Serena ChaChagine

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 5, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang on, wait a minute. Why do I always do this?! I mean, the ads even told us it was a Ru dawn and a Ru day. And now, well, that day is here. At midnight in the US, which honestly is perfect for me Down Under

But I digress.

A’Keria C. Davenport was the first to ru-turn to the Werk Room looking like a vision in all gold, she was joined by Jiggly and ugh, I live for her and am so glad she is back, fully embracing herself as a strong, gorgeous woman, in a little black dress to boot. Next up was Jan, living her Jantasy despite the jandemic and I hate myself for loving her and her jan-do spirit as much as I do. Particularly since she knows she was an 11 at all times last season. She was joined by Ra’Jah O’Hara in a gorgeous purple and blue jumpsuit and she is happy, friendly and ready to prove that she is a damn icon. Then Ginger Minj arrived looking a mess as a toad, but damn am I thrilled to see her back after her sub-par performance in All Stars 2.

Particularly for her warts joke.

Yara Sofia arrived for her third turn, manic, crazed and barking like a dog and OH SHIT, have I missed her. Despite not loving Silky very much, her entry was iconic with a full glass of milk in her titties and ugh, will I actually love them all this season? Supporting that theory, my love Pandora Boxx returned looking stunning, complete with butt puns and gah, it is so good to have her back. Particularly if Rob Anderson manifested her being paired with Serena and there being no other pairs. Scarlet Envy was next to join the fray, with her season 11 nemesis Ra’jah living and well, it makes me so happy. Oh and speaking of Serena, she is back and damn, did she have a glow-up because it is time to cha-cha bitch. 

Sonique finally arrived and owned the entries, quoting the transphobic entry line and reclaiming it as her own. It is powerful, she is funny and damn, I am SO glad to have her back. Next up was Trinity K Bonet, still charming and ready to slay, with Bianca’s encouragement playing in her head this go around rather than her inner saboteur. Last up was Eureka for her sixteenth attempt at the crown, this time with All Stars lips. And thankfully, still serving killer looks.

With that, Ru finally arrived to inform the largest All Stars cast EVER that they would still be a democracy this season, with everyone voting. And then alluding to a game within a game. But then changed the subject to the 14th queen, who it turns out was just the legendary Miss Piggy, who would be overseeing the reading challenge.

Kylie Sonique Love kicked things off reading A’Keria for being another losing Davenport, TKB went in on Ra’Jah for being an early out and Silky for being a mess, Jiggly destroyed Pandora for having no fans and Serena for being an alternate. Ra’Jah then arrived and savaged former-nemesis Scarlet’s beard, Eureka went in on Ginger’s relationship and then Pandora killed reading Eureka for being there. And then Ginger rightly got a supercut of destroying all of them. Serena was given the rattlesnake edit before Yara was demented and delightful, Jan tried to read Sonique but was read back in return before A’Keria was mean about Ra’Jah’s chances in the competition, Scarlet went for A’Keria butt implants and Silky was confusing but eventually got one in on Eureka.

Obviously Ginger took out victory, before Ru announced that they would be competing in the traditional premiere variety show. Which saw them all quickly split up, snatch a station and kiki. Ra’Jah and Serena were both ready to rewrite their narrative this season and prove that they are stars, before Ra’Jah celebrated the diversity of the cast. Besties Ginger and Jiggly caught up and were delightfully ridiculous, with Ginger knowing that she shouldn’t join the bitter old lady brigade again. Silky meanwhile praised Serena’s glow-up and celebrated her return, while Ra’Jah admitted her strategy was to get to the top and then stay there. And I am living for this version of Ra’Jah.

Elimination Day arrived with Eureka sharing that she’d be doing a song about her mother, while Sonique was doing a song to reintroduce herself to the fandom. Meanwhile Trinity K Bonet was just hoping to break the comedy show curse, given it was her choice to do stand-up. As they got ready Scarlet and Sonique spoke about what the game within a game could be, with all the girls derailing it by talking about whether they have a strategy. Silky laid out that she is not planning to play games and wanted to be fair, while TKB was nervous about being a bit of an island in the cast since everyone had friends or former castmates joining them.

