Madreas Wheeler Curry

Main, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Omar continued to take control of the post-merge game, quietly pulling Mike aside to warn him about Hai no longer having his back. All while Hai was gratefully reflecting on how close he and Mike had gotten in the game. After Lindsay won an overnight reward, she selected Omar and Mike to join her, giving Omar plenty of time to completely turn Mike against Hai. After Lindsay took out immunity, the tribe wanted to finally take a shot and get rid of Jonathan before he had the chance to go on an immunity run. Luckily for him, Omar’s mist proved too powerful as he swayed she tribe to blindside Hai instead.

Back at camp the tribe were thrilled to have come together for the blindside, and while Mike in particular was thrilled to get his revenge on Hai for playing him – which I repeat, did not happen – everyone just quietly added that yeah, yeah, it was good. That being said, Romeo was also particularly smug to have gotten rid of the only person that was targetting him, knowing that the underdogs are almost at the point where they can take control. While Lindsay was just thrilled that her and Drea’s amulets were now a steal a vote.

The next day things were far more chill as Drea was regaling everyone with tales, while Maryanne shocked them with the fact that she loses toenails at least twice a year. Which yeah, is wild but it is Maryanne, so I love her. And the fact that like Romeo, she is readying herself to take control and earn the win. Sadly for her, while she and Romeo talked about gaining power, the rest of the tribe hung on the beach bitching about Romeo and how they are going to get rid of him for doing absolutely nothing to help around camp. Instead snacking on leftover rice and jumping on board with any and all plans screw everyone else over. The beach crew then locked in a final five alliance and while it all looked kosher, Mike assured Omar that he still wants Drea gone as she is the biggest threat left in the game.

Which made Omar nervous, given Mike clearly is growing mad with power.

We then fast forwarded to day 20, with Jonathan opening up abut how exhausted he is while simultaneously wanting everyone to appreciate how much he is sacrificing by not eating more than them but not wanting people to see it, as it is his game plan. He went down to shore to help the tribe fish while Drea told him to help more, leading to them both fighting due to their hanger. While he tried to explain himself to Lindsay and Omar, Lindsay took that back to Drea, Romeo and Maryanne, telling them that she is ready to take him out given he is quite bossy. And to us, shared that his bossiness is becoming dangerously close to ruining her game.

Right on cue, the tribe caught up with Probst for the immunity challenge, once again featuring the Do or Die twist. After explaining how it worked, only Lindsay and Jonathan opted to compete in the challenge where they would stand on a beam and balance as they hold onto handles behind their heads. Last person standing winning immunity, the other facing off with the game of chance. And while Joanthan spent most of the challenge shaking uncontrollably, Lindsay dropped out of nowhere after 12 minutes, handing Jonathan immunity and leaving her place in the game up to fate.

Back at camp Lindsay was regretting her choice to compete in the challenge, with her opening up about her fighting, athletic spirit from childhood. Omar and Maryanne were feeling just as emotional about potentially losing Lindsay too soon, and as such, tried to perk her back up. Drea and Jonathan meanwhile were not bothered about Lindsay potentially going home, partiularly the former who was excited by the prospect of her amulet becoming an idol. To go with her knowledge is power advantage AND extra vote.

Mike meanwhile was the only one focused on the possibility of Lindsay surviving, as such telling Drea that they will just vote out Romeo while rallying everyone else to blindside Drea as their biggest threat. As he caught up with Jonathan and Omar, the latter became keen to vote out Mike instead, though admitted that Drea is just as much of a threat. As he caught up with Drea to float the idea, Drea assured him that Mike’s idol would not be an issue for them, given she has the power to steal it and while they were both giddy about the plan, I’m still worried things will fall apart. Sadly for her, Omar shared everything with Lindsay and the duo realised they could protect Mike by hanging onto the idol for him, neutering both of their advantages and getting rid of either person.

At tribal council Jonathan shared that he competed for immunity because he knows he will now always be a target, while Lindsay admitted that she was blinded by her competitiveness. Mike spoke about how much he admires both of them, while Maryanne reminded her to always keep that competitive edge. Omar meanwhile was happy he sat out, while Maryanne opened up about the varied ways that people communicate while scrambling. Drea meanwhile spoke about her passion for observing literally everyone and everything around camp. Talk turned to the many ways you can miscommunicate around camp with Omar pointing out that there is a time when people need to stop talking, lest they shoot themselves in the foot.

With that, Probst set up the Do or Die boxes and called Lindsay over to the table where she confidently selected the middle box. Probst opened one of the other boxes, revealling a skull before Probst offered her one final chance to swap. With her thankfully sticking to her guns and earning herself immunity. As she returned to her seat, she opened up about how excited she was to evade death and just as Probst was about to send them off to vote, Drea stopped proceedings and asked Mike for his idol with her Knowledge is Power advantage. Sadly for her however, Mike had passed off his idol to Omar before tribal council for safe keeping and as such, Omar successfully neutralised both powers.

With that the tribe finally voted – Drea twice as she used up her extra vote – as the tribe banded together to blindside Drea from the game (well together minus Romeo). Officially turning Lindsay’s amulet into an idol in the process. Drea was delightful and giddy as she exited, praising everyone for being lovely and well, it was so damn wholesome.

She kept that charm up as she entered Ponderosa, pulling me in for a massive hug and sharing how grateful she was that I was on hand to provide her with the culinary comfort I so often provide. And by so often, every week. In return, I praised her for being such a dominant force throughout the season and racking up advantages like it was nothing. As is oft the case, being a dominant force tragically ended up being her downfall however. Meaning I could only toast that success with a big bowl of Madreas Wheeler Curry.

Maybe it is the fact it has been cold and rainy the last few weeks, but there is nothing more smoothing than a rich and earthy madras curry. Packed full of spices, with a light, lingering heat, this is the perfect way to eat your feels.

