Jackie Glaziered Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Cake, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.

We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.

We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?

Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.

The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.

And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.

After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.

Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! –  who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.

We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.

That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.

Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.

Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!

But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.

Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.

Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.

The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity. 

The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.

After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.

Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.

Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.

Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.

Enjoy!

Jackie Glaziered Muffins
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
140g butter, plus extra for greasin’
1 cup golden syrup
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 cup Guinness
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
2 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.

Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.

Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.

Either way, devour with villainous glee.


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Vanitonne Milan

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

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.

After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.

Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.

Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.

As. She. Should.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.

They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.

The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.

Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.

Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).

The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.

Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.

After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.

Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.

Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup warm milk
7g dried yeast
150g raw caster sugar
250g butter, softened
5 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp kosher salt
80g raisins
80g sultanas
3 tbsp rum
100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped

Method
Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.

In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.

Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.

Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.

Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.


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Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Anita Pike’lits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Anita Pike’lit
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

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

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


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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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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

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

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

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

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

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

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

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

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


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Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

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

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

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


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Dutch Baby

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls starred in the brand new chat show, Catty Man. After Pixie won the power to select teams, she, Danny and Cheddar all shone brightly. While she designed a meh team and a bomb team, to kinda guarantee their win. Sadly for her, it only worked out for Danny who joined Dakota in the two badge club. Sminty meanwhile appeared to completely black out during the challenge while Baby was a bit of a mess. Baby though was a phoenix, dominating the lip sync and saving herself. And while it was tragic to see Sminty go, she took out our hearts as she sad-twerked her way into the best exit since Vanjie.

Backstage Baby felt guilty about sending Sminty home, though reiterated that if you come against her in the lip sync, you will be losing. As they sat down to kiki Pixie opened up about always feeling like the bridesmaid, so wasn’t shocked that she was beaten at the final hurdle of the challenge. Dakota and Danny tried to remind her how much the judges loved her and while she doesn’t have a badge, they still love her and she needs to focus on that. Talk returned to Baby with everyone reiterating that Ru gave her some great feedback and she should still be proud of herself. Though Danny admitted to us that Ru is after a superstar and well, she – and Cheddar – is a powerhouse, so they best watch out. Essentially.

The next day everyone had processed the last judging, with everyone ready for another week. Baby opened up about still being a little in her feels and as such, admitted that she is really doubting herself, but best believe she is ready to rally. Pixie led the girls in praising Danny on her second win, with her admitting that she is speechless. Which doesn’t happen often. At the other end of the spectrum, the dolls pointed out Jonbers is the only one without a badge and well, she was not having it and I live. Before the shade escalated to any drama, Ru dropped by – dressed in high street, not H&M – to open the library. Because reading is, what? Fundamental.

Up first was Cheddar who calmly and devilishly savaged her sisters in a sweet, playful way. Baby was witty and nasty in equal, perfect measure, Dakota was hit and miss but so charming while Peppa was a delight. Pixie was smart, brutal and oh so silly, Le Fil owned it calling Jonbers Mr Smithers, Danny was Danny in all the right ways before Jonbers closed the show giving classic reads and being a total cutie. But obviously, victory went to Pixie Polite. For ironically being anything but.

Before Ru departed she announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be singing live in Lairy Poppins: The Rusical. And as the winner of the mini challenge, it was up to Pixie to cast the show before they received some vocal coaching with THE voice, Miselle Visage. The dolls sat down to read through the script as Dakota disappointed everyone with the news she had NOT seen Mary Poppins and also hates musicals. Le Fil was cast as OG Mary, Lick Van Dick went to Danny, The Bird Lady went to Jonbers, Mother Prude went to Baby and Rochelle La Roach went to Cheddar leaving the Prude Twins to be played by Peppa and Dakota. Much to Dakota’s disappointment. All the girls offered to trade out to make her feel better, but she admitted she isn’t really confident about any of the roles, so was just going to suck it up. Oh and Pixie obviously snatched the lead for herself.

Everyone split up to work through the script with Cheddar going method while Peppa tried to perk Dakota up and encouraged her to slay with the role she landed, rather than being frustrated. Pixie meanwhile started to get nervous, realising that Lairy Poppins is not the role for her and as such went to talk it through with Danny. Who graciously offered to swap.

