Irene Hamdubois Helper

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

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

Womp womp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Romesco Saucobar

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the lush islands of Fiji where one by one they were eliminated, starting with the tragic loss of Jackson and Zach within the first few days. They were followed out the door – yes, this is happening – Marya, Jenny, Swati and Daniel before three became one as the tribes merged, or so they thought, as once again, the merge was a bit of a gag. That cost Lydia her game before the official merge saw Chanelle ascend to the throne as Queen of the jury. She was soon joined by Rocksroy, Tori, Hai, Drea and Omar before the final five were sent to a new beach to start over. Despite winning an advantage for the challenge, Lindsay couldn’t take out victory and landed on the jury bench before Romeo narrowly snatched final immunity and took Maryanne to final tribal council with him, leaving Mike to earn his place and sending Jonathan from the game to become the final juror.

The final three awoke on Day 26 to watch the sunrise, proud to have made it all the way to the end and to get the chance to argue their case. Though Mike was worried about how he would be able to convince the jury of his game, despite all of them giving confessionals about really needing him to own the fact he is the biggest snake left in the game. Romeo meanwhile was proud of playing from the bottom the entire game, with the jury admitting that his ability to persevere and outlast everyone has been very impressive. Maryanne meanwhile was readying herself to scream all of her achievements from the rooftops and while the jury were thrilled to see Maryanne make it to the end, they worried about her ability to articulate her superior game. And TBH, focus on the task at hand.

With that, the final three arrived at the final tribal council where Probst quickly explained the proceedings for the evening. Omar kicked off the discussion about their social games, praising all of them for making it to the end and encouraged everyone to outline what they did to deserve the win. Tori spoke about Mike’s passion for trust and integrity, while Maryanne was charming and fun while Romeo was quiet, asking how accurate her read was and whether she missed anything. Mike leant straight into his love of trust, while Maryanne countered that she has always taken the game seriously, desperately trying to downplay her threat level as all the young people kept getting voted out when they tried to make a move. While Romeo just agreed that yes he was paranoid, but that he kept throwing hinky votes out to keep people riled up.

That sadly upset Hai, who accused him of gaslighting him and ugh, Hai destroyed him. Despite his attempts to apologise and them ultimately moving on, I still worry for Romeo in this final tribal. Giving him hope, Omar asked Mike about some of the other times he lied that he hadn’t copped to, including the blindside of Drea. While Mike tried to talk around things, Chanelle jumped in to call bullshit on the situation, leading to Mike getting more and more desperate as he tried to explain that he only crossed people that crossed him. Which Hai pointed out was mainly Omar feeding him lies. Jonathan tried to get Mike to fight before Drea cooled things down and reminded everyone that they all lied, but the fact of the matter is that Mike’s social game was just on point.

Talk turned to Maryanne’s sloppy social game pre-merge, with Maryanne admitting she hadn’t realised how much her tribe hated her before the merge but once she realised, she rightly course corrected. Lindsay then gave Maryanne the chance to explain who she pulled in herself, with her highlighting her skills in taking out Omar. And while Jonathan tried to take ownership of the move, she slapped him down and rightly took credit. Because trust and believe, it was her moment.

Rocksroy kicked off the physical portion of the game, with Maryanne talking about her contribution around camp, weaving fronds and prepping the fish. Mike meanwhile highlighted his work ethic, powering along all season to look after his tribe. While Romeo admitted he has never camped and just learnt to swim, and as such, he is proud of himself for persevering and finally snatching immunity at the final four.

Drea kicked off the strategic portion, telling the final three that this is what will decide her vote. She asked each of them to outline their biggest move with Romeo talking about his fake immunity idol and winning the final challenge. Oh and that he took Maryanne because she didn’t have a strategy. Mike meanwhile spoke about orchestrating the blindside on Hai, with him admitting that sometimes his emotions got the best of him before he realised mid-sentence that he wasn’t as honest as he thought. Maryanne meanwhile shut it down, explaining that getting rid of Omar set her up with a bunch of final three combinations she could navigate. She then outed her idol, impressing everyone by keeping the secret and clearly articulating how removing Omar is the thing that took her to the end.