Enjoy!

Madreas Wheeler Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 bird’s eye chillis
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp ginger, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 onion, sliced
12 curry leaves
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2kg lamb shoulder, diced
400g diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp tamarind paste
rice and raita, to serve

Method
Start by grinding the coriander, fenugreek, mustard seeds, cumin, fennel and pepper in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer to food processor or blender, and mix with the cinnamon, clove, chilli, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until it forms a paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the turmeric, because it will stain.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and cook the onion for five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add the curry paste, along with the curry leaves, cardamom and bay leaves, and cook for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Stir through the lamb and cook for another couple of minutes to coat.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock and taramrind paste, season and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently for about an hour, or until the lamb is cooked through.

Serve with rice, some raita and devour, greedily.


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Lentil Pie Giang

Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to keep the twists coming, this time going with the old faithful of splitting the merged tribe into two groups. Then offering out an immunity for someone on each group before they head to back-to-back tribal councils and each boot someone from the game. After trying to rally a sausage fest alliance earlier in the episode, Rocksroy was living his dream on group one where he was stuck with his allies Mike, Hai and Omar, and they were primed to get rid of Romeo. Sadly for him, Omar and Hai weren’t so keen on the all male alliance and everyone joined together to boot Rocks from the game instead. Upon seeing another African American had joined the jury, both Maryanne and Drea were nervous that unconscious bias had seeped into the game. As such, they each played their idols leaving Tori as the only option to be booted. Not because Lindsay was immune, but because she is a queen.

Back at camp Hai was thrilled that their tribal council went to plan, particularly grateful that Mike was on board and he doesn’t have to worry about him getting annoyed and blowing up their alliance. Despite Mike being a little salty to have had to do it. Sadly as he complained to Omar, the latter saw an opening to get Mike to ditch Hai in favour of him and as such plotted to absolutely trash their bond. The two groups then reunited where the latter group were still reeling from the emotion of their tribal council, though given it was Tori that went, not many people were actually bothered.

The next day Lindsay pulled Omar aside to talk shit about how bossy and stupid Jonathan was the day before as he was willing to risk Maryanne. And needless to say, Omar was just as unhappy to be aligned with Jonathan and was very keen to try and figure out how to make a break. Knowing that a new idol should be hidden around camp, Lindsay left Omar to go for a hunt. Sadly for her, she literally touched it in her search though missed it and kept on moving. Which gave Maryanne enough time to stumble on it while hunting for twigs and well, she was absolutely thrilled.

As the wind and rain whipped across the beach, the tribe met up with Jeff for the latest reward challenge. Which would have been tough if they had to stop shivering. Instead, they just had to balance a sack on a pole and manoeuvre through obstacles before tossing it at a target. The first one to finish winning an overnight reward complete with shelter, a bed and pizza. And did I mention pizza? While Jonathan got out to an early lead, Lindsay and Hai were nipping out his heels. And well, Lindsay straight up landed her bag on the second toss and it was so exciting to watch her cute reaction. Probst, being cheeky, then gave Lindsay the chance to take someone with her, opting for Omar since he has not received a reward yet. Feeling kind, she was then given one other spot, opting to take Mike to further build their relationship. And shit, they are ruining Hai on this reward, aren’t they?

Back at camp the tribe were miserable, in pain from how cold and exhausted they are. Showing far more strength than I could muster, everyone rallied around, pulling the shelter apart to fix it up and try to give them a much needed reprieve from the weather. We then learnt that Hai had a difficult upbringing as an immigrant, and hearing him talk about how this pain is only temporary, well, I fell in love with him again. Particularly when he and Lindsay whispered about banding together to get rid of Jonathan.

We then fast forwarded through said misery to when Lindsay, Omar and Mike arrived at the sanctuary, smashing pizzas before they were distracted by the sound of their loved ones. A wall of TVs then lit up, with photos and videos from home and ugh, I’m crying, they’re crying and well, it was just beautiful. After drying their tears and hugging it out, talk turned to the game with Omar quickly throwing Hai under the bus and well, Mike bought it hook, line and sinker and while I live for cheeky little Omar, I am heartbroken. As Mike seethed, Lindsay opened up about her amulet and as such, admitted she would be very willing to turn on Hai to increase her power. Despite being pissed with Jonathan.

The tribe regrouped with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a narrow balance beam and balance a ball on the curve of an upturned bow. Almost instantly Mike and Hai dropped out, while everyone else stood still like statues. Out of nowhere Romeo dropped his ball, followed by Omar before the final four moved down to a narrower stretch of beam. That saw Maryanne drop straight away, while Jonathan continued to struggle through. Drea dropped her ball out of nowhere while Jonathan defied the odds as he and Lindsay made it to the final round. Sadly for Jonathan, his giant feet couldn’t handle the twig-like beam beneath him and finally dropped his ball, handing Lindsay immunity.

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

Back at camp everyone was thrilled by the fact Lindsay took out immunity, meaning they could finally take their shot on Jonathan. Hai caught up with Mike, assuring him that they are 100% solid and that getting rid of Jonathan is the best for all of them. Sadly Hai did not realise Mike now hates him, as such immediately taking the information from Omar to Jonathan and floated the idea of getting rid of Hai instead. Meanwhile Lindsay was pulling Drea over to her side before she realised that every single person would be happy to just get rid of Hai and call it a day.

Oblivious to his impending doom, Hai caught up with Jonathan and assured him that he doesn’t need to play his Shot in the Dark tonight as he will gladly play his non-existent idol on Jonathan instead. Thrilled to have fooled him, Hai happily pottered around camp while Omar and Jonathan caught up over the plan. Which sadly made Omar nervous about getting rid of Hai, given he is actually loyal to him and that there is always the fear of Jonathan going on an immunity run to the end.

