Dannaan Beard

Bread, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

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.

Enjoy!

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!


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Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, TV, TV Recap

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.

Enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried until crisp
4 shallots, sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ tsp sriracha
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
small handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop everything in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Then remove and serve with crackers. Or you know, just devour with a spoon because cheddar truly is gorgeous!


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Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade

Breakfast, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, TV, TV Recap

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.

Enjoy!

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!


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Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde

Burgers, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

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.

Enjoy!

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.


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Bread Palomalette

Breakfast, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Sandwich, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France, ten of the best and brightest from across the country – though mainly Paris – arrived at Nicky Doll’s Werk Room ready to showcase all the best France has to offer. And while they didn’t always have the global rights to their lip sync songs, they did serve up a joyous and fun season, despite the fact we had to lose many an icon along the way. Starting with firestarting sweetheart La Kahena. She was soon followed by the camp Lova Ladiva before the sweet La Briochée exited. Kam Hugh then joined the WIN to ELIM club before Elips followed her out the door.

After an emotional lip sync, La Big Bertha was felled, before the top four had to lip sync for their place in the finale which saw Lolita Banana’s run come to an end. The top three then battled it out writing verses – in English, no less – and performing the remix on the mainstage before lip syncing for the crown. Despite all of the top three being more than worthy of taking out the crown, Nicky had not yet been given enough power by WOW for winner, winner, three chicken dinners. As such, she chose the supremely talented Paloma to take out the crown, leaving La Grande Dame and Soa De Muse as very worthy runner-ups.

And again, future All Star winners.

From the moment I saw her promo picture complete with a ship on her head, I fell in love with Paloma. And while I would travel to the ends of the earth for Soa, that does not take away from my love for Paloma.

She calmly ventured through the competition with kindness and such a gloriously chill vibe, channelling her energy into delivering killer performance after killer performance. And well and truly earning herself the crown.

As she returned to the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her for such a strong, diverse run. She gave glamour, humour and heart and well, she is the perfect winner of the inaugural title. And the piping hot Bread Palomalette that goes along with it.

This little social media number I spotted back during the darker times of COVID is an absolute delight and oh so simple. Part toasted sandwich, part omelette, all joy, this one pan wonder is worthy of a winner. Or us regular folks in need of a quick, hearty breakfast.

Enjoy!

Bread Palomalette
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
3 eggs
1 shallot, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 slices bread
2 slices American cheese

Method
Whisk the eggs and shallot together in a large bowl with a good whack of pepper and a better whack of salt.

Pop a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once gloriously foamy and covering the pan, add the egg and shallot mixture and agitate the pan to form ripples. Dip the bread in the egg, then flip it to sit close to the edge. Repeat with the other slice of bread and place next to it, on the opposite edge.

After the egg is set, flip the entire omelette and bread so the top of the bread toasts. Pop the cheese on top of each slice of bread. Fold the omelette over the cheese before flipping one slice of bread on to the other to close all the cheesy egg inside a sandwich. Flip and cook for another minute or so, or until the bread is toasted. To regal perfection.

Then devour, victoriously. 


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Soavlaki De Muse

Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top three competed in an epic final challenge which involved learning languages, lip syncing, dancing and kiki-ing. In addition to stomping the runway in a gown, worthy of a crown. Aka the usual set-up. While Paloma struggled through rehearsal, she turned it out when taking the stage, embracing her charm and living her best life. Soa slayed literally any and all moment, while La Grande Dame was just so beautiful. And cool.

As has been the tradition of the season, La Grande Dame, Soa and Paloma were all fiercely talented icons. Though tragically, Nicky and Co. had to make a decision and while I already spoiled La Grande Dame as one of our runners-up, she shared the position with the owner of my heart Soa De Muse.

Despite a rocky start after her first win, there was no denying she was compelling as all hell and it was more of a situation of when rather than if she would bounce back. From giving killer, hilarious confessionals and being charming as all hell in the challenges and the Werk Room, she was well and truly the breakout star of the season.

And will make a very worthy winner of Drag Race France vs. The World.

