Stuphaning Prites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Stuphaning Prites
Serves: 8-12.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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


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Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five competed in the General Erection Roast to win the votes of the panel. And well, there wasn’t really any competition to be honest as Danny absolutely annihilated the dolls and easily took out victory. At the other end of the pack, Peppa knew she would struggle but thankfully took the energy of making the crowd pity her which gave her more of a so-bad-it’s-good vibe. That being said, the biggest surprise was Pixie Polite who got stuck in her head after a slow start and managed to bomb the challenge despite being so naturally funny. While Cheddar was annoyed about being placed last in the run order, though still managed to get laughs. As such, it was Pixie that landed in the bottom with Peppa before she won her fourth lip sync and eliminated Ms Polite from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have officially made it to the finale and get the chance to take out the crown. While Peppa was bad at maths – she sent home a third of the cast, not a quarter – we quickly moved on as the dolls toasted how strong of a performer Pixie is. After briefly praising Peppa for another killer lip sync, the dolls congratulated Danny on earning her fourth badge and well, let’s just say, she now has the momentum and the fire to take out victory. And honestly, could we please just do a double crowning of Danny and Cheddar because they honestly both destroyed the competition. Though given UK has never crowned someone with four wins, maybe this is Peppa of Jonbers’ to take?

The next day the dolls were still well and truly overjoyed to make it to the top with Jonbers delightful, Danny talking about her talent uniting feuding cities while Cheddar reminded them that it all comes down to how they perform this week. And well, Peppa was just iconic. Ru interrupted the kiki to announce that to snatch the crown, the dolls will have to perform a megamix of Ru’s music – get that cheque, Ru – and write and record their own lyrics before performing live on the mainstage. Peppa would be going solo on Sissy that Walk, Cheddar snagged The Realness and Danny was given Call Me Mother, leaving Jonbers with Kitty Girl, which tracks. Oh and they will obviously get the chance to spill the tea with Ru and Michelle.

As soon as Ru left the dolls split up to listen to the songs and while Peppa was obviously very very confident, Danny was terrified of keeping up with the music but knew the biggest barrier would be the one in her head. Cheddar too was worried but given she dances in the club – lol – she is just going to try and relax. They soon split up to work through their lyrics while Danny dropped by the mainstage to talk to Ru and Michelle, talking about how energised she is by the competition and how it has completely evolved who she is as a performer. I mean, remember when she realised she was hot? Michelle praised her for her confidence and for always bringing Danny to everything, leading to her opening up about a horrific hate crime in high school and how her parents moved her to a new school and told her to start fresh and as such, she fully accepted herself and flourished. Danny opened up about how desperate she is for the crown and how there has never been a winner like her and that she looks forward to representing them.

Jonbers was up next and completely charmed Ru and Michelle from start to finish, opening up about manifesting her way to the end of the competition and thanking them for their feedback. Michelle praised her for applying everything they said and growing, while Ru was impressed by her fashion, leading to her breaking down over how much her mother’s 70s glam inspired her to serve such sickening looks. Jonbers opened up about feeling like people never believe in her but now, despite not liking fart jokes back in the day, she is fully into the poo party. I shit you not – pun intended – that was said.

White Salt was thrilled to be reunited with Black Peppa for a cheeky little kiki, talking about how hard she fought to make it to the end. Ru praised her for never staying within the box and always giving something different. She opened up about how much her parents’ rejection when she came out made her the person she is now and how much she is fighting to be a support to her sister. Peppa opened up about wanting the crown to inspire people to keep pushing, fighting and to always believe in themselves. Even when other people tear you down.

Rounding out the conversation portion of the evening, Cheddar spoke about how great and diverse Manchester is. Michelle asked her why such a star like her finally opted to participate, with her admitting she hadn’t been excited by drag for a while and wanted to shake herself out of it and when she got the list of challenges, she felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. She opened up about feeling like she can never embrace herself as a talent due to her working class upbringing before admitting that whether she takes the crown or not, she is a star. Though trust she does want that validation.

The dolls came back together to meet Claudimar Neto – swoon – and a duo of zaddy back-up dancers to learn their choreography and well, let’s just say, my basement was more flooded than Danny’s. Peppa was up first and obviously killed the rehearsal given this is totally what she does best. Cheddar meanwhile got to serve sex with the dancers and um, BRB, for reasons. Danny was next and while she was nervous, she worked super hard and you could see just how much the competition has meant to her, despite the struggles. Oh and then Jonbers was super charming and silly and ready to redeem her performance in Girl Groups.

And well, who knows their left from right, anyway?

Coronation Day finally arrived with the dolls even more excited than the day before, talking about how great their performance is going to be. Jonbers was excited by the prospect of being the first no badge winner while everyone was clearly ready to fight for the win. As they started to beat their mugs, Cheddar spoke about how she didn’t expect it to be as tough as it is while Jonbers was proud to prove she is talented and prove the naysayers wrong. Danny praised Jonbers for being so unique and reiterated that she deserves her place in the final, while Cheddar was thrilled to have reminded herself of all that she can do and wanted to make her family proud. They started reflecting on their favourite performances of the season with everyone agreeing Peppa’s plea for laughs was one of the highlights, while Cheddar was just so grateful to see how she stomps the runway.

And well, I love how happy and loved up they all are. So maybe we do a four-way crowning this season, please Ru!

Mama Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan took their places on the judges panel as the top four took to the stage to perform their new megamix alongside their fallen sisters and damn, it was good. Even the mega mix was an absolute bop! Peppa was fiery and fierce and damn she can turn a show. I mean, I barely stared at the dancers bouncing junk. Cheddar was silly and sensual and oh so polished, giving drag Bowie and I lived for every moment. Danny was perfect, sassy and hit every moment of choreography despite not being confident before Jonbers arrived and owned the show giving charm and energy and well, is Kitty Girl just the best song for a finale because she, Trixie, Shangela, Kennedy and Bebe should do a collab because it was stunning.

On the Grand Finale Eleganza runway Peppa slayed in a checkerboard rocker gown and while it was so unexpected, it was perfectly stunning. Cheddar was an iridescent alien bug goddess and ugh, she looked so glorious. Danny was a gorgeous sexy phoenix, rising for the ashes and well, this is going to be a very tight race. While Jonbers gave the sexiest celtic warrior I’ve ever seen, complete with a stunningly damaged shield.