At tribal council Lindsay was feeling her oats over winning back-to-back challenges with Mike particularly thrilled to have had the chance to get warm for even one night on reward. Lindsay articulated how they are all a little mad for wanting to play the game, given it is so miserable though they are also living for it. Hai admitted that he was worried about what was discussed on the reward, though felt that every single one of them have no idea whether they were out in front or at the back of the pack. And one stumble could switch everything up in an instant anyway.

Omar agreed it was hard to decide on the right decision at any given moment while Mike shared that most of his decisions are based on what his gut is telling him. And then Maryanne likened the entire game to playing Jenga, with constantly moving pieces making it difficult for everyone. Lindsay then threw down the gauntlet, saying that her vote would be based on evening the playing field which immediately made Jonathan nervous. Luckily for him it was all for show as the tribe banded together to get rid of Hai instead.

Thankfully Hai is an absolute, pure delight and entered Ponderosa with a smile on his face despite being brutally blindsided by the entire tribe. Though I guess that is arguably the best way to go out, if you are voted out. I congratulated him on playing such a killer game and while I was disappointed to see him go, I am thrilled to have given him some loving comfort. In the form of Lentil Pie Giang.

A little bit spicy and oh-so-warming, this pie is not only life affirming – don’t tell me food isn’t – but it also is healthy, since it is vegetarian. So why have one, when you can have them all. You know?

Enjoy!

Lentil Pie Giang
Serves: 8. Or, as I mentioned, 1.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
300g brown lentils
2 potatoes, cut into 1cm dice
400g can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup peas
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and celery, until soft and sweet. Stir through the mustard seeds and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, potato, tomatoes and stock,  and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently, for 1 hour or until lentils and potato are tender. Stir in coconut milk, peas and coriander, and season to taste and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut each pastry sheet into four squares.

Press the shortcrust pastry into the bases of eight individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture between the pie dishes before brushing the pastry with some egg. Cover the pies with the puff pastry, pressing the pastries together to steal. Neaten the edges, or scrunch it up, depending on if you love a little excess pastry around the edges.

Brush the tops of the pies with more egg, cut a little steam hole in the middle and pop them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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


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KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2 dear friends.

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

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

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

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

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

Serve and devour immediately, hopefully without burning your mouth.


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Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes joined Jonathan by the water where he decide to make things exciting by switching up the tribes. While that resulted in Croc and Chrissy, Josh and Jordan, and Sandra and Nina reuniting, odd-man-out Mark was given the chance to join Sam on the new Water tribe, and instead elected to join Blood. Sophie meanwhile was reunited with Sam, making things, in a word, very awkward given the blindside. After Nina and Sandra lost the immunity challenge, new Blood quickly planned to take out Mel for being clumsy until Nina’s allies decided it would be far more interesting to blindside her mum instead. Caught between and rock and a hard place, Nina joined her allies to take out her iconic mother Sandra. On Day 16. AGAIN. Like fucking bullshit.

Back at camp Nina was shocked to have gone full Ciera on her mum, while the tribe checked in with her to make sure she was feeling ok with them all banding together to take out the Queen. Which she humbly – and wisely – said was ok and that she completely expected it to happen eventually.

The next morning she was quietly reflecting in her mother’s hammock while the tribe caught up by the fire, trying to give her some space while she processed everything. She opened up to us about how the move should benefit her in the long run, given it shows her loyalty to the alliance despite the personal pain it caused. She then joined the rest of her tribe and was delighted to catch a fish, feeling her oats at everything looking up. Jordie then opened up about how great it was to claim Sandra’s scalp, given it is such a big move, though sadly he ignored the fact it is still very early in the game and half the potential jurors weren’t even around to see it. Jordie caught up with Mark, Jordan and Josh to lock in their allegiance to each other, gossiping about who they would target next, defaulting back to last night’s original target Mel.

Meanwhile over at Water, Khanh was hosting another episode of Survivor Kitchen – don’t come for my gig, sweet angel Khanh! – with Sam giving some awkward acting as a studio quest. Thankfully she quickly snapped out of it to remind us that she and Sophie are still feuding, and given the daggers being shot her way, she is well and truly right to be worried. As Soph continued to wander around bitching about Sam, Sam wisely darted around to her people to remind them how dangerous and angry Sophie is before calmly leaving them to reflect. Michelle meanwhile was hanging with Sophie and KJ, hilariously telling them she is thrilled to not have to deal with her sister yet given it could ruin her game.

As the duo looked on, wide eyed and fearing for their place in the game.

Sophie then caught up with Sam to talk strategy while she was chatting to KJ, suggesting that maybe now is the time to secretly work together given nobody would expect it. Sophie once again threw out Khanh’s name, with Sam all smiles and agreeing it was a great idea. After Sam walked away, Sophie confronted her sister to find out what they were talking about before she arrived and repeatedly told KJ she was fine with her pretending like she doesn’t care about her trying to stay out of the Sophie-Sam drama. When she cared. Truly, madly, deeply cared.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the latest immunity where they would each have to line up and hold discs between their hands like paper dolls with the last tribe with a disc left standing taking out immunity. Since both Sam and Mark had played the challenge before, they each gave differing advice as Sam told them to put strong people together, focusing on similar heights while Mark just told them all to keep moving, focusing on blood flow and staying alert. After Jonathan threw shade at Chrissy for struggling, Amy and Mel became the first to drop. They were quickly followed by the disc between Chrissy and Croc, and the one between Sam and Michelle. Josh then dropped out for Blood, followed by Michelle and Jesse for Water. It came down to Mark and Jordan and Jordie and Dave battling against Ben and Sophie and Chrissy and KJ.

Sophie then started to struggle, directing Ben how to help her reset before ultimately dropping, pinning all her hope on Chrissy and KJ. Aka our iconic challenge beast queens. Mark and Jordan meanwhile started doing micro-moves to stay focused, as Mark reminded us that the last time this challenge was played it was won by him and Henry and ugh, I am living for Mark’s quiet confidence right now. Tragically I did not love watching Chrissy and KJ struggle as they were desperately trying to hang on for their tribe, arms shaking and fumbling before ultimately dropping and handing immunity to Blood.

