River Mediterranean Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Poison Ivy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

River Mediterranean Salad
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

Chuck everything in a bowl. Toss. Serve.

Then devour. Always devour.


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Veronica Green Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, Scarlett, I love you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Veronica Green Salad
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

And you know, devouring.


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Serena ChaChagine

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 5, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang on, wait a minute. Why do I always do this?! I mean, the ads even told us it was a Ru dawn and a Ru day. And now, well, that day is here. At midnight in the US, which honestly is perfect for me Down Under

But I digress.

A’Keria C. Davenport was the first to ru-turn to the Werk Room looking like a vision in all gold, she was joined by Jiggly and ugh, I live for her and am so glad she is back, fully embracing herself as a strong, gorgeous woman, in a little black dress to boot. Next up was Jan, living her Jantasy despite the jandemic and I hate myself for loving her and her jan-do spirit as much as I do. Particularly since she knows she was an 11 at all times last season. She was joined by Ra’Jah O’Hara in a gorgeous purple and blue jumpsuit and she is happy, friendly and ready to prove that she is a damn icon. Then Ginger Minj arrived looking a mess as a toad, but damn am I thrilled to see her back after her sub-par performance in All Stars 2.

Particularly for her warts joke.

Yara Sofia arrived for her third turn, manic, crazed and barking like a dog and OH SHIT, have I missed her. Despite not loving Silky very much, her entry was iconic with a full glass of milk in her titties and ugh, will I actually love them all this season? Supporting that theory, my love Pandora Boxx returned looking stunning, complete with butt puns and gah, it is so good to have her back. Particularly if Rob Anderson manifested her being paired with Serena and there being no other pairs. Scarlet Envy was next to join the fray, with her season 11 nemesis Ra’jah living and well, it makes me so happy. Oh and speaking of Serena, she is back and damn, did she have a glow-up because it is time to cha-cha bitch. 

Sonique finally arrived and owned the entries, quoting the transphobic entry line and reclaiming it as her own. It is powerful, she is funny and damn, I am SO glad to have her back. Next up was Trinity K Bonet, still charming and ready to slay, with Bianca’s encouragement playing in her head this go around rather than her inner saboteur. Last up was Eureka for her sixteenth attempt at the crown, this time with All Stars lips. And thankfully, still serving killer looks.

With that, Ru finally arrived to inform the largest All Stars cast EVER that they would still be a democracy this season, with everyone voting. And then alluding to a game within a game. But then changed the subject to the 14th queen, who it turns out was just the legendary Miss Piggy, who would be overseeing the reading challenge.

Kylie Sonique Love kicked things off reading A’Keria for being another losing Davenport, TKB went in on Ra’Jah for being an early out and Silky for being a mess, Jiggly destroyed Pandora for having no fans and Serena for being an alternate. Ra’Jah then arrived and savaged former-nemesis Scarlet’s beard, Eureka went in on Ginger’s relationship and then Pandora killed reading Eureka for being there. And then Ginger rightly got a supercut of destroying all of them. Serena was given the rattlesnake edit before Yara was demented and delightful, Jan tried to read Sonique but was read back in return before A’Keria was mean about Ra’Jah’s chances in the competition, Scarlet went for A’Keria butt implants and Silky was confusing but eventually got one in on Eureka.

Obviously Ginger took out victory, before Ru announced that they would be competing in the traditional premiere variety show. Which saw them all quickly split up, snatch a station and kiki. Ra’Jah and Serena were both ready to rewrite their narrative this season and prove that they are stars, before Ra’Jah celebrated the diversity of the cast. Besties Ginger and Jiggly caught up and were delightfully ridiculous, with Ginger knowing that she shouldn’t join the bitter old lady brigade again. Silky meanwhile praised Serena’s glow-up and celebrated her return, while Ra’Jah admitted her strategy was to get to the top and then stay there. And I am living for this version of Ra’Jah.

Elimination Day arrived with Eureka sharing that she’d be doing a song about her mother, while Sonique was doing a song to reintroduce herself to the fandom. Meanwhile Trinity K Bonet was just hoping to break the comedy show curse, given it was her choice to do stand-up. As they got ready Scarlet and Sonique spoke about what the game within a game could be, with all the girls derailing it by talking about whether they have a strategy. Silky laid out that she is not planning to play games and wanted to be fair, while TKB was nervous about being a bit of an island in the cast since everyone had friends or former castmates joining them.

At the variety show Jan mocked her face crack moment after being announced safe, then slayed her vocal performance about living her Jantasy. Pandora was charming and stupid and ugh, THIS is the Pandora I love, as she lip synced like a maniac, complete with titty confetti. Jiggly’s song and dance, to her own Jiggly-centric rap was a bop, Kylie was GORGEOUS as a golden burlesque singer – sans Wagon Wheel Watusi.

Oh AND THEN RA’JAH SEWED A DRESS IN 60s, I SHIT YOU NOT. I CAN’T GET OVER IT.

A’Keria gave a technicolour lip sync that had Michelle gagging, despite the green lighting. And then, ugh, Trinity bombed her comedy show. Badly, despite reading her grandma for filth. Eureka had a surprisingly good voice while singing live, complete with projections on her dress. Scarlet then dazzled with a bubble burlesque number which was both fresh and iconic. Silky then straight up played piano and sang gospel, Serena promoted her wig line, Ginger gave a poppy performance of perfection and then Yara was ridiculous as she bounced her titties all over the stage. Which was iconic, despite nobody knowing what was happening.

After Ru reiterated the rules, Eureka, A’Keria, Jiggly, Jan, Kylie, Scarlet and Ginger were sent to safety. As the dolls untucked backstage, Jiggly was thrilled to have survived the first week while Ginger was happy to at least have won the reading challenge and to prove herself. Again. Jan threw out another Jan pun, while Eureka asked the girls to help her strip off to take a seat. She then charmed the girls by saying that she was shocked they weren’t the tops, while Ginger expected Silky to win despite Scarlet being sure it was Yara’s on lock, giving how much Ru was living.

Jiggly identified TKB as a bottom, while Eureka felt Pandora would be joining her along with Serena. Ginger loved that she got a plug in for her wig line, before Jan celebrated that she wasn’t even annoyed about being safe. And Scarlet was thrilled to be feeling joy this time, as was A’Keria. Kylie shared that she was sprialling before starting the competition, though was ready to show that she had grown thanks to Ru. Eureka then broke down about losing her mum and was so endearing, leading to Jiggly talking about how much Eureka’s tribute to her mum meant to her. 