The judges lived for Peppa’s journey on the runway, grateful to have witnessed how strong of a performer she is. Not only that, she delivered stunning looks week after week and as such, earnt her place in the top. While Alan admitted he loved when she was in the bottom as she was so good at lip syncing, while Peppa was just glad they saw how energetic she is. Cheddar received wall to wall praise for bringing vulnerability, always looking stunning and growing as a performer, while never losing sight of herself or what the challenge asked of her. Ru then called her a pro, so tragically I guess she doesn’t win. Cheddar on the flipside opened up about how grateful she was to participate in the competition and to evolve. 

Danny too was praised for everything she did in the competition, for being funny and always giving beautiful, creative looks. Oh and she is dripping in charisma. Danny started to breakdown over how much the competition means to her and how happy it makes her to be praised. Jonbers meanwhile was praised for being a chameleon, growing week after week and always giving them something unexpected. Oh and they obviously lived for her serving such stunning looks. Jonbers opened up about how the competition made her believe in herself and she always fought, knowing it would inspire someone.

Peppa was up first to dish out advice to her younger self, wishing the world wouldn’t be so unkind to her, but to always remember she is amazing and to never give up because she will be free and that is when she will shine. Cheddar told five year old Michael to not try growing up too fast and to enjoy being young, silly and to be ready for all the love in the world and how much she deserves said love. Danny told her younger self to not let her mum cut her hair, before encouraging her to push through the trauma and bullying, and never give up because she will succeed. Oh and to listen to your father and not look so fucking orange. Jonbers told two year old Andrew to always dream big and to never let people questioning her get her down, to always fight and know that you will be loved and deserve the world.

And well, like Graham, I am sobbing.

The top four were joined backstage by The Vivienne, Lawrence and Krystal for a kiki, opening up about how amazing the experience was. While also how tough it has been. The Vivienne assured them they have a bright future ahead of them, though it does take work and to never take it for granted. Lawrence told them to stay humble and always treat their fans with respect, given they pay their bills while Krystal told them to not look at anyone else and just shine, no matter what happens.

The Viv, Lawrence and Krystal returned to the stage to form the peanut gallery to watch over the eliminated queens of season 4. Just May looked like regal Geri – which is v on brand, obviously – Starlet was a delight in baby blue tulle, Copper was stunning in royal blue, Sminty was perfection in a white gown – complete with twerk – Le Fil gave anime warrior, Dakota was glam in pearl while Pixie was gorgeous in an emerald green and gold gown. The top four took their place on the mainstage where Ru announced that only two would continue to lip sync for the crown. And those queens were not Jonbers or Peppa.

Jonbers was slightly ahead as she walked off the stage for them to set for the final lip sync, so I pulled her aside and gave her a massive hug. I then went full drunk Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and held her close and, through gritted teeth, reminded her how damn talented and beautiful she is. And how much she deserves not just her place in the top four, but of the Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde.

This tweaked Antoni number is now one of my favourite burgers. The fresh lettuce and tangy kim chi work perfectly to cut through the richness of pork. Then you add in a little bit of gochujang mayo and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Korean Pork Jonburgers Blonde
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tbsp gochujang
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 shallots, sliced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
675g pork mince
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 Briocher Bünsberg
butter lettuce, leaves removed
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 cup kimchi

Method
Combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, lemon zest and juice, half the shallot and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set.

In a large bowl, mix the pork, ginger, remaining shallot, ginger, sesame oil, salt and chilli flakes together until well combined. Form into four patties, pop onto a lined plate, cover and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour.

When you’re to get grillin’, remove the patties from the fridge and lightly oil a griddle or skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another five.

To assemble, split the buns and top with the patties, some gochujang mayo, lettuce, cucumber and kimchi. Before devouring with a big side of fries.


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Kendall Gendircher Muesli

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

Previously on vs the World the BBC kindly hosted the inaugural United Nations of Drag battle royale, featuring finalists, robbed icons – looking at you, Lemon and Chez – and even a mother tucking host. And let’s just say, things got wilder than Jimbo flinging bologna at Ru pretty quickly. In addition to the lunch meat, there were gaggy eliminations, gaggier lip syncs and for consistency’s sake, a Jujubee appearance in the finale. Sadly for her, the crown went to the UK as Blu Hydrangea snatched it from Mo Heart and took it home to Northern Ireland.

But that was then and now we’ve changed out the Curry Chipz for poutine as we return to the northern part of North America as Rita made their triumphant return to the Canadian Werk Room. Well, mainstage, as is apparently the tradition for the International battles. In any event, she looked stunning in a glorious green gown before Stephanie Prince joined her, ready to rectify the robbery of her being eliminated on her first season. And while I love her, girl, nope, it was not a robbery. Though she was cute as the green fairy. Kendall joined her fellow Canadians looking perfect in a regal blue superhero number, followed by former mother tucking winner herself Icesis and damn, you can tell she has the money. That lilac look was glorious.

And her Season 2 sisters – and even Rita – were not happy about her presence.

Representing us south of the equator, Down Under’s Anita was giddy, delightful and ridiculous and ugh, I love her and know she will make us proud. They were joined by Brooke’s sister, the one with the good milk, Silky and ugh, I love her and can’t wait to see her dominate again and earn our love like her run in All Stars 6. Speaking of queens who got rudemption and then some on All Stars 6, purple queen Ra’Jah arrived and ohhh-hhh my go-ooood, crown her now. Whether she is concerned about Icesis or not. Vanity arrived from across the pond and well, she was stun-ning in orange. Dirty rice, indeed. Thankfully she also assured us she won’t be serving Baga Chipz, which is important for all contestants to clarify TBH. Rounding out the cast is the iconic first cis female cast member of any Ru franchise, Victoria Scone and well, she is still as gorgeous and stunning as I remember.

Brooke soon dropped by to welcome her cast and announce that their first maxi challenge would see them split into groups of three to form Girl Groups. Rita, Anita and Victoria formed the first band, Kendall, Icesis and Stephanie kept it in their season while Silky, Vanity and Ra’Jah would no doubt dominate together. Each band would have to write and record a verse on the new single Bonjour! Hi! with the top 2 lip syncing for the right to eliminate one of the bottoms. Again, as is tradition.

