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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Kale Shannon Slawson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, well and truly on the outs Laura and Rachel went for a cheeky walk and what do you know, they found an idol. Sadly for them, it was under the watchful eye of George. Jonathan decided to cause a little chaos and switched up the tribes, with new Brawn still taking out immunity despite now having Wai and Hayley – self proclaimed not-Brawns – in their midst. Cara returned to the Brains tribe and along with Geroge, joined the Brawns to get rid of one of the Brains girls that were formerly controlling their tribe. However George confused the hell out of everyone while teeing up the split vote and after Laura correctly played her idol for Rach, Cara’s accidental vote for Laura inadvertently sent Big D from the game.

Back at camp the tribe was in absolute shock, none more so than Kez who was heartbroken to lose her friend Daini. Standing around the fire, Cara eventually admitted it was her mistake that cost him the game and while everyone appeared to laugh it off, me thinks Queen Kez may hold a grudge. And well, I hate the thought of my two Queens feuding.

The next day things were moderately less dramatic as the tribe napped, George meandered the camp and Cara was straight up embarrassed by her stuff up. Her plan was to lay as low as possible and avoid anyone holding it against her. Sadly for her, George was desperate to raise her up and spin the situation – very vocally – to take the heat off her and in turn, keep their new alliance safe.

Meanwhile in the billabong Rachel and Laura were celebrating their lucky win, though realised they were still in a shitty situation. And as such, decided to try and turn the former Brawns against Cara ASAP. Sadly for them, they had their own situation going on as Georgia became painfully ill and well, the poor thing looked like death.

Over at the Brawn Camp, Andrew was joyously fishing while Hayley worried about their extreme numbers disadvantage. As such, she got together with Andrew to renew their bond and make sure he was willing to put everything aside and find a crack in the old Brawn tribe. Speaking of the former Brawns, Shannon was ride or die with the Brawns, though did assure us that she was still looking to get rid of Simon ASAP and make sure she beats him. Which, TBH, doesn’t bode well for her survival tonight, right? Or his I guess.

In any event, we’re getting some form of resolution to this storyline tonight – I feel it in me waters, Kim.

My love Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes were gagged to discover that not only did Cara’s mistake screw Daini, but that tribal immunity is on hold for the episode and instead they would all be competing as individuals. As both tribes are going to tribal and both of them are voting someone out, with two winners from each tribe getting champagne in addition to immunity. The challenge? Well they have to make their way through an obstacle course and then pair up to cross parallel balance beams before tossing sacks and landing them on a table. First two to finish from each tribe scoring victory.

Before the challenge even began, Georgia opted out due to her illness. When it came to the challenge, both tribes were neck and neck through the obstacles until everyone on Brawn powered ahead, leaving Wai alone on the balance beam. Until Queen Chelsea came back and kindly helped. While everyone on Brains continued to work together until the end of the challenge, Brawns started to split off as Baden and Simon started tossing their sacks.  Andrew and Baden were first to sling a sack on Brawn, while Kez soon followed on Brains. They were joined by Gerald, Dani and then SLAY, Wai! It was back and forth as people landed their bags and knocked them off until Andrew scored one of the first immunities followed by Wai, much to the delight of the rest of her tribe. Which is just so nice.

Oh and on the Brains, Emmett won immunity and then started gossiping with Simon while Hayley joined Georgia on the bench to do the same. More importantly, Queen Rach was next to jag herself immunity. As the victors exited stage left to enjoy their champagne reward, poor Georgia was loaded into an ambulance to get checked out, much to the fears of her tribemates.

Arriving at the bush bar, the group were delighted by their tasting plate more so than the dranks. Which is concerning, but whatever. In any event, Rachel was planning to use her time at the bar to charm Emmett and try to get him to get rid of either Cara and George. And he immediately agreed, so I guess we can just call this episode a day, then. Go home Jonathan, one of the tribals is all sorted!

Back at Brains Laura was thrilled her mate Rach was living it up with the champagne, though was worried about what was going on with Georgia. And just like that, Jonathan appeared to announce that Georgia is being temporarily pulled from the game for observation and as per rules, has 24 hours to return before forfeiting her place. And as such, won’t be voting at tribal council and also can’t be booted.

