Irene Hamdubois Helper

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which started out as a teeny, tiny show whose first challenge was filmed in the car park behind WoW opposite the Jim Hensen offices – which I’m not sure is a legit fact, but for some reason I think it is so let’s run with it – turned into a global phenomenon. Icons were born, legends were made, moments were gagged, we were left gooped and Ruple and Co. became bonafide Emmy powerhouses. But most importantly, it gave us back rolls, Alyssa’s secret, do-wa, Aja jumping from there, a confession to killing Judy Garland and a Snatch Game throwback to that moment, absolving said veteran of said murder. But that was then and this is now, as Season 15 is ready to take its lap. Sadly without chocolate.

Womp womp.

First to enter for this fifteenth (main franchise) crown was Irene Dubois looking like a ginger COVID virus and well, she is hot out of drag and is Bosco’s drag sister, so I love her. She was followed by Luxx Noir London looking like Bowie and Dynasty era Joan Collins had a baby whose hair was inspired by Ariana Grande. So again, I love her. As the duo got shady, Aura Mayari arrived and gave glamour as she vogued her way into the Werk Room and straight into my heart. And loins, out of drag obviously. Giving cousin IT by Cher from Clueless, we met Marcia Marcia Marcia and after she flicked her hair back to reveal she was rocking the iconic broken nose look, I live for her.

Though not as much as I love people clocking her as looking like (a) Jan.

As she was busy regalling her new sisters with her love of Ariana Grande and serving it on Broadway thanks to her BFA (like Jan, TBH), we were joined by Anetra who is giving off fun punk showgirl vibes and well, I love her energy so much and feel like she is going to slay. Which I hope isn’t the kiss of death because my support usually curses trajectories. They were joined by Malaysia Babydoll Foxx serving the sluttiest depression kitty I have ever seen and I love her. LOVE. She is charming, cute and has a voice like velvet. Princess Poppy arrived serving Art Simone’s twink sister in the best way possible. Though her sticking her ears inside themselves scares me because I’m a child. Then Sasha Colby happened and well, yeah, I stand by what I said earlier, crown her. Now. She was serving as a Hawaiian warrior queen and had the energy that she was ready to have fun and slay.

We then had Ornacia make her triumphant return and ugh, I LIVE. Wait, no it is Ariana Grande. Whistle tone queen, icon, legend and well, let’s just say, I’m as gagged as the dolls.

As Marcia started to hyperventilate, Ariana gave the dolls a hug and thanked them for bringing so much joy to the world. While Luxx in turn thanked her for Break Free which TBH, is correct. Ariana regalled everyone with tales of her previous time on the judging panel and encouraged them to take in every moment and enjoy the journey. Ru then stole her thunder, dropping by to welcome his newest daughters to the race and officially announce the doubled up prize. Oh but first, they would have to compete in a little throwback Mini Challenge doing a sexy photoshoot washing the car. With the Pit Crew, so swoon. 

The boys started spraying themselves as they washed the car before Irene dropped by and bathed in it, living her bukkake dream and TBH, that is the only way to do it. Luxx meanwhile got wet in all the wrong ways though thankfully still served. Aura was ready to touch them all and ugh, it was hot and I love it, while Marcia served good girl gone bad. Backstage Marcia was thirsty for boy Irene while Luxx was scared of her, meanwhile Anetra was drowning out in the carpark and had Ru cackling. Malaysia was heartbroken to ruin her good drag but hot damn did she serve while Poppy got her holes filled and Sasha tried to give supermodel, despite not loving the fact she didn’t get said moment.

As everyone dedragged they all clocked Aura as the trade of the season – including Aura – and were positively shocked that Marcia looks exactly the same in and out of drag. Talk turned to what the other group would look like before Ru interrupted them talking about Irene’s passion for  reading everyone to announce that she took out the win in the Mini Challenge. Much to Luxx’s surprise. Ru then filled the dolls in on the fact their first Maxi Challenge would be a little talent show titled One Night Only (said with jazz hands, obvi). And in addition to their individual performances, they would have to choreograph an opening number together.

The group quickly ventured backstage and talked through their skills, with Marcia pushing to take the reins in the choreography and while Aura tried to add to it, Mother Sasha quietly watched on, knowing that she would end up fixing whatever they came up with and get her new kids over the line. As the kids continued to fight back and forth for control Irene joined Sasha in asking one of them to just back out and let the other take the lead so they don’t get stuck with two different choreographies. 

As Group 1 descended into chaos, the crew reset the Werk Room just in time for Salina EsTitties arrived giving banjie energy and was totally jacked up on Mountain Dew and I live for it. She was quickly joined by Amethyst serving 2000 pop tween, claiming herself as the first viral TikTok queen to make it to Drag Race. Jax arrived ready to cheer the house down and called herself the Simone Biles of drag, so yeah, I stan. They were joined by Loosey LaDuca who looks like a campy, nice version of Sh3rry Pi3 in blonde. Which isn’t a read, despite how it may sound. Mistress Isabelle Brooks was up next serving short, goth Eureka and I love everything about her. Robin Fierce joined them looking like a stunning woman in tan and ugh, I love her. Oh and she and Amethyst have a past and while I was ready to ship, she told me I can’t, so that is that. We then got a double arrival as Sugar and Spice trotted in serving actual dolls and while Amethyst thought she was the TikTok superstar, these girls are the thing.

Though Mistress will not give them the pleasure of knowing she knows them.

As the dolls recovered from learning they are only bedroom queens, Sugar opened up about wanting to be part of the drag community and wanting friends which is equally sweet and heartbreaking. We then got another Ornacia entry, this time with the legit Vivacious who announced Ru’s arrival to welcome the rest of her daughters to the competition and put them to the test in their Mini Challenge, the drag race wind machine photoshoot classic. Salina was up first and served sex and speeding as her face blew away, Amethyst gave Timezone realness while snacking on leaves before Jax was all erotic, no auto. Mistress was smizing the house down, Loosey lived her Tippi Hedron fantasy through feathers while Robin was perfection, whether the fan gave her a beard or not. 

As the twins made it to the stage for their shoot, the other girls kikied about Sugar and Spice being inexperienced with Mistress opening up about how underwhelming they are to her. And while everyone reminded her they were cute and sweet, she felt like not knowing what wig glue is was a mortal sin. And well, I’m here for the shade. Sugar meanwhile was having fun on the bike, serving silly and ridiculous before Spice ripped off her wig against Ru’s advice, serving hairography with a shower cap. They rejoined the dolls as everyone dedragged with Sugar and Spice gagging over their sisters and praising them for looking so different out of drag. Mistress kinda admitted to reading them and threw down a challenge for them to impress her, while they just spewed talk at the girls, trying to make friends and well, I love everything about them despite myself.

Ru made yet another return to announce Loosey took out victory in the Mini Challenge, which emboldened her to declare she will be the first person to win every challenge. Which already ius not the case. Ru then gave them a spiel about the talent show before sending them off to the rehearsal space, where the other dolls finally appeared to be making progress. Well, until Ru dropped by to kiki and threw the two groups together. The factions lined up like the jets and sharks, ready for two to become one and put more choreographers amongst the queens before Ru announced that unlike last year, one of them will be going home before the end of the week.

After Ru departed the groups introduced themselves and sat down to get to know each other, with Sugar and Spice monologuing about their lives and while they annoyed everyone else, I love their lack of self awareness. Also Sugar kinda looks like young(er) Austin Butler minus the lingering accent work. Group 1 then got up to show their newest sisters their choreography with Mistress laughing through it with her soon-to-be-bestie Sugar. While Marcia tried to push through, Malaysia cut her off and then everyone started to fight before Mistress cut them off and asked them to focus on the task at hand because dancing is her weakness and she doesn’t want to bomb. Then she and Irene got sassy and Sugar and Spice started quietly laughing together.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls finally unpacking their gear and finding a station with everyone laughing it up and being silly. Sugar and Spice meanwhile just focused on beating their mugs because they take so damn long. Irene meanwhile measured up her wig against Luxx’s to confirm whether her entry was 40 inches. Defeated, Luxx then joined the twins to get ready, bonding over being social media queens and how it really is the only way they can start when they aren’t old enough to go to a club. Sugar then noticed Mistress and Irene were sitting together and was shocked that the enemies elected to get ready together, leading to the older girls explaining shade and how being a working queen works. Loosey, Anetra and Amethyst meanwhile were talking about their talents with Loosey opening up about her original song, while Anetra was keeping her cards close to her chest. Oh and then we learnt Irene is making ice water.