As she exited the stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and while I wanted to tell her she was the ultimate robbed goddess of the season, I couldn’t do it. Because France’s top three were all iconic talents in their own ways, which made it such a joy of a season to watch.

Instead, I reminded her that she is a star and while she didn’t leave with the crown, the season is only the beginning for her and I can’t wait for the globe to fall in love with her. Just like I have. Then I stopped myself short of calling her the second coming of Ru and simply served her a big, fat Soavlaki De Muse to show her my devotion.

You know I have a passion for sticking meat in my mouth, particularly if there is dough somehow involved. And this one is even more fun than usual. Packing a punch of garlic, you’re hit with a fresh kick of flavour that has you begging for more. Like us with Soa on our screens, you know?

Enjoy!

Soavlaki De Muse
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 red onions, sliced
400g Jaida Essence Halloumi, cut into large chips
6 Pita Andre Bread
⅔ cup Carole Radtzikiwill
2 cups Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1 tomato, diced
1 cup lettuce leaf

Method
Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, thyme, cumin, chilli and paprika with a good whack of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the meat and onions and stir until well coated. Cover and pop in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

To make the kebabs, preheat the oven to 180C. Thread the lamb onto metal skewers, trying to avoid overpacking them. Arrange the onion on a lined baking sheet before laying the skewers on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until browned on the outside. Add the haloumi in for the last 10 minutes to crisp up on the outside.

To assemble, smear the pita bread with a little bit of tzatziki, followed by the chips, tomato, lettuce, meat and finally the haloumi. Wrap into a tight cylinder and then devour greedily.


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La Grande Damarretto Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top four were given one final hurdle before battling for the crown and oh boy, was it a doozy – making over their besties! And while there are normally more than a few questionable choices, the quartet all served it as they stayed true to themselves while looking out for their friends. While that doesn’t help a competition format reality show, Nicky solved the little deadlock with a classic lip sync lalaparuza. As such, Soa defeated Lolita and booked the first spot in the top three. She was followed by Paloma before La Grande Dame narrowly completed the top three as Lolita Banana was tragically felled.

Backstage the top three were well and truly gagged to have made it to the end, before toasting to Lolita’s epic run to the top four. Though they didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, given they had a big week ahead if they wanted to snatch the crown. The next day the top three returned excited and ready to claim their crown. But after Nicky arrived to announce their final Maxi Challenge, they were a little less excited and erring more on the side of nervous. First up they would have to learn the lyrics to RuPaul’s Catwalk, in ENGLISH, then learn extensive choreography and perform it live on the mainstage. Then stomp the runway in front of fashion icon Olivier Rousteing.

Oh and obvs they will be having a little madeleine lunch with Nicky, as the French are wont to do.

After Nicky disappeared, they split up to speculate how painful their choreography would be, with everyone hoping for some camp disco moves. While La Grande Dame was only confident in her old white man moves. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long to find out as they quickly joined Nicolas Huchard on the mainstage to rehearse. And let’s just say, the performance is going to be very, very detailed and very, very intense. While Soa was in her element, Paloma was feeling super anxious and struggled to get it down and bring enough attitude. While Grande Dame was mildly confident, given she wasn’t the weakest. Well, unless this is a fakeout edit and Paloma is going to absolutely demolish the final performance.

Soa was first to kiki with Nicky, already feeling like a winner to have made it to the end. But hopeful to keep that fire and take the crown in honour of her dear friend Mrs Rose. La Grande Dame was next to drop by, simultaneously shocked to be there and proud of all that she has achieved. She revealed that she came to the competition because she had a difficult time growing up and wanting to show her mother another side of herself after difficult years apart, due to her queerness. Paloma meanwhile spoke about how the competition has made her feel like less of an imposter and that she has a place in the world. And ugh, I honestly love them all.

Nicky, Daphné and Kiddy were joined by Nicolas and Olivier on the judging panel as the top three took the stage for their performance of Catwalk and while Paloma looked tentative in rehearsal, she hit the stage with a fire and was so damn charming. La Grande Dame served non-stop moody glamour; ethereal and damn fierce. Soa meanwhile had all the energy, hitting every move and giving us sex from start to finish.

