Irene Hamdubois Helper

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

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

Womp womp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Pepperowen Knight Pizza

Main, Pizza, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the final four faced off in a massive final immunity challenge and while I’d love to say it was a hard fought four way battle, it really only came down to three. And then two, after Gabler faded away like Jesse and left Owen and Cassidy to fight it out for the final immunity of the season. After a late breaking drop from Owen, Cassidy earned her place in final tribal council and attention quickly turned to who would be the smartest person to potentially knock out Jesse in the fire making challenge. While both Owen and Gabler wanted the glory, Cassidy knew victory could give one of them the upper hand and as such, deemed Gabler the lesser threat to her victory, sending him in to the challenge to thankfully – for the rest of them, duh – eliminate the biggest threat of the season, Jesse.

The final three awoke on – shudders – Day 26, surprised to have made it all the way to the end. Owen was thrilled to just not have to worry about Probst snuffing his torch, while Cassidy was focused on prepping a compelling speech. Owen was nervous about what the jury wanted from their winner, though was glad to articulate how he managed to navigate the game as the underdog. Gabler was proud of how hard he worked to make it to the end and was hopeful his first votes of the season would be those needed to win. Cassidy meanwhile admitted she is living out her dream to have made it to the end, and was just hopeful she would be able to prove that she has been the dark horse all season and managed to get rid of everyone that came for her.

We pivoted to the final tribal council after some telling remarks from the jury, before Jesse kicked things off praising the trio on playing strong games, though reminded them they have to answer some tough questions honestly and with, dare he say it, fire. Noelle asked each how their games differed with Gabler articulating he focused on building trust and had so many alliances, he always had options to move forward. And it worked, given nobody has ever voted against him. Cassidy focused on the fact that she always knew who was going home before it happened and she built the right bonds at the right time to navigate to the end. Particularly since women were aggressively targeted pre-merge. Owen meanwhile opened up about how he had high hopes for the game as a super fan, though it all came crumbling down from the first tribal council and he has been fighting on the bottom since then And he has fought, every, damn, night.

James asked Owen if he ever put his neck on the line for an ally, which led to Noelle piping up and pointing out that he did the night he trusted her to use the Steal a Vote to get rid of James. Gabler spoke about bag gate with Jeanine copping to the fact she definitely went through the bag. He explained Elie painted a target on his back going out, but he expertly went back under the radar. Karla asked Cassidy what pre-merge move she did to propel her to the point, explaining trusting in James and Karla when they flipped on Lindsay was the biggest move. Gabler spoke about ducking back under water after Elie painted a target on his back was the biggest move, while Cassidy admitted she kept a mental list of everyone that came for her and as such, used her bonds to systematically eliminate them.

Jeanine pointed out that Cassidy’s core alliance was clear though asked the boys to explain theirs with Owen admitting to being close with Noelle, Cody and Jesse. Gabler spoke about how he had a bunch of alliances and while he tried to say he was only close with Jesse and Cody, which Sami called bullshit on. When he mentioned nobody had voted for him, Cassidy countered that maybe that is because nobody viewed him as a threat. And while Noelle and Jesse tried to defend him, it felt like a blow. Ryan turned talk to immunity wins with Cassidy surprised she won so many, particularly the final one, while Noelle admitted to being a Paralympian and assured her she should be proud of herself. Proud of herself, but wondered why she didn’t go to fire to prove herself. Which fired up Cassidy who felt that she played such a strong game that she didn’t need it and the most important thing was to take Owen with her to weaken him and take away the potential of him having another way to show he was an underdog.

Karla jumped in and asked how they all fought until they couldn’t go any longer. Owen opened up about the tragedy of Karla snatching the final advantage out from under him, though admitted the loss fired him up enough to take out that win. James jumped in and questioned how he felt about how he handled himself while on the bottom, with Owen wisely admitting that he wishes they never fought. Which lol, jurors, stop with those sorts of questions as they look petty. Queen Karla then asked them to point out their worst moves with Gabler worried about putting him neck on the line, Cassidy opening up about regretting how they spoke to each other before she was voted out while Owen felt he had a plethora of mistakes, though he doesn’t regret getting bamboozled since it carried him to the final tribal council.

Jesse then opened up about having a PHD in voting behaviours, asking them to articulate when they drove a vote their way. Gabler identified the Elie vote post-merge as his biggest move, while Cassidy turning people on Ryan was her move. Sadly for her, Ryan pointed out that wasn’t the case and the boys had been planning his demise beforehand. While Owen straight up admitted that he never drove any votes as he never had any sway or power in the game.

