Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.
The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.
Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.
While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.
Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.
My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.
Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.
The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.
Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.
While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.
Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.
At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.
Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.
With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.
Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.
I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.
Wai Chimichangas Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’ 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp chili powder 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp ground coriander ¼ cup tomato paste ½ cup chicken stock 400g tin diced tomatoes 4 cups shredded roast chicken salt and pepper, to taste ¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving 2 cups refried beans 8 flour tortillas 1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated Lady Guagamole, to serve small handful coriander leaves, to serve lime wedges, to serve hot sauce, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.
To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.
Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.
Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.
After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.
The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.
Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them.
George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.
With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.
The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.
Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.
Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.
Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.
Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.
George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.
With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.
Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.
And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.
Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.
The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.
At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.
George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.
With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.
Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!
Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.
Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.
Chicken Kezadilla McGee Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 800g chicken thighs, diced 4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce 400g can diced tomatoes salt and pepper, to taste 8 large tortillas 1-2 cups Lady Guagamole 1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo ½ cup sour cream jack cheese, to taste 1 lime, cut into eighths
Method Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.
To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.
To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.
Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.
Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.
We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.
Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.
Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.
Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.
Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.
The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.
Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.
Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory.
Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.
Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.
Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game.
She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.
At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.
While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.
With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.
As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.
We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.
Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.
Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.
The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.
With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.
The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.
Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.
Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.
Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.
Slay Queen Hayley.
Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.
As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.
My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.
While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.
Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.
Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.
As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.
By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?
At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.
Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.
This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.
With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.
Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.
Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.
I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.
Nachoey Cheese McCann Makes: 2 cups.
Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp flour ¼ tsp smoked paprika 1 cup milk 1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
Method In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute.
Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.
Previously on All Stars, 13 queens made their triumphant returns to the Drag Race stage. Like us, they learnt that there would be a game within a game this year but it was quickly glossed over and forgotten. In the Variety Show Scarlet somehow only bubbled to safe, Yara shook her titties to victory, Ra’Jah sewed a dress in a minute, Trinity bombed her stand-up and Serena sang about her wig line. Given everyone was pretty damn good, Serena and Trinity landed in the bottom, meaning Yara’s tittie shaking meant she could select who should go should she beat the lip sync assassin. While she opted to vote out the threat, Coco won the lip sync and poor Serena became the first boot.
The queens returned to the Werk Room with Trinity grateful to have survived the first elimination before Ra’Jah counted out all the votes. We learnt that Serena was unanimously booted from the competition, as Trinity thanked the girls for rallying around her and believing in her, making her feel all warm and loving. That is until Yara announced that she actually voted for Trinity to leave, which Yara said wasn’t a personal decision. Which really annoyed Trinity and made Yara nervous that she will be viewed as a little less congenial this season and instead, might be a little darker.
The next day things were far less stressful as the queens found Serena’s message, wisely encouraging them to buy one of her wigs. Ra’Jah meanwhile asked the dolls to identify the trade of the season, with Eureka saying it was probably her. Which Ginger agreed with, given she would love to trade Eureka out for someone else. Jan meanwhile was feeling her oats, which Jiggly did not feel. Eureka pointed out it would probably be Trinity, given she has the sense of danger Jiggly said was required. But given she was wearing a brooch, Silky called bullshit on TKB being a legitimate danger to anyone.
Ru interrupted the vigorous debate, arriving to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the girls would be throwing a cheeky little Blue Ball. Category 1 is Blue Betta Werk, dedicated to blue collar workers, Blue Jean Baby in honour of denim and Blue Ball Bonanza, which the girls need to design using random blue items dumped in the Werk Room, this time sans a buried Art Simone, despite her literally having blue hair.
As soon as Ru departed, the girls started fighting for the blue materials, while Eureka stood back and decided to just run with whatever dregs are left over when they are all done. Jan was opting to re-do the concept she did for the Ball Ball, with Scarlet suggesting that she doesn’t do that and instead trying something new. Jiggly meanwhile was freaking out, given she bombed both of the design challenges in her first season and the only materials left on her table were complete and utter junk. At the other end of the spectrum was Ra’Jah who was feeling confident, despite the fact she went home on a sewing challenge in her original season. Sonique tried to give her a pep talk thinking she was down but Ra’Jah explained she just needed to verbalise it and move on and damn, I love their vibes this season.
Yara meanwhile was living her best life, kikiing with the queens and being stupid while not even touching a sewing machine. You see, her plan was to wait and see what everyone else was making and once they were done, just make something better.
