Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Breakfast, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor JLP dumped a collection of heroes and villains – including our mateship king, Sam – into the Samoan jungle where the series began. Well, the re-reboot, at least. At the opening reward challenge, human puppy Matt jumped away from his usually heroic antics and tackled villain after villain to score some loot, though make no mistake, it was the legit Villains that delighted in the most drama. Though sadly the theatrics led to their first loss. At the Villains, George quickly aligned with Anjali and Jackie, and while the tribe were ready to get rid of him, the first immunity challenge had other thoughts, taking both George and Jackie out to receive care. Despite George being ready to conquer. With the obvious target off the table, Shonee grew nervous and tried to move the target elsewhere. And that was without even realising Stevie was feuding with her! At tribal council the tribe learned that Jackie would have to be medically evacuated and despite being given the chance to cancel tribal council, they powered ahead to boot Anjali.

Our first pancake, straight in the bin.

The next day the tribe were busy joking about how George will come back to the game should he be cleared, predicting helicopters,horses and all the theatrics in the world. Instead, he calmly returned with a completely busted face, stitches everywhere and swelling over his nose as the tribe immediately felt full of guilt. And as such, demanded he get a triumphant return, guard of honour and baptism included. But seriously, him crying about not feeling his legs after the accident and worrying about his mum getting a call to let her know he was paralysed was pretty hard TV. And again, his face is a complete mess, the poor thing.

I guess this has already flipped over to a George stan blog now, so enjoy and don’t say a bad word about my sweet angel George.

Over at the Heroes camp it was literally sunshine and rainbows as Sharni delighted in beach life, opening up about life as an actress in LA and how she is relishing the chance to finally show everyone who she is rather than a character or the fake world of Hollywood. Paige meanwhile was busy cracking the whip, telling the tribe to yarn and work, driving them to build themselves a delightful camp and well, she seemed to be loving everyone. Specifically Benjamin and David, the latter because he is a zaddy. Which is super relatable. We then learnt a little bit more about her life in the country, riding horses hard – her words, so completely innocent – and living the dream. And all she wants in return for playing the game is a new ute. Also, she is excited by the thought of making female friends like Hayley and Flick and ugh, she is perfection, I love her.

Back at the Villains the tribe was rather miserable, none more so than Michael who was getting angry about them being unable to get a fire. But there is a positive in his mind now that George is back, given he is still a massive threat and he can focus on booting him. Seemingly ignoring the fact that looking that injured instantly makes people feel guilty about potentially voting him out. Undeterred, Michael pulled Simon aside to float the idea to get rid of George and while he was on board, he was more focused on letting Michael do the work and jump in at the end for the final blow. George thankfully was an aware king and as such, knew he was in trouble and got to work making friends and reminding everyone that they need numbers and to win immunity above all else.

Enter Queen Shonee, who knew that George having no friends meant he would be desperately loyal if she took him in and well, being a shield for her doesn’t hurt either. As such, she approached bestie Liz – aka the alliance, Shiz which is way better than my Shizneeland couple name – to float the idea of bringing in George as their distant third. And given Liz now loved his vibe – stitches help, it seems – she was keen to bring him in and completely take control. We then learnt more about Liz, immigrating from Russian as a child and becoming the youngest Olympic pole vaulter which seemed pretty damn heroic to me! Sensing me questioning why she was popped on the Villains tribe, she admitted it was her spicy temper that landed her here and ugh, I love her. Maybe she and Shonee are like one person split across two bodies?

Oh but the tribe managed to get fire, so that’s a win!

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for the latest reward challenge – the Heroes gagged to see the Villains down not one but two members and George looking a total mess – where in rounds, a number of people from each tribe would face off on either sides on a turnstile to push the other over a line. With the first tribe to three getting 15 minutes of unadulterated pillaging time at the rival camp. George, Fraser and Michael faced off against Benjamin, Matt and Sam with George filled with the power of Macedonian Jesus, gritting his teething and pushing the other tribe. Hard. Sadly for the Villains, the Heroes played strategically, standing firm and letting them tire out as Sam coached them back to even footing before snatching the first point. More importantly, David and Shaun were rocking speedos on the bench and well, swoon.

