Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43

Previously on Survivor the Vesi tribe finally started to turn things around with a dominating win in the reward challenge. Sick of seeing Coco win, they opted to use their reward to steal from them, setting off their downfall. At the immunity challenge Vesi continued their streak and then helped Baka solve their puzzle, sending Coco to their first tribal council. That set off a chain of events where paranoia got the best of Lindsay as she spiralled and despite the target being between Cassidy and Geo, the tribe opted for calm and booted her from the game. Thankfully earning her a place in Second Chances due to her iconic flame out.

Back at camp the tribe rallied together as Cassidy reflected on how Lindsay’s nerves alone caused her downfall. That being said, she was super disappointed to have received one vote and requested that whoever did it talk to her to explain their process. And while mastermind Ryan wanted to smooth things over, Geo owned up and went for a walk and straight up made the entire situation worse, accusing her of voting against him – despite Lindsay clearly being the one to do it – and showing no remorse. After debriefing with Karla however, the girls were galvanised and once again ready to take out Ryan or Geo.

The next day Elie and Jeanine were busy hunting for the Baka hidden immunity idol, finally finding it, covered in ants. Jeanine threw caution to the wind and grabbed the Beware Advantage, learning that she now had to go through the bead saga. While filling in Elie though, they were caught by Owen, their second option for third place in their alliance. As such, they filled him in and while he considered holding on to his bead to screw her out of her vote and take control with Gabler, he ultimately handed it over to build trust. Elie then took the information straight to Sami, pointing out that he is actually the one they trust over Owen. Sami meanwhile was feeling safe with his place in the tribe, though he was concerned for Gabler, who had no idea what was going on. 

Oh and despite Gabler wanting to hang on to his special bead, he ultimately gave it over to Jeanine and powered her idol. Thankfully, Sami woke up and chose chaos this morning, pulling Gabler aside and pointing out that he just powered Jeanine’s idol and um, is Sami actually a savvy player that is going to win this?

The tribes reconnected with Jeffrey for the next immunity challenge where they would be tethered together to run through a series of obstacles carrying buckets of water to release a gate. And then, instead of the usual puzzle, they would roll three balls up a ramp and land them on a platform. Oh and the victors would get a tarp each. While Coco got out to an early, massive lead, they struggled to roll the balls, leaving Vesi and Baka plenty of time to close the gap. As the three tribes faced off, Dwight and Sami quickly got their eye in, overtaking Ryan – who knocked off his two balls – and secured immunity for Vesi, followed by Baka. Kinda proving Vesi’s strategy to weaken Coco was a good idea, given they would now be down two people by the end of the episode. Before heading out, Vesi was given the power to send people on this week’s journey, opting for Geo, Jeanine and Jesse. 

Oh and we then learnt that Ryan threw the challenge to get rid of Cassidy. Back at camp however, he pretended to be disappointed in himself while locking in the vote against Cassidy with James and Karla. Sadly for him, James took that information straight back to Cassidy and assured her that they can load their votes on Geo with Karla and get rid of him without Ryan noticing. Cassidy approached him to talk things through, with each pretending that Ryan would be the next one out, with neither of them deviating from their supposed scripts. And while Ryan thought he was playing it all expertly, it was looking more and more like the group would be targeting him and Geo, just in case he gets an advantage on the journey.

Speaking of which, we caught up with Jesse, Jeanine and Geo where they discovered they had to row a boat through very rough seas until they reached an island to get their risk options. Geo used the very long row to talk about how close he was to being voted out the night before to garner sympathy and while Jeanine didn’t buy his story, the fact that Geo was confirmed to be risking his vote, makes it dangerous for them to play. Sadly for Geo, neither of his fellow journey-ers cared about him and ended up taking the risk. But turns out, he did get lucky, given he was the one that jagged the Knowledge Is Power advantage on his return to camp.

While Jesse and Jeanine sadly discovered they were now without votes at the next tribal council, Jesse reading his note in public while Jeanine learned the news in private. And then admitted what happened to the rest of the tribe, though pretended it was her first time reading it. Which annoyed Sami, given they all knew she already risked her vote the day before to secure an idol and now they know just how hard she is willing to play.

We ventured back to Coco where Geo filled the tribe in on the journey, lying to them and explaining he didn’t risk his vote. Before pulling each of his allies aside to share the truth, showing them his Knowledge Is Power advantage and while he thought it would build trust, it made Karla and James nervous enough to turn their attention to him, rather than Ryan, who had somehow become the actual target. While filling in Cassidy, she then started to get nervous about her doing a Lindsay and starting to spiral, which made them actually consider voting out one of their allies. Again.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about the fact that while their momentum has waned, she believes they can swing it back. Ryan spoke about synergy – corporate buzzwords for the win, I guess – before opening up (in lie form) about feeling like he is the target tonight, given he bombed the challenge. Which Cassidy pointed out was noble, but kind of hard to believe. As he continued to play the aw shucks role, Karla admitted that easy votes are always tempting and given he offered himself up, it could make things good for the rest of them. Geo spoke about feeling uneasy given he missed so much potential scrambling time though was hopeful he had done enough, while James praised him for being so honest after the journey.

Probst then made Geo nervous about how to vote, while Karla – after a brief mental blank – slyly told him that he should trust in his alliance rather than being nervous. Oh and then Ryan asked everyone to say what they liked best about him as they voted, while Cassidy was just looking forward to having another chance for the tribe to prove trust by doing what they planned. With that the tribe voted before Ryan and Geo were shocked as the latter was booted from the game, with an advantage barely in his pocket.

While Geo was both surprised and disappointed to find himself booted from the game, he is such a delight that he took it all in his stride. I pulled him in for a massive hug as soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, assuring him that he played a strong game and while I love the three tribe format, it truly is the hardest one to navigate given there is no room to hide. So between that and his personal story, I was thrilled to be able to toast his success with a big fat bowl of Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken.

I am normally a basic girl that lives for a good old honey chicken or something of that ilk when it comes to Chinese take away, but this little number has that trumped. Complex, spicy and sweet, it is the perfect comforting dish to eat through your feelings or finish out the week.

Enjoy!

Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
2 star anise
3 tbsp coriander seeds
4 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup kosher salt
8 black tea bags
1kg chicken breast or thighs, diced
2 shallots, sliced, to garnish

Method
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once shimmering, add the ginger, garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant, before stirring in the water, soy and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea to steep for ten minutes or so. Remove the tea bags and the brine to cool completely. Pop the chicken in the large bowl and pour over the chilled brine. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken and heat the remaining oil in a wok over high heat. In batches stir fry the chicken until cooked through and repeat the process. Serve piping hot with a garnish of shallots and devour, regally.


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Justerrine Brennan

Lunch, Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 new castaways were dumped on the now traditional isles of Fiji to put themselves to the test in the ultimate game. And by ultimate, we’d all far prefer it to still be 39 days, but once again, I digress. Despite having some new editing tricks – hello drones – the dramas were the same at the three tribes as everyone had varying degrees of success setting up camp and starting fire. After Baka lost the first immunity challenge, Elie quickly flipped on her plan to lead a strong, all female alliance and instead decided to target Morriah for being weak. With Gabler immune, hair-goals Owen became the target for the other side, though thankfully his locks lived to see another day, as Elie ended the chances of the women taking control of their tribe.

