Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji, ready to repeat all the tricks of last season. But hot damn did they have more success. Despite tragically losing Jackson before the first immunity challenge, the Ika tribe arrived at tribal council ready to play. Sadly for Zach, that was as far as his game went. More importantly, it also broke Maryanne’s heart as he was the literal embodiment of every white man she has ever loved. We then lost Marya, Jenny and Swati in quick succession, before Daniel blew up his game and set up the demise of Vati post-merge.
Speaking of which, the fake merge cost Lydia her game before Chanelle became the queen of the jury. Ika lost Rocksroy and Tori in a double tribal council before Omar took control by getting rid of Hai and Drea. In turn, that painted a target on his back and got him booted by Maryanne’s epic 3-2-2 play. This then led to Lindsay getting booted before the fire making challenge took out Jonathan, leaving Romeo, Mike and Maryanne to face the jury at final tribal council.
Despite Romeo putting in a strong showing, he came out of the experience with nary a vote while Mike’s subpar performance scored him only one as the jury gave Maryanne a resounding win for not only a game well played, but for dominating final tribal council.
After the cast finished filming the on island reunion, I quickly pulled Maryanne aside to toast her success. While she had a wild yet somehow quiet game at the start, she expertly read the room and was able to reset once she realised how she was being perceived, leading her on a path to greatness. Pulling off some epic moves at the right moments to not only get her to the end, but earn her the win. More importantly, she also was an epic and engaging character that will go down in the pantheon of legends. But for now, we’ll always have Maryanne Picoketchutney.
I always had a fear of the bright yellow pickle that lived in my fridge as a child, but thankfully with time comes wisdom and as an adult, my love affair began. Super tart, a little bit sweet and lightly spice, this is the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. Particularly a win.
Maryanne Picoketchutney Makes: 1.5L.
Ingredients 500g cauliflower, cut into small florets 200g zucchini, cut into a fine dice 100g green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 onion, diced 2 tbsp sea salt 600ml malt vinegar 3 tbsp English mustard powder 1 tbsp coriander seeds 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp turmeric ¼ cup plain flour ⅔ cup raw caster sugar 2 bay leaves
Method Combine the cauliflower, zucchini, beans and onion in a bowl with the salt. Cover and leave to steep at room temperature overnight. In the morning, rinse under cold water and drain.
Whisk 100 ml of vinegar with the mustard powder, coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, turmeric and flour to form a paste.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the mustard mixture and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add the drained vegetables and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Ladle the mixture into sterilised jars and seal immediately, storing in a cool dark place until opened. Then devour, immediately.
Previously on Survivor after Mike defeated Jonathan in the firemaking challenge and won his spot in the final three, the trio enjoyed one final day in Fiji before heading to tribal council. After copping a respectful grilling, Maryanne dominated the Q&A with equal parts charm and wisdom while Romeo was surprisingly confident in articulating why he deserved to be here. Sadly for him, it wasn’t enough to secure him any votes as he finished in third place.
Jeffrey then read the votes and despite playing a strong game, only one vote turned up for Mike as he took out second place, handing Maryanne a near unanimous victory as the jury crowned her the Sole Survivor.
Once Mike was done smashing pizza on the after show, I pulled him aside to perk him back up after just coming up short. Mike had played such a dominant game, controlling his tribe before the merge and managing to form meaningful bonds that carried him far into the game. Never mind the fact he was smart and knew when to make a move, all while minimising the fact he was super buff and a massive threat.
Really the only major flaw was his game was not owning it and like Sharn in Australia – who suffered her third loss in the recent election – the jury couldn’t respect it and it cost him the game. While he was disappointed at the outcome, Mike being Mike, he was super upbeat and proud of Maryanne. Though it is easy to work through the pain when you’re smashing a Mikaarage Chicken Turger.
Super crispy chicken, velvety mayonnaise and creamy avocado, smooshed between two soft buns, how can you go wrong? Oh and did I mention crunchy lettuce and a punch of kecap manis. It is, so, good.
Mikaraage Chicken Turger Serves: 8.
Ingredients 1 tbsp mirin 1 tbsp soy sauce 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp ginger, minced ½ cup kewpie mayonnaise 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 100g cornflour sunflower oil, for frying 3 avocados, mashed 1 lemon, zested and juiced salt and pepper, to taste 8 burger rolls 1 butter lettuce 2 tomatoes ¼ cup kecap manis
Method Combine the mirin, soy, garlic and ginger and 1 tbsp of the mayo in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat, before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.
Pop the cornflour in a bowl and heat about 5cm deep of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and press the chicken into the cornflour to coat before transferring the chicken into the pot to fry, two at a time, for about 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until the chicken is done.
