Mimi Ricottang Cookies

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor George returned from hospital with a brutal facial injury, which instantly endeared him to the tribe that desperately wanted him gone. The tribe christened him and despite the rebirth, Simon and Michael were still out for his now exposed blood. Simon in particular desperate to have the title of Kingslayer on his resume. The Heroes dominated yet another immunity challenge as George bombed the puzzle – justice for Stevie – sending the Villains back to tribal for a second time in a row. Back at camp, the tribe locked in a plan to get rid of George, though Queen Shonee was an icon as she turned the tide and saved our king, sending Michael from the game instead.

The next day the Spice Girls – aka Shiz and George – were busy bonding with Sarah, hoping for answers to whether she actually pushed Miss Greece down the stairs. And while she assured us that she didn’t, I live for the black humour of how she would have wanted to alongside the assurances she was only temporarily in a wheelchair, to get out of anyone thinking she is awful. We then learnt more about the iconic beauty queen, who plays rugby league in her spare time and loves it due to her passion for smashing people. Begging the question, did she actually push Miss Greece?

Stevie meanwhile was doing some tai chi as Jordie and Simon caught up about the fact George is still here, with the boys thankfully moving on and agreeing it was best to use him as a shield. For now. The tribe convened to talk through how they plan to maintain the fire while away at the upcoming challenge, while Stevie adorably tried to keep them all focused and motivated before pulling them into some tai chi. And while he isn’t great strategically, Shonee lives for his kooky ways despite him wanting her gone. And what is good for Shonee is good for me.

Jonathan made a speedy return for the reward challenge where the Heroes were gagged to see George survive, rather than the fact it was Michael that departed. For the challenge, the tribes would face off one on one to grab a sandbag in the water and score a goal, with the first tribe to three getting a giant cookie jar. More importantly, this kind of challenge generally gets us buns as the boys grapple in the water. First up were Shonee and Flick with our Queen putting in one hell of a fight before Flick scored the first point for the Heroes. Stevie once again faced off against Shaun who obviously won before Jordie scored the first point for the Villains against Matt. Sam and Simon were up – the latter in speedos, swoon – with Simon tying things up after a brutal, brutal battle. That left Mimi and Paige to battle for the win which started off a bit derpy before the duo fought hard, dragging each other back and forth before Mimi secured the cookies for the Villains. Like a damn boss.

We finally checked in with the dejected Heroes trip with Shaun sad to have missed out on the cookies, while Rogue gave them a pep talk which obviously sounded more like reprimanding them for not being strategic enough. Everyone started to speculate whether a clue would be in the cookies and how ultimately it would make the Villains more chaotic and as such, could help them in the long run. Shaun, David, Matt and Sam caught up in the water to form an alpha male alliance with Benjamin pointing out to the girls what was happening, while Ben narrated an ad for all the meat on offer and yes producers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

While Rogue was busy questioning who, other than her, was actually a hero.

Back over with the funner Villains, the tribe instantly cracked the cookies and got to work smashing them before Jordie suggested they sit by the shore to continue eating them. George meanwhile went to crack a coconut – which was obviously code for idol hunting – as the tribe were otherwise occupied. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the perfect cover as Jordie questioned where he was as everyone praised his strategy in the challenge. And while he did find the idol, it may no longer be a total secret as there is suspicion. And a giant bulge in his pocket. 

That being said, it appeared that nobody had actually noticed George’s antics, as the tribe seductively ate cookie after cookie before everyone started to speculate whether they should search the jar for a clue or advantage. Despite the risk of literally getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. While Jordie cautioned Fraser against it unless he was feeling nervous, Fraser tried the same with Mimi who was less concerned about the repercussions. After night fell, she quietly got out of bed and started searching through the jar – unsuccessfully – as Liz awoke and just as quietly watched on behind her. The next day Mimi was disappointed to have not found anything while Liz got to work spreading the update to everyone in the tribe.

And just like that, Mimi was now public enemy number one.

The tribe rejoined JLP for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes would have to race a ladder over a series of obstacles before releasing a sack of coconuts and then using said coconuts to smash six tiles. The Villains got out to an early lead on the first obstacle before the Heroes’ brute strength slowly closed the gap. And then they pulled way out in front. To the point where they smashed all of their tiles before the Villains even released theirs.

