Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.
After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.
At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.
The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.
Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.
Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.
Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.
Mike Gabler Cheese Balls Serves: 6.
Ingredients 500g macaroni pasta ¼ cup butter 2 ¼ cups flour 3 cups milk 1 cup cream 2 tbsp dijon mustard 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated ⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated salt and pepper, to taste 3 eggs, whisked 2 cups panko breadcrumbs vegetable oil, for fryin’
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.
When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.
Previously on Survivor the final four faced off in a massive final immunity challenge and while I’d love to say it was a hard fought four way battle, it really only came down to three. And then two, after Gabler faded away like Jesse and left Owen and Cassidy to fight it out for the final immunity of the season. After a late breaking drop from Owen, Cassidy earned her place in final tribal council and attention quickly turned to who would be the smartest person to potentially knock out Jesse in the fire making challenge. While both Owen and Gabler wanted the glory, Cassidy knew victory could give one of them the upper hand and as such, deemed Gabler the lesser threat to her victory, sending him in to the challenge to thankfully – for the rest of them, duh – eliminate the biggest threat of the season, Jesse.
The final three awoke on – shudders – Day 26, surprised to have made it all the way to the end. Owen was thrilled to just not have to worry about Probst snuffing his torch, while Cassidy was focused on prepping a compelling speech. Owen was nervous about what the jury wanted from their winner, though was glad to articulate how he managed to navigate the game as the underdog. Gabler was proud of how hard he worked to make it to the end and was hopeful his first votes of the season would be those needed to win. Cassidy meanwhile admitted she is living out her dream to have made it to the end, and was just hopeful she would be able to prove that she has been the dark horse all season and managed to get rid of everyone that came for her.
We pivoted to the final tribal council after some telling remarks from the jury, before Jesse kicked things off praising the trio on playing strong games, though reminded them they have to answer some tough questions honestly and with, dare he say it, fire. Noelle asked each how their games differed with Gabler articulating he focused on building trust and had so many alliances, he always had options to move forward. And it worked, given nobody has ever voted against him. Cassidy focused on the fact that she always knew who was going home before it happened and she built the right bonds at the right time to navigate to the end. Particularly since women were aggressively targeted pre-merge. Owen meanwhile opened up about how he had high hopes for the game as a super fan, though it all came crumbling down from the first tribal council and he has been fighting on the bottom since then And he has fought, every, damn, night.
James asked Owen if he ever put his neck on the line for an ally, which led to Noelle piping up and pointing out that he did the night he trusted her to use the Steal a Vote to get rid of James. Gabler spoke about bag gate with Jeanine copping to the fact she definitely went through the bag. He explained Elie painted a target on his back going out, but he expertly went back under the radar. Karla asked Cassidy what pre-merge move she did to propel her to the point, explaining trusting in James and Karla when they flipped on Lindsay was the biggest move. Gabler spoke about ducking back under water after Elie painted a target on his back was the biggest move, while Cassidy admitted she kept a mental list of everyone that came for her and as such, used her bonds to systematically eliminate them.
Jeanine pointed out that Cassidy’s core alliance was clear though asked the boys to explain theirs with Owen admitting to being close with Noelle, Cody and Jesse. Gabler spoke about how he had a bunch of alliances and while he tried to say he was only close with Jesse and Cody, which Sami called bullshit on. When he mentioned nobody had voted for him, Cassidy countered that maybe that is because nobody viewed him as a threat. And while Noelle and Jesse tried to defend him, it felt like a blow. Ryan turned talk to immunity wins with Cassidy surprised she won so many, particularly the final one, while Noelle admitted to being a Paralympian and assured her she should be proud of herself. Proud of herself, but wondered why she didn’t go to fire to prove herself. Which fired up Cassidy who felt that she played such a strong game that she didn’t need it and the most important thing was to take Owen with her to weaken him and take away the potential of him having another way to show he was an underdog.
Karla jumped in and asked how they all fought until they couldn’t go any longer. Owen opened up about the tragedy of Karla snatching the final advantage out from under him, though admitted the loss fired him up enough to take out that win. James jumped in and questioned how he felt about how he handled himself while on the bottom, with Owen wisely admitting that he wishes they never fought. Which lol, jurors, stop with those sorts of questions as they look petty. Queen Karla then asked them to point out their worst moves with Gabler worried about putting him neck on the line, Cassidy opening up about regretting how they spoke to each other before she was voted out while Owen felt he had a plethora of mistakes, though he doesn’t regret getting bamboozled since it carried him to the final tribal council.
Jesse then opened up about having a PHD in voting behaviours, asking them to articulate when they drove a vote their way. Gabler identified the Elie vote post-merge as his biggest move, while Cassidy turning people on Ryan was her move. Sadly for her, Ryan pointed out that wasn’t the case and the boys had been planning his demise beforehand. While Owen straight up admitted that he never drove any votes as he never had any sway or power in the game.
With that the jury voted and with a single vote to Cassidy’s name, the rest piled up and handed Gabler victory. Much to the absolute shock of Cassidy and Owen. And TBH, me. As Probst and Co. reset for the insta-reunion, I pulled Owen aside and into a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game with the hand he was dealt and as such, should be super proud of all that he achieved. Plus, he had a killer mane of long, luscious hair and as such, is my new go-to for inspo when I go for my blow out. Which was enough to distract from the fact I am the reason he had such a shitty hand, given I cursed him pre-season by lining up a delicious Pepperowen Knight Pizza.
Rich and spicy, there is nothing better than a simple pepperoni pizza. I mean, it is just bread, tomato, pepperoni and cheese, but that combination is powerful enough to solve all the world’s problems. And warm your heart.
Pepperowen Knight Pizza Serves: 1 losing finalist and his curse-enacting bestie.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅓ cup passata oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste 200g pepperoni mozzarella, to taste
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, followed by the pepperoni before topping, generously, with mozzarella.
Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.
Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls recovered from Snatch Game by being immediately thrown into another large, epic challenge – the ball! This time focused on weather, since you know, Canada. Despite the group having a range of experiences with design challenges – from ball winners, to design challenge winner to ball loser, to queens sent home by designs and Ra’Jah, who is literally the best seamstress to ever grace the mainstage – they all managed to pull together decent looks. Victoria debuted a Drag King look in honour of Fabio – swoon – Silky was perfection from start to finish, while Icesis was super polished. At the other end of the pack, Anita didn’t heed Silky’s advice that less is more, landing in the bottom opposite Rita. And was tragically eliminated – farewell, Down Under – after Silky took out victory over Victoria.