To assemble the burgers, mash the avo with the lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Split all the buns in half and toast on a griddle pan. Spread the avo on the base, followed by some lettuce and tomato, then the chicken, followed by a drizzle of kewpie and some kecap manis. Then devour immediately, greedily. Messily. Happily.
Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the lush islands of Fiji where one by one they were eliminated, starting with the tragic loss of Jackson and Zach within the first few days. They were followed out the door – yes, this is happening – Marya, Jenny, Swati and Daniel before three became one as the tribes merged, or so they thought, as once again, the merge was a bit of a gag. That cost Lydia her game before the official merge saw Chanelle ascend to the throne as Queen of the jury. She was soon joined by Rocksroy, Tori, Hai, Drea and Omar before the final five were sent to a new beach to start over. Despite winning an advantage for the challenge, Lindsay couldn’t take out victory and landed on the jury bench before Romeo narrowly snatched final immunity and took Maryanne to final tribal council with him, leaving Mike to earn his place and sending Jonathan from the game to become the final juror.
The final three awoke on Day 26 to watch the sunrise, proud to have made it all the way to the end and to get the chance to argue their case. Though Mike was worried about how he would be able to convince the jury of his game, despite all of them giving confessionals about really needing him to own the fact he is the biggest snake left in the game. Romeo meanwhile was proud of playing from the bottom the entire game, with the jury admitting that his ability to persevere and outlast everyone has been very impressive. Maryanne meanwhile was readying herself to scream all of her achievements from the rooftops and while the jury were thrilled to see Maryanne make it to the end, they worried about her ability to articulate her superior game. And TBH, focus on the task at hand.
With that, the final three arrived at the final tribal council where Probst quickly explained the proceedings for the evening. Omar kicked off the discussion about their social games, praising all of them for making it to the end and encouraged everyone to outline what they did to deserve the win. Tori spoke about Mike’s passion for trust and integrity, while Maryanne was charming and fun while Romeo was quiet, asking how accurate her read was and whether she missed anything. Mike leant straight into his love of trust, while Maryanne countered that she has always taken the game seriously, desperately trying to downplay her threat level as all the young people kept getting voted out when they tried to make a move. While Romeo just agreed that yes he was paranoid, but that he kept throwing hinky votes out to keep people riled up.
That sadly upset Hai, who accused him of gaslighting him and ugh, Hai destroyed him. Despite his attempts to apologise and them ultimately moving on, I still worry for Romeo in this final tribal. Giving him hope, Omar asked Mike about some of the other times he lied that he hadn’t copped to, including the blindside of Drea. While Mike tried to talk around things, Chanelle jumped in to call bullshit on the situation, leading to Mike getting more and more desperate as he tried to explain that he only crossed people that crossed him. Which Hai pointed out was mainly Omar feeding him lies. Jonathan tried to get Mike to fight before Drea cooled things down and reminded everyone that they all lied, but the fact of the matter is that Mike’s social game was just on point.
Talk turned to Maryanne’s sloppy social game pre-merge, with Maryanne admitting she hadn’t realised how much her tribe hated her before the merge but once she realised, she rightly course corrected. Lindsay then gave Maryanne the chance to explain who she pulled in herself, with her highlighting her skills in taking out Omar. And while Jonathan tried to take ownership of the move, she slapped him down and rightly took credit. Because trust and believe, it was her moment.
Rocksroy kicked off the physical portion of the game, with Maryanne talking about her contribution around camp, weaving fronds and prepping the fish. Mike meanwhile highlighted his work ethic, powering along all season to look after his tribe. While Romeo admitted he has never camped and just learnt to swim, and as such, he is proud of himself for persevering and finally snatching immunity at the final four.
Drea kicked off the strategic portion, telling the final three that this is what will decide her vote. She asked each of them to outline their biggest move with Romeo talking about his fake immunity idol and winning the final challenge. Oh and that he took Maryanne because she didn’t have a strategy. Mike meanwhile spoke about orchestrating the blindside on Hai, with him admitting that sometimes his emotions got the best of him before he realised mid-sentence that he wasn’t as honest as he thought. Maryanne meanwhile shut it down, explaining that getting rid of Omar set her up with a bunch of final three combinations she could navigate. She then outed her idol, impressing everyone by keeping the secret and clearly articulating how removing Omar is the thing that took her to the end.
Romeo meanwhile broke down, disappointed to have had to play the game from the bottom and to not show his real self throughout the game. Though he was proud to have never given up and make it to the end, and to finally be able to live his life as a proud gay man. Mike spoke about being proud of himself for overcoming the generational barriers, competing with the younger kids and making the bonds to get to the end. While Maryanne once again dominated, sharing how she learnt to stand up for herself and to not self-sabotage, which is why she voted out Lindsay. She cried about having to turn on a friend, though finally knew that she had to take the risk of getting rid of her, to give herself the best shot at winning.
