Popbeef Capriness

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

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the biggest cast in herstory arrived in two little groups, each anticipating to compete in a little talent show. Little did they know, however, that Ruple and Co had grander plans for them all, bringing them together after their throwback mini challenges for one big ol’ talent show. And unlikely the last few years, one of the dolls would be exiting after said first challenge. While the show ended up being a sea of lip syncs – because, duh, they are performers – Anetra absolutely slayed, karate chopping her way into the first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack Loosey struggled singing live, while Amethyst and Irene struggled with premature e-joke-ulation and a complete lack of laughs which landed them in the bottom. And poor Irene a place in the Porkchop Club.

Backstage the dolls rallied around Amethyst, though were mainly gagged by the fact the competition is real and one by one they will go home. Thankfully that obvious revelation was brushed aside as Sugar or Spice asked Robin and Amethyst to talk about their brief relationship with both dolls insinuating they were the ones to end things. Mistress meanwhile was grateful that Loosey stuck around as she felt she had more to show, which well and truly fired up Loosey who felt she didn’t even deserve to be in the bottom and as such was pissed and ready to prove herself.

The next day the dolls were thrilled to still be alive in the competition before Ru straight up interrupted any chat to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, designing infomercials to sell us on the Queerafter. And as Anetra won, she would be the Team Captain of one team, lip sync victor Amethyst would lead the second and the third team – finally – would be made up of the leftovers. Which is messy and iconic and I love the producers for it. Anetra’s selected Luxx, Sasha, Salina and Marcia cubed while Amethyst went with Loosey, Aura, Spice and Poppy leaving Sugar, Mistress, Jax, Malaysia and Robin to form team all the rest, here on Gilligan’s Island.

With that Ru departed with the leftovers instantly fired up by the slight and ready to prove themselves while Anetra’s team immediately decreed Sasha as God and as such, she should play her in the ‘mercial. And their plot can just come second to that. Team Amethyst was throwing out all the ideas which made Loosey feel more and more anxious about proving herself, while Jax was busy trying to wrangle the leftovers as Sugar threw out all the ideas. Most of which, TBH, were good. And when they shut her down, her disappointment was bleedingly obvious to everyone except her team, apparently.

Team Leftovers were first up to shoot with Michelle and well, let’s just say they should have listened to Sugar given she was the only one that was remotely prepared or entertaining. Team Sasha-Colby-getting-the-label-she-deserves appeared to be getting the fake out edit as Sasha got in her head and struggled through the entire shoot. And by ‘appeared’ we’re getting the fake out, I bloody hope so. Meanwhile Team Amethyst’s script was confusing to Michelle, disappointing future WGA Award hopeful Princess Poppy. 

Elimination Day arrived with everyone energised and ready to turn it on the runway as Sugar and Spice caught up about what happened with their infomercials, with Sugar feeling like nobody is taking her seriously. Jax and Aura meanwhile were busy kiki-ing with Jax calling out the team for having too many big personalities, leaving her to pull everything together solo. Talk turned to religion with Malaysia opening up about her religious upbringing and how it impacted her coming into her self acceptance as a queer person, thankful for her luck at having a supporting family. As she sobbed Mistress opened up about her similar upbringing, sans a supporting family and as such, she cut off her family when she was 17 and opened up about how it was drag that saved her and pulled her out of poverty.

Ru, Michelle and TS were joined on the panel by Maren Morris as the dolls kicked off the Metallica runway with Anetra slaying in a foil warrior look. Sasha was stunning as a silver phoenix, Salina gave disco ball streetlamp, Luxx was a Grecian aflame in gold, Marcia was a sexy tin wo-man, Amethyst gave ruffled golden diva, Poppy looked like a space Sailor Moon, Spice gave the upcycled version, Aura again gave Power Ranger realness as a moon warrior – though this time, it was intentional – Loosey gave slutty space housewife, Jax went with Mortal Kombat realness, Robin was a golden warrior, Mistress was stunning in golden chains and a frill neck lizard embellishment while Sugar looked like Lizzie McGuire’s end performance in the movie. While Malaysia was stunning in a glam, silver gown.

When it came to the infomercials, Team Anetra’s was thankfully a fake out – you could tell Michelle wasn’t annoyed when giving direction – as Sasha slayed with glam and gags and ugh, I live. They had throwbacks to past seasons, shade and sex. But well, it was totally the Sasha show as she kept breaking her neck to transition scenes which obviously had Ru in hysterics. Team Amethyst was all sex all the time, until Loosey stole the show as their god, Dolly Parton. Which is correct. Team Leftovers meanwhile was Sugar’s show as the annoying straight girls at the club, while the rest of the dolls were stuck in their own personal hells.

Anetra, Salina, Marcia cubed, Spice, Aura, Robin, Mistress, Sugar and Malaysia were deemed safe before the judges lavished all the praise on Sasha. She listened to direction, she was hilarious and most importantly, she looked perfect. Because she is Sasha. Luxx was praised for a stunning runway and for serving all the comedy in the performance. Amethyst was read for once again not being funny while Michelle encouraged her to embrace her nose rather than hide it when painting her face. Princess meanwhile was read for fading into the background and for looking nice on the runway, but nothing more before Loosey received her praise for playing it smart in the infomercial and for looking stunning. Jax meanwhile was read for not padding or synching and not looking the best during the challenge. Never mind the fact their infomercial was a mess.

