Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza

Main, Pizza, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with roasting themselves, the panel and their eliminated sisters for a decidedly heavenly roast. Kitty was her usual brand of funny and charming, however it was once again Ella that completely dominated. From dad jokes to her hilariously dragging anyone in sight, she well and truly earned her fourth victory on her way to the finale. At the other end of the pack, Vanity was read for playing it too safe with her jokes,  while Krystal landed in the bottom for her heavy reliance on age jokes. After the duo lip synced however, the assassin was felled as Krystal went through to the finale and Vanity sashayed away.

Backstage the dolls were jubilant to make it to the end, though quickly took pause to toast their fallen sister Vanity. Kitty joked that there is normally a dog in the top three, though was glad that this one only had a bunch of babes. Though did admit that if she can’t spot the ugly queen, maybe it was in fact her. Ella was still on cloud nine about her victory, talking about how great it was to see their sisters and hoping none of them were offended by being dragged. Which was obviously the point that they were all brought in, praising Ella for killing the hell out of the roast. Vanity was accepting of being eliminated, while Krystal agreed she deserved to be in the bottom alongside her, with Elektra shadily agreeing out loud rather than in her head. Choriza rounded out the visit by giving the final three a pep talk for the finale ahead while Kitty just wanted the meet and greet girls to exit so they could celebrate and get their heads in the game.

The next day the queens were feeling festive as fuck to be not only be in the finals but also because Ru popped up some Christmas trees. Ella quickly pointed out that she has the same amount of badges as the other two combined, while Kitty was just thrilled to have proof that her years of hard work are worth it. Ru interrupted their chat to drop by and announce that for this year’s finale, the dolls would be writing their own verse on her holiday hit, Hey Sis, It’s Christmas. And then, you know, perform it live on the mainstage, after a quick Q&A with her and Michelle.

They quickly split up to write their lyrics, with Kitty nervous about how to stand out while Ella wanted to write a bop. And Krystal simply wanted to do better than the Girl Group challenge. After spilling some sample lyrics, Kitty dropped by to catch up with Ru and Michelle, talking about her passion for Christmas and her level of comfort on the stage. She opened up about her time at musical theatre school and how she practised sewing before joining the competition and always tries to keep things positive. And how supportive her sweet family are.

Ella was up next, opening up about how gagged she is to have dominated the competition. Ru asked whether Ella was just a failed actor that came to drag – way harsh, Tai – with her opening up about doing it to re-energise her career and that she initially kept drag separate from the theatre crowd, so that she would be taken seriously in both worlds. She spoke about how she learnt to love herself, got all loved up and reiterated the fact she was so shocked to make it to the end. Krystal meanwhile had Ru and Michelle laughing from the start, joking and giving off a very relaxed vibe. She mocked her name, spoke about her inspirations and how proud her family are. Talk turned to her virginity with Krystal admitting that she would prefer to be doing up a wig than doing a man. Or well, going on a date. Oh and she was fired up for the win.

The dolls then joined Jay Revell to learn the choreography for their final performance with Kitty overwhelmed by how damn hot he is. Which in a word, is relatable. Krystal was up first, wanting to throw in a lot of tricks and flicks to sell herself. Kitty meanwhile was fun and full of pointing, while Ella was the perfect combination of the two – sexy but also pointy. After they were all chill and calm about their verses, Jay told them their group moments are hard as hell and well, poor Krystal arrived at struggle street. As the musical theatre queens quickly picked up the choreo, poor Krystal lagged behind while Kitty knew it was all a ruse as she will definitely slay it, because that is what Krystal does.

Coronation Day finally arrived with Krystal asking them about first impressions, with Ella admitting she was gagged, not about how stunning Krystal’s looks were, but more importantly, that she was also super kind. Kitty meanwhile was nervous upon seeing Ella, praising her for being as handsome as Gaston in drag. While both the dolls were thrilled to have met Kitty and her infectious energy. Kitty then opened up about how great it was to meet Baby Spice, while Ella’s highlight was winning Snatch Game. Which Kitty admitted she was gagged about, given she thought she would win or it would at least be a double. Krystal meanwhile was proud about how she constantly surprised herself.