Romeo meanwhile broke down, disappointed to have had to play the game from the bottom and to not show his real self throughout the game. Though he was proud to have never given up and make it to the end, and to finally be able to live his life as a proud gay man. Mike spoke about being proud of himself for overcoming the generational barriers, competing with the younger kids and making the bonds to get to the end. While Maryanne once again dominated, sharing how she learnt to stand up for herself and to not self-sabotage, which is why she voted out Lindsay. She cried about having to turn on a friend, though finally knew that she had to take the risk of getting rid of her, to give herself the best shot at winning.

With that the jury voted and once again, everyone was gagged to discover that Jeff would be reading the votes right then and there in the middle of Fiji. Sadly for Romeo, none of them were for him as he found himself becoming the second runner-up of the season.

As Jeffy pop and co reset to film the reunion, I pulled Romeo aside and gave him a massive hug for all that he achieved throughout the season. And for giving a surprisingly dominant performance in the final tribal council. Romeo perfectly articulated how he managed to navigate the game despite being on the bottom the entire time, while also going on a massive journey to self-acceptance. Which is not bad for 26 days of work! And while it didn’t jag him the win, it was more than enough to win him my heart and a big ol’ ramekin of Romesco Saucobar.

A little bit tangy with a touch of earthiness and punch of sweetness, this Spanish sauce is the perfect accompaniment for pretty much anything. Make it a bit thicker and you’ve got a punchy dip, thinner and it works perfectly with some charred chicken.

Enjoy!

Romesco Saucobar
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
150g chargrilled capsicum, drained well
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
¼ tsp chilli powder
20g flaked almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method
Pop everything into the blender and blitz until smooth.

Decant and either down, dip or drizzle on something and devour – your choice!


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Sichuanyx Chilli Oil

Condiment, Dip, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls starred in los Javis’ neauvo rusical Holy Drag Camp! And well, while we literally saw the entire show, the quality held up and I kept my complaining to a minimum. Despite having a killer voice, Juriji struggled while Jota disappeared into the background as her sisters shone. Oh and Onyx was just there, but given her character was a painting, there wasn’t much she could actually do to stand out. While Sharonne continued to deliver killer performances, it was Estrella who was rewarded for killing each week as she took out her first victory of the season. Juriji and Jota landed in the bottom too and while Jota put everything on the line, Juriji absolutely slayed the lip sync, saved herself and sent sweet, young Jota packing. 

Backstage Diamante couldn’t give a shit to have lost their youngest sister, while Juriji paid tribute to Jota’s bravery and how talented she is at such a young age. Despite not lip syncing, Onyx was disappointed to have received negative critiques from the judges, while Sharonne desperately tried to remind them how talented both the bottom queens are. While Diamente, again, just wanted Juriji to wake up and put up, though was hopeful lip syncing was the push she needed. Everyone pivoted to praising Estrella on her well deserved win, before Diamante gave them all one final wake up Pearl moment, which is a pretty confident thing to do for safe.

They then all made out and snuggled and yeah, my basement was and continues to be, flooded.

The next day the dolls were doing their best animal impersonations, which is a vibe, before speculating what challenge they would be facing this week. Supremme soon arrived to put them out of their misery by immediately throwing them into this week’s Mini Challenge where they would have to recite poetry in front of a big fan. More importantly, the Pit Crew arrived in mesh underwear, so obviously I stopped paying attention on anything else. After they all hornily reached into the Pit Crew’s sacks to grab a poem, they had 20 minutes to merrorise the poem and get into some quick drag before the Pit Crew wheeled out said fan to blow on their face while they recited their erotic poetry.

As is oft the case when the Pit Crew around, we all proved to be winners, though apparently it was Onyx that took out victory for keeping her dignity, winning a huge haul of sex toys.

Supremme then dropped the big news though, as the dolls learned that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be playing Snatch Game! The dolls quickly split up to start prepping their looks before Supremme dropped by to learn who everyone would be playing with Diamante hilariously doing wrestling mask RuPaul – don’t get this franchise cancelled, Diamante! – Marina will be playing Antonia Dell’atte, Onyx shared she would be doing Jauna de Loca or Valencia’s neighbour, which got a big reaction from Jruiji, given the latter is her number one choice. Sharonne will be playing Veronica Forque – who died after the show was shot, thus her receiving a tribute at the top of the episode – while Drag Sethlas will be Carmen Lomana, Estrella meanwhile was playing Paquita Salas and Venedita will be Miguel Bose.