As George shared how disappointed his gyms would be in him, his besties Shonee and Liz lined up to face Nina and Hayley, with my Shiz queens pushing through near fainting before getting a second wind to tie things up. Shaun and Flick were up next for the Heroes so the Villains knew the point would be lost, throwing in Stevie and Mimi to quickly hand the point to the Heroes. Next up was zaddies only as Simon – sadly in shorts – faced off against David who quickly lost, though he looked swoon worthy in a speedo and as such, was it really a loss? To take out the win, it was Liz versus Nina with the Olympian quickly proving her mettle and giving the Villains some much needed pep. While the Heroes tried to remind them how it is a social game and as such, they should be kind on their raid.

Which is precisely not what they did as they arrived at the Heroes camp and stole a tonne of food before George went wild, tossing their beans out and trying to cut their shelter down. Mimi though was wise and suggested they should only take half the food to help themselves when the tribes come together. Which obviously didn’t sit well with the tribe, particularly George. We then learnt about Mimi’s life in PR for a luxury brand before pivoting back to the fight, which fizzled out as she followed what her tribe wanted. Which included fizzling out their fire and leaving them but a banana each. As the Heroes returned they were thrilled to see their shelter was still standing while sweet Sharni reminded them it isn’t a shock they stole all the food given they were so damn hungry. That kindness was only until she spotted the fire had been put out and well, that was one dastardly move too far. Though given they have Paige and Gerry, the fire was quickly restarted and all was right in the world.

The tribes reconvened for the next immunity challenge where they would each race through a tunnel, push a giant ball over a track and over a ramp before knocking over puzzle pieces and then – you know it! – solve said puzzle. After George quickly smacked down Stevie for wanting to do the puzzle – not on the same wavelength, boo – the tribes started to race, neck and neck through the tunnel before Shaun Shauned, single handedly pushing the ball and the Heroes into the lead. Simon and Liz powered to close the gap for the Villains, with both tribes working on the puzzle at the same time as Ben sorted through the pieces and lined them up for Nina while George and Fraser tried to work on the puzzle as Stevie kept trying to step in. While the Heroes tried to stay quiet for their solvers, Hayley spotted the image and started to calmly coach Ben and Nina through the puzzle, with the duo pulling away and securing immunity for the tribe.

With the Villains wishing they let Stevie work on the puzzle, who clearly would have dominated.

Back at camp George was rightly bricking it after bombing the puzzle and dooming the tribe to tribal council, so immediately gathered them around to apologise for letting them all down. With Shonee and Liz assuring him he tried his best, while Simon reminded them that they should also focus on the fact they can in fact keep up with their rivals on the physical side of things. Simon and Michael caught up with the former checking who Michael had lined up and when he just stared at him, Simon got less comfortable about things and grew worried about how skittish Michael is. After chastising Michael – which was hilarious – Simon stripped down to speedos to cool down (which obvi would convince me to vote however he wants) and go rally some troops.

First he floated the plan with Shonee who quickly shut it down before George joined them and made things awkward. The trio split up while Michael approached Stevie and locked in their plan to take out George, as Simon attempted to convince Jordie and the newbies that they needed to take out the King. And while Simon was confident it was all coming together, George could tell things were not going his way and approached Simon to reiterate that they need to keep each other around as shields. This looped in Queen Shonee who wisely went person to person, explaining why it is smarter to keep George around and after getting Jordie over the line, suggested he work on Simon. 