Back at camp the tribe were, how do you say, very disappointed, with Stevie questioning what the hell they are doing wrong. He caught up with Simon and Jordie to suggest they focus on getting rid of dysfunction by taking out Mimi. Which the boys were obviously on board with, particularly since they know he would be loyal to them if they protect him. The Shiz too were focusing on Mimi or Stevie, with Shonee rightly pointing out that since Stevie is coming for her, it makes sense for her to get rid of him. The boys joined the girls, Sarah and George, quickly pushing them back towards getting rid of Mimi for her shiftiness.

Well, for a little bit.

George obviously hates not being in control, so approached Mimi to fill her in on what has been happening and told her to go hunting for an idol while he worked overtime on turning the tide on Stevie. He and Fraser joined up with Shiz and quickly locked them in on the Stevie plan, before they floated the plan to Sarah. Everyone eventually reconvened at the shelter where Simon stumbled upon the advantage that was hidden in the cookie jar. Wait, no, the producers crossed out the idol symbol so I am just guessing it is a random token with zero power. Or if he is lucky, an idol nullifier. Simon caught up with Jordie, filling him in on the potential idol before floating the idea of idoling George instead. And damn, things just got spicy or funny. And there will be no in between. Begging the question, do the producers have a fetish for making Simon look silly? Because if so, the idol is for real fake.

Simon got to work making sure everyone was voting for Stevie, laying it on thick with George to ensure he thought they were tight and as such make the blindside all the more sweet. Mimi meanwhile caught up with Shonee to see if they were good, with the Queen assuring her that duh, of course they were. Stevie traded out with Shonee, suggesting Mimi goes idol hunting while both of them pretended they didn’t know the other was a target. Simon and Jordie caught up with Shonee, not letting her in on the plan before she reiterated that while she doesn’t trust George, she knows she needs him for now to save herself. And after she left, Jordie rightly pointed out that they can’t afford to make a move without at least checking in with Shiz, because otherwise, they will flip on the boys and they will follow him out the door.

At tribal council Fraser tried to downplay the fact they are slowly growing more and more screwed, as the tribe snacked on cookies. Liz spoke about being sick of tribal council but knew it was the game and as such, was ready to get on with it. Simon started to whisper to Jordie about wanting to make history, before Jordie told Jonathan that he is more focused on quality over quantity and while he wants numbers, he’d like to make sure they are loyal. Simon reiterated the fact they have won a couple of challenges and as such, they at least know they can beat the Heroes, with George agreeing that the last win in particular was arguably the best he has had in both seasons.

Talk turned to the paranoia of the cookie jar with Jordie outing someone for hunting in it for an advantage. Though stopped short of naming Mimi, despite everyone already knowing about it. Liz hilariously then admitted that she knows who it is given she was the one who saw them, before Simon and Jordie started whispering again as Jordie desperately asked him to reconsider. And when he didn’t listen, he instead asked to talk to the girls who swiftly told him they would not be on board. At all. Despite the whispering, Stevie was not concerned and assured Jonathan that if they wanted him to know what they were talking about, they would tell him. He and Mimi then argued over whether he was loyal or had trust, and while they fired up, it made Shonee and Liz keen to flip things back on to her instead of Stevie.

After Shiz got the boys on the new page, Simon decided it was a good idea to now play his non-idol for Mimi while Jordie openly declared that tonight is not the night for big moves and that instead, they needed to focus on building trust with the people they want to work with. Aka Simon, cool your jets, you can get idol redemption another day. Well, if it is legit, that is. The tribe finally voted and Simon wisely opted against any theatrics as Mimi was brutally blindsided from the game, meaning Shonee has now booted and saved Stevie. Like a merciful queen.

As Mimi pulled up at Loser Lodge, I quickly ran out to give her a massive hug, disappointed to see yet another queen exit the game too soon. I assured her that despite the stumble with the cookie jar, she had been playing a solid game and should be proud of how she always stayed true to herself. Plus, she totally dominated the reward challenge. With the formal pep talk out of the way, we gossiped about whether we thought the Villains were doomed for a Stephanie LaGrossa V Bobby Jon demise, or whether they’d be able to win immunity soon. But that goss is not something I’m willing to share just yet. Just the secret to some delicious Mimi Ricottang Cookies.

Yes, yes, it is another festive recipe, but you’ll have to accept that the show filmed last year and festive cheer commences in July in my house. Plus, you don’t necessarily need the sprinkles to make these ones a winner. Soft and melt in your mouth, the light flavour transports you to a place of calm.

Enjoy!

