Bluebrey Hainish

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under ten new dolls arrived in our baby Werk Room ready to gift the world further flavour from our neck of the woods. After putting the dolls through their paces in the traditional photoshoot – this time, with sausage – Ru tasked the girls with making outfits from natural or recycled materials. Faúx Fúr sang and generally added a cacophony of sounds while rocking black granny panties under a sheer skirt, while Spankie, potentially distracted, just forgot to work panties into her design at all. While Yuri’s look was a work of art, she couldn’t walk in it on the runway and as such, Molly, who also nailed the challenge, took out the first win of the season. Meanwhile Spankie and Faúx’s own version of the Erika Girardi pantygate landed them in the bottom with Spankie sending sweet Faúx home.

Backstage everything was feeling a little more real after seeing their first sister go home, with Spankie heartbroken to have been the one to have officially done the deed. While everyone, unsurprisingly, was just gagged by how quiet things were now that Faúx was gone. Minnie was proud of Spankie for turning the lip sync for the old girls – despite her being in her 30s – while Spankie was just focused on rising from the ashes and proving to everyone that she is not to be fucked with.

The next day Kween was also ready for a little bit of a comeback, while Yuri was just hoping to be able to walk in whatever look she pulls out this week. Aubrey meanwhile was happy to be safe for the challenge, before Minnie jumped in and apologised for the drama between them about their safe-ness last week. Before we could dwell on it further, Ru dropped by and promptly announced that since Molly won the first challenge, she would be able to rate her competition with the help of the zaddy Pit Crew. And well, were we paying attention to anything but the Bonds packages? Yuri Gaii was crowned Greatest Competition, not Good Cunt as Spankie thought. Daggiest Drag was given to Spankie, You Beauty was obviously Kween Kong as trade of the season while the final winner – Taking the Piss aka Next to Go – was Beverly Kills. Mainly because Aubrey looked stressed and Molly was way too scared to give it to Minnie.

For this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be starring in a Prisoner parody – Caged Queens – with those winning a title and wearing a sash forming Team #1 with Molly, while the rest would form Team #2. As soon as the sash dolls got together Molly admitted that she actually wanted to say Minnie was the next to go and while they started kiki-ing about it, Kween cut them off and told them to put some respect on Minnie’s name and well, I love Kween for standing up for the icon. Speaking of Minnie, she and Aubrey assured their team they will gladly put their former issues aside. Minnie opened up about being dyslexic and requested they run through the scene orally and ugh, I love her. We ventured back to Team Sash where Spankie was nailing rehearsal, while literally everyone else was bombing.

Team Sashless were first up to film with Michelle and Rhys where Aubrey looked like Baby Willam and appeared to be struggling. Pomara meanwhile was iconic in a Casey Donovan wig and well, it made me moist and I love her and her power hungry ways as a prison guard. Minnie and Molly were demented and so much fun as prison hooch producers. Spankie meanwhile knocked it out of the park for Team Sash while Yuri was apologetic to everyone for how bad she was doing. Rounding things out, Kween was ditsy, Molly was funny and Beverly was awks.

Elimination Day arrived with Kween showing off a nip, so yeah, I’m wet. Team Sashless were ready to take out victory, while Minnie wanted to publicly thank her team for being so understanding about her dyslexia which the other team hadn’t known. This led to Pomara trying to hide her laughter as she had heard it multiple times this episode, which obviously set off a new feud between Minnie and her. Once it was resolved that Pomara was laughing about it not being a secret, rather than Minnie having dyslexia, everyone split up to beat their mugs with Kween and Pomara feeling uncertain about how they went in the challenge but hopeful about improving on last week’s performance. Yuri opened up to Spankie about how her family offered to help fix her gayness and how they don’t support her drag, with Spankie going into mumma mode pulling her in for a hug and telling her that she is enough and is always welcome in her family. And ugh, I’ve had too long a week to process this emotion because that was beautiful.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Lucy Lawless as Molly slayed the Fly Girls runway as a neon green prey mantis. Kween Kong was perfection as a sexy black and white moth, Aubrey was gorgeous in Etcetera Etcetera’s entry-slash-promo look and Minnie was stunning as a 50s glam butterfly. Beverly was the sexiest latex mozzie, Pomara was stunning in an iridescent blue cicada gown, Spankie was a Cabaret style fly and looked a treat while Hannah was a glamorous ‘20s golden dame bug. And well, then Yuri Gaii was an acidic prey mantis and well, sorry Molly, Yuri did it better. Like the one you ordered, versus what you get.

When it came to Caged Queens, Hannah and Minnie were right in the pocket and gloriously, Home Alone-esque in their delivery. While Pomara and Aubrey were kinda-sorta just there. Spankie was delightfully demented, Yuri was sexy, Molly and Kween were fun and Beverly was a little awks. But given her character was being executed for writing all the RuPaul’s Drag Race acting challenges, so yeah, I appreciate a self-aware show.

Molly, Beverly and Pomara were deemed safe and sent to untuck before the judges praised Kween for looking stunning as all hell. Though read for kinda just being there in the challenge. She admitted that she hated the challenge and is embarrassed to have bombed in front of Lucy Lawless, before opening up about her depression and assured Ru that she will do better and ugh, I love her. Aubrey was read for being weak, though they praised her for fighting through the struggle of being first on set. Oh and while she looked good standing still, her gags on the runway all fell flat. Minnie received all around praise for everything she did in the challenge and on the runway. Yuri was declared the fashion queen of the season, though read for filth for her performance in the challenge. And then Spankie received wall to wall praise for being silly, leaning in to the joy and being fun. And then Hannah was praised for her Marlene Dietrich runway and for nailing the performance.

Backstage the safe girls were shocked that Kween and Aubrey were in the bottom, while Kween assured Yuri that she wants her baby sister to bring it in the lip sync. Minnie and Pomara then unleashed their issues, with Minnie offended about what happened this morning, while Pomara called her out for saying she didn’t deserve to be paid as a performer to other queens in Sydney. Oh and Minnie told her that she was entitled and difficult to mentor. But then they buried their issues and moved on, causing whiplash for everyone on the sidelines and watching along at home.

Ultimately Spankie took out her first win of the season while Hannah and Minnie were deemed a very deserving safe. As was Yuri, thanks to her perfect bloody outfit. As soon as The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself kicked off, Kween absolutely came alive and commanded all the attention, proving she is a damn star. She was cartwheeling and splitting and while Aubrey had a fire and gave camp comedy, Kween made sure she was not going home any time soon. Which meant poor Aubrey had to go, ironically – maybe, who knows thanks to Alanis – to a song featured in Austin Powers, which birthed her name. 

Backstage Aubrey was understandably disappointed to be going home so soon, but thankfully was still proud of how skilled she is despite still being a baby-queen. Do I feel like a part of her started drag for the sole purpose of getting on the show and getting a recipe named after her? Sure. But can you really blame her? Thankfully like me, she is an icon and I pulled her in for a massive hug, congratulating her on being so damn talented, winning over hearts during her short stint and getting into a memorable fight. Which, in my eyes, makes her more than worthy of a piping hot Bluebrey Hainish.

Tart berries, sweet, velvety cream cheese and the glorious crunch of almonds work together to create a pastry so decadent and life affirming that all your troubles are solved. Kind of like Marge’s banana bread.

Enjoy!

Bluebrey Hainish
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
400g cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 cups blueberries
1 egg, whisked
icing sugar and flaked almonds, for dusting and sprinkling

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and cut each sheet of puff pastry into four squares. Divide the squares between two lined baking sheets.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and extracts in a bowl and smear in the centre of each square of pastry, leaving a 2cm rim around the perimeter of each. Divide the blueberries between the squares and gently press into the cheese.

Brush the edges with a little bit of egg and transfer the baking sheets to the oven to cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for five minutes or so, before dusting with icing sugar and sprinkling over the flaked almonds. Then devour, lukewarm.


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Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa after losing the first two immunity challenges, the Masu tribe were feeling deflated. But boy were they busy. Dante was trying to improve on his last game, playing out in front and keeping his options open, while Meryl, Steffi and Marian had formed a tight trio. Over at Yontau, Dino fell asleep and into the fire which was far from the most dramatic thing as Pinty and Tania continued to feud. At tribal council the tribe was split over who to get rid of, ultimately trusting in Pinty pulling her head in (or wanting a bigger target around), as Tania was booted from the game. Potentially due to the Survivor Pizza Curse.