With that the jury voted and with a single vote to Cassidy’s name, the rest piled up and handed Gabler victory. Much to the absolute shock of Cassidy and Owen. And TBH, me. As Probst and Co. reset for the insta-reunion, I pulled Owen aside and into a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game with the hand he was dealt and as such, should be super proud of all that he achieved. Plus, he had a killer mane of long, luscious hair and as such, is my new go-to for inspo when I go for my blow out. Which was enough to distract from the fact I am the reason he had such a shitty hand, given I cursed him pre-season by lining up a delicious Pepperowen Knight Pizza.

Rich and spicy, there is nothing better than a simple pepperoni pizza. I mean, it is just bread, tomato, pepperoni and cheese, but that combination is powerful enough to solve all the world’s problems. And warm your heart.

Enjoy!

Pepperowen Knight Pizza
Serves: 1 losing finalist and his curse-enacting bestie.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
200g pepperoni
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, followed by the pepperoni before topping, generously, with mozzarella.

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

Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.


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Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde

Burgers, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?

The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.

As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.

Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.

White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.

Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.

The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.

And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?

Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.

And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!

Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.

On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.

The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve. 

Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.

Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.

And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.

The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.

The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.

Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.

This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tbsp gochujang
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 shallots, sliced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
675g pork mince
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 Briocher Bünsberg
butter lettuce, leaves removed
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 cup kimchi

Method
Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.

In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.

When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.

To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.


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Ryan Wedgranos

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.

But first, let’s take a little step back.

We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.

Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!

At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.

Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.

After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.

You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Ryan Wedgranos
Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.

Ingredients
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.

Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.

Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Dutch Baby

Breakfast, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls starred in the brand new chat show, Catty Man. After Pixie won the power to select teams, she, Danny and Cheddar all shone brightly. While she designed a meh team and a bomb team, to kinda guarantee their win. Sadly for her, it only worked out for Danny who joined Dakota in the two badge club. Sminty meanwhile appeared to completely black out during the challenge while Baby was a bit of a mess. Baby though was a phoenix, dominating the lip sync and saving herself. And while it was tragic to see Sminty go, she took out our hearts as she sad-twerked her way into the best exit since Vanjie.

Backstage Baby felt guilty about sending Sminty home, though reiterated that if you come against her in the lip sync, you will be losing. As they sat down to kiki Pixie opened up about always feeling like the bridesmaid, so wasn’t shocked that she was beaten at the final hurdle of the challenge. Dakota and Danny tried to remind her how much the judges loved her and while she doesn’t have a badge, they still love her and she needs to focus on that. Talk returned to Baby with everyone reiterating that Ru gave her some great feedback and she should still be proud of herself. Though Danny admitted to us that Ru is after a superstar and well, she – and Cheddar – is a powerhouse, so they best watch out. Essentially.

The next day everyone had processed the last judging, with everyone ready for another week. Baby opened up about still being a little in her feels and as such, admitted that she is really doubting herself, but best believe she is ready to rally. Pixie led the girls in praising Danny on her second win, with her admitting that she is speechless. Which doesn’t happen often. At the other end of the spectrum, the dolls pointed out Jonbers is the only one without a badge and well, she was not having it and I live. Before the shade escalated to any drama, Ru dropped by – dressed in high street, not H&M – to open the library. Because reading is, what? Fundamental.

Up first was Cheddar who calmly and devilishly savaged her sisters in a sweet, playful way. Baby was witty and nasty in equal, perfect measure, Dakota was hit and miss but so charming while Peppa was a delight. Pixie was smart, brutal and oh so silly, Le Fil owned it calling Jonbers Mr Smithers, Danny was Danny in all the right ways before Jonbers closed the show giving classic reads and being a total cutie. But obviously, victory went to Pixie Polite. For ironically being anything but.

Before Ru departed she announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be singing live in Lairy Poppins: The Rusical. And as the winner of the mini challenge, it was up to Pixie to cast the show before they received some vocal coaching with THE voice, Miselle Visage. The dolls sat down to read through the script as Dakota disappointed everyone with the news she had NOT seen Mary Poppins and also hates musicals. Le Fil was cast as OG Mary, Lick Van Dick went to Danny, The Bird Lady went to Jonbers, Mother Prude went to Baby and Rochelle La Roach went to Cheddar leaving the Prude Twins to be played by Peppa and Dakota. Much to Dakota’s disappointment. All the girls offered to trade out to make her feel better, but she admitted she isn’t really confident about any of the roles, so was just going to suck it up. Oh and Pixie obviously snatched the lead for herself.

Everyone split up to work through the script with Cheddar going method while Peppa tried to perk Dakota up and encouraged her to slay with the role she landed, rather than being frustrated. Pixie meanwhile started to get nervous, realising that Lairy Poppins is not the role for her and as such went to talk it through with Danny. Who graciously offered to swap.