And then Ella and Kitty did a spot on Veronica Green impersonation. Which means nothing really, but was important to me.

Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan lined up on the panel for the debut performance of Hey Sis, It’s Christmas! and frankly, Ella’s verse was absolute fire and she sold the hell out of it to boot. Kitty was demented and delightful, as per usual, while Krystal came out all guns blazing. The rest of the queens then joined the performance and things got wild and well, ugh, I just love the dolls.

On the Final Three Eleganza Extravaganza Runway, Ella was a vision in a stunning purple gown, complete with a big old wig to make Michelle happy. She was sparkly, confident and ready to complete it with a crown. Kitty straight up looked like a Southern belle who became a princess, feeling her oats and looking a frosted delight. Krystal meanwhile was perfection in a black velvet mermaid gown, standing out in all the right ways.

Ella received universal praise for her verse, opening herself up and nailing the hell out of the challenge. The judges loved her look, though Graham did question the choice of shoe. Though they all agreed that she dominated the competition and was the one that they could all rely on. Kitty was praised for her magnetism and her demented lyrics in the song before the judges shared how much they loved her look. Alan then likened her to a labrador, with everyone loving her energy from the start and then they learnt she is talented to boot. The judges loved how Krystal challenged herself in the final number, thrilled to see her polish her skills and emerge as an even brighter star. Oh and they lived for her dark and moody final runway.

Ella was first to talk to young Nicholas, reminding him that he is beautiful and perfect and begged him to embrace who he is and silencing all the names and slurs that are thrown his way. Kitty wanted young Lewis to remember how lucky he is and to never take anything for granted. She then suggested he stay happy and kind and most importantly, to wear supportive underwear. Krystal told young Luke – well, younger – to embrace all the love he has around him and to be kind and patient while waiting for people to come around. Oh and to ease up on fillers as a teenager.

Ella shared that she should be the next UK Drag Superstar, admitting that she has all the talent and has thrown everything out there to get the win. Finishing simply by reminding them that she is the best, and they should pick her. Kitty felt that she should win because she is the embodiment of UK drag, with a little camp and a big pair of knockers. Krystal meanwhile wanted to inspire the next generation of drag to try hard and let kids know they can do whatever it is they want.

Backstage the dolls caught up with their eliminated sisters with Elektra thrilled they all got a chance to perform together one last time. Choriza was proud of everyone, while Victoria was shady about Ella finally stepping out of the chorus. Ella meanwhile was proud to dominate, though Kitty suggested it won’t matter in the end. Anubis meanwhile looked stunning as she praised them for a great season, while River joked that the double elimination was the best lip sync. Oh and we learnt that Elektra wasn’t allowed to jump off the stage when she did, while Scarlett joked about not wanting to talk about her walk off.

After the eliminated queens walked the runway, the top three were tasked with lip syncing for the crown to Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Own Me. Everyone played to their strengths from the start, Kitty was charming as hell and giving all the comedy, Ella was moody and leant into her acting chops while Krystal threw everything at the wall. It was stunning, it was emotional and most importantly, they were stupid and fired up. Tragically though, there can only be one winner and that was young Krystal.

While she was busy getting her crown fitted, I pulled Kitty to the side to toast her killer run and infectious personality. As Kitty said, she truly is the embodiment of UK drag, camp, bawdy and so damn fun, which to me, well and truly earns a victorious Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza!

I know, I know – zucchini isn’t the most exciting vegetable (or is it a fruit?) option in the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place. Like say, this one! Thin strips of juicy goodness work perfectly with the salty haloumi to create a perfect new pizza combination.

Enjoy!

Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza
Serves: 1 iconic queen and her equally iconic bestie.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup Toni Basil Pesto
400g haloumi, sliced
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthways
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
cheddar and mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear the bases with pesto. Layer with haloumi and zucchini, followed by a dotting of garlic and the cherry tomatoes, then a generous helping of the cheeses.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour, careful not to burn yourself on the molten hot cheese.


