La Grande Damarretto Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top four were given one final hurdle before battling for the crown and oh boy, was it a doozy – making over their besties! And while there are normally more than a few questionable choices, the quartet all served it as they stayed true to themselves while looking out for their friends. While that doesn’t help a competition format reality show, Nicky solved the little deadlock with a classic lip sync lalaparuza. As such, Soa defeated Lolita and booked the first spot in the top three. She was followed by Paloma before La Grande Dame narrowly completed the top three as Lolita Banana was tragically felled.

Backstage the top three were well and truly gagged to have made it to the end, before toasting to Lolita’s epic run to the top four. Though they didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, given they had a big week ahead if they wanted to snatch the crown. The next day the top three returned excited and ready to claim their crown. But after Nicky arrived to announce their final Maxi Challenge, they were a little less excited and erring more on the side of nervous. First up they would have to learn the lyrics to RuPaul’s Catwalk, in ENGLISH, then learn extensive choreography and perform it live on the mainstage. Then stomp the runway in front of fashion icon Olivier Rousteing.

Oh and obvs they will be having a little madeleine lunch with Nicky, as the French are wont to do.

After Nicky disappeared, they split up to speculate how painful their choreography would be, with everyone hoping for some camp disco moves. While La Grande Dame was only confident in her old white man moves. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long to find out as they quickly joined Nicolas Huchard on the mainstage to rehearse. And let’s just say, the performance is going to be very, very detailed and very, very intense. While Soa was in her element, Paloma was feeling super anxious and struggled to get it down and bring enough attitude. While Grande Dame was mildly confident, given she wasn’t the weakest. Well, unless this is a fakeout edit and Paloma is going to absolutely demolish the final performance.

Soa was first to kiki with Nicky, already feeling like a winner to have made it to the end. But hopeful to keep that fire and take the crown in honour of her dear friend Mrs Rose. La Grande Dame was next to drop by, simultaneously shocked to be there and proud of all that she has achieved. She revealed that she came to the competition because she had a difficult time growing up and wanting to show her mother another side of herself after difficult years apart, due to her queerness. Paloma meanwhile spoke about how the competition has made her feel like less of an imposter and that she has a place in the world. And ugh, I honestly love them all.

Nicky, Daphné and Kiddy were joined by Nicolas and Olivier on the judging panel as the top three took the stage for their performance of Catwalk and while Paloma looked tentative in rehearsal, she hit the stage with a fire and was so damn charming. La Grande Dame served non-stop moody glamour; ethereal and damn fierce. Soa meanwhile had all the energy, hitting every move and giving us sex from start to finish.

The Dragnifique runway was opened by our eliminated queens where La Kahena was a pretty princess in nude before stripping near nude and showing bum. So swoon. Lova gave showgirl glamour, La Briochée was a patchworked voodoo-Dorothy delight, Kam was peach-puff perfection while Elips was so gorgeous in a black, shimmering jumpsuit. Big Bertha went from red vamp, to revealing a bodysuit carving up her meat while Lolita was gorgeous in a gaudy quinceanera kinda way. When it came to the top three, Paloma was perfect in a moody red gown, complete with Bette Midler Hocus Pocus wig. Soa was sexy in a bead and leather outfit, giving structure and skin in equal measure while La Grande Dame was camp as hell in a shimmering lilac gown of frills and ruching.

Paloma received universal praise for all that she sold on the runway and for the diversity of her performances throughout the season. And for having so much fun. Paloma opened up to the judges, explaining how she wants her potential victory to inspire people to follow their dreams. Soa was praised for looking stunning on the runway, and for kicking off the season in such a strong fashion with her talent show performance. Oh and never mind her killer track record and dominating each lip sync she appeared in. She thanked the judges for their kindness and for embracing her. La Grande Dame meanwhile received praise for giving constantly evolving glamour on the runway and mixing it with such fun humour. And frankly, a whole lot of stupidity.

Nicky then wheeled out the baby pictures, with Paloma encouraging her younger self to stand firm and love herself and trust that everything will work out, despite the trauma and upheaval that is sometimes thrown her way. Soa told her baby self to use the pain that comes her way as fire to make something of herself and to fight. And again, I love her so much. La Grande Dame meanwhile told her even younger self that while life may be strange and confusing at times, to always keep hope and focus on her happiness.

Before they ventured to untuck, Nicky then announced that the queens had privately voted prior to the show with Elips crowned the first Miss Sympathie. Backstage the finalists reunited with their eliminated sisters, toasting to a killer season before Grande Dame shared that watching her sisters leave in tears was the hardest part of the entire competition for her.

The girls returned to the mainstage to lip sync for the crown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. And given the dolls are icons, none of them really tried to steal the spotlight from anyone else, calm and confident in their skills as they all turned a killer show. Soa was obviously moody and fierce, Paloma served all the emotion while Grande Dame was stunning and on every lyric. Complete with glitter. Sadly, while everyone nailed the performance (and the season more broadly), Nicky had to pick a winner. And tragically, that was not La Grande Dame who finished as one of the two runner-ups. This is going to become quite repetitive, but the top three were so damn strong that any of them could have taken out the crown and while I’m thrilled for the winner, both La Grande Dame and the as yet unmentioned here other runner-up were worthy.

As soon as La Grande Dame stepped offstage for the crowning, I pulled her in for a massive hug and marvelled how someone so young could do what she did. I then went on a rant about my own fading youth and asked her to give me hers, before I snapped out of it and congratulated her on a job well done with a glorious La Grande Damarretto Cake.

The only thing elegant or decadent enough for La Grande Dame’s aesthetic is this barely-tweaked Nigella number. Rich, dense and velvety smooth, it is essentially the perfect cake. And I’d be willing to fight anyone that disagrees.

Enjoy!

La Grande Damarretto Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened 
4 eggs, at room temperature
125g raw caster sugar
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dustin’
¼ cup amaretto liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until smooth and glossy, before removing from the heat to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, glossy and doubled in volume. Combine the almond meal and cocoa, before folding through the sweetened eggs.

Mix the amaretto and vanilla with the melted chocolate, then fold through the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until it is coming away from the edges and is cracked on the top. It should be dense and moist, but only just cooked through with a few crumbs left on an inserted skewer.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, before unclamping the tin and gently transferring the cake to a plate. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa before devouring, triumphantly. Despite not winning. 


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French Miss Moçoa

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race twelve new queens entered the Werk Room, ready to battle it out for a crown. And TBH, our hearts. Barely able to catch their breath, the dolls walked a street style fashion show. Before they had to turn their street clothes into catwalk chic for their mainstage debut. And again, so chic, Jamie. While most of the girls were quite strong, it was Lady Boom Boom who stormed the challenge to her first victory while Miss Moço and Halal Bae landed in the bottom. And after a hard fought lip sync, my zaddy Halal Bae found herself becoming the first boot.

And just like that, my basement started to drain.

Backstage the dolls were heartbroken to have lost Halal, none more so than her baby Bombae, who was now ready to fight for their family name. As was Miss Moço, who doesn’t want to land in the bottom again ever again. Or leave her fellow Toronto queen Jada with only Fiercalicious for company. Everyone congratulated Lady Boom Boom on her victory, while Jada was more focused on the fact that Boom Boom sounds sexy and floods her basement. Which is relatable, but triggering, since Halal Bae is gone.

The next day the dolls were energetic and ready to slay a new challenge, with Irma wanting to show off her comedy chops. Kimmy meanwhile noticed a bag had been left in the Werk Room which was filled with hockey jerseys, making everyone super butch. Or something. Brad arrived to explain that the jerseys were for his new gay hockey team, but first, the dolls would need to design the team kit in the form of a 30 minute quick-drag mini-challenge. First up Jada looked a technicolour mess, Kaos was just wild, Fiercalicious was delightfully slutty, Chelazon looked at the end of her tether, Boom Boom looked absolutely stunning, Vivian was adorable, Bombae wandered aimlessly, Moço flashed her buns – a win in my eyes – Giselle looked like she had seen some shit while Irma Gerd was intense and Kimmy served sex. Not sexy, just sex.

Ultimately it was Chelazon Leroux that took out victory though. Brad then announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be nominated for AND presenting at the Who-Knows Awards. And as the winner of the Mini Challenge, Chelazon had the power to partner everyone up. After picking Giselle for herself, she paired Fiercalicious with Kimmy, gave Jada and Moço their wish of being a duo and put Irma and Vivian together, leaving Bombae, Kaos and Lady Boom Boom as the final trio. The latter of which would be presenting Busiest Beaver Award. Jada and Moço were given Frostiest Queen, Nicest Caribooty would be given out by Chelazon and Giselle, Best All Dressed would be given by Kimmy and Fiercalicious, while the Lifetime Achievement in Delusion would be presented by Irma and Vivian.

After Brad exited the dolls split up to start working on their sets, with Bombae confident in their group setting the scene and slaying. Irma and Vivian meanwhile were giggling away and coming up with the stupidest jokes possible. Jada and Moço were confident to be working together, given they do it in their real lives and were planning to leave nerves at the door. On the flipside, Fiercalicious started to spiral, worried about whether her and Kimmy can even be funny, while Chelazon and Giselle were just vibing. But more importantly, Irma and Vivian were absolutely delightful.

As Fiercalicious and Kimmy grew more and more frustrated with each other, Brad returned to check in with the girls, with Boom Boom opening up about being worried about not being funny in English. Jada and Moço were thrilled by how much Brad was living for their script, Chelazon and Giselle appeared to be on the right track while Kimmy and Fiercalicious appeared to make him nervous. Obviously Irma and Vivian were adorbs, despite Brad cautioning them to not try too hard. 

Elimination Day arrived with Kaos super nervous of the challenge, while Fiercalicious was unsure how she and Kimmy will be able to pull things together. Talk turned to everyone’s sense of humour, with Irma using humour to make friends from a young age while Bombae treated it as her lifejacket. Chelazon meanwhile opened up about humour being so important for Indigenous people, sharing that she is two spirit and sharing how laughter has helped her through the tough times. Kaos meanwhile wanted to open up about her own journey as an Indigenous person, though didn’t want it to come off as insincere, given she felt she presents too white. Which is honestly heartbreaking.

Oh and Fiercalicious continued to yell at Kimmy.