The dolls dropped by the mainstage to work through the songs with Michelle as Dakota and Peppa were a bit flat, while Baby joyously embraced her inner Britney. Danny meanwhile was an absolute disaster given she only just took over the role, and while Pixie fared a little better, she was lacking confidence, Cheddar was pitch perfect which made her feel worse and worse. Jonbers was living her best life and was oh so fun, despite the lack of key. While Le Fil, obviously, was a delight. And given everyone was feeling kinda strong, Baby started to worry that she was not enough. Which is just heartbreaking.

Michelle tagged out with zaddy Giovanni Pernice for the choreography with Dakota getting more and more nervous, while Baby sweetly helped her get through all the steps. While Peppa just wanted her to pull it together and not bring her down. Danny too was a ball of nerves, though given Giovanni was flirty, she worked overtime to impress. Cheddar too struggled to get it down while Pixie nailed it all and Jonbers was ridiculously perfect. And Le Fil was simply a star, but will no doubt be under appreciated.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone full of energy and ready to put on the best rusical of all time. As they split up to beat their mugs, the dolls spoke about their pre-show routines, with everyone agreeing it is just nice to be able to kiki with sisters while prepping on the show. Oh and everyone was desperate and ready for another badge, except for Dakota, who just wanted to make it through and hope for the best.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by the legend herself Hannah Waddingham to witness the spectacle that was Lairy Poppins. And hot damn, was it not one of the greatest rusicals of all time. The script was on point, the lyrics and music were so much fun and the performances were all great. Baby was a diva, Peppa was charming and even Dakota was holding her own. Well until Danny arrived on scene as Lairy and let’s just say, Pixie is probably going to regret swapping rolls because she was demented and sooooo damn good. Jonbers was wacky, weird and living her best life, as the judges laughed hysterically. Pixie was silly and charming, Cheddar was delightful and fun before Le Fil closed the show as the perfect spoil to everyone’s fun before she ultimately let loose and experienced joy, stealing my heart and the show.

On the West End Wonders runway, Pixie slayed as Tracy Turnblad, serving charm, reveals and of course, hairspray everywhere. Jonbers was so damn sexy, inspired by Singing In The Rain, Black Peppa gave the sexiest Lion King known to man while Dakota gave Funny Girl as done by Sharon Tate. Cheddar was stunning serving Hedwig, Le Fil was full glamour in honour of The King and I and Baby was inspired by the first black Juliet on the West End in And Juliet and was STUN. NING. Oh and then Danny stole the show as The Little Shop of Horrors and well, shut it down, she wins.

Black Peppa and Cheddar – aka Cacio e Pepe – were sent to safety before the judges lavished praise on Pixie despite how poorly she did in rehearsals. Everyone thought her performance was stunning and lived for how she nailed the look on the runway. Jonbers too received universal praise for her demented bird lady and they loved the runway, despite the mismatched cages. Poor Dakota was read for being very nervous, particularly next to how energetic Peppa was. That being said, Ru assured her she was good, just everyone else was also so strong. Le Fil for some reason was told she could have gone further with the role, despite being perfect AND having a stunning runway. Baby too was read for her nerves, though praised for her energy and magnetism. Baby started to break down as Hannah told her she wants her to see how great she is, while Baby opened up about how hard it is to be in the competition and how she doesn’t know she can handle it mentally. But bless, Ru gave her a delightful pep talk.

Oh and then Danny received top marks for everything, from the performance to the runway. And well, condragulations again, Danny.

Backstage Cheddar was thrilled to be safe while Peppa was just glad she avoided the bottom. As the tops and bottoms joined them, Dakota opened up about how disappointed she is to clearly be in the bottom and while everyone tried to encourage her, she admitted it is even harder to process given she was told she was good but clearly, two girls have to land in the bottom. Baby meanwhile opened up more about how much she is struggling with her mental health and admitted that while she will kill a lip sync, it won’t change things. But thankfully, all her sisters rallied around and encouraged her to keep opening up and sharing. Le Fil too was struggling with being in the bottom despite nailing it before talk turned to the tops, with Jonbers giddy, Pixie just glad to have rallied and Danny, obviously, thrilled about nailing the assignment.

Ultimately Jonbers was deemed safe, leaving Pixie to once again be the bridesmaid to Danny Beard who rightly took out her third win of the season. At the alleged other end of the pack, Le Fil narrowly avoided the bottom leaving Dakota and Baby to battle it out to No Way from Six. And damn did they fight. Baby was obviously Baby, a star who hit every lyric and nailed the vibe and all the moves, while Dakota was an absolute firecracker as she valiantly fought for her life and turned the show. Sadly though before Ru had the chance to announce who had won the lip sync, Baby popped up her hand and announced that that was her farewell performance and like Adore and DeLa before her, she would like to tap out of the competition.