Things were far more zen the next day as Seamus and Phil caught up, agreeing that Pinty is kind of out of control and Tania was correct about everything she said. Though Phil admitted that he kept Pinty for the sole purpose of using her abrasive behaviours as a shield. Speaking of Pinty, she caught up with Thoriso to put the target on Seamus instead, given he played the idol he found with Tevin, even though he clearly didn’t need to (ignoring the fact it expired that night and he also had first boot trauma). And while Thoriso agreed they were a dangerous duo, she felt that Tevin was a far bigger threat than Seamus and as such, he should be their priority.

Over at Masu Toni was still fuming over Dante taking control of the tribe, while Marian approached her to clear the air. Like a boss, she told her to never use her skin as a reason to boot her again, while Toni explained she was trying to give people a gentler reason to get rid of her. Which doesn’t make much sense, but hey, she accepted it. Marian realised that Toni was feeling like she had no room to play, given she had been backed into a corner, so she tried to make her feel heard and loved. And like she had options. And you know, stick with the Masu tribe come the surely-impending swap. Before both of them locked things in officially, knowing the pre-mergers will definitely be out for blood come the merge.

Palesa meanwhile was cosying up to Dante as they both assured each other that they were keen to work together and were glad they didn’t feel the need to talk constantly. Which was all a ruse as Palesa shared with us that she knows Dante is a massive threat and clearly working at dismantling everyone else’s options and as such, she was biding her time until she could start dismantling his, instead.

The tribes met up with Nico for the latest reward-immunity combo where they would face off one at a time, running down an alley opposite their rival and attempting to pull a trigger before them. First tribe to five winning immunity and a huge bounty of comfort items. And ingredients to make toasties. Steffi and Shona were first and while Shona boldly tried to tackle her, Steffi Steffi-ed and quickly scored the point. Meryl then destroyed Pinty, Tejan continued the streak over Seamus before Queen Palesa scored Masu’s fourth point over Queen Killarney. Dante then ran for the win against Felix, which he narrowly did. Much to the agony of Yontau.

Back at Masu the tribe were completely overjoyed, sitting around smashing their sandies and feeling like real people again. On and then Steffi found the hidden immunity idol while the tribe were in food comas, proving she learnt a lot from King Chappies in his short time on the island.

The mood, however, was far more sombre over Yontau, embarrassed by how badly they lost. Felix tried to give them a pep talk and encouraged everyone to believe in themselves since they have been excelling when they work together. Killarney meanwhile was nervous after she bombed her point, which proved to be a good read as Pinty approached Tevin to float the idea of voting her out. Which he was obviously keen to do. When she made the same pitch to Seamus, she was far less successful as he pointed out both of them also lost their points and as such, they shouldn’t target her for that. He then approached Tevin, Dino, Thoriso and Felix to float getting rid of Pinty instead. Given she is still abrasive. While they appeared to be making headway, Dino grew nervous, given it is obvious Tevin and Seamus are leading the tribe and given he is injured, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and instead would like to keep targets like Pinty around.

Thoriso too was feeling like Tevin was more of a problem, though knew she couldn’t be the one to float his name to Felix, Phil or Seamus. And what do you know, she is in luck as Phil approached Felix about prioritising getting rid of Tevin. Given Pinty will Pinty every day until she is gone. Speaking of which, she then caught up with Felix and opened up about how frustrated she is by Tevin and Seamus being out in front and as such, she wanted to get one of them out ASAP as she was feeling nervous about trusting the boys. 

Killarney meanwhile was hanging out with the boys who told her that she is their pawn, though not to worry as they were planning to end Pinty’s reign of terror. As Tevin and Seamus were bonding with Shona over her being voted out on Day 9 on her first season, Phil noticed how tight their hold had gotten over the tribe. As such, he approached Dino and Felix to seriously work on flipping the vote on Tevin to continue dismantling the Philippines alliance. Tevin and Seamus meanwhile were successful in locking in their numbers with Shona, as Phil continued to work the boys and assure them that saving Pinty will only make her more and more loyal.

Oh and then Tevin found the hidden immunity idol. 

Phil and Pinty finally caught up with Pinty herself pitching the idea of splitting up Tevin and Seamus, which obviously worked given that was his plan himself. She then filled in Thoriso on the change in plan, who was frankly thrilled. And lol, what do you know, Seamus was keen to do a Shona and stash a hidden immunity idol at tribal council for down the road. And well, I look forward to seeing the other person’s face when the first one to do the fake play steals their thunder. So. Many. Lols.

At tribal council Seamus admitted it was difficult to lose, though was confident they were the stronger, more cohesive team. Phil spoke about how disheartening it can be to lose, though was glad they were ready to keep pushing forward. Throiso reiterated that everyone working together is their collective goal, with Shona agreeing that they wanted to get as many of the tribe members as far as possible. Tevin agreed that was his strategy on the first go around and while it may be boring TV it works, despite the fact that it got him blindsided his first go around. Dino meanwhile wanted to keep his options open while Tevin focused on the unpredictability of the game.

Talk turned to Pinty being the star of the last tribal council, with her agreeing that she is still on the block this one though felt Killarney is more of a weakness for the tribe. This fired Killarney up, who called Pinty out for being a difficult personality to deal with and that nobody won their point and as such, her argument was moot. As Pinty tried to defend herself as the strongest woman, she threw Shona and Thoriso under the bus, leading to Pinty backpedalling and praising them for trying. Unlike Killarney. Who well and truly was over her pitch and encouraged everyone to ignore her scrambling for the desperation it is. 

Nico bought up the potential of another idol being in play, with Seamus nervous about having to split votes so soon while Dino and Phil tried to distract and keep playing up the tribal unity. With that the tribe voted and they were anything but unified as the votes landed four a piece between Tevin and Pinty before the final vote blindsided Tevin from the game. With an idol in his pocket.

Despite the fact he experienced the same fate on his second go around, Tevin exited with his head held high and was proud of what he achieved. Which I guess is easier to deal with when you’re constantly targeted for being a threat. I guess. As he re-entered loser lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how disappointed I was to see him go. And then got a little cheeky and pointed out that his exit really improves Toni’s standing in the game and as such, we should all be grateful. Though, maybe that was the Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu.

So crunchy you could chip a tooth, these biscotti are so damn tasty. Sweet and delicate chocolate, cooked to a perfect crisp with lightly toasted hazelnuts? Perfection. Perfection, I tell you!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Biscottevin Naidu
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
325g chocolate, roughly chopped
5 eggs, 4 whole plus 1 separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
225g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two baking sheets with baking paper or silpat.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and half the chocolate in a food processor and blitz until combined and chocolate is in smaller chunks.

Meanwhile whisk the four eggs, vanilla and the raw caster sugar in a stand mixer on medium until it forms light, creamy ribbons. Trade in the paddle attachment and fold in the flour mixture, remaining chocolate and hazelnuts until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface – very floured – and split into four. Roll each portion into a log and place on the lined baking sheets. Whisk the remaining white and brush over each, followed by a generous sprinkle of sugar. Pop the logs in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about half an hour.

Once they are cool enough to cut, transfer to a cutting board and slice into 1.5cm slices using a serrated knife. Line the biscotti flat on the lined baking sheets and return to the oven to cook for another 20 minutes. Remove when nice and crisp, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or just devour piping out, fresh from the oven. Because these are good.


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Romesco Saucobar

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the lush islands of Fiji where one by one they were eliminated, starting with the tragic loss of Jackson and Zach within the first few days. They were followed out the door – yes, this is happening – Marya, Jenny, Swati and Daniel before three became one as the tribes merged, or so they thought, as once again, the merge was a bit of a gag. That cost Lydia her game before the official merge saw Chanelle ascend to the throne as Queen of the jury. She was soon joined by Rocksroy, Tori, Hai, Drea and Omar before the final five were sent to a new beach to start over. Despite winning an advantage for the challenge, Lindsay couldn’t take out victory and landed on the jury bench before Romeo narrowly snatched final immunity and took Maryanne to final tribal council with him, leaving Mike to earn his place and sending Jonathan from the game to become the final juror.

The final three awoke on Day 26 to watch the sunrise, proud to have made it all the way to the end and to get the chance to argue their case. Though Mike was worried about how he would be able to convince the jury of his game, despite all of them giving confessionals about really needing him to own the fact he is the biggest snake left in the game. Romeo meanwhile was proud of playing from the bottom the entire game, with the jury admitting that his ability to persevere and outlast everyone has been very impressive. Maryanne meanwhile was readying herself to scream all of her achievements from the rooftops and while the jury were thrilled to see Maryanne make it to the end, they worried about her ability to articulate her superior game. And TBH, focus on the task at hand.