While Sugar and Spice were still nowhere near being ready to go on while everyone put on their finishing touches.

Ru, Michelle, Ross and Ariana took their places on the panel as the dolls made their debut for the opening number which was a campy, pageant delight and ugh, I’ve missed this show (in the two weeks we went without it). Malaysia meanwhile opened up the individual performances, lip syncing the house down to an original song and while it was repetitive, Bryce came out in gold speedos, so I love it. Spice meanwhile was silly and cute, having Ru and the dolls in hysterics, so well done babe. Luxx hit every line and lyric on her lip sync and was honestly just a delight. Though the gradual split really made me love her. Mistress went boxing for her lip sync which was a win when she pulled out a RuPaul chocolate bar and nearly slid off the stage.

Loosey gave us something different by singing live and while I wanted to live for it, to quote the great Coco Montrese, find a key. Anyone will do. Marcia danced her way into my heart as a horny nerd sexing it up for a portrait of Ross. Robin was energetic and worked every corner of the stage as we went back to lip syncs before Irene bombed, hard, while making a glass of iced water and while I knew what she was going for, that wasn’t it. Anetra then followed it up by bringing the house down as she duck walked all over the stage as she lip synced to her original song – Walk the Duck – before straight up moving into karate chopping through boards. AND THEN KICKING A BOARD IN HALF.

Poor Sugar had to follow that up and while her lip sync was fun and silly like the sweet version of her sisters, she didn’t karate chop. Despite that, the fact she and her sister served it wore down Mistress which is a great win. Princess Poppy meanwhile gave parasite puppet lip syncing realness and it was perfect, before Salina gave red carpet lip sync into street glamour before referencing Will Smith’s slap so if Anetra doesn’t Anetra, I’d say this was a win. Amethyst then won my heart lip syncing to All Around the World as a drunk mum with a baby tethered to her back before Aura gave a fierce lip sync and while she had all the attitude, it felt a little flat by comparison. Mother Colby then lip synced to Zombie in a straight jacket and ugh, she is perfection. It was moody, it was fierce, it was powerful and well, the kids best watch out. And then Jax came out and lip synced before skipping with her own ponytails, which is yet another win for me.

And that was before she backflipped from the back of stage to the front, proving she really is the Simone Biles of drag.

When it came to the Who Is She? runways, Irene came in goth alien dominatrix, Luxx gave glamour pastel vixen going from the races to the boudoir before Aura gave all black Rita Repulsa, in all the right ways. Marcia gave sexy pastel prep, Anetra was an iridescent warrior, Malaysia gave sexy angel lounge singer in the hottest club in heaven before Princess Poppy gave lollipop ballerina delight. On and then Sasha gave the ultimate flex, rocking the gown she won Miss Continental in. Salina gave blue jean baby, Amethyst was a slutty, lilac Sailor Moon, Jax was NYC street in all the right ways before Loosey gave a glamorous gown version of Britney in Toxic. Mistress was iconic in a bejewelled, red cowgirl corset, Robin was an ice queen in shimmering baby blue, Sugar gave slutty Belle and ugh, I hate that I love Spice gave the other side of the look – kinda – with whore Ariel.

Luxx, Aura, Malaysia, Princess Poppy, Sasha, Mistress, Robin, Sugar and Spice were all sent to safety before Irene was praised for looking good on the runway though read for giving absolutely no humour in her performance. Marcia received universal praise for giving humour and dancing perfection, though told to give more than a streak of lip gloss when it comes to make-up. Anetra rightly was universally beloved for being perfection from start to finish, despite only learning to duck walk today. Amethyst was read for showing the baby too early in her performance, though she was praised for looking cute. Despite her lack of padding. Jax too got wall to wall praise, particularly for rolling her eyes while effortlessly doing acrobatics meaning poor Loosey was read for her performance, despite looking stunning.

Backstage the safe girls celebrated making it through the first week, particularly Princess and Robin who were shitting their pants. Talk turned to who was the best with everyone agreeing Anetra owned the show, while Poppy lived for Jax. Robin in turn congratulated the twins for surprising everyone with their sickening performances, with everyone rallying around and finally welcoming them into the drag family. This turned into a conversation about the stigma about the social media dolls and while Luxx pointed out social is a live portfolio, Malaysia explained she only questioned if they could translate their talents to the stage. Talk turned to how great Sasha’s performance was, with her opening up about her trauma while praising her father for raising her.

The dolls started to open up about who they knew before the season which was only an excuse to bring up the fact Robin and Amethyst briefly dated back home. That obviously summoned the tops and bottoms with Irene praising the tops for killing it before Amethyst announced she is definitely in the bottom, though hopefully not against her sister Loosey. That led to Loosey breaking down, heartbroken to have bombed, leading to the girls rallying around and praising her for killing it and pointing out they really only wanted her to lip sync so she could make the performance bigger. That led to Irene admitting that she will totally be the one in the bottom with Amethyst given they just hated her performance.

After everyone agreed that Anetra would totally be winning, Ariana dropped by to kiki with the girls and literally gave them the sweetest advice and well, I guess I’m all in on being an Ariana stan now? She bid the girls adieu, leaving Irene and Amethyst to rehearse their lip syncs and get their heads in the game.

Ultimately Marcia and Jax were sent to safety as Anetra took out the first victory of the season while at the other end of the pack it was Loosey that was saved, leaving Amethyst and Irene to battle it out for safety to my girl Ariana’s 7 Rings. While Irene leant into her alien kooky aesthetic, it was clear the song was perfect for Amethyst and her general vibe. Irene twerked and gave sex, which sadly wasn’t enough as Amethyst was saved and poor Irene joined the Porkchop Club.

Backstage Irene was rightly disappointed to be gone so soon and not get to show the world more, though I reminded her – as I do each season – it is more memorable to be a first boot than saying a mid-comp queen, giving you an air of mystery and an underdog spirit. Which seemed to be the pep talk she needed, thanking me for always supporting her – I am Bosco’s drag great-grandmother thrice removed, so we’re family – as we sat down to smash a heart bowl of Irene Hamdubois Helper.

Not to be confused with Australian hamburger helper – which is essentially seasoned breadcrumbs – this tweaked version of Half Baked Harvest’s take on the American classic is near perfection. Packing a punch of spice (sadly without sugar) and heat, while velvety smooth and creamy, it is an easy mid-week number to warm the cockles of your soul in winter.

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
500g small shell pasta
2 cups beef stock
300ml cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Method
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the mince and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, or about 10 minutes. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the tomato paste, chilli and paprika and cook for a minute before stirring through the zucchini, carrot and pasta to coat. Stir in the beef stock and cream, bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low to simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Once the pasta is al dente, stir through the cheeses, adjust the seasoning – you’ll probably need more pepper, less salt – and cook until everything has combined.

Serve piping hot with some token parsley for the appearance of health and devour, happily.


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Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow

Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor the tribe competed for an epic overnight reward complete with snacks, a shower, a bed and the added surprise post-challenge of letters from home. Despite Noelle falling behind the pack on the balance beam, she powered through tears and her leg almost falling off to pull off the most epic come from behind win ever seen on Survivor. After taking half the tribe with her for the reward, those left behind started to plot, realising that while she keeps getting knocked down, she always bounces back and finds new allies. And as such, the tribe banded together to blindside Noelle for being too big of a threat to win.

Back at camp Sami was disappointed to be left out of the vote, feeling like his game is going to be difficult to salvage. But bless him, did he try! He tried to pretend that Gabler wrote down Karla’s name at tribal council and then when everyone told him that no, that was not the case, he eventually admitted he did it, but only to try and flush the idol. Gabler meanwhile was busy filling in Owen on what happened, assuring him that he still plans to go to the end with him and has a plan to take out the biggest threat/s – the duo that is Jesse and Cody. And while it sounded great, Owen was still frustrated, given once again he keeps being left out of votes and is essentially the joke of the season.

Which again, is why I would suck at Survivor because I am not this resilient and would totally have this happen to me.