George asked Shonee what was going on, with her pulling him aside to assure him she is doing literally all that she can. Particularly since they have already lost two women and she is unwilling to lose their only gay – like an icon – and as such, got to work turning the tribe against Michael. She approached Mimi who was thrilled at the thought of getting rid of Michael, while Sarah tried to rally Liz against George. Thankfully Mimi caught up with Simon who was frustrated at the potential change, before Shonee opened her school and explained that a swap is imminent and as such, they need to keep him around so the Heroes focus their attentions on him, rather than anyone else. George then arrived and made things awkward before the group switched out, while Michael confidently reiterated George will be the one voted out tonight.

Which is never a good line for the person uttering it.

At tribal council George spoke about how welcoming the tribe were when he returned from hospital as he fought back tears, opening up about how shocked he was to return to the game. Simon piped up to talk about how much more chaotic tonight’s vote is than the previous one, given he isn’t even sure how he would be voting tonight. This made Jordie and Michael theatrically shocked before the latter aggressively pushed for him to stick to their plan and rudely told JLP to move on. George spoke about how nervous he was during the scramble with Michael continuing to go too aggressive, pointing out George lost the puzzle for them. Queen Mimi rose to her throne, pointing out it is wrong and it was a team challenge and as such, they lost as a team. This pissed off Michael with George hilariously pointing it out as the girls all jumped in to tell Michael not to speak for them and that they lost as a team, so to shut up.

As Michael continued to spiral, the tribe started to whisper about solidifying their plan due to the antics, with George calmly watching on and lightly throwing fuel on the fire. While Simon and Jordie tried to make him feel reassured, Michael continued to fire up, pointing out George isn’t trustworthy with King George continuing to be an icon, asking what he did to Michael to make him hate him so much. As Michael grew more and more angry, the tribe continued to whisper amongst themselves, clearly locking in a vote against Michael with Shonee saying that everything at tribal council only further solidified the way she was planning to go. While Stevie reminded them that if they want loyalty, buy a dog.

Which is important, in my mind.

With that the tribe voted and despite the fact he almost got rid of his nemesis, George calmly playing him at tribal council led to everyone flipping on Michael and sending him out of the game. Which makes me worried for Benjamin, given that is now two journos out the door in two tribal councils. But alas, that is a fear for another episode. Instead, as soon as Michael entered Loser Lodger, I gave him a pat on the shoulder and told him he tried his best, but sadly a singular focus and paranoia did him in. Yeah, it was a little half-hearted, but I was rooting for Michael to be a fun, messy schemer and I was disappointed to see him go so soon due to an unwillingness to bend. As such, I slid a Ham and Micheese Croisaarren across the table in the hope that he would feel better. Or as George would say, calm down.

I know what you’re thinking. How exactly can I justify a recipe for something as simple as a ham and cheese croissant? The answer lies in the glory of an aggressively cheesy custard that packs in the flavour. Velvety and rich, it lifts the taste into something special.

Enjoy!

Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250ml cream
5 egg yolks
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ cup comte, grated
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp champagne vinegar
6 David Croissant
12 slices ham
½ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over low heat. While the cream is getting hot, whisk the yolks and nutmeg in a bowl. Once the cream is simmering, remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the yolk mixture until combined. Return to the saucepan and continue cooking until thick. Remove from the heat and fold in the comte, before leaving to cool. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

To assemble, split the croissants, pour over a little bit of the custard, top with ham and a little more custard. Close and top with a mix of the parmesan and cheddar, and transfer to the over to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp. Then devour, calmly.


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Jackie Glaziered Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Cake, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.

We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.

We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?

Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.

The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.

And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.

After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.

Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! –  who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.

We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.

That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.

Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.

Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!

But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.

Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.

Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.

The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity. 

The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.

After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.

Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.

Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.

Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.

Enjoy!

Jackie Glaziered Muffins
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
140g butter, plus extra for greasin’
1 cup golden syrup
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 cup Guinness
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
2 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.

Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.

Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.

Either way, devour with villainous glee.


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Irene Hamdubois Helper

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

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

Womp womp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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


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Vanitonne Milan

Bread, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.

After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.

Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.

Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.

As. She. Should.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.

They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.

The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.

Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.

Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).

The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.

Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.

After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.

Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.

Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup warm milk
7g dried yeast
150g raw caster sugar
250g butter, softened
5 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp kosher salt
80g raisins
80g sultanas
3 tbsp rum
100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped

Method
Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.

In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.

Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.

Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.

Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.


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Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche

Breakfast, Pie, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.

While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.

As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.

Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.

The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved
1 sweet potato, diced
1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
8 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to season
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
tomato relish, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.

Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.

Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.


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Pepperowen Knight Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.


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Jesse Piccolopez Cone

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the final five settled into their new beach before facing off in earning an advantage in and then competing in the latest immunity challenge. While Karla managed to jag herself the upper hand it was Owen who took out the win, meaning the target was firmly placed on both her and Jesse’s back as the two biggest jury threats left in the game. As the rest of the tribe tried to figure out who was the better option, they floated the idea of painting a target on Gabler and Cassidy’s backs instead. At tribal council Jesse made a show of playing Jeanine’s long-lost idol for himself and while Karla worked tirelessly to make someone else a target, the rest of the crew rightly banded together to send her out of the game in fifth place.

We followed the final four as they met up with Probst for the final immunity challenge of the season where they would race to move a bowl using tongs through a spring maze and balance it on the top of the structure. First to build their tower, winning immunity and deciding who would be sitting next to them at the final tribal council. Cassidy obviously got out to the earliest of leads as Gabler and Owen nipped at her heels. As Gabler took the lead, his tower started to wobble in the breeze due to it being off centre, with it dropping down to three bowls and handing the joint lead to Cassidy and Owen. The duo picked up the pace to pull ahead before Owen dropped a single bowl, twice, eventually knocking his stack and giving Cassidy plenty of breathing room to land her final bowl and snatch final immunity.

Proving the fact that when one Queen falls, another rises. All hail Queen Cassidy.

While the boys were heartbroken to lose the challenge, Cassidy was so proud to be living her dream and hopefully be an inspiration to little girls like those that came before her were for her. Oh and she tellingly suggested this could be a million dollar necklace, soooo, she is taking Owen and hoping Gabler will eliminate Jesse in the fire challenge, right?

Back at camp attention immediately turned to who would be better to take on Jesse in the fire challenge. Owen felt taking him on would be best for his game, while Gabler was fairly confident he would be better at it. Well, I assume. Owen admitted to us that he was feeling defeated by the game but desperately practised and after getting a roaring fire, immediately went to Cassidy to assure her that he can easily beat Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, he was well and truly terrified about his chances given he can’t really make fire. Bless him though, he knew his only shot at winning the fire challenge was to face off against Cassidy so he approached her to suggest that the only way she has a shot at winning is to eliminate him.

Which she obviously saw right through.

Jesse broke down in confessionals, knowing his time is seeing more and more likely to come to an end, disappointed to not be able to win a challenge – and the money – for his kids. Cassidy approached Gabler to check in with him before straight up auditioning him in fire making, though sadly, it didn’t appear to be going very well. Gabler then opened up to us in confessional that he plans to donate the entire prize to charity should he win and damn, that would be a wild flex and I love it. Oh and poor Cassidy continued to debate who would have the better shot at taking out Jesse, and not just that, who would take him out but also wouldn’t be able to use the challenge win to push them over the line to victory.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about how proud she is to have taken out the most important win of the season, flexing that this is also her third immunity win, equalling the most for the season. She opened up about being the most popular person in camp and how it is also a burden, given if she makes the wrong move, it could cost her. Jesse pointed out he suggested she should face off against him to win in fire, with her calmly articulating that she is confident in the game she played and as such, didn’t need it to prove anything further. With it clear Jesse would be making fire, both Gabler and Owen agreed they wanted to be the one to earn their spot at tribal council. Which Cassidy said was all well and good, but the only thing she cares about is making the decision which is best for her game. With that, she took Owen through to the final tribal council, leaving Gabler to be their potential saviour against Jesse.

