Ryan Wedgranos

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.

But first, let’s take a little step back.

We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.

Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!

At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.

Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.

After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.

You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Ryan Wedgranos
Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.

Ingredients
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.

Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.

Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Dwight Moorshroom Gravy

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the three tribes came together for not the merge, but the now traditional non-merge-but-earn-your-place-in-the-real-one-a-palooza. Now, thankfully, gloriously hourglass free. After Elie, Owen and Sami were left vulnerable, the Baka’s worked overtime to put the target on Cassidy or James. Though obviously told them to target Cody. Sadly as hard as they worked to get rid of anyone else, Gabler decided to air their dirty laundry at the merge feast and outed Elie for going through his bag earlier in the season (when it was in fact Jeanine). And while she valiantly kicked it into overdrive to save herself, it was all it took to unite the rest of the group against Elie and boot her from the game as the final pre-merger.

Tragically, for my drama loving heart.

We returned to camp where the Gaia Tribe were reeling from what happened at tribal council, specifically Jeanine who was ready to rise from the ashes despite being left out. Noelle pulled her aside and assured her that despite what happened to her closest ally, she is still safe and if her experience with being left out of the Justine vote is anything to go by, it may actually help things. As such Jeanine went person to person, assuring them that there are no hard feelings and she is glad to lose her partner. Though in private, she still kinda just wanted to just cry.

The next day everyone ventured down to the beach for sunrise where Owen and Dwight quietly strategised about how to proceed, with Owen admitting he just doesn’t see himself working with Gabler any more given he is too unpredictable. Speaking of Gabler, he was busy talking to Cody about how chill he feels now that Elie is gone. He explained to us that he planned to continue playing like an ali-gabler. Aka duck back under water to chill until he next needs to strike.

Owen and Dwight continued their double act, collecting treemail which they thought was for art supplies to paint the tribe flag. Instead they learnt that the tribe would need to split into pairs for the upcoming challenge. And how those pairs were formed is completely up to them. While everyone obviously was desperate to get Ryan or Cody though, nobody outright said it and instead they decided to draw rocks.

We quickly pivoted to said epic challenge where Jeffrey confirmed it was for immunity and explained that the pairs would only be pairs for the first two stages of the challenge and after that, it was everyone for themselves. In the first stage, the pairs would race through a tangled net tube before digging up planks and a flag, with the first four back to their mat moving on. For stage two, they would race up a cargo net and cross a rope bridge and race to a mat with the last two pairs moving forward to the final stage, where they would each have to hold a bucket containing 25% of their starting weight. Last one holding the bucket jagging immunity.

Ryan and James were first through their tube followed by Karla and Cassidy. After Ryan and James moved on to the final round, Owen and Gabler and Cody and Dwight joined them, while Karla and Cassidy secured their spot in the next round with the other duos making it to the end as Noelle and Sami, and Jesse and Jeanine were eliminated without even exiting the tube. Before moving on to a new round, Probst gave a speech praising how hard Noelle fought in the challenge and while she was down on herself, seeing Sami and the rest of the tribe rally around her was heartwarming.

We then did a hard pivot as Probst set the second round in motion as Dwight and Cody blitzed through the competition and secured their place in the final round before Owen and Gabler narrowly joined them as the Coco duos dropped as they tried to rush to the finish. The four men took their place holding the buckets for the final round. Almost instantly Dwight dropped out as the other trio shared what was inspiring them before Owen lost concentration and dropped his bucket. Oh and then after 37 minutes of Gabler dedicating minutes to random people – which was far sweeter than I just made it sound – Cody put us out of our misery as he dropped his bucket and handed immunity to Gabler.

Back at camp Gabler opened up how much the veteran community means to him while the rest of the tribe washed the mud of themselves. In the water everyone started scrambling with the Baka and Vesi crew looking to stick together to get rid of James or Ryan. That is until James, Dwight, Owen and Sami went to get water and found a clue in the well, telling them an advantage was hidden under the shelter. While James assured them he wouldn’t take it until after tribal council, he obviously made a beeline for it. Dwight then went and looped Noelle in, who in turn went and told everyone about the advantage, rallying the troops against James.

Jesse and Karla meanwhile were spooked by how quickly Noelle was able to get everyone on side and as such, wanted to weaken her. When Jesse approached Cody about getting rid of Noelle, Cody suggested that getting rid of Dwight would be the better option, given Dwight is better at challenges and has always been sketchy to him. James meanwhile learnt that he had found the Knowledge Is Power advantage, fresh from Geo’s pocket. And rather than keep things quiet, he thought it could help build trust with people and as such, told his potential allies. Who were immediately spooked and started trading out idols and advantages so that he couldn’t snatch them. Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight, Owen scored Noelle’s extra vote and Jesse ended up in possession of Cody’s idol. Meaning everyone was nervous and mildly confused by the end of the day.

At tribal council Karla spoke about how reflective the immunity challenge was of the game, while Jesse felt like today truly levelled up the competition. Dwight spoke about how everyone has kicked in to playing their own game while Noelle felt like they needed a steady stream of plans to make sure they and their allies survive. James spoke about how advantages are only useful when played correctly and as such, people needed to spend less time focussing on them and, instead, just play the game. Cody spoke about surfing at Probst’s request, while most people admitted they were feeling confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Except for Sami who knew that there was always a risk and as such, they just needed to all play balls to the wall. Basically.

With that the tribe voted and despite a solid 7 out of 10 he was sure he was on the right side of the numbers, Dwight was shocked to be voted out of the game. With Jeanine’s idol in his pocket, no less! Despite being crushingly blindsided as the final pre-juror, Dwight was in pretty good form and took his boot like an absolute champion. While he played a low-key game – at least in the edit, given he was on a tribe with Cody – it was clear he was a strong contender, having relationships across all the OG tribes and dare I say it, should he had survived the vote, had what it takes to go all the way. And given that was a super upbeat and nice assessment from me, he was feeling pretty happy with himself and as such, gladly drank a jug of Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to toast his success.

The earthy nuttiness of the mushroom and the punch of wine work perfectly with the cream to form a warm, soulful gravy. Pop it with chicken, steak or maybe even something coming up later this season, and you’re alway left with the same result. An empty plate and a happy belly.