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined by rockstar Carole Pope on the judges panel as the Who-Knows Awards kicked off. And well, as soon as Kaos, Lady Boom Boom and Bombae arrived to give out the Busiest Beaver Award, they were super cute. Albeit a little formulaic. Well, until Kaos and Boom Boom started to read their sisters, then they slayed. Oh and Jada won, because the girls actually voted on these awards. Giselle and Chelazon were camp delights as Kaos took out Best Caribooty, Moço and Jada meanwhile bombed as Frostiest Queen was bequeathed to Chelazon before Kimmy stole the damn show – despite not sticking to Fiercalicious’ direction – giving Best All Dressed to Lady Boom Boom before Irma and Vivian were silly, stupid and so much fun as the Lifetime Achievement Award for Delusion went to Miss Fiercalicious.

On the Goddess of the Ancient World runway, Kaos was a white, winter warrior bride and well, it was hot. Bombae was perfect, giving full glamour, Boom Boom was a sexy little cupid, Moço was vampy – and a little nervous – as the goddess of the underworld while Jada was a sexy snake-fish golden dream. Chelazon was a stunning sky goddess in black, while Giselle was a floral, forest delight, Kimmy was perfection as an orange sun goddess, Fiercalicious was a mirrored, golden delight before Vivian gave black and golden Norse delight and Irma closed the show as a chaotic, rainbow fairy floss delight.

Bombae, Giselle, Boom Boom, Kaos and Vivian were deemed safe and sent to untuck before Moço was praised for looking so glamorous and giving all the emotion. Though she was read for filth for bombing the challenge and missing the mark. Jada too was read for the challenge, though they also loved her runway. Chelazon received praise for powering through the challenge and for having an absolutely perfect mug, though the judges were disappointed she didn’t give enough in the looks. Kimmy meanwhile received universal praise for all that she did, from the challenge to the runway. As did Fiercalicious, despite the fact they were not vibing before taking the stage. And while Irma started strong, the judges felt she got stuck in her head and started to fade while they felt her look didn’t scream chaotic like she had hoped.

The tops and bottoms joined the girls backstage with Fiercalicious excited to be in the top, before quickly trying to rub it in Chelazon’s face, given she was trying to be shady by pairing her with Kimmy. Which is not at all what she was doing. Irma was disappointed to be in the bottom while Jada pulled focused as she broke down over her landing in the bottom. While Moço was more nervous about having to lip sync against her sister.

Ultimately it was Kimmy that took out her first win of the season as Chelazon and Fiercalicious were sent to safety. Meanwhile besties Moço and Jada’s worst fears came to life as Irma was deemed safe and they had to lip sync against each other to High School Confidential by Rough Trade (and you know, Carole Pope). And while they both fought valiantly, Jada had all the fire and emotion and managed to narrowly save herself, sending her sweet sister Miss Moço out of the competition.

As poor Moço caught up with me backstage I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her how talented she is. It felt like she was nervous in her short time on the show, though I reiterated that she is such a star, win or lose, and not to worry. Which quickly perked her back up. Though maybe that was, you know, the French Miss Moçoa we shared.

How does this differ from a regular hot chocolate? More chocolate and cream, essentially. But those two additions truly give you an other worldly experience. Velvety and rich, this is a decadent treat that is perfect for reminding people how talented they are.

Enjoy!

French Miss Moçoa
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
60g dark chocolate, chopped 
45g milk chocolate, chopped 
1 ¼ cups milk 
½ cup double cream 
2 tsp muscovado sugar, plus extra if needed
¼ tsp kosher salt

Method
Pop everything in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring for about five minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and it is piping hot.

Pour into two mugs and down, gloriously.


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Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa after losing the first two immunity challenges, the Masu tribe were feeling deflated. But boy were they busy. Dante was trying to improve on his last game, playing out in front and keeping his options open, while Meryl, Steffi and Marian had formed a tight trio. Over at Yontau, Dino fell asleep and into the fire which was far from the most dramatic thing as Pinty and Tania continued to feud. At tribal council the tribe was split over who to get rid of, ultimately trusting in Pinty pulling her head in (or wanting a bigger target around), as Tania was booted from the game. Potentially due to the Survivor Pizza Curse.

Things were far more zen the next day as Seamus and Phil caught up, agreeing that Pinty is kind of out of control and Tania was correct about everything she said. Though Phil admitted that he kept Pinty for the sole purpose of using her abrasive behaviours as a shield. Speaking of Pinty, she caught up with Thoriso to put the target on Seamus instead, given he played the idol he found with Tevin, even though he clearly didn’t need to (ignoring the fact it expired that night and he also had first boot trauma). And while Thoriso agreed they were a dangerous duo, she felt that Tevin was a far bigger threat than Seamus and as such, he should be their priority.

Over at Masu Toni was still fuming over Dante taking control of the tribe, while Marian approached her to clear the air. Like a boss, she told her to never use her skin as a reason to boot her again, while Toni explained she was trying to give people a gentler reason to get rid of her. Which doesn’t make much sense, but hey, she accepted it. Marian realised that Toni was feeling like she had no room to play, given she had been backed into a corner, so she tried to make her feel heard and loved. And like she had options. And you know, stick with the Masu tribe come the surely-impending swap. Before both of them locked things in officially, knowing the pre-mergers will definitely be out for blood come the merge.

Palesa meanwhile was cosying up to Dante as they both assured each other that they were keen to work together and were glad they didn’t feel the need to talk constantly. Which was all a ruse as Palesa shared with us that she knows Dante is a massive threat and clearly working at dismantling everyone else’s options and as such, she was biding her time until she could start dismantling his, instead.

The tribes met up with Nico for the latest reward-immunity combo where they would face off one at a time, running down an alley opposite their rival and attempting to pull a trigger before them. First tribe to five winning immunity and a huge bounty of comfort items. And ingredients to make toasties. Steffi and Shona were first and while Shona boldly tried to tackle her, Steffi Steffi-ed and quickly scored the point. Meryl then destroyed Pinty, Tejan continued the streak over Seamus before Queen Palesa scored Masu’s fourth point over Queen Killarney. Dante then ran for the win against Felix, which he narrowly did. Much to the agony of Yontau.

Back at Masu the tribe were completely overjoyed, sitting around smashing their sandies and feeling like real people again. On and then Steffi found the hidden immunity idol while the tribe were in food comas, proving she learnt a lot from King Chappies in his short time on the island.

The mood, however, was far more sombre over Yontau, embarrassed by how badly they lost. Felix tried to give them a pep talk and encouraged everyone to believe in themselves since they have been excelling when they work together. Killarney meanwhile was nervous after she bombed her point, which proved to be a good read as Pinty approached Tevin to float the idea of voting her out. Which he was obviously keen to do. When she made the same pitch to Seamus, she was far less successful as he pointed out both of them also lost their points and as such, they shouldn’t target her for that. He then approached Tevin, Dino, Thoriso and Felix to float getting rid of Pinty instead. Given she is still abrasive. While they appeared to be making headway, Dino grew nervous, given it is obvious Tevin and Seamus are leading the tribe and given he is injured, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and instead would like to keep targets like Pinty around.

Thoriso too was feeling like Tevin was more of a problem, though knew she couldn’t be the one to float his name to Felix, Phil or Seamus. And what do you know, she is in luck as Phil approached Felix about prioritising getting rid of Tevin. Given Pinty will Pinty every day until she is gone. Speaking of which, she then caught up with Felix and opened up about how frustrated she is by Tevin and Seamus being out in front and as such, she wanted to get one of them out ASAP as she was feeling nervous about trusting the boys. 

Killarney meanwhile was hanging out with the boys who told her that she is their pawn, though not to worry as they were planning to end Pinty’s reign of terror. As Tevin and Seamus were bonding with Shona over her being voted out on Day 9 on her first season, Phil noticed how tight their hold had gotten over the tribe. As such, he approached Dino and Felix to seriously work on flipping the vote on Tevin to continue dismantling the Philippines alliance. Tevin and Seamus meanwhile were successful in locking in their numbers with Shona, as Phil continued to work the boys and assure them that saving Pinty will only make her more and more loyal.

Oh and then Tevin found the hidden immunity idol. 

Phil and Pinty finally caught up with Pinty herself pitching the idea of splitting up Tevin and Seamus, which obviously worked given that was his plan himself. She then filled in Thoriso on the change in plan, who was frankly thrilled. And lol, what do you know, Seamus was keen to do a Shona and stash a hidden immunity idol at tribal council for down the road. And well, I look forward to seeing the other person’s face when the first one to do the fake play steals their thunder. So. Many. Lols.

At tribal council Seamus admitted it was difficult to lose, though was confident they were the stronger, more cohesive team. Phil spoke about how disheartening it can be to lose, though was glad they were ready to keep pushing forward. Throiso reiterated that everyone working together is their collective goal, with Shona agreeing that they wanted to get as many of the tribe members as far as possible. Tevin agreed that was his strategy on the first go around and while it may be boring TV it works, despite the fact that it got him blindsided his first go around. Dino meanwhile wanted to keep his options open while Tevin focused on the unpredictability of the game.

Talk turned to Pinty being the star of the last tribal council, with her agreeing that she is still on the block this one though felt Killarney is more of a weakness for the tribe. This fired Killarney up, who called Pinty out for being a difficult personality to deal with and that nobody won their point and as such, her argument was moot. As Pinty tried to defend herself as the strongest woman, she threw Shona and Thoriso under the bus, leading to Pinty backpedalling and praising them for trying. Unlike Killarney. Who well and truly was over her pitch and encouraged everyone to ignore her scrambling for the desperation it is. 

Nico bought up the potential of another idol being in play, with Seamus nervous about having to split votes so soon while Dino and Phil tried to distract and keep playing up the tribal unity. With that the tribe voted and they were anything but unified as the votes landed four a piece between Tevin and Pinty before the final vote blindsided Tevin from the game. With an idol in his pocket.

Despite the fact he experienced the same fate on his second go around, Tevin exited with his head held high and was proud of what he achieved. Which I guess is easier to deal with when you’re constantly targeted for being a threat. I guess. As he re-entered loser lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how disappointed I was to see him go. And then got a little cheeky and pointed out that his exit really improves Toni’s standing in the game and as such, we should all be grateful. Though, maybe that was the Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu.