Mimi Ricottang Cookies
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
240g unsalted butter, softened
425g raw caster sugar
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
480g flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
450g icing sugar
¼ – ½ cup milk, depending on desired consistency

Method
In a stand mixer, cream all but a tablespoon of the butter and caster sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and half the vanilla, and return to medium speed to beat until well combined. One by one, beat in the eggs, allowing the mixture to come back together between them. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before folding in flour, baking soda and salt. Return to the mixer one last time and beat until everything is just combined. Cover the dough and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a few baking sheets.

When the dough is cold and firm, shape into tablespoon sized balls and place on the baking sheets leaving about 5cm between them to allow for spread. Pop the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly baked, just before golden, before allowing to cool for five minutes on the tray after which they should be stabilised to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool, melt the remaining butter. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl before slowly whisking in the melted butter, lemon juice, remaining vanilla and enough milk to form a glaze. That will depend on your own preferences.

Pour a little bit of glaze on top of each cookie, followed by the sprinkle of your choice – don’t have to be festive, but why not, I say – before smashing. Gleefully.


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Jackie Glaziered Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Cake, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.

We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.

We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?

Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.

The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.

And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.

After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.

Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! –  who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.

We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.

That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.

Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.

Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!

But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.

Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.

Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.

The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity. 

The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.

After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.

Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.

Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.

Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.

Enjoy!

Jackie Glaziered Muffins
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
140g butter, plus extra for greasin’
1 cup golden syrup
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 cup Guinness
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
2 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.

Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.

Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.

Either way, devour with villainous glee.


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Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

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.

Enjoy!

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.


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Molly Poppancakes

Breakfast, Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the top five starred in tourism infomercials to sell their very own home towns. And well, the resulting five infomercials – directed by Suzanne Paul, no less – were vastly different, verging from melancholy to masterpiece, alongside a healthy dose of manic for good measure. Spankie was delightfully demented, Kween went dark but forgot to add the humour, Bev was confusing but appeared to be having fun, Molly gave drunk chick realness and Hannah gave us pure cinema. Obviously it led to Bev and Kween landing in the bottom and TBH, I’m glad it did because they turned the best lip sync in Down Under history. And while Bev went home, after that performance, it was on a very high note!

Backstage the dolls toasted Bev’s run in the competition and shared how proud Brisbane would be, which yeah, we are. Kween meanwhile was grateful for the journey and to be able to turn the lip sync, though was not planning to do it again until the crown. Which, as usual, is foreshadowing right? Molly asked Spankie how it felt given everyone that is eliminated seems to be leaving messages telling her they are rooting for her. Which obviously made her feel damn great, admitting it means the world to her that they feel loved, while Kong admitted that she too is team Spankie given she is so lovely and helpful. But make no mistake, she also wants to win. As do Hannah and Molly who showed off their aunty moves to prove it.

The next day the top four were thrilled to be lining up for the second last challenge, while Molly was frankly shocked to have made it this far. Particularly over Minnie and Yuri, who they all agreed are each icons in their own ways. They then got a call from zaddy – and recently minted Emmy winner – Murray Bartlett who dropped some hints for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the makeover. Which was quickly confirmed by Broom when we arrived with a super fan, his father, cousin and uncle and TBH, all of them could choke me. In any event, the family would be joining each of the dolls’ drag families. With the duos decided by a game of scissors, paper, rock, with Molly first to make her choice, opting for Keelan the superfan. Kween went with cousin Tyler, Hannah opted for Tony the dad(dy), leaving Spankie with Uncle Paul.

Molly and her new sister were vibing and living their best life, with her quickly kikiing about the dolls while Kween looked on, grateful she would have someone that didn’t already have all the energy. Hannah and Tony meanwhile became the fastest of friends, learning that three of his sons are gay and that he was ready to get the biggest titties possible. Spankie then learnt that he was partnered with a fellow Palmy local, and while Paul knew they had to work hard to get Spankie to the end, sweet Spanks just wanted her to have fun. Kween meanwhile was partnered with the chillest, sweet guy and given they have similar builds and personalities, condragulations Kween, I was right about the foreshadowing. And though her partner was ready to break down some barriers, he was scared of breaking his ankle in the heels.

Which the youngens mastered – unintentional death drops be damned – while the older generation seemed to struggle. Though given Spankie almost stacked it in the walking showcase too, who actually knows what will happen. 

Ru returned to kiki with the new families, with Molly and Keelan going for a bit of sweet and sour while Molly just hoped to keep up with her new sister’s energy. Keelan opened up about how lovely his family are and damn, I want to hug Tony. Speaking of him, he and Hannah charmed the hell out of Ru who then gave Tony some tips about walking in heels. Spanks and Paul were living their slut dream and made Ru even happier than Tony, and I’m so ready for this. Kween and Tyler meanwhile were a little subdued, but damn Kween is in her element and ready to slay. And you know Tyler is going to be feeling her oats, though needed to sell everything in her eyes.

