Previously on Survivor after Mike defeated Jonathan in the firemaking challenge and won his spot in the final three, the trio enjoyed one final day in Fiji before heading to tribal council. After copping a respectful grilling, Maryanne dominated the Q&A with equal parts charm and wisdom while Romeo was surprisingly confident in articulating why he deserved to be here. Sadly for him, it wasn’t enough to secure him any votes as he finished in third place.
Jeffrey then read the votes and despite playing a strong game, only one vote turned up for Mike as he took out second place, handing Maryanne a near unanimous victory as the jury crowned her the Sole Survivor.
Once Mike was done smashing pizza on the after show, I pulled him aside to perk him back up after just coming up short. Mike had played such a dominant game, controlling his tribe before the merge and managing to form meaningful bonds that carried him far into the game. Never mind the fact he was smart and knew when to make a move, all while minimising the fact he was super buff and a massive threat.
Really the only major flaw was his game was not owning it and like Sharn in Australia – who suffered her third loss in the recent election – the jury couldn’t respect it and it cost him the game. While he was disappointed at the outcome, Mike being Mike, he was super upbeat and proud of Maryanne. Though it is easy to work through the pain when you’re smashing a Mikaarage Chicken Turger.
Super crispy chicken, velvety mayonnaise and creamy avocado, smooshed between two soft buns, how can you go wrong? Oh and did I mention crunchy lettuce and a punch of kecap manis. It is, so, good.
Mikaraage Chicken Turger Serves: 8.
Ingredients 1 tbsp mirin 1 tbsp soy sauce 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp ginger, minced ½ cup kewpie mayonnaise 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 100g cornflour sunflower oil, for frying 3 avocados, mashed 1 lemon, zested and juiced salt and pepper, to taste 8 burger rolls 1 butter lettuce 2 tomatoes ¼ cup kecap manis
Method Combine the mirin, soy, garlic and ginger and 1 tbsp of the mayo in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat, before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.
Pop the cornflour in a bowl and heat about 5cm deep of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and press the chicken into the cornflour to coat before transferring the chicken into the pot to fry, two at a time, for about 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until the chicken is done.
To assemble the burgers, mash the avo with the lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Split all the buns in half and toast on a griddle pan. Spread the avo on the base, followed by some lettuce and tomato, then the chicken, followed by a drizzle of kewpie and some kecap manis. Then devour immediately, greedily. Messily. Happily.
Previously on Survivor Jeffrey gagged the castaways with the fact that they would be split up into two groups ahead of the next tribal council. With both groups having someone win immunity and both groups voting someone out. After Jonathan won his group – with Maryanne, Tori, Lindsay and Drea – reward and the chance to be the second tribal council of the evening, the all male group headed off to scramble on a second beach. And while Rocksroy thought it was an easy Romeo vote ahead for them, Omar and Hai flipped things and blindsided Rocksroy from the game and straight over to the jury bench.
Travelling back in time a wee bit, the victorious group returned to camp, quickly frying up their kebabs and devouring their feast. Lindsay meanwhile shared how thrilled she was to be grouped with Jonathan and Maryanne, meaning the former Taku’s would be able to control the upcoming vote. And given Drea has an idol, Tori is clearly the easy vote. Jonathan meanwhile was desperate to blindside Drea with the idol in her pocket, with Maryanne thrilled to be a part of the plan, given she has been on the outs since the merge. Sadly for him however, Maryanne didn’t appreciate the way he spoke to her though was willing to suck it up if she gets further. But best believe she ran straight to Tori with the Drea plan, despite him forbidding her.
Meanwhile Jonathan caught up with Drea, telling her the fake plan to take out Maryanne to flush her idol. Which would be fine, except for the fact she also has an idol and that is something that would clearly come back to bite her. Jonathan then caught up with Lindsay, with her quickly point out that the plan to put a vote on Maryanne is stupid, given if Drea plays the idol, they are screwed. As such, she tried to convince him they need to loop in Tori so she and Drea put their votes on each other instead, so that if an idol is played, they have nothing to worry about. Though Jonathan just would not listen. At all.
At their tribal council, everyone was shocked to see Rocksroy was the one voted out by the first group. Drea wasn’t sure what exactly it meant, while Lindsay admitted that seeing him on the jury has made her question whether their current plan is the right one. Drea then pointed out that seeing two African American people voted out back-to-back made her nervous, while Tori was thrilled to be able to play in a little group as it gave them an opportunity to play with different people and try different things. Maryanne and Drea spoke about the previous tribal council playing on their minds, with Drea admitted that unconscious bias is likely leading to the African American contestants going out back-to-back-to-back and as such, she was playing her idol tonight.
This made Jonathan nervous and ask what her plan would be, with Drea throwing Tori’s name out there. While everyone got on board, Maryanne started whispering to Tori that she literally can’t vote out Drea and continue the cycle. And when the whispering was clearly heard by all, she gave an impassioned speech to the group about taking a stand for who she is outside the game. Jonathan then got defensive and said that he is not racist and then called Drea agressive and well, that is unconscious bias, but as a white heterosexual male, he struggled to see that. Both Drea and Maryanne spoke passionately about how they are not calling people racist, but are shining a light on the fact that they do have a harder path forward, particularly since they always have to be ‘on’ and have a lot of pressures that other people in the game do not.
The pressure of being a representative for their community got to Maryanne who admitted that she too would be playing her idol, not because she thinks she will receive votes but because she knows some idiot on the internet will say she only survived the episode because of race. Which is very true and so damn sad. Lindsay stepped in and praised the duo for being so brave, assuring Drea that she was not being aggressive and that she appreciates they have a harder experience that they don’t understand. Maryanne then summed things up by giving an impassioned, well-argued speech about how every minority has to play the game differently and ugh, I love her so much.
Given the raw emotion, the group opted not to officially vote and as such voted in the open. After Drea and Maryanne played their idols, Tori quickly deduced she would be the one going home and after getting them to give her a reason, she went to play her Shot in the Dark, which did not give her safety, sending her home while a teary Lindsay lived to see another day.
While Tori was overwhelmed by all the emotions of tribal council, she was happy with the fact there was little she could do to avoid being the boot given it came to only her and Lindsay in danger. And as such, she quickly moved on and was back to laughing it up and regaling me with tales to avoid giving me free therapy. When it became clear I wasn’t getting any freebies, I quickly plated up some Torikish Meelight and toasted a game well played.
The turkish delight chocolate bar may be the reviled snack-size left in the bag, but genuine turkish delight is straight up delightful. Floral and fruity, super sweet and melt in your mouth, it is the perfect way to turn around a day.
Torikish Meelight Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 4 ½ cups caster sugar ¼ cup powdered gelatine 1 cup hot water 1 cup cornflour ¼ tsp red food colouring 1 tbsp rosewater 1 cup icing sugar
Method Oil a lamington or slice pan and line with baking paper, pressing it into the edges and leaving a couple of centimteres overhang.
Once that is prepped, pop the caster sugar in a large saucepan with 1 cup of room temp water and stir to combine over low heat. Cook, stirring infrequently, for about 20 minutes or until the sugar has disolved.
Grab a candy thermometer and pop it in the pan. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil without stirring, simmering for about 20 minutes or until it reaches 116C or the ‘soft ball’ phase. Reduce heat back to low and continue to simmer for five minutes, maintaining the heat at 116. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile whisk the gelatine in a jug with the hot water. Pop the cornflour in a bowl and whisk the gelatine mixture in to combine, avoiding any lumps forming before whisking in the red food colouring to give a pale pink colour.
