Veronica Green Salad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK after slaying the first challenge, Victoria and Krystal were tasked with lip syncing for the win. And while the latter took out the win, Victoria put her body on the line and injured her knee. After backing it up in a physical Dragoton exercise challenge where Krystal took out her second victory and Elektra was sent home, Victoria was summoned to the front of stage and sent to see the doctors to make sure she is ok to continue in the competition. The next day, Ru returned to chat to the dolls and officially announced that Victoria truly is s-gone, as she was pulled from the competition.

We then did a hard pivot as Ru challenged the dolls to make profile videos for the new dating app Findhr, swelling themselves as butch manses ready to find their lady. Vanity was up first looking super hot as a chav with a massive piece of meat, Choriza was as charmingly ridiculous as ever, Scarlett was an aggressively sexual lumber twink and once again, I’m so in love with her. Krystal looked like the most glamorous meth addict, Veronica was a hilarious nerd leather daddy, Charity was a sexy farmer with her nips out and yes, I’ve stopped mentioning the jokes and am solely objectifying the dolls. Kitty was demented as the highest voiced builder in all of the land, River was dementedly deadpan while Ella was the hottest, closet-case on the building site. 

Rightfully so, Scarlett took out victory before Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would be serving two looks on the runway. The first, the Happy Camper Runway,  would show off something you’d wear while walking the children in nature while the second, Camp Fire Couture runway would be made out of a bunch of camp supplies lying around the set. Which Scarlett got to start picking through 15 seconds ahead of the other queens. In that time, she managed to grab two kites and pulled over a shelf before the rest of the dolls charged at her and absolutely tore the set apart.

The dolls split up to look at what they snagged with Kitty eating marshmallows while Choriza took courage and inspiration from the owl figurine she found. River meanwhile was hoping that this would be the week she would be able to show Ru her style, while her table mate Ella was just terrified by the entire challenge ahead.

As the dolls started to work on their outfits, Ru arrived with Raven in tow to kiki with the girls with Kitty sharing her grandmother taught her how to sew before she came to the show. Choriza admitted that she has been training by sewing a dress a day since she found out that she made the cast while Veronica admitted that she was a bit lost when the last season shut down but tried to stay motivated and actually made the outfit she wore on last week’s runway. Charity shared that she was sure that this was the challenge that was up her alley while Vanity was just straight up wanted advice to make her make-up less shiny. Krystal meanwhile was just overwhelmed by meeting her idol Raven while Scarlett wanted Raven’s advice on working around her Boxxxy Mandrews jawline.

Again, Scarlett, I love you.

After Ru left, Veronica went around the room, giving the dolls advice and helping them with their runways while River helped Krystal figure out how to make her outfit work. With River wisely admitting that she doesn’t want to help anyone else as she needs to put herself first. Charity and Kitty started talking about how they came to drag with the former admitting that contracting HIV made her want to take control of her life, while Charity was still processing the trauma of one man turning her life upside down. She then broke down to Kitty about the fact she is still scared to put herself out there and be cast aside just because of her status. And ugh, I love them both and am so grateful for Charity sharing.

Vanity and Scarlet meanwhile were busy putting Ru’s advice into their outfits, as they made edits to ensure you could tell that they listened. Krystal meanwhile was continuing to panic, this time pulling Veronica aside to ask how in the hell she would get it done. While Choriza watched on, worried about Veronica finishing her own outfit amongst the chaos.

Elimination Day rolled around with the girls wildly putting the finishing touches on their looks. Or in River’s case, starting from scratch on a better outfit though worried that once again, she won’t be able to show the judges who she is. Ella meanwhile was living for her outfit and gagged by the fact she has been able to pull it together, despite her complete lack of skills. Kitty meanwhile was living for her sleeping bag look, while she and Scarlett read everyone for filth. Poor Veronica though finally realised that helping all the other queens wasn’t the greatest idea as she desperately tried to finish her own outfit as Krystal sat there, finished, with another killer look.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by Nicola Coughlan before the dolls shared their Happy Campers runways, with Krystal slaying in a stunning emerald scout gown. Kitty too was in a scout dress, though lost in the full bush. River was gorgeous as she went off the map, Charity was a crazed murder-bunny, Choriza served sexy blue backpack, Scarlet was a goth Robin Hood, Vanity was technicolour glamour bags – complete with smiles, as per Ru’s advice – while Ella was full-on Jane, though trying to catch butterflies as Veronica recovered from her hard day at the festival.

On the Campfire Couture runway, Krystal was stunning in an architectural bodice, Kitty was a slutty, shiny fembot, River was a beautiful, vintage flight attendant in a stunning burnt orange paisley rug. Charity was slutty, sexy and demented in a gingham stripper outfit, complete with cakes. Choriza gave bond villainess in gingham while Scarlett was stunning in a gorgeous pastel gingham rug, Vanity was dripping in ropes and knots, Ella was stunning in a check mini with a fluro couture raincoat while Veronica was tragically a mess in her meant-to-be-triumphant butterfly number.

Kitty, River and Charity were sent to safety before Krystal received her traditional rave reviews for every single thing she did. Though Graham did caution that while she is good, he now expects more from her. Choriza was read for the confusion for her first look and the second look for being sloppy, though her charm had the judges in stitches as she explained why she had an eye patch. Scarlett meanwhile was read for being a bit cosplay on the first look, though the judges lived for every tiny detail of her second look. And her Cher flick. Vanity meanwhile was read for not hitting the first theme, despite looking good. Ella received universal praise for the camp look and the killer construction of the second garment, while Michelle wants to know who Ella is. Veronica meanwhile was read for not being all the way there with the first look, while her second look was read for being an absolute mess. Though Veronica opened up to the judges about the pain of season 2 being split up by the pandemic, her depression and the look was meant to show her triumph over sadness and ugh, I will always love Veronica SO. DAMN. MUCH.