Jiggly then spoke about how she spent so long doing sex work to survive, that she didn’t even realise that she was broken on her first season. She and Kylie told the group about growing after coming out as trans and it was such a beautiful, loving conversation to have and I am so glad they are so open to sharing. Ginger spoke about how she didn’t even recognise who she was on Season 7, talking about how much hate she got that she still doesn’t even know how she processed it. Eureka praised her for being a trailblazer for big girls, before Sonique gave them all a pep talk about how them being so vulnerable and open is what makes them special. 

Oh and Ginger then spoke about the positives of meeting fans, with Scarlet admitting that she was one such fan of Ginger’s in the past. And then Jan reminded us that season 12 really had the worst experience, given she hasn’t even toured as a Ru girl so is still waiting to meet fans.

Back on the mainstage,  Silky was read for not fully taking it there in her performance, despite looking gorgeous and literally playing the piano live. Trinity’s look was praised though she was read for her obvious bomb. Ra’Jah received universal praise for her dress in 60 seconds number, as did Yara for her ridiculous tiddy-shaking performance. And I am so happy for her. Pandora’s joyous brand of ridiculous was praised for serving comedy, while poor Serena was read for not exactly executing the performance given everything else looked so beautiful and polished. Ultimately Yara took out the first victory of the season, while Pandora and Ra’Jah were deemed safe, as was Silky. Meaning either TKB or Serena were going home.

Talk turned to the voting backstage, with the girls talking about their strategies with Kylie admitting that she knows well enough not to share her strategy. They were interrupted by the tops and bottoms returning from their critiques, with Yara giddy to announce her victory to the safe girls, before Trinity and Serena shared they were in the bottom. Yara pulled Serena aside, with the latter sharing that she is heartbroken to be in the bottom after all these years. Meanwhile TKB shared that she doesn’t even know what happened at the variety show, though plead her case to the girls, reminding them she is here to prove herself. The bottoms switched places – how versatile – with Serena telling the girls she is here to fight too, while TKB reminded Yara about how much she wants to be there.

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

With that, the dolls voted and Yara made her way to the mainstage where she learnt that she would be facing off against Coco Montrese and oooooh, gurl – you in danger Yara! As soon as Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk started, both the dolls were ready to fight, but honestly, Coco is just SO good at lip syncing. Even while Yara was stripping and bouncing her titties, Coco was hitting every letter and proving why she is arguably THE lip sync assassin of the franchise. Again, she is just so good. With that, she took out victory and had to reveal that the group had voted to eliminate the delightfully redeemed Serena ChaCha.

Serena was crushed to unanimously be booted from the game by the group, particularly since Yara voted for Trinity and could have changed things with her victory. That being said, my dear Serena was delightful as she wrote her farewell message, before breaking down to discover the other queens’ notes praising her for her growth and charm. Oh and seeing the massive Serena ChaChagine I had waiting to celebrate her rudemption.

Rich and hearty, despite not having a meat in sight, this tagine is a pure delight. And while that was an accidental rhyme, you know I deliberately left that in. Because like the tagine, it is fun and full of flavour. Right?

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 pinch of saffron
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ butternut pumpkin, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, cut into segments
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 potato, cut into eighths
salt and pepper, to taste
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous, mint, flaked almonds, yoghurt and harissa, to serve

Method
Place the saffron in a cup measure and infuse in 1 cup of boiling water.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a tagine over a medium heat and sweat the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and ras el hanout for a minute or two, or until nice and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook it off for a few minutes before loosening with the saffron infused water.

Stir in the myriad of diced and sliced veg before adding the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and apricots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Give a good stir, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or so, or until the veg are tender.

To serve, layer your bowl with a dollop of couscous, followed by the tagine and whatever combination of herbs, yoghurt, harissa and almonds float your boat. And then devour, like a rudeemed champion.


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Jason Porkstein Chow Mein

Main, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, TV, TV Recap

After the longest, darkest off season Survivor is back. No not the Jiffy Pop brand of Survivor but a Survivor, and since Nico my love is super hot, you’re going to buckle in. Whether you like it or not, ok? Because this is Survivor SA.

We opened with my dear Nico, perilously close to a cliff face on the southern tip of Africa, filling me with fear and dread since we’ve all lived through enough in the last 18 months. I mean, that was worse than the Game of Thrones series finale. Anyway, my mood perked up when we met Tyson who is a babe and just like that, I love him. We followed him with Jason who is thrilled to have a homeground advantage being in SA, despite everyone having the same advantage. Though it turns out Amy kinda proved Jason may actually be correct, since she has no idea what to fear IN HER OWN COUNTRY.

Though maybe that is because in Australia, we just assume all bugs and snakes will kill you.

My hair twin Qieän was living for lady Rupert who we learnt is called Santoni. She in turn is scared by how built Marisha is and Anesu was intimidated by a shirtless old zaddy called Shaun. Nicole is looking forward to being underestimated, shirtless zaddy was shirtless so I didn’t absorb much information aside from his passion for backstabbing while sweet Pinty was pumped to be honest – no Queen Pinty. Nico then introduced us to the conceptImmunity Island which appears to be the same as Island of Secrets, which was fun and not overpowered, so I’ll let it slide.

Oh and Thoriso is ready to win, Wardah is ready to practice her mindfulness and Renier is excited to prove himself. And Tyson swung back around to tell us he will win. So I’m going to say he actually will win. As much as I love most of the cast.

The castaways finally joined Nico for an official welcome to the game where Santoni spoke about her weird and whimsical ways and damn, I love her. Tyson again reminded us he is here to win and again, I’ll listen. Until I realised Chappies was showing off his beautiful gams because now he has won something. My heart. Oh and Marisha the strong was charming and iconic, and I feel deep within my waters that I’m really going to enjoy her.

Nico explained that someone will head to Immunity Island after losing an immunity challenge. Once there they will be faced with a challenge offering them advantages and disadvantages. But that is all he was willing to share at this stage.

Nico instead announced that they would be split into two tribes based on random draw with Amy, Anela, Dino, Jason, Marisha, Nicole, Qieän, Renier, Shaun and Thoriso landing on Zamba and Vuna made up of Anesu, Carla, Chappies, Kiran, Mike, Pinty, Paul, Santoni, Tyson and Wardah. Nicole was thrilled to be on the tribe with buff queen Marisha, while Paul was annoyed to be the only buff guy on the weaker looking Vuna tribe. Though Anesu thinks orange is a colour of abundance and therefore, didn’t care. And now, I vote for her to win. Oh and Thoriso was annoyed to be with the buff squad while Amy was thrilled to be with them, as Wardah was loving the energetics of her tribe. And then Jason talked smack about his rivals’ chill ways.