So crunchy you could chip a tooth, these biscotti are so damn tasty. Sweet and delicate chocolate, cooked to a perfect crisp with lightly toasted hazelnuts? Perfection. Perfection, I tell you!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
325g chocolate, roughly chopped
5 eggs, 4 whole plus 1 separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
225g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two baking sheets with baking paper or silpat.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and half the chocolate in a food processor and blitz until combined and chocolate is in smaller chunks.

Meanwhile whisk the four eggs, vanilla and the raw caster sugar in a stand mixer on medium until it forms light, creamy ribbons. Trade in the paddle attachment and fold in the flour mixture, remaining chocolate and hazelnuts until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface – very floured – and split into four. Roll each portion into a log and place on the lined baking sheets. Whisk the remaining white and brush over each, followed by a generous sprinkle of sugar. Pop the logs in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about half an hour.

Once they are cool enough to cut, transfer to a cutting board and slice into 1.5cm slices using a serrated knife. Line the biscotti flat on the lined baking sheets and return to the oven to cook for another 20 minutes. Remove when nice and crisp, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or just devour piping out, fresh from the oven. Because these are good.


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Rolova Ladiva

Dessert, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France ten new queens from across France joined the franchise and showed off their skills with a killer little talent show. Though not before competing in the traditional photoshoot with their local zaddy Pit Crew, that is! While the talent show featured much lip syncing and killer dancing, Soa took out the first win of the franchise giving an amazing, moody vocal performance. Meanwhile at the other end of the pack, Lova et La Kahena landed in the bottom for their nerves, with La Kahena earning the distinction of being France’s Porkchop.

Backstage the dolls were in their feelings, heartbroken to have lost sweet La Kahena but also shellshocked by the fact this is going to happen every week until only one of them snatches the crown. The next day they managed to perk it back up however, living out their spy fantasy and just being silly and fun. Everyone congratulated Soa on taking out the win, while Lova assured them that she will not be lip syncing again any time soon. Before the dolls even had time to kiki, Nicky arrived – serving leather daddy dandy, swoon – and put them to the test with a quick drag rock and roll mini challenge alongside some killer drag kings. Though sadly it meant we had to forgo the pit crew. Which, well, is not something I love.

My love Bertha was up first and brought down the house with a two face look and all the attitude, Paloma was gloriously trashy, Brioche stripped off and literally fell to the ground, Lolita was serving Hedwig, Grand Dame was dementedly itchy (and old), Elips was a perfect rock vamp while Soa was just so damn sexy and I live. While Lova was wild and looked perfect, Kam let her freak flag fly and looked to be having the best time. Ultimately there could only be one winner and that rightly was Grande Dame for her stupid old lady performance.

They then learnt that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be acting in the drag parody of Call My Agent, creatively titled Call My Queen. And as the winner of the mini challenge, La Grande Dame would be casting all the roles. Which instantly made Bertha nervous, since she would totally be shady if it was up to her. After reading through the scripts, Grande Dame gave all the dolls the opportunity to put their hand up for the ones they wanted, with everyone thrilled by their roles.

Except for Kam who had to bow out for Briochee to avoid any dramas.

Nicky returned to surprise the girls with a visit from Marianne James who would be directing their scenes. But not before a very sweet peptalk, obviously. On set Grande Dame struggled, trying to add flavour when they just wanted her to be the straight girl. Lova meanwhile gave full melodrama while Paloma was perfection from start to finish. Kam was cute and fun, Bertha got stuck in her head while Elips was an absolute star. As were Briochee and Lolita, who let go and had so much fun. Soa meanwhile was just nervous and unsure how she went.

Jour d’élimination arrived with the dolls talking about how they went with the shoot with Lova confident in her performance, as Paloma strongly disagreed and straight up worried for her elimination. As they split up to beat their mugs, Kam and Paloma bonded over the fact they didn’t really need to come out given everyone in their life already expected it. This led to everyone sharing their experiences coming out, with Briochee going through both of hers and how grateful she is that everyone loves her no matter what. 

Nicky, Daphné Bürki and Kiddy Smile were joined by Marianne James on the judges panel as the dolls stomped the Dites-le de flores runway. Soa was up first giving a punk delight complete with a bird of paradise mohawk. Kam gave full blue hydrangea, not to be confused with THE Blu Hydrangea. Bertha was a star in a black widow gown with a reveal memorial wreath on her back. Elips was an alien flower garden, Briochee was breathtaking as a Piranha Plant from Super Mario and Lolita was glorious in a Frida Kahlo inspired gown. Paloma meanwhile was a red and purple thorned delight, Lova was a wood nymph crossed with a bride of Christ while Grande Dame was an architectural delight, complete with flowers all over her face. 

When it came to the scene, it was clear that Paloma is a star, stealing the show from her very first moment while Kam was very, very fun and Elips was perfection as the mime. On the flipside, Lova felt like she was in a different scene, while Bertha was kinda just there and Soa was at an 11 from start to finish. And while I lived, I feel like the judges won’t. Oh and Lolita was delightful as France’s answer to Shangela, and I live.

Lolita, Soa, Grande Dame, Bertha, Paloma and Lova were deemed the tops and bottoms of the week, with Kam, Elips and Briochee sent backstage to untuck. Soa’s outfit was read for not being as polished as other girls and they were disappointed as they expected more from her in the challenge. Bertha meanwhile was read for being too simple – and wearing ugly shoes – despite the fact she was strong in the scene. Lolita received universal praise for her showstopping runway and being an absolute delight in the scene. As too did Paloma, for giving such a gorgeously polished look and for giving an acting masterclass in the challenge. Lova meanwhile was read for not giving enough flower and for just being there in the challenge. And while Grande Dame struggled in the shoot, she ended up doing well and ultimately landed in the top because her look was absolute perfection.

Backstage the dolls weren’t sure who would be in the bottom alongside Lova before the critiqued girls dropped by to spill the tea. Everyone agreed they couldn’t tell who would be the winner out of Paloma and Lolita, while they couldn’t even tell who was in the top with them between Grande Dame and Big Bertha, given both got mixed critiques.

Ultimately Grande Dame was sent to safety before Paloma took out her first win, tragically making Lolita only safe. At the other end of the pack, Big Bertha narrowly avoided the lip sync as last week’s champ Soa faced off against Lova to L5’s Toutes les femmes de ta vie. And well, let’s just say Soa was not happy about it as she channelled all her rage into a killer performance. She was giving all the attitude, hitting every lyric and was full of fire. Not to mention, she was silly and fun and as such, she lived to fight another day, while Lova was eliminated.

Backstage Lova was disappointed to have had to lip sync both of her episodes of the franchise, but I reminded her that at least she got to shine both times. Plus, it is always better to be the second boot than the second boot with an iconic exit that is brought back, makes it to the end and makes people wish she had a robbed goddess arc. Not naming any names, though. With that, she perked right up and gladly joined me in smashing a batch of my homemade Rolova Ladiva.

Smooth chocolate surrounding a gloriously salted caramel centre, rolos are a truly underrated chocolate. Or maybe they aren’t. Who knows? All I know is that these are goooood. And given they are small, you can feel like a waif.

Enjoy!

Rolova Ladiva
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
150g chocolate
100g Kerri Columbines
1 tbsp cream

Method
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth and glossy before removing and spooning into a silicone chocolate or candy mould. Using a small spoon or skewer, brush the chocolate up the edges to completely coat each cavity. Transfer to the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Back in the (now cleaned) double boiler, combine the Kerri Columbines and cream and cook stirring, until smooth and combined. Remove the chocolate mould from the fridge and spoon the caramel into each cavity, followed by additional melted chocolate for the base. Return to the fridge to set for about an hour.

Remove the mould from the fridge and gently free the chocolates before devouring, greedily.


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Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies

Baking, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls were delighted to play Snatch Game. And while Sharonne slayed the game, there were many a stumble on the panel. While I lived for whatever vocal fry Sethlas was offering up, the rattlesnake noise told he that she was bombing just as hard as Diamante, who followed Trixie’s footsteps and botched RuPaul while Onyx was way too cerebral and didn’t bring any jokes. Sharonne rightly took out her second victory, while Sethlas narrowly avoided lip syncing as Diamante faced off against Onyx, sending my sweet zaddy home.

Backstage the dolls were shell shocked to have lost Onyx, while Sethlas in particular was struggling, given they were so damn close. Diamante even had mixed feelings, given she loved Onyx despite the fact she was thrilled to have survived her time in the bottom. Everyone congratulated Sharonne on a very well earned victory, while Marina quietly seethed about Diamante remaining in the competition. Which was only made worse when she admitted to being lazy in the lip sync and turning tricks rather than learning the words. Oh and then Marina’s wig got stuck on her head and Sharonne had to perform surgery to remove it.

Things were a little more chill the next day as Juriji teased Sethlas for hooking up with Onyx, before the girls read Diamante for being so callous in the way she wiped off the mirror message. Which actually delighted Venedita as it showed that she was a little unhinged. Before we were able to explore that further, Supremme arrived with the Pit Crew each wheeling in different bins of materials which they would each have to use to fashion a look. As this week, they’re throwing a ball and the final look would be designed from the materials, ready for the 30th century drag runway. After they stomp the 10th and 20th century runways before them.

Immediately, the Pit Crew opened up their packages of plastic, paper and metal and the dolls absolutely went to town on them … to collect their supplies. Everything was flying, Sethlas was getting swallowed up by cardboard and Estrella was fighting Juriji over umbrellas. It was WILD.

After Supremme exited stage left, the dolls got to work on their outfits, with Venedita confident in her skills, since she went to design school, while on the flipside, Estrella and Diamante were terrified given neither of them have any skills. Marina too was struggling to understand a sewing machine while Juriji just felt stupid. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were calmly working away in another corner of the room, while the other girls dropped by periodically for advice. Estrella meanwhile was going with a different plan of attack, trying to distract Juriji from her outfit before just straight up flashing her bum.

