Baoverly Buns Kills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTO 2

Baoverly Buns Kills
Serves: 4

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

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

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

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

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


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Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

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

Then devour, slathered in sriracha, hoisin or soy.


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Janey Ducké Dumplings

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

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World, the top six were finally tasked with playing Snatch Game. Now, in a Family Feud format! While Ru encouraged her to go with the riskier character, Janey missed the opportunity and shrunk away. Pangina meanwhile gave a full Mariah illusion, though wasn’t very funny. Though that be because she was on a panel with Juju giving the most demented Cher ever and Baga who gave an acting masterclass as Kathy Bates in Misery. She ultimately landed in the top with Blu, who gave a hilarious one-two Mike Myers punch before she won her first ever solo challenge after demolishing the lip sync. Then things took a hard pivot as she went full Naomi Smalls, eliminating Pangina who then sobbed with heartache. While Blu was literally shaking with shock based on her actions.

Backstage the dolls were well and truly shell shocked about Pangina’s elimination and her reaction to it, while Blu apologised and admitted even she didn’t think it would go like that. While Blu worried about whether she will have a career ever again, Mo encouraged her that she will and people will move on since it is a game, after all. While Baga meanwhile was focused on wanting some of Pangina’s outfit, with Mo joking she won’t fit into it.

The dolls sat down to kiki and congratulated both the girls on their lip sync before Juju questioned why Blu did what she did, with her admitting that she voted Pangina for being the biggest competition. Since that is what she did with Jimbo, and her now being a winner left her at risk should Pangina win another challenge. Baga then gagged the dolls with the news that she was also going to get rid of Pangina, with her motive being like Scream 2’s Mrs Loomis, good old fashioned revenge. As Mo and Blu caught up, Mo admitted that she would probably have done the same thing if she was in the top. And assured her that she will still be honouring their alliance should she make it to the top this week.

The girls had processed their trauma the next day with Blu proudly reminding the girls it was her first solo win ever. While Juju assured them that while Thailand would have been rooting for Pangina and they will be super disappointed, they still have a sister in Pangina. While Blu admitted that being a little villainous was quite fun and she didn’t really feel bad anymore. Talk turned to whether the final five is what everyone was expecting with Mo admitting that she is not surprised she is there, though is still shocked Janey made it past day one. Oh and promised them that it is finally time for the US girls to shine.

Ru dropped by to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, where the dolls would rework Ru’s song Living My Life (in London), putting a spin on the verse in honour of their hometowns. And after writing their verses, will join Little Mix’s Jade Thriwall to record their songs. And then choreograph a routine and perform it on the mainstage.

The dolls sat down to talk about their towns with Juju doing Boston while Baga will focus on Soho. And then did a Toni Braxton impersonation, which was a vibe. Mo then suggested that to decide the order of verses, they should go alphabetically meaning Baga goes first, Blu next, followed by Janey, Juju and then Mo. Which Juju correctly identified as a smart move, given it guaranteed Mo could be the closer to the end and leave a lasting impression with the judges. They moved on to writing their lyrics with Mo going the heart route about growing up poor and seeing the world thanks to Ru, while the girls dragged Juju for her lyrics. Which I thought were good?

When it came time to record their verse with Jade Thirwell, Baga was praised for being 100% her and absolutely knocking it out of the park. Blu continued to feel her oats for eliminating Pangina, and was solid in her record while poor Janey admitted she is not the strongest singer. But bless her, she tried. To quote Coco, find a key girl. As Jujubee was busy knocking it out of the park, Janey was whispering with her sisters, worried about how bad she was while sweet Mo just encouraged her to do some sick choreography.

Oh and trust and believe, Mo was also near perfection.

The group moved on to choreographing their performance with Mo terrified by the very different skill levels amongst her sisters. As such, she took control and told Janey she could do the end and she’d take the start. But while both of the dolls were trying to keep things simple, Baga already looked like she was ready to throw up. Until Blu asked when she would be contributing to the moves, leading to Juju suggesting they invent the Baga Chipz, much betta, move to help out. Poor Juju tried to get Mo and Janey to simplify the choreo, but given they only managed one verse in rehearsal, this is either going to be one big mess or a glorious triumph, and this is all a fake out.

Elimination Day arrived with Baga exhausted after a night working through the choreography before she and Juju caught up, with Baga admitting that Drag Race saved her life because she was an alcoholic before cutting back when on the show. When she admitted to drinking litres of gin a day, Juju noticed a lot of parallels in their journeys. Baga admitted that she can still have a drink but no longer considers herself an alcoholic while Juju opened up about needing to be completely sober. She explained that sobriety changed her entire life, leading to her leaving a 13 year relationship and completely changing her life for the better. And is this the beginning of Juju winner’s edit?

Yeah, yeah – insert the butterfly meme. I’m desperate for her to become Drag Race’s Boston Rob. I mean, she is from Boston after all.

