Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Breakfast, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor JLP dumped a collection of heroes and villains – including our mateship king, Sam – into the Samoan jungle where the series began. Well, the re-reboot, at least. At the opening reward challenge, human puppy Matt jumped away from his usually heroic antics and tackled villain after villain to score some loot, though make no mistake, it was the legit Villains that delighted in the most drama. Though sadly the theatrics led to their first loss. At the Villains, George quickly aligned with Anjali and Jackie, and while the tribe were ready to get rid of him, the first immunity challenge had other thoughts, taking both George and Jackie out to receive care. Despite George being ready to conquer. With the obvious target off the table, Shonee grew nervous and tried to move the target elsewhere. And that was without even realising Stevie was feuding with her! At tribal council the tribe learned that Jackie would have to be medically evacuated and despite being given the chance to cancel tribal council, they powered ahead to boot Anjali.

Our first pancake, straight in the bin.

The next day the tribe were busy joking about how George will come back to the game should he be cleared, predicting helicopters,horses and all the theatrics in the world. Instead, he calmly returned with a completely busted face, stitches everywhere and swelling over his nose as the tribe immediately felt full of guilt. And as such, demanded he get a triumphant return, guard of honour and baptism included. But seriously, him crying about not feeling his legs after the accident and worrying about his mum getting a call to let her know he was paralysed was pretty hard TV. And again, his face is a complete mess, the poor thing.

I guess this has already flipped over to a George stan blog now, so enjoy and don’t say a bad word about my sweet angel George.

Over at the Heroes camp it was literally sunshine and rainbows as Sharni delighted in beach life, opening up about life as an actress in LA and how she is relishing the chance to finally show everyone who she is rather than a character or the fake world of Hollywood. Paige meanwhile was busy cracking the whip, telling the tribe to yarn and work, driving them to build themselves a delightful camp and well, she seemed to be loving everyone. Specifically Benjamin and David, the latter because he is a zaddy. Which is super relatable. We then learnt a little bit more about her life in the country, riding horses hard – her words, so completely innocent – and living the dream. And all she wants in return for playing the game is a new ute. Also, she is excited by the thought of making female friends like Hayley and Flick and ugh, she is perfection, I love her.

Back at the Villains the tribe was rather miserable, none more so than Michael who was getting angry about them being unable to get a fire. But there is a positive in his mind now that George is back, given he is still a massive threat and he can focus on booting him. Seemingly ignoring the fact that looking that injured instantly makes people feel guilty about potentially voting him out. Undeterred, Michael pulled Simon aside to float the idea to get rid of George and while he was on board, he was more focused on letting Michael do the work and jump in at the end for the final blow. George thankfully was an aware king and as such, knew he was in trouble and got to work making friends and reminding everyone that they need numbers and to win immunity above all else.

Enter Queen Shonee, who knew that George having no friends meant he would be desperately loyal if she took him in and well, being a shield for her doesn’t hurt either. As such, she approached bestie Liz – aka the alliance, Shiz which is way better than my Shizneeland couple name – to float the idea of bringing in George as their distant third. And given Liz now loved his vibe – stitches help, it seems – she was keen to bring him in and completely take control. We then learnt more about Liz, immigrating from Russian as a child and becoming the youngest Olympic pole vaulter which seemed pretty damn heroic to me! Sensing me questioning why she was popped on the Villains tribe, she admitted it was her spicy temper that landed her here and ugh, I love her. Maybe she and Shonee are like one person split across two bodies?

Oh but the tribe managed to get fire, so that’s a win!

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for the latest reward challenge – the Heroes gagged to see the Villains down not one but two members and George looking a total mess – where in rounds, a number of people from each tribe would face off on either sides on a turnstile to push the other over a line. With the first tribe to three getting 15 minutes of unadulterated pillaging time at the rival camp. George, Fraser and Michael faced off against Benjamin, Matt and Sam with George filled with the power of Macedonian Jesus, gritting his teething and pushing the other tribe. Hard. Sadly for the Villains, the Heroes played strategically, standing firm and letting them tire out as Sam coached them back to even footing before snatching the first point. More importantly, David and Shaun were rocking speedos on the bench and well, swoon.

As George shared how disappointed his gyms would be in him, his besties Shonee and Liz lined up to face Nina and Hayley, with my Shiz queens pushing through near fainting before getting a second wind to tie things up. Shaun and Flick were up next for the Heroes so the Villains knew the point would be lost, throwing in Stevie and Mimi to quickly hand the point to the Heroes. Next up was zaddies only as Simon – sadly in shorts – faced off against David who quickly lost, though he looked swoon worthy in a speedo and as such, was it really a loss? To take out the win, it was Liz versus Nina with the Olympian quickly proving her mettle and giving the Villains some much needed pep. While the Heroes tried to remind them how it is a social game and as such, they should be kind on their raid.

Which is precisely not what they did as they arrived at the Heroes camp and stole a tonne of food before George went wild, tossing their beans out and trying to cut their shelter down. Mimi though was wise and suggested they should only take half the food to help themselves when the tribes come together. Which obviously didn’t sit well with the tribe, particularly George. We then learnt about Mimi’s life in PR for a luxury brand before pivoting back to the fight, which fizzled out as she followed what her tribe wanted. Which included fizzling out their fire and leaving them but a banana each. As the Heroes returned they were thrilled to see their shelter was still standing while sweet Sharni reminded them it isn’t a shock they stole all the food given they were so damn hungry. That kindness was only until she spotted the fire had been put out and well, that was one dastardly move too far. Though given they have Paige and Gerry, the fire was quickly restarted and all was right in the world.

The tribes reconvened for the next immunity challenge where they would each race through a tunnel, push a giant ball over a track and over a ramp before knocking over puzzle pieces and then – you know it! – solve said puzzle. After George quickly smacked down Stevie for wanting to do the puzzle – not on the same wavelength, boo – the tribes started to race, neck and neck through the tunnel before Shaun Shauned, single handedly pushing the ball and the Heroes into the lead. Simon and Liz powered to close the gap for the Villains, with both tribes working on the puzzle at the same time as Ben sorted through the pieces and lined them up for Nina while George and Fraser tried to work on the puzzle as Stevie kept trying to step in. While the Heroes tried to stay quiet for their solvers, Hayley spotted the image and started to calmly coach Ben and Nina through the puzzle, with the duo pulling away and securing immunity for the tribe.

With the Villains wishing they let Stevie work on the puzzle, who clearly would have dominated.

Back at camp George was rightly bricking it after bombing the puzzle and dooming the tribe to tribal council, so immediately gathered them around to apologise for letting them all down. With Shonee and Liz assuring him he tried his best, while Simon reminded them that they should also focus on the fact they can in fact keep up with their rivals on the physical side of things. Simon and Michael caught up with the former checking who Michael had lined up and when he just stared at him, Simon got less comfortable about things and grew worried about how skittish Michael is. After chastising Michael – which was hilarious – Simon stripped down to speedos to cool down (which obvi would convince me to vote however he wants) and go rally some troops.

First he floated the plan with Shonee who quickly shut it down before George joined them and made things awkward. The trio split up while Michael approached Stevie and locked in their plan to take out George, as Simon attempted to convince Jordie and the newbies that they needed to take out the King. And while Simon was confident it was all coming together, George could tell things were not going his way and approached Simon to reiterate that they need to keep each other around as shields. This looped in Queen Shonee who wisely went person to person, explaining why it is smarter to keep George around and after getting Jordie over the line, suggested he work on Simon. 

George asked Shonee what was going on, with her pulling him aside to assure him she is doing literally all that she can. Particularly since they have already lost two women and she is unwilling to lose their only gay – like an icon – and as such, got to work turning the tribe against Michael. She approached Mimi who was thrilled at the thought of getting rid of Michael, while Sarah tried to rally Liz against George. Thankfully Mimi caught up with Simon who was frustrated at the potential change, before Shonee opened her school and explained that a swap is imminent and as such, they need to keep him around so the Heroes focus their attentions on him, rather than anyone else. George then arrived and made things awkward before the group switched out, while Michael confidently reiterated George will be the one voted out tonight.