Backstage Rita was glad to still have a place in the competition, though was disappointed it came at the cost of her bestie. Silky and Ra’Jah praised Anita for bringing such joyous energy to the competition, before Silky took it one step further and crowned her Miss Congeniality and offered to transfer her $500 Canadian dollars as the prize. As the survivors sat down to kiki, Ra’Jah praised her sister for getting redemption on the design challenge and Victoria for becoming an absolute icon. Rita opened up about how emotional she is to have survived, with both Silky and Victoria – who also picked Anita’s lip stick – assuring her that they made the right decision as Anita was ready to go. Oh and now that everyone has had a turn in the top, they’re all unsure whether it is time to start playing games.
Oh and Vanity somehow found a coffee enema or something and well, I need to have one based on her and Ru’s reactions.
The next day Icesis and Ra’Jah admitted they were a little shocked that one of them wasn’t in the top along with Victoria and Silky, which TBH, same. While Rita still just wanted to burn her outfit. Before she could get any matches out, Brad arrived to task the girls with a quick drag Cameo Mini Challenge. And well, Silky was Silky, Ra’Jah was a delight, Vanity came through with legit tips and Rita was horny. Icesis meanwhile couldn’t remember the national album and well Victoria was fired up and stunning. But well, it was Ra’Jah who grew more ridiculous with each round, which proved enough to give her the win.
Before departing Brad announced that for their Maxi Challenge the dolls would be putting on a little comedy show, with he and husband Gary Janetti dropping by to help them work through their sets. Oh and since Ra’Jah took out victory in the mini challenge, she would obviously have the power to decide the order of the show. They sat down to kiki with everyone offering themselves up as the first performer, while Victoria was desperate to go in last place and Icesis was happy to just go wherever. To keep things fair, Ra’Jah popped herself in first place, followed by Vanity, Rita, Icesis, Victoria and then Silky. Which obviously irked Victoria, given she was the only one to request it.
With that decided, the dolls split up to work through their sets with Victoria questioning why she wasn’t put in last place to Rita. Speculating that Ra’Jah was looking out for her sister and trying to sabotage her in the process. Silky meanwhile was nervous to be doing her first comedy challenge across her three seasons, though was ready to show how damn funny she is. Ra’Jah meanwhile was terrified about writing jokes while Icesis was hoping to knock it out of the park once again and to get the chance to gloat about being the only winner.
Ra’Jah was first to meet the Goreski Janettis, laughing about how she wasn’t her mothers favourite child despite being her only one. And well, Ra’Jah was now very VERY nervous. Vanity opened up about hating public speaking, though was surprisingly brutal and charming with her jokes. Rita meanwhile was super confident given comedy is her bread and butter, leaning into bits and vowing to get naked if she wasn’t funny. Icesis was energetic and cute, but seemed to be stuck in her head while Victoria was ready to be as crude as humanly possible and well, I love it. There are cervixes, spunk and wet-wiped junk and this better not end up being a bomb. Oh and then Silky sauntered on stage and was a charming delight, talking a mile a minute and delighting everyone.
Elimination Day arrived and while Victoria and Vanity were bonding over their gameplans while beating their mugs, Icesis returned to the Werk Room and looked to be holding back tears. Silky checked in on her with Icesis not really wanting to talk, before Ra’Jah pulled her aside to see if she was ok. Icesis broke down in tears as she opened up about being absolutely exhausted and how she feels like she returned to the competition way too soon and honestly needs a break. As such, Ra’Jah and Rita assured her she will be fine if she needs to go and look after herself, reminding her that she owes nothing to anyone but herself and her health. Silky joined them and pulled her in for a hug as Icesis announced that she needs to leave the competition, as all her sisters rallied around and held her tight. And ugh, I am sobbing.
As soon as Icesis exited the Werk Room I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she made the right decision. While she was perfect and delightful over the course of a second season, she has nothing to prove to anyone – I mean, she already won before – but even if she did, she did that. She oozes warmth and charm, has more talent in her pinky toe than I could ever dream of and well, we are lucky to experience any amount of time she can give us. As such, I gave her one final hug and assurance she did the right thing, while sending her on her way with a warm, comforting Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture.
Yiros are one of my favourite street foods because, duh, chips are an integral part of the equation. Add in some gloriously hot peri peri chicken and you’re in heaven. Fluffy potato, creamy sauce and the burn of charred meat? Per. Fec. Tion. Just like Icesis.
Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture Serves: 4.
Ingredients 6 small bird’s eye chillies, seeds in or out depending on how you like the heat ½ tsp chipotle chilli powder 4 cloves garlic 1 lime, zested and juiced 2 tbsp paprika 2 tbsp oregano ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup champagne vinegar 600g chicken breast, thinly sliced 1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries 4 Pita Andre Breads ⅔ cup Coolaioli 2 tomatoes, sliced ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
Method Blitz the chillies, chilli powder, garlic, lime juice and zest, paprika, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar in a food processor to form a paste. Transfer to large bowl with the chicken, toss to coat, cover and pop in the fridge to marinate for a good hour or two.
When you’re ready to go, cook the chips as per Jud’s recipe and pop a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and all the fiery juices and cook stirring for about five minutes or until they are starting to caramelise, depending on how thinly you sliced your chicken.
To assemble, heat the pitas in a dry pan – if not freshly cooked, obvi – and smear each with some aioli. Top with the tomato, cheese, chicken and then chips before rolling to enclose. Serve with some extra chips and then devour, gloriously.
Previously on Survivor the tribe competed for an epic overnight reward complete with snacks, a shower, a bed and the added surprise post-challenge of letters from home. Despite Noelle falling behind the pack on the balance beam, she powered through tears and her leg almost falling off to pull off the most epic come from behind win ever seen on Survivor. After taking half the tribe with her for the reward, those left behind started to plot, realising that while she keeps getting knocked down, she always bounces back and finds new allies. And as such, the tribe banded together to blindside Noelle for being too big of a threat to win.