The Dragnifique runway was opened by our eliminated queens where La Kahena was a pretty princess in nude before stripping near nude and showing bum. So swoon. Lova gave showgirl glamour, La Briochée was a patchworked voodoo-Dorothy delight, Kam was peach-puff perfection while Elips was so gorgeous in a black, shimmering jumpsuit. Big Bertha went from red vamp, to revealing a bodysuit carving up her meat while Lolita was gorgeous in a gaudy quinceanera kinda way. When it came to the top three, Paloma was perfect in a moody red gown, complete with Bette Midler Hocus Pocus wig. Soa was sexy in a bead and leather outfit, giving structure and skin in equal measure while La Grande Dame was camp as hell in a shimmering lilac gown of frills and ruching.

Paloma received universal praise for all that she sold on the runway and for the diversity of her performances throughout the season. And for having so much fun. Paloma opened up to the judges, explaining how she wants her potential victory to inspire people to follow their dreams. Soa was praised for looking stunning on the runway, and for kicking off the season in such a strong fashion with her talent show performance. Oh and never mind her killer track record and dominating each lip sync she appeared in. She thanked the judges for their kindness and for embracing her. La Grande Dame meanwhile received praise for giving constantly evolving glamour on the runway and mixing it with such fun humour. And frankly, a whole lot of stupidity.

Nicky then wheeled out the baby pictures, with Paloma encouraging her younger self to stand firm and love herself and trust that everything will work out, despite the trauma and upheaval that is sometimes thrown her way. Soa told her baby self to use the pain that comes her way as fire to make something of herself and to fight. And again, I love her so much. La Grande Dame meanwhile told her even younger self that while life may be strange and confusing at times, to always keep hope and focus on her happiness.

Before they ventured to untuck, Nicky then announced that the queens had privately voted prior to the show with Elips crowned the first Miss Sympathie. Backstage the finalists reunited with their eliminated sisters, toasting to a killer season before Grande Dame shared that watching her sisters leave in tears was the hardest part of the entire competition for her.

The girls returned to the mainstage to lip sync for the crown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. And given the dolls are icons, none of them really tried to steal the spotlight from anyone else, calm and confident in their skills as they all turned a killer show. Soa was obviously moody and fierce, Paloma served all the emotion while Grande Dame was stunning and on every lyric. Complete with glitter. Sadly, while everyone nailed the performance (and the season more broadly), Nicky had to pick a winner. And tragically, that was not La Grande Dame who finished as one of the two runner-ups. This is going to become quite repetitive, but the top three were so damn strong that any of them could have taken out the crown and while I’m thrilled for the winner, both La Grande Dame and the as yet unmentioned here other runner-up were worthy.

As soon as La Grande Dame stepped offstage for the crowning, I pulled her in for a massive hug and marvelled how someone so young could do what she did. I then went on a rant about my own fading youth and asked her to give me hers, before I snapped out of it and congratulated her on a job well done with a glorious La Grande Damarretto Cake.

The only thing elegant or decadent enough for La Grande Dame’s aesthetic is this barely-tweaked Nigella number. Rich, dense and velvety smooth, it is essentially the perfect cake. And I’d be willing to fight anyone that disagrees.

Enjoy!

La Grande Damarretto Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened 
4 eggs, at room temperature
125g raw caster sugar
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dustin’
¼ cup amaretto liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until smooth and glossy, before removing from the heat to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, glossy and doubled in volume. Combine the almond meal and cocoa, before folding through the sweetened eggs.

Mix the amaretto and vanilla with the melted chocolate, then fold through the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until it is coming away from the edges and is cracked on the top. It should be dense and moist, but only just cooked through with a few crumbs left on an inserted skewer.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, before unclamping the tin and gently transferring the cake to a plate. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa before devouring, triumphantly. Despite not winning. 


