Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top seven roasted Ross despite, in a lot of ways, life already doing a stellar job (I joke, I love friend-of-the-blog, Ross!). On the (echoy, billowing) (w)hole, Bosco was hilarious, Jorgeous was delightfully demented and bad, Daya was nervous and DeJa was a straight up mess. Ultimately Bosco won her third challenge of the season, while Ru gagged the dolls by having the bottom three lip sync before sending DeJa and Jorgeous home, giving Daya one final reprieve.

Backstage the dolls were gagged to have lost not one but two of their sisters, while everyone was quick to praise Daya for turning it out in the lip sync. She admitted that she was nervous about facing off against the duo given DeJa had already beaten her once before and Jorgeous had straight up sent half the cast home. After congratulating Bosco on yet another win, Angeria asked everyone to confirm their win numbers with Willow confident it is still anyone’s game despite her and Daya only having one win each. And while I agree it could still be her game, I’m not so sure about Daya.

The next day the top five were truly jubilant to have made it this far, with Angeria talking about their groundbreaking status as the first top five with two eliminated queens. Which is shady boots and I live! Before Daya could kill anyone, Ru arrived to task the girls with their final Maxi Challenge where they would be starring in the music video for Ru’s song Catwalk. Oh and to make things more difficult they will write and record their own verse, learn the choreo and design a catwalk gown to feature in the video. All after chit chatting over tic tacs with Ru and Michelle.

The girls were feeling very serious as they split up to start working on their runway outfits with Bosco assuring everyone her look will be more than corsets and panties. While her verse would mock that exact penchant. Angeria meanwhile would be rapping her verse instead of singing and uh, she is so damn cute. Willow however was struggling and threatened to scat her way through the verse – which would be an absolute serve – with Angie just desperate for both of them to make it to the end. While Bosco just wanted to keep up with her sickening sisters.

Speaking of Bosco, she was first to lunch with Ru and Michelle, talking about how proud she was of her run. Admitting that she was glad to stumble and almost go home as it helped reinvigorate her. She opened up about being shocked about how well she has done, while Michelle was shady as hell about her bra and panties love. Daya meanwhile was super confident about her place in the competition, while Ru joked that she was shocked she was still here. Until she came out in Daytona Wind. She opened up about her journey with diabetes, which delighted Ru and Michelle who lived for quoting Steel Magnolias. Angeria opened up about her love for her parents and her 8 drag kids, and again, she is adorable and I live for her. Willow Pill’s discussion was opened with a monologue about Ru’s love for her before Willow spoke about her illness and she was so open and uplifting that, well, I was crying. Oh and then Camden was sweet, kind and vulnerable and ugh, winner winner, FIVE chicken dinners!

Shoot day arrived with everyone delighted to see their outfits come to life, though Willow was concerned about Bosco designing a soccer-mum-does-space look. They quickly ventured to the set where Michelle assured them that the pace will be super fast and they need to step it up, which terrified Angeria since she struggled with choreography. As she got more and more in her head, Michelle tried to remind her that dancing is but one component of the challenge and to just trust herself and sell it. Oh and then they were immediately put to the test shooting the video with Angie oh so charming, while Bosco was fierce. Before she had to pick up her space kids, obviously. Willow was sleepy, Camden’s legs were burning and Daya was a damn star. And ugh, do I love to see that now?

Elimination Day arrived with all of the girls struggling to comprehend the fact that they are finally at the end of the competition. Feeling wistful, Angie asked everyone how they felt about her when they first met with both Daya and Willow admitting she was such a threat to them, though Willow pointed out that out of drag, she found her to be wild. Angie admitted that she found Willow to be shy but knew to be patient and now they’re in love. Bosco admitted to being impressed by Daya fighting from being a first out to still be here, while Camden joked about the fact everyone underestimated her until the Daytona Wind. And ugh, they’re such cuties, I love them (or have had too much wine, TBH).

It was family only as Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross took their places for the You’re a Winner, Baby runway where Bosco looked a million bucks giving a Marilyn, Madonna and Bosco hybrid. Despite it being a little too big. Angeria gave full glamour in a shimmering black gown and ugh, it do take nerve. Daya was a burnt out mess in yellow, Camden was perfect in a shimmering, silver ball gown and damn, she looked expensive. While Willow stole the damn show as a rat princess. And just crown her now. As far as the film clip went, Camden was an absolute star and slayed the game. Willow was charming and fierce, Angeria was delightful, Daya was ferocious and ate everything up while Bosco gave wit and glamour.

The judges lived for everything Bosco served this week, while they worried she was a bit nervous in the music video. The judges were thrilled by her track record, coming in as a burlesque queen though she only won comedy challenges and ugh, I love her. Angeria too received universal praise, particularly for being so damn consistent on the runway over the season. And despite the fact she struggled in the music video, they loved her. Daya received universal praise for all that she did this week with the judges thrilled to see her step out of Crystal’s shadow over the season. Camden was praised for going outside of her comfort zone in the final challenge, along with slaying the game. Oh and they felt she was a star from start to finish. Willow meanwhile was praised for absolutely destroying the competition and being a star, despite not giving face or hitting her own lyrics in the performance.