Back at camp Sami was disappointed to be left out of the vote, feeling like his game is going to be difficult to salvage. But bless him, did he try! He tried to pretend that Gabler wrote down Karla’s name at tribal council and then when everyone told him that no, that was not the case, he eventually admitted he did it, but only to try and flush the idol. Gabler meanwhile was busy filling in Owen on what happened, assuring him that he still plans to go to the end with him and has a plan to take out the biggest threat/s – the duo that is Jesse and Cody. And while it sounded great, Owen was still frustrated, given once again he keeps being left out of votes and is essentially the joke of the season.
Which again, is why I would suck at Survivor because I am not this resilient and would totally have this happen to me.
The next day the tribe were feeling a bit more chill as Sami got the fire going, while Cody laughed about not wanting to participate in the fire challenge against him. Which totally means Cody is coming fourth or winning, right? We then had a deep dive with Sami who opened up about how desperately he wants to make his family proud and as such, he would hold his head high and fight. He approached Karla to apologise for voting for her, asking that they move past it and be open to working together. As such, he lied and told her that Cassidy was the first person to float her name and despite the fact she and Karla were solid, she immediately wanted to target her. We then learnt that Karla had told Cassidy about her idol and as such, she decided Sami knowing about its existence made Cass guilty. The girls then caught up, with Cassidy rightly flagging the fact she is nervous about Sami trying to sow distrust between them.
And while she was correct, I’m worried Karla isn’t vibing with her anymore.
We fast-forwarded an entire day when a boat arrived at sunrise advising them all to run into the jungle to find a hidden advantage. So they obviously did as told and immediately went hog wild trying to find the needle in the haystack. Sami literally walked past it multiple times before Cassidy dropped by and missed it too. Gabler then suggested they band together to try and find it war style, this time with Owen and Gabler also missing it. As Jesse, Karla and Cassidy spoke about giving up, Owen stood in front of it alongside Gabler and Sami before Cody straight up leant against the advantage. Before he eventually noticed it, quickly grabbing it off the tree and pocketing it without anyone noticing.
He learnt that to win immunity at the upcoming tribal council, he would simply have to guess who would win the next immunity challenge, the infamous last gasp! Meaning he can either just win the challenge himself, or guess the one least likely to panic as water lapped at their face.
The tribe pivoted to Probst in the ocean where they took their places under the grate in the ocean to wait it out as the tide rapidly made things more difficult. Well, after Probst explained the challenge to everyone but kept the person Cody bet on secret from everyone. Gabler was the first to drop out of the challenge before the swell became too much for Sami and he followed. Jesse was next to drop before Cody fought valiantly for a couple of minutes before ultimately exiting. After two hours of absolute hell, Cassidy exited leaving Karla and Owen to battle it out and well, they were insane. So good at the challenge that after three hours the tide literally started to turn, meaning the challenge would either have to go for another 12 hours or they could both have immunity. Which is obviously the option Probst and Co. went with. While Cody looked on with a big, telling grin.
Back at camp Sami was very nervous about there potentially being three people immune at the upcoming tribal council. As Karla and Owen spoke about how proud they were for making history, Cassidy felt heartbroken about the fact she tried so damn hard and still came up short. She was also very nervous about the fact people may target her to weaken Karla, given she is immune. She approached Karla to float the idea of getting rid of Sami and while she said she was on board, Karla immediately went to Sami and locked in the vote against Cassidy. We then got a supercut of telephone as Sami locked in Cody, Cody went to Jesse and then Jesse spoke to Gabler.
Sadly for the plan, Jesse wasn’t so sure it was best for his game and after confirming with Karla that she wants Cassidy gone, he immediately decided that getting rid of Sami is safest given he is so good at making fire. As Jesse filled Owen in on the plan, he floated the idea of flipping it on Sami instead, given it would have Cassidy and Karla fighting each other in the final six and make it easier for them to go to five. Which is genius. Owen agreed to go talk to Gabler while Jesse caught up with Cody, who agreed that making Karla look silly would be good though he still finds Sami more trustworthy than Cassidy.
Oh and Cody told us that he is immune after correctly backing Owen in the challenge.
At tribal council Probst gave a monologue about tides before Gabler spoke about the importance of the final seven tribal council at setting up the end game. And given three people are immune, it is even more terrifying than usual. Karla admitted the dance is both confusing and scary, while Owen was even more nervous, though maybe because he is always left out of the plans. Sami spoke about clearly being on the bottom and he reiterated he is a free agent, while Jesse mentioned it is crucial to never rule out someone as an option. Cassidy felt like the closer they got to the end the game changed to not just who needs to go but who you can beat, which makes every decision even harder.
Sami then straight up told everyone he would be playing his Shot in the Dark tonight and that if everyone told him the truth, his vote wouldn’t matter anyway. This irked Karla who called him out and told him it was offensive, while Gabler gave zero fucks and literally said he was planning to vote the way he was going to either way, so doesn’t care if Sami is performing. While Jesse reminded everyone he could also just be bluffing. With that the tribe voted and it wasn’t a bluff, as Sami played his Shot in the Dark – which didn’t give him safety – Cody announced his immunity to the tribe which was unnecessary as the tribe banded together to boot young Sami from the game. Meaning their gamble paid off.
As Sami arrived at tribal council, I licked a handkerchief and started wiping the dirt off his face as my long-lost parental instincts kicked in. I assured him he is a very good boy and that me and his family are so proud of not just the young man he has grown into, but the game that he played. While like young Julia from Kaoh Rong he got run over for playing in the middle, the fact that he managed to make it that far was impressive. As such, I gave him a pat on the back and toasted his run with a fresh and healthy Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow.
This vegetarian version of san choy bow is jam packed full of veggies – hidden for the kids, obviously – and even more so with flavour. Plus, you can feel super smug when you eat it since it is so healthy. Which is a personal fave flavour enhancer.
Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 ½ cups long grain white rice 1 tbsp vegetable oil 450g firm tofu, crumbled 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced 1 red onion, sliced 2 celery stalks, finely diced 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced 1 red capsicum, sliced 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced 1 tbsp palm sugar 2 tbsp soy sauce 3 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine 1 iceberg lettuce, leaves removed 1 long red chilli, sliced small handful coriander, leaves picked sriracha hot sauce or hoisin, to serve
Method Pop the rice and 2 ¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once rollicking, reduce to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside, covered for 5 minutes to steam.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat and add the tofu and cook, stirring for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Add the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes or until just tender. Add palm sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and shaoxing, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
To serve, divide the lettuce leaves among plates, top with rice, followed by the tofu mixture and a sprinkle of chilli, coriander and any sauces you like before devouring.