The dolls ventured backstage to get to know each other and find their place in the Werk Room, where Team USA vowed to be the Top 2, which feels right. Anita meanwhile was loving how kind everyone was and as such, read Silky for absolute filth every chance she got. Rumail interrupted their de-dragging experience to welcome them to the competition – despite Brooke already telling them what was happening – before they split up to work on their lyrics. Silky, Ra’Jah and Vanity agreed on calling themselves SRV while Victoria was thrilled to be on team nana, despite her literally being the youngest on the cast. Stephanie meanwhile was super confident and assumed her band would be the top three before talk turned to how obvious a target Icesis is. And well, I love her admitting that she knows everyone will come for her, so she just plans to destroy and never give them the chance.

Dripping winner’s energy all over the stage.

Vanity was busy tackling racism within the fandom in her verse before Brooke dropped by with Anjulie to see how they were going, with Anita glad to say g’day to the duo. Rita was charming and Victoria was thirsty and ready to show Anjulie a soggy bottom. Icesis meanwhile was silly and fun on her verse while Kendall was a little repetitive and Stephanie was straight up not interested in getting feedback from an actual popstar. SRV were up next with Brooke excited to see her sisters and well, it was clear that they are the team to beat despite Ra’Jah looking like she was about to drown in her lyrics like Toto have before her.

Team Nana – aka Touche – dropped by the mainstage to work through the choreography with Victoria taking the lead and despite keeping it simple, poor Rita got stuck in her head and spiraled. Stephanie assumed power in team Season 2 and filled Icesis with nerves, given she and Stephanie were in the bottom two in their girl groups. SRV meanwhile were perfect from start to finish and ready to slay.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls giddy with nervous energy, before talk turned to how everyone intends to eliminate people. And while everyone agreed they wanted to play fair, Rita knew it would be different when the moment actually happens. The dolls split up to get ready with Ra’Jah talking to the UK girls about the scene back home, with them agreeing it is quite segregated and they need to open themselves up more. Kendall praised Vancouver for always pushing for diverse lineups in their clubs before Miss Silky spoke about the horrors of racism in the US but how hopeful she was for things to change. Eventually.

Brooke and Anjulie took their places on the judges panel alongside Traci – donde esta, Brad?! – before Touche debuted their version of Bonjour! Hi! and well, it was just as camp and infectious as I hoped. Anita was a delight, Rita was a damn star and Victoria was so stupid and fun and ugh, I love it. Maple She-rups – a name Icesis earlier tried to kill – were up next and despite her sisters being way more confident, it was Icesis who owned the song and hit every piece of choreography. Oh and then SRV molly whopped the girls with Vanity stamping her place on the competition from the very first line. But that does not mean her sisters didn’t slay as they served all the charm and energy possible. It’s just that Vanity was THAT good.

On the Queen of the World runway Anita was glorious in a fuschia, frilled gown, despite it not really fitting that well. Rita served pineapple queen realness and well, it was stunning. Victoria paid homage to her name, covered in jam and cream and well, she was stunning. Kendall gave superhero glam in white, Icesis was glorious in a shimmering silver gown while Stephanie was stunning in a traditional Filipina look. Vanity was full Victorian realness in a golden quilted number, Ra’Jah was glorious in a purple pantsuit dripping in roses while Silky was glorious as the sexiest widow before revealing a stunning jeweled ball gown. And ugh, it is a toot.

Victoria, Icesis and Silky were sent to safety before Anita was praised for being high energy and sticking to herself, though read for blending into the background. Rita meanwhile received universal praise for everything she gave this week, before Kendall was read for being stuck in her head rather than bringing the fire to her performance and for looking good, but not on theme, on the runway. Stephanie explained her runway was an homage to her grandfather whose funeral she couldn’t attend due to COVID and while the judges loved it, everyone was nervous about her dropping the pot on her head. Including her. And they felt her performance was just going through the motions. Vanity rightly only got praise, with Brooke rightly announcing she murdered the entire challenge. And then she did that on the runway, so yeah, she is in the Top 2. Ra’Jah too was beloved, despite Brooke missing some of her lyrics. 

Despite Ra’Jah doing that though, it was Rita that joined Vanity in the Top 2 while Kendall and Stephanie found themselves up for elimination. 

Backstage the dolls congratulated the Top 2 on their performances, with Rita praising her bandmates for raising her up. Vanity meanwhile praised Silky and Ra’Jah for being such delightful role models for her and making her feel welcomed and able to slay. This led to Silky giving a beautiful speech about how welcome she feels and how grateful she is for her new sisters and ugh, I love it. Victoria checked in on the bottoms with Kendall admitting she knew she is better than how she performed, while Stephanie is heartbroken to potentially end her rudemption run already. Rita kikied with Kendall who admitted she was super nervous, though assured Rita she will do better and have her back, should the tables be turned. Stephanie meanwhile stuck to the task at hand, pointing out she did better in the challenge and as the only Asian queen on the cast, she wanted to represent her heritage. 

The safe girls meanwhile were busy gossiping with everyone agreeing it would be a close call and as such, Ra’Jah was thinking the decisions could get competitive. Kendall meanwhile was checking in with Vanity, telling her how disappointed she is and how she is super focused on turning it next time. With her worried she would be Pangina’d, which, no. But bless. Rita meanwhile told Stephanie that she loves Kendall, but eliminating her as a threat is still an option. Which obviously made Stephanie very nervous, given Rita gave her nothing.

After selecting their lipsticks, Vanity and Rita returned to the mainstage and took their places for the first lip sync of the season. And well, duh, Vanity was perfection from start to finish of Brand New Bitch by Anjulie, despite Rita leaning into her ridiculous drunk ‘80s diva character. As we saw in the performance, Vanity knows how to perform, splitting and flipping and hitting every lyric and well, it was great to watch her triumph and prove just why she made it to the top four of UK 3. As such, she rightly took out the first win of the season – with a cash prize to boot! – and promptly sent poor Kendall Gender home as the first boot.

Backstage Kendall was obviously disappointed, but given she is so kind, chill and literally made the finale less than a year ago, she quickly perked up and was glad Stephanie would get more of a chance to show what she can do. I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her that becoming a First Boot on an All Stars season is iconic and outside of winning, that is the way to do it. I mean, when you are in the company of Lemon, Pandora, Coco, Thorgy – on a technicality – Jasmine Masters, Derrick Barry and THE Serena ChaCha it is hard to be disappointed. As such, we laughed, toasted to her ongoing success and smashed a healthy and delicious Kendall Gendircher Muesli.

I know, I know – how can muesli be comforting, you ask? But I challenge you to try this and not fall in love. Fresh and light, while packed full of flavour, all while being healthy, it truly is the ultimate way to start your day.

Enjoy!