Enjoy!

Dwight Moorshroom Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
⅔ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute for five minutes or until golden, soft and the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and leave to bubble up, cooking till it’s almost all absorbed before stirring in the cream. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes until it slightly thickens before seasoning to taste, alongside the parsley.

Then devour, either pour onto a protein or into a glass. No judgement.


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Justerrine Brennan

Lunch, Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 new castaways were dumped on the now traditional isles of Fiji to put themselves to the test in the ultimate game. And by ultimate, we’d all far prefer it to still be 39 days, but once again, I digress. Despite having some new editing tricks – hello drones – the dramas were the same at the three tribes as everyone had varying degrees of success setting up camp and starting fire. After Baka lost the first immunity challenge, Elie quickly flipped on her plan to lead a strong, all female alliance and instead decided to target Morriah for being weak. With Gabler immune, hair-goals Owen became the target for the other side, though thankfully his locks lived to see another day, as Elie ended the chances of the women taking control of their tribe.

Back at camp – or Baka at camp, specifically – Owen pulled the tribe together to apologise for his nervous scrambling and thanked everyone for saving him and trusting in him. Leading to Elie and Gabler admitting tribal council was a trust exercise and now that they’ve been able to prove it, the five should be unbreakable. Now Gabler was solely focused on getting the tribe fed, spirits lifted and ready to win challenges. Right on cue, an epic storm rolled over the islands and while everyone didn’t look to fare well, the fact that Baka was without a flint, means they are truly at a disadvantage. Though bless, the next morning, they used it as a learning moment and quickly decided to work on getting the roof of their shelter secured. While Owen was also very concerned about Gabler’s health, given he was clearly on struggle street after three days.

Over at Vesi, Jesse and Dwight were far less concerned about repairing after the storm and instead were hunting for an idol and talking about the dynamics of their tribe. They noticed it was kinda split into three pairs, with Nneka and Cody close, Noelle and Justine closer and as such, Jesse decided that Dwight should be his island wife. We then learnt a bit more of Dwight, who was essentially a child political journo which is iconic. After that detour, Dwight suggested to Jesse that Cody is the biggest threat and that he would prefer to align with the girls, while Jesse definitely wasn’t threatened by him, giving Cody is clearly just here for a good time. And therefore, super easy to navigate around. Someone he wasn’t vibing with was Justine who was busy making eye contact with spiders and as such, also seemed a wee out of her element.

And just like that, a duo is already divided.

Over at Coco the tribe were doing a little ballet or yoga or something, followed by some back cracking from Ryan. Karla reiterated she is literally aligned with everyone in the tribe, though she would most like to take out Geo first. The only concern being about how his bestie zaddy-Ryan would react. As the duo went hunting for nuts, Geo opened up about his coming out experience and how it ended with his parents kicking him out of home. Which is absolutely fucked and I am so glad he used it to make a life for himself that he could be proud of. And well, to put it simply, fuck his parents. Ryan meanwhile was gushing about how close he and Geo were and ugh, give Ryan the win, in addition to my heart.

Back at Vesi Noelle was talking Cody through putting on her prosthesis, which he explained to Nneka and Jesse was important to him as he watched one of his friends lose their leg and then die from cancer in High School. Which goes a long way to explaining why he is so upbeat, silly and adventurous. Flipping to Baka, Owen went for a walk to get water for the tribe where he shared to us that he was trying to keep his old-grump personality under wraps. Particularly if he were to find out everyone was hunting for idols instead of helping him keep everyone alive. Right on cue, Jeanine and Elie were busy looking for said idol while trying to decide whether they should focus on adding Sami or Owen as their third. Elie likened Sami as her responsible, independent older child while Owen is her needy baby, and given the boys don’t appear tight, she was confident pulling one in would be an easy win. Which obviously meant Sami was floating the idea of an all male alliance at that very moment.

The tribes reconnected with Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would swim to a cage, climb in and release a large snake containing number tiles, use the tiles to solve a combination and then release puzzle pieces, which they would need to solve. With the winners getting immunity and a full fishing set, second getting a few fishing items and the losers getting some face time with Probst at tribal. Given the snake was ridiculously heavy, everyone struggled to get through the first phase until Elie fell off while holding on to it which gave them the lead, while Coco and Vesi were left to nip at their heels. Well, Coco at the very least, as Nneka kinda gave up on helping with the snake at Vesi, leading to them falling way behind. So far behind in fact that Jeanine and Elie secured the win for Baka with ease, just ahead of Coco. Sending Vesi to tribal council, while Noelle looked on angrily from the sit out bench.

Which, relatable.

Back at camp the tribe got a quick little pep talk from Cody, before pivoting to scrambling with Cody knowing he would have his work cut out for himself to protect his bestie Nneka after bombing the challenge. As the girls locked in their plan against Nneka, she approached Jesse and Dwight to see if they’d be open to keeping her. We dabbed out and checked in with the triumphant Baka who were riding high on their first victory, with Elie particularly thrilled to have had the hero moment in the puzzle given she struggled at school growing up due to her ADHD and dyslexia. As the tribe discussed how best to use their fishing gear, Gabler ignored everyone’s suggestion to pop a rope on the Hawaiian sling given he had never used one and immediately put a target on his back. That somehow led to Jeanine going through his bag to get confirmation whether his idol expires after the second tribal council or his second tribal council. Which ended up being the latter, meaning she, Elie and Owen needed to figure out a way to navigate around it should they actually want to take a shot.

We returned to Vesi for the more pressing scramble with Justine approaching Dwight and Jesse to figure out a split vote plan to navigate Nneka potentially playing her shot in the dark. Sadly for her, she needed Jesse to pull it off and given Justine had already made him more nervous than Nneka, Justine girl, you in danger. Jesse caught up with his island wife Dwight to see how he was feeling about the upcoming tribal council and while Dwight was more interested in aligning with the girls to weaken Cody, by way of taking out Nneka, Jesse was also aware that Dwight does not have a vote and as such, he can’t help either way. Justine approached the duo and admitted that she wasn’t sure she could trust Jesse, which made him want her gone ASAP. And Dwight? Well, he wasn’t bothered.