The next day the tribe were feeling a bit more chill as Sami got the fire going, while Cody laughed about not wanting to participate in the fire challenge against him. Which totally means Cody is coming fourth or winning, right? We then had a deep dive with Sami who opened up about how desperately he wants to make his family proud and as such, he would hold his head high and fight. He approached Karla to apologise for voting for her, asking that they move past it and be open to working together. As such, he lied and told her that Cassidy was the first person to float her name and despite the fact she and Karla were solid, she immediately wanted to target her. We then learnt that Karla had told Cassidy about her idol and as such, she decided Sami knowing about its existence made Cass guilty. The girls then caught up, with Cassidy rightly flagging the fact she is nervous about Sami trying to sow distrust between them.

And while she was correct, I’m worried Karla isn’t vibing with her anymore.

We fast-forwarded an entire day when a boat arrived at sunrise advising them all to run into the jungle to find a hidden advantage. So they obviously did as told and immediately went hog wild trying to find the needle in the haystack. Sami literally walked past it multiple times before Cassidy dropped by and missed it too. Gabler then suggested they band together to try and find it war style, this time with Owen and Gabler also missing it. As Jesse, Karla and Cassidy spoke about giving up, Owen stood in front of it alongside Gabler and Sami before Cody straight up leant against the advantage. Before he eventually noticed it, quickly grabbing it off the tree and pocketing it without anyone noticing.

He learnt that to win immunity at the upcoming tribal council, he would simply have to guess who would win the next immunity challenge, the infamous last gasp! Meaning he can either just win the challenge himself, or guess the one least likely to panic as water lapped at their face.

The tribe pivoted to Probst in the ocean where they took their places under the grate in the ocean to wait it out as the tide rapidly made things more difficult. Well, after Probst explained the challenge to everyone but kept the person Cody bet on secret from everyone. Gabler was the first to drop out of the challenge before the swell became too much for Sami and he followed. Jesse was next to drop before Cody fought valiantly for a couple of minutes before ultimately exiting. After two hours of absolute hell, Cassidy exited leaving Karla and Owen to battle it out and well, they were insane. So good at the challenge that after three hours the tide literally started to turn, meaning the challenge would either have to go for another 12 hours or they could both have immunity. Which is obviously the option Probst and Co. went with. While Cody looked on with a big, telling grin.

Back at camp Sami was very nervous about there potentially being three people immune at the upcoming tribal council. As Karla and Owen spoke about how proud they were for making history, Cassidy felt heartbroken about the fact she tried so damn hard and still came up short. She was also very nervous about the fact people may target her to weaken Karla, given she is immune. She approached Karla to float the idea of getting rid of Sami and while she said she was on board, Karla immediately went to Sami and locked in the vote against Cassidy. We then got a supercut of telephone as Sami locked in Cody, Cody went to Jesse and then Jesse spoke to Gabler.

Sadly for the plan, Jesse wasn’t so sure it was best for his game and after confirming with Karla that she wants Cassidy gone, he immediately decided that getting rid of Sami is safest given he is so good at making fire. As Jesse filled Owen in on the plan, he floated the idea of flipping it on Sami instead, given it would have Cassidy and Karla fighting each other in the final six and make it easier for them to go to five. Which is genius. Owen agreed to go talk to Gabler while Jesse caught up with Cody, who agreed that making Karla look silly would be good though he still finds Sami more trustworthy than Cassidy.

Oh and Cody told us that he is immune after correctly backing Owen in the challenge.

At tribal council Probst gave a monologue about tides before Gabler spoke about the importance of the final seven tribal council at setting up the end game. And given three people are immune, it is even more terrifying than usual. Karla admitted the dance is both confusing and scary, while Owen was even more nervous, though maybe because he is always left out of the plans. Sami spoke about clearly being on the bottom and he reiterated he is a free agent, while Jesse mentioned it is crucial to never rule out someone as an option. Cassidy felt like the closer they got to the end the game changed to not just who needs to go but who you can beat, which makes every decision even harder.

Sami then straight up told everyone he would be playing his Shot in the Dark tonight and that if everyone told him the truth, his vote wouldn’t matter anyway. This irked Karla who called him out and told him it was offensive, while Gabler gave zero fucks and literally said he was planning to vote the way he was going to either way, so doesn’t care if Sami is performing. While Jesse reminded everyone he could also just be bluffing. With that the tribe voted and it wasn’t a bluff, as Sami played his Shot in the Dark – which didn’t give him safety – Cody announced his immunity to the tribe which was unnecessary as the tribe banded together to boot young Sami from the game. Meaning their gamble paid off.

As Sami arrived at tribal council, I licked a handkerchief and started wiping the dirt off his face as my long-lost parental instincts kicked in. I assured him he is a very good boy and that me and his family are so proud of not just the young man he has grown into, but the game that he played. While like young Julia from Kaoh Rong he got run over for playing in the middle, the fact that he managed to make it that far was impressive. As such, I gave him a pat on the back and toasted his run with a fresh and healthy Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow.

This vegetarian version of san choy bow is jam packed full of veggies – hidden for the kids, obviously – and even more so with flavour. Plus, you can feel super smug when you eat it since it is so healthy. Which is a personal fave flavour enhancer.

Enjoy!

Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups long grain white rice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
450g firm tofu, crumbled
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 red onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves removed
1 long red chilli, sliced
small handful coriander, leaves picked
sriracha hot sauce or hoisin, to serve

Method
Pop the rice and 2 ¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once rollicking, reduce to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside, covered for 5 minutes to steam.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat and add the tofu and cook, stirring for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Add the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes or until just tender. Add palm sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and shaoxing, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

To serve, divide the lettuce leaves among plates, top with rice, followed by the tofu mixture and a sprinkle of chilli, coriander and any sauces you like before devouring.


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Chicken Slidy Boom Boom

Burgers, Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the dolls thought they were all going to be designing runway looks based on differing boxes. However when they opened them to check out their haul, they learnt it was all a ruse and instead, they would be designing looks based on the exact same items. Somehow everyone managed to pull off different looks, with Giselle stunning in a glamorous gown, while Kaos repeated a similar look from the previous design challenge. And Jada just straight up looked a mess. As the dolls untucked, a massive blow-up occurred between Fiercalicious and pretty much everyone, leaving her hurt in a very foul mood. Giselle rightly took out her first victory, while Jada once again saved herself via the lip sync as she sent Kaos packing.

Backstage the mood was well and truly sombre, with everyone missing Koas while Jada was feeling down after having to lip sync again. Despite turning the party, obviously. While everyone congratulated her on her performance, Fiercalicious looked on sulking, leading to Bombae and Kimmy calling her out for being in her feelings. With Kimmy in particular not interested in apologising to her, instead asking her to do better. As everyone gave their two cents, Lady Boom Boom cut them off and told everyone to move on and put high school to bed. And instead, congratulated poor Giselle on her first win. With even her over the idea of being congratulated, given she was sitting in her corset for way too long.

The next day the mood was so much better, with Bombae ready to take out a win before Fiercalicious apologised to her sisters and vowed to be less reactive and open to their feelings. And challenge her energy on a win. And just like that, they were all friends again. Kimmy pointed out that there are four queens with a win, begging the question, when will the other dolls slay? Which led to Irma promising us that should they get a comedy challenge, this could be her moment. Like Snatch Game. Which is what Brooke confirmed was the upcoming challenge as soon as she dropped by. Well, after opening the bibliotheque for some reading.

Fiercalicious channelled her feelings into destroying her sisters and damn, I wasn’t expecting her to be that good at reading. Boom Boom was cute as she sweetly eviscerated the dolls, Irma was brutal and oh so good, Giselle was silly, Jada was sage and cruel, Vivian was kooky and fun, Bombae was amazing while Kimmy was aggressive and amazing. Though ultimately there could only be one winner, and that was the icon herself, Lady Boom Boom.

But more importantly, Snatch Game! As Brooke exited, the dolls split up to talk about their characters with Boom Boom going with iconic Montreal drag queen Mado. Which is what Giselle was planning to do, though given she had back-ups, she did a full Divina and gave her the outfit and opted for someone else. As Jada and Fierce caught up, we learnt that the latter and Kimmy both planned to do Ariana Grande and well, this could get messy. Wait, no, Fierce graciously took the high road without a battle. Though trust she will be pissed if it costs her the competition.