Backstage the safe girls were kikiing, with Kitty shocked to be safe but even more shocked that River was safe with her. Charity meanwhile praised her for serving a great concept, while Kitty was shocked Charity wasn’t in the top. Speaking of the tops – and bottoms – the rest of the queens joined them, with Choriza proud of her looks despite being read. Scarlet shared that while they loved her second look, they were concerned about the first. Krystal was gloating about all the praise she received, with Charity questioning whether she should really win another challenge given she was dragged to the runway by Veronica. Vanity meanwhile was reading Scarlett’s look for filth, while Veronica quietly shared how much the judges hated everything before she started breaking down. She admitted that her time management is never great, but she was also distracted by helping everyone else which could be what sends her home.

Ultimately Ella Vaday was sent to safety, followed by Krystal, handing Scarlett her first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack, Choriza managed to save herself with her demented brand of storytelling, leaving Vanity and Veronica to battle it out in the lip sync. And damn, did both the dolls bring it to ‘I’ve Got the Music In Me’. Vanity was fierce, hitting every lyric as she hit the floor in a split while Veronica channelled all of the emotions as she tore her dress apart on the stage. Tragically though, Vanity pipped Veronica at the post as our iconic comeback queen was forced to sashay away.

As she, the judges and most importantly, me, all sobbed.

I let out a guttural scream upon seeing her enter the Werk Room, before theatrically collapsing into her arms. Through sobs, I told her how heartbroken I was to see her go on a look that was meant to be her triumph over COVID and depression. We held each other for a long time, telling each other that it will be ok and that Veronica’s talent and pure heart would make her a star one day. Given how emotional I was, I couldn’t muster eating a massive meal so instead plated us up a quick Veronica Green Salad each.

Fresh and zingy, this super quick and easy salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer dinner. Or, you know, the sadness of your dear friend’s dreams being crushed.

Enjoy!

Veronica Green Salad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp French mustard
pinch of salt
3 cups mixed salad leaves, washed and dried
2 ripe avocados, sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
½ green capsicum, diced

Method
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, French mustard and salt in a jug and whisk together until well combined.

To serve, layer the salad leaves, avo, capsicum and cucumber in a bowl before drizzling with the dressing.

And you know, devouring.


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Haylal Snack Peake

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Butter Flicken Pielmateer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pie, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways Mad Max-ed their way into the outback before being divided by smarts and strength. While the Brawns were victorious in the first immunity challenge and the iconic Phil tragically became the first boot, they soon settled for a string of rewards as Janelle, Gavin and Benny were booted from the game. Eventually the Brains returned to tribal council where Mitch found himself booted before Cara sacrificed herself for George. But, gag of the season, found herself saved by a twist sending her to join the Brawns.

This appeared to give them a run of luck as Joey soon followed before a switch gave both tribes a Brawn majority. Against all odds, the Brains took control as Cara accidentally voted Daini out before Shannon was ousted by her nemesis Simon. Georgia and Rachel soon followed due to a vengeful George before Dani decided that blindsiding Simon was urgent as he was sent from the game with two idols in his pocket.

After the tribes merged to become Fire – rather than Beauty, which is still a sore point – where Queen Kez was idolled from the game, thanks to George telling the Brains who to play it for. While Chelsea was on medical leave, Baden and Hayley were booted to Redemption Rock before Hayley won her way back to camp and Baden became the King of the Jury. Poor Chelsea was then officially medevaced, unable to join the jury, before Gerald, Laura, Emmett and Andrew were booted from the game and joined the jury. Aka Laura’s Angels.

Flick got lucky and picked an urn that stopped her from getting the boot, meaning we were officially out of non-elimination episodes. With that Dani was the next to go before George and Cara turned on Wai and after Flick played her hidden immunity idol, was booted from the game. Which brings us to the last episode where Flick won immunity and somehow Hayley convinced Cara and George to turn on each other so that she can beat Flick in the final immunity challenge, meaning she would take the other one to the final two. And given George was the most likely to listen to her Hail Mary, Cara was the lucky one to join the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess Club.

The final three awoke on day 47 with Flick thrilled to make the final three, particularly as the last Brawn standing. She was proud of the social game she played, attributing it to her longevity in the game. She reflected on how tough the game has been mentally, particularly after she tragically lost her mum.

On the walk to the final immunity challenge we checked in with George, who came into the game running it like a political campaign and was thrilled to execute it perfectly. He reiterated that luck didn’t play into him making it to the final three, but instead his determination and perfect planning to overcome all the obstacles. One of those being the fact he isn’t physical, but watch out, because he is going to win the final one.

Last up was Hayley who was giddy to make it to the end as a superfan, though knew both her competitors are not to be underestimated. While George was sneaky and tactical, Flick was a beast. Hayley’s secret weapon is the fact that she is the perfect mix of both and like the other two, she is ready to claim victory.

Speaking of the final immunity challenge, the tribe joined Jonathan where they discovered three cages of horror amongst the ruins of the outback. Each of them would have to stand on narrow pegs within a cage and hold on to spikes on a roof which would lower throughout the challenge until only one was left standing. But before we got to the challenge, Jonathan made us all cry as he wheeled out their families! First up were Hayley’s boyfriend and bestie, followed by George’s mum and sister – who were adorable – and Flick’s boyfriend and best friend, who made her feel safe enough to break down over the loss of her mother and ugh, you know I am absolutely sobbing.

Damn you Jonathan and your glorious guns.

With the warm and fuzzy moment of the episode out of the way, the loved ones were sent to the bench as the final three jumped on their pegs and settled in for hours of torture. After half an hour, shit well and truly got real as Jonathan lowered the roof slightly and all three immediately hunched over and started to feel the burn. After an hour, talk turned to why the final three were still fighting with Flick and George sticking it out for their families while Hayley was just a beast that wanted to do it to prove that she can. After two hours the roofs dropped forcing them into squats.