As the tribes hugged each other in congratulations, Sam whispered to Mark that Sophie was coming for her before he encouraged her to take her out quickly. And yes, this is the fight I need to shake me out of my post-Sandra-boot depression. 

Back at camp the tribe congratulated KJ and Chrissy on a job well done before Sam immediately got to work taking out the biggest threat to her game. She and Jesse quickly locked in the plan with Jesse agreeing that Sophie doesn’t seem to realise it was the entire tribe trying to get her out, not just Sophie, and more importantly, it is the entire tribe wanting to get rid of her again. They then caught up with Ben, Michelle, Khanh, Croc and Chrissy to lock in a plan to split the vote, putting two on KJ as a back up. With Sam requesting she be one of the votes for Sophie.

Back at camp Ben went for a walk with Sophie and instead suggested voting out Khanh instead, with them joining up with Chrissy, Croc, Jesse and Sam to float the idea. Sophie even suggested Sam go so far as to talk about how much they hate each other and that she needs her out to really sell it. Everyone was keen to get rid of him, particularly with Sophie as the person they split the votes with so she goes if he does play the idol. That being said, it was all actually bullshit and Croc had no intention of turning on Khanh and as such, it was all a distraction to get rid of Sophie and finish the job.

Assuming nobody is confused by the duelling plans.

When Chrissy, Sam, Jesse and Ben caught up, they were all well and truly confused with Chrissy thinking the plan was still Sophie, Sam thinking that was the plan too, Ben thinking the Khanh plan was legit while Jesse now wanted the Khanh one to be legit so he could take out an idol and make the game a little safer. While Chrissy worried to us that she would pull a Cara and cook the vote. Even after the ad break the group were still confused, leading to Croc pulling Chrissy aside to make sure she was onboard with the correct plan. Michelle joined them to make sure Chrissy was all over it and when they finally got it through to her, we cut to KJ and Sophie hunting for an idol and oh god, she is getting an idol, isn’t she?

KJ caught up with Chrissy to complain about how selfish Sophie is for hunting for an idol in plain sight, given it is spooking the tribe into splitting the vote on her. Thankfully KJ caught up with Croc who calmly looped her in on the plan and assured her she won’t be going home on his watch, which made her feel a little calmer. When she caught up with Khanh, he encouraged her to prioritise what is best for her game and hot damn, are we getting back to back family boots? While Sam was trailing Sophie and Ben on their idol hunt, Sophie started saying things that made it sound like she had found an idol, however she didn’t seem to move, making me think it was all a fake-out. But whatever it is, I was confused as they exited camp and living for how damn entertaining Sophie has been.

At tribal council Chrissy spoke about how hectic things were back at camp after the challenge, admitting multiple plans were in play and that frankly she just needs to wait and see what happens. Ben agreed that while there are multiple plans, there is one he plans to stick with, filling Sophie with delight. Khanh admitted the idol makes him a target, so he wouldn’t be shocked to get votes tonight. Sophie then opened up about how she is super loyal and that she is definitely going to do what she says. While Sam reiterated she is telling some truths, Sophie fired up and fought back at Sam and while I was living for it as an audience, poor KJ started to break down over the fact she feels trapped by having her sister on the tribe.

Chrissy assured her that she would be freaking out if it was her and her sister with poor KJ just saying how tired she is with everything. Sophie tried to calm her sister and let her know that she is ok before pointing out that there are bigger strategic and social threats in the tribe, which turned conversation back to Khanh. Who was thrilled to have drama deflecting from his idol. He then said that multiple idols could show up tonight, with Croc agreeing that should Sophie have an idol, the game will flip upside down. As Sophie continued to play coy about whether she found one, while poor KJ reiterated it will be her going home should multiple idols appear.

With that the tribe voted and after Sophie pretended to pull out an idol, none were actually played and instead KJ followed in Nina’s footsteps, joining the tribe to vote out her sister like a damn icon.

Sophie was delightfully chipper by the time she made it back to Loser Lodge, thrilled to be out of the environment and not thrown through another emotionally jarring non-elimination. As a fellow internet celebrity slash influence, Soph and I have long run in the same circles, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and thanked her for providing such glorious entertainment in her short run. After that, we laughed and toasted her success with a piping hot bowl of Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi.

And oh, it was glorious. Everyone knows that potato and cheese are the two most comforting foods, and in such a polished combination, they truly are transcendent. Pillowy gnocchi, a sharp punch of parmesan and the spice of pepper work together to thoroughly warm your soul.

Enjoy!

Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients
500g gnocchi
4 tbsp unsalted butter
130g parmesan, grated
1 ½ tbsp black pepper, freshly ground

Method
Cook the gnocchi per packet instructions, drain and reserve 500ml of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and fry for a couple of minutes before folding through the cheese and pepper, along with half of the cooking water. Raise the heat and cook stirring until combined, adding more water to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency. Season to taste.

Transfer to bowls and devour, in honour of our pre-merge icon!


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Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.

The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.

The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.

Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.

Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.

Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.

We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.

Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.

And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.

Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears. 

Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.

Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.

Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.

At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.

This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.

Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.

With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown. 

My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.

Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.

While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.

As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.

Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.

Enjoy!

Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine
Jock Zonfrillo’s original recipe
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta
25g smoked salt
25g dark muscovado sugar
10g ground black pepper, to season
10g hot smoked paprika
10g ground star anise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.2kg pork belly
1 cup cloudy apple juice
150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs
230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
120g unsalted butter, diced
60g flour
2 ½ cups milk
130g blue cheese, diced
130g Fontina, coarsely grated
130g Talleggio, coarsely grated
salt and white pepper, to taste
400g smoked bacon lardons
1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.

Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.

Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.

In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.

When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.

And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!


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Birriana Goodchild

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new castaways were dropped into the middle of the lush, Australian bushland. While they entered the game as 12 pairs, Jonathan quickly split them up to form two tribes of individuals. Each had to face off in the first reward challenge where Nina beat her mother – Queen Sandra – to secure reward for her tribe. The Water tribe however bombed the following immunity challenge, while a poor, injured Alex looked on from the sidelines. Back at camp, Andy quickly suggested everyone should band together to get rid of him, however Nina had other ideas as she effortlessly rallied the tribe against Andy. At tribal, Shayelle and Briana were beaten to the idol by Chrissy which was ultimately pointless given Andy was booted anyway.

The next day Shayelle was worried about how her partner Ben was faring over on the other tribe, so focused her energy on leading the tribe in some yoga as a distraction. Because she is an actual yogi, rather than a Henry yogi. While everyone was living for her calming energy, Chrissy was more focused on the fact she was a goddess and instead decided she would try and beef her up in the jungle.

Meanwhile over at the Blood tribe, Sophie was struggling with the heat and completely shocked by life in the jungle. We then learnt that the tribe had still not gotten fire which is quite a concern on Day 3. Thankfully, Briana’s dad Dave finally got a flame as everyone gathered around to block the wind, which instantly changed everyone’s mood as they sat down to a pot of rice. Sophie caught up with Sandra, sharing that a bunch of people would love to learn from her while they are here which made Sandra feel mildly more relaxed about her standing. Though Sophie knew that as great as having Sandra is, she is always a threat. Which should in turn make her nervous. The tribe ventured to the well, worried about who had been voted out at the last tribal council with Kate already having a bad feeling it was Andy. While Sandra warned us that should Nina be voted out, she will be coming for anyone and everyone like the Hulk.

Speaking of Nina she was busy knocking up a washing line on the Water Tribe before they all lazed under the shelter to enjoy some shade. That is, until some of the logs started to snap and they had to rebuild the entire structure. Nina shared that while her mum prepared her for life in the game, she is wanting to play her own game and opened up to her allies that Andy being so keen to be in the presence of her mum is part of what made her nervous about him. Tragically though, while she was vibing on Mark, Alex and Jordie, she was unsure how to feel about Khanh, which is essentially my dream alliance. Particularly as Briana got in her ear talking about how threatening he is.

While that makes me nervous, given the fact that Chrissy is out for Briana’s blood after the way she treated her at the last tribal council, I am hopeful Chrissy will get her revenge before I lose my love Khanh.

Briana meanwhile was living her best life, loving her in-game bestie Shayelle and thinking she is a boss. We learnt a bit more about her, which essentially was that she rollerskates, wears rainbow stripes and is fun. Which is all you need to know – I mean, after the last two years, I’ll take an eternal optimist to bring up my mood! Thankfully, she is self-aware to know her performance at tribal council could be a problem for her game so approached Chrissy in the water to apologise to her and clear the air. And while I thought it was going to be a good thing, her apology was essentially, the game has started and as such, Chrissy was even more annoyed by how intense she is.

The tribes joined Jonathan by a river where poor Kate was heartbroken to see her big brother Andy had indeed been voted out and ugh, watching her hold back tears was heartbreaking. Until she shaded the Water tribe, pointing out he is weirdly good at both puzzles and throwing things and as such, they just made it easier for her tribe to win challenges. Speaking of which, today’s would see people from each tribe racing to climb out of a large, net cube before jumping off and grabbing a flag to secure a point. First to four winning fishing gear and comfort items.

Once again, Sandra refused to sit out of the challenge with Sam taking her place on the sit out bench as Croc and Jesse faced off against her husband Mark and Khanh. And damn, Khanh was a beast as he battled Jesse, climbed out and scored the first point for Water. Kate and Sophie then fought off Nina and Briana and damn, was it a fight as they all scraped and yanked at each other before Nina broke free and snatched another point for the Water tribe. Leading to Sandra apologising to Kate for her daughter’s behaviour.

We then had Mark introduce Khanh to Sam as his boyfriend and just like that, my basement is flooded. I mean, Mark and Sam are so relaxed and fun this year, and I’m living for it!

Up next were Shay and Chrissy fighting Sandra and Amy, with Shay single handedly fighting everyone off and taking out another point for Water. That meant KJ and Khanh faced off against David and Michelle for victory, where David literally tried to rip off Khanh’s shorts who nearly gave full Sugar, before pulling up his pants and securing the win for his tribe. Given this is Blood V Water, Jonathan gave them the opportunity to share their spoils with the other tribe with Water quickly opting to give their loved ones some comfort items while they hung on to the fishing gear.

Back at camp the Water tribe were thrilled by how well they performed in the reward challenge. Well, for a split second before Briana held on to the tackle box with a vice grip to hunt for an idol clue in front of all of the tribe. While she thought she was super smooth and bubbly about it, she was well and truly putting everyone off side as Khanh complained about her intensity. And vowed to keep how at risk she is from her so she continues to annoy the tribe until they boot her from the game.

Meanwhile the Blood tribe were grateful to have been given their comfort items, none more so than Kate who was still heartbroken to have lost Andy. As she walked off to clear her mind, Michelle joined her to make sure she was ok. As they wandered chatting and looking for firewood, Kate spotted Ben, Sophie, Amy, Jordan and Sam plotting by the well, suggesting that if Andy is cutthroat, it is likely Kate is too and as such, they need to keep an eye on her. We then learnt more about Sam who promised us that she has learnt from the mistakes from her first game, vowing to be less anxious and more observant. Oh and she and Mark just want to get to the merge so they can reunite and run the game to the end like Rob and Amber before them.