Brooke returned to check on her girls, with Bombae going with Aziz Ansari and well, yes, this could be super fun. Or a total mess. Either way, I want to see it. Jada was planning to go with Saucy, who I’ve never heard of, but they look like an icon, so work. Vivian is going into battle with Ginger Minj and Jessica Chastain by playing Tammy Faye, while Brooke was nervous about Kimmy’s take on Ariana Grande. Though once again, she was confident she would make it fun. Fiercalicious pivoted to Kourtney Kardashian and damn, please let her get into a kickdown fight on the panel. Brooke was excited to see what Lady Boom Boom would do with Mado, while Irma is finally bringing Marilyn to Snatch Game. Oh and Giselle is going to play Marie Curie or Celine Dion, and while Broke seemed into the second (despite her trauma), Marie would be iconic. So let’s hope she sticks to her guns.

Snatch Game kicked off with Bombae bringing the energy while Giselle was perfection from the very first moment, complete with a green glow from beneath the desk. Fierce had the Kardashian vibe down pat, Irma was hilarious, Vivian was the right level of manic and was so damn adorable. Jada’s Saucy was cute and fun, while Kimmy was an absolute mess. In the most entertaining way. While Boom Boom was there. There is no denying that this was Giselle’s challenge to lose though, as she dominated each and every moment – I mean, she lost teeth and hair, drew a new brow with her marker and was all around hilarious – while Irma and Vivian narrowly followed behind for supremacy. At the other end of the pack, Kimmy’s bomb was totally entertaining, while Boom Boom was kinda boring as Bombae just missed the mark.

Elimination Day arrived with Vivian feeling her oats, ready to breakthrough with a potential win. She opened up to Irma, sharing that she was embraced by a group of people at a Baptist Church growing up and that their warmth and kindness helped her become the person she is today. This led to a discussion about all of their journeys with religion, and while Vivian’s was good, Kimmy was sent to a conversion camp, as was Giselle, though somehow accidentally after a priest told her it was an artist camp. And as such, her mother pulled her out when she found out about the lie. Bombae on the flipside was taught about the queer god and goddesses of hindu culture and embraced by her family growing up, though admitted they didn’t know she does drag. With Boom Boom hilariously suggesting that might be for the best, given she hasn’t won a challenge.

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined by the returning Sarain Fox as the dolls stomped the Periodic Table of Elements runway. Fiercalicious was an iconic club kid dominatrix as Neon, Kimmy gave prehistoric A’Whora vibes for calcium before Vivian slayed arsenic as Joker before revealing a Batman love interest in arsenic-made green. Boom Boom was avant garde for bromide, complete with liquid pumping through the architectural look. Giselle was a gorgeous goddess snitch serving gold before Jada gave pop glamour in honour of sodium and Irma was a glamorous ‘50s housewife in a yellow gown for uranium. And then Bombae stole the show as the sexiest living balloon for helium.

Jada and Fiercalicious were both sent to untuck before the judges read Kimmy for filth, despite looking like Ariana in Snatch Game. On the flipside, they lived for her runway. Vivian received wall-to-wall praise for both Snatch Game and her glamorous runway. Sweet Boom Boom was praised for giving perfect Mado in appearance, though read for giving absolutely nothing more. Though they loved her runway. They lived for everything Giselle did this week, from the demented character study, to making them laugh and looking perfect on the runway. They also adored everything Irma did in the Snatch Game and the light and shade she brought to her performance. Oh and they loved her look. Poor Bombae, meanwhile, was praised for starting strong, though read for completely losing momentum. But thankfully, they loved the runway.

Backstage Kimmy was disappointed to be in the bottom, though knew she deserved it and as such, was just ready to bring it in the lip sync. She opened up about not singing in the challenge due to it triggering her gender dysphoria, though didn’t want to bring it up and sound like she was making excuses. Which is super heartbreaking. Boom Boom too was ready to lip sync, while Bombae was disappointed to miss the mark. But was fired up to perform should she have to.

Ultimately Irma Gerd and Vivian were sent to safety as Giselle took out her second win in a row. At the other end of the pack, Bombae runway narrowly saved her as Kimmy and Boom Boom faced off to Run Away With Me by Carly Rae Jepson. And damn was it good! Both girls hit every lyric and looked so beautiful, while Kimmy stripped off and started kicking and flipping around the stage, poor Boom Boom was kinda held back by her restrictive outfit. Which is honestly the only thing that could split them, saving Kimmy and sending sweet Lady Boom Boom out of the competition.

While she was disappointed backstage, I reminded her that she followed in the tradition of her fellow non-English speaking sisters in stumbling on Snatch Game which is hardly something to be embarrassed about. I mean, ask France host Nicky Doll, it is painfully hard to be funny in another language, and as such, she was always at a disadvantage this week. Which was enough of a pep talk to cheer up the former front runner, giving us plenty of time to lol about while smashing some Chicken Slidy Boom Booms in honour of her slayage.

You know the deal, I love burgers. But sliders have an even bigger place in my heart, given they are baby versions, meaning you can eat twice as much without any guilt. Creamy slaw, chicken so crisp you could cut a tooth and the tang of pickle also doesn’t hurt making these so damn moreish.

Enjoy!

Chicken Slidy Boom Boom
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
4 shallots, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
4 boneless pieces of Farrahed Moan Chicken, cut in half
8 slider rolls
4-6 pickles, sliced
4 slices American Cheese, cut in half

Method
Combine the cabbage, shallots, carrot, celery, mayo, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl until everything is well coated. Adjust the mayo and seasoning, depending on taste.

After you’ve prepared the chicken as per Farrah’s instructions, split the sliders and pop a spoon of the slaw on the bottom, followed by the pickle, the chicken and then some cheese. Then close and repeat until they’re all done, before smashing, happily.


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Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz

Main, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the OG Masus continued to fight it out for power, unaware that the Yontau boys appeared to be quietly playing them off against each other. After an epic reward and immunity challenge which left Dino cursed from winning the game while taking out a car, the gloves came off as Meryl, Steffi and Marian’s alliance splintered. While the latter two had rallied the troops to get rid of Meryl, she had managed to charm enough people – or scare them due to her copious amount of advantages – as the tribe narrowly blindsided Steffi from the game.

Back at camp the mood was very tense as Marian well and truly felt left out and stupid for not taking the idol when she had the chance at the Outpost. Meryl meanwhile was busy trading off the advantage to Tejan as promised, with him thrilled to split the alliance up. As he anticipated, Marian was cussing out Phil for blindsiding her before going person to person to throw Meryl under the bus by outing all of her advantages. And while it was hardly news to Felix, it definitely was to Dino as he questioned whether he should have taken the other shot at the last tribal council.

The next day Meryl was feeling a little nervous after breaking up with her original alliance and joining with the people willing to save her. Marian caught up with Dino to find out what the vote was about and whether he would be willing to work with her, rather than Meryl. With Dino admitting that Meryl’s advantages really change things, and to us, now that Marian is isolated, he felt that they have far more to offer each other moving forward. Dino then showed her the advantage and offered to hand it over to her to build trust, before him sharing that he would be so proud to see her win the season and to be the ambassador of the game, rather than a goat floating along and sneaking out a win despite not doing anything.

Tejan and Meryl meanwhile were busy bonding over being the biggest threats, agreeing that now they only really have each other. Tejan asked how she felt about Dino, Phil and Felix, with her grateful to have been saved though that she was wary given they have been aligned from the start. We then dropped by the trio, who were catching up about the state of affairs within the tribe and to quickly prove that Meryl’s trust was misplaced as they immediately locked in a plan to get rid of her next. Knowing that everyone will be willing to join them. As such, Phil and Felix would stick to her like glue while Dino would keep things casual while rallying everyone else on the plan.

Back at the shelter Shane and Marian were catching up, with the latter trying to convince him that Dino can be trusted to get them further. While Shane was still focused on getting him out ASAP, given he is the only other truly strategic player outside of Marian. Though given he is kinda volatile, Marian girl, you’re in danger. Meryl and Phil dropped by camp, where Marian continued to give her the silent treatment which started to make Meryl upset given it is clear that their friendship is over. She approached Marian and asked what was going on and why she hadn’t looked her in the eye, which Marian denied while noticing that Meryl’s facade is starting to crack and that other people have also noticed.

Killarney was busy whispering to Dino saying that she was disappointed by the Steffi blindside, but was ready to make a move on Meryl. Which obviously puzzled him, given she is a good 18 hours late. Killarney then dropped by Tejan and Shane to tell them the plan is to get rid of Meryl and trust and believe, she is the one driving it. While Shane worried who the hell he is aligned with.

