David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

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

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Serena ChaChagine

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 5, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang on, wait a minute. Why do I always do this?! I mean, the ads even told us it was a Ru dawn and a Ru day. And now, well, that day is here. At midnight in the US, which honestly is perfect for me Down Under

But I digress.

A’Keria C. Davenport was the first to ru-turn to the Werk Room looking like a vision in all gold, she was joined by Jiggly and ugh, I live for her and am so glad she is back, fully embracing herself as a strong, gorgeous woman, in a little black dress to boot. Next up was Jan, living her Jantasy despite the jandemic and I hate myself for loving her and her jan-do spirit as much as I do. Particularly since she knows she was an 11 at all times last season. She was joined by Ra’Jah O’Hara in a gorgeous purple and blue jumpsuit and she is happy, friendly and ready to prove that she is a damn icon. Then Ginger Minj arrived looking a mess as a toad, but damn am I thrilled to see her back after her sub-par performance in All Stars 2.

Particularly for her warts joke.

Yara Sofia arrived for her third turn, manic, crazed and barking like a dog and OH SHIT, have I missed her. Despite not loving Silky very much, her entry was iconic with a full glass of milk in her titties and ugh, will I actually love them all this season? Supporting that theory, my love Pandora Boxx returned looking stunning, complete with butt puns and gah, it is so good to have her back. Particularly if Rob Anderson manifested her being paired with Serena and there being no other pairs. Scarlet Envy was next to join the fray, with her season 11 nemesis Ra’jah living and well, it makes me so happy. Oh and speaking of Serena, she is back and damn, did she have a glow-up because it is time to cha-cha bitch. 

Sonique finally arrived and owned the entries, quoting the transphobic entry line and reclaiming it as her own. It is powerful, she is funny and damn, I am SO glad to have her back. Next up was Trinity K Bonet, still charming and ready to slay, with Bianca’s encouragement playing in her head this go around rather than her inner saboteur. Last up was Eureka for her sixteenth attempt at the crown, this time with All Stars lips. And thankfully, still serving killer looks.

With that, Ru finally arrived to inform the largest All Stars cast EVER that they would still be a democracy this season, with everyone voting. And then alluding to a game within a game. But then changed the subject to the 14th queen, who it turns out was just the legendary Miss Piggy, who would be overseeing the reading challenge.

Kylie Sonique Love kicked things off reading A’Keria for being another losing Davenport, TKB went in on Ra’Jah for being an early out and Silky for being a mess, Jiggly destroyed Pandora for having no fans and Serena for being an alternate. Ra’Jah then arrived and savaged former-nemesis Scarlet’s beard, Eureka went in on Ginger’s relationship and then Pandora killed reading Eureka for being there. And then Ginger rightly got a supercut of destroying all of them. Serena was given the rattlesnake edit before Yara was demented and delightful, Jan tried to read Sonique but was read back in return before A’Keria was mean about Ra’Jah’s chances in the competition, Scarlet went for A’Keria butt implants and Silky was confusing but eventually got one in on Eureka.

Obviously Ginger took out victory, before Ru announced that they would be competing in the traditional premiere variety show. Which saw them all quickly split up, snatch a station and kiki. Ra’Jah and Serena were both ready to rewrite their narrative this season and prove that they are stars, before Ra’Jah celebrated the diversity of the cast. Besties Ginger and Jiggly caught up and were delightfully ridiculous, with Ginger knowing that she shouldn’t join the bitter old lady brigade again. Silky meanwhile praised Serena’s glow-up and celebrated her return, while Ra’Jah admitted her strategy was to get to the top and then stay there. And I am living for this version of Ra’Jah.

Elimination Day arrived with Eureka sharing that she’d be doing a song about her mother, while Sonique was doing a song to reintroduce herself to the fandom. Meanwhile Trinity K Bonet was just hoping to break the comedy show curse, given it was her choice to do stand-up. As they got ready Scarlet and Sonique spoke about what the game within a game could be, with all the girls derailing it by talking about whether they have a strategy. Silky laid out that she is not planning to play games and wanted to be fair, while TKB was nervous about being a bit of an island in the cast since everyone had friends or former castmates joining them.

At the variety show Jan mocked her face crack moment after being announced safe, then slayed her vocal performance about living her Jantasy. Pandora was charming and stupid and ugh, THIS is the Pandora I love, as she lip synced like a maniac, complete with titty confetti. Jiggly’s song and dance, to her own Jiggly-centric rap was a bop, Kylie was GORGEOUS as a golden burlesque singer – sans Wagon Wheel Watusi.

Oh AND THEN RA’JAH SEWED A DRESS IN 60s, I SHIT YOU NOT. I CAN’T GET OVER IT.

A’Keria gave a technicolour lip sync that had Michelle gagging, despite the green lighting. And then, ugh, Trinity bombed her comedy show. Badly, despite reading her grandma for filth. Eureka had a surprisingly good voice while singing live, complete with projections on her dress. Scarlet then dazzled with a bubble burlesque number which was both fresh and iconic. Silky then straight up played piano and sang gospel, Serena promoted her wig line, Ginger gave a poppy performance of perfection and then Yara was ridiculous as she bounced her titties all over the stage. Which was iconic, despite nobody knowing what was happening.

