Previously on Drag Race France the top three competed in an epic final challenge which involved learning languages, lip syncing, dancing and kiki-ing. In addition to stomping the runway in a gown, worthy of a crown. Aka the usual set-up. While Paloma struggled through rehearsal, she turned it out when taking the stage, embracing her charm and living her best life. Soa slayed literally any and all moment, while La Grande Dame was just so beautiful. And cool.
As has been the tradition of the season, La Grande Dame, Soa and Paloma were all fiercely talented icons. Though tragically, Nicky and Co. had to make a decision and while I already spoiled La Grande Dame as one of our runners-up, she shared the position with the owner of my heart Soa De Muse.
Despite a rocky start after her first win, there was no denying she was compelling as all hell and it was more of a situation of when rather than if she would bounce back. From giving killer, hilarious confessionals and being charming as all hell in the challenges and the Werk Room, she was well and truly the breakout star of the season.
And will make a very worthy winner of Drag Race France vs. The World.
As she exited the stage, I pulled her in for a massive hug and while I wanted to tell her she was the ultimate robbed goddess of the season, I couldn’t do it. Because France’s top three were all iconic talents in their own ways, which made it such a joy of a season to watch.
Instead, I reminded her that she is a star and while she didn’t leave with the crown, the season is only the beginning for her and I can’t wait for the globe to fall in love with her. Just like I have. Then I stopped myself short of calling her the second coming of Ru and simply served her a big, fat Soavlaki De Muse to show her my devotion.
You know I have a passion for sticking meat in my mouth, particularly if there is dough somehow involved. And this one is even more fun than usual. Packing a punch of garlic, you’re hit with a fresh kick of flavour that has you begging for more. Like us with Soa on our screens, you know?
Method Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, thyme, cumin, chilli and paprika with a good whack of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the meat and onions and stir until well coated. Cover and pop in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.
To make the kebabs, preheat the oven to 180C. Thread the lamb onto metal skewers, trying to avoid overpacking them. Arrange the onion on a lined baking sheet before laying the skewers on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until browned on the outside. Add the haloumi in for the last 10 minutes to crisp up on the outside.
To assemble, smear the pita bread with a little bit of tzatziki, followed by the chips, tomato, lettuce, meat and finally the haloumi. Wrap into a tight cylinder and then devour greedily.
Previously on Drag Race España the dolls starred in three commercials to entice people to Spain. And while all the duos leaned heavily into the sexy-Spanish stereotype, Sethlas and Marina were sadly just one, horny note. Sharonne and Estrella meanwhile gave light and shade, while Juriji and Venedita were delightful bimbos. After receiving their critiques, Supremme asked everyone to name who they think should go home, which opened a can of worms, which exploded backstage as Juriji fought for Sethlas and Marina. Sadly for them, they should have focused on the lip sync as the duo landed in the bottom with Marina narrowly saving herself and sending Sethlas home. In tears.
Backstage Marina was feeling her oats to have survived the lip sync, treating the moment as a warning to all of her remaining sisters. Estrella led the dolls in praising Sethlas for being suchan inspiring kind doll, but that wasn’t enough to cut through the tension between Juriji and Marina who well and truly hate each other and had zero problem showing it. Sharonne and Estrella instead tried to distract everyone by congratulating themselves on yet another win and well, it is Sharonne’s crown to lose at this point, right?
The next day things were less tense between Marina and Juriji as the latter opened up about why she was upset that people said she should go home, because despite positive feedback the vibe is that her sisters don’t like her drag or value her. Marina pointed out that that isn’t what they meant and while Juriji apologised for unintentionally fanning the flames, Estrella called her arrogant and well, that was a pivot I wasn’t expecting.
Supremme dropped by, tragically without the zaddy Pit Crew for a little puppet mini challenge. Because everybody loves puppets! Or sticking their hand inside a glory hole, I don’t know. One by one the dolls picked their puppets with Venedita dragging up puppet Marina, Sharonne got Estrella, Juriji got Venedita, Marina got nemesis Juriji, leaving Estrella to play Sharonne and ugh, I love it. After madly beating their puppet mugs, Venedita took to the stage and while she definitely had Marina’s voice down, the jokes kinda went nowhere despite calling out her farts. Juriji had Venedita’s look down and was cute before Sharonne arrived and finally had us laughing as she read puppet Estrella for absolute filth. Estrella somehow absolutely bombed as Sharonne, going from bad, so-bad-its-good to just bad again. Oh and then Marina was shady but not great at bringing the jokes.