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Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely

Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the three tribes converged with Jeff, not to merge, but to live through a complicated double-episode to get to merge. You see, the tribeless castaways were split into groups, competed in a challenge and exiled Erika who then had the power to flip the results of the challenge meaning she and the losing group were all immune and guaranteed passage to the merge while the former victorious six were to compete in the first immunity challenge of the season. Ricard won immunity which led to bedlam back at camp as Liana and Shan’s super majority planned to get rid of former Yase Evvie. Sadly for them, the plan went awry as Xander passed his idol to Tiffany so that Liana couldn’t steal his idol, which made everyone nervous enough to split the votes between Evvie and Sydney. And while Xander didn’t play his idol, Sydney did play her Shot in the Dark but sadly came up short as she exited the competition.

And then the remaining castaways officially merged to form the Viakana tribe.

Back at camp Xander and Evvie were thrilled by how expertly they got Liana to burn her advantage and save themselves. He was less thrilled about the fact Evvie had shared the information about his idol with Deshawn on their little adventure, making him question whether he can trust Evvie and Tiffany moving forward. Evvie meanwhile was heartbroken to have lost their relationship with Liana, given she was the one they vibed with best on OG Yase.

The next morning Evvie caught up with Deshawn as the first step of their apology tour, assuring him that there are no hard feelings between them. When they made it to Shan, she admitted that she thought Yase were a tight knit group so was shocked by how quickly Liana flipped on them. Tiffany and Liana meanwhile were catching up while Xander assured Shan that he and Liana have no connection moving forward while Evvie too was scrambling to try and make new bonds. Deshawn, Erika and Heather meanwhile went for a walk to get water with Deshawn assuring them that he isn’t buying the Yase trio apology and bonding tour and as such, he is ready to push them out of the game one after the other, after the other.

Jeffrey returned for the first post-merge reward challenge where they were promptly divided into two teams to compete. Oh and since the numbers were uneven, one person got to sit out on a bench where Jiffy had hidden an advantage. But back to the challenge, where each group would leap from a ramp before diving to retrieve puzzle pieces. They then load the pieces into a boat, row them to a pontoon and then solve the puzzle. While Erika drew the odd rock to sit out, Xander took pity on her, offering to trade out with her and forgo his chance at a sweet grilled cheese reward. Oh and he didn’t even find the poorly hidden advantage, which given he is a super fan, I find disappointing.

But anyway, the yellow team got out to an early lead thanks to Liana and Shan however it quickly was blown by poor Heather slowing things down. Proving that she only gets airtime when she is bombing a challenge. Both tribes, sorry groups, were neck and neck as they made their way to the puzzle deck and then, given Evvie had practiced the exact puzzle at home, they solved it in a matter of minutes and won reward for them, Erika, Ricard, Danny and Deshawn.

Back at camp Erika was positively giddy to see their bountiful feast and quickly packed up to eat it away from the jealous eyes of the losers. Who coincidentally all lost but a week before. Tiffany was angry, Shan and Liana were crying while Xander tried to make sure they were all ok. Making an extremely quick turn around, Shan dried her tears and was feeling galvanised in the game, focused on the fact she is here to win rather than eat toasties. Shan took a plan to Liana and Naseer before roping in Xander, who admitted that he likes missing out on winning rewards because being left with the losers, they are normally emotional and open to flipping.

Not upset by the loss was Naseer who was staying positive because he just didn’t want to ruin his day. Instead he collected a bounty of papaya and cheered up his group. That is until the winners returned and Ricard tried a piece of papaya, leading to Shan flipping out on him for daring to eat food that was meant for the losing group. And while I would be just as angry as Shan, it was a bit OTT. And well, Ricard just wasn’t very bright when he could have waited until nobody was looking to avoid pissing people off.

The tribe reconvened with Jeff for the immunity challenge where everyone would have to balance on their tippy toes to hold a block between their head and a beam above them. But to make things interesting, Jeff told them that they could sit out for a single portion of rice or they could negotiate a number of sit outs for Jeff to give them three-days worth of rice for the tribe. After settling on five people, Shan and Naseer were willing to give up their shot until nobody joined them. With that Xander asked Jeff to bring it down to four, assuring the group that he would sit out if just one other person joined him which was enough to get Ricard to step out.