Previously on Drag Race UK 12 new dolls arrived in the UK Werk Room to battle it out for Ru’s love and attention. And when they get it, in the form of four badges, promptly lose the competition for being too good. But before we get there, Ru – and for one tragic week, Michelle – had to make some cuts with Just May sadly becoming the Gothy of the season despite being so damn sweet. She was followed out the door by the fashion queen of the season Starlet.
When the dolls formed duos, poor Copper came up short – rather than say, on top – before Sminty sad-twerked her way out of the competition and straight into our hearts, the history books and likely, an All Stars season. The pressures of the competition became too much for Baby who exited the competition to look after her mental health before Le Fil was too Polite for Snatch Game.
It was at that point that Ru chucked a sickie, leaving Michelle in charge who sadly cut the iconic Dakota for being too on brand. After Peppa and Jonbers both saved themselves from elimination with a killer lip sync, the top five put on a roast where comedy queen Pixie shockingly stumbled and landed in fifth.
The top four faced off in the traditional rumix, kiki and performance combination and while the song was an absolute bop with every queen getting a moment to shine, Ru decreed that only two would be lip syncing for the crown, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa tied in third place.
With that the two four badge queens – begging the question, does the UK just require one person with four wins to lose and this is how they got around the tradition? – lip synced to the iconic Shirley Bassey’s This Is My Life. And like the aforementioned rumix, it was an absolute show. Like their runs on the show, both Cheddar and Danny were perfect from start to finish, leaning into who they are as performers and giving classic Drag Race. And while I feel this would have been the most deserving double crowning of all time, ultimately Ru settled on one, crowning Danny Beard as the UK’s Next Drag Superstar and leaving the iconic Cheddar as the runner-up.
While I would have loved to see a double crowning, that in no way means I am any less excited about Danny’s victory. From start to finish she ran a near perfect race, never really faltering and always being a front runner. Plus, she is so damn charismatic and charming, you just know she is going to take the title and run with it to build an even bigger and better career because honestly, she is a born performer. As such, join me in toasting our newest queen with a piping hot Dannaan Beard.
My favourite thing about Indian food is probably a naan and while Spinach and Cheese – dedicated to another winner, begging the question is this the anti-Pizza – is my fave, there is something so damn perfect about garlic. Soft, pillowy and lightly flavoured, it paris perfectly with any curry. Or just as a solo snack, TBH.
Dannaan Beard Serves: 4-8.
Ingredients 450g flour 1 tsp salt 1 cup lukewarm water 1 tsp raw caster sugar 7g dried yeast ⅓ cup lukewarm milk 2 tbsp yoghurt 3 tbsp vegetable oil 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp nigella seeds garlic butter, to serve (optional)
Method Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and let it set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast and leave to get all foamy and glorious for 10 minutes or so. Once it smells like a brewery, whisk in the milk, yoghurt and oil.
Using the hook attachment, fold in the flour, garlic and seeds by hand until combined. Pop the attachment into the mixer and knead for a couple of minutes, or until smooth. Remove and transfer to a greased bowl to rest for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size. Punch back the dough and divide into 8 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, oil each ball and using a rolling pin, roll out to form a nice thin naan shape. Place in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat the process. Brush with a little garlic butter – optional, but advised – and then devour, victoriously!
Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?
The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.
As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.
Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.
White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.
Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.
The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.
And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?
Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.
And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!
Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.
On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.
The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve.
Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.
Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.
And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.
The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.
The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.
Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.
This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.
Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde Serves: 4.
Ingredients ½ cup Shayonnaise Swain 1 tbsp gochujang 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 shallots, sliced ¼ tsp smoked paprika 675g pork mince 1 tbsp minced ginger 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tsp kosher salt ½ tsp chilli flakes 4 Briocher Bünsberg butter lettuce, leaves removed 1 lebanese cucumber, sliced 1 cup kimchi
Method Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.
In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.
When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.
To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.
Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.
But first, let’s take a little step back.
We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.
Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!
At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.
Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.
After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.
You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?
Ryan Wedgranos Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.
Ingredients 1 ½ tsp paprika 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp onion powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 1 tsp dried oregano ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges 3 tbsp olive oil sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.
Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.
Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.
Previously on Survivor, Gabler continued to struggle with the conditions on the island, leading the girls to continue to plot around his idol. Sadly for them, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to him and when told no, he promptly outed all their plans to Gabler. Karla meanwhile found the Beware Advantage and despite initially leaving it, circled back and bamboozled everyone into giving her the beads and jagged herself an idol. After losing another immunity challenge, Vesi decided it was time to start focusing on strength and despite Noelle being on the outs, they banded together to boot Nneka from the game.
Back at camp Noelle quickly rallied everyone around to thank them for saving her, while the tribe assured her that they believe in her and know that things are about to turn around. Despite Cody feeling like they are running dead last. We pivoted to Baka in the early hours of the morning where Gabler was trying to help his tribe out by putting palm frond blankets on them to stay warm but, sadly, only ended up pissing everyone off. And well, that lack of self-awareness kinda had him running dead last in the tribe. Once the sun came up, the tension was palpable as they tried to get the fire going as Gabler and Elie butted heads over building a fire and the size of the fucking sticks used.
Before you even had time to appreciate my Eliza reference, the tribes joined together for the first solo reward of the season where one person from each tribe would knock blocks of a ledge with sandbags and then roll on two blocks to the end of a field, before handing off sandbags to the other three people who each have to land one on a hanging disc. With the winners getting to go to one of the losing camps and looting an item, in addition to ten fish. Cody dominated the first section of the challenge putting Vesi well out in front as Sami tried to nip at his heels and Ryan completely fell out of it. Despite Baka slowly catching up and Coco getting back in the game, Vesi finally landed their third bag and scored the power to loot (and the food).
After farewelling the losing tribes, Noelle bartered with Jeff to trade the fish for fruit and a fishing kit instead, given they still have no fire and therefore can not eat fish. Back at camp they celebrated by eating her success like royalty – RIP, Liz – as they spoke about who should go to the other tribe, with Cody offering to go and cause a little chaos. Which instantly filled Dwight with fear, given Cody is such a wildcard. Talk turned to which camp they should go to, with Baka having the most gear but Coco having the most people and as such, they wanted to hurt them. After locking in Coco, they planned to go after the machete as the most likely way to hurt them. Or at the very least, open them up to negotiate for the reward they really wanted.
