Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes joined Jonathan by the water where he decide to make things exciting by switching up the tribes. While that resulted in Croc and Chrissy, Josh and Jordan, and Sandra and Nina reuniting, odd-man-out Mark was given the chance to join Sam on the new Water tribe, and instead elected to join Blood. Sophie meanwhile was reunited with Sam, making things, in a word, very awkward given the blindside. After Nina and Sandra lost the immunity challenge, new Blood quickly planned to take out Mel for being clumsy until Nina’s allies decided it would be far more interesting to blindside her mum instead. Caught between and rock and a hard place, Nina joined her allies to take out her iconic mother Sandra. On Day 16. AGAIN. Like fucking bullshit.

Back at camp Nina was shocked to have gone full Ciera on her mum, while the tribe checked in with her to make sure she was feeling ok with them all banding together to take out the Queen. Which she humbly – and wisely – said was ok and that she completely expected it to happen eventually.

The next morning she was quietly reflecting in her mother’s hammock while the tribe caught up by the fire, trying to give her some space while she processed everything. She opened up to us about how the move should benefit her in the long run, given it shows her loyalty to the alliance despite the personal pain it caused. She then joined the rest of her tribe and was delighted to catch a fish, feeling her oats at everything looking up. Jordie then opened up about how great it was to claim Sandra’s scalp, given it is such a big move, though sadly he ignored the fact it is still very early in the game and half the potential jurors weren’t even around to see it. Jordie caught up with Mark, Jordan and Josh to lock in their allegiance to each other, gossiping about who they would target next, defaulting back to last night’s original target Mel.

Meanwhile over at Water, Khanh was hosting another episode of Survivor Kitchen – don’t come for my gig, sweet angel Khanh! – with Sam giving some awkward acting as a studio quest. Thankfully she quickly snapped out of it to remind us that she and Sophie are still feuding, and given the daggers being shot her way, she is well and truly right to be worried. As Soph continued to wander around bitching about Sam, Sam wisely darted around to her people to remind them how dangerous and angry Sophie is before calmly leaving them to reflect. Michelle meanwhile was hanging with Sophie and KJ, hilariously telling them she is thrilled to not have to deal with her sister yet given it could ruin her game.

As the duo looked on, wide eyed and fearing for their place in the game.

Sophie then caught up with Sam to talk strategy while she was chatting to KJ, suggesting that maybe now is the time to secretly work together given nobody would expect it. Sophie once again threw out Khanh’s name, with Sam all smiles and agreeing it was a great idea. After Sam walked away, Sophie confronted her sister to find out what they were talking about before she arrived and repeatedly told KJ she was fine with her pretending like she doesn’t care about her trying to stay out of the Sophie-Sam drama. When she cared. Truly, madly, deeply cared.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the latest immunity where they would each have to line up and hold discs between their hands like paper dolls with the last tribe with a disc left standing taking out immunity. Since both Sam and Mark had played the challenge before, they each gave differing advice as Sam told them to put strong people together, focusing on similar heights while Mark just told them all to keep moving, focusing on blood flow and staying alert. After Jonathan threw shade at Chrissy for struggling, Amy and Mel became the first to drop. They were quickly followed by the disc between Chrissy and Croc, and the one between Sam and Michelle. Josh then dropped out for Blood, followed by Michelle and Jesse for Water. It came down to Mark and Jordan and Jordie and Dave battling against Ben and Sophie and Chrissy and KJ.

Sophie then started to struggle, directing Ben how to help her reset before ultimately dropping, pinning all her hope on Chrissy and KJ. Aka our iconic challenge beast queens. Mark and Jordan meanwhile started doing micro-moves to stay focused, as Mark reminded us that the last time this challenge was played it was won by him and Henry and ugh, I am living for Mark’s quiet confidence right now. Tragically I did not love watching Chrissy and KJ struggle as they were desperately trying to hang on for their tribe, arms shaking and fumbling before ultimately dropping and handing immunity to Blood.

As the tribes hugged each other in congratulations, Sam whispered to Mark that Sophie was coming for her before he encouraged her to take her out quickly. And yes, this is the fight I need to shake me out of my post-Sandra-boot depression. 

Back at camp the tribe congratulated KJ and Chrissy on a job well done before Sam immediately got to work taking out the biggest threat to her game. She and Jesse quickly locked in the plan with Jesse agreeing that Sophie doesn’t seem to realise it was the entire tribe trying to get her out, not just Sophie, and more importantly, it is the entire tribe wanting to get rid of her again. They then caught up with Ben, Michelle, Khanh, Croc and Chrissy to lock in a plan to split the vote, putting two on KJ as a back up. With Sam requesting she be one of the votes for Sophie.

Back at camp Ben went for a walk with Sophie and instead suggested voting out Khanh instead, with them joining up with Chrissy, Croc, Jesse and Sam to float the idea. Sophie even suggested Sam go so far as to talk about how much they hate each other and that she needs her out to really sell it. Everyone was keen to get rid of him, particularly with Sophie as the person they split the votes with so she goes if he does play the idol. That being said, it was all actually bullshit and Croc had no intention of turning on Khanh and as such, it was all a distraction to get rid of Sophie and finish the job.

Assuming nobody is confused by the duelling plans.

When Chrissy, Sam, Jesse and Ben caught up, they were all well and truly confused with Chrissy thinking the plan was still Sophie, Sam thinking that was the plan too, Ben thinking the Khanh plan was legit while Jesse now wanted the Khanh one to be legit so he could take out an idol and make the game a little safer. While Chrissy worried to us that she would pull a Cara and cook the vote. Even after the ad break the group were still confused, leading to Croc pulling Chrissy aside to make sure she was onboard with the correct plan. Michelle joined them to make sure Chrissy was all over it and when they finally got it through to her, we cut to KJ and Sophie hunting for an idol and oh god, she is getting an idol, isn’t she?

KJ caught up with Chrissy to complain about how selfish Sophie is for hunting for an idol in plain sight, given it is spooking the tribe into splitting the vote on her. Thankfully KJ caught up with Croc who calmly looped her in on the plan and assured her she won’t be going home on his watch, which made her feel a little calmer. When she caught up with Khanh, he encouraged her to prioritise what is best for her game and hot damn, are we getting back to back family boots? While Sam was trailing Sophie and Ben on their idol hunt, Sophie started saying things that made it sound like she had found an idol, however she didn’t seem to move, making me think it was all a fake-out. But whatever it is, I was confused as they exited camp and living for how damn entertaining Sophie has been.

At tribal council Chrissy spoke about how hectic things were back at camp after the challenge, admitting multiple plans were in play and that frankly she just needs to wait and see what happens. Ben agreed that while there are multiple plans, there is one he plans to stick with, filling Sophie with delight. Khanh admitted the idol makes him a target, so he wouldn’t be shocked to get votes tonight. Sophie then opened up about how she is super loyal and that she is definitely going to do what she says. While Sam reiterated she is telling some truths, Sophie fired up and fought back at Sam and while I was living for it as an audience, poor KJ started to break down over the fact she feels trapped by having her sister on the tribe.