As the four sit-outs joined the bench the rest of the tribe stepped up to their frame with Deshawn, Erika and Tiffany all dropping within seconds, begging the question, why didn’t they just offer to begin with. Danny soon followed, leaving Liana, Heather and Evvie to battle it out for victory. Just like that, I jinxed Liana and after three minutes, only two remained. Wait, no, make that after just four minutes, Evvie took out a much needed immunity victory.

Back at camp Evvie was overjoyed to have spoiled everyone’s plan to get rid of her, which meant that Liana was ready to pivot to force Xander to burn his idol and for the group to boot Tiffany instead. Shan, Naseer, Danny and Ricard caught up to lock in a split vote between Tiffany and Xander. Well, until Danny and Shan caught up with the former suggesting that they should instead split the vote between Tiffany and Naseer to blindside him before he realises he is on the bottom of their alliance. They were joined by Deshawn who quickly grew frustrated with Shan’s bossy demands, pushing instead to get rid of Xander first because he is more threatening. And, you know, Naseer is a good provider and completely non-threatening.

After the duo hashed out their differences, Shan looped in Erika and Ricard before Xander joined them and was fed the lie that the plan was to split between Naseer and Tiffany. Well until Shan looped in Naseer, who was annoyed to have his name out there and as such, Shan found Xander and told him that instead, they are now going to get rid of Heather. When Shan caught up with Erika and Heather to tell them the plan, Queen Heather emerged and flipped out on Shan for putting her name out there giving she is screwed should there be an idol-palooza.

Oh and Tiffany was just wandering around to anyone and everyone to find a friend.

At tribal council Shan shared that she stepped out of the challenge because she just wanted everyone to be able to eat. Xander agreed that he wanted to ensure people that are struggling without food got to enjoy something – a genius reminder that some are starving and a few people are banking up the rewards – while Naseer just wanted everyone to be happy rather than safe. Heather and Tiffany both admitted that they didn’t step down because they feel like they could be on the block tonight. Danny meanwhile was feeling like the divisions weren’t clearcut and given how wild things played out at the last tribal council, he is ready to explode with nerves.

Then Shan said that she was just waiting for a comment to drop before everyone went nuts with paranoia. Evvie admitted that they have not been approached by anyone ahead of tribal council, while Danny said that he isn’t buying that they are feeling defeated given the Yases made a huge theatrical play about loyalty at the last tribal council before running around camp the next day swearing they were out to get one another. While Evvie argued that they were left to die by Xander and Tiffany at the last tribal council, I don’t think it was enough to convince Danny they were actually against each other.

Erika admitted that things are still new for the merged tribe and as such, even when plans are set, there is uncertainty right up until the torch is snuffed. Just as Jeff was sending everyone off to vote, Heather jumped up and started whispering to anyone and everyone to push the vote on Naseer while Ricard continued to tell Xander he should play his idol. When Shan learnt that Heather was planning to flip the vote to Naseer, she instead told everyone they should band together to get rid of Heather instead. While everyone else was on board with that plan, Deshawn wasn’t happy and then was patronised by Shan while Ricard just opted to beg Xander to burn his idol.

With this week’s annoying whispers out of the way, the tribe voted and despite all the chaos and showboating of tribal council, Tiffany – the original target – found herself exiting the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa. And boy did my heart break.

As Tiffany arrived at Ponderosa, I started to sob until she pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok. That set me off on an epic rant, as it reminded me that actually, not everything will be ok because the intended Queen of the Season has had to settle for ruling Ponderosa. I mean, sure, that is one of the best places to land but given how iconic and entertaining Tiffany has been thus far, I wanted better for her. Instead, she got rewarded with a delicious Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely.

I have a passion for any food that you can add fries into, so a yiro that includes both regular fries and halloumi fries is perfection. The salty cheese, the spicy falafel and the creamy raita go perfectly to turn a day around. And make you feel like a winner.

Enjoy!

Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1-2 cups Jack Falafelee
4 fresh Pita Andre Breads
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
juice and zest of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g halloumi, cut into batons
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 baby cos, leaves torn and washed

Method
Start by prepping the fries, falafel and pita breads as per Jud, Jack and Peter’s recipes. Or, you know, get the store bought ones prepped.

Combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice and zest. Season to taste, cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Next heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and once hot, fry the halloumi for a few minutes each side until crisp and golden on each side.

To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, halloumi, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some falafel and another slather of tzatziki.

Wrap tightly and devour, like the Queen of Ponderosa.


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Choriza Mayshroom Pizza

Main, Pizza, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the queens stepped up and read each other for filth with the legendary Choriza taking out victory for her charming and hilarious takes on her sisters. Sadly that was it for joyous moments of the episode as despite Ella slaying Nigella in Snatch Game and Kitty’s GC being all gamed out, things went south as my faves River and Choriza landed in the bottom. And then Ru had the cheek, the nerve, the gall AND the gumption to send both of them home in the most tragic double elimination to ever grace our screens.

After River left me, I had to do another round of meditation to calm myself to welcome my other fave Choriza to the Werk Room Restaurant. 

As soon as she saw my tear-streaked face, she ran over, pulled me in for a massive hug and then promptly slapped me and told me to snap out of it. This had the desired effect as I burst into laughter, wishing that Choriza had actually done a nonsensical version of Cher in Snatch Game.

Choriza and I have been dear friends for many years, given we have so much in common. That being, we’re thirsty and live for a smutty joke. We immediately bonded upon first meeting at that place that one time and have been the best of friends ever since.

As such, I knew that the only way to dull her post-boot pain would be an innuendo laden back and forth and a big, hot Choriza Mayshroom Pizza.

I think it is fair to say that the Survivor Pizza Curse definitely has cross over with Drag Race, otherwise why else was she eliminated? Thankfully when disappointment is spicy, sweet and packed full of flavour, it is hard to be disappointed. And oh so easy to swallow.

Enjoy!

Choriza Mayshroom Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup passata
a small handful of fresh Italian herbs, roughly chopped
2 chorizos, sliced into coins
1 onion, sliced
½ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
a small handful of button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
cheddar and mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear the bases with passata and herbs. Sprinkle over the chorizo, onion, olives, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, followed by a mix of the cheeses.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour, careful not to burn yourself on the molten hot cheese.


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River Mediterranean Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Poison Ivy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

River Mediterranean Salad
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

Chuck everything in a bowl. Toss. Serve.

Then devour. Always devour.


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Elektra French Onion Gem Bake

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

Previously on Drag Race UK, 12 new dolls arrived in the Werk Room ready to slay the game and join the pantheon of UK Ru girls. To help the judges get to know them, the queens were tasked with serving two looks on the runway – one selling home town and the other, their favourite things. Ru gagged the dolls by making Victoria and Krystal lip sync for the win with the latter ultimately taking out the first victory of the season. On the flipside, Elektra and Anubis found themselves in the bottom with Anubis following in the footsteps of her fellow Brighton queen Joe Black, going out as the first boot.

The dolls returned to the Werk Room, gassed and shell shocked to have lost their first sister. And rightly acknowledged that Brighton is officially a cursed city for Drag Race UK. After Elektra climbed on to the desk to wipe off the message, we learnt that Victoria disappeared to see a doctor about a knee injury from the lip sync for the win. As the dolls kikied, Krystal shared how thrilled she was to take out the first win while Elektra vowed to never bottom again. Before clarifying, on the show. Victoria thankfully returned and explained while her knee was busted, at this stage, she would still be able to continue in the competition as long as she takes it easy   the next couple of days. Oh and fun fact, Kitty’s tits are as heavy as Krystal’s badge.

The next day Krystal was feeling her oats even more, confident that it won’t be her last victory in the competition. While Veronica was left to wonder how someone with such a tiny head could also have such a big one? The dolls congratulated River on her charming runway performance saving herself from the bottom, while Victoria told them that while she has to stay off her feet as much as possible, she will still turn it out. So beware.