All three were still fighting as the sun went down and the challenge ticked over to three and a half hours long. Poor George started to dance on the pegs, holding on for another hour before dropping out and leaving the girls to fight it out for immunity. Both Hayley and Flick were like statues as Jonathan dropped the spikes for the last time after five hours, which immediately got both of them struggling. Hayley tried to stay zen while Flick was vocalising and breathing through the pain, holding back tears as she tried to hold on for her place in the game. As her best friend willed her on, Flick openly sobbed through the pain before finding a second wind as Hayley started to shake. Eventually though, Flick asked Jonathan to help her out of the cage, as a shocked Hayley took out final immunity.

After a brief moment congratulating each other on fighting so hard, the final three headed off to tribal council where Hayley praised George and Flick’s determination in the challenge, but was ultimately grateful that as a pain researcher, she knew exactly how to work through it. Eventually talk turned to who Hayley wanted to sit next to in the end, admitted that both Flick and George have played great games and as such, she is still unsure. Hearing this, Flick reminded Hayley that George has played a dominant game and as such, could easily convince the jury that he deserves the crown.

On the flipside, George went simple and pointed out that Flick has a bunch of votes already locked in in the Brawns and as such, Hayley has the best chance if she is there in the end with him. While Flick disputed that she doesn’t believe any of the votes are locked in, George simply asked Queen Hayley to sit opposite her King. Flick fought back tears meanwhile as she asked her to reward her for fighting hard and pushing through, though knew that ultimately Hayley needed to make the decision that is best for her.

With that, Hayley voted and as expected, Flick was booted from the game and became the final member of the jury. Despite the horrible feeling of being cut so close to the end, Flick took her boot in her stride and took me into her arms for a big hug. As you know, I’m a big part of the Big Wave community and as such, was Flick’s first coach in the sport. And while I knew she would be feeling down, I also knew that a delicious Butter Flicken Pielmateer would be the perfect thing to mark a game well played.

Like Michaelia Cash, I love curry – it’s my favourite fe-ood. I also passionately love pies, so it should come as absolutely no shock that I believe a butter chicken pie is where it’s at. Lightly spiced, sweet and creamy in a delicious flaky shell? Perfection.

Enjoy!

Butter Flicken Pielmateer
Serves: 4-8, depending on hunger.

Ingredients
1 batch Dusty Ray Butters Chicken
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and get to work making your Dusty Ray Butters Chicken.

Once the oven is hot and your filling is good to go, start by cutting each sheet of shortcrust pastry in quarters and press into 8 individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture amongst the dishes and smooth the tops. Cut the puff pastry into quarters and press into the top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce a hole in the top, brush with the whisked egg and transfer to a baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp. Remove and sprinkle with some turmeric and cumin, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Then devour, sad to have lost our chill Queen.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Chicken Kezadilla McGee

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.

After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.

The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.

Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them. 

George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.

With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.

The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.

Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.

Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.

Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.

George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.

With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.

Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.

And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.

Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.

The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.

At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.

George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.

With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.

Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!

Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.

Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.

Enjoy! 

Chicken Kezadilla McGee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g chicken thighs, diced
4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
8 large tortillas
1-2 cups Lady Guagamole
1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo
½ cup sour cream
jack cheese, to taste
1 lime, cut into eighths

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.

To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.

To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.


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Kale Shannon Slawson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, well and truly on the outs Laura and Rachel went for a cheeky walk and what do you know, they found an idol. Sadly for them, it was under the watchful eye of George. Jonathan decided to cause a little chaos and switched up the tribes, with new Brawn still taking out immunity despite now having Wai and Hayley – self proclaimed not-Brawns – in their midst. Cara returned to the Brains tribe and along with Geroge, joined the Brawns to get rid of one of the Brains girls that were formerly controlling their tribe. However George confused the hell out of everyone while teeing up the split vote and after Laura correctly played her idol for Rach, Cara’s accidental vote for Laura inadvertently sent Big D from the game.

Back at camp the tribe was in absolute shock, none more so than Kez who was heartbroken to lose her friend Daini. Standing around the fire, Cara eventually admitted it was her mistake that cost him the game and while everyone appeared to laugh it off, me thinks Queen Kez may hold a grudge. And well, I hate the thought of my two Queens feuding.

The next day things were moderately less dramatic as the tribe napped, George meandered the camp and Cara was straight up embarrassed by her stuff up. Her plan was to lay as low as possible and avoid anyone holding it against her. Sadly for her, George was desperate to raise her up and spin the situation – very vocally – to take the heat off her and in turn, keep their new alliance safe.

Meanwhile in the billabong Rachel and Laura were celebrating their lucky win, though realised they were still in a shitty situation. And as such, decided to try and turn the former Brawns against Cara ASAP. Sadly for them, they had their own situation going on as Georgia became painfully ill and well, the poor thing looked like death.

Over at the Brawn Camp, Andrew was joyously fishing while Hayley worried about their extreme numbers disadvantage. As such, she got together with Andrew to renew their bond and make sure he was willing to put everything aside and find a crack in the old Brawn tribe. Speaking of the former Brawns, Shannon was ride or die with the Brawns, though did assure us that she was still looking to get rid of Simon ASAP and make sure she beats him. Which, TBH, doesn’t bode well for her survival tonight, right? Or his I guess.

In any event, we’re getting some form of resolution to this storyline tonight – I feel it in me waters, Kim.

My love Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes were gagged to discover that not only did Cara’s mistake screw Daini, but that tribal immunity is on hold for the episode and instead they would all be competing as individuals. As both tribes are going to tribal and both of them are voting someone out, with two winners from each tribe getting champagne in addition to immunity. The challenge? Well they have to make their way through an obstacle course and then pair up to cross parallel balance beams before tossing sacks and landing them on a table. First two to finish from each tribe scoring victory.

