Madreas Wheeler Curry

Main, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Omar continued to take control of the post-merge game, quietly pulling Mike aside to warn him about Hai no longer having his back. All while Hai was gratefully reflecting on how close he and Mike had gotten in the game. After Lindsay won an overnight reward, she selected Omar and Mike to join her, giving Omar plenty of time to completely turn Mike against Hai. After Lindsay took out immunity, the tribe wanted to finally take a shot and get rid of Jonathan before he had the chance to go on an immunity run. Luckily for him, Omar’s mist proved too powerful as he swayed she tribe to blindside Hai instead.

Back at camp the tribe were thrilled to have come together for the blindside, and while Mike in particular was thrilled to get his revenge on Hai for playing him – which I repeat, did not happen – everyone just quietly added that yeah, yeah, it was good. That being said, Romeo was also particularly smug to have gotten rid of the only person that was targetting him, knowing that the underdogs are almost at the point where they can take control. While Lindsay was just thrilled that her and Drea’s amulets were now a steal a vote.

The next day things were far more chill as Drea was regaling everyone with tales, while Maryanne shocked them with the fact that she loses toenails at least twice a year. Which yeah, is wild but it is Maryanne, so I love her. And the fact that like Romeo, she is readying herself to take control and earn the win. Sadly for her, while she and Romeo talked about gaining power, the rest of the tribe hung on the beach bitching about Romeo and how they are going to get rid of him for doing absolutely nothing to help around camp. Instead snacking on leftover rice and jumping on board with any and all plans screw everyone else over. The beach crew then locked in a final five alliance and while it all looked kosher, Mike assured Omar that he still wants Drea gone as she is the biggest threat left in the game.

Which made Omar nervous, given Mike clearly is growing mad with power.

We then fast forwarded to day 20, with Jonathan opening up abut how exhausted he is while simultaneously wanting everyone to appreciate how much he is sacrificing by not eating more than them but not wanting people to see it, as it is his game plan. He went down to shore to help the tribe fish while Drea told him to help more, leading to them both fighting due to their hanger. While he tried to explain himself to Lindsay and Omar, Lindsay took that back to Drea, Romeo and Maryanne, telling them that she is ready to take him out given he is quite bossy. And to us, shared that his bossiness is becoming dangerously close to ruining her game.

Right on cue, the tribe caught up with Probst for the immunity challenge, once again featuring the Do or Die twist. After explaining how it worked, only Lindsay and Jonathan opted to compete in the challenge where they would stand on a beam and balance as they hold onto handles behind their heads. Last person standing winning immunity, the other facing off with the game of chance. And while Joanthan spent most of the challenge shaking uncontrollably, Lindsay dropped out of nowhere after 12 minutes, handing Jonathan immunity and leaving her place in the game up to fate.

Back at camp Lindsay was regretting her choice to compete in the challenge, with her opening up about her fighting, athletic spirit from childhood. Omar and Maryanne were feeling just as emotional about potentially losing Lindsay too soon, and as such, tried to perk her back up. Drea and Jonathan meanwhile were not bothered about Lindsay potentially going home, partiularly the former who was excited by the prospect of her amulet becoming an idol. To go with her knowledge is power advantage AND extra vote.

Mike meanwhile was the only one focused on the possibility of Lindsay surviving, as such telling Drea that they will just vote out Romeo while rallying everyone else to blindside Drea as their biggest threat. As he caught up with Jonathan and Omar, the latter became keen to vote out Mike instead, though admitted that Drea is just as much of a threat. As he caught up with Drea to float the idea, Drea assured him that Mike’s idol would not be an issue for them, given she has the power to steal it and while they were both giddy about the plan, I’m still worried things will fall apart. Sadly for her, Omar shared everything with Lindsay and the duo realised they could protect Mike by hanging onto the idol for him, neutering both of their advantages and getting rid of either person.

At tribal council Jonathan shared that he competed for immunity because he knows he will now always be a target, while Lindsay admitted that she was blinded by her competitiveness. Mike spoke about how much he admires both of them, while Maryanne reminded her to always keep that competitive edge. Omar meanwhile was happy he sat out, while Maryanne opened up about the varied ways that people communicate while scrambling. Drea meanwhile spoke about her passion for observing literally everyone and everything around camp. Talk turned to the many ways you can miscommunicate around camp with Omar pointing out that there is a time when people need to stop talking, lest they shoot themselves in the foot.

With that, Probst set up the Do or Die boxes and called Lindsay over to the table where she confidently selected the middle box. Probst opened one of the other boxes, revealling a skull before Probst offered her one final chance to swap. With her thankfully sticking to her guns and earning herself immunity. As she returned to her seat, she opened up about how excited she was to evade death and just as Probst was about to send them off to vote, Drea stopped proceedings and asked Mike for his idol with her Knowledge is Power advantage. Sadly for her however, Mike had passed off his idol to Omar before tribal council for safe keeping and as such, Omar successfully neutralised both powers.

With that the tribe finally voted – Drea twice as she used up her extra vote – as the tribe banded together to blindside Drea from the game (well together minus Romeo). Officially turning Lindsay’s amulet into an idol in the process. Drea was delightful and giddy as she exited, praising everyone for being lovely and well, it was so damn wholesome.

She kept that charm up as she entered Ponderosa, pulling me in for a massive hug and sharing how grateful she was that I was on hand to provide her with the culinary comfort I so often provide. And by so often, every week. In return, I praised her for being such a dominant force throughout the season and racking up advantages like it was nothing. As is oft the case, being a dominant force tragically ended up being her downfall however. Meaning I could only toast that success with a big bowl of Madreas Wheeler Curry.

Maybe it is the fact it has been cold and rainy the last few weeks, but there is nothing more smoothing than a rich and earthy madras curry. Packed full of spices, with a light, lingering heat, this is the perfect way to eat your feels.

Enjoy!

Madreas Wheeler Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 bird’s eye chillis
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp ginger, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 onion, sliced
12 curry leaves
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2kg lamb shoulder, diced
400g diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp tamarind paste
rice and raita, to serve

Method
Start by grinding the coriander, fenugreek, mustard seeds, cumin, fennel and pepper in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer to food processor or blender, and mix with the cinnamon, clove, chilli, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until it forms a paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the turmeric, because it will stain.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and cook the onion for five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add the curry paste, along with the curry leaves, cardamom and bay leaves, and cook for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Stir through the lamb and cook for another couple of minutes to coat.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock and taramrind paste, season and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently for about an hour, or until the lamb is cooked through.

Serve with rice, some raita and devour, greedily.


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Lentil Pie Giang

Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to keep the twists coming, this time going with the old faithful of splitting the merged tribe into two groups. Then offering out an immunity for someone on each group before they head to back-to-back tribal councils and each boot someone from the game. After trying to rally a sausage fest alliance earlier in the episode, Rocksroy was living his dream on group one where he was stuck with his allies Mike, Hai and Omar, and they were primed to get rid of Romeo. Sadly for him, Omar and Hai weren’t so keen on the all male alliance and everyone joined together to boot Rocks from the game instead. Upon seeing another African American had joined the jury, both Maryanne and Drea were nervous that unconscious bias had seeped into the game. As such, they each played their idols leaving Tori as the only option to be booted. Not because Lindsay was immune, but because she is a queen.

Back at camp Hai was thrilled that their tribal council went to plan, particularly grateful that Mike was on board and he doesn’t have to worry about him getting annoyed and blowing up their alliance. Despite Mike being a little salty to have had to do it. Sadly as he complained to Omar, the latter saw an opening to get Mike to ditch Hai in favour of him and as such plotted to absolutely trash their bond. The two groups then reunited where the latter group were still reeling from the emotion of their tribal council, though given it was Tori that went, not many people were actually bothered.

The next day Lindsay pulled Omar aside to talk shit about how bossy and stupid Jonathan was the day before as he was willing to risk Maryanne. And needless to say, Omar was just as unhappy to be aligned with Jonathan and was very keen to try and figure out how to make a break. Knowing that a new idol should be hidden around camp, Lindsay left Omar to go for a hunt. Sadly for her, she literally touched it in her search though missed it and kept on moving. Which gave Maryanne enough time to stumble on it while hunting for twigs and well, she was absolutely thrilled.

