Soavlaki De Muse

Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top three competed in an epic final challenge which involved learning languages, lip syncing, dancing and kiki-ing. In addition to stomping the runway in a gown, worthy of a crown. Aka the usual set-up. While Paloma struggled through rehearsal, she turned it out when taking the stage, embracing her charm and living her best life. Soa slayed literally any and all moment, while La Grande Dame was just so beautiful. And cool.

As has been the tradition of the season, La Grande Dame, Soa and Paloma were all fiercely talented icons. Though tragically, Nicky and Co. had to make a decision and while I already spoiled La Grande Dame as one of our runners-up, she shared the position with the owner of my heart Soa De Muse.

Despite a rocky start after her first win, there was no denying she was compelling as all hell and it was more of a situation of when rather than if she would bounce back. From giving killer, hilarious confessionals and being charming as all hell in the challenges and the Werk Room, she was well and truly the breakout star of the season.

And will make a very worthy winner of Drag Race France vs. The World.

As she exited the stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and while I wanted to tell her she was the ultimate robbed goddess of the season, I couldn’t do it. Because France’s top three were all iconic talents in their own ways, which made it such a joy of a season to watch.

Instead, I reminded her that she is a star and while she didn’t leave with the crown, the season is only the beginning for her and I can’t wait for the globe to fall in love with her. Just like I have. Then I stopped myself short of calling her the second coming of Ru and simply served her a big, fat Soavlaki De Muse to show her my devotion.

You know I have a passion for sticking meat in my mouth, particularly if there is dough somehow involved. And this one is even more fun than usual. Packing a punch of garlic, you’re hit with a fresh kick of flavour that has you begging for more. Like us with Soa on our screens, you know?

Enjoy!

Soavlaki De Muse
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 red onions, sliced
400g Jaida Essence Halloumi, cut into large chips
6 Pita Andre Bread
⅔ cup Carole Radtzikiwill
2 cups Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1 tomato, diced
1 cup lettuce leaf

Method
Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, thyme, cumin, chilli and paprika with a good whack of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the meat and onions and stir until well coated. Cover and pop in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

To make the kebabs, preheat the oven to 180C. Thread the lamb onto metal skewers, trying to avoid overpacking them. Arrange the onion on a lined baking sheet before laying the skewers on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until browned on the outside. Add the haloumi in for the last 10 minutes to crisp up on the outside.

To assemble, smear the pita bread with a little bit of tzatziki, followed by the chips, tomato, lettuce, meat and finally the haloumi. Wrap into a tight cylinder and then devour greedily.


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Shea Vindouleé

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

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

Who was NOT happy about it.

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

Oh and then Yvie got her wang out. Again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Shea Vindouleé
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

Serve with freshly cooked rice and devour, gloriously.


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Lentil Pie Giang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

KJ South Waustin Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2 dear friends.

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

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

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

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

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

Serve and devour immediately, hopefully without burning your mouth.


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Vegetable Samontha Gash

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the trio of returnees were ready to create some chaos, though sadly, were still tragically outnumbered. Thankfully, at the auction, KJ scored herself an advantage after bidding on a pot of tea. After the alliance locked in the vote against Jordie, Mark and Sam left their idols back at camp before KJ gagged the tribe by announcing her advantage was to send three people back to camp prior to the vote. After shoo-ing away Chrissy, Mark and an immune Josh, the purgatory trio finally had the numbers but after Sam convinced them all she had an idol in her pocket, they flipped the vote to Jordan and sent him from the game instead.

Back at camp Chrissy, Mark and Josh were shocked to discover that Jordan went home, with Josh particularly seething and as such, was ready to get revenge on anyone involved. As Josh straight up threatened Dave, Mark jumped in to tell him how stupid he is while Sam rightly praised him for making a move. She tried to calm down the enraged duo and Chrissy, while Josh just focused on how stupid their move was. When it was literally the only bloody option. Get a grip, man!

The next day the mood was still super tense, though Jordie was living his best life. Full of pride to have gotten KJ out of her shell and ready to dominate the game. He opened up about the logic to target Jordan, while Chrissy was telling the tribe how she originally thought three people were going home, so admitted to being a little relieved to have just lost Jordan. While KJ was telling Sam about how proud she was to have gotten the full Survivor experience, Josh continued to carry on, muttering about how she just painted a target on her back and that he would be getting her back ASAP.