When it came to talking to six year old Bosco, she encouraged herself to just accept who she was and to be completely, unapologetically herself. And to shut out the haters. Baby Angeria was adorbs and she rightly praised the hell out of him for being a star, reminding him to say fuck you to the bullies and appraciate her parents. Baby Daya Betty was so damn cute, with big ol’ Betty encouraging her to stop worrying about everyone and everything and to just let go. Lady Camden told her younger self to hold on to her dreamer energy and cut out the hateful shit that people will say to her and not let dark moments take you over. Willow immediately started sobbing as she reminded her younger self to just focus on letting go and embracing what the world has to offer. And like Ru and Michelle, I was in damn tears.

Ultimately Daya Betty was sent through to the grand finale before Camden was gagged to take out her third win of the season. Bosco was then deemed safe leaving besties Angeria and Willow to battle for the final place in the finale. To Telephone by my dear friends Lady Gaga and Beyonce and damn, the dolls were equally desperate to make it to the end. They put on such a fucking show, working together, that it was only right that for the first time in Drag Race Herstory, both queens were going to the finale and the TOP FIVE would be competing for the crown.

And while I was glad to see it, I have quotas to meet and had hit my limit with the non-eliminations of the season. As the top five were celebrating their success backstage, I went backstage with a trusty clip board and looking like the confused lady in the prison show I figured out this thing called alphabetical order and requested Angeria come with me to celebrate her successes. I mean, since Daya already received culinary comfort and she scares me, I’m already not planning a new recipe for her, so what does it matter if our winner gets a recipe a little early?

Confused and a little nervous by our pre-elimination catch-up – I make the queens think I have a lot more power over the season than I do – I explained this all to Angeria before praising her on being such a consistent performer this season. I mean, over the course of the first five weeks Angeria could have won every single challenge and while the other queens have raised the bar to meet her in recent weeks, her few stumbles have never been major. I mean, I for one lived for her take on Tammie Brown, but that was because it was bad. As such, I whip her up a Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels to toast her success and wish her well for the finale.

While I love me some potatoes, Half Baked Harvest’s version of this soup with tortellini truly changed the game. So with a few minor tweaks and changes, I knew I had something worthy of honouring Angeria’s run. Warming, spicy and oh-so-smooth, this is the perfect soup for a race well run.

Enjoy!

Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 Italian sausages
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
8 cups chicken stock
½ cup Toni Basil Pesto
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
500g tortellini, I went with chicken but honestly, do whatever you prefer
¾ cup cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for eatin’

Method
Pop the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat and fry for about five minutes, or until starting to crisp. Remove the sausage skins and pop the meat into the pot alongside the onion and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a further five minutes or so, or until the meat is cooked through. Add the celery, carrot, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the stock, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer before stirring in the spinach and tortellini. Cook for about five minutes before stirring through the cream and parmesan and removing from the heat.

Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of extra parmesan. And devouring. Like a star.


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Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza

Main, Pizza, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with roasting themselves, the panel and their eliminated sisters for a decidedly heavenly roast. Kitty was her usual brand of funny and charming, however it was once again Ella that completely dominated. From dad jokes to her hilariously dragging anyone in sight, she well and truly earned her fourth victory on her way to the finale. At the other end of the pack, Vanity was read for playing it too safe with her jokes,  while Krystal landed in the bottom for her heavy reliance on age jokes. After the duo lip synced however, the assassin was felled as Krystal went through to the finale and Vanity sashayed away.

Backstage the dolls were jubilant to make it to the end, though quickly took pause to toast their fallen sister Vanity. Kitty joked that there is normally a dog in the top three, though was glad that this one only had a bunch of babes. Though did admit that if she can’t spot the ugly queen, maybe it was in fact her. Ella was still on cloud nine about her victory, talking about how great it was to see their sisters and hoping none of them were offended by being dragged. Which was obviously the point that they were all brought in, praising Ella for killing the hell out of the roast. Vanity was accepting of being eliminated, while Krystal agreed she deserved to be in the bottom alongside her, with Elektra shadily agreeing out loud rather than in her head. Choriza rounded out the visit by giving the final three a pep talk for the finale ahead while Kitty just wanted the meet and greet girls to exit so they could celebrate and get their heads in the game.

The next day the queens were feeling festive as fuck to be not only be in the finals but also because Ru popped up some Christmas trees. Ella quickly pointed out that she has the same amount of badges as the other two combined, while Kitty was just thrilled to have proof that her years of hard work are worth it. Ru interrupted their chat to drop by and announce that for this year’s finale, the dolls would be writing their own verse on her holiday hit, Hey Sis, It’s Christmas. And then, you know, perform it live on the mainstage, after a quick Q&A with her and Michelle.