The duo took their places at the fire making stations and got to work building their stacks. Gabler quickly got a small flame which quickly grew as Jesse got his going. Gabler methodically added sticks and nurtured his flame while Jesse’s whimpered out. Gabler’s continued to grow as Jesse got another flame which continued to grow, though tragically it wasn’t enough as Gabler earnt the third spot at fire making challenge – in a record breaking amount of time. Poor Jesse, the jury and us at home were heartbroken by the loss as Jesse fought back tears, sharing with Probst that he feels like he disappointed his family by coming this close and losing. Gabler sweetly assured him that they would all be so proud of him as he continued to cry about how disappointing it was for the money to slip through his fingers. Cassidy jumped in and assured him that he was only targeted because he was unbeatable and ugh, I too am now crying. Particularly as the jury applauded him as his torch was snuffed.

He was obviously gutted to come so close to victory as he arrived at Ponderosa, but I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that he will go down as one of the great players. And like Karla, is guaranteed another shot at the title (though given he is such a threat, winning may prove even more difficult). As such, he was quickly perked up as we toasted his killer run with a big fat Jesse Picolopez Cone.

Piccolo cones are fast becoming my jam. Small enough to not feel guilty, big enough to fill you with joy. Add in the fact these babies are full of flavour and you’ve got a snack you’ll keep going back to.

Enjoy!

Jesse Piccolopez Cone
Serves: 1 robbed goddess and his unwavering cheerleader.

Ingredients
1 batch Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream
24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh
200g white chocolate
1 cup crushed oreos

Method
Whip up the ice cream as per star of Season 2 of The White Lotus Kara Kay’s recipe and transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.

While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate, sprinkle with some crushed oreos and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture

Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls recovered from Snatch Game by being immediately thrown into another large, epic challenge – the ball! This time focused on weather, since you know, Canada. Despite the group having a range of experiences with design challenges – from ball winners, to design challenge winner to ball loser, to queens sent home by designs and Ra’Jah, who is literally the best seamstress to ever grace the mainstage – they all managed to pull together decent looks. Victoria debuted a Drag King look in honour of Fabio – swoon – Silky was perfection from start to finish, while Icesis was super polished. At the other end of the pack, Anita didn’t heed Silky’s advice that less is more, landing in the bottom opposite Rita. And was tragically eliminated – farewell, Down Under – after Silky took out victory over Victoria.

Backstage Rita was glad to still have a place in the competition, though was disappointed it came at the cost of her bestie. Silky and Ra’Jah praised Anita for bringing such joyous energy to the competition, before Silky took it one step further and crowned her Miss Congeniality and offered to transfer her $500 Canadian dollars as the prize. As the survivors sat down to kiki, Ra’Jah praised her sister for getting redemption on the design challenge and Victoria for becoming an absolute icon. Rita opened up about how emotional she is to have survived, with both Silky and Victoria – who also picked Anita’s lip stick – assuring her that they made the right decision as Anita was ready to go. Oh and now that everyone has had a turn in the top, they’re all unsure whether it is time to start playing games.

Oh and Vanity somehow found a coffee enema or something and well, I need to have one based on her and Ru’s reactions.

The next day Icesis and Ra’Jah admitted they were a little shocked that one of them wasn’t in the top along with Victoria and Silky, which TBH, same. While Rita still just wanted to burn her outfit. Before she could get any matches out, Brad arrived to task the girls with a quick drag Cameo Mini Challenge. And well, Silky was Silky, Ra’Jah was a delight, Vanity came through with legit tips and Rita was horny. Icesis meanwhile couldn’t remember the national album and well Victoria was fired up and stunning. But well, it was Ra’Jah who grew more ridiculous with each round, which proved enough to give her the win.