Sam and Mark caught up to celebrate being the last couple left in the game, while Sam questioned whether they should get rid of one of their idols by burying it. She opened up about doing a double degree in law and acting, which yeah, shows she can argue a case and is a good liar but mainly I just find it a super fun fact. The marrieds agreed that while Josh desperately wants to take out KJ, that is not in their best interest and as such, they need to keep what is left of their alliance together and get rid of Jordie.

Josh meanwhile continued to be angry, but assured us he will use that rage to take out immunity again and get rid of that newly pesky KJ. Chrissy dropped by to chat to Josh, and admitted that she had time to think and suggested now would be the right time to take out Mark and Sam. But try as she might, laying out logical argument after logical argument, Josh just couldn’t bring himself to even try to flush their idol(s). And now would be a great time to remind everyone that he was sold as a mastermind for a couple of episodes.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would roll a ball up a ramp and try to build a line of blocks at the bottom so that once built, the ball knocks them over like dominos until it is long enough for one of them to drop in a bucket at the end. Mark, Josh and Jordie got out to the earliest of leads, while Shay straight up smacked herself in the face with the ball before Jordie knocked over his stack. As Dave tried to close the gap, KJ dropped hers, followed by Mark and well, I’ll cut to the chase. Everyone was back and forth, knocking over their stacks before Mark rebuilt and secured himself immunity.

Back at camp things were once again intense as Sam, Mark, Chrissy and Josh joined together to plot a new move. While Mark rightly pointed out that he doesn’t want to align with anyone that had already been voted out, he suggested that Josh or Chrissy would be able to lure Dave back to their side and take back control. Speaking of Dave, he and the purgathree were continuing to plan to get rid of Sam. Jordie pulled Josh aside to float the idea of him joining their side and get rid of the final couple and then continuing to work together until the end, alternating being the one to decide who should go home.

While Josh agreed that neither Sam or Mark would be willing to take him to the end, he still felt it was a ‘dog move’ to turn on them. Which again, is the game. But him turning on them, based on his history, is the perfect cover to avoid the idol being played. Dave traded out with Jordie, apologising to Josh for voting out Jordan before throwing Sam under the bus as the one person that pushed for Jordan to go home. And as such, Josh finally felt angry enough to make a move. A very logical, and arguably the only move he can make if he has any interest in winning. Josh started to simmer based on this new information – which again, shouldn’t have been needed – and seriously considered turning on Mark and Sam.

Even though Sam was solely acting out of self-preservation. But who cares, we’re getting a move, so let’s ignore the facts.

Speaking of which, the couple left the shelter to figure out their plan of attack. Sam rightly pointed out that tonight’s tribal council will decide how the endgame will look. And if they lose, their alliance will go out back to back to back. Mark meanwhile felt that Dave will gladly flip back to their alliance, given he doesn’t even like Jordie. Though they did agree to take the idols to tribal council as insurance, while Sam was confident they wouldn’t vote for her out of fear of the idol. Which is exactly what they were locking in, as Jordie met up with his allies to tell them that he is hopeful Josh may finally flip to their side.

At tribal council Josh spoke about his pain at having lost his cousin, though was grateful to have an alliance that he trusts. He continued to talk about his desire to get revenge, and was grateful to not have to worry about any stupid advantages. Dave spoke up, talking about how Sam played everyone at the last tribal council which confirmed her fears that Dave wasn’t with them. This led to a lot of whispering back and forth, with Josh starting to get paranoid about not being on the right side of the numbers and as such, questioned whether he and Chrissy should flip.

Sam started to worry and suggested that they will need to play an idol, which Mark quickly shut down though did admit to Jonathan that tonight’s tribal council is very important. Mark and Josh then whispered about whether they should be concerned, with Josh assuring him to just play it safe. Jordie praised Josh for playing a good game and reacting appropriately to Jordan’s boot, while Sam reminded everyone that Josh has been completely loyal throughout the game. Chrissy and Josh then whispered, with Chrissy pointing out that Jordan appeared to be giving Sam deathies and willing them to vote her out. Before Jordie and Sam each reiterated their last minute pitches.

With that, the tribe voted, Josh told Mark to play the idol for Sam but when he didn’t give them a reason, they hesitated and missed the opportunity which proved to be a huge mistake as Josh had joined with the outcasts to boot Sam from the game.  Much to the absolute delight of the jury.

