting next to them which JLP explained would provide one of them safety once they are voted out. The catch being, they need to select the correct urn otherwise they’re booted for good. Hayley admitted that it is always nerve wracking to see someone come back after they were booted. Cara agreed that getting a second chance helps put a fire in your belly before George said that at this point in the game, you should just keep voting people out until it sticks. Dani opted to tell the majority alliance that they each need to start thinking about their individual games, unaware that sticking as a four for now – until say, top five – is the best option for all of them.

Andrew spoke about his nerves at the vote ahead, while Flick sold herself as a number that the majority alliance can use if and when it’s needed. Andrew played up George’s penchant for doing what is best for himself, though George admitted that even if he is the last man standing, there is no way he is a physical threat. Dani shadily said that once it is just him and the girls, they can come together and take him out then. George spoke about always feeling nervous, with everyone agreeing that only Hayley should actually feel ok. Wai shared that this tribal council doesn’t feel simple and easy for her and as such, anything could happen.

With that the tribe voted and George found himself becoming the last man standing as not only was Andrew booted but he also selected one of the unlucky urns and as such, officially exited the game and joined the jury. Given Andrew has been pretty even tempered throughout the entire game, despite being irritated by George, he took his boot in stride, with a big beaming smile.

Even when I smuggly made fire with a flint to prove that I am the ultimate survivalist, threatening to come for his gig. Given we’ve been friends for years – influencers and Youtubers go hand in hand, you know – he quickly told me I wouldn’t last a night in the wilderness without a bed or shower (so true) and as such, I should head into the kitchen and make us some Andrew Pucles Chips to smash while we catch up.

So, you know, I did.

Tangy and salty, crisp on the outside while gooey on the inside, these delights are oh so moreish. Though I do caution you, you will need a drink because these fried coins of perfection will make you thirsty. I recommended pairing with an icy IPA.

Enjoy!

Andrew Pucles Chips
Serves: 2 best mates.

Ingredients
vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dill pickles, sliced into coins and well drained

Method
These babies are pretty easy to make, so you can do everything all at once.

Start by heating 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat until it is about 180C.

Combine the flour, buttermilk, paprika, chilli, oregano and cayenne in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until smooth.

Pop half the pickles in the batter and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden and crisp. About a minute either side. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until all cooked.

Season with salt and serve with some Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie. Then, you know, devour.


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Taco Bellsea Hackips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Brains and Brawns were offish no more, tragically not joining to form the Beauty tribe which would have just been the ultimate chef’s kiss. Emmett won immunity and his confidence expanded to new heights, leading to his super majority planning to target Hayley. Thankfully George grew tired of the status quo and decided that now would be the best time to work with the Brains to ensure Hayley plays her idol correctly. Speaking of idols, Kez found another one in front of George which immediately made her the target in his eyes. With that he told Hayley to play her idol for Laura and poor Kez was idolled out of the game, sneakily – and legally, apparently – passing her idol off to Flick on the way out the door.

Though I’m unsure if anyone actually picked up on that.

The shoulda been Beauty tribe awoke the next morning feeling relatively calm despite the epic tribal council the night before. That calmness was broken by George, who was thrilled about how everything went down perfectly and how he is orchestrating everything perfectly and that he should be the spy. V loudly. He and his number two Cara caught up over breakfast to come up with the next plan, identifying getting rid of another Brain as the priority. And to successfully continue to play the middle, they needed to bring Baden along for the ride to make things happen.

Speaking of Baden, he was happy with his standing in the tribe given he is close to George and while playing in the middle can oft be dangerous – and get you run over, right Jules? – it is keeping Baden safe. For now. Given the Brawn alliance want to take him out immediately after Hayley. Baden therefore wanted to keep a close eye on George, given his protection can only last for so long. And well, he can’t trust George’s plans don’t run much deeper and eventually leave him out in the cold.