Supremme made her return to check how the girls were progressing with Venedita admitting to being a little overwhelmed by the task and worried it will all fall apart as soon as she starts walking. Estrella meanwhile was not fooling Supremme about her lack of skills or direction, while Diamante shared that she took some sewing classes before coming to the competition. Which don’t appear to be helping her, but whatevs. Thankfully she was faring better than Marina who was sprialling about anything and everything. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were living their best lives, carving away at their cardboard and working with a clear plan. While Juriji was confident in her concept, just not happy with how quickly, or not, she works.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with the dolls speculating that Diamante was lying about her lack of sewing skills given the ease with which she pulled together her outfit. Everyone was equally impressed with what Sethlas could do with a glue gun, while Marina and Estrella were terrified about whether their looks would even make it to the runway, let alone down it. The dolls stopped throwing shade to start prepping their first looks where Estrella opened up to Sethlas about her friend Ivan who left her a letter in her luggage to help keep her motivated. And as is oft the case with the emotional interludes, I love how sweet the dolls are with each other.

Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by the iconic Choriza May on the judges panel, which honestly, is what she deserves. First up walking the 10th Century was Sharonne who was a bright, theatrical mess before revealing a jewelled bodysuit. Estrella gave mediaeval quest, Venedita was perfection as the moon, Diamante was harlequin chic before Sethlas stole the show as a stunning manuscript. Marina was a harvest earth mother while Juriji went from monk to the sexiest winged Joan of Arc known to man. And stole the show from Sethlas.

For the 20th Century looks, Sharonne went dripping in cash, literally. Estrella served gay Franco, Venedita was a post-Franco bride, ironically enough, Diamante was an architectural  floral delight while Sethlas served the internet. And broke it in the process. Probably. Marina was a slutty, plastic bride, while Juriji was delightfully demented as a liberated, mod Swedish girl.

Sharonne opened the 30th Century runway giving golden architecture, Estrella was a mess as a silver, robotic soldier while Venedita was perfect as a floral, structured delight. Diamante was simple yet effective as a satellite building, Sethlas was serving shaped, geometry realness – and slayed – while Marina was sloppy though did pair it with some nudity, so win. Oh and then Juriji stole the show as Gaultier Barbarella, having the time of her life.

After Sharonne was sent to safety solo, the judges read Estrella for absolute filth despite the fact they loved her personality. Venedita received universal praise for always telling a story while looking perfect, while Diamante was read for being a little safe and not really standing out from the crowd, good or bad. Sethlas was praised for telling a cohesive story over her three looks, and looking perfect while doing it. Marina was praised for selling her looks, though read for the last look being a bland mess. And then Juriji received universal praise for all that she served.

Backstage the dolls joined Sharonne before she went mad from boredom, quickly filling her in on who were the tops and bottoms. Despite it being quite obvious. Estrella was very confident she would be lip syncing, though was unsure who she would be against, while Diamante feared it would be her. Marina meanwhile was fine to be in the bottom, though mainly because she felt she didn’t belong there. Juriji meanwhile opened up about believing in herself before Choriza May swung backstage to kiki with her sisters. Who was just as charming as she was in UK 3, encouraging everyone that they are doing a great job and to not be too hard on themselves.

Juriji somehow was only deemed safe, leaving Sethlas to take out her first victory of the season. Which left Venedita as safe, before Marina’s superior first looks managed to save her from the bottom, leaving Estrella and Diamante to lip sync for their lives. To Se nos rompió el amor by Rocío Jurado, no less. And well, as requested by Supremme, neither queen left anything on the runway as they dug deep into the emotion. While it appeared like Diamante knew all the lyrics this time, and turned the show, she was no match for the charm, passion and raw emotion of Estrella who saved herself, booting Diamante from the competition.

Backstage Diamante was gladly holding her head high, proud of all that she was able to showcase in the competition and for giving it her all. And while that kinda, sorta makes me and my culinary comfort redundant, I gave her a big hug, reiterated how talented she is and celebrated her success with a batch of Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies.

Brownies are one of the safest sweets you can make. I mean, if they are undercooked you are left with a fudgy delight and if they are overcooked, they’re a bit cake-like. While you never want to overcook them, they will do in a pinch. And when they are full of juicy raspberries, well, it doesn’t really matter though, does it?

Enjoy!

Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies
Serves: 2 dear friends, or 6 people.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup slivered almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and leave aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars until combined. One at a time, whisk in the eggs until the mixture comes back together before folding in the flour and salt. Followed by the raspberries and almonds.

Pour the batter into a lined 25cm square cake tin and pop into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. And by just set, just set. Remove from the oven to cool in the pan for an hour before carving and devouring.


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Banoffeeryl Toad in a Hole

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previous on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World nine all star queens from across the globe descended on jolly old England to battle for the chance to be the Queen, of the WORLD. Not to be confused with Queen of the Universe, which obviously also starred Jujubee. Because she is great TV. To help Ru and Co get to know them (or get reacquainted with them), they put on a little talent show, or as they say in England, a Royal Command Performance. Despite slaying her number, Lemon was read for showing no face, while Jimbo was just absolutely bonkers, complete with tossing bologna at Ru. Pangina absolutely slayed a lipsync while Janey’s lip sync served subpar reveals. Jimbo and Pangina ultimately took out victory, with Pangina destroying the lip sync and with it, Lemon’s life in the competition.

Backstage the dolls were gagged to have lost Lemon so soon, with Pangina admitting she felt a little guilty to be the one to end her run but ultimately, she was confident in her choice. Janey meanwhile was disappointed to have landed in the bottom, particularly when she saw Jimbo had pulled her name to go should she have won the lip sync. Janey read Jimbo for voting based on solely alliances and argued that her critiques were far better than Lemon’s. And well, now she knows Jimbo is the girl she thought she was. Not wanting to be left out of the drama, Blu then questioned whether Jimbo had deliberately thrown the lip sync, given it was a bit of a mess. Which Jimbo vehemently denied because there is no benefit in looking a mess in front of Mel C and Ru. Which is the only thing that makes me question whether Blu is wrong.

The next day things were far more harmonious, with the dolls congratulating Pangina on taking out the first win. Oh wait, no Janey is still pissed at Jimbo and questioned whether she would be voting based on talent now that she is the only Canadian left standing. Fed up, Jimbo admitted that she wasn’t impressed with Janey’s looks in the challenge, particularly since she considers herself a look queen. Which led to Monique jumping in to read the outfits for absolute filth and backing up Jimbo.

After toasting another week of mediocrity for Cheryl, the girls were interrupted by Ru who arrived to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge – a ball! More specifically, the RuPaul Ball which would require them to serve a Kitty Girl look, followed by a Butch Queen inspired number and finally they would be making a new outfit that Ru would want to wear on the You Wear It Well Runway. And the thought of a ball immediately filled Baga with terror and Jimbo with joy. Ru departed and the girls immediately started pillaging the supplies, with Monique going fluro while Jimbo was feeling more golden. While Cheryl cut her thumb open within 30 seconds.

The dolls quickly split up to start planning their looks with Blu feeling confident in her ability to work an outfit, while Janey was just grateful that Holland never served a design challenge and as such, she is an unknown entity amongst the cast. Jujubee meanwhile was hoping to barely scrape through another sewing challenge, given this is one of her notorious weaknesses. As was Baga, who was well and truly feeling out of her depth, wandering around the Werk Room asking for advice and monologuing about how stars like herself don’t sew. While Blu and Monique just reminded her to shut up and get to work.

Cheryl returned from the medic and admitted she was spiralling as she debated between a catsuit or a dress, while Monique repeatedly told her to relax and to get out of her head. Jimbo meanwhile was in her element and despite being sent home on a ball in Canada – by Michelle, no less – she is ready to redeem herself. Or suck them balls dry. While jujubee was FINE, ok!

Ru arrived to check in with the dolls, with Ru laughing it up over how out of her depth Baga is. While Blu had a full Forrester Creations’ calibre drawing and swatches of her fully realised look, while Cheryl tried to sell her outfit already and lied that she is now a confident sewer. Team USA were up next with Monique’s green gown looking glorious while Jujubee was thrilled to have stretchy fabric and distracted from her lack of skills by delighting Ru with her wit and cham. Canada, Thailand and Holland united for their check-in, with Jimbo thrilled to be the last Canadian standing and super confident in her skills. Pangina was thrilled to take out the first victory last week and ready to continue her winning streak by sewing by hand. While Janey was confident in her sewing skills, though not the design skills.

Oh and while everyone was having their kiki, Baga slept. Only waking up as Ru cackled when Janey asked to win the challenge and then follow it up by reminding Ru that she asked first if anyone else comes to her.

After Ru left, Jimbo broke down, overwhelmed to have finally met Ru and to be living her dream and ugh, it was too precious. She then pulled herself together as everyone split up to work on their gowns. Even Baga, who managed to pull herself out of her funk. Blu and Cheryl approached Jujubee to talk about how much they love her, with Juju advising them to put up boundaries between themselves and their drag persona to help them not lose sight of themselves. Blu opened up about being so happy in drag that she started to question her gender identity, with Cheryl agreeing that she also had those thoughts and it is so hard to learn to listen to your voice and love yourself. Juju spoke about the polarity of being a queen, before Blu admitted that she used to think that she was trans but ultimately feels she lives somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum and was happy not to label things just yet..

Janey started to struggle with the sewing machine, unsure of her choices leading to Monique stepping in and quickly selling a concept and encouraging her to just slay it. While Baga hung in the corner, still smarting over the fact they have to sew.

Elimination Day rolled around with everyone putting finishing touches on their looks and beating their mugs, while Pangina finished off Baga’s look for her. Mainly because she doesn’t want anyone to embarrass them as a cast, which, understandable. Though Baga was so insufferable that even she started to regret trying to help. Cheryl opened up about how she buggered up her first look, so made an entirely new one overnight. Though the new one was also a mess. Like. It was so bad, it got the shady womp womp.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Daisy May Cooper on the judges panel as they opened the show with the Kitty Girl runway. Pangina was an avant garde royal, Egyptian cat and it was glorious. Janey took it one further as Cleo-catra, Cheryl was the sexiest snow-white cat while Juju wore a sexy gown with cats on her boobs, complete with feathered trim. Jimbo was the sluttiest liger to grace the planet while Baga was a demented Cheshire Cat, complete with scractching her worms off her hole on the runway. Which was iconic. Blu was a lilac alien cat, while Monique closed the show as a black lunar cat and well, it was stunning. Despite the lack of brown cow.