The next day Marian was still nervous about the state of all the shattered alliances. Particularly since her one consistent ally, Shane, is still focused on getting rid of Dino before Meryl. Marian tried to calmly explain that Meryl is feeling comfortable right now and as such, now is the time to blindside her, while Shane was just worried about her potential naivety in trusting Dino’s lies.

We finally got a sighting of sweet, zaddy Nico as the tribe reassembled for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would start behind a locked gate and manoeuvre a key through a peg puzzle before unlocking said gate and completing a block puzzle. Dino made quick work releasing his key and started work on his block puzzle in an instant. Felix and Phil soon joined him before Meryl and Shane broke through the gate and started on the second puzzle. After releasing her key, Marian casually sauntered through the gate before casually solving the block puzzle in no time at all and won individual immunity. While Killarney remained locked behind her gate and everyone was dumbfounded how she did it some quickly.

Back at camp Marian was giddy with her newfound safety, though was nervous about the prospect of Meryl playing her tribal council pass and ruining the blindside. Though she admitted that getting rid of Tejan wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Tejan meanwhile knew that he was also on the block, catching up with Felix to assure him that there are far bigger threats to worry about than him. Meryl meanwhile was floating playing the tribal council pass to Phil, who casually reminded her that they need her as a number which lead to her suggesting they send Marian back to camp without her vote instead. She quickly caught up with Phil, Dino and Tejan to talk about the genius plan, while Dino felt very awkward about being so active against her.

Killarney meanwhile was sauntering about, worried about all the whispering, while Tejan was loving being part of the plan. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the actual plan, which made Dino worry about whether they should let him be involved. Despite the fact he is a big risk of screwing up whatever the plan is. After Meryl filled Felix in on the plan, he caught up with Phil and Dino, with all of them feeling a little bit awkward about how easily things have come together for them given it makes them think something is wrong. Oh and then Phil told Marian about the tribal council pass plan and she was so excited to see it all come together, while Meryl started contemplating playing her 50/50 coin to exhaust all her little trinkets. And presumably lessen her target.

At tribal council Tejan was feeling confident in his place in the game given Marian and Meryl are now feuding. Meryl admitted that she has been a target for some time now, while Marian was sick of her pretending to be the victim when she could have just spoken to her allies if she was concerned. Marian spoke about how happy she was to save herself by winning immunity, particularly given the duo have so much tension between them now. She continued to play up being left out and having no strategic conversations today, while Meryl admitted she didn’t really talk to anyone either.

Talk turned to blending in, with Killarney hoping to slink through rather than stick out, while Dino spoke about them needing to outlast more than anything else in the motto. Though he would also like to see someone worthy take out the title this season. Meryl spoke about playing like a goat being a proven strategy, though that there is so much time left in the game that those who are deemed a goat now, could quickly make a name for themselves. Killarney brought up the fact that everyone values different things, while Meryl opened up about thinking about the jury while Marian said you should be mindful, rather than worried.

Before they headed off to vote, Meryl stood up and played the tribal council pass to send Marian back to camp. Sadly for Meryl, Marian then bequeathed individual immunity to Shane on her way out the door which is not something anyone considered. With that the tribe finally voted and despite her initial nerves before tribal council, Meryl stood firm and held on to her 50/50 coin, which sadly became a memento, as the tribe banded together to blindside her from the game.

Thankfully she took the exit on her chin, thrilled by the excitement of it all and kinda knowing her days were numbered anyway given she was far and away the biggest threat in the game. That being said, I didn’t take it with as much grace, screaming and crying that my dream final three had broken up, with two of them exiting the game back-to-back. After sweet Meryl pulled me in for a hug, she reminded me it is just a game and she holds no ill will. Which was enough to eventually dry my eyes and whip her up a victorious batch of Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz.

There is nothing better than a fresh rice paper roll. While it works essentially with any and all ingredients you want, these little Peking duck numbers are some of my faves. Sweet, spicy and packing a herbaceous punch, they are the perfect way to eliminate post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
12 rice paper rounds
80g vermicelli, soaked, drained and roughly chopped
¼ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
¾ cup coriander, roughly chopped
¾ cup mint leaves
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red capsicum, sliced
¾ bunch chives, sliced
2 peking duck breasts, sliced

Method
Start by prepping everything you need first as you’ll need to power on once you get started. Working one at a time, dip a rice paper round in a shallow bowl of warm water until soft before transferring to a dry, clean tea towel.

Place a small amount of vermicelli in the centre, followed by lettuce, coriander, mint, cucumber, carrot, capsicum and chives, before layering a few slices of duck. Roll one edge over, fold in both of the ends and continue to roll until it is sealed. Repeat until done.

Then devour, slathered in sriracha, hoisin or soy.


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Lentil Pie Giang

Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to keep the twists coming, this time going with the old faithful of splitting the merged tribe into two groups. Then offering out an immunity for someone on each group before they head to back-to-back tribal councils and each boot someone from the game. After trying to rally a sausage fest alliance earlier in the episode, Rocksroy was living his dream on group one where he was stuck with his allies Mike, Hai and Omar, and they were primed to get rid of Romeo. Sadly for him, Omar and Hai weren’t so keen on the all male alliance and everyone joined together to boot Rocks from the game instead. Upon seeing another African American had joined the jury, both Maryanne and Drea were nervous that unconscious bias had seeped into the game. As such, they each played their idols leaving Tori as the only option to be booted. Not because Lindsay was immune, but because she is a queen.

Back at camp Hai was thrilled that their tribal council went to plan, particularly grateful that Mike was on board and he doesn’t have to worry about him getting annoyed and blowing up their alliance. Despite Mike being a little salty to have had to do it. Sadly as he complained to Omar, the latter saw an opening to get Mike to ditch Hai in favour of him and as such plotted to absolutely trash their bond. The two groups then reunited where the latter group were still reeling from the emotion of their tribal council, though given it was Tori that went, not many people were actually bothered.

The next day Lindsay pulled Omar aside to talk shit about how bossy and stupid Jonathan was the day before as he was willing to risk Maryanne. And needless to say, Omar was just as unhappy to be aligned with Jonathan and was very keen to try and figure out how to make a break. Knowing that a new idol should be hidden around camp, Lindsay left Omar to go for a hunt. Sadly for her, she literally touched it in her search though missed it and kept on moving. Which gave Maryanne enough time to stumble on it while hunting for twigs and well, she was absolutely thrilled.

As the wind and rain whipped across the beach, the tribe met up with Jeff for the latest reward challenge. Which would have been tough if they had to stop shivering. Instead, they just had to balance a sack on a pole and manoeuvre through obstacles before tossing it at a target. The first one to finish winning an overnight reward complete with shelter, a bed and pizza. And did I mention pizza? While Jonathan got out to an early lead, Lindsay and Hai were nipping out his heels. And well, Lindsay straight up landed her bag on the second toss and it was so exciting to watch her cute reaction. Probst, being cheeky, then gave Lindsay the chance to take someone with her, opting for Omar since he has not received a reward yet. Feeling kind, she was then given one other spot, opting to take Mike to further build their relationship. And shit, they are ruining Hai on this reward, aren’t they?

Back at camp the tribe were miserable, in pain from how cold and exhausted they are. Showing far more strength than I could muster, everyone rallied around, pulling the shelter apart to fix it up and try to give them a much needed reprieve from the weather. We then learnt that Hai had a difficult upbringing as an immigrant, and hearing him talk about how this pain is only temporary, well, I fell in love with him again. Particularly when he and Lindsay whispered about banding together to get rid of Jonathan.

We then fast forwarded through said misery to when Lindsay, Omar and Mike arrived at the sanctuary, smashing pizzas before they were distracted by the sound of their loved ones. A wall of TVs then lit up, with photos and videos from home and ugh, I’m crying, they’re crying and well, it was just beautiful. After drying their tears and hugging it out, talk turned to the game with Omar quickly throwing Hai under the bus and well, Mike bought it hook, line and sinker and while I live for cheeky little Omar, I am heartbroken. As Mike seethed, Lindsay opened up about her amulet and as such, admitted she would be very willing to turn on Hai to increase her power. Despite being pissed with Jonathan.