Backstage the safe queens were thrilled to be safe, while Anetra was excited to be able to get to know her sisters a little better since she was busy getting critiques the week before. Marcia was glad to get a turn to relax, though was disappointed to hear Michelle mock her make-up during her walk with Mistress giving her tips like the mother she is. Malaysia meanwhile was bitter to have not gotten the chance to hear from the judges, while Mistress continued to be iconic and said she was ready to get her moment when it happens and knows she can’t be good at everything. Robin meanwhile was glad that most of her team were safe, particularly since they were the leftovers. Which made Mistress step in to be an icon once again, pointing out she was shocked she wasn’t picked first. Like she deserved. Talk turned to Jax in the challenge and how she steamrolled without slaying, with Mistress asking Sugar why she didn’t clap back at her when she was mean and while Sugar admitted she struggles with speaking up, Mistress assured her that if she wants to be her daughter, she needs to defend herself and have confidence.

And again, I love their bond.

Aura then got shady over the leftovers video, despite only Team Anetra’s being good. That summoned the tops and bottoms with everyone praising Sasha for slaying every moment this week. Particularly the neck cracks. Jax meanwhile opened up about how the judges kinda hated everything she did, quickly blaming taking control of the script and her sisters ad libbing for her predicament. Poppy meanwhile mocked herself, saying the judges lived for everything she served rather than hated that she faded into the background and isn’t standing out. She then opened up that she was thinking about quitting drag last year and as such, she isn’t bothered if she is eliminated given she just didn’t want to be the first boot. Poor Amethyst meanwhile started to sob about not doing well, questioning whether she is just making a joke of herself. Oh and then everyone congratulated Loosey for giving a killer Dolly before Maren Morris dropped by to kiki with the girls and while I didn’t know anything about her before she jumped on the panel, I love how sweet she was with the dolls.

Ultimately Loosey and Luxx were sent to safety as Sasha took out her first victory of the season before Jax narrowly avoided the bottom – with a challenge from Ru to step her pussy up – as Amethyst returned to the bottom two, this time with Princess Poppy for company. As soon as my girl Diana Ross’ version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough kicked off, it was clear Amethyst was not ready to go home, giving pitch perfect Diana which is the only way to rock it in front of superfan Ru. And while Poppy started off similarly, she leaned further into the camp as the song went off and while it served and showed us who she is, Ru was only going to save the person that did Di justice and as such, sent Poppy packing from the competition.

Backstage Poppy was pretty upbeat, grateful to have gotten her passion for drag back and to leave arguably the most iconic mirror message of all time – scribble! I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for showing us who she is and bringing such a chill, fun energy to all that she does. I assured her that her early departure isn’t a reflection of her talent and while she already knew that, I feel she really appreciated the fact she got to smash a Popbeef Capriness to lift her spirits.

This little local-butcher’s-number copycat is as soothing as everything else wrapped in pastry. Rich and earthy with a hint of sweetness, the tomatoes, spinach and feta work perfectly to elevate the beef into an elevated parcel experience.

Enjoy!

Popbeef Capriness
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
4 thin cuts of steak, like scotch (depending on size you could go with two and cut them in half
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
200g greek feta, cut into 4 rectangles
1 egg, whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut each sheet of pastry into four squares, and half of them into strips.

To assemble, place the steaks onto the centre of each square of puff pastry. Top with the spinach, sundried tomato, pesto and a piece of feta. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with some egg and layer the strips to form a crosshatch pattern, press in at the edges to hold in place.

Transfer the parcels to a lined baking sheet, brush with a little bit of egg and pop in the oven to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed – as the name would imply – and the meat cooked through. Then devour, with a generous helping of mash. 


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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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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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Anita Pike’lits

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

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls were thrown into the challenge of all challenge, Snatch Game. Now with a political edge because mother tucking Justin Treudau straight up dropped by to kiki with the girls. And while that adds absolutely nothing to the trajectory of the season, he is a zaddy so it needs to be referenced. In any event, previous Snatch winners Anita and Silky struggled while Stephanie committed the gravest sin of being forgettable. At the other end of the pack Icesis dominated as Donatella Versace – redeeming Dons on Drag Race – alongside Ra’Jah pitch perfect Big Freedia, which landed them in the top two. And after Icesis took out the lip sync she saved Down Under icon Anita and sent Stephanie packing.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gagged that Icesis sent home her Season 2 sister, while Vanity felt she was going to miss Stephanie’s energy. Anita on the other hand was just glad to survive. Ra’Jah and Icesis praised each other for turning a show, before Rita suggested that maybe everyone could take a break on eliminating Canadians for a wee bit. That led to Icesis opening up about wanting to play it fair with the eliminations and as such, saved Anita due to her track record despite her being the worst in Snatch Game. Talk turned to who Ra’Jah had been planning to eliminate and after a little Bebe-esque fake out, she admitted that she had also picked Stephanie’s lip sync, due to the fact they already gave her another chase.

