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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Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

How good is season 2, right? I mean, sure, there are always things that disappoint you when you’re expectations are so high – like Rory not ending up with Jess on the Gilmore revival – but Stranger Things has proven it isn’t a one season wonder. While I binged the episodes while catching up with Shan, Mil and Gats, I still won’t be dropping spoilers whilst catching up with the rest of the cast as we barrel towards Halloween. So relax.

Like Gats, I’ve been friends with Caleb for years after working as a consultant on The Lion King on Broadway. While I was swiftly fired after de-anthropomorphising the production and turning it into a gay spectacular – I mean it is set in the Pride Lands, duh – he admired my spirit, and we’ve kept in touch.

While he oft even takes my horrible advice – like when I told him appearing in Shades of Blue would be a good idea – the suggestion that he audition for Stranger Things truly was a career making move, so he still loves me.

Cal has been so excited to be featured on the blog – what a doll – so giddily arrived at my door ready to gossip about where his character will go in season 3 and whether appearing in Shades of Blue again is a good idea. The answer to the latter, obviously, was a big fat no.

While the reminder of that little career hiccup brought up a lot of guilt on my part, little Cal, like he co-stars, didn’t see to harbour any PTSD related resentment. Though with my Chillieb McDucklin Dumplings on the menu, how could he?

 

 

Now I don’t like to play favourites when it comes to recipes, but this is up there as one of my faves. Though I have a mild duck obsession, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise? Packing – rather than peking – a killer whack of chilli, the cook into perfectly crinkled brains. Then cover them in some chilli? Well my friends, then you’ve go a delicious Halloween blood bath.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
30 gow gee wrappers
1 large duck breast, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 shallots, roughly chopped
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup tamari
¼ cup hoisin
¼ sriracha
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method
Roughly chop the duck and blitz in a food processor until it is finely minced. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until well combined.

Line the wrappers out on a dry clean bench and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water, crinkle close and place on a lined baking sheet until done.

Bring a large pot of shallow water to a rollicking boil. Place a lined steamer in and cook for 5 minutes, or until they’re at their brainy best.

While they’re cooking, combine the tamari, hoisin, sriracha and sesame. Once they’re done, toss the dumplings through the sauce and serve, blood splattered.

Devour, like a zombie.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

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Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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Amy MuSchumer

Emmy Gold, Main

Ok – so again, we’re catching up with another current Emmy nominee but I promise, this is the last one. Rightly or wrongly, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Amy and I are just way too similar for me to not include her in such an important occasion. I mean, both of us are praised as brave for posing nude (I’d argue that it is the photographer that is brave in my case, but I’ve digressed), have a penchant for smut and swearing and have felt the disappointed gaze of Michael Caine.

Plus she is a killer friend and is sure to take me as her date, right? Well wrong … but all is forgiven as she too agrees that Kit and I should go together.

I first met Ames in the early 00s when we both became involved in a shoplifting scheme, resulting in grand larceny charges. While she was able to plead down the charges thanks to her cousin, I bought my way out of my problems and fled back to Lisa Vanderpump’s mansion.

While we didn’t speak for a few years, we reconnected during her stint on Last Comic Standing. I was heavily involved in rigging reality television programs and was desperately trying to get my hands on NBC’s stable after my dear friend Bethenny/any/eny/annie/infghtsmjfjf lost on Martha Stewart’s Apprentice, so spent a lot of time on set.

The decade that followed will go down as arguably the greatest friendship either has ever had and the best creative partnership known to mankind.

Like Bryan, Ames has a breadth of nominations under her belt so thankfully was able to run a shit tonne of odds with me. Our choices, are as follows:
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, Key and Peele
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, JLD
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Tig Notaro

Notably – but not surprisingly – she only backed her show when she wasn’t listed as a nominee. I however back her when she isn’t up against JLD (and was right to back Teens and Ames in the Guest category). Adjust your betting accordingly.

After such a lengthy discussion, we were absolutely famished by the time it came to plotting the best way for me to get to Kit that I had to stop everything and whip up a huge batch of my Amy MuSchumer.

 

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Like Ames, the muschumer packs a punch, has a little bite and fills you with absolute joy. Coincidentally those are all aspects of my plan to woo Kit.

Enjoy!

 

amy-muschumer-2

 

Amy MuSchumer
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ cup plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
6 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp chilli flakes
peanut oil
600g pork, cut into strips
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp oyster sauce
thumb of ginger, peeled and minced
1 large carrot, julienned
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
6 shallots, sliced on the angle and one whole for the pancakes
2-3 cups shredded wombok
hoisin sauce, to serve

Method
Combine the flour, cornflour, water, milk, 2 of the eggs, half the butter, chilli flakes and rough chopped additional shallot and blitz in a food processor until smooth. Cover and stand while you make the pork.

Heat a lug of peanut oil in a wok/large frying pan over high heat and stir-fry the pork, in two batches, until browned aka about a minute. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the soy, sake, oyster sauce and ginger.

Clean out the wok/frying pan, add another lug of oil and stir-fry the carrot, capsicum and mushrooms for a minute. Add the shallots, wombok and pork and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, the liquid has reduced and the vegetables bright but tender. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile heat another lug of peanut oil in a small frying pan over high heat. When blisteringly hot, add the remaining eggs, lightly beaten, reduce heat to low and stir the eggs over themselves to form a delicate omelette.

Remove from the heat, roughly chop and stir through the pork mixture and keep warm while you fry the pancakes.

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and brush with the remaining butter. Add about a tablespoon worth of batter to the frying pan, spread it out to form a thin pancake and cook for a minute or two. Flip and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat until the batter is done.

Once the pancakes are sorted, dish up the pork, garnishing with some extra slice shallots, and serve with the pancakes.

I wouldn’t worry too much about presentation as you inhale them pretty quickly!

 

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