The tribe regrouped with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a narrow balance beam and balance a ball on the curve of an upturned bow. Almost instantly Mike and Hai dropped out, while everyone else stood still like statues. Out of nowhere Romeo dropped his ball, followed by Omar before the final four moved down to a narrower stretch of beam. That saw Maryanne drop straight away, while Jonathan continued to struggle through. Drea dropped her ball out of nowhere while Jonathan defied the odds as he and Lindsay made it to the final round. Sadly for Jonathan, his giant feet couldn’t handle the twig-like beam beneath him and finally dropped his ball, handing Lindsay immunity.

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

Back at camp everyone was thrilled by the fact Lindsay took out immunity, meaning they could finally take their shot on Jonathan. Hai caught up with Mike, assuring him that they are 100% solid and that getting rid of Jonathan is the best for all of them. Sadly Hai did not realise Mike now hates him, as such immediately taking the information from Omar to Jonathan and floated the idea of getting rid of Hai instead. Meanwhile Lindsay was pulling Drea over to her side before she realised that every single person would be happy to just get rid of Hai and call it a day.

Oblivious to his impending doom, Hai caught up with Jonathan and assured him that he doesn’t need to play his Shot in the Dark tonight as he will gladly play his non-existent idol on Jonathan instead. Thrilled to have fooled him, Hai happily pottered around camp while Omar and Jonathan caught up over the plan. Which sadly made Omar nervous about getting rid of Hai, given he is actually loyal to him and that there is always the fear of Jonathan going on an immunity run to the end.

At tribal council Lindsay was feeling her oats over winning back-to-back challenges with Mike particularly thrilled to have had the chance to get warm for even one night on reward. Lindsay articulated how they are all a little mad for wanting to play the game, given it is so miserable though they are also living for it. Hai admitted that he was worried about what was discussed on the reward, though felt that every single one of them have no idea whether they were out in front or at the back of the pack. And one stumble could switch everything up in an instant anyway.

Omar agreed it was hard to decide on the right decision at any given moment while Mike shared that most of his decisions are based on what his gut is telling him. And then Maryanne likened the entire game to playing Jenga, with constantly moving pieces making it difficult for everyone. Lindsay then threw down the gauntlet, saying that her vote would be based on evening the playing field which immediately made Jonathan nervous. Luckily for him it was all for show as the tribe banded together to get rid of Hai instead.

Thankfully Hai is an absolute, pure delight and entered Ponderosa with a smile on his face despite being brutally blindsided by the entire tribe. Though I guess that is arguably the best way to go out, if you are voted out. I congratulated him on playing such a killer game and while I was disappointed to see him go, I am thrilled to have given him some loving comfort. In the form of Lentil Pie Giang.

A little bit spicy and oh-so-warming, this pie is not only life affirming – don’t tell me food isn’t – but it also is healthy, since it is vegetarian. So why have one, when you can have them all. You know?

Enjoy!

Lentil Pie Giang
Serves: 8. Or, as I mentioned, 1.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
300g brown lentils
2 potatoes, cut into 1cm dice
400g can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup peas
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and celery, until soft and sweet. Stir through the mustard seeds and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, potato, tomatoes and stock,  and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently, for 1 hour or until lentils and potato are tender. Stir in coconut milk, peas and coriander, and season to taste and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut each pastry sheet into four squares.

Press the shortcrust pastry into the bases of eight individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture between the pie dishes before brushing the pastry with some egg. Cover the pies with the puff pastry, pressing the pastries together to steal. Neaten the edges, or scrunch it up, depending on if you love a little excess pastry around the edges.

Brush the tops of the pies with more egg, cut a little steam hole in the middle and pop them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top seven roasted Ross despite, in a lot of ways, life already doing a stellar job (I joke, I love friend-of-the-blog, Ross!). On the (echoy, billowing) (w)hole, Bosco was hilarious, Jorgeous was delightfully demented and bad, Daya was nervous and DeJa was a straight up mess. Ultimately Bosco won her third challenge of the season, while Ru gagged the dolls by having the bottom three lip sync before sending DeJa and Jorgeous home, giving Daya one final reprieve.

Backstage the dolls were gagged to have lost not one but two of their sisters, while everyone was quick to praise Daya for turning it out in the lip sync. She admitted that she was nervous about facing off against the duo given DeJa had already beaten her once before and Jorgeous had straight up sent half the cast home. After congratulating Bosco on yet another win, Angeria asked everyone to confirm their win numbers with Willow confident it is still anyone’s game despite her and Daya only having one win each. And while I agree it could still be her game, I’m not so sure about Daya.

The next day the top five were truly jubilant to have made it this far, with Angeria talking about their groundbreaking status as the first top five with two eliminated queens. Which is shady boots and I live! Before Daya could kill anyone, Ru arrived to task the girls with their final Maxi Challenge where they would be starring in the music video for Ru’s song Catwalk. Oh and to make things more difficult they will write and record their own verse, learn the choreo and design a catwalk gown to feature in the video. All after chit chatting over tic tacs with Ru and Michelle.

The girls were feeling very serious as they split up to start working on their runway outfits with Bosco assuring everyone her look will be more than corsets and panties. While her verse would mock that exact penchant. Angeria meanwhile would be rapping her verse instead of singing and uh, she is so damn cute. Willow however was struggling and threatened to scat her way through the verse – which would be an absolute serve – with Angie just desperate for both of them to make it to the end. While Bosco just wanted to keep up with her sickening sisters.

Speaking of Bosco, she was first to lunch with Ru and Michelle, talking about how proud she was of her run. Admitting that she was glad to stumble and almost go home as it helped reinvigorate her. She opened up about being shocked about how well she has done, while Michelle was shady as hell about her bra and panties love. Daya meanwhile was super confident about her place in the competition, while Ru joked that she was shocked she was still here. Until she came out in Daytona Wind. She opened up about her journey with diabetes, which delighted Ru and Michelle who lived for quoting Steel Magnolias. Angeria opened up about her love for her parents and her 8 drag kids, and again, she is adorable and I live for her. Willow Pill’s discussion was opened with a monologue about Ru’s love for her before Willow spoke about her illness and she was so open and uplifting that, well, I was crying. Oh and then Camden was sweet, kind and vulnerable and ugh, winner winner, FIVE chicken dinners!

Shoot day arrived with everyone delighted to see their outfits come to life, though Willow was concerned about Bosco designing a soccer-mum-does-space look. They quickly ventured to the set where Michelle assured them that the pace will be super fast and they need to step it up, which terrified Angeria since she struggled with choreography. As she got more and more in her head, Michelle tried to remind her that dancing is but one component of the challenge and to just trust herself and sell it. Oh and then they were immediately put to the test shooting the video with Angie oh so charming, while Bosco was fierce. Before she had to pick up her space kids, obviously. Willow was sleepy, Camden’s legs were burning and Daya was a damn star. And ugh, do I love to see that now?

Elimination Day arrived with all of the girls struggling to comprehend the fact that they are finally at the end of the competition. Feeling wistful, Angie asked everyone how they felt about her when they first met with both Daya and Willow admitting she was such a threat to them, though Willow pointed out that out of drag, she found her to be wild. Angie admitted that she found Willow to be shy but knew to be patient and now they’re in love. Bosco admitted to being impressed by Daya fighting from being a first out to still be here, while Camden joked about the fact everyone underestimated her until the Daytona Wind. And ugh, they’re such cuties, I love them (or have had too much wine, TBH).

It was family only as Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross took their places for the You’re a Winner, Baby runway where Bosco looked a million bucks giving a Marilyn, Madonna and Bosco hybrid. Despite it being a little too big. Angeria gave full glamour in a shimmering black gown and ugh, it do take nerve. Daya was a burnt out mess in yellow, Camden was perfect in a shimmering, silver ball gown and damn, she looked expensive. While Willow stole the damn show as a rat princess. And just crown her now. As far as the film clip went, Camden was an absolute star and slayed the game. Willow was charming and fierce, Angeria was delightful, Daya was ferocious and ate everything up while Bosco gave wit and glamour.

The judges lived for everything Bosco served this week, while they worried she was a bit nervous in the music video. The judges were thrilled by her track record, coming in as a burlesque queen though she only won comedy challenges and ugh, I love her. Angeria too received universal praise, particularly for being so damn consistent on the runway over the season. And despite the fact she struggled in the music video, they loved her. Daya received universal praise for all that she did this week with the judges thrilled to see her step out of Crystal’s shadow over the season. Camden was praised for going outside of her comfort zone in the final challenge, along with slaying the game. Oh and they felt she was a star from start to finish. Willow meanwhile was praised for absolutely destroying the competition and being a star, despite not giving face or hitting her own lyrics in the performance.