Ru returned to check in on the girls, with Eureka talking about how much she has grown since her last season and was confident that her craftiness will help her turn a decent look in the third category. Jiggly spoke about how zen she is after coming out as trans and how much better she can now approach the competition, despite not being the most confident designer. Ra’jah meanwhile spoke about how she has finally chilled out and is no longer insecure, ready to take on the world.
Elimination Day arrived with Kylie ready to give the three bluest balls Ru has ever seen. Yara meanwhile was busy getting ready as a construction worker for the first category, though was still hiding her third look from everyone else. Driving Eureka and Jan mad as they wanted to find out what she was planning. Silky was hoping to work her way to the top, A’Keria couldn’t find her scissors and Jiggly was hoping to finally serve a slutty San Tropez dress.
Talk turned to the girls’ strategies, with Eureka wanting to see if they were all on the same page while Trinity alluded to the fact it will be obvious who is in the bottom just by looking at their outfits and they should go from there. Like her last season, Ginger said she would be voting with integrity and will vote for people she can stand behind. Jiggly brought up the fact that she has a lot of friends in the competition and she worried that at the end of the day, those relationships will come into play at some point.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judging panel by the icon herself, Big Freedia. On the Blue Betta Werk runway, Ra’Jah was stunning as a sexy project manager on the construction site, Kylie was a sexy-street carpenter, Eureka was a glorious crossing guard, Jan was Disney mechanic, Jiggly was stunning taking out the trash while Silky was a sparkly milk maiden. Scarlet served buzzsaw bombshell, A’Keria was a comedy welder, Pandora went from lunch lady to sexy waitress, Yara rocked the bouncy titties on the construction site, Ginger went with Mario realness and poor Trinity did the weaker version of Eureka’s look.
When it came to Blue Jean Baby, Ra’Jah wore the sexiest Canadian tuxedo, Kylie channeled Christina Aguilera and honoured her trans roots, Eureka was a gowned delight, Jan worse a structural star denim number, Jiggly was a sexy skater girl, Silky was a fringed cowgirl, Scarlet was American trash in the best way possible, A’Keria was a sexy, cut out dream while Pandora gave us all the Dolly we could dream, Yara channeled Shakira, Ginger was delightful in a chambray jumpsuit while Trinity gave us the sexiest disco diva.
For the final category, Ra’Jah was perfection in a synched gorgeous gown, Kylie gave sexy beach realness, Eureka looked ready to compete for Junior Miss Grand Supreme, Jan slayed her glow-up in the Ball Ball, Jiggly was tragically a mess, Silky dressed in and looked like a doona, Scarlet was gorgeous in a shimmering fishtail gown and A’Keria was a plastic delight, though it didn’t give her the best shape. Pandora was a delight in a blue ribbon gown despite the lack of shape, while Yara was lost in the streamers at a prom, despite making a decent gown. Ginger was stunning in a blue trench, while Trinity finally nailed it in a Cinderella inspired gown.
Jan, Silky, Scarlet, Pandora, Ginger and Trinity were sent to safety and ventured backstage to untuck and grab their drinks. Scarlet shared her disappointment to be safe yet again as was Jan, given she only used hot glue. The girls agreed Eureka and Ra’Jah would be in the top, with the latter the best shot at taking out victory. When Trinityspoke about being nervous about doing bad, she and Scarlet had beef after the latter said that they would clearly have put in her the bottom if she was bad, given that’s literally how it works. Ginger shared that she was concerned about Jiggly, though admitted that Yara did bomb her first two looks. Despite turning the final look.
Talk turned to Jan’s grandfather passing away from COVID and how he was the person that always embraced her talent and as such, she was ready to turn it and have some fun for him. Talk turned to how they should vote, with Trinity saying they should focus on track record while Silky wanted to focus on effort. Trinity said that she was both fangirling over the queens but also saw them as competition, she then apologised to Scarlet for snapping at her and they all came together and ugh, I love the dolls.
Meanwhile on the Main Stage, Ra’Jah received universal praise for each and every look of the ball. Sonique was praised for the first two looks, and the judges were glad the last look didn’t read as messy. Eureka’s first look was beloved, she was praised for doing something different with denim and the fact she gave so much structure to everything. Jiggly’s first look was praised, the second was read as off the rack and the last one, tragically, was read for being a hot mess. A’Keria was praised for giving comedy, despite not screaming welder. She was then read for being basic but praised for having vision. And poor Yara, was read for being a little too much and confusing. Which is totally her brand, right?