As the wind and rain whipped across the beach, the tribe met up with Jeff for the latest reward challenge. Which would have been tough if they had to stop shivering. Instead, they just had to balance a sack on a pole and manoeuvre through obstacles before tossing it at a target. The first one to finish winning an overnight reward complete with shelter, a bed and pizza. And did I mention pizza? While Jonathan got out to an early lead, Lindsay and Hai were nipping out his heels. And well, Lindsay straight up landed her bag on the second toss and it was so exciting to watch her cute reaction. Probst, being cheeky, then gave Lindsay the chance to take someone with her, opting for Omar since he has not received a reward yet. Feeling kind, she was then given one other spot, opting to take Mike to further build their relationship. And shit, they are ruining Hai on this reward, aren’t they?

Back at camp the tribe were miserable, in pain from how cold and exhausted they are. Showing far more strength than I could muster, everyone rallied around, pulling the shelter apart to fix it up and try to give them a much needed reprieve from the weather. We then learnt that Hai had a difficult upbringing as an immigrant, and hearing him talk about how this pain is only temporary, well, I fell in love with him again. Particularly when he and Lindsay whispered about banding together to get rid of Jonathan.

We then fast forwarded through said misery to when Lindsay, Omar and Mike arrived at the sanctuary, smashing pizzas before they were distracted by the sound of their loved ones. A wall of TVs then lit up, with photos and videos from home and ugh, I’m crying, they’re crying and well, it was just beautiful. After drying their tears and hugging it out, talk turned to the game with Omar quickly throwing Hai under the bus and well, Mike bought it hook, line and sinker and while I live for cheeky little Omar, I am heartbroken. As Mike seethed, Lindsay opened up about her amulet and as such, admitted she would be very willing to turn on Hai to increase her power. Despite being pissed with Jonathan.

The tribe regrouped with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a narrow balance beam and balance a ball on the curve of an upturned bow. Almost instantly Mike and Hai dropped out, while everyone else stood still like statues. Out of nowhere Romeo dropped his ball, followed by Omar before the final four moved down to a narrower stretch of beam. That saw Maryanne drop straight away, while Jonathan continued to struggle through. Drea dropped her ball out of nowhere while Jonathan defied the odds as he and Lindsay made it to the final round. Sadly for Jonathan, his giant feet couldn’t handle the twig-like beam beneath him and finally dropped his ball, handing Lindsay immunity.

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

Back at camp everyone was thrilled by the fact Lindsay took out immunity, meaning they could finally take their shot on Jonathan. Hai caught up with Mike, assuring him that they are 100% solid and that getting rid of Jonathan is the best for all of them. Sadly Hai did not realise Mike now hates him, as such immediately taking the information from Omar to Jonathan and floated the idea of getting rid of Hai instead. Meanwhile Lindsay was pulling Drea over to her side before she realised that every single person would be happy to just get rid of Hai and call it a day.

Oblivious to his impending doom, Hai caught up with Jonathan and assured him that he doesn’t need to play his Shot in the Dark tonight as he will gladly play his non-existent idol on Jonathan instead. Thrilled to have fooled him, Hai happily pottered around camp while Omar and Jonathan caught up over the plan. Which sadly made Omar nervous about getting rid of Hai, given he is actually loyal to him and that there is always the fear of Jonathan going on an immunity run to the end.

At tribal council Lindsay was feeling her oats over winning back-to-back challenges with Mike particularly thrilled to have had the chance to get warm for even one night on reward. Lindsay articulated how they are all a little mad for wanting to play the game, given it is so miserable though they are also living for it. Hai admitted that he was worried about what was discussed on the reward, though felt that every single one of them have no idea whether they were out in front or at the back of the pack. And one stumble could switch everything up in an instant anyway.

Omar agreed it was hard to decide on the right decision at any given moment while Mike shared that most of his decisions are based on what his gut is telling him. And then Maryanne likened the entire game to playing Jenga, with constantly moving pieces making it difficult for everyone. Lindsay then threw down the gauntlet, saying that her vote would be based on evening the playing field which immediately made Jonathan nervous. Luckily for him it was all for show as the tribe banded together to get rid of Hai instead.

Thankfully Hai is an absolute, pure delight and entered Ponderosa with a smile on his face despite being brutally blindsided by the entire tribe. Though I guess that is arguably the best way to go out, if you are voted out. I congratulated him on playing such a killer game and while I was disappointed to see him go, I am thrilled to have given him some loving comfort. In the form of Lentil Pie Giang.

A little bit spicy and oh-so-warming, this pie is not only life affirming – don’t tell me food isn’t – but it also is healthy, since it is vegetarian. So why have one, when you can have them all. You know?

Enjoy!

Lentil Pie Giang
Serves: 8. Or, as I mentioned, 1.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
300g brown lentils
2 potatoes, cut into 1cm dice
400g can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup peas
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and celery, until soft and sweet. Stir through the mustard seeds and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, potato, tomatoes and stock,  and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently, for 1 hour or until lentils and potato are tender. Stir in coconut milk, peas and coriander, and season to taste and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut each pastry sheet into four squares.

Press the shortcrust pastry into the bases of eight individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture between the pie dishes before brushing the pastry with some egg. Cover the pies with the puff pastry, pressing the pastries together to steal. Neaten the edges, or scrunch it up, depending on if you love a little excess pastry around the edges.

Brush the tops of the pies with more egg, cut a little steam hole in the middle and pop them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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Gingerbread Jordancakes Schmidt

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Breakfast, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Jordie, KJ and Shay were languishing at Purgatory as they awaited another friend so they could battle it out for a way back into the game. Speaking of the game, Michelle told Sam people were concerned about the idol theft despite the fact nobody really believed it happened. Mark then won immunity making them even more powerful and while the alliance appeared to start to splinter, they banded together to send Michelle to Purgatory. The four icons finally took the stage to fight it out with Jordie and Shay quickly returning to the game before KJ narrowly pipped Michelle at the post, reigniting her flame and officially sending Michelle out of the game. Ending the drought of eliminations with a tragic cost.

The next day Chrissy was frustrated by the fact three people they voted out had returned to the game, mainly because it made her feel awks about how they would interact now that they know she is on the other team. Jordie meanwhile was living for his second chance and damn, was he ready to finally get revenge on Sam?! Jordie tried to appear upbeat to his tribemates, joking about going out again soon enough, while he quietly tried to lock in his numbers. While he, Shay and KJ are now a tight trio, Jordie realised their best chance moving forward was to pull in Josh and again, while it looked like their plan could come together, I’m still nervous about getting my hopes up.

He then caught up with Sam, assuring her that while she is his last hope, he would still be willing to work with her. In a pinch.

The tribe reconnected with JLP for the Survivor Auction where Chrissy wisely snapped up a pie for a crisp hundo. Jordan blew all his cash on a parmie and a beer – good idea – David snagged a burger for $500 – aka all he’s got – while Sam and Josh gossiped about keeping the money to get the advantage, which spooked Jordie into going all in on a covered item. Which was enough to spook Mark into putting in all his money too. Which led the boys to go to rocks, with Mark ultimately getting a steak and chips. Though no advantage. While Jordie got nothing.

Shay scored a pizza and wine for $300 before Sam bet $500 on a covered item, getting herself vegemite on a single slice of toast. With the covered items summing up the lack of luck-parity in the Wales-Gashes luck in the game TBH. For $220, KJ scored herself a cup of tea AND a clue to an advantage, which was hidden from all the rest, thankfully. Everyone then fought it out for their letters from home, with Shay buying one for $200. Which obviously made JLP get saucy, giving her the choice to either keep the letter or give up hers for everyone else to receive theirs. As she sobbed, she obviously chose to give everyone their letter and then Jonathan quickly dismissed everyone as the auction came to a close. 

After returning to camp, everyone gathered round to thank Shay for her generosity. Sam and Mark sobbed as they heard about how their son is going and well, I lost it hearing about little Harry waiting for her by the door every morning and ugh, while their dominance has been boring at times, give her the win because she has dominated the game. Jordie started crying before even hearing from his dad again, who opened up about how grateful he was to Jordie and Jesse for carrying him as his wife passed away recently. And damn, I am officially ugly crying.

KJ sobbed hearing about her children, Chrissy’s kids missed her mad hair skills and loud voice while Jordan’s brother and Dave’s daughter Briana were both still proud. We then got special music as Josh opened up about potentially starting a family through IVF before he was gagged by the fact his letter came with the ultrasound of his partner’s surprise pregancy. This is too much. As Josh sobbed happy tears, I just can’t. Let’s just shut down this segment, because my heart is warm and I can’t see the screen through my tears.

