Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji and immediately decided they wanted to emulate Kaôh Rōng and find out just how much can go wrong in a single season. Breaking records, poor Bruce hit his head in the marooning challenge and while he made it back to camp, he was promptly medevaced that night. Matthew then fell off a rock and dislocated his shoulder the next day before Brandon got heat exhaustion in the first immunity challenge, the latter sending Ratu to the first tribal council. And while Brandon was the obvious target, he had found the hidden immunity idol and as such, sent Maddy out the door as the first (official) boot with his single vote.
We then experienced yet another dark timeline where a string of young, iconic women went back-to-back-to-back, with Helen, Claire and Sarah rounding out an iconic pre-merge. Matthew’s lingering shoulder pain saw him quit-evaced before the tribes faked merge. This saw the demise of Josh, who had been the main target of multiple tribes for about 4 episodes.
We then saw nature heal, albeit in a heartbreaking fashion, as sweet Matt became the King of the Jury, partly due to his love Frannie winning immunity. Brandon and Kane soon followed before Frannie was felled for being too much of a threat. We then lost zaddy Danny before Jamie just missed her spot in the finale. After Lauren lost final five immunity, she was booted for her underdog story. Heidi then took out her first win of the season at the final immunity challenge however wanting a hero moment for her resume, sent Yam Yam and Carolyn through to final tribal council and faced off against young Carson for the final slot. And beat him in record breaking time to book her slot.
Despite playing a strong game and being beloved by literally everyone, Carolyn didn’t muster a vote at final tribal council – rude – while Heidi jagged one from her ally Danny, leaving Yam Yam to be crowned our King. And while I was disappointed for Carolyn, Yam Yam equally has my heart and played such a smart disarming game that he easily booked himself a spot as one of the top tier. Plus, he is fun, entertaining, silly and represents the sassy, curvy, queer men, so for that, I booked my stan card pre-season.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that for the first time since San Juan Del Sur, I picked the winner pre-season and for that alone, he is worthy of a piping hot dish of Candied Yam Yams Arocho.
While the concept of this dish always filled me with equal parts disgust and intrigue, however after trying it, I instantly fell in love. Earthy and sweet, this dish has everything. Kinda like our new King.
Candied Yam Yams Arocho Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 2kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3(ish)mm coins ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped ½ cup muscovado sugar 80g unsalted butter 1 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cayenne pepper a pinch of nutmeg a pinch of ground ginger kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 cups mini marshmallows, more or less as needed
Method Preheat the oven to 180C.
Butter a large baking dish – 2.5-3L – and layer the discs of sweet potato, followed by some pecans after every layer or two, then some more sweet potato and continue the process until it is all gone.
Combine the sugar, butter, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg and ginger in a saucepan with a good whack of salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it starts to boil. Once it has come together, remove from the heat and stir through the vanilla. Pour over the potato and pecan, cover with foil and pop in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.
Remove from the oven and scatter over the marshmallows and return to the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden and melted. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving, perhaps with a Turkey Wellington.
Previously on All Stars the dolls starred in live sketch comedy show RDR live (and despite having three SNL cast members appearing across the season, hilariously none guest judged the episode). After rehearsal, Lala approached Heidi about forming a little bit of an alliance, making Heidi far and away the most protected person on the cast should she ever land in the bottom. One of her OG allies Jimbo absolutely slayed the challenge with light and shade – as did Heidi herself, Jessica and Jaymes – while Kahanna was one note and Naysha just got lost. Ultimately Jimbo took out victory – that runway – and faced off against UK vs. the World nemesis, Pangina, who obviously won the lip sync, leaving Naysha to be sent home by the girls.
Backstage Jimbo was well and truly feeling her oats after taking out the win – murder by lip sync, be damned – while Jessica was gutted to have lost her sister Naysha. Who reminded the dolls that she will always be prettier than them via mirror message, so she is ok to be eliminated. After sitting down to receive her flowers from the dolls, Jimbo revealed she also voted for Naysha given Kahanna just won the week before. On that note Kahanna counted the lipsticks – eventually – gagged to see three votes for her, with Jessica admitting that she just couldn’t bring herself to vote for her Puerto Rican sister. And she did not give a shit about what anyone feels about that decision. MKD then admitted to being the other one that voted for her, opening up that she reacted to Naysha’s emotional plea in Untucked and while Kahanna assured her dolls there is no bad blood, Mrs. Kasha Davis, you in danger girl. And I hate that for us.
The next day the dolls were excited to potentially be lip syncing for $30K this week. Well, if they win, that is. Everyone asked Jaymes about her kerchief, with her admitting it is hankie code for bondage, which made Kahanna wet. Alexis asked everyone if they had been in a swing, with her arm shooting straight up before Jaymes admitted she had, while Heidi offered that she had pushed someone in one, as she is what? A dom top. Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be throwing a little ball. Specifically the Supermarket Ball, first they would be stomping the runway in a Legen-dairy Queen look, the second would be Fruity Patootie and finally they would design and make a Supermarket Supermodel Eleganza look for the third runway. Using only supermarket supplies. Carried in by an epically large Pit Crew and hot damn, my basement is flooded. I mean, it was Spain up in here.
After aggressively rifling through the goods the dolls split up to figure out what the hell they would design, with Jimbo worried about looking messy while MKD admitted the only balls she has dabbled in are Mr Davis’. She ran her ideas by Heidi to try and lock her plan, desperate to prove herself and get out of the safe zone. Jessica meanwhile was drowning in diapers, giddy for her first go at a ball. Jaymes meanwhile was hoping her one sewing class would have her shining, while Lala was drowning in PTSD, knowing she can’t do a viral fuck-up again. And while she assured us she learnt to sew, she forgot to add thread to the machine, so yup. Kandy meanwhile was just confused about what happens in a supermarket, and therefore unsure what to serve and straight up drawing stick figures and shapes for her design.
The Miss Congenialities caught up to reconfirm their alliance and while Heidi cautioned they need to keep it quiet, they got interrupted every ten seconds and ugh, dolls, this ain’t going to work. Kandy meanwhile spiced things up, pointing out Alexis is constantly horny and ready to have the dolls come over for a chicken dinner. While MKD admitted she made out with Darienne back in the day. Ru dropped by to Kiki as Jimbo told her about her weird ideas, leaving Ru in hysterics, despite Jimbo deciding to serve high fashion instead. Darienne’s plan was to serve colour, Alexis was hoping to survive the ball this time – or at least not go blind – with a hyper fashion look while Jessica was just ready to surprise Ru. With diapers. Kahanna was going with some yellow, assuring Ru that from here on out, she will be voting based on revenge – watch out MKD. Heidi’s plan was tequila sunrise, before sobbing as she opened up to Ru about losing her grandmother and how she didn’t get to say goodbye due to COVID.
Elimination Day arrived with Kandy putting on a brave face despite her nerves, given her look is a bit of a mess. She was hopeful she could be safe however, given Darienne’s look is just a little bit messier. As Lala and Jaymes beat their mugs, Jimbo asked if Lala planned to serve something iconic again and while Kandy admitted she didn’t even notice how bad the bag look was before they took the runway, Lala obviously called shady boots. MKD showed off an image of her husband, with Alexis admitting she was desperate for a relationship while Darienne scoffed, talking about her passion for being single. With everyone talking about how important it is to be ok on your own, before Alexis encouraged them all to love themselves because Alexis. Heidi brought it back to the competition, talking about how there is usually a unanimous vote early on, with everyone dancing around the fact they came to play this season and it is very unlikely there will be one. Essentially.
Ru, Michelle and TS were joined by Lemon, sorry, Jojo Siwa as Jimbo opened the Legen-dairy Queen runway with a mod inspired milk bubble look. Kahanna had her udders out as a slutty cow, Jaymes was iconic serving milk and cookies with hands all over her body before Kandy served glam spilt milk. Alexis ate grass as she stomped the runway as a biker cow, Lala gave bondage cow, Darienne was fold after fold of satin, Jessica was the most glamorous bowl of cereal, MKD gave sour cream – my fave – while Heidi rocked sexy milk man and ugh, she looked good.
When it came to Fruity Patootie, Jumbo served queer icon Warhol, Kahanna served full banana – split me – Jaymes gave us a lemon showgirl number, Kandy popped our cherry as another showgirl, Alexis was stunning as a blueberry, Lala gave slutty caramel apple, Darienne gave messy gown before revealing her banana split bodysuit.Jessica went on a picnic of açai to day drink, MKD served banana Mame before Heidi stole the show as a gloriously plump strawberry.
In their Supermarket Supermodel Eleganza looks, Jumbo stunned in a full lettuce and artichoke gown, Kahanna was a Swedish superhero, Jaymes was stunning in a sexy housewife number, Kandy shimmered in silver – aka foil fire blankets – Alexis gave shimmer and fringe and it was alright before Lala gave Grace Jones realness in cream, getting redemption but probs not the win. Darienne was an absolute mess in strips of colour with crinkled foil trailing behind her. Jessica Wild was perfection as a pink garden nymph while MKD was worse than Darienne selling cake. And so much, too much, colour. While Heidi was a mess, but was lucky to walk after MKD.
Kahanna, Jaymes, Alexis and Heidi were sent to safety before Jimbo received universal praise for each and every look, despite the made look being lettuce glued on a bodysuit. Kandy was read for giving the same silhouette, though they lived for her confidence and the fact her made look mixed things up. Lala meanwhile received all the praise, with the judges in particular proud of her design look. Darienne on the other hand was read for messing up all the details, aside from a solid middle look. Jessica rightly received all the praise for everything she served before MKD was read for only serving sour, not sour cream and while her middle look was perfect, they all agreed her design look was an absolute mess. Completely. Ultimately it was Jessica that took out victory before Jimbo, Kandy and Lala were deemed safe, tragically leaving Darienne and MKD up for elimination.