Thankfully, Ru didn’t make her feel bad about things, praising her for not only being a star and for knowing when to take herself out of the situation to look after herself. And well, while Ru kinda stole my entire speech to the icon that is Baby, it was so true and necessary, that I didn’t burn Ru’s dressing room to the ground. Instead, I pulled Baby in for a massive hug as she made it backstage and assured it that it was the right decision. And that even in those five short weeks, she proved she is a star. And oh so worthy of a warm, nourishing Dutch Baby.

The light and fluffy boat warmly hugs the earthy, nutty sweet filling to give you a gloriously hearty breakfast. Or a comforting way to work through the trauma of an intense competition series that makes you question your talent, which should never happen because you’re a star. Ok?

Enjoy!

Dutch Baby
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup milk, at room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
3 mushrooms, peeled and sliced
6 slices ham, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped

Method
Place a medium cast iron skillet in the centre of the oven and preheat to 200° for about 15 minutes, or until it is a hunk, a hunk of burning love.

Pop the eggs and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the balloon whisk attachment, whisk vigorously until light and frothy. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the melted butter, followed by the flour, salt and pepper until well combined and voluminous.

Pop on some oven mitts and carefully remove from the oven swirl the remaining butter to coat. Pour the batter into the skillet and immediately return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Carefully remove from the oven, sprinkle with some cheese, followed by the mushrooms, ham and the rest of the cheese and pop into the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Then sprinkle with the shallots and devour, like a wholesome, loveable, talented icon!


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Molly Poppancakes

Breakfast, Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the top five starred in tourism infomercials to sell their very own home towns. And well, the resulting five infomercials – directed by Suzanne Paul, no less – were vastly different, verging from melancholy to masterpiece, alongside a healthy dose of manic for good measure. Spankie was delightfully demented, Kween went dark but forgot to add the humour, Bev was confusing but appeared to be having fun, Molly gave drunk chick realness and Hannah gave us pure cinema. Obviously it led to Bev and Kween landing in the bottom and TBH, I’m glad it did because they turned the best lip sync in Down Under history. And while Bev went home, after that performance, it was on a very high note!

Backstage the dolls toasted Bev’s run in the competition and shared how proud Brisbane would be, which yeah, we are. Kween meanwhile was grateful for the journey and to be able to turn the lip sync, though was not planning to do it again until the crown. Which, as usual, is foreshadowing right? Molly asked Spankie how it felt given everyone that is eliminated seems to be leaving messages telling her they are rooting for her. Which obviously made her feel damn great, admitting it means the world to her that they feel loved, while Kong admitted that she too is team Spankie given she is so lovely and helpful. But make no mistake, she also wants to win. As do Hannah and Molly who showed off their aunty moves to prove it.

The next day the top four were thrilled to be lining up for the second last challenge, while Molly was frankly shocked to have made it this far. Particularly over Minnie and Yuri, who they all agreed are each icons in their own ways. They then got a call from zaddy – and recently minted Emmy winner – Murray Bartlett who dropped some hints for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the makeover. Which was quickly confirmed by Broom when we arrived with a super fan, his father, cousin and uncle and TBH, all of them could choke me. In any event, the family would be joining each of the dolls’ drag families. With the duos decided by a game of scissors, paper, rock, with Molly first to make her choice, opting for Keelan the superfan. Kween went with cousin Tyler, Hannah opted for Tony the dad(dy), leaving Spankie with Uncle Paul.

Molly and her new sister were vibing and living their best life, with her quickly kikiing about the dolls while Kween looked on, grateful she would have someone that didn’t already have all the energy. Hannah and Tony meanwhile became the fastest of friends, learning that three of his sons are gay and that he was ready to get the biggest titties possible. Spankie then learnt that he was partnered with a fellow Palmy local, and while Paul knew they had to work hard to get Spankie to the end, sweet Spanks just wanted her to have fun. Kween meanwhile was partnered with the chillest, sweet guy and given they have similar builds and personalities, condragulations Kween, I was right about the foreshadowing. And though her partner was ready to break down some barriers, he was scared of breaking his ankle in the heels.

Which the youngens mastered – unintentional death drops be damned – while the older generation seemed to struggle. Though given Spankie almost stacked it in the walking showcase too, who actually knows what will happen. 