We quickly pivoted to set where Jedet and Eva Hache were lined up to star as guests, and while it is always harder to get the references in foreign franchises, it was clear that Sharonne and Juriji were slaying the game. While Onyx was well and truly bombing, alongside Diamante, who made RuPaul as proud as Trixie before her. And while the rattlesnake noise tells me she was bombing, I lived for Drag Sethlas vocal fry as Carmen Lomana. Oh and Venedita’s wackadoo, anti-vaxxer was hilarious in a way that transcended language.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with Diamante terrified about landing in the bottom, while the dolls were proud of how funny Juriji proved to be. They then split up to get prepped for the runway and for some of them, hopefully save themselves from their terrible performances. Onyx opened up to Juriji and Drag Sethlas about her depression and the struggle to accept her weirdness as her strength. Marina and Estrella joined the conversation, talking about how great it is that they can all be themselves and are celebrated for it and ugh, again, they are all too sweet.

Supremme, Ana, y los Javis were joined on the panel by Goya winning actress, Maria Leon for the Spanish Dolls runway where Marina opened the show as a neon, plastic disco delight and damn, she looked good. Diamante was a voodoo ragdoll, Sethlas went nude, serving genderless Barbie realness, while Onyx was perfection as a porcelain doll. Sharonne was serving perfect face as a pillow doll before revealing herself as Teela from Masters of the Universe. Juiji was a glam, goth porcelain doll, Venedita was perfection as a Matador souvenir doll, while Estrella was a creepy, crazed paper doll before revealing herself to be a sexy blow-up doll.

Ultimately Marina was sent to safety alongside Estrella before the judges read Diamante for being terrible in Snatch Game, which is something she freely agreed with. The judges wished Sethlas chose her other Snatch Game option, before Onyx was read for being completely stuck in her head, though they loved her runway. Sharonne once again received universal praise for everything she did this week, particularly for nailing the characterisation of Veronica. Juriji too received universal praise, with the added bonus being that she surprised the judges with how good she was. Oh and they lived for everything that Venedita did this week too.

Backstage the safe dolls were busy chatting away when the tops and bottoms joined them to talk things through, with Diamante sure that she would lip syncing. While Sharonne admitted the choice between Sethlas and Onyx joining her is a tough one, with both sure it would be them. Juriji meanwhile was proud to show off her skills while the dolls questioned if there was anything Venedita can’t do!

Despite Juriji and Venedita giving very strong performances, it was Sharonne who took out her second win of the season. At the other end of the pack, Sethlas narrowly avoided the bottom leaving Diamante and Onyx to lip sync for their lives. As soon as Arrasando by Thalia kicked off, both the dolls went off. They hit every lyric and danced around stage and while Diamante gave the more traditional, ballroom-style lip sync, I was living for Onyx’s silliness and campy moves and as such, I was absolutely heartbroken when she was told to sashay away.

Like Onyx, I am riddled with self-doubt and each day is a struggle to self acceptance so when we met up backstage, I quickly pulled her in for a massive hug. I mean, yeah, I also find Onyx ridiculously attractive, so the hug was just as good for me as it was for her, but I knew she needed to remember that she is talented, loved and to know other people could see it. And while it may not seem like it, I feel my Sichuanyx Chilli Oil truly proved it to her.

As hot and spicy as Onyx herself, this oil packs such a deep, earthy punch. Perfect for dipping, drizzling and in a state of disappointment, I guess, drinking, the oil’s warmth carries on long after it passes your lips and acts as a delicious hug for everything that passes. Food wise, obvi, because it is spicy.

Enjoy!

Sichuanyx Chilli Oil
Makes: 1 ½ cups.

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt

Method
Pop the vegetable oil, cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves and Sichuan peppercorns in a saucepan over low heat. Cook for about half an hour, or until lightly fragranced. Crank the heat to high and cook for a a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.

Combine the chilli flakes and powder, and salt in a bowl and strain the oil over to combine. Stir and leave to infuse for a couple of hours before serving. Or devouring.


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KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2 dear friends.

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

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

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

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

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

Serve and devour immediately, hopefully without burning your mouth.


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Vegetable Samontha Gash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy! 

Vegetable Samontha Gash
Serves: 6-8.