Chrissy assured her that she would be freaking out if it was her and her sister with poor KJ just saying how tired she is with everything. Sophie tried to calm her sister and let her know that she is ok before pointing out that there are bigger strategic and social threats in the tribe, which turned conversation back to Khanh. Who was thrilled to have drama deflecting from his idol. He then said that multiple idols could show up tonight, with Croc agreeing that should Sophie have an idol, the game will flip upside down. As Sophie continued to play coy about whether she found one, while poor KJ reiterated it will be her going home should multiple idols appear.

With that the tribe voted and after Sophie pretended to pull out an idol, none were actually played and instead KJ followed in Nina’s footsteps, joining the tribe to vote out her sister like a damn icon.

Sophie was delightfully chipper by the time she made it back to Loser Lodge, thrilled to be out of the environment and not thrown through another emotionally jarring non-elimination. As a fellow internet celebrity slash influence, Soph and I have long run in the same circles, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and thanked her for providing such glorious entertainment in her short run. After that, we laughed and toasted her success with a piping hot bowl of Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi.

And oh, it was glorious. Everyone knows that potato and cheese are the two most comforting foods, and in such a polished combination, they truly are transcendent. Pillowy gnocchi, a sharp punch of parmesan and the spice of pepper work together to thoroughly warm your soul.

Enjoy!

Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients
500g gnocchi
4 tbsp unsalted butter
130g parmesan, grated
1 ½ tbsp black pepper, freshly ground

Method
Cook the gnocchi per packet instructions, drain and reserve 500ml of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and fry for a couple of minutes before folding through the cheese and pepper, along with half of the cooking water. Raise the heat and cook stirring until combined, adding more water to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency. Season to taste.

Transfer to bowls and devour, in honour of our pre-merge icon!


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Charribiata Kaseta

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK, poor Victoria was withdrawn from the competition due to a dodgy knee like Eureka before her. The dolls had no time to process the tragedy as they were tasked with going to camp on the runway. Sweet Veronica coached everyone to get their looks over the line, sadly cutting her nose off to spite her face with a sloppy, unfinished look. While Scarlett slayed and took out victory, Vanity once again landed in the bottom, this time opposite Veronica who fought valiantly, but was ultimately felled by the lip sync assassin.

The dolls were shell shocked as they returned to the Werk Room, heartbroken that Veronica’s kindness proved her undoing. Despite this, the dolls were proud of Vanity’s lip sync and praised her for being just as talented as Veronica. Charity led the girls in congratulating Scarlett on her win, though Scarlett was disappointed that her win was partly because Veronica helped her make her look. Choriza spoke about the disappointment of seeing Veronica go home so soon, while Vanity wished it had been Choriza in the bottom in Veronica’s place.

The next day Scarlett was thrilled to join the victorious badged twink army, with the dolls just happy that she is finally open to receiving praise. Vanity asked River how she plans to stand out, with the girls questioning her passion for the competition and ugh, I hate to see my faves Scarlett and River fight. Kitty and Choriza meanwhile were looking forward to join the badge club while Vanity was just gagging to top once in the competition.

Ru arrived to announce that this week the dolls will be forming two girl groups for the ultimate UK challenge. Scarlet as the winner and Vanity of the victorious survivor were tasked as team captains, with Scarlett, Kitty, Charity and Krystal forming one girl group while Vanity, Ella, River and Choriza were their rivals. Each group would perform different remixes of the new hit song, BDE – Big Drag Energy – with one group going up tempo, while the others got the power bottom remix. As the winner of the previous challenge, Scarlett was the one that got to listen to both remixes and pick which one she wanted for her team. Oh and the dolls would be judged by Queen, Icon, Legend – Baby Bunton!

As the dolls split up, Scarlett listened to the remixes and quickly selected the up tempo number for her team. She then rallied her crew and quickly explained that  she chose them to offer a range of diversity, while team Vanity were just desperate to prove everyone wrong and I love it. While the up tempo dolls lived for their Spice Girls-esque number, they were laughing about how shit the power bottom version is while Ella, Vanity, River and Choriza were living their best life, ready to take the win. And with the name Pick’n’Mix, how can they go wrong?

The other dolls locked in the name Slice Girls before the dolls were gagged by the arrival of freakin’ STEPS. On the Steps. They then announced that they were tasked with helping the dolls record their songs and learning their choreo for their debut performance. And ugh, UK, hun indeed.

The Slice Girls were up first recording their song with Kitty slaying from start to finish while Scarlett, girl, she struggled. Bad. Then Krystal, well, she couldn’t find a key. Not a one, before Charity jumped in and was demented and creepy and so damn charming, in an evil witch from Snow White kinda way. Pick’n’Mix didn’t do much better as Ella’s nerves took her out of her West End star roots, Vanity though slayed a damn rap about race – QUEEN – while River was cute and sweet, with old zaddy Steps talking about how much her lyrics will change lives. River then spoke about how H was that for her, breaking down and ugh, I love her so much. Ditto twofold Choriza, who served the most demented rap and I love it.

On to the choreography with Slice Girls as Kitty took the lead and while she tried to keep it simple yet impactful, Charity encouraged her to make it more impressive. Despite not being able to walk in time. Again Pick’n’Mix slayed the rehearsal, wait, no, they had no idea what they were doing, expecting Steps to give them their, well, steps. That being said, I am hoping it is a fake out given Vanity and Ella really hit their stride, bouncing off each other while River and Choriza were living their best lives. Particularly when River suggested they lean into the camp of a good old power ballad.

Elimination Day arrived with Pick’n’Mix quickly getting to work getting a consistent look, while Slice Girls were just happy to serve a touch of metallic. Ella and River caught up about their lyrics, sharing how much it means to them to get their stories out with River reliving her mother’s death from COVID and ugh, again, I love River so damn much. 

As Ru, Michelle, Alan and Baby Bunton took their places on the judges panel, the Slice Girls took the stage and well, they slayed. Krystal hit every move, Charity was demented and high-energy, Scarlett though started to miss her lyrics and damn, it makes me worry for my favourite twink. Though given how amazing Kitty was, maybe she won’t have to worry? Vanity meanwhile was just confused by everything they did as they sat backstage. And well, given how damn GOOD Pick’n’Mix were, I understand the shade. Ella hit all of the notes, Vanity was perfection, River served all the emotion and well Choriza was Choriza which is the ultimate compliment. I mean, Ella’s facial expressions and the cheesy choreo was totally Choriza. Aka perfection.