After Ru reiterated the rules, Eureka, A’Keria, Jiggly, Jan, Kylie, Scarlet and Ginger were sent to safety. As the dolls untucked backstage, Jiggly was thrilled to have survived the first week while Ginger was happy to at least have won the reading challenge and to prove herself. Again. Jan threw out another Jan pun, while Eureka asked the girls to help her strip off to take a seat. She then charmed the girls by saying that she was shocked they weren’t the tops, while Ginger expected Silky to win despite Scarlet being sure it was Yara’s on lock, giving how much Ru was living.

Jiggly identified TKB as a bottom, while Eureka felt Pandora would be joining her along with Serena. Ginger loved that she got a plug in for her wig line, before Jan celebrated that she wasn’t even annoyed about being safe. And Scarlet was thrilled to be feeling joy this time, as was A’Keria. Kylie shared that she was sprialling before starting the competition, though was ready to show that she had grown thanks to Ru. Eureka then broke down about losing her mum and was so endearing, leading to Jiggly talking about how much Eureka’s tribute to her mum meant to her. 

Jiggly then spoke about how she spent so long doing sex work to survive, that she didn’t even realise that she was broken on her first season. She and Kylie told the group about growing after coming out as trans and it was such a beautiful, loving conversation to have and I am so glad they are so open to sharing. Ginger spoke about how she didn’t even recognise who she was on Season 7, talking about how much hate she got that she still doesn’t even know how she processed it. Eureka praised her for being a trailblazer for big girls, before Sonique gave them all a pep talk about how them being so vulnerable and open is what makes them special. 

Oh and Ginger then spoke about the positives of meeting fans, with Scarlet admitting that she was one such fan of Ginger’s in the past. And then Jan reminded us that season 12 really had the worst experience, given she hasn’t even toured as a Ru girl so is still waiting to meet fans.

Back on the mainstage,  Silky was read for not fully taking it there in her performance, despite looking gorgeous and literally playing the piano live. Trinity’s look was praised though she was read for her obvious bomb. Ra’Jah received universal praise for her dress in 60 seconds number, as did Yara for her ridiculous tiddy-shaking performance. And I am so happy for her. Pandora’s joyous brand of ridiculous was praised for serving comedy, while poor Serena was read for not exactly executing the performance given everything else looked so beautiful and polished. Ultimately Yara took out the first victory of the season, while Pandora and Ra’Jah were deemed safe, as was Silky. Meaning either TKB or Serena were going home.

Talk turned to the voting backstage, with the girls talking about their strategies with Kylie admitting that she knows well enough not to share her strategy. They were interrupted by the tops and bottoms returning from their critiques, with Yara giddy to announce her victory to the safe girls, before Trinity and Serena shared they were in the bottom. Yara pulled Serena aside, with the latter sharing that she is heartbroken to be in the bottom after all these years. Meanwhile TKB shared that she doesn’t even know what happened at the variety show, though plead her case to the girls, reminding them she is here to prove herself. The bottoms switched places – how versatile – with Serena telling the girls she is here to fight too, while TKB reminded Yara about how much she wants to be there.

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

With that, the dolls voted and Yara made her way to the mainstage where she learnt that she would be facing off against Coco Montrese and oooooh, gurl – you in danger Yara! As soon as Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk started, both the dolls were ready to fight, but honestly, Coco is just SO good at lip syncing. Even while Yara was stripping and bouncing her titties, Coco was hitting every letter and proving why she is arguably THE lip sync assassin of the franchise. Again, she is just so good. With that, she took out victory and had to reveal that the group had voted to eliminate the delightfully redeemed Serena ChaCha.

Serena was crushed to unanimously be booted from the game by the group, particularly since Yara voted for Trinity and could have changed things with her victory. That being said, my dear Serena was delightful as she wrote her farewell message, before breaking down to discover the other queens’ notes praising her for her growth and charm. Oh and seeing the massive Serena ChaChagine I had waiting to celebrate her rudemption.

Rich and hearty, despite not having a meat in sight, this tagine is a pure delight. And while that was an accidental rhyme, you know I deliberately left that in. Because like the tagine, it is fun and full of flavour. Right?

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 pinch of saffron
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ butternut pumpkin, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, cut into segments
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 potato, cut into eighths
salt and pepper, to taste
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous, mint, flaked almonds, yoghurt and harissa, to serve

Method
Place the saffron in a cup measure and infuse in 1 cup of boiling water.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a tagine over a medium heat and sweat the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and ras el hanout for a minute or two, or until nice and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook it off for a few minutes before loosening with the saffron infused water.

Stir in the myriad of diced and sliced veg before adding the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and apricots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Give a good stir, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or so, or until the veg are tender.

To serve, layer your bowl with a dollop of couscous, followed by the tagine and whatever combination of herbs, yoghurt, harissa and almonds float your boat. And then devour, like a rudeemed champion.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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Lydia Lassila 2.0

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Drink, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor after Shonee and Zach were booted to exile, Jonathan decided to switch up the tribes. Before the icon and her newfound friend returned to the game, with each being sent to one of the new tribes. Filling Abbey with dread, given she was reunited with Shonee. New Mokuta won the first reard challenge after the swap, where they won an enigmatic Pandora’s Box. Which they took back to camp and learnt that two keys were hidden on the island, with the first person to find one and open it claiming the ultimate advantage inside. Everyone was off and racing before Nick found the key, roped in Phoebe to be his lookout and grab the extra vote advantage before anyone noticed. Mokuta once again proved unstoppable in the immunity challenge, leading to a showdown between Abbey and Shonee. With Locky, Brooke, AK and Flick firmly planted in the middle. Thankfully fellow fourth-placed robbed goddess Flick chose to side with Shonee, and the tribe blindside Abbey from the game.

