Baoverly Buns Kills

Main, Poultry, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls formed girl groups and while the producers tragically opted against keeping costs down and getting the girls to talk about their tight tucks, it did work out for the best as it was absolute fire. Like the first season of UK, one team absolutely molly wopped – not whomp, which I just learnt was different and something I would love TBH – while the other team had a Cheryl trying to hold them up. While Spankie took out her third win, Hannah her second and Kween her first, Beverly was the aforementioned Cheryl on the losing group, which tragically resulted in the elimination of my fave – and total baby zaddy – Yuri.

Backstage everyone was rallying around an emotional Molly, who had been expecting to the one going home. She toasted Yuri for being such a hard worker before Spankie stepped in and gave a beautiful speech about just how great Yuri is and reiterated that she belongs, while she (and I) sobbed. And ugh, just crown Spankie this instant, you cowards!

The next day the girls were still feeling their girl group oats, though fearful that Minnie was also lingering in the rafters, ready to start a feud at any moment. Kween meanwhile apologised for bringing the room down last week, though stopped short of apologising to Beverly specifically for fighting. She felt she was most disappointed in the fact she was so frustrated that she straight up missed the chance to toast Yuri and remind her how proud she is. This led to Bev instead apologising to her and while they hugged it out, I feel like things are still tense.

Ru interrupted things to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be filming tourism infomercials promoting their hometown. As they split up to come up with a plan, Hannah locked in Perth while Molly was going to lean into Newcastle, given it is where she and Rhys are both from. Bev meanwhile opened up about being like me, starting on the GC before moving to Brisbane while Spankie was proudly going to rep Palmerston North and smalltown life. Kween meanwhile opened up to Hannah and Spankie about how much she is struggling with her depression, while everyone rallied around and vowed to always be there for each other. And ugh, I love seeing it!

My fellow Tweed local Samantha Harris then dialled in to advise them how to sell shit and while it didn’t add much, she is Tweed Breed 4 Lyf like me, so you all should stan.

Ru made her ru-turn to the Werk Room to kiki with the dolls, cutting down all of Spankie’s ideas and telling her to highlight the best part of Palmerston North, herself. Beverly then dropped by and well, let’s just say I’m not mad, just disappointed, that she has never watched Muriel’s Wedding. The cinematic celebration of TWEED HEADS. Is this the Tweed showcase episode?! While Ru just wanted to find out who Beverly is, Kween was told to bring the fun, Hannah was told to be less serious and well, Molly’s version of Newcastle was quote-unquote, sad.

Done dropping bombs, Ru exited stage left as they started to get ready while Beverly asked her sisters for advice on how to show more of her personality. With Hannah jumping in with suggestions before Bev even finished her sentence, while Kween joined in with more advice that Bev felt was aggressive. As such, she started to spiral leading to another epic pep talk from Spankie in the rack of costumes and again, if Spankie doesn’t win, we riot.

Kween was up first to film with Michelle Visage and down under icon Suzanne Paul and well, she was a little boring. But given the pit crew are hot, I loved it. Spankie meanwhile slayed as the drunk aunty wandering through town on her way home from a night out. Hannah arrived looking stunning and was so organised, prepared and most importantly, bonkers, that I live for her. Molly meanwhile was sexed up, demented and a little confused, but Michelle and Suzanne were having fun together and that is all that matters. Oh and then Bev was living for her concept hunting for a sugar daddy as a lesbian Irwin. And well, I love the shoot portion if nothing else, because Bev was fun.

Elimination Day arrived with Beverly opening up about the fact she has realised that she is still trying to find herself and that that, combined with her family’s drive for success has made it difficult for her to just be. Talk then turned to the girls’ families, with Kween opening up about how her oldest sister died the year she was undergoing her gender confirmation and how she is living with the regret of not getting to know her or support her on her journey. She then immediately pivoted and encouraged everyone to do what they love as it makes them happy. And that is the sweet Kween Kong that I know and love.

Michelle, Rhys and Ru took their places as Kween opened the Swimsuit Edition runway giving oceanic goddess realness. Spankie was sex on legs as Pamela Anderson’s older sister, Molly was a stunning Meter Maid – complete with high-beams – while Hannah was a confection in a bright, mod delight while Beverly gave another Meter Maid, this time with a ruveal AND coins.

When it came to the commercials, Kween’s was silly and demented though the judges wanted it to be more funny funny and less dark humour. Though they loved her runway.  Oh and then Ru gave an epic monologue about internalised homophobia AND daddy issues, which was amazing. Spankie was up next with a gloriously deranged commercial that confused the shit out of everyone, meaning it was perfection. And then add in her Baywatch moment and well, it was a good week for Spankie. Molly’s ad meanwhile was classic bogan Australian and I love it and sadly, feel like I’ve lived it. Multiple times. Hannah’s ad was camp perfection, telling a story and was so damn smart. I mean, she fought a black swan AND exploded. Oh and they loved her pivoting on the runway and standing out in all the right ways. Bev meanwhile lived her Irwin fantasy, though kinda fell flat by being so polished rather than showing her messiness. 

Ru opted to get messy and asked the dolls to identify who should go home with everyone opting for Bev due to her track record, while Bev instead felt Kween’s commercial was the weakest. Adding that her track record wasn’t much better than her, either.

Backstage Bev was heartbroken to be the one everyone named, despite understanding why they called her out. Hannah once again cut her off and encouraged her to stop being so in her head and instead just be. And while Hannah felt she was being encouraging and trying to push her to be better, Bev cut her off and started to sob. Once again Spankie gave her a pep talk and helped lift her back up, encouraging her to swear at Hannah all she wanted. Which she sadly opted against, instead choosing to practice the lip sync since she was totally in the bottom.

Ultimately Molly and Spankie – ROBBED – were sent to safety as Hannah joined the triple winners club with Spanks. Which obviously left Kween to face off against Beverly to Ru’s very own The Beginning. And damn, did the dolls turn a show. Like I know I say that a lot, but it was actually WILD. There was almost a collision within the first three bars, they were flipping and spinning every second line, backwards AND forwards, hitting every lyric and oftentimes in complete synchronicity. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was now, because this was amazing. Like a gymnastics version of Alyssa and Tatianna. Sadly though, somebody had to go – apparently – as Kween was sent to safety, sending my fellow Bris-babe Bev out of the competition.