With a very warm heart, KJ found a quiet place in camp to read her clue which directed her to an advantage where she could send three people out of tribal council and ideally, overthrow the majority. Which only added to the fire she had after returning to the game and then hearing from her kids. And yes, KJ, arise!

The tribe joined with Jonathan for the next immunity challenge where they would face off racing down a slide and swimming to shore before going through a series of obstacles and then collecting puzzle pieces and solving said puzzle. The same very one Michelle Fitgerald kicked over like an icon after winning it. Twice. Dave got out to an early lead, while Jordie solved his first layer of the puzzle but decided it was incorrect. Shay joined the fray and started to pull ahead, with Josh nipping at their heels. While Jordie and Chrissy openly tried to copy anyone possible, Sam and Jordan were still struggling to snag their puzzle pieces. Thankfully they were soon put out of their misery as Josh quickly solved the next two layers and scored himself immunity. Sadly minus the signature Michelle kick.

Back at camp, paranoid Sam immediately kicked it in to overdrive as she locked in her alliance to get rid of Jordie. For realsies, this time. Jordie, Shay and Kj meanwhile were keen on loading all their votes on Sam to get rid of her instead. To help the case, Jordie pulled Jordan and Josh aside to lock in a split vote with himself at risk to force Sam to play her idol or get voted out of the game. Reminding them they literally have three tribal councils left to get rid of either of the idols.

While Josh, still, just couldn’t believe they have two idols.

Obviously Sam continued to panic, though tried to stand firm and stay calm. She and Mark agreed to leave both the idols back at camp during tribal council so that should one of them go home, the other comes back to both idols at camp. Which again, is genius. Jordie, KJ and Shay caught up to figure out their best way forward while KJ worried about how best to play her advantage. She then caught up with Shay and Sam, with the latter suggesting they need to find a way to move within the majority rather than turning on it. And no, no, NO, KJ, do not side fall for Sam’s highly skilled, talented mist!

At tribal council Josh was thrilled to be safe at tribal council, admitting that finally having immunity makes him feel a little bit powerful. He then opened up about how disappointing it is to have to deal with people that they have already voted out before Jordie admitted he will never stop fighting. KJ outed herself as a woman that has been poked one too many times and as such, she was planning to play her secret advantage. And rather than saving herself and her allies, she wisely stacked the odds in her Purgatory pals favour, sending an already immune Josh back to camp with Mark and Chrissy.

As Mark made his exit, he made a massive show about leaving something for Sam – which is not an idol – while she admitted that she is speechless. KJ meanwhile opened up that she sent those people back to camp, given she knew that going back to camp would have resulted in Dave going home rather than a big player. Which lol Dave, you got saved because you are a non-entity number. Nervous, Sam jumped up and whispered to KJ, Jordie and Shay that she has Mark’s idol if they want to make a move together. Jordie expertly lied and said she told him that she has THE idol, while Jordan and Dave got paranoid by their bickering over which idol she was talking about.

Shay backed him up and agreed that she always felt Jordie was telling the truth, while Jordan was sure only one idol was in play while Dave knew that ONE of them was lying, though was still struggled to figure out which one it was. With that, the tribe voted and despite all the drama and turmoil between Sam and Jordie, Dave flipped to the Purgatory Pals to boot Jordan from the game.

Jordan followed the sound of my wailing sobs to the Jury Villa, where he pulled me in for a hug, wondering what was wrong. He explained that he was ok with going out the way he is and understands it was a game, which yeah, is great and all but now that he is gone, I have no more Speedo Zaddies left in the game. And while I tried to get that out, every time I thought about it, I would start crying all over again. So instead, I quickly whipped up some Gingerbread Jordancakes Schmidt to eat my feelings.

Pancakes – and all cakes, TBH – can instantly change your mood and fill you with joy. Add in a little bit of warming, gingerbread spice and they take things to a whole new level. Warming and delicious, they are the perfect way to work through post-boot pain or start your day.

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Jordancakes Schmidt
Serves: 2 dear speedo bros.

Ingredients
150g flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 egg
200ml milk
butter, for fryin’ AND eatin’
maple syrup, just for the eatin’

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl, and whisk the egg and milk in a jug. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the eggy milk, stirring as you go until a batter forms. You could add another couple of tablespoons of milk at this point if you prefer your pancakes on the crepe-ier end of the spectrum.

Pop a teaspoon in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and butter foamy, add about ⅓ of a cup of batter into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface and hold their shape when they burst. Flip and cook for a further minute.

Repeat the process until all the batter is done, sneakily eating the first one ‘since it isn’t up to standard’ as you go.

Then devour the good ones, slathered in butter and maple syrup.


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Janey Ducké Dumplings

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World, the top six were finally tasked with playing Snatch Game. Now, in a Family Feud format! While Ru encouraged her to go with the riskier character, Janey missed the opportunity and shrunk away. Pangina meanwhile gave a full Mariah illusion, though wasn’t very funny. Though that be because she was on a panel with Juju giving the most demented Cher ever and Baga who gave an acting masterclass as Kathy Bates in Misery. She ultimately landed in the top with Blu, who gave a hilarious one-two Mike Myers punch before she won her first ever solo challenge after demolishing the lip sync. Then things took a hard pivot as she went full Naomi Smalls, eliminating Pangina who then sobbed with heartache. While Blu was literally shaking with shock based on her actions.

Backstage the dolls were well and truly shell shocked about Pangina’s elimination and her reaction to it, while Blu apologised and admitted even she didn’t think it would go like that. While Blu worried about whether she will have a career ever again, Mo encouraged her that she will and people will move on since it is a game, after all. While Baga meanwhile was focused on wanting some of Pangina’s outfit, with Mo joking she won’t fit into it.

The dolls sat down to kiki and congratulated both the girls on their lip sync before Juju questioned why Blu did what she did, with her admitting that she voted Pangina for being the biggest competition. Since that is what she did with Jimbo, and her now being a winner left her at risk should Pangina win another challenge. Baga then gagged the dolls with the news that she was also going to get rid of Pangina, with her motive being like Scream 2’s Mrs Loomis, good old fashioned revenge. As Mo and Blu caught up, Mo admitted that she would probably have done the same thing if she was in the top. And assured her that she will still be honouring their alliance should she make it to the top this week.

The girls had processed their trauma the next day with Blu proudly reminding the girls it was her first solo win ever. While Juju assured them that while Thailand would have been rooting for Pangina and they will be super disappointed, they still have a sister in Pangina. While Blu admitted that being a little villainous was quite fun and she didn’t really feel bad anymore. Talk turned to whether the final five is what everyone was expecting with Mo admitting that she is not surprised she is there, though is still shocked Janey made it past day one. Oh and promised them that it is finally time for the US girls to shine.

Ru dropped by to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, where the dolls would rework Ru’s song Living My Life (in London), putting a spin on the verse in honour of their hometowns. And after writing their verses, will join Little Mix’s Jade Thriwall to record their songs. And then choreograph a routine and perform it on the mainstage.

The dolls sat down to talk about their towns with Juju doing Boston while Baga will focus on Soho. And then did a Toni Braxton impersonation, which was a vibe. Mo then suggested that to decide the order of verses, they should go alphabetically meaning Baga goes first, Blu next, followed by Janey, Juju and then Mo. Which Juju correctly identified as a smart move, given it guaranteed Mo could be the closer to the end and leave a lasting impression with the judges. They moved on to writing their lyrics with Mo going the heart route about growing up poor and seeing the world thanks to Ru, while the girls dragged Juju for her lyrics. Which I thought were good?

When it came time to record their verse with Jade Thirwell, Baga was praised for being 100% her and absolutely knocking it out of the park. Blu continued to feel her oats for eliminating Pangina, and was solid in her record while poor Janey admitted she is not the strongest singer. But bless her, she tried. To quote Coco, find a key girl. As Jujubee was busy knocking it out of the park, Janey was whispering with her sisters, worried about how bad she was while sweet Mo just encouraged her to do some sick choreography.

Oh and trust and believe, Mo was also near perfection.

