Baoverly Buns Kills

Main, Poultry, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls formed girl groups and while the producers tragically opted against keeping costs down and getting the girls to talk about their tight tucks, it did work out for the best as it was absolute fire. Like the first season of UK, one team absolutely molly wopped – not whomp, which I just learnt was different and something I would love TBH – while the other team had a Cheryl trying to hold them up. While Spankie took out her third win, Hannah her second and Kween her first, Beverly was the aforementioned Cheryl on the losing group, which tragically resulted in the elimination of my fave – and total baby zaddy – Yuri.

Backstage everyone was rallying around an emotional Molly, who had been expecting to the one going home. She toasted Yuri for being such a hard worker before Spankie stepped in and gave a beautiful speech about just how great Yuri is and reiterated that she belongs, while she (and I) sobbed. And ugh, just crown Spankie this instant, you cowards!

The next day the girls were still feeling their girl group oats, though fearful that Minnie was also lingering in the rafters, ready to start a feud at any moment. Kween meanwhile apologised for bringing the room down last week, though stopped short of apologising to Beverly specifically for fighting. She felt she was most disappointed in the fact she was so frustrated that she straight up missed the chance to toast Yuri and remind her how proud she is. This led to Bev instead apologising to her and while they hugged it out, I feel like things are still tense.

Ru interrupted things to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be filming tourism infomercials promoting their hometown. As they split up to come up with a plan, Hannah locked in Perth while Molly was going to lean into Newcastle, given it is where she and Rhys are both from. Bev meanwhile opened up about being like me, starting on the GC before moving to Brisbane while Spankie was proudly going to rep Palmerston North and smalltown life. Kween meanwhile opened up to Hannah and Spankie about how much she is struggling with her depression, while everyone rallied around and vowed to always be there for each other. And ugh, I love seeing it!

My fellow Tweed local Samantha Harris then dialled in to advise them how to sell shit and while it didn’t add much, she is Tweed Breed 4 Lyf like me, so you all should stan.

Ru made her ru-turn to the Werk Room to kiki with the dolls, cutting down all of Spankie’s ideas and telling her to highlight the best part of Palmerston North, herself. Beverly then dropped by and well, let’s just say I’m not mad, just disappointed, that she has never watched Muriel’s Wedding. The cinematic celebration of TWEED HEADS. Is this the Tweed showcase episode?! While Ru just wanted to find out who Beverly is, Kween was told to bring the fun, Hannah was told to be less serious and well, Molly’s version of Newcastle was quote-unquote, sad.

Done dropping bombs, Ru exited stage left as they started to get ready while Beverly asked her sisters for advice on how to show more of her personality. With Hannah jumping in with suggestions before Bev even finished her sentence, while Kween joined in with more advice that Bev felt was aggressive. As such, she started to spiral leading to another epic pep talk from Spankie in the rack of costumes and again, if Spankie doesn’t win, we riot.

Kween was up first to film with Michelle Visage and down under icon Suzanne Paul and well, she was a little boring. But given the pit crew are hot, I loved it. Spankie meanwhile slayed as the drunk aunty wandering through town on her way home from a night out. Hannah arrived looking stunning and was so organised, prepared and most importantly, bonkers, that I live for her. Molly meanwhile was sexed up, demented and a little confused, but Michelle and Suzanne were having fun together and that is all that matters. Oh and then Bev was living for her concept hunting for a sugar daddy as a lesbian Irwin. And well, I love the shoot portion if nothing else, because Bev was fun.

Elimination Day arrived with Beverly opening up about the fact she has realised that she is still trying to find herself and that that, combined with her family’s drive for success has made it difficult for her to just be. Talk then turned to the girls’ families, with Kween opening up about how her oldest sister died the year she was undergoing her gender confirmation and how she is living with the regret of not getting to know her or support her on her journey. She then immediately pivoted and encouraged everyone to do what they love as it makes them happy. And that is the sweet Kween Kong that I know and love.

Michelle, Rhys and Ru took their places as Kween opened the Swimsuit Edition runway giving oceanic goddess realness. Spankie was sex on legs as Pamela Anderson’s older sister, Molly was a stunning Meter Maid – complete with high-beams – while Hannah was a confection in a bright, mod delight while Beverly gave another Meter Maid, this time with a ruveal AND coins.

When it came to the commercials, Kween’s was silly and demented though the judges wanted it to be more funny funny and less dark humour. Though they loved her runway.  Oh and then Ru gave an epic monologue about internalised homophobia AND daddy issues, which was amazing. Spankie was up next with a gloriously deranged commercial that confused the shit out of everyone, meaning it was perfection. And then add in her Baywatch moment and well, it was a good week for Spankie. Molly’s ad meanwhile was classic bogan Australian and I love it and sadly, feel like I’ve lived it. Multiple times. Hannah’s ad was camp perfection, telling a story and was so damn smart. I mean, she fought a black swan AND exploded. Oh and they loved her pivoting on the runway and standing out in all the right ways. Bev meanwhile lived her Irwin fantasy, though kinda fell flat by being so polished rather than showing her messiness. 

Ru opted to get messy and asked the dolls to identify who should go home with everyone opting for Bev due to her track record, while Bev instead felt Kween’s commercial was the weakest. Adding that her track record wasn’t much better than her, either.

Backstage Bev was heartbroken to be the one everyone named, despite understanding why they called her out. Hannah once again cut her off and encouraged her to stop being so in her head and instead just be. And while Hannah felt she was being encouraging and trying to push her to be better, Bev cut her off and started to sob. Once again Spankie gave her a pep talk and helped lift her back up, encouraging her to swear at Hannah all she wanted. Which she sadly opted against, instead choosing to practice the lip sync since she was totally in the bottom.

Ultimately Molly and Spankie – ROBBED – were sent to safety as Hannah joined the triple winners club with Spanks. Which obviously left Kween to face off against Beverly to Ru’s very own The Beginning. And damn, did the dolls turn a show. Like I know I say that a lot, but it was actually WILD. There was almost a collision within the first three bars, they were flipping and spinning every second line, backwards AND forwards, hitting every lyric and oftentimes in complete synchronicity. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was now, because this was amazing. Like a gymnastics version of Alyssa and Tatianna. Sadly though, somebody had to go – apparently – as Kween was sent to safety, sending my fellow Bris-babe Bev out of the competition.

While Bev went through a lot of emotion this week, she held her head high as she returned to the Werk Room. I pulled her in for a massive hug and tried to give her my very best Spankie impersonation, reminding her that she is a star and has all of her career to figure out who she is, so to just believe in herself and have fun. Because spoiler alert, she is already a massive success. Which thankfully got through to her, allowing us to laugh and cry, as we reminisced about the glory of the GC and Brisvegas (and I firmly explained the importance of watching Muriel’s Wedding) before smashing some glorious Baoverly Buns Kills.

It is no secret that I passionately and ardently love both a porkie – praise be, Benedict – and baos, but this little duck number is just a little bit better than the rest. Rich, sweet and a little bit fresh, the flavours dance over your palate as expertly as Bev in a lip sync.

PHOTO 2

Baoverly Buns Kills
Serves: 4

Ingredients
8 buns Bret LaBao Buns
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp shaoxing wine
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
4 boneless duck breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
⅔ cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for drizzlin’
¼ cup kewpie mayo
2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into lengths
2 shallots, sliced
¼ cup coriander, leaves torn

Method
Prepare the baos as per Bret’s recipe. Combine the salt, light soy, shaoxing and five spice powder in a bowl and rub into the duck. Transfer to a plate, leaving the skin up to dry for an hour or so.

When you’re ready to cook, pop the oil in a heavy based skillet over medium heat and once nice and hot, pop the breasts in the pan, skin side down and cook for about 10 minutes, agitationg frequently, or until crispy and the fat had rendered out.

Drain most of the fat and flip the breasts and cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove the duck and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Shred the duck and return to the pan with the hoisin and toss to combine.

To assemble, smear mayo on the baoss, layer with some cucumber and shallots, top with a heaping of duck, a drizzle of hoisin and some coriander. Then, devour.


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Yuraita Guaii

Condiment, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Sauce, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls played the Snatch Game and thankfully raised the low bar – outside Anita and Etcetera, obvi – from last season that even famed nice person Bindi Irwin had to rubbish. Continuing in the tradition of celebrated producer Alexis Michelle and Queen of All Queens Jinkx, Hannah slayed with a member of the Garland-Minneli clan. And while Yuri and Spankie were just as good, Minnie was far and away the weakest as Ellen despite the fact she would have killed as her back-up, Jeanne Little. Ultimately Hannah won, while Bev narrowly saved herself after a painfully boring Snatch Game, sending the iconic Minnie home.

Backstage the mood was sombre outside of Bev, who was thrilled to take the title of lip sync assassin after eliminating a second icon. They then discovered that Minnie’s exit message thanked Spankie, Yuri and Kween for being so kind, which obviously pissed off the dolls she called bitches. Essentially. Thankfully Hannah pivoted and said she would cry into her tears, while Spankie was delighted that Minnie did one final pot stir. Talk turned to their track records, where everyone noticed only Bev and Kween were without wins, and while everyone seemingly knew Kween’s victory was inevitable, Bev was also ready to prove herself despite everyone sleeping on her.

The next day Yuri was ready to have fun and be silly, while Beverly reiterated that she is here to prove herself. And did a very long monologue about how hard she will fight. Which led to everyone taking micro-naps, while Yuri summed things up simply by pointing out that Bev had been in the bottom the most and well, that’s just that. Before anyone could pick their jaws up from the floor, Ru dropped by to open the library – or libo, I assume – for the reading challenge. Bev kicked things off very sexual, until Kween read her as not interested. And I love every moment of it. Yuri was so silly and charming, despite hating every moment of it. Molly was hit and miss, but at least it was funny. Kween then arrived and destroyed literally everyone and everything and while I normally just focus on her looks, she is just so fucking good. Spankie did some accurate word association before Hannah closed the show very strongly. But yeah, Kween was the only person that could have won that – she was amazing.

Oh and for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be keeping the shade alive as they diss their bandmates on their verses on the new song Bosom Buddies. Then record the song with Michelle before performing them on the mainstage. And well, Bev was ready to shine. Ru then gave them the chance to choose their own groups, with Kween quickly grabbing Hannah and Spankie and well, just like that, it was decided. Leaving the rest as the leftover group. But given Bev was feeling like the dancing diva of Brisbane, she was ready to drag them over the line. Kween, Hannah and Spankie locked in the name BAB’Z – or Bad Ass Bitchez – living for the song, while over with the other dolls, Molly and Bev were worried about how many words Yuri was hoping to spit while dropping the beats.