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Caesharonne Salad Dressing

Condiment, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España 12 iconic new queens entered the Werk Room, ready to live up to the hype generated by their first season sisters. As good as they all were, somebody had to go first as the delightful Marisa Prisa stumbled at the first hurdle. My sweet zaddy Ariel soon followed before Samantha Ballentines was felled on her third go in the bottom. Jota was the next to go before Snatch Game took out the immensely talented Onyx. Diamante soon followed before Sethlas was cut on her first time in the bottom before Juriji narrowly missed out on getting to the top.

Since everyone nailed the makeover and were sent through to the finale.

After a gruelling final challenge, Marina was eliminated in fourth place before the top three lip synced for the crown. And while Estrella and Venedita are both stars, Sharonne demolished the competition and did everything she could to guarantee herself the crown. And you know, cementing herself as having the best track record of all time.

Ever the consummate professional, Sharonne was humble as she claimed victory thanking everyone involved in the show and her new sisters for being so kind and supportive. By the time she was dedicating her win to her actual sisters and mother for being the shining queens of her life, I was pushing out a single tear Lisa Rinna style.

As she exited the stage, I pulled her in for a hug and congratulated her on such a dominant performance throughout the season. Week after week she delivered a stunning performance, was kind and loving with her sisters and all around was a delight to watch. And as such, I was filled to victoriously guzzle Caesharonne Salad Dressing with her!

Now I know I spend a tonne of time bitching about seafood, but I fell in love with caesar dressing before I learnt what the black chunks were so thankfully have continued to love it. Anchovies be damned! Plus, I have a passion for salty, creamy sauces, so I will look past it.

Enjoy!

Caesharonne Salad Dressing
Makes: 1 cup.

Ingredients
6 anchovy fillets, drained
2 garlic cloves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Method
The fateful day I learnt about the whole anchovy of it all, I was working in a cafe and making a huge amount of dressing. As such, my method is the commercial quantity version using a food processor or blender.

Start by blitzing the anchovy and garlic together with a pinch of salt over high speed. Reduce to low and blitz in the egg yolks, followed by 2 tbsp of lemon juice and all the zest and the mustard. Increase speed to medium and pout in the olive oil a few drops at a time, not rushing the process otherwise it will split. Add the vegetable oil in a very slow and steady stream until the dressing is thick and glossy.

Add the parmesan and blitz further, before seasoning and adding more lemon juice if required. Then either drizzle on a salad, or drink triumphantly.


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Liquidita Von Däshcake

Baking, Cheese, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the top four made over older gay men from the Fundación 26 de Diciembre. One of whom was famous fashion designer Petro Valverde, meaning the pressure was well and truly on Sharonne to do well. Thankfully she did as the duo formed a tight bond and pulled together a killer performance. Estrella and Marina meanwhile landed in the bottom for not having their details down pat. Ultimately though it was Venedita who won the challenge and went straight through to the final alongside Sharonne, leaving the duo to battle it out for the final slot. The gag of the season however was that both of the girls slayed the lip sync and as such, Supremme had no choice but to have a top four this year.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to stay as the top four, particularly Estrella who was sure that she was the one being eliminated. She opened up about how she was trying so hard to put on a brave face on stage, so was overwhelmed by the fact Supremme saw something in her that was worthy of saving. Sharonne reminded everyone to focus on the fact they are the first top four in Drag Race España history and that is because they are all icons. While Venedita continued to try and woo the audience to her side by subtly hashtagging in the background. Estrella on the other hand was ready to Showgirls her way to the end, while Sharonne was going to try her best, which is arguably the strongest track record ever.

The next day the finalists returned to the Werk Room feeling nostalgic about the experience and emotional that it is ending. Venedita reiterated that she would love to be the first bearded queen to win, while everyone agreed it is currently Sharonne’s crown to lose. Though that doesn’t mean anyone is going to make it easy for her. Speaking of which, Supremme eventually arrived to announce that for their final challenge the dolls would be performing alongside her in a music video, including writing and recording a verse and learning a tonne of choreography.