Jesse approached Cody and Nneka to discuss the upcoming tribal council, giving them the deets and straight up vibing. Feeling good about getting rid of Justine, Cody turned his attention to idol hunting where he quickly stumbled across the Beware Advantage. And despite the risk, took it and immediately lost his vote unless he was able to convince each person in the tribe to give him a unique bead from their bags to activate his idol bracelet. He got to work, admitting to Jesse what happened and they set to work securing the rest. Cody decided he would wear a palm frond hat at tribal council and as such, needed to bedazzle it with beads, asking everyone to give him theirs. Which worked, for everyone but Noelle, who had already made a bracelet out of hers.

At tribal council Cody admitted they were crushed to lose immunity, before gushing about his iconic hat to Probst and how the tribe all helped by gifting him their beads. Justine admitted she would like a hat, with Cody offering to make one should she survive. She opened up about knowing she is on the block given everyone is paired up in the tribe and she hasn’t talked strategy with Cody at all. Dwight opened up about the fact everyone knows he doesn’t have a vote tonight, while Jesse and Nneka admitted that it may seem silly for him to have shared that intel, in the game it makes sense. Talk turned to the potential idol, with Nneka trying to distract while Noelle was genuinely in the dark about the situation.

Cody admitted that Dwight losing his vote likely won’t impact tribal council while Noelle felt that nobody had done anything wrong and as such, tonight was a tough decision for everyone. Though she was planning to vote for strength so they don’t have to come back. With that the tribe voted – including Cody, who was able to get the last bead from Noelle in a flashback – which tragically led to her friend Justine being booted from the game. JUST LIKE I PREDICTED BY ANOINTING HER THE MODERN ERA JESSIE CAMACHO?!

Which was not something she delighted in when I gave her a hug at Loser Lodge. She was understandably super bummed to be out of the game second but I reminded her that an iconic early boot – that is gorgeous to boot – will live on in the hearts of us gays for decades to come, just like Jesse, and as such, she should be proud of herself. And while I don’t know if it was that or the Justerrine Brennan that cheered her up, all I know is that she was happy when I exited.

While this terrine gives off big turducken energy, I assure you the pork and chicken combination is damn near perfection. Sweet, succulent and packed with a juicy-earthy punch, this is the perfect thing to feast on for dinner, or have cold at a picnic. She. Is. Versatile, mama.

Enjoy!

Justerrine Brennan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to brush
1 onion, diced
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 chicken breasts, diced
500g pork mince
⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the oil in a large frying pan and sweat the onion over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl.

While the onion gets chill, use 10 of the bacon rashers to line a 1kg loaf tin, leaving excess to hang over the sides. Add the chicken, pork, pistachios, cranberries, nutmeg, thyme, sage and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir until well combined. Press the filing into the tin and fold the overhanging bacon over to seal tightly. Oil some foil – lol, rhyme – and cover the terrine. Again, tightly.

Transfer to a roasting pan and half-fill – the roasting pan, obvi – with boiling water and pop in the oven to bake for 90 minutes. Once cooked, gently remove from the water bath, uncover, drain excess fat and leave to cool.

Once cool, transfer to a baking tray and cover with foiling and pop something heavy on top – filled tin cans work best – and transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

To serve, unmold the terrine, brush with a little oil and pop in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Then, finally, devour.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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Soavlaki De Muse

Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race France the top three competed in an epic final challenge which involved learning languages, lip syncing, dancing and kiki-ing. In addition to stomping the runway in a gown, worthy of a crown. Aka the usual set-up. While Paloma struggled through rehearsal, she turned it out when taking the stage, embracing her charm and living her best life. Soa slayed literally any and all moment, while La Grande Dame was just so beautiful. And cool.

As has been the tradition of the season, La Grande Dame, Soa and Paloma were all fiercely talented icons. Though tragically, Nicky and Co. had to make a decision and while I already spoiled La Grande Dame as one of our runners-up, she shared the position with the owner of my heart Soa De Muse.

Despite a rocky start after her first win, there was no denying she was compelling as all hell and it was more of a situation of when rather than if she would bounce back. From giving killer, hilarious confessionals and being charming as all hell in the challenges and the Werk Room, she was well and truly the breakout star of the season.

And will make a very worthy winner of Drag Race France vs. The World.

As she exited the stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and while I wanted to tell her she was the ultimate robbed goddess of the season, I couldn’t do it. Because France’s top three were all iconic talents in their own ways, which made it such a joy of a season to watch.

Instead, I reminded her that she is a star and while she didn’t leave with the crown, the season is only the beginning for her and I can’t wait for the globe to fall in love with her. Just like I have. Then I stopped myself short of calling her the second coming of Ru and simply served her a big, fat Soavlaki De Muse to show her my devotion.

You know I have a passion for sticking meat in my mouth, particularly if there is dough somehow involved. And this one is even more fun than usual. Packing a punch of garlic, you’re hit with a fresh kick of flavour that has you begging for more. Like us with Soa on our screens, you know?

Enjoy!

Soavlaki De Muse
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 red onions, sliced
400g Jaida Essence Halloumi, cut into large chips
6 Pita Andre Bread
⅔ cup Carole Radtzikiwill
2 cups Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1 tomato, diced
1 cup lettuce leaf

Method
Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, thyme, cumin, chilli and paprika with a good whack of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the meat and onions and stir until well coated. Cover and pop in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

To make the kebabs, preheat the oven to 180C. Thread the lamb onto metal skewers, trying to avoid overpacking them. Arrange the onion on a lined baking sheet before laying the skewers on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until browned on the outside. Add the haloumi in for the last 10 minutes to crisp up on the outside.

To assemble, smear the pita bread with a little bit of tzatziki, followed by the chips, tomato, lettuce, meat and finally the haloumi. Wrap into a tight cylinder and then devour greedily.


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Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink

Main, Poultry, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa with Toni out of the way both factions within the tribe weren’t sure how to proceed or take control. While the OG Yontau tribe were still focused on getting rid of Dante, the fractured OG Masu group weren’t sure whether to band with them or take out Dino. After Meryl won immunity and ventured off to the Outpost, she scored another advantage for the small cost of her vote at the upcoming tribal council. Which thankfully proved to be unnecessary anyway, as the tribe banded together to eliminate all of their threat, Dante. My Speedo King.