Kendall Gendircher Muesli
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup apple juice
½ cup natural or Greek yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
¼ cup flaked almonds
¼ cup walnuts
2 tbsp pepitas

Method
Grate the apple and mix it in a bowl with the rolled oats, juice, yoghurt, cinnamon and honey until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to infuse overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add half the almonds, walnuts and pepitas to the muesli and stir to combine. Divide the mixture among the bowls and sprinkle with the remaining almonds, walnuts and pepitas, and some extra yoghurt. Then, devour.


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Fig James Jones

Condiment, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.

Leaving us with just three more women.

Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?

We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council. 

Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.

We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.

They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.

At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.

James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.

And well, he was salty.

When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.

While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.

Enjoy!

Fig James Jones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg figs, trimmed and diced
500g raw caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips

Method
Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.

The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.

Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.


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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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Lemon & Sminty Drop

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were paired up to make complimentary looks ready for the bingo hall out of a box of colour-themed goodies. While Sminty and Le Fil panicked about their options, they ultimately slayed – obviously – while Jonbers and Peppa went the opposite route, living for their options and concept though ultimately unable to execute their vision in time. Oh and while I felt Cheddar and Copper looked perfect as good vs evil, though Cheddar looked like a snazzy rock while Copper gave Barbarella realness. Dakota and Baby though were the clear standouts and took out the win, while Peppa and Copper were singled out as the worst of their pairs and forced to face off in the lip sync. Tragically sending Copper out of the competition.

Backstage Peppa was feeling humbled by her appearance in the bottom before she followed it up by praising her dear sister Ginger. And by Ginger, she was talking about Copper. Sminty meanwhile could get her name right, though was feeling awks to have called her an old maiden, particularly since she was heartbroken to have lost her warm presence. Cheddar felt badly to have not been in the bottom with her partner, while Danny questioned if Jonbers was just grateful that Peppa had to lip sync from their pair, essentially saying that she thinks Jonbers got bloody lucky.

Things were far more chill the next day as Dakota proudly unveiled her second badge leading to shady little Sminty questioning whether it means she is no longer Da-coaster. Before Baby could unleash on her sisters for ruining her first win in the Girl Groups challenge again, Ru arrived to lead the girls in a booty-tastic quick-drag game of Musical Chairs. Zaddy Brit Crew was brought out to adjudicate as the dolls twerked their way around the booty chairs until Danny exited first. Just as she predicted. She was followed by Cheddar, Dakota, Le Fil, Baby, Peppa and Jonbers before Pixie took out the win over Sminty. Which seemed right, given they both had cheeto dust on as foundation.

And for her troubles, she would be picking teams for this week’s Maxi Challenge where the dolls would appear in the new UK chat show Catty Man. So basically, Bossy Rossy, but hopefully with funny improv? Pixie is smart, so obviously she grabbed Cheddar and Danny, then assigned Dakota, Le Fil and Baby to Group 2 leaving Peppa, Jonbers and Sminty as the last group. After Ru departed the groups split up, de-dragged and kikied about how the groups were formed with Group 2 thinking it was all kind and fair. While Pixie admitted to her co-stars that she put the final group together knowing it is likely to bomb. Badly. They took their places around the werk room to read the overview of the scenes, with Group 1 getting a great psychic, attempted murder narrative. Group 2 would be dealing with a case of swapped tonges while Group 3 aka Group Pixie-designed-to-bomb would be confronting a catfish.

We ventured straight to set where Cheddar, Pixie and Danny were first to chat with Catty Man himself and my dear friend, Alan Carr. And well, they were perfection from start to finish. Cheddar was a camp, heartbroken, vamp, Danny was the most ridiculous psychic and having the most damn fun. And by the time Pixie arrived, pitch perfect, I don’t see how any of the other teams could top them. Insert a because they’re all bottoms joke here yourselves, please. Dakota’s fake voice was madness and had everyone, herself and Alan included, in hysterics. Baby was hilarious and charming, though more importantly, was sitting spread eagle on the chair while Le Fil was a doddering, doctor, delight. Rounding out taping, Peppa was ready to run out and get married; sweet, loved up and oh so cute, Sminty meanwhile got a bit swallowed up by the scene. Particularly once Jonbers arrived, giving sexy, stupid and so much fun. While Sminty just stayed on stage until the lights went out. Shocked and confused.

Elimination Day arrived with Sminty clearly having exited the Catty Man set and joining her sisters to prep for the runway, while Pixie and Danny spoke about who they think will win a badge out of the two of them or whether it would be a group win. Because yeah, they felt what we saw, I guess? Le Fil and Dakota meanwhile were talking about how excited they were for the runway. Dakota opened up about how important her hair was to her growing up and how nice it will be for her to pay homage to her grandmother who let her embrace her desire for long, billowing locks. Le Fil too felt like hair was so important to her, given being male is so important in her culture and that growing out her hair as an adult feels like coming into her own. Peppa meanwhile spoke to Cheddar about how she would proudly honour her blackness with braided hair, while Cheddar opened up about losing her hair after getting sick as a teen and while it led to a lot of insecurities, shaving it all off made her fully come into her own.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Alison Hammond as Danny kicked off The Mane Event runway looking mad as she walked the dog with her shock of red hair. But given she called her dog, Divina Dog Campo – the red dog with a silver leash, it’s a win for me. Cheddar slayed as the sexiest Cheshire Cat known to man, complete with a rainbow furball. Pixie gave the Birth of Venus and looked oh so glamorous, Dakota was stunning as she honoured her grandmother’s hair-doll curtains she destroyed growing up, Baby was sexy in an architectural gown made of dreads before Le Fil was stunning, giving all the hair we’ve collectively lost down the drain. Black Peppa was stunning in a gorgeous braided regal gown, Sminty was perfection as a sexy-moth while Jonbers was gorgeously camp as Lady Di’s step mother, though make it furkini sexy.

Dakota, Peppa and Jonbers were sent to safety before Cheddar received universal praise for the challenge and even more for the runway. Danny’s performance in the challenge was completely beloved as was her bringing glam on the runway. And well, Pixie too received top marks for all that she did this week. Because honestly, any of the three could win this. Baby meanwhile was read for letting her nerves get to her and serving only one note, though obviously they all lived for her runway despite Ru wanting it to be elevated. They felt Le Fil was a little bit flat and gave the much needed shade to the challenge (though no personal light), though they loved her filthy concept on the runway. Then poor Sminty was read for just disappearing in the challenge but damn were they in love with her runway, Mothy Kendoll, in honour of her mother.