Which is never a good line for the person uttering it.

At tribal council George spoke about how welcoming the tribe were when he returned from hospital as he fought back tears, opening up about how shocked he was to return to the game. Simon piped up to talk about how much more chaotic tonight’s vote is than the previous one, given he isn’t even sure how he would be voting tonight. This made Jordie and Michael theatrically shocked before the latter aggressively pushed for him to stick to their plan and rudely told JLP to move on. George spoke about how nervous he was during the scramble with Michael continuing to go too aggressive, pointing out George lost the puzzle for them. Queen Mimi rose to her throne, pointing out it is wrong and it was a team challenge and as such, they lost as a team. This pissed off Michael with George hilariously pointing it out as the girls all jumped in to tell Michael not to speak for them and that they lost as a team, so to shut up.

As Michael continued to spiral, the tribe started to whisper about solidifying their plan due to the antics, with George calmly watching on and lightly throwing fuel on the fire. While Simon and Jordie tried to make him feel reassured, Michael continued to fire up, pointing out George isn’t trustworthy with King George continuing to be an icon, asking what he did to Michael to make him hate him so much. As Michael grew more and more angry, the tribe continued to whisper amongst themselves, clearly locking in a vote against Michael with Shonee saying that everything at tribal council only further solidified the way she was planning to go. While Stevie reminded them that if they want loyalty, buy a dog.

Which is important, in my mind.

With that the tribe voted and despite the fact he almost got rid of his nemesis, George calmly playing him at tribal council led to everyone flipping on Michael and sending him out of the game. Which makes me worried for Benjamin, given that is now two journos out the door in two tribal councils. But alas, that is a fear for another episode. Instead, as soon as Michael entered Loser Lodger, I gave him a pat on the shoulder and told him he tried his best, but sadly a singular focus and paranoia did him in. Yeah, it was a little half-hearted, but I was rooting for Michael to be a fun, messy schemer and I was disappointed to see him go so soon due to an unwillingness to bend. As such, I slid a Ham and Micheese Croisaarren across the table in the hope that he would feel better. Or as George would say, calm down.

I know what you’re thinking. How exactly can I justify a recipe for something as simple as a ham and cheese croissant? The answer lies in the glory of an aggressively cheesy custard that packs in the flavour. Velvety and rich, it lifts the taste into something special.

Enjoy!

Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250ml cream
5 egg yolks
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ cup comte, grated
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp champagne vinegar
6 David Croissant
12 slices ham
½ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over low heat. While the cream is getting hot, whisk the yolks and nutmeg in a bowl. Once the cream is simmering, remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the yolk mixture until combined. Return to the saucepan and continue cooking until thick. Remove from the heat and fold in the comte, before leaving to cool. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

To assemble, split the croissants, pour over a little bit of the custard, top with ham and a little more custard. Close and top with a mix of the parmesan and cheddar, and transfer to the over to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp. Then devour, calmly.


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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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Anita Pike’lits

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

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls were thrown into the challenge of all challenge, Snatch Game. Now with a political edge because mother tucking Justin Treudau straight up dropped by to kiki with the girls. And while that adds absolutely nothing to the trajectory of the season, he is a zaddy so it needs to be referenced. In any event, previous Snatch winners Anita and Silky struggled while Stephanie committed the gravest sin of being forgettable. At the other end of the pack Icesis dominated as Donatella Versace – redeeming Dons on Drag Race – alongside Ra’Jah pitch perfect Big Freedia, which landed them in the top two. And after Icesis took out the lip sync she saved Down Under icon Anita and sent Stephanie packing.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gagged that Icesis sent home her Season 2 sister, while Vanity felt she was going to miss Stephanie’s energy. Anita on the other hand was just glad to survive. Ra’Jah and Icesis praised each other for turning a show, before Rita suggested that maybe everyone could take a break on eliminating Canadians for a wee bit. That led to Icesis opening up about wanting to play it fair with the eliminations and as such, saved Anita due to her track record despite her being the worst in Snatch Game. Talk turned to who Ra’Jah had been planning to eliminate and after a little Bebe-esque fake out, she admitted that she had also picked Stephanie’s lip sync, due to the fact they already gave her another chase.

The next day Vanity led the group in congratulating Icesis on her win, while Icesis shaded the US girls for not having scored a win yet. Thankfully that was quickly brushed aside as everyone told Anita she needed to stop coasting – rude – before Brad made his triumphant return to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be competing in The Weather Ball. And well, the dolls were excited. Well, some of them. Particularly Icesis, who was ready to take out another victory. First they would stomp the runway in Air Body Lace looks – aka lingerie – followed by serving Arctic Foxy Lady looks before debuting a high fashion look they made for Caught in the Rain Couture. Oh and the materials used will be thoroughly unconventional.

After Brad departed the dolls battled over a table of rainwear and fabrics before splitting up to kiki. Victoria was nervous about things given she has never done a design challenge, while Icesis was con-fi-dent given she won two of the three design challenges in Season 2. Ra’Jah was nervous given she has such a reputation as a seamstress, while Vanity was busy looking for redemption for her flop outfit. And well, now she can sew. Silky was very confident, emphasis on was, given she discovered she had left her patterns at home. Anita too was ready for her redemption after being sent home on a design challenge, while Rita was hoping to be as successful as she was in design challenges rather than how she bombed the ball.

Brad returned to kiki with the girls, with Icesis going with a look serving a fish caught in a net. Silky was confident in her hip hop concept though TBH, should probably focus on cashing the literal cheque she had lying around in her notebook. Anita was going with an asymmetrical blue look with yellow raincoat embellishments, which immediately made Brad talk her out of it. Ra’Jah was going with an architectural rain gown, Rita was going with golden 80s drama, Vanity planned to give ruffles and rain while Victoria was going high concept with the dew hitting an English rose in the morning. Which is just, chef’s kiss.

The dolls got to work applying Brad’s advice, which felt weird to Rita given she can normally rely on designers to do it for her now that she is successful. Icesis meanwhile was busy checking in with Silky to see who she thought would be in the bottom, with Silk mainly concerned about the number of bodysuits floating around the room. Victoria meanwhile was worried about Vanity looking like an ice skater, as Silky got to wandering around the room questioning why everyone was using the same blue fabric. She then checked in with Anita, advising her to take a few moments off the look to make it less circus and more fashion.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls beating the mugs as Vanity shared how proud she is to have actually sewed an outfit. Anita meanwhile got messy, asking if anyone has actually watched Down Under with Ra’Jah essentially admitting to have only watched Vanity and Victoria’s seasons and nobody else’s. Which is hilarious and iconic, but also super sweet in the end, given she opened up about rooting for Vanity given she saw a lot of herself in Season 11 in Vanity throughout the competition and it made her want to protect her.

Brooke and Brad were joined by Hollywood Jade and the iconic Jeanne Beker as Vanity opened the Air Body Lace runway looking like a Victoria’s Secret glamazon, from Smurfville. In the best way possible. Icesis was glorious in a seductive grape number before Victoria debuted her Drag King persona Victor Stone giving full Fabio and ugh, I’m wet. Ra’Jah meanwhile served sexy Cruella, Rita gave old Hollywood glam before Silky slayed in a canary yellow curtained number and Anita gave blue and white with her tits out.

When it came to the Arctic Foxy Lady runway, Vanity gave the sexiest ski movie villainess, Icesis was stunning in a high fashion snow woman look before Victoria gave an angry snow queen. Ra’Jah gave sexy diva in fur, Rita served old dame skiing in the 1920s, Silky was all drama as the deity of snow before Anita closed the show looking gorgeous in a shimmering white gown. Vanity’s Caught in the Rain Couture look was kind of a mess before Icesis was perfection as a suffocating sea monster. Victoria’s rose look was perfect from start to finish, Ra’Jah’s dress was polished and creative, Rita looked like the upcycled version of Baga’s brillo dress, Silky slayed as a hip hop Cheetah girl, on her way to the club, before Anita served her stormy look.