Slowly whisk the cornfloured gelatine into the hot syrup until smooth. Return to the heat and simmer for an additional five minutes or so, or until it is translucent. Strain into a heatproof bowl, removing any foam or scum in the bowl before whisking in the rosewater. Pour into the prepared pan and leave overnight at room temperature to set.
Once set, lightly dust a chopping board with icing sugar and turn out the turkish delight. Using an oiled knife, cut into large cubes, dust with icing sugar to coat and then devour. Greedily.
Previously on Drag Race España the dolls got creampied by the Pit Crew before they were tasked with a little improv. In the form of starring as guests on Putricia’s Diario for the Maxi Challenge. While Samantha’s look was iconic, her performance didn’t go anywhere while Jota was overwhelmed by her sisters. In her performance, Venedita stole the show from start to finish and rightfully took out the win. Poor Jota landed in the bottom with lip sync veteran Samantha Ballentines, and rightly chose to focus on the emotion of the song which was key to saving herself as Samantha sashayed away.
Backstage the dolls were in their feels, while Jota was just glad to survive and ok that Samantha had gone given she wasn’t exactly thriving in the competition. That being said, she and Estrella were definitely going to miss her motherly ways and all that they have learnt from her in such a short amount of time. Though Estrella was thrilled to not be in a house with her and Macarena, given they both finished in tenth place and it is clearly cursed. Everyone gathered around to swap stories about Samantha before Estrella went on a shady rampage, telling the dolls that Jota should not have even lip synced and explained why Onyx was far worse. Before a fight broke out, the dolls congratulated Venedita on a well deserved win and all appeared to be forgotten.
The next day Estrella confronted Marina for trying to take her farting crown from her which led to Marina trying to explain her fight with Juriji to the other girls and well, nobody seemed interested at all. Though they did end up making up so I guess that is a win? Before Diamente could act on her desire to mount Onyx, Supremme dropped by with the Javiers to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, they would be putting on a little rusical, Holy Drag Camp! Which is a riff on the Javiers’ Goya winning film Holy Camp, inspired by their stage show Holy Camp. So yeah, this is los Javis inception moment. And I am horny for it.
Supremme bid the dolls adieu before the Javiers gathered them to lock in the roles, with Drag Sethlas and Diamante fighting for the same role before Sethlas pulled a Camden and realised she could slay another role and bounced out. Marina meanwhile was ready to take the lead role, Onyx was cast as a painting while Sharonne was typecast as the old queen. Oh and then Estrella and Jota also fought for a role, until Estrella auditioned and made Jota shit her pants about living up to the performance. And as such, she quickly opted to take the last free role.
The queens quickly joined Carlos Marco on the Mainstage to record their songs with the quartet of muses – Vendetta, Drag Sethlas, Juriji and Jota – mostly knocking it out of the park. Drag Sethlas was demented and hilarious, Sharon hit EVERY note, Estrella was delightful and cute, Onyx was awks, Marina seemed sedated and Diamante was very energetic. When it came to rehearsal, Sharonen and Estrella were clearly the stars while Onyx and Diamante were kinda just there. Oh and the muses were a mess.
Elimination Day arrived with everyone feeling the pressure of the upcoming opening and closing night of their rusical. Well, except for Diamante, who was more focused on getting spit roasted by the Javis. Which is super relatable. She then did a hard pivot, opening up to Juriji about her difficulties growing up and how she struggled fitting in as an immigrant and ugh, they are so damn sweet I can’t handle it.
Supremme, Ana and Los Javis were joined by La Prohibidia on the judges panel for the debut performance of Holy Drag Camp! The muses opened the show in the most demented way possible, with Jurij’s voice knocking it out of the park while Sethlas was hilarious. While Marina felt a bit flat, Diamante did her best to pull her through the show before Sharonne and Estrella arrived and lifted the energy. They were stupid, fun and oh so delightful. Onyx meanwhile was just there, but given the role, I’m not sure what else she could have done anyway. Wait, then Marina got a solo number and well, she can sing and really leaned into the emotion of her role and ended up slaying.
After watching the entire rusical, uncut, the dolls stomped the Two looks in One runway where Juriji was a disco Marie Antoinette. Onyx cracked out of a space egg and into a glamorous alien, Venedita was a rainbow troll that transitioned into full glamour before Jota went from a tree to Botticelli, however said reveal took an ever to do and ended up super awkward. Sharonne went from a white bird to a metallic phoenix, Drag Sethlas went from baby to doll to bride and well, she stole the runway. Particularly after she added her fourth sexy honeymoon look. Diamante served Kinder Surprise realness, Marina was inspired by Priscilla, going from dancing queen to a supermodel and Estrella was show stopping as she cycled through the iconic looks of Marilyn Monroe and well, it was a good week for Estrella.
Ultimately Jota, Onyx, Sharonne, Marina, Estrella and Juriji were deemed the tops and bottoms of the week. After Sethlas, Venedita and Diamante exited to untuck, Juriji was read for getting lost in the rusical whenever she wasn’t singing. Though everyone admitted that they loved her runway. Juriji broke down as she opened up about never feeling good enough which led to an epic pep talk from the judges and ugh, I love them. Onyx was read for being there in the rusical and for only doing one look on the reveal runway. Jota was read for revealing too soon on the runway and kinda botching it, and for struggling with her lines in the rusical. Once again, Sharonne received universal praise for everything she served this week, while the judges absolutely lived for Marina dominating week. That being said, their love for the duo was nothing compared to Estrella who was universally beloved and then she had everyone in tears as she thanked Javier Calvo for giving her a gay man to look up to on TV and ugh, now I’m crying too.
Backstage Venedita was showing off a third reveal she had prepared for if she had to lip sync before the tops and bottoms joined them and well, Onyx and Jota were not happy. Onyx was angry to be in the bottom despite such a strong look while Jota felt she wasn’t the worst. While Estrella and Marina celebrated being in the top, Juriji started to sob over landing in the bottom and disappointing herself. And yeah, the dolls were definitely going through it.
Ultimately Marina and Sharonne were deemed safe as Estrella took out her first win of the season before Onyx was sent to safety, leaving Juriji and Jota to fight for safety to Baloncesto by La Prohibida. And yeah, Juriji is a damn star, as she perfectly stripped down and leant into the sexiness of the song while Jota lost her wig and started to look desperate as she went from camp, to a late breaking run of sexiness while Juriji just stayed in the pocket. Which was enough to save herself as Jota was booted from the competition.
While Jota was heartbroken to leave the competition, I was quick to remind her that despite a short run, she was memorable and charming. Which is what I say to all young stars in the hope that they will like me and make me look cool. But seriously, how the hell did Jota do what she did at only 19? Want to know what I was doing at 19? Vomming in public toilets before I even made it out for the night because I had no stamina. As such, we laughed and cried, while I wished to be young again before we split a batch of Melta Carajomenta.
Melting moments, in addition to being delicious, hold such a memorable place in my heart. From my sister bringing extras home from the cafe she worked at when I was a kid, to my friend being obsessed with them as a dessert for after our pastel de carne breaks at work, melting moments are perfect. And sweet. And delicate.
Melta Carajomenta Serves: 6.
Ingredients 330g butter, softened 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 ⅓ cup icing sugar 1 ½ cup flour ½ cup cornflour 1 lemon, zested and juiced
Method Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Pop 250g of the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the vanilla extract and half a cup of icing sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Fold through the flour and cornflour until just combined.