Backstage Dakota was so grateful to be safe despite being nervous about the challenge, while Jonbers wished she was able to have been in the top. As the tops and bottoms joined the girls, Danny broke down about how much it meant to her for Ru to call her a comedy legend who was perfect. Pixie broke down about how much the judges loved her look, while Cheddar praised Pixie for doing so well in the challenge, before loading praise on Danny, which made her a little sad. Talk turned to the bottom with everyone speculating whether the fact that Sminty’s runway being the best of the night would be enough to save her from being the absolute worst in the challenge. While Baby opened about struggling with her emotions throughout the competition, though both she and Sminty vowed to give it their all in the lip sync.

Ultimately Cheddar was deemed safe before Danny took out victory – much to Pixie’s clear disappointment, despite the pride for her sister – before Pixie joined them. At the other end of the pack, Le Fil narrowly avoided lip syncing, leaving Baby and Sminty to battle it out to Mel and Kim’s Respectable, with both of the dolls absolutely slaying, giving camp, comedy and hitting every damn line. But damn, let’s just say that Baby’s attitude was unbeatable, giving all the sass before straight up stripping down to a thong. And well, like me, that was enough for Ru to give her the win, tragically eliminating Sminty from the competition.

Thankfully in the most iconic way possible, sad twerking at the door on the way out.

By the time she arrived backstage, I had fully converted myself into an old timey mobster-talent agent-esque character, telling her, “kid, you did GREAT! That exit just secured your career and made you a STAR baby.” While I quickly came back into my own, Sminty’s willingness to make fun of herself and give us a Vanjie style moment made an already delightful run completely iconic. Which is all I needed to justify toasting her success with a fresh, punchy Lemon & Sminty Drop.

This delight is actually Lady Sonja Tremont Morgan’s signature drink, but TBH, I feel like she and Sminty would be the best of friends so I am sure she is happy to share. Sharp, tart and earthy, this refreshing little drop is both celebratory and refreshing. Like the new legend, Sminty.

Enjoy!

Lemon & Sminty Drop
Makes: 1.

Ingredients
½ lemon
1 sprig mint
ice
1-2 shots blue raspberry vodka
soda water

Method
Squeeze a quarter of the lemon into a tall glass and muddle with the mint.

Fill the glass with ice, pour in the vodka and top with soda water and the remaining lemon to garish. Then, down.


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Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish

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

Previously on Survivor despite bombing the first challenge Baka did as their name suggested and bounced back-a, coming together and winning immunity. I mean sure, there was still some drama in the form of Elie having to explore which of her island sons were her favourite and Jeanine going through Gabler’s bags to check if his idol was expired (it wasn’t). On Coco, Karla dominated socially, just like her tribe continued to dominate the challenges, leaving Vesi to head to tribal council. And despite Karla being a star, I am gutted she isn’t vibing with my zaddy Ryan. At Vesi, Nneka felt like she cost them the challenge, Dwight had no vote due to his visit to advantage island while Cody lost his just before heading out (though regained it). The three duos faced off with five votes in play, which led to Justine being tragically booted.

The next day Cody and Jesse caught up, with the former thrilled to have narrowly jagged his idol and managed to keep his vote. And more importantly, keep the numbers to get rid of Justine and protect his ally Nneka. Jesse on the other hand was nervous about how upset Dwight would be with him for turning against Noelle and Justine, who he wanted them to side with. Speaking of Noelle and Dwight, they were nervous to be on the outs and while they were wary of Jesse, they were willing to work with him if they needed to. Given Cody and Nneka are still super tight, which is always a problem.

Over at Baka Elie and Jeanine continued to be concerned about how Gabler was handling the elements and while he assured them he is fine, Elie was ready to get rid of him ASAP. The duo caught up with Sami to figure out how to navigate around Gabler’s idol situation, with Elie suggesting they should simply pretend it is dead and talk to him about using it as a fake ‘down the line’. Sadly for Elie, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to Gabler about it and when they shut it down, he took the information about the plan straight back to Gabler and cut them off at the knees. And while yeah, it locked in the alliance between the two boys, if Owen sticks with the girls, Sami will be the one to go home.

We checked in with Coco where the tribe were still zenning out and living their best lives as they celebrated James’ birthday and gifted him a bracelet. He then suggested they go for a walk amongst the rocks and look for an idol, which obviously got them all talking about idols and instantly paranoid. Cassidy, Lindsay and Ryan went fishing as James took a nap, leaving Karla enough time to go on said hunting expedition. And while she instantly found the Beware Advantage, once again, she opted against taking the risk for an advantage.

Back at Vesi Nneka was bonding with Dwight and Noelle, opening up about a Nigerian mission that she supports and how they inspire her to be better. And ideally win the money and be able to give back. 

We pivoted back to Coco where Karla was discussing idols with James and whether he believed there would be old school idols or just beware advantages, these days. As they were talking, she realised that her wife would want her to take a damn risk and as such, quickly snuck off to grab it. Upon learning she would need to steal beads, she quickly got to work bartering with her tribemates and making a fake necklace for her wife to get her vote back and score an idol. She was giving away earrings and beads, pretending she wanted them all to share a part of themselves with each other and honestly, it was beautiful to behold. Almost like Sandra in the opening of Pearl Islands, TBH.

Jeffrey finally arrived for this week’s Immunity Challenge where the tribes would dive off a platform, climb blocks and dive again, this time to retrieve keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzle. With the winners jagging a toolkit and some fruit, while second place would get budget versions of the reward, while last place would be heading off to tribal council. After Geo took his place on the sitout bench and Noelle took off her leg, the challenge got underway with Owen getting Baka out to an early lead. Despite Karla and Noelle closing the gap on the second leg, Baka continued to stay out in front until Ryan dominated the third leg. All three tribes got to work solving the puzzle and while Vesi got out to an early lead, the other tribes closed the gap and overtook them as Nneka and Jesse grew confused. Ultimately sending Vesi back to tribal council.

As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.

Before sending everyone out, Baka was given the chance to send someone from each tribe to go on a journey opting for Noelle, James and Owen. We followed Vesi back to camp where Nneka was feeling bad to have lost another immunity challenge due to the puzzle, quickly checking in with Dwight to see what he was thinking. She immediately started to break down, not wanting to get rid of Noelle, given she is so inspirational. Jesse and Cody meanwhile were busy debating the merits of getting rid of Noelle who is strong or Nneka who they are tight with. Jesse opened up to us about how Nneka reminds him of his mum and worried that voting her out would be just as hard.