Ultimately Ra’Jah took out her very first victory ever, with Kylie and Eureka sent to safety. As was A’Keria who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Jiggly and Yara up for elimination.
The girls reconvened backstage with Ra’Jah giddy to share her first victory with the rest of the crew, before pointing out that Yara and Jiggly are in the bottom this week. Ra’Jah pulled Yara aside first, with Yara not looking forward to having to plead her case. As such, she didn’t really do it, but assured her that she will well and truly bring it over the next weeks and will be true to herself. Meanwhile poor Jiggly broke down with the other girls, disappointed that the one challenge she was worried about came up in week two.
Ginger was heartbroken about potentially having to send her friend home, before the girls traded places as Yara cried with the other girls. She was overwhelmed to go from the top to the bottom, not wanting to have to prove herself to them given she is already sickening. Which annoyed Trinity, given she spent the first day playing games rather than sewing. Jiggly meanwhile was charming the hell out of Ra’Jah, offering up alliances and her vote before genuinely asking her to just give her another chance to show how much she has grown.
Jan meanwhile pulled the other girls aside to try and figure out how they should vote, with Eureka worried about the decision to vote for a friend coming to bite her if she is up against someone more likeable later. Ginger then pointed out that Jiggly was better in the first two categories, despite being the worst in the third.
The tops and bottoms made their way outside for voting, with Jiggly taking the chance to run away to the carpark to breathe, sobbing as she shared her disappointed that she can’t even lip sync for her life. As she processed her emotions, the producers gave her a pep talk and ugh, it was hard to watch.
Meanwhile Scarlet was busy being read for having the saltiest face and living in her own fantasy before Jiggly reunited with the dolls. She caught up Ginger, with Ginger trying to lift up her friend while also realising that Jiggly arguably did the worst in the challenge. As both Yara and Jiggly broke down in separate corners of the tent, the queens went to vote one by one, with Trinity backing Jiggly to fight while Ginger sobbed her way through casting her’s against her friend.
Back on the mainstage Ra’Jah learnt that she would be facing off against her season 11 sister slash Drag Race Canada judge Brooke Lyn Hytes to Miss You Much by Janet Jackson. Both girls immediately slayed the game, hitting every lyric and serving full Janet. They were popping, locking, dropping, flipping and splitting and ugh, it was glorious. As such, it was deemed a very hard fought tie, with both Ra’Jah and the group ultimately voting to send the beautiful Jiggly home, bringing tears to my eyes.
Backstage Jiggly was so heartbroken to be the one to go home though wrote the girls a cute message as she processed the emotion. By the time she met up with me, we were both blubbering messes. I was so excited to finally have Jiggly return to the competition, and while she went home early, I tried to remind her that the world already knows that she is a star and doesn’t need to rudeem herself. And while that positivity is uncharacteristic for me, that is the power of a Chickly Caliente Burrito.
Spicy, sweet and oh so delicious, there is nothing better than a burrito. Except for a burrito WITH FRIES IN IT. Aka a cali burrito. Sure, this recipe is nothing more than adding fries to Kenny’s, but when it tastes this good, who cares?
Chickly Caliente Burrito Serves: 4.
Ingredients 200g can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 2 ¼ tsp ground cumin 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped 6 cloves garlic salt and pepper, to taste 1 red onion, quartered ¼ cup oil olive oil 1kg chicken breasts 4 x flour tortillas 1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp chilli 1 batch Salsa Struthers 1 batch Lady Gaugamole 1 cup Jack cheese, shredded ¼ cup sour cream
Method Combine the chipotles in adobo sauce with 1 teaspoon of pepper, two teaspoons of the salt and cumin, the oregano, garlic and red onion – minus ½ a cup of red onion – in a blender with the olive oil and blitz to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl, coat the chicken and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat an extra lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry chicken, a few breasts at a time, for five-ish minutes each side. Remove from the heat and roughly chop into 1cm-ish chunky, shreds. Repeat until the chicken is all done and return to the pan with the remaining marinade and fry for a few minutes. Leave to rest while you prep the rest.
Now would be a good time to make your fries as per Judd’s recipe and then season with the smoked paprika, chilli, and remaining cumin and a good whack of salt.
Then prep your Salsa Struthers and Lady Gaugamole.