Pangina opened the Butch Queen runway looking glorious as Queen Liz hunting at Sandringham. Janey gave us sexy prisoner, Cheryl served flaming biker chick, Juju looked like a CEO and then Jimbo one-upped the biker looks having handlebars connected to her nips. And it was glorious. Baga gave demented soldier, Blu was a perfectly stunning strongest man while Monique was a leather daddy and well, my basement is positively flooded. And that was before we got the bum reveal.

On the You Wear It Well runway, Pangina was glorious in an architectural magenta gown. Janey slayed in a shimmering, icy bodysuit with a disco-inspired train while Cheryl tried her best to sell what she described as the worst outfit on the mainstage. Ever. Juju looked like shimmering, crinkled 70s curtains while Jimbo was perfection in a shimmering golden outfit with a slit all the way to her breastplate. Thanks to Pangina, Baga managed to pull something half-decent off while Blu looked like a disco-dream in a well made bodysuit. While Monique gave a sight in lime, though I’m not sure what sight that was exactly.

Ultimately Baga and Blu were sent to safety before the judges heaped praise on Pangina for everything she served, living for her versatility and her ability to serve comedy. Despite them wishing her designed look was full length. Janey was praised for three such distinct looks, with Daisy May Cooper flooding her basement for her Butch Queen while Michelle wasn’t sold on her Kitty Girl runway. Though she did admit that Janey’s designed look is the most likely one Ru would wear, which led to Janey thanking Monique for her help in front of everyone. 

Cheryl was praised for serving Marie from Aristocats on the Kitty Girl runway while her designed look was rightly read for being an absolute mess. Leading to her breaking down over how messy she was, before apologising for not giving her best. Juju meanwhile was read for being basic as Michelle essentially treated her like Pearl and told her to wake up. Though Ru told her she would actually wear the dress, while agreeing that it felt like Juju just hadn’t shown up yet. Jimbo rightly received universal praise, then full on impersonated Ru and ugh, it was so damn fun. Monique’s glorious first two looks received universal praise for all that she did, though her designed look was read for not hitting the mark. Which she agreed were the facts. Lol.

Jimbo rightly landed in the Top 2 for the second week running, this time alongside Janey while Pangina and Monique were deemed safe, leaving Cheryl and Juju up for elimination.

Backstage Janey was thrilled to get her redemption from the week before as Cheryl led everyone in praising their sisters for their win. Jimbo was thrilled to show she can serve a ball, and assured them she was even more fired up to win the lip sync. Baga asked Juju whether she was ok with what the judges said, with Jujubee agreeing that she hasn’t shown up and has kinda been bad. This lead to Monqiue questioning if that was all simply a strategy to coast by and not look threatening. Blu questioned whether Baga feels guilty about being safe, given that other people made her gown when Juju was in the bottom for something she did by herself.

Which, again, lol.

The dolls split up to deliberate with Cheryl pointing out to Jimbo that Juju has had so many chances and as such, she should be better than she’s been and as such, go home. Jimbo asked her whether she would send Jimbo home if she stumbled, with Cheryl assuring her she is the front runner and that is something that would stop Cheryl from sending her home. Juju meanwhile charmed Janey, reminding her that while she has been here multiple times before, this is a new competition and she still wants to fight hard. And admitted she would have Janey’s back if and when it was required.

The safe girls meanwhile agreed Cheryl was the worst, though Blu did reiterate the fact that Juju is here for the fourth time. Which to quote Art Simone, means nothing.

The dolls switched places with Cheryl reiterating her argument, with Janey admitting to us that she doesn’t know whether she should make her decision based on the competition or on whether someone has competed multiple times. Though given Cheryl felt Janey had a wall up, she was pretty sure she was in trouble. Meanwhile Juju was assuring Jimbo that she will do better if she keeps her around, wanting to see it to the end and most importantly, compete against the best. Juju then also assured Jimbo she would have her back should she stay.

Jimbo and Janey returned to the stage to battle for victory to a remix of Mama Ru’s Supermodel and well, Janey was not going to let Jimbo jag a win despite Jimbo vowing not to do the hokey pokey this time. While Janey was serving disco diva, Jimbo gave a parody performance of somebody at Studio 54 and while I lived for it, Janey’s polished perfection jagged her the win. And the right to send home one of the bottom girls, ultimately eliminating Cheryl from the competition. Most likely, for having another week of being mediocre.

Like a damn icon.

While Chez was heartbroken to have exited the competition, I quickly had her laughing it up at how iconic it was for her to once revel in her mediocrity. Despite being a total, absolute icon that is in no way mediocre. With that out of the way, Chez and I slipped straight back into our friendship, gossiping, joking around and most importantly, smashing a Banoffeeryl Toad in Hole in honour of her star power.

Like Chez, this little number proves that sometimes classics are just perfection. Banana and caramel are such a gorgeous combination, that this sweet twist on a Toad in a Hole can only fill you with joy. Squishy and oh so sticky, it is the only thing tasty enough to honour our Chez!

Enjoy!

Banoffeeryl Toad in a Hole
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 ⅓ cups flour
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ⅓ cups milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups Dulce de Nick Lachey
1 tbsp water
100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthways
Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C. 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in one bowl, and the milk, eggs and vanilla in another. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly whisk in the milky-eggs mixture until just combined.

Combine the Dulce de Nick Lachey and the water in the base of a baking dish to losen it up a bit. Pour the batter on top and then dot with the chocolate and bananas, cut side up.

Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the batter is just set. Serve immediately with ice cream and devour. In honour of sweet Chez.


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Danny MousseCrayke

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to offer up one final, major twist to the game where the first person eliminated from the immunity challenge would have their fate decided by a game of chance. Should they win, they are also immune but should they lose, they are eliminated and tribal council is cancelled. After Liana and Heather nope’d out of the challenge, Deshawn was the first to drop out and prepared to have his game left to chance before Danny took out immunity. Back at camp the tribe tried to come up with a plan B, which obviously was Liana, despite Deshawn and Danny making a compelling case to take out Ricard instead. Ultimately, Deshawn got lucky and stayed in the game before the majority held firm and booted Liana from the game in an emotional tribal council.

Back at camp Danny and Deshawn were reeling from tribal council, with the latter shocked by how emotional things were and how hard it was to send Liana home. Deshawn assured the tribe that he was ok but needed to talk to Danny to debrief and talk through their experiences. Danny then went to visit Xander, shocked by the fact Xander opted to get rid of Liana over Ricard, the far bigger threat. While Xander explained that Ricard is a shield for him, he agreed with Danny that getting rid of Ricard is now the priority given the protection isn’t needed anymore.

Which means Ricard is totally winning immunity, right?

The next day Heather caught up with Deshawn to talk about tribal council, grateful that she has had the chance to learn from him and grow. He explained that getting rid of Shan didn’t hurt him as much as voting out Liana, because they didn’t have the best relationship but explained to her that while race and culture shouldn’t come into things, his experience permeates everything whether he likes it or not and that is why getting rid of Liana was so hard. 

Deshawn then caught up with Erika, with her too telling him how proud she is of his ability to explain his feelings to the tribe, particularly because she too has the same concerns about herself playing the game for herself while representing a culture. She opened up about how she felt like voting out Liana runs contrary to her wanting a female – ideally herself – to win after such a long drought, though sometimes in the game you have to make decisions against what you want, to further your game. And it is tough.

The tribe caught up with my love Jeffrey for a reward challenge where they would split into two teams, climb up a net, jump off a pontoon, collect balls and then land said balls in a basket. And the victorious team can either pick a chicken and veggie feast or desserts, which Deshawn was disappointed about because he would have preferred a letter from home. Danny got his team – with Ricard and Heather – out to the earliest of leads which was quickly lost as Xander powered through the water. Both teams were neck and neck throughout the swimming portion before Deshawn landed the first basket for his team. After struggling with shooting, Danny traded out with Ricard who quickly landed his first basket. Sadly for him, Deshawn then quickly landed his second and third baskets, handing them victory and a, dun dun DUN, chicken and veggie feast.

And no letters from home.

Upon returning to camp they quickly smashed their food before talk turned to alliances, with Deshawn gladly offering himself up as a number. Erika and Xander admitted that they would love to get rid of Ricard next and as such, they would love to work with him. Which quickly escalated to them floating the idea about going to the final three together. Meanwhile the losers were hiding out in the shelter until Heather and Ricard left to do some chores, leaving Danny behind to search for Shan’s rehidden idol. Sadly for him, they returned to camp soon after and his absence made both of them nervous that he had, in fact, found an idol. 

The next day Deshawn and Erika were catching up by the well with Deshawn assuring her that he would truly like to go to the end together. Particularly since her going with Heather risks people not being able to distinguish their games and lessening their chances of winning. Which he pressured her to talk about, all to get Erika to verbalise the need to get rid of Heather.

The tribe reunited with Probst for the immunity challenge where they would need to navigate an obstacle course – while dizzy – to collect puzzle pieces before using said pieces to solve a word puzzle. Danny got out to the earliest of leads, though they all managed to catch up at a balance beam. Which Ricard made quick work of. While Ricard got to work on his puzzle early, the rest of the tribe soon joined him. Deshawn and Ricard both figured out the phrase at the same time, leading to a rush of activity as they battled to assemble it first, ultimately ending with Ricard winning his third immunity of the season.

As predicted, FYI.

Back at camp the tribe quickly split up to work on their plans while Danny and Deshawn discussed how stupid everyone was to vote out Liana over Ricard at the last tribal council. Danny next caught up with Ricard who confronted him about potentially finding the idol, with Danny denying he had one, though did share with us how happy he was to at least make them nervous. Xander meanwhile was catching up with Heather, suggesting that keeping Danny would be their best chance at beating Ricard at an immunity challenge and as such, they should think about keeping him a few more days.

Heather then caught up with Erika, with the latter pushing to get rid of Danny over Deshawn, given he is willing to work with her while Danny is not. As such, she got to work trying to convince the rest of her alliance that keeping Deshawn is in all of their best interests. She first caught up with Ricard, who sadly knew that was a bad idea for his game. Meanwhile Deshawn was trying to take control of his fate, pulling Xander and Heather aside to highlight their bonds and the fact that he would take them to the end while Danny probably wouldn’t and as such, it is in their best interests to keep him around.