After Ru exited, Molly started to grow nervous about Kween and Tyler who were clearly coming together perfectly. Particularly since Keelan kinda-sorta hated her outfit and wanted to slut it up a little more, making Molly’s life quite hard. Spankie too was struggling to make all the alterations required to pull together Paul’s look, making her terrified about landing in the bottom again. Which was heartbreaking as she started to cry.

Elimination Day rolled around with Tyler spending the night before practising his walk, while Keelan was taking notes for where she and Molly can improve. They then received another call, this time from Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills. After that commercial, the duos split up to start getting ready with Tyler nervous about letting down Kween, leading to Kween going into Spankie territory and giving the most beautiful pep talk and well, they are totally winning. Right? Spankie and Paul meanwhile bonded over family, with Spankie admitting she moved back to Palmy when her father was given six months left to live and while he is still alive and well, he is grateful he was able to build a stronger relationship with his father. Which is essentially what Paul did for his own father, with the duo breaking down and becoming the best of friends.

And. I. Live.

Molly meanwhile was ready to give Kween the win, given Tyler looked like a woman and well, she had run out of time to get her and Keelan into drag. With Keelan then trying to pull a Spankie and Kween by giving her a pep talk.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places on the panel as Kween Kong introduced Sister Kong on the Opposites Attract runway, serving angel and demon and well, Tyler SLAYED. Molly Poppinz and Kandy Flippinz were a camp delight as Kandy lived her best life. Spankie and Flash Jackzon gave pizzeria realness, now with pineapple – WHICH IS ALWAYS WELCOME ON ANY GOOD PIZZA – and they looked so cute together. Hannah and Elle Gator gave mediaeval, regal realness and were oh, so beautiful.

Kween and Sister received universal praise, particularly given how much Tyler was living for how beautiful she looked. Kween opened up about how wonderful her week was, while Tyler was proud of how much fun he had. And I assume, for doing THAT. Molly and Kandy were praised for giving sweet and sour, while Michelle couldn’t understand the narrative of their runway. Keelan opened up about how jealous she is of how good her family looks and for how much fun they were. Spankie and Flash were praised for giving sexy and having fun, though Spankie obviously had the better mug. Spankie opened up about how close she felt to Paul and ugh, I love it. Hannah and Elle were praised for their vibe and how beautiful Tony looked, while Michelle and Ru lavished praise on Tony for how much of a wonderful parent he is and ugh, of course I’m crying.

Backstage the duos toasted their success with Kealan so happy for the experience, while Tyler felt like it was a powerful, transformative experience. Everyone then lavished each other with praise, talking about how grateful they are for the experience. Hannah then started to break down, feeling like it would be her and Molly lip syncing tonight leading to everyone having a tear, desperately hoping that nobody would be eliminated instead.

Obviously Kween took out her second win of the season – Tyler is the new Wintergreen, right? – while Spankie was deemed safe, tragically leaving the self-proclaimed hobbit twins to lip sync. Just as was foreshadowed, and then expected. And while Hannah was threatening to go the park and bark route, she turned Heartbreak in This City by Steps and Michelle Visage, using every corner of the stage and hitting every lyric. And while Molly also turned it, I feel like Ru fell back on the track records and sent Hannah through to the finale, tragically eliminating the delightful Molly Poppinz.

Going out just before the final is always a bitter pill to swallow, but given Molly is such a sweet delight, she took it all in stride. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her she had a wonderful run on the competition and truly got to show how kind and funny she is. In addition to serving some killer looks. And while she was felled at the near-final hurdle, she is the perfect kind of star to go out and snatch an All Stars crown. With that, she was well and truly perked up, which is convenient, given you can’t be sad ahead of eating a big stack of Molly Poppancakes.

Before brunch became a thing, pancakes at home were well and truly my favourite weekend treat. Fluffy, pillowy discs of carby goodness, drizzled with a heaping of maple syrup, honey or lemon and sugar. Whatever your choice of topping, pancakes are always a win.

Enjoy!

Molly Poppancakes
Serves: 2 dear hobbit friends (which I can say, given I’m built like the hobbit queens).

Ingredients
1 ¾ cup milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
butter, for fryin’ (and servin’ too, obvi)
your fave condiments, to serve

Method
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a measuring jug and combine the dry in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients until the batter is just combined.