The tribe were heartbroken as Cody arrived at Coco, with Cassidy seeing the choice to rob them for what it is and instantly turned on the charm to protect themselves. Cody too was turning on his charm, while Lindsay freaked out at the thought of losing the machete. Thankfully (kinda) James stepped in and started bartering, giving him limes, fishing gear and some root vegetables. And while Karla could see just how badly they played it, the rest of the tribe were grateful he didn’t take the machete. Which was never even Vesi’s plan. But hey, Cody now is in trouble because Queen Karla is out for blood, so it was a messy trip for all of them, I guess.
The tribes rejoined Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would race to knock sandbags off a ledge to find keys, unlock puzzle pieces, drag them under nets and then build a square. Once said square was built, they would then dismantle it and carry the pieces up a cargo net to build a triangle with the last placed tribe heading off to tribal council. Baka absolutely demolished the sandbags and got out to an early lead, while Vesi stayed right on their tail, as Coco brought up the rear. Baka swiftly built their square and got it checked off before moving on to the final puzzle while Vesi trailed behind and Coco grew more and more confused. Eventually all three tribes started work on the triangle before Vesi solved it out of nowhere. Before they got to work helping Baka along to force Coco off to tribal council. Which is exactly what happened. And is oh so shady. And. I. LOVE IT.
Back at camp Coco were frustrated by the fact the other two tribes had banded together to send them to tribal council. When it came to the scramble, Ryan was just trying to protect his ally Geo, who in turn was targeting Cassidy given everyone else has a strong relationship with her but him. Cassidy then approached the girls to lock in the vote against Geo for sassing her out, with James quickly on board. And just like that, it was a done deal.
Well, until Lindsay happened, as she decided it was too easy and started to question why people are still running around and talking. She then approached her allies and confronted them for scrambling without her and not talking to her, which made Karla question whether they should actually turn on her given that paranoia is only going to get worse the further they go along. James tried to pull Lindsay aside to talk some sense into her and calm things down and when it didn’t go well – at all – James was on board to get rid of her. Despite Geo’s growing ego frustrating them.
At tribal council the tribe were gagged to see Jeff and the set with Ryan opening up about how strong they are and how well they are getting along. James jumped in and praised Ryan for being their provider, with Jeff sweetly praising him for embracing the adventure of the game. Lindsay spoke about the fact they know what works for them, well until today, when everyone started to scramble. And then pointedly said that some people didn’t talk to her. While Ryan pointed out she didn’t give the vibe she wanted to speak to him, with Geo admitting that as long as the vote is not on him, he doesn’t really care. Karla meanwhile tried to explain why you have to continue to confirm the plan is still on and nothing has changed, leading to Lindsay admitting that she did that a little too much and may have made her a little paranoid.
Geo admitted that he wanted to make sure his people were calm, which made Cassidy point out that just because it looks calm on the surface, does not mean there isn’t chaos below. James said that he was just trying to stay calm to make others calm, while Cassidy admitted they won’t really know who they can trust until the vote happens. And well, given they were still talking all the way up to leaving for tribal council, Karla felt there were still way too many questions in the air. With that the tribe voted and despite being excited for them to be read, Lindsay was gagged to see that her allies had deserted her and joined Ryan to boot her from the game.
Making her paranoia prophetic, I guess?
Lindsay was well and truly shocked as she made her way to Loser Lodge, unsure whether she was right to be paranoid or if that is what cost her the game. Which obviously meant I kindly stepped in to assure her that she was completely safe until it got to her but given it made for an iconic (flameout) exit, she will have burned a place in the hearts and minds of fans and as such, she is the perfect candidate for a future Second Chances season. And that is the kind of comfort that is only bested by a Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel.
I love buns, and more importantly, sausages in buns, so you know a weiner pretzel is something I love in and around my mouth. A little bit sweet and a whole lot salty, these giant pretzel-pigs-in-blankets are perfection.
Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel Makes: 8.
Ingredients 1 cup milk 7g dry yeast 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar 2 ¼ cups plain flour 30g butter, softened and diced 1 tsp fine salt 8 hot dog wieners ¼ cup baking soda 1 egg, lightly whisked maldon salt flakes
Method Warm the milk in a saucepan until it is roughly 50C and pour into a large mixing bowl for a stand mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave to bask in the warm milk bath for about 2 minutes before stirring in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Add the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining flour and the fine salt and knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth yet a little bit sticky. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a warm place, in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling wrap for about two to three hours.
While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220C.
Punch the dough back and divide into 8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 40cm(ish) rope shape before coiling each around a weiner, pressing together to enclose as you go, leaving just a little tip of weiner at each end. And honestly, I’m not even trying with the innuendo anymore, I just can’t stop. Pop on a lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave them to prove for 20 minutes or so.
Pop 2L of water in a Dutch oven with the baking soda and bring to a gentle boil. It will bubble easily, so keep an eye on it the entire time. Working two at a time, pop the pretzels in the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once half-way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the baking tray.
Once they are all boiled, brush each with some egg, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool for ten minutes or so before devouring, alongside your favourite condiment.
Previously on Survivor – as you have already heard me gush – we were graced with the presence of one of the greatest personalities to take out the game, arguably since Sandra 2.0. Or maybeTyson. Maryanne was funny, emotional and oh so charming, and watching her work her way to victory was downright delightful. Sadly though, we’ve got to drop the 2 as 43 kicked off – see what I did there, Probst – with three speedboats jetting through the water with 18 new castaways. And let’s just say, they aren’t the only things that are new – the editors have some tricks! There were drones, there were joke chyrons and even an intro for one. And it was fun.
But that isn’t what we’re here to discuss, though you know I’d gladly dedicate 2000 words to it. Survivor 43 is here and we first met Ryan, who looks like a total zaddy and I will already follow him to the ends of the earth. Nneka is cute and Morriah, for some reason, is here for RuPaul’s Best Friend Race. Sami meanwhile is my hair twin and makes up words, Lindsay is an adorable, iconic frontline hero and I stan her already, no wait, Karla is even more up my alley. Lindsay and Karla final two, please. Cody looks like a potential day 4 zaddy, Elie is going to see if she can use her psychology background better than Tori, and Owen is perfect, he is hair goals, he is THE moment.