As soon as I saw Sam walking into the Jury Villa, I ran to her and pulled her in for a massive hug. While at times the game has been boring, it was in no small part due to the absolute dominance of Ms. Samantha Gash, our paranoid queen. I congratulated her on returning to the game having learnt her lessons from her first (iconic) season, which led to her controlling the entire pre-merge portion of the game and wisely not targeting Sandra. While yes, her post-merge game was essentially falling on her sword for Mark, it is hard to fault in a Blood vs Water season as the duo have to decide what path gives them the best opportunity to win. And given the amount of alphas on the jury, it makes sense to prioritise Mark because sexism will always come into play (read: Chrissy losing to Ben).

She was so moved by my words, we quietly sat down at the table and smashed a big batch of Vegetable Samontha Gash.

Lightly spiced and packed full of my favourite veggies – namely peas and potatoes – these babies are near perfect. Crispy pastry and piping hot potato. Need I say more?

Enjoy! 

Vegetable Samontha Gash
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
150g potato, finely diced
100 carrot, finely diced
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ cup vegetable stock
3 cups flour
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup melted ghee
¾ cup warm water

Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft. Add the potato, carrot, peas, curry powder and chilli and cook for a minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the potato is tender. Leave to cool.

While that is getting real cool boy, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and the cumin. Slowly add the ghee and water, kneading as you go to create a smooth, firmish-not-sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

To assemble, split the dough into ten pieces and roll into discs. Cut each disc in half and shape into a cone. Pack with the filling and seal the ends with a dab of water to form a triangle. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the filling and dough are all gone.

Brush the samosas with vegetable oil and place in the oven to bake – because I’m still scared of frying – for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.


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Birriana Goodchild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Birriana Goodchild
Serves: 6.

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

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

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

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

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

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


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Haylal Snack Peake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Wai Chimichangas

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.

The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.

Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.

While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.

Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.

My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.

Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.

The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.

Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.

While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.

Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.

At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.

Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.

With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.

Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.

I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.

Enjoy!

Wai Chimichangas
Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
4 cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
2 cups refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated
Lady Guagamole, to serve
small handful coriander leaves, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.

To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.

Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.

Then, obvi, devour.


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Chickly Caliente Burrito

Main, Poultry, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 4, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Stars, 13 queens made their triumphant returns to the Drag Race stage. Like us, they learnt that there would be a game within a game this year but it was quickly glossed over and forgotten. In the Variety Show Scarlet somehow only bubbled to safe, Yara shook her titties to victory, Ra’Jah sewed a dress in a minute, Trinity bombed her stand-up and Serena sang about her wig line. Given everyone was pretty damn good, Serena and Trinity landed in the bottom, meaning Yara’s tittie shaking meant she could select who should go should she beat the lip sync assassin. While she opted to vote out the threat, Coco won the lip sync and poor Serena became the first boot.

The queens returned to the Werk Room with Trinity grateful to have survived the first elimination before Ra’Jah counted out all the votes. We learnt that Serena was unanimously booted from the competition, as Trinity thanked the girls for rallying around her and believing in her, making her feel all warm and loving. That is until Yara announced that she actually voted for Trinity to leave, which Yara said wasn’t a personal decision. Which really annoyed Trinity and made Yara nervous that she will be viewed as a little less congenial this season and instead, might be a little darker.

The next day things were far less stressful as the queens found Serena’s message, wisely encouraging them to buy one of her wigs. Ra’Jah meanwhile asked the dolls to identify the trade of the season, with Eureka saying it was probably her. Which Ginger agreed with, given she would love to trade Eureka out for someone else. Jan meanwhile was feeling her oats, which Jiggly did not feel. Eureka pointed out it would probably be Trinity, given she has the sense of danger Jiggly said was required. But given she was wearing a brooch, Silky called bullshit on TKB being a legitimate danger to anyone.

Ru interrupted the vigorous debate, arriving to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the girls would be throwing a cheeky little Blue Ball. Category 1 is Blue Betta Werk, dedicated to blue collar workers, Blue Jean Baby in honour of denim and Blue Ball Bonanza, which the girls need to design using random blue items dumped in the Werk Room, this time sans a buried Art Simone, despite her literally having blue hair.

As soon as Ru departed, the girls started fighting for the blue materials, while Eureka stood back and decided to just run with whatever dregs are left over when they are all done. Jan was opting to re-do the concept she did for the Ball Ball, with Scarlet suggesting that she doesn’t do that and instead trying something new. Jiggly meanwhile was freaking out, given she bombed both of the design challenges in her first season and the only materials left on her table were complete and utter junk. At the other end of the spectrum was Ra’Jah who was feeling confident, despite the fact she went home on a sewing challenge in her original season. Sonique tried to give her a pep talk thinking she was down but Ra’Jah explained she just needed to verbalise it and move on and damn, I love their vibes this season.