To fry, pop a large skillet over medium heat. Once nice and hot, add a bit of butter to the pan and spread across as it melts. Pour about ¼-½ cup of batter into the pan and cook for two minutes, or until bubbles start to form, pop and hold their shape on the top. Flip and cook for a further minute or two, or until they are cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm and repeat the process until done.

Serve immediately with butter and your favourite topping, before devouring, in the triumphant melancholy only carbs can fix.


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Pfefferlix Godlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Pfefferlix Godlo
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh and then Tevin found the hidden immunity idol. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté

Baking, Bread, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Side, Snack

Previously on Drag Race, Ru got nice and meta by tasking the dolls with filming two parody super-tease commercials for their own season. Obviously madness ensued as Maddy made up that her dads cast her out for being straight, DeJa hilariously broke down over being born when she was young and Angeria continued her charming ways. At the other end of the spectrum, Kerri was read for not going ugly enough, Alyssa for being one note and Kornbread for not giving enough levels – complete with a slow-mo, mid-fake-tantrum! Ultimately Angeria rightly took out another victory for slaying the commercial and the J-Lo runway, while Kerri destroyed the lipsync in the actual green J-Lo dressing, saving herself and sending Alyssa home from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were heartbroken to see sweet Alyssa go home, while Kerri was just proud to have shown the girls what she is made of. Despite the fact she wished she was doing better in the competition, she was also glad to be able to get feedback and learn the judges wanted Scary Kerri to come back. The dolls took a seat and congratulated Angeria on her victory, while Bosco just wished she was cutting through as much Angeria with the judges. Kornbread meanwhile shared that she was heartbroken to have been in the bottom, though more than ready for her redemption. Oh and like Bosco, Camden was sick of continually being safe and was ready to star.

And YAS, we’re entering the era of Bosco and Camden, aren’t we?

The next day the queens returned to the Werk Room, with Kornbread conspicuously missing from the line-up. Before they could get answers, Ru arrived to announce that poor Kornbread’s onkle LITERALLY went cleek and that doctors advised that she would have to stay off her feet for two months and as such, was leaving the competition. In a filmed message to the girls, she praised Kerri for being the monster within, encouraged Jasmine to speak enough to the two of them and reminded Willow to look after herself. But also to throw away her damn flip flops. This got Willow ugly crying and ugh, I love them all.

While everyone was heartbroken to lose sweet Kornbread, Daya was thrilled that there was now one less front runner to contend with. Oh and Ru also announced that Kornbread didn’t have the golden ticket, so it is still in play for one of the remaining dolls.

We then did a hard pivot as the Pit Crew arrived to help split the girls into groups for the upcoming Maxi Challenge. One by one, the dolls would have to dirty dance with the hunks – oh god, am I old?! – until they pop their balloon bussies, with the confetti inside deciding which group they’re in. Bosco went first and blew green confetti, Jasmine got purple confetti all over Bryce’s back while Bruno had to power bottom to announce DeJa was on the orange team. Maddy poorly topped for the first time before landing on the purple team before Kerri effortlessly exploded to land on team orange. Daya and Camden got green while Jorgeous just couldn’t top before power-bottoming on to the orange team. While an orgy left Orion on purple and Angeria on orange.

Ru then wheeled out Tempest DeJour – complete with matching shirt to Daya – Jaymes Mansfield and Kahmora Hall before Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, each group would be making a PSA for the Save a Queen foundation, which supports first eliminated queens. With that, Tempest went to team Orange, Purple snagged Jaymes Mansfield while Team Green got the iconic Kahmora Hall.

The groups immediately split up to get to know their first boot sisters, with Tempest quickly looking after her babies and inspiring them to go in on her age, given that is the drama that surrounded her one-episode arc in Season 7. Despite Tempest keeping them focused and motivated, poor Jorgeous was super overwhelmed and nervous as public speaking is her weakness. Meanwhile over at Team Jaymes, Maddy opted to focus the PSA on giving her a second chance while Orion was just being mean. Which is hilarious. Maddy and Willow were a dream team with the scripting however, while Willow and Jasmine were just awkwardly off to the side watching the back and forth.

Ru ru-turned to kiki with the teams with Team Kahmora talking about the importance of keeping Kahmora in on the joke and given she is delightful, I feel this will be fun. Ru told Camden to think about a serious issue close to her heart to connect with the fake emotion required, with her literally just repeating the sentence back to Ru rather than sharing an issue. Ru then popped on his shady boots, pointing out Camden, Daya and Bosco have never been in the top, so wondered how they will make this work out for them.