Backstage Kahanna praised everyone for surviving the ball with them agreeing Jimbo and Kandy would be in the top, while Kahanna didn’t buy Jessica would be in there with them. They all agreed MKD would be in the bottom, though couldn’t agree whether Darienne was a mess. Alexis praised Heidi for her Legen-dairy look, which triggered Heidi, who felt she deserved to be in the top. And with the lack of sleep and stress, she had had it. Officially. Alexis then felt tipsy before borrowing Kandy’s first neckpiece to do a little impersonation. She then realised she had to go back out to the stage though, so her sisters over blushed their cheeks like Kandy to go back out in solidarity.
As the tops and bottoms joined them, they were confused by their Kandy inspired makeup while the safe girls were gagged by Jessica taking out the win. Jimbo checked in with Heidi to see if she was feeling ok, with the soft and supple queen barely containing her disappointment and ugh, I hate it. They opened up that MKD and Darienne are up for elimination, before Jessica pulled Darienne aside with Ms Lake pointing out her looks weren’t reviled like MKD’s final look and as such, she shouldn’t go. And if she stays, she will have her back. Alliance style. Heidi meanwhile was sassily reading Jimbo’s dairy look. MKD was next to talk to Jessica, admitting while she bombed on the third look, she feels like she deserves to stay – I agree – though assured Jessica she has a loving family waiting for her back at home and as such, she is happy either way. Which disappointed Jessica, given she wanted to see her fight.
Back with the dolls Kandy joked about whether anyone felt they should have been in the top, with Heidi not having her jokes, telling her the dolls will be gagged tonight as she will be quitting. While Kandy tried to assure her she is amazing and will get her time to shine, she was well and truly ready to walk as she felt she has shown enough. Jojo then dropped by backstage and while she was at an 11, I think that was just her, as she thanked the dolls for showing people their talent and for helping make it easier for queer kids. With Kandy in turn thanking her for coming out so visibly and making other kids feel ok to be queer.
With that the dolls voted before Jessica took her place on the stage before Canada vs. the World winner Ra’Jah was announced as the assassin. As soon as Kim Petras Coconuts kicked off, Jessica revealed her epic bouncing kitties under her coat, which obviously had Ru and Michelle in hysterics. While Ra’Jah was just straight up living her best life, turning a show, because that is what does. But Ru loves a bouncing titty, so you know Jessica took out victory and the epic $30K tip. Which broke our little accountant Kandy’s heart to learn she’s back down to only a $10K kitty. Darienne and MKD took their places on stage before Jessica pulled her lipstick out of her wrist, surprisingly not the titty, eliminating MKD from the competition and ugh, I hate it here.
As Mrs. Kasha Davis arrived in the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a massive hug, selfishly, to be held as I sobbed and sobbed over my loss. Well hers, but mine and ours. Through tears, I told her how sad it was to see her go so soon, particularly since I’ve been waiting years and years for what should have been a triumphant return. Given MKD is wise, however, she assured me that she knows how talented she is and as such, is ok going home. And well, I guess that should be ok with me, given she is and forever will be a camp, sweet icon who is more than worthy of a delicious Chocolate, Hazelnut & Mrspresso Eskashagot Davis or six.
I first encountered this little delight at Agnes Bakery, and knew I would have to try a copycat at home. And while, yes, they are a little more flaky than my hand rolled number, they are still delicious. Like a nutella mocha, this melts in your mouth and keeps you coming back for more.
Chocolate, Hazelnut & Mrspresso Eskashagot Davis Serves: 8.
Ingredients 1 batch David Croissant dough 1 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped 1 cup hazelnuts, half blitzed and the other half roughly chopped ¼ cup espresso ¼ cup muscovado sugar 1 tsp cinnamon
Method Prepare David’s recipe all the way through the lamination and final resting process. When that is almost complete, combine the dark chocolate, blitzed hazelnuts, coffee, muscovado sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Roll the dough out until about half centimetre thick – or thicker, given it is tough and I am lazy – smear the chocolatey paste over the top to coat before rolling up from the short end to form a sausage. Cut into 2cm thick discs and pop on a lined baking sheet, before pressing some of the chopped hazelnuts into the top.
Open your oven and with a wet hand, sprinkle in a little water. Transfer the escargot to the oven, spritz with a little more water and close, immediately dropping the temperature to 180C. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crisp, spinning the tray halfway through cooking.
Remove and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before devouring, gleefully.
Previously on Survivor the three tribes dropped their buffs ready for the dragged out, needlessly complex earn the merge episode which is essentially just a split into two tribes with a joint tribal council, but whatever. Thankfully Carson’s passion for 3D printing guaranteed he and Carolyn were safe, though tragically their bestie Yam Yam wasn’t so lucky. And given everyone was worried about Josh having an idol – despite Carolyn assuring them he doesn’t – he quickly became a target. Yam Yam in turn tried to turn things on Kane which was ultimately unnecessary as the group threw caution to the wind, banded together and sent Josh out of the game. Meaning we’ve still only lost minority players or females thus far.
Back at camp Yam Yam quickly told everyone he loves them despite copping some votes and while he was feeling the pressure now that he has had his name out there, he quickly got back to joking about and charming the hell out of everyone and well, we need to protect him and Carolyn at all costs.
The next day everyone came together to pick a tribe name and while nobody bought the fact Yam Yam was actually a Fijian word that would be perfect for the tribe, they did love his suggestion of Va Va meaning 4-4. And by coming together, it was everyone but Matt and Frannie who were on a private date being cute as shit, celebrating the fact he finally has his vote back in addition to having his idol. He then caught up with Brandon, Yam Yam and Kane, with Brandon telling everyone about the fact the cages had two idols – one real, one fake – which made Matt realise he had been played since there was only one in the bag when he snatched his. Slowly he pieced together that Danny must have the real one, offering to show the boys his fake to prove his theory.
Meanwhile Danny was busy catching up with Carson, locking in the next vote as Lauren since she has an extra one. And while Carson was quiet and non-committal, Kane outright shut him down when he approached him with the idea, since the extra vote in the hands of an ally would be super powerful for them later in the game. Begging the question, did I know they were aligned with Lauren? Kane then approached Matt and Frannie about Danny’s plan, suggesting that while Danny is fixated on getting rid of her, it may actually be the perfect time to blindside him instead. And after they pulled in Carson, he realised that he, Carolyn and Yam Yam are sitting pretty in this impending feud between Ratu and Soka.
The tribe came together with Probst where they would each stand on a beam and hold a long pole above their head and balance a ball with the last one standing securing immunity. Oh and since Jiffy Pop can’t go a week without some rando twist, they will be split up into groups of five – why did we merge again? – with a person winning immunity from each group. And the person winning the whole challenge earned immunity for their entire team too. Oh and sadly, only those eligible to be eliminated will be the only ones voting too, meaning someone is about to get screwed to rule as the King or Queen of the Jury. When they split up into groups, Carson was the odd one out, meaning he got to bet on who would win and tie his fate to theirs. Confused? Same. Oh and the winning group would also get PB&Js, because why not.
In any event, Carson locked in with Heidi, Kane, Danny, Frannie and Carolyn, which seemed like a shitty idea as Carolyn became the first to drop. She was followed out by Lauren on the other team, before the remaining people transferred to a narrower portion of the beam. Which immediately cost Kane, followed by Heidi and Danny leaving Carson’s fate in Frannie’s hands. While she continued to power on, Jamie dropped before everyone transitioned to the narrowest portion of the beam. Just like Kane, that transition cost Matt and Yam Yam leaving Frannie and Brandon to battle for their group’s safety. The duo fought valiantly for a little while longer before Brandon dropped, meaning Frannie earnt her group immunity, but left her boyfriend in danger and ugh, I have a horrible feeling this is not going to end well for my sweet angel Matt.
The winners were sent back to camp to smash their sandies as the losers were sent to a different camp to scramble. Meaning in addition to the winners not having a vote, they also don’t have sway, which is infinitely worse. Back at camp, the group joyously smashed the food before talk turned to the upcoming vote, with Frannie and Danny talking about how much nobody wants Matt to go but accepted that it is clearly either him or Yam Yam going. Which obviously scared Carolyn, as she definitely didn’t want to lose her bestie. And just to up the tension for them, there was also an ominous note sitting on the table telling them they couldn’t open it until everyone was done eating.
Before we could address the note we ventured over to the losers’ camp where Brandon was feeling bad to have let his team down, though was thrilled to still be immune in addition to having his vote. Particularly since he also has Lauren and Jamie there who will totally stay Ratu strong. Matt meanwhile knew he was screwed and asked to talk to everyone, though pulled Jamie and Brandon aside to casually mention they may have a crazy plan to get rid of Lauren but if not, he is happy to work with them to take out Yam Yam. Despite the fact Yam Yam is the only one he actually wants to work with. Sadly for Matt, Yam Yam was busy throwing his name out to Lauren, filling him in on the fact Danny and Matt have been throwing out her name because of the extra vote and as such, she was ready to bounce him ASAP.
Back with the victors Frannie opened the note to announce a new advantage locked in the cage with keys hidden around the jungle. The catch being, you could only grab a second key once you’ve tried your key and found it didn’t work. Instantly everyone ran off to look with key after key coming up short before Heidi finally put us out of our misery, unlocking the cage and snatching it for herself. It being the new Control the Vote Advantage, meaning she can choose one player at the upcoming tribal council to force to vote the way she wants. Meaning she could be the one to save both Yam Yam and Matt, if she wants to be my best friend.