The boats eventually made it to shore where Jeffrey proudly welcomed them to the Survivor family which immediately made Elie overwhelmed and a little shocked that it was actually happening. We first spoke with Jeanine who called Survivor a total dream for her and her immigrant father and well, I guess there needs to be more room on my stan card because I love her too. Sweet James was hoping to follow in his hero Earl’s footsteps while Gabler is the right kind of kookie to win my heart, while Paralympian Noelle spoke about how losing her leg was the best thing that ever happened to her and, gag of the season, she actually applied before she lost it. And the fact that she wants to make some leg jokes along the way makes me love her even more.
After a quick recap of the design of the game, Jeff announced they would be forming the Vesi, Baka and Coco – literally, coco – tribes. And would immediately be competing together in the first reward challenge where duos would run off one pair at a time to retrieve crates before the final duo build a cube and retrieve a key, with the first to finish earning a flint, a pot and a machete. Baka got out to the earliest of leads while Vesi nipped at the heels before they started to overtake in the water. It was then that Coco powered ahead out of nowhere, building their cube and working on retrieving their key way ahead of the others. Sadly, that proved super difficult which allowed for everyone to catch up before Dwight was given some good advice and able to jag victory for Vesi.
We first checked in with the victorious Vesi where Cody was all energy and on cloud nine about their victory. He shared that he binged Survivor during the pandemic and upon decided he had what it takes to win, was ready to live it for real. As the tribe introduced themselves, I immediately fell in love with Nneka and Justine – who is stunning – while Dwight got the clown music as he struggled to build the shelter which I hope is only the beginning of an underdog edit. Over at Baka, Gabler was nervous to already be at a disadvantage, given he is so much older than his fellow castaways, before they discovered their two options to earn their supplies, one a mental puzzle and the other to isolate two people to work hard. While Sami offered to sweat, the tribe chose to do the puzzle which required them to move two bones from a shape to create the largest number possible.
While they battled their wits, over at Coco Ryan and Geo offered to dig for four hours and while it seems like a stupid move, Ryan stripped down to his undies and as such, I’m moister than an oyster. Specifically the ones that spat on Kimmi and Monica in Second Chances. Ryan then opened up about his cerebral palsy and well, I love him even more and want him to win so bad. And that was before he even heroically dug out their reward in less than half an hour. Back at Baka the tribe continued to struggle over the puzzle, until Sami gamed the system out of nowhere and solved it for them at the exact moment I was smugly proclaiming how obvious the answer was. Which proved to be incorrect. While I sulked, Sami opened up about how proud he was to solve the puzzle despite being the youngest on the tribe and shared with us that because he is 19, he is totally planning to lie about his age to his tribe.
We returned to Vesi where Noelle was living her best life, glad to have not needed to go through another challenge to get their supplies and to have quickly aligned with Justine given they were vibing so well. Sadly for them, Nneka, Cody and Jesse noticed how tight they had become, immediately locking in their own alliance and well, Justine girl, you’re in danger. And no, please don’t make her the Jessie Camacho of the modern era because I can’t take that kind of pain again. Oh and Cody was busy targeting her for being in sales, despite being in sales himself which will totally come back to bite him, right? Right on queue, Jesse admitted he isn’t exactly sold on the alliance and as such, is willing to work with the girls, begging the question, what about Dwight?
Over at Baka as the tribe tried to build shelter, Owen was focused on building alliances. And by alliances, I mean assuring anyone in sight that he would let them know if he heard their name come up at all. Which is a great non-promise, but could still come back to bite you if people start talking. Meanwhile Elie and Morriah were bonding over their families with the former opening up about her older sister dying of an overdose during 2020 and ugh, it is heartbreaking to hear but seeing how it rallied the women together, I live. Because, duh, I always root for the all female alliances.
Coco’s shelter building meanwhile was looking to be going ok, but like Owen before her, Cassidy was more focused on building alliances. Hearing my call, those alliances were specifically with the women on her tribe and the fact that they know how difficult the game is for women, I live for it. Sadly for my love Ryan, though, they wanted to bring in James to take control over the tribe and ice out my zaddy. Baka meanwhile had changed their focus as the men started working on building a fire as Sami explained that cremating pets is not murder, but disposing of their bodies. Which I thought was obvious, but great! In any event, he made fire while Gabler wandered off to try and form a bond with Elie over heavy metal bands and do I ship this? Probably. Do I ship it as much as the two all female alliances? God no.
The next day Coco were living their best lives, getting camp set up while Karla and Geo bonded over being queer, married members of the Latinx community and fuck me dead, THIS is the final two I want now, please and thank you. Despite the fact it kinda means my love Ryan is screwed. Well, unless Karla sides with the boys, given she clearly holds all the damn power in the tribe. We pivoted to Vesi where Jesse was opening up about growing up in gangs as a teen before he turned his life around while in juvenile detention. He now had a PHD with two adorable kids and is proud to be a hope for other people and ugh, he is the sweetest. Oh and while Jesse formerly had gang tattoos, Cody had LIVIN tattooed on his butt.
After the tatt talk dissipated, Justine focused on trying to get fire started for their tribe and while she was struggling, she was happy the shelter was doing good at least. At that exact moment, the shelter collapsed before she sparked a flame. Which sadly then went out, which gives off big retrograde energy. Thankfully they were distracted by the arrival of a speedboat directing them – and the two other tribes at the same time – to select one person to get on said boat for a little adventure. While Lindsay wanted to bounce at Coco, they drew numbers with Karla winning out, Gabler won Baka’s random draw while Dwight was just allowed to go, rather than any game of chance.
The trio met up at the famed quest island – formerly the Edge of Extinction – where they were thrilled to discover they didn’t need to walk up to the top of the island, instead wading through the shallows to a large rock. Shallows that were riddled with moss and oysters, so actually more dangerous than a stroll up a hill. Eventually they made it, learning that instead of a ship wheel, they now get to openly announce whether they want to risk their votes at the first tribal council, with them each selecting their fate out of a bag corresponding with how many people chose to risk it. Ultimately Gabler and Dwight opted to risk, while Karla was wise to play it safe. And more importantly to her, avoid painting a target on her back.