Icesis and Ra’Jah were sent to safety – when they should have won, but whatever – before Vanity was praised for serving perfection in the first two categories, though her design look was read for being a mess. Victoria received universal praise for each and every look, with the judges agreeing her Fabio look was far and away the best of the night. Rita was praised for her performances on the runway, though read for not padding enough for the looks or taking things where they needed to go. Silky too received universal praise for each and every look and well, condragulations Silky and Victoria. Silky opened up about particularly needing to hear the love from the judges since she didn’t feel beautiful today. Anita meanwhile was read for her first look though praised for slaying the middle category and doing a solid job on the third look. Despite not serving couture.

Obviously it was Silky and Victoria that landed in the top before Vanity was sent to safety, leaving Rita and Anita up for elimination. Backstage Silky and Victoria were feeling their oats, while Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted that both of them felt like they kinda, sorta should have been in the top. Rita praised Victoria for debuting a Drag King look before Icesis checked in with the bottoms. Rita admitted she isn’t surprised by any of her critiques, though was sad to be in the bottom with her bestie. Anita meanwhile was proud of what she pulled together, though was surprised she was in the bottom rather than Vanity.

Before a fight could erupt, Victoria caught up with Rita who reminded her of how strong her track record has been thus far, which kind of made Victoria question whether she should take out her competition. Silky meanwhile made sure Anita was ok though was worried she wasn’t taking in what the judges told her, which made Anita realise Victoria is her only hope of survival. The safe girls were busy speculating who would be going home, with everyone agreeing it should be Anita though if the dolls were going to be shady, who knows. Anita broke down as she spoke to Victoria about how proud of herself she is and that she wants to fight, while Rita straight up told Silky that should she look out for her this week, she will have her back should the tables be turned. Which she iconically took her up on, given duh, alliances are great.

After Victoria and Silky selected their lipsticks – guaranteed to rhyme with Peter as Victoria pointed out, which made me laugh more than it should have – they headed to the mainstage to battle for the cash tip and the chance to eliminate their sister. As soon as Deborah Cox’s Nobody’s Supposed to be Here kicked off – heck, before for Silk – both of the dolls swung for the fences. They gave all the attitude and emotion, hit every lyric and thankfully, didn’t tear any ACL’s. It was clearly Silky’s show though, giving gospel does flag twirling and ugh, it was perfection. The only thing I wasn’t vibing though, was her tragically eliminating our homegrown hero – because we steal all good Kiwis, duh – Anita from the competition.

As is oft the case, Anita followed the sound of my guttural screams backstage and quickly pulled me in for a hug and assured me that she is ok with her exit. Despite not getting the star moment she deserved – outside of being the only good person in the reading challenge – I reminded her that her perennially delightful personality and charm always shone through, so I am glad the world got to see it. Plus, now she has the added bonus of an underdog storyline for Down Under All Stars which was enough to perk her up alongside my Anita Pike’lits, of course.

Yes, yes – pikelets are nothing more than baby pancakes, but they honestly do taste different. It may be the change in ratio or the fact I feel you can get away with popping more toppings on them, but these little delights are perfect for any occasion.

Enjoy!

Anita Pike’lit
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
butter, honey, jam and/or whipped cream, to serve

Method
Whisk the milk and egg in a jug, and the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for about five minutes or so.

When you’re ready to party, heat a small knob of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Once hot and foamy, drop 2 tablespoon sized dollops of the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, pop and form craters (about a minute) and then flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until done.

Devour with your favourite condiments, which in my opinion should differ based on the occasion; butter and honey for a brunch treat, while go with jam and cream for morning tea or lunch. The important thing is to enjoy them.


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Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

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

Previously on Survivor Baka finally got in on the excitement of bead idol-palooza as Jeanine stumbled across an ant covered note. She immediately looped in Elie and went to their allies to convince them to hand over their beads, while Sami waited until after the idol was powered to tell Gabler just what he had done. After Coco lost their second immunity challenge, Jeanine, Jesse and Geo were selected to go to Journey Island where they all risked their votes before Geo jagged the advantage. And Jeanine popped a bigger target on her back as Sami wondered why she would risk it when she already had an idol. When it came to Coco, it came down to Cassidy and Geo as the targets, and while Ryan thought he was valiantly pretending to be the one to go out, he was blindsided by the departure of his only ally Geo.

The next day Coco discovered treemail announcing the (non-)merge, offering them ten minutes to pack their things and get on a boat to leave camp. While everyone was feeling thrilled to have made it to the next phase, Karla wisley knew that Jeffrey would have some sort of shenanigans to officially make it to the merge and as such, was tempering her expectations. Over at Vesi, Jesse was ready to prove himself while Baka just got to stay at their camp, waiting to greet the other tribes and all their spoils. And while everyone was excited to meet new people, Cody knew it was about to descend into chaos and as such, wasn’t that happy to have new friends.

As everyone got together to kiki and get to know people, Noelle was nervous about the fact they don’t have buffs nor a feast. Because duh, that is the go now, listen to Karla! Owen meanwhile was concerned about all the potential advantages floating around their new mega-tribe. Noelle meanwhile dropped by Elie and Sami to talk about how wild Cody is, sharing an anecdote about him making a hat for tribal council, which did nothing more than announce that Cody is the one that owns the Vesi idol. A little fact Elie quickly took back to Jeanine.

Jeff made an early appearance to announce that once again they need to earn their place on the merge tribe, though this time, there would be no stupid hourglass of doom. The group would be split into two teams for the first opportunity to merge, racing to release a sled buried by sandbags and then drag it through obstacles to collect large blocks. They would then build a staircase to release a key, then climb up a platform, release puzzle pieces and then solve a word puzzle. With the winners officially part of the merge while the losers have to survive the upcoming vote to get there. And given there are 13 people left, someone would land in the middle and be given the chance to bet on the winner and if they were right, they would also be immune and get to partake in the merge feast with them.

Ultimately Noelle landed in the middle, opting to believe in the blue team, made up of Gabler, Karla, Jeanine, Ryan, Jesse and Dwight. Which seemed like a great choice, given they got out to the earliest of leads. Not to be outdone, the red team picked up the pace and overtook them while collecting their blocks. Things got worse for the blue team and Noelle as Karla crushed her hand on a block and started to bleed profusely as she tried to finish out the challenge. As the red team extended their lead and started to work on the word puzzle, the blue team worked together to get the bleeding Karla up the wall. And then completely dominated the puzzle, narrowly taking out immunity just ahead of the red team and proving Noelle was wise to back them. And hopefully Karla would soon get a bandaid.

Back at camp the losing team were heartbroken to be potentially going home tonight, with Elie in particular breaking down about bombing the puzzle. She rallied though and caught up with Owen, suggesting they lie to OG Coco and tell them that Cody is the target, and then split the vote on Cassidy and James, continuing to get rid of Coco. Elie quickly locked in Cassidy and James and while she thought they had bought it all, James felt she was being a little suss and as such, thought she could be the better option.

Meanwhile the victors and Noelle were busy smashing their feast and downing beers, before Karla floated the question of what they should do at tribal council. Ryan immediately suggested they could just lock it in as the final 7 at this point, which obviously annoyed Jeanine, who wanted to stick with her allies. The group pivoted, instead talking about who they wanted to protect with everyone trying to save their OG tribes. Except for Gabler, who admitted that she does not care for Elie and outed her for going through her bag. Which made Jeanine even more furious.

The two groups came together and filled each other in on the plans, with Elie throwing Cassidy under the bus for floating Cody, which was actually her plan. As they caught up with Dwight and Jeanine, the duo filled Elie in on the fact Gabler is coming for her which made her just as furious as Jeanine. Elie obviously went to confront Gabler, denying the fact she looked through his bag, though try as she might, he had no interest in listening. She cut her losses and instead went to confront Sami and Owen for outing her with Gabler and while they both denied it, they also offered to help clear her name. Well, until she was gone, when Sami decided that Elie was too dangerous to last another day.

Gabler then caught up with Jeanine and while she was just as angry, she calmly suggested they talk to Owen and Sami to try and reiterate the importance of staying Baka strong. With Sami eventually getting through to Gabler after Jeanine left, when he reminded him that Jeanine has an idol and as such, could save Elie and screw one of Owen or Sami if he doesn’t pull his head in. Vesi and Coco meanwhile were busy catching up, locking in Elie as the biggest threat. And after Ryan straight up told James and Cassidy that they were Elie’s actual target, it looked like everyone would be coming together to get rid of Elie.