Using your hands, roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and pop on a lined baking sheet. When you’ve formed an even amount of balls, this is very important, press them down with a fork to flatten slightly. Pop the baking sheet into the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the biscuits get chill, cream the remaining butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with the lemon zest and juice until light and fluffy. To assemble, pipe some icing on the base of half the biscuits before sandwiching with the other half. Close, dust with some icing sugar and devour. Triumphantly.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World the dolls joined together to rumix Ru’s song Living My life in London in honour of their very own hometowns. Neglecting the fact London is not Ru’s hometown, but I digress. Janey tried hard but sadly couldn’t sing. Lucky for her, there was post production and that little issue didn’t end up weighing her down. Sadly in the performance, she got a little bit lost while Juju was praised for finally looking as stunning as we’ve come to expect from her. And well, Mo was praised for being the best. Ultimately it was team U.S.A. that landed in the top, with Juju winning the lip sync and tragically sending the iconic Janey home.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have made it to the end, once again for Baga and Mo. And again, again and again for Juju. After a brief moment praising Janey for her killer run, they quickly moved on to praising themselves for surviving. Blu pointed out that now every country had scored a win this season, except for Canada since Jimbo was clearly throwing lip syncs to avoid having to eliminate anyone. While resting in the shade, Juju asked Mo who she chose to go home,with her admitting that she also selected Janey. Though mainly because she had an alliance with Blu, which was news to Juju and Baga.
More importantly, as they de-dragged Blu asked Juju if she was looking forward to being a runner-up again and well, I live.
The next day, the jubilant top four returned with Juju proud to finally jag her second win in Drag Race herstory while Baga reminded them that badges don’t mean shit in the competition and the judges will take the entire season into consideration. Or as is now tradition in the UK, they’ll ignore the people with the most wins and crown Ru’s fave. Speaking of Ru, she dropped by to congratulate her top four queens and announce that they would be stomping the Grand Finale Eleganza Extravaganza runway before copping a roasting from the judges and the eliminated queens before they would compete in a lip sync smackdown for the crown.
Which made Baga realise that she is not going to be winning this season.
The dolls immediately split up to get ready, with Juju particularly proud of the diversity of the final four, despite the fact they are only from the UK and the US. Blu pointed out that while Juju was loving them now, she was very shady when they started the competition, while Baga was overwhelmed to be facing off against legends like Mo and Juju. She then opened up about her insecurities about her make-up ability and looks and ugh, is this the late breaking winner’s edit for Baga?
Blu admitted that she’s really happy with her run this season, proud of her performance and glad to have grown so much in the competition. Mo spoke about how this time she feels calm and content, arriving ready to shine rather than worrying about the competition. Juju meanwhile opened up about her own pride, going from her very, very slow start to ultimately triumphing and giving the judges the good Juju they’ve come to love.
The eliminated queens kicked off the Grand Finale Eleganza runway, with Lemon looking like a star as a giant maple leaf at the Victoria’s Secret show. Chez was a floral delight complete with her signature dab, Jimbo was dark and shimmering with a moose headpiece, Pangina was perfection as a golden, Thai-Elizabethan delight while Janey was beautiful in her tulip skyscape gown. When it came to the top four, Baga looked glamorous in an Elizabeth Taylor inspired number, with a weird but cool headpiece. Blu was a frilly, sky blue Bo Peep, Juju was stunning in a red sparkly peplum number while Mo, obviously, stole the show in a silver boned bodice with a massive orange train.
The judges lived for everything Baga did in the season, simply because she continued to be quintessentially her. And while she didn’t elevate from the start, she kicked things into high-gear after Snatch Game. And the finale runway? Michelle lived for the fact she finally accepted being beautiful rather than doing more caricature work. Baga thanked Ru for changing her life, vowing to always come back whenever she is asked. Like Juju. She opened up that the world needs more joy and her motivation in life is solely to make people laugh.
Blu was praised for her epic growth between seasons. She gave consistently strong performances, was hilarious in the variety show and owned Snatch Game, all while giving elevated looks each week. And more importantly, she played the game. Blu opened up that when she saw the cast, she assumed she was a filler queen and as such, she was inspired to dig her heels in and prove why she deserves to be here. She opened up that the world needs drag for representation and that she wants to continue to be a light for queer kids.
Juju was read for not giving classic Juju at the start of the competition, but when she chose to arrive at the competition, she once again starred and lived up to her legacy. Juju opened up that she saw a picture of her mother who abandoned her just before she arrived in the competition and has been struggling with her childhood emotions. But once she realised that she had a loving family in her sisters, she got out of her head and starred. Juju believes drag is important because it gives people hope, and is beautiful and love. And ugh, she knows how to give a finale speech!
Mo received universal praise for the entire run, particularly because she is a star and brought look after perfect look. I mean, the Butch Queen runway flooded all of our basements. She opened up about how her tough childhood made her quite guarded, though was grateful that she finally was able to build a relationship with her mother. She agreed that the world needs drag more than ever because it is the love language. While she now has sisters all over the world that may not speak the same tongue, but they do speak the same language. And shut it down, because THAT was a speech.
Alan sent in a video message, Billy Porter sent his love and gave full Mo realness, and it was so damn wholesome that even when Naomi Campbell dropped by, she couldn’t even bring herself to throw a phone.
Backstage the final four spoke about how proud they were of each other, particularly for being so open on the mainstage. Juju revealed that her mother didn’t just abandon her and her sisters, but it happened six months after her father’s death and that trauma is still triggering for her. Mo and Blu just wanted to cry but were interrupted by the eliminated queens, with Lemon desperately wanting to hear what happened during the season. You know, since Pangina cut her journey short.
Janey stepped in and pointed out that Blu eliminating Pangina was the biggest gag of the season, particularly her reaction to it. While Pangina joked that she didn’t wail, she did say that Blu assured her that she wouldn’t eliminate her. Which she vehemently denied. Pangina said that she didn’t eliminate Jimbo as competition but because she was the worst in that week’s challenge. This led to Jimbo calling bullshit on that, saying that Pangina didn’t listen to her in the deliberations. She then listed everything she hated about Pangina for fun, but said she was simply letting it out into the universe. Lemon asked what everyone learnt, admitted she learned nothing while Jimbo learned forgiveness – lol – while Pangina grew and was glad to get to know her sisters.
My friend-again Elton dropped by to explain the rules of the lip sync smackdown for the crown, with a wheel spin deciding the match-ups before the winners of the first round battling for the crown. Lemon then brought out the wheel and spun it, landing on Mo. Who then picked to face off against Baga Chipz, which she admitted was a strategic choice. Shellshocked, Baga was then allowed to pick which box to open to select their song, which ended up being Domino by Jessie J. Which delighted Mo. Obviously, Mo entirely demolished the lip sync from start to finish, giving killer moves, nailing the lyrics and well, showing her heart. That being said, Baga put up a huge fight, serving comedy and camp and honestly, her granny moves were completely magnetic.
Ultimately though, Mo took out victory and moved on to lip sync for the crown while Baga was eliminated. As the crew scurried out to reset for the next battle, I yanked Baga off stage and pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on her performance throughout the season. No matter what way you cut it, Baga is a star and while that sometimes can go to her head, that magnetism is not something you can buy. You can reward it with a big ol’ bowl of Baga Curry Chipz, however.
I know this may not sound appetising to anyone outside the UK, but curry chips are kind of amazing. Sweet and spicy and oh so warming, the sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the crunchy chips. And whether you like to admit it or not, it is delicious.