Dani meanwhile was doing yoga with Chelsea and Flick by the billabong before Dani questioned whether Hayley was tipped off ahead of tribal council. Which she obviously was. Flick meanwhile feigned confidence in the fact it was just a lucky guess, but Dani just wasn’t ready to let it go. And became really fired up that she needed to fight in the immunity challenge, just to make sure one of the Brains didn’t jag it.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, the tribe caught up with my love Jonathan where the castaways really had a battle ahead of them. But you know, since he was offering up three immunity necklaces it was worth it. Oh and in addition to the immunity, the trio would be the only ones to cast a vote at the next tribal council. Which is huge. First they would barrel roll down a course in honour of FFGCSDT with the first eight moving to the next round where they have to cross a balance beam, untangling a rope and releasing a monkey fist to cross a wall, with the first five up and over moving on to a table maze with the first three to finish jagging immunity.

Hayley got out to an early lead with Emmett and Andrew nipping at her heels before Dani fell off hard in front of Gerald’s barrel. Ultimately Hayley was first across, with Emmett, Baden, Chelsea, Andrew, Laura, Dani and Cara joining her in the next round. Emmett was first through to the table maze, giving him a massive lead in the last stage before he was finally joined by Laura. Eventually Andrew and Dani joined him just as Emmett landed his second of three balls. Baden eventually made it to table maze and given nobody but Emmett was having any real success, it was still anybody’s game. Emmett ultimately snagged the first immunity and to put you out of your misery, he was quickly followed by Andrew and Dani. Giving Brawns a massive advantage at the upcoming tribal council if it is as it appears.

Back at camp George wasn’t worried about the upcoming tribal, given he is good with everyone that is immune. Hayley meanwhile, was terrified given two of them are out for her blood. Speaking of Dani and Emmett, they caught up by the well to quickly lock in the vote for Hayley before Emmett suggested that maybe Baden is a better option, given Cara and George are tight with him and he may be able to swing them back to the OG Brains. Dani admitted that ultimately she doesn’t really care who goes out of the Brains, given she just wants the Brawns to do well. 

And now Dani is more focused on getting a lid on the snitches.

The Brains meanwhile were busy catching up by the billabong, with Andrew feeling helpless given his vote kind of just means nothing. The group admitted that Hayley is pretty much screwed, with her approaching George to see if she can make something work. He obviously told her there is no hope swaying Dani, so instead she made the big play, approaching Dani and straight up outing George as the double agent in the hope of uniting the tribe against him instead.

Despite the fact Dani has been burnt by Hayley and she has been holding a massive grudge, Hayley knew exactly what to say to get through to Dani. Playing into her intelligence, before outing George and Cara and then doubling down on the fact she has been very open about her game the entire time and won’t just stick with tribal lines. And you know, wants the winner of the season to have played a big, risky game like the one Dani has been playing. This was enough to woo Dani, who was happy to work with her and use her as a spy moving forward before Emmett joined and immediately pitched the same thing, knowing that Hayley would feel like she owes them her life should she stay.

Hayley left them to chat and while Emmett was 100% with keeping Hayley, that made Dani nervous about following through with it given she can clearly win people over very quickly. And leaving that in the game is dangerous for everyone.

At tribal council Emmett was still trying to play the role of David and was back to coming off as more arrogant than charming. Dani too was full of confidence, while Andrew was fully just going with the flow given he knows his vote pretty much means nothing. Baden was pretty nervous, given he is one of the four targets for the majority duo, in the trio – confusing no? George was glad to be in the majority, while Hayley was nervous about navigating the vote ahead given she can’t even throw a vote on someone else as a hail Mary to save herself. While Baden was just feeling hopeless, Hayley admitted that she was more than happy to beg and had approached Emmett and Dani. The question being whether it hurt or hindered her case.

Jonathan then dropped another bomb on the group, explaining that while the trio are the only ones with the chance of voting, only one of them actually would. The trio would now compete in a firemaking challenge with the winner going on to cast the sole vote and while Emmett was confident, Andrew is a straight up survivalist and as such, the Brains were full of hope. And Dani appeared to just focus on being a smartass given nobody even considered her taking it out. 

