Itejan Weddillay Soup

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

Previously on Survivor South Africa the rapidly expanding jury was filling up with members of the former Masu tribe as everyone started turning on each other, rather than going after their pre-merge counterparts. While Steffi and Marian were locked in with each other, their other ally Meryl was not so solid and was ready to make a move, resulting in the blindside of Steffi. That obviously led to Marian seeing red, as she spit fire on her way to aligning with Dino. After taking out immunity, Marian was nervous about Meryl skipping out on tribal council with her pass. This led to an epic planning where Dino and Co. convinced her that they needed her vote, sending Marian out of tribal council while the rest of the tribe brutally blindsided Meryl.

Back at camp Marian was thrilled that Meryl had fallen into their trap and sent her back to camp before the vote. The remaining tribe soon joined her with Shane thrilled that the move brought the tribe together, with Marian congratulating everyone for pulling it off. With Killarney still sure that it was all her plan, which obviously annoyed Phil, given he, Felix and Dino are the ones that actually put in the work. Talk turned to how well Meryl took her blindside, with everyone agreeing her positive attitude is indicative of how great the season has been.

The next day Felix woke up his tribemates with news of an upcoming reward challenge, leading to speculation about why the challenge was starting so early in the day. Begging the question, is it a tough challenge or an epic reward? Like say, the loved ones visit. This got everyone hopeful about potentially spending some time with their loved ones. Killarney opened up about the recent loss of her mother and her partner in the space of a month just before the game and while she is still struggling with her grief, she is proud of how hard she has fought despite it. And oh god, I’m crying before we even got to the challenge!

After drying my tears, the tribe caught up with Nico where they learnt they would have to race on a balanced rig to spell out the name of the season without knocking it over. With the winner getting a big schnitty reward, alongside a cheeky call with their loved one and an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. This got Marian crying, while everyone agreed that seeing their loved ones would be the biggest advantage they could ask for. With that, the challenge kicked off with Phil absolutely powering ahead with Killarney nipping at his heels. Well, until she knocked her blocks off. While Felix and Tejan closed the gap, it was all for naught as Phil quickly took out the win.

Nico obviously decided to give him a little dilemma, offering him the chance to take two people on reward with him but only if he was willing to forfeit the food and advantage. The tribe kindly all told him to play it smart and hold on to the entire reward, while Tejan clarified how using the reward invite works and if he would simply be joining Phil on the reward, rather than taking it away from him. After the assurance both of them would get to go, he played his token and headed out for a little bit of love. And a share in the advantage. As they exited, Dino started to break down over the thought of his fiance sitting at her computer, about to be told they wouldn’t be talking and ugh, it is all too sad. And that is before Killarney even started worrying about how to keep her head in the game while still mourning.

Phil and Tejan arrived at their reward, giddy to smash some food before getting their video call. Oh and the advantage for the upcoming immunity challenge. While Phil didn’t want him to get the advantage, he was glad to have Tejan there with him and to have the chance to talk about potentially aligning. Hoping to split the immunity challenges between them and make a move against Dino and Marian as the last big threats left in the game. And while Phil hated the idea of turning on his friend, he knew it would be necessary eventually.

Speaking about Dino, he and Marian were talking about the threat Tejan poses to their games with Killarney joining the fray and agreeing that an immunity run could screw everyone up. Dino opened up to us about how he wants to progress with his biggest threats – Marian, Phil and Felix or Shane. Speaking of the latter two, they were bonding and floating the idea of working together while back with Marian and Dino, she didn’t want Killarney or Tejan getting anywhere near the end with her. Shane joined them, as Marian speculated who would take her to the end if she was in the final four with Phil, Shane and Dino.

Back at reward, Phil was first up to call his family and immediately started sobbing as he saw his wife and kids. He opened up to them about how tough the game has been, though assured them that he is focused and fighting through, sticking to everything they planned before heading out. He tagged out with Tejan who truly lit up when his partner, niece and nephew popped his sweet angel dog on screen. And ugh, his partner is so cute, telling him to just focus and make it further than he did in his first season. The duo then bonded over the chance to see their family, with Tejan thrilled by how much the reward has given him. And hoping it pays dividends in the long run. In my heart, for his dog.

The next day everyone started speculating about the immunity challenge, while Marian grew focused on getting rid of Felix to bring Phil back to her loving arms. She then told Dino that Felix has been throwing his name around, while Dino told her that he in fact was throwing out her name. Felix meanwhile genuinely started throwing out Marian’s name, given it frees up Shane to align with him and take control with the goats. Felix and Tejan then floated the idea of getting rid of Marian, with Dino assuring them that getting rid of Killarney is all that she really cares about at this point.

The tribe reconnected with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would have to stand on a ledge and balance a block of wood between a beam and their heads. With Phil and Tejan getting to start the challenge five minutes after everyone else, which is an epic advantage. Before the duo even started Marian lost her focus and dropped out of the challenge. Tejan dropped as quickly as he started, before Shane dropped out of nowhere. After fifteen minutes, Killarney dropped, soon followed by Dino leaving Felix – who was shocked not to be the first out – and Phil to battle for immunity. Eventually though, the advantage proved to be too much to overcome as Felix dropped his block and handed Phil immunity yet again.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Phil on his challenge win, with Killarney growing nervous about his new found beastly ways. Marian meanwhile was worried about how close Felix and Phil were getting, catching up with Dino and Shane to talk about who they should target with Marian wanting to get rid of Felix, while Dino knew Tejan and Killarney were also a risk as the remaining goats. As Phil, Felix and Killarney went down to the beach to fish, they noticed a symbol on a rock with Phil quickly pouncing on it and jagging a clue to a hidden immunity. Though tragically, he could not find it. While he was searching, Killarney admitted that she was finally ready to trust that Felix wants to work with her. And given she allegedly orchestrated the Steffi and Meryl blindsides, she felt he was lucky to have her.

Phil gave up on his search and joined up with Marian and Dino to plan the vote ahead, with them suggesting getting rid of Felix given his final four is clearly him and the goats. Speaking of Felix, he was busy catching up with Shane, who spilled the beans about Dino and Marian coming for him. Which obviously filled him with dread. Felix and Tejan then caught up, debating how much they can trust Shane while he was wondering how he can work the information if it comes out. Shane then caught up with Tejan, talking about the impending chaos, while Phil continued to desperately hunt for his idol.

Felix caught up with Phil, with Dino soon joining them to block any chat. After Felix wandered off to hunt for the idol, Dino checked whether Phil was ok with the thought of Felix going, with him admitting that he still wants to work with him but also wanted to get the trio to the end together. Phil and Felix caught up while Dino continued the hunt for the idol, before Killarney asked permission to start hunting for the idol. She then threw Phil under the bus, sharing that he found an advantage on the beach which made Dino fearful that it meant the boys had already commenced turning on him.