Obviously Sharonne took out victory as the only funny person in the challenge and as such, she won the power to set the order in this week’s maxi challenge, the roast! And not just any roast, roasting their Season 1 sisters Dovima, Pupi, Sagittaria, Killer Queen and victor, Carmen Farala. Aka the OG top five.
The dolls took their seats to throw some cross-season shade before Sharonne paired the queen for a get to know you session. Sagittaria gave Venedita some shady things to pick on about her sisters, while Carmen advised Sharonne to go early in the set up to leave someone else to go first in case they bomb. Estrella meanwhile was thrilled to be getting so much advice from Pupi while Dovima and Marina just appeared to have a super zen vibe. Killer Queen meanwhile advised Juriji to contextualise the roast as a Christmas dinner and well, I am nervous for her.
Dia de élimination arrived with Sharonne finally setting the order, with Marina requesting first position – which is super brave – though ultimately, she was given last place instead. Wait, no, it was a joke – she is first! But damn, she was about to throw a tantrum if she wasn’t. Sharonne took out second, with Estrella going in third, Venedita asking for fourth, leaving Juriji to accept closing the show.
With that out of the way, the dolls split up to beat their mugs, with Juriji opening up to Venedita about how her grandfather used to make cabinets with the queen once owning one. That meanwhile was an introduction to her close bond with her grandmother and how she was like a second mother to her and well, it was heartbreaking to hear that her grandmother passed away from COVID within 24 hours and that Juriji was carrying so much guilt for not having one final dinner with her. The positive however, is that this loss finally gave her the confidence to accept herself as she came out as trans and started the confirmation process. And ugh, I love her so much.
Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by Anabel Alonso on the panel as the top five arrived to read their first season counterparts for filth. Marina opened the show and while she started out slow, she quickly found her rhythm and brutally read everyone for filth and had the judges in hysterics. As expected Sharonne was solid and charming as hell, though probably would have benefitted from going first herself. Estrella meanwhile was all energy and even when her jokes fell flat, her charm carried her through. Venedita meanwhile tried her best but struggled to keep the momentum going before Juriji was cute though felt a little flat for the end of the show.
On the Spanish Heroines runway, Juriji stole the show as a crotchet queen in honour of her grandmother and ugh, I love it. Marina meanwhile honoured the fight of trans women and looked perfect doing it before Estrella honoured the power of female journalists and well, work, I love it! Sharonne meanwhile was a bright and sunny housewife in honour of her mother and ugh, again, it was glorious. Venedita closed the show looking perfect as she paid homage to unsung female artists throughout history and TBH, the dolls all knew what needed to be done.
Juriji opened up to the judges about her grandmother, with them loving everything about the look she served this week. Complete with Ana in tears. While they thought she was funny in the roast, they did worry she was too calm and came across as flat. Marina meanwhile received universal praise for both her runway and surprising them with her confidence – and brutality – during the roast. Estrella was once again beloved, though they wished she had more light and shade in the roast as it erred on the side of one, loud note. Sharonne too received universal praise, though almost is a victim of her own success because they always expect her to be good so she can’t really surprise them anymore. Oh and then Venedita’s roast was read for filth, though they admitted her runway was perfect.
Backstage Venedita immediately got comfortable before admitting she knows she is lip syncing. Talk turned to how strong everyone’s runways were this week and how the judges loved them showing their heart. Despite having such a perfect look, Juriji knew that she too would be lip syncing with Venedita, which is something Estrella agreed with.
Ultimately Marina’s surprise performance was enough to pip the comedy queens at the post and take out victory, while Venedita and Juriji landed in the bottom as expected. And while Juriji felt all the emotion of Fuego, she was no match for the fire of Venedita who was focused on making it through. She gave full burlesque fantasy and perfectly bounced off Juriji who served a wig reveal that would make Roxxxy Andrews proud. Sadly though, said reveal and flipping around the stage wasn’t enough to save herself as Venedita live to see another day and Juriji was tragically eliminated.
Backstage Juriji had the same zen vibe that she has carried through the entire competition as I pulled her in for a massive hug. On top of praising her for a job, very well done, I reminding her that I was so proud of her for being 100% her. A little bit kooky, very camp and absolutely delightful, she went through the competition doing her and appeared to be having a lot of fun doing it. Rightfully earning her not a crown, but a Lamb Yiroji Der Klee.