At the variety show Jan mocked her face crack moment after being announced safe, then slayed her vocal performance about living her Jantasy. Pandora was charming and stupid and ugh, THIS is the Pandora I love, as she lip synced like a maniac, complete with titty confetti. Jiggly’s song and dance, to her own Jiggly-centric rap was a bop, Kylie was GORGEOUS as a golden burlesque singer – sans Wagon Wheel Watusi.

Oh AND THEN RA’JAH SEWED A DRESS IN 60s, I SHIT YOU NOT. I CAN’T GET OVER IT.

A’Keria gave a technicolour lip sync that had Michelle gagging, despite the green lighting. And then, ugh, Trinity bombed her comedy show. Badly, despite reading her grandma for filth. Eureka had a surprisingly good voice while singing live, complete with projections on her dress. Scarlet then dazzled with a bubble burlesque number which was both fresh and iconic. Silky then straight up played piano and sang gospel, Serena promoted her wig line, Ginger gave a poppy performance of perfection and then Yara was ridiculous as she bounced her titties all over the stage. Which was iconic, despite nobody knowing what was happening.

After Ru reiterated the rules, Eureka, A’Keria, Jiggly, Jan, Kylie, Scarlet and Ginger were sent to safety. As the dolls untucked backstage, Jiggly was thrilled to have survived the first week while Ginger was happy to at least have won the reading challenge and to prove herself. Again. Jan threw out another Jan pun, while Eureka asked the girls to help her strip off to take a seat. She then charmed the girls by saying that she was shocked they weren’t the tops, while Ginger expected Silky to win despite Scarlet being sure it was Yara’s on lock, giving how much Ru was living.

Jiggly identified TKB as a bottom, while Eureka felt Pandora would be joining her along with Serena. Ginger loved that she got a plug in for her wig line, before Jan celebrated that she wasn’t even annoyed about being safe. And Scarlet was thrilled to be feeling joy this time, as was A’Keria. Kylie shared that she was sprialling before starting the competition, though was ready to show that she had grown thanks to Ru. Eureka then broke down about losing her mum and was so endearing, leading to Jiggly talking about how much Eureka’s tribute to her mum meant to her. 

Jiggly then spoke about how she spent so long doing sex work to survive, that she didn’t even realise that she was broken on her first season. She and Kylie told the group about growing after coming out as trans and it was such a beautiful, loving conversation to have and I am so glad they are so open to sharing. Ginger spoke about how she didn’t even recognise who she was on Season 7, talking about how much hate she got that she still doesn’t even know how she processed it. Eureka praised her for being a trailblazer for big girls, before Sonique gave them all a pep talk about how them being so vulnerable and open is what makes them special. 

Oh and Ginger then spoke about the positives of meeting fans, with Scarlet admitting that she was one such fan of Ginger’s in the past. And then Jan reminded us that season 12 really had the worst experience, given she hasn’t even toured as a Ru girl so is still waiting to meet fans.

Back on the mainstage,  Silky was read for not fully taking it there in her performance, despite looking gorgeous and literally playing the piano live. Trinity’s look was praised though she was read for her obvious bomb. Ra’Jah received universal praise for her dress in 60 seconds number, as did Yara for her ridiculous tiddy-shaking performance. And I am so happy for her. Pandora’s joyous brand of ridiculous was praised for serving comedy, while poor Serena was read for not exactly executing the performance given everything else looked so beautiful and polished. Ultimately Yara took out the first victory of the season, while Pandora and Ra’Jah were deemed safe, as was Silky. Meaning either TKB or Serena were going home.

Talk turned to the voting backstage, with the girls talking about their strategies with Kylie admitting that she knows well enough not to share her strategy. They were interrupted by the tops and bottoms returning from their critiques, with Yara giddy to announce her victory to the safe girls, before Trinity and Serena shared they were in the bottom. Yara pulled Serena aside, with the latter sharing that she is heartbroken to be in the bottom after all these years. Meanwhile TKB shared that she doesn’t even know what happened at the variety show, though plead her case to the girls, reminding them she is here to prove herself. The bottoms switched places – how versatile – with Serena telling the girls she is here to fight too, while TKB reminded Yara about how much she wants to be there.

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

With that, the dolls voted and Yara made her way to the mainstage where she learnt that she would be facing off against Coco Montrese and oooooh, gurl – you in danger Yara! As soon as Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk started, both the dolls were ready to fight, but honestly, Coco is just SO good at lip syncing. Even while Yara was stripping and bouncing her titties, Coco was hitting every letter and proving why she is arguably THE lip sync assassin of the franchise. Again, she is just so good. With that, she took out victory and had to reveal that the group had voted to eliminate the delightfully redeemed Serena ChaCha.