With that, the final three arrived at the final tribal council where Probst quickly explained the proceedings for the evening. Omar kicked off the discussion about their social games, praising all of them for making it to the end and encouraged everyone to outline what they did to deserve the win. Tori spoke about Mike’s passion for trust and integrity, while Maryanne was charming and fun while Romeo was quiet, asking how accurate her read was and whether she missed anything. Mike leant straight into his love of trust, while Maryanne countered that she has always taken the game seriously, desperately trying to downplay her threat level as all the young people kept getting voted out when they tried to make a move. While Romeo just agreed that yes he was paranoid, but that he kept throwing hinky votes out to keep people riled up.

That sadly upset Hai, who accused him of gaslighting him and ugh, Hai destroyed him. Despite his attempts to apologise and them ultimately moving on, I still worry for Romeo in this final tribal. Giving him hope, Omar asked Mike about some of the other times he lied that he hadn’t copped to, including the blindside of Drea. While Mike tried to talk around things, Chanelle jumped in to call bullshit on the situation, leading to Mike getting more and more desperate as he tried to explain that he only crossed people that crossed him. Which Hai pointed out was mainly Omar feeding him lies. Jonathan tried to get Mike to fight before Drea cooled things down and reminded everyone that they all lied, but the fact of the matter is that Mike’s social game was just on point.

Talk turned to Maryanne’s sloppy social game pre-merge, with Maryanne admitting she hadn’t realised how much her tribe hated her before the merge but once she realised, she rightly course corrected. Lindsay then gave Maryanne the chance to explain who she pulled in herself, with her highlighting her skills in taking out Omar. And while Jonathan tried to take ownership of the move, she slapped him down and rightly took credit. Because trust and believe, it was her moment.

Rocksroy kicked off the physical portion of the game, with Maryanne talking about her contribution around camp, weaving fronds and prepping the fish. Mike meanwhile highlighted his work ethic, powering along all season to look after his tribe. While Romeo admitted he has never camped and just learnt to swim, and as such, he is proud of himself for persevering and finally snatching immunity at the final four.

Drea kicked off the strategic portion, telling the final three that this is what will decide her vote. She asked each of them to outline their biggest move with Romeo talking about his fake immunity idol and winning the final challenge. Oh and that he took Maryanne because she didn’t have a strategy. Mike meanwhile spoke about orchestrating the blindside on Hai, with him admitting that sometimes his emotions got the best of him before he realised mid-sentence that he wasn’t as honest as he thought. Maryanne meanwhile shut it down, explaining that getting rid of Omar set her up with a bunch of final three combinations she could navigate. She then outed her idol, impressing everyone by keeping the secret and clearly articulating how removing Omar is the thing that took her to the end.

Romeo meanwhile broke down, disappointed to have had to play the game from the bottom and to not show his real self throughout the game. Though he was proud to have never given up and make it to the end, and to finally be able to live his life as a proud gay man. Mike spoke about being proud of himself for overcoming the generational barriers, competing with the younger kids and making the bonds to get to the end. While Maryanne once again dominated, sharing how she learnt to stand up for herself and to not self-sabotage, which is why she voted out Lindsay. She cried about having to turn on a friend, though finally knew that she had to take the risk of getting rid of her, to give herself the best shot at winning.

With that the jury voted and once again, everyone was gagged to discover that Jeff would be reading the votes right then and there in the middle of Fiji. Sadly for Romeo, none of them were for him as he found himself becoming the second runner-up of the season.

As Jeffy pop and co reset to film the reunion, I pulled Romeo aside and gave him a massive hug for all that he achieved throughout the season. And for giving a surprisingly dominant performance in the final tribal council. Romeo perfectly articulated how he managed to navigate the game despite being on the bottom the entire time, while also going on a massive journey to self-acceptance. Which is not bad for 26 days of work! And while it didn’t jag him the win, it was more than enough to win him my heart and a big ol’ ramekin of Romesco Saucobar.

A little bit tangy with a touch of earthiness and punch of sweetness, this Spanish sauce is the perfect accompaniment for pretty much anything. Make it a bit thicker and you’ve got a punchy dip, thinner and it works perfectly with some charred chicken.

Enjoy!

Romesco Saucobar
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
150g chargrilled capsicum, drained well
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
¼ tsp chilli powder
20g flaked almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method
Pop everything into the blender and blitz until smooth.

Decant and either down, dip or drizzle on something and devour – your choice!


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Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies

Baking, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls were delighted to play Snatch Game. And while Sharonne slayed the game, there were many a stumble on the panel. While I lived for whatever vocal fry Sethlas was offering up, the rattlesnake noise told he that she was bombing just as hard as Diamante, who followed Trixie’s footsteps and botched RuPaul while Onyx was way too cerebral and didn’t bring any jokes. Sharonne rightly took out her second victory, while Sethlas narrowly avoided lip syncing as Diamante faced off against Onyx, sending my sweet zaddy home.

Backstage the dolls were shell shocked to have lost Onyx, while Sethlas in particular was struggling, given they were so damn close. Diamante even had mixed feelings, given she loved Onyx despite the fact she was thrilled to have survived her time in the bottom. Everyone congratulated Sharonne on a very well earned victory, while Marina quietly seethed about Diamante remaining in the competition. Which was only made worse when she admitted to being lazy in the lip sync and turning tricks rather than learning the words. Oh and then Marina’s wig got stuck on her head and Sharonne had to perform surgery to remove it.

Things were a little more chill the next day as Juriji teased Sethlas for hooking up with Onyx, before the girls read Diamante for being so callous in the way she wiped off the mirror message. Which actually delighted Venedita as it showed that she was a little unhinged. Before we were able to explore that further, Supremme arrived with the Pit Crew each wheeling in different bins of materials which they would each have to use to fashion a look. As this week, they’re throwing a ball and the final look would be designed from the materials, ready for the 30th century drag runway. After they stomp the 10th and 20th century runways before them.

Immediately, the Pit Crew opened up their packages of plastic, paper and metal and the dolls absolutely went to town on them … to collect their supplies. Everything was flying, Sethlas was getting swallowed up by cardboard and Estrella was fighting Juriji over umbrellas. It was WILD.

After Supremme exited stage left, the dolls got to work on their outfits, with Venedita confident in her skills, since she went to design school, while on the flipside, Estrella and Diamante were terrified given neither of them have any skills. Marina too was struggling to understand a sewing machine while Juriji just felt stupid. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were calmly working away in another corner of the room, while the other girls dropped by periodically for advice. Estrella meanwhile was going with a different plan of attack, trying to distract Juriji from her outfit before just straight up flashing her bum.

Supremme made her return to check how the girls were progressing with Venedita admitting to being a little overwhelmed by the task and worried it will all fall apart as soon as she starts walking. Estrella meanwhile was not fooling Supremme about her lack of skills or direction, while Diamante shared that she took some sewing classes before coming to the competition. Which don’t appear to be helping her, but whatevs. Thankfully she was faring better than Marina who was sprialling about anything and everything. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were living their best lives, carving away at their cardboard and working with a clear plan. While Juriji was confident in her concept, just not happy with how quickly, or not, she works.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with the dolls speculating that Diamante was lying about her lack of sewing skills given the ease with which she pulled together her outfit. Everyone was equally impressed with what Sethlas could do with a glue gun, while Marina and Estrella were terrified about whether their looks would even make it to the runway, let alone down it. The dolls stopped throwing shade to start prepping their first looks where Estrella opened up to Sethlas about her friend Ivan who left her a letter in her luggage to help keep her motivated. And as is oft the case with the emotional interludes, I love how sweet the dolls are with each other.

Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by the iconic Choriza May on the judges panel, which honestly, is what she deserves. First up walking the 10th Century was Sharonne who was a bright, theatrical mess before revealing a jewelled bodysuit. Estrella gave mediaeval quest, Venedita was perfection as the moon, Diamante was harlequin chic before Sethlas stole the show as a stunning manuscript. Marina was a harvest earth mother while Juriji went from monk to the sexiest winged Joan of Arc known to man. And stole the show from Sethlas.

For the 20th Century looks, Sharonne went dripping in cash, literally. Estrella served gay Franco, Venedita was a post-Franco bride, ironically enough, Diamante was an architectural  floral delight while Sethlas served the internet. And broke it in the process. Probably. Marina was a slutty, plastic bride, while Juriji was delightfully demented as a liberated, mod Swedish girl.