We returned to Playa de Loser where Matt was missing his boo Frannie, gifting us a heartbreaking recap of their love, instantly filling me with even more anxiety that it is soon to be ending. Matt and Yam Yam caught up as the former Ratu hung out by the well, with Yam Yam pointing out that if they can get the other group to split their vote, they will be able to force a tie, meaning they just may be able to survive. Sadly for them the trio were busy planning to load all their votes on one person, either Yam Yam as it won’t piss as many people off or Matt to weaken Soka. Wait, no, Lauren wants them to split so we may be saved!
Frannie and Heidi caught up at the winners’ beach to talk through the advantage, trying to figure out the best way to use it to take control. While everyone was onboard with telling Matt and Yam Yam to vote together, Heidi admitted to Kane that since Matt is so well liked, she is just as concerned about him getting too far as she is about breaking up Ratu.
At tribal council Jamie spoke about how wild it is to once again be in a small group and potentially screwed if your allies are on the wrong side. Almost speaking for the audience about how tired we are of the constant tribal council twists. Matt spoke about the fact he didn’t have his bags or any tricks that may be in them, and when Frannie admitted she hadn’t packed it, he pulled out a papaya to ask Jeff for mercy and to cancel tribal council. When that didn’t work, Matt lay out that it is him and Yam Yam on the block, with the latter admitting he was also very nervous. Lauren and Jamie downplayed it, talking about how one advantage could screw them out of the game, but if they do stay, they also need to think about the six people not voting.
Matt tried to remind everyone how strong of an ally he is, with Brandon admitting he would love to work with him before pointing out he even voted for Yam Yam just the week before. Yam Yam wisely pointed out he has zero allies, while Matt has options, meaning if he is kept, he is more likely to stay loyal, while Matt would flip right back. Matt then was a beautiful angel, breaking down as he talked about his anxiety and nerves before playing the game, and how proud of himself he was to overcome it and play a strong game. As sweet Frannie looked on, beaming with pride. Jeff then called out Yam Yam for deflecting with humour – why show his game, Jeff – with him too breaking down about how growing up as a queer kid in Puerto Rico, he never dreamt he could be here and he now he isn’t ready to go.
As they were about to go out to vote, Heidi stood up and snatched Lauren’s vote, instructing her to vote for Yam Yam. After clarifying whether Heidi controlled one or two of her votes, Lauren kicked off the voting, wisely holding on to her extra as the group united to break up mum and dad, sending Matt out to become the King of the Jury. Which feels so wholesome and lovely I could almost burst. But fuck am I going to miss our sweet king. As soon as her arrived at Ponderosa, I pulled him in for a massive hug and thanked him for playing such an exceptional game and for repping for all the nerds with anxiety. As is becoming a trend this season, I reiterated that due to the twist there was truly not much he could have done to save himself, but I am grateful that someone as kind as him is the one setting the tone of the jury. Which is perfectly shown with a big, fat plate of Matt Cornflakinship Brownies.
As sweet as our nerd king, angel zaddy these elevated brownies are all about balance. Crunchy and soft, sweet and salty, everything about them works together to warm your soul and keep the jury in a positive state. I assume.
Matt Cornflakinship Brownies Serves: 8.
Ingredients 375g unsalted butter 150g dark chocolate 5 eggs 200g muscovado sugar 650g raw caster sugar 100g plain flour 50g cocoa powder 1 ½ tsp kosher salt 300ml double cream, at room temperature(ish) 200g cornflakes
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and line a rectangular cake tin.
Start by melted 125g of butter with the dark chocolate, either in a double boiler or using a microwave. Stir until smooth, shiny and combined, and then leave to rest.
Meanwhile using a stand mixer, beat the eggs, muscovado sugar and 150g of the raw caster sugar until light and fluffy, almost pulsating with the volume. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the butter and chocolate, mixer until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold through the flour, cocoa and half a teaspoon of salt until combined. Pour the batter in the pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the brownies are just cooked through. Remove and leave to cool.
To make the caramel cornflakes, pop the remaining sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until it has melted. This will take a while, but is worth it for an angel like Matt. Keep cooking the sugar until it is a deep golden colour. Remove from the heat and add half of the remaining butter and mixing in. Once combined, add the remaining butter and whisk until that is combined. Followed by the cream, carefully, as this will bubble and spit. Once combined, return to the cooktop and heat for 2 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining salt, followed by the cornflakes.
Immediately pout the cornflake topping over the brownies and smooth the top. Transfer to the fridge to set for a couple of hours before slicing and devouring.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top four returned to the Werk Room ready for a triumphant final lap on their way to the finale before Ru gagged them with the fact there would only be a top three this year. Meaning after the rumix and film clip, one of the dolls would claim a final win and another would suffer the unkindest cut of all. Obviously Sasha was perfection from start to finish, while Luxx’s songwriting skills took her through to the finale with Sasha. At the other end of the pack, Mistress getting in her head and Anetra’s not-sure-why were all it took to land them in the bottom. Thankfully forcing Mama Ru’s hand as she finally dished out a double save to keep our very deserving top four intact.
Before we get to the finale though, we have to reunite and sadly the only way out of a season is through. As such, the dolls all took their places on the Ace Theatre stage in alphabetical order – that is Amethyst, Anetra, Aura, Irene, Jax, Loosey, Luxx, Malaysia, Marcia Cubed, Mistress, Princess, Robin, Salina, Sasha and Sugar and Spice, the latter two being out of order on a technicality since they were treated as a sole entity. After reminding us that American politics is a total dumpster fire riddled hellscape, Ru addressed Mistress’ passion for kleptomania – relatable – with her admitting to taking books, earrings and some wigs. Before she gagged us with the fact that Anetra stole things from the set too. In the form of lightbulbs.
Given reunions are generally pretty talk heavy and boring, we will stick to the highlights. The first being how delightful Sugar and Spice were! The former was proud to have learnt how strong she is which Spice tried to reiterate, until she lost her train of thought. Mistress admitted that while she didn’t vibe straight away, she was thrilled by how quickly they won her over and is proud to now have them as her daughters. We then got a supercut of the eras with Irene relishing her screen time era while Sugar was in her nail era, despite not wearing nails. Talk turned to the dolls passion for making it a top two each week before it turned into reading Loosey for always thinking she should win. Until Sasha reminded the dolls that in most of these battles, she took out the win which is all that truly matters.
It then turned into a compliment sandwich as Amethyst spilt the tea that before being cast, Loosey spoke about winning everything if she ever competed when working together at da clurb, before my dear friend Kevin Bacon dialled in to praise Loosey for her Dragloose performance. Oh and then the dolls read Loosey for not letting loose when singing her song, let loose.
We addressed the lip syncs of the season, with Sasha and Anetra’s from Lalaparuza still amazing everyone. Anetra was also present in the best of the season, with Marcia Cubed and hot damn, I still wish it was a double save. Irene praised Anetra for being a killer performer, and I love how wholesome it is. They pivoted back to the Lalaparuza, choices, with Malaysia still pretending she wasn’t going for the easy kill in Marcia. Talk then turned to everyone not thinking Mistress beat Jax in the lip sync and ugh, I love her confidence and also now think how boring this season would have been without her.
Robin and Amethyst’s history came up again with the former thinking Amethyst was a little deluded, while they both reiterated the importance of not shitting where you eat. Talk turned to crushes on the season with Aura admitting she is hot for Princess, despite the fact she is getting married.
Coco Montrese dialled in to ask Marcia about her make-up skills, with her proud of how much she has improved. Oh and she is releasing a make-up line, with Aura asking if it would just be eye liner. Which is a hilarious read. Asia dialled in to ask Sasha who her favourite drag performer is, with her opting for Monica Monroe. DeJa called in to ask Robin for a Best Buy discount – like an icon – Aquaria asked why Irene trolled the dolls online all season, with Irene essentially admitting she just wanted to be involved. Which is awkward since Mistress blocked her. Maybe. Derrick asked Loosey if she blames it on the edit. Robin’s mother asked Mistress why she came for her daughter in the first episode, with Mistress reminding them she was just in her chaotic era and nothing more. Aura’s mum asked Spice why she wanted Aura in the bottom in Snatch Game, given she would have been sent home if she faced off against her baby.
We finally got to see more of the reading challenge and damn, Salina was glorious. Ru opened the library for the eliminated dolls, with Sugar hilariously reading Robin’s screen time before Spice asked to read Sugar. Princess read Aura for being a torn bottom and Loosey for her lack of taste, while Irene read Sasha for being beautiful. Oh and Salina hates Irene, apparently based on her epic eyerolls. Talk turned to the many gates of the season ad yeah, the dolls loved to fight. And I love them for that. Malaysia admitted she just didn’t realise Luxx was trolling her during Metalgate, Loosey admitted she didn’t have a bump during Babybumpgate and Loosey just felt like Mistress was just always coming for her during Heavengate. While Anetra just loved everyone else’s drama. Oh and things turned to 40-inch gate with Luxx finally admitting she just likes to round up.
Ru turned our attention to some of the best looks we didn’t get to see from the eliminated queens with Amethyst living for her rip it to shreds look, Aura’s Bey runway was stunning, Malaysia’s glove look was perfect Mrs Clause, Irene’s Miss Cleo puffer look was stunning, with Sugar thanking her for all her looks and admitted she looked forward to her posting them each week. Oh and then Maddy Morphosis dialled in to announce Salina won the Golden Boot of the season – for the metal street sign look – with her thrilled to finally win something.