But enough set-up, the tribes were immediately tasked with running into the jungle to grab as many supplies as possible in two minutes. Oh and to make things more complicated, there were two immunity necklaces for each tribe that are good for their first tribal. As they ran off Renier knew not to go for immunity and instead to look out for an advantage amongst the loot, while everyone ran around like mad for the fruit and snacks. While Dino it turns out, was the one to make a run for his tribe’s immunity necklace. And nobody from Vuna snagged one. Dino was thrilled to not become the first boot, though was nervous about what it could potentially mean for his game. Nico then announced that there was also a brown envelope with a tribe advantage in it, but the person had to reveal who they were to receive it. With Renier thrilling his tribe by the fact that he grabbed it, but I can’t help but feel the secrecy may come back to bite him. And you guessed it, I love him.

Particularly since Nico told them that Renier is a game player. Though he did win the tribe camp comfort supplies, so maybe they won’t worry too much.

With that the tribes grabbed their maps and headed off to their camps, ready to start the game. We first checked in with Zamba where Dino was apologising for grabbing the immunity necklace before the tribe went on a group trip through the jungle to get water and to get to know each other. Meanwhile at Vuna they was far more chill about things as they got to work and hanging as a pack, talking about not working too hard and just doing a temporary shelter to get them going. Chappies meanwhile was wooing me as he rubbed two sticks together in his undies to try and make fire.

We bounced back to Zamba where Renier was happy to let other people take a leadership role in the tribe and paint a target on their backs. And given how the tribe grew more and more frustrated as they attempted to build their shelter, Jason girl, you’re in trouble. Well other than Shaun and Qieän who were desperately searching through the supplies for a flint or an idol. Which Amy noticed and immediately reported to Renier, Dino, Jason and Anela. And all of them were thrilled to have a target on someone else’s back. Oh and during the conversation we learnt that Nicole and Marisha were also aligned, apparently.

At Vuna Pinty and Chappie waded in the shores and quickly aligned, Kiran and Anesu aligned in the shrubs due to attending the same university before Kiran roped Carla, Mike and Tyson into their alliance. Oh and Anesu was quick to align with Wardah, given they are both influencers and Wardah thinks Anesu should keep her career as a doctor secret. And then Wardah caught up with Tyson and aligned with him too as Chappies and Pinty tried to recruit Anseu. But let’s be honest the main take away is that everyone wants to align with Anesu. And who wouldn’t because she is now my winner’s pick.

That night Zamba were sleeping under their shelter on the ground while Vuna struggled to stay dry in the rain. Though Carla proved herself to be a damn icon and that truly matters to me.

Zamba woke up dry and comfortable on day two, ready to finish their shelter and make things more comfortable while Thoriso worried about getting herself up from the bottom of the totem pole. As such, she set her sights on Shaun and his brash lack of people skills and turning people against him.

Before she could get to that, treemail arrived tasking each tribe with sending one champion to go and battle creating fire using a flint, with the winner securing a fire making kit for their tribe. Chappies and Jason were each nominated, with Thoriso quickly surmising that by nominating Jason the tribe appear to trust him and as such, she had another target in her sights. In any event, Jason and Chappies joined Nico with the latter trying to intimidate Jason by pretending they already have fire. Which Jason rightly called bullshit on. But more importantly, I think they should date. In any event, both of the boys were quick to get a flame but Chappie ultimately smoked the competition and secured reward for his tribe.

Oh and then Nico gave them diplomatic immunity, meaning both of them now have the power to mutiny from their tribe after losing immunity but only before the merge. Which could be really interesting.

Back at camp Chappies was quick to share his victory with the tribe though wisely kept quiet about his power to defect, should he need it. While Mike pondered whether something else happened at the challenge, Chappies invoked Zaddy John and got naked and ran into the water as a dick-straction. So basically, I love Chappies and would die for him. Meanwhile at Zamba, Jason was heartbroken to have lost and he too kept his mouth shut about his immutinity. Queen Thoriso meanwhile was frustrated by the fact the loss won’t really change anything for Jason and right on cue, he wandered off to align with Shaun.

That night at Vuna, the tribe joyously gathered around fire and basked in the warmth and victory as they roasted their veggies.

The next day Nico returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would swim out to retrieve rope rungs from buoys before using them to build a rope ladder to get to a second level of a tower where they would need to solve a rope ladder puzzle and then venture to the top floor and wait wait wait, I’ve missed this, solve a puzzle. Renier got Zamba off to a slight lead over Chappies, which Paul quickly closed as Jason was felled by knots. Vuna continued to hold on to their lead, building their ladder while Zamba desperately tried to close the gap. Until Santoni struggled and the tribes became neck and neck. Zamba got their start on the second ladder first, getting to the final level while Vuna languished on the second. But then the puzzle happened, as Vuna smoked them and snatched the first immunity thanks to Queen Anesu. As Dino begged Paul to save him and send him to immunity island.

Sadly for him, the tribe went with my Queen Thoriso. Which is the only answer I was willing for them to make.

We followed Thoriso off to Immunity Island where she learnt that she had earned immunity for herself, as well as food, shelter and fire. But obviously there was a cost, where she could face a challenge for another advantage and risk losing her vote at the next tribal. Though if she doesn’t play, she has to return to the tribe and hand over the immunity necklace to someone else. Obviously she opted for the challenge and got digging in a sandpit to find a red ball within a couple of minutes, which she sadly failed at and ended up losing her vote.

Back at camp Shaun was annoyed by Dino trying to align with the other tribe while Amy languished over being the reason they lost the challenge. Dino acknowledged that he was trying to woo the other tribe and Rinna it (aka owning it) to his advantage. Thankfully for him, Amy, Nicole and Marisha didn’t care as they desperately wanted Qieän gone first and were willing to join him. Meanwhile Jason and Anela – aka Smash – were catching up about who best to target and focused on the scramblers, which made Jason nervous given he is aligned with Shaun. In fact, it made Jason so nervous while trying to protect Shaun that Anela started to think Jason needed to go. 

Shaun meanwhile was busy searching everywhere for the idol.

Renier joined Jason to talk plans and while they were aligned, Renier grew nervous about Jason’s unpredictability. And immediately got to work turning the vote on Jason. The girls quickly got on board, but only if Smash was willing to join them. Then Jason and Renier spoke to Dino about the vote, with Renier earning icon status by pointing at Jason to let Dino know to vote for him. While Jason was confused as to why he was holding his hand up the entire conversation. Meanwhile Shaun was desperately trying to get Anela to protect him, surmising that since nobody has given him a name, he is clearly the name. Which really upset Qieän, given it was a sign that she will be an early boot.