As BAB’Z were living their best lives, being silly and camp and building their chemistry, Beverly whipped Molly and Yuri into shape learning the choreo. And by choreo, Molly felt like it was a bit of a show choir, asHannah tried to hide her giggles from the other side of the room. While Kween and Spankie just lived for their general dynamic. When Bev, Molly and Yuri asked the other girls to do their choreo live in front of everyone, it led to a delightful blow-up between Kween and Bev as they both triggered each other and went to 1000 with everyone else kinda unsure how it escalated to that point.

BAB’Z were up first to record with Michelle with Hannah delighting as Michelle read her via lyrics, though ultimately slayed. Spankie meanwhile has some damn pipes and nailed every note, while Kween was perfect from start to finish as she channelled that rage from her fight with Bev. The Hung Divas – which is an iconic name, TBH – traded out with Bev giving delightfully ocker rap, with not much sass according to Michelle. Yuri meanwhile was on the struggle bus from start to finish but since I love her, it was charming. And then Molly gave Mr. G vibes as she nailed it in one take only. Much to Bev and Yuri’s nerves.

We cut to rehearsal where Kween was ready to slay as she whipped BAB’Z into shape, giving charm and flips and kicks. And well, when she shared that she was galvanised, happy and ready to finally shine in the competition, I wanted to cry tears of joy. On the flipside, watching Yuri struggle in The Hung Divas’ rehearsal made me sad because I love her. While Bev grew more and more desperate about trying to nail the choreo.

Elimination Day arrived with Bev confronting Kween about their drama the day before, with her explaining that their group felt like they were the unwanted outcasts and she was trying to playfully challenge them. In turn Kween called her out for projecting on her and whispering and taking things a little too seriously. Eventually though, they both apologised and were ready to move on. As they split up to beat their mugs, Kween started to spiral, stressed about the drama and worried about her issues with Bev while Spankie tried to encourage her to breathe and push it aside so she could star. And while she assured us that she will do what needs to be done, given it is what she always does, I am still heartbroken to see her sad at a time when she is clearly poised to shine.

And shine she did, as BAB’Z opened the show and absolutely slayed. They felt like a cohesive girl group, they all shon and sold their personalities. They were camp, they were funny and well, did what needed to be done. When it came to The Hung Divas they all gave killer bright looks and their song was super fun, despite Yuri clearly not being the strongest of dancers. But when she is clearly having fun, does that matter? Given I love Yuri, I vote no.

On the Belts, Buckles and Chains runway, Kween opened the show in a sexy belted, bondage outfit in honour of Mean Girls and her niece. In all the right ways. Spankie gave a sexy, slutty Barbie and well, I love it despite knowing Michelle will hate the lack of pants and its bagginess. Hannah was gothic and sexy, serving Gaultier realness. Bev meanwhile gave Britney’s denim outfit, after dark, Yuri was perfection as a chained snake while Molly closed the show giving yellow and black rocker madam, but make it Elvira.

The judges lived for everything Kween served this week, with Rhys particularly loving the fact she finally owned herself and her place in the competition. Spankie was read for an ill fitting look, though given Rhys and Ru felt it was on brand, they loved it as much as her performance on the girl group. And well, Hannah received universal praise for everything she did this week too. Even charming as she explained her low-rent lyrics. Bev received wall to wall praise much to her delight, while Yuri was read for struggling with her inner sabo-teur, though the judges explained that they love her. While Molly was praised for nailing the runway and rehearsal, despite there being some stumbles in the main performance.

Backstage the dolls were feeling a little confused about who would be in the bottom, given they all received wonderful critiques. Though Molly and Yuri were fairly sure they would be the ones lip syncing. While Bev suggested that maybe they would all be saved for doing well, which is nice, despite Yuri just wanting to feel her feels. The ring of a phone interrupted them as Sophie Monk dialled in – not Courtney Act, FYI – to send her love and give them a pep talk and well, despite myself, I can’t help but love that icon with all my damn heart.

#JusticeForBardot.

Ultimately BAB’Z were deemed the winners of this week’s challenge while Bev was sent to safety alongside them, leaving Yuri and Molly to lip sync for their lives to Chains by mother tucking Tina Arena. And while it was tragically a remix, both the dolls served the hell out of the song, giving emotion, camp and hitting every damn lyric. But when the song kicked it into the epic Tina money-notes, it became Molly’s show as she gave us everything. And then some. Which tragically cost my love Yuri her place, as she exited the competition.

She was crying, the dolls were crying, I was crying and then she gave us iconic words to live by, live fast, eat arse. Which honestly, is now my motto. 

Backstage I managed to spot Yuri enter the Werk Room through my tears and immediately pulled her in for a massive hug. There was something just so lovable about Yuri, as she exudes joy and fun throughout the competition. Kinda like a young, kiwi Katya? No matter what it is that made me get a stan card, Yuri now has a fan that will fight anyone that talks shit about her. And while she may have been nervous about my energy, she appreciated the sentiment as I ranted about how robbed she was before dishing up a big bowl of Yuraita Guaii.

While paneer is great, as are all curries, raita is truly the heart and soul of any and all visits to an Indian restaurant. Poppodum too dry? Raita. Curry too hot? Raita. Need something in your mouth? Raita. Spicy, creamy and oh so fresh, it is, to me, perfect.

Enjoy!

Yuraita Guaii
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
½ tsp garam masala
1 lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
1 tomato, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Pop everything in a bowl. Stir. Serve. Devour, obvi.


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Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz

Main, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the OG Masus continued to fight it out for power, unaware that the Yontau boys appeared to be quietly playing them off against each other. After an epic reward and immunity challenge which left Dino cursed from winning the game while taking out a car, the gloves came off as Meryl, Steffi and Marian’s alliance splintered. While the latter two had rallied the troops to get rid of Meryl, she had managed to charm enough people – or scare them due to her copious amount of advantages – as the tribe narrowly blindsided Steffi from the game.

Back at camp the mood was very tense as Marian well and truly felt left out and stupid for not taking the idol when she had the chance at the Outpost. Meryl meanwhile was busy trading off the advantage to Tejan as promised, with him thrilled to split the alliance up. As he anticipated, Marian was cussing out Phil for blindsiding her before going person to person to throw Meryl under the bus by outing all of her advantages. And while it was hardly news to Felix, it definitely was to Dino as he questioned whether he should have taken the other shot at the last tribal council.

The next day Meryl was feeling a little nervous after breaking up with her original alliance and joining with the people willing to save her. Marian caught up with Dino to find out what the vote was about and whether he would be willing to work with her, rather than Meryl. With Dino admitting that Meryl’s advantages really change things, and to us, now that Marian is isolated, he felt that they have far more to offer each other moving forward. Dino then showed her the advantage and offered to hand it over to her to build trust, before him sharing that he would be so proud to see her win the season and to be the ambassador of the game, rather than a goat floating along and sneaking out a win despite not doing anything.

Tejan and Meryl meanwhile were busy bonding over being the biggest threats, agreeing that now they only really have each other. Tejan asked how she felt about Dino, Phil and Felix, with her grateful to have been saved though that she was wary given they have been aligned from the start. We then dropped by the trio, who were catching up about the state of affairs within the tribe and to quickly prove that Meryl’s trust was misplaced as they immediately locked in a plan to get rid of her next. Knowing that everyone will be willing to join them. As such, Phil and Felix would stick to her like glue while Dino would keep things casual while rallying everyone else on the plan.

Back at the shelter Shane and Marian were catching up, with the latter trying to convince him that Dino can be trusted to get them further. While Shane was still focused on getting him out ASAP, given he is the only other truly strategic player outside of Marian. Though given he is kinda volatile, Marian girl, you’re in danger. Meryl and Phil dropped by camp, where Marian continued to give her the silent treatment which started to make Meryl upset given it is clear that their friendship is over. She approached Marian and asked what was going on and why she hadn’t looked her in the eye, which Marian denied while noticing that Meryl’s facade is starting to crack and that other people have also noticed.

Killarney was busy whispering to Dino saying that she was disappointed by the Steffi blindside, but was ready to make a move on Meryl. Which obviously puzzled him, given she is a good 18 hours late. Killarney then dropped by Tejan and Shane to tell them the plan is to get rid of Meryl and trust and believe, she is the one driving it. While Shane worried who the hell he is aligned with.

The next day Marian was still nervous about the state of all the shattered alliances. Particularly since her one consistent ally, Shane, is still focused on getting rid of Dino before Meryl. Marian tried to calmly explain that Meryl is feeling comfortable right now and as such, now is the time to blindside her, while Shane was just worried about her potential naivety in trusting Dino’s lies.

We finally got a sighting of sweet, zaddy Nico as the tribe reassembled for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would start behind a locked gate and manoeuvre a key through a peg puzzle before unlocking said gate and completing a block puzzle. Dino made quick work releasing his key and started work on his block puzzle in an instant. Felix and Phil soon joined him before Meryl and Shane broke through the gate and started on the second puzzle. After releasing her key, Marian casually sauntered through the gate before casually solving the block puzzle in no time at all and won individual immunity. While Killarney remained locked behind her gate and everyone was dumbfounded how she did it some quickly.

Back at camp Marian was giddy with her newfound safety, though was nervous about the prospect of Meryl playing her tribal council pass and ruining the blindside. Though she admitted that getting rid of Tejan wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Tejan meanwhile knew that he was also on the block, catching up with Felix to assure him that there are far bigger threats to worry about than him. Meryl meanwhile was floating playing the tribal council pass to Phil, who casually reminded her that they need her as a number which lead to her suggesting they send Marian back to camp without her vote instead. She quickly caught up with Phil, Dino and Tejan to talk about the genius plan, while Dino felt very awkward about being so active against her.

Killarney meanwhile was sauntering about, worried about all the whispering, while Tejan was loving being part of the plan. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the actual plan, which made Dino worry about whether they should let him be involved. Despite the fact he is a big risk of screwing up whatever the plan is. After Meryl filled Felix in on the plan, he caught up with Phil and Dino, with all of them feeling a little bit awkward about how easily things have come together for them given it makes them think something is wrong. Oh and then Phil told Marian about the tribal council pass plan and she was so excited to see it all come together, while Meryl started contemplating playing her 50/50 coin to exhaust all her little trinkets. And presumably lessen her target.

At tribal council Tejan was feeling confident in his place in the game given Marian and Meryl are now feuding. Meryl admitted that she has been a target for some time now, while Marian was sick of her pretending to be the victim when she could have just spoken to her allies if she was concerned. Marian spoke about how happy she was to save herself by winning immunity, particularly given the duo have so much tension between them now. She continued to play up being left out and having no strategic conversations today, while Meryl admitted she didn’t really talk to anyone either.

Talk turned to blending in, with Killarney hoping to slink through rather than stick out, while Dino spoke about them needing to outlast more than anything else in the motto. Though he would also like to see someone worthy take out the title this season. Meryl spoke about playing like a goat being a proven strategy, though that there is so much time left in the game that those who are deemed a goat now, could quickly make a name for themselves. Killarney brought up the fact that everyone values different things, while Meryl opened up about thinking about the jury while Marian said you should be mindful, rather than worried.