While it is good that we can make sure she is safe, Laura realised that meant that she was the only target left now, so needed to desperately find a crack. She started working with Gerald and Kez and after barely even trying, had Kez on board given she is still enraged to have lost Daini. Before we could learn more, Emmett and Rachel returned from the reward with Rach thanking everyone for giving her the real reward, seeing how they all lifted each other up at the challenge. Ugh, isn’t she the sweetest?

After noticing Georgia was gone, Rachel and Laura went for a walk to exchange all the latest intel, glad that everyone was seemingly ready to get rid of Cara. Emmett and Kez meanwhile had their own chat, with the former admitting that all he cares about is the two of them and Gerald making the merge and as such, he doesn’t actually care who gets voted out between Cara and Laura. And given Cara fucked up, they were more interested in getting rid of her.

We next checked in with the Brawns with Hayley glad that both of their immunities went to former Brains and as such, have more leverage despite not having the numbers. As such, she went for the most bold move and told everyone that the Brains were planning to vote four strong and since two of them are immune, she plans to do scissor, paper, rock to decide who she plays the idol on between her and Baden and as such, the Brawns should start a conversation with them to decide who to get rid of out of their group.

She and Baden then went for a walk, with Baden excited to just lock in a name while Hayley cautioned him to wait and see who is the first to break ranks and talk to them. Speaking of which, Shannon and Flick were catching up with Simon and talking about how to proceed with both suggesting they play his idol and join with them to the Brains and sacrifice Chelsea instead. Which he readily agreed to after they assured him that they can bring Dani back in after the vote.

But psych, he didn’t plan on following through with that at all, taking Dani and Celsea to the well to let them know everything. And then suggest they all load their votes on Baden, which annoyed Dani, because she feels like this would actually be the perfect time to get rid of Shannon instead. And you know, assert her dominance on the tribe. 

Meanwhile Shannon and Flick were first to get to Hayley and Baden, immediately offering up Chelsea as the boot. As they left, Simon, Chelsea and Dani replaced them and pitched getting rid of Shannon. And just like that, Hayley and Baden were spoilt for choice. Both options being good, because Chelsea and Dani are a tight pair, while Shannon is a big threat. But to Hayley, keeping a threat around isn’t the worst thing at this point.

Once Wai and Andrew returned they were pulled aside by Hayley and quickly caught up on all of her and Baden’s handiwork, with them excited to take power just by instilling them with enough fear.

Both tribes descended on tribal council with Jonathan catching the Brawns up on the situation with Georgia before getting right down to business. Cara spoke about her guilt in sending Daini home due to her stupid mistake, not wanting anyone to think it was deliberate move on her part. Emmett meanwhile denied getting chatty at the reward, given they were too busy eating. Rachel on the other hand was just glad to be safe and wanted to contribute to the conversation to help them keep the tribe strong. 

On the flipside, Laura was shitting her pants as the odd one out on the tribe, fully expecting to go home next. Particularly since Emmett is confident that the alliance have a strong plan that they will execute perfectly. Despite that, Cara was still nervous and while George tried to raise her up, the Brawns weren’t so forgiving. Dani was emphatic about the fact she would have immediately booted Cara for her mistake, with Cara assuring her tribe that she knows the plan and will not make a mistake again. 

We checked in with the Brawn tribe with Shannon excited to see where things stand post swap. Hayley gagged Jonathan by yet again announcing her plan to the entire tribal council, delighting Emmett and George while making the OG Brawns on her tribe very nervous. Flick herself was worried about making a mistake at tribal council and going home, while Simon was straight up terrified, though continued to highlight how strong he is in the hope that nobody targets him. 

To keep things interesting, Shannon outed Simon’s idol and said that should he play his idol, Brains too could have their plans blown up. Dani just spoke about being Brawns strong while Shannon was confident they would make things work. Hayley admitted that she is getting very nervous, with Shannon telling her that all the conversations she had today are truthful. And Dani just said that she can trust her. While Baden was just hopeful that the division in the tribe won’t be down tribal lines after tonight.

With that the tribes voted, Baden and Hayley hung on to their/Hayley’s idol before Laura found herself voted out of the Brains tribe. But then when Jonathan immediately started reading the Brawn votes – and given there were still ten minutes left – it was obvious a twist was afoot, despite the Brawns voting out Shannon.