Sharonne opened the 30th Century runway giving golden architecture, Estrella was a mess as a silver, robotic soldier while Venedita was perfect as a floral, structured delight. Diamante was simple yet effective as a satellite building, Sethlas was serving shaped, geometry realness – and slayed – while Marina was sloppy though did pair it with some nudity, so win. Oh and then Juriji stole the show as Gaultier Barbarella, having the time of her life.

After Sharonne was sent to safety solo, the judges read Estrella for absolute filth despite the fact they loved her personality. Venedita received universal praise for always telling a story while looking perfect, while Diamante was read for being a little safe and not really standing out from the crowd, good or bad. Sethlas was praised for telling a cohesive story over her three looks, and looking perfect while doing it. Marina was praised for selling her looks, though read for the last look being a bland mess. And then Juriji received universal praise for all that she served.

Backstage the dolls joined Sharonne before she went mad from boredom, quickly filling her in on who were the tops and bottoms. Despite it being quite obvious. Estrella was very confident she would be lip syncing, though was unsure who she would be against, while Diamante feared it would be her. Marina meanwhile was fine to be in the bottom, though mainly because she felt she didn’t belong there. Juriji meanwhile opened up about believing in herself before Choriza May swung backstage to kiki with her sisters. Who was just as charming as she was in UK 3, encouraging everyone that they are doing a great job and to not be too hard on themselves.

Juriji somehow was only deemed safe, leaving Sethlas to take out her first victory of the season. Which left Venedita as safe, before Marina’s superior first looks managed to save her from the bottom, leaving Estrella and Diamante to lip sync for their lives. To Se nos rompió el amor by Rocío Jurado, no less. And well, as requested by Supremme, neither queen left anything on the runway as they dug deep into the emotion. While it appeared like Diamante knew all the lyrics this time, and turned the show, she was no match for the charm, passion and raw emotion of Estrella who saved herself, booting Diamante from the competition.

Backstage Diamante was gladly holding her head high, proud of all that she was able to showcase in the competition and for giving it her all. And while that kinda, sorta makes me and my culinary comfort redundant, I gave her a big hug, reiterated how talented she is and celebrated her success with a batch of Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies.

Brownies are one of the safest sweets you can make. I mean, if they are undercooked you are left with a fudgy delight and if they are overcooked, they’re a bit cake-like. While you never want to overcook them, they will do in a pinch. And when they are full of juicy raspberries, well, it doesn’t really matter though, does it?

Enjoy!

Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies
Serves: 2 dear friends, or 6 people.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup slivered almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and leave aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars until combined. One at a time, whisk in the eggs until the mixture comes back together before folding in the flour and salt. Followed by the raspberries and almonds.

Pour the batter into a lined 25cm square cake tin and pop into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. And by just set, just set. Remove from the oven to cool in the pan for an hour before carving and devouring.


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Beetroot and Bean Watsalad

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, before Nina was tragically whisked from the game she got to enjoy a reward with her tribe. But she wasn’t the only one not having luck as Mark thought he snatched a clue to a hidden immunity idol without anyone knowing. Unaware that his ally Jordie saw everything. With the alphas in control of the Blood tribe, KJ was thrilled to be the new resident female in their alliance, leaving Shay cast aside. After Water threw the next immunity challenge, Jesse and Sam planned to re-blindside Ben. That is until Ben told them that Croc was trying to save him and instead target Jesse. As such they flipped things on Croc and sent him home with an idol in his pocket. While poor Queen Chrissy sobbed.

The next day things were looking rather zen at Water as Ben fished in his speedos while Sam led the girls in washing out their bits, her words, not mine. Jesse and Khanh followed this by stripping off, making me as wet as the stream they frolicked in. While Chrissy looked on completely enraged, Ben opened up about how he was feeling awkward about the blindside, though was thrilled to have defied the odds and made his way back to the top of the tribe. Poor Chrissy meanwhile was heartbroken to have lost her support network in Croc, missing everything he reminded her of at home. Sam tried to make things better, assuring Chrissy that everyone loves Croc though they were told he was turning on them first and therefore felt they had to take him out first. And then Chrissy herself confirmed things that Croc had said without even realising it.

But, you know, Sam followed that up by confirming Ben was the mastermind of the blindside and Ben, girl, you’re in danger because Chrissy is coming for you.

Over at the Blood tribe everyone was genuinely zen, with Mark living for his all male alliance and while that sounds like my dream, in Survivor, I absolutely hate it. Particularly because it is less about them taking out the weak links and more about them taking out the women, given Shay could beat any of them in a challenge. Mark meanwhile was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to find his idol yet, despite the clue clearly directing him to find it tethered underwater by the well.

As he stealthily looked again, he told us how he would be putting his army training to good use while searching undetected. Under the watchful eye of Jordie, who quickly popped out of the bushes and forced Mark to confess that he found a clue. Mark then found the idol but pretended he hadn’t found anything and as such, the duo went hunting together. Well, until Mark grew tired of Jordie shadowing him and instead confessed he had the idol, assuming Jordie was an honest player. Which he is well and truly not. But go off sis, because villain Jordie is a delight.

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for another immunity challenge which they were gagged to learn was an individual affair, with one person from each tribe jagging immunity. Since both tribes will be going to tribal council, and both tribes would be voting someone out. Aka, another twist. Put as far as the challenge goes, everyone would stand on narrow pegs and hold a rod above their heads to keep a ball pressed against a wall, with the last person from each tribe winning immunity.

Almost instantly, Dave dropped from the challenge, followed closely by Jordan begging the question, is that blood alliance gender or strength based? Michelle was first out for Water as Mark quickly followed over on Blood, followed by Mel, Josh and KJ leaving Jordie and Shay to fight it out. Ben and Chrissy meanwhile were verbally sparring over Croc’s blindside with them eventually clearing the air before Chrissy dropped, followed immediately by Jesse who fell on his face. With Jordie showing genuine concern and well, swoon.

After 26 minutes, Ben dropped out in agony as Chrissy caught him before he fell. Sam meanwhile was desperate to make a deal with Khanh, asking him to give her the necklace should she let him win the challenge despite the fact she was allegedly feeling fine. She then immediately dropped out of the challenge and proved she was not, in fact, fine as she passed out and required medical to be rushed in to make sure she was ok. With that excitement out of the way, poor Jordie dropped out without any medical intervention, handing Shay the second immunity and frankly, putting us all out of our misery. Because that looks painful.

Back at the Blood tribe, Jordie was frustrated that Shay’s victory had put a kibosh on their plans, though was grateful to have two other women to split the votes between. The boys caught up in the water to debate the merits of keeping Mel or KJ, settling on the former given she still has a partner in the game which is dangerous moving forward. Meanwhile the girls were back at camp and instead of bonding to form a rival alliance, Shay told KJ to do the washing up and walked away and well, that is not going to change the status quo.

Given she had no options with the girls, KJ approached the boys in the water and reiterated her status as a free agent to try and save herself. Though given Jordie straight up plotted a split vote between KJ and Mel IN FRONT OF KJ, that should not make her feel assured in the slightest. The boys then looped in Mel, assuring her the plan is to take out KJ and well, this messiness just guarantees someone is coming out of tribal council angry. Though given how awkward Josh was while telling Shay about the plan, she should also be worried about her long-term survival. Particularly when she shared she was nervous about KJ coming for her and wanted her gone. And when they didn’t budge, that should show her they clearly don’t care about her. Shay then tried to rally the broader group on a plan to take out KJ and while Mark seemed interested, I can’t bring myself to get my hopes up for him turning on the boys.

Over at the Water tribe things were moderately less chaotic as Chrissy was focused on getting revenge on Ben and quickly rallied the troops to finally get rid of him. She, Sam and Khanh all agreed to get rid of him, with the girls assuring Khanh that Jesse will be all in on the plan to get rid of Ben too. Then somehow, that made Chrissy nervous given Sam and Jesse also voted for Croc and as such, she also hated them. And damn, this may end up being just as chaotic. As Chrissy napped away the afternoon, Ben was busy trying to woo the tribe to his idea to flush Khanh’s idol and get rid of Chrissy instead. He then went person to person sharing his plan and while Sam and Jesse debated the merits of the split, I still have an awful feeling we’re losing one of the speedo kings tonight.