They quickly split up to write their lyrics, with Kitty nervous about how to stand out while Ella wanted to write a bop. And Krystal simply wanted to do better than the Girl Group challenge. After spilling some sample lyrics, Kitty dropped by to catch up with Ru and Michelle, talking about her passion for Christmas and her level of comfort on the stage. She opened up about her time at musical theatre school and how she practised sewing before joining the competition and always tries to keep things positive. And how supportive her sweet family are.

Ella was up next, opening up about how gagged she is to have dominated the competition. Ru asked whether Ella was just a failed actor that came to drag – way harsh, Tai – with her opening up about doing it to re-energise her career and that she initially kept drag separate from the theatre crowd, so that she would be taken seriously in both worlds. She spoke about how she learnt to love herself, got all loved up and reiterated the fact she was so shocked to make it to the end. Krystal meanwhile had Ru and Michelle laughing from the start, joking and giving off a very relaxed vibe. She mocked her name, spoke about her inspirations and how proud her family are. Talk turned to her virginity with Krystal admitting that she would prefer to be doing up a wig than doing a man. Or well, going on a date. Oh and she was fired up for the win.

The dolls then joined Jay Revell to learn the choreography for their final performance with Kitty overwhelmed by how damn hot he is. Which in a word, is relatable. Krystal was up first, wanting to throw in a lot of tricks and flicks to sell herself. Kitty meanwhile was fun and full of pointing, while Ella was the perfect combination of the two – sexy but also pointy. After they were all chill and calm about their verses, Jay told them their group moments are hard as hell and well, poor Krystal arrived at struggle street. As the musical theatre queens quickly picked up the choreo, poor Krystal lagged behind while Kitty knew it was all a ruse as she will definitely slay it, because that is what Krystal does.

Coronation Day finally arrived with Krystal asking them about first impressions, with Ella admitting she was gagged, not about how stunning Krystal’s looks were, but more importantly, that she was also super kind. Kitty meanwhile was nervous upon seeing Ella, praising her for being as handsome as Gaston in drag. While both the dolls were thrilled to have met Kitty and her infectious energy. Kitty then opened up about how great it was to meet Baby Spice, while Ella’s highlight was winning Snatch Game. Which Kitty admitted she was gagged about, given she thought she would win or it would at least be a double. Krystal meanwhile was proud about how she constantly surprised herself.

And then Ella and Kitty did a spot on Veronica Green impersonation. Which means nothing really, but was important to me.

Ru, Michelle, Graham and Alan lined up on the panel for the debut performance of Hey Sis, It’s Christmas! and frankly, Ella’s verse was absolute fire and she sold the hell out of it to boot. Kitty was demented and delightful, as per usual, while Krystal came out all guns blazing. The rest of the queens then joined the performance and things got wild and well, ugh, I just love the dolls.

On the Final Three Eleganza Extravaganza Runway, Ella was a vision in a stunning purple gown, complete with a big old wig to make Michelle happy. She was sparkly, confident and ready to complete it with a crown. Kitty straight up looked like a Southern belle who became a princess, feeling her oats and looking a frosted delight. Krystal meanwhile was perfection in a black velvet mermaid gown, standing out in all the right ways.

Ella received universal praise for her verse, opening herself up and nailing the hell out of the challenge. The judges loved her look, though Graham did question the choice of shoe. Though they all agreed that she dominated the competition and was the one that they could all rely on. Kitty was praised for her magnetism and her demented lyrics in the song before the judges shared how much they loved her look. Alan then likened her to a labrador, with everyone loving her energy from the start and then they learnt she is talented to boot. The judges loved how Krystal challenged herself in the final number, thrilled to see her polish her skills and emerge as an even brighter star. Oh and they lived for her dark and moody final runway.

Ella was first to talk to young Nicholas, reminding him that he is beautiful and perfect and begged him to embrace who he is and silencing all the names and slurs that are thrown his way. Kitty wanted young Lewis to remember how lucky he is and to never take anything for granted. She then suggested he stay happy and kind and most importantly, to wear supportive underwear. Krystal told young Luke – well, younger – to embrace all the love he has around him and to be kind and patient while waiting for people to come around. Oh and to ease up on fillers as a teenager.

Ella shared that she should be the next UK Drag Superstar, admitting that she has all the talent and has thrown everything out there to get the win. Finishing simply by reminding them that she is the best, and they should pick her. Kitty felt that she should win because she is the embodiment of UK drag, with a little camp and a big pair of knockers. Krystal meanwhile wanted to inspire the next generation of drag to try hard and let kids know they can do whatever it is they want.

Backstage the dolls caught up with their eliminated sisters with Elektra thrilled they all got a chance to perform together one last time. Choriza was proud of everyone, while Victoria was shady about Ella finally stepping out of the chorus. Ella meanwhile was proud to dominate, though Kitty suggested it won’t matter in the end. Anubis meanwhile looked stunning as she praised them for a great season, while River joked that the double elimination was the best lip sync. Oh and we learnt that Elektra wasn’t allowed to jump off the stage when she did, while Scarlett joked about not wanting to talk about her walk off.