Method Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and saute the onions, garlic and ginger for ten minutes or so, or until soft and fragrant. Stir in the curry powder, turmeric, raisins, vinegar and star anise and cook off for a minute. Slowly stir in the stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour.
Remove the star anise and mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of water until smooth. Stir into the sauce and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until thickening. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice to taste.
Cook the fries to your liking before topping with a large heaping of the sauce and then devour. I promise, you’ll feel much betta. Much betta indeed.
Previously on Australian Survivor, while Blood and Water were still battling it out, Jonathan switched things up and offered an individual immunity for each tribe. As both of them were attending tribal council, meaning hijinks were guaranteed to ensue. On the Water Tribe, things came down to Khanh and Sam, with the former promising his necklace to Sam, who quickly fainted when stepping out of the challenge. On Blood meanwhile, Shay completely dominated her tribe while Jordie tried valiantly to bring her down. With their main target immune, the sausage fest opted to take out Mel over on Blood, while Sam and Jesse were owning Water and ready to finally get rid of Ben. Sadly for them, he had one last shot at redemption as Mel and Ben were able to battle in a fire challenge to return to the game. With Mel ultimately smoking the competition and sending Ben home. For realsies, this time.
The next day the Blood tribe were thrilled to be waking up on Day 26, particularly Mel since she had suceesfully won her way back into the game. Jordie spoke about how great the last 26 days have been, exhausted and overwhelmed but so happy to have made it this far. He encouraged everyone to celebrate their successes given everything could change in a minute and oh God, my newly minted villain king is going, isn’t he? Shay meanwhile was missing Ben though thrilled he is getting some breakfast sausage – OMG, swoon – while Jordie was more focused than ever to get to the end with his brother.
And again, Jordie is toast, isn’t he?
Both tribes joined Jonathan in the middle of the bush where he quickly announced that their tribes are no longer as they have officially merged. Which is convenient as Sam literally brought all her belongings, including a fishing rod like it was 6 year-old me taking my maths book in a fire drill. But I’ve digressed. After everyone hugged and traded out their rancid buffs for fresh, clean numbers, Shay shared she was ready to kick things into overdrive, while Jordie was thrilled to actually be hanging with his bro and Sam was just grateful that she and Mark finally made it to the merge. I assume because it means they can stay together.
With that out of the way, they were tasked with competing in their first individual reward challenge where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and then walk back and forth to collect blocks which they would use to build a pyramid on the balancing board. Oh and the winner would score $60k. Like, what?! That is more than Sharn won over two seasons as the runner-up. Madness!
Madness, but also lols.
In any event, this sort of challenge is never exciting to read about, so I will spare you the they dropped, they dropped commentary and instead will tell you that while Mark got out to an early lead, Shay was playing it fast and loose while Chrissy was surprisingly dominant. Though none of them were competition for Khanh and his steady chef hands, who defied everyone dropping around him and jagged the mega-jackpot reward without dropping once. And sadly made that target on his back just that little bit bigger.
The newly merged tribe arrived at a sandbank in the middle of the river – which TBH, is a bit triggering in Brisbane ATM – for a celebratory feast where they quickly congratulated Khanh on taking out his massive prize, which he was thrilled about despite now being the foremost challenge beast of the season. He was thrilled to be a single in the newly merged tribe, given he doesn’t have to worry about anyone else when playing his game. While everyone was thrilled to be smashing their food, Jordie pulled his brother aside to focus on the game, looping him in on Mark’s idol and catching him up on his sausage fest alliance.
The tribe ventured back to the camp formerly home to the Water Tribe where we finally met Mel and Michelle, who are iconic identical twins who are ready to come and dominate the game. By putting their twin powers to good use, obvi. Sam and Mark too were thrilled to finally redeem their first runs, ready to get some idols and take some names. While Mark oddly stayed quiet about his idol, despite the fact they are straight up married. Sadly for him, Jordie and Sam then caught up by the shelter with Jordie telling Sam about her husband’s idol and well, let’s just say she was pissed. And while Survivor may have brought them together, it may also be the reason for their divorce.
Sam eventually confronted her husband, who thought it was absolutely hilarious she found out from someone else. Giving his mate a smirk on the way out of camp to fight about it. While Sam was happy that Mark’s little snafu had proven himself loyal to Jordie, I can’t help but feel like it makes him look like he has some hardcore trust issues. But whatever.
The tribe reconvened at the shelter to come up with the merge tribe name with both Glitter and Bin Chicken thrown around before they settled on the even worse option of Lava. Which, yuck! Thankfully though Chrissy was well and truly ready to fight for her place in the game, which makes the shit name feel better. Mark caught up with his alliance of five men – the four J names and him – thrilled that with the addition of his wife as their sixth member, they can take control. And with Sam, comes Khanh meaning they should be unstoppable. But you best believe that while Mark was willing to use Khanh, he was still focused on getting him out ASAP. Meaning, maybe not?
The Lava tribe joined Jonathan by a dam for the first individual immunity challenge of the season, the iconic ‘When it Rains it Pours’, most famously won by Shi Ann in All Stars as she briefly blocked Romber’s dominance. You know they one, they hold on to a rope tethered to a bucket of water with the last one standing, dry, winning immunity. Out of nowhere Chrissy was the first to drop out of the challenge, quickly followed by Michelle while Jordie was talking shit at everyone before he and Khanh dropped together, followed by Mark.
After ten minutes, Mel and Josh dropped back-to-back, leaving the rest to battle it out. Five minutes later, KJ fishing for compliments led to Shay dropping out of the challenge, followed by Jordan, while Mark and Jordie grew bored as they waited around and started strategising, debating the merits of voting either Khanh or Shay out. Sam and Dave were next to drop, leaving Jesse and KJ to fight for immunity. Despite putting up a strong effort, poor KJ couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping her rope after 50 minutes and handing immunity to Jesse.
Back at camp Jesse was well and truly feeling his oats, thrilled to be immune though definitely concerned about how exactly he would be taking control of the tribe. He caught up with his former tribemates, with Sam, Mel and Michelle thrilled to band together as the couples to take out the singles. Sam’s husband Mark meanwhile was still solely focused on blindsiding Khanh. He and the boys were thrilled to lock in the vote split between him and Mel, given they can eliminate another pair at worst case. Meanwhile Sam and Jesse were focused on getting rid of Shay instead, locking in their plans and ready to dominate the tribe. After Khanh was looped in, he pulled KJ aside to lock her in as a number against Shay before moving on to Mel and Michelle.
The latter then approached Sam back at camp, with Sam assuring her the plan is still to get rid of Shay though she did think she should check in with Mark. Who then straight up shat all over her plan when they caught up. Mark then went in on Sam’s loyalty to Khanh, ignoring the fact Mark and his alphas are all the more threatening than Khanh and leaving him as a target could help their longevity. Their bickering was interrupted by the arrival of Khanh, who quickly pointed out they were having a domestic and offered to help counsel them. Sadly unaware that Sam was fighting to protect him, while Mark was stubbornly wanting to get him out.
Sam moved on to Jordie to question why nobody is considering Shay as a viable boot option, with Jordie admitting that turning the tribe off voting out Khanh simply seems near impossible. But boy did Sam continue to fight, bless her. Jesse meanwhile had given up fighting Khanh, approaching his brother with each agreeing to stay loyal to their alliances to get the maximum amount of information for them as a pair. And maybe they will be a formidable duo after all?