Back with the rest of the tribe, Croc was asking Sandra about whether there is a point in the game where everyone just loses their mind, with her wisely explaining how everyone gets paranoid at different times and you just need to be agile. Sadly for Croc though, while he was learning from the great, Sam and Sophie are already suggesting he can’t get to the merge and as such, he won’t last long enough to find out more.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would have to drag three barrels over hurdles before grabbing three more barrels, which they thenhad to navigate through a path and up to the top of a platform before rolling them down to knock vases off a series of poles. After Sophie took her place on the bench – Sandra wisely choosing to keep performing in the challenges – both tribes made their way to the second trio of barrels neck and neck. While Water had the slightest of leads, Croc’s leadership, and honestly brute strength, was enough to see them close the gap. Wait, no, Water pulled away again and then knocked over their first vase before Blood even joined the fray. Eventually Blood started rolling too, quickly tying things up as both tribes knocked off their second vases in quick succession. Before Jesse calmly knocked off Blood’s third and secured immunity for the tribe.

Back at camp Briana was ready to cause a little bit of chaos in the hope of saving her game, while Chrissy shared that she is feeling like a hot mess. She admitted to KJ and Mark that she is feeling very nervous, with Mark emphatically telling her not to worry. Chrissy then caught up with Mel, Jordie and Josh to lock in the vote for Briana, knowing that she has been playing too hard too fast and as such they need to take her out. Chrissy assured them that she watched Briana like a hawk yesterday but reminded them that somebody needs to watch her today to make sure she doesn’t find an idol and ruin any plans.

Oh and Chrissy shared she is aligned with KJ, Mark, Mel, Jordie, Josh and Khanh and ugh, why is Nina not included in this majority?!

Speaking of Nina, Briana pulled her and Alex aside to float going after Chrissy which they obviously agreed to. As Briana went person to person to woo them to her side, she got absolutely nothing and as such, grew more and more paranoid. She and Shayelle then went hunting for the idol, leading to the rest of the tribe sending out a search party, arriving just in time to see Shay unhook a hidden immunity idol from the top of a tree. As Briana ran to her to celebrate the moment and I assume, her safety.

While King Khanh threatened to steal it before making the real boss move of picking it up from the ground and handing it to Shay, reminding her it is hers and hers only. In front of everyone. After Briana went back to camp, Khanh and Nina got into Shayelle’s ear and told her that Briana was totally planning to steal the idol from her which is why he jumped in to give it to her. Sadly, the drama only made Shayelle more confused about tribal council given she will clearly either be sending her ally Briana home or instead Chrissy, who brings good vibes to the tribe.

At tribal council Alex opened up about how shocked he was to survive his first tribal council, though he shared how grateful he was, given he feels much better. Josh spoke about how that speaks to their desire for a cohesive tribe rather than tossing him aside at the first sign of injury, which immediately made Briana talk about how much she loves everyone. Though she did admit that she is closest to Shay. As Briana spoke about hoping the tribe valued her, Chrissy said that everyone should be expecting their name to come up and as such, she is nervous. Jordie said that everyone is performing in challenges, so like Josh, his vote would be based on keeping the tribe harmonious. 

Chrissy suggested she would have received more votes at the last tribal council if she didn’t find the idol. Mark suggested that this tribal council would be pretty logical and not problematic while Briana assured her allies that she trusts everyone she spoke with (like Andy last tribal, uh oh). Chrissy agreed she could trust her people though wasn’t exactly sure she trusts the plan. Briana then started whispering to Shay to vote for Chrissy before Khanh spoke about being close to a few people, which made Briana more and more nervous. Despite being confident earlier, Briana started to spiral before trying to pull it together. And then immediately threatened the tribe that she was ready to do something crazy.

With that, the tribe voted and nothing crazy happened as the tribe banded together to boot Briana from the game. Well except for Mark who threw a vote on Chrissy, ideally to paint a target on Shay though I feel he is way too nice and was just covering bases in case an idol was played.

But I’ve digressed. Like Andy yesterday, seeing Briana arrive in Loser Lodge was quite triggering because I see a lot of myself in her. I’m a little bit too much and when backed into a corner, try too hard to win people back despite it being the last thing people want. While Bri was disappointed to be out of the game, she was already hopeful to come back, learn from her mistakes and take out the win – which honestly, is the kind of energy the world needs right now. As such, I served up a big bowl of Birriana Goodchild and vowed to send all the good vibes for her second go.

Don’t let the looks fool you! While birria may appear to be a boring old stew, it is actually a feisty bowl of flavour and goodness. Which like Bri, is just what the world needs more off.

Enjoy!

Birriana Goodchild
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 dried guajillo chillies
4 dried ancho chillies
4 dried chiles de arbol
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
400g tinned crushed tomatoes
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1.2kg beef chuck, cut into a large dice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
1L beef stock
2 sprigs thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon cloves

Method
Place the chillies in a bowl and top with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before removing the stems and seeds. Combine the soft chillies with the apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin and 3 cups of the chilli water in a blender and blitz until smooth. Leave aside.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, season the chunks of beef and sear a few pieces at a time, until browned and caramelised on the outside. Remove to rest on a plate and repeat the process until done.

Return the beef back to the pot and top with the chilli mixture, onion, stock, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Stir and bring to the boil before covering and popping in the oven to cook for about 3 hours, or until juicy and tender.

Remove from the oven and remove the visible bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves – or play it fast and loose like me and eat around the cloves. Serve immediately and devour, glad to have played the game.


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June Jambalaya

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

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

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

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

So Survivor, does Willy Wonka, does Ru.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

June Jambalaya
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash

RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Side, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race a new batch of queens were put through their paces while the pandemic raged on around them. But that sure as hell didn’t stop them from turning a show. From Symone charming from start to finish – and all the way to crown – to Mik’s iconic Snatch Game, Utica’s kindness saving her from the Pork Chop, Kandy living her best life, Lala Ri’s bag look and Rosé being, well, professional, the dolls served. Good and bad. But thankfully, with a new year, a new batch of dolls are ready to charm their way into our hearts.