The group moved on to choreographing their performance with Mo terrified by the very different skill levels amongst her sisters. As such, she took control and told Janey she could do the end and she’d take the start. But while both of the dolls were trying to keep things simple, Baga already looked like she was ready to throw up. Until Blu asked when she would be contributing to the moves, leading to Juju suggesting they invent the Baga Chipz, much betta, move to help out. Poor Juju tried to get Mo and Janey to simplify the choreo, but given they only managed one verse in rehearsal, this is either going to be one big mess or a glorious triumph, and this is all a fake out.

Elimination Day arrived with Baga exhausted after a night working through the choreography before she and Juju caught up, with Baga admitting that Drag Race saved her life because she was an alcoholic before cutting back when on the show. When she admitted to drinking litres of gin a day, Juju noticed a lot of parallels in their journeys. Baga admitted that she can still have a drink but no longer considers herself an alcoholic while Juju opened up about needing to be completely sober. She explained that sobriety changed her entire life, leading to her leaving a 13 year relationship and completely changing her life for the better. And is this the beginning of Juju winner’s edit?

Yeah, yeah – insert the butterfly meme. I’m desperate for her to become Drag Race’s Boston Rob. I mean, she is from Boston after all.

Blu meanwhile was opening up about how much she loves her hometown despite how conservative it is, with Janey opening up about also growing up in a very conservative village and her parents sending her to school in Amsterdam to let her live freely. Because as she said, she was a very, very gay child. Which, relatable. Mo opened up about her very religious upbringing, conversion therapy and even a stint as a Minister. She spoke about how they are all constantly taught to be ashamed, before reminding all of them and us, that we are enough. And ugh, I love them all. 

Ru, Michelle – fresh from Party City, where she belongs – and Graham were joined on the judges panel by Jade Thirwell for the premiere of the Living My Life (In London) rumix. And damn, they were good. Even with Baga’s old lady dancing. The engineer did wonders with Janey’s record, Baga was fun, Blu was feisty but as predicted, this was truly the US girls time to shine. Juju was pitch perfect and looked absolutely stunning while Mo was spitting fire and giving absolute rockstar vibes.

On the Work of Art runway, Baga Chipz looked cute as Vincent Van Gough’s sunflowers but in a plot. Blu was perfection as a Picasso, Janey was Warhol’s Marilyn brought to life, and was stunning from head to toe. Juju looked gorgeous in a nude gown, channelling a stunning Miami art deco building, geddit. While Mo stole the show as a Dali rose and bleeding heart.

Baga received praise for bringing herself to the performance despite her lack of ability and for giving a glammed up version of a Baga look on the runway. Blu was praised for taking the shot at Pangina by Michelle while everyone loved her performance but felt her runway was a bit overwhelming. Ru then questioned Blu’s decision, who doubled down on only doing what Pangina did the week before which Ru congratulated her on. Janey was then read for blending into the background throughout the performance despite looking like a star. Both in the challenge and especially on the runway. Juju was praised for completely arriving, knocking the challenge out of the park and looking like perfection both times. Despite Graham not appreciating the art deco vibes on the runway. And well, the judges all lived for everything Mo did this week because she is a star. And her runway is just beautiful.

Ultimately and very deservedly, Juju and Mo were named the top two queens, meaning the remaining girls were all up for elimination. Backstage the dolls grabbed their drinks and toasted to Mo and Juju finally jagging a win, with Mo opening up about how good it feels to get that well earned praise. She then admitted it feels like a tougher choice than last week, given Mo would have totally cut Pangina if she survived. Baga asked about their judging criteria with neither being sure, making Blu nervous her alliance with Mo won’t stand. And she was worried about skiddies.

Mo pulled Baga aside with the latter telling her how much she loves Mo and wants to compete against her, quickly charming Mo into saving her. Blu meanwhile reminded Juju that she wasn’t the weakest in the challenge and as such she should be saved, using Juju’s criteria for Blu saving her the week before, against her. While she admitted Pangina’s wails are playing on a loop in her head and as such, she was tempted to take out a threat. Janey assured Mo she wants to be here and she feels she has grown throughout the competition and been given the opportunity to succeed. Baga assured Juju she wouldn’t be sending her home if the tables were turned before suggesting Juju should just eliminate her, given everyone did well and deserves to be there. With Juju admitting she knows what Baga is doing by downplaying herself as a threat. But isn’t even mad. Mo assured Blu their alliance stands while Janey and Juju spoke about the fact Janey had pulled her lip stick once but also saved her the time earlier.

Mo and Juju took their places on the mainstage, assuring us we were in for a show and well, a show they did give us. As soon as Toy by Netta kicked off, both of them gave it their all. Juju was cute and demented, Mo was all energy and fierce and well, it was definitely a fight. Ultimately though it was Juju who finally jagged her second win of the franchise, before she tearfully eliminated the iconic Janey Jacké.

Given Janey is just iconic and totally down to earth, she was totally fine with her elimination, accepting that she did the worst in the challenge. That being said, it is easier to feel zen when you know you were one of the three people to dominate the season, none of which are in the final. Meaning she also joined the robbed goddess club! I fell in love with Janey while watching her on Holland, so I was thrilled to be able to catch up with her and finally give her the culinary comfort she deserves, in the form of Janey Ducké Dumplings.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a dumpling kick at the moment and honestly, when they taste this good, I don’t even care. The rich duck is sweetly spiced by a little bit of hoisin to create the easiest, most decadent dump’ you could think of.

Enjoy!

Janey Ducké Dumplings
Serves: 2 dear friends, who I guess could now be lovers. Because as they say, how can we be lovers if we can’t be friends.

Ingredients
300g duck breast, minced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp sriracha
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the duck minced, spring onions, garlic, ginger, hoisin, sriracha, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a good half an hour or so.

When the flavours have come together like the queens from across the globe, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp or fold as desired. You know I go for the old easy pleat option to cover my bad joins.

Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.

Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. With either some Nam Jimbo or extra hoisin. Or sriracha. Pretty much, you do you boo!


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Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, while Blood and Water were still battling it out, Jonathan switched things up and offered an individual immunity for each tribe. As both of them were attending tribal council, meaning hijinks were guaranteed to ensue. On the Water Tribe, things came down to Khanh and Sam, with the former promising his necklace to Sam, who quickly fainted when stepping out of the challenge. On Blood meanwhile, Shay completely dominated her tribe while Jordie tried valiantly to bring her down. With their main target immune, the sausage fest opted to take out Mel over on Blood, while Sam and Jesse were owning Water and ready to finally get rid of Ben. Sadly for them, he had one last shot at redemption as Mel and Ben were able to battle in a fire challenge to return to the game. With Mel ultimately smoking the competition and sending Ben home. For realsies, this time.

The next day the Blood tribe were thrilled to be waking up on Day 26, particularly Mel since she had suceesfully won her way back into the game. Jordie spoke about how great the last 26 days have been, exhausted and overwhelmed but so happy to have made it this far. He encouraged everyone to celebrate their successes given everything could change in a minute and oh God, my newly minted villain king is going, isn’t he? Shay meanwhile was missing Ben though thrilled he is getting some breakfast sausage – OMG, swoon – while Jordie was more focused than ever to get to the end with his brother.

And again, Jordie is toast, isn’t he?

Both tribes joined Jonathan in the middle of the bush where he quickly announced that their tribes are no longer as they have officially merged. Which is convenient as Sam literally brought all her belongings, including a fishing rod like it was 6 year-old me taking my maths book in a fire drill. But I’ve digressed. After everyone hugged and traded out their rancid buffs for fresh, clean numbers, Shay shared she was ready to kick things into overdrive, while Jordie was thrilled to actually be hanging with his bro and Sam was just grateful that she and Mark finally made it to the merge. I assume because it means they can stay together.

With that out of the way, they were tasked with competing in their first individual reward challenge where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and then walk back and forth to collect blocks which they would use to build a pyramid on the balancing board. Oh and the winner would score $60k. Like, what?! That is more than Sharn won over two seasons as the runner-up. Madness!

Madness, but also lols.

In any event, this sort of challenge is never exciting to read about, so I will spare you the they dropped, they dropped commentary and instead will tell you that while Mark got out to an early lead, Shay was playing it fast and loose while Chrissy was surprisingly dominant. Though none of them were competition for Khanh and his steady chef hands, who defied everyone dropping around him and jagged the mega-jackpot reward without dropping once. And sadly made that target on his back just that little bit bigger.