Before departing Brad announced that for their Maxi Challenge the dolls would be putting on a little comedy show, with he and husband Gary Janetti dropping by to help them work through their sets. Oh and since Ra’Jah took out victory in the mini challenge, she would obviously have the power to decide the order of the show. They sat down to kiki with everyone offering themselves up as the first performer, while Victoria was desperate to go in last place and Icesis was happy to just go wherever. To keep things fair, Ra’Jah popped herself in first place, followed by Vanity, Rita, Icesis, Victoria and then Silky. Which obviously irked Victoria, given she was the only one to request it. 

With that decided, the dolls split up to work through their sets with Victoria questioning why she wasn’t put in last place to Rita. Speculating that Ra’Jah was looking out for her sister and trying to sabotage her in the process. Silky meanwhile was nervous to be doing her first comedy challenge across her three seasons, though was ready to show how damn funny she is. Ra’Jah meanwhile was terrified about writing jokes while Icesis was hoping to knock it out of the park once again and to get the chance to gloat about being the only winner.

Ra’Jah was first to meet the Goreski Janettis, laughing about how she wasn’t her mothers favourite child despite being her only one. And well, Ra’Jah was now very VERY nervous. Vanity opened up about hating public speaking, though was surprisingly brutal and charming with her jokes. Rita meanwhile was super confident given comedy is her bread and butter, leaning into bits and vowing to get naked if she wasn’t funny. Icesis was energetic and cute, but seemed to be stuck in her head while Victoria was ready to be as crude as humanly possible and well, I love it. There are cervixes, spunk and wet-wiped junk and this better not end up being a bomb. Oh and then Silky sauntered on stage and was a charming delight, talking a mile a minute and delighting everyone.

Elimination Day arrived and while Victoria and Vanity were bonding over their gameplans while beating their mugs, Icesis returned to the Werk Room and looked to be holding back tears. Silky checked in on her with Icesis not really wanting to talk, before Ra’Jah pulled her aside to see if she was ok. Icesis broke down in tears as she opened up about being absolutely exhausted and how she feels like she returned to the competition way too soon and honestly needs a break. As such, Ra’Jah and Rita assured her she will be fine if she needs to go and look after herself, reminding her that she owes nothing to anyone but herself and her health. Silky joined them and pulled her in for a hug as Icesis announced that she needs to leave the competition, as all her sisters rallied around and held her tight. And ugh, I am sobbing.

As soon as Icesis exited the Werk Room I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she made the right decision. While she was perfect and delightful over the course of a second season, she has nothing to prove to anyone – I mean, she already won before – but even if she did, she did that. She oozes warmth and charm, has more talent in her pinky toe than I could ever dream of and well, we are lucky to experience any amount of time she can give us. As such, I gave her one final hug and assurance she did the right thing, while sending her on her way with a warm, comforting Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture.

Yiros are one of my favourite street foods because, duh, chips are an integral part of the equation. Add in some gloriously hot peri peri chicken and you’re in heaven. Fluffy potato, creamy sauce and the burn of charred meat? Per. Fec. Tion. Just like Icesis.

Enjoy!

Peri Peri Chicken Yirocesis Couture
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 small bird’s eye chillies, seeds in or out depending on how you like the heat
½ tsp chipotle chilli powder
4 cloves garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
600g chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
4 Pita Andre Breads
⅔ cup Coolaioli
2 tomatoes, sliced
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Blitz the chillies, chilli powder, garlic, lime juice and zest, paprika, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar in a food processor to form a paste. Transfer to large bowl with the chicken, toss to coat, cover and pop in the fridge to marinate for a good hour or two.

When you’re ready to go, cook the chips as per Jud’s recipe and pop a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and all the fiery juices and cook stirring for about five minutes or until they are starting to caramelise, depending on how thinly you sliced your chicken.

To assemble, heat the pitas in a dry pan – if not freshly cooked, obvi – and smear each with some aioli. Top with the tomato, cheese, chicken and then chips before rolling to enclose. Serve with some extra chips and then devour, gloriously.