Ru returned to kiki with the new families, with Molly and Keelan going for a bit of sweet and sour while Molly just hoped to keep up with her new sister’s energy. Keelan opened up about how lovely his family are and damn, I want to hug Tony. Speaking of him, he and Hannah charmed the hell out of Ru who then gave Tony some tips about walking in heels. Spanks and Paul were living their slut dream and made Ru even happier than Tony, and I’m so ready for this. Kween and Tyler meanwhile were a little subdued, but damn Kween is in her element and ready to slay. And you know Tyler is going to be feeling her oats, though needed to sell everything in her eyes.

After Ru exited, Molly started to grow nervous about Kween and Tyler who were clearly coming together perfectly. Particularly since Keelan kinda-sorta hated her outfit and wanted to slut it up a little more, making Molly’s life quite hard. Spankie too was struggling to make all the alterations required to pull together Paul’s look, making her terrified about landing in the bottom again. Which was heartbreaking as she started to cry.

Elimination Day rolled around with Tyler spending the night before practising his walk, while Keelan was taking notes for where she and Molly can improve. They then received another call, this time from Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills. After that commercial, the duos split up to start getting ready with Tyler nervous about letting down Kween, leading to Kween going into Spankie territory and giving the most beautiful pep talk and well, they are totally winning. Right? Spankie and Paul meanwhile bonded over family, with Spankie admitting she moved back to Palmy when her father was given six months left to live and while he is still alive and well, he is grateful he was able to build a stronger relationship with his father. Which is essentially what Paul did for his own father, with the duo breaking down and becoming the best of friends.

And. I. Live.

Molly meanwhile was ready to give Kween the win, given Tyler looked like a woman and well, she had run out of time to get her and Keelan into drag. With Keelan then trying to pull a Spankie and Kween by giving her a pep talk.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places on the panel as Kween Kong introduced Sister Kong on the Opposites Attract runway, serving angel and demon and well, Tyler SLAYED. Molly Poppinz and Kandy Flippinz were a camp delight as Kandy lived her best life. Spankie and Flash Jackzon gave pizzeria realness, now with pineapple – WHICH IS ALWAYS WELCOME ON ANY GOOD PIZZA – and they looked so cute together. Hannah and Elle Gator gave mediaeval, regal realness and were oh, so beautiful.

Kween and Sister received universal praise, particularly given how much Tyler was living for how beautiful she looked. Kween opened up about how wonderful her week was, while Tyler was proud of how much fun he had. And I assume, for doing THAT. Molly and Kandy were praised for giving sweet and sour, while Michelle couldn’t understand the narrative of their runway. Keelan opened up about how jealous she is of how good her family looks and for how much fun they were. Spankie and Flash were praised for giving sexy and having fun, though Spankie obviously had the better mug. Spankie opened up about how close she felt to Paul and ugh, I love it. Hannah and Elle were praised for their vibe and how beautiful Tony looked, while Michelle and Ru lavished praise on Tony for how much of a wonderful parent he is and ugh, of course I’m crying.

Backstage the duos toasted their success with Kealan so happy for the experience, while Tyler felt like it was a powerful, transformative experience. Everyone then lavished each other with praise, talking about how grateful they are for the experience. Hannah then started to break down, feeling like it would be her and Molly lip syncing tonight leading to everyone having a tear, desperately hoping that nobody would be eliminated instead.

Obviously Kween took out her second win of the season – Tyler is the new Wintergreen, right? – while Spankie was deemed safe, tragically leaving the self-proclaimed hobbit twins to lip sync. Just as was foreshadowed, and then expected. And while Hannah was threatening to go the park and bark route, she turned Heartbreak in This City by Steps and Michelle Visage, using every corner of the stage and hitting every lyric. And while Molly also turned it, I feel like Ru fell back on the track records and sent Hannah through to the finale, tragically eliminating the delightful Molly Poppinz.

Going out just before the final is always a bitter pill to swallow, but given Molly is such a sweet delight, she took it all in stride. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her she had a wonderful run on the competition and truly got to show how kind and funny she is. In addition to serving some killer looks. And while she was felled at the near-final hurdle, she is the perfect kind of star to go out and snatch an All Stars crown. With that, she was well and truly perked up, which is convenient, given you can’t be sad ahead of eating a big stack of Molly Poppancakes.

Before brunch became a thing, pancakes at home were well and truly my favourite weekend treat. Fluffy, pillowy discs of carby goodness, drizzled with a heaping of maple syrup, honey or lemon and sugar. Whatever your choice of topping, pancakes are always a win.

Enjoy!

Molly Poppancakes
Serves: 2 dear hobbit friends (which I can say, given I’m built like the hobbit queens).

Ingredients
1 ¾ cup milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
butter, for fryin’ (and servin’ too, obvi)
your fave condiments, to serve

Method
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a measuring jug and combine the dry in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients until the batter is just combined.