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 200C.

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

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


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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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Andrew Pucles Chips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the top eight fought it out for a car, with Dani taking out the reward but unwittingly cursed her own game. At the immunity challenge Hayley took out her first victory over queen Flick, much to the delight of Hayley. Everyone was finally realising that Cara and George only cared about each other, with Emmett trying to rally everyone together to target them. Thankfully Queen Cara found a hidden immunity idol which they were able to use as leverage to try and woo Wai and Hayley back to their side to boot the conveniently vulnerable Emmett. Which is exactly what they did, continuing George and Cara’s epic streak of somehow evading certain doom.

The next morning the dwindling tribe slowly started their day with Wai and Andrew catching up about her flip, with Wai explaining that she is simply at the point of voting to make it to the next step rather than joining with anyone per se. Hayley joined them to explain the flip, with Andrew annoyed by the fact they rightly made a move to better their place in the tribe given the alliance he wanted them to join left them at the bottom. George obviously arrived on the scene to make it awkward enough for them to stop the conversation, leading to Andrew catching up with Dani and bitch about the fact Hayley continues to flip every few votes, rather than brainstorming ways for them to move forward.

Speaking of hustlers trying to make their way to the end, George and Cara took a moment to celebrate their status as the underdogs and the fact that they have an idol in their back pocket to help propel them to the final two.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where they would break into two teams to release poles from a frame, cross a balance beam, retrieve sandbags, cross a mud pit and then add sacks to the end of their poles and shoot the sandbags into the sacks. First team to land three securing a massive Italian feast. Oh and the person that doesn’t compete gets to bet on who they think will win and joins them if they are correct. Andrew, Hayley and George were facing off against Flick, Dani and Wai, with Cara backing the girls to take out victory and score the four of them some food.

While the girls got out to an early lead, Hayley and the boys quickly managed to close the gap. Well, until George crossed the balance beam in a positively glacial pace and the girls pulled away again. Wai struggled over the mudpit, giving the other team the slightest of leads as they got to shooting their baskets. Sadly for them, Dani quickly got her eye in, landing two baskets before Andrew landed his first. Eventually Andrew closed the gap, leaving the teams desperately fighting for victory before Dani landed her final basket and sealed victory for the team.

And Cara.

Dani, Flick, Wai and a very lucky Cara arrived at their massive feast, delighted by the overwhelming smell of garlic. The girls toasted their success, with Dani quickly suggesting that they push for an all female final five and while Cara and Wai agreed that they want to see a girl win, me thinks they aren’t at the point of turning on George yet. Wai admitted that she has been playing it day by day and really only decided to get rid of Emmett on the way to tribal council. Dani told Wai that George had told them that Hayley and Wai were going to vote out the Brawns next, which Wai immediately denied. 

Dani then pushed for Cara to stop playing George’s game and instead make a move to get to the end. This fired Cara up who said that they are both making decisions and she is trying to temper the chaos that he loves. Though she did admit that she would turn on him, but only when it was at the point that she didn’t immediately become the next to go home. And given he is the only one that hasn’t lied to her, she needs to build trust with others before that will ever happen.

The next day George decided to dress up for the latest immunity challenge, while Cara, Hayley and George caught up by the fire. Cara admitted that she was confident with their trio, but was worried Wai would quickly flip on them should something spook her and as such, George needs to be quiet and listen to Wai when she floats plans and start relying on Hayley to help get the information to her. Wai joined them and explained that she would like to see Flick be the next one booted from the game, given she is protective of Andrew. Cara pointed out that that makes her and George vulnerable the further they move along the game, but didn’t push her point and wisely left Wai to talk through her logic.

Meanwhile Flick and Andrew were catching up about the Italian reward, with Flick explaining that she and Dani pushed to see whether anyone would be interested in getting rid of George. Flick explained that while Wai would easily flip, there is no way that Cara will follow along with any of them. Andrew reiterated that he doesn’t want to play for the others and the only way to break up George and Cara is to win immunity challenges and force their hands.

The tribe caught up with my love Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each hold a platform for themselves to stand on using a rope and ring above their heads. Last one standing taking out immunity, obvi. Bucking tradition, George didn’t drop within the first seconds of the challenge, instead Cara dropped after a few minutes with Wai just behind. After a long battle, George and Dani were the next to drop, leaving Hayley, Andrew and Flick to once again battle it out for immunity. After 90 minutes, Jonathan made the trio go down to holding the ring with only one hand which quickly took out Flick before Andrew dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley her second victory in a row.