Before they headed off to vote, Meryl stood up and played the tribal council pass to send Marian back to camp. Sadly for Meryl, Marian then bequeathed individual immunity to Shane on her way out the door which is not something anyone considered. With that the tribe finally voted and despite her initial nerves before tribal council, Meryl stood firm and held on to her 50/50 coin, which sadly became a memento, as the tribe banded together to blindside her from the game.

Thankfully she took the exit on her chin, thrilled by the excitement of it all and kinda knowing her days were numbered anyway given she was far and away the biggest threat in the game. That being said, I didn’t take it with as much grace, screaming and crying that my dream final three had broken up, with two of them exiting the game back-to-back. After sweet Meryl pulled me in for a hug, she reminded me it is just a game and she holds no ill will. Which was enough to eventually dry my eyes and whip her up a victorious batch of Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz.

There is nothing better than a fresh rice paper roll. While it works essentially with any and all ingredients you want, these little Peking duck numbers are some of my faves. Sweet, spicy and packing a herbaceous punch, they are the perfect way to eliminate post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
12 rice paper rounds
80g vermicelli, soaked, drained and roughly chopped
¼ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
¾ cup coriander, roughly chopped
¾ cup mint leaves
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red capsicum, sliced
¾ bunch chives, sliced
2 peking duck breasts, sliced

Method
Start by prepping everything you need first as you’ll need to power on once you get started. Working one at a time, dip a rice paper round in a shallow bowl of warm water until soft before transferring to a dry, clean tea towel.

Place a small amount of vermicelli in the centre, followed by lettuce, coriander, mint, cucumber, carrot, capsicum and chives, before layering a few slices of duck. Roll one edge over, fold in both of the ends and continue to roll until it is sealed. Repeat until done.

Then devour, slathered in sriracha, hoisin or soy.


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Pheko Phettata

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

Previously on Survivor South Africa 20 castaways from seasons past relit their torches for a shot at redemption and an even bigger prize. Split based on their placement in their original seasons, the post-merge returnees on Masu quickly stamped their name on the contest and easily took out reward. Sadly for them, that was as far as it went as Yontau dominated the first immunity challenge and protected Seamus from going the way of Francesqua. Yontau was nearly split down the middle, with a trio of pairs aligning against the Season 6 castaways. And Tejan. However that was all for nought as Chappies was sprung hunting for a hidden immunity idol in the middle of the night, with his ally Dante leading the charge to send our iconic Nude King Chappies from the game.

The next day his duo Steffi was feeling isolated after being left out of the loop for the first time in her Survivor career. On the flipside, Palesa was thrilled to be in the majority for once. She opened up about her surprise at Tevin giving her the idol, knowing it could help solidify things with the other tribe after the swap. Given she isn’t overly comfortable with the current majority, which is a trademark good read from Palesa. Speaking of which, Marian was catching up with Dante and Meryl and locking in the plan for their original alliance and flipping on the alliance with Season 6. Likely making them wish they only played poker together, rather than getting inked. Shane meanwhile was disappointed by the blindside and almost being voted out, though after Marian caught him up on all the drama – and how she protected him – he was well and truly feeling better.

Over at Yontau the tribe were living their best lives, except for Tania who was disappointed in Pinty and her general selfishness when it comes to food. After she quietly complained to Phil, the tribe went for a walk down along the beach leaving Thoriso to look for the idol. And when Tania and Killarney caught her, she told them not to worry about her given Tevin had already found it as she watched on. Which obviously spread like wildfire and eventually made its way to Tevin who was surprisingly chill, instead only concerned by the fact that perception is reality and he now has to navigate it, rather than say, seek out revenge on Thoriso ASAP.

The tribes reconvened with zaddy Nico for the immunity challenge where Yontau were gagged to see Chappies had been voted out. But back to the challenge. Five castaways from each tribe will race out in the water one at a time to retrieve a fish trap holding balls before the rest of the tribe wheel them back in. And once all the balls have been retrieved, they will shoot them into a trough with the first to land them all jagging immunity and reward, in the form of an epic fishing kit. Pinty got Yontau out to a very early lead while Masu struggled to figure out the winch system. Lucky for them, Tevin struggled in the water allowing them to close the gap slightly but TBH, it was still a blow out despite Shane working overtime shooting half of the Masu balls as Dino secured immunity for Yontau.

More importantly, we won as Dante rocked his speedo during the challenge.

Back at camp Yontau were thrilled to take out victory and while they were all happy, Tevin killed the vibe by calling out people speculating about him having an idol. Tania being the absolute sweetest took the fall and said she had been speculating about it only and while I love her for doing it, I feel like this is coming back to bite her. With that, Tevin pointed out the symbols around camp to everyone and then led the tribe on an idol hunt with Seamus successfully jagging it. Though disappointed everyone knew, rendering it powerless. But you know, at least he has it for the next tribal council should they go, since it expires after then.

Later that day, Pinty snuck off by herself to smash a secret coconut before coming back to camp to cuss out Tania for calling her out for eating more than everyone else. She then stormed off in the darkness to go hunt for mussels while the tribe rallied around Tania and assured her they agreed, though they weren’t really open to calling Pinty out and creating tension. No doubt since none of them want to miss the merge a second time by rocking the boat like Pinty.

We checked in with Masu where Palesa was frustrated by their loss and wanted to focus on keeping the tribe strong, rather than sticking with her alliances. Toni and PK meanwhile were desperate to get rid of Marian given she isn’t overly strong and not open with them about her gameplay. As Toni caught up with Steffi and suggested Marian be the one to go, Marian quietly watched on and knew she had to get to work and prove Toni wrong. Steffi immediately approached an upset Marian, who opened up to her about how she is in so much pain due to her vitiligo and being in the sun. And damn, I am loving Steffi this season as she quietly held Marian and raised her up. Toni meanwhile continued to go person to person talking about how weak Marian is, with Palesa happy to sit back and let her take the lead.

Well, until she disagrees with a decision.

Marian, Steffi, Meryl and Dante caught up to figure out the counterplan, with Meryl wanting to focus on Toni given she can morph into her role within the tribe. Though she was willing to wait it out, given there should be another opportunity and as such, she was fine to tow the line and get rid of PK. Dante opened up about wanting to play a more active game this go around, so led the charge to rally said vote against PK before dropping by to chat to Toni and pretend he was keen to get rid of Marian. 

Oh and then Marian straight up found a diplomatic immunity idol, which just means she can elect to join the other tribe at tribal council – or send someone else from the tribe – before they vote. And while that is risky, that could be super useful post-swap, which is exactly how she sold it to her delighted allies.

At tribal council Steffi spoke about the tribe being struck down with a case of the alphas and as such, every time they compete, everyone is jockeying to lead rather than working together. Shane agreed and suggested that the one true leader needs to emerge and make decisions for them, which is advice that I’m not exactly sure will fix things. Dante spoke about the pre-season relationships playing a role in decision making, which annoyed Toni and PK who fired up and said people need to move on from their matching tattoos they got after their first season (essentially). Palesa meanwhile downplayed past relationships and instead spoke about the real issue being everyone is trying to run from their past games and as such, creating a lot of uncertainty.

Dante spoke about making the decision that will help them win challenges, which doesn’t necessarily mean physical strength. This led to Marian opening up about her emotional breakdown and that Steffi was the only one to comfort her, leading to Toni once again firing up and saying she never even saw it. And the fact Marian also never even spoke to her today, so she wasn’t ostracising her. Meryl admitted she didn’t speak to everyone either, though she spoke to people that were privy to other plans. Shane spoke about making decisions based on sticking with the majority, which everyone agreed was their plan, meaning half the tribe are about to be blindsided.

With that the tribe votes and Shane was one of the people that actually landed in the majority as the Breakfast Club banded together to take out PK. As Toni watched on in tears, kinda proving their decision right, given how close they are. Which is something PK agreed with as he arrived at Loser Lodge and I entered into my usual post-boot peptalk. Like Chappies before him, the odds were always stacked against PK going into the season due to his bonds and being a massive threat. Which seemed to be enough to cheer him up as we smashed a Pheko Phettata (but sadly only a Pheko Phettata).

Light, fluffy and a little bit spicy, this little Mexican inspired frittata is the perfect way to start the day. Or close out your second Survivor journey. Or for any reason, TBH.

Enjoy!

Pheko Phettata
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 chorizo, sliced into coins
1 potato, cut into 1cm dice
1 red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
400g red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
6 eggs
½ cup cream
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Pop a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes, or until the onion starts to ooze. Add the potato and onion and cook, stirring, for a further five minutes. Add the garlic and beans and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander.

Transfer the mixture into a greased pie dish. Whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, hot sauce and a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour over the chorizo and potato mixture, followed by another sprinkling of cheese.

Pop the frittata in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and cooked through. Allow to rest for five minutes before transferring to a plate and devouring. Joyously.


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Shea Vindouleé

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Winners just after winning her first star in the ball alongside Trinity, Jaida pointed out that since she blocked Jinkx, now Monet was the only challenge winner who hadn’t been blocked. Which was quickly pointed out to be wrong, since she now also falls into that category. In any event, it didn’t matter to either of them as both Jinkx and The Vivienne absolutely dominated as they improved their way through Judge Judy-spoof, Fairytale Justice. Despite Raja once again delivering another strong performance and Yvie being a sexy Big Bad Wolf. After Jinkx and The Vivienne landed in the top two, The Viv demolished the lip sync and while it is unclear how much influence Jaida had, she blocked Monet.

Who was NOT happy about it.

Backstage The Viv was well and truly feeling her oats, thrilled to finally have her star turn, with all of her sisters thrilled for her to get a star. Yvie joked about poor Jinkx not landing her second star, with Jaida adorably singing an apology before Raja rightly called out Ru for not giving her a damn star yet. This was interrupted by the arrival of Monet who was completely irate about the fact that she was blocked though desperately trying to hide it. She then played into Shea’s lie that the platinum plunger comes with a little extra power and I live for the fact everyone is just playing along and adding to the paranoia. The Viv then explained that she only blocked her because she was next in line and well, the other person she wanted to block wasn’t eligible. Which put Jinkx on notice.

Oh and then Yvie got her wang out. Again.

The next day Jaida was jacked up on coffee, though not like Ru on the enema, before Ru arrived to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would write an uplifting commencement address for queer graduates around the world. Oh and Carson and Nikki Glaser would be on hand to help them work through their set AND since Monet was blocked, she would be able to set the order. Adding to the fake-secret that the plunger comes with power. Oh and Ru was in a giving mood, so the winners of this week’s challenge would also receive TWO stars. One to keep and one to give to one of their sisters.