At tribal council Thoriso rejoined her tribe, completely unaware that even without immunity she would have been safe tonight. Shaun spoke about the nervousness caused by the backstabbing of the previous day as people were looking to build their alliances. Jason spoke about the beautiful friendships they are already forming, before Shaun cut in to tell them that friendship is nothing and they need strength to make it to the merge. Amy spoke about focusing on trust as her deciding factor while Shaun continued to try and cut in, this time talking about working hard and being above board with everything. With Anela cutting him off to point out the target was on his back because he was searching through the food for an advantage.

Shaun said he was actually trying to find bad fruit to dispose of it before it ruins the rest of their food. Shaun told them that if they felt he had an idol, they should have gone through his bags or at least asked him. Because that is how you build trust. Thoriso was thrilled to have immunity amongst such uncertainty, while Shaun pointed out that he would always be the target. And then instead opted to remind everyone that Dino is trying to build bonds with people on the other tribe. Thankfully that was brushed over as Thoriso was forced to announce that she doesn’t have a vote at tribal, which didn’t bother Jason because one vote doesn’t really matter should you have the numbers.

Which he tragically learnt he didn’t as he was blindsided – genuinely, I might add – as the first boot. Much to the shock and delight of Shaun, who didn’t receive a single vote. He was gutted but delightful, given he is such a babe and as such, I was thrilled to fill me, hard, to the brim with some Jason Porkstein Chow Mein.

Spicy, sticky and oh so sweet, these noodles are near perfection. A little bit of hit, full of fresh veggies and packed with my other other favourite white meat. Noodles and stir fry are always a winner, particularly if you’re the first boot.

Enjoy!

Jason Porkstein Chow Mein
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp minced ginger
¼ cup shao hsing
⅓ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g pork mince
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
400g tin baby corn
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 tbsp minced chilli
440g fresh chow mein noodles
1 cup wombok, sliced
4 shallots, sliced green

Method
Mix the garlic, ginger, shao hsing, oyster sauce, soy sauce and pepper together in a jug and leave to rest.

Place a wok over medium-high heat and add half the vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the mince until cooked through. Add half the sauce and cook until sticky and browned. Transfer to a bowl to cook.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add literally everything but the noodles, wombok and shallots. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and devour. Joyously. Because a Survivor is back and Jason is as gorgeous as a stir fry.


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Coco Jumbalaya

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens were put through their paces in the inaugural Down Under Snatch Game. And while Anita slayed the game and stamped herself as a frontrunner, pretty much everyone else bombed. Hard. There was a Dolly without an accent, a Coolidge without the jokes, Lizzo without energy and Bindi Irwin without the Bindi, despite the fact the bogan take was still funny. Ultimately the latter two performances landed Coco and Art in the bottom two, and the remaining girls – and us at home – gagged, gooped and broken as Art was shockingly eliminated from the competition. Sobbing her way out the door.

Backstage the queens were in absolute shock, not only to have lost Art but I assume trying to grapple with the raw emotion they just experienced. Karen was speechless to have lost her bestie slash fellow front-runner, while on the flipside Coco was glad that winning the lip sync proved some drunk bogan lady married to her boss who said she would never compare to Art wrong. The one thing everyone could agree on is how the  departure of such a big name means the competition is well and truly wide open, with Etcetera desperate to leverage that opening – who wouldn’t – to put herself at the front of the pack.

The next day things were less shell shocked as the girls celebrated still being in the competition, with Kita pointing out she is now terrified to lip sync against either Coco or Elektra given they can both turn it the hell out. Bless, Etcetera suggested they could just both land in the bottom together and send each other home and save everyone else the worry!

They were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to put the queens to the test as full-bushed, sexy lifeguards. Etcetera was obviously demented and syched for the Gods before popping her balloon titties mid-rescue. Karen served clown realness with the fullest of full bushes, while Kita was giving the Pit Crew something to suck on. Elektra was hilarious, giving pube reveals as she saved all the lives. Coco meanwhile was giving me life as a slutty lifeguard. Anita then came out as lifeguard Yetta and I still stan her, while Maxi burnt her feet on the sand and Scarlet popped both tits and stole the show as the dumbest lifeguard of all time. 

Ultimately – and somewhat obviously – Scarlet and Elektra took out joint victory in the mini challenge. As such, the duo were team captains in a girl group battle for the premiere of the maybe-gonna-be-a-hit song Queens Down Under. You know, the iconic one from the one trailer the show got. Not that I’m bitter or anything. With the two pulled aside, Scarlet grabbed Etcetera Etcetera, Coco Jumbo and Anita for her team while Elektra went with Karen and Kita, with Maxi joining them by default. Which didn’t bother her in the slightest. Like a damn icon. Anyway the queens would write their own verses, record them with Michelle and then debut them on the mainstage with their own choreo. Because we are not ready for Jamal Simms to land Down Under, as much as I want him to.

The groups quickly split up with Elektra desperate to prove why she is here and show off her dance background, while over on team Scarlet she was focused on killing it with sharp choreography despite Etcetera and Anita wanting to take it easy so they could all shine. That being said the choreography is the least of their problems, given Coco was on struggle street with the first part of the process, her lyrics. Things were then interrupted by a massive blow up between Karen, Elektra and Kita but psych, it was fake to get into the other girls heads. But nobody really batted an eyelid after the initial excitement died down.

Another siren went off with Drag Race songwriter Leland and Troye Sivan Zooming in to encourage the girls. And just as I was about to write it off as a boring way of including celebrity guests in this COVID world, Troye Sivan dropped all the ways he wants it up the arse in such a filthy way, I blushed, flooded my basement, took notes on new positions and then silently pledged to stan that hero until the end of times. They then encouraged everyone to give all the personality in their performances, but nothing will ever show more personality than the mouth of my King.

Team Elektra – aka Three and a Half Men – was first to record their lyrics with Michelle. Karen kicked things off very flat, before Kita absolutely blew Michelle away with her energy and lyrics before Elektra knocked out some hilariously self-deprecating lyrics ripping on her basic drag. And then Maxi, girl, you in danger – she struggled to find a beat, let alone stay on the beat. Instantly making her teammates shit themselves. Though not in the Scaredy Kat way.

Team Scarlet introduced themselves as the Outback Fake-Hoes – is that a play on Queen Sandra’s favourite chain?! – with Anita continuing to knock everything out of the park, Etcetera feeling her oats while working her way further into my heart. Scarlet too was great but then again, anyway looks perfect next to Coco who really struggled to find any key, despite how much I love her charm and how hot she is as a boy.

Three and a Half Men were first to learn the choreography with everyone feeling great about Elektra’s work and grateful about how patient she was while teaching everyone. Backstage she shared that she hasn’t taught dancing in such a long time, opening up about how she lost her dance studio and then her home. The rest of the dolls rallied around her as she broke down about her pain and loss and ugh, now I am an Elektra stan as well as my lusting after her.