The next day Dino continued to worry about his place in the game, getting up early to look for the idol in the hope that Phil hadn’t found it yet. Marian meanwhile caught up with Phil and told him that Killarney told her he found a clue and while he tried to tell her his clue told him it was at the Outpost, she knew it was a lie and quickly became wary of him. Phil finally told Dino about the clue in the hope that he could help him, with Dino sadly deciding it meant he had found the idol already. And Phil girl, you’re in danger. Well, when you next lose immunity.

Tejan and Felix meanwhile were hanging out by the shore, speculating about what was going on with the tribe with Felix growing paranoid. Though admitting he would prefer to be paranoid, rather than getting voted out. Felix and Phil caught up, with the former sure that he was the target for the rival faction and as such, they needed to lock in the vote against Tejan. Despite the fact Phil was ready to turn on Dino but 24 hours earlier. The trio then caught up, with Phil trying to bring them together and block out all the noise floating around camp in the hope of dealing with whatever else they were planning down the track. 

After splitting up, Phil finally found what he was looking for. Well, kind of, as he got another clue, directing him to look for said idol at tribal council. Sadly for him, Shane saw him find it and as such, quickly took the information back to Marian and given Phil is clearly the biggest threat, they decided that they needed to take a shot at Felix to weaken him. Marian and Dino caught up, with the former pointing out that Phil is on his way to winning the game and as his biggest threats, they need to take out the people he wants to take to the top three until they can take a shot at him. Shane filled Tejan in on the plan, who was annoyed as he wanted to take out Dino or Marian instead. After talking to Dino, Tejan approached Felix to tell him of everyone conspiring against him, seemingly unaware it could cost him the game. But since he made a fake idol, maybe he will get lucky.

At tribal council Felix admitted to feeling very nervous about the upcoming vote, while Marian said it was a very confusing day at camp as everyone came up with rival plans. Tejan admitted he was very much a target, with Felix laughing about it all being a lie, given he knows for a fact he is the target. He then spoke about wanting to take a goat to the end, while Marian and Dino started whispering about who to vote for between Tejan and Felix. Tejan admitted that he thinks he has been perceived as a goat, while Dino said that he would far prefer to eliminate the goats, Cirie style, given the goats take up a seat at final tribal council and makes it just that much harder to get to the end.

Felix said he was debating between sticking with what he knows and changing things up, while Tejan mentioned that the biggest threats need to worry because the leftovers could band together and take control. Felix continued his fight to say, reiterating that him being there the next day is best for most people’s games. Tejan then unveiled his fake idol, with everyone knowing it is fake. Felix pointed out that Tejan’s game has been to float along in the middle, so while people think they have him, they can’t trust he will stay with them. Phil whispered to Killarney to put down Tejan, while Marian confirmed with Dino that they were voting for Felix before they headed off to vote. And promptly voted Tejan out, despite him not playing his fake idol because he felt everyone had his back.

Tejan was in good spirits as he arrived at Ponderosa, despite the blindside. He knew that he was a target and while his decoys and plans didn’t come together, he was happy that he exhausted all of his options and went out swinging. While a game like Tejan’s is not over showy TV, he expertly navigated the middle and reduced his target, which carried him all the way to the top 7. And that in and of itself, is enough to justify a piping hot Itejan Weddillay Soup.

While this little number is traditionally a hybrid of cheap meats and veggies – or marriage, if you will – the resulting soup acts like a bowl of love. Warm, hearty and oh-so-soothing, it is the perfect way to cure a cold, miserable day.

Enjoy!

Itejan Weddillay Soup
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
1 onion, diced
large handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
pepper, to taste
3L chicken stock
2 cups baby spinach
1 chilli, thinly sliced (and seeds removed if you can’t handly the heat)

Method
Pop the minces, onion about ⅔ of the parsley, an egg, the garlic, breadcrumbs and ½ cup of the parmesan in a large bowl with the salt and a good whack of pepper. Scrunch until well combined. Using wet hands, form into 1 tbsp sized meatballs and pop on a lined baking sheet.

Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat and once rollicking, maintain at a light boil. Gently drop in the meatballs and cook for about five minutes, or until tender and cooked. Whisk the remaining parmesan and eggs in a jug before pouring in the mixture, stirring, aiming to make thin strands of egg. Add in the spinach and chilli and cook for a further couple of minutes before removing from the heat and stirring through the parsley and seasoning to taste.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving and devouring, with extra lashings of cheese for good measure.


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Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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


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Arielcini Rec

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race España we were blessed with a batch of twelve new iconic queens who had me gagged by their talents. And flooded my basement with their beauty. After a sultry, artistic nude-illusion photo shoot with the pit crew, the dolls rocked two looks dedicated to their hometowns on the runway. Poor Marisa and Samantha fell a little flat while Onyx took flight. Though more importantly, Marina flashed her penis on the runway which is more than worthy of a win in my books. Ultimately though it was Onyx who took out the first victory of the season while Samantha and Marisa battled in the lip sync, with the latter finding herself becoming the Porkchop of the season.

Backstage Samantha was gagged to have survived the lip sync while her sisters gathered around to congratulate her on her performance. After toasting to their sister Marisa, they sat down and rightly praised Onyx for her showstopping runways, who for some reason, was shocked to have taken out victory. Though grateful that her arse carried her to victory. Once again. The dolls spoke about how intense it is to be judged, admitting that the experience has well and truly woken them up to the fact that this is a damn competition. While Sharonne did some demonic vocalising which was as scary as it was erotic. For some reason.

The next day the dolls were back to living their best lives, taking it in turns to ride Estrella like a horse before she showed off her goodies on the table. And someone grabbed at her balls, which isn’t necessary to the story but will play on a loop in my head longer than the Oscars slap has. Wait, no, that one will never die.

Samantha meanwhile was ready to claim the title of lip sync assassin of the season, truly turning the lemon that is being the only queen to have lip synced so far into lemonade. Talk then turned to the burgeoning love between Drag Sethlas and Onyx, and yeah, I want to see that video. Before we could get any of the juicy, juicy details, Supremme arrived to task the girls with a little light reading. Si, la biblioteca is well and truly open and well, if all librarians looked like the pit crew, I would perpetually be dehydrated. First up was Sharonne who was hilarious and quick, Venedita was harsh, Sethlas went in on Estrella’s twirls, Onyx made the girls blush and then Estrella stole the show with some Harry Potter (non-transphobic) magic. Samantha bombed, Jota was even worse while Diamante brought the laughs back. Sweet Juriji was perfectly brutal before Ariel just flooded my basement and I don’t even know if she was good or bad because she is so damn hot. 

Oh and then Marina was read while trying to read. Did I mention Ariel is fucking hot?