We checked in with the trio on Journey Island where Noelle was concerned about being away from her tribe this close to tribal council. On the journey she opened up about how her amputation impacted her life and by impact, it kinda didn’t as she is still an epic athlete and ugh, I love her. On the walk she told the boys that she is on the bottom of the tribe, offering that should they look out for her and let her have the advantage, come merge, the trio will work together to take control. And well, it worked and I love her. What an icon.

ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?

As Noelle returned to camp, Dwight was still nervous about whether they could trust Jesse to work with him and how what happened to Noelle will dictate how things go. Despite telling everyone she didn’t risk her vote, she pulled Dwight aside and assured him that she did snag an advantage. And conveniently, it was the very one they needed – a vote steal – so should Jesse give them bad vibes, she could steal his vote to take out Nneka.

At tribal council Nneka once again took accountability for losing the challenge, with Jesse jumping in and blaming himself. Nneka admitted it was quite a heartbreaking afternoon as they came to terms with losing one of their tribemates and that she was struggling with ending someone’s journey. While Cody agreed it was sad, he realised it was a game and had accepted it. Dwight spoke about finding the balance between trust and strength, while Noelle was concerned about how her journey would impact things, given she couldn’t scramble. Though she assured them she is there to prove things to herself, rather than destroy the competition. While Jesse mentioned they are also concerned that maybe Noelle also jagged an advantage on her journey.

Jeff asked everyone how confident they were that things would go their way and after they finally agreed on survey metrics, all but Noelle admitted they were very confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Which obviously meant that when the tribe voted one of them was wrong, as the tribe banded together to choose strength and booted sweet Nneka from the game.

Given she is a kind, sweet delight, she took her boot in stride and gladly thanked me for welcoming her to Loser Lodge. Nneka was a breath of fresh air in the game, at times feeling like a player from the earlier seasons in the way she quietly built up relationships and looked after the tribe. But alas, these smaller tribes leave little place for those games to survive if the person isn’t bringing it in challenges. And while that is a bitter pill to swallow, it was sweetened up by a Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish.

Flaky on the outside while all at once sticky, sweet and earthy on the inside, these decadent danishes fill you with joy. Though, I am a sucker for pastries so I am always going to say that. So why not give them a go and see for yourself!

Enjoy!

Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
50g whole blanched hazelnuts
200g whole blanched almonds
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g raw caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 sheets good-quality butter puff pastry, quartered
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved

Method
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pop the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (though leave the oven on).

Once the nuts have cooled a little, pop them in a food processor and blitz until they have formed a meal-like consistency and no further. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs and blitz until well combined.

Blend the cooled nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground – keep an eye on them and stop as soon as they’re ground or they’ll become oily. Transfer to a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and a little paler. Using a large metal spoon, slowly fold in the eggs.

To assemble, place the puff on a clean bench and place half a pear, face down, in the centre of each portion. Dollop over some of the praline, leaving a 1-2cm edge around. Crimp the edges to form whatever shape you desire and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp. Then, obviously, devour.


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Justriacha Mayo

Condiment, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

While the UK has undergone a lot of turmoil in the last few weeks, Ru, Michelle, Alan and Graham are thankfully back to provide a sense of stability. Kind of like how one Liz came into power just as one was taken from us to keep a state of equilibrium, which I’m not not saying was deliberate. Thankfully as a King has ascended, the Beeb is keeping us fed by unleashing 12 new queens on the Werk Room, starting with the iconic Danny Beard giving leather daddy realness, but make it clown. And well, I love her so. She was joined by Baby and given she gives off big Tayce energy, I LOVE her. Pixie Polite arrived adorbs, charming and old school and I live for everything about her.

If she survives the Brighton curse, obvi.

Sminty Drop arrived giving space-twink sex pot and well, maybe twinks are my thing because she is so gorgeous. More importantly, she is Gothy’s granddaughter and well, I live. Starlet arrived giving old glam and looking like Gothy and Krystal’s love child, so you KNOW she will be Ru’s fave. Jonbers Blonde arrived and stole my damn heart, giving sex AND Disney villain. And yeah, BRB, I’m drippin’. Black Peppa arrived and hot damn, while Jonbers may have my loins, Peppa has my heart. She is an icon, she is the moment, she is PERFECTION.

The world’s foremost Ginger Spice impersonator Just May – aka Alan Carr does Geri – arrived and well, I love her and how adorable she is. Or sad, if you trust Danny’s take. Dakota Schiffer arrived serving trans icon and you KNOW she is going to be the vintage fashion queen based on her Sharon Tate playboy bunny references. Copper Topp was next up and was a natural redhead, willing to teabag, so yeah, I’m into it all. Le Fil shot into the Werk Room and well, I love her; energetic, sassy and SO damn silly. And she went to school with the DDC, so you know she is going to serve it. Potentially in a silver dress and a red wig. And I DO think. Rounding out the cast though was Cheddar Gorgeous, the absolute icon and well, the dolls are quivering because this is like Bianca walking into Season 6.

I mean, everyone sat around and gushed about how she inspired them to start drag and push themselves. And well, it was glorious.

Ru finally dropped by to meet her new daughters, promptly whipping out the Brit Crew – ugh, I can’t breathe – for a Spice Girls London 2012 entrance photoshoot. Obviously Just May was up first, giving all the Geri and well, I LIVE. Particularly since Geri does Rachel Griffiths in Muriel’s Wedding. Sminty Drop was all model, Danny was perfection, Jonbers was silly and sexy in equal measure, Dakota was ethereal and beautiful while Baby looked like a drowned rat, having the best time. Copper was living her best life, Peppa looked like she was living her best life with Tyra on ANTM, Pixie was charming as all hell, Le Fil was a hairy delight, Starlet was enjoying herself despite the rains and Cheddar was 100% professional – obviously. There could only be one winner though, and that was Peppa – again, obviously – because she is a star and I love everything about her.

Before departing Ru announced that for their first Maxi Challenge, the dolls would have to serve two looks on the runway. They’d kick things off with the Keeping It 100 runway in honour of the Beeb’s 100th anniversary, while their second look – Ru Are You? – would show the judges their signature drag. In front of guest judge, my dear friend Joanna Lumley, no less!  With that, Ru exited as the dolls fought to find their place in the Werk Room and unpack, with Dakota in particular scared of being in the competition with the iconic Danny and Cheddar. Peppa meanwhile was thrilled that her BBC runway is amazing and as such, she was ready for another slay. As they took off their make-up, Le Fil and Just May bonded over their insecurities and hearing how Just May can’t see how beautiful she is breaks my heart. 