With that the jury voted and once again, everyone was gagged to discover that Jeff would be reading the votes right then and there in the middle of Fiji. Sadly for Romeo, none of them were for him as he found himself becoming the second runner-up of the season.
As Jeffy pop and co reset to film the reunion, I pulled Romeo aside and gave him a massive hug for all that he achieved throughout the season. And for giving a surprisingly dominant performance in the final tribal council. Romeo perfectly articulated how he managed to navigate the game despite being on the bottom the entire time, while also going on a massive journey to self-acceptance. Which is not bad for 26 days of work! And while it didn’t jag him the win, it was more than enough to win him my heart and a big ol’ ramekin of Romesco Saucobar.
A little bit tangy with a touch of earthiness and punch of sweetness, this Spanish sauce is the perfect accompaniment for pretty much anything. Make it a bit thicker and you’ve got a punchy dip, thinner and it works perfectly with some charred chicken.
Romesco Saucobar Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 150g chargrilled capsicum, drained well ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika ¼ tsp chilli powder 20g flaked almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan 1 lemon, zested and juiced 5 large garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Method Pop everything into the blender and blitz until smooth.
Decant and either down, dip or drizzle on something and devour – your choice!
Previously on Australian Survivor 22 people were forced to trek their way into the Australian bush with a loved one, ready to battle in the adventure of a lifetime. Upon meeting Jonathan by a watering hole, a chopper emerged and deposited the undisputed queen of Survivor, Sandra Diaz-Twine and her daughter to join the frey. One by one, they were voted out starting with Andy, Brianna and Kate. The tribes then swapped to stop the decimation of Queenslanders, before Alex and his sister’s now-ex Jay followed back-to-back.
There was then a genuine swap which tragically culminated in my least-favourite Survivor curse having its three-peat, as Sandra was voted out on Day 16. She was then followed out the door by Sophie and Amy, before tragedy struck as Princess Nina injured her leg in a challenge and was pulled from the game. After another cheeky swap, Croc and Ben were then felled before the tribes were no more and the Lava tribe – vom – was formed.
Tragically the merge cost us Khanh, though he then became the King of the Jury, which is super important, if you ask me. He was followed by Mel, Jesse – after Sam stole his idol – Michelle and Jordan before Sam, again tragically, was blindsided from the game. With that, Dave was felled, followed by Jordie, KJ and Josh, leaving Shay, Chrissy and Mark to battle it out at tribal council.
While I wish the jury were more receptive of the game the girls played, there is no denying that Mark and Sam dominated the season from start to finish. More importantly, they came into it with a very clear plan on how to play as a duo. While I would have found Sam to be a far more exciting winner, it was clear she would have had a harder time making it to the end and winning over the male-dominated jury. As such, they cut her at the right time, reducing Mark’s threat level at a key moment to help propel him into the end game.
By the time it came to perfectly articulating his game and winning over the jury with the right mix of praise, self-awareness and confidence, there was no denying he was more than worthy of the title of Sole Survivor. And the freshly made Markscapone Wales that goes along with it.
There is nothing better than cheese. I mean, I am fairly certain I am lactose intolerant, but I will live my life in gastrointestinal distress for any and all cheese. And given how easy and tasty fresh mascarpone is, that distress will likely become my standard state. Smooth and creamy, it is, like Mark, an absolute winner.
Markscapone Wales Makes: 1.
Ingredients 450ml cream 2 tsp lemon juice
Method Stir the cream in a large-ish saucepan over medium heat with a wooden spoon until it reaches 85C on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until it drops to 60C. Return to the heat and bring it back up to 85C before stirring through the lemon juice, maintaining the temp for a few minutes. Continuing to stir, remove from the heat and bring the temperature down to 60C.
Pour the mixture into a glass bowl, cover with cling or a tightly fitted lid and insulate with a tea towel. Sit at room temp for a few hours.
Once chill, pop a sieve over a clean bowl and line with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Pour the cooled cream through the cloth and cover with plastic and a clean tea towel. Transfer to the fridge to set for at least 24 hours. Before devouring, victoriously!
Previously on Australian Survivor 24 people were dumped in the middle of the Australian bush, with a single loved one. Who they were immediately separated from and forced to compete against for 47 days. After battling it out on the edge of a cliff for final immunity, Shay took out the challenge leading to Josh’s demise before Chrissy, Shay and Mark argued their case in front of the jury. Despite all playing markedly different, deserving games, the jury weren’t a massive fan of Shay’s challenge beasting her way out of the bottom and she was left without receiving a single vote and finishing as the co-runner-up of the season.