With that, the dolls were thrilled at the prospect of getting two stars as they split up to plan their sets. Yvie was going to lean into her fun side and hoped the judges would laugh along with her, while Jinkx and Raja were brainstorming their ideas. The latter of which was planning to play a mountain top cult leader and while Jinkx was loving the idea, she was worried about whether Raja would be able to turn it out. Trinity meanwhile was sewing away in the corner while Shea was struggling to focus given Jaida was living her best life with a xylophone and generally being loud. As the rest of the dolls were dishing out shade, Monet decided that she was going to work her blockage into a free star, first trying to be kind and asking everyone where they would like to go in the set. And then asking them to consider giving her a star if she followed through. Which she mostly did, giving herself the opening slot, followed by Shea, Trinity, Raja, Jaida, Yvie and Jinkx, while The Vivienne would close the show.

Monet was first to workshop with Nikki and Carson with them living for all her jokes and sass, though encouraging her to add a little bit of heart as well. Shea meanwhile was leaning into the fact she is beautiful, cool and perfect, with a fuck you to society for making her question it. The Viv meanwhile was going to shade her struggles with sobriety, Trinity was just going to have a tonne of fun mocking her struggles with learning growing up while Jinkx obviously delighted them with her set about getting run over in Amsterdam. Or getting a condom stuck inside herself. Then Jaida was just an absolute delight being completely silly and wild. Nikki and Carson meanwhile advised Yvie to add a few more jokes because her concept could be great. But only if she gets out of her head. And then Raja confused the shit out of them with them also advising her to add more funny, despite Raja feeling like it was perfect. Like a fucking icon.

Is this going to be a Katya’s Krisis Kontrol moment? I damn hope so.

Runway Day arrived with Jinkx succumbing to Jaida’s tajin shots while The Viv and Raja were fanging for some wine. As they started to beat their mugs Jinkx admitted that she just desperately wanted to beat The Vivienne, given they truly are each other’s biggest competition and she spends most of her time watching her, wishing she thought of whatever she was doing first. Oh and then everyone shaded Jaida for not being blocked yet.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judges panel by Nikki Glaser as Monet opened the Draguation Ceremony looking stunning in pink and gold. And while she started slowly, losing her comb at the time she praised her Season 10 runways gave her the energy she needed that by the time she channelled James Earl Jones, I was sold. Shea was as stunning as always and slayed her performance, reading her sisters and praising herself for being popular. Trinity was absolutely hilarious as she joked about being unable to read her palm cards before she quickly leaned into the heart before pivoting back into silly fun comedy. And again, she is a star. Raja meanwhile stole the show from start to finish; weird, wacky and oh so fun. And yeah, this is a Katya moment and I am so glad she was smart enough to trust in herself. 

Jaida kicked off the second half with a bang, joking about being from Trump University and just being stupid and packed full of charm. Yvie stumbled onto stage and dropped all her cards in a hilarious bit and while her set wasn’t packed with laughs, it was full to the brim with heart. Sadly for her, she was then followed by Jinkx who once again gave a masterclass, having killer framing devices, hilarious jokes and was so smart with all the genuine emotional beats she added. And while The Viv also gave an absolute killer performance, complete with a face plant finish, coming after Jinkx was always a hard act to follow.

On the Veiled It runway, Monet was stunning in an hourglass baby blue bird in a cage number. Shea was a mash of bright pleated fabric and looked stunning and Trinity was perfect in a red widow slash wedding gown. Raja meanwhile stole the show as a literal covergirl while Jaida was the sexiest black widow known to man before Yvie was bright, beaded perfection. Jinkx looked gorgeous dripping in lavender and butterflies, while The Vivienne gave S&M shimmering stunner, complete with ball gag.

The judges loved everything Monet did this week, particularly for serving glamour on the runway. Shea was praised for her zen vibe and giving complete perfection on the runway. Trinity was praised for showing her heart and having fun, and more importantly, for looking glorious doing it. Raja was praised for landing everything weird and wonderful and for serving something different and intellectual on the runway. Jaida was praised for being fun and charming and for the sexiness she brought to the runway while the judges loved Yvie’s look and her pratfalls. Jinkx once again received universal praise for each and every thing she did this week, with Ru even jumping on the joke and suggesting she was the one that ran her over. While they lived for The Viv’s commitment in the challenge and the sex she brought to the runway. Before the dolls went to Untuck, Nancy Pelosi dropped by to thank the queens for all that they do and ugh, I live for Queen Nancy. With Raja thanking her for her shady clap which has become a masterclass in shade.

Backstage Yvie once again received praise from her sisters for her runway and all the details she added to it. Trinity meanwhile was busy making narratives for everyone’s looks, before Shea turned her attention to Raja and how much she killed the challenge. And completely leant into her own brand of humour and ugh, I love to see everyone living for her. The Vivienne praised everyone for sticking to their brand and shaded Monet for giving her the perfect spot to shine. We then got a flashback to when the girls were getting ready, talking about who would deliver their dream commencement speech. Raja then spoke about graduating in ‘92 and hot damn, again, I want to age like Raja as she is perfect. She opened up about how difficult it was in High School at the time while The Vivienne opened up that yes, they have High School in England and honestly, she lived her best life as a queer kid in private school. And then Jinkx gave all the heart talking about how privileged she felt growing up in a queer friendly environment like America. Comparatively. While Shea was inspired by TV to come out and literally exploded her way onto the social scene.

Oh and then Monet brought up Sum 41 as the dolls read her pussycat wig before Nikki dropped by to kiki with girls. And stop them from stealing the dress off her body.

Ultimately Jinkx and Raja took out victory and were told that they will be gifting their extra stars at the beginning of next week’s episode. But first, the lip sync for that little tip and well, it was stunning. In a fun, they are so cool kinda way. As soon as Lizzo’s Better in Color kicked off the girls were straight up living their best lives. Jinkx was serving stupid white lady dancing while Raja was just oh so cool. Ultimately though, it was Jinkx that took out another win and promptly blocked The Vivienne, because obviously.

Backstage Raja was thrilled to finally have a win for what should have been her fourth one and ugh, I love to see it for the icon. Trinity led the dolls in congratulating them on their win and while Jinkx was clearly the frontrunner, she did point out that someone else will have two stars this week when she gives one away. The Vivienne arrived and admitted that she was completely expecting to be blocked by Jinkx and while she explained she did it because Viv is a competitor, Viv was sure Jinkx was just doing it for good old fashioned revenge. Talk turned to who Jinkx and Raja would be giving their stars to, with Yvie trying to play on their emotions, while Trinity reminded them that she was very helpful when it came to design challenges and the dolls best remember it. And Jaida wanted people to give her a star for her perfect nipples. Which is an argument I can get behind.

The next day the dolls returned to the Werk Room where Trinity was ready to be given a star, while Raja was just thrilled to be in the star club. And once Ru arrived, everyone was in said club as Raja gave hers to sweet Yvie. While Jinkx gave hers to Jaida, proving that nipples can get you everything. With that out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be serving ‘00s realness for this season’s girl groups challenge, in throwback appearances on TRL. Ideally without Carson Daly. One group would be performing the love song 2getha 4eva and the other would get Titanic, the ultimate break-up anthem. As usual they would be writing their own verses, recording the tune and then performing live on the mainstage. Oh and Ru said they could pick teams however they want, so they just drew a line in the middle of the room and ran with it.

As they sat down to listen to the tunes Yvie was feeling confident in getting a shining moment, while Trinity was triggered by the fact Justin Timberlake would never love her. As everyone tried to select songs, The Vivienne pointed out that she wasn’t thrilled about people selecting their team and then leaving the dregs together. And while Jinkx suggested they all just pick the song they like best and fight it out if that doesn’t leave equal teams, The Viv ending up relenting and sticking with the original groups. And girl, it is tense. And you know she is going to fight.

The dolls split up to work on their songs, with team Monet, Shea, Trinity and Raja forming M.S.T.R. and planned to position their performance about losing the E of their group M.S.T.R.E. The other girls meanwhile leant into their status as the leftovers, calling themselves The Other Girls and planned to frame their band as all the girls that were kicked out of girl groups and were going to be camp and fucking stupid and ugh, I love it.

M.S.T.R. were up first recording their song Titanic, with Raja admitting she hopes nobody wants her to explain Y2K since she partied through the era while the rest of the girls were at school. Monet was planning to channel Britney, Trinity was working through her passion for JT while Raja wanted to sound young. Shea meanwhile was rapping and living her best life and I love it. When The Other Girls took the mic they were totally bonkers and ugh, I love it. Like Jaida’s rap involved fart sounds and Yvie was doing dial-up modem sounds and it was just delightful.

The teams came together for a quick dance battle as they returned to choreograph their performances with The Other Girls continuing to be fun and bonkers. And while they wanted to intimidate their rivals, they were mainly confused about what was going on. M.S.T.R. meanwhile had varying degrees of skills, with Monet and Shea living their best lives, while Trinity and Raja both would have preferred if they showed off sexy, stripping.

Runway Day arrived with both groups ready to slay, with The Other Girls continuing to be wild and ready to be silly, while Raja led her team in some yoga. Everyone split up to get ready with Shea and Trinity talking about being proud of how far they’ve all come before Shea opened up about worrying that she was blending into the back of the group. As everyone beat their mugs, Trinity joked about being annoyed by Jinkx for giving a star to Jaida over her, with Jinkx admitting she was debating between the two of them, not saying she was avoiding Trinity as she is more likely to score more stars. Monet reminded Viv that she was blocked before Jinkx awkwardly pointed out that she would have made a different decision if she knew they’d be in a group together. Oh and Raja encouraged her sisters to look like Michelle Visage in her Season 3 era on stage.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by Tove Lo on the judges panel as Ross dressed as Carson Gayly as M.S.T.R. debuted their song Titanic and well, it was a bop. Monet was perfect, Trinity was manic and fun, Shea was sexy perfection and Raja was perfect, like Paris in the Stars are Blind era. In the best way possible. Then The Other Girls arrived and it was completely ridiculous in all the right ways, Viv was self-deprecating, Jaida was just stupid, Jinkx was fun holding on to her youth and Yvie was all fire from start to finish. As a malfunctioning robot.

Then, on the runway we’ve all been waiting for, Monet kicked off The Night of 1000 Dolly Parton’s runway serving glamour in the coat of many colours gown. Trinity was perfect in a shimmering yellow number, Shea served biker Dolly in the best way possible, Raja was iconic in silver as she played her nails down the runway, The Viv was eerily accurate in a stunning blue number while Jaida was the personification of Dolly and I love it. Jinkx meanwhile gave ‘80s fun and ugh, I loved it too. While Yvie was manic and having the absolute best time.