To assemble, heap the chicken, fries, salsa and guac in the centre of a large tortilla, top with cheese and sour cream and roll into a burrito. Aka close in the ends, then roll up to close.
Then devour, greedily. Oh and store the excess chicken for the next batch of burritos.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Ru and Michelle made the perilous trip to the southern hemisphere and after two weeks in quarantine, joined Rhys Nicholson on set to join ten of the best Aussie and Kiwi queens. One by one the departed, with Jojo tragically robbed first though winning the honour of being the Down Under Pork Chop.
She was followed by Art Simone, but that meant nothing, because after Coco was felled in Girl Groups, Art was returned to the competition in a pile of trash. Which honestly is how the fandom reacted to the lack of explanation about her return.
Which Anita’s business partner and Elektra’s boss, the lovely and supremely talented – not that Supremme – Kita Mean to take out the first title of Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar. And keep it firmly on New Zealand soil.
While she was overwhelmed by the experience at the start, Kita grew from strength to strength throughout the competition and by the time it came to the finale, there was no other person that should have been crowned.
Which is convenient, since she was.
After taking out victory, I pulled her into my arms and grabbed her by the face and through gritted teeth, told her that she is the most damn talented queen I’ve ever seen and I am so proud of everything she has achieved and I can’t wait for her to take over the world.
And did I mention I love you Kita?!
If that intense display didn’t sink in, I hope that my Turkita Mean Tostadas convinced her.
Inspired by those made by the iconically flavour-packed Half Baked Harvest number, these tostadas are the perfect way to honour a victory. Hot, spicy and layered with creamy, sweet and tangy flavours, they’re damn near perfect. Just like Kita’s run.
Turkita Mean Tostadas Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients extra virgin olive oil 500g turkey mince 1 onion, chopped 400g tinned diced tomatoes 2 chipotle chillis in adobo, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp chilli powder 2 tsp ground cumin salt and pepper, to taste 12 corn tortillas 1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded 1-2 avocados, mashed 1 lime, juiced 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded and washed coriander leaves and sour cream, for serving
Method Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the turkey and break up the mince with your wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Add the tinned tomatoes, chipotles, garlic, chilli powder and cumin with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes or so, or until reduced. If it gets too dry, add water in ¼ cup increments throughout the process.
Meanwhile run the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until crisped and lightly browned.
To assemble, place a sprinkle of cheese on top of six tortillas and top with the remaining six. Bake for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and plate your cheesy shells before topping with the meat mixture, mashed avo, extra cheese, sour cream, lettuce and coriander.
I have just finally seen the first episode of Drag Race España and while I may have come for Jon Kortajarena – I said what I said – but damn I am glad I went through countless quarantines to venture over for the dolls because they were fierce. I mean, ¡ qué divertido !
(And you know, the fact that it is available on Stan in Australia so I can watch along with the rest of the world. FYI, this is not an ad. For some reason nobody wants me endorsing their products).
But that is enough about the episode until next week – I have a new take on spoilers and not ruining things for people. Instead, I wanted to focus on the other non-Jon reason for months of quarantining – my dear friend Supremme de Luxe.
I’ve known Supremme for years and years after meeting in a Diana Ross & The Supremes message board on the AOL. Does that age me?
Don’t answer that.
Anyway, we quickly became the best of friends – like a non-romantic You’ve Got Mail – and when I finally returned to Spain in the mid-aughts to reclaim my throne as Pedro Almodovar’s muse, we finally met and solidified our bond.
She gave me a call a few months before filming was due to commence and honestly, it kind of broke my heart.
“Hey Ben, I know you’re friends with Fred and Pangina too but couldn’t cover their franchises because of language barriers (read: laziness on my part) and lack of timely local broadcasts on a streaming service you have, but I’d really love it if you could find it in your heart to fit your dear friend Supremme into your schedule.
“Oh and Jon will be there, if you could fit him in.”
With that, I vowed to fit everything in and jumped the next plane to Spain and after weeks of quarantine measures, finally got to hold Supremme in my arms, celebrate the upcoming season and split a delightful Crunchwrap Supremme de Luxe.
It is a fact universally acknowledged that there is nothing better in life than a crunchwrap. Tragically both of the ‘Bells in Brisbane are in the outer suburbs and by the time I get them home, they delights are decidedly lacking in the crunch. Thus why I immediately jumped on the copycat train to experience them in all their crunchy glory as Supremme intended.