Because. She. Is.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls were giddy to stomp their very first runways, though were also a little nervous about potentially being the one to go home. Copper, Starlet and Sminty caught up, talking about their BBC runway inspos which ranged from Ab Fab to Antiques Roadshow and ugh, this is going to be good. The dolls meanwhile realised Peppa was going to be serving Blobby which led to her calling out Danny for being one note and well, I live for it all. 

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by an oh so perfect Joanna as Cheddar opened the BBC Keeping It 100 as the literal test card, giving black and white, with a little rainbow clown and well, I loved it all. Jonbers served Blue Peter and well, sink me Jonbers. Le Fil gave full on Pudsey Bear, but make it model, Sminty was a glamorous antique lamp in honour of the roadshow while Baby was hilarious yet sexy as Rastamouse. Dakota was the sexiest Anne Boleyn from Horrible Histories, Danny was a sexy latex Mr Blobby, Just May gave the literal bust from Eastenders, Copper gave Julie Waters in the two soups sketch, Starlet gave Patsy in FRONT of Patsy while Pixie was glorious as Del Boy, aka an extra from the Matilda movie. Oh and then Black Peppa gave sexy Mr Blobby, making it better AND more club kid. And explaining her shady banter with Danny.

Cheddar kicked off the Ru Are You runway as a sexy deity Mad Max extra, but make it mediaeval. Jonbers was perfect as a sporty leather dame, this time with GB colours, Le Fil was a sexy red delight, Sminty was all leg, with a side of Marie Antoinette, Baby was a red, street-puff delight before Dakota gave theatre curtains, but make it model. Danny was a shimmering, shiny architectural delight, Just May was the literal personification of va-va-voom, Copper was a ginger billboard with a message, Starlet went full fairy, Pixie gave rainbow over the pier while Peppa once again demolished as a literal wrapped chocolate, despite the fact her headpiece fell off mid-stomp.

Cheddar, Jonbers, Le Fil, Baby, Danny and Pixie were sent to untuck backstage before they heaped Sminty with all the praise for giving two differing, completely polished looks. Dakota was read for clearly being nervous, despite looking absolutely stunning. Just May was praised for being stupid and funny, despite not really giving much polish, just moisturiser. Copper was praised for her polish, though was read for being a little one note. Starlet was perfection from start to finish, which is what all the judges told her before Peppa received universal praise, but even better. The better Blobby and then complete chocolate fashion, literally. Oh and then she broke down about how happy she was to be sharing herself and well, crown her already, ok?

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to be safe, none more so than Pixie who finally broke the Brighton curse. While Danny was thrilled to make it through, she admitted to the girls she hides behind her confidence because she was absolutely bricking it. The tops and bottoms returned with Dakota sure it would be her lip syncing up against Copper, heartbroken to not slay when she expected herself to. Copper too was heartbroken, while Just May opened up about how she is so nervous when out of her comfort zone. Though was hopeful her personality would carry her through. While Peppa was just super proud of herself. As she should be.

Ultimately Sminty was deemed safe, followed by Starlet leaving Black Peppa to rightly take out the very first win of the season before Copper narrowly avoided the bottom thanks to her message. Which left a gagged Just May to battle it out against Dakota to Mabel’s Let Them Know. And well, Dakota was simply not willing to be the first one to go, giving all the attitude and hitting every lyric. Just May was campy, cute and so much fun, but Dakota just pulled all the attention, in all the right ways. Which was enough to keep her in the competition, tragically at the cost of sweet Just May who became the Porkchop – sorry, Gothy – of the season.

Backstage I was, how do you say, a little bit intense, pulling Just May in for a hug and holding her by the face and telling her through gritted teeth how beautiful she is and how I need her to start seeing even half of what others see. Because she is so talented, charming, funny and a little bit silly, which is everything that makes her AND Geri great. Thankfully she wasn’t too freaked out by that, as we quickly became the fastest of friends and sat down to toast her future success with a shot of Justriacha Mayo.

I love mayo and I love sriracha, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that sriracha mayo is one of my favourite condiments. Secondly only to wasabi mayo, but I digress. Sweet, creamy and packing a punch, this is perfect with pretty much everything. Even the post-boot blues.

Enjoy!

Justriacha Mayo
Makes: 1 cup.

Ingredients
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup sriracha
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove, finely grated
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the mayo, sriracha, lemon zest and juice and garlic in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

Then down in shots, or with dumplings, sushi, on a sandwich, with chips. I could go on, so just use your judgement, ok?


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Yuraita Guaii

Condiment, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Sauce, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls played the Snatch Game and thankfully raised the low bar – outside Anita and Etcetera, obvi – from last season that even famed nice person Bindi Irwin had to rubbish. Continuing in the tradition of celebrated producer Alexis Michelle and Queen of All Queens Jinkx, Hannah slayed with a member of the Garland-Minneli clan. And while Yuri and Spankie were just as good, Minnie was far and away the weakest as Ellen despite the fact she would have killed as her back-up, Jeanne Little. Ultimately Hannah won, while Bev narrowly saved herself after a painfully boring Snatch Game, sending the iconic Minnie home.

Backstage the mood was sombre outside of Bev, who was thrilled to take the title of lip sync assassin after eliminating a second icon. They then discovered that Minnie’s exit message thanked Spankie, Yuri and Kween for being so kind, which obviously pissed off the dolls she called bitches. Essentially. Thankfully Hannah pivoted and said she would cry into her tears, while Spankie was delighted that Minnie did one final pot stir. Talk turned to their track records, where everyone noticed only Bev and Kween were without wins, and while everyone seemingly knew Kween’s victory was inevitable, Bev was also ready to prove herself despite everyone sleeping on her.

The next day Yuri was ready to have fun and be silly, while Beverly reiterated that she is here to prove herself. And did a very long monologue about how hard she will fight. Which led to everyone taking micro-naps, while Yuri summed things up simply by pointing out that Bev had been in the bottom the most and well, that’s just that. Before anyone could pick their jaws up from the floor, Ru dropped by to open the library – or libo, I assume – for the reading challenge. Bev kicked things off very sexual, until Kween read her as not interested. And I love every moment of it. Yuri was so silly and charming, despite hating every moment of it. Molly was hit and miss, but at least it was funny. Kween then arrived and destroyed literally everyone and everything and while I normally just focus on her looks, she is just so fucking good. Spankie did some accurate word association before Hannah closed the show very strongly. But yeah, Kween was the only person that could have won that – she was amazing.

