Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways arrived on the beaches of Samoa divided into Heroes or Villains depending on either how they play the game – for our 11 returnees – or how they intended to, for our newbies. Or their profession, in the case of our journos and real estate agents. As quickly as she came back for her redemption, poor Jackie was medevaced. She was followed by a string of newbies as Anjali, Michael, Mimi, Rogue and Sarah soon followed. George then set his sights on his nemesis Simon, but after a surprise individual immunity challenge we lived through the best tribal council of all time which cost Fraser his spot.
Iconic scream queen Sharni was next to go (back to Yabbie Creek, darl) before the swap (thankfully) cost Paige her spot in the game. We then suffered the tragedy of losing sweet Jordie before my dear friend and legit hero Benjamin Law was shown the door. Internal battles between the Spice Girls caused Stevie to be blindsided just ahead of the merge, before George’s instincts proved correct as Flick turned on them while Matt stayed loyal, allowing the OG Villains to take control and boot David from the game.
For her deception, Flick became Australia’s first ever Queen of the Jury before a lack of mateship sent Sam out. George then broke our hearts by turning on Shonee before the Villains turned their attention back to eliminating Heroes in the form of Shaun and Hayley. George and Simon’s feud finally came to a head with the King booting sweet, power-bottom Simon before Nina became the first Twine to join the jury.
The final four were gagged by Jonathan when he announced that they would be eliminating a juror with Matt and Gerry pushing to get rid of Shonee, given she was 100% in Liz’s corner. Which should have been a warning to George that he would not be making it to the final tribal council again, with the final three newbies banding together to send him to the ALL RETURNEE jury. At the final tribal council Liz well and truly rose to the occasion, laying out a comprehensive, nearly watertight argument why she deserved the win. Before the jury awarded her unanimously, making her our second Olympian to take out the crown. I mean, if presenting to the jury was an Olympic sport, she would come out on top while Sharn, famed barrister and two-time runner-up wouldn’t even qualify.
While the edit may not have shoved it down our throats, there is a very clear reason why Liz was not only the final woman and villain standing, but our newly minted Sole Survivor. And that is because she not only played a hell of a social game but also knew when to make the right moves. It may not have been the most exciting television watching the newbies ride it out with George at the end, however it made the most sense to use him as a shield as he will always be easy to eliminate at the end (another reason Sandra should actually always make it to the end, but people get too excited) as their best shot was with each other.
Despite Matt opting to eliminate Shonee from the jury for being a locked in Liz vote, he clearly underestimated the bonds she made and how well she would be able to articulate her game. Which is why he landed in second and she joins our iconic pantheon of winners. As the fireworks settled, I pulled her in for a massive hug – did you know I was a champion pole vaulter and we became friends on the circuit? – and thanked her for keeping us fed this season. More important than winning the title, she also managed to put an end to the long running Survivor curse and that is worth celebrating, with a glorious Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza.
This pizza is so delicious, it is hardly a surprise it had the power to end the curse. The earthiness of the asparagus works perfectly with the salty tang of the prosciutto and the creamy ricotta to deliver a pizza fit for the newest queen.
Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅔ cup ricotta kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths 1 lemon, zested 2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 6 slices of prosciutto, roughly chopped
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread a thin layer of ricotta over the bases, followed by a sprinkle of salt and a good whack of pepper. Add the asparagus, lemon zest, chives and parmesan, before topping with the prosciutto. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Serve and devour triumphantly, knowing you’re the one person great enough to break an epic(ish) curse.
Previously on Australian Survivor 13 newbies were dumped on the islands of Samoa ready to do battle with 11 returnees to prove once and for all whether heroes or villains do it better. Nearly instantly Queen Jackie was violently dumped off a barrel in the first challenge, breaking her collarbone and ultimately medevaced from the game. Despite a warning at tribal council that George – who was also injured in the first challenge – may not return, they opted to continue with the vote and sent his only ally, the iconic Anjali Rao out of the game.