Alongside queen, icon, legend Chrissy Zaremba.
Despite not knowing anything of the game before landing in the bush, Chrissy’s personality overcame every obstacle, winning hearts until she found her feet and became an absolute power player.
While I would have loved her to flip on alliances sooner, that only would have made for exciting TV, rather than really serving her game and as such, I was shocked to see her miss out on picking up any votes at tribal council. I mean, she routinely was making decisions on who to vote out, set herself up well with everyone and eliminated people that were threats to her game.
And more importantly, she articulated it perfectly at final tribal council. As such, I pulled her in for a massive hug, apologised she didn’t get the respect put on her name that she deserves and toasted her success with a piping hot Chipsy Zarembutty.
There is nothing I love more than a hot-chip sandwich. I mean, fresh soft bread, butter dripping down your fingers and gorgeously seasoned chips are the ultimate combination. Add in a little smokiness – thanks, Masterchef! – and you’re in heaven.
Chipsy Zarembutty Serves: 2.
Ingredients 4 slices bread 200g butter, softened 50ml buttermilk smoking gun and smoking chips, to taste 2 cups thick-cut Jud Beerza Battered Fries, still nice and warm and heavily salted
Method Preheat the oven to 60C.
Combine the butter and buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft and fluffy. Cover with cling and fill the bowl with smoke from the smoking gun. Set aside for five minutes to infuse before repeating the process again, twice if required, depending on desired taste.
Cook the chips as per Jud’s recipe, though thicker.
To serve, smear the bread with the smokey butter and generously heap the chips on the bottoms. Close the sandwiches with the remaining, thickly butter bread, and devour. Like a queen.
Previously on Australian Survivor the final four met Jonathan on a cliff over a watering hole in the middle of the outback, ready to hang over the edge for their final immunity challenge of the season. Because surprise, as we’ve expected, there was going to be a final three this year! As everyone has speculated throughout the season, Shay took out the final endurance challenge of the season, leaving the boys and Chrissy at risk. Despite assuring Chrissy that she had her back, the boys tried to run interference and confusion. Or at least Josh did, as Mark quietly joined the girls to eliminate Josh as the final juror AND Fourth Place Robbed Goddess of the season.
The next day Chrissy was heartbroken to discover that she had burnt her socks while trying to dry them on the fire before Shay interrupted her bickering with Mark to pull them aside for a walk. Mark admitted that he is proud to have made it to the end though is super grateful to Sam, given she played a massive part in him making it all the way. And PREACH, because she was an absolute powerhouse this season. Mark then opened up about his time in the military and how tough it was and that living in the bush had reminded him of some of the situations he had encountered, leading to him breaking down.
And again, congratulations Mark. But damn, Chrissy was so sweet as she told him that he will now have memories of his time on Survivor when he sees a creek, rather than the trauma of war, and helped him process his emotions. So he can win the competition and Chrissy just gets our hearts, I guess?
The trio headed back to camp where they discovered a huge basket of food for the traditional final three feast as we heard from Shay, who was proud to show that women can be strong icons and ugh, I love her. While Chrissy was just completely shocked to have made it to the end, she reminded us that her name has never come up and that proves that she has played a strong game, though the fear is that a jury may not value it enough to reward her with a vote. Though trust and believe she was ready to tell Khanh how bloody good he has looked, rocking his fashions on the jury.
The final three arrived at tribal council where Jonathan introduced the jury and ran through how this evening’s proceedings would go. Each member of the final three would get to make their pitch, followed by the jury asking questions followed by an open forum. Oh and then they will vote for a winner.
Mark kicked things off talking about how stepping out into Samoa changed his life, though lost the game of Survivor, making him and Sam enter this game with a steely focus. He highlighted that he has been playing a strong strategic game from the very first tribal council by taking out Andy as a threat. He then chose to stay away from Sam at the swap before ruining the season for me by taking out Sandra. He then praised Khanh for playing such a strong game which is why he blindsided him at the merge before praising Jesse as one of the biggest threats, which is why he had to go. He then continued the praise game, explaining he has been pumping Josh up all season to have a meat shield at the end of the game and as such, his departure is why he is sitting there.
Shay meanwhile spoke about how she has fought hard throughout the entire season, losing her allies before merge came and at her lowest after being sent to Purgatory. She then fought her way back and has pushed herself all season. Oh and she also won the most immunities throughout the season. Chrissy went a different route, telling the jury that she has played a far stronger game than any of them even realised, relying on her biggest strength, her personality. One by one she formed bonds with everyone in the tribe, before she went against Croc to save Jesse post-swap which ultimately cost him his place in the game, leading to her taking out Ben. She then said that while she loves Josh and sees him as her family, getting rid of him was her big move.