On the Night of 1000 Spice Girls runway, Krystal slayed as a baby blue Baby Spice and ugh, she is good. Charity gave sexy Scary Spice by way of Nina Bonina Brown, Kitty gave a glamorous, angelic reunion tour Baby Bunton. Scarlett was total Scary in a lime mini, Ella was a sequined delight as wannabe Sporty Spice. River slayed as an all red Ginger, complete with Stop routine. Vanity too rocked Scary, but made it CEO while Ginger was stunning in Union Jack realness.

Rightly Pick’n’Mix took out victory and were sent to untuck before the Sliceys got their critiques. Krystal received her usual universal praise, while Michelle wished she could have given more in the lyrics. Charity was read for wearing blue when everyone else was silver and white, though Alan loved that she was the rebel of the group. Her lyrics were deemed challenging at times, though her runway was praised for killing the game despite not being Mel B. At all. Kitty received universal praise; from the lyrics to the energy to her looks, the judges ate everything up. And ugh, poor Scarlett was read for filth and she knew it before it even happened. Though Michelle did try and encourage her, reminding her to stay confident and stay focused on the task at hand.

Backstage the winners were gloriously toasting their success before they realised that all the past winners had landed in the bottom this week. Choriza read Scarlett for picking the cool, girls, given they managed to bring more diverse flavour. The Slice Girls arrived backstage with Scarlett and Charity sure that they would be lip syncing tonight, with the latter heartbroken that her vibe isn’t coming through with the judges. River encouraged her to focus on her talent and not get bothered, while Kitty was just giddy to have spoken to Baby Spice despite being in the bottom. Choriza then threw some shade at Scarlett for not picking her, with Krystal admitting that she sees her as a massive threat. While Scarlett apologised repeatedly for landing her team in the bottom.

Ultimately Krystal and Kittty were sent to safety, leaving Charity and Scarlett to battle it out to the Spice Girls’ iconic anthem, Who Do You Think You Are. And holy shit balls, was it amazing. Both the dolls had every lyric down, Charity was totally demented, Scarlett had the camp and well, it was a show and I was here for every damn minute. So I was thrilled to learn that both of the dolls were safe and would live to fight another day.

Backstage the dolls were gagged by the double shantay with Scarlett thrilled to still be there, while Charity was glad to show what she does best after a string of being safe. She spoke about struggling with the negative critiques but assured them that she was here to fight, while Scarlett felt like her stint in the bottom lit a fire in her belly. Oh and Kitty was ready to finally get a badge, hopeful that an acting or comedy challenge was coming up so that she could finally prove herself

The next day Scarlett was feeling nice and spicy, ready for a rebirth while the rest of the girls were dragging her about staying at the back of the pack. She was given a reprieve by the return of RuPaul who tasked the dolls with doing it doggy style by pairing up with their best bitch to prove they are best in show. With one half getting into doggy quick drag and the other coming as their handler. Choriza and River were up first in RuPaul’s Dog Race with Choriza hilariously aggressive, Kitty was bouncing boobs and all charm as she walked Charity through the course, Krystal wanted to speak to the manager while putting Scarlett through her paces, while Ella confused her sit and shit commands from Vanity.

Scarlett and Krystal took out victory, making them team captains as the dolls filmed commercials to promote Ru’s in-home personal assistant, Draglexa. Team Scarlett featured Kitty, Choriza and Ella while Krystal was joined by River, Vanity and Charity. With that, Ru disappeared and the teams quickly split up and got to work. Scarlett opted to take the lead to redeem herself until she learned that Choriza’s degree was in advertising, which made her happily hand the reins to her. Over at Team Krystal, Charity felt nobody was taking the lead in the challenge so started throwing out concepts and project managed the entire thing, and I’m so proud of her. While back with Team Choriza, she was disappointed by Scarlett’s ideas but was willing to listen to everyone before making aggressive cuts. Which isn’t relevant, but is hilarious.

Oh and Krystal and Charity threw down over how funny the latter’s ideas are and ugh, I worry for my love Charity.

Ru made a ru-turn, first catching up with Team Krystal where Charity shared that she was shocked to be so stuck in her head in the competition. But after a quick pep-talk from Ru, she was ready for her badge. Ru had the dolls, well herself, laughing about how she has never done her own make-up. We then swapped teams with the dolls coming prepared with a storyboard before they made Ru nervous about their choice to have multiple different Draglexa voices. Oh and Choriza’s memoir will be called Bumpy Padding, Dirty Tights AND has a meaty tuck on account of her UGE penis. Which again, is important.

After RuPaul left Team Krystal started to fall apart as they tried to get ready, while Charity was stuck writing the script on her lonesome.

Team Scarlett were first to film with Michelle with Kitty charming, even while taking a shit and despite the commercial not making a lick of sense. Sadly though, the broader situation appeared to be an absolute mess. Which either means it will be hilarious or the group are all lip syncing. Charity was feeling very anxious as Team Krystal tapped out to film and well, it didn’t go much better as Charity took over to try and give them direction which only upset the rest of her team.

Elimination Day rolled around with Kitty and Scarlett bonding as the latter opened up about being raised by a sick mother and how their relationship was stressed by the fact they also had no money. She admitted that she and her mum are now close and she is supportive of her, though her mum has COPD which is at the point that it will kill her. And now she is suffering under the regret of wasting time fighting. And ugh, watching her cry breaks my damn heart.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix as the dolls showed off their Expenny-Henny Runways with Ella going Tony Award chique and looking an absolute delight. Scarlett was full frosty CEO, Kitty was STUNNING in a coin draped nude allusion and Choriza was a big shot at the casino n the most delgihtfully, demented Western Cowgirl way. Krystal was glittering, coated from head to toe in crystals – LIKE HER NAME – before River stole the damn show in a gorgeous red and gold South East Asian inspired gown. Charity meanwhile looked like the richest museum gargoyle, while Vanity too was dropping Krystals. 

When it came to the commercials, Team Scarlett were up first and while it wasn’t a mess, it also wasn’t very funny. Despite how hard they tried, particularly Ella. As Kitty laughed at the end of their commercial, the judges were silent if it gives you any idea. Team Krystal didn’t fare any better with River being the only one to have any charm.

This obviously infuriated Ru, who read all the dolls for filth, calling them out for being bland and beige, announcing that for the first time in Drag Race herstory, there will be no winner but assured them that there will still be a bottom two with a doll going home. Team Scarlett’s commercial was read for filth, though Ella was praised for trying her best and giving a killer look on the runway. Despite Michelle hating her wig. Scarlett was read for being predictable and bland, and the judges felt her outfit was just there. Kitty meanwhile was praised for delivering her lines well and looking great on the runway, as was Choriza but again she was praised for her charm rather than anything in particular.

AND THEN MICHELLE outlined a far better commercial in a matter of seconds.

When it came to Team Krystal, their captain was praised for going all in despite a complete lack of jokes. Both of River’s outfits received universal praise but the judges wished they saw more of her in the ad. Charity was praised for continually bringing killer looks, while Michelle desperately wanted her to show some diversity. While Vanity was praised for her commitment in the challenge and being an absolute babe, despite the fact the judges have no idea who she is.