The dolls dropped by the mainstage to work through the songs with Michelle as Dakota and Peppa were a bit flat, while Baby joyously embraced her inner Britney. Danny meanwhile was an absolute disaster given she only just took over the role, and while Pixie fared a little better, she was lacking confidence, Cheddar was pitch perfect which made her feel worse and worse. Jonbers was living her best life and was oh so fun, despite the lack of key. While Le Fil, obviously, was a delight. And given everyone was feeling kinda strong, Baby started to worry that she was not enough. Which is just heartbreaking.

Michelle tagged out with zaddy Giovanni Pernice for the choreography with Dakota getting more and more nervous, while Baby sweetly helped her get through all the steps. While Peppa just wanted her to pull it together and not bring her down. Danny too was a ball of nerves, though given Giovanni was flirty, she worked overtime to impress. Cheddar too struggled to get it down while Pixie nailed it all and Jonbers was ridiculously perfect. And Le Fil was simply a star, but will no doubt be under appreciated.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone full of energy and ready to put on the best rusical of all time. As they split up to beat their mugs, the dolls spoke about their pre-show routines, with everyone agreeing it is just nice to be able to kiki with sisters while prepping on the show. Oh and everyone was desperate and ready for another badge, except for Dakota, who just wanted to make it through and hope for the best.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by the legend herself Hannah Waddingham to witness the spectacle that was Lairy Poppins. And hot damn, was it not one of the greatest rusicals of all time. The script was on point, the lyrics and music were so much fun and the performances were all great. Baby was a diva, Peppa was charming and even Dakota was holding her own. Well until Danny arrived on scene as Lairy and let’s just say, Pixie is probably going to regret swapping rolls because she was demented and sooooo damn good. Jonbers was wacky, weird and living her best life, as the judges laughed hysterically. Pixie was silly and charming, Cheddar was delightful and fun before Le Fil closed the show as the perfect spoil to everyone’s fun before she ultimately let loose and experienced joy, stealing my heart and the show.

On the West End Wonders runway, Pixie slayed as Tracy Turnblad, serving charm, reveals and of course, hairspray everywhere. Jonbers was so damn sexy, inspired by Singing In The Rain, Black Peppa gave the sexiest Lion King known to man while Dakota gave Funny Girl as done by Sharon Tate. Cheddar was stunning serving Hedwig, Le Fil was full glamour in honour of The King and I and Baby was inspired by the first black Juliet on the West End in And Juliet and was STUN. NING. Oh and then Danny stole the show as The Little Shop of Horrors and well, shut it down, she wins.

Black Peppa and Cheddar – aka Cacio e Pepe – were sent to safety before the judges lavished praise on Pixie despite how poorly she did in rehearsals. Everyone thought her performance was stunning and lived for how she nailed the look on the runway. Jonbers too received universal praise for her demented bird lady and they loved the runway, despite the mismatched cages. Poor Dakota was read for being very nervous, particularly next to how energetic Peppa was. That being said, Ru assured her she was good, just everyone else was also so strong. Le Fil for some reason was told she could have gone further with the role, despite being perfect AND having a stunning runway. Baby too was read for her nerves, though praised for her energy and magnetism. Baby started to break down as Hannah told her she wants her to see how great she is, while Baby opened up about how hard it is to be in the competition and how she doesn’t know she can handle it mentally. But bless, Ru gave her a delightful pep talk.

Oh and then Danny received top marks for everything, from the performance to the runway. And well, condragulations again, Danny.

Backstage Cheddar was thrilled to be safe while Peppa was just glad she avoided the bottom. As the tops and bottoms joined them, Dakota opened up about how disappointed she is to clearly be in the bottom and while everyone tried to encourage her, she admitted it is even harder to process given she was told she was good but clearly, two girls have to land in the bottom. Baby meanwhile opened up more about how much she is struggling with her mental health and admitted that while she will kill a lip sync, it won’t change things. But thankfully, all her sisters rallied around and encouraged her to keep opening up and sharing. Le Fil too was struggling with being in the bottom despite nailing it before talk turned to the tops, with Jonbers giddy, Pixie just glad to have rallied and Danny, obviously, thrilled about nailing the assignment.

Ultimately Jonbers was deemed safe, leaving Pixie to once again be the bridesmaid to Danny Beard who rightly took out her third win of the season. At the alleged other end of the pack, Le Fil narrowly avoided the bottom leaving Dakota and Baby to battle it out to No Way from Six. And damn did they fight. Baby was obviously Baby, a star who hit every lyric and nailed the vibe and all the moves, while Dakota was an absolute firecracker as she valiantly fought for her life and turned the show. Sadly though before Ru had the chance to announce who had won the lip sync, Baby popped up her hand and announced that that was her farewell performance and like Adore and DeLa before her, she would like to tap out of the competition.