And. I. Live.

With that, the trio got to work with the firemaking challenge and well, the confident look on the faces of the Brains appeared to be misplaced. While Andrew quickly up the base of his fire, he immediately broke his flint. While Emmett and Dani calmly powered on, Emmett lit all of his kindling in a massive flame … which quickly went out. Andrew frantically struck his flint as Dani quietly got a spark and instead of taking the slow and steady approach, loaded up everything on the flame in the hope the massive flame would last long enough to burn through the rope. Which it did, shocking everyone, including herself.

After warning Jonathan that some things in the tribe were heading in a way she didn’t like, this vote was about nipping things in the bud and as such, she was thrilled to have all the power. She then quickly voted, Jonathan grabbed the urn and the tribe were gagged to learn that Baden was the one voted out of the game. However all was not as it seemed, as Baden arrived at a table announcing that he isn’t actually out out of the game and instead he is to head off to a place called Redemption Rock – the love child of redemption island and pride rock, I assume – to await a chance to return to the competition.

We followed Baden over to Redemption Rock where he was gagged to find a bunch of meager supplies, which he quickly put to use making a fire as a kangaroo watched on menacingly.

Menacingly because of night vision, but whatevs.

The next morning Baden was still processing the massive chain of events that led to his boot before taking in his surroundings, which turned out to be a stunning, massive gorge. He made himself at home, perfecting camp before working though his plans for when he returns to the game. Because you best believe he is fired up to return and cause as much damage as humanly possible.

Speaking of fire, Andrew was waking up the tribe as he tended to theirs, no doubt trying to prove his worth as a survival expert after being schooled by Dani the night before. Emmett reminded us that we’ve been sleeping on Dani’s mad skills and was grateful that despite the twist, they still managed to get rid of a Brain. 

Sadly, a Brawn had also left the game as we learnt that Chelsea was taken away from tribal council by a medic and the tribe were worried about if/when she will return to camp. But I’m going to jump forward a little bit, say 24 hours, and let you know that poor Chelsea was in such a state that she had to be medevaced from the game officially.

I’ve known Chels for years and years, meeting on the MMA circuit before I was banned from the sport for illegal moves. Despite being shamed out of the community, Chelsea stood by me and we became the firmest of friends and as such, when she was down and out – literally – I knew I had to repay the favour and nurse her back to health with my copycat Taco Bellsea Hackips.

While these would have been the perfect accompaniment to Kez’s dish, I would argue they’re still pretty delightful as a solo artist. Crispy chips, heavily spiced with a whack of flavour? I mean, you can’t argue against that.

Enjoy!

Taco Bellsea Hackips
Serves: 2 dear fighter-friends.

Ingredients
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 ½ tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
¾ tsp onion powder
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper
Nachoey Cheese McCann, to serve

Method
Ok, you ready for this? Cook the fries per Jud’s recipe.

Combine the paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a bowl. Toss the fries in the spices.

Serve and devour, piping hot with some Nachoey Cheese McCann.


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Nachoey Cheese McCann

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.

We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.

Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.

Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.

Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.

Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.

The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.

Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory. 

Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.

Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.

Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game. 

She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.

At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.

While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.

With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.

As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.

We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.

Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.

Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.

The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.

With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.

The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.

Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.

Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.

Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.

Slay Queen Hayley.

Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.

As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.

My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.

While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.

Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.

Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.

As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.

By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?

At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.

Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.

This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.

With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.

Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.

Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.

I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.

Enjoy!

Nachoey Cheese McCann
Makes: 2 cups.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste

Method
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute. 

Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.


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Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brawn continued to take out victory after victory, with George sure that if he was put into a physical battle he could have changed their losing ways. That being said, he and Wai then single handedly took out immunity for the tribe earning their respect and saving George by the skin of his teeth. Back at camp, Janelle quickly became the target however for some reason Simon wanted Shannon gone instead. While he and the big guys targeted her, Janelle was having none of Emmett’s arrogance and instead tried to flip the vote on him. And while it failed and she found herself booted, she was still iconic and I love and miss her.