Yiros are one of the most comforting food, maybe because they are literally aggressively flavoured meat, punchy sauces and chips. I mean, what more could you want.
Lamb Yiroji Der Klee Serves: 6.
Ingredients ½ cup olive oil 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp chilli flakes a handful of mint, roughly chopped 2 lemons, zested and juiced salt and pepper, to taste 1kg lamb, cut into large chunks 1 batch Pita Andre Bread 1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries 1 cup Greek yoghurt 2 tbsp tahini 2 tomatoes, diced 1 cup salad leaf
Method Combine the oil, 7 of the garlic cloves, chilli flakes, mint and half the lemon in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Add the lamb, toss to coat and covering. Pop in the fridge and leave to marinate for five-six hours, or ideally, overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking sheet. Oh and make the Pita Andre Bread as per his instructions and get the Jud Beerza Battered Fries on.
Thread the lamb onto pairs of skewers and position on the baking sheet, leaving the meat elevated. Pop the lamb in the oven and leave to bake for 20 minutes or so, or until starting to char on the outside. Remove from the oven, push it off the skewers and roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl so it can baste in any leaking juices.
Combine the yoghurt, tahini and remaining garlic and lemon in a bowl. Season to taste.
To serve, smear the sauce on the pita bread, top with lamb, fries and some tomato and lettuce. Then devour, greedily.
After tipping over the halfway point of my Grammy Gold celebration, Goldenade … and just getting back from visiting another deceased friend in the form of Tom – after Whits and the thankfully still alive Burt – I knew I needed to see someone that made me feel all shiny and new. And no one makes me feel like that, quite like my girl Madonna.
Yes ladies and gentleman – I am friends with the icon that is Madonna. Dare I say it, I am actually the person that made her who she is today. And that is not an overstatement in the slightest.
I first met Madge when she was a bit player in bands in the late ‘70s before inspiring her to drop her last name and head off on a solo career. Badda bing, badda boom, ‘83 rolled around and her debut album was released … thanks to me.
I then co-wrote all the songs on Like a Virgin, inspired her to parlay her music career into an acting one and most importantly, gave her the idea for – not to mention 90% of the poses – her hit book Sex. Fun fact: I have the only copy of outtakes which even I deemed too explicit for publication. But damn, Vanilla sure could ice me, baby …
Anyway, Madge was thrilled to drop by and celebrate the Grammys – on the proviso that her superfan and my fellow friend Michelle Visage came nowhere near her – and run the odds on this year’s pop performances.
She agreed – albeit begrudgingly – that Ed Sheeran will win Best Solo Pop Performance (because everyone loves white bread), Despacito will take out Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Seth MacFarlane will snag Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album over Bob Dylan and Ke$ha will snag her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Such exhausting and necessary work required something that packed enough energy, comfort and booze-sopping ability, so I quickly hauled-arse to the kitchen and whipped up a delightful Madonna Kebab.
Rich, spicy and fresh, there is nothing better than a kebab to fill your heart with joy. Or song even, I guess. Add in some fresh salad and a slather of natural yoghurt and I feel like life is no longer a mystery, as like a prayer, this kebab can take you there.
Madonna Kebab Serves: 4.
Ingredients olive oil 500g lamb mince 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp onion powder ½ tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp chilli flakes sea salt and pepper, to taste 8 Pita Andre Bread iceberg lettuce, finely shredded 1 red onion, thinly sliced 1 red capsicum, sliced Greek yoghurt, to taste
Method Preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine the mince in a large bowl with the garlic, spices, and salt and pepper, and scrunch together in your hands until smooth. Shape into 24 meatballs and place on a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Toast pitas, split in half – and those halves open – and fill with lettuce, onion and capsicum, top with a couple of meatballs, slather in Greek yoghurt before devouring, greedily.
While my boy Eug plays a wonderful straight man, Cath is the Queen and Ems plays the voice of the audience to absolute perfection, my boy Dan is the true heart and soul of Schitt’s Creek. Though maybe I am biased as he based the character on his oldest friend – me!