Thankfully, Ru didn’t make her feel bad about things, praising her for not only being a star and for knowing when to take herself out of the situation to look after herself. And well, while Ru kinda stole my entire speech to the icon that is Baby, it was so true and necessary, that I didn’t burn Ru’s dressing room to the ground. Instead, I pulled Baby in for a massive hug as she made it backstage and assured it that it was the right decision. And that even in those five short weeks, she proved she is a star. And oh so worthy of a warm, nourishing Dutch Baby.

The light and fluffy boat warmly hugs the earthy, nutty sweet filling to give you a gloriously hearty breakfast. Or a comforting way to work through the trauma of an intense competition series that makes you question your talent, which should never happen because you’re a star. Ok?

Enjoy!

Dutch Baby
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup milk, at room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
3 mushrooms, peeled and sliced
6 slices ham, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped

Method
Place a medium cast iron skillet in the centre of the oven and preheat to 200° for about 15 minutes, or until it is a hunk, a hunk of burning love.

Pop the eggs and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the balloon whisk attachment, whisk vigorously until light and frothy. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the melted butter, followed by the flour, salt and pepper until well combined and voluminous.

Pop on some oven mitts and carefully remove from the oven swirl the remaining butter to coat. Pour the batter into the skillet and immediately return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Carefully remove from the oven, sprinkle with some cheese, followed by the mushrooms, ham and the rest of the cheese and pop into the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Then sprinkle with the shallots and devour, like a wholesome, loveable, talented icon!


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Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Gabler continued to struggle with the conditions on the island, leading the girls to continue to plot around his idol. Sadly for them, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to him and when told no, he promptly outed all their plans to Gabler. Karla meanwhile found the Beware Advantage and despite initially leaving it, circled back and bamboozled everyone into giving her the beads and jagged herself an idol. After losing another immunity challenge, Vesi decided it was time to start focusing on strength and despite Noelle being on the outs, they banded together to boot Nneka from the game.

Back at camp Noelle quickly rallied everyone around to thank them for saving her, while the tribe assured her that they believe in her and know that things are about to turn around. Despite Cody feeling like they are running dead last. We pivoted to Baka in the early hours of the morning where Gabler was trying to help his tribe out by putting palm frond blankets on them to stay warm but, sadly, only ended up pissing everyone off. And well, that lack of self-awareness kinda had him running dead last in the tribe. Once the sun came up, the tension was palpable as they tried to get the fire going as Gabler and Elie butted heads over building a fire and the size of the fucking sticks used.

Before you even had time to appreciate my Eliza reference, the tribes joined together for the first solo reward of the season where one person from each tribe would knock blocks of a ledge with sandbags and then roll on two blocks to the end of a field, before handing off sandbags to the other three people who each have to land one on a hanging disc. With the winners getting to go to one of the losing camps and looting an item, in addition to ten fish. Cody dominated the first section of the challenge putting Vesi well out in front as Sami tried to nip at his heels and Ryan completely fell out of it. Despite Baka slowly catching up and Coco getting back in the game, Vesi finally landed their third bag and scored the power to loot (and the food).

After farewelling the losing tribes, Noelle bartered with Jeff to trade the fish for fruit and a fishing kit instead, given they still have no fire and therefore can not eat fish. Back at camp they celebrated by eating her success like royalty – RIP, Liz – as they spoke about who should go to the other tribe, with Cody offering to go and cause a little chaos. Which instantly filled Dwight with fear, given Cody is such a wildcard. Talk turned to which camp they should go to, with Baka having the most gear but Coco having the most people and as such, they wanted to hurt them. After locking in Coco, they planned to go after the machete as the most likely way to hurt them. Or at the very least, open them up to negotiate for the reward they really wanted.

The tribe were heartbroken as Cody arrived at Coco, with Cassidy seeing the choice to rob them for what it is and instantly turned on the charm to protect themselves. Cody too was turning on his charm, while Lindsay freaked out at the thought of losing the machete. Thankfully (kinda) James stepped in and started bartering, giving him limes, fishing gear and some root vegetables. And while Karla could see just how badly they played it, the rest of the tribe were grateful he didn’t take the machete. Which was never even Vesi’s plan. But hey, Cody now is in trouble because Queen Karla is out for blood, so it was a messy trip for all of them, I guess.