The next day the Brawn tribe were warming up by the fire and preparing to plan for the day ahead, while Simon was awkwardly trying to come to terms with the fact his plan is not the one that was executed. He then tried to dig his way out of the hole, putting it down to a simple miscounting situation. While Gavin quietly watched on as he and the rest of the alliance searched their minds for an answer before sharing with us that he booted Janelle because that was the last thing someone told him and as such, he thought it was the plan.

Flick, the other turncoat, was not unwitting and instead was glad to draw a line in the sand and save her friend Shannon, given she knows that going with the boys, she’d be forth at best. She was kiki-ing with Gerald and the girls and honestly, again, I love them all. Particularly since Flick was ready to take out a meathead at the very next opportunity.

Meanwhile over at casa de Brains, Laura was feeling her oats to have had the night off as the team woke up and enjoyed breakfast. That being said, she was starting to get desperate for a fire. Instead of focusing her energy on that, George suggested the group rest up so that they’re best placed to take out victory in the reward challenge and potentially win a flint. Rather than have their strongest player blister their hands and get weak. Given he has zero capital in the tribe, as soon as he disappeared the tribe got to work trying to start a fire. And given Andrew – aka not-Tommy Little – is a straight-up survival expert, I’m not actually sure why they haven’t had fire for the first five days. In any event, as George washed off in the water, Andrew and Baden started a roaring flame and just like that, the Brains are back in the game.

Well, the Brains minus George who was plum tuckered from his walk.

Dear, sweet Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would face off to hold a trough up the longest as the other tribe attempted to fill it with water and weigh it down. All for coffee, tea, sugar and Iced bloody Vovos. Rachel and Baden valiantly held it up for Brains as Daini and Gerald looked super chill and steady for the Brawn. Surprising Dr Mitch I assume, who was super shady about their brain power, Emmett and Simon lead the Brawn tribe to strategically fill the trough as quickly as possible and damn, Brains, you’re in danger. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a contest and once again, Brawn took out the reward giving them the most plush camp in Cloncurry.

Brawn were obviously overjoyed to return to camp to find their afternoon tea set-up, complete with a collage of photos of them with their loved ones. As everyone sobbed, Gerald popped the kettle on and whipped up their drinks before they settled in to talk about their families. Chelsea spoke about her close bond with her dad, Gerald opened up about his pride for his sister, Big D broke down in tears sharing how he and his mum had nothing growing up and her tenacity is what pushes him to work hard.

Kez felt like the reward brought everyone together before we learnt about her journey to becoming a bodybuilder after being bullied throughout school and ugh, I love Queen Kez and her lack of jumper so, so much. Particularly since she stumbled upon an idol clue while collecting sticks in front of everyone and like an icon, she quietly pocketed it and went to the bushes to learn where she needed to look.

Back over with the Brains, the tribe were feeling far from joyous but hey, at least they have fire? Oh and Andrew, who quickly dammed off their water and got to work deoxygenating the water to force the fish into the net and hot damn, they’ve got a bit of fight left in them as they’re heading into the immunity challenge.

Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race to solve a giant brain teaser to release a ring, which they would then use to climb a wall before crossing rope steps, knocking over a tower, then immediately rebuilding it on the end of a seesaw. Wai quickly took charge of the brainteaser for the Brains tribe, while the Brawn tribe just straight up struggled. Wai decided the Brains tribe needed a bit of muscle and despite George wanting in, Joey slotted in while Georgia tried to keep him calm. But thankfully for them, he was persistent and Baden finally listened and suggested the tribe switch him out and damn, George immediately solved the puzzle. As such, Brains quickly worked their way through the course and won the challenge, just as the Brawn tribe made it across the rope steps.

And once again, was George the hero of the challenge?!