The judges lived for everything Monet served this week, particularly for how she served something unique on the runway. Trinity was praised for such a likeness on the runway and being silly in the performance, Shea was praised for being smart, fun and full of glamour. And for also doing something special on the runway. They loved Raja for being the worst dancer in the group and living the best life, while she was beloved for having far and away the best runway. The Vivienne received glowing praise for being hilariously stereotypical and for literally inhabiting Dolly on the runway. Jaida was praised for being so silly and fun, in the performance and on the runway. The judges loved Jinkx’s old lady and for her simplistic Dolly runway, while Yvie’s robot was iconic and everyone loved everything she did this week.

Backstage the dolls were living their best lives as Raja opened up about how much Dolly means to her, with Monet admitting she didn’t even know about Dollywood. That being said, she loves her as the dolls spoke about how iconic she is. As she deserves. Jaida continued the love, talking about how great her team worked with everyone agreeing they knocked it out of the park. And had so much fun doing it. Talk turned to who they think will be in the top with everyone agreeing that The Viv will be in the top alongside either Monet or Yvie. Though not that it means anything to Viv since she is blocked. Raja then led the girls in a communal scream – as Monet pretended to participate – before Tove Lo joined them and looked to be having the time of her life as she gushed over all of them. As everyone got ready to return to the mainstage, Trinity took some time to heap Monet with praise and remind her how proud she is to be her twinner and ugh, it truly was beautiful. As was Jinkx awkwardly strumming the ukulele at the end.

Ultimately it was The Vivienne and Yvie that found themselves in the top two, lip syncing to my absolute favourite Dolly Parton number, Why’d You Come in Here Looking Like That. And well, it was just as iconic as I want for that song. Yvie was camp, silly and absolutely killed it, but shit, The Vivienne was absolutely amazing as she gave every single Dolly-ism and well, was perfect. Stunning. I love her so much. Someone that may not love her however was the Jinkx as after she took out the win, she immediately returned serve and blocked her teammate.

Since everyone has taken out a win now, I quickly ran the numbers and was shocked to find that Shea was next for a date. As per the last alphabetically, ranked by wins rule which is SUPER easy to follow. After I quickly yanked her aside while they reset the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her how much of a star she is. And while she didn’t take out the win this week, she was just like Beyonce. And since she knows we’re dear friends, that meant a lot to her. As such, I gave her a quick pep talk for the second half of the competition and fed her soul with a nice, warming Shea Vindouleé.

There is nothing better than a vindaloo! Smooth and earthy, yet packing a wicked heat to it, it can wake you up, warm your heart and clear out your nostrils – which is good with flurona rolling around – all while tasting delicious.

Enjoy!

Shea Vindouleé
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
8 dried kashmiri chilies, stemmed, seeded and soaked in boiling water for five minutes, liquid reserved
2 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp malt vinegar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups beef stock
800g tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp muscovado sugar
500g diced lamb
rice, to serve

Method
Pop the hydrated chillies, half the onion, garlic, ginger, paprika, half the cumin, pepper and malt vinegar in a blender with half the vegetable oil and a couple of tablespoons of the chilli water. Blitz until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides and re-blitzing or adding more water may be required.

Place the remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook off the curry paste with the remaining onion, chilli flakes, coriander seeds, fenugreek and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, or until nice and fragrant. Stir in the stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, tamarind paste and muscovado sugar and cook for a further five minutes. Fold in the lamb, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour or until the meat is nice, tender and reduced. And you know, cooked through.

Serve with freshly cooked rice and devour, gloriously.


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Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich

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

Previously on Survivor the final six grew more and more nervous about making it to the end, as everyone sized up who would make the easiest opponents in the final three. With Omar outed as a strategic mastermind at the previous tribal council, Maryanne was also focused on usurping his power and concocted a plan to take him out using her extra vote to swing a 3-2-2 vote. And while everyone continued to panic about her plan and who to take out should it fail, she stood firm and held everyone together to perfectly execute it and take Omar out of the game. In a very iconic fashion.

We followed the final five not back to camp, but instead to a new rain soaked beach to set up a new camp for the remaining days. Tarpless and with nothing, let’s just say the final five were well and truly gagged. Ultimately though, nothing could bring Maryanne down after taking out Omar with a massive move. Sadly she was the only one as Romeo was annoyed to have received votes, while Jonathan sassed out Lindsay for voting for him, despite the fact they both turned on each other. And ugh, this isn’t a good look for Jonathan.

Romeo meanwhile was an icon and interrupted the fight to announce that since they’re all being honest with each other, he has an idol and will be playing it at the next tribal council. So yeah, good luck to the rest of ya’s. Essentially.

The next day Jonathan was still focused on getting rid of Lindsay with the boys, while Maryanne was busy assuring Lindsay that Mike would be playing his idol for her at tribal council and as such, they would both find a way to keep going. Mike and Lindsay then caught up, with Mike assuring Lindsay that he will totally play the idol for her at tribal council and while it is the same promise he gave Maryanne, it was the only glimmer of hope she had, so she took it.

The tribe then received treemail, complete with a clue for an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. And while Lindsay was first to solve it, she could not find the advantage while the rest of the tribe worked together to solve the clue to block her. While Maryanne desperately tried to undermine the boys so that Lindsay could find the advantage before anyone else, guaranteeing the girls make it to the final four together. And what do you know, Queen Maryanne was successful, as Lindsay snatched the advantage and was that much closer to the end. Much to her and Maryanne’s delight.

While Jonathan looked to be boiling with rage.

The final five met up with Probst in the middle of a clearing for an epic immunity challenge where they would each have to race out to six stations to collect puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle. And while it sounds easy, the stations were guarded by obstacles and the pieces tied up by multiple knots. For Lindsay, she would only have to untie a single knot at each station, while the rest would have to work through six. Oh and the victor would also win a huge dinner of pasta, garlic bread, salad, cake and wine. So yeah, they were all very pumped.

Despite Lindsay’s advantage, she spent most of the challenge nipping at Jonathan’s heels as he absolutely destroyed the obstacles. While it is always hard to keep track of who is in the lead, Jonathan was the first to start working on the puzzle with Lindsay in a very close second place. Mike quickly joined them, while Romeo and Maryanne closed out the pack. While Jonathan and Lindsay were piece for piece at the start, Mike quickly closed the gap as he and Lindsay battled for first place. He continued to methodically work through the puzzle and despite a late-breaking push from Lindsay, he managed to snatch immunity. And tragically, doom one of our queens.

Mike started to break down over his win, overwhelmed to finally jag individual immunity and make his kids proud. Oh and then Jeffrey gave Mike a chance to fuel one of his competitors, with him stupidly opting to give Jonathan food which is a wild choice given he is the biggest competition to win final immunity challenge, assuming he survives the night. Even if they are aligned. 

Back at camp the boys went off to smash their feast, pledging their undying loyalty to each other while Lindsay spat fire about how terrible Jonathan is to Maryanne and Romeo. As the boys ate, Mike meanwhile was debating who he should play his idol for at the upcoming tribal to stack the final four with the people he wants. As such, he assured Jonathan he would be playing his idol for him too and just like that, he has now pissed off two potential jurors. The hungry trio meanwhile were busy locking in their votes for Jonathan, with Maryanne assuring them both that there is no way Mike would go back on his word to her. Despite knowing for a fact he also gave his word to Lindsay.

Lindsay meanwhile caught up with Mike to play on his emotions, begging him to stick to his word and not betray her, and while her argument was compelling – and frankly, so great – the fact that she can talk her way into anything, shows how big of a threat she is. Mike then caught up with Maryanne, with her trying to convince Mike to stick to his word to her so that she could protect Lindsay. Though when she caught up with Romeo, he cautioned her that both Jonathan and Lindsay are threats. Leaving Maryanne to worry who Mike would be playing his idol for, given everything hinges on his decision. And could make or break all of their games.

At tribal council Lindsay caught the jury up on her final advantage, while Jonathan spoke about how much they were all struggling. Lindsay admitted to knowing she is likely to go home tonight due to her allegiance to Omar, while Jonathan tried to downplay how much everyone wants Lindsay to go. Maryanne spoke about trying to find the balance between her emotions and playing intelligently, while Lindsay shared how she spent the entire afternoon scrambling and pleading her case, before a quick pivot as she tried to downplay her threat level. 

Jonathan stepped up to praise Lindsay for the game she played, while Lindsay said she is continuing to fight for her place in the game until the moment her torch is snuffed. Jonathan spoke about finding the balance between playing a good game and minimising your threat level, with Mike assuring everyone that if you have a solid alliance, it makes working around that a lot easier. Maryanne opened up about her need to not only find people she thinks she can beat to face off against at the end, but that also think they could beat her. And well, Lindsay was just happy that if she is getting booted for being unbeatable, that is the best way to go out.

With that the tribe voted, Mike made a big show of playing his hidden immunity for Maryanne for being so loyal to him. Romeo then announced that he would not be playing his fake idol and instead, threw it into the fire while Maryanne quietly sat on her hidden immunity idol. Jeffrey then finally read the votes with poor Lindsay tragically felled by a united tribe for being too much of a threat.

As she promised at tribal council, she was super chill and excited to be taken out for being too much of a threat, as the other option is making it to the end, getting no votes and having a shocking legacy. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she left a massive mark on the seasons and truly did play out of the best games this season and as such, is a shoe in for another go. But until then, she always has Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich.

I bet you thought I was going to take the easy route with a cheeky sandwich, but surprise, I pivoted! And when the pivot tastes as good as a slightly tweaked version of Brendan Pang’s Chinese Hand Pies, you really can’t go wrong. Spicy, warming and packing a kick, these are, in a word, perfection.

Enjoy!

Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
1 cup water
500g beef mince
3 celery stalks, finely sliced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
a large handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp raw caster sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp Chinese five spice
vegetable oil, to fry

Method
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and slowly mix in the water with a fork until combined. Dust the bench with a little bit of extra flour and turn out the dough and knead until nice and elastic. Oil a bowl and pop in the dough, cover with some cling and leave to rest for half an hour or so.

Pop all the other ingredients in a large bowl with a good pinch of salt and scrunch with your hands – or use a wooden spoon, I don’t mind – until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for the flavours to meld until the dough is ready.

To assemble, divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll out until they are 15cm rounds and divide the filling between each disc. To close, gently stretch the dough around to seal at the top, pleat into a circle to give the look of a money bag.

Heat a couple of tablespoons in a large frying pan over medium heat and once nice and hot, add four to the pan, pleated side down and press with a spatula to flatten. Cook for five minutes or until nice and golden before flipping and cooking for a further five minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on some paper towel while you cook the others.

Serve immediately, dripping in Sechuanyx Chilli Oil and devour.