After the eliminated queens walked the runway, the top three were tasked with lip syncing for the crown to Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Own Me. Everyone played to their strengths from the start, Kitty was charming as hell and giving all the comedy, Ella was moody and leant into her acting chops while Krystal threw everything at the wall. It was stunning, it was emotional and most importantly, they were stupid and fired up. Tragically though, there can only be one winner and that was young Krystal.

While she was busy getting her crown fitted, I pulled Kitty to the side to toast her killer run and infectious personality. As Kitty said, she truly is the embodiment of UK drag, camp, bawdy and so damn fun, which to me, well and truly earns a victorious Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza!

I know, I know – zucchini isn’t the most exciting vegetable (or is it a fruit?) option in the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place. Like say, this one! Thin strips of juicy goodness work perfectly with the salty haloumi to create a perfect new pizza combination.

Enjoy!

Haloumi and Zuckitty Scott-Clauzza
Serves: 1 iconic queen and her equally iconic bestie.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup Toni Basil Pesto
400g haloumi, sliced
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthways
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
cheddar and mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear the bases with pesto. Layer with haloumi and zucchini, followed by a dotting of garlic and the cherry tomatoes, then a generous helping of the cheeses.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour, careful not to burn yourself on the molten hot cheese.


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Libbean Vincek Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the three tribes became one and the war between Dom and Chris reignited. While the Naviti women wanted to stick Naviti strong and take out the more threatening Libby first, they couldn’t put an end to the pissing match to sway the numbers. Instead Dom threatened to play his fake idol, denied having an actual idol then played Sierra Dawn-Thomas’ legacy advantage – despite not getting any votes – as poor, bad rapping Chris found himself booted to become the King of the Jury.

Back at camp the tribe processed the first merge tribal, with Libby confused about why people keep targeting her and how she should work to change their perceptions of her. Or find an advantage, obvi. Meanwhile Dom was feeling relieved, thankful to no longer have Chris on his back and able to distract people from his threat status. Maybe.

The next day Wendell continued to be a God, quickly pulling together an island kitchen  – off topic, could you imagine he, Brad and Monica on a season together, him building a killer home, them decorating with found objects? It would be iconic, make it happen – while confirming with us that he is still firmly aligned with Laurel, Dom and Donathan, though wasn’t sure how things will play out with Chris around. He checked in with Laurel to make sure them were feeling ok and to reassure her, confirming Dom has an idol and hoping to win back her trust … before locking in a top four deal. To solidify that, he shared that he too had an idol which seems to have had the opposite effect, with her no longer sure she can trust him and debating whether she should pounce.

My boy Probst arrived on the scene for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split into teams of six, and then run across a floating bridge to the shore before shooting bags at tiles. It was for a Survivor Taco bar, but let’s ignore the fact that Jeff got creative with his pronunciation like Matty Chisholm, ok? Team Angela, Laurel, Wendell, Chelsea, Libby and Donathan got out to a quick lead and damn he looks good in his jocks. While Domenick evened things up, Laurel extended their lead while Sebastian, Donathan, Angela and Chelsea struggling to connect. The orange team evened things up before Libby had a turn and Wendell and his cakes heading back in to snatch the lead. Laurel went out for another turn, followed by Wendell before Laurel just missed the target, leaving Wendell to snatch victory for the purple team.

Before heading off for tacos, they opted not to select someone to attend Ghost Island, with the Survivor Gods instead channeling the white rock to send Jenna. She arrived hopeful for an opportunity to play for an advantage before quickly being disappointed to discover she was one of the unlucky visitors. While she was feeling dejected, her fellow outside Libby was feeling herself at the taco bar. They loaded up their plates, grabbed some fresh margs and toasted to their success. Wendell was thankful to find himself on reward with Laurel and Donathan, wanting to reconfirm their bond. Libby quickly asked them when she was targeted at the last tribal, with Angela and Chelsea assuring her it was simply an easy option and they wanted to break up her and Michael.

The next day Angela and Michael, who is young enough to be her son, joined together to float the idea about breaking up actual power couple Wendell and Dom. Angela was feeling her freedom from Chris and his inability to follow anyone else’s idea, she then took Michael’s concerns to Kellyn and Chelsea before stirring things up with Wendell, Dom and Des. While I love Michael, come through queen Angela and welcome to the game!

The tribe reconvened by the beach to discover an ominous table – yas yas yas, it is the gross food challenge! The first round required three people to scoff down two fish eyes, with Michael, Des and Laurel progressing and Libby, Donathan and Jenna eliminated from the competition. Probst lined up the rest of the castaways for their eyes, with Angela, Sebastian and Domenick moving on and Wendell, Kellyn and Chelsea eliminated. The next course saw the remaining castaways downing three live grubs, with Sebastian, Michael and Angela dominating the rest. For their third course, they had to down two massive sea slugs with Angela shoving them down her throat like a damn boss while Michael’s slow and steady approached kept him alive. The final round saw Michael and Angela downing some mother of pearl with Angela completely dominant with poor Michael struggling with each bite, ultimately securing herself immunity and showing the most personality she has all season.

