Chicken & Cherry Ballotine

Main, Poultry, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 2, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 12 new queens arrived in jolly old London town to see if they could live up to my hype after the epic first season. Immediately thrust into a Wimbledon inspired photo shoot, Lawrence brought a stunning mess to the pic and took out the first victory of the season. Meanwhile on the mainstage the queens were tasked with two looks inspired by their UK gay icon and one proving why they’re the icon of their hometowns. Despite controversially rocking ASOS, Asttina took out the first victory victory while Joe Black was read for filth for not hitting her references and Bimini for being sloppy. But in the lip sync, she was anything but as she stole the show and saved herself sending the iconic Joe out of the competition.

The queens returned to the Werk Room with Bimini shell-shocked by the experience while my sweet Veronica just could not comprehend that someone as iconic and famous as Joe Black was eliminated first. Lawrence meanwhile was just processing the fact that the competition really can flip on its head in the matter of minutes, though did caution that maybe Bimini should pop on some undies. Speaking of Bimini, after scrubbing the mirror clean, as is their duty, they begged the girls to escort them to the couch so they could finally whip off their shoes. 

Sister Sister warned the girls that they have no idea how it actually feels to be in the bottom, while Lawrence continued to work her way further into my heart by telling them that they have no idea how it feels to top either. While they all laughed, Bimini wanted some drama – preach – and asked who the safe girls thought placed in the top and bottom. While Cherry got awkward, A’Whora was more than happy to share that everyone sans Lemon really thought Asttina should have been in the bottom thanks to her ASOS jacket. This led to Asttina pointing out she won and as such, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks and they all just need to step their pussies up. Leaving Tia to rightly suggest they de-drag and go home.

Oh and Lemon tried on Bimini’s outfit which is iconic but not relevant in the slightest. I just love them both.

The next day tensions had returned to normal with Asttina proudly rocking the first badge of the season. Veronica mentioned that she was missing Joe already – bless nerdy boy Veronica, I love him so – before Lawrence admitted that Joe left her some nails as she didn’t really have enough to last the competition. This led to some killer banter between her and Lemon and ugh, the UK girls just have so much charm, wit and talent – I love them all! Cherry asked Tia if she was going to step up her runways now, with Tia admitting that she got her three shit ones out of the way so they all best get ready to be dominated. Oh and to us, she still doesn’t know how to read A’Whora.

Oh and I did not recognise Ellie out of drag and was V confused where that person had come from. Again, not relevant but thought you should know.

Ru arrived to put the queens to test in this week’s mini challenge where they would be required to ride the pole. By casting their vote for their drag cabinet for Secretary of Shade, Trade Minister (aka the hottest), Leader of the House of Lording It up (aka the cockiest) and Baroness Basic before stuffing the Pit Crew’s ballot box. With their votes, obviously – this is the BBC after all. After Ru tabulated the votes, the cabinet was announced with A’Whora elected as Secretary of Shade, Tayce won Trade Minister – Asttina was robbed – Lawrence Chaney won Leader of the House of Lording it Up and Baroness Basic went to Tia Kofi. Obviously.

Oh and then Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they’ll be singing and performing live – Charlie was right – in the debut performance of Rats: The Rusical. With only Michelle to help get their vocals over the line. Oh and then Tia was given the power to cast the show, given she was called basic and damn, this is going to be fun. Wait, no, Tia just wants it to be good and isn’t going to ruin it for anyone else. Sigh.

Veronica was feeling her singing oats, Asttina too was confident while Veronica and Cherry fought it out for the lead role Evita, with Veronica ultimately getting it, given it is the harder role and Tia wants to look after the less confident Cherry. Tia asked Lawrence why she was being so quiet, with Lawrence admitting to straight up being terrified given singing and dancing are not her gig. A’Whora was ultimately given the villain – which tracks –  while Bimini requested the non-singing role paired with it. The hoodrat parts went to Tayce and Ellie, after the latter was forced to audition for Tia. Sister, Cherry and Lawrence meanwhile formed a trio, with Sister not caring enough to fight being cast as the Rat Pack extras and Lawrence continuing to spiral with nerves. Leaving Tia the show stopping cameo for herself.

On the mainstage the queens met with Michelle and her vocal coach Dane Chalfin, with Sister, Cherry and Lawrence clearly nervous. A’Whora and was told she was holding back while Bimini was firing on all cylinders. Veronica quickly shut up everyone that doubted her while Asttina was lost next to her. Ginny rocked it as Judy Stench, while Tia was cautioned that by going the route of giving herself the smaller role she really needs to nail it and steal the show. And finally, Tayce and Ellie were both called out for being difficult to understand.

Michelle and Dane exited leaving Jay Revell and Kieran Daley Ward to get the girls up to speed with their choreo. Immediately flooding Ginny’s basement. Once again Bimini was super confident, while A’Whora just couldn’t rough it up for the role. Tayce and Ellie slayed, Veronica and Asttina worked well together, though Veronica was starting to get in her head that she really needs to win. Which may not end well. Ginny and Tia forgot their lines while Lawrence just wanted to slink into the background as she struggled and poor Cherry just wanted Lawrence and Sister to get it together so they can work through what they need to do. Lawrence started to break down, sharing that she is struggling to be this far out of her comfort zone while the rest of the girls tried to rally around her. It was relatable and sweet, so I’m obviously not going to be shady about it.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone full of energy as they got into rat drag, except for Lawrence who continued to get more and more nervous. On the other end of the spectrum, Tayce and A’Whora were busy flirting it up and alluding to their past time together. Cherry and Sister spoke about how happy the are to have each other in the competition, with Cherry sharing that she grew up as a traveller and how that contradicts with being gay. Despite the fact all the women in his family are camp as hell, the men, however, are all super butch. She spoke about struggling to be proud of being gay and share emotions and well, it was just a really nice wholesome bonding moment and again, I love them all.