Ultimately Sharonne took out victory before Supremme announced that they would be following up the reading challenge by putting on the Supremme Eleganza Talent Extravaganza in front of a live audience of surprise guests. Which Diamante immediately decided would be the Spice Girls. Dream big, I guess? Everyone split up to start planning their talents with Samantha a little bit terrified while Estrella was thinking of going the comedy route. Ariel meanwhile had too many talents to choose from, while Sethlas was hoping to not incite any controversy like she had in the past when she did a performance crucifying herself.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with everyone splitting up to beat their mugs ahead of the show with Ariel and Onyx bonding over their journeys with therapy and how it has helped them throughout their lives. Onyx opened up about how the pandemic broke her, with her partner leaving her around the time she lost her job, so she ultimately had to move back in with her parents. Thankfully they rallied around and reminded each other that seeking help is always the best idea.

Supreme, Ana and the Javiers were joined by La Zowi on the judging panel, while the cast of season 1 returned to watch the dolls perform. Drag Sethlas opened the show as a straight up transformer and well, I lived. She then vogued the house down before jumping from there, aka splitting from a massive box. Jota Carajota meanwhile went full Phantom of the Opera before singing a camp original song and well, I think I loved it. Ariel Rec did a moody original song and honestly, I just wished she stripped and called it a day. Because again, he keeps me drenched. Juriji gave a camp opera and damn, she has pipes. And the back-up dancers were in harnesses, so yeah, give her the win right damn now. 

Samantha Ballentines then painted a picture of one of the hottest pit crew members – which was just a penis – so obviously I now want her to win the challenge. I mean, I can’t. Venedita Von Dash went from peasant to glamazon as she flamenco’d around stage in a strip show. And again, basement. Flooded. Onyx cracked out of an egg before giving an alien lip sync and well, it was weird and wonderful. Particularly since she birthed her baby on stage, which is something I always love. Particularly if it is sliced ham. Marina gave us a moody midnight ballroom dance and damn, she’s got some legs on her. Estrella then slayed a camp lip sync in honour of fast mood, which is super relatable. Complete with mustard coming out of her titties. Sharonne then stole the show with a live jazz duet, complete with puppeteering her partner. Before Diamante Merrybrown slayed a lip sync, dancing the house down however coming after Sharonne, it was hard to steal the show.

On the Day of the Beast Runway, Jota was an alien delight, despite the odd body shape. Juriji was a sexy rose bush, Ariel was a sexy sleep paralysis demon – complete with blue blood and growing sores – while Samantha Ballentines served the most demented plastic surgery addict ever seen. Venedita was a bleeding mummy, Onyx was breathtaking as a massive spider and Marina gave us a two faced woman, half covered in burns. Sethlas gave demon llama, Sharonne was a kooky spooky voodoo doll while Estrella was a demented mirror queen and Diamante slayed as a hessian boogeyman. 

Ultimately Sethlas, Ariel, Onyx, Sharonne, Samantha and Diamante were classed as the tops and bottoms of the week, leaving the rest of the dolls to untuck while they received their critiques. The judges were happy with Ariel’s performance though felt like she wasn’t on the same level as her sisters in either the performance or the runway. Samantha was read for not slaying the performance and lacking originality while Onyx received universal praise for her performance and the runway, despite some pacing issues in the former. Sethlas was praised for splitting her kitty before Sharonne received universal praise for each and every thing that she served this week. Oh and the judges lived for Diamante too, so I guess Onyx is low, somehow?

Backstage the safe girls were relieved to be deemed safe though opted to get shady over who would be in the bottom, suggesting Sharonne should be. Which, lol. As the rest of the queens joined them, Samantha announced that she would definitely be in the bottom while Ariel felt like she would be lip syncing against her. Onyx meanwhile shared that she was disappointed her performance didn’t cut through with the judges as Diamante reminded them all that on the whole – swoon – they served a killer fashion show.

Ultimately Diamante was deemed safe before Sharonne took out her first victory of the season. Drag Sethlas was then sent to safety while Onyx narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Samantha Ballentines to lip sync once again. This time against Ariel Rec. As soon as Yo Quiero Bailar kicked off, the fight once against came into Samantha Ballentine as she served demented, wild fun while Ariel focused on turning a show. But given how hysterically everyone was laughing at Samantha, there was no way she was going home as once again she saved herself, leaving poor Ariel Rec to sashay away instead.

And well, her loss was my gain! As soon as we met up backstage, I pledged my undying love for her, thanking her for gracing the planet for her beauty and begging him to spend out lives together. While Ariel didn’t agree to get married, we did have a lot of hot fun. And gladly filled out holes with some even hotter Arielcini Rec.

I know I’ve probably said this countless times but it honestly bears repeating; the only way to make something as delicious as risotto better is by coating it and frying it. Crunchy breadcrumbs form a gloriously golden crust, keeping the cheesy rice piping hot and well, there is nothing better.

Enjoy!

Arielcini Rec
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
350g butternut pumpkin, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
¾ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable or sunflower oil, to deep-fry

Method
To make the risotto, pop the stock in a saucepan over low heat and bring to temperature. Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a pot over medium heat and saute the onion and pumpkin for five minutes or so, or until the onion is nice and soft. Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

Working a ladleful of stock at a time, add to the rice mixture and cook stirring until it has just absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been used. Stir through the parmesan, season and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, spread over a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Once things are hella chill, pop the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Using wet or floured hands, roll 1-2 tablespoon sized balls of risotto. Pop them first in the flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on another lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done before transferring to the fridge to set for an hour or so.

When it is time to fry, heat a couple of inches deep of oil in a stock pot until about 180C. Working a few at a time, add the arancini and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another minute or so. Transfer to a lined plate to drain and repeat the process.

Then devour, while still piping hot.


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June Jambalaya

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

Previously on Drag Race the second batch of queens arrived to discover a half-used Werk Room before they were put through the same paces as their already-moved-in queens. Complete with a second first elimination. From start to finish, Angeria slayed more than Camden’s heart, oozing charm, personality and most importantly, all the damn polish. As such, she kicked off her debut with back to back mini and maxi challenge victories. At the other end of the spectrum, Daya and DeJa struggled with their performances and letting the judges know who they were, ultimately ending with sweet Daya being eliminated.

Backstage DeJa was shellshocked post lip sync, though was glad to have well and truly filled the dolls with nerves over her assassin ways. As they tried to process the loss of Daya, Alicia Keys popped up in the mirror to announce the arrival of the other six queens. And just like that, it was on. Kornbread was thrilled to see her seamstress DeJa was in the room, while Jasmine was thrilled to see Kerri given she is a superfan of her mother. The dolls spoke about who went home from each group with Kornbread talking about Orion’s short story while nobody batted an eyelid at the name Daya Betty from the Methyd dynasty. Most importantly, Willow was gagged to see a child other than Willow in the competition in the form of Jorgeous.