At tribal council the soon to be merged tribe took their seats before Gabler spoke about the chaos of the day, failing to mention the fact that he was the one that kicked it off. Cody agreed that it was overwhelming, while Sami spoke about how nerve wracking it is to be one of the few options to go home within the broader group. Cassidy and Owen were nervous and unsure who to trust, while Jeanine said it was hard to even try and fathom what everyone else’s priorities were. Elie opened up about the fact her name was put out amongst the tribe while Karla spoke about the fact that there are a large number of potential advantages and as such, there is even more they have to worry about navigating. Sami mentioned how difficult a position it can be if you know about an advantage, given there are pros and cons to keeping your mouth shut, while everyone agreed that paranoia – about everything – is the most difficult thing to deal with.

With that the tribe voted and despite the chaotic afternoon pre-tribal, the final plan appeared to be solid as Vesi, Coco and Gabler banded together to boot Elie from the game. While Probst officially welcomed the other five castaways to the merged tribe.

Elie was obviously super disappointed as she arrived at Loser Lodge, particularly given she had only just been talking up how well she had been playing the game. Which I calmly explained is exactly what happens and to not let her down, particularly given she is a lock for a second chances season (sorry Lindsay) given she had an iconic feud with Gabler which cost her her game. Which proved enough to cheer her up as we plotted her second go over some fresh Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti.

While sometimes I worry that they will chip my teeth as I get older, there is nothing better than biscotti. Light and crunchy, these numbers pack a glorious punch of coffee alongside the chewiness of the cherries to create the ultimate textural sensation.

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup espresso powder 
2 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup raw caster sugar 
2 tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried cherries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Combine the espresso powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk the flour, raw caster sugar, baking powder and salt. Finally, beat the eggs and espresso-vanilla mixture in a stand mixer until thick and golden. Fold through the dry ingredients, walnuts and cherries, and beat until just combined.

Split the dough in half and form into two small, flat loaves. Pop on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour.

Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf into 4mm thick biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet. Once the biscotti are shaped, return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until perfectly crisped. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Then, devour.


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Biscopper Topp Blondies

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were split down the middle – kinda – to headline the Yassss-tonbury Festival. Aka Girl Groups, but make it rock. As a tertiary educated songwriter, Baby was ready to slay and take her moment in the spotlight. And while she well and truly did, nobody else on her team (other than Peppa, of course) was and as such, they landed in the bottom. And boy did they hear about it, as Baby told them all how disappointed she was backstage. Despite having the time of her life Michelle felt Starlet was all nerves while Jonbers went the Toto route and had too many lyrics for the beat and couldn’t keep up in the lip sync. As such, the duo lip synced and Starlet tragically exited.

Backstage Jonbers was a mixture of shocked and relieved to have survived the lip sync, while Cheddar was disappointed to see someone as strong as Starlet exit so soon. Jonbers opened up to the girls about how disappointed in herself she is, though trust and believe, she was ready to prove herself. Sminty pointed out that she saw Starlet as the ultimate look queen of the season and is gagged that she is gone. But also, kinda glad she is now the premiere look queen. Baby spoke about how she was gutted not to stake a claim on the challenge, though was ready to join the extensive badge club ASAP. While Cheddar just wanted Sminty to know that she and her mushroom look are not an old maiden silhouette, ok?

And, werk.

The next day the dolls were a little more zen – and Peppa looked sexy as hell – while Sminty shadily suggested that while the rival team all have a badge, maybe each of them didn’t deserve it. Baby pointed out that while she didn’t get the win thanks to her team bombing, she knows she slayed and for the moment, that is enough. And by moment, until she gets a badge. Ru dropped by to help the girls welcome our favourite season – awards! – as they voted for their sisters to win the Naff-ta awards. Oh and put on the show in their red carpet quick drag. Beast in Show – the doll with the most star quality – went to Black Peppa (as it should), Best Background Actress in a Non-Speaking Role went to Copper Topp, Best Scene Stealing, Attention Grabbing, Camera Hog rightly went to Danny Beard while Best Actress Resting on Pretty went to Baby and Best Hot Mess was deemed Sminty Drop.

With the awards out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be splitting into pairs to design looks ready for a night out at the Bingo Hall. The Brit Crew got out their balls to pair the dolls, with Le Fil getting Sminty, Baby and Dakota got paired up, Cheddar teamed with Copper, Danny and Pixie were an iconic duo which left Peppa and Jonbers together. Oh and since Sminty was deemed a hot mess, she was able to gift each pair with a box of fabrics. She jagged blue for herself and Le Fil, Dakota and Baby got black – so chic, Jamie – Cheddar and Copper got gold, Danny and Pixie got purple, leaving Jonbers and Peppa to rock acid green. Much to both of their chagrin.

The duos split up to kiki with Copper and Cheddar looking to help each other with their weaknesses, while Dakota and Baby were straight up ready to jag their badge. Sminty and Le Fil were talking styles before looking through their fabrics and regretting their choices, while Danny and Pixie were shitting on everything they got stuck with. Cheddar and Copper planned to sell luxury, while Jonbers and Peppa were thrilled with their haul. Oh and Baby and Dakota just continued to vibe, while Sminty wanted to scream over ALL the ugly fabrics.

Ru returned to check in on her daughters with Peppa and Jonbers thrilled to pull together a fashion warrior look, complete with kay-app. Copper and Cheddar sold their pairing, Baby and Dakota continued to vibe and were ready to enhance their sisters’ aesthetics – slay – while Danny and Pixie were not reinventing the wheel while Ru cautioned them to embellish a little before Sminty shat some dung to Ru talking about her feelings, rather than the concepts. And while she told Ru she was over hating her fabric, Ru told her she clearly wasn’t, but gave her a sweet peptalk and well, I love to see it.

After Ru exited, Copper wanted to make things messy, asking everyone who voted for her as most likely to fade into the background with Baby and Danny quickly owning up. While Jonbers told her she voted for her for being quiet, not a star. While Copper tried to fight against being quiet, she fought it out with her sisters while Cheddar tried to assure her that she is running a different race and to simply not worry. Because when you’re an icon like Cheddar, that is obviously how you play it. While Jonbers reminded her that Ru hates her name and as such, she had it the worst in the mini-challenge.

Everyone got quiet as they worked through their looks with Peppa and Jonbers continuing to feel good, while Copper was proud of how iconic Cheddar is while she in turn admitted she is always scared of being too drag and not ‘fashion’ enough. Sminty meanwhile made a smurf gimp mask and while it adds nothing, I love it. Baby and Dakota meanwhile continued to be perfection and honestly, is it that obvious they are winning, or are they going to be the surprise bomb of the episode? Le Fil questioned Peppa and Jonbers about how long they are taking to cut out their outfits and while they thought it was all good, I am not so confident. Just like Le Fil. While Danny felt it was all a mess.

Elimination Day arrived with Sminty unveiling a gorgeous, confident mood that made Le Fil oh so happy. Cheddar was confident in her architectural look and while she and Copper don’t look cohesive, she is confident they could sell it. Despite Copper wanting to sell Barbarella. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were still weaving. Pixie and Danny were kiki-ing about the latter’s boyfriend and ugh, I love hearing about how much they love each other. Pixie opened up about how she and Tia were a former power couple but after breaking up, she has struggled to be alone and to not have her biggest support system. Despite knowing Tia is rooting for her back home. Cheddar opened up to Dakota and Baby about dating as a drag queen and while it was a struggle, she is now in a happy relationship and she has learned to not care. Le Fil meanwhile spoke to Sminty about how they usually date straight men and the general struggles of finding love while being fluid.

Oh and Baby was only focused on the fact her sisters were relying on hot glue and a prayer. While Peppa and Jonbers were now just hoping to wear something.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leomie Anderson as the dolls stomped the Bin-go She Better Don’t runway where Sminty and Le Fil served Studio 54 synchronised swimmer realness and well, I love it. Peppa and Jonbers’ looks were barely done but I loved their attitude, Danny and Pixie were glam sisters who own 51% of the company and just divorced your uncle, Dakota and Baby were perfection from head to toe – STUNNING – while Cheddar and Copper gave synchronicity good vs. evil, though Cheddar clearly outclassed her sister.