The Outback Fake-Hoes were less streamlined in their rehearsal process as Scarlet tried to be nice and let everyone have an opinion. Etcetera used the opportunity to help by leading from behind, which led to them spending most of the time fighting over what to do while poor Coco and Anita stood off to the side of stage, looking on in utter confusion.

But will it all be a massive fake out?!

Elimination Day rolled around with Etcetera stumbling upon a note in Coco’s workstation telling her to ‘watch out.’ While everyone was speculating about who could possibly have written it, Kita lamented sadly that she wished it was her to cause some drama. That being said, it was painfully obvious that it was Art. Which is the perfect kind of messy I love and now miss.

UPDATE: Art has confirmed it was she who left the note. Like a shady little producing icon!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys strapped themselves in – with Rhys fearlessly ripping on Ru and Michelle with hilarious results, swoon – as Outback Fake-Hoes took the stage. Anita’s filthy lyrics delighted the judges, Scarlet hit every beat of the choreography, Etcetera oozed charm and Coco really kicked it into gear from rehearsal, though still seemed out paced by her team. Three and A Half Men kept things more even as Karen served Australian Trixie, Kita was an absolute high-energy delight, Elektra was an absolute star and Maxi was the exact right kind of slutty-demented, working around any of her perceived weaknesses with ease thanks to her killer characterisation.

Am I now a Maxi stan as well? This is getting exhausting.

On the Bogan Prom Realness runway Etcetera was a total slapper in a pink juicy tracksuit fresh from gittin’ her nails done. Coco was full bush after pulling herself away from the man she was doing in the shrubs, Anita was demented and truly sold bogen chic. Scarlet slayed in a goon sack gown with ciggie necklace, offering gobbies to her teacher to further lock up this week’s victory in my eyes. Elektra was a total golden bogan babe with a tonne of accessories and then some. Kita meanwhile went a different route, serving neon rocker realness. Maxi was a damn star as the bogan chaperone, while Karen was a mess as her ruffly daughter, in the greatest way possible.

Ultimately Etcetera and Karen were sent to safety, leaving the judges to read Coco for messing up the performance despite looking like perfection. Ru liked her look on the runway but wished it was more elevated. Anita meanwhile was praised for not letting her stumbles in the performance hold her back and therefore slaying from start to finish. Particularly with her filthy lyrics. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did, with Ru feeling more in touch with Australiana from witnessing her runway. Elektra was read for trying to be the Beyonce of the group, with them not loving the fact she is continuing to be basic on the runway. Kita was universally beloved, despite the fact she didn’t really serve the category. Maxi was read for struggling with the record, though praised for being so damn stunning and magnetic. With Michelle reminding her she is so much more than funny to boot, and encouraging her to lean into her beauty.

As the queens untucked Coco resigned herself to her fate in the bottom two, while Elektra gagged her team with the knowledge that she too is in the bottom. The only thing more annoying than being in the bottom for Elektra though, was how smug Scarlet was to receive universal praise.

Back on the Mainstage Anita and Kita were quickly sent to safety as Scarlet took out her first victory of the season, despite the fact Ru made it sound like she had already won multiple. Meanwhile Elektra was gagged to find herself in the bottom with Coco, thanks to her basic runways while a shocked Maxi was sent to safety. And as suggested at the start of the episode by Etcetera, both of the potential assassins were ready to fight tooth and nail to survive to Peaches & Herb’s Shake Your Groove Thing. Elektra once again let out her full Beyonce while Coco felt the song and damn they bounced off each other so damn well. Elektra gave the most fluid death drops to ever grace the mainstage, was high-kicking and an absolute ridiculous delight and damn, this is where she shines as the hilarious, scrappy fighter.

Despite Coco’s magnetism, Elektra bouncing in a split for an entire verse was too fierce to overcome as she once again saved herself, sending my love Coco out of the competition. While my arms were wide open ready to embrace my northern-ish NSW friend, she was less happy to see me on account of the fact I forced her to dress as a gorilla in week one.

As one of her dearest friends, Coco came to me for advice on how best to impress Ru, Michelle and my king Rhys, and I suggested celebrating the jewel of Coffs, the big banana. Other than the iconic Maccas you’d stop at on a drive to Sydney at Christmas when it was still in the ‘90s location, but I digress. You see, my young gay loins were well and truly girded in the coastal hub when I saw the Wallabies in the pool while staying at a resort in Coffs Harbour. The moment went on to inspire the scene in the second Sex and the City movie but also washed away any doubts of potential heterosexuality and ignite my passion for a big banana.

It was a truly touching coming of age story, in more ways than one, and Coco agreed to do me proud. And well, we all watched episode one so the less I say about it the better, though I do think the judges would have loved to hear my touching story. 

After apologising profusely for being out of touch – who knows how to do human interaction after COVID?! – Coco warmed to my tears and was just grateful to have a friend by her side. I reminded her that she gave good talking-head for the three episodes she was in and was a babe out of drag and as such, will always be beloved by the fandom. And will probs win an All Stars season if and when it happens, I can just feel it in me waters. With that, we sat down to dinner hand in hand and giddily ate up our friendship while smashing a fresh Coco Jumbalaya.

Ya ya yi, you thought I was going to cocoa our jumbo, didn’t you? While it was the more obvious option when creating a recipe for a friend as sweet as Coco, I instead wanted to highlight her spicier side. Like Coco, this baby as the rich velvety sweetness of the tomato and capsicum with some delightful depths from the chorizo and chilli kicking it into gear.

Enjoy!

Coco Jumbalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, sliced
2 chorizos, skin removed and filling pinched out into small meatballs
500g chicken breasts, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup basmati rice
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onions and capsicum for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until they release some of their flavourful oils. Stir the chicken through the pan and cook for another five minutes, or until starting to brown on the outside.

Add the garlic, spice, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper – more so off the pepper, but that’s my preference – to the pan and stir for a minute or so before stirring in the rice. Pour in the tomatoes and stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is plump and rouged.

Serve immediately and devour, thinking of the biggest bananas you’ve been lucky enough to see.

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Henry Gorenicholson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor physical battles dominated the game, leading to a focus on strength on each tribe. After going on a losing streak, Vakama were determined not to return to tribal council and came to both challenges fired up. After scoring a fish and chip reward – kinda – Mat found an idol in front of the entire tribe, much to Locky’s dismay who finally wanted to be the person to snag an idol. At the immunity challenge – which was again super physical – Michelle quickly dropped out, putting her tribe on the back foot from the start, which tragically led to their loss. Also Shonee sat out on a bench which featured a clue to the hidden immunity idol which see didn’t see, which is just as tragic as you could imagine. Back at camp Henry pushed to get rid of Sharn, which made Nick decide it was Henry’s time to go. While Abbey and the Athletes – who sound like the world’s shittiest band – opted to focus on strength and sent Queen Michelle out of the game.