Back at camp – or Baka at camp, specifically – Owen pulled the tribe together to apologise for his nervous scrambling and thanked everyone for saving him and trusting in him. Leading to Elie and Gabler admitting tribal council was a trust exercise and now that they’ve been able to prove it, the five should be unbreakable. Now Gabler was solely focused on getting the tribe fed, spirits lifted and ready to win challenges. Right on cue, an epic storm rolled over the islands and while everyone didn’t look to fare well, the fact that Baka was without a flint, means they are truly at a disadvantage. Though bless, the next morning, they used it as a learning moment and quickly decided to work on getting the roof of their shelter secured. While Owen was also very concerned about Gabler’s health, given he was clearly on struggle street after three days.

Over at Vesi, Jesse and Dwight were far less concerned about repairing after the storm and instead were hunting for an idol and talking about the dynamics of their tribe. They noticed it was kinda split into three pairs, with Nneka and Cody close, Noelle and Justine closer and as such, Jesse decided that Dwight should be his island wife. We then learnt a bit more of Dwight, who was essentially a child political journo which is iconic. After that detour, Dwight suggested to Jesse that Cody is the biggest threat and that he would prefer to align with the girls, while Jesse definitely wasn’t threatened by him, giving Cody is clearly just here for a good time. And therefore, super easy to navigate around. Someone he wasn’t vibing with was Justine who was busy making eye contact with spiders and as such, also seemed a wee out of her element.

And just like that, a duo is already divided.

Over at Coco the tribe were doing a little ballet or yoga or something, followed by some back cracking from Ryan. Karla reiterated she is literally aligned with everyone in the tribe, though she would most like to take out Geo first. The only concern being about how his bestie zaddy-Ryan would react. As the duo went hunting for nuts, Geo opened up about his coming out experience and how it ended with his parents kicking him out of home. Which is absolutely fucked and I am so glad he used it to make a life for himself that he could be proud of. And well, to put it simply, fuck his parents. Ryan meanwhile was gushing about how close he and Geo were and ugh, give Ryan the win, in addition to my heart.

Back at Vesi Noelle was talking Cody through putting on her prosthesis, which he explained to Nneka and Jesse was important to him as he watched one of his friends lose their leg and then die from cancer in High School. Which goes a long way to explaining why he is so upbeat, silly and adventurous. Flipping to Baka, Owen went for a walk to get water for the tribe where he shared to us that he was trying to keep his old-grump personality under wraps. Particularly if he were to find out everyone was hunting for idols instead of helping him keep everyone alive. Right on cue, Jeanine and Elie were busy looking for said idol while trying to decide whether they should focus on adding Sami or Owen as their third. Elie likened Sami as her responsible, independent older child while Owen is her needy baby, and given the boys don’t appear tight, she was confident pulling one in would be an easy win. Which obviously meant Sami was floating the idea of an all male alliance at that very moment.

The tribes reconnected with Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would swim to a cage, climb in and release a large snake containing number tiles, use the tiles to solve a combination and then release puzzle pieces, which they would need to solve. With the winners getting immunity and a full fishing set, second getting a few fishing items and the losers getting some face time with Probst at tribal. Given the snake was ridiculously heavy, everyone struggled to get through the first phase until Elie fell off while holding on to it which gave them the lead, while Coco and Vesi were left to nip at their heels. Well, Coco at the very least, as Nneka kinda gave up on helping with the snake at Vesi, leading to them falling way behind. So far behind in fact that Jeanine and Elie secured the win for Baka with ease, just ahead of Coco. Sending Vesi to tribal council, while Noelle looked on angrily from the sit out bench.

Which, relatable.

Back at camp the tribe got a quick little pep talk from Cody, before pivoting to scrambling with Cody knowing he would have his work cut out for himself to protect his bestie Nneka after bombing the challenge. As the girls locked in their plan against Nneka, she approached Jesse and Dwight to see if they’d be open to keeping her. We dabbed out and checked in with the triumphant Baka who were riding high on their first victory, with Elie particularly thrilled to have had the hero moment in the puzzle given she struggled at school growing up due to her ADHD and dyslexia. As the tribe discussed how best to use their fishing gear, Gabler ignored everyone’s suggestion to pop a rope on the Hawaiian sling given he had never used one and immediately put a target on his back. That somehow led to Jeanine going through his bag to get confirmation whether his idol expires after the second tribal council or his second tribal council. Which ended up being the latter, meaning she, Elie and Owen needed to figure out a way to navigate around it should they actually want to take a shot.

We returned to Vesi for the more pressing scramble with Justine approaching Dwight and Jesse to figure out a split vote plan to navigate Nneka potentially playing her shot in the dark. Sadly for her, she needed Jesse to pull it off and given Justine had already made him more nervous than Nneka, Justine girl, you in danger. Jesse caught up with his island wife Dwight to see how he was feeling about the upcoming tribal council and while Dwight was more interested in aligning with the girls to weaken Cody, by way of taking out Nneka, Jesse was also aware that Dwight does not have a vote and as such, he can’t help either way. Justine approached the duo and admitted that she wasn’t sure she could trust Jesse, which made him want her gone ASAP. And Dwight? Well, he wasn’t bothered.

Jesse approached Cody and Nneka to discuss the upcoming tribal council, giving them the deets and straight up vibing. Feeling good about getting rid of Justine, Cody turned his attention to idol hunting where he quickly stumbled across the Beware Advantage. And despite the risk, took it and immediately lost his vote unless he was able to convince each person in the tribe to give him a unique bead from their bags to activate his idol bracelet. He got to work, admitting to Jesse what happened and they set to work securing the rest. Cody decided he would wear a palm frond hat at tribal council and as such, needed to bedazzle it with beads, asking everyone to give him theirs. Which worked, for everyone but Noelle, who had already made a bracelet out of hers.

At tribal council Cody admitted they were crushed to lose immunity, before gushing about his iconic hat to Probst and how the tribe all helped by gifting him their beads. Justine admitted she would like a hat, with Cody offering to make one should she survive. She opened up about knowing she is on the block given everyone is paired up in the tribe and she hasn’t talked strategy with Cody at all. Dwight opened up about the fact everyone knows he doesn’t have a vote tonight, while Jesse and Nneka admitted that it may seem silly for him to have shared that intel, in the game it makes sense. Talk turned to the potential idol, with Nneka trying to distract while Noelle was genuinely in the dark about the situation.

Cody admitted that Dwight losing his vote likely won’t impact tribal council while Noelle felt that nobody had done anything wrong and as such, tonight was a tough decision for everyone. Though she was planning to vote for strength so they don’t have to come back. With that the tribe voted – including Cody, who was able to get the last bead from Noelle in a flashback – which tragically led to her friend Justine being booted from the game. JUST LIKE I PREDICTED BY ANOINTING HER THE MODERN ERA JESSIE CAMACHO?!

Which was not something she delighted in when I gave her a hug at Loser Lodge. She was understandably super bummed to be out of the game second but I reminded her that an iconic early boot – that is gorgeous to boot – will live on in the hearts of us gays for decades to come, just like Jesse, and as such, she should be proud of herself. And while I don’t know if it was that or the Justerrine Brennan that cheered her up, all I know is that she was happy when I exited.

While this terrine gives off big turducken energy, I assure you the pork and chicken combination is damn near perfection. Sweet, succulent and packed with a juicy-earthy punch, this is the perfect thing to feast on for dinner, or have cold at a picnic. She. Is. Versatile, mama.

Enjoy!

Justerrine Brennan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to brush
1 onion, diced
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 chicken breasts, diced
500g pork mince
⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the oil in a large frying pan and sweat the onion over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl.

While the onion gets chill, use 10 of the bacon rashers to line a 1kg loaf tin, leaving excess to hang over the sides. Add the chicken, pork, pistachios, cranberries, nutmeg, thyme, sage and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir until well combined. Press the filing into the tin and fold the overhanging bacon over to seal tightly. Oil some foil – lol, rhyme – and cover the terrine. Again, tightly.