This riff on the fast food delight is super cheesy, super crunchy and packs a killer punch of chilli and well, let’s just say that this is what dreams are made of.
Crunchwrap Supremme de Luxe Serves: 2 hungry besties, 4 normal people.
Ingredients 2 cups Chilli Con Kim Carnes 6 large tortillas 1 cup nacho cheese sauce 2 cups tortilla chips (because tostada shells aren’t readily available, and I love Téa Leoni) ½ cup sour cream 1 avocado, mashed 1-2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded 1 tomato, diced 1 cup Mexican cheese blend vegetable oil, for brushin’
Method Some may call me lazy, but after the pandemic travel and quarantining, I was exhausted upon my arrival in Barcelona and as such, went with the easiest version of the recipe possible.
Once you’ve done the mise en place – did you know je parle français aussi?! – get to work assembling by placing four large tortillas on a bench. Divide the beef mixture amongst them, followed by the cheese sauce, leaving an inch or two bare around the edge. Top with tortilla chips, sour cream, avo, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
Split the remaining large tortillas and use to top the the filling before folding in the edges to create a tight disc. Flip over and leave to settle for five-ten minutes.
Once you’re confident they are closed – you should never be too confident – place a large frying pan over medium heat and once scorching, reduce to low and brush with vegetable oil. Carefully transfer a crunchwrap, seam side down, to the pan and fry for five minutes or so, or until nice and crunchy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is nice and melted. Repeat the process until done.
Previously on Australian Survivor David and Luke were riding high in control of the tribe, unaware that the Champion women were growing tired of their schtick. After Dave lost immunity, Pia led the crew to turn the tribe against David, with them approaching the former Contenders one by one until they were sure that everyone was keen to take him out. The poor boys thought the target was on Daisy’s back, with the only foil to the plan being their ability to hide the truth from the boys. Despite some near misses at tribal council, David held on to his idol one more time, which tragically was the wrong decision as everyone but Luke successful blindside him from the game. Though Luke to live for it and laughed with them as David found his way to the Jury Villa.
Back at camp everyone was in a celebratory mood after the epic blindside, with Pia admitting to being worried half-way through tribal since everyone was so good at lying to the boys. While Luke tried to keep his spirits up after being left out, he assured everyone that he is still happy to work with everyone and understands why he was left out of things. He then went wandering for an idol, though tragically was followed by Baden and Harry. Not one to waste an opportunity, he suggested they all steal the pot and rice and have themselves a killer little rice feast while everyone slept. Luke was feeling good about their bond after the shared theft, but I can’t help but feel like this will only come back to bite him.
The next day John returned for another glorious nude scene as everyone spoke about how beautiful the morning was – breach – before sitting down to a celebratory breakfast of rice, thrilled to take out their biggest competition. Daisy then roasted David’s looks before admitting to want to bone Simon – who? – or Shaun – duh – before Janine continued to relish in the Davidless world, feeling her power growing in the game. She caught up with Abbey and the two confirmed that playing Champions strong is their best idea for the next few votes. Pia joined her allies, to quietly celebrate before she started to worry about putting Luke offside. With that she approached Luke by the well to reassure him that while his ally was blindsided, she and him were still solid. Standing right next to an idol.
By the shore Daisy was still feeling her oats after the killer acting performance at tribal council, boldly approaching Janine and Abbey to find out who would be the next to go. While she didn’t appear to be too concerned about their deflections, Harry was nervous and decided to take matters into his own hands and commenced searching for an idol. Sadly for him, Daisy was one step ahead of him, reaching into a rock wall and grabbing her second idol of the game, which she intends to use to get out a massive threat. While she panicked about finding a place to hide it, Luke and Pia returned to the well with her nervously trying to pretend that she didn’t just find one. Luke being Luke, he straight up asked her whether she just found an idol with her giggled out her admission before he and Pia suggested they could work with her to find a way to play it successfully and make yet another big move.
Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would be paired up to balance an idol on the end of long sticks that they need to rub together. They were playing for a giant Chinese banquet so everyone was thrilled, as they paired up and Harry was forced to sit on the bench. Though he was given a reprieve, told that if he picked the winning pair he would join them, selecting Abbey and Janine for a throuple date. All the duos – Luke & Baden, John & Simon, and Pia & Daisy – were strong through the first two lengths of pole before Pia and Daisy dropped their idol adding the third segment. Everyone survived the next three extensions before Luke and Baden dropped sticking their last length of pole in. The were quickly followed by Simon and John, handing Janine and Abbey the win, and Harry for his killer betting abilities. Realising it was awkward to eat as a throuple, Jonathan allowed them one extra guest, with Harry selecting Simon to join them to hopefully find an in with the Champion crew.