The tribes rejoined Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would race to knock sandbags off a ledge to find keys, unlock puzzle pieces, drag them under nets and then build a square. Once said square was built, they would then dismantle it and carry the pieces up a cargo net to build a triangle with the last placed tribe heading off to tribal council. Baka absolutely demolished the sandbags and got out to an early lead,  while Vesi stayed right on their tail, as Coco brought up the rear. Baka swiftly built their square and got it checked off before moving on to the final puzzle while Vesi trailed behind and Coco grew more and more confused. Eventually all three tribes started work on the triangle before Vesi solved it out of nowhere. Before they got to work helping Baka along to force Coco off to tribal council. Which is exactly what happened. And is oh so shady. And. I. LOVE IT.

Back at camp Coco were frustrated by the fact the other two tribes had banded together to send them to tribal council. When it came to the scramble, Ryan was just trying to protect his ally Geo, who in turn was targeting Cassidy given everyone else has a strong relationship with her but him. Cassidy then approached the girls to lock in the vote against Geo for sassing her out, with James quickly on board. And just like that, it was a done deal.

Well, until Lindsay happened, as she decided it was too easy and started to question why people are still running around and talking. She then approached her allies and confronted them for scrambling without her and not talking to her, which made Karla question whether they should actually turn on her given that paranoia is only going to get worse the further they go along. James tried to pull Lindsay aside to talk some sense into her and calm things down and when it didn’t go well – at all – James was on board to get rid of her. Despite Geo’s growing ego frustrating them.

At tribal council the tribe were gagged to see Jeff and the set with Ryan opening up about how strong they are and how well they are getting along. James jumped in and praised Ryan for being their provider, with Jeff sweetly praising him for embracing the adventure of the game. Lindsay spoke about the fact they know what works for them, well until today, when everyone started to scramble. And then pointedly said that some people didn’t talk to her. While Ryan pointed out she didn’t give the vibe she wanted to speak to him, with Geo admitting that as long as the vote is not on him, he doesn’t really care. Karla meanwhile tried to explain why you have to continue to confirm the plan is still on and nothing has changed, leading to Lindsay admitting that she did that a little too much and may have made her a little paranoid.

Geo admitted that he wanted to make sure his people were calm, which made Cassidy point out that just because it looks calm on the surface, does not mean there isn’t chaos below. James said that he was just trying to stay calm to make others calm, while Cassidy admitted they won’t really know who they can trust until the vote happens. And well, given they were still talking all the way up to leaving for tribal council, Karla felt there were still way too many questions in the air. With that the tribe voted and despite being excited for them to be read, Lindsay was gagged to see that her allies had deserted her and joined Ryan to boot her from the game.

Making her paranoia prophetic, I guess?

Lindsay was well and truly shocked as she made her way to Loser Lodge, unsure whether she was right to be paranoid or if that is what cost her the game. Which obviously meant I kindly stepped in to assure her that she was completely safe until it got to her but given it made for an iconic (flameout) exit, she will have burned a place in the hearts and minds of fans and as such, she is the perfect candidate for a future Second Chances season. And that is the kind of comfort that is only bested by a Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel.

I love buns, and more importantly, sausages in buns, so you know a weiner pretzel is something I love in and around my mouth. A little bit sweet and a whole lot salty, these giant pretzel-pigs-in-blankets are perfection.

Enjoy!

Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel 
Makes: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
7g dry yeast
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 ¼ cups plain flour
30g butter, softened and diced
1 tsp fine salt
8 hot dog wieners
¼ cup baking soda
1 egg, lightly whisked
maldon salt flakes

Method
Warm the milk in a saucepan until it is roughly 50C and pour into a large mixing bowl for a stand mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave to bask in the warm milk bath for about 2 minutes before stirring in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Add the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining flour and the fine salt and knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth yet a little bit sticky. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a warm place, in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling wrap for about two to three hours.

While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220C.

Punch the dough back and divide into 8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 40cm(ish) rope shape before coiling each around a weiner, pressing together to enclose as you go, leaving just a little tip of weiner at each end. And honestly, I’m not even trying with the innuendo anymore, I just can’t stop. Pop on a lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave them to prove for 20 minutes or so.

Pop 2L of water in a Dutch oven with the baking soda and bring to a gentle boil. It will bubble easily, so keep an eye on it the entire time. Working two at a time, pop the pretzels in the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once half-way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the baking tray.