George ultimately did return however, with Shonee quickly pulling him into an alliance with her given she knew that as the only three time player on the beach, she needed another threat around as a buffer. Oh and she also found this season’s island bestie in Liz, and just like that Shiz was born. After losing yet another immunity challenge, Michael was felled for trying to target George. Stevie meanwhile was out for revenge against Shonee for blindsiding him on their first season, however when he was the target at the next tribal council, she redeemed herself in his eyes with a last minute flip to send Mimi out of the game.
Meanwhile over at the Heroes despite being the biggest threat as the sole winner in the cast, Hayley was feeling confident enough to throw the immunity challenge to get rid of Rogue because she was rude and abrasive. After losing the next immunity challenge, the Heroes were gagged to discover they’d be sending a mole over to the Villains tribe however when Sam said they were sending someone expendable, Gerry was less of a mole and more of a powerful tool for the Villains post swap. The Villains returned to their losing streak, running over the swing vote in Sarah before Fraser got caught in the crossfire of George and Simon’s feud in the most epic tribal council of all time.
When the Heroes returned to tribal council my love Benjamin idol-ed Queen Sharni out of the game before the swap arrived and kicked things into overdrive. Despite being outnumbered at the new Heroes, George and Shonee took control and blindsided Paige – ugh, hunting is yuck – before Jordie was felled back at the Villains despite having Shonee’s idol in his pocket. The Heroes then sent Benjamin from the game before Liz was able to mutiny to reunite Shiz before a feud between George and the girls led to Stevie tragically being booted. After the merge, the OG Villains and an assortment of friends took control, sending David from the game before Flick became our first Queen of the Jury. She was followed by her bestie Sam before queen, icon, legend Shonee was felled by George before she could get him, due to her being closer to Liz. Shaun and Hayley were the next Heroes to go, before George finally got to take out Simon and then opting to stick with the boys and take out Nina.
Jonathan threw in one final twist however with the tribe required to boot a juror with Matt and Gerry getting their way and sending Shonee out of the game due to her being a guaranteed vote for Liz. Which really should have been a warning to George that his goose was finally cooked, as they banded together with Liz to send him out of the game as our fourth place robbed goddess of the season.
At the final tribal council, Liz absolutely dominated her opponents and took ownership of the move Matt had pinned his entire argument on – getting rid of George – neutralising him in the eyes of the jury, and allowing our newest queen to take out the title unanimously, leaving Matt to finish as the co-runner-up with Gerry. As I said with Gerry, despite being shut out, Matt played a solid game and arguably did all he could to win as one of the few newbies left by the jury phase. Since George was clearly taking them to the end for an easy win. But alas, they cut him loose at the end (which was also Matt’s move, despite not having revenge attached) making Matt a lovely runner-up, with a hearty Matt Borscharp reward.
When I was little, the entire concept of borscht freaked me out, despite my passion for beetroot. I assume it had something to do with the fact I couldn’t figure out how to make cheese work with it, but that is a conversation for another time. As an adult, I finally tried borscht and fell in love with its rich, earthy perfection and the soup quickly found its place in my permanent rotation.
Matt Borscharp Serves: 8.
Ingredients ¼ cup olive oil 4 beetroot, peeled and grated 2 celery stalks, sliced 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup tomato paste 8 cups chicken stock 2 cups water 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp champagne vinegar 3 tbsp dill, finely chopped kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste sour cream, for dolloping
Method Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the grated beetroot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring infrequently, until they are soft and juicy.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so, before stirring in chicken stock and water, followed by the potatoes and carrots. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Add the beans bay leaves, vinegar and dill with a good whack of salt and pepper, and simmer for another five minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and devour, like a boss.