While Bev went through a lot of emotion this week, she held her head high as she returned to the Werk Room. I pulled her in for a massive hug and tried to give her my very best Spankie impersonation, reminding her that she is a star and has all of her career to figure out who she is, so to just believe in herself and have fun. Because spoiler alert, she is already a massive success. Which thankfully got through to her, allowing us to laugh and cry, as we reminisced about the glory of the GC and Brisvegas (and I firmly explained the importance of watching Muriel’s Wedding) before smashing some glorious Baoverly Buns Kills.

It is no secret that I passionately and ardently love both a porkie – praise be, Benedict – and baos, but this little duck number is just a little bit better than the rest. Rich, sweet and a little bit fresh, the flavours dance over your palate as expertly as Bev in a lip sync.

PHOTO 2

Baoverly Buns Kills
Serves: 4

Ingredients
8 buns Bret LaBao Buns
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp shaoxing wine
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
4 boneless duck breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
⅔ cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for drizzlin’
¼ cup kewpie mayo
2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into lengths
2 shallots, sliced
¼ cup coriander, leaves torn

Method
Prepare the baos as per Bret’s recipe. Combine the salt, light soy, shaoxing and five spice powder in a bowl and rub into the duck. Transfer to a plate, leaving the skin up to dry for an hour or so.

When you’re ready to cook, pop the oil in a heavy based skillet over medium heat and once nice and hot, pop the breasts in the pan, skin side down and cook for about 10 minutes, agitationg frequently, or until crispy and the fat had rendered out.

Drain most of the fat and flip the breasts and cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove the duck and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Shred the duck and return to the pan with the hoisin and toss to combine.

To assemble, smear mayo on the baoss, layer with some cucumber and shallots, top with a heaping of duck, a drizzle of hoisin and some coriander. Then, devour.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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Yuraita Guaii

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#JusticeForBardot.

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Yuraita Guaii
Serves: 6.

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

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


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Minnie Cooperstown

Drink, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls hosted a cute little brunch in duos. While Molly tried to do a little bit of sabo, by pairing herself with her bestie Hannah while making sure every other pair had a contender. And well, not. Despite Yuri disappearing for half the day to go to hospital, she and Spaknie absolutely slayed their set – CUM (which is generally the culprit of all eye irritations in my house, but I digress) – while Pomara and Bev just felt like they were at two different venues. As such Spankie and Yuri took out a very well earned joint victory while Bev and Pomara faced off in the lip sync, with Pomara tragically shown the door.

Backstage Bev was well and truly in her feels, though was giddy to have survived. She was feeling like everyone was ready for her to go next, though was ready to gag them. Speaking of gag, she opened up about her and Pomara not getting along in the challenge and while she wasn’t comfortable then, she assured her sisters she was ready to speak up as needed. She congratulated Spankie and Yuri on their joint victory, with Spankie giddy to be the first two-time winner of the season. While Hannah questioned whether she is maybe cursed and is the reason she and Molly didn’t win. Oh and then she questioned whether her topping Spankie would look like a Chihuahua doing a Great Dane which adds nothing to the story, but is a very important visual.

The next day the dolls were full of energy and having the best damn time, while Hannah admitted she continues to have a steely focus on hitting the top. She opened up about being emotionally drained, leading to a beautiful discussion amongst the girls about mental health and the general pressure of the competition. Ru then dropped by and gagged them once again with the news that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be playing the Snatch Game. As she left, the dolls split up to talk characters with Spankie bringing Dame Edna to the stage and yes, that is perfect for her. Yuri is going with my girl Courtney Love, Minnie is doing Ellen while Molly is going with zaddy Orville Peck, which made Spankie particularly nervous.

Ru returned for a walk through with Hannah debating between Liza and Drew Barrymore, though ideally will follow Alexis rather than Willow. Bev was thinking she would go with Val Garland, until Ru questioned whether anyone found her funny in her real life. Kween Kong was going with Nene Leakes, opening up to Ru that she was hoping to get out of her head, let go and finally have some fun. Minnie was excited by Ellen which thrilled Ru, though I wish she went with the one she was joking about, Mr G. She then threw Bev under the bus, telling Ru she was gagged by Bev lying about getting along with Pomara on the mainstage and well, there is going to be drama once again.

After Ru departed, Yuri was looking forward to being messy, Hannah was a mix of emotions while Kween opened up about her talk to Ru making her feel seen and ready to shine. She opened up about her upbringing and life, feeling guilty about leaving her family behind to start her career and succeed, always worrying about making it up to them. Hannah then brought up Bev seeming a little down, with her calling out Minnie for throwing her under the bus in front of Ru and telling her it hurt her feelings.

We ventured to the Snatch Game set where Rhys and Raven joined the dolls to compete, where Minnie was confusing and Kween was a zaddy and selling Nene’s energy. Yuri was a delightful mess, Bev was a little confusing but so committed while Hannah stole the damn show as Liza. Molly was hilariously off character, while Spankie was a killer Dame Edna. But make no mistake, this was Hannah’s breakout challenge. I mean, her Liza was a masterclass and so much damn fun. I mean, she even followed in Jinkx’s trajectory of singing covers of Ru’s songs. And it was perfect. Though Yuri and Spankie were also super fun. And while Minnie and Molly were a mess, Bev was forgettable, which is the far greater sin in Snatch Game.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls recapping their performances, with Hannah thrilled to clearly be getting her first win while Bev was feeling fine. Which elicited eyerolls from everyone. Minnie meanwhile knew that she bombed, though was hopeful her runway would be able to save her. As they split up to beat their mugs, Spankie suggested they do impersonations of each other with Hannah and Spankie nailing each other. Molly did a pitch perfect Minnie, but more importantly, was brave to do it. Kween read Yuri for filth, by saying her sitting there was a Yuri impression and again, Kween is my life and loins at this point.

On the Cirque Du So-Gay runway, Minnie slayed the runway as the rollergirl clown while Kween was the sexiest bearded lady, complete with a full, shimering bush. Spankie slayed in a harlequin mime number, Yuri was a sexy showgirl in white, complete with a tattooed burlesque show. Bev went full sexy lion, lion-tamer, owning the big top, Molly was perfection as a fairy floss mime-clown, while Hannah gave sexy-jester realness.

Kween was sent to safety solo before Minnie was praised for her runway, though read for absolutely bombing Snatch Game. Spankie was praised for doing well, despite Michelle wanting more, while her runway was praised for her growth. And by that, I assume Michelle meant pants. Yuri was praised for leaning into the stupid and agan, slaying the runway. While Bev’s runway received universal praise, her Snatch was read for absolute filth for just missing every damn mark. She then opened up about feeling like an imposter, before Ru encouraged her to kill the inner saboteur and slay. Molly’s runway was beloved, though her Orville was read for being nothing. While Hannah received effusive praise for literally everything she did this week, from the runway to her Liza. And well, that praise was deserved.