Oh and everyone would get to join her for a light lunch, with Venedita first on the guest list, opening up to Mama Supremme about how happy she is to make it to the end and that it was like a dream to her. She opened up about the explosion of social media leading to her starting drag and inspiring her to play with androgyny in her performance. Estrella was next and couldn’t believe she had made it to the end and how much the judges loved her. Hilariously she got her start in drag by befriending three queens in the street when trying to avoid someone picking her up. Which is as wild and iconic as you’d expect from her.

Sharonne opened up about the pressure that comes with going into the competition as an already successful, famous queen, though was proud of herself for continuing to evolve throughout the season. She opened up about being inspired to do drag by listening to her dad’s old records and wanting to perform like them. Marina meanwhile spoke about how drag to her is conceptual and creative and hard to explain, though she was proud of the character she created and looked forward to reflecting on the experience to see just what she has learned and how much she has grown.

With that out of the way, the dolls finally got to work writing their verses with Estrella and Venedita working well together and agreeing it is good to play into their strengths and keep it on the safer side. Marina and Sharonne were being a bit more creative and sensual with their approach and honestly were living their best lives as they bounced off each other. One thing all four of them could agree on is that they all have a massive challenge ahead of them and that this season truly has upped the ante. As has Marina, who the dolls were living for as she continued to drop killer lyric after killer lyric.

The dolls ventured to the mainstage to work on their choreography with Drag Race choreographer Carmelo and a series of flexible daddies. Venedita was feeling the pressure of pulling everything together at one time, while Sharonne was well and truly feeling her oats. Despite worrying about the complexity of the choreography. Marina was encouraged to give more confidence before Carmelo decided that their eliminated sisters should join them for the final performance and well, the reunion was sweet to see. Despite it distracting from the sweats-clad Pit Crew.

Speaking of sweats, Estrella’s had a massive hole in the crotch and well, I live.

It was family only on the panel as Supremme, Ana y Los Javis took their places at the table as Carmen arrived to drop off her crown – please tell me she doesn’t actually have to return it – and kick off the film clip. The dolls all turned it out, though it truly was Sharonne’s show as she gave it her all and hit every damn note. Marina was sensual, Estrella had all the personality and Venedita looked stunning. More importantly, why weren’t the Pit Crew wearing jockstraps?

On the My Best Drag runway Venedira was a sumptuous, blue belle, serving glamour and sex and looking oh so expensive. Marina was a dramatic black flower and was completely stunning. Estrella was full pastel perfection, camp and fun as she went back to the 19th century. And then Sharonne shut it down in a shimmering gown complete with a massive heart on her chest, ready to rebirth and take flight as a phoenix.

The judges lived for Venedita’s versatility and for alway bringing fashion to the runway and looking stunning. Marina meanwhile was beloved for always being smart and thinking outside the box and giving them something different. And for serving some of the most iconic looks on the runway and always telling a story. Estrella was praised for constantly evolving and being present, serving not just comedy but for doing it in the right way thanks to her impeccable instincts. She was fun, warm and smart, and well, the judges clearly love her. When it came to Sharonne, she received universal praise for being a star and being versatile enough to succeed at anything and everything she put her mind to. And for her ability to keep her ego in check.

Backstage the dolls were overwhelmed by all the love from the judges, despite the fact they were all completely exhausted. Estrella was emotional about the fact it was all coming to an end, while Marina shared how proud she was to be sitting alongside her three sisters with Sharonne agreeing that she is leaving the competition with a family she will treasure forever. Talk turned to who they thought would win with Venedita feeling like Sharonne is still the front runner, while Sharonne admitted that they are all stars though that she always felt like Venedita would be a worthy winner. While Estrella praised Marina for bringing mystery.

The eliminated queens walked the runway one final time with Marisa serving red-hot arse, Ariel gave sexy Ariel, Samantha was ravishing in red, Jota gave drama in shimmering bondage black, Onyx gave alien queen, Diamante was a black and white delight while Sethlas brought all the papal drama you’d expect from the Canary Islands while Juriji was sexy in a gorgeous mulberry tulle number.