Ru then decided to rub salt in the collective wounds, asking the girls to identify who should go home this week with Ella wanting to boot Charity for her negative mood despite receiving compliments. Scarlett too wanted Charity gone for her attitude, while Kitty was ready to get rid of Vanity due to her track record. The rest of the dolls then piled up on Scarlett, which led to Scarlett throwing out her jokes that didn’t make it into the commercial. Krystal felt Scarlett didn’t fight hard enough in the last lip sync while the rest were just annoyed by her attitude.

Backstage things got dramatic as the dolls tried to talk it out with Scarlett who looked ready to cut a bitch, refusing to acknowledge them. Ella apologised to Charity with the latter pointing out that pointing out that she is down on herself isn’t exactly motivating or a compliment. As everyone tried to say that they all had to pick someone and it was all ok, leading to Scarlett pointing out that the vast majority want her gone. And then as everyone tried to explain themselves, she stormed off, completely over it. While Choriza understood that she was angry, she also felt that storming off wouldn’t change anything. Scarlett returned and shared that she has struggled to build relationships throughout her life and while everyone tried to assure her that they love her and want to be her friend, it was not happening as they split up to learn the lip sync.

Ultimately Ella, Kitty, Chorizo, Krystal and River were deemed safe, with Vanity joining them after Ru implored her to step her pussy up. That meant we were blessed with the exact same bottom two as the week before, this time featuring the dolls lip syncing to the ICONIC Big Spender. Charity served Disney villain realness in the absolute best way possible, while Scarlett went balls to the wall with a full Broadway serving of CAMP. And ugh, why does UK serve such killer songs for their lip syncs?! While they both fought valiantly, it was Scarlett who lived to fight another day as the supremely talented Charity Kase was shown the door. Complete with a Wicked Witch melt on her way out.

Barely having time to recover from her death-shrieks, I grabbed Charity on the way and pulled her in for a massive hug. While I agree – don’t kill me Ru – that the judges slept on her talents throughout the season, I am not one of them and heaped praise on all that she brought to the season. And that isn’t even due to her penchant for flashing her buns on the runway. So after the requisite laughing, crying and bonding, I whipped up a big batch of Charribiata Kaseta.

Yeah, yeah – this is one of the most basic pasta sauces, pulled together with a bunch of leftover pasta. But I mean, how can you even go wrong with chilli and tomato. Despite its simplicity, this baby packs a bunch and is guaranteed to turn your mood around.

Enjoy!

Charribiata Kaseta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 small red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
800g canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g mixed dried pasta, cooked
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

Method
While the pasta water is coming to the boil, heat he oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the chillies and tomato paste and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar, stir and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Once the sauce is cooked, season and fold through the parmesan.

Serve, cover with more parmesan and devour. Giddily.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Baked Emmetta Pughsta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor poor Flick received the tragic news that her mother had passed away from early onset dementia, with her opting to continue in the game after talking to her family who encouraged her to fight until the end. After a grueling immunity challenge left only four eligible to be voted out, the tribe rallied to boot Cara and weaken the immune George. That is until George found a secret hidden immunity idol, which he played without anyone knowing, meaning Laura was booted with just Cara’s vote. Much to everyone’s shock, none more so than Cara’s.

The next day Emmett was praising Cara for once again avoiding certain doom before catching up with the rest of the tribe, trying to swim away their shock. Cara and George meanwhile were celebrating in the shelter, reinvigorated and ready to continue the game as a powerful duo. Cara meanwhile was just glad that they both managed to play an idol to protect each other, given it is beautifully full circle. After Cara went for a walk, George chased her down and passed off the key for the idol so that she could claim the move as her own, ensuring that the Brains alliance still trusts him and it doesn’t blow up in their faces.

As Cara went person to person sharing the clue and key everyone appeared to believe her. That is except for Andrew, who saw right through it given it was all just way too convenient. Andrew went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Flick and Emmett so they could all share their theories on what actually went down at the previous tribal council, with the one consistent part of each theory being George. Conveniently, he joined them under the guise of filling up his water bottle allowing Andrew to ask him pointblank who played the idol the previous night. And while George continued to deny it, Andrew reiterated that Cara’s body language the night before was screaming defeat and as such, she definitely didn’t play it.

Being an icon George continued to loiter around and talk about how parched he was when he woke up. Andrew however had had it, OFFICIALLY and asked him to respectfully leave so that the four of them could continue their discussion. And after he eventually left, the four confirmed that George and Cara definitely have been playing everyone all game and as such, the entire tribe should unite to get rid of them. Which Emmett and Flick were obviously thrilled to hear, despite not actually caring that Laura went given she and Andrew were so close and they needed to be broken up  eventually.

The tribe reconnected with zaddy Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where the tribe would need to hold a lever to balance a board on which they will build a house of cards using their free hand. For a damn car, so you know they were all thrilled despite, you know, the Survivor car curse. But whatevs. Dani and Emmett got out to early leads, before both of them dropped. Every time someone started to pull ahead, they quickly dropped their stack until Dani started to pull ahead again before she dropped with one card to go. Hayley and Andrew started to pull away before Andrew dropped. Hayley then ran out of blocks before dropping her stack trying to get more, while Emmett returned to the lead as Flick and Cara nipped at his heels. As Emmett’s stack blew over, Dani powered back into the lead and put everyone out of their misery as she took out victory.

Sadly for her, that also means that she isn’t winning the game. Better luck next time Queen Dani!

Jonathan then announced that in addition to winning the car, she was able to take three of her tribemates for a joyride and a cheeky picnic. Obviously picking Flick and Emmett before gagging the Brains by selecting Andrew. Which George read as being the end of his and Cara’s run.

Dani was giddy to have won the car and praised everyone for how they’ve been playing the game, despite all trying to vote her out previously. That was all forgotten however as they arrived at the picnic, gorging on sandwiches and quiches before Dani started to push for Andrew to flip over to the Brawns. Clearly unaware that Andrew, Emmett, Flick and Hayley were already spearheading the downfall of George and Cara.

Speaking of the wonder twins, they returned to camp with Wai and Hayley with George quickly working the girls to come back to their side. Wai was obviously cool, calm and collected, as he talked in circles before straight up admitting that he was the one that played the idol. And that is exactly what he does for the people he cares about, like Hayley and Wai. While Hayley told George that she understands why he denied playing the idol to an angry Andrew, she was happy to get all the information from him and pay him back for voting her out. Oh and the information? Just George’s entire planned bootlist up to the final four.

The tribe reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would each stand on narrow footholds on two stumps like you would try to hold yourself up in a door frame as a kid. Last one standing taking out immunity. After mere moments, George asked Jonathan to help him down and exited the challenge. This annoyed Andrew, who speculated it was all a ruse to downplay his threat level. With Emmett hilariously telling him he sounds paranoid. Dani was next to drop, as Flick, Andrew and Emmett agreed to drop as soon as Cara left the challenge. Sadly Wai was the next to drop before the remaining five made it to 30 minutes, at which point they had to transfer to the narrower footholds.