She then finished it off by praising the jury for being icons that taught her a bunch too, just for good measure. And damn, may she will actually take it?
Jonathan then opened the floor to the jury with Khanh questioning Mark over how he felt about screwing his wife over to get to the end with him admitting that they were always playing the game for one of them to win and they had to do what they had to do. Jordie jumped in to question why he made Jordie feel like shit for sending Jesse from the game when he did the same thing, which led to Mark apologising for making him feel a bit shit to get himself further. KJ meanwhile asked Chrissy whether putting the needs of those she loves in the game ahead of herself ruined her game with Chrissy explaining she did end up turning on Josh. In no small part thanks to her kids.
Michelle asked Shay how she would rate her game with Shay giving herself a solid 8 – no 8.5 – explaining that she always played from the minority and as such, she couldn’t pull the big moves like everyone else but she fought tooth and nail to get to the end. Josh meanwhile cussed out Chrissy for voting him out despite the fact he voted against her too. She explained that things felt off with him after the immunity challenge and as such, she knew he was making a move against her. He then asked Mark why he also turned on him with Mark essentially giving him the, too bad so sad, it was what I had to do to give myself the best shot at the win. Since that is why he is here, for his family.
Speaking of family, Sam was up next, who spoke about how much the jury loves the game and while it is obvious she is voting Mark, she wants to know what winning would mean to Chrissy. She opened up about coming into the game having zero clue about the journey she was signing up to and well, yeah, the jury didn’t like it. Jesse followed it up asking Mark how managing his threat level got him to the end, with Mark opening up about trying to make as many friends as possible and then essentially laying as low as possible. And then when Jordie identified him as a threat, he just agreed that he was so that it kind of disarms the issue. Leading to Jordie praising him for being a role model to him and his brother and damn, they really are telegraphing this win, no?
With that the jury voted before Jonathan wheeled out a TV to Skype with their loved ones with poor tired little Harry just wanting to go to sleep while Sam and Mark held back tears over how much they missed their son. Jonathan then wheeled out his dad and stepmother in the flesh before the tears really started flowing. Shay’s parents and Ben arrived on the scene with her mum rocking pink hair like an icon and well, her dad is adorbs, so I love them too. Chrissy’s daughters were then wheeled out and once again, I am crying. I’m also crying to see Croc again, given he was the iconic alpha male winner that we deserve. Most importantly, her daughter Lulu is a Jonathan stan too and well, I love her. Particularly since she felt sad for Chrissy having to sleep in the dirt for almost 50 days.
Chrissy admitted that it is what it is at this point, while Mark was grateful to have his parents here while Shay would be honoured for the jury to crown her as their winner. Sadly for her though, they did not, as the votes all piled up on Mark and handed him the win.
As soon as she wandered out of tribal council, I pulled Shay in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a job well done. While the jury clearly didn’t appreciate her gameplay, there is no denying that she dominated physically and when nobody is willing to play with you on a strategic level, what else do you do? As such, I toasted her success and celebrated her with a piping out Shayelle Larbjoie.
Piping hot and packed with flavour, there is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked larb. And while I may not be perfect (at cooking larb, at least), this is still a glorious punch of flavour. Hot, salty and sweet, it fills your palette with joy. Basically.
Shayelle Larbjoie Serves: 4.
Ingredients ¼ cup jasmine rice 2 tbsp vegetable oil 6 shallots, sliced 500g chicken mince 1 tsp muscovado sugar 2 tbsp fish sauce 2 limes, zested and juiced 1 tsp lemongrass 2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced ¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped ½ cup mint, roughly chopped salt, to taste
Method Place a wok over low heat and toast the dry grains, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, grind and set aside to cool. Add the oil to the wok and fry half the shallots until crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a sheet of paper towel.
Crank the heat to medium and once scorching, add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp. Add in the sugar, fish sauce and lime zest and juice and stir until sticky. Add the ground rice, raw shallots and herbs and cook for a further minute before seasoning to taste.
Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fried shallots and then devour.
Previously on Drag Race 12 iconic queens arrived in the UK Werk Room, ready to fight for the crown. While tragically they were felled one by one starting with Anubis – yep, this old chestnut (not roasting on an open fire) – followed by Elektra, Victoria, Veronica, Charity, River, Choriza, Scarlett and Vanity, leaving Ella, Kitty and Krystal to make it to the finale. After writing verses on Ru’s Christmas song, chatting with Ru and Michelle and performing the song live on stage, the top three lip synced for the crown with Kitty and Ella deemed co-runner-ups to the iconic Krystal Versace.
The youngest winner in franchise herstory.
Krystal came into the competition ready to absolutely dominate the game. After winning the first challenge which leaned heavily into her fashion strengths, she continued to surprise herself as she slayed everything thrown at her.