The next day the dolls were still trying to get to know each other while Bosco was just hoping to continue her streak of highs, despite the fact there are more girls. Ru dropped by and immediately welcomed Orion and Daya Betty back to the competition and well, I’ve been bamboozled!? Orion was thrilled for a second chance while Daya was just ready to prove all the girls wrong and let them know that she is a threat. Ru then followed this twist with another twist, where each doll would select a RuPaul candy bar and sign their name on it. Should the queens lip sync, the dolls are to take their chocolate bar to the runway and should they be eliminated, they open their choccie and if it is just that, they go home but if they grab a golden one, they get to remain.

So Survivor, does Willy Wonka, does Ru.

One by one the girls selected their bars before Ru announced that this week, the queens would be throwing a ball with each group getting a theme of their own. Group One would be running the Hide and Chic Ball, serving Zebra Print Resort, Leopard Evening Gown and serving a final Wedding Gown Eleganza, aka a self-made animal print delight.Meanwhile Group Two would be serving looks in the Red White and Blue Ball, rocking the rival runways of Red Hot Resort, Evening Gown Down – All In White – and Wedding Gown Eleganza in red, white and blue.

As soon as Ru departed, the dolls pillaged the supplies and quickly got to work on their final, showstopping looks. Bosco meanwhile was thrilled to be assigned animal print given it speaks to her on a deep level. She then kikied with Maddy about her heterosexuality, with Kornbread joining in and learning more about her girlfriend. Kerri then eavesdropped and only just  realised Maddy was straight and ugh, I love her.

Jasmine meanwhile was ready to prove her killer design skills, given she turns a new home-made look each week back at home. June on the flipside was starting to spiral, given she is not a crafty queen despite knowing how to style an outfit. And based on Bosco’s assessment of her ideas, she should be worried. DeJa meanwhile was feeling confident, ready to show the judges everything she’s got. Kerri meanwhile had no idea how to sew, but thankfully Jasmine is so starstruck by the Colby name that she was willing to do anything for her. While the outfit looked a mess, Kerri was feeling her oats and that was enough to make Bosco happy.

Then the dolls found a dead dragonfly on the floor, which Kornbread offered to pay Daya $1000 if she would eat it. AND SHE DID.

Willow meanwhile was struggling with the sewing given her fingers were too cold but thankfully, Kornbread is a delight and helped her with her pinning and got her a warm cup of water to help get the feeling back to her feelings and UGH, I love them both so much. Jorgeous meanwhile was giving a sexy silhouette in the hope of finding a man while Daya was hoping to dazzle the judges with frills and an ‘80s bridesmaid inspired look. Maddy was inspired with an old fashioned American wedding look, while Willow felt she was more inspired by Colonel Sanders.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls splitting up to get ready as June pulled Orion aside to welcome her back to the competition, by explaining she wasn’t thrilled to see her return. But is now ok with things. Angeria meanwhile was busy flooding Lady Camden’s basement with her accent as she bonded with Willow and spoke about their drag styles. Orion opened up with Daya and Jasmine about her mom taking her own life a few years ago, admitting that she took up drag because of her mother and how she is dedicating her ball looks to her. And ugh, now I want Orion to win.

Kerri, Kornbread and Angeria meanwhile were talking about Kerri’s coming out journey. As Kerri spoke about being kicked out of home as a child, Kornbread started to sob as she shared that she too had to move out of home during high school. Kornbread went outside to compose herself before opening up with her sisters about how she is still trying to process her childhood traumas, though admitted that it would have to wait because they need to focus on the runway.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judges panel by Christine Chiu from Bling Empire. Alyssa opened the Zebra Print Resort runway giving me ski-sexy though was allegedly a jockey. Bosco thankfully slayed in an apres ski bodysuit. Willow meanwhile was a pastel delight as a mum heading to the hotel bar. Kerri was a stunning teenage belle while Kornbread slayed in a balck and white pantsuit before Orion slayed as an extra from Heathers. And June was perfect as a rich, sexy socialite. For the Red Hot Resort looks, Daya Betty slayed as a cross between a Simpsons character and Cindy Brady. Angeria was perfect in a red, mod number while DeJa was perfect in a floor length gown. Jasmine was beautiful as a lobster pin-up, Gorgeous was a Miami party girl while Lady Camden looked straight out of Studio 54’s resort off-shoot. Maddy meanwhile slayed in a jumpsuit, complete with a very white attempt at a twerk.

On the Leopard Evening Wear runway, Alyssa was an architectural dame, giving all the curves. Bosco gave clashing patterns and looked like a dream while Willow was a 90s delight in black on black leopard print. Kerri had a spinning fascinator and was a stunning CEO in a purple pantsuit while Kornbread was a vamp in black leopard. Orion was the sexiest hunter to take the stage before June was gorgeous in her too flowy gown that had her tripping down the runway. Daya slayed the Evening Gown Down runway in an all white, sexy choir outfit. Angeria gave the sexiest pastor known to man, DeJa gave a similar vibe though sadly following Angeria, didn’t stand out. Jasmine meanwhile was a delight in a frilled and fringed mini, while Jorgeous was an absolute goddess in a simple, fitted gown before Lady Camden was tied up in bows. And then Maddy was perfect in a dramatic moon and star gown and headpiece.

For the Animal Print Bridal Couture runway, Alyssa was a hoop-skirted delight in golden animal print. Bosco slayed, giving Betty Page does Cruella de Vil, while Willow gave clashing prints in a bridal pantsuit. Kerri meanwhile was feeling her oats despite the sloppy outfit. Kornbread was a sexy, snake print delight despite it also being a little sloppy. While Orion gave a polished outfit, giving the perfect hourglass with Peggy Bundy does the Flintstones. And June was a jungle delight, though literally hid behind a bouquet the entire walk. On the red white and blue Bridal Couture, Daya stepped out of Crystal’s shadow by making a replica of Crystal’s promo look. Angeria was perfect in a tight red gown with a white snowflake on the front. DeJa was stunning in a textured red mermaid gown, while Jasmine served stars and stripe realness. Gorgeous was a sequined delight while Lady Camden was a clash of fabrics, a little tacky but totally hilarious. While Maddy gave a literal Americana gown, thrilled to finally get married.

Alyssa, Bosco, Kerri, Kornbread, Daya, DeJa, Jasmine and Lady Camden were sent to safety backstage where they immediately agreed that they were grateful to be safe on the ball, despite some of them thinking they should have done better. Jasmine was the first to admit she felt she should have been in the top, annoying Daya who felt she definitely shouldn’t have been in the top. Alyssa meanwhile was disappointed because she came into the competition, desperate to win the Ball. Jasmine praised Camden for doing such a good job on the runway, though Camden admitted she really felt she was lucky to be safe. Kerri spoke about just wanting a little bit of feedback, while returnee Daya just wanted everyone to be happy and for them to kinda calm down.