The newly merged tribe arrived at a sandbank in the middle of the river – which TBH, is a bit triggering in Brisbane ATM – for a celebratory feast where they quickly congratulated Khanh on taking out his massive prize, which he was thrilled about despite now being the foremost challenge beast of the season. He was thrilled to be a single in the newly merged tribe, given he doesn’t have to worry about anyone else when playing his game. While everyone was thrilled to be smashing their food, Jordie pulled his brother aside to focus on the game, looping him in on Mark’s idol and catching him up on his sausage fest alliance.

The tribe ventured back to the camp formerly home to the Water Tribe where we finally met Mel and Michelle, who are iconic identical twins who are ready to come and dominate the game. By putting their twin powers to good use, obvi. Sam and Mark too were thrilled to finally redeem their first runs, ready to get some idols and take some names. While Mark oddly stayed quiet about his idol, despite the fact they are straight up married. Sadly for him, Jordie and Sam then caught up by the shelter with Jordie telling Sam about her husband’s idol and well, let’s just say she was pissed. And while Survivor may have brought them together, it may also be the reason for their divorce.

Sam eventually confronted her husband, who thought it was absolutely hilarious she found out from someone else. Giving his mate a smirk on the way out of camp to fight about it. While Sam was happy that Mark’s little snafu had proven himself loyal to Jordie, I can’t help but feel like it makes him look like he has some hardcore trust issues. But whatever.

The tribe reconvened at the shelter to come up with the merge tribe name with both Glitter and Bin Chicken thrown around before they settled on the even worse option of Lava. Which, yuck! Thankfully though Chrissy was well and truly ready to fight for her place in the game, which makes the shit name feel better. Mark caught up with his alliance of five men – the four J names and him – thrilled that with the addition of his wife as their sixth member, they can take control. And with Sam, comes Khanh meaning they should be unstoppable. But you best believe that while Mark was willing to use Khanh, he was still focused on getting him out ASAP. Meaning, maybe not?

The Lava tribe joined Jonathan by a dam for the first individual immunity challenge of the season, the iconic ‘When it Rains it Pours’, most famously won by Shi Ann in All Stars as she briefly blocked Romber’s dominance. You know they one, they hold on to a rope tethered to a bucket of water with the last one standing, dry, winning immunity. Out of nowhere Chrissy was the first to drop out of the challenge, quickly followed by Michelle while Jordie was talking shit at everyone before he and Khanh dropped together, followed by Mark. 

After ten minutes, Mel and Josh dropped back-to-back, leaving the rest to battle it out. Five minutes later, KJ fishing for compliments led to Shay dropping out of the challenge, followed by Jordan, while Mark and Jordie grew bored as they waited around and started strategising, debating the merits of voting either Khanh or Shay out. Sam and Dave were next to drop, leaving Jesse and KJ to fight for immunity. Despite putting up a strong effort, poor KJ couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping her rope after 50 minutes and handing immunity to Jesse.

Back at camp Jesse was well and truly feeling his oats, thrilled to be immune though definitely concerned about how exactly he would be taking control of the tribe. He caught up with his former tribemates, with Sam, Mel and Michelle thrilled to band together as the couples to take out the singles. Sam’s husband Mark meanwhile was still solely focused on blindsiding Khanh. He and the boys were thrilled to lock in the vote split between him and Mel, given they can eliminate another pair at worst case. Meanwhile Sam and Jesse were focused on getting rid of Shay instead, locking in their plans and ready to dominate the tribe. After Khanh was looped in, he pulled KJ aside to lock her in as a number against Shay before moving on to Mel and Michelle.

The latter then approached Sam back at camp, with Sam assuring her the plan is still to get rid of Shay though she did think she should check in with Mark. Who then straight up shat all over her plan when they caught up. Mark then went in on Sam’s loyalty to Khanh, ignoring the fact Mark and his alphas are all the more threatening than Khanh and leaving him as a target could help their longevity. Their bickering was interrupted by the arrival of Khanh, who quickly pointed out they were having a domestic and offered to help counsel them. Sadly unaware that Sam was fighting to protect him, while Mark was stubbornly wanting to get him out.

Sam moved on to Jordie to question why nobody is considering Shay as a viable boot option, with Jordie admitting that turning the tribe off voting out Khanh simply seems near impossible. But boy did Sam continue to fight, bless her. Jesse meanwhile had given up fighting Khanh, approaching his brother with each agreeing to stay loyal to their alliances to get the maximum amount of information for them as a pair. And maybe they will be a formidable duo after all?

At tribal council Shay spoke about how difficult it already is to navigate the merged tribe given she hasn’t even had a chance to talk to everyone before firmly calling all the pairs out as threats. KJ agreed that being outnumbered by the pairs is scary, particularly since they’re all so strong. Jesse tried to downplay their advantage, talking about the fact there are so many ways the tribe could split things. Mark spoke about how he and Sam have not seen eye to eye so far, but out of the spirited discussions, the best ideas have risen to the top. Aka his, in his mind. While Sam tried to downplay the fact they were having a domestic and assured everyone she will stick to who she is loyal to. Mark agreed that tonight is a big vote for everyone to prove their loyalty.

Khanh fully accepted the fact he is a massive target, particularly since he just won $60k in a challenge. While he wasn’t sure he could truly trust anyone in his tribe, he opened up to Jonathan about how trust is always a risk in life and sometimes you just have to take the risks to build something great. Shay meanwhile wasn’t having much faith in the tryibe though reminded everyone that she is a safe single vote that can be added to any alliance. Which led to Mark continuing to gloat about how much better his alliance and plans are than Sam’s and ugh, yuck. Khanh meanwhile was just hoping his trust wasn’t blind.

With that the tribe voted and Khanh held on to his idol while Sam tragically sided with her husband’s alliance and booted him from the game. Thankfully to become the King of Jury, which honestly is the only worthy finish for him if he couldn’t take out the win.

As he arrived at the fresh, clean and very empty Jury Villa, Khanh was still taking his shocking blindside in his stride but given he will be the person taking home the second biggest prize of the season, how could you not be happy? Given we’re both highly respected members of the queer cooking community, Khanh and I have long been the best of friends so he was thrilled to see me waiting for him. While normally my meals are a step down from what he makes for himself, after a month in the bush, he was thrilled to see me whipping up something other than rice and beans. This time in the form of my – Diana Chan inspired – Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs.

As you’ve probably noticed (or definitely will have by the end of the season), I am almost as obsessed with dumplings as I am about burgers. I don’t know if it is the fact they are essentially little mouthfuls packed with flavour, but these babies are so good you’ll forget you just got booted and are now responsible for the entire jury.

Enjoy!

Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely sliced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
6 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp muscovado sugar
40 gow gee wrappers
vegetable oil, for frying

Method
Combine the chicken mince through muscovado sugar in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for an hour to rest.

Once things are nice and chill, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp and fold as desired. Given my lack of skills, I try and hide behind a pleat to cover my bad joins.

Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.

Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. Ideally with some Nam Jimbo Dressing.


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Scarlett HarGowlett

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top seven finally faced up to the challenge of the season  – Snatch Game! As is oft the case, Snatch Game – which I still think should be called Skankety Skanks in the UK and Down Under, but I digress – saw some queens rise to the top of the pack with Ella finally shutting down the dolls who called her boring, slaying as Nigella. Kitty too dominated as the GC – her ‘I’m all gamed out’ lives rent free in my mind forevermore – and Scarlett screamed her way into Ru’s heart, though as a twink, that is never hard. At the other end, River and Choriza were the weakest and were both eliminated.

Shut it the fuck down. I am heartbroken.

The top five returned to the Werk Room absolutely shook to the core to have lost the two fan favourites in one damn lip sync. Scarlett asked what the rest of the dolls felt about the lip sync with Krystal summing it up, apologising on behalf of their fallen sisters for bombing and embarrassing them all. As Ella cleaned off their messages, she admitted to being shocked to have taken out Snatch Game. Particularly because the girls didn’t believe she had it in her. 

Kitty meanwhile was gagged about the fact Ru told River to step her pussy up or go home before sending her home, and then admitted that being so close to taking a win was bittersweet, though was thrilled for Ella. Despite being ready for her damn badge. Scarlett meanwhile went in on Ella for not making Ru laugh as much as she did in Snatch Game and again for not having a personality, which fired Ella up to point out that by winning Snatch Game and the Girl Groups challenge, she is kinda the front runner and as such, they need to step their bussies up.