The next day Vanity led the group in congratulating Icesis on her win, while Icesis shaded the US girls for not having scored a win yet. Thankfully that was quickly brushed aside as everyone told Anita she needed to stop coasting – rude – before Brad made his triumphant return to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be competing in The Weather Ball. And well, the dolls were excited. Well, some of them. Particularly Icesis, who was ready to take out another victory. First they would stomp the runway in Air Body Lace looks – aka lingerie – followed by serving Arctic Foxy Lady looks before debuting a high fashion look they made for Caught in the Rain Couture. Oh and the materials used will be thoroughly unconventional.

After Brad departed the dolls battled over a table of rainwear and fabrics before splitting up to kiki. Victoria was nervous about things given she has never done a design challenge, while Icesis was con-fi-dent given she won two of the three design challenges in Season 2. Ra’Jah was nervous given she has such a reputation as a seamstress, while Vanity was busy looking for redemption for her flop outfit. And well, now she can sew. Silky was very confident, emphasis on was, given she discovered she had left her patterns at home. Anita too was ready for her redemption after being sent home on a design challenge, while Rita was hoping to be as successful as she was in design challenges rather than how she bombed the ball.

Brad returned to kiki with the girls, with Icesis going with a look serving a fish caught in a net. Silky was confident in her hip hop concept though TBH, should probably focus on cashing the literal cheque she had lying around in her notebook. Anita was going with an asymmetrical blue look with yellow raincoat embellishments, which immediately made Brad talk her out of it. Ra’Jah was going with an architectural rain gown, Rita was going with golden 80s drama, Vanity planned to give ruffles and rain while Victoria was going high concept with the dew hitting an English rose in the morning. Which is just, chef’s kiss.

The dolls got to work applying Brad’s advice, which felt weird to Rita given she can normally rely on designers to do it for her now that she is successful. Icesis meanwhile was busy checking in with Silky to see who she thought would be in the bottom, with Silk mainly concerned about the number of bodysuits floating around the room. Victoria meanwhile was worried about Vanity looking like an ice skater, as Silky got to wandering around the room questioning why everyone was using the same blue fabric. She then checked in with Anita, advising her to take a few moments off the look to make it less circus and more fashion.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls beating the mugs as Vanity shared how proud she is to have actually sewed an outfit. Anita meanwhile got messy, asking if anyone has actually watched Down Under with Ra’Jah essentially admitting to have only watched Vanity and Victoria’s seasons and nobody else’s. Which is hilarious and iconic, but also super sweet in the end, given she opened up about rooting for Vanity given she saw a lot of herself in Season 11 in Vanity throughout the competition and it made her want to protect her.

Brooke and Brad were joined by Hollywood Jade and the iconic Jeanne Beker as Vanity opened the Air Body Lace runway looking like a Victoria’s Secret glamazon, from Smurfville. In the best way possible. Icesis was glorious in a seductive grape number before Victoria debuted her Drag King persona Victor Stone giving full Fabio and ugh, I’m wet. Ra’Jah meanwhile served sexy Cruella, Rita gave old Hollywood glam before Silky slayed in a canary yellow curtained number and Anita gave blue and white with her tits out.

When it came to the Arctic Foxy Lady runway, Vanity gave the sexiest ski movie villainess, Icesis was stunning in a high fashion snow woman look before Victoria gave an angry snow queen. Ra’Jah gave sexy diva in fur, Rita served old dame skiing in the 1920s, Silky was all drama as the deity of snow before Anita closed the show looking gorgeous in a shimmering white gown. Vanity’s Caught in the Rain Couture look was kind of a mess before Icesis was perfection as a suffocating sea monster. Victoria’s rose look was perfect from start to finish, Ra’Jah’s dress was polished and creative, Rita looked like the upcycled version of Baga’s brillo dress, Silky slayed as a hip hop Cheetah girl, on her way to the club, before Anita served her stormy look.

Icesis and Ra’Jah were sent to safety – when they should have won, but whatever – before Vanity was praised for serving perfection in the first two categories, though her design look was read for being a mess. Victoria received universal praise for each and every look, with the judges agreeing her Fabio look was far and away the best of the night. Rita was praised for her performances on the runway, though read for not padding enough for the looks or taking things where they needed to go. Silky too received universal praise for each and every look and well, condragulations Silky and Victoria. Silky opened up about particularly needing to hear the love from the judges since she didn’t feel beautiful today. Anita meanwhile was read for her first look though praised for slaying the middle category and doing a solid job on the third look. Despite not serving couture.

Obviously it was Silky and Victoria that landed in the top before Vanity was sent to safety, leaving Rita and Anita up for elimination. Backstage Silky and Victoria were feeling their oats, while Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted that both of them felt like they kinda, sorta should have been in the top. Rita praised Victoria for debuting a Drag King look before Icesis checked in with the bottoms. Rita admitted she isn’t surprised by any of her critiques, though was sad to be in the bottom with her bestie. Anita meanwhile was proud of what she pulled together, though was surprised she was in the bottom rather than Vanity.