We checked in with Mokuta the next day where Moana and David were bonding over their improved surroundings. However the uncertainty about who opened Pandora’s Box was driving David mad, and as such, he got to work trying to find the culprit and in turn, find out the advantage they claimed for themselves. While he listed the potential thieves though, he conveniently missed Nick … who was at that very moment doing a David impersonation with a really cute scarf. That I need now, please and thank you Nick.

Over at Vakama Shonee was living for her breakfast, flying high on the killer tribal council the previous night. Like Arya Stark, she was thrilled to cross a name off her list and was ready to keep going. Knowing that she gets by on her personal relationships, Shonee continued her charm offensive and bonded with her season-mate Mat. I mean, he even made the Queen a friendship bracelet – I live! Mat too was trying to make as many friends as possible, knowing that he was reunited with Lydia, who is out for her own revenge from their original season. When he and Shane blindsided her. Speaking of Lydia, she was trying to do a complete 180 on her game, targeting the strong, athletic Mat. With that, she tasked John to go make friends and why isn’t he doing a nudie run? That is the John I love.

Returning to Mokuta, Zach was giving me the goods, washing off, flashing his buns and OH MY GOD, do I love Zach?


Before I could explore my feelings or boner, Nick was feeling nervous about the state of play on Mokuta, given they haven’t been to tribal and he isn’t sure where the loyalties lie. He was confident in his alliance with Sharn and Lee, knowing that David and Phoebe were together and Tarzan, Moana and Jacqui were close, and as such, he needed to snap up one of the other groups to take control. And use his extra vote if needed. Feeling less nervous, Moana was thankful to have two of her closest allies with her, loving the new beach and fired up to make some moves and get back to her dear friend Mat. Unlike her besties however, she was nervous about David and as such, wanted to get him out ASAP. Mo approached Sharn to share her fears about David and suggested splitting up his pair with Phoebe. She then approached Nick to point out that David and Phoebe have been spooning, and as such, are aligned and need to be dealt with.

The tribes arrived to meet Jonathan and were shocked to learn that tribal immunity was placed on pause and that today, each tribe would compete amongst themselves for individual immunity and both tribes would go to tribal council tonight. Said challenge would require everyone to stand on a pole, holding two discs between a hand and the side walls. With the last ones standing on each tribe taking immunity. After a matter of minutes, John and Locky became the first two out of the challenge – nudie run? – quickly followed by Harry, while nobody from Mokuta had even dropped. Well, until I jinxed them and Moana dropped, while everyone by Jacqui looked close to death. Lee was the next to go, followed by a distraught Phoebe, Shonee, Mat and David.

Taking a leaf out of Shane’s book, David started to strike up a conversation with Moana, assuring her that he won’t target her tonight. Nick was eliminated from the challenge as the duo spoke about hooking up, with Moana keen to be his new Luke. Tarzan dropped out to give Jacqui a better shot at the Mokuta immunity, before Lydia lost her chance at the Vakama one. Not very athletic, no? Zach was the next to drop, leaving Sharn and Jacqui to battle for Mokuta’s immunity, while Brooke, AK and Flick were still alive for Vakama. Until I jinxed them and AK was eliminated, leaving the ladies all to dig. Ultimately Jacqui proved unbeatable, as Sharn finally dropped her discs. Meanwhile the Vakama challenge proved more interesting as Brooke and Flick continued to fight, neither wanting to give up given the fact Flick blindsided Flick in their first season. Not that we’d know, since Flick hasn’t spoken all season. One thing she has done is drop though, handing Brooke immunity.

Back at Vakama Shonee was thrilled to get rid of another two of her enemies, looking forward to getting rid of Lydia. And I assume, hoping Lee or Sharn go on the other. Lydia decided now would be the time to try and befriend Shonee, which she immediately shut down given they have no relationship and Lydia needs to exit her beach. Shonee, Locky, AK, Brooke and Flick caught up to lock in the plan, with everyone more than ok to stick with Lydia. Speaking of Lydia, she was desperate to find a way out of the situation and decided her best chance would be to pitch a Mat blindside to flush his idol … and get revenge for Champions vs. Contenders I. With that, she approached AK and Harry and wisely appealed to their egos, telling them a vote for her is boring and blindsiding Mat would be great for their resume.

AK was keen to go with the plan, but only if Lydia could convince John – easy – Brooke and Locky to join with them. Lydia approached the latter to see how they were feeling and despite it being risky, knew it was her only shot. Sadly for her, however, it didn’t go unnoticed by Mat, who quickly deduced that he was her target and was working overtime to convince people to join her. Begrudgingly Mat approached Locky to see what was going on and pledged his allegiance to his former nemesis to stay safe for one more vote.

Side note, everyone reminded us that this is All Stars about 1000 times and I hate it.