Blu meanwhile was opening up about how much she loves her hometown despite how conservative it is, with Janey opening up about also growing up in a very conservative village and her parents sending her to school in Amsterdam to let her live freely. Because as she said, she was a very, very gay child. Which, relatable. Mo opened up about her very religious upbringing, conversion therapy and even a stint as a Minister. She spoke about how they are all constantly taught to be ashamed, before reminding all of them and us, that we are enough. And ugh, I love them all. 

Ru, Michelle – fresh from Party City, where she belongs – and Graham were joined on the judges panel by Jade Thirwell for the premiere of the Living My Life (In London) rumix. And damn, they were good. Even with Baga’s old lady dancing. The engineer did wonders with Janey’s record, Baga was fun, Blu was feisty but as predicted, this was truly the US girls time to shine. Juju was pitch perfect and looked absolutely stunning while Mo was spitting fire and giving absolute rockstar vibes.

On the Work of Art runway, Baga Chipz looked cute as Vincent Van Gough’s sunflowers but in a plot. Blu was perfection as a Picasso, Janey was Warhol’s Marilyn brought to life, and was stunning from head to toe. Juju looked gorgeous in a nude gown, channelling a stunning Miami art deco building, geddit. While Mo stole the show as a Dali rose and bleeding heart.

Baga received praise for bringing herself to the performance despite her lack of ability and for giving a glammed up version of a Baga look on the runway. Blu was praised for taking the shot at Pangina by Michelle while everyone loved her performance but felt her runway was a bit overwhelming. Ru then questioned Blu’s decision, who doubled down on only doing what Pangina did the week before which Ru congratulated her on. Janey was then read for blending into the background throughout the performance despite looking like a star. Both in the challenge and especially on the runway. Juju was praised for completely arriving, knocking the challenge out of the park and looking like perfection both times. Despite Graham not appreciating the art deco vibes on the runway. And well, the judges all lived for everything Mo did this week because she is a star. And her runway is just beautiful.

Ultimately and very deservedly, Juju and Mo were named the top two queens, meaning the remaining girls were all up for elimination. Backstage the dolls grabbed their drinks and toasted to Mo and Juju finally jagging a win, with Mo opening up about how good it feels to get that well earned praise. She then admitted it feels like a tougher choice than last week, given Mo would have totally cut Pangina if she survived. Baga asked about their judging criteria with neither being sure, making Blu nervous her alliance with Mo won’t stand. And she was worried about skiddies.

Mo pulled Baga aside with the latter telling her how much she loves Mo and wants to compete against her, quickly charming Mo into saving her. Blu meanwhile reminded Juju that she wasn’t the weakest in the challenge and as such she should be saved, using Juju’s criteria for Blu saving her the week before, against her. While she admitted Pangina’s wails are playing on a loop in her head and as such, she was tempted to take out a threat. Janey assured Mo she wants to be here and she feels she has grown throughout the competition and been given the opportunity to succeed. Baga assured Juju she wouldn’t be sending her home if the tables were turned before suggesting Juju should just eliminate her, given everyone did well and deserves to be there. With Juju admitting she knows what Baga is doing by downplaying herself as a threat. But isn’t even mad. Mo assured Blu their alliance stands while Janey and Juju spoke about the fact Janey had pulled her lip stick once but also saved her the time earlier.

Mo and Juju took their places on the mainstage, assuring us we were in for a show and well, a show they did give us. As soon as Toy by Netta kicked off, both of them gave it their all. Juju was cute and demented, Mo was all energy and fierce and well, it was definitely a fight. Ultimately though it was Juju who finally jagged her second win of the franchise, before she tearfully eliminated the iconic Janey Jacké.

Given Janey is just iconic and totally down to earth, she was totally fine with her elimination, accepting that she did the worst in the challenge. That being said, it is easier to feel zen when you know you were one of the three people to dominate the season, none of which are in the final. Meaning she also joined the robbed goddess club! I fell in love with Janey while watching her on Holland, so I was thrilled to be able to catch up with her and finally give her the culinary comfort she deserves, in the form of Janey Ducké Dumplings.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a dumpling kick at the moment and honestly, when they taste this good, I don’t even care. The rich duck is sweetly spiced by a little bit of hoisin to create the easiest, most decadent dump’ you could think of.

Enjoy!

Janey Ducké Dumplings
Serves: 2 dear friends, who I guess could now be lovers. Because as they say, how can we be lovers if we can’t be friends.

Ingredients
300g duck breast, minced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp sriracha
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the duck minced, spring onions, garlic, ginger, hoisin, sriracha, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a good half an hour or so.

When the flavours have come together like the queens from across the globe, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp or fold as desired. You know I go for the old easy pleat option to cover my bad joins.

Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.

Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. With either some Nam Jimbo or extra hoisin. Or sriracha. Pretty much, you do you boo!


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Duck Risottozryski

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

How good is season 2, right? I mean, sure, there are always things that disappoint you when you’re expectations are so high – like Rory not ending up with Jess on the Gilmore revival – but Stranger Things has proven it isn’t a one season wonder. While I binged the episodes while catching up with Shan, Mil and Gats, I still won’t be dropping spoilers whilst catching up with the rest of the cast as we barrel towards Halloween. So relax.

Like Gats, I’ve been friends with Caleb for years after working as a consultant on The Lion King on Broadway. While I was swiftly fired after de-anthropomorphising the production and turning it into a gay spectacular – I mean it is set in the Pride Lands, duh – he admired my spirit, and we’ve kept in touch.

While he oft even takes my horrible advice – like when I told him appearing in Shades of Blue would be a good idea – the suggestion that he audition for Stranger Things truly was a career making move, so he still loves me.

Cal has been so excited to be featured on the blog – what a doll – so giddily arrived at my door ready to gossip about where his character will go in season 3 and whether appearing in Shades of Blue again is a good idea. The answer to the latter, obviously, was a big fat no.

While the reminder of that little career hiccup brought up a lot of guilt on my part, little Cal, like he co-stars, didn’t see to harbour any PTSD related resentment. Though with my Chillieb McDucklin Dumplings on the menu, how could he?

 

 

Now I don’t like to play favourites when it comes to recipes, but this is up there as one of my faves. Though I have a mild duck obsession, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise? Packing – rather than peking – a killer whack of chilli, the cook into perfectly crinkled brains. Then cover them in some chilli? Well my friends, then you’ve go a delicious Halloween blood bath.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
30 gow gee wrappers
1 large duck breast, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 shallots, roughly chopped
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup tamari
¼ cup hoisin
¼ sriracha
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method
Roughly chop the duck and blitz in a food processor until it is finely minced. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until well combined.

Line the wrappers out on a dry clean bench and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water, crinkle close and place on a lined baking sheet until done.

Bring a large pot of shallow water to a rollicking boil. Place a lined steamer in and cook for 5 minutes, or until they’re at their brainy best.

While they’re cooking, combine the tamari, hoisin, sriracha and sesame. Once they’re done, toss the dumplings through the sauce and serve, blood splattered.

Devour, like a zombie.

 

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Portumn Reeser Gravy

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Snack

It is the second last day of the 12 Days of Chrismukkah celebrations / our second last recipe of the year – can you believe it?

Instead of lamenting how sad you’re going to be during our annual Christmas break, be thankful that I was able to make time for my dear friend Autumn Reeser.

Full disclosure I absolutely hated Autumn when we first met on the set of season three where she started out as its nuisance but like her character, she wore me down and we’ve been the best of friends ever since, landing he roles in Entourage, Sully and a guest role reunion with Rach on the underrated Hart of Dixie.

I haven’t seen Autumn since the Sully premiere – I was attending as TamTom’s date, so was sadly to busy to really reconnect. Thankfully she was free for a pre-holiday catch-up and to strategise her next careers steps and have a little girl talk.

Now I know I said the duck was delicious, it can also be made better with the inclusion of some gravy.  And thankfully Autumn has odd tastes and was completely cool to just sit down and gab over a nice jug of Portumn Reeser Gravy.

 

portumn-reeser-gravy-1

 

In retrospect, this would have made more sense to post with yesterday’s recipe … but what are you gonna do, amirite? As a stand alone, this robust gravy is delicious – fruity, rich and full of flavour – but with a freshly roasted duck, it truly sings.

Enjoy!

 

portumn-reeser-gravy-2

 

Portumn Reeser Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp duck fat from the Roast Melinda Duck
1L chicken stock
2 tbsp plain flour
200ml red port

Method
Transfer the duck fat to a saucepan (and decant the extract to a mug for tomorrow’s recipe) over medium heat – which shouldn’t take long, given you just decanted some from the oven – and add the flour and cook for a minute or so.

Slowly pour in the stock and port, whisking as you go, until it is all smooth. Add the charred veggies and bring the gravy to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour, or until thickened.

Strain the gravy through a sieve, pushing out every last drop of flavour. Devour on some duck … or in a jug, no judgement.

 

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Roast Melinda Duck

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Main, Poultry

How do I top my 300th milestone recipe? With the true star of The O.C. – I feel like I’ve said that most days … but I mean it this time – my dear friend Melinda Clarke.

Yes, I love them all dearly – well, maybe not always Tate – but every great show needs a villain you love to hate and Julie Cooper-Nichol wouldn’t have been able to pack the same punch without the stunning performance of my bestie.

I first met Mindy through her dad John when I was working as a writer on Days of our Life – which I got through Vytas and Aras’ pops via time travel. Side note: I was the one that came up with such wonderful storylines as Eileen Davidson playing seventeen roles, the Salem Stalker and the classic Marlena is possessed by the devil.