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Cody Assenmars Bar

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Sami was feeling nervous after being left out on the last vote, immediately trying to do damage control with Karla. And despite knowing he couldn’t be trusted, Karla was open to working with him moving forward. With the glimmer of hope, Sami got to work turning Cassidy and Karla against each other. A boat arrived announcing a new mystery clue hidden in the jungle with everyone darting off and walking directly past it multiple times before Cody finally jagged it, allowing him to bet on the next immunity challenge. After Owen and Karla literally outlasted the tide, Probst decreed they were both immune which made Cody also immune, given he bet on Owen. At tribal council Sami’s double dealing finally caught up with him and despite a late-breaking threat to play his Shot in the Dark, the tribe banded together to boot him from the game.

The next day the top six watched the sunrise together, reflecting on Sami exiting as wildly as he played. Owen meanwhile was happy that the plan came together – and that he was in on it, for once – though was annoyed that they weren’t able to embarrass Karla in the process, thanks to her late breaking flip to voting for Sami rather than Cassidy. But don’t despair, he was more than ready to find another way to splinter the girls’ relationship. He pulled Cassidy aside for a walk, talking about how glad he was that she was still in the game given Karla had almost gotten the votes to flip things on her. While she knew she couldn’t completely trust Owen, she didn’t want to be naive and as such got to work figuring out where the truth lay. Cassidy immediately approached Karla and while she assured her that she never brought her name up – when she did – she could tell Cassidy wasn’t believing her. And then straight up turned on the waterworks to guilt her and ugh, it was iconic.

I. Love. Her.

Karla approached Jesse to get him help convince Cassidy she didn’t throw out her name and while he agreed, he instead went and confirmed Karla was coming for her. And just like that, Karla and Cassidy are now gunning for each other. For realsies.

The tribe met up with Probst for a reward challenge in teams of three, where someone would be strapped in a ball to guide two blindfolded players to navigate them through a course to a table maze. And then have to direct the still blindfolded people to solve the maze, with the first trio to finish getting to smash coffee and pastries at the Sanctuary. Aka a gazebo decked out with treats. Owen directed Cody and Karla into the earliest of leads while Cassidy desperately tried to keep Jesse and Gabler hot on their heels. Despite Owen getting his team to the puzzle with a massive lead, both teams managed to be working on the puzzle at the same time and it became a race to the finish with Owen, Karla and Cody winning the reward by a matter of seconds.

We followed the victors to said Sanctuary where they joyously smashed their reward, which instantly made Cody giddy. After dancing off the sugar, talk turned to the game with Karla feeling like she has a massive target on her back. She lied to the boys that she doesn’t even have the idol everyone thinks she does before turning on the tears to help convince them, lamenting how she has had a target on her back all season long. After going for a walk, the boys conferred that they finally think Karla doesn’t have an idol though they agreed that one of Karla or Cassidy has to go. And while Cody would prefer the latter, Owen still thinks Karla is the biggest threat.

Back at camp Gabler was proposing they lock in a final three, highlighting how you can’t really split Jesse and Cody or Cassidy and Karla’s game, and as such, both of them need to axe their allies to take out the win. They started to debate the merits of getting rid of both of them before Cassidy straight up told them about Karla’s idol. The two groups came together with Gabler quickly catching Cody up on the existence of said idol and while he was feeling good about Karla on reward, he is now sure that she needs to go next to ensure he is the only person in the final five with immunity.

The tribe met up with Probst again for the latest immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles to release numbers, which they would then use to release a key, which they then use to unlock puzzle pieces. And then, you guessed it, solve the puzzle! Cody got out to the earliest of leads with Cassidy nipping at his heels. While Jesse was at the end of the pack, he whipped through the numbers and darted out in front. Despite the excitement, everyone made it to the puzzle at the same time – obviously – as Cassidy started to inch out in front as Karla nipped at her heels despite the fact her hands were literally numb and cramping, which is honestly concerning. In any event, she tried to power through but it was all for nought as Cassidy slotted in the final piece just ahead of Cody and snagged herself immunity.