Serena was crushed to unanimously be booted from the game by the group, particularly since Yara voted for Trinity and could have changed things with her victory. That being said, my dear Serena was delightful as she wrote her farewell message, before breaking down to discover the other queens’ notes praising her for her growth and charm. Oh and seeing the massive Serena ChaChagine I had waiting to celebrate her rudemption.

Rich and hearty, despite not having a meat in sight, this tagine is a pure delight. And while that was an accidental rhyme, you know I deliberately left that in. Because like the tagine, it is fun and full of flavour. Right?

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 pinch of saffron
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ butternut pumpkin, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, cut into segments
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 potato, cut into eighths
salt and pepper, to taste
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous, mint, flaked almonds, yoghurt and harissa, to serve

Method
Place the saffron in a cup measure and infuse in 1 cup of boiling water.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a tagine over a medium heat and sweat the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and ras el hanout for a minute or two, or until nice and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook it off for a few minutes before loosening with the saffron infused water.

Stir in the myriad of diced and sliced veg before adding the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and apricots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Give a good stir, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or so, or until the veg are tender.

To serve, layer your bowl with a dollop of couscous, followed by the tagine and whatever combination of herbs, yoghurt, harissa and almonds float your boat. And then devour, like a rudeemed champion.


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Couscous Crystalad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the queens participated in the inaugural UK Snatch Game, with politics taking the focus as The Vivienne and Baga Chips stole the show as Donald Trump and Maggie Thatch. While Sum Ting and Crystal bombed as icons David Attenborough and my dear Rue McClanahan before the former was sent from the competition. Much to the pain of one Ms. Geri bloody Halliwell.

Back in the Werk Room Cheryl was sad to lose her friend, though felt that Sum Ting’s time had well and truly come. Crystal meanwhile was heartbroken that she had to beat sweet Sum Ting to stay, though was glad to be able to prove herself in a lip sync. The queens started to untuck and congratulated Baga and Viv on their win, despite Cheryl and Blu questioning whether it was worthy of a double victory. Though sadly neither were willing to say who they thought should have had it by themselves. Crystal brought it back to Divina and asked her who she felt talks over her all the time, with Divina telling Baga and The Vivienne that they keep talking over everyone and she feels like they are trying to throw everyone off their game.

The next day Cheryl was excited for another week of mediocrity, while Baga and The Vivienne tweaked their double badge nipples. Talk turned to Cheryl’s passion for bottoming, before Ru arrived to open the library and task the girls to read each other for filth. Baga kicked things off by accusing Cheryl of using the Eiffel Tower as a dildo and Blu being the prostitute love child of Casper and The Milky Bar Kid. Divina got revenge on Baga and The Vivienne for being trash, Cheryl called Divina a horse, The Vivienne called Crystal vapid, Crystal slayed with poo jokes – The Vivienne proving you can polish a turd – and sweet Blu called out Cheryl’s overbite and backrolls like her hero Alyssa Edwards, and still slayed, despite breaking a prop covering Baga’s face. Ultimately though, it was Crystal’s scat play that took out victory.

Before Ru departed, he announced that this week’s Maxi Challenge would see the girls split into two girl groups to record their debut and farewell track Break Up (Bye Bye) under the tutelage of MNEK. As she won the Mini Challenge, Crystal was given the chance to select her team, snatching The Vivienne and girl group superfan Cheryl. The teams split up and Cheryl was thrilled to be forming a girl group, while The Vivienne was looking forward to working with Cheryl and getting to know her better. Cheryl meanwhile was super confident, given her major moneymaker was in a Girl’s Aloud covershow. Over at the other side Baga was nervous about working without The Vivenne, though looked forward to throwing herself in with her fellow Frock Destroyers. And they vowed to destroy their competition, Filth Harmony.

Each team started to write their songs, with The Vivienne nervous as she is the only one that can sing on her team. While the Frock Destroyers gossiped about their rivals and how badly Crystal will be overshadowed on her team.