To fry, pop a large skillet over medium heat. Once nice and hot, add a bit of butter to the pan and spread across as it melts. Pour about ¼-½ cup of batter into the pan and cook for two minutes, or until bubbles start to form, pop and hold their shape on the top. Flip and cook for a further minute or two, or until they are cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm and repeat the process until done.

Serve immediately with butter and your favourite topping, before devouring, in the triumphant melancholy only carbs can fix.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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Itejan Weddillay Soup

Main, Soup, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the rapidly expanding jury was filling up with members of the former Masu tribe as everyone started turning on each other, rather than going after their pre-merge counterparts. While Steffi and Marian were locked in with each other, their other ally Meryl was not so solid and was ready to make a move, resulting in the blindside of Steffi. That obviously led to Marian seeing red, as she spit fire on her way to aligning with Dino. After taking out immunity, Marian was nervous about Meryl skipping out on tribal council with her pass. This led to an epic planning where Dino and Co. convinced her that they needed her vote, sending Marian out of tribal council while the rest of the tribe brutally blindsided Meryl.

Back at camp Marian was thrilled that Meryl had fallen into their trap and sent her back to camp before the vote. The remaining tribe soon joined her with Shane thrilled that the move brought the tribe together, with Marian congratulating everyone for pulling it off. With Killarney still sure that it was all her plan, which obviously annoyed Phil, given he, Felix and Dino are the ones that actually put in the work. Talk turned to how well Meryl took her blindside, with everyone agreeing her positive attitude is indicative of how great the season has been.

The next day Felix woke up his tribemates with news of an upcoming reward challenge, leading to speculation about why the challenge was starting so early in the day. Begging the question, is it a tough challenge or an epic reward? Like say, the loved ones visit. This got everyone hopeful about potentially spending some time with their loved ones. Killarney opened up about the recent loss of her mother and her partner in the space of a month just before the game and while she is still struggling with her grief, she is proud of how hard she has fought despite it. And oh god, I’m crying before we even got to the challenge!

After drying my tears, the tribe caught up with Nico where they learnt they would have to race on a balanced rig to spell out the name of the season without knocking it over. With the winner getting a big schnitty reward, alongside a cheeky call with their loved one and an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. This got Marian crying, while everyone agreed that seeing their loved ones would be the biggest advantage they could ask for. With that, the challenge kicked off with Phil absolutely powering ahead with Killarney nipping at his heels. Well, until she knocked her blocks off. While Felix and Tejan closed the gap, it was all for naught as Phil quickly took out the win.

Nico obviously decided to give him a little dilemma, offering him the chance to take two people on reward with him but only if he was willing to forfeit the food and advantage. The tribe kindly all told him to play it smart and hold on to the entire reward, while Tejan clarified how using the reward invite works and if he would simply be joining Phil on the reward, rather than taking it away from him. After the assurance both of them would get to go, he played his token and headed out for a little bit of love. And a share in the advantage. As they exited, Dino started to break down over the thought of his fiance sitting at her computer, about to be told they wouldn’t be talking and ugh, it is all too sad. And that is before Killarney even started worrying about how to keep her head in the game while still mourning.

Phil and Tejan arrived at their reward, giddy to smash some food before getting their video call. Oh and the advantage for the upcoming immunity challenge. While Phil didn’t want him to get the advantage, he was glad to have Tejan there with him and to have the chance to talk about potentially aligning. Hoping to split the immunity challenges between them and make a move against Dino and Marian as the last big threats left in the game. And while Phil hated the idea of turning on his friend, he knew it would be necessary eventually.

Speaking about Dino, he and Marian were talking about the threat Tejan poses to their games with Killarney joining the fray and agreeing that an immunity run could screw everyone up. Dino opened up to us about how he wants to progress with his biggest threats – Marian, Phil and Felix or Shane. Speaking of the latter two, they were bonding and floating the idea of working together while back with Marian and Dino, she didn’t want Killarney or Tejan getting anywhere near the end with her. Shane joined them, as Marian speculated who would take her to the end if she was in the final four with Phil, Shane and Dino.

Back at reward, Phil was first up to call his family and immediately started sobbing as he saw his wife and kids. He opened up to them about how tough the game has been, though assured them that he is focused and fighting through, sticking to everything they planned before heading out. He tagged out with Tejan who truly lit up when his partner, niece and nephew popped his sweet angel dog on screen. And ugh, his partner is so cute, telling him to just focus and make it further than he did in his first season. The duo then bonded over the chance to see their family, with Tejan thrilled by how much the reward has given him. And hoping it pays dividends in the long run. In my heart, for his dog.