On the mainstage Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Sheridan Smith for the premiere of Rats: The Rusical which opened with a flush. Literally. Veronica had a fire from her very first note, Ginny was hilarious, Lawrence continued to struggle with her nerves and Bimini was delightfully bonkers. Tayce and Ellie missed a cue, but managed to end their duet strongly. Lawrence warmed up throughout the show and leaned into her comedy, Sister was demented and Cherry kinda go lost, despite nailing rehearsal. Bimini owned her duet, despite A’Whora warming into the role. Attina was well and truly overshadowed by Veronica which is more a compliment to the latter, given Asttina was giving it her all. Oh and Tia’s strategy paid off as she stole the damn show with a killer final number.

On the Surprise, Surprise reveal runway, A’Whora slayed going from groom to bride. Lawrence was a bit awkward going from blueberry to tartan, Ginny was an icon, revealing the EXACT same dress under the first one, just with a bottom window included, giving them the hole nine yards. Cherry was camp and demented, going from yellow puff to pregnant lady. Tia had a killer concept going from leather daddy before slaying as a showgirl or the dancing lady emoji. Ellie went from Scarecrow to Tin Man before offering a third look, as the Cowardly Lion. Asttina Mandela went from death to sexy ninja and damn, my basement is not just flooding but overflowing. Sister Sister was a floral dame before going full dominatrix demon, in the best way. And then Veronica arrived and stole the damn show, going from Stepford Wife to full blown robot. Poor Tayce was next, going from cape to gown to dying in a bodysuit and well, I feel sorry for her following Veronica. Bimini then walked out in a corset with balloons full of paint which was an iconic concept that tragically just failed as hard as Asia and the butterflies. 

Ultimately A’Whora, Ginny, Asttina, Sister Sister and Bimini were deemed safe, leaving the rest to be praised or read for filth. Lawrence sadly was the latter with the judges feeling she was good in the show but needed to get out of her way. And her reveal was quite boring. The judges felt Cherry’s inner saboteur took her down this week and while she was good, she fell flat. The judges lived for everything Tia Kofi did this week except for her showgirl look. Ellie received universal praise for everything she did but well, they clearly loved everything Veronica Green did just that little bit more. I am so proud of her! Oh and Tayce was praised for looking stunning despite being overshadowed in the show and well, very basic on the runway.

Backstage Bimini was thrilled to be safe but heartbroken her reveal didn’t pan out. Ginny spoke about it being so much harder than they expected. The tops and bottoms returned, with Lawrence feeling ok. Sister Sister admitted that she felt Lawrence brought her down this week, with Lawrence getting offended while Sister just wanted to find a way to keep going rather than breaking down. Tayce said the judges felt everything she did was a bit flat while Cherry felt like she was being ignored, despite being in the bottom and clearly emotional. She shared she was scared and wanted to get out of her head. Talk turned to Veronica being quiet and riding under the radar, with her hoping it was a warning shot that she was here for victory. Oh and Tia was thrilled to learn that she is hella basic and congratulated the girls for identifying it earlier.

Ultimately Tia and Ellie were deemed safe, handing Veronica an extremely well-deserved victory before Lawrence’s personality saved her from the bottom two, leaving Cherry and Tayce to battle it out to Memory. And holy shit, while it isn’t exactly the most drag friendly song, the duo serve it, tapping into the emotion and frankly, breaking my heart. Both girls felt every feel however Tayce had light and shade, going from heartbreak to rage, quivering lip and fire in her eyes. Despite Cherry rocking it as a fragile leading lady, it wasn’t enough as Tayce was sent to safety and poor Cherry was sent home. Vowing to fight and never let anyone overlook them ever again.

Backstage I was still COVID naive as I pulled Cherry into a massive hug and reminded her how great she is and how proud of her I am. You see, I first met Cherry a decade or so ago when planning a family member’s traveller wedding (I was meant to appear on a rival reality TV show about these weddings, but D’Andra Simmons got me removed like I was LeeAnne in that defunct show).

But I digress.

I was taken by Cherry’s charm and nervous energy, so I took her under my wing and encouraged her to shine. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I am her drag mother. Thus the pride. But I digress, again. Cherry was thrilled to see me backstage and glad I had a delicious Chicken & Cherry Ballotine waiting to cheer her up again.

The salty prosciutto and tart cherries work harmoniously to create a ballotine that you can’t stop devouring. Particularly when feeling down or if the weather is shit. Or if you are happy. Or you know, whenever – this is just really tasty and super easy.

Enjoy!

Chicken & Cherry Ballotine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
½ cup morello cherries, drained and chopped
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices prosciutto
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two thinner fillets

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the cherries, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, thyme, oregano, garlic and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile line the prosciutto on a piece of cling, with the long sides overlapping. Place the chicken breast pieces over the top, before forming the stuffing into a sausage and placing in the middle. Roll the chicken into a sausage, using the prosciutto to seal it in.

Place seam side down on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto crispy. Leave to rest for ten minutes, before slicing into discs and serving with a generous heaping of mash.


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