Talk returned to the hateful drag bills with Robin speaking at Yale Law given most of the lawmakers have graduated from there, and Yale wanted to take a stand. Irene reminded everyone that the laws are not just targeting drag queens and they are actually designed to hurt the trans community, with Sasha agreeing that she feels particularly targeted and nervous about the bills, but also reminded her sisters that it means they are doing something right because they have them scared. Thus legislating against people living their lives and bringing joy to the world. Oh and then the queer Connecticut Caucus dialled in to thank their queens, with Loosey breaking down to see how much support they have from their little state.
Ru offered everyone a chance to clear the air, with Irene asking Mistress if she made up that Loosey said she was shocked Irene had had filler given she was saggy. Anetra admitted that in addition to the lightbulbs, she also stole Amethyst’s baby – for Snatch Game – before talk turned to social media backlash, with Mistress thanking the sisters that spoke out when she and Luxx were getting hate. We then got a recap of the top four’s run, most importantly being the moment Anetra walked that fucking duck into our hearts. Luxx’s stunning Visage couture runway perfection, Mistress’ camp ridiculousness in Daytona Wind and Sasha in the rumix, since they had to narrow it down to just moment. Despite the fact she slayed each and every week.
Once the dolls finished their kiki, I confidently stomped onto stage – maybe channelling Anetra’s duck – and tapped Luxx on the shoulder to let her know it was her time for a celebratory catch-up. Of course she wondered why the future winner of the season wasn’t saved for last, until I explained that I based the last two dates on wins – All Winners All Stars style – meaning since Anetra and Sasha had more, she had to settle for the reunion. And while she didn’t love my TEDTalk style explanation, her mood drastically improved upon seeing the Luxx Tiknoir Lasagdon come out of the oven.
While this number is new to my heart – thanks again, Alan Carr! – there is no denying its perfection. The fusion little UK number is the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and comforting, which coincidentally is how I would describe Luxx’s run this season.
Heat a lug of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garam masala, cumin, paprika and chilli powder and cook for a further minute to release the flavours. Add the chicken mince and cook, breaking up lumps with the wooden spoon for a few minutes, or until browned. Stir in the canned tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the butter, muscovado sugar, ½ cup of milk and the Greek yoghurt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes to reduce slightly. Season to taste and stir in the lime zest and juice. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once foamy, stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, season and whisk in the remaining milk, before returning to the heat and bringing to the boil for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
To assemble, add enough meat sauce to cover the base of a large baking dish. Layer over a third of the pasta, followed by a third of the bechamel and then, you guessed it, a third of the cheese. Repeat the process from meat, to pasta, bechamel and cheese until you finish with a cheesy top before transferring to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a further half an hour before devouring, like an icon.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top five played a little quiz game for the power to assign teachers for this year’s makeover. Despite having to read herself for the win, Loosey paired everyone with people that made sense for each of them. Well, except for Luxx, who she decided to take revenge on for reading her for filth all season. While Loosey and her new sister looked like legit twins, the judges felt they had no chemistry on the runway. Luxx gave nothing to build their family resemblance, though her new daughter did look like Jennifer Collidge which should count for something. Ultimately Anetra was perfect from start to finish, which handed her her third win of the season while Luxx and Loosey faced off in the lip sync, with Luxx coming out on top and sending Loosey out in fifth place.
Backstage the dolls soon discovered Loosey was completely annoyed to be eliminated, while Luxx found it hilarious that Loosey was eliminated after trying to play dirty. Mistress on the other hand was just proud of Loosey for finally admitting she was playing the game, in addition to being stiff competition. Luxx admitted she was heartbroken to have been in the bottom so close to the end, while everyone was just excited to have made it to the top four. Anertra was proud of herself for being neck and neck with the one and only Ms Colby, while Sasha herself was just hoping for no last minute goopery costing her place in the competition.
The next day Ru dropped by to announce that for their final maxi challenge, the dolls would be writing and recording verses on Ru’s song Blame It On the Edit before filming the film clip with Miguel Zarate (swoon). And sitting with Ru and Michelle for a tic tac lunch, like icons. Oh and then he announced that only three of them will be going through to the finale, which obviously left them gagged. Just as Sasha feared. After Ru left, the dolls split up to listen to the song and work on their lyrics. Mistress was obviously super confident given she is shady as hell, while Sasha is glad she knows words. Anetra was planning to lean into her brand – voguing and sex – while Luxx felt like she had it in the bag, so went aside to have a nap like Pearl and Jinkx before her.
Sasha was first up to chat with Ru and Michelle, welcoming them to the meet and greet before talking about her epic career leading to this point. She admitted that she has struggled throughout the season, not wanting to do too well given she didn’t want the girls to hate her. She opened up about how her lack of support from her mother is what makes her worry about gaining people’s approval. She then went very deep, talking about how she was left everything after her father died, and how that was almost a seal of approval. And ugh, crown her.
Speaking of crowning her, Sasha’s co-winner Anetra was up next, talking through growing up Mormon and how drag is what opened her up to every colour of the rainbow. Michelle then gushed about how good her and Marcia’s lip sync was – shoulda been a double save – labelling it the greatest of all time. She spoke about how she learnt to vogue in Vegas, while Ru praised her for always bringing something to the challenges that only she can. Oh and you best believe winning would mean everything to her, and prove everything was worth it.
Mistress was next up, talking about what made her such an outspoken icon and how that got under Loosey’s skin. Who she in turn felt was different on camera to what she was like when the red light went out. She spoke about how she came to the competition wanting to prove why she deserves the crown, and that she desperately wants to make everyone proud. Particularly Mama Chavelle, winner of Season 16. Oh and you best believe she is now in her top three era. She tapped out with Luxx who spoke about how she came to the competition ready to serve looks at every moment. Oh and she opened up about going to Cicely Tyson high school and honestly, I am jealous as all hell. She spoke about how her parents taught her to be confident and proud of herself, and you know she took that and ran and now, is always ready to prove a bitch wrong.
The top four came together on set to work through the choreography and given Sasha is serving Barbwire realness, you know she is winning. Everyone admittedly looked amazing, though Mistress kinda got stuck in her head, worried about learning it all in time and ugh, it sucks to see someone so confident get so nervous. Without any time to process things, the back-up dancers were brought in and the dolls were put through their paces in front of the red light. Luxx was perfect from start to finish, while Anetra was surprisingly nervous. Most importantly, Luxx lost a nail in her outfit and ugh, she is hilarious and I am going to miss her when the season is over. They traded out with Sasha and Mistress and similar to the others, Sasha was perfect at every damn moment, while Mistress was so focused on the choreography, she didn’t give the attitude.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls splitting up to prepare for the final runway, with everyone shocked by how quickly the challenge has gone. Luxx and Sasha were obviously thrilled to have nailed the challenge, while Mistress vowed not to let the choreo get her down. Anetra too was nervous, given it took her some time to get it down, though was confident she did enough in the end. Mistress asked everyone to talk through their first impressions, with Anetra loving Luxx from the start while the dolls were all shocked by how kind and down to earth Sasha is, given she is as sickening as her legacy. Mistress always knew Anetra would be a silent assassin, while everyone was gagged by how much she has grown as she came into her own around the dolls. Anetra meanwhile loved that while Mistress is obnoxious, she showed she also had a massive heart too.
Talk turned to all of the feuds and damn, these girls really fed us with the drama. Well, Luxx at least, who found herself at the centre of all the -gates. Before they turned their attention to the fact one of them will win, with everyone confident they deserve to make it to the top but also nervous about falling so close to the end.
It was family only on the judges panel as Ru, Michelle and Ross took their places on the panel as Anetra opened the Drag Excellence runway looking stunning in a fitted blue velvet gown in honour of her Asian heritage. Luxx meanwhile was perfect in a shimmering white gown with a huge, curly wig. Sasha meanwhile was glorious in a silver crystal gown, referencing her Hawaiin heritage in the best ways possible. Before Mistress closed the show in a fringed, crystal cheetah print gown and ugh, I love it. Particularly since she wore it in a pageant previously, meaning she is the Kate Middleton of drag. When it came to the film clip, we may be able to Blame it on the Edit because everyone was stunning. Anetra was fierce as hell and v on brand, Luxx was full chanteuse, Sasha was sexy and perfect in every moment, while Mistress rapped the house down and delivered all the attitude.
After thanking the top four for all nailing the challenge, the judges praised Anetra for combining old and new on the runway and looking beautiful. They praised her for getting stronger from week to week, and truly shine when she let them in. Oh and Ru was proud of her, no doubt for showing off her branding prowess by always walking the duck. Luxx was praised for having such impeccable taste and always looking perfect. And showing off everything she has to offer. They all spoke about Sasha’s legacy and how somehow she exceeded all expectations week after week, and constantly slayed. And more importantly, she showed her massive heart and how she is always giving back to her sisters and the community and AGAIN, crown her. While Mistress was beloved for always giving polish and charm, truly showing Houston excellence at every moment. Though also being a versatile and intelligent performer each week.
Ru pulled out a picture of 5 year old Isiah, asking Anetra what she would tell herself, asking him to hold on through the dark days, knowing that one day the world will be safe for you to shine. And it will be so much better than she can even imagine. Luxx told baby Justin that all his dreams will come true, he just needs to know that everything that comes his way is what makes him who he is. Sasha told baby Sasha that she is a stunning woman, and that trusting her instincts will be what makes her dreams come true so just hold it down and know that you are loved. While Mistress told herself that despite how confusing life will be most of the time, that fire within will be what keeps him holding on to hope and that eventually, he will find his tribe and achieve the world.