Back at Vesi the tribe were still heartbroken to not have fire before Justine once again managed to get flame, and this time managed to keep it alight. As Dwight returned to camp he opted to keep things truthful, knowing that everyone knows what those journeys are all about anyway. And while he was totally honest, Cody was not buying any of it and as such started sowing seeds of doubt about him amongst the tribe. At Baka, Gabler also told the tribe the truth before going for a walk and discovering he had jagged an idol for the next two tribal councils and while everyone else celebrated with him, they seem to be ignoring the fact it means he is safe and they are not. Which is never good.
Speaking of safety, Jeffrey returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would have to race through obstacles to release three balls, dig under a log, climb up a ramp, cross a balance beam and solve one of three table mazes. With them getting to choose which one, based on the order they arrive. Oh and sticking around from last season, the losers not only go to tribal council but have to forfeit their flint. Coco got out to an early lead while Vesi and Baka struggled to get under their logs. Specifically the latter as Jeanine got straight up stuck. As Vesi and Baka tried to close the gap, Coco landed all their balls and jagged immunity leaving the other tribes to desperately fight for the second win. Which eventually went to Vesi after they got their eye in, sending a defeated Baka to tribal council.
Back at camp the tribe quickly pivoted from disappointment to scrambling, with Sami in particular looking forward to getting their games started. Knowing he was kind of responsible, Gabler knew the target would be on his back and as such, mentioned he will not be playing his idol and instead, decided he would play his Shot in the Dark instead. Which Elie obviously thought was a terrible idea, instead telling him that they can’t afford for him to lose his vote and that he needs to pull his head in. With that out of the way, Elie, Jeanine and Owen went off and locked in the vote against Morriah, while Morriah and Sami were locking in their votes against Owen instead. Mainly because Gabler is too unpredictable to be able to trust or target. When the duo caught up with Jeanine and Elie, Elie assured us that while saying she wants to keep women strong, she wanted to focus on tribe strength. And just like that, this female alliance is already looking to be DOA.
At tribal council Sami spoke about how wonderful the vibe was at camp before losing the immunity challenge, ready to ride it out until the final 6 together. Owen agreed things were great, though suggested it instead had more to do with the fact nobody wanted to paint a target on their back. Gabler admitted that while not scrambling earlier could put them at a disadvantage, he is still glad they bonded as a tribe. Oh and then Morriah suggested they were all winners, because they tried. Sami rightly pointed out moral victories don’t keep you in the game, while Elie agreed but suggested they still need to form the right bonds too. Talk then turned to some sort of text analogies – don’t tell Teresa Giudice – before Sami reminded everyone that while they are friends, someone is about to have regrets.
Which obviously meant it was time to vote where Gabler surprisingly kept hold of his Shot in the Dark before Morriah was surprisingly chill to discover that she had become the latest member of the Sonja Christopher club. Or in Drag Race terms, the Porkchop.
As soon as she arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled Morriah in for a massive hug and assured her that while Survivor may not be the best place to make friends, I will always be proud of the positive, kind, spirit that she brought into the game. Within a small tribe situation, it is even harder to navigate the pre-merge section of the game and when everyone is getting along and contributing like the tribe were, it almost becomes a game of lucky dip. And let’s just say, after that little peptalk and a Morriahti Young or two, she was feeling 100 again.
Despite how the kinda clunky name makes it sound, these roti – not raita – are completely delicious. Fresh, fluffy and melt in your mouth, once you’ve tried a roti from scratch, you’ll never go back to pre-bought. Particularly since they are so damn easy!
Morriahti Young Serves: 4.
Ingredients 300g flour ½ tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp black pepper, ground 250ml chilled water 30g butter, melted vegetable oil
Method Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Stir in the water until it all comes together, before transferring to a floured surface and kneading for about 5 minutes.
Split the dough into 8 equal portions and form into balls. Working one at a time, roll a ball to form a 20cm wide disc and brush with some melted butter. Roll into a cigar, then roll parallel to form into a small scroll, kind of like Inception of rolling or a quick laminate of croissants. Now flatten the scroll into a disc and roll back out to form a disc. Repeat the process with the remaining portions.
To cook, pop a heavy skillet over medium heat and brush with the oil. Add the roti and cook for a minute or two, before flipping and cooking for another minute or until golden on both sides and nicely puffed. Repeat with the remaining bread then, obvi, devour.
Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls formed girl groups and while the producers tragically opted against keeping costs down and getting the girls to talk about their tight tucks, it did work out for the best as it was absolute fire. Like the first season of UK, one team absolutely molly wopped – not whomp, which I just learnt was different and something I would love TBH – while the other team had a Cheryl trying to hold them up. While Spankie took out her third win, Hannah her second and Kween her first, Beverly was the aforementioned Cheryl on the losing group, which tragically resulted in the elimination of my fave – and total baby zaddy – Yuri.
Backstage everyone was rallying around an emotional Molly, who had been expecting to the one going home. She toasted Yuri for being such a hard worker before Spankie stepped in and gave a beautiful speech about just how great Yuri is and reiterated that she belongs, while she (and I) sobbed. And ugh, just crown Spankie this instant, you cowards!
The next day the girls were still feeling their girl group oats, though fearful that Minnie was also lingering in the rafters, ready to start a feud at any moment. Kween meanwhile apologised for bringing the room down last week, though stopped short of apologising to Beverly specifically for fighting. She felt she was most disappointed in the fact she was so frustrated that she straight up missed the chance to toast Yuri and remind her how proud she is. This led to Bev instead apologising to her and while they hugged it out, I feel like things are still tense.
Ru interrupted things to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be filming tourism infomercials promoting their hometown. As they split up to come up with a plan, Hannah locked in Perth while Molly was going to lean into Newcastle, given it is where she and Rhys are both from. Bev meanwhile opened up about being like me, starting on the GC before moving to Brisbane while Spankie was proudly going to rep Palmerston North and smalltown life. Kween meanwhile opened up to Hannah and Spankie about how much she is struggling with her depression, while everyone rallied around and vowed to always be there for each other. And ugh, I love seeing it!
My fellow Tweed local Samantha Harris then dialled in to advise them how to sell shit and while it didn’t add much, she is Tweed Breed 4 Lyf like me, so you all should stan.