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Birryvie Tacoddly

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 11, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, 14 regular seasons ran their race, alongside 6 All Stars seasons, 3 UK seasons and a single Down Under season. Alongside seasons that we can not mention in Thailand, Holland, Canada and Spain. Because yes, FINALLY, Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross have granted our wishes, and assembled 8 of Ru’s winner to compete for the ultimate crown. So yeah, yeah, Blu and Willow may already have grown the winner’s circle this reason, we’re about to receive the one queen to rule them all, as the Queen of all Queens. Aka Jinkx Monsoon.

First up we re-met Shea Coulee who is just as damn iconic as always and ugh, I am already overwhelmed by how much I love the dolls. We then got a recap of her two iconic runs, thankfully not having to rehash her crushing heartbreak when Sasha destroyed her in the Charlie Hides induced lip-sync for the crown. Anyways, her entrance paid homage to Coco Montrese, so yeah, I still love her. And love how desperate she is for her second crown. She was quickly joined by the delightful icon, Jaida Essence Hall who thankfully is coming for a victory lap after winning via zoom. Oh and remember how she destroyed Season 12 and charmed us while she did the damn thing?

Yvie Oddly made her triumphant return with a signature cackle and looking like a damn star. Her mug was perfect, her look was perfect, she was magnetic (and perfect). Oh and then she licked her nip, so just like that, she is my frontrunner. Despite her flopping hair. SheDevilByNight herself, Trinity the Tuck returned and once again, despite myself, I can’t help but love her because she truly is born for this race. And ready to uncouple from her twinner, Monet. Speaking of the sponge queen, Monet came in dripping in cash and looking the best she ever looked and ugh, I love her. And hot damn she is ready to come in and fight, you can feel it through the screen.

Continuing working in reverse chronological crowning order, the dolls were joined by the icon herself, Ms Jinkx Monsoon and ugh, I fucking love her so much and am so excited to see her in all her HD glory. I mean, watching the recap of her first season, she is so damn perfect. I mean, Little Edie was just so beautiful. And out of respect for DeLa, Ru should crown her on the spot. Then stop the damn press because Raja is here and ugh, I now am straight up crying. Raja is iconic, beautiful, hilarious and I live for everything she serves. And then wait, we’re jumping out of order and crowwing international borders as The Vivienne crossed the pond to serve UK realness, and well, wasn’t it a pleasant reminder how UK is just the greatest franchise of all time?

They were then joined by a surprise ninth queen, who it turns out was the best non-winner – other than JujuRaven, who returned as a double first alternate. Though given she won an Emmy, I guess she qualifies? Wait, no – it was a long con as Ru dropped by to welcome the dolls, promptly kicking her out, without nary an apology for crowning my nemesis over her in Season 2. 

With the riff-raff kicked out, Ru announced that nobody else will be leaving before the end of the competition as because they are all winners, they won’t be eliminated. Instead, the competition is based on a points system with each episode culminating in a top two, with each earning a star before they lip sync for their legacy. Where the winner would snatch $10k and the power to block another queen from winning a star the following week. And since the four queens with the most stars at the end of the season would compete in a lip sync smackdown for the crown, that is quite the power. Oh and this year the winner will be crowned Queen of all Queens and will score $200k for their troubles.

Oh and if that isn’t enough, the dolls then were put to the test in a good ol’ fashioned reading challenge. Up first was Shea who was hilariously reading Raja for being a drunk, Jinkx for sucking the d and Viv for showing diversity. Jaida was so charmingly aggressive, Yvie was inspired and cute, Trinity was solid, Monet was off the cuff and delightful, Jinkx was on fire from start to finish, with impeccable timing and ugh, good luck girls – because she will slay this competition. Raja then straight up spelt boogers at the girls and left and damn, I love. Oh and then The Viv just destroyed with the roasting skills of a UK queen. Rightly so though, it was Jinkx Monsoon that took out victory.

Oh and then Ru dropped the tea that their first Maxi Challenge would see them write their own verses on Ru’s new track Legends. Oh but not until they meet one final legendary queen. Mother tucking Naomi Campbell and ugh, chuck a phone at me, I’m done. This is the greatest episode of all time. Oh and then Naomi gave them a runway walk masterclass and well, I live.

Naomi loved Jaida’s glide, Raja needed to do nothing new – except to not work with Tyra, I assume. She lived for Jinxk’s silly, fun, drama, loved The Viv’s smoothness and Trinity’s shoulders. Naomi lived for Monet but wanted her to cut out knocking her boots together, while she was delighted by Yvie’s mess and attitude. And then, most importantly, Shea got to receive praise from her teacher Naomi, for doing such a damn good job. Naomi was crying, Shea was crying and well, now I’m crying. This is just too much. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.

The dolls finally got to venture backstage and untuck, with Yvie once again getting fully nude before everyone split up to write their verses. Shea was feeling her oats, Raja was living for her regalness, while Jinkx wanted to share her middle-aged self with everyone and prove she is a front runner. While Jaida considered doing something new, given there is no risk of being sent home. The Viv meanwhile opened up about feeling like she is the underdog given she is representing an entire franchise and NO, Viv, you are a star and you need to believe in yourself.

The dolls returned to the Mainstage to work on their choreography with everyone sharing their ideas, leaving them with a wealth of knowledge to choose from. Thankfully Shea worked through the ensuing chaos, stepping up to give them some clarity, editing everything back and straight up stamping herself as a contender for the crown.

Performance day rolled around with The Viv still nervous about making her US MainStage debut while Jinkx just wandered around being weird and ugh, I love it. Jaida meanwhile thanked Shea for stepping up and choreographing the first challenge, admitting that should she win, she will be worried about her choice of blocking. Though felt it would kinda, sorta be a compliment. That being said, Monet and Trinity were in a corner, locking in an alliance to look out for each other, make sure while everyone is coming for everyone, they can ride through and protect each other. While Jinkx wandered into the scene and asked if they were forming an alliance, like a damn icon.

The dolls opened up about their seasons, with Raja talking about her ugly crying on Season 3 while the queens praised her for being a star on America’s Next Top Model. Remember, that? Jaida meanwhile admitted that her pandemic crowning may have sucked, but she is so thrilled that it led her to this exact point, grateful to have new sisters who love and respect her and ugh, the fact they’re all crying, it is so beautiful. Oh and then Raja offered to make out with her, while Monet promised to block her. So swings and roundabouts or something, I guess?

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by the one and only Cameron D – minus Destiny – for the debut All Winners runway and ugh, I live. Cameron. Mother. Tucking. Diaz. I. Can’t. First, the dolls took to the stage for their remix and well, they proved why they won the damn crown. Raja was a star, Jinkx knocked it out of the park, Monet was perfection, Trinity and Yvie were 100% them – in a good way – Viv hit every damn note, Jaida was a charmer and then, well, Shea shut it down. And likely scored her spot in the top two for the week. As she deserves.

On the I’m Crowning runway Raja was straight up perfection serving queer Louis the 14th and oh, it was stunning. Jinkx was stunning a Mary Queen of Scots, before dropping an Angelina leg. Repeatedly. And it was gorgeous. Monet rocked trans tracksuit queen realness and I love it, while Trinity was all drama in a velvet gown that covered the entire stage. Yvie was a. May. Zing. In a dripping crayon gown, while The Viv was gorgeously delightful, in a full body cream earthy gown. Jaida gave all the drama in purple, complete with a baby crown while Shea gave full Nubian queen and yeah, congrats on winning the first challenge.

Raja received universal praise for the detail she brought to her runway and the artistry she brought to the performance. Jinkx’s praise was for giving glamour alongside all the comedy and for being smutty as hell in the performance. Monet was beloved for giving all the energy and selling everything she did, from head to toe. Trinity was praised for the drama she brought to the runway and her magnetism in the performance, the judges loved everything Yvie served and for being her, while the Viv rightly was praised for doing the UK oh-so-proud. They lived for Jaida being so damn delightful, while the judges praised every single thing that Shea gave this week.

Backstage the dolls were gagged to be so exhausted already and having to navigate an entire season together. Yvie joked about slaying Untucked more than any challenge on her first season before everyone rallied around, thanking Shea for carrying them with the choreo. The dolls praised Jinkx for just being Jinkx as she stomped the runway in front of Naomi Campbell, admitting that only Shea can really give runway out of any of them anyway. Raja gave proud aunty, thanking them for giving them everything before Jaida and Yvie thanked her for being such an icon, particularly because she leveled-up her already perfect Marie Antoinette runway.

Oh and then she gave a delightful speech about being an icon and well, I love her. So damn much.

Talk turned to who would be in the top, with everyone narrowing things down to Monet, Shea and Jinkx while they Monet tried to make sense of them. Jinxk pointed out that Monet and Trinity had conveniently created an alliance, annoying the duo but making everyone’s ears prick up. Viv interrupted proceedings to thank them for being so welcoming, admitting she was nervous to cross the pond but was grateful for how welcoming they have all been. 

Oh and then Cameron Diaz arrived and hot damn, I near fainted. She thanked them for being so delightful, giving all the references and ugh, why did she have to retire? She then thanked them for their public service – no joke – while the queens sobbed over how much of a stan she is. Monet then lead the dolls in thanking Cameron for getting all of them and the art, before Cameron admitted she essentially threatens her friends who guest judge to not fuck it up and to learn about what they are charged with doing.

Ultimately it was Monet that joined Shea in the top before they battled for the power to block someone else’s star to Old MacDonald. No tea, all collusion. But since it is the Ella Fitzgerald version, it was kinda perfect. Shea was delightful and hit every lyric, Monet was demented and hilarious from start to finish and ugh, I worry for anyone lip syncing against either of them because it was a damn show. But rightly Shea took out the first win of the season, meaning Monet was immune from the block – werk – before Shea rightly, wisely, blocked Monet’s alliance partner slash twinner, Trinity. Setting the tone for an absolute battle royale. I mean, they are SISTERS?!

Backstage the dolls congratulated Shea on taking out victory, while Trinity was a little bit pressed to have been blocked. Though given Shea explained that she blocked her because she knew she could bounce back and not be phased, she quickly moved on. And ugh, I love how congenial they all are, even if Trinity didn’t realise she essentially got ‘thank you for your patience’-d when you couldn’t be bothered replying to someone at work. 

The next day the dolls were still delightful and charming, while Monet was living for her stunning star. Well, before Viv reminded Trinity she won’t have one next episode, since, you know, she was blocked. Monet meanwhile was glad to have not put a bigger target on her back, while Yvie and Jinkx threatened to block the former top two since they already have stars.