Ultimately though, the top four were the stars. Well, top three as the judges opted to cut Marina just ahead of the final lip sync to Ni tú ni nadie by Alaska y Dinarama. And well, all three were desperate for the crown and ready to fight. Estrella leant into comedy and gave many a gag, Venedita gave burlesque beauty, though it truly was Sharonne’s victory lap as she hit every lyric and gave drama and emotion. And even a wig reveal, followed by showering herself in confetti followed by exploding her heart in glitter. And well, it was only correct that she took out the win.

That being said, Venedita was impeccable throughout the entire competition and well and truly deserving of her place in the final. From the very frist moment she entered the Werk Room, it was clear she was a star which is exactly what I told her as we caught up backstage. While she was disappointed to not take out the crown, she knew that she had done herself proud so after a big hug from a dear friend like me and a bowl of Liquidita Von Däshcake, she was well and truly ready to take on the world.

Another Milk Bar delight – actually the filling for Jonathan’s bun (pie) – this velvety smooth confection is hard to describe. Packing the flavorful punch of cheesecake but with the texture of custard, this versatile sweet is perfect spread on cookies, baked into a pie, turned into ice cream, or better yet, eating solo, gladly.

Enjoy!

Liquidita Von Däshcake
Serves: 1 runner-up and her bestie.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
150g raw caster sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp milk
1 egg

Method
Pop the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes and scrape down the sides.

Combine the cornstarch, salt, milk and egg in a jug and whisk together until smooth, before adding to the mixer and beating for another 3 or 4 minutes, or until beautifully smooth.

Pour into a lined square cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is just setting, but it is still jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven to cool. Then devour, greedily.


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Porchettarina

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España 12 new queens entered the Werk Room, ready to slay. Tragically though, not everyone could stick around – this isn’t All Winners, or half of the season 13 and 14 episodes – as Marisa, Ariel, Samantha, Jota, Onyx, Diamante, Sethlas and Juriji exited. At the top four, the dolls madeover older members of the LGBTQIA+ community and while Sharonne and Venedita slayed – with the latter winning her second challenge – Estrella and Marina didn’t shine as brightly and landed in the bottom. Thankfully though, Supremme knew that all four were worthy of a place in the final, keeping both of them around to battle their sisters for the crown. But first, they all had to get back together!

Supremme kicked off the reunion welcoming the dolls back to the Mainstage to talk shit about the season. Oh, and to crown their Miss Congeniality. But more importantly Yara Sofia sent in a video message to send them her love and praise them on a killer season, followed by Samantha Hudson at the salon mid-bleaching, sweet old icon Karina who I sadly hadn’t heard of before the show and Manila Luzon who gave up on speaking Spanish after the first sentence. And well, needless to say all the dolls were touched. Particularly Onyx, who was thrilled by Manila’s message about not needing a crown to win. Because, duh, she is a sexy icon.


We then got a series of recaps of each of the top four’s journeys and while everyone clearly slayed the game this season, if Marina’s full frontal doesn’t take the crown, it has to go to Sharonne, right? Or did I just jinx her? In any event, Estrella was thrilled to narrowly make it through to the final as was Marina, while Sharonne admitted the last few weeks of the competition were truly stressful and emotional, whether you were in the top or on the bottom. Being a humble icon, when Supremme inferred it was obvious she was making it to the end, she spoke about the fact the competition is all about luck and she got lucky that the judges liked all that she had to offer. While Venedita was glad to get a win just before the finale and have that confidence boost going into the final challenge.

That was followed by a filler segment watching the eliminated queens audition tapes and well, the production values were on point but yeah, it was all filler. Except for the fact we learnt Drag Sethlas has a tonne of money because her outfits were on point and looked expensive.