Meanwhile over at Mokuta Jacqui was thrilled to have secured individual immunity before David scurried off to see whether he could convince Zach to align with him. They met up in the shallows and when Zach seemed open to voting out Nick – the OG snake – David commenced rallying the troops, pulling in Lee and Sharn, knowing that Phoebe would also be keen if it saves themselves. Not resting one his laurels, David reached out to Moana to see whether she can bring herself, Tarzan and Jacqui in on the vote, working together long enough to keep Mat happy if they reunite. With Mo and Co. keen, everything seemed to be done and dusted.

But damn, the Moana that slayed Russel is back and I am so thrilled to see her again. She caught up with Sharn and suggested that instead, they target Phoebe to weaken David’s alliance and free up Nick. And she has zero qualms about it, given she told Dave that she would be loyal to him at the merge … but they haven’t merged yet. I mean, that is low-key iconic. Speaking of icons, Phoebe was nervous about losing Nick and as such, pulled him and Sharn aside to catch them up and find another vote. Sadly for Nick, however, he suggested Moana as the next best option. The same Moana that is a dear friend of Sharn outside of the game.

Both tribes arrived at tribal council before Lydia spoke about the pain of Abbey being thrown under the bus and booted last tribal council. She then smugly spoke about there being cracks in the tribe, insinuating that she had been successful in using them enough to make a move. Mat admitted that he was nervous after receiving votes the night before, AK spoke about the ever-changing dynamics on the tribe and John admitted to being completely left out and just dragged along by the rest of the tribe. Lydia said that she was even further behind John, which makes no sense, given they are calm and dependable. And there are people sitting quietly on the tribe, waiting to fuck, shit up. Locky admitted to the tensions in their tribe, though wouldn’t commit to any one person being more of a threat than any other. Talk turned to cars, with Mat saying he is in the car, but not driving it before AK decided to just claim the wheel and then told Jonathan that the vote won’t change a thing. But will give them more room in the shelter. Which made Mat just a little bit nervous.

Jonathan turned his sights to Mokuta, with Jacqui sharing how thrilled she was to finally feel safe at a tribal council. David admitted that everyone was wary of tribal council, given the tribe hasn’t had the chance to solidify their allegiances. Moana spoke about how lovely the new tribe was, glad to take some time to chill, bond and move past the dramas on the previous tribe. This annoyed Phobe, who said the issues were clearly still there since she wasn’t invited to go swim and bond, and as such, she was nervous. Nick spoke about exploiting the cracks in the alliance, David said he was trying to plan for the future and Moana said she was confident and just wanted to vote.

While Phoebe and Sharn started to whisper, David agreed with Moana that he was feeling confident in the vote ahead. Which Sharn and Lee agreed with, all seemingly putting a lot of weight on this vote for dictating the rest of their games. Moana suggested someone will be surprised by the outcome of the vote, which made Nick feel nervous, reminding everyone that only Jacqui is safe. Speaking of Jacqui, she too … was confident in the plan going ahead.

Jonathan decided to add one more twist to the proceedings, announcing that while each tribe will be voting somebody out, only one would be exiting the game as the duo will face off in a fire challenge, leaving the victor to return to their tribe, desperate for some Shonee style revenge.

With that, the Vakama tribe kicked off the vote-a-palooza, followed by Mokuta, before Jonathan revealed that Lydia was narrowly voted out of the former ahead of John. Much to Shonee’s slyly, smug delight. While the more confused Mokuta narrowly settled on Queen Phoebe over Nick and Moana. With that the women approached their fire stations to prepare for battle, with Phoebe nervously checking in on Lydia’s fire-making ability. Which she self rated with a half-hearted, “yeah good.” But, yeah, nah, they weren’t so good, as Phoebe quickly got a spark – under Dave’s guidance – while Lydia focused on building a tee-pee before focusing on the flame. With Phoebe first to get flame, she desperately worked to build it up. Her kindling quickly lit up, but just as quickly went out, giving Lydia hope. Though it was misplaced, as Phoebe relit the flame and got a roaring fire before Lydia even managed a spark, returning herself to the game and sending Lydia home.

Despite openly complaining about Lydia for most of the season, I was sad to see her arrive at Loser Lodge. Until I learnt that the other option was Phoebe, though I didn’t tell her that. The fire she showed this entire episode reminded me of how great a villain she was in the first episode, so I decided to finally take her in my arms, apologise for our ongoing feud – she got me banned from the Olympics because I cheated, or something – and make her a kinda, Lydia Lassila. 2.0.

 

 

Like Lydia’s slightly improved game this season, I decide to see her previous Lydia Lassila and change it just enough to be new, fresh and exciting. Out are the juicy, juicy mangoes and in are the strawberry and rose water. The latter of which gives a very feminine, glamorous edge, in honour of Queen Shonee who is out for athletic blood.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lydia Lassila 2.0
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 cups frozen strawberries, defrosted
2 cups natural yoghurt
½ cup milk
2 tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp rose water

Method
Chuck everything in a blender or food processor.

Blitz for a couple of minutes, or until well combined.

Pour into a glass and down, like an Olympic Champion that was bested by our queen, icon, legend Shonee.

 

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Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Christina Applegate Sauce

Condiment, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Sauce

As you know, most of my time celebrating an Award Show is dedicated to finding someone that will take me as their plus one when the relevant academy chooses yet again, not to invite me. So since my dear Christina Applegate is nominated again this year and co-starred opposite Ed O’Neil, I couldn’t go past kicking off this year’s celebration with her.