Backstage the dolls were gagged by the fact one of them will still go home, with Mistress in particular nervous about struggling through the challenge given she has slayed all season long. The dolls rallied around her, agreeing she has done so well that it would suck to be in the bottom. Luxx was fairly confident she would not be in the bottom, despite Mistress reminding her she is kinda delusional. Sasha praised them all for being different and giving something unique, while they reflected on how great they have been throughout the season. Mistress’ least favourite moment was calling Marcia’s drag cheap and her favourite was proving herself in the Snatch Game. Anetra called Luxx’s highlight wearing her Ru look, while she loved saying Loosey should go home. While Sasha pointed out Mistress struggled with Love Connie, while her least favourite was the standup challenge. Everyone agreed that Anetra’s favourite moment should have been her ninja realness in the talent show, though.
Ultimately Sasha took out her fourth win of the season and booked her place in the finale, before Luxx was sent through to join her. Meaning Anetra and Mistress would have to face off for the final spot to Kelly Rowland’s – I don’t care about David Guetta – When Love Takes Over and ugh, they were stunning. Both of the dolls leant into the passion of the song, hitting every lyric, being silly when required and obviously serving tricks as Anetra walked the duck once again, as Mistress tried to swat her out of the competition. It was cute, it was fun and well, thankfully Ru went back on her word, going with a double shantay and keeping both of the girls in the running moving on to the finale.
Despite the fact all the dolls were kept in place, I had already gotten busy in the kitchen, so tapped Mistress on the shoulder and told her that I’d like to pre-emptively celebrate her run in the competition. And given the number of wins was the fairest way to decide who would be first, she was the first I’d be catching up with. While she questioned whether that meant I didn’t think she would win, I pulled her in for a massive hug to stop her questioning, instead getting her to focus on how good her run was. As despite only getting one win, there is no denying how good she has been each and every week. Which alone makes her more than worthy of a shot at the crown and a piping hot batch of Mistress Isamaple Crookies.
These cookies are the perfect little snack – Halloween decorations, or not. The delicate flavour of the maple works perfectly with the crunchy cookies to provide the ultimate all rounder snack. Perfect for celebrating a queen that is good at nearly everything.
Mistress Isamaple Crookies Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 300g flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp kosher salt, plus a pinch for icing 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature 200g muscovado sugar 1 egg, at room temperature 160ml maple syrup 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped 115g icing sugar any sprinkles you feel inspired by, for decoratin’
Method Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking soda into a bowl, and add the salt. Meaning in a stand mixer, cream 120g of butter and the muscovado sugar on medium for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides, add the egg and mix for a further minute on low. With the mixer running, add half the maple syrup and vanilla extract, mixing until just combined. Remove from the stand mixer and fold through the dry ingredients and pecans before returning to the mixer and beating for a minute or so, until well combined. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets.
Once the dough is chill, using an ice cream scoop, roll out 1-2 tablespoon balls of dough and pop on a baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for spread. Once all rolled out, pop the sheets in the oven and allow to bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies get chill, pop the remaining butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until combined. Whisk in the icing sugar and a pinch of salt and stir until it has come together again. Drizzle the warm glaze over the cookies, add sprinkles for fun and allow to set for five minutes before devouring. Like a winner.
Previously on Survivor the three tribes were well and truly settling into island life. Despite being left out of the Helen vote, Sarah was assured by her fellow Tikans they are a solid four and will stick together to the end. Though she was still concerned about what would happen should they return to tribal council. After a bunch of shenanigans with cages, keys and fake idols, the tribes came together for the latest immunity challenge where you know Claire sat out once again. Sadly for her, however, it made her a target once Soka lost immunity and everyone realised she was disposable. While Frannie and Heidi tried to sway their respective partners to target Josh instead, the terrible timeline continued as we lost yet another iconic woman to the pre-merge.
The next day the new Soka tribe did a little sunrise meditation session to work through losing Claire. Not that Josh really needed it though, given he was firmly the swing vote between two pairs within the tribe. Sadly though, that wasn’t how things actually were with the two pairs actually keen to work together to take him out and go into the merge as two powerful duos. We ventured to Tika where the foursome were wandering around the jungle and discovered a new X made of sticks added to the cage, with everyone speculating what it could mean. We then learnt Carolyn is playing 5D chess, hiding the X on the cage and marking an X over where she hid the fake idol to trick someone into finding it. And ugh, I love her so much. The group went back to camp speculating what the X could mean as Sarah discovered Carolyn’s fake idol without anyone noticing. Even Carolyn, though she was grateful somebody found it.
The tribes met with Probst for the first reward challenge of the season where they would race up a ladder, over a cargo net and then shoot sandbags at a target. The trick being that every person on the tribe each needs to hit one of the targets in order to take the win. That being for either a massive or decent tarp, in addition to assigning which person from each tribe goes on the next journey. Danny got Soka out to the lead, followed by Carson for Tika while Brandon eventually connected to keep Ratu in it. Soka continued to power ahead as Ratu overtook Tika as Carolyn struggled to make the shot. Ultimately Soka took out victory before Carolyn finally connected leaving Tika and Ratu to battle for second with Ratu taking it out before Yam Yam even got a chance to toss his sack.
With the challenge out of the way things got interesting as Soka sent Josh, Carson and Jaime on their journey where they bonded as they trekked up a mountain. When they reached the pinnacle, they split up and made their way to a table where they were each given a hidden immunity idol to use up to the merge. The catch being they will not be going home to their tribes, instead pulling out a new buff with Josh joining Tika, Jaime going to Soka and Carson heading over to Ratu. Josh was first to meet his new tribe as Yam Yam, Carolyn and Sarah were gagged to have a new member. Despite welcoming him with open arms, Yam Yam was heartbroken to have lost Carson given they had become so close. The OG Tika’s tried to get to know Josh with Sarah thinking he was a surgeon, though he promptly lied about it and said he was a personal trainer. Sadly for him, Yam Yam could see right through his lie and he and Sarah secretly picked apart his timeline and confirmed they couldn’t trust him.
Over at Ratu Carson was regaling the new tribe with the journey that brought him here and while I love Carson, the fact that his first move to ingratiate himself was to throw Yam Yam under the bus as the leader breaks my heart. Sad to have lost his closest ally, Matthew pulled Carson aside to fill him in on what has been going on within the tribe to try and build trust. And while he left out the fact Jamie’s idol is fake, I love how hard he is playing. Soka were equally gagged to see Jaime arriving at their camp and while I would assume she is completely screwed, she is so kind and upbeat, I don’t see them wanting to get rid of her too easily. The OG Soka’s were concerned about her having an idol and spoiling their plans, so Danny got to work looking through her things though decided she was all good. Despite the fact she has one real and one fake idol.
The new tribes reconvened with Jeffrey for the latest immunity challenge where they would dive into the ocean one at a time, climb a tower and leap off to grab a key before swimming to a balance beam and walking over it. Once the four keys were collected, they would unlock puzzle pieces and solve said puzzle. Because, duh. Josh got Tika out to an early lead until Brandon powered across the balance beam and snatched the lead. While Danny was left right out. Lauren missed her key, meaning Brandon had to double back to collect one, given Soka and Tika time to close the gap. Well, Soka at least, as Yam Yam got stuck on the balance beam. Heidi and Matt got to work on the puzzle for Soka as Kane and Carolyn raced to make it to the end of the course, before Kane started struggling on the beam. Once Soka confirmed their win, Ratu and Tika powered through their puzzle before Lauren and Carson pulled ahead, securing immunity for Ratu and sending Tika back to tribal council. Just.
Back at camp the tribe were dejected by the loss, with Yam Yam disappointed but ok, given Josh is a super easy target as the newbie. Sadly Yam Yam told Carolyn she would be the decoy vote and while she said she was ok at the moment, she was super annoyed by it and sick of being told to accept being the secondary target. Yam Yam and Sarah pulled Josh aside to loop in him, assuring him that they desperately want to work with him and get rid of Carolyn. Though Sarah admitted she was a little concerned about him having an idol and assured us that should he play one, she will be playing hers. Josh then went to Carolyn and straight up told her that not only is she their target, but that he has an idol and would play it on her while they put their votes on Sarah and get her out of the game. Giving Carolyn the choice to send Josh out of the game or tell him where to actually play the idol and blindside Sarah.
At tribal council Josh spoke about how shocked he was to have been swapped to the new tribe and while he was an easy target, Sarah and Yam Yam spoke about how keeping him around could help build an alliance with his friends in Soka. Yam Yam spoke about how he may not feel like he is friends with his OGs anymore, which upset Carolyn given it felt like he was over her and wanted her out. As they started to fight, Josh admitted he was living for the chaos, though knew that the fight could all be a cover to make him feel safe. Carolyn felt that her loyalty was being ignored, as Sarah and Yam Yam spoke about aligning with Soka meaning Carolyn was clearly the target. If it isn’t an act. With that the tribe voted and Josh played his idol on himself while Sarah and Carolyn held onto theirs – whether Sarah’s was real or not doesn’t matter here, TBH – before Carolyn and Josh’s votes sent Sarah from the game. To Yam Yam’s shock and horror.
As often happens, Sarah found her way to Loser Lodge by following my tears of rage. This time due to having lost yet another iconic woman pre-merge. I mean, in the words of Taylor Armstrong – enough. I pulled her in for a massive hug and told her that the small starting tribes seem to have run their course, given time and time again, women and minorities are going out with just a few votes for no other reason than there aren’t enough people around to strategise with (or vote out). Add in a sea of advantages and well, refer back to Taylor ok? That being said, the new era has given us plenty of icons for another Second Chances season and that is enough to celebrate with a big batch of Golden Sarup & Wadamom Dumplings.