When it came to talking to six year old Bosco, she encouraged herself to just accept who she was and to be completely, unapologetically herself. And to shut out the haters. Baby Angeria was adorbs and she rightly praised the hell out of him for being a star, reminding him to say fuck you to the bullies and appraciate her parents. Baby Daya Betty was so damn cute, with big ol’ Betty encouraging her to stop worrying about everyone and everything and to just let go. Lady Camden told her younger self to hold on to her dreamer energy and cut out the hateful shit that people will say to her and not let dark moments take you over. Willow immediately started sobbing as she reminded her younger self to just focus on letting go and embracing what the world has to offer. And like Ru and Michelle, I was in damn tears.

Ultimately Daya Betty was sent through to the grand finale before Camden was gagged to take out her third win of the season. Bosco was then deemed safe leaving besties Angeria and Willow to battle for the final place in the finale. To Telephone by my dear friends Lady Gaga and Beyonce and damn, the dolls were equally desperate to make it to the end. They put on such a fucking show, working together, that it was only right that for the first time in Drag Race Herstory, both queens were going to the finale and the TOP FIVE would be competing for the crown.

And while I was glad to see it, I have quotas to meet and had hit my limit with the non-eliminations of the season. As the top five were celebrating their success backstage, I went backstage with a trusty clip board and looking like the confused lady in the prison show I figured out this thing called alphabetical order and requested Angeria come with me to celebrate her successes. I mean, since Daya already received culinary comfort and she scares me, I’m already not planning a new recipe for her, so what does it matter if our winner gets a recipe a little early?

Confused and a little nervous by our pre-elimination catch-up – I make the queens think I have a lot more power over the season than I do – I explained this all to Angeria before praising her on being such a consistent performer this season. I mean, over the course of the first five weeks Angeria could have won every single challenge and while the other queens have raised the bar to meet her in recent weeks, her few stumbles have never been major. I mean, I for one lived for her take on Tammie Brown, but that was because it was bad. As such, I whip her up a Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels to toast her success and wish her well for the finale.

While I love me some potatoes, Half Baked Harvest’s version of this soup with tortellini truly changed the game. So with a few minor tweaks and changes, I knew I had something worthy of honouring Angeria’s run. Warming, spicy and oh-so-smooth, this is the perfect soup for a race well run.

Enjoy!

Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 Italian sausages
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
8 cups chicken stock
½ cup Toni Basil Pesto
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
500g tortellini, I went with chicken but honestly, do whatever you prefer
¾ cup cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for eatin’

Method
Pop the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat and fry for about five minutes, or until starting to crisp. Remove the sausage skins and pop the meat into the pot alongside the onion and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a further five minutes or so, or until the meat is cooked through. Add the celery, carrot, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the stock, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer before stirring in the spinach and tortellini. Cook for about five minutes before stirring through the cream and parmesan and removing from the heat.

Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of extra parmesan. And devouring. Like a star.


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Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David finally lived up to his juicy name as he relished his role as the swing vote. After promising to take the girls with her to an overnight spa reward, Jordie convinced Shay to make herself a target instead as she opted to take him and Josh with her. And oh girl, Chrissy was angry to miss out on the pampering and KJ once again, was ready to get rid of Shay. Josh dominated at the immunity challenge before joining up with Jordie to finally flush (one of) Mark’s idol(s) while blindsiding Dave so that Josh could keep Jordie thinking they were nice and bloody tight.

Back at camp the tribe were thankfully not feeling intense for once, with Jordie and Shay thrilled to still be in the game and to have blindsided Dave. Well Jordie was thrilled by all but the fact KJ tried to vote him out on the revote and as such, pulled her aside to see where they stood. KJ explained that she assumed everyone was coming for him and as such, she was sticking with what she assumed were the numbers. And while that is logical, it also made Jordie nervous about what she and Mark may do next since everyone else appears to be on his side.

The next day Chrissy was shocked by how much she was loving her time in the bush, enjoying the rice and bean life before she straight up brutalising a tree knot in the ground that she stubbed her toe on. While Chrissy was thriving, Mark was fading fast, exhausted by the game and unsure whether he can trust Josh much longer. But sadly for him, he has no other option should he want to get rid of Jordie.

Speaking of Jordie, he was opening up about getting a lot of smiles from Jesse at tribal council, though he felt like Jesse could tell he was nervous about the revote. Jordie then opened up to us about how he has played the best game of anyone remaining and was confident in his chances should he make it to the end. Which totally means he is going tonight, right? He caught up with Josh, with them each pledging their allegiance to the other again. While Josh weighed up whether it was better to go to the end with Jordie or Mark. When I would argue, it is with neither.

The tribe met up with Jonathan for the final six immunity challenge where they would each race through a bunch of complex obstacles before swinging to a frame, untying a ladder, climbing up and over a tower before unlocking a treasure chest and, yes, solving a puzzle. Jordie got out to the earliest of leads while Mark and Josh tried to stay in the game. And Chrissy was just confused about how to get over her frame. Eventually Jordie, Mark, Josh and Shay all made it to the puzzle while KJ and Chrissy tried to keep each other motivated. Mark then started to pull away on the puzzle, which led to Jordie and Shay starting to copy off him before Chrissy straight up stopped doing her puzzle and instead started helping Josh solve his. Which proved enough to give him immunity once again.

Back at camp Josh was feeling super confident now that he was immune, weighing up whether to go to the final three with Jordie or whether he should try and regain some trust with Mark. Jordie meanwhile was also feeling super confident, given it is their last chance to burn Mark’s idol and as such, everyone would be stupid not to take the shot. Mark meanwhile washed off his defeat before going to hunt around the bush with Josh. Mark’s pitch to the tribe was to load up the votes on Jordie to get rid of him so that he can keep his idol for the next round. Which, dude, is only good for you and nobody else. Sadly though, KJ saw merit in getting rid of Jordie and as such Mark dropped by Josh and Chrissy to lock in the vote against him. Despite the fact Mark still didn’t know whether he could trust Josh.

Jordie and Shay meanwhile were tending fire by the camp before catching up with Josh to float the idea of getting rid of Mark. While Jordie straight up assured him that he will definitely go to the top four with him should he win immunity in the next round, Josh still was unsure and erring on the side of keeping Mark. This made Jordie feel nice and nervous, so he approached Chrissy to try and convince her that at least flushing Mark’s idol is their only move. Which she seemed very interested in following through on. Well, if Josh was ok with the idea too. As such, Jordie tried to keep Mark calm so pitched a fake plan to vote out Shay in the hopes of making him not play his idol.

At tribal council Jordie spoke about the ever more blurred lines within the tribe, though admitted that the closer they get to the end the harder it is to trust people given they all want to get to the end. Mark admitted that Jordie approached him during the day and even had pitched some good ideas, while Josh reiterated that he and Jordie had been working well together for the last few rounds. Jordie spoke about the fact they need to focus on keeping people around that aren’t threatened by you while Mark shared that if he has a second idol, it may come into play tonight. Which Chrissy admitted she didn’t believe. 

Mark once again told her that he definitely doesn’t have an idol, while Jordie suggested that should Mark have an idol he could only hold on to it if he could find a plan that he trusts. Josh admitted that while he and Jordie have trusted each other, the closer they get to the end the harder it is to see clearly while Mark reiterated that he is focused on moving forward in the game with people he can trust. Josh meanwhile debated whether to stick with those he can trust or make a move with those he thinks he has a better shot against. Oh and whether it is important to vote out people that could likely win the final immunity. Like Shay.

With that the tribe voted before Mark made a massive song and dance about playing Jesse’s idol and using it to knock out Jordie. Which would have been good if he received any votes at all, instead he just looked like a smug man that misplayed an idol. As Sam looked enraged that Mark literally wasted all of her hard work, which is essentially heterosexual relationships. No?

As Jordie arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled him in for a hug and thanked him for trying his darndest to keep the season interesting by giving us such a compelling underdog. Plus, I am a sucker for a man in overalls – Luke Perry in early 90210, swoon – so I congratulated him on a game well played, laughed over Mark’s idol faux pas and then smashed a tonne of Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls.