First up was my dear Alyssa Hunter looking like the love child of Serena ChaCha and Rosé out of drag – in a swoon way – and like Lady Gaga as an old timey witch in American Horror Story when in drag. She was quickly joined by Bosco looking like Sasha Velour does the devil in drag, in the best way possible. And girl, she is very competitive and ready to fight. Up next was the iconic Kornbread giving Silky in the lip-sync episode levels of perfection – energetic, charming and so damn likeable. Up next was Willow Pill as an extra from Jawbreaker, giving totally vapid delight and ugh, I love her already. I mean, the shirt said ANGLE!

Though not as much as I love Kornbread’s shade for her comfort couture shoes.

Kerri Colby came in looking like an absolute angel – not angle – in full trans flag eleganza. And damn, she was ready to be the Aunty of the season with her good Judy, Kornbread. June Jambalaya was up next and once again, she has history with Kornbread and since she likens herself to Megan Thee Stallion and Phaedra Parks, you KNOW I have no choice but to stan. Rounding out the first group of queens with a screech was Orion Story, complete with an entry paragraph and looking like a star in boudoir glam.

The dolls were gagged by Ru’s arrival welcoming them to the competition and, you know, confirming that they are but half of the dolls to feature this season. And speaking of feature, they would immediately have to compete in the first mini challenge, posing for a photoshoot on the lip sync for the crown spinning wheel with the returning Bryce and Bruno of the Pit Crew who still make me swoon-o. Alyssa was up first and hit every damn angle while June managed to serve sex despite her nerves. Willow was up next serving fully demented and charmed Ru with her name. Orion went from glamour to smut, Bosco was fierce and focused while Kerri got a stunning shot despite nearly drowning in fabric while Kornbread and Ru had the best time ever with Kornbread spinning herself around the place.

Despite Ru’s early love for WIllow and Kornbread, it was ultimately Kerri who took out the win before Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be putting on a cheeky Charisma, Nerve and Talent Show to show off all of their mad skillz.

But before we could get to that, the dolls split up to find a workstation and get out of drag. With everyone gagged by Bosco and Willow’s transformation out of drag while Kornbread and June spoke for all of us by thirsting after Alyssa. Everyone turned their attention to Willow, questioning her age, which thankfully is something she is happy about, because she is ready to prove to them she is a star despite the fact they’re all underestimating her.

Oh and it adds nothing to the plot, but Kornbread convinced her new sisters that her talent would be eating hot dogs. And they believed her.

Ru dropped by to get to know the dolls with Kerri admitting her house name was inspired by Dynasty and that she is hoping to live up to the talent and showmanship of her family. Oh and she will be skipping her way through the first challenge. Literally. And again, literally, she learnt to skip at Shady Shores Elementary School. June was up next describing her looks as classy-ratchet to Ru, though when it comes to the talent show, she plans to perform an African dance. Orion admitted to being a shy reserved kid, though would be flipping the script and performing a comedy skit. Ru was still vibing with Willow Pill’s name before we learnt that she is a dear friend of Yvie Oddly’s before sharing that she has cystinosis, which is a kidney disease that causes problems with her eyes, throat and muscles. But most importantly, she described her talent as a lip sync, self-help hybrid. And again, I love her.

Oh and then Ru announced that Lizzo would be this week’s guest judge, delighting – and terrifying – her self-appointed #1 impersonator in L.A., Kornbread.

Elimination Day rolled around with Kornbread smudging her area before Alyssa shared she would be playing guitar, while Bosco will be Wagon Wheel Watusi-ing her way through a Burlesque. Kerri and Kornbread meanwhile were gabbing away while beating their mug, sharing how much they love each other and bonding over their traumatic experiences in the church. Which Kornbread dealt with by straight up farting on a priest like the damn icon she is.

CROWN KORNBREAD NOW.

The dolls were interrupted from beating their mugs by Lizzo who escaped the Green Room to give them some love and a cheeky pep talk. After she left, the dolls were fired up and ready to snatch the first win while all the girls continued to be confused about all things Willow. Which makes me sad because I love lil-low Willow already. 

Oh and then Ru performed a song from her new album and well, there were men in tight, white pants with their nips out, so I am happy. So we’ll let it slide, alright?

June Jambalaya opened up the talent show and while she slayed the performance, her headband kept falling over her face and you know Michelle will focus on that. Bosco was sultry as she stripped down, petal by petal, from her beautiful rose gown until she showed her rose bud. Alyssa confused Lizzo with her metal rocker performance and the dolls with the fact she was just air guitaring on an actual guitar. Kerri meanwhile was iconic, serving slutty schoolgirl as she lip synced before her skipping performance kicked into gear and just made me smile. Like Kornbread, just give her the damn crown, ok?

Orion was a trashy mess aerobics instructor and while I love that she went for something different, it went nowhere, until she joked about taking a massive dump which I obviously found hilarious. Kornbread meanwhile came out of the gate ready to make herself the frontrunner, nailing her performance to her own, hilarious, catchy song. Oh and she had a bag of groceries featuring a missing Merle Ginsberg on the milk carton. And that was before she even started eating her fried chicken necklace and intensely looking at the judges. Willow closed out the show and while her sisters were confused, her Enya lip sync around a bath before eating meatballs, tipping them in a bath and jumping in with a slice of toast was ICONIC.

And damn, did she finally have her sisters gagged.

On the Signature Drag runway, June served golden goddess realness while Bosco was a horny, black devil and Alyssa was a pageant-y, feathered delight. Kerri wore a stunning lion coat with a sexy bodysuit made of Ks. Orion was a red and white mushroom delight, complete with three titties. Kornbread meanwhile came out serving full Lizzo, serving eyes, face and swagger and I fucking love her. While Willow closed things out as a neon ugly-glamour mean girl.