The victors arrived at the jungle Chinese banquet, relaxing as they sat down to share a meal. Janine joked about the four of them being plotted against by the five back at camp, before getting super bold and floating plans for the next tribal council, hopeful to work with Harry given he is more predictable to some of her other options. After finishing the meal, Simon started casing the joint and discovered the plates from everyone’s family before we got to know Simon a little better, learning that he has three kids and is kinda hot. He then praised how good his son’s handwriting has gotten and hot damn, I guess I’m in love. Abbey cried about her plate, Janine showed off her sexy family and Harry outed himself as a superfan as his girlfriend wrote about Survivor being his lifelong dream. Oh and the plate made him realising that aligning with Janine is in his worst interests, making him focused to reunite the Contenders and find a way to take back control.
Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to have another idol to her name, though was unsure just how she will make it work. Particularly since she was court in the act – not Courtney Act – by Luke and Pia, and kinda needing to play along with them to make it work out.
Jonathan made his triumphant return for the next immunity challenge where everyone was forced to balance themselves between two long poles while planking. Oh and to update, John’s buns look great in his speedo. Harry dropped mere minutes into the challenge, followed closely by Abbey who let rip some glorious old man noises. Luke fell after three minutes, followed closely by Pia and my love, John. At ten minutes Baden started listing sequences until someone guessed them, after Simon identified the Olympic hosts, Daisy correctly guessed Eurovision and dropping out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Janine dropped, leaving King Baden to face off against our mute love Simon. The boys continued to fight, both desperately wanting a win under their belt leading to John starting to coach Baden in the hope that the youngo could secure the win. Sadly it was all for nought, as he couldn’t hold out any longer and Simon snatched himself immunity.
The tribe returned to camp to kick off their scrambling. Abbey was thrilled that Simon won the immunity challenge, though was more thrilled about the fact it was a Champion. Speaking of the Champs, they pulled themselves aside while Daisy rallied the Contenders to share that she has the idol. She then suggested that they all stick together and load the votes on one person, and she will play the idol to even up the numbers. While it isn’t a full-proof plan, they all agreed that it was their only shot. The Champions meanwhile were keen to get rid of Daisy, which led Luke and Pia to spill the knowledge of her idol. With that, the vote flipped to Harry as the easy(ish) option.
Luke and Baden then caught up by the well, with the latter hopeful to use their bond to keep the Contenders safe. Baden told Luke that he knows about Daisy’s idol, while Luke lied and said that he hadn’t told any of the Champions which made sweet Baden over confident and hot damn, am I nervous. Luke returned to JaQueen and Pia to fill them in, leaving the three to bounce back and forth between who to vote for before Pia admitted their only hope is to make Daisy so nervous that she blows the idol on herself.
At tribal council Daisy immediately put her idol around her neck, hopeful her brazen display would be enough to bamboozle the Champions. JaQueen was surprised to see her wear the idol, though was fairly sure that she had it. She then questioned why she was wearing it, unsure whether it was a bluff, or she planned to play it on any former Contender. Abbey and JaQueen agreed that old tribal lines were hard to break, though Janine mentioned that no matter what the game resets after every tribal council. With that Harry interjected to ask how that is true, given she always has control before John interrupted them to say that no matter what they believe, a pecking order exists and that won’t change unless the people on the bottom join them and switch things up.
Harry played into everyone’s fear, reminding them that they need to start making moves before their options join the jury. John doubled down, telling them that playing for fourth and fifth is pretty weak and they need to finally have a crack. Abbey admitted that they were aware of the idol all day and had just tried to figure out a way to navigate it. Daisy joined the fray to admit that playing the idol is her only hope and she’d rather play it on the wrong person than not have a crack. JaQueen started to make Daisy nervous, hopeful that she could make her burn the idol on herself. Abbey spoke about the Champions having two recurring targets, which John identified as a way to spook the Contenders away from playing the idol on him and as such, maybe he is their one true target.
With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and while the Contenders piled their votes on Abbey, someone cast a random vote for Harry and the rest voted for John. The tribe then revoted between John and Abbey with them coming in three apiece before tragedy struck and Zaddy John was sent from the game. With his budgies back at camp to boot.