Back at camp the tribe congratulated Angela on slaying dem slugs before quickly getting to work scrambling for the tribal ahead. Laurel and Donathan got to work finding an in with Des, Chelsea and Kellyn to figure out what they’re planning to do and try and come up with a counter plan. They took the plan to target Michael back to Michael and Jenna, with Michael wanting Malolo to stick together while Naviti splits the votes allowing them to take out the bigger threat of Wendell. Laurel and Donathan got together to weigh up their options, with Donathan feeling it is time to take out Wendell to even up the numbers a bit though scared it would make him a target. Dom then told Libby she was safe tonight before being contradicted by Donathan who fleshed out that the plan involved splitting the votes between her and Michael. Kellyn then joined Wendell and Domenick, with Kellyn lamenting she can’t get a read on Laurel and Donathan which made her feel insecure.

At tribal council Chris scrubbed up extremely well before Probst praised Angela for stepping things up and coming out of her shell, with Sebastian congratulating her ability to swallow a sea slug whole. While it was impressive, who can’t? Anyway Des said that big moves where critical to everyone’s game allowing Probst to remind them of the new round-table final tribal format, with Dom and Wendell praising it for favouring the big players. Once again, Michael got to work blowing things up at tribal reminding everyone that they can’t rely on safe – which Milk obvi agrees with. Laurel wants the Naviti tribe to use her while they have a chance, the Navitis acknowledge sticking together required some cult-level convincing. Again, Kellyn continued to harp on about Naviti strong while Michael continued to push to be used, to which I say, yas gawd.

The votes rolled in and Michael’s fear got the best of him, opting to play Ozzy’s fucking stick – not this one (NSFW, obvi) – which glowed the fuck up and saved him from the boot, negating the seven votes against him. Instead poor Libby found herself off to the jury, while Michael congratulated Wendell on a move well played to lowkey paint a bigger target on his back rather than his own.

Poor Libs was feeling quite down to be out of the game so soon, but was thankful to be one of the few Malolos to make the jury and therefore still a viable option in the love stakes. After perking her back up, I managed to get her to cloud nine as soon as she saw I was packing a piping hot Libbean Vincek Soup.

 

 

Packed full of hearty bean goodness, fresh creamy pesto and the warmth of a soothing, carby broth. How could you stay sad?

Enjoy!

 

 

Libbean Vincek Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery, thinly sliced
1 potato, finely diced
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
2L chicken stock
400g canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g crushed tomatoes
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup orzo
bunch of baby spinach
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and potato for a couple of minutes. Stir through pesto for a minute before adding the stock, beans, tomatoes and parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and add the orzo, and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Once the orzo is cooked through, stir through the spinach and parmesan and serve, devouring immediately … covering in extra parm-parm. Though obvi being careful because soup is hot as balls.

 

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Tessalad O’Halloran

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Salad, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Luke scored big at the auction and somehow won me over in the process. Tessa scored big getting an overnight reward, taking Luke and Michelle with her and forming the champagne alliance, not to be confused with the champagne celebrant. Tessa then won immunity and set-up the biggest blindside of the season, with the various factions aligning to take out the biggest threat in the game, fauxgi, Henry.

Asatoa returned to camp where Tara was shocked to once again find herself on the wrong side of the numbers, though wasn’t disappointed by the outcome given Henry was a huge threat. Locky was also sad, though not surprised, repeatedly sharing that he spent Henry’s last minute in the game begging him to play his idol.

The next day Luke was feeling extremely confident to have regained control, despite the fact that Michelle, Tessa and Sarah are the clear brains of the alliance. Luke continued to be overconfident and my brief period of fandom once again came to an end. As she has once again lost her numbers, Tara joined Ziggy and Michelle for a turn around the jungle where Ziggy pushed herself as the ultimate swing vote. Back at camp, Luke continued to be overconfident and reminded us that he invented the spy shack, which was somehow employed by Tony Vlachos in his winning season on Survivor. Despite the fact he is overselling his involvement in a spy shack, he did catch Ziggy and Tessa plotting to get out Jericho by the well so it is worth it. As much as I want Jericho to leave.

A shark then came to the bay leading to Locky wandering out to a sandbar to try and equal Luke’s kill count. Abruptly the tribe then joined together to talk about who has received votes at tribal councils, where Queen Michelle spoke about being in control though not being considered a threat. She then talked smack about Sarah who then tried to form a women’s alliance with Ziggy, minus Tara and I think plus Pete, leading to Michelle distancing herself from her closest ally to avoid getting caught in any potential webs.