Filth Harmony arrived to record their song, with MNEK proud of how well The Vivienne sang though were very concerned about her lack of spelling ability. Cheryl was totally in her element as the personification of the ba-ba-ba-baaaooooouu noise, which is beloved by Pitbull. Cheryl then did some ad libs for inclusion throughout the song and honestly, she alone should make the other team nervous. Well, until I heard Crystal’s singing, which got some awkward silence from MNEK. Cheryl though was living, calling herself the Beyonce of the team. Which is honestly true.

The Frock Destroyers owned their recording from the moment they arrived dressed in matching turbans. Baga then showed off some impressive pipes, Blu surprised herself with how strongly she sang and then impressed me with her smut. And Divina, well, she fucking can do whistle tones and holy shit, give her the damn badge right now. Sorry Filth Harmony, you’re fucked.

Speaking of Filth Harmony, Cheryl was hard at work on the choreography and had no interest in taking any feedback. And honestly, I am team Cheryl on this one, as she is carrying them this challenge. When it came to the Frock Destroyers, Divina was less of a choreog-tator and made sure everyone was comfortable with their moves and could nail everything. Back in the Werk Room both teams tried to get in the other’s head, though the Frock Destroyers confidence seemed far less misplaced than the other team.

Elimination Day rolled around and Cheryl was still thrilled by the challenge before Crystal brought the mood down and asked how school was for everyone. Blu and Crystal said that it sucked, despite not being outright bullied. Divina spoke about all her insecurities coming from her formative school years. She then taught us about Maggie Thatcher’s abhorrent law which made it illegal to ‘promote homosexuality’, meaning teachers couldn’t step in and as such, erased the queer community. To warm our heart though, she broke down telling a story of how her own students cussed out a girl in his class that called her a faggot, knowing it meant life was better for future queer kids. She then reiterated that idiot’s beliefs are just that, but their lives are reality and they are all worth it.

And just crown Divina now, because I love her.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall, as Filth Harmony made their farewell debut and while The Vivienne started out strong, she faded fast. On the flipside Cheryl was living her best life, nailing every syllable and keeping the judges in hysterics. And while Crystal was good, it was clear that Cheryl owned this performance. Then Frock Destroyers happened, coming out in matching outfits to the opening bars of Divina’s whistle tones. And they owned the week. Baga quoted herself to the delight of Michelle, Blu gave her best performance yet and Divina, as previously mentioned, is a global treasure and has more talent in her pinky toenail than we could ever dream of having.

On the Day at the Races runway The Vivenne slayed as Alexis Carrington and Pretty Woman’s love child, Cheryl stuck with her Essex roots and I loved it, while Crystal was the best of the group in a skin tight floral outfit from toe to gimp mask. Baga was quintessential Baga with a ball of flowers for hair, Blu was stunning with a horse head for hair and Divina stole the show as the sexiest jockey with a horsetail pony.

The judges felt The Vivienne stumbled for the first time, with that cracking her armour and allowing her to show some heart. Cheryl broke down before the judges even told her how much they loved her in the challenge, explaining that this is the first time she has felt like herself in the competition and was thrilled to do well. Despite Michelle hating her outfit. Crystal received universal praise for her runway despite it not nailing the brief, though they all felt she faded away in the performance. Once again Baga received universal praise, though was happy to share it around and lift up her teammates and let Blu take full responsibility for the killer band name and attitude. Baga broke down because of how great the praise was, feeling like she isn’t the front runner. Blu too received universal praise and the judges were thrilled to see her finally arrive at the competition. And then Divina got the most glowing praise of all, with the judges loving everything about her. Though Michelle was concerned about her ashy make-up.

Backstage The Vivienne and Crystal looked like they’ve come back from war, with Vivienne breaking down and showing her human side finally. Blu tried to remind her about everything she has achieved in the competition, while Cheryl assumed they would put her in the bottom just because of her runway. She then asked Crystal how she was feeling … and then spoke about her passion for girl groups and again, I love Cheryl. And her inability to read a room. Divina steered things back to Crystal and gave her the chance to work through her feelings, while The Vivienne brokedown, gave them a farewell message and pulled everyone in for a friends forever hug.