As you know – though may struggle to comprehend because of the multiple timelines inplace – I have been friends with his dad and the wider Levy family for decades. Dan, Sarah – who I tragically couldn’t fit in due to another celebration happening next week (you won’t want to wait, promise) – and I grew up together like three peas in a pod. On the assumption that three peas can fit in one pod, obvi.
It was difficult to stay in contact with my constant disappearance to rehab, other countries or being on the lam, but Dan – bless his cotton socks – always tracked me down and we enjoyed a wonderful friendship as pen pals when we couldn’t be together.
Was there an undeniable sexual chemistry? Sure. Did we act on it? Shockingly no … at least on my part. Is that because we look like we could pass as brothers with our stubble, thick brows and militant feyness? Potentially, though that is another drawcard …
That being said, I am glad we’re yet to complicate our relationship by going down that route as he truly is one of my dearest friends. He is sweet, smart as a whip, funny as hell and created one of the best sitcoms on TV. And that has nothing to do with me wanting a part on the series. Not even when I got him cast opposite my girl Teens.
Anyway, Dan was thrilled to be able to make the trip down under – not to my down under – and toast to another fantastic season. And that was before he saw me whipping out my version of the Nova Scotian classic, Halifax Danair Levy.
I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that fills me with more joy that seeing a big piece of meat slide into a warm, fresh bun, covered heartily with a tonne of special sauce … and filled with tomato, onion and lettuce. Where did you think I was going with that?
Anyway, enjoy sickos!
Halifax Danair Levy Serves: 6.
Ingredients 1kg beef mince 5 garlic cloves, minced, four for the meat, one for the sauce 1 tbsp oregano 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp cumin ½ tsp cayenne pepper salt and pepper, to taste 1 egg, whisked 370ml evaporated milk 2-3 tbsp raw caster sugar, to taste ¼ cup champagne vinegar 1 onion, diced, plunged in iced water and drained 2 tomatoes, diced 8 Pita Andre Breads
Method Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place the mince, four cloves of garlic, herbs, spices and egg in a large bowl, and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape like a large meatloaf, place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.
While your meat is doing its thang, combine the evaporated milk, remaining garlic and sugar in a small bowl. Gradual whisk in the vinegar until combined and just starting to thicken.
Slice the meat into thin – 3mm-ish – slices. Toast the pita on either side of a warmed skillet and fill with meat, donair sauce, onions and tomatoes … and then devour, messily.
With Halloween now a distant memory, I’m balls deep in preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which of course means I’m desperately trying to fit in as many catch-ups as possible. Thankfully, I was able to fit in some time with my dear friend, fellow Gold Coaster and ex-lover Peter Andre.
Pete and I have known each other since the late ‘80s, after I hitched my wagon to his after his appearance on New Faces. I enrolled myself at Benowa State High, became his dearest friend and set him up to become the pop star of the ‘90s that he was destined to be. We also fell into a passionate love affair.
Our relationship was so beautiful and pure – well as pure as it could be – that he wrote a love song for me.
The song? Mysterious Guy.
Our break-up when he succumbed to the record company’s pressure to change the gender of his protagonist? Swift, brutal … and as vitriolic as the vengeful rage of Taylor Swift. For years after I couldn’t go to Thailand – where the film clip was made and we planned to holiday after – or the Gold Coast, as they triggered the painful memory of my broken heart.
Cut to a few years later and Pete, desperate to return to my good graces – flew down under to see me on the Tweed and try and reconcile. While he got lost while we went hiking on Mount Warning, stumbled on the set of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and fell in love with Jordan, that few days we spent together before the show healed our wounds. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.
Pete has been super busy with his young family the last year or so, so it was such a treat for him to take the time to catch-up before we got too busy with festive celebrations. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, devoured a shit tonne of Pita Andre Bread.
Light, soft and oh so good, these are the perfect thing for when you’re done with eating buns and what a carb alternative. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff a good Peter?
Pita Andre Bread Serves: 8.
Ingredients 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water 7g dry yeast 1 ½ tsp muscovado sugar 450g flour 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper ⅔ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing if/as needed
Method Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and place in a warm spot for about ten minutes, or until foamy.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir with the dough hook until all the flour is wet. Turn the mixer on and knead on medium for about five minutes, or until smooth.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling and leave to prove for half an hour.
When it’s nice and puffy, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Punch back the dough and divide it into 12 balls. Roll them out into flat thin discs – a few millimetres max. Place a disc on the frying pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until puffed. Flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done.