Pixie and Danny were sent to safety before Sminty and Le Fil received universal praise for the look, vibe and charm. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were read for filth given how unfinished their looks were despite the clear concept they were selling, while Dakota and Baby received the most effusive praise possible, giving sisters though selling themselves as individuals. And ugh, I love it, condragulations dolls. Copper was read for being too simple while Cheddar received universal praise for being iconic as all hell. And bless, I love that Cheddar tried to raise her sister up in front of the judges.

Backstage Danny and Pixie were thrilled to be safe and sound, knowing they’d return next week. Their sisters joined them, with Peppa disappointed to clearly be in the bottom, while Jonbers was heartbroken to be going in the bottom again. While Cheddar felt great, she was heartbroken the judges clearly weren’t vibing with what she served. Copper started to break down about potentially leaving, with Peppa encouraging her to fight if it comes to it. While Le Fil was hoping for a second win, it was clearly Dakota and Baby’s week and well, both of them were feeling the hell out of their oats.

Dakota and Baby OBVIOUSLY took out the win before Sminty and Le Fil were sent to safety. Cheddar clearly joined them, given she was only low by association, while Jonbers surprisingly joined her, leaving Peppa and Copper to fight for safety to Jax Jones Ella Henderson’s This Is Real. And while Peppa is obviously an assassin, giving all the lines and dominating from start to finish, Copper stole the show with all the fire as she hit every lyric. Sadly for Copper, you just can’t beat dropping into a split on the beat over eight bars, followed by voguing and as such, she was eliminated. Despite me feeling like it was more than worthy of a double shantay, but alas, it wasn’t.

Backstage Copper was still a little heartbroken to be eliminated so soon, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her just how talented she is. I then pointed to her RuPeter Badge and reminded her that even without that win, she is a star and should be so proud of herself. She had a message, she was polished and she gave all the heart. Which is well and truly worthy of global adoration and a fresh batch of Biscopper Topp Blondies.

While I am only relatively new to the biscoff cult, these blondies reminded me why the spread is so beloved. Spicy, sticky and oh so delicious, they are also super easy to whip up meaning they are perfect when you need a hit of comfort.

Enjoy!

Biscopper Topp Blondies
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
120g unsalted butter
200g biscoff spread
200g muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the butter, biscoff and muscovado in a saucepan over low heat and cook stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, cinnamon and salt, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lined, square baking tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.


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Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish

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

Previously on Survivor despite bombing the first challenge Baka did as their name suggested and bounced back-a, coming together and winning immunity. I mean sure, there was still some drama in the form of Elie having to explore which of her island sons were her favourite and Jeanine going through Gabler’s bags to check if his idol was expired (it wasn’t). On Coco, Karla dominated socially, just like her tribe continued to dominate the challenges, leaving Vesi to head to tribal council. And despite Karla being a star, I am gutted she isn’t vibing with my zaddy Ryan. At Vesi, Nneka felt like she cost them the challenge, Dwight had no vote due to his visit to advantage island while Cody lost his just before heading out (though regained it). The three duos faced off with five votes in play, which led to Justine being tragically booted.

The next day Cody and Jesse caught up, with the former thrilled to have narrowly jagged his idol and managed to keep his vote. And more importantly, keep the numbers to get rid of Justine and protect his ally Nneka. Jesse on the other hand was nervous about how upset Dwight would be with him for turning against Noelle and Justine, who he wanted them to side with. Speaking of Noelle and Dwight, they were nervous to be on the outs and while they were wary of Jesse, they were willing to work with him if they needed to. Given Cody and Nneka are still super tight, which is always a problem.

Over at Baka Elie and Jeanine continued to be concerned about how Gabler was handling the elements and while he assured them he is fine, Elie was ready to get rid of him ASAP. The duo caught up with Sami to figure out how to navigate around Gabler’s idol situation, with Elie suggesting they should simply pretend it is dead and talk to him about using it as a fake ‘down the line’. Sadly for Elie, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to Gabler about it and when they shut it down, he took the information about the plan straight back to Gabler and cut them off at the knees. And while yeah, it locked in the alliance between the two boys, if Owen sticks with the girls, Sami will be the one to go home.

We checked in with Coco where the tribe were still zenning out and living their best lives as they celebrated James’ birthday and gifted him a bracelet. He then suggested they go for a walk amongst the rocks and look for an idol, which obviously got them all talking about idols and instantly paranoid. Cassidy, Lindsay and Ryan went fishing as James took a nap, leaving Karla enough time to go on said hunting expedition. And while she instantly found the Beware Advantage, once again, she opted against taking the risk for an advantage.

Back at Vesi Nneka was bonding with Dwight and Noelle, opening up about a Nigerian mission that she supports and how they inspire her to be better. And ideally win the money and be able to give back. 

We pivoted back to Coco where Karla was discussing idols with James and whether he believed there would be old school idols or just beware advantages, these days. As they were talking, she realised that her wife would want her to take a damn risk and as such, quickly snuck off to grab it. Upon learning she would need to steal beads, she quickly got to work bartering with her tribemates and making a fake necklace for her wife to get her vote back and score an idol. She was giving away earrings and beads, pretending she wanted them all to share a part of themselves with each other and honestly, it was beautiful to behold. Almost like Sandra in the opening of Pearl Islands, TBH.

Jeffrey finally arrived for this week’s Immunity Challenge where the tribes would dive off a platform, climb blocks and dive again, this time to retrieve keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzle. With the winners jagging a toolkit and some fruit, while second place would get budget versions of the reward, while last place would be heading off to tribal council. After Geo took his place on the sitout bench and Noelle took off her leg, the challenge got underway with Owen getting Baka out to an early lead. Despite Karla and Noelle closing the gap on the second leg, Baka continued to stay out in front until Ryan dominated the third leg. All three tribes got to work solving the puzzle and while Vesi got out to an early lead, the other tribes closed the gap and overtook them as Nneka and Jesse grew confused. Ultimately sending Vesi back to tribal council.

As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.

Before sending everyone out, Baka was given the chance to send someone from each tribe to go on a journey opting for Noelle, James and Owen. We followed Vesi back to camp where Nneka was feeling bad to have lost another immunity challenge due to the puzzle, quickly checking in with Dwight to see what he was thinking. She immediately started to break down, not wanting to get rid of Noelle, given she is so inspirational. Jesse and Cody meanwhile were busy debating the merits of getting rid of Noelle who is strong or Nneka who they are tight with. Jesse opened up to us about how Nneka reminds him of his mum and worried that voting her out would be just as hard.

We checked in with the trio on Journey Island where Noelle was concerned about being away from her tribe this close to tribal council. On the journey she opened up about how her amputation impacted her life and by impact, it kinda didn’t as she is still an epic athlete and ugh, I love her. On the walk she told the boys that she is on the bottom of the tribe, offering that should they look out for her and let her have the advantage, come merge, the trio will work together to take control. And well, it worked and I love her. What an icon.

ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?

As Noelle returned to camp, Dwight was still nervous about whether they could trust Jesse to work with him and how what happened to Noelle will dictate how things go. Despite telling everyone she didn’t risk her vote, she pulled Dwight aside and assured him that she did snag an advantage. And conveniently, it was the very one they needed – a vote steal – so should Jesse give them bad vibes, she could steal his vote to take out Nneka.

At tribal council Nneka once again took accountability for losing the challenge, with Jesse jumping in and blaming himself. Nneka admitted it was quite a heartbreaking afternoon as they came to terms with losing one of their tribemates and that she was struggling with ending someone’s journey. While Cody agreed it was sad, he realised it was a game and had accepted it. Dwight spoke about finding the balance between trust and strength, while Noelle was concerned about how her journey would impact things, given she couldn’t scramble. Though she assured them she is there to prove things to herself, rather than destroy the competition. While Jesse mentioned they are also concerned that maybe Noelle also jagged an advantage on her journey.