While I was heartbroken to think that John’s pert butt won’t be kicking off every episode anymore, I was thrilled to see him expanding my Jury Villa harem. I took him in my arms after tribal council, congratulated him on a game well played before leading him back to the aforementioned villa for what I coined ‘an explosive surprise.’
Full disclosure, John forced me to change my practices this season, partly because of his passion for nudity and the other part because I wanted to woo him. To pull back the curtain, I usually arrive in Fiji with a recipe list for all of my friends with a suitcase full of groceries – so really the winner loses as that food is rotten by Day 50 – but seeing John parade around in speedos, flooding my basement in the process, I knew I had to give the man what he wanted. In the hope that he realised that he wanted me to. While I don’t kiss and tell, I can confirm that he was thrilled I pulled a Cher Horowitz, hauled arse to the kitchen, rearranged things and served him up a Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe. Aka a meal worthy of my King.
And boy am I glad I did. While it isn’t exactly what he sultrily described to Daisy and Shaun, this baby still filled him with joy. Juicy chicken enveloped in a spicy corn-chip crumb, slathered with salsa, ham and a tonne of dripping cheese, finished off with a dollop of sour cream and guac? Let’s just say a way to this man is definitely through a Mexi-parm.
Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe Serves: 2
Ingredients 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two fillets each 200g corn chips, blitzed to a crumb 1 cup flour 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp ground coriander seeds ½ tsp turmeric ¼ tsp cinnamon ¼ cup finely grated parmesan 1 egg 2 tsp milk 1 cup salsa, store bought or Struthers, I don’t mind 100g ham, sliced ⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapenos 100g vintage cheddar cheese, sliced ½ cup sour cream 1 avocado
Method Preheat oven to 180C.
Place the corn chips and flour in two bowls and mix each with half of each spice, and the corn chip mix with parmesan. Then whisk the egg and milk in a third.
Working one at a time, dip the breast in the spiced flour, followed by the egg wash and then into the corn chip crumb, pressing to make sure it is heavily coated. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat until the chicken is done.
Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, drizzle with salsa, top with sliced ham, drizzle with more salsa, dot with jalapenos, and cover with cheese. Return to oven and bake for a further ten minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Serve immediately and devour, seductively, wooing your man. Is anyone else feeling short of breath and sweaty?
Ok, ok – I know it feels like I’m stuck on a musical binge at the moment, after kicking off Call Me By Your Gold with Em and Reese on account of musicals, but Gustavo Santaolalla is an icon in his own right and I couldn’t go past with catching up with my dear friend to celebrate this year’s Oscars.
While I only met Gus close to fifteen years ago through my love Ang, our bond quickly grew as I inspired his exquisite score in Brokeback Mountain and made sure it captured the love and unbridled passion I held for Heath and Jake. And Mish.
Given it won him his first Oscar, I assume you agree that I am a gloriously stunning muse.
Gus being the delightful, sweet man that he is was totally shocked, humbled and honoured to get an invite to my annual Oscar Gold celebration. Even more so, as he got to help me lock in my bets for his sound brethren.
For Sound Editing, Gus believes I shouldn’t look past First Man, however I think A Quiet Place is a safe bet. For Sound Mixing, I am going with my boy Rami’s Bohemian Rhapsody while he thinks First Man will take that also. Given First Man didn’t even get a nom for Original Score, Gus is going with Isle of Dogs however I think If Beale Street Could Talk has it on lock. As does Gaga for Best Song which should just be given out straight away as it is the safest bet of the night.
That being said, Black Panther is the only nom that could act as a spoiler. Though it won’t.
TBH it was a pretty easy bunch of noms to discuss, but that didn’t stop us from getting down to sharing a platter of Tastavo Santaolalla. You know, to give us back our energy.
Hot and spicy, fresh and crunchy, tostadas are one of my favourite Mexican dishes. I mean, it is essentially a giant chip piled with a meaty-salady dip. When I put it that way, you find it pretty irresistible, no?
Tostavo Santaolalla Serves: 4.
Ingredients olive oil 1 red onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 500g beef mince 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 tbsp chilli powder 2 tsp cumin ½ tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp turmeric 400g refried beans 8 corn tostadas cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce, hot sauce and coriander, to garnish
Method Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft, sweet and fragrant. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until the mince is browned. Stir through the tomato paste and spices, and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile heat the beans in a small saucepan.