When Team Jaymes jumped up, Jaymes shared how great her career has been despite being a first boot. Maddy led most of the discussion, while Orion was super nervous about getting the challenge done, given PSAs usually make her sad. Which made Willow nervous about how to land their characters. Team Tempest meanwhile were confident, with Angeria glad to mock her age as Tempest assured them she wants them to go really rude. Ru reminded them they need to play it straight, given being too jokey will give it away. Jorgeous took that to mean ditsier and cutesier and girl, please get out of your head because I love you.

We then followed Team Tempest to the set where they filmed in front of Michelle, where Jorgeous ripped off the band-aid but sadly couldn’t get her rhymes in during the allotted time. DeJa meanwhile got stuck in her head and forgot all her lines and while it appeared like that was contagious, Angeria rallied and knocked it out of the park. Oh and Kerri’s version of ugly was popping on glasses. Which is offensive to my bad eyesight, despite me loving her.

When Team Kahmora took stage, Bosco immediately took charge and directed the shoot and well, it was joyous, perfect and demented. Camden leant into her accent and was completely perfect, despite being a little quiet. Bosco on the other hand, was not quiet and lent into things with full rage. And then Daya gave full newsreader realness and damn, this is the group to beat.

Wait Jaymes Mansfield looks perfect and ugh, they could challenge her. Orion was in a jumpsuit while the rest served weather girl realness, with Maddy strong and Willow perfection – as usual – while Orion was sadly a little one note and Jasmine gave us the Count from Sesame Street realness leading to an EPIC read from Maddy which was perfect.

One bad take, ugh ugh ugh. Two bad takes …

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls quickly splitting up to beat their mugs with Daya, Bosco and Camden feeling confident in their PSA, while Camden was nervous she’d once again be safe. Bosco praised them both for nailing the entire thing while Jorgeous watched on awkwardly since she was counting on them bombing to save herself. Jasmine and Maddy kikied with the latter feeling very confident while Jasmine was super nervous given filming was a struggle for her. Orion meanwhile was feeling good and glad that she tried super hard, which made Jasmine nervous for her given she was kinda flat.

Jasmine moved on to talk to Jorgeous to chat about their first time in drag, with Jorgeous sharing that she started when she was only 16 at pride. She jumped on stage, starred and then booked a weekly gig at a club where her parents had to be there as chaperones and ugh, it was GREAT. Angeria and Willow were also kikiing about their families, with Willow talking about how close she is with her mother before opening up about how her body is disintegrating due to her condition and broke down to Angeria and Kerri about how that fires everything she does. And just like that, Willow has two new protectors to replace kornbread and ugh, it’s just so wholesome.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined on the judges panel by Ava Max as the queens kicked off the show on the Spring has Sprung runway where Jorgeous was perfect in a cute, pastel green mini dress. Kerri was a demented, stunning alien, coral-floral delight. Angeria too went floral with a yellow bodice dripping in flowers. DeJa served slutty Easter Bunny realness, Maddy was perfection as a torrential storm, Jasmine was a sparkly green showgirl while Orion did an even sluttier version of the Easter Bunny. Willow was delightful in a pastel country house dress, complete with Help Me written in blood on the back of the house built around her head. Daya was stunningly messing in an orange number while Camden did a weaker version of the Canadian Marie Antoinette runway. Well until she spilt the macrame tea. Bosco then served a killer reveal, going from a stormy cloud to a stunning sunshine gown.

The eliminated dolls returned to the runway with Tempest messy – in a good way – in leopard while Jaymes was delightfully campy in pink while Kahmora was obviously stunning in vintage Mackie.

When it came to the PSA, Angeria starred for Team Tempest while the rest were all ok, though Jorgeous really should have edited her script as there were too many words. And only Toto can pull that off. With Team Jaymes, it was Maddy and Willow’s show while Jasmine was bored and Orion struggled. Team Kahmora meanwhile knocked it out of the park with both Bosco and Camden really standing out and finally getting their star moments.

Well out of the queens, because the Sarah McLachlan cameo calling the PSA offensive was EVERYTHING.

Ultimately Kerri, DeJa, Maddy, Willow and Daya were sent to safety, with Daya complaining about just wanting to get critiques so she knows where she needs to improve. Kerri too was feeling flat about not being in the top while Maddy was shocked that Willow wasn’t in the top once again. Willow admitted she was just glad to not be judged as a group given their commercial was the weakest. Daya shared that she felt Maddy deserves more credit for what she is given so far in the competition, while Daya couldn’t tell how her sisters would be placed. When it is obvious they’re the top two.