Transfer to a roasting pan and half-fill – the roasting pan, obvi – with boiling water and pop in the oven to bake for 90 minutes. Once cooked, gently remove from the water bath, uncover, drain excess fat and leave to cool.

Once cool, transfer to a baking tray and cover with foiling and pop something heavy on top – filled tin cans work best – and transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

To serve, unmold the terrine, brush with a little oil and pop in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Then, finally, devour.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink

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

Previously on Survivor South Africa with Toni out of the way both factions within the tribe weren’t sure how to proceed or take control. While the OG Yontau tribe were still focused on getting rid of Dante, the fractured OG Masu group weren’t sure whether to band with them or take out Dino. After Meryl won immunity and ventured off to the Outpost, she scored another advantage for the small cost of her vote at the upcoming tribal council. Which thankfully proved to be unnecessary anyway, as the tribe banded together to eliminate all of their threat, Dante. My Speedo King.

The next day things were rather zen at camp with Felix disappointed to have lost his friend though he knew that he needed to adapt and move on, should he want to make it to the end. Marian meanwhile pledged her ongoing friendship with Dante. Talk turned to Tejan highlighting the Steffi, Meryl and Marian faction, with Dino pointing out it was hardly new information to anyone. Killarney approached Shane about splitting up the trio, suggesting Steffi needs to be the next one to go while Shane cautioned her that it is actually Meryl pulling the strings and as such, she needs to be their focus.

Speaking of Meryl, she was busy catching up with Phil and floating the idea of working together while Phil jokingly called her the kingpin. Which you just know is dangerous for her in the long run and oh god, don’t take out my queen Meryl!

The tribe reconvened with zaddy Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would first spin a ball in a hoop while traversing a balance beam with the last six standing moving on to a table maze. With the last one standing, getting one of their holes plugged. Then the first three to finish that, would move on to an upright maze with the first to navigate three balls to the top winning immunity and a brand new car, test drive and picnic. So immunity, but zero shot at winning the game. Just like Kass, I guess. Felix dropped almost instantly, followed by Marian and Steffi leaving the rest to move on to the table maze. Shane, Killarney, Meryl and Tejan all dropped, leaving Dino and Phil to battle for the advantage on the table maze. Which wasn’t much of a battle, as Dino just as quickly jagged the advantage.

When it came to the second round, Tejan quickly booked his place on the upright maze, soon joined by Dino and Meryl. While they all kept getting close to the end, they kept dropping until Tejan landed two balls in quick succession with Dino nipping at his heels. Mere centimetres from immunity and the car, Tejan dropped his third ball, giving Dino enough time to calmly work his final ball up the wall to score himself immunity and reward. Though again, he just cursed his game. Before Nico even offered Dino a chance to invite anyone to join him on the picnic, Tejan started begging Dino to take him given he was so close. Sadly for him, he instead invited Phil, Steffi and Meryl as they all gave up on the chance to eat last episode. After already missing out on food at the merge.

Oh and the five left behind would get the chance to draw rocks for a trip to the Outpost. Which was promptly won by Marian. Leaving Tejan feeling even more enraged to have missed out, given he is guaranteed nothing.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to have just narrowly missed out on victory, with Marian quickly growing annoyed with his sense of entitlement. Particularly since he is a challenge beast and being hungry only makes him easier to beat. While Killarney tried to distract him and perk him up with some illegal rice, Felix and Marian went to the well to discuss who should be the next target at tribal council with Marian suggesting Meryl is the most dangerous person left in the game. Tejan joined them to get to work on making the aforementioned rice, which annoyed them both though Felix wisley cautioned her from saying anything, given it only paints a target on Tejan’s back. 

We ventured off to reward where Dino explained to us that he took Steffi on reward as it means she can not forge new alliances and is unable to go to the Outpost. While the four of them suggested getting rid of Tejan next, Meryl knew that both of her alliances are close to death and as such, she needs to make a strike on Steffi and Marian before they go after her.

Returning to camp, Killarney was smashing rice while Tejan joined the other two in refusing to eat and as such, she promptly threw him under the bus when the victors returned to camp. He came back where Killarney confronted him in front of everyone before they all left to avoid the drama. When it was just the two of them, she told him how disappointed she felt to have been left out to dry. Oh and then he snuck a spoon of rice and hid in the jungle to eat it.

Steffi meanwhile was busy catching up with Felix, floating getting rid of Meryl first followed by Dino and while he was safe in her pecking order, her confidence made him more nervous about her. As such, he approached Phil about getting rid of Steffi instead, given she appears to have more power and is far more dangerous, should she make it to the top eight. While Phil realised Steffi was still a threat, he was concerned about which decision would be best at setting up his end game. Felix next approached Dino, telling him that he is the next one to go in Steffi’s head and just like that, he was on board to blindside her instead.

At the Outpost, Marian was given the choice between rice and a clue to a hidden immunity idol and despite not feeling confident in her choice, she felt a single idol wouldn’t be what wins her the game and instead, took rice back to camp given they were all starving. Upon her return, she told everyone she was given the choice between a dessert buffet and a bag of rice, before getting the rice out and sulking. With Meryl pulling her in for a hug, while Phil was shocked that Marian could be so close with Meryl while simultaneously plotting her demise. After Meryl disappeared, Marian confirmed they were still blindsiding her with Phil lying and saying nothing had changed. And then realised he needs to start coming up with a way to repair that relationship after getting rid of Steffi.

Steffi and Marian caught up by the well with Marian telling her the truth about the Outpost with Steffi reassuring her that she has her back and to not worry about losing out on an idol. Sadly for them, Felix was continuing to work the Steffi vote, telling Meryl that she and Marian are targeting her and as such, she should join them in taking out Steffi instead. Knowing they still need one more vote to get it done, Meryl then promised Tejan her reward steal advantage should he vote with her and just like that, shit is about to get real.

At tribal council Meryl spoke about blindsides occuring due to everyone having killer poker faces, while Marian agreed that everyone is playing a very strong game. Steffi opened up about the fact that just because she has a plan, doesn’t mean that nobody else has a different plan and that hers may be the wrong one. Shane said it all comes down to blind faith, while Tejan was confused about the prospect of the Meryl, Steffi and Marian trio breaking up with Steffi adding they all just need to stick with the plan. Meryl said that promises aren’t really her thing in the game, not wanting to write cheques she can’t cash before Steffi spoke about driving or piloting and confusing everyone. Tejan felt like he wasn’t sure what was happening at tribal council, while everyone else gave the vibe they were in on the plan.

With that the tribe voted and it turns out that Steffi and Marian were not in on the right plan – or driving the car, before flying the plane to the destination – as Steffi was narrowly booted from the game. And while Steffi was obviously gutted to be voted out with an idol in her pocket, she quickly perked up upon seeing me at Ponderosa. While I wasn’t a massive fan during her first season, Steffi’s second run was far more enjoyable as the edit allowed us to see more of her kind heart. And as such, I was thrilled to cheer her up with some comfort in the form of a Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink.

There is something so nostalgic and warming about a chicken parcel. Maybe due to the fact they were a big bloody deal back in the ‘90s. Crunchy pastry, moist chicken and a glorious hot, creamy filling? That sounds like a nice way to spend the evening to me.

Enjoy!

Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 leek, sliced
250g frozen spinach
200g Danish feta, mashed
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
4 chicken breasts
8 sheets filo pastry
¼ cup unsalted butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and saute the leek on medium for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach and cook until defrosted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Once chill, add the cheeses, egg and lemon zest to the leek and spinach and stir until well combined.