Oh and for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be keeping the shade alive as they diss their bandmates on their verses on the new song Bosom Buddies. Then record the song with Michelle before performing them on the mainstage. And well, Bev was ready to shine. Ru then gave them the chance to choose their own groups, with Kween quickly grabbing Hannah and Spankie and well, just like that, it was decided. Leaving the rest as the leftover group. But given Bev was feeling like the dancing diva of Brisbane, she was ready to drag them over the line. Kween, Hannah and Spankie locked in the name BAB’Z – or Bad Ass Bitchez – living for the song, while over with the other dolls, Molly and Bev were worried about how many words Yuri was hoping to spit while dropping the beats.

As BAB’Z were living their best lives, being silly and camp and building their chemistry, Beverly whipped Molly and Yuri into shape learning the choreo. And by choreo, Molly felt like it was a bit of a show choir, asHannah tried to hide her giggles from the other side of the room. While Kween and Spankie just lived for their general dynamic. When Bev, Molly and Yuri asked the other girls to do their choreo live in front of everyone, it led to a delightful blow-up between Kween and Bev as they both triggered each other and went to 1000 with everyone else kinda unsure how it escalated to that point.

BAB’Z were up first to record with Michelle with Hannah delighting as Michelle read her via lyrics, though ultimately slayed. Spankie meanwhile has some damn pipes and nailed every note, while Kween was perfect from start to finish as she channelled that rage from her fight with Bev. The Hung Divas – which is an iconic name, TBH – traded out with Bev giving delightfully ocker rap, with not much sass according to Michelle. Yuri meanwhile was on the struggle bus from start to finish but since I love her, it was charming. And then Molly gave Mr. G vibes as she nailed it in one take only. Much to Bev and Yuri’s nerves.

We cut to rehearsal where Kween was ready to slay as she whipped BAB’Z into shape, giving charm and flips and kicks. And well, when she shared that she was galvanised, happy and ready to finally shine in the competition, I wanted to cry tears of joy. On the flipside, watching Yuri struggle in The Hung Divas’ rehearsal made me sad because I love her. While Bev grew more and more desperate about trying to nail the choreo.

Elimination Day arrived with Bev confronting Kween about their drama the day before, with her explaining that their group felt like they were the unwanted outcasts and she was trying to playfully challenge them. In turn Kween called her out for projecting on her and whispering and taking things a little too seriously. Eventually though, they both apologised and were ready to move on. As they split up to beat their mugs, Kween started to spiral, stressed about the drama and worried about her issues with Bev while Spankie tried to encourage her to breathe and push it aside so she could star. And while she assured us that she will do what needs to be done, given it is what she always does, I am still heartbroken to see her sad at a time when she is clearly poised to shine.

And shine she did, as BAB’Z opened the show and absolutely slayed. They felt like a cohesive girl group, they all shon and sold their personalities. They were camp, they were funny and well, did what needed to be done. When it came to The Hung Divas they all gave killer bright looks and their song was super fun, despite Yuri clearly not being the strongest of dancers. But when she is clearly having fun, does that matter? Given I love Yuri, I vote no.

On the Belts, Buckles and Chains runway, Kween opened the show in a sexy belted, bondage outfit in honour of Mean Girls and her niece. In all the right ways. Spankie gave a sexy, slutty Barbie and well, I love it despite knowing Michelle will hate the lack of pants and its bagginess. Hannah was gothic and sexy, serving Gaultier realness. Bev meanwhile gave Britney’s denim outfit, after dark, Yuri was perfection as a chained snake while Molly closed the show giving yellow and black rocker madam, but make it Elvira.

The judges lived for everything Kween served this week, with Rhys particularly loving the fact she finally owned herself and her place in the competition. Spankie was read for an ill fitting look, though given Rhys and Ru felt it was on brand, they loved it as much as her performance on the girl group. And well, Hannah received universal praise for everything she did this week too. Even charming as she explained her low-rent lyrics. Bev received wall to wall praise much to her delight, while Yuri was read for struggling with her inner sabo-teur, though the judges explained that they love her. While Molly was praised for nailing the runway and rehearsal, despite there being some stumbles in the main performance.

Backstage the dolls were feeling a little confused about who would be in the bottom, given they all received wonderful critiques. Though Molly and Yuri were fairly sure they would be the ones lip syncing. While Bev suggested that maybe they would all be saved for doing well, which is nice, despite Yuri just wanting to feel her feels. The ring of a phone interrupted them as Sophie Monk dialled in – not Courtney Act, FYI – to send her love and give them a pep talk and well, despite myself, I can’t help but love that icon with all my damn heart.

#JusticeForBardot.

Ultimately BAB’Z were deemed the winners of this week’s challenge while Bev was sent to safety alongside them, leaving Yuri and Molly to lip sync for their lives to Chains by mother tucking Tina Arena. And while it was tragically a remix, both the dolls served the hell out of the song, giving emotion, camp and hitting every damn lyric. But when the song kicked it into the epic Tina money-notes, it became Molly’s show as she gave us everything. And then some. Which tragically cost my love Yuri her place, as she exited the competition.

She was crying, the dolls were crying, I was crying and then she gave us iconic words to live by, live fast, eat arse. Which honestly, is now my motto. 

Backstage I managed to spot Yuri enter the Werk Room through my tears and immediately pulled her in for a massive hug. There was something just so lovable about Yuri, as she exudes joy and fun throughout the competition. Kinda like a young, kiwi Katya? No matter what it is that made me get a stan card, Yuri now has a fan that will fight anyone that talks shit about her. And while she may have been nervous about my energy, she appreciated the sentiment as I ranted about how robbed she was before dishing up a big bowl of Yuraita Guaii.

While paneer is great, as are all curries, raita is truly the heart and soul of any and all visits to an Indian restaurant. Poppodum too dry? Raita. Curry too hot? Raita. Need something in your mouth? Raita. Spicy, creamy and oh so fresh, it is, to me, perfect.

Enjoy!

Yuraita Guaii
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
½ tsp garam masala
1 lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
1 tomato, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Pop everything in a bowl. Stir. Serve. Devour, obvi.


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