More importantly, she showed the world how sweet and focused she is and that sometimes, nice gals finish first. As such, I was thrilled to witness her coronation, which is guaranteed to be just the start of a very bright future.
Fresh off the stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and reiterated how proud she is. Given she is young enough to be my child – if it was a very young-teenage pregnancy – I quickly pivoted to asking her if she was looking after herself, the other queens were being nice to her and whether she had done her homework.
The last one being eerily poetic, given the clearly came into the competition with a solid understanding of what needed to be done. Meaning the least I could do was celebrate her success with a beautiful Blueberry and Krystalemon Versacheesecake.
Super sweet, a little bit tarty and packing a surprisingly delicate, floral centre, there is no better way to honour our newly crowned queen. Or celebrate a special occasion. Or, you know, just have a really fucking delicious cake.
Blueberry and Krystalemon Versacheesecake Serves: 8.
Ingredients 200g Ginger Nut biscuits, blitzed into a rough sand texture 100g butter, melted 750g cream cheese, softened ½ cup raw caster sugar 1 tbsp gelatine ¼ cup boiling water 1½ cups thickened cream 250g blueberries ½ cup Lemon Kurd Cobain 20g edible flowers
Method Combine the biscuits and butter in a bowl until they are coming together, and press into a 24cm springform pan to form a smooth base. Transfer to the fridge to set.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and combined. Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water before adding to the mixture with the thickened cream, and beat for a further couple of minutes or until velvet and smooth.
Remove the filling from the mixer and fold through the blueberries.
To assemble, scatter some flowers on the base, followed by a couple of dollops of the mixture. Dollop in some of the curd and swirl through with the tip of the knife. Top with the rest of the filling, a few more dollops of curd and repeat the swirling process. Top with flowers and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours, or ideally, overnight.
You could also do the flowers last to avoid wilting, but I prefer them set into the cake despite not looking as great.
Once set, remove from the tin and devour, greedily and most importantly, victoriously.
Previously on Drag Race UK 12 queens entered the Werk Room for another battle royale of my favourite franchise. While nine sisters were eliminated along the way, it was the quiet achiever Ella that rose to the top. Winning challenge after challenge, after challenge (and challenge) until Vanity was eliminated and she battled for the crown against Kitty and Krystal.
Despite slaying the competition, Ella didn’t end up taking the crown though some would argue what she won was better than that anyway. My heart!
While underestimated by her sisters at the beginning of the competition, I knew that someone that could come up with a name like that was full of talent and from start to finish, she shon.
Like Bimini before her, she showed versatility, charisma and so much talent and while she may not have finished with the crown, her career can only go from strength to strength.
Which is what I reiterated to her through gritted teeth as I pulled her off stage to toast her with (a kinda ugly, sorry Ella) Hot Nutella Vaday.
What my photography skills don’t show is how damn near perfect this drink is. I mean, sure, we all love a Hot Choc – or Coco – but when one has the opportunity to go with nutella, they should take it. So take it.
Hot Nutella Vaday Serves: 2.
Ingredients 2 cups milk ⅓ cup Nutella whipped cream, for topping (which I forgot to do, I assume, because we’re all bottoms)
Method Like most of my drinks and salads, this one is a little bit difficult to process.
Pop the milk and nutella in a saucepan, whisk until well combined and pop over low heat until cooked through.
You could also do it direct in a mug using your meek-ro-wah-vay, though that always runs the risk of getting dirty, dirty, dirty.
Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with roasting themselves, the panel and their eliminated sisters for a decidedly heavenly roast. Kitty was her usual brand of funny and charming, however it was once again Ella that completely dominated. From dad jokes to her hilariously dragging anyone in sight, she well and truly earned her fourth victory on her way to the finale. At the other end of the pack, Vanity was read for playing it too safe with her jokes, while Krystal landed in the bottom for her heavy reliance on age jokes. After the duo lip synced however, the assassin was felled as Krystal went through to the finale and Vanity sashayed away.
Backstage the dolls were jubilant to make it to the end, though quickly took pause to toast their fallen sister Vanity. Kitty joked that there is normally a dog in the top three, though was glad that this one only had a bunch of babes. Though did admit that if she can’t spot the ugly queen, maybe it was in fact her. Ella was still on cloud nine about her victory, talking about how great it was to see their sisters and hoping none of them were offended by being dragged. Which was obviously the point that they were all brought in, praising Ella for killing the hell out of the roast. Vanity was accepting of being eliminated, while Krystal agreed she deserved to be in the bottom alongside her, with Elektra shadily agreeing out loud rather than in her head. Choriza rounded out the visit by giving the final three a pep talk for the finale ahead while Kitty just wanted the meet and greet girls to exit so they could celebrate and get their heads in the game.