At tribal council Shay spoke about how difficult it already is to navigate the merged tribe given she hasn’t even had a chance to talk to everyone before firmly calling all the pairs out as threats. KJ agreed that being outnumbered by the pairs is scary, particularly since they’re all so strong. Jesse tried to downplay their advantage, talking about the fact there are so many ways the tribe could split things. Mark spoke about how he and Sam have not seen eye to eye so far, but out of the spirited discussions, the best ideas have risen to the top. Aka his, in his mind. While Sam tried to downplay the fact they were having a domestic and assured everyone she will stick to who she is loyal to. Mark agreed that tonight is a big vote for everyone to prove their loyalty.
Khanh fully accepted the fact he is a massive target, particularly since he just won $60k in a challenge. While he wasn’t sure he could truly trust anyone in his tribe, he opened up to Jonathan about how trust is always a risk in life and sometimes you just have to take the risks to build something great. Shay meanwhile wasn’t having much faith in the tryibe though reminded everyone that she is a safe single vote that can be added to any alliance. Which led to Mark continuing to gloat about how much better his alliance and plans are than Sam’s and ugh, yuck. Khanh meanwhile was just hoping his trust wasn’t blind.
With that the tribe voted and Khanh held on to his idol while Sam tragically sided with her husband’s alliance and booted him from the game. Thankfully to become the King of Jury, which honestly is the only worthy finish for him if he couldn’t take out the win.
As he arrived at the fresh, clean and very empty Jury Villa, Khanh was still taking his shocking blindside in his stride but given he will be the person taking home the second biggest prize of the season, how could you not be happy? Given we’re both highly respected members of the queer cooking community, Khanh and I have long been the best of friends so he was thrilled to see me waiting for him. While normally my meals are a step down from what he makes for himself, after a month in the bush, he was thrilled to see me whipping up something other than rice and beans. This time in the form of my – Diana Chan inspired – Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs.
As you’ve probably noticed (or definitely will have by the end of the season), I am almost as obsessed with dumplings as I am about burgers. I don’t know if it is the fact they are essentially little mouthfuls packed with flavour, but these babies are so good you’ll forget you just got booted and are now responsible for the entire jury.
Method Combine the chicken mince through muscovado sugar in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for an hour to rest.
Once things are nice and chill, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp and fold as desired. Given my lack of skills, I try and hide behind a pleat to cover my bad joins.
Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.
Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. Ideally with some Nam Jimbo Dressing.
Previously on Drag Race UK the top five were put through their sped-up paces in a timed, yes timed, Fugly Ball. To rub salt in Krystal’s Snatch Game-sized wound, the second category even featured an appearance by Charity Shop Sue who lent them some of her charity shop wears to turn their looks. Vanity’s first look wasn’t loved while Scarlett’s last two were deemed way too boring. On the flipside, Kitty was living her best life from start to finish and was finally reward with her first victory of the season. Vanity and Scarlett meanwhile were forced to lip sync, with the latter sadly going home. Screaming like Bimini in Beastenders (which aired after this was filmed, so no hate).
Backstage Kitty was literally shitting her pants with excitement, proudly strutting back in while Vanity screamed about the fact she got rid of Scarlett. Kitty meanwhile was shocked that Scarlett wasn’t going to be in the top while Krystal was proud about how damn killer Vanity was in the lip sync. Kitty pulled focused back to herself, thrilled to no longer get shade for not having a badge and ready to get another. She then asked who they think will be the next to go, with Kitty suggesting Vanity should start packing her bags though she rightly pointed out that she can definitely turn a lip sync and save herself, should she bottom again. Which Ella told her didn’t scare her because she has two badges and no bottoms, and girl, be careful, Ru doesn’t care about track records anymore. Just call my love Bimini.
The next day the dolls celebrated the fact that they are officially the top four of the season, thanks to the fact they dumped three in the last two weeks. Ella admitted that she was surprised she didn’t win last week, though was tolerating the fact it went to Kitty. After Krystal pulled a me and reminded everyone how young she is, Ru dropped by and surprisingly didn’t murder her. Instead, she tasked the dolls with starring in Ru’s low budget sci-fi blockbuster Bra Wars: The Fempire Claps Back. And given Kitty is the current reigning Miss Fugly, she was able to assign the roles to her sisters.
With that, Ru disappeared and the girls gathered round to read through the script with Vanity thrilled to show some diversity. Ella and Kitty meanwhile vied for the role of Brabara-ella, which Kitty obviously snapped up for herself. Krystal was debating between Darth Shader and Baby Yolo while Vanity desperately wanted the latter. Kitty then dropped the bomb that she was debating between being casting the dolls in safe roles or being shady. Instead though, she decided to open a casting agency and got the dolls to audition for her. Ella was obviously great, Krystal was a bit of a mess until she started doing accents while Vanity had zero accent game. As such, Darth Shader went to Ella with She-3P-Ho to be played by Krystal and Baby Yolo went to Vanity.
The queens quickly split up to run their lines and get ready, with Ella thrilled to be doing her day job though knew that that meant she would really have to bring it because the judges will be harder on her. Vanity meanwhile was terrified upon discovering she is just a head while Krystal was worried about getting her lines down as she has dyslexia. While Kitty and Ella were praising her on the other side of the room given she was essentially born to be a drag queen and they are confident she will do well.
Our thesbians joined Michelle on set to film the first scene with Kitty just hoping they do better than the commercials where nobody won. From the start Vanity struggled … to stick her head in the baby carrier. Kitty meanwhile struggled to get the line, ‘space nut milk’ which was delightful and hilarious. Poor Vanity was in her head until Michelle encouraged her to give more and ugh, I really hope it’s a fake-out edit and she is great. Ella meanwhile couldn’t hear or breathe, flubbing her lines and starting to get in her head and well, now I hope this is the fake-out edit. Krystal too struggled to get her lines down with Michelle stepping in and talking her through her concerns, telling her to take a breath and relax. Begging the question, whatever happened to Michelle Visage-berg?
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls sharing how difficult filming was before Krystal reminded them that half of them will be in the bottom and as such, they really need to bring it on the runway. As they split up to get ready, Kitty shared how safe she feels with the dolls while Ella opened up about feeling terrified about walking down the street in drag. She spoke about a few weeks earlier when somebody threatened to beat them up on their street, leading to the girls opening up about how they have been conditioned to not do PDAs and their traumas of people behaving badly towards them in drag.
Ru, Graham and Michelle were joined by zaddy Russell Tovey on the judges panel as the queens walked the Scenes Stealers Runway. Krystal was in a stunning black and white Cruella inspired number with a gorgeous red coat. Ella was the sluttiest Oompah Loompah known to man, Vanity gave us stunning BAPs realness while Kitty was gorgeously demented as Kate Winslet’s entry scene in Titanic. And well, it was iconic from start to finish. I mean, she dropped the necklace and Michelle questioned whether Jack could fit on her wood. Perfection all round.
We then watched the premiere of Bra Wars and gurl, there were fake-out edits galore because the foursome killed it. Kitty was demented and charming, Krystal was hilarious, Vanity was gloriously OTT and Ella was a campy delight.
The judges loved Krystal’s willingness to listen in the challenge with Michelle praising her growth while filming. And obviously they felt her look on the runway was perfection. Michelle pointed out that Ella started off nervous in filming but ultimately killed it, while the judges lived for her killer Wonka look. Vanity was praised for throwing everything at the wall in the role and making it a moment. And again, they lived for her runway despite the fact Michelle wanted more diversity from her. Rounding things out, Kitty received universal praise from start to finish, giving it her all and injecting all the comedy she could. In the challenge and on the runway.