DeJa meanwhile felt she should be in the top but when her sisters didn’t ask, she threw a tantrum about them not loving her. Before the drama could escalate, Tempest, Jaymes and Kahmora joined the dolls to untuck with Tempest and Jaymes reading them all for filth, while Jaymes praised herself for being great. Maddy then read her for filth and ugh, I love it. Tempest stepped in to remind Maddy to ignore the haters when she gets out of the competition because people will come for him for being straight.

On the mainstage, Jorgeous was praised for her killer runway though the judges were concerned by the disconnect between her confidence on the runway and her nerves in the challenge. Once again, Angeria’s performance was universally beloved while the judges felt the runway was a little ill fitting. Jasmine’s excitement didn’t translate to the performance given she was tragically monotone, though they lived for her runway. Orion was praised for looking stunning on the runway, while her challenge performance was read for being bored and tired. Lady Camden received universal praise for her camp runway and the seriousness she brought to the PSA. While Bosco too was completely beloved, with Michelle and Ross loving her willingness to take a risk and do something different.

The tops and bottoms joined the dolls untucking with Jasmine admitting she is definitely in the bottom though felt it was unlikely she’d be the one lip syncing. Orion on the other hand knew she’d be lip syncing while not really feeling it makes sense. Once again, Angeria shared that the judges lived for her while Camden was giddy to finally become a top. Which was a feeling shared by Bosco. DeJa suggested it could be a double win, while Daya narrowly avoided crying about being safe, wanting to know what she needs to do to land in the top. While her sisters read her for being too much. Jorgeous too was sure she’d be lip syncing and when everyone praised her for being such a killer lip syncer, Orion looked ready to cry. Because yeah, Jorgeous is an assassin.

Angeria and Willow then toasted to Kornbread’s performance in the competition as they opened up about the letters she had left them all. Jasmine shared she was grateful Kornbread called her out because she can genuinely grow from it and there was no malice. Willow opened up about how heartbroken she was to lose her dearest friend, with the queens agreeing that they all knew they couldn’t cross Willow without facing the potential wrath of Kornbread. Kerri started to break down over her bond with Kornbread and how she feels like she’s now lost her lifeline. As they prepared to return to the runway, DeJa gave Jasmine and Jorgeous a pep talk and reminded them to fight with no mercy even if it was against each other.

Given Orion already had some culinary comfort, I gave her a pat on the back for a job well done and legged it over to Kornbread’s hotel to make sure she was following doctors and feeling a-ok!

Poor Kornbread was in a moonboot as I joined her to help pack up, heartbroken to go out via an injury particularly given she was expecting to be a finalist. I reminded her that she truly was one of the front-runners of the season, but should she also return next season, she will have the rest of the cast terrified before they even step foot in the Werk Room, which is kinda a blessing. With that, we laughed, we cried and she vowed to come back bigger and better next year while splitting a Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté. Because obviously!

Oh and I also think it is important to note that she Vanjied out of the Werk Room for the last time this season chanting ANKLE. And. I. LIVE.

Given Kornbread is a star on her own, I opted for a simple, traditional recipe to honour her performance. A little sweet mixed with a tinge of salt is the perfect pairing for the fluffiest side imaginable. In a word, it is perfect.

Enjoy!

Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and left to cool
1 cup buttermilk 
¼ cup honey
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt and stir to combine. In a measuring jug, combine the melted butter, buttermilk, honey and eggs.

Using a wooden spoon, create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly stir in the wet ingredients until it is just combined.

Transfer the batter into a lined square cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to rest for ten minutes before cutting and devouring.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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Jane Crackpieski

Baking, Dessert, Hashbrown: The End, Pie, Sweets

Like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt itself, we’ve reached the end of the road of our farewell celebration – Hashbrown: The End – and I am starting to get a bit misty, which is inappropriate when you’re meant to be honouring a hilarious show. But after catching up with Carol, Dylan, Ellie and Tituss I was too emotional, so I reached out to my dear friend and icon Jane Krakowski to see if she was free to drop by.

And she obviously was, since you’re ready this.

As you know I met future EGOT Jane in the 80s while co-starring in Starlight Express until my before I was callously cut. Thankfully it was Jane’s undying love and support that saw we through the tragic loss of my role of a lifetime.

Given Jane is a damn comedy icon, I try to see her as much as possible however it has tragically been well over two years since we last got together. As soon as she walked through customs I ran into her arms and started sobbing – some say it was because I missed her so, but we both knew that it was because at the close of today Jacqueline Voorhees will go the way of Jenna Maroney. And that is hard for me to deal with.