My boy JoJo returned for the next immunity challenge, which is one of my faves, requiring everyone to balance an idol on the top of a long, hard – albeit not very girthy – pole. Remember, this is the one leading to Joengel fainting in Second Chance and Keith “ma fuckin’” Nale taking out immunity. The wind was positively cyclonic, though somehow everyone survived the first three rounds before Jericho, Tara and Locky dropped out within seconds of each other, followed by Michelle, Tessa and Sarah. Not long after ticking over into the fourth round Pete faltered in his pole-work, leaving Luke and Ziggy to battle it out for immunity. Thankfully our Olympian outlasted my renewed nemesis and took out her second individual immunity.

Tara was feeling extremely nervous arriving back at camp, identifying that Tessa and Pete are the two that they need to pull in to blindside Sarah. Tessa quickly agreed with the plan, which Locky was buying but Tara was not really trusting her. Tessa and the champagne alliance then reconvened to confirm their plans to split the votes between Locky and Tara, ignoring the fact that that leaves three people to force a three-way tie.

Michelle and Tessa were feeling extremely confident in their plans, which obviously lead to Luke and Jericho plotting to get rid of Tessa due to the spy shack intel. The boys then approached Sarah and Luke became mildly likeable again, explaining that getting rid of Tessa was the best option meaning Sarah and Locky – my obvious faves – should both be safe for tonight. Sarah though wasn’t so sure about flipping on Tessa, meaning there were a sum total of 300 different plans as they headed off to tribal.

At tribal Tara acknowledged that every time she thinks the vote is easy, she ends up being blindsided. Sarah, Michelle and Locky added that everyone is playing extremely hard and that has resulted in alliances changing every hour. Ziggy added that that sort of gameplay is what is changing up the targets as the latest person to make the move is quickly becoming the newest target. While Luke and Tara, Pete and Tessa, and Sarah and Michelle all said that there are still people they trust left in the game, Sarah pointed out that she never specified for how many votes which is kind of makes me worried. Particularly when Jericho said he was planning to assassinate a threat and I can’t remember, for the life of me, who he thinks is a threat.

The votes then rolled in two a piece for Locky, Tara, Sarah and Tessa, before Dr Tessa was tragically felled and sent to the jury. While I feel sorry for (almost) everyone that gets voted out, Tessa did only manage to make it this far thanks to old Tarzan’s idol so I wasn’t as sympathetic as I could have been. Plus, she was far more compelling when she was an underdog, so I didn’t want to lift her up too much, you know? Despite this, I whipped her up a Tessalad O’Halloran which, truth be told, is the ultimate pick me up anyway.

 

 

The sweetly caramelised sweet potato, with the punch of the onion, garlic and pesto work perfectly with the beautiful orbs of cous cous and fresh spinach. Did I mention that Tessa is a doctor and I knew she’d want a responsible first meal back in reality? Well she did … and she got lockylucky that this was also delicious.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tessalad O’Halloran
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
olive oil
250g Israeli cous cous
¼ cup Toni Basil Pesto
2 cups baby spinach

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the sweet potato, onion and garlic on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and caramelised.

While that is on, cook the cous cous as per packet instructions.

When they are both done, transfer to a bowl and toss through the Toni Basil Pesto and baby spinach before serving and devouring, in an aggressive manner like the salad flipped on you.

 

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Pasta alla Jenovese Garth

Donna Martin graduates, Main, Pasta

I know you’re never meant to have favourite children, but Kelly Taylor / Jennie Garth is mine. Oh, FYI I am the Mrs Garrett of the 90210-ers.

I mean sure, Torz grew up with a wrapping room, Luke is hot, Jace is dreamy, Ian was a stripper, BAG bagged himself Megan Fox, Gabrielle Cataractis was 100 and you should respect your elders and Shannen Doherty would kick the shit out of me for saying it, but Jennie was always the one I related to the best.

I first connected with her in the late 80s when we both auditioned for Saved by the Bell. While I nailed (the chemistry test with) Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jen and I were bonded after being robbed by Tiffy T for the role of Kelly Kapowski.

Seeing the bright talent she was, I contacted Azzy and asked him to create a better Kelly on his then in development show 90210. Again, you’re welcome. For those keeping score this is two from two stars I recruited to the show. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I was very skilled at being Azzy’s right hand … but again, I’ve digressed and I don’t want to make things smutty.

Jen and I were as thick as thieves on set – some say she felt like she owed me, others that I threatened her into joining my squad like a 90s T-Swiz – and she always had my back when Annelie and I were feuding / throwing acid at each other.

It has been a busy few years for Jen and I, so we haven’t been able to catch-up as often as we like. Can you believe I haven’t seen her since her wedding last year … where I was Maid of Honour?

We spent the catch-up chatting and giggling like school girls and completely forgot that we were meant to be sharing the graduation of Donna Martin to trigger Annelie’s memory. Maybe she is never meant to get it back? I don’t know. All I know is that my Pasta alla Jenovese Garth makes everything feel ok.

 

pasta-alla-jenovese-garth-1

 

This meal is the perfect balance of fresh and hearty … and fits in with the strange dietary requirements of a toddler – EVERYTHING MUST BE THE ONE COLOUR. Or maybe that is just my nieces and nephews? I’ve been too successful with my Diva coaching, shantay you stay in my heart kids.