Previously on Australian Survivor after the boys tragically removed Shonee from the jury in the surprise final non-elimination, the final four finally faced off in their final immunity challenge. Set on the same cliff face that housed the iconic moment Kirstie convinced Lee to step off his perch, they would stand in torture devices as JLP turned a crank to further extend spearheads into their back with the last one standing guaranteeing their spot in the final three. After rolling out their loved ones – featuring the iconic Duchess of Double Bay, Cara “I’ve Cooked It” Atchison – they took their places before the Olympian took out immunity, forcing the boys to turn on each other. Despite Gerry’s plea to be voted out and let George stay, the newbies held firm as Liz finally got revenge and sent George to the jury.
The next day the final three awoke to watch the sunrise before Liz spoke about how difficult it was to vote out George, despite how great she felt to have gotten revenge for the legendary Shonee. Knowing the jury was made up of only returnees, the feeling was that they will reward gameplay, despite Liz being a little nervous about the fact it was also very hero heavy. After collecting their feast from treemail, Matt spoke about how much of an honour it was to make it to the end and make his family proud. Gerry was equally surprised, thrilled to have made it to the end despite being the oldest contestant in history. He then opened up about how much the victory would mean to him, given COVID ruined his business and he could now actually repay his family and rebuild his life. Before they all panicked about getting their pitches right.
At the final tribal council everyone took their places on the relevant benches before Jonathan explained how the evening would proceed as Liz kicked off the opening statements, talking about how she came in as a physical threat and that she has proven herself week after week. Despite that, she had no experience in the game and as such, absorbed all the wisdom of George, Shonee, Simon and Jordie to sharpen her skills. She built many alliances, forged via her stellar social game, but nothing compares to the fact that she was able to bide her time before finally getting revenge and taking out George. At the toughest position, as final juror. She then doubled and tripled down on the George vote being solely her move as Matt looked on awkwardly.
And damn, she is off to a strong start.
Speaking of Matt, he spoke about how he came out here driven to win for his family by building close social bonds. He outlined all the moments he was selfless, talking about how those moves made him a perfect person to flip without being noticed. Also he won three immunity challenges like Liz, but with an extra vote to boot. While Gerry was far less polished and intense, this time keeping it brief, telling everyone he is the oldest to ever play and he was thrilled to buck the trend of becoming a first boot. He fought through an injury and being deemed disposable, which ultimately led to him changing up his game and focusing on revenge against the Heroes. And well, he rode George to the end as his partner. And you best believe, he never missed when casting a vote.
We flipped over to the jury where Sam congratulated everyone on making it to the end before asking how Liz was proactive, with her articulating that she had to hit the ground running to simply survive against returnees. She then powered through the swap phase, building new alliances and then dominating at the merge. Simon then asked Gerry how he had control throughout the game, with him explaining you can’t succeed in this game by yourself and as such, he was steering the ship with George and while everyone looked sceptical, George confirmed it was true. Speaking of George he then congratulated them on making it to the end, asking Liz and Matt to articulate which move they made in the game that wasn’t instigated by him. Matt quickly tried to take ownership of getting him out, which Liz promptly shut down, telling him that a decision after the immunity challenge isn’t equal to her biding her time after the Shonee vote until it was the right time to strike. At final four, when she knew he would be vulnerable.
Matt then tried to say he considered working with Simon after the Hayley vote but ultimately didn’t, which TBH, doesn’t matter as it didn’t happen. Which is exactly what George told him, as he scolded him for not actually being able to name one, reiterating that he’d love to vote for him if he can name something. Liz then jumped in, because lol, telling George that there were many moments that she and Shonee spent time working behind the scenes to sneakily turn the tide against him, using saving Flick at the Stevie vote as an example as she continued to knock the question out of the park.