The next day things were rather zen at camp with Felix disappointed to have lost his friend though he knew that he needed to adapt and move on, should he want to make it to the end. Marian meanwhile pledged her ongoing friendship with Dante. Talk turned to Tejan highlighting the Steffi, Meryl and Marian faction, with Dino pointing out it was hardly new information to anyone. Killarney approached Shane about splitting up the trio, suggesting Steffi needs to be the next one to go while Shane cautioned her that it is actually Meryl pulling the strings and as such, she needs to be their focus.

Speaking of Meryl, she was busy catching up with Phil and floating the idea of working together while Phil jokingly called her the kingpin. Which you just know is dangerous for her in the long run and oh god, don’t take out my queen Meryl!

The tribe reconvened with zaddy Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would first spin a ball in a hoop while traversing a balance beam with the last six standing moving on to a table maze. With the last one standing, getting one of their holes plugged. Then the first three to finish that, would move on to an upright maze with the first to navigate three balls to the top winning immunity and a brand new car, test drive and picnic. So immunity, but zero shot at winning the game. Just like Kass, I guess. Felix dropped almost instantly, followed by Marian and Steffi leaving the rest to move on to the table maze. Shane, Killarney, Meryl and Tejan all dropped, leaving Dino and Phil to battle for the advantage on the table maze. Which wasn’t much of a battle, as Dino just as quickly jagged the advantage.

When it came to the second round, Tejan quickly booked his place on the upright maze, soon joined by Dino and Meryl. While they all kept getting close to the end, they kept dropping until Tejan landed two balls in quick succession with Dino nipping at his heels. Mere centimetres from immunity and the car, Tejan dropped his third ball, giving Dino enough time to calmly work his final ball up the wall to score himself immunity and reward. Though again, he just cursed his game. Before Nico even offered Dino a chance to invite anyone to join him on the picnic, Tejan started begging Dino to take him given he was so close. Sadly for him, he instead invited Phil, Steffi and Meryl as they all gave up on the chance to eat last episode. After already missing out on food at the merge.

Oh and the five left behind would get the chance to draw rocks for a trip to the Outpost. Which was promptly won by Marian. Leaving Tejan feeling even more enraged to have missed out, given he is guaranteed nothing.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to have just narrowly missed out on victory, with Marian quickly growing annoyed with his sense of entitlement. Particularly since he is a challenge beast and being hungry only makes him easier to beat. While Killarney tried to distract him and perk him up with some illegal rice, Felix and Marian went to the well to discuss who should be the next target at tribal council with Marian suggesting Meryl is the most dangerous person left in the game. Tejan joined them to get to work on making the aforementioned rice, which annoyed them both though Felix wisley cautioned her from saying anything, given it only paints a target on Tejan’s back. 

We ventured off to reward where Dino explained to us that he took Steffi on reward as it means she can not forge new alliances and is unable to go to the Outpost. While the four of them suggested getting rid of Tejan next, Meryl knew that both of her alliances are close to death and as such, she needs to make a strike on Steffi and Marian before they go after her.

Returning to camp, Killarney was smashing rice while Tejan joined the other two in refusing to eat and as such, she promptly threw him under the bus when the victors returned to camp. He came back where Killarney confronted him in front of everyone before they all left to avoid the drama. When it was just the two of them, she told him how disappointed she felt to have been left out to dry. Oh and then he snuck a spoon of rice and hid in the jungle to eat it.

Steffi meanwhile was busy catching up with Felix, floating getting rid of Meryl first followed by Dino and while he was safe in her pecking order, her confidence made him more nervous about her. As such, he approached Phil about getting rid of Steffi instead, given she appears to have more power and is far more dangerous, should she make it to the top eight. While Phil realised Steffi was still a threat, he was concerned about which decision would be best at setting up his end game. Felix next approached Dino, telling him that he is the next one to go in Steffi’s head and just like that, he was on board to blindside her instead.

At the Outpost, Marian was given the choice between rice and a clue to a hidden immunity idol and despite not feeling confident in her choice, she felt a single idol wouldn’t be what wins her the game and instead, took rice back to camp given they were all starving. Upon her return, she told everyone she was given the choice between a dessert buffet and a bag of rice, before getting the rice out and sulking. With Meryl pulling her in for a hug, while Phil was shocked that Marian could be so close with Meryl while simultaneously plotting her demise. After Meryl disappeared, Marian confirmed they were still blindsiding her with Phil lying and saying nothing had changed. And then realised he needs to start coming up with a way to repair that relationship after getting rid of Steffi.

Steffi and Marian caught up by the well with Marian telling her the truth about the Outpost with Steffi reassuring her that she has her back and to not worry about losing out on an idol. Sadly for them, Felix was continuing to work the Steffi vote, telling Meryl that she and Marian are targeting her and as such, she should join them in taking out Steffi instead. Knowing they still need one more vote to get it done, Meryl then promised Tejan her reward steal advantage should he vote with her and just like that, shit is about to get real.

At tribal council Meryl spoke about blindsides occuring due to everyone having killer poker faces, while Marian agreed that everyone is playing a very strong game. Steffi opened up about the fact that just because she has a plan, doesn’t mean that nobody else has a different plan and that hers may be the wrong one. Shane said it all comes down to blind faith, while Tejan was confused about the prospect of the Meryl, Steffi and Marian trio breaking up with Steffi adding they all just need to stick with the plan. Meryl said that promises aren’t really her thing in the game, not wanting to write cheques she can’t cash before Steffi spoke about driving or piloting and confusing everyone. Tejan felt like he wasn’t sure what was happening at tribal council, while everyone else gave the vibe they were in on the plan.

With that the tribe voted and it turns out that Steffi and Marian were not in on the right plan – or driving the car, before flying the plane to the destination – as Steffi was narrowly booted from the game. And while Steffi was obviously gutted to be voted out with an idol in her pocket, she quickly perked up upon seeing me at Ponderosa. While I wasn’t a massive fan during her first season, Steffi’s second run was far more enjoyable as the edit allowed us to see more of her kind heart. And as such, I was thrilled to cheer her up with some comfort in the form of a Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink.