These fluffy dumplings are the perfect, soothing dish to warm your soul. Sticky and sweet with a beautifully spiced kick, they melt in your mouth and take away the pain of yet another season of femicide (thank f- Liz overcame this trend).
Golden Sarup & Wadamom Dumplings Serves: 6.
Ingredients 100g butter, diced 1 ⅓ cups muscovado sugar ¼ cup golden syrup 1 ⅓ cups flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp cinnamon ⅔ cup milk Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve
Method Place 60g butter, 1 ¼ cups of muscovado sugar and the golden syrup in a large frying pan with 2 cups cold water and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Crank the heat up to medium and bring to the boil, and cook for a few minutes until it reduces before removing from the heat.
Combine the flour, cardamom, cinnamon and butter in a bowl and, using your fingers, rub the butter through until it resembles wet sand before stirring through the remaining muscovado. Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together as a wet dough.
Return the caramel to a medium heat and carefully drop in a few tablespoons of batter at a time, leaving a little bit of space to allow them to puff up as they cook. Cover with a lid or some foil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
Serve immediately with a generous coating of the caramel and a hearty dollop of ice cream.
Previously on Australian Survivor the OG Heroes were well and truly screwed as the Vigilantes fed us with their dominance. After spending most of the game as the producers punching bag, Simon was just too giddy to be part of something, while Matt exploded onto the screens as he relished the drama. Echoing her run on All Stars, Shonee was out for revenge against Flick after her protecting her pre-merge was repaid by her trying to spearhead her blindside. Knowing she was screwed, Flick went idol hunting and despite looking all around the spot where it was, didn’t find it. After Liz won immunity, Shaun considered playing his idol for his closest ally, though ultimately held firm as Flick was sent out of the game to become the Queen of the Jury.
The next day we caught straight up with Jonathan for a reward challenge where they would be split up into pairs and forced to stand and hold onto a large pole with the last duo standing taking out the win. For an epic KFC feast in a lush tropical location, so yeah, I am hungry, jealous and my basement is a little flooded. Simon and Nina, Shaun and Sam, Hayley and George, Gerry and Shonee and Liz and Matt took their places with Hayley coaching George on how to handle the pain, given he is a huge KFC stan. Sam was busy wiping sweat off Shaun’s feet as Simon became the first person to drop after just six minutes. Shaun and Sam then followed them out leaving only Vigilantes fighting for the food. After fifteen minutes the duos dropped down to the narrower footholds leading to Shaun whispering to Simon about how the girls will win every upcoming endurance challenge. After twenty minutes Liz dropped, eliminating her and Matt leaving Hayley and George to fight Shonee and Gerry. But given JLP moved them to the narrowest footholds, it wasn’t much of a fight as Gerry dropped handing Hayley and George the reward.
They were then given the chance to select one other pair to go with them, rightfully picking the second place icons to smash chicken. Leaving Liz, Matt and Simon with the minority, who would know doubt use the time to work on a way out of their mess. Well, Shaun or Nina may give it a try, at least. The foursome arrived at a lush picnic area overlooking the ocean, with Shonee thrilled to smash food with cutlery while George was just proud to take out a win. The foursome spoke about the fact their alliance was in it for the long haul, though if they need to get rid of Simon along the way, they aren’t overly concerned, given he is definitely the most likely to flip. They then ventured to a hidden swimming hole, while Shonee reminded us that her bestie was back at camp and as such, she felt like she could relax knowing she was all over it.
Back at camp however she was not all over it, instead napping in the hammock as Shaun and Nina caught up with Simon by the fire to tell him that should the Vigilantes split the vote 4-3, their vote would be on George. And if he flipped to join them, it would be the biggest move of the game. Simon told them that they should probably go hunt for an idol to help with this little plan, which led to Shaun immediately spilling the beans about his. And while he danced around the when of his find, the Heroes trio were thrilled as Simon told them he had a lot to think about and if he kept his word, he hoped they would repay him at final tribal council. Which hardly feels hopeful for their long term survival, no?
The victors returned to camp that night as Simon napped in the hammock. Shaun caught up with him, and admitted how long he has been holding on to his idol. He then lay it on even thicker, telling Simon that he is now the one he is closest to – just like Simon always dreamt – and locking in the plan for them to share the title of King Slayer. Begging the question, how are the producers going to troll Simon this episode?
The next day Simon was hanging with his allies, as George made a lot of pointed statements designed to keep him in their group. He spoke to us about how great everyone is in the alliance and that they bring different things to the table; Gerry is wise, Matt is friendly and the Spice Girls have control. While he knows he and Hayley are only aligned for a time, given they are both each other’s biggest threat. He pulled her aside to loop her in on the fact that he won $60K at the auction, meaning both of them have an uphill battle to get the money from the jury. And while she thought it was done to make her think taking George to the end was a good idea, he actually did it to know at what point she is turning on him when people start talking about his money.
Hayley and Sam were next to catch up, with Sam assuring her he is always open to chatting and his door is not closed to working with her. While Hayley agreed she is willing to do whatever it takes, she knows there are still way too many people in the game that would beat her and as such, she needs to start positioning herself ASAP. As she and Sam rightly identified George as the one to beat, Hayley suggested to us that should one of the OG Heroes win immunity, it may just be time to make that move.
Speaking of immunity, the tribe rejoined Jonathan in a volcanic field where they would each have to hold on to a rope balancing a frame on which they will stack blocks to spell out Heroes Vs Villains. Which means we know that Sam is very unlikely to be immune. Right on cue, Sam dropped instantly, followed by Matt, Shonee and Nina as Simon, Gerry and Hayley got their eye in. Simon then dropped as Shaun got the hang of things before he dropped, putting Liz in front. She then got too confident and dropped a couple. Everyone went back and forth until Shaun rebuilt and pulled ahead, before he dropped again and gave Simon the lead. And when it was nearly all over, he dropped a couple on his last run allowing Shaun to close the gap. Somehow he managed to correct without dropping the entire stack as Shaun dropped all his blocks, giving Simon enough time to take out the win. And put everyone out of their misery.
Sadly for him though, George noticed that he immediately celebrated with the OG Heroes giving the King all the ammunition he needed to reignite their feud. Back at camp though, Simon was feeling unstoppable, completely unaware that George was ready to destroy him. The Vigilantes caught up to lock in their target, with Simon suggesting Sam is not a threat and as such, they need to split the vote between Nina and Shaun. Simon asked to be one of the people voting for the main target in Nina, which confirmed to George that he would be flipping on him. He then pulled Hayley and the Spice Girls aside to change the vote to Sam instead, with the group locking in the plan, as Liz marvelled at how Simon could do that to them. Again.
Hayley meanwhile wasn’t thrilled by how the season was going, feeling like now should be the time for her to pop her head out and make a move. As such, she pulled Nina aside to paint George as the biggest threat that has corrected his game since last time and will beat them all. Nina asked if she was in danger tonight, with Hayley telling her that she is fine and if she had an idol, she wouldn’t need to play it. Nina casually asked who should be playing one then, with Hayley straight up telling her that Sam is the target. And as there is no split, George would then go home, if that was their plan.
Nina then took the information straight back to Sam and while he was open to working with Hayley the day before, his gut told him he couldn’t trust her and as such, he didn’t want to believe it. The duo then approached Shaun and while Nina felt like they should trust in Hayley, he too was unsure whether they could risk it. While vowing to avoid Simon to lessen suspicion that they were working together. Instead the trio got to work hunting for another idol to improve their chances, as Sam missed it just like Flick the week before. Thankfully though, Nina wasn’t so blind and instead found the idol meaning the Heroes minority were just that little bit more confident heading into tribal council. The trio caught up to speculate which one was the actual target and how to use their idols successfully. While by the fire, George and Matt laughed about how powerful they were, as Hayley worried that leaking the information would backfire on her.
At tribal council Shonee spoke about how nerve wracking it can be to take time away from camp, though was confident the allies left behind held it together. Nina awkwardly danced around whether any conversations paid off while George reiterated that everyone aligned in the majority did so to further their games and would be stupid to mess it up. Which Gerry agreed with. George took it one step further, reiterating he would also not be voting for anyone that flipped in the final tribal council, should he land on the jury. Hayley spoke about finding the balance of keeping your game secret from the players while impressing the jury, while Simon spoke about needing to be careful about how you send people out of the game, not wanting to piss them off in the process.
Nina suggested it was a good time to make a move with the minority to pad their resumes, with George telling them it is too late to start playing on Day 33. Shaun agreed you really should have at least one move under your belt by now, while Nina suggested a big enough move would always be impressive. Talk turned to the idols, with Hayley playing it coy, while Sam spoke about how difficult it is to correctly identify who the target is. Even though they were explicitly told. George spoke about how good he is at reading people, filling everyone with terror that he was on to their plans. Sam spoke about how confident the majority is, though alluded to the fact not everyone is on the same page. You know, based on body language. Which piqued George’s interest and made Hayley absolutely terrified, while Shonee casually reminded them they have seven people. And left it at that. While George was just hopeful nobody would be surprised by the outcome. Tonight, at least.
With that the tribe voted as Sam told Nina to play her idol for herself, which she promptly did, followed by Shaun playing his idol for himself, as Sam begged him to play for him. The first four votes piled up on George – with Shonee hilariously pointing out which handwriting was Simon’s – before the rest of the votes piled up on Sam, sending him out of the game and costing Shaun a carton of beer. Meaning that this time it was the OG Heroes that trolled Simon, not the producers.