Backstage the dolls toasted to their killer performance in the challenge with Kitty ready to hook up with Russell. As was Ella. And Vanity. Krystal meanwhile felt uncomfortable watching her performance, worried that while she got good critiques, she will likely be in the bottom. The dolls spoke about who would be lip syncing with everyone agreeing that Vanity and Krystal will be in the bottom, including Vanity and Krystal. Ella pointed out that Vanity has given a few similar runways but Vanity was still proud of how she performed. Ella and Kitty then started debating which one of them will take out victory and while Krystal felt it was rude, she wasn’t bothered because it was very obvious they did the best.
Given the judges were feeling all the love, Ru announced that instead of a bottom two this week, the top two would instead lip sync for the win – yay, finally its a good surprise to reward them for slaying! Well, after sending Vanity and Krystal to safety and making Kitty and Ella’s eyes bug out of their heads for shits and giggles. As such, Kitty and Ella were beckoned to the front of stage and forced to battle for victory to Girls Aloud’s Something New. And damn, did they fight! Ella was popping and dropping, selling sex all over the stage while Kitty was a damn fucking star. She hit every lyric, was camp and ridiculous, giving us everything we could want and more. And then Ella did a series of splits before humping the ground. And then Kitty rocked some death drops. And well, it was all perfect and I can totally understand why Ru gave them a double win.
Because. They. Slayed.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have all survived the challenge and ready to continue slaying as the top four. Kitty and Ella admitted that they were shocked as the other dolls got called safe, though were glad to have a pleasant surprise. Ella rightly directed the dolls to their track records, pointing out that she has three wins to their 2-2-1, though Kitty did argue that her sash should count for something. Kitty then posed nude for Ella to draw her and damn, this is the Titanic I would have loved.
Note to self, is there a gay porn parody of Titanic? Because I need it.
The next day Ella was still feeling Kool Aid man with herself now that she has three badges, while Vanity pointed out that while she only has one badge she is killing it. Kitty joked that she plans to get to the end by winning challenges, while Vanity told her that she will always win a lip sync while Ella knows she will get to the end based on talent. As poor Krystal admitted that she is feeling a bit under the weather.
The dolls then had a clothed orgy which was interrupted by Ru who arrived to task the dolls with a roast for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they roast themselves and the panel including guest judge Kathy Burke. Oh and they will be performing in front of their eliminated sisters, meaning they’re fair game for a reading too. And because Ella has the most wins, she is allowed to decide the order. As the dolls sat down to kiki, Krystal admitted that she is shitting herself while Kitty is ready to slay, while Ella is nervous about writing jokes and Vanity is ready to read herself and the colour orange.
Kitty asked the girls how hard they are going to go in during the roast, with her encouraging everyone to go hard because at the end of the day, they need to make people laugh. Oh and Krystal is ready to go in on Ru because she is always a good sport. Which you know is going to backfire. Ella asked the girls where they would like to go in the run before admitting to us that she plans to put the worst first so she can go second and slay, followed by the next worst and then close the show with a stronger person. Which is convenient since Krystal wanted to get it over with, Vanity requested a middle slot and Kitty wanted to open or close. As such, she decreed the order as Krystal, herself, Vanity and Kitty, which didn’t go unnoticed by the latter.
The dolls split up to start working on their sets with Kitty taking the role of cracking herself up, while Vanity admitted that she was struggling to go in on the judges as she only likes to tear herself down. Ella meanwhile was ready to lean into her dad jokes, which she finds hilarious and oh god, is she in danger?! Kitty turned everyone’s attention to the fact this challenge is what gets them to the final with her admitting that she will be destroying everyone because she is hungry for the win.
As they split up to beat their mugs, Vanity and Ella bonded over their childhoods with the former talking about how confident she was as a kid. Ella admitted that she had a very supportive upbringing, however dance school made her try and act more masculine. She then shared that Ella is how she taps into her feminine side and makes up for lost time. Vanity admitted that her femininity gets clocked all the time but she is grateful that her parents instilled confidence in her and were so supportive and ugh, I love them.
Meanwhile Kitty was loving how gorgeous she was looking.
But before we could explore her charming confidence, we headed to the mainstage where Ru, Michelle, Alan, Kathy, Anubis, Elektra, Victoria, Veronica, Charity, River, Choriza and Scarlett were waiting with bated breath for the roast. Krystal opened The Pearly Gates Roast by going in on Charity in a cute, charming way. She then made a tonne of age jokes that went over well before opening up about being a virgin, and then explaining what a virgin is to Michelle which should have been an easy laugh but was NOT. Krystal then made more age jokes at Veronica’s expense which opened up the audience roasting her as Veronica started heckling with Ru quickly jumping on the bandwagon.
Ella was charming and hilarious from start to finish, reading Anubis with glee and calling Veronica a threat to society. It was brutal, polished and damn, I love her. IT. WAS. PERFECTION. I mean, is this the best roast on Drag Race ever? Yes. The answer is yes. Scone or scone, the debate continues! Talk about being typecast?! They were stupid but so funny and charming. Poor Vanity never really stood a chance following Ella’s performance, though her read about her fellow sisters being the white supremes was great. Kitty completed Ella’s nefariously brilliant plan by also knocking it out of the park – she was self-deprecating, upbeat and hilarious. And brutal. So damn brutal.
On the Oh My Goddess Runway Krystal was stunning as a sun-crowned dream, golden and perfect. Ella was a frosty, icy delight in a constellation bodysuit. Vanity wore The Bodyguard version of Krystal’s look, Cleopatra and Queen of the Damned rolled into one. While Kitty was a flowing, Greek goddess in the most Kitty way possible. Krystal received praise for starting out strong and being charming, though read for sticking to age and whore jokes. And obviously, they loved her runway. Ella rightly received universal praise for literally everything this week, because there is no way she is damn losing this challenge. On the flipside Vanity was read for not going hard enough though both her looks were beloved. And then Kitty too received universal praise for killing the roast, despite being so reliant on her notes. And again, they loved her opera diva does Hercules look.
As the dolls untucked backstage they all agreed that Ella clearly has her fourth win in the bag as they toasted to making it to the top four. Kitty was thrilled by her feedback while Vanity and Krystal were proud for pushing through despite being so nervous and outside of their comfort zones. Their kiki was interrupted by a siren where we got a message from Ella’s boyfriend and more importantly, their gorgeous, angel pupper, who is now my lovely prince. Kitty’s parents were sweet and more importantly, their dogs are great and not interested. Krystal’s mum looks my age, so that is that and now I feel super old. Then Vanity’s sweet husband came on the screen and ahh, I ship them, he is so damn cute. Oh and then Ella told them all that they are family now too and argh, it is so lovely and sweet and I love it.
Obviously Ella took out a very well-earned, fourth victory with Kitty joining her to battle for the crown next week. That left a fired up Krystal and Vanity to lip sync for the final place to Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate. And damn, they were ready to earn their spot in the finale. Vanity was her usual killer self while Krystal was flicking her hair and serving the judges everything. There were synchronised splits, they hit every lyric and ugh, they proved why they made it to the top four. Though obviously, somebody had to go and poor Vanity’s luck finally ran out as Krystal went through to the finale.