Meanwhile on the sit out bench, George was asking Wai who they should vote out tonight between Andrew and Emmett, as Wai suggested they just wait and see what happens with the challenge. After an hour the remaining competitors had to transition to the narrowest footholds, at which point Cara dropped out of the challenge. Almost immediately Andrew dropped out, before Emmett suggested the remaining three make it tougher on themselves and remove their hands from the rope they had to steady them with Emmett quickly dropping before Flick dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley individual immunity.

Back at camp Emmett and Flick were glad that the last four competing were the group that wanted to get rid of George, with Flick wisely pointing out that removing their hands from the rope was a great way to solidify trust given they didn’t grab  them again to save themselves. The group caught up with Wai and Dani to lock in a split vote between George and Cara, with everyone fighting to be the one to get to write down George’s name. Speaking of George, he and Cara were talking about how stupid everyone would be to let Emmett survive another day given it is rare moment he isn’t immune. With that he approached Wai and Hayley to float the plan, with both of them obviously agreeing to join him to his face.

As Hayley and Wai removed themselves to decide which way to go, Hayley was leaning towards booting Emmett, while Wai felt it was still the better move to get rid of George. Oh and speaking of George, he was hiding in the grass behind them eavesdropping on everything. And the only thing worse than having someone hear your plan, is having the person with nothing to lose hearing your plan.

George made a beeline for Cara and filled her in on the fact that they are all alone. With that, they desperately wandered around camp in search of an idol with Cara eventually finding one in a tree right as Emmett walked passed. George immediately pressed Cara to play another idol for him as it guarantees Emmett goes and while I understand it, I’m not sure I trust his maths on this one given the other plan was to do a split vote.

Speaking of Emmett, he was getting nervous about George and Cara catching up with Hayley and Wai, so pulled Hayley aside and laid everything out on the table. He shared that he wanted to go to the end with people he actually wanted to see win and as such, he was planning to go to the end with her, Flick, Dani and Andrew. Which told Hayley she was fifth place in his alliance. Which makes me start to trust George’s maths again.

At tribal council Hayley was thrilled to be immune, shocked by how emotional it made her. George doubled down on the fact that Emmett and Andrew are the alphas of the tribe, which made both of them scoff at him. Andrew said that Hayley was always winning the challenge today, though he and Emmett did admit to feeling a little bit nervous to be here without immunity. George said that Emmett was clearly speaking in code and that he thinks there are some snakes in the tribe, and that he is not sure he can trust anyone other than Cara.

Emmett calmly admitted that he has managed to make new friends since Gerald’s boot and that he wants to work with people that he would be happy to see win. But if they don’t want to work with him, so be it. Hayley spoke about how making new friends and alliances are part of the game and when one door closes, you need to find new options if you want to make it to the end. While George said that he had nothing more to say to the tribe, he doubled down on the fact he has always put his allies first and worked to further their games, often to the detriment of his own. 

With that the tribe voted – George loudly reading Emmett for filth for all the tribe to hear – and Cara held on to her idol, which it turns out was a good move given Hayley and Wai flipped to their side, sending zaddy Emmett from the game.

Despite being savaged by George on his way out the door, sweet Emmett took his boot in his stride and pulled me in for a massive hug when he spotted me in the Jury Villa. You see, before I was cancelled for my lies as a health influencer – no horrible cancer lies like Belle Gibson, I assure you – Emmett and I were the best of friends. Even doing the Rottnest Island swim together. You think the yellow swimmers got tired, you should have seen my white pair! Anyway, we’re dear friends and Emmett being upbeat and kind, stood by me. And as such, I was proud to stand by him with a Baked Emmetta Pughsta.

I know he is the self-proclaimed plant based superman, but he always makes an exception when it comes to the delightful viral feta pasta from Tik Tok (see kids, I’m hip!). While we were sceptical about the recipe at first, I admit that this spicy, salty delight is not only delicious. But so damn simple, you’ll be making it over and over again.

Enjoy!

Baked Emmetta Pughsta
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, bruised
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes
200g Greek feta cheese (aka hard feta)
500g rigatoni
small handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper and toss together the tomatoes, garlic and half the oil. Sprinkle it with some salt, a whack of pepper and the chilli flakes. Place the feta in the centre and pour over the remaining oil. Transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes and feta are almost done, cook the pasta as per packet instructions and reserve a cup or two of pasta water when it’s done.

To assemble, mash the feta, tomatoes and garlic with a fork or masher and mix until combined. Loosen with ½ a cup of the pasta water before tossing through the pasta. Add more water as needed until you’ve got a nice coating on the pasta. Adjust the seasoning, fold through the basil leaves and then serve.

Before devouring, obvi.


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Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta

Main, Pasta, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Given Art already had an episode of my love, I’m going to keep things brief.

Art truly is the future of drag.

On top of being funny, filthy and oh so fierce! She was an absolute joy to watch all season, providing hilarious commentary, giving us heartfelt moments and while she never took out a win, I’ve got a feeling that she will have a triumphant run on a future All Stars season.

You heard it here first!

And obviously I told her of this as I pulled her into my arms, cast aside the snag rolls and gave her a fresh bowl of more finalist friendly, Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta.

Salt, creamy and packing a kick, this very basic pasta tastes anything but! Plus, you can whip it up in sub-twenty minutes – genuinely, Jamie Oliver – which is very important to me as I age.

Enjoy!

Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g rigatoni
700g marinated artichoke hearts, drained
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. Heavily salt and add the pasta before cooking per packet instructions.

While the pasta is gettin’ al dente, place the artichoke, oil, lemon, chilli and half the parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz to form a smooth, velvety paste. 

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the cooked pasta with the puree and stir to combine, adding as much liquid as required to make it saucy. Fold through the remaining cheese and again, add more liquid as needed.

When at the desired consistency, serve immediately, top with more parmesan just because and then devour. Triumphantly.


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Tortelektra Shock

Main, Pasta, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the final six were tasked with making over six sexy gay rugby players, who upon completion, were well and truly feeling their oats. The delightful wacky Kita finally scored her first victory of the season after slaying the makeover and nailing the family resemblance. On the other end of the spectrum, Scarlet well and truly had a fall from grace and bombed, focusing more on her own look rather than the makeover. Sadly for Elektra, she wasn’t down for the count, however, as Maxi landed in the bottom with her and was tragically felled. Likely only because of her track record.

Backstage the queens proudly toasted their iconic sister, delighted by the fact her signature is made up of giant tits. Thankfully Elektra got to gloriously rip on Scarlet for doing the splits in her lip sync and let’s just say, Scarlet was not happy about having to pretend she wasn’t bothered by the comment. Before she could fully unleash her rage, everyone rallied around to congratulate Kita on her victory, with Karen rightly pointing out that she is really the one to beat at the moment. Talk turned to the need to win a challenge to win the show, with Art looking very attacked by the fact she is the only one left without a victory. But where there is a Velour, there is a way and Art isn’t bothered. Which is why she is an icon.