Jeff asked everyone how confident they were that things would go their way and after they finally agreed on survey metrics, all but Noelle admitted they were very confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Which obviously meant that when the tribe voted one of them was wrong, as the tribe banded together to choose strength and booted sweet Nneka from the game.

Given she is a kind, sweet delight, she took her boot in stride and gladly thanked me for welcoming her to Loser Lodge. Nneka was a breath of fresh air in the game, at times feeling like a player from the earlier seasons in the way she quietly built up relationships and looked after the tribe. But alas, these smaller tribes leave little place for those games to survive if the person isn’t bringing it in challenges. And while that is a bitter pill to swallow, it was sweetened up by a Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish.

Flaky on the outside while all at once sticky, sweet and earthy on the inside, these decadent danishes fill you with joy. Though, I am a sucker for pastries so I am always going to say that. So why not give them a go and see for yourself!

Enjoy!

Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
50g whole blanched hazelnuts
200g whole blanched almonds
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g raw caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 sheets good-quality butter puff pastry, quartered
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved

Method
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pop the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (though leave the oven on).

Once the nuts have cooled a little, pop them in a food processor and blitz until they have formed a meal-like consistency and no further. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs and blitz until well combined.

Blend the cooled nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground – keep an eye on them and stop as soon as they’re ground or they’ll become oily. Transfer to a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and a little paler. Using a large metal spoon, slowly fold in the eggs.

To assemble, place the puff on a clean bench and place half a pear, face down, in the centre of each portion. Dollop over some of the praline, leaving a 1-2cm edge around. Crimp the edges to form whatever shape you desire and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp. Then, obviously, devour.


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Pfefferlix Godlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Pfefferlix Godlo
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Arepomare Fifth

Bread, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls starred in our first acting challenge and while it paid homage to Prisoner, I still wish they went with Homo & A-gay or Gaybours. But when life gives you lemons, it is generally a Drag Race acting challenge or something. Which coincidentally was the plot, as Bev was given the death penalty for writing the franchise’s past acting challenges. While Aubrey and Kween struggled, Spankie was demented and gorgeous, while Minnie and Hannah gave the best criminal duo since Home Alone. Alas, there could only be one winner as Spankie took out her first victory of the season, before Kween destroyed the lip sync and poor Aubrey sashayed away.

Backstage Kween was still feeling disappointed in herself, feeling broken and picking the performance apart. On top of that, she felt bad for poor Aubrey. Thankfully everyone rallied around and gave her a glorious pep talk and she was soon feeling far better. She then congratulated Spankie on her first victory, while Spankie in turn praised Minnie and Hannah for doing so well in the challenge. Hannah then lamented the fact that she has been a bridesmaid in the first two episodes and best believe she was ready to step into the spotlight and take out a victory. Otherwise, why did they invite her to this wedding?

Oh and Minnie offered to suck off and then bottom for Kween – um, get in line lady – and Hannah suggested finding Ru’s trailer and sucking her off for a win. So yeah, maybe this is why Ru called us all ratchet?

The next day Yuri was feeling good, particularly since her outfit saved her last week and this week, she vowed to get out of her head and get back into the top. Ru dropped by before Yuri could top, though thankfully brought the Pit Crew with him and well, my basement was flooded. There was something about a tool stuffed in their pants and the queens had to pick who was packing what. As is oft the case, we all won as the menseses dropped trou over and over. But apparently, in whatever way Ru was keeping score, Molly Poppinz took out the actual victory.

And as the victor, she was able to pair up the queens for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they would be hosting a 5-minute drag brunch set. She obviously paired up with Hannah, before getting Minnie and Kween together and putting Bev with Pomara, leaving Spankie and Yuri as the final duo. And while Spankie felt like Molly was trying to do a little bit of sabo(tage), I have a feeling in my waters that Spankie and Yuri will shine.

After Ru departed, the pairs split up to workshop their sets with Molly wanting to be natural rather than scripting anything and well, is this a good idea? Spankie then asked Molly if she was trying to be strategic with her pairings, admitting that yes she did, wanting to put a strong queen with a weaker girl. Before basically admitting she was just trying to bring Spankie down. Speaking of Spankie, she was pissed by the decision while Yuri was feeling ready to bring herself up to Spankie’s level and yes Yuri, I love you. Beverly and Pomara meanwhile learnt they are polar opposites with their performance styles, with Bev wanting to script everything and Pomara focused on being off the cuff. Minnie and Kween meanwhile were leaning into the fact they have completely different backgrounds, focusing on racism and privilege.

Oh and they told Hannah about it so Hannah could address her Scarlett Adams-esque background with cultural appropriation and the hurt that it did, has and will cause. And fuck, Kween is so mature and wise, giving Hannah space to apologise and address the scandal while firmly explaining why it is such a problem and how addressing it in a non-performative way proves she is willing to grow.

Spankie and Yuri were first to workshop with Rhys and Chris Parker – who is wearing a super cute shirt – and were very fun with their scripted roast of the queens. Rhys encouraged them to make it a little more Drag Race, while Chris wanted them to take advantage of the fact they are a Kiwi only duo. Molly and Hannah started out with a dry script about Hobbiton, before the mentors told them to make things personal. Where we then learnt Hannah wanted to be a priest, which is a story we all need to hear. Minnie’s energy meanwhile took all the rehearsal space, with Kween encouraged to come up a little while Minnie was told to tone it down a little. While Bev and Pomara just couldn’t figure out where the script was going and who was saying what, while Rhys and Chris reminded them to lift each other up.

Elimination Day rolled around with Yuri MIA with an eye infection, though ugh, Pomara suggested they could all help paint her face when she comes back and maybe they listened when Ru said, everyone say love.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Urzila Carlson on the judges panel as Beverly and Pomara opened the show looking absolutely stunning and going well, until Yuri’s absence appeared to really throw them off because things then became stilted. Backstage, Yuri returned with half vision and a cream and quickly beat her mug while Molly and Hannah took the stage and were so energetic, fun and personable and well, I love it. I mean, “the only balloon I can blow up is when I’m farting in my foreskin in my meaty tuck” is a line that came out of Molly’s mouth. What could you not love? Kween meanwhile was charming and sparkled while Minnie dropped in and brought all the energy, which proved to be a formidable combination as they slayed. Yuri then gagged the dolls as she made her triumphant return with Spankie to close out the show. And I don’t know if she got drugged up at A&E, but Yuri was hilarious and so much fun despite Spankie giving an absolute hosting masterclass.

I mean, they nailed it.

On the Red for Filth runway, Beverly was a stunning goth ready for the boudoir, complete with a chandelier headpiece. Pomara served red earth glamour and looked so damn stunning, Hannah Conda gave Carmen Sandieg-ho does Dallas, Molly was a blooming rose bud with a perfect mug. Kween gave sexy volcano realness while Minnie wore a stunning red dress that just could not stay up and then Spankie looked perfect in a poppy gown in honour of the Anzacs, while Yrui was iconic as a bloody red devil and fuck I love her. But also, is she high?

Ultimately Spankie and Yuri took out victory and sent to untuck before Beverly was praised for giving a stunning runway though read for not really vibing with Pomara while they were on stage. Pomara too received universal praise for her look, but yeah, that vibe wasn’t great. Hannah and Molly were praised for such killer energy and how they bounced off each other, despite not having much of a script. Though their looks were both praised, despite Ru deeming Molly’s trashy. Kween meanwhile received wall-to-wall praise and thanked for bringing the energy she had in lip sync to the challenge and stamping her place in the contest, while Minnie was praised for her energy and despite the dress not fitting, they loved the dedication to the sisters she lost to HIV/AIDS.

Backstage Spankie and Yuri were overjoyed to take out victory, particularly after everything Yuri had to go through this week. And Molly’s sabo attempts. The rest of the girls arrived and congratulated them on their victory, while Pomara and Beverly both started to sob given they were clearly in the bottom. While their sisters tried to rally around them, Bev brokedown over her fears and how she was  terrified of failing herself and the greater Brisbane area. Which thankful doesn’t include Logan for the record, but I digress. Kween then gave her and Pomara an epic peptalk and well, I’ve loved Kween because she is so damn hot, but damn, she has such a beautiful soul too. Begging the question, did Jesse McCartney write it about her? Because he should have.