While I have been a little shady about Sam’s game, it is really hard to find him anything but lovable and charming. I pulled him in for a hug as he arrived at the Jury Villa and thanked him for learning from his first experience in the game and playing with a little bit of strategy. Despite the fact the OG Heroes were expertly outplayed by George and Shonee, it doesn’t take away from the fact he only said mateship once (that triggered me enough to remember, at least) which is more than enough to earn him a big vat of celebratory (for the growth, not the boot) Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream.
For some reason as a child I absolutely despised gingerbread, however as my palate developed and I became far more sensible. This little number is the perfect use of the flavouring, giving you a spiced ice cream that somehow warms your soul.
Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1 ½ cups milk 1 ½ cups cream 6 egg yolks 125g muscovado sugar ¼ cup golden syrup 1 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup gingerbread biscuits, roughly chopped into chunks
Method Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until it just starts to bubble around the edge. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, golden syrup, spices and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Still whisking, slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the spicy egg mixture until combined. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium low heat for about five minutes, or until the custard is just starting to thicken. Transfer to a clean bowl and place over ice, stirring occasionally until it has cooled completely.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn per its instructions, adding the crushed gingerbread at the first sign of it starting to freeze. Once done, transfer to an airtight container and pop into the freezer to fully set. Then, devour.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race instead of delivering a maxi challenge, Ru gave the dolls a reprieve in the form of a lip sync lalaparuza. Which obviously is only a reprieve for the dolls that win their first round. Everyone else, however, had a fight. Despite some of the queens selecting opponents they felt would be the easiest to beat, sweet Anetra focused on battles. Though after watching her lip sync with Sasha in the first round – which should have been a double shantay – who can blame her confidence. Ultimately it came down to three girls where it came down to Anetra to choose one sister to save, sending sweet Spice to safety and fellow lip sync assassin Jax out of the competition.
The next day the dolls were thrilled to have survived the lip sync lalaparuza, with Marcia particularly happy to be safe on the first round. And to not have to see Jax lip sync a sixth time. Anetra meanwhile was thrilled to have faced off against the Simone Biles of drag and come out on top. While Spice wanted to clarify what she said about entering her top era last week, explaining that she actually meant this week while Mistress joked she was thinking about entering her congeniality era.
Before Malaysia could malfunction at that suggestion, Ru dropped by to challenge the dolls to a little mini challenge where they would have to get into quick drag and photobomb some iconic moments from throughout the series to celebrate the 200th episode. Salina slayed Laganja’s entry, Anetra bombed into Willow Pill’s bubble bath, Malaysia joined Vanjie’s exit, Spice hung with Gaga, Luxx grunted through knocking off Ornacia and Vivacious in their opening shoot, Mistress caught Morgan’s ping pong balls, Marcia creeped on Jinkx’s crowning, Sasha creeped on Ru at the Despys and Loosey hung onto Serena in the tank photoshoot mini challenge. Obviously though it was Anetra that took out the win, given it was iconic and hilarious.
Given the episodes are still only an hour we couldn’t dwell on things, so Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge they’d be throwing a 15th anniversary ball. And since that is traditionally marked by crystal, welcome to the Crystal ball! First category the dolls would have to update Ru’s iconic opening racing suit for Start Your Engines. Next up, the dolls would pull inspiration from their favourite balls of yore in the My Favourite Ball runway and close out the show in the Crystalised Eleganza look which they make from scratch. Emphasis on scratch, given it will be fully crystalised. Oh and Loosey is confident, given she makes all her own costumes, so she wants her sisters to know she is the one to beat despite Sasha being right there.
And frequently thinking she should be ranked higher than the judges place her.
After Ru departed, the dolls went nuts grabbing supplies, literally breaking glassware in the process. Mother Sasha was confident in her ability to know fashion and herself, rather than being worried about her lack of sewing skills, while Anetra planned to crystalise Kennedy’s dead chicken. Ru returned with Carson to kiki with the girls, with Spice getting read for giving too much of the same thing and asked to mix it up a little. Mistress meanwhile was sassy as she showed off her big gown moment and while other dolls were going that route too, hers would stand out for being nice. Salina was giving too much and was reminded to edit and sell it on the runway, rather than getting lost in her head. She then opened up about how difficult she has found the emotions of the competition.
Ru and Carson disappeared leading to the girls reading Loosey for being heartbroken over losing the acting challenge. And while Mistress was trying to have a bit of fun, Loosey worried she was trying to get in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls talking about their siblings, with Salina opening about her queer brother before Anetra spoke about not having talked to her mum after she kicked her out for allegedly making everyone in her uncomfortable for being herself. And ugh, her mum is a dumb bitch and I hate her for doing that to Anetra and making her lose her siblings that she so dearly loves. The positive though is that she reconnected with her birth father who has become her biggest supporter and even bought her her first sewing machine. Talk turned to iconic moments of the past, with the dolls throwing out Shangela and Mimi’s fight, anything Alyssa has ever done, Bianca’s Judge Judy, opulence and Ongina coming out as HIV positive. While Spice was grateful Rebecca Glasscock wore jeans on entry, so she and Sugar could trot in rocking mini skirts.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Emmy winner Julia Garner on the panel to judge their 200th episode ball. Well, after Ru debuted her new song Cake and Candy. And while she gave us nothing – obviously – the sexy dancing bakers flooded my basement as they gave everything. Kicking off the Start Your Engines category, Mistress gave a classic racer suit full of all the big girls catchphrases. Spice meanwhile turned it into a mini skirt and avoided strutting, while Luxx made things edgy, Marcia slayed in a pastel mod vibe, Salina was street and sexy, Malaysia was glam and gorgeous in pink while Loosey slayed as Barbie and Princess Peach’s lovechild while Sasha turned it into a glamorous gown, while Anetra was fluro and represented her heritage in all the right easy.
Mistress kicked off the My Favourite Ball runway celebrating the ball ball like a sexy club kid beachball, Marcia gave canvas milkmaid in honour of the bag ball, Malaysia was beautiful in a hair gown for the hair ball while Spice gave little furballs for the ball ball. Salina gave palm tree cash for the money ball, Loosey looked like a hippy made out of doggy bags for the bag ball, Luxx was architectural in a hair ball number while Sasha celebrated weed in the sexiest way for the bag ball while Anetra was sickening and sweet for the Sugar Ball.
Closing out the show Mistress’ gown truly was perfection, not like something she made in under 24 hours. Spice looked like she just extended her usual look, Marcia gave a slutty Marie Antoinette, Malaysia too gave a perfect gown, Salina looked beautiful in her gown – despite it not fitting great – while Loosey mocked herself in a gorgeous runner-up evening wear gown. Luxx gave ice fairy and oh god, how did she make that in 24 hours?! Sasha too was stunning, giving a golden coral goddess while Anetra slayed in a gown complete with beaded exposed spine.
Marcia Cubed, Malaysia and Luxx were sent to safety before the judges praised Salina’s first two looks and how she sold them, though read her final gown for just not having the fit down. Spice was praised for her first look, read for giving furball before Michelle read her for filth for the final outfit, though loved how hard she tried not to trot. Mistress received wall to wall praise for all three of her looks, before Loosey was read for her middle look. Sasha then received all of the praise for thinking outside the box on all of her looks, and for looking stunning while doing it. She opened up about House Colby and how it saved her life and ugh, I love her so damn much. While the judges lived for two out of three of Anetra’s look, particularly her final look which was stunning. Though Michelle cautioned her to try not give so much resting bitch face on the runway.
Backstage the dolls – well Marcia and Luxx, anyway – weren’t loving the fact they were only safe which honestly is kind of fair, given the looks they both pulled together in a day. Malaysia was happy with her collection, though kinda was in her feelings about just wanting to have that star moment, given she is still without a win. Marcia felt she deserved the win while Luxx was enraged that her creative look didn’t get the props it was due, as Malaysia tried to suggest it could have just been that she just didn’t give the judges eleganza. Which was sweet, but obviously meant nothing to Luxx. Just like Art.
The tops and bottoms joined them with the girls not shocked to hear Sasha was beloved for giving vastly different looks. Salina shared how disappointed she was to be in the bottom, despite the judges not really hating anything, just the details. Spice just laughed about how the judges found her funny for not trotting and charming the shit out of them. Oh, but she knew she was in the bottom. Loosey shared she was hit and miss with the judges and then when Malaysia pointed out she had no idea what her middle look was about, Loosey cracked it and the duo started fighting. With Malaysia hilariously just finishing things by telling her the look sucked. Basically. Anetra’s final look was beloved though Michelle hated the colour of her first look, with Spice asking them to consider how green feels about Michelle, since she always comes for it.
Talk turned to Spice potentially going home, with everyone talking about how much she has grown and they love her. And I LOVE it. Oh and then Julia Garner dropped by and spat Anna Delvey lines, so I LIVE for that.
Ultimately Sasha took out her second victory of the season, as Anetra and Mistress joined her in the top before Loosey narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Salina and Spice to battle it out. And as soon as Lil Nas X’s That’s What I Want kicked off, it was clear Salina was surviving, but honestly, I could watch Spice read the phonebook because she is just so silly and joyous and ugh, I love what I love. Though yeah, Salina served a moment, hitting every lyric, finding the perfect balance between comedy and emotion and well, it was only fair she lived to see another day as Spice sadly sashayed away. Via extensive trotting, as Ru and Michelle finally embraced it and cackled along with her.
As she entered the Werk Room, I pulled Spice in for a massive hug and thanked her for being such a glorious ball of joy throughout the season. While the judges never seemed to get her (or Sugar’s) vibe, the fact that her sisters quickly went from hate to love proves that the duo are legit. And absolute delights, so I’m glad that translated to the audience. Given she and Sugar are already uber social media famous – like me, don’t ya know! – it isn’t like she needed much of a pep talk, so instead I toasted her run with a piping hot Pumpkin Spice Bundt.