We then learnt that while Laura and Shannon were both voted out, only one would be booted from the game and that decision will be made by the four immune people. With that, Rachel, Emmett, Wai and Andrew were required to make a unanimous decision on who to boot and should they not be able to, the girls battle it out with a fire making challenge. And while Andrew and Rachel were keen to save Laura, Wai gagged everyone by voting for Shannon to stay. And while Emmett wanted fireworks by way of the challenge, he also wanted Shannon to stay to keep OG Brawn strong. Something Simon, Dani and Chelsea clearly don’t care about anymore.

Then Simon happened, stepping in to tell Emmett that Shannon threw all the former Brawns under the bus as soon as the challenge ended and as such, Emmett was the one making a shit move. Which miraculously led to both Wai and Emmett backpedalling on their decisions, saving Laura and instead sending Shannon from the game as the eighth boot for her disloyalty. Even though, yes, that is the point of the game. But so is using it to further yourself. 

Why did I go on that tangent? You know that.

Anyway, I saw Shannon arrive at Loser Lodge and while I was heartbroken my dear friend’s dream was over, I was glad to be able to hang with each other. You see, Shan and I are the absolute best of friends, given we’re both influencers – remember, I am the OG Celeste Barber … who also went to my school but that is a story for another day, ya’ dig?

So Shan and I are best friends and spoiler alert, this season was meant to be Blood vs Water and we were scheduled to compete but then ‘rona happened and they went in a different direction. And since there is no beauty tribe and there is no way you can spin me as strong, I was dropped. But given I’m so critical to the health and wellbeing of the casts, that is probably for the best.

Seriously, what is with the tangents today? You know the drill, I told Shan she played a killer game, she is an absolute star and I love her. Then got down to nourishing her soul with a big ol’ Kale Shannon Slawson.

I know, I know. You don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you HAVE to make an exception. Tart, fresh and packed full of flavour, this is just what you need to dull your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Kale Shannon Slawson
Serves: 2 stunning influencers, but would also suffice for 6 people for dinner as a side.

Ingredients
4 cups kale, washed and shredded
1 cup red cabbage, washed and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, diced
⅓ cup craisins
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp pepitas
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup tahini
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the kale, red cabbage, carrot, red onion, craisins, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk literally everything else together in a jug.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and then serve.

And then devour, obvi.


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Serena ChaChagine

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

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

But I digress.

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

Particularly for her warts joke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

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

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

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


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Carrot From Finance Cake

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

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

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles awaiting my dear Sarah Ayles to eat while I rant about Andy surviving.

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Jonathan threw a spanner in all of the works, forcing everyone to drop their buffs – sadly not John’s speedos, though – and switched up the tribes. The three Champion women lucked out and stayed strong together in a Champ majority on the new Contenders tribe, while David and Luke were royally screwed as the only OG Champs remaining on the Champions tribe. Oh and Daisy and Shaun’s alliance was also split up, though that only became relevant after the new Champions continued in the tradition and lost immunity. You see Shaun had told Andy about his idol, who then spread the information to the rest of the Contenders on the Champions tribe, with Daisy overhearing and deciding that he is no longer to be trusted. With that, she approached  John and Baden to flip to David and Luke with her and blindside Sam – who never got a freaking confessional – which they did, leaving the OG Champs alive for another episode with an idol in each of their pockets.

We opened up with at the new Contenders tribe where Abbey, Ross and Pia were still lamenting the downgrade of facilities from what they were useful at Camp Champ. While the girls struggled in the squalor, sweet angel Ross tried to find the bright side and honestly he is too pure for this world. I just get the goofiest grin whenever he is on screen and I hope he knows how much I appreciate him.The tribe sat around bonding and downing coconuts, while Janine was thrilled to have the majority on her new tribe. Though was struggling big time when it came to remembering Casey’s name. Or was it Cassie. Talk then legit turned to eating Harry, despite his fake child at home. Pia’s serving suggestion was to turn him into a kebab. Harry then vowed that he will be taking control of the tribe and was thrilled that Luke or David likely went home at last night’s tribal.