Before the challenge even began, Georgia opted out due to her illness. When it came to the challenge, both tribes were neck and neck through the obstacles until everyone on Brawn powered ahead, leaving Wai alone on the balance beam. Until Queen Chelsea came back and kindly helped. While everyone on Brains continued to work together until the end of the challenge, Brawns started to split off as Baden and Simon started tossing their sacks.  Andrew and Baden were first to sling a sack on Brawn, while Kez soon followed on Brains. They were joined by Gerald, Dani and then SLAY, Wai! It was back and forth as people landed their bags and knocked them off until Andrew scored one of the first immunities followed by Wai, much to the delight of the rest of her tribe. Which is just so nice.

Oh and on the Brains, Emmett won immunity and then started gossiping with Simon while Hayley joined Georgia on the bench to do the same. More importantly, Queen Rach was next to jag herself immunity. As the victors exited stage left to enjoy their champagne reward, poor Georgia was loaded into an ambulance to get checked out, much to the fears of her tribemates.

Arriving at the bush bar, the group were delighted by their tasting plate more so than the dranks. Which is concerning, but whatever. In any event, Rachel was planning to use her time at the bar to charm Emmett and try to get him to get rid of either Cara and George. And he immediately agreed, so I guess we can just call this episode a day, then. Go home Jonathan, one of the tribals is all sorted!

Back at Brains Laura was thrilled her mate Rach was living it up with the champagne, though was worried about what was going on with Georgia. And just like that, Jonathan appeared to announce that Georgia is being temporarily pulled from the game for observation and as per rules, has 24 hours to return before forfeiting her place. And as such, won’t be voting at tribal council and also can’t be booted.

While it is good that we can make sure she is safe, Laura realised that meant that she was the only target left now, so needed to desperately find a crack. She started working with Gerald and Kez and after barely even trying, had Kez on board given she is still enraged to have lost Daini. Before we could learn more, Emmett and Rachel returned from the reward with Rach thanking everyone for giving her the real reward, seeing how they all lifted each other up at the challenge. Ugh, isn’t she the sweetest?

After noticing Georgia was gone, Rachel and Laura went for a walk to exchange all the latest intel, glad that everyone was seemingly ready to get rid of Cara. Emmett and Kez meanwhile had their own chat, with the former admitting that all he cares about is the two of them and Gerald making the merge and as such, he doesn’t actually care who gets voted out between Cara and Laura. And given Cara fucked up, they were more interested in getting rid of her.

We next checked in with the Brawns with Hayley glad that both of their immunities went to former Brains and as such, have more leverage despite not having the numbers. As such, she went for the most bold move and told everyone that the Brains were planning to vote four strong and since two of them are immune, she plans to do scissor, paper, rock to decide who she plays the idol on between her and Baden and as such, the Brawns should start a conversation with them to decide who to get rid of out of their group.

She and Baden then went for a walk, with Baden excited to just lock in a name while Hayley cautioned him to wait and see who is the first to break ranks and talk to them. Speaking of which, Shannon and Flick were catching up with Simon and talking about how to proceed with both suggesting they play his idol and join with them to the Brains and sacrifice Chelsea instead. Which he readily agreed to after they assured him that they can bring Dani back in after the vote.

But psych, he didn’t plan on following through with that at all, taking Dani and Celsea to the well to let them know everything. And then suggest they all load their votes on Baden, which annoyed Dani, because she feels like this would actually be the perfect time to get rid of Shannon instead. And you know, assert her dominance on the tribe. 

Meanwhile Shannon and Flick were first to get to Hayley and Baden, immediately offering up Chelsea as the boot. As they left, Simon, Chelsea and Dani replaced them and pitched getting rid of Shannon. And just like that, Hayley and Baden were spoilt for choice. Both options being good, because Chelsea and Dani are a tight pair, while Shannon is a big threat. But to Hayley, keeping a threat around isn’t the worst thing at this point.

Once Wai and Andrew returned they were pulled aside by Hayley and quickly caught up on all of her and Baden’s handiwork, with them excited to take power just by instilling them with enough fear.

Both tribes descended on tribal council with Jonathan catching the Brawns up on the situation with Georgia before getting right down to business. Cara spoke about her guilt in sending Daini home due to her stupid mistake, not wanting anyone to think it was deliberate move on her part. Emmett meanwhile denied getting chatty at the reward, given they were too busy eating. Rachel on the other hand was just glad to be safe and wanted to contribute to the conversation to help them keep the tribe strong. 

On the flipside, Laura was shitting her pants as the odd one out on the tribe, fully expecting to go home next. Particularly since Emmett is confident that the alliance have a strong plan that they will execute perfectly. Despite that, Cara was still nervous and while George tried to raise her up, the Brawns weren’t so forgiving. Dani was emphatic about the fact she would have immediately booted Cara for her mistake, with Cara assuring her tribe that she knows the plan and will not make a mistake again. 

We checked in with the Brawn tribe with Shannon excited to see where things stand post swap. Hayley gagged Jonathan by yet again announcing her plan to the entire tribal council, delighting Emmett and George while making the OG Brawns on her tribe very nervous. Flick herself was worried about making a mistake at tribal council and going home, while Simon was straight up terrified, though continued to highlight how strong he is in the hope that nobody targets him. 

To keep things interesting, Shannon outed Simon’s idol and said that should he play his idol, Brains too could have their plans blown up. Dani just spoke about being Brawns strong while Shannon was confident they would make things work. Hayley admitted that she is getting very nervous, with Shannon telling her that all the conversations she had today are truthful. And Dani just said that she can trust her. While Baden was just hopeful that the division in the tribe won’t be down tribal lines after tonight.

With that the tribes voted, Baden and Hayley hung on to their/Hayley’s idol before Laura found herself voted out of the Brains tribe. But then when Jonathan immediately started reading the Brawn votes – and given there were still ten minutes left – it was obvious a twist was afoot, despite the Brawns voting out Shannon.