Things were far less combative the next day with Scarlett feeling less nasty as Ella and Krystal were busy milking their double badges. Kitty meanwhile reminded them that she doesn’t need a badge given she is sure to get the crown, though isn’t afraid of pushing Ella down the stairs should it be needed. Oh and she wants Vanity to not wear a synthetic wig. Despite all of them kind of rocking synthetic wigs throughout the season.

Before we can get to the bottom of things, Ru arrived to announce that this week the dolls will need to serve it in a Fugly Ball. Which apparently stands for, ‘Friend, U Gotta Love Yourself’! And to make things interesting – has Ru been dabbling in Jeff’s closet of twists – this year’s ball would be timed, with the queens having short bursts of time to get ready, walk the mainstage and then lather, rinse and repeat the process. Twice.

The Fugly Swimwear runway was up first with the dolls given 69 minutes to split up and get into their sexy best with everyone rightly bricking it as they beat their mugs. Kitty asked the dolls whether they’ve experienced any trolling as ‘known’ people, with Ella admitting she only gets more thirst messages – of course – while Kitty explained that she doesn’t really care about people’s opinions, so has never let it get to her. Krystal opened up about drag giving her her confidence, given she isn’t really comfortable as a man before sharing that she is a virgin. Which gagged everyone as they rallied around and encouraged her to be confident in herself, because she is such a sweet, kind person.

Ru then jumped on the loudspeaker announcing they have ten minutes until the runway leading to the dolls running around looking for wigs and outfits before heading to the mainstage to meet Ru, Michelle, Alan and the stunning Alesha Dixon. Up first was Vanity Milan looking gorgeous in an ugly, ill-fitting, quilted bathing suit. Kitty was demented in a frilly, garishing one-piece with buck teeth and frizzy hair. Scarlett was a messed up pussy in the craziest way while Ella looked like a drunk MILF in the background of Mad Men going to the Country Club and Krystal was stunning as a sea wench, complete with chocolate starfish!

The dolls assembled on the runway to learn that the second category was Charity Shop Chic where they will need to whip up a runway using five Charity Shop leftovers. Oh and in the 60 minutes it takes to get ready, they also get to kiki with Charity Shop Sue much to the delight slash horror of Krystal. Who was triggered given she bombed Snatch Game as her. Sue was dementedly on brand as she introduced the leftovers they would choose from before eventually letting the dolls have at it. Hangers were flying through the air and getting stuck in wigs while Sue was nervous about them making an absolute mess in her pristine shop. Poor Krystal had to take her prosthetics off in the short 45 minutes remaining while Kitty was worried about getting something to fit as Ella was popping a tit, but making it glam. Vanity somehow looked stunning in her orange while Scarlett was a clash of the savannah animals before switching to duelling LBDs with Krystal.

With that, they headed to the runway where, ultimately, Kitty slayed in a clash of pastel and fluro outfits channelling Daphne Blake. Krystal was flawless in a black, shimmering number, Ella was gorgeous in pastel, granny chic while Vanity was gorgeous in her orange number with Ts of my girl Nene Leakes before Scarlett closed the show as drunk, naughty Sandy Dee.

Finally the girls were tasked with rocking a Fugly but Fashionable look which they were given 30 minutes to pull together. And well, things were bedlam in the Werk Room as they ran around flailing. Kitty meanwhile was confident in her ability to throw something together quicker than the rest of the girls while Krystal opted to start her mug from scratch. Again. Talk turned to onstage mishaps with Vanity sharing that she lost a wig during a Queen Bey performance though thankfully it happened at the end of the number and she made it work. Scarlett admitted she kicked a shoe at someone while Kitty lip synced against a customer who’s tit fell out. AT BRUNCH.

Rounding out the Miss Fugly Pageant 2021, Ella Vaday looked like a stunner in her plaid, fluro chaps and ugh, she is feeling her oats and I LOVE her. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in a black, quilted gown, Krystal was a stunning monster mash complete with poodle wig, while Scarlett was a trashy, fluro mess – in all the right ways – while Kitty stole the show in a knitted maxi gown reveal, complete with kitten heels.

Kitty received universal praise for her looks, with Michelle thrilled that she was clearly having the best damn time on the runways. Please, don’t let this be a fake out because she has had a damn good night! Vanity’s swimwear was read for its poor fit, though they loved how great she looked in her final two looks and lived for her killer mug. Scarlett was praised for bringing the fun in her swimsuit though the other looks were read for not exactly hitting the mark, despite how much fun she was having. Once again, Ella received universal praise, despite not having the best fitting swimsuit. While rounding out critiques, Krystal received universal praise for her first and last looks, though the judges felt she didn’t go far enough in her Charity Shop look.

Ru asked the girls to identify their favourite final looks, with Kitty loving Scarlett’s look, Vanity loving Kitty’s and I think Scarlett lived for Kitty too, though read Krystal for looking like Anubis. Ella meanwhile lived for Vanity’s final runway while Krystal thought Ella‘s was the best.

As the dolls untucked they were well and truly shell shocked by the sheer pace of the challenge. Scarlett likened things to ready, steady, cook while Krystal was in her feelings about nobody loving her final outfit. Nor did she appreciate Scarlett reading her wig as Anubis. Vanity meanwhile was nervous about landing in the bottom, due to her track record while Ella felt Scarlett would be lip syncing because of her final two outfits. Which somehow, didn’t bother her. Kitty then made a toast to the dolls and ugh, if she doesn’t get her damn badge, I will be ropeable.

Ultimately Kitty did take out her first victory of the season, much to her giddy, screaming delight and ugh, I’m so damn happy. Ella and Krystal were quickly sent to safety, leaving Vanity and Scarlett to face off to Scandalous by Mis-Teeq and damn, this is a bounce back from last week’s lacklustre performance. Vanity quickly served a reveal and owned the damn stage and while Scarlett was giving camp and hitting all the letters, Vanity was flipping, spinning and bouncing across the stage and well, she was a damn star. As Alesha was living her best life watching on from the judges panel.

Sadly though, there must be a loser and my dear, poor Scarlett found herself booted from the competition. As she entered the Werk Room, I gave her a stern look for all of five seconds as I tried to be mad at her for being catty the last few weeks. Then I remembered, COVID is still a thing, the competition is intense and I love her, so I pulled her into my arms, gave her a big hug and told her how damn proud of her I am.

While she was disappointed to not make it all the way to the top, I reminded her that she is funny, beautiful and can turn a look. And is oozing talent. And charisma. And Ru loves her, so she will be well and truly fine – hello All Stars! With that, I told her to always believe in herself and then shoved a plate of Scarlett HarGowlett in front of her and told her to eat, damn it.

There is nothing more satisfying that a big ol’ dump(ling), and while I usually don’t like to partake in seafood, these little prawn numbers have always delighted me. Light and sweet, with a kick of ginger, they’re the perfect way to work through your post-boot trauma.

Enjoy!

Scarlett HarGowlett
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
250g raw prawns, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼  tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup bamboo shoots, minced
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the prawns, oyster sauce, oils, pepper, salt, sugar, ginger, garlic and bamboo shoots in a bowl and mix until well combined.

Get a steamer on while you get to work making the dumps. Lay out your gow gee wrappers and place a scant teaspoon of filling into the middle. Fold in to form a triangle and crimp the edges to seal. Repeat the process until they’re all done.

Once the steamer is like a sauna in Queer as Folk, place the dumplings in and steam for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through and piping hot.

Devour immediately with some chinese chilli oil or, you know, whatever you like with your dumplings.


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Butter Flicken Pielmateer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pie, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways Mad Max-ed their way into the outback before being divided by smarts and strength. While the Brawns were victorious in the first immunity challenge and the iconic Phil tragically became the first boot, they soon settled for a string of rewards as Janelle, Gavin and Benny were booted from the game. Eventually the Brains returned to tribal council where Mitch found himself booted before Cara sacrificed herself for George. But, gag of the season, found herself saved by a twist sending her to join the Brawns.

This appeared to give them a run of luck as Joey soon followed before a switch gave both tribes a Brawn majority. Against all odds, the Brains took control as Cara accidentally voted Daini out before Shannon was ousted by her nemesis Simon. Georgia and Rachel soon followed due to a vengeful George before Dani decided that blindsiding Simon was urgent as he was sent from the game with two idols in his pocket.