Before a fight could erupt, Victoria caught up with Rita who reminded her of how strong her track record has been thus far, which kind of made Victoria question whether she should take out her competition. Silky meanwhile made sure Anita was ok though was worried she wasn’t taking in what the judges told her, which made Anita realise Victoria is her only hope of survival. The safe girls were busy speculating who would be going home, with everyone agreeing it should be Anita though if the dolls were going to be shady, who knows. Anita broke down as she spoke to Victoria about how proud of herself she is and that she wants to fight, while Rita straight up told Silky that should she look out for her this week, she will have her back should the tables be turned. Which she iconically took her up on, given duh, alliances are great.

After Victoria and Silky selected their lipsticks – guaranteed to rhyme with Peter as Victoria pointed out, which made me laugh more than it should have – they headed to the mainstage to battle for the cash tip and the chance to eliminate their sister. As soon as Deborah Cox’s Nobody’s Supposed to be Here kicked off – heck, before for Silk – both of the dolls swung for the fences. They gave all the attitude and emotion, hit every lyric and thankfully, didn’t tear any ACL’s. It was clearly Silky’s show though, giving gospel does flag twirling and ugh, it was perfection. The only thing I wasn’t vibing though, was her tragically eliminating our homegrown hero – because we steal all good Kiwis, duh – Anita from the competition.

As is oft the case, Anita followed the sound of my guttural screams backstage and quickly pulled me in for a hug and assured me that she is ok with her exit. Despite not getting the star moment she deserved – outside of being the only good person in the reading challenge – I reminded her that her perennially delightful personality and charm always shone through, so I am glad the world got to see it. Plus, now she has the added bonus of an underdog storyline for Down Under All Stars which was enough to perk her up alongside my Anita Pike’lits, of course.

Yes, yes – pikelets are nothing more than baby pancakes, but they honestly do taste different. It may be the change in ratio or the fact I feel you can get away with popping more toppings on them, but these little delights are perfect for any occasion.

Enjoy!

Anita Pike’lit
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
butter, honey, jam and/or whipped cream, to serve

Method
Whisk the milk and egg in a jug, and the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for about five minutes or so.

When you’re ready to party, heat a small knob of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Once hot and foamy, drop 2 tablespoon sized dollops of the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, pop and form craters (about a minute) and then flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until done.

Devour with your favourite condiments, which in my opinion should differ based on the occasion; butter and honey for a brunch treat, while go with jam and cream for morning tea or lunch. The important thing is to enjoy them.


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Stuphaning Prites

Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World – how much easier would that have flowed, amirite – nine dolls from around the globe said Bonjour! Hi! to the Canadian stage. The Season 2 dolls stuck together, as did the camp queens leaving Vanity, Silky and Ra’Jah to form the greatest Drag Race girl group this side of the Frock Destroyers. Obviously they destroyed the competition, while the other teams were a mixture of strong moments and a couple of missteps. Somehow Rita landed in the top with Vanity – I feel like this should have been Ra’Jah’s, but oh well – while Kendall and Stephanie landed in the bottom. Obviously Vanity dominated the lip sync – because, duh, it’s Vanity – before giving Stephanie another shot to shine by sending Kendall home.

Backstage Stephanie was feeling super grateful to have been saved before everyone toasted Kendall for being an absolute delight. Silky meanwhile led the dolls in praising Vanity, before they went for the tea as talk turned to who Rita would have sent home and while she tried to fake it out, admitted she too would have sent Kendall home as Stephanie was more in need of a second chance. Though shared with us that Kendall was actually more of a threat. Vanity shared that Stephanie talking about being the only Asian queen on the cast spoke to her on a deep level, as the only black queen on her original season. The talk of representation made Victoria feel brave enough to call out Stephanie for using the term fishy and while Stephanie spoke about the fact she has reclaimed it from the Philippines, Victoria explained that it is also deeply derogatory to women and as such hoped they could all learn about each other’s cultures and grow. And ugh, I love how maturely they handled it.

The next day the dolls were feeling energetic and ready to slay another week, none more so than Stephanie who was just glad to be around. Anita opened up about feeling a bit put out during the first week as the only person from her franchise, though had found her feet due to their kindness and was ready to slay. Icesis questioned if there were any alliances and while everyone downplayed it, Ra’Jah the icon called out Canada for pairing off in the first week and kind of sending that message. Before we could get any drama Brooke arrived to open the bibliotheque because what? Reading is fundamental. Victoria was charming and full of rhyme, Vanity was a total mess, Stephanie was not much better, Ra’Jah meanwhile was hard on her sister but no one else, Icesis was also a mess, Rita was also bad and well, is this the worst reading challenge of all time? Thankfully Silky brought some charm and while the jokes didn’t always land, her personality did. While Anita was cute and brutal which was more than enough to jag herself victory in the mini challenge.

Oh and did I mention this week’s Maxi Challenge is the Snatch Game? Because it is, but with a political twist.