June received praise for her performance while Michelle read her for not securing her headband and wearing control tops. Bosco’s performance was universally beloved for all that she did, while Alyssa was praised for doing something different, despite it being one note. Though the judges lived for her runway, despite the fact none of them understand who she is based on the variety she showed in the first episode. Kerri meanwhile received universal praise, despite the fact Ross wished she started skipping earlier and Michelle wanting her to lean into the stupid. Orion made Lizzo uncomfortable, and while the judges loved that she tried something different, they felt she needed more ‘funny’ in her skit. Michelle read Kornbread’s look for needing more polish, though everyone lived for her performance, none more so than Lizzo. Meanwhile Willow’s look was read for being weak, though they unanimously agreed that her talent was demented and PERFECT.

Backstage the dolls were gooped to finally be competing in the competition, talking about how wild it was to be on the mainstage. Kornbread was particularly thrilled to have made such an impression on Lizzo, while Bosco was thrilled that the judges got her. And to live up to her fellow Seattle queens, Jinkx and DeLa. Kerri meanwhile felt she would ultimately be safe which was enough for her in the first episode. The dolls all admitted that they were judging Willow for her entry look, though were gagged by how entertaining she was in her performance and praised her for being so talented as they gladly ate slice after slice of humble pie. 

Willow shared that during the performance, she didn’t think the judges were getting her and as such, got into her head and was so negative on the runway. Leading to Kornbread pointing out that she now sees her as her biggest competition and she needs to start believing in herself. June opened up about feeling like she messed up her shot by messing up some of the details. She spoke about not normally wearing tights, though worried about being judged for her body on TV and now regretting letting those fears win. Alyssa then brokedown about the pressure of feeling like she is performing for her people and didn’t want to let anyone down. Leading to a huge pep talk from all the girls AND, obviously, some flirting from Kornbread.

Orion meanwhile felt she got far and away the worst critiques and knew she’d be in the bottom, opening up that she was going to do an original song, though ran out of time due to life and as such, had to pull something together and was glad she got to show off her brand of weird. Which this time led to a pep talk from Bosco. Kornbread asked the dolls who they thought would be in the bottom with everyone kinda agreeding June will likely be joining Orion in the bottom, though Kerri assured them that because there are so few girls in the competition, the judges had to be harder on all of them and as such, they shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they do have to lip sync.

Ultimately Bosco and Willow Pill were sent to safety while Kornbread rightly snatched her first victory of the season. Kerri too was deemed safe, followed by Alyssa Hunter who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving June and Orion to lip sync for their lives to Water Me by Lizzo. June connected with the lyrics and gave all the Lizzo swag while Orion gave campy, comedy and despite being charming and putting on a hell of a show, there was no way June was going home with that fire. As such, poor Orion became the first doll to exit the competition.

Poor Orion was heartbroken to be the first one to leave but I pulled out my old faithful pep talk, reminding her that first boots are always more memorable than the girls that go in the few weeks after and as such, she now joins the legendary group. I mean, fierce Broc-ally, Kahmora Hall, Jaymes Mansfield? There is enough talent in this group to fill an entire All Stars season!

With that wonderful reminder, Orion was ready and invigorated to go out and take on the world again. As such, we laughed, we cried – did I mention I’m a dear friend and the talent show was based around me? Because it was – and then sat down to a big, comforting bowl of Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash.

While I know it may feel like this isn’t an epic enough meal to be dishing out to someone post-boot, I counter that this is honestly the perfect salve. Cheese? Check. Potato? Check. Punch Flavours? Check. I mean, c’mon, sign me up.

Enjoy!

Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4-6 washed potatoes, cut into 2cm dice
salt and pepper, to taste
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup sour cream, plus extra if required
½ cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Pop the cut potato in a large pot and rinse with water. Fill with enough water to cover with about 2cm to cover, salt like the dead sea and pop on the hob over medium-high heat. Cook for about five-ten minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain, return to the hot pot over the hob with the heat off and leave for the moisture to evaporate for a minute. Season to taste, add the spring onions and sour cream and mash until the potatoes are smooth. Stir aggressively, fold through the cheese and return to the lowest heat possible and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Then devour, piping hot, with your favourite protein. Or, you know, in a bowl.


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Hot Nutella Vaday

Drink, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK 12 queens entered the Werk Room for another battle royale of my favourite franchise. While nine sisters were eliminated along the way, it was the quiet achiever Ella that rose to the top. Winning challenge after challenge, after challenge (and challenge) until Vanity was eliminated and she battled for the crown against Kitty and Krystal.

Despite slaying the competition, Ella didn’t end up taking the crown though some would argue what she won was better than that anyway. My heart!

While underestimated by her sisters at the beginning of the competition, I knew that someone that could come up with a name like that was full of talent and from start to finish, she shon.

Like Bimini before her, she showed versatility, charisma and so much talent and while she may not have finished with the crown, her career can only go from strength to strength.

Which is what I reiterated to her through gritted teeth as I pulled her off stage to toast her with (a kinda ugly, sorry Ella) Hot Nutella Vaday.

What my photography skills don’t show is how damn near perfect this drink is. I mean, sure, we all love a Hot Choc – or Coco – but when one has the opportunity to go with nutella, they should take it. So take it.

Enjoy!

Hot Nutella Vaday
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
⅓ cup Nutella
whipped cream, for topping (which I forgot to do, I assume, because we’re all bottoms)

Method
Like most of my drinks and salads, this one is a little bit difficult to process.

Pop the milk and nutella in a saucepan, whisk until well combined and pop over low heat until cooked through.

You could also do it direct in a mug using your meek-ro-wah-vay, though that always runs the risk of getting dirty, dirty, dirty.

Whichever way you go, down and enjoy!


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