At tribal council Dave admitted he was shocked by how strong Jordie was in the challenge while Shay admitted she felt like she needed to win, given their tribe is a complete sausage fest. She joked that Mel and KJ were now on their own, before pretending they’d be fine, while both KJ and Mel reiterated that they are in fact fighting for their lives in the game. Mark tried to downplay the predictability, given people are wont to be conflicting and chaotic. While Shay tried to pretend original tribes may come into play, Mark admitted his decision will be based on what is best for his merge game. Jordie spoke about the likelihood there is an idol in play at the camp, with Jordan laughing about someone finally learning to keep it quiet while Mark looked straight up anxious. Jordie meanwhile agreed they’ve reached the point of the game where they are making decisions based on the next week in the game, rather than just focusing on seeing tomorrow.

Jonathan turned his attention to the Water tribe, with Chrissy still smarting about Croc’s blindside and vowied that there are definitely going to be some upset people after the upcoming vote. But she will not be one of them, since her name is not on the block. Ben admitted she is likely targeting him, with Chrissy reminding everyone she is fiercely loyal which Ben agreed he was too despite the fact he cut Croc. Who was the only person willing to save him. Which is valid, but not the right argument.

Sam spoke about how she pushed so hard in the challenge to make her son and Mark proud, while Khanh spoke about pushing himself in the challenge to prove he could, rather than it being a sign of him feeling unsafe with his tribe. Jesse agreed that it was more about PBs before Ben got up and started to whisper to Khanh to play his idol for himself rather than on Chrissy, given he would essentially be voting himself out if not. This got Jonathan’s attention with Khanh admitting Ben told him to play his idol to save himself and while JLP tried to make him feel awks about giving up immunity to Sam, he admitted he still has an idol and doesn’t care. Particularly since he has the relationships to carry him through should it get flushed.

Sam and Chrissy assured him that he is definitely not part of the plan, as Khanh started to sob about how grateful he is to have found so many genuine friends on his tribe. Sam agreed that she is shocked by how many bonds she has made and while they all feel like their trust has been broken over time, they need to come back, move on and work together the next day because that is how the game works.

With that the tribes voted though before Jonathan read them, he announced that the person voted out on each tribe would get a chance to fight for their life in a firemaking challenge with the winner staying in the game and returning to their tribe, while the loser would officially be out of the game. 

Ultimately it was Mel and Ben voted out of their respective tribes and were whisked off to the side of tribal council to battle out in the firemaking challenge. While her sister looked to already be accepting her defeat, Mel absolutely dominated the challenge, immediately getting flames and managing to keep it going as she built it into a full blown fire. While Ben managed to get a flame, he appeared to keep smothering it as Michelle barked at Mel to find the smallest sticks she could find. While Mel’s too went out, she and Ben eventually built a flame, before Mel managed to keep hers consistent the longest, burning through the rope and saving her position in the game. As Water celebrated finally getting Ben out of the game.

Obviously, his loss absolutely broke my heart given he is one of my top two speedo kings of the season. Which I obviously told him as I pulled him into my arms back at Loser Lodge.

I’ve known Ben for years and years, meeting at a Bens for speedos club. While he was there to fight the speedo stigma of the modern age, I was there to scout talent and funnily enough, suggested he go on Survivor to join the pantheon of zaddies throughout the years. Promising him a Beetroot and Bean Watsalad as a thank you for his service.

Like Ben, this fresh little number is an absolute dreamboat. Rich a earthy, smooth and creamy with a little bit of spice and zing, there is nothing more you could want to put in your mouth. The salad, guys – head out of the gutter. Though, obvi, Ben is a total swoon.

Enjoy!

Beetroot and Bean Watsalad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 beetroot, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 sprig rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
200g beans, trimmed and cut into lengths
100g feta, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and wrap each beetroot in foil after giving them a good rub in 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Pop into the oven and cook for about an hour, or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.

While the beetroot is cooling down, combine the remaining olive oil with the vinegar, rosemary, thyme and a good whack of salt and pepper. Shake to combine. Then blanch the beans until they are a nice, bright green. Remove and leave to chill.

Dice the beetroot and add to a bowl with the beans, feta, red onion and walnuts. Pour over the dressing and toss until well combined. Then devour.


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Pralina Twine

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor with Sandra gone, Josh and Jordan decided now was the right time to take control of the Blood tribe. And while things appeared to be on the up and up for the tribe, Jordie was messy in the immunity challenge and left Jordan to officially lose the challenge for them. Despite two of the big boys causing their loss, the tribe was keen to get rid of Mel for being clumsy. Except for Amy, who wisely decided it was time to split up the cousins as the last couple on the tribe. Sadly though, she looped in Shay who immediately went to the boys and spilled the beans. While Nina was keen to make a move with Amy, the numbers weren’t there and as such, she stuck with her allies to get rid of sweet Amy. Who just wanted Khanh to know he loves her.

Speaking of Khanh, he was living his best life over at the Water tribe however Chrissy was frankly sick of the masterchef’s cooking given there are only so many meals of rank rice and beans you can handle before you stop pretending to be grateful. Even to a professional chef.

Meanwhile over at Blood Nina was happy with her decision to stick with her alliance at the last tribal, however when the boys started to throw out the idea of getting rid of Shay as casual morning chat, she immediately started to feel a bit uneasy. She shared that she and Shay have grown really close, even beyond the game, and while the boys may want her gone, Shay is the one she wants to navigate the post-merge with. We then learnt a little bit more about Nina’s life and how she has been feeling unhappy in her job and wanting to do and be something more than she is. And to prove to her mum that she has learnt so much from her. And this emotional content is really making me more and more nervous. To counteract the Shay whispers, she caught up with the boys and instead slyly suggested they get rid of Mel instead. Which, just never seems to happen despite the fact she is their go-to target.

We went back to Water where Jesse was living his best life, being in the majority and rocking his bright speedos. But that zen, happy go lucky side of Jesse was soon to be coming to an end, as he focused his attention on making some moves and taking some names. And the first person on his hit list was Ben, who entered camp wearing a sarong which obviously makes me hate the idea. Ben opened up to Sam and Michelle about how he is struggling with the lack of food, unaware that that contant talk is fuelling everyone to turn on him. Particularly since he keeps scraping dregs off the pot and taking everyone’s crispy treats away from them. With the target growing, Jesse pulled Sam aside to float the idea of getting rid of him which she immediately jumped on. Mainly because she and Khanh had the same discussion last week.

The tribes joined up with Jonathan for the reward challenge where Khanh was heartbroken to see his baby sister had been eliminated. As he started to cry, he thankfully avoided spitting rage at the rival tribe before Sam jumped in to talk about how hard it is to arrive at each reward, worried to find out whether their loved ones were still in the game. With that sweet interlude out of the way, we focused on the reward challenge which Jonathan decided to complicate by splitting each tribe into two teams. One person from each team would then slide down a waterslide to grab a ball then shoot it into a basket. With the first two teams to score two baskets jagging a picnic reward. Which immediately makes the entire thing more interesting. 

The teams ended up with Khanh, Ben, Chrissy and KJ versus Michelle, Sam, Jesse and Croc against Shay, Mel, Josh and Dave battling Mark, Jordan, Jordie and Nina. Mark, Josh, Croc and Ben were the first four to face off, with Mark quickly scoring the point for his team while speedo king Ben missed his ball altogether. Mel, Michelle, KJ and Nina were up next with the latter terrified about the slide before tragically injuring herself as she landed, wincing through the water as Mel scored the point for her team. While she celebrated, Sam and Jordie were the first to notice Nina’s injury and asked Jonathan to pause the challenge. After her competitors carried her from the water, medical arrived and checked her out, diagnosing her with a twisted ankle and clearing her to wait it out for a few hours before they make a final decision on whether she can continue in the game.

Mel, Michelle, Jordan and Khanh were next up, with Jordan securing reward for him, Mark, Jordie and Nina, leaving the other three groups to fight it out. Kate faced off against Croc and Dave and while KJ battled valiantly, Dave shot his basket and secured reward for his group, meaning despite the twist, only the Blood tribe were enjoying the reward.

The tribe arrived at their picnic by the river with the tribe giddy by the sheer amount of food in front of them. As they spoke through full mouths, they vowed to take out immunity the next day while Mark was just grateful the food would help them think clearly for a day or so. As he caught up with Jordie and Jordan, the trio spoke about the likelihood of a clue, all agreeing to share it should they find one. Which is obviously not what happened when Mark found the clue and pocketed it in his shoe without anyone noticing. Or so he thought, given Jordie spotted him and planned to use his little secret to his advantage.