Backstage Kween’s peace and quiet was interrupted by the rest of the dolls with everyone congratulating Hannah on slaying the game. Bev opened up about feeling the pressure of the competition, while Minnie started to break down, feeling bad for having upset Bev and stressed about it playing on her mind when she clearly has to lip sync. Molly meanwhile was nervous about lip syncing because Minnie is beloved by the judges.

Obviously Hannah took out victory while Spankie and Yuri were deemed safe. On the flipside, Molly narrowly avoided lip syncing, leaving current feuders Minnie and Bev to battle for safety. To Lady Gaga’s Dance in the Dark, no less. While Minnie delighted in clown comedy, Bev was desperate to save herself, giving all the emotion and slaying every damn lyric and well, it was good. Good enough to give her another week and tragically send the legend that is Minnie Cooper home. Thankfully with a lot of love from her sisters.

While I was tempted to start a feud with her when she walked backstage – I crave the attention, you know – I couldn’t do that to such an icon. Instead, I pulled Minnie in for a massive hug and reiterated how damn proud of her I am. Not only is she a killer performer that has well and truly earned her legacy, she also knew the assignment when coming on reality TV and gave us camp, gaggy moments and a lot of heart. I then asked her if she had any other potential people she was tossing around for Snatch Game and upon hearing she opted against doing Jeanne Little, who she would have demolished the competition with, I lost it. There were tears, rage screams and well, I am ashamed at how much it hurt. Thankfully after her holding me in her arms and assuring me it was ok, and downing a Minnie Cooperstown, everything was all good.

This little drink is the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, earthy, sweet and packing a minty punch, it is a symphony of flavours that fill your heart with joy.

So, enjoy!

Minnie Cooperstown
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
45ml gin
25ml red vermouth
35ml dry vermouth
a couple of dashes of bitters
2 mint leaves

Method
Combine everything in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a glass and down.

And then repeat, as necessary (in a responsible manner).


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Strombombae

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the dolls worked through a lot of their Fiercalicious related drama backstage with everyone finally ready to get along and focus on the competition. Which was perfect timing, given last week they finally took the stage to play the Snatch Game. Thankfully Giselle opted against doing Celine injustice once again, instead slaying as Marie Curie. It was a three horse race at the top of the pack, as Irma gave a pitch-perfect Marilyn Monroe and Vivian channelled the power of Jessica Chastain to delight as Tammy Faye. Ultimately though, it was Giselle’s absurd take that handed her the second win in a row. At the other end of the pack, poor Kimmy was struck by the Ariana curse, though narrowly saved herself as Lady Boom Boom was booted from the competition.

Backstage Giselle was heartbroken to lose her fellow French Canadian sister, though given she left a hilarious goodbye message, they quickly turned their focus to how she slayed the competition. While Kimmy was disappointed to have to lip sync, she was proud of herself for fighting and as such, had a fire within her to slay. Vivian meanwhile was disappointed to have narrowly missed out on the win, while Giselle was hopeful to keep her momentum going and to parlay winning the most important challenge into winning the season.

The next day the dolls were still shocked that their frontrunner was gone, which disappointed Jada given she felt she was a front runner too. Irma meanwhile was proud to have done well, though ready to get that win ASAP. While Bombae was feeling a little lost, though Giselle encouraged her to just show the judges who she is. Their kiki was interrupted by the arrival of Traci who tasked them with dragging up for family photoshoots. Vivian, Kimmy and Fiercalicious would shoot a holiday card, Bombae and Irma were giving vacation chic, while Giselle and Jada would be celebrating their growing family. Vivian was an absolute delight as they did their shoot with Kimmy a killer mess and well, I love their trio. Irma and Bombae were totally demented divorcees while Jada and Giselle were such a gorgeous couple as their third baby was born. And despite everyone slaying, it was Jada that took out victory. And well, Vivian was robbed, TBH.

Before departing, Traci announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be pulling together an eye shadow palette before filming a commercial to promote their product. The girls immediately selected their colours before splitting up to work on their campaigns. Kimmy was going to be giving all the heart, while Bombae planned to give a deluded ‘90s supermodel. Jada was planning to turn up the party, while Fiercalicious was selling fierce, obviously. And damn, she was focused on taking out the win, methodically planning her concept and selling herself to the judges. Vivian, Giselle and Irma were focused on making it funny, as the former planned to target the cat-parent market. Giselle planned to teach international swears, while Irma was selling snotty vibes. Bombae started to worry about having the wrong concept, approaching Irma and Vivian to see if her idea of desperation was good. With Irma reminding her that she is better than a ‘desperate to win’ joke and instead, she should come up with a new plan.

Vivian was first up to film her commercial, nervous as hell but no less charming. Giselle gave full ‘90s glamour and while Traci didn’t love the amount of beeping through the commercial, she was confident. Bombae’s new concept served butter chicken and tackled racism and immigration before Kimmy dropped by and lived her best life throughout the shoot, giggling at her own jokes and being generally adorbs. Irma was fluro, wild and oh so fun before Fiercalicious was focused and on brand. Oh and Jada was obviously charming as hell.

Elimination Day arrived with Giselle and Irma confident in their commercials before the girls kikied about their first time in drag. Bombae admitted her sisters dressed her up when she was a kid and felt so pretty, instantly falling in love with drag. Kimmy shared that she came out as trans at 6, with her mum raising her up and allowing her to express herself and damn, I am crying. Fiercalicious was feeling like she can help the future queens learn skills by being in the competition, while Jada got her start after a promoter suggested she compete in a bar pageant.

Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined by Mei Pang on the panel as the dolls stomped the Paint runway with Vivian slaying as a sexy work of art, painter’s palette. Irma was stunning as a paint by numbers delight, Bombae served drama in a beautiful watercolour look, Jada was gorgeous as she dedicated her look to her black beauty while Giselle was a perfect Picasso. Fierce gave camp glamour as a swinging rococo girl before Kimmy closed the show as the love child of Vivian and Bombae, and oh so sexy.

When it came to the commercials, Vivian was bonkers and energetic and well, I love everything about it. And how much she lived for it herself. While Mai suggested she adds some drama to her make-up, though beyond that, she is perfect. Along with her runway. Irma’s runway received universal praise while the judges felt her ad was a mess of concepts, despite it being fun. Bombae’s commercial was super fun, though the judges only really lived for her girly runway, feeling like her commercial was too rehearsed. Jada was praised for looking so good, which led to her breaking down as the judges heaped all the praise for what she did this week. While Traci held back tears over how much she loved it all too.