The next day everyone started speculating about the immunity challenge, while Marian grew focused on getting rid of Felix to bring Phil back to her loving arms. She then told Dino that Felix has been throwing his name around, while Dino told her that he in fact was throwing out her name. Felix meanwhile genuinely started throwing out Marian’s name, given it frees up Shane to align with him and take control with the goats. Felix and Tejan then floated the idea of getting rid of Marian, with Dino assuring them that getting rid of Killarney is all that she really cares about at this point.

The tribe reconnected with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would have to stand on a ledge and balance a block of wood between a beam and their heads. With Phil and Tejan getting to start the challenge five minutes after everyone else, which is an epic advantage. Before the duo even started Marian lost her focus and dropped out of the challenge. Tejan dropped as quickly as he started, before Shane dropped out of nowhere. After fifteen minutes, Killarney dropped, soon followed by Dino leaving Felix – who was shocked not to be the first out – and Phil to battle for immunity. Eventually though, the advantage proved to be too much to overcome as Felix dropped his block and handed Phil immunity yet again.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Phil on his challenge win, with Killarney growing nervous about his new found beastly ways. Marian meanwhile was worried about how close Felix and Phil were getting, catching up with Dino and Shane to talk about who they should target with Marian wanting to get rid of Felix, while Dino knew Tejan and Killarney were also a risk as the remaining goats. As Phil, Felix and Killarney went down to the beach to fish, they noticed a symbol on a rock with Phil quickly pouncing on it and jagging a clue to a hidden immunity. Though tragically, he could not find it. While he was searching, Killarney admitted that she was finally ready to trust that Felix wants to work with her. And given she allegedly orchestrated the Steffi and Meryl blindsides, she felt he was lucky to have her.

Phil gave up on his search and joined up with Marian and Dino to plan the vote ahead, with them suggesting getting rid of Felix given his final four is clearly him and the goats. Speaking of Felix, he was busy catching up with Shane, who spilled the beans about Dino and Marian coming for him. Which obviously filled him with dread. Felix and Tejan then caught up, debating how much they can trust Shane while he was wondering how he can work the information if it comes out. Shane then caught up with Tejan, talking about the impending chaos, while Phil continued to desperately hunt for his idol.

Felix caught up with Phil, with Dino soon joining them to block any chat. After Felix wandered off to hunt for the idol, Dino checked whether Phil was ok with the thought of Felix going, with him admitting that he still wants to work with him but also wanted to get the trio to the end together. Phil and Felix caught up while Dino continued the hunt for the idol, before Killarney asked permission to start hunting for the idol. She then threw Phil under the bus, sharing that he found an advantage on the beach which made Dino fearful that it meant the boys had already commenced turning on him.

The next day Dino continued to worry about his place in the game, getting up early to look for the idol in the hope that Phil hadn’t found it yet. Marian meanwhile caught up with Phil and told him that Killarney told her he found a clue and while he tried to tell her his clue told him it was at the Outpost, she knew it was a lie and quickly became wary of him. Phil finally told Dino about the clue in the hope that he could help him, with Dino sadly deciding it meant he had found the idol already. And Phil girl, you’re in danger. Well, when you next lose immunity.

Tejan and Felix meanwhile were hanging out by the shore, speculating about what was going on with the tribe with Felix growing paranoid. Though admitting he would prefer to be paranoid, rather than getting voted out. Felix and Phil caught up, with the former sure that he was the target for the rival faction and as such, they needed to lock in the vote against Tejan. Despite the fact Phil was ready to turn on Dino but 24 hours earlier. The trio then caught up, with Phil trying to bring them together and block out all the noise floating around camp in the hope of dealing with whatever else they were planning down the track. 

After splitting up, Phil finally found what he was looking for. Well, kind of, as he got another clue, directing him to look for said idol at tribal council. Sadly for him, Shane saw him find it and as such, quickly took the information back to Marian and given Phil is clearly the biggest threat, they decided that they needed to take a shot at Felix to weaken him. Marian and Dino caught up, with the former pointing out that Phil is on his way to winning the game and as his biggest threats, they need to take out the people he wants to take to the top three until they can take a shot at him. Shane filled Tejan in on the plan, who was annoyed as he wanted to take out Dino or Marian instead. After talking to Dino, Tejan approached Felix to tell him of everyone conspiring against him, seemingly unaware it could cost him the game. But since he made a fake idol, maybe he will get lucky.

At tribal council Felix admitted to feeling very nervous about the upcoming vote, while Marian said it was a very confusing day at camp as everyone came up with rival plans. Tejan admitted he was very much a target, with Felix laughing about it all being a lie, given he knows for a fact he is the target. He then spoke about wanting to take a goat to the end, while Marian and Dino started whispering about who to vote for between Tejan and Felix. Tejan admitted that he thinks he has been perceived as a goat, while Dino said that he would far prefer to eliminate the goats, Cirie style, given the goats take up a seat at final tribal council and makes it just that much harder to get to the end.