The next day Mokuta was feeling mighty miserable, which obviously led to John welcoming Lee into the Australian Survivor nudity club. The self-annointed Dumb Dumb Club frolicked, flipped and showed off their gloriously pasty buns and hot damn, I’m drippin’ more than the Fijian skies.

Meanwhile over at Vakama the mood was just as low, though tragically far more clothed as Locky worked his arse off to keep the tribe afloat in the torrential ran. Add to that the fact he is sitting pretty in the majority alliance AND is falling for Brooke, and you could say that Locky is on cloud nine. Wait, scrap that, he is fixated on the fact that Mat has an idol and as such, he decided to start wearing it around camp to taunt poor love struck Locky. As Mat desperately wants to make him look as silly as possible.

We returned to Mokuta where the rain had stopped, the clothes were tragically back on and the tribe were doing some home improvements like a less chic version of Brad and Monica Culpepper. Well except for Henry, who was busy doing his best Coach impersonation while Nick worried about how to deal with him after spooking him at the last tribal council. With that Nick started to do damage control as Henry ranted and raved about how to save himself and play like he has no other option, while Nick sat in the shelter looking like he is about to shit himself. Based on the conversation Nick decided that Henry’s next target is going to be Shonee, so instead of trying to manage him, approaches the rest of the tribe to warn them how dangerous Henry is, so that everyone manages the situation on his behalf.

Speaking of Henry, he was reflecting on his first time in the game and remembering his mother, who passed away just before he went out. Not one to be down for count, Henry channelled his grief and as Nick feared, started working his way round the tribe to show how strong he is and play up how weak our icon Shonee is.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge – sadly clothed – where each tribe would face off one-or-one to knock an idol of the other’s handle with the first to four scoring victory. For a huge pack of cones, so you know Harry is excited. Mat and Henry were first to face off, with Henry chasing him down like prey and quickly snagging the point. Abbey made quick work of Moana, Queen Shonee was felled by Phoebe, Zach destroyed AK before Henry’s tricky juggling skills scored Mokuta the victory over David. Before the tribe headed out to smash their ice cream, Locky and Phoebe interrupted the proceedings and told Jonathan that they would like to use their previous reward and join then at the ice cream shop. Thankfully Jonathan is a messy icon, and asked them which two people they would like to send, outing their lie that it had to be used by them to the rest of their tribe.

At reward Harry was well and truly in his element, making ice creams and running around like a delirious child. Speaking of deliriousness, Henry was thrilled to show off his strength, so was working overtime to make as many friends as possible while they were all sugared up. Meanwhile Locky and Phoebe were filling everyone in on how much better the Mokuta camp is before Locky split up to gather intel from his rivals. While the tribe, smartly, stayed quiet. Making it super awkward, and honestly, painted a target on his back. Meanwhile my queen Shonee was loving the sugar but more importantly, loved finding a hidden immunity idol clue under a log. Redeeming herself for the day before. She bided her time until the tribe cleared out to wash their hands before she learnt that the idol was hidden under the well. She went for a wander into the jungle to find the well and got to work lifting it out of the way, grabbing the idol and then returning the well to its place.

Oh and she was wandering around in a jumpsuit and slides.

Terrified about being caught, she panicked about whether the well looked weird before her best friend Nick stumbled upon her. After confirming that the well looked normal, she looped her ally in on the intel and honestly, their happy dancing was too pure for this world and I ship the hell out of them.

The delicious Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to build a staircase out of heavy logs before collecting a hammer, pounding in some stakes, releasing a tunnel, climbing through a mud pit and some obstacles before shooting some baskets from a deck using a catapult. Mokuta got out to an early lead on the log stairs while Vakama struggled to grip their logs, given they were wet and slippery. I mean, I’m sad I have to use Jono’s smutty puns, but they also make me so proud of him. While I was welling up with pride, Vakama started to close the gap when it came to shooting baskets, thanks to Lee’s extremely steep learning curve. With both tribes even on nothing, Henry swapped in for Mokuta while Locky started to score basket after basket. Ultimately scoring a huge come from being immunity for Vakama while Henry narrowly avoided a nudie run, scoring one basket for the tribe.

Back at camp Nick quickly made it his priority to rally the troops against Henry, however was banging his head against a brick wall given all of the athletes are so passionate about keeping the strength. Thankfully Lee surprised me and was receptive to the idea of getting rid of Henry, and the plan quickly evolved to splitting the votes between him and Zach and getting rid of Zan Hen. Sadly for them however Abbey and Lydia weren’t feeling the plan, and Henry was busy winning over John by the fire. With Zaddy John, tragically agreeing to join him to vote out Shonee. They quickly pulled in Zach before taking the athletes aside to rope them into the plan, unaware that Harry – who invited himself along – is actually aligned with Shonee.

Harry took this information back to his fellow rascals, with Shonee quickly letting him know that she found an idol and as such, she will use it if she gets even a hint of danger. Wanting to keep the idol for a rainy day however, they split up to change the tide of the vote and continue to highlight Henry as the biggest threat. While they started to make inroads, Lydia warned Henry that people are nervous about his erratic gameplay and it would be wise to play an idol should he have one. With that, he decided to quickly throw together an idol and then plant and find it in front of everyone at tribal council. Which hopefully would be enough to force Shonee to play her real one. And given she is the CEO of the tribe, why wouldn’t she?

At tribal council Nick admitted that the tribe is still not really cohesive but hopefully after tonight, they actually will be. He used it as a rallying cry against Henry, highlighting the importance of predictability to the game. Abbey spoke about playing emotionally, Lee said that try as they might, they can’t separate their hearts from the game. Jonathan asked Lydia if they were strictly targeting the weakest, which she tried to dance around and said that she is solely focussed on doing what the majority want. Obviously Zach was all in on keeping the tribe strong before Shonee reminded everyone that they have actually won the same amount of the challenges and as such, they shouldn’t be so focussed on losing two immunity challenges in a row. John lied and said literally anyone could go tonight before Henry weighed in and said that that is a lie and in fact he or Shonee would be going tonight. Though he at least can add some strength to the tribe.

Shonee countered that she has something far more important and that is loyalty and doing what she says. Henry tried to counter it, challenging people to give him a chance. Nick tried to bring things back to making a logical decision and getting rid of the erratic players, while Henry’s eyes darted around looking for his fake idol amongst the trees. Shonee appeared to grow more and more nervous and as they were about to vote, Henry showed off his erratic behaviour, making a huge deal about finding his fake immunity idol. Shonee and Nick were unconvinced about his display and tried to calm the tribe, but they were all extremely nervous as they headed out to vote. Given she was too stressed to be blessed, Shonee played her idol and challenged Henry to play his, should it be real. Which it wasn’t so he didn’t, and as such, he found himself voted out of the game after Queen Shonee negated the majority of votes that were cast against her.