At tribal council Deshawn was still smiling despite the fact it is clearly him or Deshawn going home tonight. Ricard meanwhile shared that he had a great day with Deshawn, though would still gladly vote him out tonight. Particularly since they both targeted him at the last tribal council. They both explained that they tried to take the shot when they had it, given he had been dominating the challenges and pointed to his victory as their proof. Erika stepped in to talk about the fact they all decide what is threatening to their game and that that is different for each of them. She trusts Ricard while Liana had previously voted for her and as such, she got rid of her.

Xander admitted that jury management is now also playing a part of their decision making while Danny and Deshawn were both just proud of their games thus far. Deshawn then decided to  cause some chaos, outing his conversation with Erika at the well about her getting rid of Heather. Eventually. Hilariously Ricard stepped in and told him that his truth bomb was kind of a terrible idea, given the fact he doesn’t even know if he is going home tonight and may have just cost him a chance of working with Erika in the end. Erika too questioned his timing, given that while they have had an up and down relationship, she has always been willing to work with him and the only thing his outburst did was confirm to her that she can’t trust Deshawn.

With that the tribe voted and as predicted, things were tied up between Danny and Deshawn, who each voted for the other. With that, Ricard, Heather, Erika and Xander re-voted and despite Deshawn’s messiness, unanimously sent Danny from the game.

Given Danny is such an upbeat, kind person, he was pretty chill by the time he arrived at Ponderosa, ok at being outplayed and ready to relax. While he was disappointed to be out of the game and for his alliance to be apparently going out back-to-back-to-back, he was proud of the way he played. Though I also think he was just eyeing off his Danny MousseCrayke, so who wouldn’t be feeling happy?

Velvety smooth mousse, perfectly poached pears and a light, spongy cake work together in harmony to deliver a cake that is as fluffy as it is decadent and rich.

Enjoy!

Danny MousseCrayke
Serves: 12

Ingredients
6 eggs, 3 of them split
285g raw caster sugar
75g plain flour
20g cacao powder
pinch of salt
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm slices
2 tbsp lemon juice
100ml spiced rum, plus 1 tbsp for the mousse
400g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200ml milk
3 egg yolks
500ml cream, lightly whipped

Method
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and grease and line a 26cm spring-form cake tin.

Start by creaming the three whole eggs and 120g of the raw caster sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add to the egg mixture with the melted butter and fold until just combined. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, line the tin again and return the cake.

While the cake is getting chill, combine the lemon juice, rum, 110g of the sugar and ½ a cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the pears and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the pears and leave the slices to cool, keeping the poaching liquid aside for serving.

Finally, combine the chocolate and milk in a heatproof bowl and cook in a double boiler, stirring minimally, until the chocolate is velvety and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. While it is chilling, cream the yolks, remaining sugar and tablespoon of rum for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Before folding in the whipped cream until it is, you guessed it, just combined.

To assemble, layer the pears on top of the cake, followed by the mousse, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Transfer to the fridge to set for 6 hours, or ideally overnight, until set.

Then, finally, slice, serve, drizzle with poaching liquid and devour. Gloriously.


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Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Brad grew paranoid of his ally JD and how quickly things flipped at their first tribal council. Tiffany meanwhile was exhausted on Yase, leaving Xander plenty of free time to find the aware advantage – aka the three-way idol that is only powered if everyone says the same weird phrases at the same immunity challenge. Sadly for him, he was the only person that found one meaning it was powerless and he lost his vote. Oh and then Yase lost immunity again thanks to Tiffany struggling badly in the challenge. Despite this, it came down to the boys and while Evvie continued to explain Xander’s idol was powerless, Tiffany convinced them to boot sweet Voce instead.

The next morning Liana awoke bright and early, regretting the choice to get rid of Voce – I think – given it could cost her the game if the tribe continues their losing streak. As she tended to the fire, she missed an advantage sitting right next to her. Thankfully, Tiffany woke up not much later and found it under the watchful eyes of Evvie and Liana. As such, she beckoned them to follow her down to the beach where she learnt that later that night a boat would arrive to take her to another island where she would be faced with a choice. The failure to get on said boat would cost her her vote at the next tribal council. Which she was obviously thrilled about, while Liana questioned whether missing it will cost her the game.

Meanwhile over at Ua, JD was bonding with Genie, Ricard and Shan while Brad got up and started tending to camp. Thankfully for him, as the tribe partied together, he found the same advantage that Tiffany got and as such, the King and Queen of chaos are destined for a twilight meet-up and damn, I am excited! We then jetted over to Luvu where Sydney was telling the tribe that Naseer pulled her aside last night and suggested getting rid of Danny, while poor Naseer sat alone at camp. Breaking my damn heart, given he is so sweet and joyous. Thankfully he apologised to everyone and while everyone seemed great, Sydney was still very much against him. And then grabbed the hidden advantage in front of the tribe to avoid Heather or Naseer grabbing it.

We returned to Ua where JD was wandering around, searching high and low for a hidden immunity idol to add to his collection of advantages. Given he was struggling, he decided that someone else must have found it and then listed why every other person in the tribe had it. As the tribe reconnected, we learnt that Brad and Genie had found the idol together but half an hour earlier and while Queen Genie was disappointed to not be the owner of the idol, she was glad her closest ally had it. Brad started to feel guilty that their other ally Shan wasn’t in the know, so pulled her aside and let her know about the madness of the three-way idol before gagging her with the knowledge of his OTHER advantage. And while she pretended to be excited for him, she was also concerned about his growing power.

That night, Brad built a body out of supplies on the beach so that people would think he was sleeping away before he ventured out on his boat trip. While Tiffany and Sydney weren’t as elaborate with their escapes, they did meet him on a new island where they learnt that they would have to select themselves a tarp or ‘a steal a vote’. And like the other dilemma, if they all select the tarp they all get a tarp but if they all choose the ‘steal a vote’, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And then if the decision is split, those that choose tarp get nothing while the others get the ‘steal a vote’. Tiffany quickly suggested they all agree that one of them gets the ‘steal a vote’, while the others get nothing which made Sydney very nervous about her. After they discussed back and forth, they all made their decisions in private and returned back to camp.

The next day, Tiffany and Sydney learnt that they were empty handed while Brad was delighted to find his steal a vote. Which is the outcome Sydney was hoping for.

The tribes reconvened with Jeffrey for the latest immunity challenge where they had to swim out and cross a rope bridge over the water, run to shore, dig up sandbags and toss them on small shelves. Oh and the winning tribes also get a fruit platter. After Brad and Xander offered up their idol phrases, they sadly discovered that they were missing their third partner and they were now both without their votes. Deshawn got Luvu out to an early lead before Shan pipped him on the rope bridge and gave Ua the lead. The tribes continued to trade out the lead while Xander desperately tried to close the gap for Yase. Eventually all of the tribes caught up when it came to tossing the sacks, which proved to be Tiffany’s secret skill as she landed the first one for Yase. Xander quickly landed another two, while Deshawn tried to close the gap. Ua then got in on the action and landed a few but it was all for nought as Luvu took out immunity followed by Xander snagging a victory for Yase, sending Ua to tribal council.

Back at camp the tribe tried to process their loss, while Brad was more frustrated by the fact his idol isn’t powered and as such, he doesn’t have his vote and nor can he play any advantages. A factoid we only just learnt. JD ventured off to go to the bathroom before returning with his extra vote visible. As such, Shan and Ricard pulled him aside to give him the chance to come clean but given they forced his hand, neither of them really trusted him. The duo then caught up and discussed the merits of getting rid of either JD or Brad since they are both untrustworthy, though they argued that the latter does contribute more around camp. Knowing he was screwed, JD apologised to Shan and offered up the extra vote for her to mind until later to the game. We then learnt that Shan felt emotionally connected to both of the boys and as such, she is even more confused about what is the right decision for her game.

At tribal council Shan spoke about how disappointed she was to be back at tribal council while JD quickly took responsibility for their loss in the challenge. Ricard admitted that he is already at the point of the game where he would rather vote based on his allegiances rather than strength, while Genie was concerned she was getting his vote given she voted for him last week. Though wasn’t overly concerned, given she has a solid alliance. Brad spoke about the importance of building trust, which JD jumped on and assured them that while they may not trust him at the moment, he hopes to win back the trust. Brad reminded them that things always look up after tribal council as the joy of surviving comes to them. JD spoke about how Survivor gave him his confidence and built him up to the man he is today and ugh, the way Brad watched on with pride was just too precious.

With that the tribe voted and powerless, poor Brad was gagged to find himself booted from the game. But more importantly, does this mean that Xander will never get to stop talking about his dead flying relatives?!

But that is a question for another time, because as soon as I saw Brad wander into Loser Lodge, I pulled him into my arms and started to cry over his loss. You see, I’ve known Brad for years after hitchhiking my way across America working as a ranch hand in the hopes of finding my own Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. While I was tragically unsuccessful, Brad took me under his wing and tried to make me into a decent person, often looking on with the same pride he looked at JD with. The results may have been hit and miss, but he was always proud of me when I whipped out a batch of Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There is no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate, a fact best proven by these little numbers. Smooth, chewy peanut butter, mixed with sharp, rich chocolate? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Serves: 2 dear friends, makes 36.

Ingredients
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter 
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
500g melting chocolate

Method
Combine the peanut butter, butter and muscovado sugar in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat until melted. Bring to a gentle boil before removing from the heat and folding through the icing sugar. Stirring until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Line 36 mini-muffin holes with paper patties. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and salt together until smooth and shiny. Immediately pour a tablespoon into each muffin cup and swirl to cover the base.

Take the chilled peanut butter mixture out of the fridge and roll into 1 teaspoon sized thick discs. Pop one in each of the muffin cups, top with the remaining chocolate and transfer to the fridge to set.

Remove from the pattie liners and devour, joyously.


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The Blacaforenast Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

While it feels like a nearly weekly occurrence since the start of the pandemic, the establishing shots of a new Werk Room fill me with so much joy. Particularly when they’re as bright and fun as our newest iteration to join the franchise, Drag Race España. 