To assemble, lay the flattened breasts out and spoon over a quarter of the cheesy filling. Season with salt and pepper and fold the breast over to enclose the filling, like a big, meaty cigar.

Place two filo sheets on a clean surface and place a piece of chicken in the centre of one end. Roll the pastry over to cover, fold in each end and then wrap the rest of the sheet up. Repeat the process until you have four parcels.

Brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden and crisp. Oh and cooked through.


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Tandooria Chickeland Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Treat Yo' Self Week, TV

Previously on Survivor South Africa the pre-merge returnees on Yontau managed to avoid the first tribal council. Sadly for them, it gave them plenty of time to create drama in the absence of scrambling. We had Pinty overeating and yelling at people, Tania righteously standing up to her bullying and most importantly, Thoriso lying about Tevin finding an idol. Though she was safe, given Tania kindly took the fall for her. After Yontau won immunity, Toni tried to rally the troops against Marian. Sadly for her, the threat of the Season 6 alliance loomed large and instead they blindsided Toni’s bestie PK.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to be on the wrong side of the numbers while Toni started to flip out on the alliance for making the wrong decision by voting out PK instead of her. This annoyed Dante who then yelled at her to calm down given she and PK being close is what put them in this position. She then pulled herself aside to try and calm down, with Meryl going to comfort her. Despite not really wanting to hear what was bothering Toni. They rejoined the tribe where Toni continued to talk about them making a bad decision before Marian spoke up and called her out for saying she is the weakest in the tribe, when she would actually describe Toni as such.

We then checked in with Yontau where Tevin was leading a discussion about where to sleep which obviously pissed off Pinty, given people now wanted to take her place by the fire when they spent the first few nights in the shelter. And well, everyone was kinda over her shit. Or maybe it is just me.

The next day we learnt Dino had fallen asleep and fell into the fire, burning his hands quite badly, though thankfully able to continue in the game. Though he will have to sit out some of the challenges. In non-burn related drama, Tania continued to complain about Pinty to Tevin and while he cautioned her to not let it bother her, otherwise she will be the one painting a target on her own back. And while she agreed that was the best move, she also worried she wouldn’t be able to stay quiet. Particularly since the rest of the tribe were also frustrated by Pinty’s attitude. Proven by the fact her allies Tevin and Seamus already questioned how long they’d be able to babysit her and keep her anger at bay.

Back at Masu things were slightly less dramatic as Toni and Dante apologised to each other, before they started a new argument and grew angrier and angrier. Toni exited camp in a rage, deciding that the best case was to swap ASAP and play at the bottom of a new tribe rather than deal with them anymore. On the flipside Meryl, Marian and Steffi hung out by the well, thrilled at their ability to play in the middle of the tribe and ready to go to the end together.

We finally checked in with my love Nico who returned for the latest immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would hold on to nets while the rest of their tribe would try and weigh down their rivals’ with sandbags. Dante and Steffi faced off against Thoriso and Felix as sack-holders, with the latter quickly becoming a target and dropping his bags first. This made Yontau turn their attention to Dante, who was loaded up while Steffi relaxed without a sandbag in her basket. As Dante struggled, Thoriso tried to stay zen and keep her tribe in the game. After Dante dropped, the girls battled it out as Thoriso edged closer and closer to the ground, eventually dropping and handing immunity to Masu.

The victors headed off to enjoy their breakfast reward, feeling nourished and energised. While they all tried to play it calm as they searched for an idol hidden at their table. Before throwing caution to the wind and openly hunting in front of each other. Sadly for them, it was pointless as everyone left empty handed.

Back at camp Yontau were on edge about their first tribal council, with Phil wanting to focus on keeping the tribe unified rather than strong. Which means Tania and Pinty are well and truly in trouble. Tevin pulled Tania aside to encourage her to clear the air with Pinty and lessen the target on her back, though given she wasn’t really interested in hearing what Tevin had to say, it could spell trouble for Tania. That being said she did try to talk to Pinty to apologise, while Pinty straight up ran away to leave Tania to further spiral in front of the tribe.

Felix admitted that he sees Pinty is quite the bully and is making camp difficult for everyone else, while Pinty tried to suggest Tania was making decisions based on her unstable emotions. Which is not cool. Everyone in the tribe quietly admitted both of them are causing chaos, though given they haven’t been to tribal council yet, the uncertainty of tribal lines made them nervous about which person was the safer option to take out.

The next day Tania was ready to fight and save herself by shutting up, while Killarney, Shona and Thoriso worried about her unpredictability. Right on cue Tania hid in the bushes behind them as they locked in the vote against her, but agreed they couldn’t be bothered dealing with the fallout of telling her. Not to worry though, as she then followed them back to camp and immediately didn’t shut up, calling them out for not having courage and tried to tell them that that will be what costs them the game. Rather than say approaching them with a counter plan.

Thoriso caught up with Seamus to fill him in on Tania’s latest chaotic moves, while Shona quietly put finishing touches on a fake hidden immunity idol which she planned to leave at tribal council for future use, should she need it. Seamus then caught up with Pinty, talking about the fact they were both the first boots from their tribe in their season, with Pinty trying to snatch the idol away from him to guarantee her safety. Meanwhile, out of nowhere, Phil and Felix started to float the idea of flipping the vote on Seamus instead. Oh and Tevin calmly watched on leaving Tania one final chance to flip the vote on Pinty, in which case he would gladly flip to get rid of her too.

At tribal council Tevin spoke about not loving being back at tribal council, particularly since nobody in their tribe has had the pleasure of enjoying the individual game. He spoke about Seamus having the idol and being glad he is guaranteed to survive a tribal council. Dino spoke about the obvious drama back at camp, identifying Tania as the biggest problem. This gave her the chance to throw Pinty under the bus, talking about how Pinty’s attitude is causing most of the drama. Pinty fought back, saying that Tania called her a greedy fucking pig, which was untrue due to the addition of fuck. As Tania remained calm, Pinty continued to fight back and was pretty harsh to poor Tania, which was really uncute.

Tania spoke about it needing to be either her or Pinty that goes home tonight, given their tension is an issue. And since most of the tribe walks around Pinty on eggshells, she thinks it should be her. Pinty continued to get super sassy as Tania made a last ditch plea, reminding people that one vote could mean everything in this game. Sadly though, it was all for nought, as Seamus played the idol on himself and the tribe banded together to get rid of Tania. Presumably to keep Pinty’s attitude around as an easy target for a swap. I assume.

As Tania arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she can exit the game with her head held high as once again, she stuck to her morals. And well, I can totally relate to not being able to hold my tongue when someone is being a jerk. I then had to admit something to her. Something tragic, which explains why the tribe opted to keep Pinty over Tania – the damn pizza curse. Despite loving Tania, I thought maybe someone iconic like her would be able to overcome it, but alas, instead, I cursed her game with my Tandooria Chickeland Pizza.

Hot and spicy, with a healthy slathering of raita, this little fusion is near perfection. Add in some chilli and sweet capsicum, and well, it is as wonderful as my love Tania.

Enjoy!

Tandooria Chickeland Pizza
Serves: 2-4 dear friends, or Pinty.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 tbsp tandoori paste
1 cup natural yoghurt
500g chicken breast, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
mozzarella, to taste
2 tsp mint, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 lebanese cucumber, seeded and grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the tandoori paste, two tablespoons of the yoghurt and chicken in a bowl, tossing to coat and leaving to marinate for 15 minutes. Once done, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken until crisp and gorgeous.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs, onion, capsium and chicken, followed by a generous dose of mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

While that is getting all hot, combine the yoghurt, mint, chilli flakes, cucumber and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Once the pizza is ready, drizzle with the raita and devour, greedily. Though not like a greedy little pig.