Hayley then asked Gerry if there was anything he regretted in his game, with him saying he doesn’t have any regrets and that he is proud of the game he played. He spoke about the 30 year age gap between him and the rest of the cast, and how he invested so much time in overcoming having nothing in common with anyone, leading to Sam patronising him about being terrible with human interaction. Which is a bit of a lol, given who it is coming from. Shaun then jumped in to say that he and David only spoke footy because it was their job, ripping Gerry for never taking an interest in him, pointing out that he has many things in common with Gerry, like hiking, however Gerry just never bothered to ask.
Queen Hayley tried to get things back on track, asking them why they deserve to win, with Gerry talking about how the game gave him a new lease on life and whether they vote for him or not, he is a winner. Liz meanwhile spoke about how she has played an interesting, exciting game and was scrappy as she played from the bottom, being the last woman, last newbie and last Villain standing and she is ready to take out the crown that she rightly deserves. Given she expertly straddled the line between Heroes and Villains. While we got nothing from Matt, which is kinda sucky for him, given it makes it abundantly clear he isn’t winning.
With that the jury voted before JLP wheeled out the final three’s loved ones and got to work counting the votes, with Liz taking it out unanimously. Like an absolute boss. I pulled Gerry aside to congratulate him on a game well played, because despite being shut out by the jury, there is no denying that he really played the game as George’s partner. Despite a lot of those instances – the Stevie vote in particular – being a calculated move on George’s part to let him make the choice, Gerry more than Matt had agency throughout the game. Which more than earned him a piping hot celebratory Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish.
It feels kind fitting that both Gerry and George were bequeathed danishes on their first attempts at the crown, though I would argue Gez got the better version. Sticky, sweet and oh so moreish, this cherry and almonds are the perfect pairing to toasting the great man.
Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed 350g cherry jam ¾ cup toasted slivered almonds, plus extra to top 1 egg 1 ½ teaspoon raw caster sugar ½ cup icing sugar 2 tsp milk ¼ tsp almond extract
Method Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the puff pastry on a lined baking sheet and spread the cherry jam down the centre third of each, leaving a two centimetre border at the top and bottom, before sprinkling the almonds on top of each.
Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts, along both long sides of the pastry, cutting until you almost hit the preserves. Starting at the top, fold the strips over the filling, alternating sides until you make it to the end, before pinching to seal.
Combine the egg and sugar with a tablespoon of water and whisk to double. Brush over the top of each and sprinkle with the extra almonds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove and leave to rest for five minutes.
Finally, combine the icing sugar, milk and almond extract in a jug and drizzle over the warm danishes, before devouring.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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.
Previously on Survivor the final four faced off in a massive final immunity challenge and while I’d love to say it was a hard fought four way battle, it really only came down to three. And then two, after Gabler faded away like Jesse and left Owen and Cassidy to fight it out for the final immunity of the season. After a late breaking drop from Owen, Cassidy earned her place in final tribal council and attention quickly turned to who would be the smartest person to potentially knock out Jesse in the fire making challenge. While both Owen and Gabler wanted the glory, Cassidy knew victory could give one of them the upper hand and as such, deemed Gabler the lesser threat to her victory, sending him in to the challenge to thankfully – for the rest of them, duh – eliminate the biggest threat of the season, Jesse.
The final three awoke on – shudders – Day 26, surprised to have made it all the way to the end. Owen was thrilled to just not have to worry about Probst snuffing his torch, while Cassidy was focused on prepping a compelling speech. Owen was nervous about what the jury wanted from their winner, though was glad to articulate how he managed to navigate the game as the underdog. Gabler was proud of how hard he worked to make it to the end and was hopeful his first votes of the season would be those needed to win. Cassidy meanwhile admitted she is living out her dream to have made it to the end, and was just hopeful she would be able to prove that she has been the dark horse all season and managed to get rid of everyone that came for her.