The next day Scarlet was a little bit more relaxed about being in the bottom last week, though was still annoyed enough to be shady about Art’s second chance. Which we all got over weeks ago, right? Like she wants everyone to get over some of her past performances. Kita shared that she journaled who she thought she’d make it to the end with at the start of the competition, admitting it was the rest of the queens. Except Elektra. Which once again fired Elektra up to remind everyone that she is just as talented as them. Her basic outfits be damned.

The potential drama was interrupted by Ru who joined them to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge, the dolls would be putting on a little talent show for the judges. Which should be the perfect way to showcase all the queens before the finale. Right? As the victor of the last challenge, Kita was able to choose the order in which they will perform and damn, please, be shady as hell. PLEASE.

Scarlet nervously tried to influence where she was placed, before Art suggested Kita sit on it before locking in her decision. With that, they split up to rehearse with Kita prepping a magic act as Art appeared to be doing a work out routine in the background. In the most demented way possible. Elektra was obviously going to dance – despite Karen reminding her she needs to remember to look good while doing it – while Scarlet was preparing a pole dance. Oh and then Elektra quietly pulled Kita aside, begging to be the last performer. Which is also where ameteur Demi Moore in Striptease wanted to go.

Kita pulled the girls aside to lock in the order, going with Karen, Art, Kita, Scarlet and then Elektra. And hot damn, did young Scarlet throw an epic tantrum about it! I mean, it almost rivalled Alaska’s in All Stars 2. Before she quickly pretended to be very unbothered by it as Kita really didn’t seem to care, so instead, she vowed to destroy everyone.

Ru arrived with the iconic Raven to chat with the queens. Elektra was up first, sharing that she plans to do a slowed down dance as Raven began flirting with her and to follow from last week, they should start an Only Fans. Elektra pointed out that she has x factor and can always work on the rest – like her outfits and make-up and well, that is very true. Kita shared that she would be doing quick change magic, with Ru admitting that she hates magic passionately, leaving Raven to give her the pep talk instead. Kita spoke about feeling guilty for winning the week before, with Raven wisely reminding her to get out of her head and to stop second guessing herself. Lest she messes up.

Scarlet got the slutty boots out to talk about her pole dancing routine, explaining how dangerous her inverted split will be. Oh and did she mention, she’d never done it before. And ugh, we know where this is heading, don’t we? Boo. Art outlined that she would be doing a serious commentary on the media, using the second most talented hole on the body – her mouth. Art asked Raven for advice about surviving life post drag race, with she and Ru reminding her to never venture into the comment section. Which is wise. Even for a mild celebrity like me! Oh and Karen will be doing some clown work and making balloon animals. Which, lol. Oh and Ru then shadily pointed out that Karen has started to flatline in the competition which hopefully fired her up to step out of her comfort zone and slay the judges.

After they left, Karen started to panic about delivering a sexy balloon artist instead and spiralled. Driving everyone mental, particularly Elektra who wanted Karen to listen to Ru’s advice because that is exactly why she herself has started to succeed in the competition.

Elimination Day arrived with the queens well and truly stressed out about the make or break challenge. Karen meanwhile had decided to change her act, but didn’t want to talk to anyone and instead focused on getting ready. Which obviously meant that Art continued to talk to her, which I think was her trying to help get her out of her head rather than being shady. Elektra spoke about how confident she was before we took a very hard pivot with Art, who opened up about getting death threats after performing drag Christmas carols on Chapel Street. And how her own cousin made death threats against her because they were jealous that Art was living the life that they wanted before they died by suicide. She then told her sisters that she is always there for them all and fuck, I don’t care if she has no wins, give her the damn crown.

At the talent show Ru, Michelle and Rhys were delighted by Karen’s sexy showgirl turn as she violated all the balloons on their way to making poodles. Well and truly leaving the judges wanting more. Art was bizarre and demented while shoving entire foods into her large mouth without chewing. And I absolutely lived. Kita came out ready to win, serving energy and fire as she slowly did stripper-reveal magic. Which is honestly something you can’t describe. Scarlet meanwhile did her pole dance to the theme of House of Drag, absolutely slaying the house down and thankfully not cracking her skull and bleeding out mid-performance. And then Elektra served a moody, contemporary dance routine and was great. But the vibe didn’t feel like it would be Drag Race enough for the judges.

On the How’s Your Head … Piece runway Karen was stunning as a giant pink poodle, Art was a garden fairy with butterflies flying around her head. Thankfully fake and moving, unlike Asia’s. Kita was a glorious robotic, sexy club kid with a wig of lights. Scarlet was a stunning, shimmering showgirl and Elektra was a Fosse dream, complete with a swing.

The judges lived for Karen’s runway, but felt her talent was good but way too short. The judges lived for Art’s glorious runway and her talent, despite not knowing what she was doing. Kita was praised for her energy, though was read for the bland outfits in her talent. Though they loved her runway. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did this week, while Elektra was read for not being drag enough in the talent show  – see?! – despite being more than ready to appear in Sia’s next video.

Wanting to make things shady, Ru asked the dolls who they each thought should go home tonight, with Karen saying Elektra should go because she has gone as far as she can go and her storyline is already so epic. Which Art, Kita and Scarlet all quickly agreed with, while Elektra suggested it should instead be Art. Given that Art hasn’t grown in the competition. And you know, since she has already been eliminated once.

As the girls Untucked, Elektra was annoyed that they all piled on her but knew that it was the easiest choice. Art meanwhile was unbothered that she was identified as the one to go by Elektra because she just doesn’t really give a shit. Thankfully The Veronica’s arrived to kiki with the girls before Elektra and Kita could delve into the drama. They shared with the girls that Scarlet will definitely win, and Elektra will be joined in the bottom by either Karen or Kita. Talk turned to who they all thought would win the contest, with Art suggesting Scarlet, Scarlet went with Karen, Karen with Kita and Kita with Elektra. Because if she doesn’t win, the judges clearly aren’t looking for talent. 

Obviously Scarlet won the challenge, while Elektra found herself in the bottom. Somehow Karen narrowly avoided the bottom with Art, leaving Kita to battle it out against her fellow kiwi. Which is totally rigor morris. But you know, whatever. As The Veronicas’ Untouched got started Elektra pretended to quit before the duo absolutely left everything on the floor and fought for their lives. Hard. Kita was demented and hilarious, Elektra felt every moment. Given their track records though, it was Kita who was ultimately saved as she sobbed while holding her sister in her arms.