Things were interrupted by Ru who quickly announced that not only will they be playing the Snatch Game this week, they’d also be required to give not just one character but TWO. With Ru disappearing, Viv announced she would do the one-two punch of Joanna Lumley and Catherine Tate before pointing out how most of the dolls have won a Snatch Game before. Speaking of winners, Shea would be playing Miss J from Top Model and Elsa from the Tik Tok. And as a geriatric millennial, I totally know who that is! Monet meanwhile was nervous since she has done both good and bad on Snatch Game, before Jinkx announced she would be playing Judy Garland AND Natasha Lyonne and well, YES. Condragulations, Jinxk! Yvie meanwhile was ready to vom, though since she was playing the Boogeyman and Rico Nasty, I think she has learnt to play to her strengths, rather than butchering Whoopi Goldberg.

Ru arrived to talk Snatch with Trinity first up to announce she’d be playing Leslie Jordan and the devil. So an angel and a devil. Raja opened up about how delighted she was to be back, though a little sore from all the exertion. She then read Ru for not giving her the win on her first Snatch Game before announcing she would be playing puppet icon Madame and Diana Vreeland. So, get out of the uber Robbie Turner because you’re about to be taught a lesson.

For Snatch Game number one, Monet went with Mike Tyson, Raja did Madame, Viv went with Joanna Lumley as Patsy, SheDevil by Night went with the Devil, Jinkx slayed as Natasha Lyonne, Yie unveiled Rico Nasty, Shea went with Elsa Majimbo before Jaida debuted her version Prince. And well, I’m wet. But let’s be fair, this was well and truly Monet and Raja’s panel. Though I did live for Jinkx, who likened Jaida fucking Monet as a toddler moving a couch and well, I live. But yeah, Monet’s pitch-perfect Mike Tyson and Raja being a killer icon as a damn puppet stole the show!

For round two, Viv played Nan from Catherine Tate, Yvie debuted her boogeyman – and fucking flooded my basement – Trinity was an itty bitty Leslie Jordan, Jaida went with Lady Chablis, Shea was a star as Miss J, Raja again slayed as Diana Vreeland, Monet went with drag Martin Lawrence before Jinkx stole the show as Judy Garland. I mean, Renee Zellweger eat your heart out because this was the character study we ALL needed. Though Trinity’s Leslie Jordan wearing a condom as a raincoat was pretty damn perfect.  But since Jinxk referenced the season 5 makeover and Dave the veteran worrying she killed Judy Garland, there is no blocking her star this week. It was perfect.

I mean, is this my camera, Broom? It’s a set Broom, it’s made of cardboard. I. Con. Ic.

Runway Day arrived with Yvie glad to get her redemption, though everyone agreed the top three are clearly Jinxk, Trinity and Raja and well. It is what they deserve. Raja admitted she felt she would be happy to just be safe, though was thrilled to have defied expectations and slay. Trinity was thrilled to maybe get cash and the chance to block someone, though not get a star. While Shea pretended she was not at risk of getting blocked. Jinxk and Monet kikied, with Jinxk admitting her strategy should she win the lip sync would be to block someone with a star and well, Monet was Ner. Vous.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by the iconic Daphne Guinness – and well, wow – for the Pleather Principal runway where Monet gave full guilded, warrior glamour. Yvie was ani-mazing, Raja was a slutty madame – and I LIVE – while Trinity was a pastel, bimbo delight before The Viv was ravishing in red, serving drama and looking PERFECT. Jinkx was perfect as a dominatrix Mary Poppins before Jaida took us to the snake Matrix while Shea cracked the whip as a Basquiat catwoman.

Monet was praised for her Snatch choices, though they lived for Mike Tyson a little bit more. Oh and they felt her runway was perfect. Yvie’s boogeyman was universally beloved, with her runway even more well received. Raja received universal praise for all that she did this week, none more so than how surprisingly dominant she was in the Snatch Game. Trinity once again was beloved for Snatch Game, particularly well received for making such strong damn choices. The Viv was praised for being SO good and looking even better but it was Jinkx that received the best praise of all for just all around knocking everything out of the park. Ev. Er. Ry. THING. Jaida was praised for her stupidity and having fun, while the judges lived for Shea’s runway more than her very solid Snatch Games.

Backstage Yvie was thrilled to get her redemption, while it was Jinkx who was delighted to hit every single note she wanted to. And, I assume, live up to everyone’s very high expectations. Raja meanwhile continued to run away with the joy of the episode, having everyone in hysterics. Monet threw it down, praising Jinkx for being the absolute blueprint for Snatch Game before everyone devolved into madness as they tried to discuss the strategy of blocking, unsure what would be good for them. The dolls then spoke about their Kiki, Kai-Kai and Marry choices before Daphne Guinness dropped backstage and she autographed Jinkx’s wig that she had modeled after Daphne in her Jinkx colours!

Ultimately Jinkx – of course – and blocked queen, Trinity took out victory for Snatch Game. And while Trinity couldn’t take out a star, she would be able to win the lip sync AND block a sister. But as soon as Adele’s Rumour Has It started, while Trinity was coming for two out of the three mocking her plastic surgery, it was Jinxk who well and truly won the lip sync. She was stupid, kooky and oh so fun and rightly earned her star, some coin and well, the chance to hand out the platinum plunger of blockage to Shea. Much to the absolute delight of Trinity. De. LIGHT.

As everyone ventured backstage, I quickly caught them between the mainstage and the Werk Room to explain that I have quotas to meet and since Broom is not eliminating them this season, I’ll be catching up with them in reverse alphabetical order, based on those with the least stars every second week. Super simple to follow, no? In any event, they got it and as such, Yvie was primed and ready as I screamed her name like I was Frau Farbissina and pulled her aside to give her a regal peptalk.

I gushed – both literally and figuratively – about how great her Snatch Games were and that she clearly came back ready to slay the game and have fun doing so. Her confidence glow-up since winning was evident and her energy has already been so much fun to watch, and did I mention her sexy Boogeyman? Anyway, her run thus far more than earnt her a Birryvie Tacoddly to celebrate her strong start and fuel her for the rest of her run.

While some may argue a meal this good could give her an unfair advantage as she progresses through the competition, I don’t really mind. Because it is, so damn good. Hot and spicy, dripping in cheese and packing a sharp punch from the salsa, it is the perfect combination of flavours.

So enjoy!

Birryvie Tacoddly
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2-3 cups Birriana Goodchild, shredded with an equal amount of the braising liquid
⅔ cup coriander, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 lime, zested and juiced plus extra to serve
salt and pepper, to taste
12 small tortillas
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese, or regular mild cheese like mozzarella

Method
Prepare your birria as per Brianna’s recipe (or get a store-bought portion, I don’t mind).

Next, combine the coriander, onion and lime zest and juice with a good whack of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and leave to reast for half an hour so the flavours can mingle and the juice cuts through the onion a little bit.

When you’re ready to go, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Dip a tortilla in the braising liquid and pop in the pan to char a little bit. About 30 seconds or so. Flip the tortilla, sprinkle with some cheese, followed by the beef and then close over to form a taco. Cook for a couple of minutes untl the cheese is gooey. Flip and cook for another minute.

Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done, keeping the cooked ones in a light oven to stay warm.

Once they’re all done, serve with a generous spoon of the coriander salsa and some extra braising liquid, for dippin’ and some lime wedges. Then devour, messily. Just like Yvie would like.


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Corn, Capsicum and Halomar Zahlad

Main, Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey decided to get shady and returned the Do or Die Twist to the game, which yes, we all hate. So thankfully, it was once again a total bust and Queen Lindsay lived to fight another day. Sadly, it wasn’t a good episode for all our queens as Drea trusted Omar with information about her Knowledge is Power advantage. And then our King brutally neutered its power and blocked every single one of her plans before uniting the tribe to get her out of the game.

Back at camp Lindsay was thrilled to have overcome the Do or Die drama, with the tribe all genuinely appearing to be glad she was saved. Though maybe that is because Omar set off some epic drama at tribal council to get rid of Drea and well, that always makes a survivor feel good. None more so than Lindsay, who now  has an idol because the final amulet is gone and Mike feels like he owes Omar, making him grateful. And for everyone else, Omar painted the biggest target on his back since Drea pointed out he is the one that orchestrated her demise, so that is a win for everyone. Oh and Mike has zero intention of protecting Omar, instead wanting to get rid of him before he could cross him too. 

As everyone slept, Mike and Maryanne caught up, with Mike reiterating that Omar is only looking out for Omar. Maryanne meanwhile was already well on the journey of wanting him gone, since the jury had just watched Omar pull off an epic move and now was the frontrunner to win, should he make it. Instead, she planned to use her extra vote to have her moment in the sun and usurp his place in power. And yas, Maryanne, work!

The next day Maryanne caught up with Omar, Lindsay and Romeo, with Maryanne sharing how paranoid Mike was becoming while Lindsay instead focused on how necessary it was to take out Jonathan. Said duo meanwhile were down by the shore to talk through their options before Omar joined them, unaware that Jonathan is well and truly ready to get rid of both him and Lindsay. And put an end to the Taku domination.

Just like that the tribe met up with Jeffrey for another reward challenge where they would have to untangle a spool of rope until they could make it to a series of obstacles, which they would then traverse before, you guessed it, solve a puzzle! Oh and more importantly, the winner could choose between chicken and veggies or a cake and cookies feast.

As the challenge got underway, Jonathan got out to an early lead while Maryanne axed herself multiple times and almost took out a camera person, laughing in delight the whole time. Lindsay started to close the gap with Jonathan before everyone caught up at the puzzle. Because yeah, it is a puzzle. Somehow, out of nowhere, Omar found his rhythm and quickly solved the puzzle, taking out victory. And dare I say it, grew the target on his back. We then got a touching moment where Omar shared that he powered through the challenge to make his niece proud. Sadly though, the joy quickly turned to shade as Jeff told him he could pick two people to join him for chicken, or three if he goes with cake. So he obviously went with cake, selecting Romeo, Maryanne and then Mike.

Which only fired up the challenge beasts even more. (I assume).

The victors disappeared down the beach to enjoy their feast, Romeo in particular, given he has not had a reward all season. While Omar spoke about feeling guilty about not picking Jonathan, he shared with us that he is thrilled to be making things more difficult for the beast. Speaking of Jonathan, he and Lindsay were both pretending to still be aligned as they smashed all their rice. When the two groups came back together, Lindsay and Mike went for a walk, with Lindsay assuring him that as long as Jonathan doesn’t have immunity, he is fine. 

Mike went back to Jonathan to loop him in on Lindsay’s idol – oh, she told him about her idol – and told him that they need to guarantee she doesn’t take out immunity this week so that she can’t use said idol to protect Omar. He then ran to Maryanne to push for her to take out Omar too, assuring her that he would play his idol for her at the final five, unaware that she has her own idol and as such doesn’t need him. But in any event, she is thrilled to get rid of Omar. Mike then told Maryanne about Lindsay’s amulet idol and given she wasn’t aware of things, she was also ready to get rid of her instead since she is clearly just a goat to Lindsay.