We then learnt that while Laura and Shannon were both voted out, only one would be booted from the game and that decision will be made by the four immune people. With that, Rachel, Emmett, Wai and Andrew were required to make a unanimous decision on who to boot and should they not be able to, the girls battle it out with a fire making challenge. And while Andrew and Rachel were keen to save Laura, Wai gagged everyone by voting for Shannon to stay. And while Emmett wanted fireworks by way of the challenge, he also wanted Shannon to stay to keep OG Brawn strong. Something Simon, Dani and Chelsea clearly don’t care about anymore.

Then Simon happened, stepping in to tell Emmett that Shannon threw all the former Brawns under the bus as soon as the challenge ended and as such, Emmett was the one making a shit move. Which miraculously led to both Wai and Emmett backpedalling on their decisions, saving Laura and instead sending Shannon from the game as the eighth boot for her disloyalty. Even though, yes, that is the point of the game. But so is using it to further yourself. 

Why did I go on that tangent? You know that.

Anyway, I saw Shannon arrive at Loser Lodge and while I was heartbroken my dear friend’s dream was over, I was glad to be able to hang with each other. You see, Shan and I are the absolute best of friends, given we’re both influencers – remember, I am the OG Celeste Barber … who also went to my school but that is a story for another day, ya’ dig?

So Shan and I are best friends and spoiler alert, this season was meant to be Blood vs Water and we were scheduled to compete but then ‘rona happened and they went in a different direction. And since there is no beauty tribe and there is no way you can spin me as strong, I was dropped. But given I’m so critical to the health and wellbeing of the casts, that is probably for the best.

Seriously, what is with the tangents today? You know the drill, I told Shan she played a killer game, she is an absolute star and I love her. Then got down to nourishing her soul with a big ol’ Kale Shannon Slawson.

I know, I know. You don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you HAVE to make an exception. Tart, fresh and packed full of flavour, this is just what you need to dull your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Kale Shannon Slawson
Serves: 2 stunning influencers, but would also suffice for 6 people for dinner as a side.

Ingredients
4 cups kale, washed and shredded
1 cup red cabbage, washed and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, diced
⅓ cup craisins
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp pepitas
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup tahini
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the kale, red cabbage, carrot, red onion, craisins, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk literally everything else together in a jug.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and then serve.

And then devour, obvi.


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Turkita Mean Tostadas

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

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Ru and Michelle made the perilous trip to the southern hemisphere and after two weeks in quarantine, joined Rhys Nicholson on set to join ten of the best Aussie and Kiwi queens. One by one the departed, with Jojo tragically robbed first though winning the honour of being the Down Under Pork Chop.

She was followed by Art Simone, but that meant nothing, because after Coco was felled in Girl Groups, Art was returned to the competition in a pile of trash. Which honestly is how the fandom reacted to the lack of explanation about her return.

We then suffered a major emotional blow, as the delightfully, iconic Anita Wigl’it was tragically felled. By Karen dressed as Schapelle Corby, no less. This set off a chain of events I’d rather forget as Etcetera Etcetera, Maxi Shield and Elektra Shock left back-to-back-to-back, leaving the top four – of Karen from Finance, Art, Scarlet and Kita Mean – to battle it out for the crown.

Which Anita’s business partner and Elektra’s boss, the lovely and supremely talented – not that Supremme – Kita Mean to take out the first title of Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar. And keep it firmly on New Zealand soil.

While she was overwhelmed by the experience at the start, Kita grew from strength to strength throughout the competition and by the time it came to the finale, there was no other person that should have been crowned.

Which is convenient, since she was.

After taking out victory, I pulled her into my arms and grabbed her by the face and through gritted teeth, told her that she is the most damn talented queen I’ve ever seen and I am so proud of everything she has achieved and I can’t wait for her to take over the world.

And did I mention I love you Kita?!

If that intense display didn’t sink in, I hope that my Turkita Mean Tostadas convinced her.

Inspired by those made by the iconically flavour-packed Half Baked Harvest number, these tostadas are the perfect way to honour a victory. Hot, spicy and layered with creamy, sweet and tangy flavours, they’re damn near perfect. Just like Kita’s run.

Enjoy!

Turkita Mean Tostadas
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g turkey mince
1 onion, chopped
400g tinned diced tomatoes
2 chipotle chillis in adobo, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded
1-2 avocados, mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded and washed
coriander leaves and sour cream, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the turkey and break up the mince with your wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Add the tinned tomatoes, chipotles, garlic, chilli powder and cumin with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes or so, or until reduced. If it gets too dry, add water in ¼ cup increments throughout the process.

Meanwhile run the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until crisped and lightly browned.

To assemble, place a sprinkle of cheese on top of six tortillas and top with the remaining six. Bake for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and plate your cheesy shells before topping with the meat mixture, mashed avo, extra cheese, sour cream, lettuce and coriander.

Devour, ravenously, like you just won Drag Race.


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Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta

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

Given Art already had an episode of my love, I’m going to keep things brief.

Art truly is the future of drag.

On top of being funny, filthy and oh so fierce! She was an absolute joy to watch all season, providing hilarious commentary, giving us heartfelt moments and while she never took out a win, I’ve got a feeling that she will have a triumphant run on a future All Stars season.

You heard it here first!

And obviously I told her of this as I pulled her into my arms, cast aside the snag rolls and gave her a fresh bowl of more finalist friendly, Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta.

Salt, creamy and packing a kick, this very basic pasta tastes anything but! Plus, you can whip it up in sub-twenty minutes – genuinely, Jamie Oliver – which is very important to me as I age.

Enjoy!

Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g rigatoni
700g marinated artichoke hearts, drained
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. Heavily salt and add the pasta before cooking per packet instructions.

While the pasta is gettin’ al dente, place the artichoke, oil, lemon, chilli and half the parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz to form a smooth, velvety paste. 

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the cooked pasta with the puree and stir to combine, adding as much liquid as required to make it saucy. Fold through the remaining cheese and again, add more liquid as needed.