Giselle meanwhile was totally bonkers, though the judges felt she was too focused on serving funny rather than giving any content at all. Thankfully, her look was absolutely stunning and they loved it. Fiercalicious, gave the most traditional commercial and was rightly praised for how strong the end product turned out. And for how close she stuck to her brand. Add into that the perfection on the runway and well, condragulations my dear, you’re the winner of this week’s challenge. Kimmy meanwhile was adorable and oh so stupid and I love it. As did the judges, only they were confused by her look.

Backstage the dolls were all confused about who could be landing in the bottom, with everyone getting high praise for half of the week. Vivian encouraged Jada to accept the fact she is a beautiful queen, while Bombae was worried that the judges think she is terrible at make-up and is quite confident she will be lip syncing. Irma suggested Kimmy will be in the bottom too, given they hated her runway while Fierce and Kimmy were sure Irma and Giselle would be the ones joining Bombae in the bottom. Despite their perfect runways. And while everyone thinks it is between Jada and Vivian, Fierce was confident in her chances too.

Ultimately Kimmy was sent to safety before Fiercalicious found out she was right to back herself, taking out her first win of the season. That left Vivian and Jada as safe, before they were narrowly joined by Giselle. Which left Irma to face off against Bombae to Table Dancer by Keisha Chante. And while I was fully expecting Bombae to demolish, Irma put up an epic fight, giving comedy, shapes and hitting every lyric. And while Bombae was so stunning and perfect, she spent the start of the song worried about her nips popping out and well, it felt like that distraction is all that cost her, as the dolls turned a show. Though tragically, it was Bombae’s final one this season leaving Irma to fight another day.

Backstage Bombae was still pretty down on herself after the judges critiques and getting in her head before I started to channel Ru. Well, after I pulled her in for a hug. After the physical contact was down, Ru took possession of my body, reminding Bombae that all the negative thoughts running through her head were her inner-saboteur and that the judges critiques weren’t to have a go at her, but to help her explore areas that she could try something different in. You know, because drag is art and art is subjective. Once that little Boulet detour was out of the way, I pulled her in for another hug and reminded her she is perfect, will likely win an All Star season because of her talents and then fed her drive with a piping hot Strombombae.

Stromboli is one of the lesser known – at least here in Australia – Italian delights. Part pull-apart, part calzone, all deliciousness, it is the perfect, cheesy-carby snack to help cheer you up and reinvigorate your soul. Annnnnnd, now I have Beyonce in my head again.

Enjoy!

Strombombae
Serves: 2 dear friends, or 6 on the reg.

Ingredients
1 ball of pizza dough per Zsa Zsa’s recipe, or store bought if you don’t have time
1 cup Amber Marinara Sauce
150g ham, sliced
150g hot salami, sliced
1-2 cups mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
a small handful basil, roughly chopped
1 egg, whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Split the dough in half and roll out each on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly the size of a 20x30cm rectangle. Spread the mariana over each rectangle, leaving a little border around the edges. Divide the meats, half the mozzarella and most of the parmesan over the top, followed by the basil. Fold in the shorter sides before rolling the dough to enclose the filling, wetting the final edge to seal the dough. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam-side down.

Brush each log with some egg, followed by some extra mozzarella and parmesan, and slash some diagonal cuts into the top with a knife. Leave to prove for about 15 minutes before transferring to the over to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

Leave to rest for five minutes before devouring, ideally with a sprinkle of basil and extra marinara for dippin’.


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Soavlaki De Muse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Soavlaki De Muse
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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


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Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz

Main, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the OG Masus continued to fight it out for power, unaware that the Yontau boys appeared to be quietly playing them off against each other. After an epic reward and immunity challenge which left Dino cursed from winning the game while taking out a car, the gloves came off as Meryl, Steffi and Marian’s alliance splintered. While the latter two had rallied the troops to get rid of Meryl, she had managed to charm enough people – or scare them due to her copious amount of advantages – as the tribe narrowly blindsided Steffi from the game.

Back at camp the mood was very tense as Marian well and truly felt left out and stupid for not taking the idol when she had the chance at the Outpost. Meryl meanwhile was busy trading off the advantage to Tejan as promised, with him thrilled to split the alliance up. As he anticipated, Marian was cussing out Phil for blindsiding her before going person to person to throw Meryl under the bus by outing all of her advantages. And while it was hardly news to Felix, it definitely was to Dino as he questioned whether he should have taken the other shot at the last tribal council.

The next day Meryl was feeling a little nervous after breaking up with her original alliance and joining with the people willing to save her. Marian caught up with Dino to find out what the vote was about and whether he would be willing to work with her, rather than Meryl. With Dino admitting that Meryl’s advantages really change things, and to us, now that Marian is isolated, he felt that they have far more to offer each other moving forward. Dino then showed her the advantage and offered to hand it over to her to build trust, before him sharing that he would be so proud to see her win the season and to be the ambassador of the game, rather than a goat floating along and sneaking out a win despite not doing anything.

Tejan and Meryl meanwhile were busy bonding over being the biggest threats, agreeing that now they only really have each other. Tejan asked how she felt about Dino, Phil and Felix, with her grateful to have been saved though that she was wary given they have been aligned from the start. We then dropped by the trio, who were catching up about the state of affairs within the tribe and to quickly prove that Meryl’s trust was misplaced as they immediately locked in a plan to get rid of her next. Knowing that everyone will be willing to join them. As such, Phil and Felix would stick to her like glue while Dino would keep things casual while rallying everyone else on the plan.

Back at the shelter Shane and Marian were catching up, with the latter trying to convince him that Dino can be trusted to get them further. While Shane was still focused on getting him out ASAP, given he is the only other truly strategic player outside of Marian. Though given he is kinda volatile, Marian girl, you’re in danger. Meryl and Phil dropped by camp, where Marian continued to give her the silent treatment which started to make Meryl upset given it is clear that their friendship is over. She approached Marian and asked what was going on and why she hadn’t looked her in the eye, which Marian denied while noticing that Meryl’s facade is starting to crack and that other people have also noticed.

Killarney was busy whispering to Dino saying that she was disappointed by the Steffi blindside, but was ready to make a move on Meryl. Which obviously puzzled him, given she is a good 18 hours late. Killarney then dropped by Tejan and Shane to tell them the plan is to get rid of Meryl and trust and believe, she is the one driving it. While Shane worried who the hell he is aligned with.