After the tribes merged to become Fire – rather than Beauty, which is still a sore point – where Queen Kez was idolled from the game, thanks to George telling the Brains who to play it for. While Chelsea was on medical leave, Baden and Hayley were booted to Redemption Rock before Hayley won her way back to camp and Baden became the King of the Jury. Poor Chelsea was then officially medevaced, unable to join the jury, before Gerald, Laura, Emmett and Andrew were booted from the game and joined the jury. Aka Laura’s Angels.

Flick got lucky and picked an urn that stopped her from getting the boot, meaning we were officially out of non-elimination episodes. With that Dani was the next to go before George and Cara turned on Wai and after Flick played her hidden immunity idol, was booted from the game. Which brings us to the last episode where Flick won immunity and somehow Hayley convinced Cara and George to turn on each other so that she can beat Flick in the final immunity challenge, meaning she would take the other one to the final two. And given George was the most likely to listen to her Hail Mary, Cara was the lucky one to join the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess Club.

The final three awoke on day 47 with Flick thrilled to make the final three, particularly as the last Brawn standing. She was proud of the social game she played, attributing it to her longevity in the game. She reflected on how tough the game has been mentally, particularly after she tragically lost her mum.

On the walk to the final immunity challenge we checked in with George, who came into the game running it like a political campaign and was thrilled to execute it perfectly. He reiterated that luck didn’t play into him making it to the final three, but instead his determination and perfect planning to overcome all the obstacles. One of those being the fact he isn’t physical, but watch out, because he is going to win the final one.

Last up was Hayley who was giddy to make it to the end as a superfan, though knew both her competitors are not to be underestimated. While George was sneaky and tactical, Flick was a beast. Hayley’s secret weapon is the fact that she is the perfect mix of both and like the other two, she is ready to claim victory.

Speaking of the final immunity challenge, the tribe joined Jonathan where they discovered three cages of horror amongst the ruins of the outback. Each of them would have to stand on narrow pegs within a cage and hold on to spikes on a roof which would lower throughout the challenge until only one was left standing. But before we got to the challenge, Jonathan made us all cry as he wheeled out their families! First up were Hayley’s boyfriend and bestie, followed by George’s mum and sister – who were adorable – and Flick’s boyfriend and best friend, who made her feel safe enough to break down over the loss of her mother and ugh, you know I am absolutely sobbing.

Damn you Jonathan and your glorious guns.

With the warm and fuzzy moment of the episode out of the way, the loved ones were sent to the bench as the final three jumped on their pegs and settled in for hours of torture. After half an hour, shit well and truly got real as Jonathan lowered the roof slightly and all three immediately hunched over and started to feel the burn. After an hour, talk turned to why the final three were still fighting with Flick and George sticking it out for their families while Hayley was just a beast that wanted to do it to prove that she can. After two hours the roofs dropped forcing them into squats.

All three were still fighting as the sun went down and the challenge ticked over to three and a half hours long. Poor George started to dance on the pegs, holding on for another hour before dropping out and leaving the girls to fight it out for immunity. Both Hayley and Flick were like statues as Jonathan dropped the spikes for the last time after five hours, which immediately got both of them struggling. Hayley tried to stay zen while Flick was vocalising and breathing through the pain, holding back tears as she tried to hold on for her place in the game. As her best friend willed her on, Flick openly sobbed through the pain before finding a second wind as Hayley started to shake. Eventually though, Flick asked Jonathan to help her out of the cage, as a shocked Hayley took out final immunity.

After a brief moment congratulating each other on fighting so hard, the final three headed off to tribal council where Hayley praised George and Flick’s determination in the challenge, but was ultimately grateful that as a pain researcher, she knew exactly how to work through it. Eventually talk turned to who Hayley wanted to sit next to in the end, admitted that both Flick and George have played great games and as such, she is still unsure. Hearing this, Flick reminded Hayley that George has played a dominant game and as such, could easily convince the jury that he deserves the crown.

On the flipside, George went simple and pointed out that Flick has a bunch of votes already locked in in the Brawns and as such, Hayley has the best chance if she is there in the end with him. While Flick disputed that she doesn’t believe any of the votes are locked in, George simply asked Queen Hayley to sit opposite her King. Flick fought back tears meanwhile as she asked her to reward her for fighting hard and pushing through, though knew that ultimately Hayley needed to make the decision that is best for her.

With that, Hayley voted and as expected, Flick was booted from the game and became the final member of the jury. Despite the horrible feeling of being cut so close to the end, Flick took her boot in her stride and took me into her arms for a big hug. As you know, I’m a big part of the Big Wave community and as such, was Flick’s first coach in the sport. And while I knew she would be feeling down, I also knew that a delicious Butter Flicken Pielmateer would be the perfect thing to mark a game well played.

Like Michaelia Cash, I love curry – it’s my favourite fe-ood. I also passionately love pies, so it should come as absolutely no shock that I believe a butter chicken pie is where it’s at. Lightly spiced, sweet and creamy in a delicious flaky shell? Perfection.

Enjoy!

Butter Flicken Pielmateer
Serves: 4-8, depending on hunger.

Ingredients
1 batch Dusty Ray Butters Chicken
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and get to work making your Dusty Ray Butters Chicken.

Once the oven is hot and your filling is good to go, start by cutting each sheet of shortcrust pastry in quarters and press into 8 individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture amongst the dishes and smooth the tops. Cut the puff pastry into quarters and press into the top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce a hole in the top, brush with the whisked egg and transfer to a baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp. Remove and sprinkle with some turmeric and cumin, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Then devour, sad to have lost our chill Queen.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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Serena ChaChagine

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 5, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang on, wait a minute. Why do I always do this?! I mean, the ads even told us it was a Ru dawn and a Ru day. And now, well, that day is here. At midnight in the US, which honestly is perfect for me Down Under

But I digress.

A’Keria C. Davenport was the first to ru-turn to the Werk Room looking like a vision in all gold, she was joined by Jiggly and ugh, I live for her and am so glad she is back, fully embracing herself as a strong, gorgeous woman, in a little black dress to boot. Next up was Jan, living her Jantasy despite the jandemic and I hate myself for loving her and her jan-do spirit as much as I do. Particularly since she knows she was an 11 at all times last season. She was joined by Ra’Jah O’Hara in a gorgeous purple and blue jumpsuit and she is happy, friendly and ready to prove that she is a damn icon. Then Ginger Minj arrived looking a mess as a toad, but damn am I thrilled to see her back after her sub-par performance in All Stars 2.

Particularly for her warts joke.

Yara Sofia arrived for her third turn, manic, crazed and barking like a dog and OH SHIT, have I missed her. Despite not loving Silky very much, her entry was iconic with a full glass of milk in her titties and ugh, will I actually love them all this season? Supporting that theory, my love Pandora Boxx returned looking stunning, complete with butt puns and gah, it is so good to have her back. Particularly if Rob Anderson manifested her being paired with Serena and there being no other pairs. Scarlet Envy was next to join the fray, with her season 11 nemesis Ra’jah living and well, it makes me so happy. Oh and speaking of Serena, she is back and damn, did she have a glow-up because it is time to cha-cha bitch. 

Sonique finally arrived and owned the entries, quoting the transphobic entry line and reclaiming it as her own. It is powerful, she is funny and damn, I am SO glad to have her back. Next up was Trinity K Bonet, still charming and ready to slay, with Bianca’s encouragement playing in her head this go around rather than her inner saboteur. Last up was Eureka for her sixteenth attempt at the crown, this time with All Stars lips. And thankfully, still serving killer looks.

With that, Ru finally arrived to inform the largest All Stars cast EVER that they would still be a democracy this season, with everyone voting. And then alluding to a game within a game. But then changed the subject to the 14th queen, who it turns out was just the legendary Miss Piggy, who would be overseeing the reading challenge.

Kylie Sonique Love kicked things off reading A’Keria for being another losing Davenport, TKB went in on Ra’Jah for being an early out and Silky for being a mess, Jiggly destroyed Pandora for having no fans and Serena for being an alternate. Ra’Jah then arrived and savaged former-nemesis Scarlet’s beard, Eureka went in on Ginger’s relationship and then Pandora killed reading Eureka for being there. And then Ginger rightly got a supercut of destroying all of them. Serena was given the rattlesnake edit before Yara was demented and delightful, Jan tried to read Sonique but was read back in return before A’Keria was mean about Ra’Jah’s chances in the competition, Scarlet went for A’Keria butt implants and Silky was confusing but eventually got one in on Eureka.