Yara meanwhile was living her best life, kikiing with the queens and being stupid while not even touching a sewing machine. You see, her plan was to wait and see what everyone else was making and once they were done, just make something better. 

Ru returned to check in on the girls, with Eureka talking about how much she has grown since her last season and was confident that her craftiness will help her turn a decent look in the third category. Jiggly spoke about how zen she is after coming out as trans and how much better she can now approach the competition, despite not being the most confident designer. Ra’jah meanwhile spoke about how she has finally chilled out and is no longer insecure, ready to take on the world.

Elimination Day arrived with Kylie ready to give the three bluest balls Ru has ever seen. Yara meanwhile was busy getting ready as a construction worker for the first category, though was still hiding her third look from everyone else. Driving Eureka and Jan mad as they wanted to find out what she was planning. Silky was hoping to work her way to the top, A’Keria couldn’t find her scissors and Jiggly was hoping to finally serve a slutty San Tropez dress.

Talk turned to the girls’ strategies, with Eureka wanting to see if they were all on the same page while Trinity alluded to the fact it will be obvious who is in the bottom just by looking at their outfits and they should go from there. Like her last season, Ginger said she would be voting with integrity and will vote for people she can stand behind. Jiggly brought up the fact that she has a lot of friends in the competition and she worried that at the end of the day, those relationships will come into play at some point.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judging panel by the icon herself, Big Freedia. On the Blue Betta Werk runway, Ra’Jah was stunning as a sexy project manager on the construction site, Kylie was a sexy-street carpenter, Eureka was a glorious crossing guard, Jan was Disney mechanic, Jiggly was stunning taking out the trash while Silky was a sparkly milk maiden. Scarlet served buzzsaw bombshell, A’Keria was a comedy welder, Pandora went from lunch lady to sexy waitress, Yara rocked the bouncy titties on the construction site, Ginger went with Mario realness and poor Trinity did the weaker version of Eureka’s look.

When it came to Blue Jean Baby, Ra’Jah wore the sexiest Canadian tuxedo, Kylie channeled Christina Aguilera and honoured her trans roots, Eureka was a gowned delight, Jan worse a structural star denim number, Jiggly was a sexy skater girl, Silky was a fringed cowgirl, Scarlet was American trash in the best way possible, A’Keria was a sexy, cut out dream while Pandora gave us all the Dolly we could dream, Yara channeled Shakira, Ginger was delightful in a chambray jumpsuit while Trinity gave us the sexiest disco diva.

For the final category, Ra’Jah was perfection in a synched gorgeous gown, Kylie gave sexy beach realness, Eureka looked ready to compete for Junior Miss Grand Supreme, Jan slayed her glow-up in the Ball Ball, Jiggly was tragically a mess, Silky dressed in and looked like a doona, Scarlet was gorgeous in a shimmering fishtail gown and A’Keria was a plastic delight, though it didn’t give her the best shape. Pandora was a delight in a blue ribbon gown despite the lack of shape, while Yara was lost in the streamers at a prom, despite making a decent gown. Ginger was stunning in a blue trench, while Trinity finally nailed it in a Cinderella inspired gown.

Jan, Silky, Scarlet, Pandora, Ginger and Trinity were sent to safety and ventured backstage to untuck and grab their drinks. Scarlet shared her disappointment to be safe yet again as was Jan, given she only used hot glue. The girls agreed Eureka and Ra’Jah would be in the top, with the latter the best shot at taking out victory. When Trinityspoke about being nervous about doing bad, she and Scarlet had beef after the latter said that they would clearly have put in her the bottom if she was bad, given that’s literally how it works. Ginger shared that she was concerned about Jiggly, though admitted that Yara did bomb her first two looks. Despite turning the final look.

Talk turned to Jan’s grandfather passing away from COVID and how he was the person that always embraced her talent and as such, she was ready to turn it and have some fun for him. Talk turned to how they should vote, with Trinity saying they should focus on track record while Silky wanted to focus on effort. Trinity said that she was both fangirling over the queens but also saw them as competition, she then apologised to Scarlet for snapping at her and they all came together and ugh, I love the dolls.

Meanwhile on the Main Stage, Ra’Jah received universal praise for each and every look of the ball. Sonique was praised for the first two looks, and the judges were glad the last look didn’t read as messy. Eureka’s first look was beloved, she was praised for doing something different with denim and the fact she gave so much structure to everything. Jiggly’s first look was praised, the second was read as off the rack and the last one, tragically, was read for being a hot mess. A’Keria was praised for giving comedy, despite not screaming welder. She was then read for being basic but praised for having vision. And poor Yara, was read for being a little too much and confusing. Which is totally her brand, right?