The girls returned to the mainstage where for the first time in Drag Race herstory, the Frock Destroyers were given a three-way victory. Which honestly just feels right. Cheryl was congratulated for owning her performance and was sent to safety, leaving The Vivienne and Crystal to battle it out lip syncing to Power by Little Mix. Despite fading away during their earlier performance, there was nothing holding The Vivienne back, hitting every letter and owning the entire stage. And that is no shade to Crystal, who also slayed the lip sync. But there was no way that The Vivienne was willing to go home and that passion and fire showed. As such poor Crystal was eliminated and The Vivienne lived to fight another day. And I pity anyone that has to lip sync against her in the future.

Crystal being Crystal she was bummed to leave the competition but took it all in her stride, simply grateful to be given the opportunity to show off her talents. As you probably could have guessed from my thirst, I first met Crystal while stalking her. I saw her in the street one day and was overwhelmed by her beauty, immediately enrolling in the same course at University and trying to endear myself to her. While it failed, we did become the best of friends and as such, I knew that the only way to cheer her up would be with a Cous Cous Crystalad.

I know you don’t make friends with salad, we all know that, but somehow this one manages to defy the odds. Fluffy cous cous, sweet sundried tomato and creamy feta join together to wipe away the post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Couscous Crystalad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
1 ¼ cups couscous
2 garlic cloves, minced
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 red onion, diced
½ cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
½ cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and pour into a bowl with the couscous. Stir and cover with cling wrap and leave to cook for five minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and leave to cool.

Add everything else to the bowl, stir to combine and devour.


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Lamb and Apricot Tajeana Turner

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the final six we tasked with running around L.A. to book fashion shows at a series of go-sees where Rio and Kyka dominated, despite hating each other. On the rise of villain Rio, she and Jeana continued to grow more and more dislikable though tragically landed amongst the top while momma Erin was finally cut from the competition.

We opened up back at panel where Tyra was already tasking the girls with the next challenge, where they’d be required to show off their personality. We were then treated to a delightful montage of Rio’s horrific one, which I’m hoping leads to a pride before the fall kinda gig. The girls were summoned back to panel where they were greeted by Tyra’s avatar … before they were tasked with designing their own avatar for the ANTM mobile game. Soooooo, they’re being challenged to make one of their potential prizes. You truly can’t make this shit up.

Though the fact the girls win a session with Law in a celebrity showroom makes it worth it, I guess.

When it came to presenting their avatars, Rio was moderately likeable given she reminded me that she had a brain tumour. Kyla was adorable, but Law felt she was flat, Shanice brought full Shanasty, Khrystyana was perfection and Jeana was completely devoid of personality, which is literally the challenge of the episode. Once again Khrystyana took out the challenge, pissing off second place Rio and distant fifth Jeana. On the way home Khrystyana was celebrating with Kyla which led to Jeana flipping out on her and being low-key racist. Actually, was it even low-key?

Back at the house Rio was feeling invincible after taking out another best photo, taking issue with Shanice saying everyone was struggling with the competition. Later that night Khrystyana was awoken by the tears of Jeana and because she is a saint, she pulled aside the person who was yelling at her hours before and tried to comfort her. Amongst it Jeana bitched about the ANTM game before saying she will win the competition … which isn’t going to happen after shading one of the prizes.

The next day the girls arrived at a mansion where they would need their personality to shine in a Maejor – capital M, addition of an e – music video, filmed by Director X. Much to Kyla’s delight. Once again Rio let us know that she is hella confident given she is such a winner, while Jeana was showing a tonne of humility.

On set the girls were required to kick things off showing their best boring, which Jeana surprisingly didn’t excel at despite Law’s character assessment. Also, as predicted FYI, Rio completely bombed. Tyra arrived to film a cameo as the girls were required to bring out personality, which Rio and Jeana could not bring. All of the girls then had some solo time bringing the fantasy where once again Kyla – who was thirs-ty – Shanice and Khrystyana slayed, and Jeana and Rio bombed. Which is making me feel bad now, because they had been doing so well.

Though Jeana diving into Khrystyana and Rio’s shots after smirking her way through Khrystyana’s heel breaking made it far more difficult for me to sympathise with her.