I’ve digressed.

The lemon and basil work together to make the veggies sing. And then add cheese? You know I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

pasta-alla-jenovese-garth-2

 

Pasta alla Jenovese Garth
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ – ⅓ cup Toni Basil Pesto (you can replace parmesan for pecorino)
200g cream delight potatoes
500g tagliatelle
1 big handful fine green beans, topped, tailed and halved
100g pecorino cheese, grated
basil leaves

Method
Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

Thinly slice the potatoes in half and then into very thin half-moons – as Jackie Taylor, I assume, would tell you, thin is in.

Add some salt to the boiling water and add the pasta, cooking as per packing instructions.

When there is about three minutes left, add the beans and potatoes and cook until the pasta is al dente and the veggies are cooked … but still have a bit of bite. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Return the pasta and veggies to the pan, off the heat, and stir through the pesto. If the pasta is too claggy, stir through some of the cooking water to loosen the sauce. Season to taste, serve and top with pecorino and any extra basil leaves.

You can also trade out the beans with halved brussels sprouts and add a whack of dried chilli if you want. It tastes pretty amazing, FYI.

 

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LasEnya

Baking, Main, Pasta

It has been a rough decade not having Enya in my life. Kind of like being on the trains, in the winter rains … but emotionally, not literally. You know?

Picture it, Middle Earth 2001. I had just gotten Enya the job writing a song for the first Lord of My Ring (that’s what I thought it was called when I, helped, Peter Jackson to secure her job).

I was working my way through the Elfen extras to try and claim the Holy Grail of Orlando, watering my bloom. Long story short, I mistook Ens for an elf, she was upset I stopped when I realised it was her and was distraught that once again, I missed Orlando. Mud was slinged, words were said and I had my name removed from the co-writing credit and was robbed of another Oscar nomination.

Angry and hurt, I toured the most reputable and rational Hollywood publications PerezHilton and TMZ spewing vitriol and campaigning heavily against her winning the Oscar. It worked and sadly cost me our friendship.

Until she called.

You see, like me, Ens had tried to stay up-to-date on how the other was doing and lament the state of our friendship. Seeing my current success (and likely sensing the future plaudits and film adaptation she could score), Ens reached out to bury the hatchet and thankfully she was serious when she assured me it wouldn’t be in my back.

Ens is such an absolute doll and it breaks my heart that we fought so viciously for such a long time. She dropped over at the top of the morning yesterday and despite some initial awkwardness as we apologised and each took the sole blame for our issues while secretly blaming the other for all of them, it was like nothing had changed for the relationship we had in the 70s while I mentored her to success.

We gabbed and gabbed for hours, discussing our mutual disgust for Bono and our hope to collaborate on the melancholic, Opera adaptation of my future hit musical Little Whorephan Andy. Thankfully I had a huge batch of my LasEnya as we were worn out from all the planning!

 

lasenya-1

 

Lasagne is the ultimate comfort food – gooey cheese, rich sauce and a whack of herbs, it is life affirming, truly – and thankfully it is almost cold enough in Brisbane for me to pretend it is weather appropriate.

I mean, pasta? Amazing. Cheese? Even more amazing. Add in some pesto and hot damn you have a holy trinity of ingredients that instantly ends all feuds AND is a lovely shade of green for some cultural celebration.

Enjoy!

 

lasenya-2

 

LasEnya
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
handful button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
700g bottle tomato passata
2 cups beef stock
250g dried instant lasagne sheets
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella
250g tub smooth ricotta
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Toni Basil pesto
fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, onion, zucchini, carrot, celery and garlic until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mince and break up with the back of a wooden spoon, as it browns. Stir in the stock, passata and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes and starting to thicken.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Spread 1 ½ cups of the mince mixture over the base of a deep 22x30cm baking dish. Top with ¼ of the lasagne sheets. Top with ⅓ of the remaining meat mixture and ⅓ mozzarella. Repeat layers twice more aka the remaining ⅔ of each, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets.

Whisk the ricotta, cream, eggs and pesto together in a bowl, season and pour mixture over the lasagne.

Now this is important and I would normally completely ignore this step, but don’t be like me, be a winner; cover the baking dish with tented foil. Tented? You want the foil to cover the dish, but not come into direct contact with it and leave you with a deliciously crisped piece of foil cheese and a mutilated lasagne … but anyway.

Bake for 40 minutes. Un-tent and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Stand for 10 minutes and then serve. Again, don’t be a Ben – allow it to stand. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

 

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Peih-Gee Lawsagne

Main, Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance

Poor sweet, scrappy Peih-Gee – just when she felt safe, our dear friend Abi-Maria (we met after getting kicked out of the same anger management course) flipped the game and orchestrated her blindside.

Let this be a warning to all of the remaining players, do not cross the Brazilian beauty … she will boot you!