There is something so nostalgic and warming about a chicken parcel. Maybe due to the fact they were a big bloody deal back in the ‘90s. Crunchy pastry, moist chicken and a glorious hot, creamy filling? That sounds like a nice way to spend the evening to me.

Enjoy!

Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 leek, sliced
250g frozen spinach
200g Danish feta, mashed
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
4 chicken breasts
8 sheets filo pastry
¼ cup unsalted butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and saute the leek on medium for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach and cook until defrosted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Once chill, add the cheeses, egg and lemon zest to the leek and spinach and stir until well combined.

To assemble, lay the flattened breasts out and spoon over a quarter of the cheesy filling. Season with salt and pepper and fold the breast over to enclose the filling, like a big, meaty cigar.

Place two filo sheets on a clean surface and place a piece of chicken in the centre of one end. Roll the pastry over to cover, fold in each end and then wrap the rest of the sheet up. Repeat the process until you have four parcels.

Brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden and crisp. Oh and cooked through.


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Salsanté Verde Villiers

Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor South Africa the tribes were gagged to learn they had merged while at tribal council. And not just that, they had also been gifted a new and improved camp. Despite being one big happy family, the internal battles of OG Masu continued to dominate the new tribe as Toni rallied an army to counter the early power of the Breakfast Club. Which for the record didn’t even survive a tribal council given they booted Chappies first. After Phil peed his way to individual immunity, both sides tried to rally the numbers with Marian, Meryl and Steffi coming out on top as Toni was booted and anointed as the second most important placing behind a Fourth Place Robbed Goddess, the Queen of the Jury.

Back at camp Tejan was a little embarrassed to have burnt his idol, admitting he was completely shocked by the fact Toni was the ultimate target. Steffi meanwhile felt she had no other choice but to vote out Toni, given her earlier alliances were clearly the best path forward.

The next day the tribe were well and truly drained, with Tejan in particular feeling like his days were numbered. Meryl pulled him aside to check in and see why they are no longer getting along. He told her that Steffi was the one that was feeding information to him and Toni and while it is true, she did not believe him for a second. Marian and Shane meanwhile caught up with Marian quickly pushing for Dante to be the next one out, given he is too close to Felix and Toni has already pledged her vote for him to win. She then caught up with Phil and Meryl, with both of the women trying to avoid being the first person to float Dante’s name. Though they eventually all agreed that he needs to go. Particularly because Meryl is exhausted by babysitting his mood swings.

After Meryl disappeared, Marian locked in her alliance with Phil. Despite the fact neither of them really know if they can trust each other. Meryl found Dante by the well with the latter quickly floating Dino as their next target, given everyone is slowly building their trust with him and he is concerned that everyone’s interests are growing more and more individual, rather than supporting his.

The tribe reconvened with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to race to collect three keys from the top of the dunes, then use said keys to unlock three chests to release puzzle pieces and then solve a puzzle. Oh and in addition to immunity, the victor would get to smash some Chinese takeout. Obviously Dante got out to an early lead before Tejan overtook him, while Steffi and Dino nipped at their heels. Tejan and Dante started working on their puzzles as everyone slowly started to join them. Out of nowhere, Meryl flew through her puzzle and jagged herself individual immunity before anyone even realised she had made it to the end.

She broke down, proud of winning immunity on Day 22, which is when she was voted out on her first season. Oh and it’s also her son’s birthday. Nico being messy took the kind moment and gave her the chance to pick three people to join her at reward with her smartly taking everyone that didn’t get to eat at the Merge Feast, who conveniently, were also the three people she felt like she needed to talk to about the upcoming tribal council.

Back at camp, Meryl discovered she had the choice to either smash the Chinese food or to take blankets for all the tribe. Ultimately choosing to take blankets, meaning everyone also got a fortune cookie. Meryl and Steffi floated who they think should be the next to go, suggesting Dante and Tejan. While Meryl assured them that she only voted against Toni for revenge and she invited them on reward to apologise to them and build trust. Meanwhile by the shelter, Dante and Shane caught up with Tejan about the fact his alliance clearly isn’t looking out for him given he wasn’t told about anything at the last vote. Though given Dante was super forceful about it, Shane was fairly confident that there was no way they were getting Tejan across the line.

Meryl and Co. returned from reward with the blankets, sharing that they gave up the chance for food for them. And when the response was a resounding meh, she instantly regretted her decision. Meryl then read the note about the fortune cookies, with Dino sure that the cookies lead to a trip to the Outpost. Which was 100% true, with Meryl hilariously getting it, meaning she is very likely to jag herself another advantage. Jealous of her swag, Marian whispered to Phil about Meryl’s growing power and suggested that they need to blindside her sooner rather than later. Steffi, Dante and Shane caught up on the beach with Steffi pretending she thought everyone was locked in on the easy Dino vote. And while she sold it, Dante was still nervous about whether he could trust what everyone was saying and that it wouldn’t be a surprise Tejan vote instead.

The next morning Dante quadrupled down on his focus to get rid of Dino while Shane was concerned that Tejan had disappeared to go hunting for an idol. Felix meanwhile was stuck in the middle of both of his alliances and as such, approached Meryl about identifying a third option. Which is all well and good if she didn’t see it as him pushing his own agenda. Steffi and Marian caught up with Meryl to talk about the vote, with Steffi well and truly ready to get rid of Dante. Marian meanwhile quietly grew more nervous about Meryl’s trip to the Outpost. Steffi caught up with Dino to talk about the upcoming vote, assuring him that the plan is to get rid of Dante, while he grew more and more nervous about the fact he could be the one getting played.

Meryl finally arrived at the Outpost where she discovered that if she was willing to give up her vote at the upcoming tribal council, she would get a 50:50 coin. Which duh, you know she is willing to add to her haul.

Back at camp Steffi had turned her attention to Shane, talking about getting rid of Dante next, while he was worried about upsetting Dante, despite him being a massive threat to his own game. Shane then caught up with Tejan, who was nervous about Shane just being on the wrong page about the Dante vote. Dino and Phil were also busy catching up, worried about the Dante vote being a smokescreen and that everyone is just planning to blindside them. And while Phil was confident he was safe, there was a nagging pit in his gut about Dino’s safety.