Speaking of the new Champions tribe, Andy – who looks more like Sonic the Hedgehog than the original movie version that they’re currently fixing – was still shell-shocked by the blindside while David was thrilled to have found his way into the new majority so quickly, thanks to Daisy’s vendetta against Sam. Desperate Andy approached David to pretend that he was trying to protect David at the last tribal and honestly, the desperation reeks of insincerity and I need him out ASAP. And if that performance keeps up, I think I’ll get my wish. Sarah too was seething after the previous vote, so approached Hannah to float the idea of wooing Baden back to their side to get rid of Daisy in a revenge plot which sadly seems shortsighted given the Contenders early domination. Shortsighted but good TV.

Jonathan summoned the tribes to a rolling river where the Contenders were shocked to find Sam was booted the night before, none more so than Harry who had just felt confident enough to get arrogant. But back to the challenge where someone from each tribe who swim against the flowing river, with the last person staying in the marked zone winning a point for the tribe. First to three winning a Survivor cafe experience, so everyone was as thrilled as I was given swimming calls for speedos. Once again Luke and Matt faced off against each other, with Matt making quick work of Luke. Again. Leading to even more arrogance from Matt. Ross and Baden went next and despite starting strong, poor Baden wasn’t a chance against the surfing champ. Janine got out strong against Andy, until the current washed her away and Andy – urgh – got the Champions on the board. Abbey and Daisy proved an interesting match up, with both women working hard as Daisy drifted into Abbey’s lane and Abbey almost wiped Daisy off the course before ultimately, Daisy won the point and tied things up. The final match-up between Hannah and Casey was far less interesting, as Hannah washed right out of the field giving Casey the point and handing victory to the new Contenders.

The Contenders arrived at their cafe reward where Shaun was thrilled to finally take out a reward, Casey got her first confessional and Matt was struggling to understand why he wasn’t miserable. While everyone was frothing over the food, King Ross smashed four coffees and quickly started to lose his mind before having a power spew and coming back for seconds. Harry meanwhile wasn’t so thrilled and couldn’t move past the fact that Sam was voted out, while Abbey and Janine quickly got all of the information out of Harry and Casey, finding out Sam and Daisy didn’t get along, meaning Harry likely won’t work with Daisy or her ally Shaun. While Harry desperately tried to make in rounds with the former Champs, he didn’t look to be having much luck and felt on the outs with his new closest ally Casey. The latter however had other plans, leaving him for dead and buddying up to Janine, Pia and Abbey to try and save herself while Harry wandered around until he found the damn idol.

And while it is exciting for him, I just want to know what happened to his eye and if it is what happened to Benji’s last year as it looks angry.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would be placed in chambers while their remaining tribemates would race over balance beams to collect buckets of water from the ocean to fill up the other tribe’s chambers. Given poor Sarah can’t catch a break, she was submerged in one of the Champion chambers with Hannan in the other while Casey and Pia were the potential drowning victims for the Contenders. It is pretty hard to tell who is leading at any given moment, so let’s focus on the fact Hannah seems super fun and entertaining and I hate that she is the last person remaining without a confessional. Pia was the first to be completely submerged, followed closely by Hannah while the two desperately tried to keep their noses above water before Hannah and Pia dropped out one after the other, leaving Casey and Sarah to battle it out. Tragically Sarah fought valiantly however it wasn’t enough as the Contenders kept a steady flow of water going into her bath forcing her to bow out, handing victory to the Contenders.

Back at camp the Champions assured each other that they did all that they could at the challenge before Andy tried to find a way to live to see another day. He then approached David as, to quote him, David is smart for a model and he himself is scary smart, so he thinks they will make good allies. Sadly for Andy, David could see through all of his lies though given he holds the power, he doesn’t really mind. Yet. He rallied his allies and suggested they get rid of Sarah, given she isn’t as agile as Hannah with everyone jumping on the plan quickly. Andy left the group and approached Sarah to see what she was thinking, with Sarah suggesting going to the top of the totem pole and get rid of Daisy. Andy then ran back to the shelter, lay next to Daisy and told her what Sarah and Hannah were planning, filling the icon with rage.

Sarah then wandered over to Baden and Luke at the well, telling them that Andy threw her under the bus before David and Hannah joined them. Sarah asked David what his plans were, with him admitting that he was going to vote her out … though would happily turn on Andy instead. David then said Andy was playing so badly he was planting landmines, forgetting where they were and then blowing himself off all up the beach and I LIVE. Daisy and Sarah then caught up with Daisy suggesting that she would be willing to get rid of Andy instead. The only certainty as they headed off to tribal council, is that once again David and Luke are safe and their two idols will remain in the pockets for another episode.