Whether it was in his best interests or not, Henry played his heart out and that is something I will always love about him. Plus, he is a total babe, despite not getting in on the nudity action. I took him in my arms as he arrived at Loser Lodge before sitting him down and berating him like Tyra did Tiffany for daring to try and target the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, my Shonee.


Emotionally spent, the only thing I could do was apologise for being not mad, disappointed in him and serving him a piping hot bowl of you-should-have-aligned-with-Shonee Henry Gorenicholson.

 

 

With as much fire as Henry had right out of the gate, this quick throw together meal appears anything but. Rich, tasty and packing a punch, you can’t be sad with this on your plate. Even if you don’t make the jury and are unlovable.

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Gorenicholson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tsp peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bunches bok choy, trimmed and halved
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
2 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
200g thin egg noodles, cooked as per packet instructions

Method
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and once scorching, add the shallot and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until nice and browned. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium.

Stir through the bok choy, capsicum and broccolini, and cook for a further minute or so. Add the kecap manis, sriracha, lime zest and juice, and stir until sticky and starting to thicken.

Remove from heat and toss through the noodles. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

And devour. Always devour.

 

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Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland

Main, Pasta

I can not tell you how much it has meant to me having Kelly over to help celebrate our momentous milestone. While we haven’t caught up in the last few years – despite her working in Australia – having a special friend over to mark the occasion meant the world to me.

As you know, I’ve been a dear friend of the Children of Destiny all my life. First connecting with Bey through fight club and then mentoring her, Michelle and Kelly to greatness. After voting the rest of the children off the island that it Destiny’s Child, in a move that inspired The Lord of the Flies.

While Bey is the biggest star of the trio, I’ve always had a soft spot for dear Kelly and when she called begging me to help her make the transition to film like Bey almost two decades ago, I jumped at the chance.

My time as a teen manager wasn’t very successful however, and despite owning Freddy vs. Jason, I couldn’t guide her career how it needed and we parted ways creatively. Which is the one time it didn’t lead to a personal break-up as well.

I assume because we always loved to spend time together and heal over a hearty, glorious Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland.

 

 

This may not be the most dignified or classy dish, but I am genuine when I say that it is one of my favourites. I don’t know why baked beans, sausages, capsicum, bacon, onion and pasta go so well together, but they do. And as such, this is the best way I know to celebrate a milestone as big as 1000 celebrity visitors.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland
Serves: 8-10.

Ingredients
1kg thin sausages
500g spiral pasta
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
800g canned baked beans
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sausages in batches for about ten minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low and in the same skillet cook the onion, garlic and bacon for about five minutes or so, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

To assemble, cut the sausages into 1cm lengths and place in a large, deep baking dish with the drain pasta, bacon mixture, capsicums, baked beans, tomato paste and half the parsley. Stir until well combined, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and all of the cheese, and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Devour immediately, grateful that you’re now in on the secret of the greatest dish of all time.

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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ustralian Survivor's second boot Laurolex Choong

Laurolex Choong

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Breakfast, Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 12 new champs were dumped in the Fijian jungle to face off against a brand new batch of chumps. The Champions lived up to their names early on, taking out reward and setting themselves up with a killer camp while the Contenders struggling to get it together. Particularly Baden who wasn’t metabolising John’s ‘thing’ beans. Thankfully they found their footing at the right time, snatching immunity and leaving the Champions to battle it out amongst themselves. While Steven’s athletes alliance decided to target Pia, Luke rallied the rest in an attempt to get rid of Susie, neither of which interested Nova. She then employed her Canberra background, politicked and got my dear friend Roxette look-a-like Anastasia booted from the game.

The next morning we checked in on the Champions, who were busy as work fixing up the camp as rain rolled over the beach. Janine then gave the tribe a bit of a boost, leading the group through yoga and bringing everyone together. Luke tried to follow along but remembered his skills lay in being a creep, so instead wandered off to find a location to build this year’s spy shack right next to the well, to secure optimal goss.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Mr Megan Gale got the fire started, much to the delight of his tribemates. As they gleefully smashed their first hot meal, poor Baden was feeling left right out, unable to find a ride or die – we then heard about his backstory and I am in love with him. He and Shaun then bonded cutting wood and let’s just say, there was definitely wood in my house. Ruining my vibe was Andy who was not keen on Baden, deeming him ill equipped for the game. He then admitted that he hasn’t been able to speak strategy and then brought up the lack of superfans on the tribe, which I’m fairly certain Baden realised was a terrible attempt at a cover up.

We then saw John in speedos and I still find him inappropriately sexy.

Back at the Champions, Pia was feeling her oats after surviving the first tribal council, until Susie broke my spirit and reminded me that Pia is still screwed as she believes that the seven athletes will never break up. Which I desperately hope breaks up at the next tribal council. Luke and Zadavid were desperately trying to figure out how to get themselves, Pia and Janine out of their predicament. They decided that Abbey and Ross were their best hopes, so David put his sexy body on the line and went to woo Abbey while Luke tried to buddy up with Ross. After quickly charming Abbey, he followed up with Ross and TBH, if either of them refuses David they are mad. I mean, he has a white speedo?

Jonathan and his guns returned for this week’s reward challenge for fishing gear and material to build a raft where the tribes would face off in pairs to push a turnstile around until they crossed their colour over a line. Matt and Shaun made extremely quick work of E.T. and Luke, snatching the first point for the Contenders. John and Andy put up a valiant fight against Steven and Ross, who ultimately secured the Champions first point. E.T. and Janine made quick work of Baden and Hannah, while Casey and Sarah evened things up against Susie and Pia after laying in wait for a couple of minutes. Then Janine and Abbey happened, destroyed Sam and Daisy and snatched reward for the Champions. Did I mention Janine is a bloody icon?

The Champions were jubilant back at camp, none more so than E.T. who was ready to go fishing ASAP while everyone else focused on the tarp. While the men went to scope out the fishing prospects, Pia, Susie and Abbey rummaged through the raft bamboo, just missing the clue that had been shoved up inside it. Much to Luke’s delight, who only went fishing to try and distract everyone from looking. Thankfully he caught a minnow for the tribe of eleven, so everyone was kinda happy, and hopefully for him, distracted.

The mood was decidedly more sombre back at the Contenders camp where Shaun continued to be the most beautiful man on the cast. But enough about that, Laura was particularly smarting given she was forced to sit out of the challenge and she worried that it was because she is short. She decided she needed to form bonds with people given they believe she is weaker, approaching Casey and Hannah to try and save herself. She was right to be worried though, given ice cream man Harry did not trust her in the slightest and felt getting rid of her should be his number one priority.