We pivoted to the final tribal council after some telling remarks from the jury, before Jesse kicked things off praising the trio on playing strong games, though reminded them they have to answer some tough questions honestly and with, dare he say it, fire. Noelle asked each how their games differed with Gabler articulating he focused on building trust and had so many alliances, he always had options to move forward. And it worked, given nobody has ever voted against him. Cassidy focused on the fact that she always knew who was going home before it happened and she built the right bonds at the right time to navigate to the end. Particularly since women were aggressively targeted pre-merge. Owen meanwhile opened up about how he had high hopes for the game as a super fan, though it all came crumbling down from the first tribal council and he has been fighting on the bottom since then And he has fought, every, damn, night.
James asked Owen if he ever put his neck on the line for an ally, which led to Noelle piping up and pointing out that he did the night he trusted her to use the Steal a Vote to get rid of James. Gabler spoke about bag gate with Jeanine copping to the fact she definitely went through the bag. He explained Elie painted a target on his back going out, but he expertly went back under the radar. Karla asked Cassidy what pre-merge move she did to propel her to the point, explaining trusting in James and Karla when they flipped on Lindsay was the biggest move. Gabler spoke about ducking back under water after Elie painted a target on his back was the biggest move, while Cassidy admitted she kept a mental list of everyone that came for her and as such, used her bonds to systematically eliminate them.
Jeanine pointed out that Cassidy’s core alliance was clear though asked the boys to explain theirs with Owen admitting to being close with Noelle, Cody and Jesse. Gabler spoke about how he had a bunch of alliances and while he tried to say he was only close with Jesse and Cody, which Sami called bullshit on. When he mentioned nobody had voted for him, Cassidy countered that maybe that is because nobody viewed him as a threat. And while Noelle and Jesse tried to defend him, it felt like a blow. Ryan turned talk to immunity wins with Cassidy surprised she won so many, particularly the final one, while Noelle admitted to being a Paralympian and assured her she should be proud of herself. Proud of herself, but wondered why she didn’t go to fire to prove herself. Which fired up Cassidy who felt that she played such a strong game that she didn’t need it and the most important thing was to take Owen with her to weaken him and take away the potential of him having another way to show he was an underdog.
Karla jumped in and asked how they all fought until they couldn’t go any longer. Owen opened up about the tragedy of Karla snatching the final advantage out from under him, though admitted the loss fired him up enough to take out that win. James jumped in and questioned how he felt about how he handled himself while on the bottom, with Owen wisely admitting that he wishes they never fought. Which lol, jurors, stop with those sorts of questions as they look petty. Queen Karla then asked them to point out their worst moves with Gabler worried about putting him neck on the line, Cassidy opening up about regretting how they spoke to each other before she was voted out while Owen felt he had a plethora of mistakes, though he doesn’t regret getting bamboozled since it carried him to the final tribal council.
Jesse then opened up about having a PHD in voting behaviours, asking them to articulate when they drove a vote their way. Gabler identified the Elie vote post-merge as his biggest move, while Cassidy turning people on Ryan was her move. Sadly for her, Ryan pointed out that wasn’t the case and the boys had been planning his demise beforehand. While Owen straight up admitted that he never drove any votes as he never had any sway or power in the game.
With that the jury voted and with a single vote to Cassidy’s name, the rest piled up and handed Gabler victory. Much to the absolute shock of Cassidy and Owen. And TBH, me. As Probst and Co. reset for the insta-reunion, I pulled Owen aside and into a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game with the hand he was dealt and as such, should be super proud of all that he achieved. Plus, he had a killer mane of long, luscious hair and as such, is my new go-to for inspo when I go for my blow out. Which was enough to distract from the fact I am the reason he had such a shitty hand, given I cursed him pre-season by lining up a delicious Pepperowen Knight Pizza.
Rich and spicy, there is nothing better than a simple pepperoni pizza. I mean, it is just bread, tomato, pepperoni and cheese, but that combination is powerful enough to solve all the world’s problems. And warm your heart.
Pepperowen Knight Pizza Serves: 1 losing finalist and his curse-enacting bestie.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅓ cup passata oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste 200g pepperoni mozzarella, to taste
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, followed by the pepperoni before topping, generously, with mozzarella.
Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.
Previously on Drag Race UK 12 new dolls arrived in the UK Werk Room to battle it out for Ru’s love and attention. And when they get it, in the form of four badges, promptly lose the competition for being too good. But before we get there, Ru – and for one tragic week, Michelle – had to make some cuts with Just May sadly becoming the Gothy of the season despite being so damn sweet. She was followed out the door by the fashion queen of the season Starlet.
When the dolls formed duos, poor Copper came up short – rather than say, on top – before Sminty sad-twerked her way out of the competition and straight into our hearts, the history books and likely, an All Stars season. The pressures of the competition became too much for Baby who exited the competition to look after her mental health before Le Fil was too Polite for Snatch Game.
It was at that point that Ru chucked a sickie, leaving Michelle in charge who sadly cut the iconic Dakota for being too on brand. After Peppa and Jonbers both saved themselves from elimination with a killer lip sync, the top five put on a roast where comedy queen Pixie shockingly stumbled and landed in fifth.
The top four faced off in the traditional rumix, kiki and performance combination and while the song was an absolute bop with every queen getting a moment to shine, Ru decreed that only two would be lip syncing for the crown, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa tied in third place.
With that the two four badge queens – begging the question, does the UK just require one person with four wins to lose and this is how they got around the tradition? – lip synced to the iconic Shirley Bassey’s This Is My Life. And like the aforementioned rumix, it was an absolute show. Like their runs on the show, both Cheddar and Danny were perfect from start to finish, leaning into who they are as performers and giving classic Drag Race. And while I feel this would have been the most deserving double crowning of all time, ultimately Ru settled on one, crowning Danny Beard as the UK’s Next Drag Superstar and leaving the iconic Cheddar as the runner-up.
While I would have loved to see a double crowning, that in no way means I am any less excited about Danny’s victory. From start to finish she ran a near perfect race, never really faltering and always being a front runner. Plus, she is so damn charismatic and charming, you just know she is going to take the title and run with it to build an even bigger and better career because honestly, she is a born performer. As such, join me in toasting our newest queen with a piping hot Dannaan Beard.
My favourite thing about Indian food is probably a naan and while Spinach and Cheese – dedicated to another winner, begging the question is this the anti-Pizza – is my fave, there is something so damn perfect about garlic. Soft, pillowy and lightly flavoured, it paris perfectly with any curry. Or just as a solo snack, TBH.
Dannaan Beard Serves: 4-8.
Ingredients 450g flour 1 tsp salt 1 cup lukewarm water 1 tsp raw caster sugar 7g dried yeast ⅓ cup lukewarm milk 2 tbsp yoghurt 3 tbsp vegetable oil 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp nigella seeds garlic butter, to serve (optional)
Method Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and let it set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast and leave to get all foamy and glorious for 10 minutes or so. Once it smells like a brewery, whisk in the milk, yoghurt and oil.
Using the hook attachment, fold in the flour, garlic and seeds by hand until combined. Pop the attachment into the mixer and knead for a couple of minutes, or until smooth. Remove and transfer to a greased bowl to rest for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size. Punch back the dough and divide into 8 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, oil each ball and using a rolling pin, roll out to form a nice thin naan shape. Place in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat the process. Brush with a little garlic butter – optional, but advised – and then devour, victoriously!
Previously on Drag Race UK after the top four slayed the final challenge by putting on an epic show with their eliminated sisters. You know, Just May, Starlet, Copper, Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie! They stomped the runway in Grand Finale Eleganza and despite everyone nailing the assignment, only two were able to continue on in the competition as the four badge queens stuck around, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa to watch on from the back of the stage.