Daya opened up about how happy she was to be in the competition and as such, was overjoyed to be safe. Kerri praised her for bringing such a different vibe into the competition and encouraged her to believe in herself. Though then the dolls opened up about being annoyed to see two extra dolls come back into the competition, Kornbread admitted she was frustrated, though still believes they all deserve to be there. Kornbread spoke about how good her outfit turned out despite her skills, before DeJa and Jasmine jumped in to claim their help. Kerri meanwhile was just thrilled to make it through the ball, while Jasmine said she would need help writing lyrics when they get to those challenges, given that is where she struggles.

Which surprised Daya, since she doesn’t shut up.

Talk turned to who would land in the bottom with Kornbread worried for her sister June, while Alyssa essentially wanted everyone to lip sync for their lives.

Meanwhile on the mainstage, Willow received universal praise for everything she served this week. Particularly given how strong her final look was and how perfect her workmanship is. Orion was praised for serving a beautiful mug and boy did she know it. Sadly, Michelle wasn’t thrilled by the lack of diversity in her looks while Ru just wanted her to give a little less. Which TBH, is the opposite of this show, but I digress. June meanwhile received praise for her first look before being read for filth for her second and third, particularly given she was clearly ashamed of her final look.

Angeria received praise for everything she did this week, with the judges particularly thrilled by her styling skills. Jorgeous too received universal praise for her first two looks, though the judges weren’t thrilled by the Evil Kenevil look she made as a wedding gown. Oh and she is winning the season, because Ru said she is born for drag, so I guess we can just pack this up?. Maddy was read for being a bit too pedestrian in the first category and not giving enough personality in her second look. While they lived for the personality she gave in her final look.

The two groups reconnected with Willow opening up about how much the judges lived for her. On the flipside, the dolls worried it would be a rematch between June and Orion in the lip sync. Kerri shared that she was worried June was feeling defeated all episode, as Kornbread jumped in to give her a pep talk before all her new sisters surrounded her with love. June opened up about how June has given her the power to embrace all the parts of herself and feel whole. Maddy opened up about her fears being in the bottom before Jasmine told any nervous girls to get prepping for the lip sync. 

As June demanded Alyssa take off her shoes and started to break down, Maddy calmly downed her drink in the corner while Orion watched on. Though given Angeria told her she wouldn’t be lip syncing, maybe she is right to just chill. Oh and then Maddy fired up in front of the mirror as she got ready for battle.

Ultimately Jorgeous was deemed safe before Willow took out a well earned victory, meaning Angeria too, was safe. At the other end of the spectrum, Orion found herself narrowly avoiding the bottom as June and Maddy were tasked with lip syncing for their lives. To our Kylie’s I Love It. Maddy was cute and energetic, giving loved-up diva while June was fierce and ferocious. She gave wig reveals and pulled her outfit apart, while Maddy just felt her oats and turned out a show. As she avoided the trip hazard that was the remnants of June’s outfit. Ultimately Maddy was able to save herself, leaving June to open her candy bar and tragically comie up chocolate. Making her the third first boot of the season, though the first one to officially stick.

While June was heartbroken by the time she made her way into my arms backstage, I had well and truly got my ‘being the first boot is better than coming anywhere outside of the top 6’ line perfected and her mood quickly lifted. Though this time I also included the fact that doing what she was able to do in her two episodes while still a baby drag queen is super impressive and she needs to focus on the path ahead. Because her future is oh so bright. I know, I know, it was so kind of me even I was confused by who was speaking, as such, I served her the only thing I could, a delicious June Jambalaya.

Jambalaya is one of the easiest, tasty meals you can throw together. I mean, sure, this is probably not the most authentic you can have, but when you’re slapped in the face with flavour half an hour after you start making it, you won’t be complaining.

Enjoy!

June Jambalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced chopped
1 red capsicum, cored and cut into strips
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
2 chorizos, cut into thick coins
500g pork steaks, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups long-grain rice
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and when hot, saute the onion and capsicum for about five minutes. Add the garlic, cajun spice and chorizo and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant and the chorizo is releasing its spicy juices.

Add the pork and cook, again stirring, for five minutes, or until cooked in the gorgeously red oils. Stir through the stock and tomatoes before bringing to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for up to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has almost all absorbed.

Then devour immediately, thinking how well you will go in your second season.


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Roast Liamba Wallace

Main, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe came back together after their split tribal councils with Deshawn and Shan’s trust levels at an all time low. Despite having a beautiful discussion about playing the game for more than themselves, they agreed that they will continue to work on their trust though they knew that they both posed a threat to the other’s game. Wanting to weaken Shan, her alliance decided that getting rid of Ricard was their best plan, which obviously meant he won immunity. After Liana spilled the deets to Shan, she in turn told Ricard and rather than be reassured that she had his back, he worked with Erika to rally everyone but Liana to band together and get rid of the biggest threat, Shan.

After tribal council Danny and Deshawn quickly pulled Liana aside to discuss the blindside and smooth things over with their ally. Liana asked for a simple explanation as to why they flipped on her, with Danny explaining that it was Ricard’s plan and that the numbers were already against them, so they either joined the minority or risked the target moving to them. While Xander, Ricard, Heather and Erika quietly celebrated taking control back in the shelter. Xander assured them that he would use his advantages to benefit this newfound alliance and damn, is this overconfidence going to backfire on him next? After Liana returned to camp, Deshawn shared his frustrations with Danny about Shan calling him a snake. He then returned to the shelter and asked Ricard why she wasn’t pressed about his betrayal as well, with Ricard calmly explaining that they always knew they would have to cross each other and that she understood because her alliance’s plan led to his speeding up the process to target her.

But Deshawn did wisley – unwittingly or not – reiterate that Shan told Ricard he would have her vote in the end which isn’t something you want to hear if you were considering facing him in the end. 

The next day Ricard pulled Deshawn aside and suggested that he was coming off as paranoid and advised him to calm down, with Deshawn reiterating that it was a witting decision to paint said target on Ricard’s back, though did vow to calm down. Deshawn then caught up with Liana and assured her that they are together and he will never write her name down and while they looked all friendly, she was still fired up to get revenge on him.

We then checked in on Danny who opened up that it was the 25th anniversary of his father’s death and while he usually tries to keep himself busy, there is nowhere to hide in the game and he finally has to acknowledge his feelings. He shared that he always resented his father for dying and despite knowing there was nothing he could control, he missed him and realised he needs to move forward and live for his legacy.

And fuck Danny, why you got me ugly crying so early in the episode?!