Backstage Elektra was the same charming, thirsty star I first fell in love with on House of Drag before pursuing as a lover. While I was specifically looking to marry anyone from New Zealand so I could move there and have Jacinda as my PM, I genuinely well in love with zaddy Elektra. The passion was instant, but I was tragically deported for not being friendly enough to live in NZ and our relationship fizzled out. So it was so nice to once again hold her in my arms and share a loving Tortelektra Shock together.

Cheesy, pillowy parcels of pasta slathered in a spicy sauce of sundried tomato and mushrooms, this is such a simple – dare I say basic – dish, but it tastes so damn good. Just like Elektra … ‘s talent.

Enjoy!

Tortelektra Shock
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 pack gow gee wrappers or portion of pasta dough
300g fresh ricotta
1 egg, whisked
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil 
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup sundried tomato pesto
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup cream
small handful basil leaves, sliced

Method
If you’re not being lazy like me, start by prepping your pasta dough.

If going with gow gee, ignore them for the moment and instead focus on the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan and two garlic cloves in a bowl with a good whack of salt and a better whack of pepper. Stir until well combined.

To make the pasta, place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wrapper – or a 10cm square of pasta dough – and twist to form a tortellini. Repeat the process until it is all done.

While you get a large pot of water on to boil, heat a lug of olive oil in a medium frying pan and cook the mushrooms for five minutes or until browned and soft. Add the remaining garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring through the sundried tomato, chilli and cream. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and keep warm while you cook the pasta.

Once the pasta is floating in the top of the boiling water – because you put it in the water, which I’m only just reminding you to do now – scoop it out or drain and stir through the sauce with the basil.

Serve immediately with a good layer of parmesan and devour.


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Fried Davioli Genat

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 players returned to the game looking for revenge, redemption or both. Or in Shane and Jericho’s case, to prove they’re the Sandra Diaz-Twine of Australian Survivor. Sadly neither earned the title this go around as Shane and Jericho went out back-to-back, echoing the US All Stars. Once the former winners were out of the way, Daisy was the first to be brutally blindsided from the game with an epic play between David and Mat. She was then followed by Season 2(/4) icons Michelle and Henry.

After those tragic eliminations, Shonee kicked off an epic revenge arc, destroying all the people that thought she was weak, starting with Lydia followed by Abbey and my love John. After that arc finished, Mat fell followed by Phoebe, Flick and Nick, who narrowly missed becoming the first juror for a second time.

Once the tribes came together, David pretended to be on the outs with his swap tribe before blindsiding Locky and taking control post merge. While Harry was the next to go, the game took a heartbreaking turn as Lee was pulled due to a family emergency. His exit was followed by the most overly-complicated non-eliminations before Zach was officially (eventually) felled. Jacqui was then cut for turning on her allies, followed by the tragic exit of our Queen Shonee. A.K. was the next to exit before Brooke’s immunity run cost Tarzan his place before Queen Brooke was also cut. 

After winning the final immunity challenge, David eliminated his biggest competitor Moana, setting the stage for him to battle against former runner-up Sharn. While she improved on her previous performance in front of the jury, Sharn’s messier game wasn’t respected as everyone but her bestie Moana joined together to crown David the Sole Survivor.

Which given he managed to play one of the most dominant, American-series-esque games of Australian Survivor with a massive target on his back, it is what he deserves. David came in with his loss and Pia’s subsequent win fresh in his mind, with him clearly learning from her game to perfect his own. Not just a showy gamer this time, David worked on perfecting his social game which ultimately protected him and made the jury want to award him the prize. And me, some Fried Davioli Genat.

The only thing I love more than a Golden God nude scene is fried food, so these little morsels were the perfect way to honour his victory. Glorious cheesy pasta, coated in crumb and fried until the inside is gooey? Sign. Me. Up.

Enjoy!

Fried Davioli Genat
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
500g packet cheese ravioli
vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
1 cup Spicy TomaJones Sauce, to serve
½ cup freshly chopped parsley, to serve
¼ cup grated parmesan, to serve

Method
Place the buttermilk in a bowl and the breadcrumbs and pepper in another. Dip each ravioli in the buttermilk,  followed by the peppered crumb. Transfer to a lined plate and repeat the process until they’re all good to go.

Pour about 3cm deep worth of oil in a dutch oven oven medium heat until nice and hot. Working a few at a time, add the ravioli and cook for a couple of minutes each side, or until golden (god) and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until done.

Serve immediately with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce by its side, covered with a winning sprinkle of parsley and parmesan. Then devour, victoriously.


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Leemon & Porkarseldine Pasta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the remaining Vakama were sitting ducks after losing Locky at the merge tribal council. Like Shonee before him, David was once again all about revenge though this time, he was taking it back to his previous season and eliminating anyone that wronged him. And well, Harry was the last target remaining. Knowing this, Harry appealed to Lee and Zach to try and get them to flip to the Vakama side and take control. After suffering through last season’s final immunity challenge again, Harry was once again bested, this time by Brooke. At tribal council, he worked hard to appeal to the boys’ need to play a better game this time around, however they chose to stick with their alliance for the time being and sent Harry from the game.

The next day Shonee was feeling completely isolated as the last rascal standing, though was glad to still have two friends in Brooke and AK. But Shonee being Shonee, she didn’t rest on her laurels and got to work making new friends with all the oldies that she has nothing in common with. She and Jacs spoke about their Sunday morning routines before she stumbled upon the fact that she and Tarzan are both from Toowoomba. And just like that, our queen has another bestie.

Speaking of Tarzan, he was busy collecting water with Lee who was thrilled to once again be edging closer to the end of the game. We then saw a clip of him in the final two when his family came out before the votes were read and I know where this is going, so I freely admit to being sick with dread.

Before we got to the tragedy, Jonathan returned for the reward challenge which is honestly a horrible pivot. The tribe would be split into two groups and face off one at a time, slide down a slide into a mud pit, wrestle for a ball and then shoot said ball into a basket. It was for a BBQ, so everyone was obviously thrilled. But honestly, Shonee cried over a sandy, so I assume their standards have dropped a bit. David and Tarzan were the first to face off, with David scoring the first point for himself, Brooke, Sharn, Zach and Moana. Which honestly seems pretty unfair. Sharn extended the lead with a huge over-the-shoulder shot while Jacqui wrestled her. Lee closed the gap slightly with a victory over Zach before Brooke defeated Shonee and extended the lead again. Up next, David scored another point for his team before AK even realised what had happened. Oh and then Moana put her footballing career to use, destroying Jacqui and securing reward for herself, Sharn, Brooke, David and Zach.

At reward the victors were thrilled to discover a tonne of food and drink before Zach worked to steal my heart, stripping off at reward and flashing his butt as he scrubbed away with mud. They joyously smashed food and returned for seconds before discovering letters from home. Sharn got a sweet acrostic poem from her kids before Moana broke down over a letter from her sister Vinny who she is the full time carer for, who drew their entire family and a letter from her wife, who she married just before playing the game. Zach’s sweet streak continued as he sobbed over his letter from his fellow animal sanctuary lover. Brooke meanwhile was thrilled to get to learn a bit about her tribemates, hoping it may give her a chance to find an in. We then learnt that David wears a flower in his hair at challenges for his daughter and that he is playing the game so that he can afford to move back home to live closer to his sons. And hot damn, I am now crying and do not even mind if David walks his way to the end.