The girls arrived at panel where the music video showed that the arrogant twins were far and away the worst performers, which … hopefully is a humbling experience, right? Kyla almost flipped out when it came time to be critiqued by her zaddy Director X, leading to a hug from the man himself after which I don’t think she cared what anyone said. FYI – the judges loved her and thought she had finally shed her skin. Khrystyana received glowing praise and brought her usually delightful personality to panel. On the flipside, Jeana bombed, Rio was read for filth and Shanice brought model to the face and hero cosplay to the body. We also learnt that Jeana was requested in the pillow fight scene too which definitely changed the narrative, so sorry Jeana. Once again Khrystyana took out best photo – her fourth Rio, FYI – while surprising no one, Rio and Jeana landed in the bottom two with Jeana kicked out of the competition (despite Rio performing worst in the video TBH).

Now I know I’ve been extremely hard on Jeana and Rio, but to quote the great Tyra meltdown – I was rooting for her, we were all rooting for her … when my momma yells at me like this its because she cares about me. I truly was rooting for Jeana, she was completely slaying the competition but over the course of the past couple of episodes, she got into her head and the arrogance overshadowed her insane beauty.

I screamed that in her face and after we both calmed down, we held each other and cried about how getting in her head got in the way and that hopefully this will be a learning experience if she ever got a chance to return – come on through All Stars 2! After that, our friendship was renewed – I worked at an alopecia awareness charity after being moved by the plight of Caitlin Cooper’s pony in The O.C. – and we could enjoy our Lamb and Apricot Tajeana Turner in peace while toasting to her future success.

 

 

A little bit sweet with an aggressive kick, this was the perfect dish to work through our issues whilst also allowing me to get a few jabs in. That being said, like Jeana, this is beautiful and it is hard to stay mad at it – and her – for too long.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lamb and Apricot Tajeana Turner
Serves: 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1kg lamb shoulder, diced
1 large cinnamon quill, broken in half
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can diced tomatoes
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
500ml chicken stock
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous and coriander, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minutes, until fragrant. Add the lamb and cook for a couple of minutes further, or until the meat is just sealed. Add the spices and season well and stir for another minute until the flavours release.

Stir the tomatoes, chickpeas, stock and sweet potato into the pan and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for half an hour to an hour, or until the sauce has reduced and the meat is tender and cooked through. Add the apricots, stir through and cook for a further five minutes.

Serve on a bed of couscous, sprinkled with coriander and devour, gleefully.

 

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Tagene Hackman

12th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Easter Meggstravaganza, Main

You know that friend you have that every time another close friend dies you think, damn I miss Mr/Ms X so much, they went too soon … only to Google them to be reminded of their death information and discover they aren’t actually dead?

Yep, that is my dear friend and ex-lover Gene Hackman … making him the perfect candidate for phase four of the Meggstravaganza … and a welfare check.

I first connected with Gene Genie in the 40s through our (well his brother and mine) mutual friend, Dick Van Dyke. While I had a falling out with Dick after using his name during my brief stint in porn in the 60s, Gene and I have enjoyed a close, continuing friendship for the past 70-odd years.

Gene’s passion for my porn career probably helped.

Gene and I enjoyed a brief open relationship in the late 60s, probably due to the social climate at the time, and as such, he was lucky to avoid having me as a scorned ex. This helped in him securing his Oscars, as I am one of the top award season smear-campaigners working in Hollywood.

Gene was so thrilled to see me and I him – mainly out of relief that he isn’t dead. Gene was very excited to be able to share a meal and help his former co-star return to fame (he thinks French Kiss and The French Connection franchise are the same thing). I do get the feeling he was more excited to have a nice homecooked Tagene Hackman though?

 

tagene-hackman-1

 

But who wouldn’t be?

I mean, a big kick of spice, the majesty of lamb, the trashiness addition of frozen peas and a rich, spicy tomato sauce to delicately cook eggs – what more could you want?

That’s right, nada – enjoy!

 

tagene-hackman-2

 

Tagene Hackman
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 onions, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
5 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chilli flakes
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp honey
200g frozen peas
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a large bowl combine the lamb, half the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, coriander, parsley and an egg. Season and mix well, before rolling out into balls just smaller than golf balls. Cover with cling and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine over medium heat and sweat the onions with the chilli flakes until sweet and translucent.

Scrape the onion to one side of the tagine and add the meatballs, cooking until lightly browned. Add the can of tomatoes, paste and honey, stirring carefully to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for ten minutes.

Remove from the heat, uncover, sprinkle the peas over the top and stir. Crack the eggs onto the top of the stew. Return the lid and place into the oven for up to ten minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Remove from the lid, garnish with feta, parsley and serve, generously, with couscous.

 

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