They were interrupted by Ru, who arrived and put Krystal to task playing a game called ‘Rupermarket Sweeps’ where she would find superlatives amongst grocery items before handing them out to her fellow queens. First up, she identified Victoria as the biggest competition – denying she was threatened and only gave it to her due to her size – followed by River as having the worst taste, Ella as the trade of the season and Veronica as out of date. But not to worry Veronica, she thinks Elektra will be the next one to go.

With that out of the way – along with the casual fat shaming of Victoria – Ru announced that this week, the dolls would be put to work at Ru’s new fitness business – Dragoton. Choriza, Vanity, Elektra Fence were tasked with leading a spin class, Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty will be working out their (exercise) balls, leaving Charity, Victoria, Scarlett and Ella to do a little mummy and me class. But always making it drag, obviously.

As the dolls split up into their groups, Veronica read Krystal for being a bit too harsh in her reads but encouraged everyone to put it all aside and embrace the fact they are all vastly different and make that an advantage for their werk out routines. Ella meanwhile felt typecast as a yummy mummy/trade of the season and was confident she and Victoria will lead the group, given they are trained dancers. Elektra was so excited by the challenge she was spitting on herself, while Choriza was just going to wing it and lean into the comedy given she was paired with two killer dancers. And has zero skills.

Mama Ru made her ruturn, immediately making Kitty nervous about how to act. As she watched on quietly, Veronica and River were shady about Krystal in their kiki with the latter admitting that she is ready to go with the pose every week if it takes her to the end. Kitty finally found her voice, and suggested she should have been the trade of the season and had Ru in hysterics. Which made her tell Ru to shut up, essentially. Oh and Krystal was nervous about the challenge. Up next were team yummy mummy, with Victoria doubling down on being a legit threat and was glad that she had the girls on her side, before we learnt Charity’s accent game is weak at best. Rounding out the chats, Choriza was charming as always while Elektra vowed to turn it out this week, given it plays to her strengths and ugh, that always makes me nervous. Very, very, very, very nervous.

As Ru left, the queens ventured to the mainstage to meet Oti Mabuse to get the choreography down. Or in Victoria’s case, she was DTF and well, relatable. Oti is gorgeous. Team Bike were up first and well, poor Choriza was immediately confused but as she suggested, she bought the personality. And more importantly, she vowed to ride it harder than a dick. While poor Elektra was just wishing they got her a toddler’s bike. The yummy mummies were next with my favourite twink Scarlet not sure what was happening, while Ella was just glad to be guaranteed not landing in the bottom since everyone else was falling apart. Rounding out rehearsal was Veronica in lycra with her mick out while River was terrified about keeping up with the tempo. And relatably, Krystal can’t figure out her left from right while Veronica gave her a peptalk to keep her from spiralling from nerves.

Elimination Day rolled around with Krystal still nervous while Victoria admitted that her knee had blown up and she was struggling through the pain. Though vowed to fight through. Kitty and Charity kikied as they got ready, admitting that they are ready to push outside of their comfort zones. Victoria and Krystal meanwhile caught up with the former suggesting they should clear the air, with Krystal immediately offering a genuine apology and admitting that she looks up to her and doesn’t ever want to bring her down. Victoria admitted that she has struggled with eating disorders and has been every size under the sun and as such, she has finally accepted it and is happy and healthy but found Krystal’s comments were triggering.

Ugh, I love Victoria so much and I’m so glad she was mature enough to have the conversation and work through it. Elektra then opened up about how much she hated her freckles growing up, though her boyfriend helped her learn to love them. She then opened up the floor for the rest of the dolls to share their insecurities, with Vanity talking about being told that she is too dark. And uggghhhhh, hearing them all be so vulnerable with each other was so empowering and gorgeous.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined on the judges’ table by Oti Mabuse for the debut werk outs of Dragoton. While I have no idea what was happening most of the time, I do know Choriza stole the show in the bike group with her unique and charming brand of ridiculous. Team Ball Busted were hilarious and a little bit frightening, with everyone getting a chance to shine. While poor Victoria was stuck performing on a stool with the yummy mummies, she was still charming enough to keep up with Ella.