Side note, remember when there was such a time as off season? Gagged.

But anyway, on to what you’re waiting for! We first met Arantxa Castilla La Mancha in full technicolour delight and given she is a passionate fan of Hannah Montana, I live for literally everything she stands for. Particularly since she has such a fun and stupid energy. She was joined by Sagittaria who looked like Else and Aquaria’s baby, though I’m fairly certain that is the point. Next up was Hugáceo Crujiente who looked like a work of bloody art – complete with frame – and I live for everything about her weird artsy vibes. Carmen Farala arrived serving muscle Joslyn Fox with a Jersey tan and Teresa Guidice’s wig and I hate how flooded my basement got. 

Oh and please note, her name is Farala not Farala – just to get the pronunciation correct. 

Pupi Poisson yodelled her way into the Werk Room and my heart and already, I know she is an icon. As well as Arantxa’s auntie and the most charming, shady queen in the bunch. Killer Queen was up next serving superhero realness and is a literal doctor, so I’m ready to get married because she is stunning. But then I’d need to keep Dovima Nurmi as a side piece as he is hot and in drag, a sexy vamp. Oh and she has a history with Sagittaria that didn’t end well, but they chose to hang out in the Werk Room because it is always better the devil you know. You know?

Inti made an iconic entry in all red, carrying your dad’s underwear and I live. Particularly since she has such a cool vibe which hits the exact Indigenous futuristic notes she is wanting too. Drag Vulcano looked like a glamorous, warrior porcupine and could choke me out of drag. And rounding out the cast is The Macarena who is just so delightfully positive, camp and wacky, so she too has me absolutely living. Particularly since she arrived with a tupperware container of pork rinds and some vegan snacks if the queens were that way inclined.

Their getting to know you was interrupted by Supremme de Luxe, welcoming her queens to the competition and introducing the dolls to the first two members of the oversized, gorgeous Pit Crew as they were challenged to a photoshoot while riding a mechanical bull. Last in was first up as The Macarena kissed the bull and fell off immediately before serving glamour in the pillowed floor. Sagittaria fought to stay on before getting into a rhythm and serving pure sex. Dovima was awkward, Inti was one with the bull (and was lucky enough to have long enough legs to keep them firmly on the ground). Carmen popped her balls, and that is enough to snatch the win in my eyes. Pupi had the time of her damn life, Killer Queen wisley needed the Pit Crew to ‘assist’ mounting the bull, Hugáceo was thrown around like a ragdoll and Vulcano shockingly didn’t pop the air mats with her headpiece, which Arantxa desperately needed as she ungraciously flipped around the arena. While having the best time, obviously. Ultimately Supremme is as big a fan of balls as I am, handing Carmen victory before dismissing the girls to de-drag.

As the queens removed their entry looks, we learnt that Dovima superglued stuff to her face while Sagittaria just completely got naked in the background. The dolls were gagged by Arantxa’s boy look while we uncomfortably watched The Macarena seemingly give birth while removing her tucking tape. Back with Arantxa we learned that she doesn’t tuck and instead uses an intricate system of tight panties, while Macarena was having a deep and meaningful with Inti and Vulcano about how she used to be very self-conscious but learnt to love herself and now lives for being naked. 

And well, let’s just say I love all the queens already.

Supreme returned to the Werk Room with some more of the Pit Crew to announce that this week’s Maxi Challenge would required the girls to serve glamour using wagons of trash and as Carmen won the mini challenge, she would be able to pick her box of trash before the rest of the queens fought it out for theirs. Quite literally. More importantly we learnt that Killer Queen only runs for drag and buffets and honestly, I feel we connect on a deep level.

The queens split up to start prepping their looks with everyone playing around with their junk, while Killer Queen straight up whipped out the sewing machine and immediately started assembling her outfit like a damn icon. Supremme arrived to talk to the less organised dolls, with Carmen talking about how confused she is about everything and is struggling to even think, overwhelmed by having to  make an outfit in front of fashion designer Ana Locking. Sagittaria was hiding her nerves a bit better, while Dovima was straight up stressed. Until they started talking about their fight over a man and damn, I need all the details immediately.

Día de Eliminación arrived with the queens all upbeat despite the fact one of them would be going home by the end of the day. Macarena was hoping to just not to shit her pants before they were distracted with talk about plastic surgery – shading Carmen as the most silicone of the group. Macarena shared that they identify as non-binary, with Arantxa, Hugaceo and Inti shared that they too are non-binary. Carmen spoke about making dolls out of random objects as a child, Inti shared their mum identified them as an artist, rather than queer while Sagittaria and Hugacaeo shared touching stories about their mothers too. And well, Macarena ran her mouth a lot, much to Carmen’s chagrin. Oh and Pupi was going the Monet route and covering her shows in sponges, knowing that her look is definitely going to be a mess. And Sagittaria, Hugaceo and Arntxxa were kikiing, with the latter admitting that she has already learnt the lip sync, unsure whether she should trust her instincts with the look she pulled together.

Supreme was joined by Ana Locking, Javiers Ambrossi and Calvo and guest judge and my dream boyfriend, Jon Kortarjaren for the first runway de España. Inti slayed in a monochromatic drape number with pink and purple tassels around her hair. Arantxa was a bright, mod delight complete with bubble guns. Hugaceo was breathtaking in a blue and white gown with her face blending into the fabric of her look. Killer Queen was pretty, floral perfection, with an ode to Marie Antoinette. Sagittaria was breathtaking in a gown of black balls and hoops, serving space age sexbomb. The Macarena was a bright confectionary delight with a flamingo nesting on her shoulder. And carrying a rubber ducky just because. Dovima was a black and green furry sea creature bondage dream. Pupi Poisson was a hot mess with her cleaning products look, but her polish and humour on the runway was charming. Carmen once again looked full woman, ready for a casual lunch with the cast of RHONJ down by the Shore. While Drag Vulcano was a shimmering silver delight in a bodysuit with pinwheel flower embellishments.

Drag Vulcano, Arantxa, Killer Queen and Inti were sent to safety before the judges gushed about everything that Hugaceo did, with Ana in particular living for her fashion aesthetic. Sagittaria too received universal praise before the judges read Macarena for being a little basic and unfinished. Dovima was read for her runway walk, with Jon reminding her to not go so far that she ends up making her life too hard. Pupi was praised for turning up on the show given her legacy, though the judges didn’t like anything about her outfit. Oh and Carmen too received universal praise, with the judges loving her energy.

Backstage the safe queens celebrated not being the first boot before trying to guess who would be joining Carmen in the top. Inti suggested that Macarena would be joining her while Killer felt Pupi would definitely be at the bottom. But as you know, we’re all bottoms. The other dolls joined them with Hugaceo suggesting Carmen will win, while Pupi acknowledged she’d be in the bottom, as did Dovima. For not being able to get out of her head. And then Macarena gagged the girls by pointing out that she is probably in the bottom too.

Ultimately Carmen was sent to safety, handing Hugaceo the first win of the season to their adorable delight. Sagittaria was deemed safe before Supremme gagged us all by saving Pupi, leaving Macarena to battle Dovima to I Will Survive but not that I will Survive. The Monica Naranjo version. In any event, both of the queens immediately felt every lyric and worked overtime to avoid being the first one sent home. Then Dovima pulled out a damn whip, Macarena lost her wig and it was all over. Though I feel that the lip sync was a very hard fought draw, Dovima’s better outfit clearly managed to save her as The Macarena became the first queen eliminated.

I was so heartbroken to see my dear friend The Macarena walk back into the Werk Room and immediately pulled her in for a hug. And gave her the usual first-boot-of-a-franchise pep-talk. You know, the one where I tell them that as THE Porkchop, they will always be remembered while everyone else will fade into obscurity. Plus, if you speak about your penchant for nudity on camera, the world is going to love you. Particularly if you are nude while eating a The Blacaforenast Cake. There is a massive market for it.

Rich and fudgy, tart and sweet; a black forest cake is one of the greatest inventions. Like a slab of fruit and nut chocolate, this cake has it all. And what it lacks in nuts, Carmen is willing to flash hers. And well, so is my nude friend The Macarena.

Enjoy!

The Blacaforenast Cake
Serves: el español Porkchop y their also nude friend.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
400g dark chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs, whisked
600ml thickened cream
2 tbsp kirsch
400g pitted sour cherries, drained but saving the ju-uice, buuuddddy
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tbsp icing sugar
maraschino cherries, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the caster sugar, butter, cocoa and bicarb with 60g of the chocolate and a cup of water in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it boils. Reduce to low and simmer for a couple of minutes, or until it is homogenous and combined. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Whisk in the flour, baking powder and eggs until well combined. Pour into a lined 22cm cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once rich but cooked, removed from the oven and allow to cool slightly in pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish the job.

To make the ganache, bring half the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and once shimmeringly hot, remove from heat and whisk through the chocolate until smooth and silky.

While that rests, combine the cherry juice with the arrowroot in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until viscose and shiny. Then leave that to rest.

Finally, beat the remaining cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks form. And when one of us is nude, the peaks are definitely stiff.

To assemble, cut the cake into four layers. Place the bottom on a plate, drizzle with a third of the kirsch, followed by the syrup and whipped cream. Sprinkle with cherries and repeat layering process until you’ve got the last piece of cake on top. Spread with the ganish until covered and smooth. 

Top with maraschino cherries and devour, triumphantly, in the nude. Like a damn icon.


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Jojo Zahohos

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Snack, Sweets

We open the inaugural episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under with all the pomp and circumstance us Aussies can muster, meaning there was a kookaburra carrying on over the beautiful, smooth baritone of a didgeridoo while Ru let rip with some spectacular Australiana puns. And coming from the foremost pun enthusiast of this great southern land, he should really take that as a bloody compliment.

Oh and in the great tradition of bring the US of the southern hemisphere, I’m ignoring the fact this show is half New Zealand – aka our Canada, the prettier more charming country – and should one of their queens win, claim them as quick as we claimed Rusty, Keith Urban, Rebecca Gibney and the iconic Richard Wilkins.