To assemble, smear the tostadas with the beans, top with the mince mixture and literally any combination of cheese, sour cream, lettuce, hot sauce and coriander that you desire.
Despite the fact that she is slaying the award season game with her film debut, my dear friend Lady Gaga will always be the scrappy little recording artist that could. While I irrationally hated Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta from the first moment I saw her, I am so grateful that Tony Bennett was able to talk sense into me and allow the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I mean, 100 of my fellow celebrities had told me that I would love Gaga’s sweet, creative soul but it took just one to get through to me and for that, I will always be grateful to Tone.
But enough about Tone, this is about thrice Academy and Emmy Award nominated, six time Grammy winning and my dear friend, Gaga. As I said, my own stupidity kept me from years of friendship with Ga – as only her best friends call her – and while that often wakes me in a cold sweat, I am glad at how quickly we developed the beautiful friendship we have.
Given she is busy residenc-ing and attendee literally every single award show on the planet, I decided to swing by for a post Oscar-nominees luncheon date and, you guessed it, run the odds for the Grammys.
Given she has made a splash in the film world I bequeathed her the honour of helping me pick who will take out Best Music Film and while I see merits in Whitney winning like Ga thinks, I can’t go past Quincy. While I am a dear friend of both Jay and Bey, neither of us can see them beating Childish Gambino’s This Is America.
Obviously I couldn’t bet against Gaga for Best Pop Solo Performance or Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, so we focused on me betting the house on Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s Love Is Here to Stay for BEst Traditional Pop Vocal Album – though Babs is my most likely spoiler – and my love for Kelly Clarkson isn’t enough to make me bet against Camila Cabello’s creatively titled Camila taking out Best Pop Vocal Album.
While running all those odds can be hungry work, I know that the Academy serves calorie rich food at the nominees luncheon – checky during awards season, no? – so I opted to keep it light with a delicious Lady Gaugamole.
Nobody loves avocados more than I – excluding Queer Eye’s Antony, obviously – however I had never tasted guac perfection until I encountered Chipotle. Oh Chipotle, how I love you so! The spicy, glorious guac bursting from a burrito and washed down with some Pibb Extreme is my idea of heaven. But this is not an add, focus on their guac – fresh and zingy, it is perfect all by itself.
Lady Gaugamole Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 ripe avocados
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp coriander
1 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
¼ tsp kosher salt Tortea Leoni Chips, to serve
Method Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and mash the flesh.
Now I know Kimmy Schmidt only has four main cast members, but I couldn’t go past honouring one of the wider ensemble members before the show comes to an end. While Amy Sedaris is still someone I need to catch-up with ASAP, it is Dylan Gelula who I felt deserved a date given Xanthippe’s relationship with Kimmy provided me with so much joy when it first started.
I first met Dylan on the set of Jennifer Falls where I was working as Jessica Walter’s self-appointed bodyguard – I couldn’t trust Jeffrey Tambor not to appear and verbally assault her – but was taken by the young upstart’s talent. And ability to hold her own against Jess and the equally iconic Jaime Pressly.
When Tina first brought Unbreakable to me, she was hoping I would play Xanthippe – then named Benthippe – though I was too busy making bad choices and made a bad choice for my career. And a great choice creatively, suggesting she gender flip the role and cast Dyl.
I haven’t seen Dylan since filming the earlier seasons, so it was a treat to look back on how far she has come and for me to bait her into thanking me for giving her the big break. Thankfully she was a sweetie and before I had even mentioned that I would be serving a big plate of Quesadylan Chipotlula Chicken, she was talking about how wonderful my support has been.
You know I love my chilli to liquify my insides and given me the hiccups and the table, and these babies don’t fail. Piping hot, smokey and a little bit sweet, they’re the perfect food to honour the fire she brought to the role.
Quesadylan Chipotlula Chicken Serves: 4.
Ingredients olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
200g can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups roast chicken, roughly chopped
3 cups grated cheese
Guacamole, sour cream and lime, to serve
Method Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Quickly add the chipotle in adobo, tomatoes and sugar with a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and stir through the chicken until heated through.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
To assemble, sprinkle cheese on a half of each tortilla – in a half-moon, ya dig? Split the chicken amongst the tortillas and spread to cover the cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and fold the tortillas closed to form semi-circles. Press firmly and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
Place in the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp. Cut into wedges and serve piping hot with guac, sour cream and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.