Ultimately Ra’Jah took out her very first victory ever, with Kylie and Eureka sent to safety. As was A’Keria who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Jiggly and Yara up for elimination.

The girls reconvened backstage with Ra’Jah giddy to share her first victory with the rest of the crew, before pointing out that Yara and Jiggly are in the bottom this week. Ra’Jah pulled Yara aside first, with Yara not looking forward to having to plead her case. As such, she didn’t really do it, but assured her that she will well and truly bring it over the next weeks and will be true to herself. Meanwhile poor Jiggly broke down with the other girls, disappointed that the one challenge she was worried about came up in week two

Ginger was heartbroken about potentially having to send her friend home, before the girls traded places as Yara cried with the other girls. She was overwhelmed to go from the top to the bottom, not wanting to have to prove herself to them given she is already sickening. Which annoyed Trinity, given she spent the first day playing games rather than sewing. Jiggly meanwhile was charming the hell out of Ra’Jah, offering up alliances and her vote before genuinely asking her to just give her another chance to show how much she has grown.

Jan meanwhile pulled the other girls aside to try and figure out how they should vote, with Eureka worried about the decision to vote for a friend coming to bite her if she is up against someone more likeable later. Ginger then pointed out that Jiggly was better in the first two categories, despite being the worst in the third. 

The tops and bottoms made their way outside for voting, with Jiggly taking the chance to run away to the carpark to breathe, sobbing as she shared her disappointed that she can’t even lip sync for her life. As she processed her emotions, the producers gave her a pep talk and ugh, it was hard to watch. 

Meanwhile Scarlet was busy being read for having the saltiest face and living in her own fantasy before Jiggly reunited with the dolls. She caught up Ginger, with Ginger trying to lift up her friend while also realising that Jiggly arguably did the worst in the challenge. As both Yara and Jiggly broke down in separate corners of the tent, the queens went to vote one by one, with Trinity backing Jiggly to fight while Ginger sobbed her way through casting her’s against her friend.

Back on the mainstage Ra’Jah learnt that she would be facing off against her season 11 sister slash Drag Race Canada judge Brooke Lyn Hytes to Miss You Much by Janet Jackson. Both girls immediately slayed the game, hitting every lyric and serving full Janet. They were popping, locking, dropping, flipping and splitting and ugh, it was glorious. As such, it was deemed a very hard fought tie, with both Ra’Jah and the group ultimately voting to send the beautiful Jiggly home, bringing tears to my eyes.

Backstage Jiggly was so heartbroken to be the one to go home though wrote the girls a cute message as she processed the emotion. By the time she met up with me, we were both blubbering messes. I was so excited to finally have Jiggly return to the competition, and while she went home early, I tried to remind her that the world already knows that she is a star and doesn’t need to rudeem herself. And while that positivity is uncharacteristic for me, that is the power of a Chickly Caliente Burrito.

Spicy, sweet and oh so delicious, there is nothing better than a burrito. Except for a burrito WITH FRIES IN IT. Aka a cali burrito. Sure, this recipe is nothing more than adding fries to Kenny’s, but when it tastes this good, who cares?

Enjoy!

Chickly Caliente Burrito
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 ¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
6 cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red onion, quartered
¼ cup oil olive oil
1kg chicken breasts
4 x flour tortillas
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli
1 batch Salsa Struthers
1 batch Lady Gaugamole
1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Combine the chipotles in adobo sauce with 1 teaspoon of pepper, two teaspoons of the salt and cumin, the oregano, garlic and red onion – minus ½ a cup of red onion – in a blender with the olive oil and blitz to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl, coat the chicken and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat an extra lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry chicken, a few breasts at a time, for five-ish minutes each side. Remove from the heat and roughly chop into 1cm-ish chunky, shreds. Repeat until the chicken is all done and return to the pan with the remaining marinade and fry for a few minutes. Leave to rest while you prep the rest.

Now would be a good time to make your fries as per Judd’s recipe and then season with the smoked paprika, chilli, and remaining cumin and a good whack of salt.

Then prep your Salsa Struthers and Lady Gaugamole.

To assemble, heap the chicken, fries, salsa and guac in the centre of a large tortilla, top with cheese and sour cream and roll into a burrito. Aka close in the ends, then roll up to close.

Then devour, greedily. Oh and store the excess chicken for the next batch of burritos.


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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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