Everyone split up to get into character with Silky and Anita hoping to go two from two in Snatch Game, while Stephanie was very nervous, given she never made it far enough in her first season. Brooke returned to kiki with the girls with Ra’Jah thinking she will play Big Freedia or Grace Jones, hoping to live up to her killer Latoya. Rita was excited to do French drag icon Guilda, while Icesis was going to be rocking Pamela Anderson until Brooke talked her out of it and into her back-up choice of Donatella. Anita is trying to follow-up her winning turn as Queen Elizabeth with Adele and ugh, this makes me nervous given Ginger did her SO well. Stephanie meanwhile was going with cursed celeb Snatch character Cardi B. Vanity was deciding between Megan the Stallion or Spice while Victoria would be giving us Kim Woodburn and Silky was planning to slay as Lizzo.

We pivoted to the Snatch Game Summit where Vanity had all the energy and charm. Stephanie started off energetic and ridiculous, Rita gave Parisienne glam, Anita was a bit of a mess, Silky was Silky and Icesis was killer from the very first moment as she read Brooke for filth. Speaking of filth, Victoria had Kim down. Icesis was hilarious and ridiculous from start to finish while Ra’Jah was bouncing off everyone like ping pong balls. At the other end of the pack Stephanie was an absolute mess, Silky struggled to land a joke and poor Anita was swallowed up amongst the pack.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone gagged to see Brooke backstage when she escorted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Werk Room. Prime. Minister. What the hell? Oh my God! The dolls kikied with the PM before he gave a global call to action to stop being bigotted and to embrace difference and well, I love it. I love him, I love them. I mean he read Brooke by asking where he would find RuPaul and ugh, gold! After he disappeared the dolls spoke about the power of having the PM enter the Werk Room with Stephnie breaking down about how politicians like him are the reason she could be an immigrant and ugh, I’m crying.

Sadly Justin disappeared by judging as Brooke and Traci were joined by Sarain Fox and fellow Snatch Game bottom and Season 1 victor, what’s her name? Priyanka, obviously. On the Celestial Bodies runway Silky was a perfect alien dragon deity, mid-tour of the galaxy. Ra’Jah was stunning in a glorious midnight blue outfit, giving a silver elf. Anita was perfect as the queen of the moon, shimmering across the stage while Rita was a flaming, smoking sun. Stephanie was stunning as a glorious golden deity, Vanity was a shimmering, spiky sex pot while Victoria was a beautiful molten Saturn before Icesis closed the show in a moody deity-does-Victorian-glamour number.

Ultimately Rita and Vanity were sent to safety before Silky was praised for bringing the fun on the runway though read for going round in circles during the Snatch summit. Ra’Jah meanwhile got wall to wall praise for being fun, energetic and entertaining during Snatch Game and for making yet another glorious runway. Anita’s runway received all the love, though the judges hated her Adele. She broke down about how much she was struggling in the season and ugh, it is hard to watch because she is usually so much fun. Stephanie was read for relying on the Cardi mannerisms and not giving any peaks and valleys. Though her runway, obviously, was beloved. Victoria’s outfit was praised though they felt she didn’t go far enough in Snatch Game. She opened up about the pressure of being the first cis contestant, though hearing everyone lift her up was great. Icesis’ look was loved, though her Snatch Game was only better given she absolutely dominated.

Obviously, it was Ra’Jah and Icesis that landed in the top two while Silky and Victoria were sent to safety, leaving Stephanie and Anita at risk of going home.

Backstage the dolls grabbed a drink before Stephanie opened up about how disappointed she was to land in the bottom again, while Anita admitted she feels heartbroken to be in the bottom, given this is what they do. Victoria meanwhile spoke about being disappointed to have not excelled, though agreed that Icesis and Ra’Jah were far and away the best. Anita caught up with Ra’Jah assuring her that she will turn things around and wanted to face challenges she didn’t get the chance to do in her original season. And while Ra’Jah knew that getting rid of Anita could make the upcoming comedy challenges easier, she is also losing confidence and that could make her easier to face. Icesis meanwhile asked Stephanie what she would give the competition if she stayed, though also admitted that she didn’t want to chop another Canadian. As the safe queens eavesdropped, Stephanie opened up to Ra’Jah about how she is struggling amongst the louder personalities while Anita tried to prove to Icesis she is a veteran and will turn a show, but just needs another chance.

After Icesis and Ra’Jah selected their lipsticks we returned to the mainstage where their new rocker outfits made a lot more sense as Avril’s Sk8r Boi kicked off. And well, despite the lols, the dolls killed it. Ra’Jah was brazen, bold and gave us ballet AND bating, Icesis meanwhile was full rocker, hitting every lyric and oozing attitude all over the floor. Sadly though there could only be one winner as Icesis took out victory and opted to give our Down Under hero another week to shine, eliminating her sister Stephanie from the competition.

As she hilariously called her a hoe via song on her way out the door.

Backstage, despite the disappointment, Stephanie was an absolute delight; thrilled to get to compete with her international sisters. And more importantly, grateful to be in the presence of zaddy Justin Trudeau, because duh. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she is always iconic – I mean, she was drag Sidney Prescott so don’t come for me – and as such, I was thrilled to toast her success with some Stuphaning Prites.