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KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Jordie somehow continued to evade certain doom and levelled up by going all in with Josh. Unaware that Josh was gladly riding the middle to get as far as possible. At the immunity challenge, Chrissy completely gave up on her own chances and instead coached Josh to win yet another immunity challenge, making Mark super nervous given everyone would clearly want to flush the idol. You know, should they ever believe he had that second one. After lying to literally everyone and telling them once more that he didn’t have an idol, he then had made an elaborate song and dance of playing said idol to send Jordie home. Only he never received a vote as the tribe piled them on Jordie instead, meaning it was a waste. And damn was Sam pissed.

Back at camp the final five celebrated making it as far as they have, while Chrissy frankly was just shocked to still be in the game. Which honestly, same, because she thought tribal council was called tribunal at the start. Chrissy meanwhile was thrilled to not only be free of Jordie but also that Mark burnt his idol for no bloody reason. She then explained how everyone left in the game absolutely loves her and wants to work with her, meaning she will gladly continue to stroll all the way to the top three. Meaning she either wins or is getting blindsided as the biggest threat tonight.

The next day the tribe had a joyous sleep in with everyone a little shell shocked to still be sleeping on the ground after 45 days. Mark meanwhile was feeling a little nervous and very stupid to have made such a massive blunder with the idol, admitting that he would be devasated to make it this far only to go home. As the tribe laughed at their luck that he burnt his idol, we got an emotional package about how he only left his son at home to earn the win and yeah, he is winning. Shut. It. Down. He caught up with KJ, Josh and Chrissy with them agreeing that they need to make sure Shay doesn’t win immunity and so they can get rid of her lest they want to be beaten at the final immunity challenge. 

After Josh reiterated just how desperate he was to win, particularly now that his partner is pregnant, we checked in with KJ who knew that Josh and Mark would both be gunning for her next round and as such, got to work locking in an all women alliance. While Chrissy wasn’t sure that she would be able to trust Shay to take her over the boys, KJ reiterated that there is no way either of them wins if the boys are at the end with them and as such, they need to at least try to move forward with Shay. Speaking of Shay, she knew her number would be up unless she wins immunity and as such, she was ready to fight. Because she can’t trust Chrissy to ever turn on the boys.

Just like that, the final five joined up with Jonathan for the second last immunity challenge of the season where they would each have to run up and down some stairs dropping balls into a ramp and catching them at the end before they smash their tile and eliminate them. With the last person standing scoring immunity. Everyone was obviously a-ok only having to manage a single ball, leading to Jonathan to add their second as Shay quietly ran the numbers in her head and damn I hope her maths gives her the win. 

Everyone was still in it on the third before a lapse in concentration led to KJ missing one and dropping out of the challenge. Josh’s bad maths eliminated him, leaving Mark, Shay and Chrissy to battle it out. Chrissy then cooked it as she dropped in her fourth ball, watching two roll back-to-back and eliminate her from the challenge before Mark straight up dropped a ball after catching it, handing Shay immunity. As Mark looked enraged and threw a ball at his tile in frustration, ignoring Shay and not even congratulating her.

Back at camp Shay was thrilled to have managed to save herself while everyone gave her their half-hearted congratulations. Chrissy laughed about how she was a hot mess, while Mark and Josh were straight up enraged to have to come up with another plan. Shay meanwhile told us that the person she does not want to face at final tribal council is Josh and as such, she was going to wield any influence she has left to get rid of him tonight. Josh meanwhile was feeling the pressure and while he knows Mark needs to go, he also would prefer to keep him around at the final four because it makes him the target instead.

Nervous of an all women’s alliance, Mark and Josh suggested their only path forward would be to pull Chrissy in and take out KJ instead. With that Josh pulled Chrissy aside and while he was firm that they need to get rid of KJ, she pointed out that she needs to finally pop something on her resume and as such, needs to make a move on one of the boys rather than follow them. KJ and Shay meanwhile were unsure whether they were able to trust Chrissy to turn on Josh and as such, KJ approached Mark to float the idea of getting rid of Josh. Which he readily agreed to, despite planning to stick with Josh and Chrissy to get rid of KJ instead. Which is bad for one of the boys games, though I’m not sure which one. Feeling uneasy about how quickly Mark jumped to their side, KJ then caught up with Chrissy to float the idea of turning on either of the boys. And while I have little faith, she continued to talk about how important it is for her to make a move and maybe, just maybe, she will finally jump ship and give us the winner we deserve. Ladies and gentleman, her.

Chrissy then caught up with Mark, admitting that Shay hasn’t even spoken to her since the challenge. While she was stuck firmly in the middle between the boys and the girls, Josh was confident he’d be able to convince her to stick with him. Josh and Mark went for a walk in the bush, with Josh admitting to being nervous about trusting in Chrissy this round. Which made Mark more and more nervous. And more and more likely to jump to Shay and KJ to get rid of Josh as the only way to guarantee his safety. Josh started to pop up every time KJ and Shay spoke to Mark, with KJ masterfully asking Mark what Sam would tell him to do at this moment. With Mark rightly pointing out that Sam would want Josh gone immediately.

While Shay still didn’t care who went out of the duo as she just wants all the women to make it to the end.

At tribal council Josh admitted that Shay winning immunity did ruin everyone’s plans, while Shay was obviously thrilled to only have one more endurance challenge – her favourite – between her and the final tribal council. While Mark admitted to being terrified now that he doesn’t have his idol. Chrissy mentioned there is always time for a blindside while Shay opened up about being quite popular back at camp. She then got distracted as Josh and Chrissy whispered behind her, with Josh working overtime to remind her they need to stick together should they have any chance of making it to the end. While Mark whispered to Shay and KJ to just stay firm and not worry.

KJ spoke about how they need to think about the jury management, as Josh reiterated to Chrissy that KJ is far more likely to get votes at the end over Mark. Josh then started whispering to Shay, leading to KJ opening up about feeling nervous though kinda being used to it since she is constantly a target. KJ then whispered to Shay, assuring her that she feels like Mark will stick with them while Josh tried to point out that everyone is a threat going into the final immunity challenge. Though in a sexist way. Chrissy tried to talk to the jury before admitting that there is still time to build a resume, which appeared to make Mark more and more nervous, admitting to Jonathan he will be voting with his gut tonight.

With that the tribe voted and thanks to Chrissy voting for Mark by herself, things were tied up between KJ and Josh meaning Chrissy, Shay and Mark had to revote. And given Chrissy was angry about KJ and Shay changing the vote from Mark and not telling her, she joined Mark in sending KJ from the game. As Josh smugly laughed at the jury.

I was obviously heartbroken to see KJ enter the Jury Villa, given she would have made such a compelling winner. I mean, do I wish she made some moves a little earlier than she did? Sure! But at the end of the day, she has fought from the bottom from early in the game, overcame the chaos of Sophie’s game, voted OUT her sister and then pivoted just one spot up whenever she needed to move herself from being the target. It was a hell of a story and a strong game that played into her strengths, which was more than enough to earn her a KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza.

Though once again, I felt super guilty that a stinkin’ (great) pizza cost one of my faves the game! That being said, it is packed full over flavour and is oh so calming, it is hard to be angry for too long.

Enjoy!

KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
olive oil
400g chicken breast, cut into strips
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tomato, diced
1 red onion, sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tbsp jalapeños
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup black beans
⅓ cup sliced black olives
a small handful coriander, to taste
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions. Heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken for five minutes, turning, or until golden and crisp. Add the cumin, smoked paprika and chilli powder, stir and cook for a further minute before removing from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, tomato, red onion, capsicum, jalapeno, corn kernels, black olives and coriander before topping, generously, with mozzarella.

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

Serve and devour immediately, hopefully without burning your mouth.


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Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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


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Chickly Caliente Burrito

Main, Poultry, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 4, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Stars, 13 queens made their triumphant returns to the Drag Race stage. Like us, they learnt that there would be a game within a game this year but it was quickly glossed over and forgotten. In the Variety Show Scarlet somehow only bubbled to safe, Yara shook her titties to victory, Ra’Jah sewed a dress in a minute, Trinity bombed her stand-up and Serena sang about her wig line. Given everyone was pretty damn good, Serena and Trinity landed in the bottom, meaning Yara’s tittie shaking meant she could select who should go should she beat the lip sync assassin. While she opted to vote out the threat, Coco won the lip sync and poor Serena became the first boot.

The queens returned to the Werk Room with Trinity grateful to have survived the first elimination before Ra’Jah counted out all the votes. We learnt that Serena was unanimously booted from the competition, as Trinity thanked the girls for rallying around her and believing in her, making her feel all warm and loving. That is until Yara announced that she actually voted for Trinity to leave, which Yara said wasn’t a personal decision. Which really annoyed Trinity and made Yara nervous that she will be viewed as a little less congenial this season and instead, might be a little darker.

The next day things were far less stressful as the queens found Serena’s message, wisely encouraging them to buy one of her wigs. Ra’Jah meanwhile asked the dolls to identify the trade of the season, with Eureka saying it was probably her. Which Ginger agreed with, given she would love to trade Eureka out for someone else. Jan meanwhile was feeling her oats, which Jiggly did not feel. Eureka pointed out it would probably be Trinity, given she has the sense of danger Jiggly said was required. But given she was wearing a brooch, Silky called bullshit on TKB being a legitimate danger to anyone.

Ru interrupted the vigorous debate, arriving to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the girls would be throwing a cheeky little Blue Ball. Category 1 is Blue Betta Werk, dedicated to blue collar workers, Blue Jean Baby in honour of denim and Blue Ball Bonanza, which the girls need to design using random blue items dumped in the Werk Room, this time sans a buried Art Simone, despite her literally having blue hair.

As soon as Ru departed, the girls started fighting for the blue materials, while Eureka stood back and decided to just run with whatever dregs are left over when they are all done. Jan was opting to re-do the concept she did for the Ball Ball, with Scarlet suggesting that she doesn’t do that and instead trying something new. Jiggly meanwhile was freaking out, given she bombed both of the design challenges in her first season and the only materials left on her table were complete and utter junk. At the other end of the spectrum was Ra’Jah who was feeling confident, despite the fact she went home on a sewing challenge in her original season. Sonique tried to give her a pep talk thinking she was down but Ra’Jah explained she just needed to verbalise it and move on and damn, I love their vibes this season.

Yara meanwhile was living her best life, kikiing with the queens and being stupid while not even touching a sewing machine. You see, her plan was to wait and see what everyone else was making and once they were done, just make something better. 

Ru returned to check in on the girls, with Eureka talking about how much she has grown since her last season and was confident that her craftiness will help her turn a decent look in the third category. Jiggly spoke about how zen she is after coming out as trans and how much better she can now approach the competition, despite not being the most confident designer. Ra’jah meanwhile spoke about how she has finally chilled out and is no longer insecure, ready to take on the world.

Elimination Day arrived with Kylie ready to give the three bluest balls Ru has ever seen. Yara meanwhile was busy getting ready as a construction worker for the first category, though was still hiding her third look from everyone else. Driving Eureka and Jan mad as they wanted to find out what she was planning. Silky was hoping to work her way to the top, A’Keria couldn’t find her scissors and Jiggly was hoping to finally serve a slutty San Tropez dress.

Talk turned to the girls’ strategies, with Eureka wanting to see if they were all on the same page while Trinity alluded to the fact it will be obvious who is in the bottom just by looking at their outfits and they should go from there. Like her last season, Ginger said she would be voting with integrity and will vote for people she can stand behind. Jiggly brought up the fact that she has a lot of friends in the competition and she worried that at the end of the day, those relationships will come into play at some point.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judging panel by the icon herself, Big Freedia. On the Blue Betta Werk runway, Ra’Jah was stunning as a sexy project manager on the construction site, Kylie was a sexy-street carpenter, Eureka was a glorious crossing guard, Jan was Disney mechanic, Jiggly was stunning taking out the trash while Silky was a sparkly milk maiden. Scarlet served buzzsaw bombshell, A’Keria was a comedy welder, Pandora went from lunch lady to sexy waitress, Yara rocked the bouncy titties on the construction site, Ginger went with Mario realness and poor Trinity did the weaker version of Eureka’s look.

When it came to Blue Jean Baby, Ra’Jah wore the sexiest Canadian tuxedo, Kylie channeled Christina Aguilera and honoured her trans roots, Eureka was a gowned delight, Jan worse a structural star denim number, Jiggly was a sexy skater girl, Silky was a fringed cowgirl, Scarlet was American trash in the best way possible, A’Keria was a sexy, cut out dream while Pandora gave us all the Dolly we could dream, Yara channeled Shakira, Ginger was delightful in a chambray jumpsuit while Trinity gave us the sexiest disco diva.

For the final category, Ra’Jah was perfection in a synched gorgeous gown, Kylie gave sexy beach realness, Eureka looked ready to compete for Junior Miss Grand Supreme, Jan slayed her glow-up in the Ball Ball, Jiggly was tragically a mess, Silky dressed in and looked like a doona, Scarlet was gorgeous in a shimmering fishtail gown and A’Keria was a plastic delight, though it didn’t give her the best shape. Pandora was a delight in a blue ribbon gown despite the lack of shape, while Yara was lost in the streamers at a prom, despite making a decent gown. Ginger was stunning in a blue trench, while Trinity finally nailed it in a Cinderella inspired gown.

Jan, Silky, Scarlet, Pandora, Ginger and Trinity were sent to safety and ventured backstage to untuck and grab their drinks. Scarlet shared her disappointment to be safe yet again as was Jan, given she only used hot glue. The girls agreed Eureka and Ra’Jah would be in the top, with the latter the best shot at taking out victory. When Trinityspoke about being nervous about doing bad, she and Scarlet had beef after the latter said that they would clearly have put in her the bottom if she was bad, given that’s literally how it works. Ginger shared that she was concerned about Jiggly, though admitted that Yara did bomb her first two looks. Despite turning the final look.

Talk turned to Jan’s grandfather passing away from COVID and how he was the person that always embraced her talent and as such, she was ready to turn it and have some fun for him. Talk turned to how they should vote, with Trinity saying they should focus on track record while Silky wanted to focus on effort. Trinity said that she was both fangirling over the queens but also saw them as competition, she then apologised to Scarlet for snapping at her and they all came together and ugh, I love the dolls.

Meanwhile on the Main Stage, Ra’Jah received universal praise for each and every look of the ball. Sonique was praised for the first two looks, and the judges were glad the last look didn’t read as messy. Eureka’s first look was beloved, she was praised for doing something different with denim and the fact she gave so much structure to everything. Jiggly’s first look was praised, the second was read as off the rack and the last one, tragically, was read for being a hot mess. A’Keria was praised for giving comedy, despite not screaming welder. She was then read for being basic but praised for having vision. And poor Yara, was read for being a little too much and confusing. Which is totally her brand, right?