Unless Teens does reboot 30 Rock, I guess.

Somehow I managed to pull myself together long enough to drive home, go to the fridge and pull out the ultimate comfort food in the form of a Jane Crackpieski.

 

 

I feel like I am on a bit of a Milk Bar kick at the moment, but you know, when it’s right, it’s right. Any everything they do is right, even when it is a mistake. If you don’t know the story, Christina Tosi made the pie for staff dinner and while it was undercooked and she felt it was a dud, they couldn’t stop eating it and an sweet, addictive icon was born – the Crack Pie®.

And if that doesn’t offer you hope in a post-Kimmy Schmidt world, I don’t know what does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Crackpieski
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
Oat Cookie
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g muscovado sugar
40g raw caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ cup flour
120g rolled oats
⅛ tsp baking powder
pinch of baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt

Assembly and filling
180g muscovado sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the base
1 tsp kosher salt, plus ¼ tsp for the base
280g butter, melted – 55g for the base, the rest for the filling
300g raw caster sugar
20g milk powder
24g corn powder
¾ cup double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks, separated with military precision
icing sugar, for dusting

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Kick things off by working on the oat cookie. Cream the butter and sugars using the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer on medium-high for 3 minutes or so, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the egg, before increasing speed and beat for a further couple of minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and using the paddle, mix by hand until moist enough to return to the mixer to beat on low until just combined.

Dollop the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and flatten into a 1cm thick splat. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until caramelised, puffed and firmly set. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re ready to get to work on the final product, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the cookie in a food processor with a tablespoon of muscovado sugar and ¼ tsp of salt, and blitz until it is the consistency of wet sand. Add 55g of melted butter and blitz until it comes together as a ball. Transfer the ball into a pie dish and firmly pack to cover the edges in an even thickness.

To make the filling, combine the remaining sugars, with the milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended. Still going, add the remaining butter and mix for 3 minutes or until all the ingredients are moist. Add the double cream and vanilla and continuing mixing for 3 minutes, or until completely combined. Scrape down the side and add the egg yolks, mixing on low speed until it is glossy and combined.

Pour the filling into the pie dish and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown but still jiggly.

Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and close the door once it has cooled to that temperature. Cook for a further ten minutes, or until firming around the edge but jiggly in the centre.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before covering in cling and transferring to the freezer to set. Remove to defrost a couple of hours before you’re ready to serve.

When you’re ready for your mind to be blown, dust with icing sugar, grab a spoon and devour. Greedily. Thankful that we exist at the same time that Milk Bar does.

 

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Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After the debacle of catching up with my frenemy, the worst winner of Drag Race and – my honest opinion only – all around garbage person Tyra Sanchez, it was so nice to spend time with my kind friend Engelbert Humperdinck.

Kind, warm, funny, charming and best of all, kind and open with his fans … friend.

Unlike Tyra.

Anyway, I first met the Dinck and his – well, you know – back in the ‘60s when he was still getting his career off the ground. My dear friend Tom Jones’ manager was his former roommate and one night while we were out partying, we decided his name was holding him back. Ten minutes later Engelbert was born and Arnold was no more.

With that, I earned his complete and unequivocal trust, shaping his career ever since. Well until yesterday, when he tragically declined my offer to coach him to another Eurovision berth. Which no doubt would have been more successful.

While I was upset he didn’t trust me, I respect his wishes like a friend – unlike say, Tyra would – and we instead focused on reconnecting and havin’ a laff. Though that is kind of the go to reaction to splitting an Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake between two best friends.

 

 

Moist, sweet and perfectly spiced, hummingbird cake is like a carrot cake on crack. In all the right ways. Add in some cream cheese icing and my shorts are creamed, culinarily speaking obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup, muscovado sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 ripe bananas, mashed
450g crushed pineapple (in juice), drained with juice reserved
2 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease 2 x 25cm cake tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in a large bowl. Fold through the muscovado sugar, coconut and walnuts. In another bowl, combine the banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and ⅓ of the pineapple juice. While stirring pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue to fold until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the lined tins, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking after half an hour. You want it golden brown on the outside and an inserted skewer to just come out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is light, fluffy and just combined. Don’t overbeat as the icing will become too soft.

To assemble, smear a third of the icing on top of one of the cakes. Top with the second cake, and smear the rest of the icing on top and around the edges. Press the remaining walnuts into the icing and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour or so, removing ten minutes before serving … and devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.