Meryl returned from the Outpost and caught everyone up on her story, telling them she had two bags to choose from and that she clearly chose the wrong one which led to her losing her vote at tribal council. Oh and Dante whispered to Marian about the fact nobody believed him about Rob running things on his original season, which cost him the game and handed Rob victory, which is why he is so fixated on getting rid of Dino.

At tribal council Tejan spoke about the fact the tribe is being led by a controlling alliance and that those that aren’t in charge need to realise that goats are not going to be earning the win this season. He then suggested the women are in charge, with Meryl pointing out that they are also horribly outnumbered, and that Tejan is clearly just scrambling. Tejan then outed Steffi for backstabbing Toni and lying to her about Dante and Meryl getting votes. This made Dante nervous, who got up and started whispering to people, with Marian telling Tejan to stop being a hypocrite while also assuring Dante he was safe and to stick to the plan. Marian and Tejan then started fighting, which made her far more likely to turn on him while Dante was concerned that anything could happen, while Steffi assured everyone that they should hold firm.

With that the tribe voted and Dante was gagged to be blindsided from the game and from my perspective, I was heartbroken to have lost our final speedo zaddy of the season. Given we’ve been down this path before, Dante knew to follow the sound of my tears to Ponderosa, where I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how proud of him I was this season. But also, that I really loved his speedo and that I think he should design a line. And while he was sceptical, he was happy to drown his sorrows with a vat of Salsanté Verde Villiers.

You should know by now that while most people have their condiments on something, around here, we are fast and loose with the rules. And when they pack as much of a punch as this, why wouldn’t you shot it. I mean, Jaida has Tajin, let me have this, ok?

Enjoy!

Salsanté Verde Villiers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves 
2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley 
1 handful fresh basil 
1 handful fresh mint 
⅓ cup capers 
¼ cup gherkins
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
3 tbsp red wine vinegar 
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
Pop everything in a blender or food processor and blitz until combined with only smaller chunks remaining.

Season to taste before devouring, either in shot form, or on a perfectly cooked steak. Your choice!


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Everything but the Kitchen Sinkx Monsoon

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on All Winners the dolls put on a charity variety show for their penultimate challenge. And given it was going to be an epic show, Ru was generous enough to give out THREE stars each for the top two. Meaning whoever landed in the top got an express pass to the finale. Shea did an original song and was 100% Janet while Monet was the Phantom of the Opera, snatching their place in the top two, booking a ticket to the finale alongside Jinkx. As the person with the most stars, Monet had to break the tie between Jaida and Trinity. And while it was heartbreaking to watch for poor Jaida, Monet selected her twinner to join her. But don’t despair, because Jaida and the rest of the bottom four would ALSO compete for a crown. That of Queen of She Already Done Had Herses.

Backstage the top four were giddy to be eligible for the final crown and $200k, though given the bottom four are still in it for $50k, none of them were overly sad. Raja asked Monet how it felt to have the most stars, while she calmly explained it just means she is better than the rest of her sisters. Monet apologised for crushing Jaida’s dream, explaining she went with Trinity because she won more challenges. And they have seen some shit. While Jaida charmingly cussed her out for going with someone she has known for years, over someone she met on the first day of the season. The Vivienne was just giddy to be in the running for some money after winning a web series on her season, Jinkx gently told everyone she wants it the most and then Monet and Trinity gagged nobody by admitting they had an alliance.

LalapaRuza Day arrived with everyone a little subdued before talk turned to who they think will win the She Already Done Had Herses Crown, with Raja backing herself, while The Viv and Yvie pointed out they have each won a couple of lip syncs in their time.

Ru dropped by to thank the girls for building the legacy of the show before giving the girls one final Mini Challenge with the Pit Crew. Which was actually just getting into 15 minute quick drag and rocking a soul training. Jaida was obviously adorable and charming and looked stunning while doing it, Raja gave stoned aunty realness in all the right ways, Monet was hilarious, Shea was sexy AF, Trinity was a creepy mess and I LIVE, Jinkx did a Natasha Lyonne reprise while Yvie was a purple Diana Ross and The Viv was ultimate chav queen and ugh, I love them all. Which is the sentiment Raja shared, feeling like the 8 of them were destined to be here in this moment together and how she is reinvigorated by knowing them. AND AM I CRYING?!

We pivoted to the mainstage where it was family only as Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross took their seats as the dolls stomped the Grand Finale Eleganza Runway. Jaida was stunning in a shimmering, dripping white delight in honour of old Hollywood black excellence, Raja was captivating as an iridescent insect queen and was fucking fierce. The Viv gave a sexy black showgirl ball gown, in stark contrast to her original finale gown. Yvie gave three tier cotton candy cake, Jinkx was a stunning medieval maven, Monet was perfection in a futuristic Wakandan nude illusion, Shea was a frilled warm toned delight while Trinity gave baby pink princess realness.

The judges obviously felt Jaida was absolute perfection on the runway, as she was every damn week. And funny, charming, naughty and delightful. Raja rightly was praised for being the look queen of the season and for being such a joy to watch, each and every week. The Vivienne was praised for being such a powerhouse, serving stunning looks and slaying as a performer. They lived for Yvie giving something different each week and just being so good. Jinkx was universally beloved for just being so damn good at every thing she did. Monet was praised for bringing the soul and having the best time. Shea was praised for always having a message and elevating every damn moment, while Trinity was rightly praised for being 100% joy all season, and for leaning into the stupid and being kind with all her sisters.

Ru once again thanked the dolls for all that they have done, squeaking out a tear as she praised them for being heroic beacons for the community. A sobbing Monet then thanked Ru for giving them this show and the platform, and for the love she has given them all throughout the years.

And again, I’m crying.

We then got another live performance from Ru with some creepy/sexy clowns. And now I’m horny crying and so uncomfortable with myself.

Thankfully we moved on with Jaida, Raja, The Vivienne and Yvie returning to the stage for the She Already Done Had Herses Lip Sync Smackdown Lalaparuza For The Crown. Zaddy Alex dragged out the wheel with The Viv selected to compete in the first round, before Alex’s second spin chose her opponent as Yvie. Bruno and Bryce returned with The Viv selecting Bryce’s box, meaning she and Yvie would be lip syncing to Push It by my girls Salt’n’Pepa. Much to her regret, knowing this is right in Yvie’s wheelhouse.