On the Red Carpet Showstoppers Runways, Choriza was stunning in a spotted icy blue flamenco number. Elektra too was sparkly with an awkwardly matt black split while Vanity was stunning in a sheer lilac number. Kitty was full glamour in a Marilyn inspired gown, Krsytal was perfect – aside from the tits – in a green dress, River looked her version of glam in a purple number, complete with a few of her signature points while Veronica was inspired by our KYLIE in a frilly, saffron gown. Charity was a demented orange, fringed, Gatsby’s inspired number, Ella was an absolute peach in peach, while Scarlett was pale and perfect in a scarlett gown while Victoria desperately just tried to hide the fact she was wearing sneakers, while looking gorgeous.

Choriza, River, Ella, Scarlett and Victoria were sent to safety leaving the remaining queens to hear from the judges. And well, poor Elektra was once again read for filth for going out too hard in the performance and ended up looking out of place. And once again was read for a subpar runway, looking more wizard than red carpet. Vanity was read for having a wig that didn’t make sense, while Oti was more concerned about the lack of cohesion between them in the performance. Though they loved her outfit. Kitty was praised for the madness she brought to the work out and for serving too completely different looks. Once again, the judges ate up everything Krystal was serving though Michelle challenged her to start showing more of herself. Veronica too received universal praise for knocking it out of the park while making sure everyone in the team looked good. Charity meanwhile was praised for stepping outside of her comfort zone, though they felt her look felt like it was wearing her.

Backstage Victoria was thrilled to be able to sit down, which was a sentiment echoed by Scarlett before Ella shared how disappointed she felt to not be a top. River too was disappointed to not land in the top, though accepted she was the weakest in her team. While Choriza was just glad her personality kept her safe. The tops and bottoms joined them with the safe girls shocked that Krystal was in the top and while she agreed, Veronica cut in and told her to believe in herself given she listened and took advice and she needs to embrace her performer side. Veronica and Kitty shared that they too would be on the top with her. Charity meanwhile was feeling like she was in the bottom and was emotionally prepared to be lip syncing. Vanity too was feeling heartbroken to be in the bottom, though was ready to show the judges what she is made of. 

While poor Elektra was just nervous about facing off against her, given she slays.

Ultimately Krystal narrowly took out her second victory over Veronica while Kitty too was sent to safety. Charity Kase meanwhile narrowly avoided the bottom two, leaving Elektra’s fears to come true as she faced off against Vanity to M People’s Movin On Up. And damn, did the dolls live up to the song. Vanity was splitting and flipping around the state, Elektra was bouncing into splits and careening wildly with acrobatics. I mean, the girls came to play and ugh, what a lip sync! Elektra was break dancing and playing air flute before death dropping off the front of the stage. But tragically, her track record appeared to be the deciding factor as Vanity narrowly took out the win while Elektra found herself becoming the second queen eliminated.

As soon as she exited the stage, I screamed, started crying and ran over to hug her, reminding her that she is so damn talented and such an icon. You see, Elektra and I first met each other a few years ago at a casting. Given I am continually half a foot shorter than the general public, I was immediately taken by Elektra because she made me feel tall. Beyond that petty reason to start a friendship, I was quickly won over by her kindness and as such, I was so glad to be on hand to pay her back with a piping hot Elektra French Onion Gem Bake.

Tangy, creamy and oh so sweet, this dish is near perfection. Then you add a bunch of crispy, gorgeous little gems and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Elektra French Onion Gem Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potato gems, cooked per the recipe or packet instructions
1 ½ cups milk
1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the milk and soup mix in a jug. Meanwhile, pop the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once foamy, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring, until the flouriness is gone. Remove from the heat, whisk in the milk mixture and sour cream before returning to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the bubbly liquid to a 20x30cm baking dish, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a single layer of gems. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, before topping with chives and serving joyously. Like a champion. And devouring.


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Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeff warmly welcomed us back to the tropical islands of Fiji before warning the cast that this is a new era, with a shorter game that was harder and packed full of twists to keep them on their toes. After making them work hard for the simplest of supplies, Jeff gagged them at the first immunity challenge by announcing that only one tribe would be immune and both of the losers would head to tribal council. While Luvu pulled off a come from behind victory, Yase were the first tribe to head to tribal council where poor Abraham was gagged to become the first boot.