Sure, the name is a little clunky but we’ve ticked over into the festive season so you best believe, I will be eating festively whether it makes sense or not. And these little panettone stuffing bites – adapted from Nigella – are the perfect way to start. Sweet, salty and oh so carby, they will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Stuphaning Prites
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
4 shallots, sliced
2 granny smith apples, cored and quartered
400g sliced pancetta, diced
2 celery stalks
6 fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
200g tinned chestnuts, drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
500g slightly stale panettone, sliced
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the shallots, apple, pancetta, celery, sage, garlic and chilli flakes in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped and mushy.

Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring semi-frequently, for about 15 minutes. Or until fragrant and softened. Transfer to a large bowl and crumble in the chestnuts before stirring through the zest and juice of the lemon. Crumble in the panettone and give another good stir to combine until it forms a stodgy paste before folding in the eggs.

Line a 30x20cm baking dish and press the mixture in, smoothing the top as you go. Transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour or until browned and crisp on the edges and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about half an hour before cutting into bite-sized squares for a festive party snack, or larger portions if you’re using it as a side. Either way, devour.


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Noelle Lambertshranger

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was carved back into two for the now-annual split tribe double tribal round. And as we’ve come to learn, chaos well and truly ensued. Over at the losing group Queen Noelle led the charge against James, playing her Steal a Vote on Owen to lull him into a false sense of security before brutally blindsiding him from the game. Over at the winning group, Cassidy and Ryan’s feud came to a head with the former finally coming out on top, blindsiding him from the game with a full bag – and pair of pants – of seafood to boot.

Back at camp emotions were mixed as the groups came together and though Karla was meant to be out of the loop on the James plan, she was glad Sami told her about it. Obviously though, she was nervous. Cassidy meanwhile was thrilled to outplay her nemesis Ryan, particularly when he was still actively targeting her. Jesse on the other hand was feeling super powerful, knowing where all the advantages are and being super well connected with literally everyone in the tribe. Begging the question, is this the pride that comes before a fall or a strong thing to point out for a winner?

My love Jeffrey returned early in the episode for the latest reward challenge where they would each stand in a frame and spin around to wind in a buoy before racing over a cargo net and over a balance beam to collect a sandbag,  untying knots and tossing said sack on a pole. For an epic feast and luxury overnight reward. So yeah, it was a big one. Owen got out to an early lead, followed by Noelle, Cody, Sami and Karla. Eventually everyone made it to the balance beam which is where things got a little hard to watch as Noelle struggled due to her leg. While everyone started tossing their bag however, Noelle persevered as she fought through tears and the suction on her leg giving out before she finally arrived at the end of the challenge and straight up won on her second toss.

Like the damn queen that she is. I mean, oh my god she is amazing.

Everyone rallied around to congratulate her on such an epic come from behind victory before she opened up about how hard she tried and how losing her leg ultimately made her the resilient person she is (and I could only wish to be). Probst then dropped the bomb that in addition to food and a bed, she would also be getting letters from home and she’d be able to take two people to join her. After selecting Sami and Jesse, Jeffrey gave her one more, ultimately selecting Owen, perfectly splitting the tribe in two to no doubt cause some chaos.

At reward the foursome were well and truly thrilled as they sat down to smash the feast before they took time for a little bit of love from home. Owen sobbed, Jesse was brought back to being in juvenile detention and reminded of how far he has come in life and yep, it only took two people to have me crying like a baby. Noelle’s mum was an icon, sharing she was checking the weather and sending good vibes, while Sami’s dad had given up some food in his honour. After bonding over the love, Sami turned the conversation back to the game and suggested getting rid of Cassidy as soon as possible given she is allegedly a flipper. And while Noelle was more concerned about Sami being a flipper, she was onboard with Owen’s plan to split the vote on Karla and Cassidy and for the reward group to take control of the game with Gabler and Cody.

Back at camp the losers were far less energetic and jubilant as they ate a sad coconut over the fire. Not wanting to be left out of the fun chats they were having on reward, Cody tried to get people focused on the game and spoke about how untrustworthy Sami is. Cassidy took him for a walk and the duo spoke about instead targeting Noelle, given she is going from strength to strength in the game and as such, needs to be stopped in her tracks. Cassidy moved over to Gabler and Karla with them equally keen to get rid of Noelle. Though Gabler, TBH, was more excited about the fact he is the one with all the options.

The two groups came together to meet Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to balance a platform with a rope and build a house of cards first. Or, you know, the one to have it highest after a certain amount of time. Noelle and Karla quickly dropped as they found the rhythm of the challenge, followed by literally everyone multiple damn times. And as hilarious as it is to watch the supercut, I’m guessing it isn’t fun to read, so I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Cassidy won. Well, eventually, after almost winning multiple times before she finally put everyone out of their misery.

Back at camp Noelle was nervous about what to do now that they can’t split the vote, which only got worse when Gabler confirmed that the other women were going for her and tried to flip Cody. Speaking of Cody, he and Jesse caught up about what happened while the tribe was split and while he was grateful to Noelle for giving him the love from home, Jesse also knew she was a threat. And well, the letter reminded him why he is here, and as such, the duo locked in the vote against her. 