Back over at the Champions Luke lay in wait under the cover of darkness to search for his idol. Tragically Ross has the strangest snore of all time, keeping Nova and Pia up with him in hysterics. Eventually though, they went to sleep, giving Luke enough time to find the clue to the hidden immunity idol, which told him it was buried near the swamp, filling him with joy … as it isn’t something that someone else will be able to stumble upon. Given he isn’t part of the athletes alliance, I desperately hope this isn’t foreshadowing for someone snatching it without a clue.

Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to dive down a slide into a pull, climb over two walls, pull them down to clear a path, drag a heavy box of puzzle pieces through the mud … and then solve said puzzle. John continued to look sexy, rocking a speedo and getting the Contenders out to an early lead. Ultimately the tribes both got to the walls at the same time, with the Champions barely edging out a lead. The gap closed again, as the tribes were neck and neck pulling their boxes through the mud. More importantly, John looked great covered in mud. Both tribes were exhausted, with David coaching the Champions to be calm and have a break to get a second wind. Which they did, dragging it to the end zone, while the Contenders continued to struggle at the final obstacle. Steven and Ross worked hard on the puzzle, driven by the pained screams as the Contenders continued to struggle, ultimately snatching victory while their competitors wallowed in the mud.

Back at camp the Contenders were heartbroken to have lost, particularly Matt, who identified Baden as the weakest link, the reason for their loss and as such, decided he needed to go. We then learnt that Matt is a teacher slash wrestler and while he is coming across as arrogant, I find him very attractive. He then rallied Sarah and Laura to get rid of Baden, while Harry approached Andy to discuss what he was thinking. Once again, Andy surprised me by wanting to protect my dear sweet Baden, knowing he is a safe number for him, so he and Andy decided to flip the vote on Laura instead. Harry worked his way around camping explaining why Laura needs to go, which made her nervous since he hasn’t had a conversation with her. She then approached Harry to find out what he was thinking, with him lying that he is still planning to get rid of Baden. She then questioned who Baden thinks is going home, and she did not buy his lie that he thinks it is Sarah. Matt however didn’t love the idea of getting rid of Laura, so tried to convince Harry that putting his neck on the line wasn’t the best idea.

At tribal council Jonathan rubbed salt in Matt’s wounds, pointing out that they can’t seem to pull together many wins. This made Matt point out that they have a few weak spots in the tribe and while Daisy denied that there are weak team members, he continued to allude to Baden, though didn’t have the strength to admit it. Shaun admitted that strength is important in the early phase of the game, while Baden and Laura both tried to convince the tribe that neither of them have simply had the opportunity to highlight their strengths, which may save them down the line. Laura regretted not making stronger bonds, Andy continued to be way too much though made the valid point that friends are needed to survive in the game. Laura argued that friends are only good if you can trust them and in Survivor it is hard to trust anyone. Andy then spoke in circles though appeared to impress Jonathan, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Laura and Baden both gave last ditch pitches to their tribe and given the way the hero music began to swell as Baden bared his soul to the tribe, it seems like a foregone conclusion. Andy then reminded people that strength isn’t everything, and cohesion is just as important. Matt then described the vote as simple, before they all filed off to cast theirs and four each stacked up on Laura and Baden, proving it clearly wasn’t that simple. Well until the remaining votes rolled in for Laura and sent her from the game as the second boot.

She heard me before she even finished descending the stairs from tribal council.

“Those stupid height-ist bastards. How dare they do this to our community?!”

Have I ever mentioned I am barely 5”10 like Cindy Crawford? No? Well I am, or not. You know what I mean. In any event, I pulled Laura into my arms and commenced sobbing uncontrollably, heartbroken that she was booted when Harry is also useless in challenges, Andy is super annoying and Matt’s cockiness is making it really hard to thirst for him. Why does such a plucky icon have to go, when they are disappointing me? This sort of thing went on for a good three hours before she could calm me down long enough to explain that she was ok, went out with her head held high and was pumped to wash away her disappointment with a big, fat Laurolex Choong.

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

While this is a highly Australian-ised version of the Ugandan breakfast of champions, it maintains all the tasty happiness. Warm, crispy chapati and soft, fluffy eggs sandwiching a bunch of vegetables, bacon and cheese – it is near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

Laurolex Choong
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
6 rashers bacon, diced
1 tomato, roughly chopped
4 shallots, sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp sriracha
2 Chapategan Garlicsior

Method
Place a frying pan on the stove over medium heat and cook the bacon for five minutes, or until lightly crisped. Add the tomato, shallots, capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Take half of the mixture out of the pan and pour half the eggs in the pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese, drizzle with half the sriracha and cook for a minute or two before topping with a chapati. Flip onto a piece of greaseproof paper and roll the chapati to form a roll … of eggs.

Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and smash with your favourite second boot.

 

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Chickenico Panangio Curry

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Main, Poultry, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets

Well, well, well, look what we have here! Another international version of Survivor with a hot host – hi Jeff, Jono and Matt! – is begging for me to head to the filming location to provide culinary comfort for their crushed castaways.

Yes, Nico Panagio has finally reached out to me to see if he could leverage our close personal relationship to get me out to Samoa for the latest season of Survivor SA.

While I played hard to get for a couple of minutes, I knew there was no way I could say no to such a dear friend. Particularly when they are as hot as Nico and the tropical location is always conducive to some shirtless action.

I’ve known Nico for a couple of years after fleeing to South Africa and trying to break into the entertainment industry over there. While all my scenes were cut from our co starring vehicle Semi-Soet, I couldn’t be too mad given it brought us together.

I invited him over to Australia on his way to Samoa to formally give him my answer, bringing him to tears of joy that I would be joining him on set of Survivor SA over a big vat bowl of delicious Chickenico Panangio Curry.

 

 

Given how delicious this sweet, spicy curry tastes, maybe the tears of joy were related to such a glorious meal? I mean, delicately cooked juicy chicken with the earthy peanuts, a kick of chilli and the zing of lime? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickenico Panangio Curry
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
coconut oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
½ cup panang curry paste
2 tsp chilli paste
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
12 kaffir lime leaves
400ml coconut cream
1 cup chicken stock
750g chicken thighs, roughly diced
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir in the curry paste, chilli, peanut butter and kaffir lime leaves and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the coconut cream and stock, bring to the boil and add the chicken. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened up.

Add the fish sauce and cook for a further minute before adding the Thai basil leaves. Remove from heat and serve immediately on a bed of fluffy rice. Then devour, with your favourite, sexiest friend.

 

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