Once they are all boiled, brush each with some egg, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool for ten minutes or so before devouring, alongside your favourite condiment.


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Biscopper Topp Blondies

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were split down the middle – kinda – to headline the Yassss-tonbury Festival. Aka Girl Groups, but make it rock. As a tertiary educated songwriter, Baby was ready to slay and take her moment in the spotlight. And while she well and truly did, nobody else on her team (other than Peppa, of course) was and as such, they landed in the bottom. And boy did they hear about it, as Baby told them all how disappointed she was backstage. Despite having the time of her life Michelle felt Starlet was all nerves while Jonbers went the Toto route and had too many lyrics for the beat and couldn’t keep up in the lip sync. As such, the duo lip synced and Starlet tragically exited.

Backstage Jonbers was a mixture of shocked and relieved to have survived the lip sync, while Cheddar was disappointed to see someone as strong as Starlet exit so soon. Jonbers opened up to the girls about how disappointed in herself she is, though trust and believe, she was ready to prove herself. Sminty pointed out that she saw Starlet as the ultimate look queen of the season and is gagged that she is gone. But also, kinda glad she is now the premiere look queen. Baby spoke about how she was gutted not to stake a claim on the challenge, though was ready to join the extensive badge club ASAP. While Cheddar just wanted Sminty to know that she and her mushroom look are not an old maiden silhouette, ok?

And, werk.

The next day the dolls were a little more zen – and Peppa looked sexy as hell – while Sminty shadily suggested that while the rival team all have a badge, maybe each of them didn’t deserve it. Baby pointed out that while she didn’t get the win thanks to her team bombing, she knows she slayed and for the moment, that is enough. And by moment, until she gets a badge. Ru dropped by to help the girls welcome our favourite season – awards! – as they voted for their sisters to win the Naff-ta awards. Oh and put on the show in their red carpet quick drag. Beast in Show – the doll with the most star quality – went to Black Peppa (as it should), Best Background Actress in a Non-Speaking Role went to Copper Topp, Best Scene Stealing, Attention Grabbing, Camera Hog rightly went to Danny Beard while Best Actress Resting on Pretty went to Baby and Best Hot Mess was deemed Sminty Drop.

With the awards out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be splitting into pairs to design looks ready for a night out at the Bingo Hall. The Brit Crew got out their balls to pair the dolls, with Le Fil getting Sminty, Baby and Dakota got paired up, Cheddar teamed with Copper, Danny and Pixie were an iconic duo which left Peppa and Jonbers together. Oh and since Sminty was deemed a hot mess, she was able to gift each pair with a box of fabrics. She jagged blue for herself and Le Fil, Dakota and Baby got black – so chic, Jamie – Cheddar and Copper got gold, Danny and Pixie got purple, leaving Jonbers and Peppa to rock acid green. Much to both of their chagrin.

The duos split up to kiki with Copper and Cheddar looking to help each other with their weaknesses, while Dakota and Baby were straight up ready to jag their badge. Sminty and Le Fil were talking styles before looking through their fabrics and regretting their choices, while Danny and Pixie were shitting on everything they got stuck with. Cheddar and Copper planned to sell luxury, while Jonbers and Peppa were thrilled with their haul. Oh and Baby and Dakota just continued to vibe, while Sminty wanted to scream over ALL the ugly fabrics.

Ru returned to check in on her daughters with Peppa and Jonbers thrilled to pull together a fashion warrior look, complete with kay-app. Copper and Cheddar sold their pairing, Baby and Dakota continued to vibe and were ready to enhance their sisters’ aesthetics – slay – while Danny and Pixie were not reinventing the wheel while Ru cautioned them to embellish a little before Sminty shat some dung to Ru talking about her feelings, rather than the concepts. And while she told Ru she was over hating her fabric, Ru told her she clearly wasn’t, but gave her a sweet peptalk and well, I love to see it.

After Ru exited, Copper wanted to make things messy, asking everyone who voted for her as most likely to fade into the background with Baby and Danny quickly owning up. While Jonbers told her she voted for her for being quiet, not a star. While Copper tried to fight against being quiet, she fought it out with her sisters while Cheddar tried to assure her that she is running a different race and to simply not worry. Because when you’re an icon like Cheddar, that is obviously how you play it. While Jonbers reminded her that Ru hates her name and as such, she had it the worst in the mini-challenge.