Jesse meanwhile was nervous about it all falling apart, so told her the plan was still to get rid of Karla but that they would now split the votes on Sami. He then got busy throwing Sami under the bus by telling Noelle he is going for her on the split. Lastly he went to Karla to lock her in and while she was nervous about it coming together, he approached Gabler to lock in an outright majority to get rid of Noelle. Wisely though, Gabler knew it would be dangerous to burn Owen and Sami so close to the end, leading to Jesse dominating by calmly outlining just how threatening Noelle is. He then looped back to Cody to fill him in, while Gabler approached Karla to assure her that he will be voting Noelle to save her. And then target Jesse and Cody next, given they are clearly the power couple.

At tribal council Noelle spoke about how proud she is to overcome the challenge and prove to other people with a disability that they can do anything. Jesse pivoted to the reward, talking about how grateful he was to hear from home despite his ugly crying now going to be shown on TV. Gabler meanwhile alluded to a shake up, while Noelle admitted it was tough to navigate amongst the confusion while Owen was hopeful that relying on trust would pull him through again. Jesse agreed that trust is the currency, though shared that confirming whether it is real is the hardest part of the game. While Cody was more concerned about timing, given the contents of the conversations change minute by minute and as such, you can never tell whether you’re in power. 

Sami agreed and admitted none of them really know what will happen until they vote. Oh and then Gabler spoke about being snipers, while Karla was hoping to catch people out before it happens. Noelle acknowledged the fact there are still idols in play and as such, they have to play a quiet, sneaky game before Jesse reiterated what his son said, which was to get that money. With that the tribe voted and Karla wisely held on to her idol as the plan came together and Queen Noelle was tragically booted from the game.

Noelle followed the sound of my rage cries to Ponderosa where we pulled each other in for a massive hug. As a fellow famed athlete, I obviously met Noelle while a college athlete and we became the firmest of friends. And while I obviously gave it up due to scandal and laziness, we kept in contact, so I was thrilled to be able to be there to celebrate her killer game post-boot. And commence plotting how she will win her inevitable All Stars season over a piping hot Noelle Lambertshranger.

While a bushranger isn’t exactly a famed pastry dish, I spotted it in a local butcher and immediately knew I had to try my hand at a little copycat version. The rich, earthy lamb works perfectly with the mustard and SOMETHING ELSE to give you a light, hearty dish that will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Noelle Lambertshranger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 small boneless lamb steaks, flattened to about 1cm thick
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add in the garlic and cook it off for about a minute before stirring in the mustard, red wine, most of the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for another couple of minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens and becomea little claggy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To assemble the bushrangers, place the steaks on a board and divide the mixture amongst them to form a line across the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters and place the lamb parcel on one side. Brush the edges and cover with another piece of pastry, getting as creative as you like with crimping of using offcuts to decorate. 

Brush the parcels with egg, sprinkle with the leftover rosemary and transfer to the oven to backe for 20-3 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with either a creamy mash or a fresh salad, then devour. Like a Queen.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

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

Previously on Survivor Baka finally got in on the excitement of bead idol-palooza as Jeanine stumbled across an ant covered note. She immediately looped in Elie and went to their allies to convince them to hand over their beads, while Sami waited until after the idol was powered to tell Gabler just what he had done. After Coco lost their second immunity challenge, Jeanine, Jesse and Geo were selected to go to Journey Island where they all risked their votes before Geo jagged the advantage. And Jeanine popped a bigger target on her back as Sami wondered why she would risk it when she already had an idol. When it came to Coco, it came down to Cassidy and Geo as the targets, and while Ryan thought he was valiantly pretending to be the one to go out, he was blindsided by the departure of his only ally Geo.

The next day Coco discovered treemail announcing the (non-)merge, offering them ten minutes to pack their things and get on a boat to leave camp. While everyone was feeling thrilled to have made it to the next phase, Karla wisley knew that Jeffrey would have some sort of shenanigans to officially make it to the merge and as such, was tempering her expectations. Over at Vesi, Jesse was ready to prove himself while Baka just got to stay at their camp, waiting to greet the other tribes and all their spoils. And while everyone was excited to meet new people, Cody knew it was about to descend into chaos and as such, wasn’t that happy to have new friends.

As everyone got together to kiki and get to know people, Noelle was nervous about the fact they don’t have buffs nor a feast. Because duh, that is the go now, listen to Karla! Owen meanwhile was concerned about all the potential advantages floating around their new mega-tribe. Noelle meanwhile dropped by Elie and Sami to talk about how wild Cody is, sharing an anecdote about him making a hat for tribal council, which did nothing more than announce that Cody is the one that owns the Vesi idol. A little fact Elie quickly took back to Jeanine.