Reward was interrupted by the medic for a follow-up assessment of Nina, who was trying to put on a brave face as the doctor eventually told her that she had to be removed temporarily to go and get an X-ray and dear god, please don’t let this be the way our rightful winner Nina goes out?!

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for the immunity challenge the next day where Nina was driven in and unveiled a moon boot and crutches. With tears in her eyes, Jonathan announced that Nina had an avulsion fracture and as such, she had to be pulled from the game to receive the care she needs. Though THANKFULLY, she has an invite to a future season which doesn’t stop me from crying watching her and everyone else break down. As she said her goodbyes, her fellow castaways praised her kindness, strength and killer gameplay and again, I am crying.

Once out of shot – for some reason, Channel 10 don’t want my gorgeous mug on the screen – I popped up from the floor of the Isuzu and pulled Neens in for a massive hug. As a close personal friend of the Diaz-Twine family (fun fact: I was Sandra’s family visit for Game Changers and Winners at War), I’ve seen Nina grow into the impeccable woman that she is and I was heartbroken to see her game finished in such a cruel fashion.

Which I obviously told her, reiterating she is a star and destined to be one of the great Survivor players and carry on her mother’s mantle. Given an injury is arguably the most bitter pill to swallow, I knew Nina needed something sweet for her journey home and as we laughed our way to the airport, trying to distract from our shared disappointment, we smashed some Pralina Twine and started to talk about how best to prepare for her second season.

Just as sweet as it is easy, praline is such a gorgeously versatile confection. A snack, a garnish, a gift or just good old comfort, there is nothing praline can’t do. Including fix your injury and get you ready to dominate next season.

Enjoy!

Pralina Twine
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup water
⅔ cups slivered almonds, lightly toasted
pinch of salt

Method
Start by lining a baking sheet with some baking paper and popping it to the side.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat, cooking, stirring for 5 minutes, or until dissolved. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for five minutes, or until golden. 

Remove from the heat and leave to settle for a minute or two before folding through the almonds and salt. Pour on to the lined baking sheet and leave to cool completely.

Break into shards and devour, greedily.


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Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five were put through their sped-up paces in a timed, yes timed, Fugly Ball. To rub salt in Krystal’s Snatch Game-sized wound, the second category even featured an appearance by Charity Shop Sue who lent them some of her charity shop wears to turn their looks. Vanity’s first look wasn’t loved while Scarlett’s last two were deemed way too boring. On the flipside, Kitty was living her best life from start to finish and was finally reward with her first victory of the season. Vanity and Scarlett meanwhile were forced to lip sync, with the latter sadly going home. Screaming like Bimini in Beastenders (which aired after this was filmed, so no hate).

Backstage Kitty was literally shitting her pants with excitement, proudly strutting back in while Vanity screamed about the fact she got rid of Scarlett. Kitty meanwhile was shocked that Scarlett wasn’t going to be in the top while Krystal was proud about how damn killer Vanity was in the lip sync. Kitty pulled focused back to herself, thrilled to no longer get shade for not having a badge and ready to get another. She then asked who they think will be the next to go, with Kitty suggesting Vanity should start packing her bags though she rightly pointed out that she can definitely turn a lip sync and save herself, should she bottom again. Which Ella told her didn’t scare her because she has two badges and no bottoms, and girl, be careful, Ru doesn’t care about track records anymore. Just call my love Bimini.

The next day the dolls celebrated the fact that they are officially the top four of the season, thanks to the fact they dumped three in the last two weeks. Ella admitted that she was surprised she didn’t win last week, though was tolerating the fact it went to Kitty. After Krystal pulled a me and reminded everyone how young she is, Ru dropped by and surprisingly didn’t murder her. Instead, she tasked the dolls with starring in Ru’s low budget sci-fi blockbuster Bra Wars: The Fempire Claps Back. And given Kitty is the current reigning Miss Fugly, she was able to assign the roles to her sisters.

With that, Ru disappeared and the girls gathered round to read through the script with Vanity thrilled to show some diversity. Ella and Kitty meanwhile vied for the role of Brabara-ella, which Kitty obviously snapped up for herself. Krystal was debating between Darth Shader and Baby Yolo while Vanity desperately wanted the latter. Kitty then dropped the bomb that she was debating between being casting the dolls in safe roles or being shady. Instead though, she decided to open a casting agency and got the dolls to audition for her. Ella was obviously great, Krystal was a bit of a mess until she started doing accents while Vanity had zero accent game. As such, Darth Shader went to Ella with She-3P-Ho to be played by Krystal and Baby Yolo went to Vanity.

The queens quickly split up to run their lines and get ready, with Ella thrilled to be doing her day job though knew that that meant she would really have to bring it because the judges will be harder on her. Vanity meanwhile was terrified upon discovering she is just a head while Krystal was worried about getting her lines down as she has dyslexia. While Kitty and Ella were praising her on the other side of the room given she was essentially born to be a drag queen and they are confident she will do well.

Our thesbians joined Michelle on set to film the first scene with Kitty just hoping they do better than the commercials where nobody won. From the start Vanity struggled … to stick her head in the baby carrier. Kitty meanwhile struggled to get the line, ‘space nut milk’ which was delightful and hilarious. Poor Vanity was in her head until Michelle encouraged her to give more and ugh, I really hope it’s a fake-out edit and she is great. Ella meanwhile couldn’t hear or breathe, flubbing her lines and starting to get in her head and well, now I hope this is the fake-out edit. Krystal too struggled to get her lines down with Michelle stepping in and talking her through her concerns, telling her to take a breath and relax. Begging the question, whatever happened to Michelle Visage-berg?

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls sharing how difficult filming was before Krystal reminded them that half of them will be in the bottom and as such, they really need to bring it on the runway. As they split up to get ready, Kitty shared how safe she feels with the dolls while Ella opened up about feeling terrified about walking down the street in drag. She spoke about a few weeks earlier when somebody threatened to beat them up on their street, leading to the girls opening up about how they have been conditioned to not do PDAs and their traumas of people behaving badly towards them in drag.

Ru, Graham and Michelle were joined by zaddy Russell Tovey on the judges panel as the queens walked the Scenes Stealers Runway. Krystal was in a stunning black and white Cruella inspired number with a gorgeous red coat. Ella was the sluttiest Oompah Loompah known to man, Vanity gave us stunning BAPs realness while Kitty was gorgeously demented as Kate Winslet’s entry scene in Titanic. And well, it was iconic from start to finish. I mean, she dropped the necklace and Michelle questioned whether Jack could fit on her wood. Perfection all round.

We then watched the premiere of Bra Wars and gurl, there were fake-out edits galore because the foursome killed it. Kitty was demented and charming, Krystal was hilarious, Vanity was gloriously OTT and Ella was a campy delight.

The judges loved Krystal’s willingness to listen in the challenge with Michelle praising her growth while filming. And obviously they felt her look on the runway was perfection. Michelle pointed out that Ella started off nervous in filming but ultimately killed it, while the judges lived for her killer Wonka look. Vanity was praised for throwing everything at the wall in the role and making it a moment. And again, they lived for her runway despite the fact Michelle wanted more diversity from her. Rounding things out, Kitty received universal praise from start to finish, giving it her all and injecting all the comedy she could. In the challenge and on the runway.

Backstage the dolls toasted to their killer performance in the challenge with Kitty ready to hook up with Russell. As was Ella. And Vanity. Krystal meanwhile felt uncomfortable watching her performance, worried that while she got good critiques, she will likely be in the bottom. The dolls spoke about who would be lip syncing with everyone agreeing that Vanity and Krystal will be in the bottom, including Vanity and Krystal. Ella pointed out that Vanity has given a few similar runways but Vanity was still proud of how she performed. Ella and Kitty then started debating which one of them will take out victory and while Krystal felt it was rude, she wasn’t bothered because it was very obvious they did the best.

Given the judges were feeling all the love, Ru announced that instead of a bottom two this week, the top two would instead lip sync for the win – yay, finally its a good surprise to reward them for slaying! Well, after sending Vanity and Krystal to safety and making Kitty and Ella’s eyes bug out of their heads for shits and giggles. As such, Kitty and Ella were beckoned to the front of stage and forced to battle for victory to Girls Aloud’s Something New. And damn, did they fight! Ella was popping and dropping, selling sex all over the stage while Kitty was a damn fucking star. She hit every lyric, was camp and ridiculous, giving us everything we could want and more. And then Ella did a series of splits before humping the ground. And then Kitty rocked some death drops. And well, it was all perfect and I can totally understand why Ru gave them a double win. 