At tribal council Andy tried to downplay how shocked he was by Sam’s blindside before Jonathan congratulated David on surviving the insurmountable odds. David downplayed the OG tribes, reminding everyone it is a new game and they are one unit. Sarah admitted that the lines were well and truly blurred, while Daisy reminded them it is eat or be eaten. Hannah admitted it is too hard to trust anyone in a long term way, while Sarah alluded to Andy continuing to play the middle and Luke blurted out that there was some madness back at camp. Andy tried to be coy about the situation, where he shoved his hole leg in his mouth which everyone was aware of, before Sarah verbalised that she is the one that walked up on Andy’s dick move with the Sonic impersonator getting more and more nervous. Wait, no, cocky, as his fuck-up is only an issue for Sarah. John told everyone to pull their heads in, Andy spoke about the importance of trust – much to John’s disgust – while Sarah sounded defeated, warning them to all keep one eye open.

With that the tribe voted and despite me crossing everything in my body, praying to a wide range of deities and promising not to cuss anyone out tomorrow for asking stupid questions, it was my dear Sarah who was booted from the game as low-rent Sonic sped to smug another day.

Once again, I was a giant ball of rage as Sarah entered Loser Lodge and fearing that I was on the brim of freaking out, she took me in her arms and told me to breath through the pain. She assured me she was proud of the game she played, and glad to prove herself and while I fought back tears thinking of all the ways the game has tried to bring up memories of the tsunami for her and the fake that yet another woman was booted over a smug, beige male, I realised that all we needed – Sarah, I and the world at large – was a big comforting Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles to dull the pain.

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Thankfully this rich casserole is glorious enough to wipe away some of the pain of seeing this icon leave the game. Earthy lamb, the tang of ale and the sharpness of some gruyere work together in perfect harmony to honour the ultimate survivor of this season who deserved so much better. #Justice4Sarah

Enjoy!

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1.5kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 tbsp flour
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp tomato paste
345ml bottle ale
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced
100g gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and carrot for five minutes, or until your kitchen is hella fragranced. Add the lamb and cook for a further five minutes or so before adding the flour and cooking off for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, mustard, tomato paste, ale, stock, bay leaves, muscovado sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once the casserole is thick and gloopy, top with the baguette and all of the cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is golden and glorious.

Sprinkle with parsley, serve and devour.

 


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Tituss Burizo & Chicken Rolls

Hashbrown: The End, Main, Side, Snack, Street Food

Now I know I said I don’t have favourites when I caught up with Carol way back when – you know, before Dylan and Ellie – but there is no denying that Titus is he true heart and soul of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. From scamming Kimmy in the early episodes, to lemonading and fighting with High Schoolers, Titus has my heart. And that is because of the iconic work of my dear friend Tituss.

Oh and it doesn’t help that he was based off me. Thanks Teens!

While I didn’t meet Tituss until he appeared on 30 Rock, I was blown away by his hilarious performance and immediately attached myself to him. And vowed to get him a damn Emmy one of these days.

Despite not making that a reality – yet – Tituss never throws shade at me when we have our monthly catch up to gossip and gulp down as much pinot noir as humanly possible. Which we obvs just refer to as the gossip and gulp date.

In any event, Tituss was thrilled to add another date to our busy dance card, particularly in light of the end of him playing me. As is oft the case, we laughed, we cried – which is becoming more and more prevalent as the end approaches – and gorged on as much comfort food as possible. Like some Tituss Burizo & Chicken Rolls.

 

 

Bet you thought I was going to make a red wine themed meal, no? Well instead of going with the literal interpretation, I instead opted to take another phallic symbol and form it into something just as comforting. And how do you go past smokey sausage wrapped in warm, doughy pastry? You can’t.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tituss Burizo & Chicken Rolls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
300g raw chorizo, casing removed
300g chicken mince
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the chorizo, chicken, onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot and rosemary in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and scrunch with your hands into it comes together in a cohesive ball.

Cut each piece of puff pastry in half and divide the dough into four. Shape into long sausages and place close to a long edge of each piece of pastry. Tightly roll and cut each into 4-6 pieces and transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam side down.

Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden, flaky and cooked.

 

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