Back at camp Tarzan, Lee and AK were washing the mud off and cleaning their clothes, with Tarzan and Lee nuding up and washing each other’s back. The joyous portion of the game however was interrupted as Lee was summoned off camera by a producer where he learnt that his mother had suffered a massive stroke and was unlikely to survive. Tarzan found him in the jungle where Lee broke down in his arms as he told him what happened before announcing that he would be leaving the game. Tarzan and Jacqui took him back to camp where he told Shonee and AK what happened before the victors were brought back to camp to say goodbye. The tribe huddled around him, hugging each other and sobbing over his pain and honestly, this is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen on Survivor. Even more than Deitz’s son in Second Chances.

Tragically his mother Beth passed away by the time he had made it to the Fijian airport, so I’m going to drop any pretenses of catching up.

Lee came into his second season a changed man, sure he was still a loyal provider, but he was also ready to play the game this time and I was loving watching where it was going. Hopefully he gets another shot to show off his growth, but in the meantime, we should all whip up a Leemon & Porckarseldine Pasta in honour of him being an all around nice guy.

The whack of lemon punches through the saltiness of the pork, leaving you a smooth, creamy bowl of comfort. Plus the broccolini and a little bit of chili join the fun to make it even better.

Enjoy!

Leemon & Porkarseldine Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g Italian pork sausages
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chili flakes
2L chicken stock
500g penne
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, cut into thirds
300ml cream for cooking
1 lemon, zested and juiced
⅓ cup grated parmesan, plus more to serve
torn basil leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings to create a series of small meatballs. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or until browned. Add the leek to the pan and cook for a further few minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and chili and cook for a further minute to take the edge off.

Add the stock and bring to the boil before adding the stock, reducing to a simmer and cooking for about 15 minutes or until tender and the stock has reduced. Add the broccolini and cook for a few minutes or until the broccolini is cooked through. 

Reduce heat to low, tir in the cream, lemon zest and juice and the parmesan with a good whack of better and salt if you need. Cook until the sauce thickens up, about five minutes, before serving with some parmesan and basil.

Then devour.


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Breked McKenziti

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Pasta

After spending the start of Oscar Gold hang with current nominee Quentin Tarantino, icon Nat Port, the inspiration for this year’s name – Gold Basketball – Kobe Bryant and the stunning screenwriter Di, I thought I should celebrate some of my favourite Anzac victors. And there is no victorious Kiwi that I love more than Bret McKenzie.

I first met Bret on the set – am I Dr freaking Zeuss? – of The Lord of the Rings, and we quickly bonded over our passion, and talent, for songwriting.

While our partnership fell through and he found success with Jemaine Clement instead, after a few years of mediation and a brief stint in prison for me, we put aside our differences and once again became friends.

In no small part to my dear Amy Adams, who wanted us to be friends again.

After blowing straight across the ditch into his arms in Wellington, I quickly begged him to use whatever sway he has to convince Jacinda to adopt our entire country and call us West Zealand. While he responded with a wry chuckle, I held his head like Gordon Ramsey calling someone an idiot sandwich, looked him dead in the eye and begged him to save us.

He calmly walked me over to his couch, sat me down and talked me through the shame I was experiencing not having Jacinda as Prime Minister before gently reminding me that we have a job to do. And that job is to run the damn odds.

So run the damn odds we did!

For Sound Mixing and Editing we both agree that 1917 is most likely to take it, since they both seem to favour war movies. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford v Ferrari snatch one or both away from the teams.

For Original Score Hildur Guðnadóttir should pretty much clear a space for her little man because she is a lock for Joker. And lastly, in Bret’s former category, Elts and Bernie have it in the bag for Rocketman and I am so happy that I can actually be happy for him.

With that out of the way we caught each other up on our lives and spitballed ideas for the next Muppets reboot before sitting down to a big, warm Breked McKenziti.

 

 

Cheesy and gloopy, yet all together comforting and spicy. A baked ziti is one of the most glorious things. Add in some buffalo chicken, and you’ve got perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Breked McKenziti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g ziti, cooked to packet instructions
3 tbsp butter
500g chicken mince
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
250g cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
2 tbsp Michelle Branch Dressing
¼ cups chives, roughly chopped
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160° and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile place a dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the chicken mince and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes, breaking up the back of the wooden spoon as you go. Add the flour and cook for a further minute, still stirring, until it is a sticky, gloopy mess.

Remove from the heat and stir in the milk until the sauce comes together. Return to the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing and stir until coming together. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes, or until thick.

Add the chives, cooked ziti and cheddar. Stir and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and goopy.

Serve immediately and devour. Victoriously.

 

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Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1

With Ru and Michelle venturing across the pond for a UK version of Drag Race – no doubt to find out if anyone can lip sync better than Charlie Hides – they’re packing me up and taking me over to the mother country. And reuniting me with my dear friend Alan Carr, who has found his way onto the judging panel.

I’ve known Al for years, after meeting on the Chorlton-cum-Hardy comedy circuit. While I found the name of the suburb to be nothing more than false advertising – except for this one time down the frog and toad at the rub-a-dub-dub, getting a rub-a-tug-tug – I was grateful to find a kindred spirit in the form of Alan. High energy and a little too much, Alan and I became the fastest of friends despite being so similar.

When Ru and Mish were looking to transplant the series, they personally tasked me with finding the right people to join them on the judges panel – after I turned them down – I knew that Al would be absolutely perfect for the role.

He was thrilled to drop by and help me celebrate the imminent arrival of the Brits and agreed that this season is going to be fire. Particularly with an icon like Divina de Campo in the cast. But I’m saying too much, so instead get thee to a kitchen and whip yourself up some Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia.

 

 

This Jamie Oliver number is one of my favourite meals, despite Jamie’s blatant false advertising. I mean, when have you ever seen him naked? Thankfully this rich salty carb is packed full of so much sausage it makes me willing to forgive him.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
320g dried linguine, cooked to packet instructions
olive oil
4 Italian sausages
200g pancetta, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 egg yolks
100ml double cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated … plus extra to serve. Emphasis on extra.
1 lemon,  zested
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Get a pot of water on the boil and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and squeeze small meatballs worth of sausage filling into the pan, and cook for five minutes or so. Add the pancetta and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until crisp.

Whisk the egg yolk, double cream, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley together in a jug.

When you’re ready to bring everything together, drain the pasta, reserving a cup’s worth of the glorious cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the eggy mixture. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir until well combined. Add the meatballs and pancetta and give another good stir.

Serve immediately with a generous mound of parmesan on top. And devour.

 

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