Anywho – I quickly befriended the broader Clarke family and knew that Mindy was destined for big things, making it my life’s work to see her become the star I knew she could be.

I haven’t seen much of her this year, so it was so nice to be able to have her over for an extended visit as we whipped up a Roast Melinda Duck.

 

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I had never roasted a duck before and obviously was terrified by the entire process, so I stuck with a tried and true Jamie Oliver recipe with a few minor tweaks.

Thankfully Jamie knows his way around a bird, because this duck turned out festively fragrant, spicy and most importantly, wet & juicy.

Enjoy!

 

roast-melinda-duck-2

 

Roast Melinda Duck
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 orange, zested and halved
1 tbsp maple syrup
a whole duck, necks and giblets reserved and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 red onions, peeled and quartered
a few stalks celery, trimmed and chopped into chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into chunks
½ stick cinnamon
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
freshly ground sea salt & black pepper

Method
Place the leaves from a couple of sprigs of rosemary in a mortar and pestle and mash together with the nutmeg, orange zest, a generous pinch of sea salt and some maple syrup. Rub mixture over the duck, cover and place in the fridge to baste for a few hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Stuff the duck’s cavity with the orange, some rosemary and the garlic. Line a baking tray with the onion, celery and carrot and toss with some olive oil, the ginger and cinnamon. Place the duck on top, drizzle with some oil and place in the oven for an hour.

Transfer the duck to a new pan – reserving the charred veggies and fat for tomorrow’s gravy – and return the duck to the oven for a further hour, or until golden and glorious.

Remove from the pan, transfer to a plate, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Devour … with some gravy and potatoes, so maybe hold off two days until you make it?

 

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Duck à la Solange

Main

Where do I even begin to explain the deep, complex, passionate platonic-love story between us and our dear friend SoKnow?

We first met So during the late 90s, when the world was quickly falling crazy in love with Beyoncé and the rest of the destiny’s children. SoKnow, filled with so much creative talent and energy, needed a way to burn through her untapped potential and joined the Upper Whitney Houston chapter of our Extreme Fight Club.

SoKnow excelled from a young age (picture a kind, likeable version of Ronda Rousey) and rose through to ranks where we met her at our EFC Centre in East Hollywood – did I mention we turned it into a religion/cult like Scientology?

Our bond with Solange was instantaneous and continued over the decades, with So becoming one of our most trusted friends, advisors and confidantes. She was the only person we trusted to keep Jay-Z in line after breaking the first rule of fight club, to not talk about fight club.

Obviously as founders, we are exempt from such rules. Jay-Z is not above the rules.

It was so great catching up with SoKnow after such a busy year – we hadn’t realised that our hard work had led us to our 100th recipe milestone, but you better believe she did.

Knowing our penchant for wanky gifts, she looked through Chloe Sevigny’s list of must haves (I mean, who doesn’t want to never speak to Jeanne Tripplehorn again) and arrived with a vintage half-kaftan by Vivienne Westwood Gold Label, an ironic art smock by Balenciaga le dix, imitation pants by Cacharel and stand-up comedy classes.

The only way we could repay her support, kindness and generosity was a meal of our famous Duck à la Solange.

 

Duck à la Solange_1

 

The 80s have had a strong impact on our lives, none more so than the delicacies of a kitsch kitchen. While I have always had a soft spot for the idea of Duck à l’orange, I hate orange in cooking. Enter, the sublimeness of SoKnow – crispy skin duck with Grand Marnier and sour cherry glaze to dial back the overpowering orange flavour, leaving you with a gloriously rich, tangy citrus to cut through the duck.

Enjoy!

Oh, and thank you for reading – you’re the best and you’re beautiful, but not as good or as beautiful as us. Obviously.

 

Duck à la Solange_2

 

Duck à la Solange
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 duck breasts
1 tsp salt
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup pitted cherries
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
30ml Grand Marnier
½ cup chicken stock
1 tsp cornflour

Method
Score the skin of each duck breast with diagonal lines, cutting into the fat but not into the flesh and rub with the salt and chopped rosemary.

On a medium hot pan, seal the skin side of the duck breasts for about 10 minutes, skimming the fat if it gets too excessive. Once the skin has crisped, turn the breast over and seal on the other side. Cook the breasts for a total of about 20 minutes, turning for a few minutes to seal the remaining sides. Remove from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.

Add the butter to the dark fat and cook to a nut brown before adding the cherries and a good whack of pepper. Deglaze the pan with the Grand Marnier and then add the stock and cornflour, increasing the temperature until the sauce has reduced down to a syrupy glaze.

Serve the duck on crispy fried potatoes or fried broccolini, doused in the cherry-citrus glaze.

 

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