The next day Marian was still nervous about the state of all the shattered alliances. Particularly since her one consistent ally, Shane, is still focused on getting rid of Dino before Meryl. Marian tried to calmly explain that Meryl is feeling comfortable right now and as such, now is the time to blindside her, while Shane was just worried about her potential naivety in trusting Dino’s lies.

We finally got a sighting of sweet, zaddy Nico as the tribe reassembled for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would start behind a locked gate and manoeuvre a key through a peg puzzle before unlocking said gate and completing a block puzzle. Dino made quick work releasing his key and started work on his block puzzle in an instant. Felix and Phil soon joined him before Meryl and Shane broke through the gate and started on the second puzzle. After releasing her key, Marian casually sauntered through the gate before casually solving the block puzzle in no time at all and won individual immunity. While Killarney remained locked behind her gate and everyone was dumbfounded how she did it some quickly.

Back at camp Marian was giddy with her newfound safety, though was nervous about the prospect of Meryl playing her tribal council pass and ruining the blindside. Though she admitted that getting rid of Tejan wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Tejan meanwhile knew that he was also on the block, catching up with Felix to assure him that there are far bigger threats to worry about than him. Meryl meanwhile was floating playing the tribal council pass to Phil, who casually reminded her that they need her as a number which lead to her suggesting they send Marian back to camp without her vote instead. She quickly caught up with Phil, Dino and Tejan to talk about the genius plan, while Dino felt very awkward about being so active against her.

Killarney meanwhile was sauntering about, worried about all the whispering, while Tejan was loving being part of the plan. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the actual plan, which made Dino worry about whether they should let him be involved. Despite the fact he is a big risk of screwing up whatever the plan is. After Meryl filled Felix in on the plan, he caught up with Phil and Dino, with all of them feeling a little bit awkward about how easily things have come together for them given it makes them think something is wrong. Oh and then Phil told Marian about the tribal council pass plan and she was so excited to see it all come together, while Meryl started contemplating playing her 50/50 coin to exhaust all her little trinkets. And presumably lessen her target.

At tribal council Tejan was feeling confident in his place in the game given Marian and Meryl are now feuding. Meryl admitted that she has been a target for some time now, while Marian was sick of her pretending to be the victim when she could have just spoken to her allies if she was concerned. Marian spoke about how happy she was to save herself by winning immunity, particularly given the duo have so much tension between them now. She continued to play up being left out and having no strategic conversations today, while Meryl admitted she didn’t really talk to anyone either.

Talk turned to blending in, with Killarney hoping to slink through rather than stick out, while Dino spoke about them needing to outlast more than anything else in the motto. Though he would also like to see someone worthy take out the title this season. Meryl spoke about playing like a goat being a proven strategy, though that there is so much time left in the game that those who are deemed a goat now, could quickly make a name for themselves. Killarney brought up the fact that everyone values different things, while Meryl opened up about thinking about the jury while Marian said you should be mindful, rather than worried.

Before they headed off to vote, Meryl stood up and played the tribal council pass to send Marian back to camp. Sadly for Meryl, Marian then bequeathed individual immunity to Shane on her way out the door which is not something anyone considered. With that the tribe finally voted and despite her initial nerves before tribal council, Meryl stood firm and held on to her 50/50 coin, which sadly became a memento, as the tribe banded together to blindside her from the game.

Thankfully she took the exit on her chin, thrilled by the excitement of it all and kinda knowing her days were numbered anyway given she was far and away the biggest threat in the game. That being said, I didn’t take it with as much grace, screaming and crying that my dream final three had broken up, with two of them exiting the game back-to-back. After sweet Meryl pulled me in for a hug, she reminded me it is just a game and she holds no ill will. Which was enough to eventually dry my eyes and whip her up a victorious batch of Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz.

There is nothing better than a fresh rice paper roll. While it works essentially with any and all ingredients you want, these little Peking duck numbers are some of my faves. Sweet, spicy and packing a herbaceous punch, they are the perfect way to eliminate post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Rice Paper Meroll Szolkeiwicz
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
12 rice paper rounds
80g vermicelli, soaked, drained and roughly chopped
¼ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
¾ cup coriander, roughly chopped
¾ cup mint leaves
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red capsicum, sliced
¾ bunch chives, sliced
2 peking duck breasts, sliced

Method
Start by prepping everything you need first as you’ll need to power on once you get started. Working one at a time, dip a rice paper round in a shallow bowl of warm water until soft before transferring to a dry, clean tea towel.

Place a small amount of vermicelli in the centre, followed by lettuce, coriander, mint, cucumber, carrot, capsicum and chives, before layering a few slices of duck. Roll one edge over, fold in both of the ends and continue to roll until it is sealed. Repeat until done.

Then devour, slathered in sriracha, hoisin or soy.


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Salsanté Verde Villiers

Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor South Africa the tribes were gagged to learn they had merged while at tribal council. And not just that, they had also been gifted a new and improved camp. Despite being one big happy family, the internal battles of OG Masu continued to dominate the new tribe as Toni rallied an army to counter the early power of the Breakfast Club. Which for the record didn’t even survive a tribal council given they booted Chappies first. After Phil peed his way to individual immunity, both sides tried to rally the numbers with Marian, Meryl and Steffi coming out on top as Toni was booted and anointed as the second most important placing behind a Fourth Place Robbed Goddess, the Queen of the Jury.

Back at camp Tejan was a little embarrassed to have burnt his idol, admitting he was completely shocked by the fact Toni was the ultimate target. Steffi meanwhile felt she had no other choice but to vote out Toni, given her earlier alliances were clearly the best path forward.

The next day the tribe were well and truly drained, with Tejan in particular feeling like his days were numbered. Meryl pulled him aside to check in and see why they are no longer getting along. He told her that Steffi was the one that was feeding information to him and Toni and while it is true, she did not believe him for a second. Marian and Shane meanwhile caught up with Marian quickly pushing for Dante to be the next one out, given he is too close to Felix and Toni has already pledged her vote for him to win. She then caught up with Phil and Meryl, with both of the women trying to avoid being the first person to float Dante’s name. Though they eventually all agreed that he needs to go. Particularly because Meryl is exhausted by babysitting his mood swings.

After Meryl disappeared, Marian locked in her alliance with Phil. Despite the fact neither of them really know if they can trust each other. Meryl found Dante by the well with the latter quickly floating Dino as their next target, given everyone is slowly building their trust with him and he is concerned that everyone’s interests are growing more and more individual, rather than supporting his.