Ru made her ru-turn to the Werk Room to kiki with the dolls, cutting down all of Spankie’s ideas and telling her to highlight the best part of Palmerston North, herself. Beverly then dropped by and well, let’s just say I’m not mad, just disappointed, that she has never watched Muriel’s Wedding. The cinematic celebration of TWEED HEADS. Is this the Tweed showcase episode?! While Ru just wanted to find out who Beverly is, Kween was told to bring the fun, Hannah was told to be less serious and well, Molly’s version of Newcastle was quote-unquote, sad.
Done dropping bombs, Ru exited stage left as they started to get ready while Beverly asked her sisters for advice on how to show more of her personality. With Hannah jumping in with suggestions before Bev even finished her sentence, while Kween joined in with more advice that Bev felt was aggressive. As such, she started to spiral leading to another epic pep talk from Spankie in the rack of costumes and again, if Spankie doesn’t win, we riot.
Kween was up first to film with Michelle Visage and down under icon Suzanne Paul and well, she was a little boring. But given the pit crew are hot, I loved it. Spankie meanwhile slayed as the drunk aunty wandering through town on her way home from a night out. Hannah arrived looking stunning and was so organised, prepared and most importantly, bonkers, that I live for her. Molly meanwhile was sexed up, demented and a little confused, but Michelle and Suzanne were having fun together and that is all that matters. Oh and then Bev was living for her concept hunting for a sugar daddy as a lesbian Irwin. And well, I love the shoot portion if nothing else, because Bev was fun.
Elimination Day arrived with Beverly opening up about the fact she has realised that she is still trying to find herself and that that, combined with her family’s drive for success has made it difficult for her to just be. Talk then turned to the girls’ families, with Kween opening up about how her oldest sister died the year she was undergoing her gender confirmation and how she is living with the regret of not getting to know her or support her on her journey. She then immediately pivoted and encouraged everyone to do what they love as it makes them happy. And that is the sweet Kween Kong that I know and love.
Michelle, Rhys and Ru took their places as Kween opened the Swimsuit Edition runway giving oceanic goddess realness. Spankie was sex on legs as Pamela Anderson’s older sister, Molly was a stunning Meter Maid – complete with high-beams – while Hannah was a confection in a bright, mod delight while Beverly gave another Meter Maid, this time with a ruveal AND coins.
When it came to the commercials, Kween’s was silly and demented though the judges wanted it to be more funny funny and less dark humour. Though they loved her runway. Oh and then Ru gave an epic monologue about internalised homophobia AND daddy issues, which was amazing. Spankie was up next with a gloriously deranged commercial that confused the shit out of everyone, meaning it was perfection. And then add in her Baywatch moment and well, it was a good week for Spankie. Molly’s ad meanwhile was classic bogan Australian and I love it and sadly, feel like I’ve lived it. Multiple times. Hannah’s ad was camp perfection, telling a story and was so damn smart. I mean, she fought a black swan AND exploded. Oh and they loved her pivoting on the runway and standing out in all the right ways. Bev meanwhile lived her Irwin fantasy, though kinda fell flat by being so polished rather than showing her messiness.
Ru opted to get messy and asked the dolls to identify who should go home with everyone opting for Bev due to her track record, while Bev instead felt Kween’s commercial was the weakest. Adding that her track record wasn’t much better than her, either.
Backstage Bev was heartbroken to be the one everyone named, despite understanding why they called her out. Hannah once again cut her off and encouraged her to stop being so in her head and instead just be. And while Hannah felt she was being encouraging and trying to push her to be better, Bev cut her off and started to sob. Once again Spankie gave her a pep talk and helped lift her back up, encouraging her to swear at Hannah all she wanted. Which she sadly opted against, instead choosing to practice the lip sync since she was totally in the bottom.
Ultimately Molly and Spankie – ROBBED – were sent to safety as Hannah joined the triple winners club with Spanks. Which obviously left Kween to face off against Beverly to Ru’s very own The Beginning. And damn, did the dolls turn a show. Like I know I say that a lot, but it was actually WILD. There was almost a collision within the first three bars, they were flipping and spinning every second line, backwards AND forwards, hitting every lyric and oftentimes in complete synchronicity. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was now, because this was amazing. Like a gymnastics version of Alyssa and Tatianna. Sadly though, somebody had to go – apparently – as Kween was sent to safety, sending my fellow Bris-babe Bev out of the competition.
While Bev went through a lot of emotion this week, she held her head high as she returned to the Werk Room. I pulled her in for a massive hug and tried to give her my very best Spankie impersonation, reminding her that she is a star and has all of her career to figure out who she is, so to just believe in herself and have fun. Because spoiler alert, she is already a massive success. Which thankfully got through to her, allowing us to laugh and cry, as we reminisced about the glory of the GC and Brisvegas (and I firmly explained the importance of watching Muriel’s Wedding) before smashing some glorious Baoverly Buns Kills.
It is no secret that I passionately and ardently love both a porkie – praise be, Benedict – and baos, but this little duck number is just a little bit better than the rest. Rich, sweet and a little bit fresh, the flavours dance over your palate as expertly as Bev in a lip sync.
Baoverly Buns Kills Serves: 4
Ingredients 8 buns Bret LaBao Buns ¼ tsp salt 1 tsp light soy sauce 1 tsp shaoxing wine ¼ tsp Chinese five spice 4 boneless duck breasts 1 tbsp vegetable oil ⅔ cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for drizzlin’ ¼ cup kewpie mayo 2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into lengths 2 shallots, sliced ¼ cup coriander, leaves torn
Method Prepare the baos as per Bret’s recipe. Combine the salt, light soy, shaoxing and five spice powder in a bowl and rub into the duck. Transfer to a plate, leaving the skin up to dry for an hour or so.
When you’re ready to cook, pop the oil in a heavy based skillet over medium heat and once nice and hot, pop the breasts in the pan, skin side down and cook for about 10 minutes, agitationg frequently, or until crispy and the fat had rendered out.
Drain most of the fat and flip the breasts and cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove the duck and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Shred the duck and return to the pan with the hoisin and toss to combine.
To assemble, smear mayo on the baoss, layer with some cucumber and shallots, top with a heaping of duck, a drizzle of hoisin and some coriander. Then, devour.