As soon as the song kicked off it was clear the fear was very well founded as Yvie had all the energy and perfect moves for the song. Backflipping around the stage and being an all around star. That being said, The Viv was hilarious, giving iconic comedy and playing to her strengths, mocking what Yvie was doing and living her best life. Tragically though, it wasn’t enough, as Yvie progressed to the final round, leaving The Viv to finish in 7th/8th place. Which really doesn’t show how damn well she performed this season, because she ate. And was more than deserving of her participation sceptre.

Jaida and Raja took to the floor where Bruno returned to unveil their song, Let’s Hear It for The Boy and well, these two killed it. As you would expect. Raja lived every damn moment of the song, exuding joy and once again proved she is still a total star. While Jaida hit every lyric and kicked and flipped around the stage, there was no competing with Aunty Raja’s comedy, fun and general vibe. As such, she progressed to lip sync for the She Already Done Had Herses Crown while the newest icon Jaida sashayed away. No doubt with a new, massive following of fans and confidence in herself as a performer. And ugh, fuck I love Jaida. Particularly because she wanted Raja to buy her a wine AND farted in Michelle’s direction as her exit line.

We then pivoted to the top four as Jinkx, Monet, Trinity and Shea arrived for their first round of lip syncs with Alex’s wheel selecting Jinkx for slot number one, facing off against Shea Coulee. Jinkx then got lucky with Bruno’s box, scoring my girl Lady Gaga’s Judas as their song. Both of the dolls were nervous to be facing off against their sister, which was correct given they were both absolute fire. Jinkx served witchy vamp while Shea was desperate not to suffer the same fate as her last lip sync for the crown, serving a sexy reveal and being an all around bad arse. But yeah, there was no taking my eyes off Jinkx and the magnetic fire she had. Carrying her all the way to lip syncing for the crown. Much to her shock. With Shea being such a talented star, she was just overjoyed for her sister and grateful for her third journey in the competition. And well, if you do not stan Shea, please go to another website, because we stan Shea in there ‘ere parts.

The twinners took the stage and learnt from Bryce’s box that they’ll be lip syncing to – vom – So What by Pink. And despite that, they both served. While I hate that song they were both on fire. They had the attitude and all the right vibes, were absolutely hilarious and bounced off each other so damn well. I mean, it was a SHOW, as Trinity flipped around the stage, Monet was jump splitting and both had perfect comedic timing. And well, if there could be another double crowning moment to face Jinkx, I would take it, but ultimately Ru selected Monet to proceed to lip sync for the crown. And Trinity being Trinity, she was just absolutely charming and gracious in defeat and well, stan her too because she had been an absolute joy this season.

AND OH MY GOD TRINITY AND SHEA WERE FELLED BY A LIP SYNC FOR THE CROWN A SECOND TIME.

Raja and Yvie returned to the stage to lip sync for the secondary crown of the season to Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves. And based on the song alone, you should already know that my favourite Raja ate. Then came back for second and thirds. Yvie is obviously a killer lip syncer and performer, giving acrobatic perfection in every corner of the stage AND a fake-out failed wig reveal. But Raja is just SO enchanting, feeling every lyric and not only having the best time, but dragging you along for all the joy. And well, that was all it took to give Aunty Raja the Queen of She Already Done Had Herses Crown. And again, I AM CRYING.

Raja started to sob as she thanked Ru for putting her life on the trajectory it has had, with Ru praising her spirit and for being such a star. And well, she loves Yvie just as much. Which is why she also got a sceptre, as Ru reminded her that this stage is forever hers, no matter what adversity she may face. Oh and Raja was just grateful for the cashola.

Jinkx and Monet took to the stage for the final lip sync for the title of Queen of All Queens, to Swish Swish by Katy Perry – vom – and my dear Nicky Minaj. And well, Jinkx was desperate for the crown, while Monet vowed to leave everything on the stage to snatch it from her. Monet slow flossed, Jinkx served Carole Baskin realness, Monet flung cash, Jinkx stayed in the comedic pocket, Monet vogued and well, it was a show as both the dolls fought valiantly. Though ultimately, obviously, it was Jinkx that took out the victory and watching her breakdown over the honour was just beautiful. As is her love for her fellow sisters.

And seeing how happy Monet was for her sister was just beautiful, because she, like everyone else in the cast, is an absolute star and easily could have snatched the crown. Since she totally dominated the lip sync. I mean, did you see the lipstick she had prepared with Jinkx’s name written on it? Iconic.

Conveniently, the queen that won the most challenges also went on to win the season, so thankfully I didn’t have to sit around awkwardly with a runner-up, alone in the VIP style and instead got to have a true celebration.

As soon as Jinkx exited stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and told her just how proud of her I was. While Jinkx had always been a massive favourite to take out an All Winners season as we all dreamed of getting one, so managed to not only live up to the expectations but exceed them with flying colours. Every week, she was consistently perfect and showed just how versatile a performer she is. And that, to me, is more than enough reason to split an Everything but the Kitchen Sinkx Monsoon salad.

This classic Meatball Shop salad truly proves the Springfield you don’t make friends with salad mantra wrong. It is fresh, zingy, hearty and oh so delicious. And the perfect way to honour the inaugural Queen of all Queens. (Because we better get another winner’s season ASAP)!

Enjoy!

Everything but the Kitchen Sinkx Monsoon
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for frying
1 large portabello mushroom, stem removed and cap cut into a large dice
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
1 romaine lettuce, trimmed, washed and torn into small pieces
½ fennel head, thinly sliced
30ml sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mushroom with ½ a teaspoon of salt until it starts to brown and the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus for a couple of minutes, before draining and running under cold water.

Combine the mushroom, asparagus, lettuce and fennel in a bowl. Whisk the ¼ cup of olive oil with the sherry vinegar, mustard and remaining salt before tossing to coat, serving and devouring. Regally.


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Roasted Sweet Potato and Choriso M-Afrika

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa the tribal switch was impacting each tribe in vastly different ways. Over at Yontau, the former Masu members had the majority and planned to systematically eliminate the Yontaus after Phil botched a plan to blindside Dante. Over at new Masu, the original Masus were similarly enjoying good fortune, this time despite a numbers disadvantage. In part because the Yontau members didn’t get along, but more importantly, because Pinty was difficult to be around and an easy, unifying target.