This spicy number is the perfect addition to any occasion, despite the fact I used a haunted house bundt tin. The earthy pumpkin pairs perfectly with the combination of spices, leaving a moist, cake that melts in your mouth and fills you with glee.
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Serves: 8.
Ingredients 2 cups muscovado sugar 115g unsalted butter, softened ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée ½ cup sour cream 3 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Method Preheat the oven to 170C, and butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the muscovado sugar, butter and olive oil on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add an egg, allowing the batter to come back together before adding the second. Pour in the pumpkin purée and sour cream, and mix until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and pepper in a large bowl. Remove the other bowl from the stand mixer and fold the dry ingredients through until just combined. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, tapping on the bench to remove any bubbles. Pop the tin on a baking sheet if it isn’t stable (the haunted house is far from structurally sound) and transfer to the oven to bake for an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once chill you can either make a little glaze – maple is a particularly good choice – or simply dust with icing sugar before devouring. Either way, you’ll love it.
Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.
We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.
We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?
Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.
The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.
And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.
After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.
Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! – who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.
We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.
That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.
Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.
Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!
But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.
Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.
Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.
The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity.
The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.
After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.
Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.
Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.
Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.
Jackie Glaziered Muffins Serves: 6-12.
Ingredients 140g butter, plus extra for greasin’ 1 cup golden syrup 1 cup muscovado sugar 1 cup Guinness 1 tbsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground cloves 2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’ 2 tsp baking soda 1 ¼ cups sour cream 2 eggs 1 ½ cups icing sugar ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.
Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.
Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls were tasked with selling us on their own versions of heaven in a trio of afterlife infomercials. Sasha rightly leant into the fact she is essentially already a god, snapping her neck to the best ‘mercial of the week. Loosey got redemption from week one as she slayed as God-Dolly, while at the other end of the pack Princess Poppy was read for being basic and poor Amethyst just wasn’t funny. Despite selling herself as a comedy queen. Ultimately neck-snapping earned Sasha the win, while Amethyst found herself in another lip sync – to Di Ross, no less – as she did everything right to earn her safety, tragically sending Princess out of the competition. As she exited, flipping everyone the bird, accompanied by a burp.
Backstage the dolls were delighted to see Princess Poppy’s meaningful mirror message – aka scribble – while Salina joked about being shocked Amethyst survived. As they sat down the dolls checked in on Sugar who admitted she was shocked to not vibe with the girls in her group and be clocked by her sisters before talk turned to Sasha’s epic win. Which was only celebrated for a second before Luxx and Loosey argued about who was second. Which was obviously Loosey, but whatever I live for the delusion and confidence Luxx displays as it is iconic.
The next day Spice continued to lean into her new mother’s shade, checking if Amethyst was into baseball because if she is, she best be aware of the three strike rule. Ru then dropped by – short episodes, remember – to announce that this week the dolls would be playing the Snatch Game. And given there are so many of them, they will be split in half to compete in two rounds. Ru exited as the dolls split up to talk through their characters with Marcia Cubed going with Tim Gunn, Loosey pivoting from Dolly to Joan Rivers, Spice is going with my bestie Miley while Sugar is doing the iconic Trisha Paytas. Aura is doing Bretman Rock, Mistress is doing Rosie, Malaysia is doing Spicy Santana while Salina is doing the Virgin Mary.
We ventured to set where Bruno and Calex from the Pit Crew took their place at the Snatch chairs – flashing their snatch, no less – where Marcia slayed as Tim, Luxx was cute as Amanda Lepore, Malaysia was fun as Saucy, Mistress was a classic as Rosie, Anetra did Gorden Ramsey’s fake-sister, Robin gave the Grand Dame – as she deserved – before Salina slayed the game as Virgin Mary. Most importantly, Bruno proved he was more than his package, giving jokes. But when it comes to the contestants it was Marcia’s show, who was pitch perfect as sweet Tim while Mistress spat joke after joke as Rosie, despite not really sounding like her.
Bruno and Calex traded out with Bryce and Asaf, who is just, swoon. Loosey was perfection from start to finish as Joan, Sasha was a glorious Jan Crouch, Jax was the stupidest Mona Lisa, Sugar was all energy as Trisha, Amethyst was hilarious as Tan Mom, Spice gave Miley’s voice while Aura may or may not have been good as Bretman, I don’t know. But she was sadly devoid of jokes. More so than Marcia in the first panel, Loosey was perfection. Like, could compete with Jinkx, DeLa and Ginger Minj, good. At the other end of the pack, Aura was boring and the poor twins struggled to get any traction or went off on tangents, and there was no in between. While Amethyst got some redemption after last week and who knew Sasha had this many jokes?
Elimination Day arrived with Loosey and Anetra talking about their coming out journeys, with the former opening up about being post-school and how despite still living in the town she grew up in, she is more confident. She then spoke about being bullied and how teachers even joined in but she found comedy and used it to protect herself and make friends. Oh and ideally weaponised it.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Hunger Games icon Amandla Stenberg as the dolls stomped the Beautiful Nightmare runway. Marcia served in a pastel dental monster, Luxx dragged a brick giving sexy drowning victim, Malaysia was a sexy dead showgirl, Mistress was a gothic spider queen, Anetra gave sexy redback, Salina gave sexy zombie, Robin was a glam, ballerina spider, Loosey gave slutty Mrs Voorhees the second – aka Jason’s wife – Sasha was a sexy tree witch, Jax served snake snack, Sugar was a creepy porcelain doll, Spice was a murder porcelain doll while Amethyst gave Gaga getting stabbed on stage and bleeding out while Aura was glam as she bled out from an exposed back allusion.
Luxx, Malaysia, Anetra, Robin, Salina, Sasha, Jax and Amethyst were sent to safety as Marcia received universal praise for her Tim Gunn and while Michelle loved her giving more make-up, Ru wanted her to give draggier looks. Mistress received praise for the runway and for bringing fun to Snatch Game while Loosey rightly was named one of the best Snatches of all time and praised for looking perfect on the runway. Sugar meanwhile was read for being disruptive on the panel, while Spice was read for giving chaos only and despite having a stunning runway, Aura’s Snatch Game was read for being rigid and directionless.
Backstage Amethyst was far and away the happiest to be safe, finally ending her string of bottoms while Jax was desperate for another dance challenge to get back to the top. Amethyst then suggested the producers will be pulling the trigger on the Sugar and Spice lip sync, before the girls talked about the importance of getting the vibe and flow of Snatch Game right. Malaysia started to break down, shocked to have not been in the bottom and desperate to end her string of safety. The tops and bottoms joined the dolls with Mistress acting as the spokesperson, praising Loosey for being perfection while sharing that she and Marcia were also in the top. After Marcia suggested she was in second place, Mistress obviously took issue leading to a fight between the dolls. Because apparently being second place is now very important.
Focused turned to the bottoms with Aura expecting to be lip syncing while Sugar and Spice felt like they would be going in together as the judges have had enough of them. They then threatened to exit together should one be eliminated, leading to their sisters desperately trying to talk them out of it and get them to see they could flourish solo. Sugar then spoke about how they have experienced a lot of trauma growing up and how the exclusion made them even closer. As Spice exited in tears, Sugar opened up about how they were pushed out of their family leading to the dolls rallying around the twins and assuring them they are loved and have a family in them. Meanwhile Amethyst and Robin were looking after Spice and desperately assuring her that they will look after her if she is the one to stay.
Oh and then poor Amandla entered the super emotional Werk Room and praised the dolls for being stars and ugh, she is so damn sweet.
Obviously Loosey took out victory as Marcia and Mistress were sent to safety before Aura narrowly joined them, giving us what the producers wanted as soon as they were cast – a twins only lip sync. Once Pat Benetar’s You Better Run kicked off it was clear the dolls came prepared with duo choreography for every song as they gave matching moves and complimentary gags and while both were silly, entertaining and hit every lyric, Sugar‘s choreography was all about falling over and as such, she tragically found herself falling out of the competition. See what I did there?
Backstage I pulled sweet Sugar – no pun intended, surprisingly – for a massive hug and assured her that she should be nothing but proud of herself. While she was obviously disappointed to be out so soon, I reminded her that her placement in the show isn’t a reflection of her talent and TBH, she will always be remembered as one half of the twins. And as she went home early, she will likely become a robbed goddess particularly since she was so damn sweet and you can’t help but love her. As such, she was confident and ready to take on the world solo for a little bit thanks to a big bowl of Sugared Nuts.
While these are conveniently called sugared nuts, they obviously also have a little bit of spice added to kick the flavours up a notch. Earthy, sweet and oh so delicious, this slight tweak on Nigella’s edible gift is the perfect way to spread cheer and good will or just turn a mood around.
Sugared Nuts Makes: 4 cups.
Ingredients 1 cup walnuts 1 cup cashews 1 cup pistachios 1 cup macadamias 1 ½ tsp garam masala 1 tsp celery salt ½ tsp chilli flakes 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp muscovado sugar 3 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped 2 tsp kosher salt
Method Put a large frying pan over medium heat and line a baking sheet.
Pop the nuts in the warm pan and toss for a few minutes – not like that – until starting to warm and get lightly toasted. Add the garam masala, celery salt and chilli flakes and toads to coat.
Add the oil, sugar and rosemary, and gently stir with a spatula to coat until the sugar is melted and everything is rich and dark but not burnt. Pour onto the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the kosher salt and leave to set for about half an hour before packaging. Or you know, serving and immediately devouring.