Danny and Cheddar took their places to lip sync for the crown to Dame Shrley Bassey’s This is My Life and well, the entire performance was an absolute slay. Cheddar leant into the emotion, was dainty and ethereal while Danny gave bold, brassy and all the fire to snatch the crown. Both of the queens were in the pocket from start to finish, well and truly proving why this is the strongest top two in any franchise of Drag Race. Ever. And while it should have been a double crowning, sadly Ru opted to stick with only one winner, handing the crown to Danny Beard and relegating Cheddar to the hall of four badge runner-ups alongside the icons Bimini and Ella.
Which honestly, is pretty damn good company.
While Cheddar was disappointed as she found me backstage, she held her head up high reminding me that as she said to Ru and Michelle, she is a star. And the win wouldn’t change that. Which TBH, made me feel a little bit better.
Like many a UK finalist before her Cheddar never really put a foot wrong, giving a collection of perfect runways that always had a message, bringing humour and charm to all that she did and well, to quote Ru, always being so damned polished. As such, I was thrilled to honour her win-worthy run with a big fat bowl of Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip to help dull the disappointment.
This copycat of my favourite dip growing up may not be as classy as Cheds, but it sure as hell is just as delicious. Rich, salty and smacking you in the face with all the flavour, you could eat the entire vat and never regret it.
Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with their final, epic challenge for the crown. Writing and recording verses on a Ruple mega mix and performing it live on the mainstage alongside their fallen sisters Just May, Starlet, Copper – yep, it’s happening – Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie. After a cheeky kiki with Ru and Michelle, obvi. Despite all four of the dolls killing the final challenge and serving stunning looks on the runway, the judges decided the final lip sync would be a two horse race and as such, kept Danny and Cheddar to fight for the crown and eliminated Jonbers alongside the iconic, lip sync assassin Peppa.
While I was heartbroken to miss out on one final lip sync from Peppa, I understand why the judges kept the final two around given their track records were so evenly matched. That being said, it didn’t make losing Peppa any easier.
Peppa exploded out of the gate in the very first episode, giving an iconic entry, an artistic photoshoot and perfection on the runway. And while she landed in the bottom a couple of times, she was never really bad, leading me to question whether Ru just wanted to see her turn out another show just like Alan and myself.
After shooing Jonbers away to finish off his pity burger, I pulled Peppa in for a hug and thanked her for not just being an icon, but also for gracing us with her presence. Because that honestly feels like the only appropriate way to react to seeing her perform. As such we laughed, held each other tight and toasted her run with a piping hot Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade.
This little basque brunch number almost is almost the personification of Peppa herself, a little bit fiery with surprises dotted throughout – pancetta, in this case – and ultimately a positively lovely way to spend your time. Though instead of watching her perform, you eat.
Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade Serves: 2.
Ingredients olive oil 200g pancetta, cut into strips 1 red onion, diced 1 green capsicum, diced 1 red capsicum, diced 1 yellow capsicum, diced 800g can diced tomatoes 2 tbsp tomato paste salt and pepper, to taste 4 eggs ¼ cup basil leaves, shredded crusty bread, to serve
Method Heat a small lug of olive oil in a deep frying pan or dutch oven and cook the pancetta and onion for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the pancetta crisp. Add the capsicums, tinned tomato and tomato paste with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has started to reduce slightly.
Make 4 wells in the stew and crack an egg in each. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. Sprinkle the basil over the top and serve immediately. Before devouring alongside a tonne of bread, because duh!
Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?
The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.
As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.
Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.
White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.
Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.
The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.
And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?
Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.
And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!
Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.
On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.
The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve.
Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.
Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.
And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.
The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.
The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.
Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.
This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.
Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde Serves: 4.
Ingredients ½ cup Shayonnaise Swain 1 tbsp gochujang 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 shallots, sliced ¼ tsp smoked paprika 675g pork mince 1 tbsp minced ginger 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tsp kosher salt ½ tsp chilli flakes 4 Briocher Bünsberg butter lettuce, leaves removed 1 lebanese cucumber, sliced 1 cup kimchi
Method Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.
In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.
When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.
To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.