Because. They. Slayed.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have all survived the challenge and ready to continue slaying as the top four. Kitty and Ella admitted that they were shocked as the other dolls got called safe, though were glad to have a pleasant surprise. Ella rightly directed the dolls to their track records, pointing out that she has three wins to their 2-2-1, though Kitty did argue that her sash should count for something. Kitty then posed nude for Ella to draw her and damn, this is the Titanic I would have loved.

Note to self, is there a gay porn parody of Titanic? Because I need it.

The next day Ella was still feeling Kool Aid man with herself now that she has three badges, while Vanity pointed out that while she only has one badge she is killing it. Kitty joked that she plans to get to the end by winning challenges, while Vanity told her that she will always win a lip sync while Ella knows she will get to the end based on talent. As poor Krystal admitted that she is feeling a bit under the weather.

The dolls then had a clothed orgy which was interrupted by Ru who arrived to task the dolls with a roast for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they roast themselves and the panel including guest judge Kathy Burke. Oh and they will be performing in front of their eliminated sisters, meaning they’re fair game for a reading too. And because Ella has the most wins, she is allowed to decide the order. As the dolls sat down to kiki, Krystal admitted that she is shitting herself while Kitty is ready to slay, while Ella is nervous about writing jokes and Vanity is ready to read herself and the colour orange.

Kitty asked the girls how hard they are going to go in during the roast, with her encouraging everyone to go hard because at the end of the day, they need to make people laugh. Oh and Krystal is ready to go in on Ru because she is always a good sport. Which you know is going to backfire. Ella asked the girls where they would like to go in the run before admitting to us that she plans to put the worst first so she can go second and slay, followed by the next worst and then close the show with a stronger person. Which is convenient since Krystal wanted to get it over with, Vanity requested a middle slot and Kitty wanted to open or close. As such, she decreed the order as Krystal, herself, Vanity and Kitty, which didn’t go unnoticed by the latter.

The dolls split up to start working on their sets with Kitty taking the role of cracking herself up, while Vanity admitted that she was struggling to go in on the judges as she only likes to tear herself down. Ella meanwhile was ready to lean into her dad jokes, which she finds hilarious and oh god, is she in danger?! Kitty turned everyone’s attention to the fact this challenge is what gets them to the final with her admitting that she will be destroying everyone because she is hungry for the win.

As they split up to beat their mugs, Vanity and Ella bonded over their childhoods with the former talking about how confident she was as a kid. Ella admitted that she had a very supportive upbringing, however dance school made her try and act more masculine. She then shared that Ella is how she taps into her feminine side and makes up for lost time. Vanity admitted that her femininity gets clocked all the time but she is grateful that her parents instilled confidence in her and were so supportive and ugh, I love them.

Meanwhile Kitty was loving how gorgeous she was looking.

But before we could explore her charming confidence, we headed to the mainstage where Ru, Michelle, Alan, Kathy, Anubis, Elektra, Victoria, Veronica, Charity, River, Choriza and Scarlett were waiting with bated breath for the roast. Krystal opened The Pearly Gates Roast by going in on Charity in a cute, charming way. She then made a tonne of age jokes that went over well before opening up about being a virgin, and then explaining what a virgin is to Michelle which should have been an easy laugh but was NOT. Krystal then made more age jokes at Veronica’s expense which opened up the audience roasting her as Veronica started heckling with Ru quickly jumping on the bandwagon.

Ella was charming and hilarious from start to finish, reading Anubis with glee and calling Veronica a threat to society. It was brutal, polished and damn, I love her. IT. WAS. PERFECTION. I mean, is this the best roast on Drag Race ever? Yes. The answer is yes. Scone or scone, the debate continues! Talk about being typecast?! They were stupid but so funny and charming. Poor Vanity never really stood a chance following Ella’s performance, though her read about her fellow sisters being the white supremes was great. Kitty completed Ella’s nefariously brilliant plan by also knocking it out of the park – she was self-deprecating, upbeat and hilarious. And brutal. So damn brutal.

On the Oh My Goddess Runway Krystal was stunning as a sun-crowned dream, golden and perfect. Ella was a frosty, icy delight in a constellation bodysuit. Vanity wore The Bodyguard version of Krystal’s look, Cleopatra and Queen of the Damned rolled into one. While Kitty was a flowing, Greek goddess in the most Kitty way possible. Krystal received praise for starting out strong and being charming, though read for sticking to age and whore jokes. And obviously, they loved her runway. Ella rightly received universal praise for literally everything this week, because there is no way she is damn losing this challenge. On the flipside Vanity was read for not going hard enough though both her looks were beloved. And then Kitty too received universal praise for killing the roast, despite being so reliant on her notes. And again, they loved her opera diva does Hercules look.

As the dolls untucked backstage they all agreed that Ella clearly has her fourth win in the bag as they toasted to making it to the top four. Kitty was thrilled by her feedback while Vanity and Krystal were proud for pushing through despite being so nervous and outside of their comfort zones. Their kiki was interrupted by a siren where we got a message from Ella’s boyfriend and more importantly, their gorgeous, angel pupper, who is now my lovely prince. Kitty’s parents were sweet and more importantly, their dogs are great and not interested. Krystal’s mum looks my age, so that is that and now I feel super old. Then Vanity’s sweet husband came on the screen and ahh, I ship them, he is so damn cute. Oh and then Ella told them all that they are family now too and argh, it is so lovely and sweet and I love it.

Obviously Ella took out a very well-earned, fourth victory with Kitty joining her to battle for the crown next week. That left a fired up Krystal and Vanity to lip sync for the final place to Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate. And damn, they were ready to earn their spot in the finale. Vanity was her usual killer self while Krystal was flicking her hair and serving the judges everything. There were synchronised splits, they hit every lyric and ugh, they proved why they made it to the top four. Though obviously, somebody had to go and poor Vanity’s luck finally ran out as Krystal went through to the finale.

Backstage, sweet Vanity was so thrilled to see me and to celebrate making it to the top four. I mean, yeah it sucks to know that you made it so close to the end, but that, as they say, what friends are for. You see, Vanity and I have been dear friends for years – I painted my bedroom orange when I was ten and she wore a couple of orange looks on the runway – so knowing that she had the love and support of one her closest was more than a win to her.

We laughed, we cried and then frankly, we got to work smashing the recipe of the season in the form of the gorgeously talented and stunning Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice.

Velvety smooth custard, the crunch of the pastry and the punchy flavours of baklava combine to form the greatest of desserts. Sweet, earthy and honestly, stunning, there is no better way to honour such a talented queen.

Enjoy!

Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
⅓ cup pistachio kernels
⅓ cup walnuts
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed
20g butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup cornflour
6 egg yolks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp honey
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp rosewater

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 10x20cm loaf pan, and lined the sides with baking paper, leaving an overhang. Finely chop the pistachio and walnuts and place them in a bowl.

Place the pastry on a baking sheet and brush with the butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, followed by half of the nut mixture. Then a drizzle of the rest of the butter. Place in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven, stab with a skewer and top with a second baking sheet to keep flat. Return to the oven to break for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

While things get as chill as Cynthia Bailey post-wedding, stir the cream, vanilla, ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer before removing from the heat. Then combine the cornflour with the egg yolks and remaining milk in a jug. Whisk the two together and return the saucepan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes or until nice and thick.

Cut each piece of pastry in half and place a rectangle, nut side down, into the loaf tin. Top with custard mixture, followed by pastry, custard, another slice of pastry, the rest of the custard and finishing with the pastry. Cover and pop in the fridge to set overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and zest in a saucepan with the honey, cloves, cinnamon and ⅓ cup water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves before cranking to high and simmering for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Strain and allow it to cool.

To serve, decant the slice, carve, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and drizzle with the lukewarm syrup. Then, devour.


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Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, we were once again blown away by the talent, goopery and charm of 12 Bwitish dolls. None more so than Bimini, who is well on their way to becoming the drag Oprah or Beyonce, in my not-at-all-humble opinion. While I am a ride or die Bimini stan, all the queen’s bing, bang, bonged their way into my hearts and somehow pulled off an even better season than the first. Meaning this new batch of dolls have a lot to live up to if they want to join The Vivienne and Lawrence in the iconic pantheon of UK winners.