The next day the queens were feeling festive as fuck to be not only be in the finals but also because Ru popped up some Christmas trees. Ella quickly pointed out that she has the same amount of badges as the other two combined, while Kitty was just thrilled to have proof that her years of hard work are worth it. Ru interrupted their chat to drop by and announce that for this year’s finale, the dolls would be writing their own verse on her holiday hit, Hey Sis, It’s Christmas. And then, you know, perform it live on the mainstage, after a quick Q&A with her and Michelle.
They quickly split up to write their lyrics, with Kitty nervous about how to stand out while Ella wanted to write a bop. And Krystal simply wanted to do better than the Girl Group challenge. After spilling some sample lyrics, Kitty dropped by to catch up with Ru and Michelle, talking about her passion for Christmas and her level of comfort on the stage. She opened up about her time at musical theatre school and how she practised sewing before joining the competition and always tries to keep things positive. And how supportive her sweet family are.
Ella was up next, opening up about how gagged she is to have dominated the competition. Ru asked whether Ella was just a failed actor that came to drag – way harsh, Tai – with her opening up about doing it to re-energise her career and that she initially kept drag separate from the theatre crowd, so that she would be taken seriously in both worlds. She spoke about how she learnt to love herself, got all loved up and reiterated the fact she was so shocked to make it to the end. Krystal meanwhile had Ru and Michelle laughing from the start, joking and giving off a very relaxed vibe. She mocked her name, spoke about her inspirations and how proud her family are. Talk turned to her virginity with Krystal admitting that she would prefer to be doing up a wig than doing a man. Or well, going on a date. Oh and she was fired up for the win.
The dolls then joined Jay Revell to learn the choreography for their final performance with Kitty overwhelmed by how damn hot he is. Which in a word, is relatable. Krystal was up first, wanting to throw in a lot of tricks and flicks to sell herself. Kitty meanwhile was fun and full of pointing, while Ella was the perfect combination of the two – sexy but also pointy. After they were all chill and calm about their verses, Jay told them their group moments are hard as hell and well, poor Krystal arrived at struggle street. As the musical theatre queens quickly picked up the choreo, poor Krystal lagged behind while Kitty knew it was all a ruse as she will definitely slay it, because that is what Krystal does.
Coronation Day finally arrived with Krystal asking them about first impressions, with Ella admitting she was gagged, not about how stunning Krystal’s looks were, but more importantly, that she was also super kind. Kitty meanwhile was nervous upon seeing Ella, praising her for being as handsome as Gaston in drag. While both the dolls were thrilled to have met Kitty and her infectious energy. Kitty then opened up about how great it was to meet Baby Spice, while Ella’s highlight was winning Snatch Game. Which Kitty admitted she was gagged about, given she thought she would win or it would at least be a double. Krystal meanwhile was proud about how she constantly surprised herself.
And then Ella and Kitty did a spot on Veronica Green impersonation. Which means nothing really, but was important to me.
Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan lined up on the panel for the debut performance of Hey Sis, It’s Christmas! and frankly,Ella’s verse was absolute fire and she sold the hell out of it to boot. Kitty was demented and delightful, as per usual, while Krystal came out all guns blazing. The rest of the queens then joined the performance and things got wild and well, ugh, I just love the dolls.
On the Final Three Eleganza Extravaganza Runway, Ella was a vision in a stunning purple gown, complete with a big old wig to make Michelle happy. She was sparkly, confident and ready to complete it with a crown. Kitty straight up looked like a Southern belle who became a princess, feeling her oats and looking a frosted delight. Krystal meanwhile was perfection in a black velvet mermaid gown, standing out in all the right ways.
Ella received universal praise for her verse, opening herself up and nailing the hell out of the challenge. The judges loved her look, though Graham did question the choice of shoe. Though they all agreed that she dominated the competition and was the one that they could all rely on. Kitty was praised for her magnetism and her demented lyrics in the song before the judges shared how much they loved her look. Alan then likened her to a labrador, with everyone loving her energy from the start and then they learnt she is talented to boot. The judges loved how Krystal challenged herself in the final number, thrilled to see her polish her skills and emerge as an even brighter star. Oh and they lived for her dark and moody final runway.
Ella was first to talk to young Nicholas, reminding him that he is beautiful and perfect and begged him to embrace who he is and silencing all the names and slurs that are thrown his way. Kitty wanted young Lewis to remember how lucky he is and to never take anything for granted. She then suggested he stay happy and kind and most importantly, to wear supportive underwear. Krystal told young Luke – well, younger – to embrace all the love he has around him and to be kind and patient while waiting for people to come around. Oh and to ease up on fillers as a teenager.