Jeffrey arrived to loop us in on a new twist the castaways were about to face at the immunity challenge. Each castaway would have the choice whether they would participate but should they do, the first person to drop out would have to face a ‘Do or Die’ twist where their fate is decided by a game of chance. Should they win, they are also immune at the upcoming vote but should they lose, they are out of the game and tribal council is cancelled. Oh and to make it more triggering, the challenge was the one that cost Cirie and Malcolm Micronesia and Philippines, respectively. You know, you hold up cylinders between blocks and balance a ball with the last one standing winning.

Heather and Liana decided the risk was too great and jumped on over to the sit out bench leaving Erika and the boys to battle for immunity. Almost instantly Deshawn dropped, leaving him to face the coin flip of destiny, as I would have preferred it be called. Erika dropped just before the end of the next phase, while everyone else made it to the final round. As the wind picked up, Ricard and Xander dropped in unison, handing Danny his first immunity of the season. And why am I crying thinking about how proud his dad would be without him even saying anything?

Back at camp the tribe started to prepare for the option of Deshawn surviving the coin flip as he gladly admitted he is either safe or he can say he was never voted out. Danny opened up to Deshawn and admitted that he was so grateful he was able to make his father proud at the challenge before pivoting to a plan to get rid of Ricard. As such, Danny pulled Xander aside to float the idea of turning on Ricard at the upcoming vote and while he agreed Ricard is a threat, he also knew that he was the next biggest threat and with Ricard gone, Xander is the one they’d be coming for. Xander instead wanted to target Liana, though Danny reminded him that she is a non-entity and they can always deal with her later.

With that Xander and Erika caught up, with the latter reminding him that Ricard is a threat to both of them winning, though the question remains about the right time to pull the trigger. Xander and Ricard caught up and they both warned the other that both their names were out there, while they agreed that as long as their alliance sticks together, there is no risk and Liana will go home. Well, unless she plays her Shot in the Dark. And poor Erika just continued to go back and forth between which way to go.

At tribal council Jeff filled the jury in on the Do or Die twist before Liana spoke about how she didn’t sit out of the challenge because she felt safe, but because she hasn’t been doing great at them and as such, the risk was too high. Then Heather put that sentiment in a far less eloquent way, reading the people on the jury for being worse than her and as such, she had no flops left in the game to guarantee her safety. Essentially. Xander spoke about how much he is loving all the twists thrown at them while Danny is just glad to be immune, despite worrying about his closest ally being at risk. Jeff gagged them all with the fact it is their last chance to play their Shot in the Dark, which made Erika super nervous given there is so much to navigate around. And well, today is one of the days she totally hates the game.

Deshawn opened up about why he played the immunity challenge, sharing with the jury that he felt his confrontation with Ricard after the last tribal wasn’t him at his best and as such, he knew he was in trouble. This led to Ricard stepping in pointing out that Shan came to him to get rid of Deshawn and as such, that is what set the wheels in motion. Deshawn started to break down over the fact he had to turn on Shan to further his game despite wanting to stick with his culture. 

Liana agreed that in life and playing Survivor, she is always a black woman first and foremost and that puts bias on how people treat her and as such, they have so much more pressure on them to do better and be the representation they didn’t have growing up. Danny agreed that the alliance was so much more than that and that he looked forward to them starting a broader conversation outside the game. 

Xander thanked them for sharing and acknowledged his privilege in not having to represent any cultures and was aware how much easier life is for him, leading to Danny thanking him for being such a great ally. Heather jumped in and shared her gratitude for Deshawn being so open, apologising – for what, I wonder – and sharing how grateful she is to be learning from her fellow castaways. Liana spoke to the audience and apologised for bringing the real world into the game, but reminded those haters that this is the world and Survivor has always meant to be a microcosm of society and as such, these are important conversations.

Finally Jeffrey set up the Do or Die twist which tragically wasn’t a coin flip, but instead three boxes laid out in front of Probst. One box contained safety, while the other two contained Deshawn’s demise. Somehow, Deshawn shockingly defied the odds and guaranteed himself a spot in the final six. With that, the game continued and the tribe voted, with Erika sticking with her alliance and sending Liana from the game.

Despite the heavy, emotional tribal council, Liana had her head held high when she arrived in Ponderosa and was proud of how well she played the game. While I’ve only known Liana a short while – we crossed paths in DC when I was meeting with Michelle Obama about a business deal after Barack left office – her kindness is something I truly love, so I was glad to be able to help dull the post-boot pain with a Roast Liamba Wallace.

Honestly, there is nothing better than a perfectly cooked roast lamb. Despite being more a sausages and mince kinda carnivore, roast lamb is something that I will never go past. Plus, how damn good as the cold leftovers on a little sandy-j with a really punchy mustard?

Enjoy!

Roast Liamba Wallace
Serves: 6, plus leftovers, ideally.

Ingredients
1.6kg boned leg of lamb
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp flour
½ cup dry cinzano
½-1 cup chicken stock

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Using a paring knife, make six holes 2cm deep and 2cm long in the lamb and press a clove of garlic inside. Carefully rub the leg of lamb with some of the oil and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper before placing the lamb in the oven for an hour or so for medium.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate before covering with foil to rest for 15 minutes.

While that is happening, remove the rack from the pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to form a roux, using your judgement on how much flour is needed. Whisk in the cinzano and half the stock, scraping all the baked on goodness from the pan for optimal umami goodness. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or so, adding additional stock as needed until the gravy is at your desired thickness.

Once the lamb is well rested, carve and serve with your favourite veggies, completely slathered in gravy. Then devour.


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Wai Chimichangas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

Then, obvi, devour.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like the brutal icon she is!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Roast Chooke Jowett

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brooke was all alone, with only the love and dreams of the nation to keep her company. Well, that and the immunity necklace, which she won for a record breaking fifth time, despite the fact we’re all forgetting the pre-merge victory. Back at camp David and his bland (well, dominant) alliance realised that they needed to flip on themselves, splitting down gender lines with Tarzan pushing to get rid of Sharn and Moana suggesting they get rid of Tarzan in the hope that David could defeat Brooke at the next immunity challenge. Ultimately though, David sided with the girls, while Brooke tried to vote for Dave – despite his idol – and poor Tarzan was booted from the game.

The next day Sharn was doing ASMR about Tarzan to David to make sure he knows just how much she really, truly valued him and everything he did. Though love me, David, LOVE ME is all I heard. Thankfully Brooke was acting as the voice of the public, calling out Moana and Sharn for playing a boneheaded game and not trying to take a shot at David when they had the chance. Though once again, she was hopeful to win immunity, fuck up their plans and force them to send him out of the game and start writing her winner’s cheque.