Speaking of which, first up was our tragically fallen Season 2 queen, Veronica Green who was green around the gills but thankfully no longer COVID stricken and ready to slay in full. And even mocking her drag race for being dead boring. She was quickly joined by Kitty Scott-Claus who has the greatest drag name of all time and I absolute live for her. Kitty is lyf, Kitty is love, she is the moment – I LIVE. Just as I wondered whether she was the second coming of Chez, she goes and mentions they work together and ugh, I love the girls. River Medway arrived, apparently full of shit and I love her too. Despite not being well known which is exactly how she likes it, given she will be underestimated.

Scarlett Harlett arrived and immediately slayed my heart, calling the Werk Room a piece of shit and well, she is a power twink and I want to borrow the flanno. We also have a lot in common. And by that, a passion for being bred. Vanity Milan arrived as a technicolour delight, charming, energetic and so happy. Second best drag name, Ella Vaday, arrived in full fembot realness, a West End babe and again, I love her. Choriza May was up next with the best entry line of all time and well, shut it down and give her the damn crown. I mean, her fave part about Newcastle is her boyfriend’s dick – what more is there to love?

Our first AFAB queen arrived in the form of Victoria Scone and ugh, I love her too. She is a little nerdy, so excited and well, has a strong vagina and that alone is why you should love her. She is grabbing the opportunity by the flaps, after all. They were joined by little twink Elektra Fence who got her name from literally touching an electric fence and falling in shit. So, wait for it, again, I love her. Next up was the delightfully cartoonish Anubis who is wacky and wild and well, she is just perfect. Krystal Versace was up next and is the poster of what kids that grew up with visibility look like, she is fierce, confident and I feel proud of her, for some odd, old-man reason. And then rounding out the cast is the demented and devilish Charity Kase and well I love her, for the murdered Maria Antoinette realness she served.

The dolls were interrupted mid-kiki by Mama Ru who arrived to officially welcome them to the competition … with a game of dirty charades. And well, given Choriza has no idea what that is, she is thrilled to participate. First up were Kitty, Ella, Chorizo and Scarlett with nobody getting Kitty trying to sign ‘booty’ before Choriza gagged everyone by getting it right. She then got the next point as well and damn, I’m so proud. River, Vanity, Elektra and Veronica were up next and well, Veronica struggled but honestly, she had the hardest clue. Anubis, Charity, Krystal and Victoria rounded out the game, and well Victoria slayed it, having Ru in hysterics from start to finish.

With that out of the way, Ru tasked the queens with bringing two runways to help the judges to get to know them. One explaining why they are the queen of their hometowns and the other dedicated to something they love. As the dolls de-dragged, Ella was falling over, Kitty was getting her wet titties slapped, Anubis was checking whether Victoria was comfortable and Krystal was going through her plastic surgery. River meanwhile opened up to Vanity about her supportive mother who tragically passed away from COVID, sharing that she would be wearing one of her mother’s outfits and ugh, I’m crying. River is life.

Elimination Day arrived, with the queens quickly splitting up to beat their mugs. Veronica opened up to Kitty about not needing to prove herself this time, which has taken a weight off her shoulders. Vanity and Choriza opened up to each other about their partners, with the latter talking about how lonely she has been during the pandemic as her boyfriend works away and coming into the competition made her feel so good by simply being around others. And then all the kumbaya was shattered as my love Kitty asked who people thought would be going home, with Victoria more nervous about proving herself as the first AFAB queen.

On the Queen of Your Hometown runway, Victoria slayed as a bloomin’ sunflower. Kitty was a chocolate cheerleader, Ella was a camp, mod delight and Anubis was gorgeous as a Brighton carnival ride. River slayed as a statue with a traffic cone on her head doing the same pose, having the judges – and me – in absolute hysterics. I mean, iconic, charming – RIVER IS MY FAVE. Krystal was a gorgeous, garden delight, looking like baby Raven, Veronica was killer in cotton while Scarlett slayed dotted in pearls, Elektra served coal miner realness, Vanity slayed in a Jamaican inspired, frilly delight, Choriza looked like Kita Mean in her All Blacks look and Charity was a stunning, demented rose.

On the My Favourite Things runway, Victoria scone was an iconic high tea, complete with a dropped sandwich. Kitty served ABBA realness, Ella was a vision in a patchwork of pride, Anubis was wacky as a squid, River was a disco diva, Krsytal was the glow-up of Gothy’s 50P face-paint, Veronica was a bright, delight in honour of video games, Scarlett too was dedicated to music, this time in a cheeky mini. Elektra Fence marked her birthday, jacked up on sugar in the most demented, demonic way possible. Vanity honoured Estonia, Chorizo was a bright pop-art delight while Charity was horrifically polished in honour of freak shows.

Ultimately Kitty, Ella, Veronica, Vanity, Chorizo and Charity were sent to safety before Victoria received universal praise for everything she brought to the runway. Anubis meanwhile was praised for her hometown look, though the favourite things runway was read for filth for being basic and a little sub par. River’s statue walk was loved by the judges, despite them not understanding WHY she was being so funny. Sadly though, her second outfit was deemed underwhelming, though Ru freely admitted that had she added her now signature pose, she would have been safe. Krstal meanwhile received universal praise for both looks while Scarlett was praised for selling two vastly different looks. While poor Elektra was read for not going far enough in the hometown look, though praised for being wacky in the second runway.

Meanwhile the safe girls were glad to be safe, though Vanity was looking forward to topping soon. Apparently. Charity was a bit disappointed to not be in the top, though glad to be safe. Talk turned to the tops and bottoms, with them speculating Scarlett would be in the bottom while Victoria would definitely be in the top. Speaking of which, the girls arrived with Scarlett talking about how much the judges lived for Victoria. The girls asked Scarlett what the judges felt about her, with them gagged that she was clearly in the top. With Charity going so far as to call her basic. Elektra felt she got the worst critiques while River just wasn’t sure who would be safe out of the three of them. Poor Anubis broke down, disappointed that she couldn’t explain her sea animal look to the judges, given it was a dedication to her dad since the last time she saw him, they went to an aquarium. Which is heartbreaking and I love her.

The queens returned to the mainstage where Ru announced that the top two queens would be lip syncing for victory in addition to the bottom two lip syncing for their lives. Scarlett however was not one of them, with Victoria and Krystal first up to battle for the win to Total Eclipse of the Heart by Queen Bonnie Tyler. But more importantly, I just got the pun of Victoria’s name. It was a battle from the very first bars as Krystal served killer, sexy lip sync while Victoria was a hilarious icon, chucking sandwiches and stripping off platters before falling to her knees. Ultimately though, it was Krystal that took out the first win of the season while poor Victoria looked like she was holding back tears.

The trio of bottoms were next up with River’s charm and personality enough to save her from the lip sync, leaving Anubis and Elektra to battle it out to Little Mix’s ‘Sweet Melody’. Anubis gave camp, glamour and hit every lyric, however that was tragically not enough compared to Elektra who straight up bounced and flipped around the stage, hitting every letter and serving all the emotion in the most demented way possible. As such, she saved herself and poor Anubis found herself following in Gothy and Joe Black’s footsteps.

Thankfully Boris Johnson was compelled to let me in – blackmail, what blackmail? – so I was able to be there for my dear friend Anubis in her time of need. I first met Anubis down in Brighton – aka the kiss of death for a UK queen – and was blown away from her talent and charm. And as you know, when I sniff out talent, I immediately hitch my wagon to them and vow to be their bestest friend ever. Meaning I felt it was only appropriate to pull Anubis in for a hug, remind her how damn talented she is and give her a big batch of Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits to celebrate her success.

Sticky, sweet and oh so perfect, these Donna Hay inspired numbers are the perfect way to dull the first boot pain. The crunch warms your heart, the gooey chocolate soothes your soul and the milo is well, milo. So buckle in and eat up!

Enjoy!

Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs, 1 separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp water
2 cups flour
¾ cup malt powder (aka Milo)
¼ tsp kosher salt
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Beat butter and sugars in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, or until sandy. Add a whole egg plus the extra yolk with the vanilla extract and beat on high for two minutes.

Meanwhile combine baking powder, bicarb and water in a little bowl and fold through the wet ingredients with the flour, malt powder and salt. Return to the mixer and beat on low until just combined.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the chocolate and pecans.

Roll ¼ cup dollops of batter into balls and flatten on a lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for the inevitable spread. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Repeat until done, then devour.


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Custard George Mladanish

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Dessert, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.

The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.

George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.

Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.

At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.

And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.

Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.

Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.

Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.

Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.

Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.

Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.

Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.

As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.

Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cornflour
2 cups milk
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
⅔ cup flaked almonds

Method
First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.

Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.

While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.

Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.

Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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