I’ve known Chris for decades, after meeting on the set of Married. While I was employed as part of Kate’s entourage, I was drawn to Chris due to our similar sense of humour and we quickly developed a strong, unbreakable bond.

Given how busy she is, I haven’t caught up with Christina in close to 12 months, so it was such a joy to swing by her pad and toast her success on Dead to Me. While she wouldn’t give away any spoilers on season 2, she did assure me that should Linda agree to end her feud with me she could find a way to work me in to the season.

And I assume, finally get me my elusive first Emmy nomination.

Speaking of Emmy nominees, we sat down to run the odds in the Comedy Game. Despite both loving her performance in Dead to Me, we agreed that JLD will take Best Actress despite Catherine O’Hara deserving it. Best Actor she thinks will go to Bill Hader, while I think Ted Danson will make his triumphant return to the stage. While I am hopeful Anna Chlumsky will finally take out an Emmy for her role in Veep, Chris thinks it will go to Olivia Colman. When both obviously agree that Henry Winkler will take out Best Supporting Actor once again.

With that I wished her luck and toasted to her ongoing success with a big pot of sweet, spiced Christina Applegate Sauce.

 

 

While most people would argue that apple sauce is apple sauce and it isn’t anything special, I urge you to try this and then try to go back to store bought. Because you can’t. Lightly spiced with a caramelly hint, this smooth sauce is the perfect accompaniment to a big, salty slab of pork. Or great to shot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Christina Applegate Sauce
Serves: 1 saucy nominee and her inspiration.

Ingredients
5 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 cinnamon quill

Method
Place everything in a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, covered, and cook until apples are very soft. About ten minutes should be enough.

Remove the cinnamon quill and blitz the sauce until smooth and serve immediately.

 

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Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David and Luke were riding high in control of the tribe, unaware that the Champion women were growing tired of their schtick. After Dave lost immunity, Pia led the crew to turn the tribe against David, with them approaching the former Contenders one by one until they were sure that everyone was keen to take him out. The poor boys thought the target was on Daisy’s back, with the only foil to the plan being their ability to hide the truth from the boys. Despite some near misses at tribal council, David held on to his idol one more time, which tragically was the wrong decision as everyone but Luke successful blindside him from the game. Though Luke to live for it and laughed with them as David found his way to the Jury Villa.

Back at camp everyone was in a celebratory mood after the epic blindside, with Pia admitting to being worried half-way through tribal since everyone was so good at lying to the boys. While Luke tried to keep his spirits up after being left out, he assured everyone that he is still happy to work with everyone and understands why he was left out of things. He then went wandering for an idol, though tragically was followed by Baden and Harry. Not one to waste an opportunity, he suggested they all steal the pot and rice and have themselves a killer little rice feast while everyone slept. Luke was feeling good about their bond after the shared theft, but I can’t help but feel like this will only come back to bite him.

The next day John returned for another glorious nude scene as everyone spoke about how beautiful the morning was – breach – before sitting down to a celebratory breakfast of rice, thrilled to take out their biggest competition. Daisy then roasted David’s looks before admitting to want to bone Simon – who? – or Shaun – duh – before Janine continued to relish in the Davidless world, feeling her power growing in the game. She caught up with Abbey and the two confirmed that playing Champions strong is their best idea for the next few votes. Pia joined her allies, to quietly celebrate before she started to worry about putting Luke offside. With that she approached Luke by the well to reassure him that while his ally was blindsided, she and him were still solid. Standing right next to an idol.

By the shore Daisy was still feeling her oats after the killer acting performance at tribal council, boldly approaching Janine and Abbey to find out who would be the next to go. While she didn’t appear to be too concerned about their deflections, Harry was nervous and decided to take matters into his own hands and commenced searching for an idol. Sadly for him, Daisy was one step ahead of him, reaching into a rock wall and grabbing her second idol of the game, which she intends to use to get out a massive threat. While she panicked about finding a place to hide it, Luke and Pia returned to the well with her nervously trying to pretend that she didn’t just find one. Luke being Luke, he straight up asked her whether she just found an idol with her giggled out her admission before he and Pia suggested they could work with her to find a way to play it successfully and make yet another big move.

Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would be paired up to balance an idol on the end of long sticks that they need to rub together. They were playing for a giant Chinese banquet so everyone was thrilled, as they paired up and Harry was forced to sit on the bench. Though he was given a reprieve, told that if he picked the winning pair he would join them, selecting Abbey and Janine for a throuple date. All the duos – Luke & Baden, John & Simon, and Pia & Daisy – were strong through the first two lengths of pole before Pia and Daisy dropped their idol adding the third segment. Everyone survived the next three extensions before Luke and Baden dropped sticking their last length of pole in. The were quickly followed by Simon and John, handing Janine and Abbey the win, and Harry for his killer betting abilities. Realising it was awkward to eat as a throuple, Jonathan allowed them one extra guest, with Harry selecting Simon to join them to hopefully find an in with the Champion crew.

The victors arrived at the jungle Chinese banquet, relaxing as they sat down to share a meal. Janine joked about the four of them being plotted against by the five back at camp, before getting super bold and floating plans for the next tribal council, hopeful to work with Harry given he is more predictable to some of her other options. After finishing the meal, Simon started casing the joint and discovered the plates from everyone’s family before we got to know Simon a little better, learning that he has three kids and is kinda hot. He then praised how good his son’s handwriting has gotten and hot damn, I guess I’m in love. Abbey cried about her plate, Janine showed off her sexy family and Harry outed himself as a superfan as his girlfriend wrote about Survivor being his lifelong dream. Oh and the plate made him realising that aligning with Janine is in his worst interests, making him focused to reunite the Contenders and find a way to take back control.

Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to have another idol to her name, though was unsure just how she will make it work. Particularly since she was court in the act – not Courtney Act – by Luke and Pia, and kinda needing to play along with them to make it work out.

Jonathan made his triumphant return for the next immunity challenge where everyone was forced to balance themselves between two long poles while planking. Oh and to update, John’s buns look great in his speedo. Harry dropped mere minutes into the challenge, followed closely by Abbey who let rip some glorious old man noises. Luke fell after three minutes, followed closely by Pia and my love, John. At ten minutes Baden started listing sequences until someone guessed them, after Simon identified the Olympic hosts, Daisy correctly guessed Eurovision and dropping out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Janine dropped, leaving King Baden to face off against our mute love Simon. The boys continued to fight, both desperately wanting a win under their belt leading to John starting to coach Baden in the hope that the youngo could secure the win. Sadly it was all for nought, as he couldn’t hold out any longer and Simon snatched himself immunity.

The tribe returned to camp to kick off their scrambling. Abbey was thrilled that Simon won the immunity challenge, though was more thrilled about the fact it was a Champion. Speaking of the Champs, they pulled themselves aside while Daisy rallied the Contenders to share that she has the idol. She then suggested that they all stick together and load the votes on one person, and she will play the idol to even up the numbers. While it isn’t a full-proof plan, they all agreed that it was their only shot. The Champions meanwhile were keen to get rid of Daisy, which led Luke and Pia to spill the knowledge of her idol. With that, the vote flipped to Harry as the easy(ish) option.

Luke and Baden then caught up by the well, with the latter hopeful to use their bond to keep the Contenders safe. Baden told Luke that he knows about Daisy’s idol, while Luke lied and said that he hadn’t told any of the Champions which made sweet Baden over confident and hot damn, am I nervous. Luke returned to JaQueen and Pia to fill them in, leaving the three to bounce back and forth between who to vote for before Pia admitted their only hope is to make Daisy so nervous that she blows the idol on herself.

At tribal council Daisy immediately put her idol around her neck, hopeful her brazen display would be enough to bamboozle the Champions. JaQueen was surprised to see her wear the idol, though was fairly sure that she had it. She then questioned why she was wearing it, unsure whether it was a bluff, or she planned to play it on any former Contender. Abbey and JaQueen agreed that old tribal lines were hard to break, though Janine mentioned that no matter what the game resets after every tribal council. With that Harry interjected to ask how that is true, given she always has control before John interrupted them to say that no matter what they believe, a pecking order exists and that won’t change unless the people on the bottom join them and switch things up.

Harry played into everyone’s fear, reminding them that they need to start making moves before their options join the jury. John doubled down, telling them that playing for fourth and fifth is pretty weak and they need to finally have a crack. Abbey admitted that they were aware of the idol all day and had just tried to figure out a way to navigate it. Daisy joined the fray to admit that playing the idol is her only hope and she’d rather play it on the wrong person than not have a crack. JaQueen started to make Daisy nervous, hopeful that she could make her burn the idol on herself. Abbey spoke about the Champions having two recurring targets, which John identified as a way to spook the Contenders away from playing the idol on him and as such, maybe he is their one true target.

With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and while the Contenders piled their votes on Abbey, someone cast a random vote for Harry and the rest voted for John. The tribe then revoted between John and Abbey with them coming in three apiece before tragedy struck and Zaddy John was sent from the game. With his budgies back at camp to boot.

While I was heartbroken to think that John’s pert butt won’t be kicking off every episode anymore, I was thrilled to see him expanding my Jury Villa harem. I took him in my arms after tribal council, congratulated him on a game well played before leading him back to the aforementioned villa for what I coined ‘an explosive surprise.’

Full disclosure, John forced me to change my practices this season, partly because of his passion for nudity and the other part because I wanted to woo him. To pull back the curtain, I usually arrive in Fiji with a recipe list for all of my friends with a suitcase full of groceries – so really the winner loses as that food is rotten by Day 50 – but seeing John parade around in speedos, flooding my basement in the process, I knew I had to give the man what he wanted. In the hope that he realised that he wanted me to. While I don’t kiss and tell, I can confirm that he was thrilled I pulled a Cher Horowitz, hauled arse to the kitchen, rearranged things and served him up a Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe. Aka a meal worthy of my King.

 

 

And boy am I glad I did. While it isn’t exactly what he sultrily described to Daisy and Shaun, this baby still filled him with joy. Juicy chicken enveloped in a spicy corn-chip crumb, slathered with salsa, ham and a tonne of dripping cheese, finished off with a dollop of sour cream and guac? Let’s just say a way to this man is definitely through a Mexi-parm.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two fillets each
200g corn chips, blitzed to a crumb
1 cup flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg
2 tsp milk
1 cup salsa, store bought or Struthers, I don’t mind
100g ham, sliced
⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
100g vintage cheddar cheese, sliced
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the corn chips and flour in two bowls and mix each with half of each spice, and the corn chip mix with parmesan. Then whisk the egg and milk in a third.