But enough of my ramblings, I really need to turn my attention to the first shiela to show off her map of Tassie in the Down Under work room, the iconic Art Simone. Full of bogan charm and bouncing with joy, she flew her way into my heart like a flaming Galah. After a brief period of isolation which no doubt triggered memories of her recent hotel quarantine, she was joined by Maxi Shield who won my heart by quoting another Australian legend, Lara Bingle. As the two gabbed about in the Werk Room, they gave the world the first taste of the finer details of the Australian language with a few fucken oaths, you’re a srubber and other phrases that really say, how the fuck do Australians think this is how you’re meant to talk to friends? 

Dripping in her self-proclaimed Faboriginality Jojo Zaho quickly became my fave as out of drag, he is hot as hell and rocks the mouth of a trucker. We got our first taste of the queens from the long white cloud when Elektra Shock entered the fray and quickly gagged the Aussie girls, despite them not knowing who she is. Side note, she was absolutely robbed of victory in House of Drag season 2, so if you underestimate her, you may just find yourself da-da-da-da-da, fucking off.

Making things a little more controversial, Scarlet arrived looking like Aquaria and thankfully not rocking on of her many reported black face looks. Coco Jumbo arrived and brought a tonne of charm and energy, and maybe I love her most of all instead? I mean, at least she was charming while mocking Elektra’s thirsty wig. Speaking of Elektra, one of the queens that robbed her of victory on House of Drag, Kita Mean arrived, this time to compete against her. Talk quickly turned to how gaggy it is for Kita to appear without her partner Anita, with Kita admitting that it feels weird to be going it alone. Up next was my new, ultimate, super mega best value favourite Etcetera Etcetera arrived dressed as a cockroach and shut it down, right now – she wins my heart and then hopefully the competition. Messed up antler or not. We then learnt that wait, Kita does not need to worry about getting lonely as Anita also made her triumphant debut and damn, I wish I knew how she managed to stay so charming despite being way too fucking much and so so positive.

Oh and please note, this now means that both of Elektra’s bosses are now in competition with her.

Rounding out the cast is Karen from Finance with the greatest entrance of all time, missing her mark and out of shot while dressed like Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. And like her friends Trixie and Katya, I live for her.

Barely getting any time to kiki and get to know each other on a deep and spiritual level, the siren went off and Mama Ra arrived to welcome the dolls into her international family and then immediately tasked them with a screen test overseen by the man that floods my basement most, Taika Waititi.

Speaking of flooded basements, we quickly pivoted to the shoot where the Pit Crew were well and truly packing – and had me primed to shoot – as the queens filed in to film their audition for Thore. Art was first, lisping her way further into my heart and completely charming Ru with her stupidity. Maxi was sexy, Jojo was ready to mount the Pit Crew – #RelatableQueen – Scarlet rocked laser titties, Coco was wacky, Etcetera was ridiculous and in the zone, Kita was focused, Anita served anger and joy in exactly the same way, while Elektra was absolutely demented while screaming out her rage and having Ru in hysterics. Karen then danced her way into my heart. But sadly for her, not Ru and Taika’s, as Elektra took out the first Mini Challenge of the series and silenced all the girls that didn’t believe in her.

With that out of the way, Ru quickly dropped the bomb that their first Maxi Challenge would be a cheeky little get to know you ball. The first category is Born Naked, with the queens getting us thirsty in their sexiest nude illusion. No Place Like Home would be the second category, giving the queens the chance to sell themselves while selling what makes their hometown so good.

As soon as Ru departed the queens scrambled to find a place in the Week Room, while Etcetera, Coco and Jojo were busy looking for the trade of the season. Which fills my heart with joy that the trio of icons have their priorities correct. While Kita decreed Maxi the trade of the season for looking like a trucker, Coco identified Anita as the PeeWee Herman before nearly fainting as she discovered that Elektra is hot. As such, she immediately regretted being shady about her as her only shot now may be a hate fuck. Speaking of Elektra, she was already feeling like the underdog of the season and felt like she really needed to turn out the first challenge to counteract the other queens’ reputations.

Elimination Day arrived – the episode ran fast, fam – with Karen sharing that her hometown runway was inspired by all of the drunk girls late in the afternoon of Melbourne Cup, meanwhile Jojo was going to rock a look in honour of her ancestry rather than one specific place, before sharing with Art how proud she is to be an Indigenous Australian. Elektra and Kita meanwhile were kikiing about their Born Naked runways, with Kita sharing that she is still uncomfortable in her skin after losing weight after her recent lap band surgery. Oh and Anita was starting to feel very awkward about competing against her dear friend, though vowed that this is her time to shine as Scarlet’s born naked outfit tore open as they were about to head off to the runway.

With that, we check in with Michelle – lover of penal colonies – and Rhys, who loves his new daddy RuPaul. Who conveniently was sans drag as her make-up decided not to join her in New Zealand in time.

On the Born Naked runway, Scarlet was able to sew together her silicone catsuit and rocked full bush and nips, proving Australia and New Zealand are a bit more lax with their censorship. Maxi meanwhile lived in her see-through trench. Elektra was inspired by Ru in a gladiator number, Coco covered herself in over-sized, camp drag props, Etcetera rocked their non-binary roots in a gory and glamous goddess gown. Jojo meanwhile had me living with her even fuller bush than Scarlet, Karen looked like a sparkle, stripping dream while Anita slayed as Eve, though not as much as Alaska Eve, it should be noted. Kita’s bodysuit was sadly  ill fitting around the arms but she made up for it with a beautiful ball covered number while Art gave split personality in the most polished way possible.

Extra points go to Kita for getting Rhys to quickly assert himself as the alpha non-Ru-or-Michelle judge on all franchises ever by uttering, “I love balls slapping against my arse,” which I feel in my soul. I mean, ugh, it is soothing and I’m glad Rhys is bringing it into the broader consciousness.

Category No Place Like Home saw Scarlet slayk, serving Black Swan realness, Maxi served Big Prawn eleganza in honour of Ballina – which for those that have tragically never been, was a petrol station. Elektra was a technicolour dream angel for Auckland, which was stunning despite me not getting her references. Coco rocked King Kong chic in honour of another of my Christmas roadtrip faves, the Big Banana of Coffs Harbour. Etcetera served the map of Canberra in the sexiest way possible before Jojo stole the damn show as the self-crowned Queen of the Kooris. Karen pivoted in the best way possible, slaying as a very realistic drunk chick at the races. And I should know, as I was once kicked out of the races. Oh and then Anita turned up as a sheep, before Kita was All Black and sexy as hell and Art closed the show with a reveal, from little black dress to a graffiti covered gown and honestly, it was impeccable.

Ultimately Maxi, Etcetera, Anita and Kita were sent to safety, leaving the tops and bottoms – you know I have to say it, we’re all bottoms – on stage to receive critiques. The judges lived for Scarlet, despite her meaty damn tuck. They thought Elektra’s looks were simple albeit great, and then confusing and basic for her hometown look. They didn’t love Coco’s nude look, but lived for her hometown runway despite it potentially being legitimate Party City. Jojo was tragically read for being unpolished despite having a powerful message. Karen meanwhile received universal praise for both looks, as did Art.

Critically, Rhys followed his earlier majesty by quoting his boyfriend, “this is a strong opening, I hope you can top it.” And with that, the hilarious Ross Matthews, Carson, Alan and Graham started to worry about their job security.

Backstage Coco was gutted to have received mixed reviews, while Elektra was sure that she was in the bottom with Coco. Jojo meanwhile was heartbroken to not impress the judges, breaking down as she listened to the lip sync song, sure of her fate before she even returned to the stage.

Ultimately Scarlet was deemed safe as was Art, meaning Karen took out victory in the first challenge. On the other end of the spectrum, Coco scraped through by the skin of her teeth leaving Elektra and Jojo to battle it out in the first lip sync of the season to Tragedy by the mother tucking BeeGees.

Right from the start Elektra was desperate for victory as she slapped her pussy into the stage, but damn did both of the duo kill it. Bouncing off each other, the queens gave comedy and ultimately were delightfully congenial and altogether ridiculous, giving the world a taste of just how fun Down Under drag can be. Tragically though, someone had to become the Pork Chop of the franchise and despite it being such a strong opening lip sync, poor Jojo Zaho was felled from the competition.

Upon arriving backstage, I immediately pulled her in for a massive hug partly because I was so heartbroken to see her go and partly because she is hot. As I wiped away her tears, I reminded her that as her dear friend – we met at that place when we were both doing that thing, I’m sure I mentioned it – I know that this will not bring her down and frankly, snagged herself one of the most iconic places in the history of the series. Bested only by a crown. But since she was eliminated wearing one, she kinda got the best of both worlds. With that, we whipped out our Jojo Zahohos and toasted to all her success.

I was going to try and avoid smut upon my return, but when serving up a long, firm pole filled with glorious, sweet cream there is no way to avoid it. I am a ho for a hoho and after putting one in your mouth, you will be too.

Enjoy!

Jojo Zahohos
Serves: 2 dear friends, looking for a creamy filling.
Edited from Gale Gand’s recipe.

Ingredients
7 eggs, two of which need to be separated
¾ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup clarified butter, warm
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil, or whatever flavourless oil you prefer

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two jelly roll pans with baking paper.

Combine five whole eggs, two yolks – you could use the whites for a cheeky Macarooney Mara – muscovado sugar and two teaspoons of the vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture homogeneous. Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer, beating for five minutes or so, or until light and fluffy.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour, cocoa and baking powder until just combined before finally folding through the clarified butter. Split the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Take the cakes out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and cover with some cling while you get to work on the rest.

While the cake is getting chill, mix the icing sugar, butter and remaining vanilla with the paddle of a mixer until the sugar is wet. Insert the paddle into the stand mixer and beat on medium for a few minutes or until so light and fluffy it is pulsating.

To assemble the cakes, smear a layer of filling over the top of each cake, leaving a centimetre on one of the long sides. Roll each cake tightly to form a fat roll, trim into lengths, transfer to baking sheet – seam side down – and place in the fridge to set for an hour.

While they’re in the fridge, combine the chocolate and oil in a bowl over a double boiler and mix until it forms a glossy liquid. Leave to chill for five minutes before grabbing the cakes and working one at a time, dip them in the glaze, allow excess to drip off and then transfer to a baking sheet to set.

Once firm, plate up, serve them to your iconic friend and devour together, in the smuttiest way possible.


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