Ru didn’t beat around the bush this week, telling Bev and Pomara they were in the bottom before sweeping the rest of the girls off stage. Despite the fear and emotion they were showing backstage, they both went off as Years & Years feat. Kylie’s Starstruck kicked off. Both of the dolls hit every damn lyric and gave all the energy but when Bev started splitting and slipping and nearly sliding off stage, it was over. Until Pomara hilariously switched into mocking her opponent. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was this. But alas, they didn’t even have enough time to edit Ru’s stumble on the runway out, so tragically, we had to say goodbye to the iconic Pomara. Who rightly summed up her feelings with a simple, bye cunts.

Backstage poor Pomara was still feeling disappointed in her performance, so I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her how charming and talented she is. I then went on a very long-winded rant how this was far and away the strongest challenge of the series, with everyone kinda doing well. Add into that the fact they both slayed the lip sync and well, if there ever was a time to go out, it was when you all did well. Which appeared to do the trick as we slipped back into being silly and joyful as we smashed a fresh batch of Arepomare Fifth.

These gorgeously flavorful South American pita-esque breads are the perfect accompaniment. Or even with a thick layer of butter on their own. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are so damn good. And more importantly, v. easy to make.

Enjoy!

Arepomare Fifth
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 cups white corn flour
¼ cup sunflower oil (or corn, if you can find it)

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Combine the sugar, salt, pepper and water in a jug of water until only the pepper is visible. Meanwhile, pop the corn flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the sweet and salty water into the bowl, stirring constantly, until it all comes together.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Pop on a lined plate, cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.

When you’re ready to cook, divide the dough into ¼ cup(ish) sized balls and flatten into 2cm discs. Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add a couple of arepas to the pan. Flatten with a spatula and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another few. Repeat the process until done.

Place them on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until they sound hollow on the inside. Then devour, either with some eggs or leftover birria, not that either are traditional but they are great.


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La Grande Damarretto Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top four were given one final hurdle before battling for the crown and oh boy, was it a doozy – making over their besties! And while there are normally more than a few questionable choices, the quartet all served it as they stayed true to themselves while looking out for their friends. While that doesn’t help a competition format reality show, Nicky solved the little deadlock with a classic lip sync lalaparuza. As such, Soa defeated Lolita and booked the first spot in the top three. She was followed by Paloma before La Grande Dame narrowly completed the top three as Lolita Banana was tragically felled.

Backstage the top three were well and truly gagged to have made it to the end, before toasting to Lolita’s epic run to the top four. Though they didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, given they had a big week ahead if they wanted to snatch the crown. The next day the top three returned excited and ready to claim their crown. But after Nicky arrived to announce their final Maxi Challenge, they were a little less excited and erring more on the side of nervous. First up they would have to learn the lyrics to RuPaul’s Catwalk, in ENGLISH, then learn extensive choreography and perform it live on the mainstage. Then stomp the runway in front of fashion icon Olivier Rousteing.

Oh and obvs they will be having a little madeleine lunch with Nicky, as the French are wont to do.

After Nicky disappeared, they split up to speculate how painful their choreography would be, with everyone hoping for some camp disco moves. While La Grande Dame was only confident in her old white man moves. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long to find out as they quickly joined Nicolas Huchard on the mainstage to rehearse. And let’s just say, the performance is going to be very, very detailed and very, very intense. While Soa was in her element, Paloma was feeling super anxious and struggled to get it down and bring enough attitude. While Grande Dame was mildly confident, given she wasn’t the weakest. Well, unless this is a fakeout edit and Paloma is going to absolutely demolish the final performance.

Soa was first to kiki with Nicky, already feeling like a winner to have made it to the end. But hopeful to keep that fire and take the crown in honour of her dear friend Mrs Rose. La Grande Dame was next to drop by, simultaneously shocked to be there and proud of all that she has achieved. She revealed that she came to the competition because she had a difficult time growing up and wanting to show her mother another side of herself after difficult years apart, due to her queerness. Paloma meanwhile spoke about how the competition has made her feel like less of an imposter and that she has a place in the world. And ugh, I honestly love them all.

Nicky, Daphné and Kiddy were joined by Nicolas and Olivier on the judging panel as the top three took the stage for their performance of Catwalk and while Paloma looked tentative in rehearsal, she hit the stage with a fire and was so damn charming. La Grande Dame served non-stop moody glamour; ethereal and damn fierce. Soa meanwhile had all the energy, hitting every move and giving us sex from start to finish.

The Dragnifique runway was opened by our eliminated queens where La Kahena was a pretty princess in nude before stripping near nude and showing bum. So swoon. Lova gave showgirl glamour, La Briochée was a patchworked voodoo-Dorothy delight, Kam was peach-puff perfection while Elips was so gorgeous in a black, shimmering jumpsuit. Big Bertha went from red vamp, to revealing a bodysuit carving up her meat while Lolita was gorgeous in a gaudy quinceanera kinda way. When it came to the top three, Paloma was perfect in a moody red gown, complete with Bette Midler Hocus Pocus wig. Soa was sexy in a bead and leather outfit, giving structure and skin in equal measure while La Grande Dame was camp as hell in a shimmering lilac gown of frills and ruching.

Paloma received universal praise for all that she sold on the runway and for the diversity of her performances throughout the season. And for having so much fun. Paloma opened up to the judges, explaining how she wants her potential victory to inspire people to follow their dreams. Soa was praised for looking stunning on the runway, and for kicking off the season in such a strong fashion with her talent show performance. Oh and never mind her killer track record and dominating each lip sync she appeared in. She thanked the judges for their kindness and for embracing her. La Grande Dame meanwhile received praise for giving constantly evolving glamour on the runway and mixing it with such fun humour. And frankly, a whole lot of stupidity.

Nicky then wheeled out the baby pictures, with Paloma encouraging her younger self to stand firm and love herself and trust that everything will work out, despite the trauma and upheaval that is sometimes thrown her way. Soa told her baby self to use the pain that comes her way as fire to make something of herself and to fight. And again, I love her so much. La Grande Dame meanwhile told her even younger self that while life may be strange and confusing at times, to always keep hope and focus on her happiness.

Before they ventured to untuck, Nicky then announced that the queens had privately voted prior to the show with Elips crowned the first Miss Sympathie. Backstage the finalists reunited with their eliminated sisters, toasting to a killer season before Grande Dame shared that watching her sisters leave in tears was the hardest part of the entire competition for her.

The girls returned to the mainstage to lip sync for the crown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. And given the dolls are icons, none of them really tried to steal the spotlight from anyone else, calm and confident in their skills as they all turned a killer show. Soa was obviously moody and fierce, Paloma served all the emotion while Grande Dame was stunning and on every lyric. Complete with glitter. Sadly, while everyone nailed the performance (and the season more broadly), Nicky had to pick a winner. And tragically, that was not La Grande Dame who finished as one of the two runner-ups. This is going to become quite repetitive, but the top three were so damn strong that any of them could have taken out the crown and while I’m thrilled for the winner, both La Grande Dame and the as yet unmentioned here other runner-up were worthy.

As soon as La Grande Dame stepped offstage for the crowning, I pulled her in for a massive hug and marvelled how someone so young could do what she did. I then went on a rant about my own fading youth and asked her to give me hers, before I snapped out of it and congratulated her on a job well done with a glorious La Grande Damarretto Cake.

The only thing elegant or decadent enough for La Grande Dame’s aesthetic is this barely-tweaked Nigella number. Rich, dense and velvety smooth, it is essentially the perfect cake. And I’d be willing to fight anyone that disagrees.

Enjoy!

La Grande Damarretto Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened 
4 eggs, at room temperature
125g raw caster sugar
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dustin’
¼ cup amaretto liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until smooth and glossy, before removing from the heat to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, glossy and doubled in volume. Combine the almond meal and cocoa, before folding through the sweetened eggs.