Obviously Ginger took out victory, before Ru announced that they would be competing in the traditional premiere variety show. Which saw them all quickly split up, snatch a station and kiki. Ra’Jah and Serena were both ready to rewrite their narrative this season and prove that they are stars, before Ra’Jah celebrated the diversity of the cast. Besties Ginger and Jiggly caught up and were delightfully ridiculous, with Ginger knowing that she shouldn’t join the bitter old lady brigade again. Silky meanwhile praised Serena’s glow-up and celebrated her return, while Ra’Jah admitted her strategy was to get to the top and then stay there. And I am living for this version of Ra’Jah.

Elimination Day arrived with Eureka sharing that she’d be doing a song about her mother, while Sonique was doing a song to reintroduce herself to the fandom. Meanwhile Trinity K Bonet was just hoping to break the comedy show curse, given it was her choice to do stand-up. As they got ready Scarlet and Sonique spoke about what the game within a game could be, with all the girls derailing it by talking about whether they have a strategy. Silky laid out that she is not planning to play games and wanted to be fair, while TKB was nervous about being a bit of an island in the cast since everyone had friends or former castmates joining them.

At the variety show Jan mocked her face crack moment after being announced safe, then slayed her vocal performance about living her Jantasy. Pandora was charming and stupid and ugh, THIS is the Pandora I love, as she lip synced like a maniac, complete with titty confetti. Jiggly’s song and dance, to her own Jiggly-centric rap was a bop, Kylie was GORGEOUS as a golden burlesque singer – sans Wagon Wheel Watusi.

Oh AND THEN RA’JAH SEWED A DRESS IN 60s, I SHIT YOU NOT. I CAN’T GET OVER IT.

A’Keria gave a technicolour lip sync that had Michelle gagging, despite the green lighting. And then, ugh, Trinity bombed her comedy show. Badly, despite reading her grandma for filth. Eureka had a surprisingly good voice while singing live, complete with projections on her dress. Scarlet then dazzled with a bubble burlesque number which was both fresh and iconic. Silky then straight up played piano and sang gospel, Serena promoted her wig line, Ginger gave a poppy performance of perfection and then Yara was ridiculous as she bounced her titties all over the stage. Which was iconic, despite nobody knowing what was happening.

After Ru reiterated the rules, Eureka, A’Keria, Jiggly, Jan, Kylie, Scarlet and Ginger were sent to safety. As the dolls untucked backstage, Jiggly was thrilled to have survived the first week while Ginger was happy to at least have won the reading challenge and to prove herself. Again. Jan threw out another Jan pun, while Eureka asked the girls to help her strip off to take a seat. She then charmed the girls by saying that she was shocked they weren’t the tops, while Ginger expected Silky to win despite Scarlet being sure it was Yara’s on lock, giving how much Ru was living.

Jiggly identified TKB as a bottom, while Eureka felt Pandora would be joining her along with Serena. Ginger loved that she got a plug in for her wig line, before Jan celebrated that she wasn’t even annoyed about being safe. And Scarlet was thrilled to be feeling joy this time, as was A’Keria. Kylie shared that she was sprialling before starting the competition, though was ready to show that she had grown thanks to Ru. Eureka then broke down about losing her mum and was so endearing, leading to Jiggly talking about how much Eureka’s tribute to her mum meant to her. 

Jiggly then spoke about how she spent so long doing sex work to survive, that she didn’t even realise that she was broken on her first season. She and Kylie told the group about growing after coming out as trans and it was such a beautiful, loving conversation to have and I am so glad they are so open to sharing. Ginger spoke about how she didn’t even recognise who she was on Season 7, talking about how much hate she got that she still doesn’t even know how she processed it. Eureka praised her for being a trailblazer for big girls, before Sonique gave them all a pep talk about how them being so vulnerable and open is what makes them special. 

Oh and Ginger then spoke about the positives of meeting fans, with Scarlet admitting that she was one such fan of Ginger’s in the past. And then Jan reminded us that season 12 really had the worst experience, given she hasn’t even toured as a Ru girl so is still waiting to meet fans.

Back on the mainstage,  Silky was read for not fully taking it there in her performance, despite looking gorgeous and literally playing the piano live. Trinity’s look was praised though she was read for her obvious bomb. Ra’Jah received universal praise for her dress in 60 seconds number, as did Yara for her ridiculous tiddy-shaking performance. And I am so happy for her. Pandora’s joyous brand of ridiculous was praised for serving comedy, while poor Serena was read for not exactly executing the performance given everything else looked so beautiful and polished. Ultimately Yara took out the first victory of the season, while Pandora and Ra’Jah were deemed safe, as was Silky. Meaning either TKB or Serena were going home.

Talk turned to the voting backstage, with the girls talking about their strategies with Kylie admitting that she knows well enough not to share her strategy. They were interrupted by the tops and bottoms returning from their critiques, with Yara giddy to announce her victory to the safe girls, before Trinity and Serena shared they were in the bottom. Yara pulled Serena aside, with the latter sharing that she is heartbroken to be in the bottom after all these years. Meanwhile TKB shared that she doesn’t even know what happened at the variety show, though plead her case to the girls, reminding them she is here to prove herself. The bottoms switched places – how versatile – with Serena telling the girls she is here to fight too, while TKB reminded Yara about how much she wants to be there.

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

With that, the dolls voted and Yara made her way to the mainstage where she learnt that she would be facing off against Coco Montrese and oooooh, gurl – you in danger Yara! As soon as Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk started, both the dolls were ready to fight, but honestly, Coco is just SO good at lip syncing. Even while Yara was stripping and bouncing her titties, Coco was hitting every letter and proving why she is arguably THE lip sync assassin of the franchise. Again, she is just so good. With that, she took out victory and had to reveal that the group had voted to eliminate the delightfully redeemed Serena ChaCha.

Serena was crushed to unanimously be booted from the game by the group, particularly since Yara voted for Trinity and could have changed things with her victory. That being said, my dear Serena was delightful as she wrote her farewell message, before breaking down to discover the other queens’ notes praising her for her growth and charm. Oh and seeing the massive Serena ChaChagine I had waiting to celebrate her rudemption.

Rich and hearty, despite not having a meat in sight, this tagine is a pure delight. And while that was an accidental rhyme, you know I deliberately left that in. Because like the tagine, it is fun and full of flavour. Right?

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 pinch of saffron
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ butternut pumpkin, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, cut into segments
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 potato, cut into eighths
salt and pepper, to taste
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous, mint, flaked almonds, yoghurt and harissa, to serve

Method
Place the saffron in a cup measure and infuse in 1 cup of boiling water.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a tagine over a medium heat and sweat the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and ras el hanout for a minute or two, or until nice and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook it off for a few minutes before loosening with the saffron infused water.

Stir in the myriad of diced and sliced veg before adding the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and apricots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Give a good stir, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or so, or until the veg are tender.

To serve, layer your bowl with a dollop of couscous, followed by the tagine and whatever combination of herbs, yoghurt, harissa and almonds float your boat. And then devour, like a rudeemed champion.


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Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Like Art before her, I’m not going to dwell too much on Scarlet. I mean, damn Ru, why you gotta have four people left in contention for the crown? It really makes my life that much more difficult.

In any event, Scarlet well and truly stormed through the competition, served killer looks and well, that pole dancing was damn impressive.

That being said, it would be remiss to not say that her well-known past performances were horrible and as a white man, it is not my place to forgive her or accept her apologies. But I do hope that she is genuine about making amends and learning from the this because the world needs growth and healing with those she hurt so stupid, racist shit just stops happening.

Which is what I told her as I sat down and slammed a plate of Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups in front of her.

Like at the end of a good night, there is nothing I love more than sweetly, sticky balls. Combining san choy bow and ramen influences, these babies are earthy, spiced and most importantly, easy. Which is what I like to hear when I’ve got sticky balls.

Enjoy!

Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli paste
225g water chestnuts, finely chopped
⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
⅔ cup plum sauce
100g vermicelli noodles
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 baby cos lettuce, leaves broken off and rinsed.

Method
Combine the mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, water chestnuts, breadcrumbs and shallots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands and mix into golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat a lug of oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the balls for five minutes or so, tossing infrequently. Add the plum sauce with a cup of water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and sticky. My two favourite descriptors.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and drain well to avoid any drippiness.

To assemble, divide a couple of lettuce leaves on a plate, top with noodles and meatballs and garlic with a few slices of chilli. And then, obviously, devour.


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