The tribe reconvened with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to race to collect three keys from the top of the dunes, then use said keys to unlock three chests to release puzzle pieces and then solve a puzzle. Oh and in addition to immunity, the victor would get to smash some Chinese takeout. Obviously Dante got out to an early lead before Tejan overtook him, while Steffi and Dino nipped at their heels. Tejan and Dante started working on their puzzles as everyone slowly started to join them. Out of nowhere, Meryl flew through her puzzle and jagged herself individual immunity before anyone even realised she had made it to the end.

She broke down, proud of winning immunity on Day 22, which is when she was voted out on her first season. Oh and it’s also her son’s birthday. Nico being messy took the kind moment and gave her the chance to pick three people to join her at reward with her smartly taking everyone that didn’t get to eat at the Merge Feast, who conveniently, were also the three people she felt like she needed to talk to about the upcoming tribal council.

Back at camp, Meryl discovered she had the choice to either smash the Chinese food or to take blankets for all the tribe. Ultimately choosing to take blankets, meaning everyone also got a fortune cookie. Meryl and Steffi floated who they think should be the next to go, suggesting Dante and Tejan. While Meryl assured them that she only voted against Toni for revenge and she invited them on reward to apologise to them and build trust. Meanwhile by the shelter, Dante and Shane caught up with Tejan about the fact his alliance clearly isn’t looking out for him given he wasn’t told about anything at the last vote. Though given Dante was super forceful about it, Shane was fairly confident that there was no way they were getting Tejan across the line.

Meryl and Co. returned from reward with the blankets, sharing that they gave up the chance for food for them. And when the response was a resounding meh, she instantly regretted her decision. Meryl then read the note about the fortune cookies, with Dino sure that the cookies lead to a trip to the Outpost. Which was 100% true, with Meryl hilariously getting it, meaning she is very likely to jag herself another advantage. Jealous of her swag, Marian whispered to Phil about Meryl’s growing power and suggested that they need to blindside her sooner rather than later. Steffi, Dante and Shane caught up on the beach with Steffi pretending she thought everyone was locked in on the easy Dino vote. And while she sold it, Dante was still nervous about whether he could trust what everyone was saying and that it wouldn’t be a surprise Tejan vote instead.

The next morning Dante quadrupled down on his focus to get rid of Dino while Shane was concerned that Tejan had disappeared to go hunting for an idol. Felix meanwhile was stuck in the middle of both of his alliances and as such, approached Meryl about identifying a third option. Which is all well and good if she didn’t see it as him pushing his own agenda. Steffi and Marian caught up with Meryl to talk about the vote, with Steffi well and truly ready to get rid of Dante. Marian meanwhile quietly grew more nervous about Meryl’s trip to the Outpost. Steffi caught up with Dino to talk about the upcoming vote, assuring him that the plan is to get rid of Dante, while he grew more and more nervous about the fact he could be the one getting played.

Meryl finally arrived at the Outpost where she discovered that if she was willing to give up her vote at the upcoming tribal council, she would get a 50:50 coin. Which duh, you know she is willing to add to her haul.

Back at camp Steffi had turned her attention to Shane, talking about getting rid of Dante next, while he was worried about upsetting Dante, despite him being a massive threat to his own game. Shane then caught up with Tejan, who was nervous about Shane just being on the wrong page about the Dante vote. Dino and Phil were also busy catching up, worried about the Dante vote being a smokescreen and that everyone is just planning to blindside them. And while Phil was confident he was safe, there was a nagging pit in his gut about Dino’s safety.

Meryl returned from the Outpost and caught everyone up on her story, telling them she had two bags to choose from and that she clearly chose the wrong one which led to her losing her vote at tribal council. Oh and Dante whispered to Marian about the fact nobody believed him about Rob running things on his original season, which cost him the game and handed Rob victory, which is why he is so fixated on getting rid of Dino.

At tribal council Tejan spoke about the fact the tribe is being led by a controlling alliance and that those that aren’t in charge need to realise that goats are not going to be earning the win this season. He then suggested the women are in charge, with Meryl pointing out that they are also horribly outnumbered, and that Tejan is clearly just scrambling. Tejan then outed Steffi for backstabbing Toni and lying to her about Dante and Meryl getting votes. This made Dante nervous, who got up and started whispering to people, with Marian telling Tejan to stop being a hypocrite while also assuring Dante he was safe and to stick to the plan. Marian and Tejan then started fighting, which made her far more likely to turn on him while Dante was concerned that anything could happen, while Steffi assured everyone that they should hold firm.

With that the tribe voted and Dante was gagged to be blindsided from the game and from my perspective, I was heartbroken to have lost our final speedo zaddy of the season. Given we’ve been down this path before, Dante knew to follow the sound of my tears to Ponderosa, where I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how proud of him I was this season. But also, that I really loved his speedo and that I think he should design a line. And while he was sceptical, he was happy to drown his sorrows with a vat of Salsanté Verde Villiers.

You should know by now that while most people have their condiments on something, around here, we are fast and loose with the rules. And when they pack as much of a punch as this, why wouldn’t you shot it. I mean, Jaida has Tajin, let me have this, ok?

Enjoy!

Salsanté Verde Villiers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves 
2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley 
1 handful fresh basil 
1 handful fresh mint 
⅓ cup capers 
¼ cup gherkins
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
3 tbsp red wine vinegar 
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
Pop everything in a blender or food processor and blitz until combined with only smaller chunks remaining.

Season to taste before devouring, either in shot form, or on a perfectly cooked steak. Your choice!


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Tandooria Chickeland Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Treat Yo' Self Week, TV

Previously on Survivor South Africa the pre-merge returnees on Yontau managed to avoid the first tribal council. Sadly for them, it gave them plenty of time to create drama in the absence of scrambling. We had Pinty overeating and yelling at people, Tania righteously standing up to her bullying and most importantly, Thoriso lying about Tevin finding an idol. Though she was safe, given Tania kindly took the fall for her. After Yontau won immunity, Toni tried to rally the troops against Marian. Sadly for her, the threat of the Season 6 alliance loomed large and instead they blindsided Toni’s bestie PK.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to be on the wrong side of the numbers while Toni started to flip out on the alliance for making the wrong decision by voting out PK instead of her. This annoyed Dante who then yelled at her to calm down given she and PK being close is what put them in this position. She then pulled herself aside to try and calm down, with Meryl going to comfort her. Despite not really wanting to hear what was bothering Toni. They rejoined the tribe where Toni continued to talk about them making a bad decision before Marian spoke up and called her out for saying she is the weakest in the tribe, when she would actually describe Toni as such.

We then checked in with Yontau where Tevin was leading a discussion about where to sleep which obviously pissed off Pinty, given people now wanted to take her place by the fire when they spent the first few nights in the shelter. And well, everyone was kinda over her shit. Or maybe it is just me.