But let’s back up a little bit.

After losing the challenge, we followed Ua back to camp with Sara sobbing to have lost the challenge, though she vowed to fight as hard as possible despite being on the puzzle. And losing a piece temporarily, costing them precious time. She and Ricard caught up however, agreeing that JD needed to go which led to Ricard rallying the tribe to get rid of him. Which he did very quickly, until Brad suggested getting rid of Sara or Shan would be a good idea too. DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM. Brad then pulled JD aside with Shan to fill him in on the situation, suggesting they should instead get rid of Sara. And while Shan felt nervous trusting Brad, she felt like she was best placed socially to ultimately get what she wants.

At tribal council Ua too were feeling their oats as a tribe, loving the fact they have had zero drama. Brad meanwhile offered to give up their pot if they can stay together, just a little while longer, which Probst tragically didn’t accept. Shan spoke about the zen way they elected JD to participate in the challenge, with him pretending that he was completely honest and it just wasn’t worth lying about. Sara meanwhile suggested the entire situation seemed completely implausible, whether she believed him or not. Talk soon turned to the missing puzzle piece which cost them the challenge before Genie kindly summed up that it is what it is. 

As JD started talking, Ricard started whispering to Sara and Shan to see who they should vote out. This led to Probst calling them out, setting off a live tribal council as everyone started throwing out names. Ricard suggested they get rid of Brad while Shan and JD debated the merits of keeping Brad or Sara. The tribe grew more and more paranoid before Brad asked if they could pop their die in their pockets in case, before Shan begged Jeff to just let them vote. And with that, they did, as JD pocketed his extra vote and nobody opted to play their Shot in the Dark. As such, the votes piled up on half the tribe before Sara found herself becoming the second boot.

Poor Sara was absolutely heartbroken to be the first person voted out of her tribe, though was so grateful to see me. You see, as we both work in the healthcare industry we obviously got to know each other and became the best of friends. When I saw that she was part of the cast, I was confident her sweet charm would take her far so let out an epic scream when I saw her enter Loser Lodge. I mean, it was so loud it probably shook the Sandra and Rob heads on whatever beach they were left on.

Anyway, given the quick turnaround between boot and departure, I quickly gave her a hug, reminded her she was amazing and popped a comforting Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon in a take-away container before she realised I accidentally cursed her game with food.

Yep, once again the Survivor pizza curse lives on! But as I often say, when they taste this good, my friends can’t really complain about missing out on the title and million dollar prize that goes along with it. In any event, the nutty, smokiness of the cheese works perfectly with the delicate artichoke and after finishing it off, you can feel nothing but happiness.

Enjoy!

Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
extra virgin olvie oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
½ cup mozzarella, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
⅔ cup artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread out your bases and drizzle with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle over the garlic, followed by most of the cheeses. Divide the artichokes amongst them, top with the rest of the cheese and a good whack of pepper and a pinch of salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, happy that while pizza still fucks over reality contestants post-COVID, it tastes damn good.


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Haylal Snack Peake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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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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Wai Chimichangas

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.

The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.

Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.

While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.

Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.

My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.

Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.

The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.

Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.

While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.

Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.

At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.

Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.

With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.

Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.

I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.

Enjoy!

Wai Chimichangas
Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
4 cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
2 cups refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated
Lady Guagamole, to serve
small handful coriander leaves, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.

To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.

Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.

Then, obvi, devour.


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Chicken Kezadilla McGee

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.

After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.

The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.

Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them. 

George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.

With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.

The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.

Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.

Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.

Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.

George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.

With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.

Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.

And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.

Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.

The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.

At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.

George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.

With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.

Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!

Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.

Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.

Enjoy! 

Chicken Kezadilla McGee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g chicken thighs, diced
4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
8 large tortillas
1-2 cups Lady Guagamole
1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo
½ cup sour cream
jack cheese, to taste
1 lime, cut into eighths

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.

To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.

To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.


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