Back at camp Andrew regretted his choice to go down to his left hand rather than his right before saltily suggesting the majority should instead be tending the fire rather than him and Dani. Speaking of the minority, they caught up to try and figure out who the majority would target with each of them listing compelling reasons why it would be them. As such, they locked in their votes for George and as such, Dani decided to try and flip Wai to help their cause.

Meanwhile George wanted to take out Andrew however was more concerned about doing something that would cause Wai to flip given he worried that would spell his doom. As such, he caught up with Hayley, Cara and Wai, talking about how Andrew just flipped out at him, suggesting that Wai is the most dangerous person and as such, needs to go. Surprisingly, Wai bought all of it and all of a sudden was less protective of Andrew, instead ready to join the others to vote him out.

The foursome split up, with Dani hunting for an idol before catching up with Wai and checking whether there is any point talking to her with Wai admitting that she is always open to talk, but she will also always be frank. Dani implored her to play her own game before they split up, with Wai admitting that she could ultimately go with either side, however going with George keeps a bigger target around.

Speaking of Geroge, he was eavesdropping on the minority trio and discovered that they haven’t had any success in finding the idol and as such, they’re good to go. Wai finally admitted to us that she doesn’t buy that Andrew was going to turn on her. As George praised Hayley for becoming the Queen of the tribe, Wai quietly looked on and really started to think voting out George would be best for her game. But TBH, she seemed like she was flip-flopping back and forth every few minutes.

At tribal council the tribe were surprised by a table with four urns sitting next to them which JLP explained would provide one of them safety once they are voted out. The catch being, they need to select the correct urn otherwise they’re booted for good. Hayley admitted that it is always nerve wracking to see someone come back after they were booted. Cara agreed that getting a second chance helps put a fire in your belly before George said that at this point in the game, you should just keep voting people out until it sticks. Dani opted to tell the majority alliance that they each need to start thinking about their individual games, unaware that sticking as a four for now – until say, top five – is the best option for all of them.

Andrew spoke about his nerves at the vote ahead, while Flick sold herself as a number that the majority alliance can use if and when it’s needed. Andrew played up George’s penchant for doing what is best for himself, though George admitted that even if he is the last man standing, there is no way he is a physical threat. Dani shadily said that once it is just him and the girls, they can come together and take him out then. George spoke about always feeling nervous, with everyone agreeing that only Hayley should actually feel ok. Wai shared that this tribal council doesn’t feel simple and easy for her and as such, anything could happen.

With that the tribe voted and George found himself becoming the last man standing as not only was Andrew booted but he also selected one of the unlucky urns and as such, officially exited the game and joined the jury. Given Andrew has been pretty even tempered throughout the entire game, despite being irritated by George, he took his boot in stride, with a big beaming smile.

Even when I smuggly made fire with a flint to prove that I am the ultimate survivalist, threatening to come for his gig. Given we’ve been friends for years – influencers and Youtubers go hand in hand, you know – he quickly told me I wouldn’t last a night in the wilderness without a bed or shower (so true) and as such, I should head into the kitchen and make us some Andrew Pucles Chips to smash while we catch up.

So, you know, I did.

Tangy and salty, crisp on the outside while gooey on the inside, these delights are oh so moreish. Though I do caution you, you will need a drink because these fried coins of perfection will make you thirsty. I recommended pairing with an icy IPA.

Enjoy!

Andrew Pucles Chips
Serves: 2 best mates.

Ingredients
vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dill pickles, sliced into coins and well drained

Method
These babies are pretty easy to make, so you can do everything all at once.

Start by heating 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat until it is about 180C.

Combine the flour, buttermilk, paprika, chilli, oregano and cayenne in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until smooth.

Pop half the pickles in the batter and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden and crisp. About a minute either side. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until all cooked.

Season with salt and serve with some Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie. Then, you know, devour.


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Franks’n Beans

Breakfast, Main

Oh my – where do I start with my dear sweet Frances Bean?! As you know, I am a dear friend of her parents Kurt and Courtney and as such, have always taken a protective older brother role in her life.