Working one at a time, dip the breast in the spiced flour, followed by the egg wash and then into the corn chip crumb, pressing to make sure it is heavily coated. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat until the chicken is done.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, drizzle with salsa, top with sliced ham, drizzle with more salsa, dot with jalapenos, and cover with cheese. Return to oven and bake for a further ten minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Serve immediately and devour, seductively, wooing your man. Is anyone else feeling short of breath and sweaty?

 

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A sickly sweet Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler waiting for fifth boot Steven Bradbury.

Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Monika Radulovic memorial Tower of Terror challenge returned to wreak havoc on poor tsunami survivor Sarah, after Casey dived out of the challenge quicker than Sarah dived off a balcony into the tsunami to save her life. Obviously the Champs took out victory, which they were allowed to share with someone from the other tribe and selected Zaddy John given how he supported Sarah through the trauma. Janine found a clue to an idol amongst the loot, however upon finding it learnt that said idol was only for a Contender to play at a Contender tribal council, and the corresponding Champion idol is in the same place on the Contenders beach. After Pia and Luke got tangled up in the immunity challenge, ultimately leading to the Champion’s loss. Back at camp things got heated with Steven tantrumming about Abbey for playing the game, calling her weak and making her cry. This led to everyone rallying around the AFL play before blindsiding him and sending his closest ally Nova from the game.

Leading to the best post-boot comment from Jonathan, noting that he once again skated through to victory. Fucking iconic.

Things were going downhill the next at Camp Champ where Nova’s Kitchen was tragically under new management and while Ross tried to impress everyone with his delivery service, nobody seems thrilled by his efforts. Though let’s be honest, he did do a killer job on cooking up a pair of shoes. Needless to say, he “is Nova it.”

We checked in with the Contenders where beautiful Shaun was feeling down, missing his son’s fifth birthday. And what I wouldn’t give to give him a hug. Thankfully, I guess, he found a good friend in Daisy, who helped him draw a birthday message on the sand while sharing stories of how much they miss their families. So you know today’s reward is going to be for some form of love, no? Before we get a chance to find out, Shaun discovered the Contenders equivalent of the hidden immunity idol Janine found the day before and despite it being of no use to him – yet – he felt good. Being a sweet, stunning man, he immediately decided to pass it off to one of the Champions, and hoped that it will get him in good should they meet up.

Back at Camp Champ Steven was still floating on shock after surviving tribal council at the expense of his closest ally. He decided that the most important thing was making friends, so started working on his social game. Which involved telling David that he was shocked at how bigger role the social game plays, leading to a thorough roasting from the model. Sadly David seemed to be getting a bit too confident in his position and honestly, that makes me so nervous. He decided that the one thing he needs to complete his top dog status is an idol and that Janine would be his key to getting one. Before he had a chance to confront her about the idol, she pulled him aside and filled him in on the stipulations, and together they formulated a plan to orchestrate a trade off at an upcoming challenge.

With that Jonathan was manifested for the reward challenge where they would face off in a game of football in the shadows, with two kickers stood on podiums awaiting the ball to kick a goal. It was for fish and chips, so everyone was positively thrilled however let’s be honest, three footballers vs. one makes it a no brainer for the Champs, right? Shaun, John, Matt and Andy faced off against E.T, Luke, David and Simon, and while Shaun was first to the ball, Simon scored the first point for the Champs. Baden, John, Sam and Sarah were then defeated by Steven, Janine, Ross and Abbey. David, Simon, E.T. and Pia went 3-0 against Shaun, John, Daisy and Matt. Shaun, Daisy, Sam and Hannah lost the next point, this time to Simon, Janine, Pia and Abbey but again, we’re the winners, watching Shaun and Simon wrestling with the former’s speedos getting plenty of airtime. Luke, David, Steven and Simon, finally lost a point to Andy, John, Shaun and Matt. More importantly David and Shaun had a little pow wow on their way off the course, telling each other about the idols and promising to trade them tomorrow. The Champions then won the final point and may I add, I predicted it.

The Champions were overwhelmed to discover a shack by the beach with a table fully laden with fish, chips, and if Jeff were here, all the fixings. Mid-gorge David discovered newspapers in the corner featuring them and their starring achievements, the highlights being David’s white speedos, the headline of Last Man Standing after Steven won the Gold medal and E.T. in his speedo with my love Tina Turner. We also learnt that Luke has a six week old daughter waiting for him back at home, who they tragically learnt had cystic fibrosis just before heading out to the island and I can’t stop crying.

We checked back in with the Contenders where Shaun was second guessing his mid-challenge chat with David, worried he won’t follow through. He spoke to Daisy and she assured him the risk was worth it. So why do I feel so nervous? Right on cue, that night we went back to Camp Champ where Janine told David she wanted to keep the idol in case of a swap – Queen – leading to David coming up with plan B, fashioning a fake idol and taking Janine’s note to help sell it is real. While it is a great plan, if it gets Shaun booted, I will riot. Plus David calling himself a golden God in celebration isn’t cute, despite being accurate.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where Shaun and David handed over their real and fake idols respectively. They then learnt that seven tribe members will be locked in cages, with the rest of the tribe racing through obstacles to rescue them … before releasing sandbags, solving a puzzle and then knocking the completed puzzle off the ledge with the sandbags. Matt and John got the Contenders out to a slight lead, which was quickly destroyed as the Champions picked up momentum with every person they collected. Eventually they all caught up at the puzzle where Baden and Andy made quick work of the puzzle, overtaking Ross and Abbey, giving Andy a huge advantage when it came to knocking the blocks back off. Try as Abbey might, she was no match for Andy who once again secured immunity for the Contenders.