Ultimately Ra’Jah took out her very first victory ever, with Kylie and Eureka sent to safety. As was A’Keria who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Jiggly and Yara up for elimination.

The girls reconvened backstage with Ra’Jah giddy to share her first victory with the rest of the crew, before pointing out that Yara and Jiggly are in the bottom this week. Ra’Jah pulled Yara aside first, with Yara not looking forward to having to plead her case. As such, she didn’t really do it, but assured her that she will well and truly bring it over the next weeks and will be true to herself. Meanwhile poor Jiggly broke down with the other girls, disappointed that the one challenge she was worried about came up in week two

Ginger was heartbroken about potentially having to send her friend home, before the girls traded places as Yara cried with the other girls. She was overwhelmed to go from the top to the bottom, not wanting to have to prove herself to them given she is already sickening. Which annoyed Trinity, given she spent the first day playing games rather than sewing. Jiggly meanwhile was charming the hell out of Ra’Jah, offering up alliances and her vote before genuinely asking her to just give her another chance to show how much she has grown.

Jan meanwhile pulled the other girls aside to try and figure out how they should vote, with Eureka worried about the decision to vote for a friend coming to bite her if she is up against someone more likeable later. Ginger then pointed out that Jiggly was better in the first two categories, despite being the worst in the third. 

The tops and bottoms made their way outside for voting, with Jiggly taking the chance to run away to the carpark to breathe, sobbing as she shared her disappointed that she can’t even lip sync for her life. As she processed her emotions, the producers gave her a pep talk and ugh, it was hard to watch. 

Meanwhile Scarlet was busy being read for having the saltiest face and living in her own fantasy before Jiggly reunited with the dolls. She caught up Ginger, with Ginger trying to lift up her friend while also realising that Jiggly arguably did the worst in the challenge. As both Yara and Jiggly broke down in separate corners of the tent, the queens went to vote one by one, with Trinity backing Jiggly to fight while Ginger sobbed her way through casting her’s against her friend.

Back on the mainstage Ra’Jah learnt that she would be facing off against her season 11 sister slash Drag Race Canada judge Brooke Lyn Hytes to Miss You Much by Janet Jackson. Both girls immediately slayed the game, hitting every lyric and serving full Janet. They were popping, locking, dropping, flipping and splitting and ugh, it was glorious. As such, it was deemed a very hard fought tie, with both Ra’Jah and the group ultimately voting to send the beautiful Jiggly home, bringing tears to my eyes.

Backstage Jiggly was so heartbroken to be the one to go home though wrote the girls a cute message as she processed the emotion. By the time she met up with me, we were both blubbering messes. I was so excited to finally have Jiggly return to the competition, and while she went home early, I tried to remind her that the world already knows that she is a star and doesn’t need to rudeem herself. And while that positivity is uncharacteristic for me, that is the power of a Chickly Caliente Burrito.

Spicy, sweet and oh so delicious, there is nothing better than a burrito. Except for a burrito WITH FRIES IN IT. Aka a cali burrito. Sure, this recipe is nothing more than adding fries to Kenny’s, but when it tastes this good, who cares?

Enjoy!

Chickly Caliente Burrito
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 ¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
6 cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red onion, quartered
¼ cup oil olive oil
1kg chicken breasts
4 x flour tortillas
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli
1 batch Salsa Struthers
1 batch Lady Gaugamole
1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Combine the chipotles in adobo sauce with 1 teaspoon of pepper, two teaspoons of the salt and cumin, the oregano, garlic and red onion – minus ½ a cup of red onion – in a blender with the olive oil and blitz to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl, coat the chicken and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat an extra lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry chicken, a few breasts at a time, for five-ish minutes each side. Remove from the heat and roughly chop into 1cm-ish chunky, shreds. Repeat until the chicken is all done and return to the pan with the remaining marinade and fry for a few minutes. Leave to rest while you prep the rest.

Now would be a good time to make your fries as per Judd’s recipe and then season with the smoked paprika, chilli, and remaining cumin and a good whack of salt.

Then prep your Salsa Struthers and Lady Gaugamole.

To assemble, heap the chicken, fries, salsa and guac in the centre of a large tortilla, top with cheese and sour cream and roll into a burrito. Aka close in the ends, then roll up to close.

Then devour, greedily. Oh and store the excess chicken for the next batch of burritos.


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Coco Jumbalaya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But will it all be a massive fake out?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Coco Jumbalaya
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

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Chicken & Cherry Ballotine

Main, Poultry, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 2, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 12 new queens arrived in jolly old London town to see if they could live up to my hype after the epic first season. Immediately thrust into a Wimbledon inspired photo shoot, Lawrence brought a stunning mess to the pic and took out the first victory of the season. Meanwhile on the mainstage the queens were tasked with two looks inspired by their UK gay icon and one proving why they’re the icon of their hometowns. Despite controversially rocking ASOS, Asttina took out the first victory victory while Joe Black was read for filth for not hitting her references and Bimini for being sloppy. But in the lip sync, she was anything but as she stole the show and saved herself sending the iconic Joe out of the competition.

The queens returned to the Werk Room with Bimini shell-shocked by the experience while my sweet Veronica just could not comprehend that someone as iconic and famous as Joe Black was eliminated first. Lawrence meanwhile was just processing the fact that the competition really can flip on its head in the matter of minutes, though did caution that maybe Bimini should pop on some undies. Speaking of Bimini, after scrubbing the mirror clean, as is their duty, they begged the girls to escort them to the couch so they could finally whip off their shoes. 

Sister Sister warned the girls that they have no idea how it actually feels to be in the bottom, while Lawrence continued to work her way further into my heart by telling them that they have no idea how it feels to top either. While they all laughed, Bimini wanted some drama – preach – and asked who the safe girls thought placed in the top and bottom. While Cherry got awkward, A’Whora was more than happy to share that everyone sans Lemon really thought Asttina should have been in the bottom thanks to her ASOS jacket. This led to Asttina pointing out she won and as such, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks and they all just need to step their pussies up. Leaving Tia to rightly suggest they de-drag and go home.

Oh and Lemon tried on Bimini’s outfit which is iconic but not relevant in the slightest. I just love them both.

The next day tensions had returned to normal with Asttina proudly rocking the first badge of the season. Veronica mentioned that she was missing Joe already – bless nerdy boy Veronica, I love him so – before Lawrence admitted that Joe left her some nails as she didn’t really have enough to last the competition. This led to some killer banter between her and Lemon and ugh, the UK girls just have so much charm, wit and talent – I love them all! Cherry asked Tia if she was going to step up her runways now, with Tia admitting that she got her three shit ones out of the way so they all best get ready to be dominated. Oh and to us, she still doesn’t know how to read A’Whora.

Oh and I did not recognise Ellie out of drag and was V confused where that person had come from. Again, not relevant but thought you should know.

Ru arrived to put the queens to test in this week’s mini challenge where they would be required to ride the pole. By casting their vote for their drag cabinet for Secretary of Shade, Trade Minister (aka the hottest), Leader of the House of Lording It up (aka the cockiest) and Baroness Basic before stuffing the Pit Crew’s ballot box. With their votes, obviously – this is the BBC after all. After Ru tabulated the votes, the cabinet was announced with A’Whora elected as Secretary of Shade, Tayce won Trade Minister – Asttina was robbed – Lawrence Chaney won Leader of the House of Lording it Up and Baroness Basic went to Tia Kofi. Obviously.

Oh and then Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they’ll be singing and performing live – Charlie was right – in the debut performance of Rats: The Rusical. With only Michelle to help get their vocals over the line. Oh and then Tia was given the power to cast the show, given she was called basic and damn, this is going to be fun. Wait, no, Tia just wants it to be good and isn’t going to ruin it for anyone else. Sigh.