The tribe reconnected with Probst for this week’s immunity challenge where they would each race through obstacles collecting puzzle steps, build a ladder, collect a bag of balls and then land said balls on a table maze. Jonathan obviously got out to an early lead, while Lindsay and Romeo nipped at his heels. Lindsay and Omar took over and started to pull away and got to work on their balls, with Lindsay whipping through and starting on the maze ahead of everyone. Eventually Jonathan, Omar and Mike joined her, with Jonathan landing his first ball just ahead of Lindsay. As they tried to manoeuvre their second ball towards the final slot, Lindsay dropped before Jonathan dropped just at the very end. Which gave her enough time to land her ball and take out her second individual immunity.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Lindsay on her win, while she was just thrilled to come out on top of Jonathan. Speaking of Jonathan, he was nervous about Lindsay playing her idol on Omar, so instead, he and Mike planned to take out Romeo. Lindsay assured Jonathan that Mike was the target before she caught up with Maryanne and Romeo to lock in the vote against him. While Omar took care of Mike. The duo then caught up, with Lindsay assuring Omar she has no intention of playing her idol as she doesn’t want it back in circulation.

Sadly for both of them, Maryanne was still pushing ahead with the Omar plan and caught up with Mike to talk through the plan. And Mike had changed his mind and wanted to play it safe and target Romeo and get rid of him instead. As such, Maryanne approached Romeo and looped him in on the extra vote and set in motion the plan to band together to get rid of Omar. Maryanne returned to Mike and Jonathan, telling them that with her extra vote, they could split the vote between Romeo and Omar, blindsiding Lindsay and Omar and sending the latter from the game. Barring any shenanigans at tribal council, obviously.

Right on cue the tribe arrived at tribal where Omar spoke about worrying that this one could be as wild as the last. Romeo spoke about the dynamics changing as everyone looked towards making decisions of who to sit with at the end, rather than how to get there. Lindsay agreed that they need to start looking at threats, while Omar mentioned he has been looking at threats for the entire game and now there are just less places to hide. Maryanne meanwhile spoke about feeling less on the bottom and that she was finally able to think, while Lindsay admitted she is feeling confident with the plans she is involved in. But can never guarantee she is the right plan. 

Mike reiterated his passion for trust while Omar agreed that you always run the risk of someone not believing what you’re saying and changing the plan, even when you’re telling the truth. Jonathan spoke about the fact that somebody is being lied to tonight and as such, someone is going to be sad back at camp. Maryanne spoke about the fact that due to the Shot in the Dark, you can no longer rely on a unanimous vote, proving its fundamental weakness. But whatever.

With that, the tribe voted – Maryanne twice – before she pulled off the epic 3-2-2 vote against Omar, getting rid of the biggest threat. And landing a big, juicy entry on her own resume. And while it is always painful to be voted out right before the finale, Omar was still overjoyed as he entered Ponderosa. Because as the victim of an epic move, he is always going to be remembered as the biggest threat of the season that needed a big move to get rid of him. As such, we giddily smashed a Corn, Capsicum and Hallomar Zahlad and started planning his strategy for his inevitable second season.

Salty, sweet and packing a herbaceous punch, this salad hits all the right notes (and then some)! Plus, since it is salad, you never have to feel guilty about smashing a massive bowl. Right?

Enjoy!

Corn, Capsicum and Halomar Zahlad
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 corn cobs, husks and silk removed
250g haloumi, thinly sliced
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups rocket, washed and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters depending on the size
⅔ cup chargrilled capsicum, drained and cut into strips

Method
Pop a cast iron griddle pan over a medium heat. Once scorching hot, brush with olive oil and pop the corn on the pan, cooking, turning occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until nice and charred. Remove from pan to cool.

Next, fry the haloumi for a couple of minutes each side. Again, hoping to get a good char. Remove from the pan.

Combine the parsley, coriander, mint and oregano in a jug with the olive oil, red wine vinegar and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.

To assemble, pop the rocket in a bowl and sprinkle over the tomatoes and capsicum. Cut the corn off the cobs in chunks and pop over the top, alongside the haloumi. Drizzle with the dressing and devour immediately. Ideally with smug satisfaction.


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Lentil Pie Giang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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Shayelle Larbjoie

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the final four met Jonathan on a cliff over a watering hole in the middle of the outback, ready to hang over the edge for their final immunity challenge of the season. Because surprise, as we’ve expected, there was going to be a final three this year! As everyone has speculated throughout the season, Shay took out the final endurance challenge of the season, leaving the boys and Chrissy at risk. Despite assuring Chrissy that she had her back, the boys tried to run interference and confusion. Or at least Josh did, as Mark quietly joined the girls to eliminate Josh as the final juror AND Fourth Place Robbed Goddess of the season.

The next day Chrissy was heartbroken to discover that she had burnt her socks while trying to dry them on the fire before Shay interrupted her bickering with Mark to pull them aside for a walk. Mark admitted that he is proud to have made it to the end though is super grateful to Sam, given she played a massive part in him making it all the way. And PREACH, because she was an absolute powerhouse this season. Mark then opened up about his time in the military and how tough it was and that living in the bush had reminded him of some of the situations he had encountered, leading to him breaking down.

And again, congratulations Mark. But damn, Chrissy was so sweet as she told him that he will now have memories of his time on Survivor when he sees a creek, rather than the trauma of war, and helped him process his emotions. So he can win the competition and Chrissy just gets our hearts, I guess?

The trio headed back to camp where they discovered a huge basket of food for the traditional final three feast as we heard from Shay, who was proud to show that women can be strong icons and ugh, I love her. While Chrissy was just completely shocked to have made it to the end, she reminded us that her name has never come up and that proves that she has played a strong game, though the fear is that a jury may not value it enough to reward her with a vote. Though trust and believe she was ready to tell Khanh how bloody good he has looked, rocking his fashions on the jury.

The final three arrived at tribal council where Jonathan introduced the jury and ran through how this evening’s proceedings would go. Each member of the final three would get to make their pitch, followed by the jury asking questions followed by an open forum. Oh and then they will vote for a winner.

Mark kicked things off talking about how stepping out into Samoa changed his life, though lost the game of Survivor, making him and Sam enter this game with a steely focus. He highlighted that he has been playing a strong strategic game from the very first tribal council by taking out Andy as a threat. He then chose to stay away from Sam at the swap before ruining the season for me by taking out Sandra. He then praised Khanh for playing such a strong game which is why he blindsided him at the merge before praising Jesse as one of the biggest threats, which is why he had to go. He then continued the praise game, explaining he has been pumping Josh up all season to have a meat shield at the end of the game and as such, his departure is why he is sitting there.

Shay meanwhile spoke about how she has fought hard throughout the entire season, losing her allies before merge came and at her lowest after being sent to Purgatory. She then fought her way back and has pushed herself all season. Oh and she also won the most immunities throughout the season. Chrissy went a different route, telling the jury that she has played a far stronger game than any of them even realised, relying on her biggest strength, her personality. One by one she formed bonds with everyone in the tribe, before she went against Croc to save Jesse post-swap which ultimately cost him his place in the game, leading to her taking out Ben. She then said that while she loves Josh and sees him as her family, getting rid of him was her big move.

She then finished it off by praising the jury for being icons that taught her a bunch too, just for good measure. And damn, may she will actually take it?

Jonathan then opened the floor to the jury with Khanh questioning Mark over how he felt about screwing his wife over to get to the end with him admitting that they were always playing the game for one of them to win and they had to do what they had to do. Jordie jumped in to question why he made Jordie feel like shit for sending Jesse from the game when he did the same thing, which led to Mark apologising for making him feel a bit shit to get himself further. KJ meanwhile asked Chrissy whether putting the needs of those she loves in the game ahead of herself ruined her game with Chrissy explaining she did end up turning on Josh. In no small part thanks to her kids.

Michelle asked Shay how she would rate her game with Shay giving herself a solid 8 – no 8.5 – explaining that she always played from the minority and as such, she couldn’t pull the big moves like everyone else but she fought tooth and nail to get to the end. Josh meanwhile cussed out Chrissy for voting him out despite the fact he voted against her too. She explained that things felt off with him after the immunity challenge and as such, she knew he was making a move against her. He then asked Mark why he also turned on him with Mark essentially giving him the, too bad so sad, it was what I had to do to give myself the best shot at the win. Since that is why he is here, for his family.

Speaking of family, Sam was up next, who spoke about how much the jury loves the game and while it is obvious she is voting Mark, she wants to know what winning would mean to Chrissy. She opened up about coming into the game having zero clue about the journey she was signing up to and well, yeah, the jury didn’t like it. Jesse followed it up asking Mark how managing his threat level got him to the end, with Mark opening up about trying to make as many friends as possible and then essentially laying as low as possible. And then when Jordie identified him as a threat, he just agreed that he was so that it kind of disarms the issue. Leading to Jordie praising him for being a role model to him and his brother and damn, they really are telegraphing this win, no?

With that the jury voted before Jonathan wheeled out a TV to Skype with their loved ones with poor tired little Harry just wanting to go to sleep while Sam and Mark held back tears over how much they missed their son. Jonathan then wheeled out his dad and stepmother in the flesh before the tears really started flowing. Shay’s parents and Ben arrived on the scene with her mum rocking pink hair like an icon and well, her dad is adorbs, so I love them too. Chrissy’s daughters were then wheeled out and once again, I am crying. I’m also crying to see Croc again, given he was the iconic alpha male winner that we deserve. Most importantly, her daughter Lulu is a Jonathan stan too and well, I love her. Particularly since she felt sad for Chrissy having to sleep in the dirt for almost 50 days.

Chrissy admitted that it is what it is at this point, while Mark was grateful to have his parents here while Shay would be honoured for the jury to crown her as their winner. Sadly for her though, they did not, as the votes all piled up on Mark and handed him the win.

As soon as she wandered out of tribal council, I pulled Shay in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a job well done. While the jury clearly didn’t appreciate her gameplay, there is no denying that she dominated physically and when nobody is willing to play with you on a strategic level, what else do you do? As such, I toasted her success and celebrated her with a piping out Shayelle Larbjoie.

Piping hot and packed with flavour, there is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked larb. And while I may not be perfect (at cooking larb, at least), this is still a glorious punch of flavour. Hot, salty and sweet, it fills your palette with joy. Basically.

Enjoy!

Shayelle Larbjoie
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup jasmine rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 shallots, sliced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 tsp lemongrass
2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup mint, roughly chopped
salt, to taste

Method
Place a wok over low heat and toast the dry grains, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, grind and set aside to cool. Add the oil to the wok and fry half the shallots until crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a sheet of paper towel.

Crank the heat to medium and once scorching, add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp. Add in the sugar, fish sauce and lime zest and juice and stir until sticky. Add the ground rice, raw shallots and herbs and cook for a further minute before seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fried shallots and then devour.


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