When at the desired consistency, serve immediately, top with more parmesan just because and then devour. Triumphantly.


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Beetroot & Minti Salad

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Salad, Side, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race España the top nine were tasked with serving full diva in a girl group extravaganza. After the two new bands debuted and broke up, the queens paid homage to Veneno on the runway with Carmen and Inti singled out for channeling the icon. At the other end of the spectrum, Vulcano and Arantxa completely bombed the challenge and were read for filth by the judges. Ultimately Carmen took out her first victory, while Vulanco and Arantxa battled to stay in the competition, with Arantxa narrowly saving herself and sending Vulcano out of the competition second.

Backstage the queens were saddened to have lost the iconic Vulcano, well, except for Hugáceo, who was thrilled that Arantxa managed to take out a huge threat for everyone else. Arantxa requested they all buy her dinner as a way to say thank you to her, though I don’t think Carmen will be doing that since she felt Arantxa should have been the one to go home. Speaking of Carmen, everyone congratulated her on the win, well, except for Pupi who was just irritated by Carmen’s passion for looking at herself in the mirror.

The next day Arantxa led the queens back into the Werk Room in a tribute to Drag Vulcano. Except for Carmen and Dovima, who had no interest and were just tributing themselves. Talk turned to how open the race is since they lost two of the biggest names back to back, with Carmen and Pupi kindly suggesting the other one should follow the other names out the door. 

Before they could get into a fight, Supremme arrived to welcome the Pit Crew back into our lives for this week’s Mini Challenge. And again, with those packages we all win. Apparently the queens were tasked with doing football quick drag and then competed in a cheeky little sports pageant. Cheeky coming from (or on) the Pit Crew. Arantxa was a mess, but so charming. Killer was a butch monster, Sagittaria was a sweet little twink, Carmen was a stunning woman, Dovima rocked Bob Downe realness, Hugáceo was a thing of nightmares – in the best way possible – Inti was adorably, ridiculous and Pupi looked like a Little Britain extra.

Ultimately Killer Queen took out victory before the group played a quick kick of football on the pitch. Are these the right terms? All I know is that I pitched a tent over the Pit Crew.

For the Maxi Challenge the queens were required to sell themselves in ads promoting themselves as influencers for one of four magazines. While highlighting their skills as singers, models and actresses. As the winner of the challenge, Killer Queen was able to choose her magazine and her partner, opting for Abuela with Arantxa. She then paired Carmen and Dovima on Glamurosa, Pilingui went to Sagittaria and Inti, leaving Pupi and Hugáceo with Chunga. Opting to be kind, and not shady, thinking that is where they will all excel.

The duos quickly split up to work on their looks and brainstorm how to influence within their brands. Killer shared her weight loss journey with Arantxa and how she was bullied throughout her school life and kids used to take photos of her in the change rooms. And then spoke about coming on to the show to encourage people to love themselves. Ugh, I love her. Sagittaria meanwhile wasn’t feeling loved up and instead assumed the duo would land in the bottom because they’ve been doing nothing but talking. 

Oh and clearly eavesdropping on the chat, Carmen apologised for leading the anti-ugly brigade the week before and vowed to stop.

On set for their modelling Arantxa and Killer were the most ridiculous old grannies, Carmen and Dovima were in their element as slutty models, Pupi and Hugáceo were sexy, alterna-punk delights and Inti and Sagittaria were the filthiest bimbos I’ve ever seen. When it came to the singing portion, the queens had to lip sync on the treadmill with Carmen and Dovima running through it and popping tits, as the former fell off. Killer and Arantxa continued to lean into their ridiculous, Hugáceo – who also fell – and Pupi looked demented, but the latter got special attention from the Pit Crew so she truly won. Before Sagittaria popped a tit and tried to give fellatio.

When it came to their acting challenge, Hugáceo was a sadist waxer that relished Pupi’s overacted pain. The grannies worked hard to pick up the Pit Crew at the bar – swoon – Inti and Sagittaria were a little bit of a mess as phone sex operators, until Sagittaria stepped in as a mother looking for a good mac and cheese recipe. Which I have, coincidentally. Oh and they got to dance with the Pit Crew. As did Carmen and Dovima who were ridiculous, and kinda bad, after realising that they’re dating the same man. Ultimately becoming a very sexy couple themselves.

On the My Roots runway, Pupi was a glamorous red and black showgirl in honour of Madrid. Inti was stunning in a Diablada inspired look from Bolivia, which was used to scare away colonists. It was bright, bold and so powerful, and I loved everything about them. Arantxa came out in honour of the cheese of her home town – Manchego – but plot twist, she wasn’t actually from Castilla la Mancha and instead had an Iberian Ham reveal beneath it.  Hugáceo was once again a flawless work of art,with a heart that literally gave off sparks. Dovima drew inspiration from San Jordi from Cataluna, serving A Knight’s Tale chic and was kind of just, there. Carmen was a sexy pussycat, but to quote Michelle, it is just a bodysuit. While Sagittaria slayed in a gown of dripping, Creme Catalan latex and Killer meanwhile was the good version of the cat look, as a sexy, suited pussy.

The Abeulas magazine ad was a demented delight as the Pit Crew thrusted away in the background before the queens served the creepiest kiss. And well bitch, they died. The judges lived for everything both of the queens did in the challenge and on the runway, however they wished that Killer challenged herself a bit more to get out of her box. Dovima and Carmen’s ad was silly and ridiculous, but they ended up making out only with each other and actually ditched the Pit Crew guy, so big mistake. HUGE. The judges meanwhile wished they were able to showcase a different side of themselves. Though Dovima was praised for growing, the Javier’s wished she would work on her runway walk. As it was a mess.