Veronica was feeling her singing oats, Asttina too was confident while Veronica and Cherry fought it out for the lead role Evita, with Veronica ultimately getting it, given it is the harder role and Tia wants to look after the less confident Cherry. Tia asked Lawrence why she was being so quiet, with Lawrence admitting to straight up being terrified given singing and dancing are not her gig. A’Whora was ultimately given the villain – which tracks –  while Bimini requested the non-singing role paired with it. The hoodrat parts went to Tayce and Ellie, after the latter was forced to audition for Tia. Sister, Cherry and Lawrence meanwhile formed a trio, with Sister not caring enough to fight being cast as the Rat Pack extras and Lawrence continuing to spiral with nerves. Leaving Tia the show stopping cameo for herself.

On the mainstage the queens met with Michelle and her vocal coach Dane Chalfin, with Sister, Cherry and Lawrence clearly nervous. A’Whora and was told she was holding back while Bimini was firing on all cylinders. Veronica quickly shut up everyone that doubted her while Asttina was lost next to her. Ginny rocked it as Judy Stench, while Tia was cautioned that by going the route of giving herself the smaller role she really needs to nail it and steal the show. And finally, Tayce and Ellie were both called out for being difficult to understand.

Michelle and Dane exited leaving Jay Revell and Kieran Daley Ward to get the girls up to speed with their choreo. Immediately flooding Ginny’s basement. Once again Bimini was super confident, while A’Whora just couldn’t rough it up for the role. Tayce and Ellie slayed, Veronica and Asttina worked well together, though Veronica was starting to get in her head that she really needs to win. Which may not end well. Ginny and Tia forgot their lines while Lawrence just wanted to slink into the background as she struggled and poor Cherry just wanted Lawrence and Sister to get it together so they can work through what they need to do. Lawrence started to break down, sharing that she is struggling to be this far out of her comfort zone while the rest of the girls tried to rally around her. It was relatable and sweet, so I’m obviously not going to be shady about it.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone full of energy as they got into rat drag, except for Lawrence who continued to get more and more nervous. On the other end of the spectrum, Tayce and A’Whora were busy flirting it up and alluding to their past time together. Cherry and Sister spoke about how happy the are to have each other in the competition, with Cherry sharing that she grew up as a traveller and how that contradicts with being gay. Despite the fact all the women in his family are camp as hell, the men, however, are all super butch. She spoke about struggling to be proud of being gay and share emotions and well, it was just a really nice wholesome bonding moment and again, I love them all.

On the mainstage Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Sheridan Smith for the premiere of Rats: The Rusical which opened with a flush. Literally. Veronica had a fire from her very first note, Ginny was hilarious, Lawrence continued to struggle with her nerves and Bimini was delightfully bonkers. Tayce and Ellie missed a cue, but managed to end their duet strongly. Lawrence warmed up throughout the show and leaned into her comedy, Sister was demented and Cherry kinda go lost, despite nailing rehearsal. Bimini owned her duet, despite A’Whora warming into the role. Attina was well and truly overshadowed by Veronica which is more a compliment to the latter, given Asttina was giving it her all. Oh and Tia’s strategy paid off as she stole the damn show with a killer final number.

On the Surprise, Surprise reveal runway, A’Whora slayed going from groom to bride. Lawrence was a bit awkward going from blueberry to tartan, Ginny was an icon, revealing the EXACT same dress under the first one, just with a bottom window included, giving them the hole nine yards. Cherry was camp and demented, going from yellow puff to pregnant lady. Tia had a killer concept going from leather daddy before slaying as a showgirl or the dancing lady emoji. Ellie went from Scarecrow to Tin Man before offering a third look, as the Cowardly Lion. Asttina Mandela went from death to sexy ninja and damn, my basement is not just flooding but overflowing. Sister Sister was a floral dame before going full dominatrix demon, in the best way. And then Veronica arrived and stole the damn show, going from Stepford Wife to full blown robot. Poor Tayce was next, going from cape to gown to dying in a bodysuit and well, I feel sorry for her following Veronica. Bimini then walked out in a corset with balloons full of paint which was an iconic concept that tragically just failed as hard as Asia and the butterflies. 

Ultimately A’Whora, Ginny, Asttina, Sister Sister and Bimini were deemed safe, leaving the rest to be praised or read for filth. Lawrence sadly was the latter with the judges feeling she was good in the show but needed to get out of her way. And her reveal was quite boring. The judges felt Cherry’s inner saboteur took her down this week and while she was good, she fell flat. The judges lived for everything Tia Kofi did this week except for her showgirl look. Ellie received universal praise for everything she did but well, they clearly loved everything Veronica Green did just that little bit more. I am so proud of her! Oh and Tayce was praised for looking stunning despite being overshadowed in the show and well, very basic on the runway.

Backstage Bimini was thrilled to be safe but heartbroken her reveal didn’t pan out. Ginny spoke about it being so much harder than they expected. The tops and bottoms returned, with Lawrence feeling ok. Sister Sister admitted that she felt Lawrence brought her down this week, with Lawrence getting offended while Sister just wanted to find a way to keep going rather than breaking down. Tayce said the judges felt everything she did was a bit flat while Cherry felt like she was being ignored, despite being in the bottom and clearly emotional. She shared she was scared and wanted to get out of her head. Talk turned to Veronica being quiet and riding under the radar, with her hoping it was a warning shot that she was here for victory. Oh and Tia was thrilled to learn that she is hella basic and congratulated the girls for identifying it earlier.

Ultimately Tia and Ellie were deemed safe, handing Veronica an extremely well-deserved victory before Lawrence’s personality saved her from the bottom two, leaving Cherry and Tayce to battle it out to Memory. And holy shit, while it isn’t exactly the most drag friendly song, the duo serve it, tapping into the emotion and frankly, breaking my heart. Both girls felt every feel however Tayce had light and shade, going from heartbreak to rage, quivering lip and fire in her eyes. Despite Cherry rocking it as a fragile leading lady, it wasn’t enough as Tayce was sent to safety and poor Cherry was sent home. Vowing to fight and never let anyone overlook them ever again.

Backstage I was still COVID naive as I pulled Cherry into a massive hug and reminded her how great she is and how proud of her I am. You see, I first met Cherry a decade or so ago when planning a family member’s traveller wedding (I was meant to appear on a rival reality TV show about these weddings, but D’Andra Simmons got me removed like I was LeeAnne in that defunct show).

But I digress.

I was taken by Cherry’s charm and nervous energy, so I took her under my wing and encouraged her to shine. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I am her drag mother. Thus the pride. But I digress, again. Cherry was thrilled to see me backstage and glad I had a delicious Chicken & Cherry Ballotine waiting to cheer her up again.

The salty prosciutto and tart cherries work harmoniously to create a ballotine that you can’t stop devouring. Particularly when feeling down or if the weather is shit. Or if you are happy. Or you know, whenever – this is just really tasty and super easy.

Enjoy!

Chicken & Cherry Ballotine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
½ cup morello cherries, drained and chopped
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices prosciutto
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two thinner fillets

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the cherries, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, thyme, oregano, garlic and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile line the prosciutto on a piece of cling, with the long sides overlapping. Place the chicken breast pieces over the top, before forming the stuffing into a sausage and placing in the middle. Roll the chicken into a sausage, using the prosciutto to seal it in.

Place seam side down on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto crispy. Leave to rest for ten minutes, before slicing into discs and serving with a generous heaping of mash.


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