Mix the amaretto and vanilla with the melted chocolate, then fold through the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until it is coming away from the edges and is cracked on the top. It should be dense and moist, but only just cooked through with a few crumbs left on an inserted skewer.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, before unclamping the tin and gently transferring the cake to a plate. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa before devouring, triumphantly. Despite not winning. 


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Bluebrey Hainish

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under ten new dolls arrived in our baby Werk Room ready to gift the world further flavour from our neck of the woods. After putting the dolls through their paces in the traditional photoshoot – this time, with sausage – Ru tasked the girls with making outfits from natural or recycled materials. Faúx Fúr sang and generally added a cacophony of sounds while rocking black granny panties under a sheer skirt, while Spankie, potentially distracted, just forgot to work panties into her design at all. While Yuri’s look was a work of art, she couldn’t walk in it on the runway and as such, Molly, who also nailed the challenge, took out the first win of the season. Meanwhile Spankie and Faúx’s own version of the Erika Girardi pantygate landed them in the bottom with Spankie sending sweet Faúx home.

Backstage everything was feeling a little more real after seeing their first sister go home, with Spankie heartbroken to have been the one to have officially done the deed. While everyone, unsurprisingly, was just gagged by how quiet things were now that Faúx was gone. Minnie was proud of Spankie for turning the lip sync for the old girls – despite her being in her 30s – while Spankie was just focused on rising from the ashes and proving to everyone that she is not to be fucked with.

The next day Kween was also ready for a little bit of a comeback, while Yuri was just hoping to be able to walk in whatever look she pulls out this week. Aubrey meanwhile was happy to be safe for the challenge, before Minnie jumped in and apologised for the drama between them about their safe-ness last week. Before we could dwell on it further, Ru dropped by and promptly announced that since Molly won the first challenge, she would be able to rate her competition with the help of the zaddy Pit Crew. And well, were we paying attention to anything but the Bonds packages? Yuri Gaii was crowned Greatest Competition, not Good Cunt as Spankie thought. Daggiest Drag was given to Spankie, You Beauty was obviously Kween Kong as trade of the season while the final winner – Taking the Piss aka Next to Go – was Beverly Kills. Mainly because Aubrey looked stressed and Molly was way too scared to give it to Minnie.

For this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be starring in a Prisoner parody – Caged Queens – with those winning a title and wearing a sash forming Team #1 with Molly, while the rest would form Team #2. As soon as the sash dolls got together Molly admitted that she actually wanted to say Minnie was the next to go and while they started kiki-ing about it, Kween cut them off and told them to put some respect on Minnie’s name and well, I love Kween for standing up for the icon. Speaking of Minnie, she and Aubrey assured their team they will gladly put their former issues aside. Minnie opened up about being dyslexic and requested they run through the scene orally and ugh, I love her. We ventured back to Team Sash where Spankie was nailing rehearsal, while literally everyone else was bombing.

Team Sashless were first up to film with Michelle and Rhys where Aubrey looked like Baby Willam and appeared to be struggling. Pomara meanwhile was iconic in a Casey Donovan wig and well, it made me moist and I love her and her power hungry ways as a prison guard. Minnie and Molly were demented and so much fun as prison hooch producers. Spankie meanwhile knocked it out of the park for Team Sash while Yuri was apologetic to everyone for how bad she was doing. Rounding things out, Kween was ditsy, Molly was funny and Beverly was awks.

Elimination Day arrived with Kween showing off a nip, so yeah, I’m wet. Team Sashless were ready to take out victory, while Minnie wanted to publicly thank her team for being so understanding about her dyslexia which the other team hadn’t known. This led to Pomara trying to hide her laughter as she had heard it multiple times this episode, which obviously set off a new feud between Minnie and her. Once it was resolved that Pomara was laughing about it not being a secret, rather than Minnie having dyslexia, everyone split up to beat their mugs with Kween and Pomara feeling uncertain about how they went in the challenge but hopeful about improving on last week’s performance. Yuri opened up to Spankie about how her family offered to help fix her gayness and how they don’t support her drag, with Spankie going into mumma mode pulling her in for a hug and telling her that she is enough and is always welcome in her family. And ugh, I’ve had too long a week to process this emotion because that was beautiful.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Lucy Lawless as Molly slayed the Fly Girls runway as a neon green prey mantis. Kween Kong was perfection as a sexy black and white moth, Aubrey was gorgeous in Etcetera Etcetera’s entry-slash-promo look and Minnie was stunning as a 50s glam butterfly. Beverly was the sexiest latex mozzie, Pomara was stunning in an iridescent blue cicada gown, Spankie was a Cabaret style fly and looked a treat while Hannah was a glamorous ‘20s golden dame bug. And well, then Yuri Gaii was an acidic prey mantis and well, sorry Molly, Yuri did it better. Like the one you ordered, versus what you get.

When it came to Caged Queens, Hannah and Minnie were right in the pocket and gloriously, Home Alone-esque in their delivery. While Pomara and Aubrey were kinda-sorta just there. Spankie was delightfully demented, Yuri was sexy, Molly and Kween were fun and Beverly was a little awks. But given her character was being executed for writing all the RuPaul’s Drag Race acting challenges, so yeah, I appreciate a self-aware show.

Molly, Beverly and Pomara were deemed safe and sent to untuck before the judges praised Kween for looking stunning as all hell. Though read for kinda just being there in the challenge. She admitted that she hated the challenge and is embarrassed to have bombed in front of Lucy Lawless, before opening up about her depression and assured Ru that she will do better and ugh, I love her. Aubrey was read for being weak, though they praised her for fighting through the struggle of being first on set. Oh and while she looked good standing still, her gags on the runway all fell flat. Minnie received all around praise for everything she did in the challenge and on the runway. Yuri was declared the fashion queen of the season, though read for filth for her performance in the challenge. And then Spankie received wall to wall praise for being silly, leaning in to the joy and being fun. And then Hannah was praised for her Marlene Dietrich runway and for nailing the performance.

Backstage the safe girls were shocked that Kween and Aubrey were in the bottom, while Kween assured Yuri that she wants her baby sister to bring it in the lip sync. Minnie and Pomara then unleashed their issues, with Minnie offended about what happened this morning, while Pomara called her out for saying she didn’t deserve to be paid as a performer to other queens in Sydney. Oh and Minnie told her that she was entitled and difficult to mentor. But then they buried their issues and moved on, causing whiplash for everyone on the sidelines and watching along at home.

Ultimately Spankie took out her first win of the season while Hannah and Minnie were deemed a very deserving safe. As was Yuri, thanks to her perfect bloody outfit. As soon as The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself kicked off, Kween absolutely came alive and commanded all the attention, proving she is a damn star. She was cartwheeling and splitting and while Aubrey had a fire and gave camp comedy, Kween made sure she was not going home any time soon. Which meant poor Aubrey had to go, ironically – maybe, who knows thanks to Alanis – to a song featured in Austin Powers, which birthed her name. 

Backstage Aubrey was understandably disappointed to be going home so soon, but thankfully was still proud of how skilled she is despite still being a baby-queen. Do I feel like a part of her started drag for the sole purpose of getting on the show and getting a recipe named after her? Sure. But can you really blame her? Thankfully like me, she is an icon and I pulled her in for a massive hug, congratulating her on being so damn talented, winning over hearts during her short stint and getting into a memorable fight. Which, in my eyes, makes her more than worthy of a piping hot Bluebrey Hainish.

Tart berries, sweet, velvety cream cheese and the glorious crunch of almonds work together to create a pastry so decadent and life affirming that all your troubles are solved. Kind of like Marge’s banana bread.

Enjoy!

Bluebrey Hainish
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
400g cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 cups blueberries
1 egg, whisked
icing sugar and flaked almonds, for dusting and sprinkling

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and cut each sheet of puff pastry into four squares. Divide the squares between two lined baking sheets.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and extracts in a bowl and smear in the centre of each square of pastry, leaving a 2cm rim around the perimeter of each. Divide the blueberries between the squares and gently press into the cheese.

Brush the edges with a little bit of egg and transfer the baking sheets to the oven to cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for five minutes or so, before dusting with icing sugar and sprinkling over the flaked almonds. Then devour, lukewarm.


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