The defeated Brawns returned to camp and while they appeared down, Flick was pretty pumped to be able to take a shot at Simon, Emmett and Gavin. She was already aligned with Shannon and Kez and as such, the girls got to work bringing in Gerald, Daini and Benny to form a majority alliance. Which they appeared to quickly secure with the vote locked in for Gavin. Shannon was excited to get her revenge on the boys and as such, suggested they talk up voting for Simon to throw the others off the scent.

Meanwhile Simon could see the writing on the wall and as such, got to work trying to flip Big D and take back the numbers and get rid of the eternally charming Shannon. And ugh, poor Big D, he was just feeling both anxious and spicy to find himself in the middle. Speaking of finding, Kez got nervous after witnessing Big D talking to the boys and instead turned her attention to the idol. Which she quickly found, the catch being that it was buried under a rock right in front of everyone in camp.

Unsure what to do, Kez enlisted Flick’s help, pulling her aside and sitting in front of the tomb to collect the idol. The catch being that since she didn’t pack enough clothes, she had to pretend to sunbake in the scorching sun until Flick rescued her and brought her some shoes to finally hide her idol in. And you best believe that she is willing to play it should she feel worried for her girls.

And given Big D is still unsure which side to go with, she just might have to. Particularly since he suggested they instead vote for Kez rather than Shannon and they all just folded to his preference. While Simon and Gavin were confident he was with them, Emmett was still nervous and well, I hate to agree with him but I am nervous. But for my girl Kez instead.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded them for being back so soon before Chelsea spoke about how hard it is to lose being so damn competitive. Shannon admitted that they overcomplicated the puzzle which ultimately cost them the challenge, while Simon doubled down on them voting out Janelle being the right move. Despite not actually voting that way. Kez coyly suggested that there is always a chance of a blindside and that she hopes this tribal council identifies the snake in the grass within their tribe. Emmett agreed that it is challenging trying to find your footing, though he knew who he was voting for and that is half the battle. Big D admitted that he naturally goes for people he vibes with, though in the game he will make his decisions based on strength for the tribe.

Immediately filling Kez with fear. 

Emmett was arrogant and cocky about his alliance having the numbers while Simon admitted that there can always be a spanner thrown in the works. That spanner usually being an idol. Big D suggested that the vote would be the one to draw a line in the sand, while Simon shared that he was shocked it wasn’t drawn sooner. Which immediately riled up both Queen Flick and Queen Kez, who said it was pretty obvious that Simon drew a line in the sand, but nobody else was that pigheaded. Essentially. Big D admitted that trust changes throughout the game, while Gavin and Dani were just wanting to prove loyalty.

With that the tribe voted and feeling nervous, Queen Kez pulled out her idol and played it for herself as the rival alliance looked like they were shitting their pants. That being said, it was unnecessary as Big D stuck with the good guys and Gavin was booted from the game by the new 6-person alliance. And ugh, he is so damn sweet it is almost hard to see him go.

As you know, I’m highly influential in the sporting world and as such, have known Gav for years and we’ve been the best of friends. We locked eyes with each other across loser lodge and I pulled him in for a hug, assuring him that being the third boot isn’t anything to sneeze at. Particularly when it comes with a side of sweet, sweet Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes.

I know, I know – you hear green tomatoes (which you’re inexplicable pronouncing tom-a-toes right now, aren’t you) and think, that is disgusting. But hear me out, because these are delicious. Salt, sweet and packing a kick of heat, they’re the perfect snack for whiling away an afternoon. Or processing post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes
Serves: 4 dear friends, two of which are obviously Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Ingredients
3 firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
⅓ buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup polenta
1 cup vegetable, canola or another appropriate frying oil

Method
Cut the tomatoes into 1cm slices, sprinkle with a good whack of salt and leave to rest on a chopping board for five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the flour and spices in one bowl with a good whack of pepper, the buttermilk and egg in another and the polenta in yet another.

Bring the oil to heat over medium heat and once nice and hot, dip the salted tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg wash followed by the polenta and into the oil three or four at a time. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further three minutes, or until golden and brown. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until down.

Serve piping hot with a bit of hot sauce and savour every bite.


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