The next day we learnt Dino had fallen asleep and fell into the fire, burning his hands quite badly, though thankfully able to continue in the game. Though he will have to sit out some of the challenges. In non-burn related drama, Tania continued to complain about Pinty to Tevin and while he cautioned her to not let it bother her, otherwise she will be the one painting a target on her own back. And while she agreed that was the best move, she also worried she wouldn’t be able to stay quiet. Particularly since the rest of the tribe were also frustrated by Pinty’s attitude. Proven by the fact her allies Tevin and Seamus already questioned how long they’d be able to babysit her and keep her anger at bay.

Back at Masu things were slightly less dramatic as Toni and Dante apologised to each other, before they started a new argument and grew angrier and angrier. Toni exited camp in a rage, deciding that the best case was to swap ASAP and play at the bottom of a new tribe rather than deal with them anymore. On the flipside Meryl, Marian and Steffi hung out by the well, thrilled at their ability to play in the middle of the tribe and ready to go to the end together.

We finally checked in with my love Nico who returned for the latest immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would hold on to nets while the rest of their tribe would try and weigh down their rivals’ with sandbags. Dante and Steffi faced off against Thoriso and Felix as sack-holders, with the latter quickly becoming a target and dropping his bags first. This made Yontau turn their attention to Dante, who was loaded up while Steffi relaxed without a sandbag in her basket. As Dante struggled, Thoriso tried to stay zen and keep her tribe in the game. After Dante dropped, the girls battled it out as Thoriso edged closer and closer to the ground, eventually dropping and handing immunity to Masu.

The victors headed off to enjoy their breakfast reward, feeling nourished and energised. While they all tried to play it calm as they searched for an idol hidden at their table. Before throwing caution to the wind and openly hunting in front of each other. Sadly for them, it was pointless as everyone left empty handed.

Back at camp Yontau were on edge about their first tribal council, with Phil wanting to focus on keeping the tribe unified rather than strong. Which means Tania and Pinty are well and truly in trouble. Tevin pulled Tania aside to encourage her to clear the air with Pinty and lessen the target on her back, though given she wasn’t really interested in hearing what Tevin had to say, it could spell trouble for Tania. That being said she did try to talk to Pinty to apologise, while Pinty straight up ran away to leave Tania to further spiral in front of the tribe.

Felix admitted that he sees Pinty is quite the bully and is making camp difficult for everyone else, while Pinty tried to suggest Tania was making decisions based on her unstable emotions. Which is not cool. Everyone in the tribe quietly admitted both of them are causing chaos, though given they haven’t been to tribal council yet, the uncertainty of tribal lines made them nervous about which person was the safer option to take out.

The next day Tania was ready to fight and save herself by shutting up, while Killarney, Shona and Thoriso worried about her unpredictability. Right on cue Tania hid in the bushes behind them as they locked in the vote against her, but agreed they couldn’t be bothered dealing with the fallout of telling her. Not to worry though, as she then followed them back to camp and immediately didn’t shut up, calling them out for not having courage and tried to tell them that that will be what costs them the game. Rather than say approaching them with a counter plan.

Thoriso caught up with Seamus to fill him in on Tania’s latest chaotic moves, while Shona quietly put finishing touches on a fake hidden immunity idol which she planned to leave at tribal council for future use, should she need it. Seamus then caught up with Pinty, talking about the fact they were both the first boots from their tribe in their season, with Pinty trying to snatch the idol away from him to guarantee her safety. Meanwhile, out of nowhere, Phil and Felix started to float the idea of flipping the vote on Seamus instead. Oh and Tevin calmly watched on leaving Tania one final chance to flip the vote on Pinty, in which case he would gladly flip to get rid of her too.

At tribal council Tevin spoke about not loving being back at tribal council, particularly since nobody in their tribe has had the pleasure of enjoying the individual game. He spoke about Seamus having the idol and being glad he is guaranteed to survive a tribal council. Dino spoke about the obvious drama back at camp, identifying Tania as the biggest problem. This gave her the chance to throw Pinty under the bus, talking about how Pinty’s attitude is causing most of the drama. Pinty fought back, saying that Tania called her a greedy fucking pig, which was untrue due to the addition of fuck. As Tania remained calm, Pinty continued to fight back and was pretty harsh to poor Tania, which was really uncute.

Tania spoke about it needing to be either her or Pinty that goes home tonight, given their tension is an issue. And since most of the tribe walks around Pinty on eggshells, she thinks it should be her. Pinty continued to get super sassy as Tania made a last ditch plea, reminding people that one vote could mean everything in this game. Sadly though, it was all for nought, as Seamus played the idol on himself and the tribe banded together to get rid of Tania. Presumably to keep Pinty’s attitude around as an easy target for a swap. I assume.

As Tania arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she can exit the game with her head held high as once again, she stuck to her morals. And well, I can totally relate to not being able to hold my tongue when someone is being a jerk. I then had to admit something to her. Something tragic, which explains why the tribe opted to keep Pinty over Tania – the damn pizza curse. Despite loving Tania, I thought maybe someone iconic like her would be able to overcome it, but alas, instead, I cursed her game with my Tandooria Chickeland Pizza.

Hot and spicy, with a healthy slathering of raita, this little fusion is near perfection. Add in some chilli and sweet capsicum, and well, it is as wonderful as my love Tania.

Enjoy!

Tandooria Chickeland Pizza
Serves: 2-4 dear friends, or Pinty.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 tbsp tandoori paste
1 cup natural yoghurt
500g chicken breast, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
mozzarella, to taste
2 tsp mint, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 lebanese cucumber, seeded and grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the tandoori paste, two tablespoons of the yoghurt and chicken in a bowl, tossing to coat and leaving to marinate for 15 minutes. Once done, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken until crisp and gorgeous.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs, onion, capsium and chicken, followed by a generous dose of mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

While that is getting all hot, combine the yoghurt, mint, chilli flakes, cucumber and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Once the pizza is ready, drizzle with the raita and devour, greedily. Though not like a greedy little pig.


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Pheko Phettata

Breakfast, Main, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa 20 castaways from seasons past relit their torches for a shot at redemption and an even bigger prize. Split based on their placement in their original seasons, the post-merge returnees on Masu quickly stamped their name on the contest and easily took out reward. Sadly for them, that was as far as it went as Yontau dominated the first immunity challenge and protected Seamus from going the way of Francesqua. Yontau was nearly split down the middle, with a trio of pairs aligning against the Season 6 castaways. And Tejan. However that was all for nought as Chappies was sprung hunting for a hidden immunity idol in the middle of the night, with his ally Dante leading the charge to send our iconic Nude King Chappies from the game.