Oh and FYI, I am her third godparent with Michael Stipe and Drew Barrymore for my exemplary morals, though that never seems to make the news, does it?

I always tried to look out for Frances growing up, as I have long known – thanks to LVP, no less – that the crown is heavy and as the Princess of a grunge empire, her crown was pretty heavy and I always wanted her to know that I had her back and support her unconditionally.

To the point where I followed her to Bard College to make sure she was ok slash see if I could ride her coattails. Shockingly, I had a rare moment of self reflection and realised that riding coattails was exploitative, so I left school and let her soar.

And soar she did..

It was such a delight to see her again, give her and hug and reiterate to her how proud I am in the awkward way your mum does. Thankfully she didn’t think it was too weird and we spent the afternoon catching up and laughing about our past … over a big vat of Franks’n Beans.

 

 

Sticky and sweet, earthy and a little bit spicy, this little baby was our go to meal at college. Like a combination of a childhood hug and nostalgia, it is everything you could want while reminiscing about the good old days.

Enjoy!

 

Franks’n Beans
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 tbsp chilli powder
⅓ cup ketchup
⅔ cup bbq sauce
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 cups vegetable stock
800g canned navy beans, you could try dried but TBH it is too hard
salt and pepper, to taste
6 skinless hot dogs, thickly sliced

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and cook the bacon, onion and garlic for about five minutes, or until fragrant and glorious. Add the capsicum and chilli, and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the ketchup, barbecue sauce, muscovado sugar, dijon, worcestershire, stock and beans with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered and semi-stirring, for about an hour, or until the liquid is thick and glorious.

Add the hot dogs and cook for a further five minutes before serving generously on fresh toast.

And devouring.

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Pastrami Malek

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Main

Today’s former Emmy winner slash friend dropping by to celebrate The Gold Wing is very special to me. Not to take away from my dear friends Garry, Marg or Ava obviously, but Rami Malek is such a lovely delight and we met through this year’s hopefully dominant force of nature Amy Sherman-Palladino.

I was hanging around on the Gilmore Girls set, desperately hoping to get that triplet storyline off the ground with Alexis when Amy asked me to show a supporting player around the lot. I lay eyes on Rami and immediately said yes, hoping to make him my husband.

While I didn’t succeed in wooing him outside of a brief, tender kiss under the gazebo, we did become friends and given he is just the sweetest, I vowed to make him a star. This in turn led to me contacting Mickey Rooney and getting him a role in the Night at the Museum franchise, and well, then he became a big, big fucking star.

Given he has been hella busy with Mr. Robot and winning Emmys over the last couple of years, we haven’t spent as much time together as we’d usually like to, so it was wonderful to just hang together and run the Drama and Limited Series acting categories together. As a former champ, he can’t go past my friend Matthew Rhys for The Americans for Best Actor in a Drama while I am still hoping Milo Ventimiglia can pull it off for This Is Us Making You Cry. Nobody is beating Darren Criss for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. As a dear friend, I hope Peter Dinklage takes Supporting Actor for Game of Thrones, though the category is kinda wide open. And Supporting Actor in a Limited Series should go to Brandon Victor Dixon for Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert though a Finn Wittrock win for American Crime Story wouldn’t surprise me.

As seems to be the case with these odds fests, we were desperately hungry after we were done and thankfully I had a big ol’ hunk of Pastrami Malek waiting to sustain us. Because you know meat alway sustains me.

 

 

Another suggestion from Fame Hungry superfan Glenn DeLaCreme – beats ramen, no? – I was terrified to try making my own pastrami. But I persevered by combining a string of recipes I found online because I love my adoring fans, and I’m glad I did. Salty, spicy and sweet, this is the second best piece of meat you can put in your mouth.

The best being bacon, sickos. Obvi. Enjoy!

 

 

Pastrami Malek
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
1kg corned beef or beef brisket
2 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tbsp smoked paprika, ground
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
The night before you plan on tackling this, rinse the corned beef under cold water for a couple of minutes before placing in a large bowl of cold water. Cover, transfer to the fridge and leave to desalinate overnight. You can use brisket, however the pink curing salt is meant to be toxic, so I was too scared to home-cure.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, and rinse the corned beef once again. Generously rub the spices into the meat and place on a plate to come to temperature for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Transfer the meat to a rack on a baking dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for a couple of hours.