Back at camp Felix and Thoriso were well and truly on the outs after Killarney defected to get rid of Pinty, while Steffi and Toni tried to apologise and make them feel better. Tejan assured them that the vote wasn’t necessarily down tribal lines and instead was against Pinty being a little grumpy. And well, tomorrow is always another day in this game. Said next day, Toni awoke before the rest of the tribe, nudging Tejan awake and sending him to go hunt for a hidden immunity idol while she kept watch. Once he found the idol however, he was disappointed to discover it was only for the other tribe with them quickly planning to give it to Dino to try and protect him from Dante.

Over at Yontau Shane and Phil were catching up about Dante’s mood, with Shane assuring him that while Dante wants Dino and him out as soon as possible, that isn’t what he or Meryl want. And as such, he is ready to make a move ASAP. And will put his head on the line to save him. That being said, Phil isn’t really buying it and is ready to outlast Shane on their second go together.

The tribes reconvened with Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would chop through a rope to release a Miley-style wrecking ball, manoeuvre it through obstacles and then use it to smash three large tiles. With the winners getting immunity and pizza, clearly unaware it is a Survivor curse. But, you know, whatever. Felix got Masu out to an early lead chopping through their ropes before tapping back in for a third go and extending the lead. Well, until Thoriso struggled to get up a wall and allowed Yontau to overtake them. While Felix worked hard to get them back in the game, Dino and Dante formed a formidable duo as they knocked out tile after tile and despite a late-breaking push, sent Masu back to tribal council. But not before Toni gave Dino a snuggly hug to hand over Tejan’s idol.

They headed back to camp where Dino was in shock that not a soul noticed the idol exchange. To try and cover their tracks, he told the tribe that she was trying to fill him in on what was happening on the other tribe. After he excused himself from the camp, Palesa told everyone that she is sure that she witnessed an idol exchange between he and Toni and as such, they all needed to be wary. Shane pulled Dino aside to fill him in on the new lay of the land, reiterating how much Dino can trust him and should, essentially, pledge his undying loyalty to Shane.

Marian and Meryl meanwhile were growing more and more nervous of Dino, given he is clearly closer to Toni than them and as such decided he needs to go. Sadly, he was busy catching Phil up on the idol and started planning how they could use it to survive. Palesa dropped by and told Dino she caught him handing off the idol and all three agreed that Shane is not to be trusted and as such, started brainstorming ideas to get rid of him ASAP.

Back at camp a dejected Masu tried to congratulate each other on fighting hard in the challenge. Thoriso meanwhile was worried about how to get herself out of the current predicament, while Felix too was ready to fight to stay alive. Toni caught Steffi up on the idol exchange and begged her to keep it quiet from Tejan, because they need Dino to feel loyal to them. Tejan joined the girls and the talk turned to the upcoming tribal council, wondering how to navigate a potential idol play from Thoriso and Felix. Speaking of Felix, Toni caught up to him and assured him that she still wants to work with him, outlined the Dino idol exchange but didn’t give him anything else to put his mind at ease.

Felix caught up with Tejan and Thoriso, telling them that Toni told him about the exchange given she knows he caught her. With Tejan explaining how he found it and all of them agreeing that giving it to Dino was a great idea. They then talked strategy and Tejan realised that he vibes better with Thoriso and as such, questioned whether he should be turning on Toni instead as he needs a collaborator, not undying loyalty.

Toni meanwhile was feeling in control of the tribe, catching up with Steffi to debate who is the best person to get rid of out of loyal Killarney or Thoriso. WIth them settling on the safer bet being to stick with Killarney and vote out Thoriso. Sadly just as Tejan was trying to put the target on Killarney instead. He caught up with Toni and pointed out that Killarney doesn’t bring them any other potential options, while keeping Thoriso could give them more wiggle room later in the game. After they locked in a split vote, Tejan realised that he could change things up and protect Thoriso, though was unsure what exactly the cost would be moving forward with his OG allies.

At tribal council Tejan spoke about how things weren’t too chaotic given there is a majority. Felix joked that it clearly meant he and Thoriso are in trouble tonight. While Tejan tried to backpedal, Thoriso doubled down that there is nothing she can do to change their minds if they don’t see the value you can add to their game. While Nico told her it was defeatist, she argued that it is realistic and knowing there may not be something she can do, she is still going to pitch it. Nico asked Killarney how she hooked up with the Masus to form a majority, essentially saying she is just more mature and loyal. 

Felix spoke about how disappointed it was to come into tribal knowing it might be his last, giving a final pitch to keep him. Toni tried to say that being voted out in a returning season is kind of a compliment, with everyone begging not to be complimented tonight. With that the tribe voted and Thoriso stood firm in her alliance with Felix, and Tejan to OG Masu, leading to a 2-2-2 vote between the original Yontau members. After revoting, Thoriso’s loyalty to Felix ended up being her undoing as the tribe banded together to boot her from the game.

Thoriso was her usual, delightful self as she arrived at Loser Lodge, knowing she did all that she could. I pulled her in and agreed that once again, she was playing a stellar game and frankly, the only reason she got eliminated was bad luck of the swap. With that, we laughed, cried and celebrated her second go with Roasted Sweet Potato and Choriso M-Afrika.

Less your traditional salad and more an orgy of delicious roasted flavours thrown in a bowl, this salad packs a spicy kick and fills you with unending joy. Which is just what you need after 2.5 weeks eating pap. Or when you want to feel healthy in winter.

Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Choriso M-Afrika
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
800g sweet potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 chorizos, sliced into thick coins
½ cup sour cream
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp Harissa Oleynik
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch watercress, leaves picked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, or until golden and charred.

Meanwhile, pop a skillet over medium heat and cook the chorizos until crisp and glistening with the oozing oil.

Whisk together the sour cream, garlic, lemon zest and juice, Harissa Oleynik with a good whack of salt and pepper.

To serve, toss the sweet potato and chorizo in a serving dish, sprinkle with watercress and drizzle with the dressing. Then devour, joyously.


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