Meanwhile Dave joined Brooke near the shelter and after coughing like you would pre-COVID, sat down with her to ask if she is still hellbent on facing off against him. Brooke laughed it off, saying she literally has no options and nobody wants to work with her, so he is safe … unless he is interested in working with her. Knowing that he is completely falling apart after back-to-back seasons, he said that he would be interested to work together since whoever loses the next challenge is going home. But if they work together, they can save themselves and make this interesting.

After putting the idea out into the universe, Dave approached Moana to reiterate the importance of getting rid of Brooke at the next tribal council. Moana then spoke about how much she, David and Sharn need to win the game, which honestly annoys me, because this game shouldn’t be about need. I mean, that is what GoFundMe or my fellow high school alumni Celeste Barber is for!

We then got some generic filler supercuts with Brooke reminding us that Sharn and Moana dogged her at the last tribal council, Dave reminded us that he is playing his game for his kids and to be able to spend more time with them. He then started to cry about spending so much time away from them playing two seasons and just like that, I am back to wanting Dave to win. Or well, being ok with it … if Brooke can not.

My love Jonathan arrived for the penultimate immunity challenge of the season and hot damn, it’s a doozy! The final four would race to roll a ball down a shoot, race through obstacles and catch it before it hits the ground. They would then shoot the ball into a cup before shooting coconuts at a wall to break two tiles, then crawl under a ladder dragging a bag, building a ladder and scaling a wall before collecting three bags each containing a ball. Which they would then guide to the top of an upright maze to land them in three holes. And then they win immunity. As has become the way, David and Brooke were neck and neck at the start of the challenge with Brooke the first to catch her ball on the obstacle. Sadly while she struggled to land her ball in the cup, David made it past the first obstacle and quickly landed his ball. He then continued to extend his lead, crashing through the first tile as Brooke landed her ball. She quickly cracked her first tile, evening things up and making things more interesting than Jonathan’s spicy commentary. That being said, I do love David busting nut after nut. Brooke cracked her second tile just before David, as they went neck and neck under the net.

Oh and Sharn and Moana were absolutely nowhere. That isn’t relevant, but lol.

David made it over the wall first and had a slight lead going into the maze, before Brooke caught up. Both of them shaking from fatigue as they worked on the maze as Brooke landed her first ball which was quickly followed by David’s first. Brooke tried to play it fast to get a lead, though dropped right at the top giving David a lead as he landed his second. And while she fought valiantly, he landed his third and secured immunity. Back at the start of the challenge, Sharn and Moana were just thrilled to be able to stop while David and Brooke hugged, both crying as he congratulated her on being a beast and apologised for crushing her dreams. Well since it is obvious that Brooke is joining the elite group of fourth place robbed goddesses, I guess I am thrilled that it is Dave that will be taking out the win.

The final four returned to camp where David couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, praising Brooke on her continued challenge prowess. She then went to quietly reflect on the end of her game, while Dave worked to assure Sharn and Moana that they too are safe. Knowing that she needs to dig deep, Brooke caught up with Sharn by the fire and suggested that she is ending her own game by voting out Brooke, given that Moana and David will both take the other to the end over her. This made Sharn paranoid and contemplated her options, giving Brooke enough ammunition to approach Moana and let her know that Sharn, once again, is playing both sides. Because Brooke wants to battle Moana at final tribal council

While they were chatting, Moana and Dave caught up about the fact that they don’t have anything to worry about given at worst, it will be a tie and she and Brooke will need to face off in a fire challenge. That being said, Moana was hopeful that her real world friendship would be enough to stop Sharn from flipping. Brooke didn’t even need to talk to Moana, as Sharn’s growing cockiness at the thought of having the game locked up made Moana nervous about what her friend was planning. As such Moana approached Brooke to find out what Sharn was playing at, with Brooke pointing out that Moana truly needs to make sure she is in the final three with two other people that want to take her to the end and keeping her in the game means both she and Dave would take her, guaranteeing her a shot at final tribal. Which honestly is the best possible pitch because Moana is literally the only person that would be guaranteed to make the end in that situation. And realistically won’t go if she is in the final three with David and Sharn who would take each other, for some weird reason in Sharn’s case.

At tribal council – which was interrupted by another confusing, meandering presser from the PM (just tell us to stay inside and act like we hate COVID like Jacinda, please) – David spoke about his shock at making it to this point, a guaranteed shot at the final immunity challenge. While he was elated, he was kind of surprised that nobody went after him despite the mammoth target on his back. Continuing to play to the jury and the audience, David rightly lavished Brooke with praise and said that playing against her has been the biggest honour and joy for him. On the flipside, Brooke was disappointed to have lost immunity though took it with grace. But not lying down, advised Moana and Sharn that whoever joins her tonight will be the one she takes to the end. She then read them both for filth, pointing out they both told her that they can’t win at the end against Dave, and nor can they beat him at final tribal and as such, they’re stupid not to at least try going against her.

This annoyed Sharn who said that while that was Brooke’s pitch, she never actually said that she didn’t think she could beat Dave and lol. I mean, I loved Sharn in her first season but how in the hell can she not see that she has – to quote Spencer – zero percent chance of winning the game? Brooke called her out for lying and told her that she has admitted that she has no chance against Dave, then went in on her and continued to paint her as a shady liar. Brooke then heaped praise on Dave as the best Survivor player in the world, trying to scare Moana into action. This led Sharn to step in and fight, reminding everyone (read: Moana) that this is the only path for Brooke and honestly, she will win final immunity if she gets there. Sadly that logic is flawed, given she has said time and time again that Dave will win in the end, so if she does win final immunity, she will take anyone but him. And while they’re both kind of guaranteed to lose unless they are against each other, they surely have a better chance against Brooke.

Moana jumped in and said that while Brooke doesn’t think either of them have the ability to beat Dave, it is up to them to prove her wrong. And while I admire the confidence, I don’t know if they are accounting for who is sitting on the jury. That being said, if Moana didn’t think she could beat everyone left, she would have blindsided them. Sharn agreed that she also thinks she can win – lol – before David admitted that he is fully aware that should he lose final immunity, he knows that he is going to come in third. Smelling blood in the water, Brooke said that taking someone strong to the end is the boldest play you can make and already, she would award Dave the title knowing what he is visibly done. Though she knows that he has played harder than that and will have a compelling case.

Moana said she was confident in the direction she has chosen to take, while Brooke said that people have suggested they may vote with her, they all need to realise that loyalty won’t get you to the end. More specifically, it won’t give you money to buy your family a house, Mo. With that the tribe voted and tragically Brooke was finally felled from the game, though thankfully she joined the illustrious ranks of our fourth place robbed goddesses – Flick, Michelle, Shonee and Luke.