Once done, remove the meat and allow to rest uncovered for fifteen minutes before slicing and devouring.

 

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Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders got off to a rough start, with Jenna getting injured in the first challenge and Steve K’s paranoia rendering him a social pariah. That is until Matt killed his game at the first tribal and Steve K got his kit off with the zaddy club and won his way into my heart. Sadly for them and the future of glorious man nudity, a burgeoning all women alliance was forming at the Contenders and could strip me of my joy, one bun at a time. Despite nailing the reward challenges, the Champions struggled in immunity challenges, sending them to tribal back-to-back. With Russell out of the way as an easy target, Jackie and Damien tried to rally their troops with war hero and seeming delight Damien booted from the game.

We opened up at the Contenders camp where Shonee, Anita and Fenella were hunting for pawpaws, with Fenella continuing her relatability streak by complaining about the bush. Meanwhile out on the shore Steve K and Robbie were having a clothed bonding session doing some tai chi and/or martial arts. Me know sports, no? Steve shared that he is the ultimate puppet master of his tribe, working on making connections with the bro alliance to save himself before making a crab trap with Zach. Hot damn, I love Stev … wait, no, playing too hard. He spent his time bonding with Zach to broach the idea of taking out the women, despite being down in the numbers. Zach at least realised they were down in the numbers and needed to take them out if they were going to fight down gender lines.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Mat was lamenting their string of losses and having to vote out Damien. Thankfully it woke him up a bit, making him realise that he needed to play the game. This lead him to Moana, who was more than keen to align with him and further her budding kingdom. To solidify their alliance, she not only told him about her hidden immunity idol but asked him to hold onto it for her. Why do I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for her?

Before my bad feelings could come to fruition, Jonathan returned for the reward challenge where one member from each tribe would cling to a long, hard pole for dear life – aka my life – while two people from the opposing tribe work to pull them off and drag them to their mat. Given it was for a vanity and toothbrushes, both tribes were all in. Off topic: how good is brushing your teeth? Heath and Brian were first on the pole, while Sam, Mat, Robbie and Zach worked to extract them. Robbie and Zach made quick work getting Brian off … the pole, dragging him towards the mat – and victory – while Mat and Sam had an on-off dance with Heath and the pole.

Next up Jackie and Paige tried to hold off Fenella, Jenna, Sharn and Moana. While Sharn and Moana got out to an early lead, Paige put up a hell of a fight, flailing about before they ultimately scored the point. Heath and Steve W jumped on the pole for round three, with Benji, Robbie, Brian and Mat working to rip them off. While both groups quickly got their men off, Steve W and Heath put up a hell of a fight before out of nowhere, Robbie got a second wind and dragged Steve W – and Benji, who was hugging him – over the mat for another point. Next up Shonee and Lydia jumped on the pole, with Shane – with an assist from Monika – dominating Shonee and tying things up.

Match point featured Jenna and Jackie on the pole, with Lydia, Moana, Paige and Fenella working to rip them off. While Lydia and Moana got out to an early lead, Jenna started screaming in pain while Lydia tried to drag her away. This saw the challenge stopped with the medic called in, telling her to sit out of the challenge and leaving them to reset. Given they reset with Paige and Lydia on the poles and Moana, Sharn, Anita and Fenella dragging, it was no surprise that the champions won their third reward in a row.

Back at the Contenders, everyone was concerned about Jenna’s injury given she is good in challenges and brings up morale. The medic advised her that she should leave the game to avoid doing any further ligament damage, making her think about home, her daughter and all the reasons while she can’t bring herself to quit and will keep on fighting.

Things were far sunnier at the Champions tribe where they were thoroughly enjoying brushing their teeth, ogling themselves in the mirror and in Brian’s case, making sure his brows haven’t challenged the Spice Girls and done an old two becomes one job. With everyone distracted, Moana, Sharn and Mat got together to solidify their alliance, making me concerned that she is becoming way too confident.

At the Contenders tribe the gender divide continued to widen, as the boys all bro-ed it up and Zach’s confidence started to rub Queen Shonee the wrong way. She vowed that the boys needed to go one after the other however was concerned about losing the strength, so instead of going for Zach planned to target Steve K. While they weren’t sure whether Paige would be with them, Shonee, Fenella and Anita were convinced that they’d be able to swing Heath and Jenna to the side to make up the numbers and take control of the game. Did I mention Shonee is a queen?