Back at camp Owen and Gabler lamented that Cassidy’s win was the worst case scenario for them, given the fact both Karla and Cody can be protected by their idols. Speaking of which, the duo caught up to admit they each have idols and locked in a plan to bluff about playing them to get people to flip the vote on to Gabler or Owen and then use their idol at the next tribal council. Both Gabler and Owen were fine to vote for the other as Karla locked in Cassidy. Sadly for Karla, Cody caught up with Owen to tell him it is all a ruse to get Karla to not play her idol so they can actually blindside her tonight. Which obviously worked for all the guys.

Except for Jesse, who knew that taking out Karla boosts Cody’s resume and not his.

Jesse pulled Owen aside to let him know that he is actually in possession of Cody’s idol and as such, they can actually use it on Owen to spook Karla into playing her idol, while actually taking out Cody, which essentially moves all the credit on to Jesse. That plan then whipped through camp before Cody and Karla decided to do show and tell with their idols, meaning Jesse was no longer in possession of the idol and all the plans could be thrown into disarray. But trust, Cody is still sure tonight will be the biggest blindside of the season. Which feels ominous. For him.

At tribal council Karla opened up about how her body is completely shutting down and how she is struggling with hunger and exhaustion. Cody meanwhile was bummed that he lost immunity by seconds, while Jesse pointed out that he and Karla are also safe given they have idols and they are going to be playing them tonight. Owen played up how nerve racking it is to know he could go home from just one vote, while Jesse admitted that while Cody and Karla could be bluffing, he feels he doesn’t have any power to call them on it. Cody agreed that he and Karla had spoken about the fact they planned to use their idols to keep going forward and decide who goes home, while one of the few without immunity, Gabler, was still confident he will be here tomorrow. Which lol, of course. Jesse meanwhile was worried about which plan would come together, while Owen admitted that he was just leaning into the school of Sandra and assuring everyone he will vote anyway, as long as he is safe.

Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.

Sadly for him, his was not the plan that came together as the tribe voted and Jesse played Cody’s idol for Owen, which instantly spooked Karla into playing hers while Cody had no way to protect himself. With that votes came in for Owen and Karla before the rest piled up on Cody and blindsided him from the game. Brutally. But entertaining as hell for us, obviously.

While I was living for the epic late-breaking move, I kept my joy to myself and instead focused on how sad I was that poor Cody was the victim. I mean, Cody would have been like a smart, strategic version of Fabio winning which TBH, is something I would have loved to have seen. Which was obviously more than enough to cheer him up post-boot, as I pulled him in for a hug and congratulated him on a game well played with the recipe of the season, a Cody Assenmars Bar.

While I’m always Team Snickers if I have to choose, a large portion of my heart is still dedicated to the Mars Bar. Melt in your mouth, all at once light and rich, this copycat bulks up the ratio of the filling and enhances all the joy. In my not-very-humble opinion.

Enjoy!

Cody Assenmars Bar
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 ¾ cup glucose syrup
3 ½ cups raw caster sugar
1 cup cream
½ cup milk
2 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup water
1 tsp malt extract
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
800g milk chocolate, melted

Method
Kick things off by getting to work on your caramel, combining 1 cup of the glucose syrup, 1 ½ cups of raw caster sugar and the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat without stirring until it reaches 119C. Pour into a lined, heatproof 8x30cm dish and place it into a cold water bath. Leave to rest.

To make the nougat, combine the egg whites, ¼ cup glucose syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, and the remaining sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan with the water and malt extract. Pop the saucepan over low heat and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 116C. At that point, turn on the stand mixer and whip the whites on high speed. Once the saucepan hits 127C, remove from the heat and add into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Once it is gloriously thick, reduce to medium and add the cocoa powder and a quarter of the chocolate and beat until well combined. Remove and pour over the caramel and allow to cool completely before popping in the freezer to set for a few hours.

To assemble, cut the caramel and nougat into 12 equal bars. Dip each into the chocolate and place on a lined baking sheet to set for a further hour before devouring, gloriously.


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