Jeff made an early appearance to announce that once again they need to earn their place on the merge tribe, though this time, there would be no stupid hourglass of doom. The group would be split into two teams for the first opportunity to merge, racing to release a sled buried by sandbags and then drag it through obstacles to collect large blocks. They would then build a staircase to release a key, then climb up a platform, release puzzle pieces and then solve a word puzzle. With the winners officially part of the merge while the losers have to survive the upcoming vote to get there. And given there are 13 people left, someone would land in the middle and be given the chance to bet on the winner and if they were right, they would also be immune and get to partake in the merge feast with them.

Ultimately Noelle landed in the middle, opting to believe in the blue team, made up of Gabler, Karla, Jeanine, Ryan, Jesse and Dwight. Which seemed like a great choice, given they got out to the earliest of leads. Not to be outdone, the red team picked up the pace and overtook them while collecting their blocks. Things got worse for the blue team and Noelle as Karla crushed her hand on a block and started to bleed profusely as she tried to finish out the challenge. As the red team extended their lead and started to work on the word puzzle, the blue team worked together to get the bleeding Karla up the wall. And then completely dominated the puzzle, narrowly taking out immunity just ahead of the red team and proving Noelle was wise to back them. And hopefully Karla would soon get a bandaid.

Back at camp the losing team were heartbroken to be potentially going home tonight, with Elie in particular breaking down about bombing the puzzle. She rallied though and caught up with Owen, suggesting they lie to OG Coco and tell them that Cody is the target, and then split the vote on Cassidy and James, continuing to get rid of Coco. Elie quickly locked in Cassidy and James and while she thought they had bought it all, James felt she was being a little suss and as such, thought she could be the better option.

Meanwhile the victors and Noelle were busy smashing their feast and downing beers, before Karla floated the question of what they should do at tribal council. Ryan immediately suggested they could just lock it in as the final 7 at this point, which obviously annoyed Jeanine, who wanted to stick with her allies. The group pivoted, instead talking about who they wanted to protect with everyone trying to save their OG tribes. Except for Gabler, who admitted that she does not care for Elie and outed her for going through her bag. Which made Jeanine even more furious.

The two groups came together and filled each other in on the plans, with Elie throwing Cassidy under the bus for floating Cody, which was actually her plan. As they caught up with Dwight and Jeanine, the duo filled Elie in on the fact Gabler is coming for her which made her just as furious as Jeanine. Elie obviously went to confront Gabler, denying the fact she looked through his bag, though try as she might, he had no interest in listening. She cut her losses and instead went to confront Sami and Owen for outing her with Gabler and while they both denied it, they also offered to help clear her name. Well, until she was gone, when Sami decided that Elie was too dangerous to last another day.

Gabler then caught up with Jeanine and while she was just as angry, she calmly suggested they talk to Owen and Sami to try and reiterate the importance of staying Baka strong. With Sami eventually getting through to Gabler after Jeanine left, when he reminded him that Jeanine has an idol and as such, could save Elie and screw one of Owen or Sami if he doesn’t pull his head in. Vesi and Coco meanwhile were busy catching up, locking in Elie as the biggest threat. And after Ryan straight up told James and Cassidy that they were Elie’s actual target, it looked like everyone would be coming together to get rid of Elie.

At tribal council the soon to be merged tribe took their seats before Gabler spoke about the chaos of the day, failing to mention the fact that he was the one that kicked it off. Cody agreed that it was overwhelming, while Sami spoke about how nerve wracking it is to be one of the few options to go home within the broader group. Cassidy and Owen were nervous and unsure who to trust, while Jeanine said it was hard to even try and fathom what everyone else’s priorities were. Elie opened up about the fact her name was put out amongst the tribe while Karla spoke about the fact that there are a large number of potential advantages and as such, there is even more they have to worry about navigating. Sami mentioned how difficult a position it can be if you know about an advantage, given there are pros and cons to keeping your mouth shut, while everyone agreed that paranoia – about everything – is the most difficult thing to deal with.

With that the tribe voted and despite the chaotic afternoon pre-tribal, the final plan appeared to be solid as Vesi, Coco and Gabler banded together to boot Elie from the game. While Probst officially welcomed the other five castaways to the merged tribe.

Elie was obviously super disappointed as she arrived at Loser Lodge, particularly given she had only just been talking up how well she had been playing the game. Which I calmly explained is exactly what happens and to not let her down, particularly given she is a lock for a second chances season (sorry Lindsay) given she had an iconic feud with Gabler which cost her her game. Which proved enough to cheer her up as we plotted her second go over some fresh Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti.

While sometimes I worry that they will chip my teeth as I get older, there is nothing better than biscotti. Light and crunchy, these numbers pack a glorious punch of coffee alongside the chewiness of the cherries to create the ultimate textural sensation.

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup espresso powder 
2 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup raw caster sugar 
2 tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried cherries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Combine the espresso powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk the flour, raw caster sugar, baking powder and salt. Finally, beat the eggs and espresso-vanilla mixture in a stand mixer until thick and golden. Fold through the dry ingredients, walnuts and cherries, and beat until just combined.

Split the dough in half and form into two small, flat loaves. Pop on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour.

Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf into 4mm thick biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet. Once the biscotti are shaped, return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until perfectly crisped. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Then, devour.


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