Through tears, I stood at the doors of Jury Villa and applauded our newest queen as she arrived to officially join the ranks of the iconic fourth placers. Please note that every fourth placed robbed-goddess has also played the game twice, which is a testament to their skillz and charm. Given I was overwhelmed by emotion (and knowing that Brooke’s loss likely put us on the trajectory we’re currently on in corona-ville) and I knew Brooke would be in need of some much needed nourishment, I quickly whipped up a Roast Chooke Jowett and toasted on playing the best losing game of the season.

Like her underdog journey, there is something so nourishing and wholesome about a perfectly roasted chicken. Your home is filled with a gorgeous aroma, there are leftovers for days and honestly, you feel a little bit smug because it always seems much more daunting than it is. Essentially, it is a culinary hug, which is what Brooke deserves.

Enjoy!

Roast Chooke Jowett
Serves: 4-6, depending on the amount of leftovers you want.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled (or just washed, no judgement) and cut into 3cm lengths
2 sticks of celery, just into 3cm lengths
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and bruised
olive oil
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, ideally thyme, rosemary and sage
1 lemon, pierced with a skewer
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp flour, ¼ cup vermouth and 2 cups of chicken stock, should you want to make an accompanying gravy

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C and take the chicken out of the fridge for about half an hour to come to temperature.

Throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a large baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine. Grab the chicken and shove the herbs and lemon inside the carcass. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, rubbing over to make sure it is well coated. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, reduce the oven to 200°C and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.

Remove chicken from the oven, transfer to a plate, cover and rest for fifteen minutes at which point, mash all the veggies in the pan juices should you be making a gravy. Add the flour and cook over medium heat on the stove until bubbling. Whisk in the vermouth and stock and cook, stirring, until a thick, glorious gravy is formed. Season with pepper.

Serve the chicken with your fave roast veggies, drowned in gravy with some white crusty bread for sopping up – like a queen – as you devour.


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Leemon & Porkarseldine Pasta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the remaining Vakama were sitting ducks after losing Locky at the merge tribal council. Like Shonee before him, David was once again all about revenge though this time, he was taking it back to his previous season and eliminating anyone that wronged him. And well, Harry was the last target remaining. Knowing this, Harry appealed to Lee and Zach to try and get them to flip to the Vakama side and take control. After suffering through last season’s final immunity challenge again, Harry was once again bested, this time by Brooke. At tribal council, he worked hard to appeal to the boys’ need to play a better game this time around, however they chose to stick with their alliance for the time being and sent Harry from the game.

The next day Shonee was feeling completely isolated as the last rascal standing, though was glad to still have two friends in Brooke and AK. But Shonee being Shonee, she didn’t rest on her laurels and got to work making new friends with all the oldies that she has nothing in common with. She and Jacs spoke about their Sunday morning routines before she stumbled upon the fact that she and Tarzan are both from Toowoomba. And just like that, our queen has another bestie.

Speaking of Tarzan, he was busy collecting water with Lee who was thrilled to once again be edging closer to the end of the game. We then saw a clip of him in the final two when his family came out before the votes were read and I know where this is going, so I freely admit to being sick with dread.

Before we got to the tragedy, Jonathan returned for the reward challenge which is honestly a horrible pivot. The tribe would be split into two groups and face off one at a time, slide down a slide into a mud pit, wrestle for a ball and then shoot said ball into a basket. It was for a BBQ, so everyone was obviously thrilled. But honestly, Shonee cried over a sandy, so I assume their standards have dropped a bit. David and Tarzan were the first to face off, with David scoring the first point for himself, Brooke, Sharn, Zach and Moana. Which honestly seems pretty unfair. Sharn extended the lead with a huge over-the-shoulder shot while Jacqui wrestled her. Lee closed the gap slightly with a victory over Zach before Brooke defeated Shonee and extended the lead again. Up next, David scored another point for his team before AK even realised what had happened. Oh and then Moana put her footballing career to use, destroying Jacqui and securing reward for herself, Sharn, Brooke, David and Zach.

At reward the victors were thrilled to discover a tonne of food and drink before Zach worked to steal my heart, stripping off at reward and flashing his butt as he scrubbed away with mud. They joyously smashed food and returned for seconds before discovering letters from home. Sharn got a sweet acrostic poem from her kids before Moana broke down over a letter from her sister Vinny who she is the full time carer for, who drew their entire family and a letter from her wife, who she married just before playing the game. Zach’s sweet streak continued as he sobbed over his letter from his fellow animal sanctuary lover. Brooke meanwhile was thrilled to get to learn a bit about her tribemates, hoping it may give her a chance to find an in. We then learnt that David wears a flower in his hair at challenges for his daughter and that he is playing the game so that he can afford to move back home to live closer to his sons. And hot damn, I am now crying and do not even mind if David walks his way to the end.

Back at camp Tarzan, Lee and AK were washing the mud off and cleaning their clothes, with Tarzan and Lee nuding up and washing each other’s back. The joyous portion of the game however was interrupted as Lee was summoned off camera by a producer where he learnt that his mother had suffered a massive stroke and was unlikely to survive. Tarzan found him in the jungle where Lee broke down in his arms as he told him what happened before announcing that he would be leaving the game. Tarzan and Jacqui took him back to camp where he told Shonee and AK what happened before the victors were brought back to camp to say goodbye. The tribe huddled around him, hugging each other and sobbing over his pain and honestly, this is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen on Survivor. Even more than Deitz’s son in Second Chances.

Tragically his mother Beth passed away by the time he had made it to the Fijian airport, so I’m going to drop any pretenses of catching up.

Lee came into his second season a changed man, sure he was still a loyal provider, but he was also ready to play the game this time and I was loving watching where it was going. Hopefully he gets another shot to show off his growth, but in the meantime, we should all whip up a Leemon & Porckarseldine Pasta in honour of him being an all around nice guy.

The whack of lemon punches through the saltiness of the pork, leaving you a smooth, creamy bowl of comfort. Plus the broccolini and a little bit of chili join the fun to make it even better.

Enjoy!

Leemon & Porkarseldine Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g Italian pork sausages
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chili flakes
2L chicken stock
500g penne
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, cut into thirds
300ml cream for cooking
1 lemon, zested and juiced
⅓ cup grated parmesan, plus more to serve
torn basil leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings to create a series of small meatballs. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or until browned. Add the leek to the pan and cook for a further few minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and chili and cook for a further minute to take the edge off.

Add the stock and bring to the boil before adding the stock, reducing to a simmer and cooking for about 15 minutes or until tender and the stock has reduced. Add the broccolini and cook for a few minutes or until the broccolini is cooked through. 

Reduce heat to low, tir in the cream, lemon zest and juice and the parmesan with a good whack of better and salt if you need. Cook until the sauce thickens up, about five minutes, before serving with some parmesan and basil.

Then devour.


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