Backstage, sweet Vanity was so thrilled to see me and to celebrate making it to the top four. I mean, yeah it sucks to know that you made it so close to the end, but that, as they say, what friends are for. You see, Vanity and I have been dear friends for years – I painted my bedroom orange when I was ten and she wore a couple of orange looks on the runway – so knowing that she had the love and support of one her closest was more than a win to her.
We laughed, we cried and then frankly, we got to work smashing the recipe of the season in the form of the gorgeously talented and stunning Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice.
Velvety smooth custard, the crunch of the pastry and the punchy flavours of baklava combine to form the greatest of desserts. Sweet, earthy and honestly, stunning, there is no better way to honour such a talented queen.
Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients ⅓ cup pistachio kernels ⅓ cup walnuts 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed 20g butter, melted ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 ½ cups cream 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 ¼ cups raw caster sugar 1 ½ cups milk ¼ cup cornflour 6 egg yolks 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 tbsp honey 6 whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 2 tbsp rosewater
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 10x20cm loaf pan, and lined the sides with baking paper, leaving an overhang. Finely chop the pistachio and walnuts and place them in a bowl.
Place the pastry on a baking sheet and brush with the butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, followed by half of the nut mixture. Then a drizzle of the rest of the butter. Place in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven, stab with a skewer and top with a second baking sheet to keep flat. Return to the oven to break for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
While things get as chill as Cynthia Bailey post-wedding, stir the cream, vanilla, ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer before removing from the heat. Then combine the cornflour with the egg yolks and remaining milk in a jug. Whisk the two together and return the saucepan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes or until nice and thick.
Cut each piece of pastry in half and place a rectangle, nut side down, into the loaf tin. Top with custard mixture, followed by pastry, custard, another slice of pastry, the rest of the custard and finishing with the pastry. Cover and pop in the fridge to set overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and zest in a saucepan with the honey, cloves, cinnamon and ⅓ cup water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves before cranking to high and simmering for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Strain and allow it to cool.
To serve, decant the slice, carve, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and drizzle with the lukewarm syrup. Then, devour.
Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.
The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.
George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.
Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.
At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.
And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.
Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.
Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.
Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.
Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.
Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.
Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.
Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.
As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.
Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.
Custard George Mladanish Serves: 2 dear friends.
Ingredients 4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole ½ cup raw caster sugar 1 tbsp vanilla extract ¼ cup cornflour 2 cups milk 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed ⅔ cup flaked almonds
Method First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.
Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.
While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.
Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.
Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.
Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.
After the top four appeared on Ru and Michelle’s podcast, they were challenged with dropping a verse on Ru’s Super Queen before Todrick arrived to choreograph the live performance. The Queens then brought their All Stars Extravaganza to the mainstage and despite slaying the game, Naomi and Monique were cut ahead of the final lip sync.
Which ended with the gag of the season to end all gags of seasons – even besting the queens eliminating each other, Bebe – with Monét and Trinity both taking out the season and landing a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Full disclosure, I hated Trinity when the season 9 cast were released. Call it the cast photo or my judgemental nature, but I assumed that I would hate her and looked forward to her disappearing in the first few weeks. Then I saw her perform and week after week, she wore me down and by the time it came to lip sync for the crown, I desperately hoped that she would somehow take out victory.
While we all know how that ended, Trinity did win and fan and I was thrilled to see her come back to the competition and slay another season. And most importantly, finally snag herself a crown. So condragulations on your long overdue win, Trinity. I hope the Trinity theking Duck Pancakes honour your victory and keep you fed while locked in the Hall of Fame.
Delicate pancakes, melt in your mouth duck that packs a punch and some fresh cucumber? Sign me up, these babies are glorious.
Trinity theking Duck Pancakes Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tsp tamari
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
4 duck breasts, skin on, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry with a paper towel
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 shallots, thinly sliced, plus extra for serving
1 cucumber, de-seeded and julienned
hoisin sauce, to serve
Method Combine the tamari, shaoxing, salt and five spice in a bowl, and rub into the duck breasts. Leave skin side up on a plate and transfer to the fridge to marinate and leave the skin to dry out.
Flash forward to the next day and blitz the flour, cornflour, water, milk, egg and half the butter in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a jug and fold through the shallots. Cover and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.
To make the pancakes, brush some of the remaining butter in the skillet and pour a couple of tablespoons of batter in the skillet, spread to form a thin pancake and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once. Repeat until done.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Bring a lug of oil to heat in a skillet and once scorching, place the duck breasts skin side down and cook for five-ten minutes, or until the fat renders. Flip the breasts and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.
To serve, transfer the duck to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Place some duck, shallots and cucumber on the centre of a pancake, slather with hoisin and devour like a winner.
Hot damn! Another month, another season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is rolling around with All Stars 4. I mean, can you believe that it was only eight months ago that Ru and Michelle brought about the tomfoolery of a jury, leading to Shangela’s robbery after becoming the front-runner after BenDeLaCreme self-eliminated, leaving the public to question the validity of poor Trixie’s win despite the fact she is a killer queen?
Once again I’ve decided to serve justice for the queens of All Stars 1 and am assembling a group to help me count down to the fresh season. Because not everyone can get redemption like Latrila – werk – this season!
Given I was feeling some robbed-goddess realness, I reached out to the OG runner-up slash Miss Congeniality and one of the most negatively impacted by the teams of All Stars, my dear friend Nina Flowers. No shade to Planet Tammie, whom I love.
Neens was thrilled to final be able to drop by and get the publicity boost that comes with being on this patch of cyberspace. And to reconnect with one of her biggest fans. I mean, back when the vaseline lensed season 1 rolled around, Nina was serving bald, tattooed zaddy realness and I was here for it.
I was so obsessed in fact, that I would make her picnic lunches for us to share. With my Stuffed Zuccnina Flowers being the dish that made her most likely to reciprocate my feelings.
I used to be completely creeped out by the idea of eating zucchini flowers. No doubt left over from fearing actual zucchinis as a child. Then I decided to brave them in my pursuit of Nina owning me, and lets just say I fell in love. The delicate floral flavour mixed with lemon, chilli and cheese fried to molten perfection is, well, perfection.
Stuffed Zuccnina Flowers Serves: 4.
Ingredients 12 zucchini flowers, stymens removed but baby zucchini attached
⅔ cup fresh ricotta
½ cup pecorino, grated
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested
1 cup cornflour
½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups soda water
vegetable oil, for frying
kosher salt, for serving
Method Combine the ricotta, pecorino, chilli and lemon in a bowl, and spoon into the flowers. Lightly press the top to close and place on a lined baking sheet while you fill the rest.
Meanwhile whisk the cornflour, flour, baking powder and soda water in another bowl, and bring 2cm of oil to hot heat in a large saucepan. Once scorching, dip the flowers in the batter and place into the oil a couple at a time. Cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.
Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Tess didn’t react well to the Brad blindside leading to her and Tara going to (passive aggressive) war. On the flipside, Matt’s confidence grew and grew following the blindside, however Lisa admitted to patiently waited in the wings to take her shot at him. Sadly she was unaware that Matt and Dave were old school chums and as such, were protecting each other at every possible juncture. Before the cracks could show in that alliance, they rallied the tribe to take out one of the biggest threats in the form of icon, goddess and queen, Renee.
Back at camp Dave was caught up in the semantics of the betrayal that lead to he and Renee’s feud, unable to see how telling someone to put their vote on her is wrong if he voted with her in the majority. Thankfully Zadam explained that it was in fact a betrayal since they didn’t actually communicate anything. Despite the peptalk, Dave was still hurt slash concerned about his game and as such, Adam was sick of the whining – don’t whine in front of Adam FYI – and vowed to get him out ASAP.