Fresh, sweet and packing a hidden kick, these babies are so damn good with an icy cold beer after more than 40 days living in the bush. Or you know, whenever, because they don’t need an excuse.

Enjoy!

Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1 carrot, grated
⅓ cup hoisin sauce
1 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp flour
16 x 20cm spring roll wrappers
vegetable oil, for brushing

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the shredded chicken, shallots, carrot, hoisin and chilli flakes in a large bowl. Then, mix the flour in a small bowl with three tablespoons of water to form a paste.

To assemble, place a wrapper on a clean bench and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture along the edge. Fold the bottom over to form a sausage, then fold in the sides and roll up the spring roll. Smearing with a little bit of the flour and water mixture at the end before sealing. Repeat until all the spring rolls are made.

Pop them on a lined baking sheet, brush with vegetable oil and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some more hoisin or chilli. Or you know, whatever sauce floats your boat.


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Vegetable Samontha Gash

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the trio of returnees were ready to create some chaos, though sadly, were still tragically outnumbered. Thankfully, at the auction, KJ scored herself an advantage after bidding on a pot of tea. After the alliance locked in the vote against Jordie, Mark and Sam left their idols back at camp before KJ gagged the tribe by announcing her advantage was to send three people back to camp prior to the vote. After shoo-ing away Chrissy, Mark and an immune Josh, the purgatory trio finally had the numbers but after Sam convinced them all she had an idol in her pocket, they flipped the vote to Jordan and sent him from the game instead.

Back at camp Chrissy, Mark and Josh were shocked to discover that Jordan went home, with Josh particularly seething and as such, was ready to get revenge on anyone involved. As Josh straight up threatened Dave, Mark jumped in to tell him how stupid he is while Sam rightly praised him for making a move. She tried to calm down the enraged duo and Chrissy, while Josh just focused on how stupid their move was. When it was literally the only bloody option. Get a grip, man!

The next day the mood was still super tense, though Jordie was living his best life. Full of pride to have gotten KJ out of her shell and ready to dominate the game. He opened up about the logic to target Jordan, while Chrissy was telling the tribe how she originally thought three people were going home, so admitted to being a little relieved to have just lost Jordan. While KJ was telling Sam about how proud she was to have gotten the full Survivor experience, Josh continued to carry on, muttering about how she just painted a target on her back and that he would be getting her back ASAP.

Sam and Mark caught up to celebrate being the last couple left in the game, while Sam questioned whether they should get rid of one of their idols by burying it. She opened up about doing a double degree in law and acting, which yeah, shows she can argue a case and is a good liar but mainly I just find it a super fun fact. The marrieds agreed that while Josh desperately wants to take out KJ, that is not in their best interest and as such, they need to keep what is left of their alliance together and get rid of Jordie.

Josh meanwhile continued to be angry, but assured us he will use that rage to take out immunity again and get rid of that newly pesky KJ. Chrissy dropped by to chat to Josh, and admitted that she had time to think and suggested now would be the right time to take out Mark and Sam. But try as she might, laying out logical argument after logical argument, Josh just couldn’t bring himself to even try to flush their idol(s). And now would be a great time to remind everyone that he was sold as a mastermind for a couple of episodes.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would roll a ball up a ramp and try to build a line of blocks at the bottom so that once built, the ball knocks them over like dominos until it is long enough for one of them to drop in a bucket at the end. Mark, Josh and Jordie got out to the earliest of leads, while Shay straight up smacked herself in the face with the ball before Jordie knocked over his stack. As Dave tried to close the gap, KJ dropped hers, followed by Mark and well, I’ll cut to the chase. Everyone was back and forth, knocking over their stacks before Mark rebuilt and secured himself immunity.

Back at camp things were once again intense as Sam, Mark, Chrissy and Josh joined together to plot a new move. While Mark rightly pointed out that he doesn’t want to align with anyone that had already been voted out, he suggested that Josh or Chrissy would be able to lure Dave back to their side and take back control. Speaking of Dave, he and the purgathree were continuing to plan to get rid of Sam. Jordie pulled Josh aside to float the idea of him joining their side and get rid of the final couple and then continuing to work together until the end, alternating being the one to decide who should go home.

While Josh agreed that neither Sam or Mark would be willing to take him to the end, he still felt it was a ‘dog move’ to turn on them. Which again, is the game. But him turning on them, based on his history, is the perfect cover to avoid the idol being played. Dave traded out with Jordie, apologising to Josh for voting out Jordan before throwing Sam under the bus as the one person that pushed for Jordan to go home. And as such, Josh finally felt angry enough to make a move. A very logical, and arguably the only move he can make if he has any interest in winning. Josh started to simmer based on this new information – which again, shouldn’t have been needed – and seriously considered turning on Mark and Sam.

Even though Sam was solely acting out of self-preservation. But who cares, we’re getting a move, so let’s ignore the facts.

Speaking of which, the couple left the shelter to figure out their plan of attack. Sam rightly pointed out that tonight’s tribal council will decide how the endgame will look. And if they lose, their alliance will go out back to back to back. Mark meanwhile felt that Dave will gladly flip back to their alliance, given he doesn’t even like Jordie. Though they did agree to take the idols to tribal council as insurance, while Sam was confident they wouldn’t vote for her out of fear of the idol. Which is exactly what they were locking in, as Jordie met up with his allies to tell them that he is hopeful Josh may finally flip to their side.

At tribal council Josh spoke about his pain at having lost his cousin, though was grateful to have an alliance that he trusts. He continued to talk about his desire to get revenge, and was grateful to not have to worry about any stupid advantages. Dave spoke up, talking about how Sam played everyone at the last tribal council which confirmed her fears that Dave wasn’t with them. This led to a lot of whispering back and forth, with Josh starting to get paranoid about not being on the right side of the numbers and as such, questioned whether he and Chrissy should flip.

Sam started to worry and suggested that they will need to play an idol, which Mark quickly shut down though did admit to Jonathan that tonight’s tribal council is very important. Mark and Josh then whispered about whether they should be concerned, with Josh assuring him to just play it safe. Jordie praised Josh for playing a good game and reacting appropriately to Jordan’s boot, while Sam reminded everyone that Josh has been completely loyal throughout the game. Chrissy and Josh then whispered, with Chrissy pointing out that Jordan appeared to be giving Sam deathies and willing them to vote her out. Before Jordie and Sam each reiterated their last minute pitches.

With that, the tribe voted, Josh told Mark to play the idol for Sam but when he didn’t give them a reason, they hesitated and missed the opportunity which proved to be a huge mistake as Josh had joined with the outcasts to boot Sam from the game.  Much to the absolute delight of the jury.

As soon as I saw Sam walking into the Jury Villa, I ran to her and pulled her in for a massive hug. While at times the game has been boring, it was in no small part due to the absolute dominance of Ms. Samantha Gash, our paranoid queen. I congratulated her on returning to the game having learnt her lessons from her first (iconic) season, which led to her controlling the entire pre-merge portion of the game and wisely not targeting Sandra. While yes, her post-merge game was essentially falling on her sword for Mark, it is hard to fault in a Blood vs Water season as the duo have to decide what path gives them the best opportunity to win. And given the amount of alphas on the jury, it makes sense to prioritise Mark because sexism will always come into play (read: Chrissy losing to Ben).

She was so moved by my words, we quietly sat down at the table and smashed a big batch of Vegetable Samontha Gash.

Lightly spiced and packed full of my favourite veggies – namely peas and potatoes – these babies are near perfect. Crispy pastry and piping hot potato. Need I say more?

Enjoy! 

Vegetable Samontha Gash
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
150g potato, finely diced
100 carrot, finely diced
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ cup vegetable stock
3 cups flour
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup melted ghee
¾ cup warm water

Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft. Add the potato, carrot, peas, curry powder and chilli and cook for a minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the potato is tender. Leave to cool.

While that is getting real cool boy, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and the cumin. Slowly add the ghee and water, kneading as you go to create a smooth, firmish-not-sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

To assemble, split the dough into ten pieces and roll into discs. Cut each disc in half and shape into a cone. Pack with the filling and seal the ends with a dab of water to form a triangle. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the filling and dough are all gone.

Brush the samosas with vegetable oil and place in the oven to bake – because I’m still scared of frying – for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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