The next day his duo Steffi was feeling isolated after being left out of the loop for the first time in her Survivor career. On the flipside, Palesa was thrilled to be in the majority for once. She opened up about her surprise at Tevin giving her the idol, knowing it could help solidify things with the other tribe after the swap. Given she isn’t overly comfortable with the current majority, which is a trademark good read from Palesa. Speaking of which, Marian was catching up with Dante and Meryl and locking in the plan for their original alliance and flipping on the alliance with Season 6. Likely making them wish they only played poker together, rather than getting inked. Shane meanwhile was disappointed by the blindside and almost being voted out, though after Marian caught him up on all the drama – and how she protected him – he was well and truly feeling better.

Over at Yontau the tribe were living their best lives, except for Tania who was disappointed in Pinty and her general selfishness when it comes to food. After she quietly complained to Phil, the tribe went for a walk down along the beach leaving Thoriso to look for the idol. And when Tania and Killarney caught her, she told them not to worry about her given Tevin had already found it as she watched on. Which obviously spread like wildfire and eventually made its way to Tevin who was surprisingly chill, instead only concerned by the fact that perception is reality and he now has to navigate it, rather than say, seek out revenge on Thoriso ASAP.

The tribes reconvened with zaddy Nico for the immunity challenge where Yontau were gagged to see Chappies had been voted out. But back to the challenge. Five castaways from each tribe will race out in the water one at a time to retrieve a fish trap holding balls before the rest of the tribe wheel them back in. And once all the balls have been retrieved, they will shoot them into a trough with the first to land them all jagging immunity and reward, in the form of an epic fishing kit. Pinty got Yontau out to a very early lead while Masu struggled to figure out the winch system. Lucky for them, Tevin struggled in the water allowing them to close the gap slightly but TBH, it was still a blow out despite Shane working overtime shooting half of the Masu balls as Dino secured immunity for Yontau.

More importantly, we won as Dante rocked his speedo during the challenge.

Back at camp Yontau were thrilled to take out victory and while they were all happy, Tevin killed the vibe by calling out people speculating about him having an idol. Tania being the absolute sweetest took the fall and said she had been speculating about it only and while I love her for doing it, I feel like this is coming back to bite her. With that, Tevin pointed out the symbols around camp to everyone and then led the tribe on an idol hunt with Seamus successfully jagging it. Though disappointed everyone knew, rendering it powerless. But you know, at least he has it for the next tribal council should they go, since it expires after then.

Later that day, Pinty snuck off by herself to smash a secret coconut before coming back to camp to cuss out Tania for calling her out for eating more than everyone else. She then stormed off in the darkness to go hunt for mussels while the tribe rallied around Tania and assured her they agreed, though they weren’t really open to calling Pinty out and creating tension. No doubt since none of them want to miss the merge a second time by rocking the boat like Pinty.

We checked in with Masu where Palesa was frustrated by their loss and wanted to focus on keeping the tribe strong, rather than sticking with her alliances. Toni and PK meanwhile were desperate to get rid of Marian given she isn’t overly strong and not open with them about her gameplay. As Toni caught up with Steffi and suggested Marian be the one to go, Marian quietly watched on and knew she had to get to work and prove Toni wrong. Steffi immediately approached an upset Marian, who opened up to her about how she is in so much pain due to her vitiligo and being in the sun. And damn, I am loving Steffi this season as she quietly held Marian and raised her up. Toni meanwhile continued to go person to person talking about how weak Marian is, with Palesa happy to sit back and let her take the lead.

Well, until she disagrees with a decision.

Marian, Steffi, Meryl and Dante caught up to figure out the counterplan, with Meryl wanting to focus on Toni given she can morph into her role within the tribe. Though she was willing to wait it out, given there should be another opportunity and as such, she was fine to tow the line and get rid of PK. Dante opened up about wanting to play a more active game this go around, so led the charge to rally said vote against PK before dropping by to chat to Toni and pretend he was keen to get rid of Marian. 

Oh and then Marian straight up found a diplomatic immunity idol, which just means she can elect to join the other tribe at tribal council – or send someone else from the tribe – before they vote. And while that is risky, that could be super useful post-swap, which is exactly how she sold it to her delighted allies.

At tribal council Steffi spoke about the tribe being struck down with a case of the alphas and as such, every time they compete, everyone is jockeying to lead rather than working together. Shane agreed and suggested that the one true leader needs to emerge and make decisions for them, which is advice that I’m not exactly sure will fix things. Dante spoke about the pre-season relationships playing a role in decision making, which annoyed Toni and PK who fired up and said people need to move on from their matching tattoos they got after their first season (essentially). Palesa meanwhile downplayed past relationships and instead spoke about the real issue being everyone is trying to run from their past games and as such, creating a lot of uncertainty.

Dante spoke about making the decision that will help them win challenges, which doesn’t necessarily mean physical strength. This led to Marian opening up about her emotional breakdown and that Steffi was the only one to comfort her, leading to Toni once again firing up and saying she never even saw it. And the fact Marian also never even spoke to her today, so she wasn’t ostracising her. Meryl admitted she didn’t speak to everyone either, though she spoke to people that were privy to other plans. Shane spoke about making decisions based on sticking with the majority, which everyone agreed was their plan, meaning half the tribe are about to be blindsided.

With that the tribe votes and Shane was one of the people that actually landed in the majority as the Breakfast Club banded together to take out PK. As Toni watched on in tears, kinda proving their decision right, given how close they are. Which is something PK agreed with as he arrived at Loser Lodge and I entered into my usual post-boot peptalk. Like Chappies before him, the odds were always stacked against PK going into the season due to his bonds and being a massive threat. Which seemed to be enough to cheer him up as we smashed a Pheko Phettata (but sadly only a Pheko Phettata).

Light, fluffy and a little bit spicy, this little Mexican inspired frittata is the perfect way to start the day. Or close out your second Survivor journey. Or for any reason, TBH.

Enjoy!

Pheko Phettata
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 chorizo, sliced into coins
1 potato, cut into 1cm dice
1 red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
400g red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
6 eggs
½ cup cream
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Pop a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes, or until the onion starts to ooze. Add the potato and onion and cook, stirring, for a further five minutes. Add the garlic and beans and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander.

Transfer the mixture into a greased pie dish. Whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, hot sauce and a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour over the chorizo and potato mixture, followed by another sprinkling of cheese.

Pop the frittata in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and cooked through. Allow to rest for five minutes before transferring to a plate and devouring. Joyously.


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