Chungas magazine was gloriously punk, with the judges living for every minute of it. Though Hugáceo was read for having too much going on in their look. Rounding out the ads, Inti and Sagittaria were hilarious and served us mother daughter bonding over their prostituion careers. Until they fought over their husband/father. That being said, the judges loved everything about Sagittaria but felt like Inti was just there. And that she didn’t have the energy on the runway to sell the outfit. Into then opened up about the meaning behind their outfit, with Ana pointing out that she felt like there was too much happening and while the message was strong, the look was confusing. Though wished it had more detail, confusing the hell out of Inti.

Ultimately Killer, Arantxa, Carmen and Hugáceo were deemed safe and sent to untuck before the judges read Dovima for not giving enough. Pupi was praised for thinking outside the box on the runway and being a damn delight in the performance. Inti was praised for the stories they infuse into their outfits, with Javier Ambrossi encouraging them to take critiques that mean something to them onboard and tune out the ones that don’t, but cautioned they are only trying to help them. And Sagittaria received universal praise for everything she did.

We then forwent Untucked as Inti brokedown and started to get out of her drag and remove her make as the other queens rallied around to try and talk her out of it. But sadly, they couldn’t as Inti shared that she mentally can’t face week after week of being misunderstood and honestly, I relate to that on a deep level. Add to that the pressure of being in a competition and it more than makes sense.

Supremme joined them backstage to try and talk them out of it and remind them it is a fair competition, but it fell on deaf ears. As the top seven returned to the stage, with Sagittaria taking out her first victory of the season, Dovima lip synced alone and Inti was left to join me for a delicious Beetroot & Minti Salad.

Neither of us was feeling very jovial after her emotional elimination, but this salad truly is life affirming. Sweet, tart and packing a massive punch, this is the perfect way to get yourself back in the game.

Enjoy!

Beetroot & Minti Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 beetroot, peeled and grated
1 orange, peeled, segmented and diced
½ cup mint leaves, torn
100g feta, crumbled
olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Soooo, its salad so just chuck it all in a bowl with a lug of oil and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Give it a toss and serve.

Before devouring, obvs.


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Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce

Condiment, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens served us their down unders, covered in red lycra and full bushes as they auditioned for Baywatch with the zaddy Pit Crew member. Scarlet and Elektra charmed Ru and took out victory, making them the team leaders for two girl groups. I assume to replace Australia’s two best girl groups, Girlfriend and Bardot. Anyway, both girls shone however the latter was a bit more Beyonce than Destiny’s Child and as such, Scarlet took out victory while Elektra was shockingly (see what I did there?) put in the bottom with Coco. With Coco tragically felled by her fellow lip sync assassin.

The top seven returned to the Werk Room, gutted to have lost such a bubbly delight like Coco. Meanwhile Scarlet was growing more and more confident, thrilled to have snatched her first victory of the season and giddily shading Elektra for not bringing it on the runway. Thankfully Anita kindly suggested that maybe Elektra could become a drag window cleaner now that she is so experienced with it. Elektra shared her shock – I’m loving this gag, aren’t I? – about how the judges just aren’t loving her which led to Etcetera calling out her general taste level. Though kindly (and/or shadily) offered to look over her looks. While Scarlet pointed out you can put glitter on shit, because at the end of the day it is still shit. And just like that, the potential winners’ edit took a hit.

The next day Scarlet was still feeling her oats, while Kita and Anita were delightfully proving why they are already stars. Elektra spoke about feeling better, given she was in the bottom for being too good which Etcetera and Scarlet quickly tried to shut down, with Elektra going for the jugular with Etcetera pointing out that she has just been sliding through as safe. Karen meanwhile was watching on in pure delight as the room got shady and Elektra was refusing to back down and being a straight up icon.

The excitement was shut down as Ru and the glorious Pit Crew wheeled in all of their junk and some trash that the queens would be using to make this week’s runway from. Though not before Art Simone jumped out of the rubbish, officially returned to the competition with no real explanation as to why. But let’s just say, I don’t really mind except I probably would have preferred it be Jojo.

Barely giving us time to breathe, Ru announced that they would need to fight for their junk and exited the Werk Room as the dolls battled for enough to put together an outfit. Etcetera asked who was feeling confident, with Maxi sharing she isn’t a sewer but was smart enough to take a lesson before leaving for the competition. Karen meanwhile wasn’t feeling confident, given she is not the best at sewing. Talk turned to Art’s return, with Art assuring us she has a new attitude and is ready to fight to get to the end. And conveniently she was feeling confident about the challenge ahead, while Etcetera shadily pointed out that Art was sent home by Coco, and since she is now gone, anyone is technically good enough to send her home again. Karen meanwhile was pressed to have Art back, wanting to have her turn to redeem her shitty Snatch Game. As such, she decided to focus less about the design and more about selling the characterisation of one of her back-up characters.

And oh girl, you may be in danger.

Scarlet continued to be a difficult presence this week, as she once again gloated about the challenge ahead, which thankfully gave Elektra a steely focus to prove herself this week. And Anita, poor dear, sweet Anita spoke about how much she loves sewing, but grew more and more anxious about all of the potential designs she could possibly work on and DAMN this needs to be a fake-out. Badly.

Ru came back to catch up with the queens, explaining to Art that the judges can see how great she is and how she can just bounce off jokes and as such, proved Snatch Game was not a true reflection of her skills. With that, Art shared she was confident to serve an outfit so disappeared to do just that. Karen was up next, sharing how she would be serving Schapelle Corby on the runway and well, just give her the win right now. I don’t even care if Ru thinks it is a bad idea. Kita meanwhile was inspired by a bunch of balls and ready for a win, Elektra was thrilled to sew though was nervous about her styling. Given Ru’s reaction to her kangaroo hunter concept, I hope she pivots to a glamorous gown as Ru kindly suggested.