The mood was looking up the next day as Matt and Zadam joked about a Scissor Paper Rock immunity challenge – which would be iconic, TBH – and chilled around camp. Thankfully Lisa was on hand to bring some excitement, identifying that now is the time for her to take out Matt since they’re down to seven and she no longer needs to worry about Renee. Before we could see her work her magic, treemail arrived announcing a glorious food reward. They think.
With that, they trundled off to find Kiwi Jeff to learn they would need to balance a pole of corn on the end on an ever expanding long, hard pole – aka the challenge that almost killed Joe-gel in Second Chances – with the winner snatching themselves a sweet feast. Which almost made them all cream their shorts. Given this isn’t the most exciting challenge to watch unless someone faints, the Kiwis added some Harry Potter musical queues as Lisa made jokes – maybe – about nobody liking a floppy pole before she, Tess, Tara, Adam and Matt dropped their corn leaving Dave and Eve to battle it out. Though since Dave had clearly struggle for the past couple of minutes, it came as no surprise that he soon followed and handed Eve a shit tonne of sweet treats. And us, the joy of seeing Dave just miss out on winning another challenge.
While Matt felt that yet another Eve victory painted a big old target on her back, she chose to share her reward with his bestie Dave – and Zadam who reminded us about his massive pregame botox injection – so hopefully that can help keep her alive. Adam was concerned about sharing the reward with Dave, given his penchant for eating to the point of vomming … until he saw the massive spread and almost died. Though true to form, Dave made out like he had eaten too much and that he was regretting it. Which Adam obviously felt was a dramatic cry for attention.
Back at camp Lisa and Tara tried to convince themselves the pre-challenge teaser was more than enough for them before Tess put an end to the happiness by pointing out Dave had been on every reward while she hasn’t been on one. While that didn’t get Tara to bite and want to take her out, Matt was more than willing to get her out as the endurance challenge queen. While Matt and Tess seethed, Adam, Eve and Dave bonded on reward and opened up hope for our quiet queen to avoid the boot. As did the fact that Lisa actively kicked off her assault on Matt making quick work of pulling in Tara and them trying to figure out the other two people that would be best to help them.
The victors returned back to camp with Dave continuing to be dramatic about how full he is, much to the absolute disgust of Adam who quickly unfriended Dave after their bonding. Adam then decided it was time to get rid of Dave, puzzled about why it hasn’t occurred already and why Matt wants to keep him around. Speaking of which, Matt lamented about the difficulty of playing the game with someone he is already friends with as it is yet another layer of deception they need to keep in check. Unaware she was leading the charge against him, Matt and Dave checked in with Lisa to see where her head was at heading into the next tribal. Obviously she quickly assured him that she is all in on taking out Eve and they headed back to camp … until Lisa and Matt spotted an arrow on the ground, made a meditating excuse to get rid of Dave and found themselves a hidden immunity idol. Which is great, except for the fact Lisa wants to take him out and he technically snatched it first.
With that, Matt was feeling confident about his place in the game and his alliance with Lisa thanks to his assurances that it is their idol. Sadly she isn’t feeling that trust as it now makes getting him out just that little bit more difficult and her chances of winning are now slim to none. And her pain broke my heart because I would totally react the exact same way. Lisa was feeling more confident the next day after coming up with a plan to get him to hand over the idol and sell it as a way to keep things even between them by having someone ‘own’ it and the other ‘hold’ it. Sadly it made her feel like he didn’t trust her, though thankfully that wasn’t the case and vowed to work with her to make it to the end.
Matty Chis returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the castaways were required to manoeuvre bamboo through a tangled piece of rope, then across a balance beam and lastly through an obstacle, dropping people along the way. Tess made quick work of the first stage, joined by Matt, Dave, Lisa and Adam for the second obstacle. Despite hoping to take out immunity to ensure Matt didn’t, poor Lisa didn’t survive the second round as Matt, Tess and Dave faced down the final stage. All three remained neck and neck throughout the challenge, though since Dave never wins it was clearly a two horse race which Matt tragically won. Well, tragically if you’re a fan of Lisa. Which everyone should be. Making it even worse, she audibly said “oh no, Matt won,” as he took out the challenge and she is concerned someone may have heard her.
Back at camp Lisa tried to come up with a plan B for the upcoming vote, while Matt tried to rally the troops to continue on with his plan to get rid of Eve. Dave and Eve caught up by the shore and decided to focus their attention on getting rid of Tess, or so Eve thought. Adam joined Matt and Lisa by the well to discuss who to get rid of and the weird pre-tribal mood. While they all lamented not wanting to take out Eve, Adam confirmed that her challenge prowess was a concern while poor Lisa had to stand silent instead of countering the fact she is the best chance of beating Matt at a challenge. She then went to talk to Tara who was keen to vote Dave instead, though Lisa felt they had left it too late to change up the vote before tribal and that sticking their necks out would come back to bite them. Tara tried to convince Matt to flip to Dave which did make him nervous about whether he could trust her, though appeared to talk her around from flipping. While on the other side of camp, Adam and Tess spoke about not wanting Tess to go and considered getting rid of Dave instead. Thankfully the stars aligned and Tara and Adam were able to talk before tribal council about pulling in some numbers to get Dave out instead … however since Tara has never spoken to Adam about strategy, it seems doomed to fail.
At tribal council Matt spoke about his second immunity win painting a bigger target on his back, Tara shared that she is not a hustler baby and instead just listened to what people told her while poor Eve started to break down about not being a hustler and fearing for her place in the game as everyone had ignored her during the day. She then kinda went one step too far and spoke about how hard she has fought – aka how well she has played – through sobbing tears, cementing why she does need to go. While she didn’t want to shame the people she felt betrayed her, Dave felt that she was hurt by him not voting with her despite not actually having any control or sway to change it.
Poor Eve continued to fight through tears and begged people to vote with their heart before Matt gave everyone a chance to speak up before voting. Which Zadam did, telling her that while he likes her they have never actually had a strategic conversation and as such, he has no idea what tomorrow would bring if he did in fact flip. While she – rightly – pointed out that he has a huge amount of influence on the tribe, her pleas however were too little too late, as she found herself booted from the game. While she was really gutted and emotional to find herself heading to the jury, dear, sweet Eve was quickly cheered up by the sight of a big bowl of Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce.
Now I am ashamed to admit that beef and black bean isn’t usually on my go-to list of Chinese take-away dishes, given our delicious it is. Let’s just put it down to childhood loathing – unadulterated loathing – and never really wising up to the fact of this beauty in my teen years because I had men to secretly thirst after.
So … enjoy!
Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce Serves: 4.
Ingredients ¼ cup shaoxing wine
2 tsp raw caster sugar
600g beef fillet, thinly sliced
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1/4 cup beef stock
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 green capsicum, cut into large dice
100g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, cut into 5cm lengths
Method Combine half the shaoxing in a large bowl with the sugar. Add the beef, toss to coat and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour. While that is gettin’ chill, whisk the remaining shaoxing in a jug with the cornflour, soy, black bean, sriracha and stock and leave to rest.
When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in a wok and stir fry the beef in batches for a couple of minutes or until browned. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a minute before adding the capsicum and mushrooms. Cook, stirring for a further couple of minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
Stir through the shallots and serve immediately, on a bed of fluffy rice.