Talk turned to Estrella and Samantha being stupid, fun and/or loud in the Werk Room, and while some of their sisters lived for it Ariel felt they kinda took a lot of air out of the room and made it hard for the quieter girls to shine. And well, Ariel Rec is hot and I love her, so I accept her take as gospel. Despite loving the madness her sisters brought to the show. Everyone turned their attention to Jota’s penchant for lies and exaggeration, with her reading them for saying she lies when she simply embellishes her stories. Though the Lola Flores shawl she said she owns is definitely Lola Flores’, despite what her sisters have to say. When it came to talking about Diamante and her potential lies about having no sewing skills despite turning an epic look, everyone was a little more open to believing her.

We finally turned our attention to the epic feud between Marina and Juriji, which importantly centred on Marina’s penchant for gross farts. While Juriji was happy to talk it through and resolve things, Marina wasn’t really looking to move on given she felt very disrespected by Juriji at that moment and she isn’t sure how to talk about it. Juriji admitted she too felt disrespected during their fight, but even that didn’t seem to make her want to resolve things. Particularly when they had to talk about their feud when Sethlas teamed up with Marina, because it only made Marina angrier at her sister. Despite Juriji explaining that she felt she has never fit in and them telling her she was the weakest was a trigger to her.

Before recapping the looks of the season Pedro ma’tuckin’ Almodovar sent the dolls a message praising them for their runways dedicated to him. And admitted he shared the videos far and wide in the fashion world and ugh. Is Spain the prime franchise, now?

Supremme then tasked the eliminated queens with stomping the runway in a look they couldn’t show with Marisa opting for a killer art look, shagadelic and dedicated to Picasso. By way of the loom. Ariel slayed as a smurf cleaner to a queer superhero, while Samantha rocked a TV, Jota mashed up neon ballet with latex rocker gimp, Onyx was a sexy flapper vampire, Diamante came out of the closet as houndstooth and Sethlas was a showgirl charity pin. Ultimately the queen that won the Best Lost Look sash was first boot Marisa and well, it’s what she deserves.

They then gave another prize for the Hungriest Queen, with this time only Estrella and Juriji eligible for the prize. Though obviously that one was going to Estrella, who found a way to work eating into any and all challenges. Talk turned to who should win the season with everyone pleading their case before the queens voted and were split between Estrella, Venedita and Sharonne. And since this reunion is starting to feel like election coverage, we then finally learnt who the queens voted as their Miss Congeniality of the season – Samantha Ballentines! And well, wasn’t she thrilled to get some 1-on-1 time with the zaddy Pit Crew who delivered the sash!

As the exited the mainstage, I quickly pulled Marina aside to give her some late breaking sustenance and encouragement ahead of the final challenge. How lucky is she to be next in the alphabet after Estrella! While my favourite moment of hers from the season was due to my aggressive thirst – free the peen! – she also slayed from start to finish, giving a polished collection of creative runways and also shining in the roast. As such, I carved her off a chunk of Porchettarina and toasted her success.

There is honestly nothing better than a perfectly cooked porchetta. Sweet and juicy meat, melting away in your mouth with a hearty crust of crackling and a delicate punch of herbaceous garlicky heaven? Swoon.

Enjoy!

Porchettarina
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg pork belly, boneless
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
8 cloves garlic
½ tsp kosher salt, plus extra for salting
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
Start by scoring both the skin and meat side of the pork belly to form a cross hatching.

Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds in a dry, medium-heat frying pan until nice and fragrant before popping into a mortar and pestle alongside the peppercorns, garlic and salt until it forms a paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix through the sage, chilli and oil.

Rub the paste over the meat side of the pork and then roll to form a log and using kitchen string, tie it along the meat in intervals to secure. Transfer to a roast pan with a rack and aggressively rub the skin with the additional sea salt. Transfer to a fridge for 8 hours or so to allow the skin to dry. I may have cut a corner here, which is why we’re missing out on glorious crackling.

When you’re ready to go, preheat the oven to 220°C and rub the excess salt off the skin. Transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes before reducing heat to 150°C and cooking for 2 hours.

Depending on how the crackling has gone, you could then crank the oven back up to 220°C for ten minutes for a final crisp, or pop it under a hot grill for five minutes. But ideally, that shouldn’t be necessary.

Rest for ten minutes or so before removing the string, slicing and most importantly, devouring.


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