Ella shared that she should be the next UK Drag Superstar, admitting that she has all the talent and has thrown everything out there to get the win. Finishing simply by reminding them that she is the best, and they should pick her. Kitty felt that she should win because she is the embodiment of UK drag, with a little camp and a big pair of knockers. Krystal meanwhile wanted to inspire the next generation of drag to try hard and let kids know they can do whatever it is they want.
Backstage the dolls caught up with their eliminated sisters with Elektra thrilled they all got a chance to perform together one last time. Choriza was proud of everyone, while Victoria was shady about Ella finally stepping out of the chorus. Ella meanwhile was proud to dominate, though Kitty suggested it won’t matter in the end. Anubis meanwhile looked stunning as she praised them for a great season, while River joked that the double elimination was the best lip sync. Oh and we learnt that Elektra wasn’t allowed to jump off the stage when she did, while Scarlett joked about not wanting to talk about her walk off.
After the eliminated queens walked the runway, the top three were tasked with lip syncing for the crown to Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Own Me. Everyone played to their strengths from the start, Kitty was charming as hell and giving all the comedy, Ella was moody and leant into her acting chops while Krystal threw everything at the wall. It was stunning, it was emotional and most importantly, they were stupid and fired up. Tragically though, there can only be one winner and that was young Krystal.
While she was busy getting her crown fitted, I pulled Kitty to the side to toast her killer run and infectious personality. As Kitty said, she truly is the embodiment of UK drag, camp, bawdy and so damn fun, which to me, well and truly earns a victorious Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza!
I know, I know – zucchini isn’t the most exciting vegetable (or is it a fruit?) option in the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place. Like say, this one! Thin strips of juicy goodness work perfectly with the salty haloumi to create a perfect new pizza combination.
Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza Serves: 1 iconic queen and her equally iconic bestie.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅓ cup Toni Basil Pesto 400g haloumi, sliced 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthways 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved cheddar and mozzarella, to taste
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Smear the bases with pesto. Layer with haloumi and zucchini, followed by a dotting of garlic and the cherry tomatoes, then a generous helping of the cheeses.
Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Devour, careful not to burn yourself on the molten hot cheese.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 12 new dolls waltzed into the Werk Room and while their Season 1 sisters – led by The Vivienne – were icons, they walked so these calls could run. Because damn, this season was perfect from start to finish. We lost star Joe Black first before the sweetest frontline worker of all time Cherry Valentine was felled. The dolls were then gagged by ASOS loving Asttina followed her out the door with a win to her name before Ginny straight up quit the show and exited on her own terms.
Then the world happened and that little ol’ virus that could came a knockin’ at the studio doors with filming shut down for seven months.
When things kicked back off, Sister had a new face while Tia kept her JT style hair for continuity. Sadly, Veronica caught COVID and was unable to return to the show, leading to Joe making a triumphant return for another try. Sadly she became the first boot again before Tia and Sister followed her out the door. Despite having two wins to her name, A’Whora was felled by a bleep riddle comedy show leaving Ellie, Tayce, Bimini and Lawrence to battle for the crown.
Well, the latter three as Ellie was felled ahead of the final lip sync.
While Tayce dominated the lip sync and Bimini dominated the latter half of the competition, it was the all-rounder Lawrence that joined the UK winners circle. And well, it is what she deserves. While Bimini overtook her in the later stages of the competition, Lawrence was consistently in the top and you know she is going to go on to have a long, successful career given she is so damn charming and funny. As such, I was very proud to toast her success with a piping hot bowl of Lawrence Colchannon.
How do you make mashed potatoes even better? Pack it full of flavour and cover it in brown butter, of course! Rich and hearty, this colcannon is the perfect accompaniment for any dish and will have you questioning why you haven’t slathered brown butter over your mash before.
Lawrence Colchannon Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1kg washed potatoes 200g kale, stripped from stems and roughly chopped 1 cup milk 2 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp pepper 150g unsalted butter 4 spring onions, sliced
Method Pop the potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Add the stripped kale to the pan and cook for a further five minutes before draining everything. Return to the pan and place over the off burner to dry out all the excess liquid.
Aggressively mash the potatoes and kale until semi-smooth before stirring through the milk, salt and pepper and stirring to combine. Place over the lowest heat possible and stir frequently to avoid catching.
Place a small saucepan over a medium heat and slowly melt the butter before cooking until golden brown and starting to get brown bits catching on the bottom. Add in the spring onions, cook for a further minute and remove from the heat. Add half to the potato mixture and stir to combine.
To serve, pour the potato into a dish, whipping with a spatula to form peaks and valleys across the surface. Then drizzle with the rest of the brown butter and devour, like a true queen.