Felix said he was debating between sticking with what he knows and changing things up, while Tejan mentioned that the biggest threats need to worry because the leftovers could band together and take control. Felix continued his fight to say, reiterating that him being there the next day is best for most people’s games. Tejan then unveiled his fake idol, with everyone knowing it is fake. Felix pointed out that Tejan’s game has been to float along in the middle, so while people think they have him, they can’t trust he will stay with them. Phil whispered to Killarney to put down Tejan, while Marian confirmed with Dino that they were voting for Felix before they headed off to vote. And promptly voted Tejan out, despite him not playing his fake idol because he felt everyone had his back.

Tejan was in good spirits as he arrived at Ponderosa, despite the blindside. He knew that he was a target and while his decoys and plans didn’t come together, he was happy that he exhausted all of his options and went out swinging. While a game like Tejan’s is not over showy TV, he expertly navigated the middle and reduced his target, which carried him all the way to the top 7. And that in and of itself, is enough to justify a piping hot Itejan Weddillay Soup.

While this little number is traditionally a hybrid of cheap meats and veggies – or marriage, if you will – the resulting soup acts like a bowl of love. Warm, hearty and oh-so-soothing, it is the perfect way to cure a cold, miserable day.

Enjoy!

Itejan Weddillay Soup
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
1 onion, diced
large handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
pepper, to taste
3L chicken stock
2 cups baby spinach
1 chilli, thinly sliced (and seeds removed if you can’t handly the heat)

Method
Pop the minces, onion about ⅔ of the parsley, an egg, the garlic, breadcrumbs and ½ cup of the parmesan in a large bowl with the salt and a good whack of pepper. Scrunch until well combined. Using wet hands, form into 1 tbsp sized meatballs and pop on a lined baking sheet.

Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat and once rollicking, maintain at a light boil. Gently drop in the meatballs and cook for about five minutes, or until tender and cooked. Whisk the remaining parmesan and eggs in a jug before pouring in the mixture, stirring, aiming to make thin strands of egg. Add in the spinach and chilli and cook for a further couple of minutes before removing from the heat and stirring through the parsley and seasoning to taste.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving and devouring, with extra lashings of cheese for good measure.


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Mikaraage Chicken Turger

Burgers, Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Mike defeated Jonathan in the firemaking challenge and won his spot in the final three, the trio enjoyed one final day in Fiji before heading to tribal council. After copping a respectful grilling, Maryanne dominated the Q&A with equal parts charm and wisdom while Romeo was surprisingly confident in articulating why he deserved to be here. Sadly for him, it wasn’t enough to secure him any votes as he finished in third place.

Jeffrey then read the votes and despite playing a strong game, only one vote turned up for Mike as he took out second place, handing Maryanne a near unanimous victory as the jury crowned her the Sole Survivor. 

Once Mike was done smashing pizza on the after show, I pulled him aside to perk him back up after just coming up short. Mike had played such a dominant game, controlling his tribe before the merge and managing to form meaningful bonds that carried him far into the game. Never mind the fact he was smart and knew when to make a move, all while minimising the fact he was super buff and a massive threat.

Really the only major flaw was his game was not owning it and like Sharn in Australia – who suffered her third loss in the recent election – the jury couldn’t respect it and it cost him the game. While he was disappointed at the outcome, Mike being Mike, he was super upbeat and proud of Maryanne. Though it is easy to work through the pain when you’re smashing a Mikaarage Chicken Turger.

Super crispy chicken, velvety mayonnaise and creamy avocado, smooshed between two soft buns, how can you go wrong? Oh and did I mention crunchy lettuce and a punch of kecap manis. It is, so, good.

Enjoy!

Mikaraage Chicken Turger
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
½ cup kewpie mayonnaise
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
100g cornflour
sunflower oil, for frying
3 avocados, mashed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
8 burger rolls
1 butter lettuce
2 tomatoes
¼ cup kecap manis

Method
Combine the mirin, soy, garlic and ginger  and 1 tbsp of the mayo in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat, before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Pop the cornflour in a bowl and heat about 5cm deep of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and press the chicken into the cornflour to coat before transferring the chicken into the pot to fry, two at a time, for about 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until the chicken is done.

To assemble the burgers, mash the avo with the lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Split all the buns in half and toast on a griddle pan. Spread the avo on the base, followed by some lettuce and tomato, then the chicken, followed by a drizzle of kewpie and some kecap manis. Then devour immediately, greedily. Messily. Happily.


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