The mood was ridiculously sombre back at camp, with the tribe sick of losing, none more so than E.T. who is sick of people blowing the lead he gives them. Time after time. David seemed to be the only one smiling, telling Janine about his successful fake for real idol trade before doubling down on the cocky speak, making me so damn nervous. The alliance then decided to split the vote, nervous that Steven has an idol despite their alliance having three in the first two weeks. David approached E.T. and Simon, telling them to vote for Steven. Well actually strong-armed, making Pia, Abbey and Janine nervous that E.T. and Simon will now try something to counteract the arrogance.

As you would expect E.T. was pissed and decided that they should approach Ross to try and get him to flip back to him, Simon and Steven and get rid of Pia. Sorry E.T, I now hope you fail. Which seems likely because Pia watched them try and recruit Ross. She then approached Janine and David to share her suspicion that Ross will flip, and tried to get them to stack all the votes on Steven instead of splitting and risking one of them – likely her – going home.

At tribal council E.T. reiterated that he is sick of the tribe choking mid-challenge while Steven, David and Luke whispered about the upcoming vote and who they planned to target. E.T. wasn’t thrilled about the talk, concerned that it meant he would be next on the chopping block. Ross then put his hand up and said that he deserves to go home after botching the challenge before Steven said that if the vote was based on the challenge, it would definitely mean that he, Simon and E.T. would be safe tonight. While he and David started to throw shade at each other, Pia spoke up and said that she believes there is a target on her back tonight. This lead to Steven saying she has been carried through the challenges, which she found frustrating and pointed out all the times that she has been better than others in the challenges. Talk then turned to who was in charge of the alliance, with them all agreeing that they have a voice and hope to move past the tension tomorrow. Steven then alluded to having an idol or Ross forgetting who to vote for, making Abbey, Pia, Janine, Luke and David extremely nervous as they headed off to vote.

Thankfully for Queen Pia, everyone held firm and poor Steven was iced from the tribe. I mean, couldn’t skate through. I mean, you’ll have an ice time at Ice World. Fuck – I’m going down an ad rabbit hole. Despite the minor shade I’ve been sending Steven’s way, I love him dearly, having met at Brisbane’s aforementioned Ice World. While he was learning to speed skate, I was training to become a figure skater. While I was banned from the sport after an epic on-ice tantrum after botching a triple axel – failing to land one – Steven took me under his wing and we became the best of friends, lovingly ribbing each other ever since. I mean, I wouldn’t make a Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler if I didn’t love the icon.

 

teven Bradbury about to inhale my Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler.

 

Thankfully I made something aggressively sweet to dull the pain of Australia’s Gold medalist turned walking verb’s boot. A sweet, sticky pool of berries, topped with spiced, fluffy donuts are the only thing to cheer up our fallen – no pun intended, but super glad it worked out this way – icon. Outside of a Snickers.

Enjoy!

 

teven Bradbury inhaling my Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler.

 

Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g blueberries
250g raspberries
200g granny smith apples, cored and diced
200g pears, cored and diced
1 cup muscovado sugar
⅓ cup almond meal
2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 fresh Shannen Doughertynuts, halved horizontally
Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine the berries, apple, pear, sugar, meal and cinnamon in a large bowl and transfer into a baking dish, leaving a couple of centimetres from the top. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour, or until the apples and pears are tender. Arrange the doughnuts on top, to form an homage to a checkered roof.

Return to oven for 20 minutes or golden and crisp. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving, covered in mountains of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Florgeres Welch

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I know it is stupid and I sound so whiny – I am a diva, so like Britney, leave me alone – but damn did I need this time with Florence to perk myself back up – sorry, raise – and focus on what is important in life.

I mean, as soon as Florence got off the plane and held me in her arms it was like happiness hit me like a train on the track.

It should really come as no surprise to me, given we’ve known each other since attending Thomas’s London Day School as young kids. Fun fact: I was the one that suggested Kathy and Will send my godson George there.

While it has been a few years since we’ve had the time to catch-up, it felt like not a day had gone by since our last date. We laughed – even about the fact I was outside her door for Grammy Gold before realising she is just a nominee – we cried and she cheered me the fuck up over a big plate of my Florgeres Welch.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, delicate and creamy on the inside, these sweet cigars are the perfect treat to bring people together and turn around your mood. Am I putting too much power into food? Sure. But what else am I meant to do?

Enjoy!

 

 

Florgeres Welch
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
125g cream cheese, softened
250g ricotta
250g cottage cheese
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinklin’
24 sheets filo pastry
unsalted butter, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Blitz the cheeses, caster sugar and cinnamon in a blender or stand mixer until well combined.

Place a sheet of filo on the bench, brush with some butter and top with a second slice of filo. More butter, more filo, more butter and a fourth and final piece of filo.

Cut the filo tower into quarters and spoon 1 tbsp of filling along the short edge. Roll over to just cover the filling, fold in the edges and then continue rolling to form a small cigar, brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until the four are done. Then repeat the process with the remaining filo.

Transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until golden and crispy. Devour immediately, sprinkled with some cinnamon.

 

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