Maxi was up next and ready to rock her non-stretch fabric, as much as Ru and Etcetera are concerned. Speaking of Etcetera, she was planning to grace the runway in a goddess of the harvest look, desperate to get a critique and let’s just say, I hope it is a high, rather than a low as the editors are feeling messy this week. Anita was inspired by Bob Mackie using books and video tapes, with a hot glue gun rather than sewing. Oh and then we learnt she is in the NZ Navy and not just that, plays the trumpet in the navy band. I need to reiterate this, Anita must be protected at all costs. Scarlet meanwhile doesn’t need protection, given she is super confident in her design ability. But then Ru asked what advice Scarlet would give to Elektra, leading to her pointing out that doing the splits isn’t a skill.

And just like that, Scarlet needs protection. Elektra immediately defended herself with her perfect nipples on display, with Scarlet acting bored as she tried to pretend it isn’t impressive to be a back-up dancer for J-Lo and Sia. Which lol, sorry, it is. Whether you want to fight with Elektra or not.

Over in another corner Kita was having an absolute blast with her glue gun, while Maxi was delightfully fucking up the sewing machine and making jokes about the girls fighting. Anita was madly gluing her gown, which impacted the zen nature as Etcetera grew very, very nervous. She then pointed out Karen looks like Buzz Lightyear and her anxiety started to grow. Well, until Anita shared her crush on Buzz growing up. Meanwhile Art was a pure delight as she worked away on her look while joking with Elektra. Before Scarlet arrived to poke Elektra and continue to lean right into their villain role, whether she realised it or not.

Elimination Day rolled around with Karen less nervous about her concept, while Anita was happy with hers and ready to slay. Kita on the other hand was not feeling it and was scared that her bestie was far and away the worst and was about to be blindsided. Art spoke about feeling liberated to have gotten losing out of her system, but was acutely aware that she can’t afford to do it again. She then asked about whether the other queens were hurt when people are disappointed to see them out of drag before Etcetera spoke about her gender journey and how in drag everyone gets it, but out of drag it is difficult to explain being non-binary. The dolls rallied around Etcetera, with them thanking the queens for understanding as Karen pointed out that that is not something they should have to do.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined on the panel by the gorgeous Elz Carrad who I had never heard of and now plan to marry in an intimate ceremony in Milford Sound. Distracting me from my burgeoning love, Art opened the show as a delightfully pink Marie Antoinette by way of that little whorehouse in Texas. Kita was a bouncing colourful delight, coated in balls. Etcetera was full glamour in a sheer lilac number, primed for a boudoir shoot. Maxi was a punk version of Divina’s bag look, Karen had Rhys delighted as she smoked up the runway as Schapelle despite kinda looking a mess and misunderstanding the assignment.

Elektra served full glamour-whore, in a gown of ties. Before Antia tragically was not great in a burnt book gown and Scarlet sadly proved her confidence was not misplaced, as she slayed in a gorgeous picnic table onesie, complete with wine and a grape headband. And as much as she hasn’t been fun this week, you can’t fault the look despite it erring on the side of simple.

Kita Mean and Elektra were sent to safety, with the latter praised for listening to the judges and growing. With them out of the way, the judges gushed about everything Art did, glad that her return was triumphant and looked forward to watching her grow. Etcetera was praised for her sewing skills, though they were unsure about her references. Maxi was praised for listening to the judges critiques and happy at how well she executed the entire look. Then Karen was read for focusing on the characterisation of Schapelle rather than constructing an outfit. Anita too was read, though for doing a look that had been done of the runway before by Naomi fucking Smalls. And well, they loved everything about Scarlet.

Backstage Elektra was on cloud nine just to be safe and thrilled with the added bonus that it gave a big fuck you to the other queens. Scarlet tried to make-up with Elektra by praising it as the second best look on the runway and girl, just stop. Karen was heartbroken to have bombed by focusing on character and for kind of just not getting the categories that she excels at yet. She was confident she and Anita would be lip syncing, with Anita agreeing but disappointed since the judges didn’t love or hate her look, were just kind of ambivalent. Oh and she was frustrated by the fact she thought Kita would be in the bottom rather than safe, which is actually what Etcetera thought given there is a split up the back of her skirt. This led to a cheeky vent about how the judges were harder on her as a fashion girl, with Elektra thrilled that Etcetera is melting down at the first sign of weakness.

Once again Scarlet took out victory, while Art and Maxi were sent to safety, leaving the bottoms to nervously await their fates. However there wasn’t much in doubt, given they had all predicted that Karen and Anita would be lip syncing, while Etcetera joined the remaining queens at the back of the stage. From the very first moment of Dannii Minogue’s I Begin to Wonder, both of the girls owned the stage. Anita rocked high camp, while Karen was charming her way through a two-step. She then added some finger drums and PCYC disco moves, while Anita rocked the robot across the stage and was totally demented. Ultimately Karen was saved  while my heart broke as Anita was sent out of the competition.

And in the words of Alyssa Edwards, “buffoonery, riggery and straight up tomfoolery!” 

I may be biased, given I passionately stan Anita but she well and truly won that lip sync and oy did I let her know as she walked into the Werk Room to pack-up and decompress. I screamed, I cried and tried to break into Ru’s compound on set to demand Art be re-removed from the competition and save Anita instead. But Anita being dear, sweet Anita, she held me tight and told me that it is ok, she will be ok, I will be ok – she was just glad to be there and to get the chance to compete.

Given I was still simmering with rage and fighting back tears, I didn’t have the strength to make Anita the 16-course degustation she deserved and instead sadly whipped up some Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce and called it a day. Which she brightly lied about, telling me it was all she could ever ask for.

While it generally goes better with a Carrie Fisher’n’Chips the world’s nicest person Anita says that it is the perfect snack all by itself. Tangy, salty and a little sweet, this creamy sauce does have all the flavours necessary to cheer you up. Though I probs wouldn’t guzzle it like we did. Just saying.

Enjoy!

Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce
Makes: 1-1 ½ cups.

Ingredients
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
2 gherkins, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp capers, minced

Method
To be honest, once you’ve made – or decanted store bought – your mayo, there really isn’t much to do.

Combine everything in a bowl. Stir to combine and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so before eating.


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