We first met our (other) dear friend Peih-Gee while working as back-up dancers during Madonna’s performance at the 1998 MTV Music Awards (where I once again displayed twerking to the masses before Miley did). A fast bond was formed upon discovering that she was heiress to a jewellery dynasty, hoping she would go full Patty Hearst and help us rob the family business following a period of brainwashing.

While that didn’t happen, on account of her superior morals and strong will, she was kind enough to keep us blinged out with her superior jewellery designs.

Going into Second Chance, we felt that Peeg (as her closest friends call her) was well placed to succeed being a lone representative from a middle season however sadly our little firecracker Abi took an immediate dislike to our pocket rocket and she was doomed to join our other (loser) friends on the pre-jury vacay while we hung out in Ponderosa with their more successful peers.

While she was bummed to go out early, she was more than ready to leave the desolate Angkor beach and devour a hearty slice of our famed and noted Peih-Gee Lawsagne.

 

Peih-Gee Lawsagne_1

 

We first made her the Lawsagne while squatting at her San Franciscan home whilst Annelie was trying to destroy George Lucas for taking away her first love Mark Hamill and I was developing my Castro based, soon to be green-lit Andy Dick Broadway musical Little Whorphan Andy (Harvey Fierstein, give me a call).

Peeg had just returned from her crushing defeat in China (could you imagine how great a Peih-Gee / Courtney finals would have been?) to discover that we had sold most of her possessions and trashed her house – the only thing we could do to apologise, was feed her our delicious, delicious comfort food.

Enjoy!

 

Peih-Gee Lawsagne_2

 

Peih-Gee Lawsagne
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
1 cup Toni Basil pesto
1 cup green peas
400g ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup mozzarella
2 cups passata
1/2 cup cream
8-12 fresh lasagne sheets

Method
Heat a large saute pan and cook chicken mince until browned all over. Add cup of peas, cup of pesto and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until peas are cooked.

While the chicken is cooking, mix together ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, mix passata and cream.

Preheat oven to 180C. In a rectangular baking dish, spread 1/3 of passata mixture. Lay out lasagne sheets and top with a thin layer of ricotta mixture and chicken, and roll up from the short end. Place on top of passata mixture. Continue until all filling and lasagne sheets are used.

Top roll-ups with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 35 minutes, or until lasagne noodles are soft enough to eat.

 

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Risottis Redding

Main

I am so thankful that we successfully mastered time travel! Aside from the obvious information we get like the winning lotto numbers and who to bet on at the track on a boozy Wednesday afternoon, it is such a joy to be able to go back and reconnect with our friends that have passed … or to correct condiment catastrophes.

We first met dear Otis Redding while we were children singing in the Vineville Baptist Church choir. Otis is the first person to ever put us on the right path; Annelie and I joined the choir to get close enough to loot the collections after each service but young Otis caught us and instead of sending us to juvie, befriended us and tried to help us lead an honest life up until his untimely death (which inspired us to write the hit and then shit TV series LOST).

During our too-brief friendship, we were able to enjoy a highly successful writing partnership culminating in the hit some (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay … which you know are not the lyrics I was suggesting while we were on a romantic working holiday in Sausalito.

Remembering the time fondly and wanting to stop Otis from getting on the plane, Annelie and I set the time machine to 1967, aka the beautiful time that we wrote the song. Obviously while there, we were also hoping to secure some Bay Area property to avoid being priced out by the tech boom, but it was mainly to see Ot.

Always the gentleman, it was such a thrill to see Otis again! Despite some annoying Hermione-with-the-time-turner logistical issues to start, we were able to talk down our past selves (by paying them off with future money to ultimately buy property. Yep, genius bribe idea) and spend some much need relaxation time with Ots.

He casually strummed his guitar (for once, this is not a euphemism) and put the finishing touches on his beautiful song while we got to work making his favourite meal Risottis Redding (with Annelie and I wishing the other wasn’t there ruining the romantic mood, and in her case, forcing me to cook in clothing).

 

Risottis Redding_1

 

Like our dearly departed friend, risotto is a homely, delicate dish with so many notes depending on how you make it. Risottis is a very simple version of the Italian classic, with a light mix of herbs and cheese creating a sweet base for the robust and salty prosciutto, topped with some leftover pork meatballs and pesto to give an added kick.

Enjoy!

 

Risottis Redding_2

 

Risottis Redding
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g prosciutto
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
½ batch Christopher Porken Meatballs
Toni Basil Pesto, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and prosciutto, stirring, until soft. About 5 minutes.

Pour the rice into the pan and cook, again stirring, for a further three minutes before adding the white wine and salt. Continue to stir until all of the wine has been absorbed. Add a cup of chicken stock and continue to stir vigorously as it absorbs. When it is almost all gone, add another cup and repeat the process until all of the stock is gone.

Reduce heat to low and stir in the butter, parmesan, pepper and rosemary. Season to taste.

Generously ladle into bowls and serve with freshly cooked meatballs and pesto.

 

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