Everyone got quiet as they worked through their looks with Peppa and Jonbers continuing to feel good, while Copper was proud of how iconic Cheddar is while she in turn admitted she is always scared of being too drag and not ‘fashion’ enough. Sminty meanwhile made a smurf gimp mask and while it adds nothing, I love it. Baby and Dakota meanwhile continued to be perfection and honestly, is it that obvious they are winning, or are they going to be the surprise bomb of the episode? Le Fil questioned Peppa and Jonbers about how long they are taking to cut out their outfits and while they thought it was all good, I am not so confident. Just like Le Fil. While Danny felt it was all a mess.

Elimination Day arrived with Sminty unveiling a gorgeous, confident mood that made Le Fil oh so happy. Cheddar was confident in her architectural look and while she and Copper don’t look cohesive, she is confident they could sell it. Despite Copper wanting to sell Barbarella. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were still weaving. Pixie and Danny were kiki-ing about the latter’s boyfriend and ugh, I love hearing about how much they love each other. Pixie opened up about how she and Tia were a former power couple but after breaking up, she has struggled to be alone and to not have her biggest support system. Despite knowing Tia is rooting for her back home. Cheddar opened up to Dakota and Baby about dating as a drag queen and while it was a struggle, she is now in a happy relationship and she has learned to not care. Le Fil meanwhile spoke to Sminty about how they usually date straight men and the general struggles of finding love while being fluid.

Oh and Baby was only focused on the fact her sisters were relying on hot glue and a prayer. While Peppa and Jonbers were now just hoping to wear something.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leomie Anderson as the dolls stomped the Bin-go She Better Don’t runway where Sminty and Le Fil served Studio 54 synchronised swimmer realness and well, I love it. Peppa and Jonbers’ looks were barely done but I loved their attitude, Danny and Pixie were glam sisters who own 51% of the company and just divorced your uncle, Dakota and Baby were perfection from head to toe – STUNNING – while Cheddar and Copper gave synchronicity good vs. evil, though Cheddar clearly outclassed her sister.

Pixie and Danny were sent to safety before Sminty and Le Fil received universal praise for the look, vibe and charm. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were read for filth given how unfinished their looks were despite the clear concept they were selling, while Dakota and Baby received the most effusive praise possible, giving sisters though selling themselves as individuals. And ugh, I love it, condragulations dolls. Copper was read for being too simple while Cheddar received universal praise for being iconic as all hell. And bless, I love that Cheddar tried to raise her sister up in front of the judges.

Backstage Danny and Pixie were thrilled to be safe and sound, knowing they’d return next week. Their sisters joined them, with Peppa disappointed to clearly be in the bottom, while Jonbers was heartbroken to be going in the bottom again. While Cheddar felt great, she was heartbroken the judges clearly weren’t vibing with what she served. Copper started to break down about potentially leaving, with Peppa encouraging her to fight if it comes to it. While Le Fil was hoping for a second win, it was clearly Dakota and Baby’s week and well, both of them were feeling the hell out of their oats.

Dakota and Baby OBVIOUSLY took out the win before Sminty and Le Fil were sent to safety. Cheddar clearly joined them, given she was only low by association, while Jonbers surprisingly joined her, leaving Peppa and Copper to fight for safety to Jax Jones Ella Henderson’s This Is Real. And while Peppa is obviously an assassin, giving all the lines and dominating from start to finish, Copper stole the show with all the fire as she hit every lyric. Sadly for Copper, you just can’t beat dropping into a split on the beat over eight bars, followed by voguing and as such, she was eliminated. Despite me feeling like it was more than worthy of a double shantay, but alas, it wasn’t.

Backstage Copper was still a little heartbroken to be eliminated so soon, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her just how talented she is. I then pointed to her RuPeter Badge and reminded her that even without that win, she is a star and should be so proud of herself. She had a message, she was polished and she gave all the heart. Which is well and truly worthy of global adoration and a fresh batch of Biscopper Topp Blondies.

While I am only relatively new to the biscoff cult, these blondies reminded me why the spread is so beloved. Spicy, sticky and oh so delicious, they are also super easy to whip up meaning they are perfect when you need a hit of comfort.

Enjoy!

Biscopper Topp Blondies
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
120g unsalted butter
200g biscoff spread
200g muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the butter, biscoff and muscovado in a saucepan over low heat and cook stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, cinnamon and salt, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lined, square baking tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.


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