JoJo returned to lord over the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to chop through a rope to make their big balls drop before lugging said balls through some obstacle, stringing it back up over a pole and swinging it into targets. The Champions got out to an early lead, however the Contenders were able to overtake on the wall obstacle as Jackie struggled to pull herself over. Sadly for them the lead didn’t last long as the Contenders couldn’t undo a knot, allowing the Champions to snatch back the lead. When it came to lobbing the rope over the final pole, the Contenders managed to take their lead back with Heath and Steve K knocking out a target before even Mat got the rope over. Once again, the Champions caught up – thanks to Steve W coaching Mat through the rope – and snatched victory, with the Contenders struggling to knock out their final target.

Back at camp Zach congratulated everyone for working hard in the challenge, despite being thrilled he can take out one of the women. Speaking of whom, the girls were hanging out by the shore to lock in their vote for Steve K and while everyone said they were keen to get rid of him, Paige wanted to check in with the boys and see what they were thinking. Paige went for a chat with the boys and shared that she was actually aligned with Robbie, Zach, Benji, Heath, Jenna and Tegan. They all agreed that Shonee was the actual target, split up and the boys locked in their actual target as Paige. Confused Tegan, Jenna and Heath disappeared to discuss the pros and cons of taking out Steve K or Paige, with them appearing to favour the idea of taking out Steve K with the Fenella, Shonee and Anita trio. Over the afternoon Zach grew more confident in his numbers and their impending blindside – the biggest ever done, in Steve’s word *coughs* still waiting for Sue’s big move *coughs* – which TBH left me fairly certain that tribal is a formality and Steve K is tragically exiting tonight.

At tribal council Jonathan quickly addressed the gender divide on the tribe, which Fenella quickly tried to deny saying she would happily drink a beer with the boys. Benji and Jenna continued to deflect JoJo’s questioning, before Rob admitted that there is definitely a majority  within the tribe. Tegan played it coy, saying she hoped she was part of it and would be voting with who she spoke to, allaying both sides fears. Steve and Benji spoke about trust and joked about their male intuition, much to the disgust of the females on the tribe and me on the couch. Zach and Steve admitted there were feeling confident about how the vote would play out, while Heath, Tegan and Jenna’s smirks seemed like that was not the case. As predicted, the votes rolled in and Steve K and the nudist club were shocked to discover they had been planned and Steve K found himself out of the game as the fourth boot.

Given my passionate love of Uber Eats – nope, not a paid endorsement … but they easily could pay me –  I’ve become quite a dear friend of Steve K as he delivers my shame foods around to the backdoor – surprisingly not a euphemism – so no one can judge me/assume I am a professional eater. I oft worry about how hard he has to work, carrying kilos of brisket, burgers and fries to me on the hour, so I always make sure I tip him in gallons of delicious Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry.

 

 

Back when I was even more basic white boy – can you believe? – a very mild mango chicken curry was as far as me and my colon were willing to push Indian. Oh, how the times have changed! Thankfully this version has ever so slightly grown with me, adding a light kick of chilli to the sweet mango and tomato sauce leaving the tender chicken bathed in, well, glory.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 onions, two whole and one diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 red chillies
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander ground
1 tsp garam masala
¼ cup natural yogurt
500 g chicken thighs diced
olive oil
6 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
400g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
270ml coconut cream
500g mango, pureed
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place the whole onions, half the garlic, the chillies, chilli powder, ground fennel, coriander and garam masala in a food processor and blitz until well combined. Add the natural yoghurt and blitz for a further minute. Transfer to a large bowl, stir through the diced chicken and transfer to the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken is ready to go, heat a lug of oil in a large pan over high heat and cook the cardamom and cinnamon until nice and fragrant. Add the remaining onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, or until soft.

Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken and marinade and cook for about five minutes. Once your kitchen is hella fragrant, add the tomatoes, tomato paste and coconut cream and bring to a rollicking boil, before reducing to a simmer, adding the mango puree and cooking, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour by which time it should be thick and spicy.

Serve piping hot on a bed of rice and with a massive pile of naans and papadums for ease of devouring.

 

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