David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits
Serves: 6.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

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

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

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

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

Repeat until done, then devour.


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Custard George Mladanish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

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

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


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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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Laura Bakewells Tart

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Baking, Dessert, Pie, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani, Wai, Flick, Laura and Gerald scored a massive KFC reward which honestly would have made my damn life. High on fried chicken and tipsy from the beers, Dani quickly suggested they pull together an alliance to get rid of Emmett. Which is convenient, given he lost his first individual immunity challenge. However sadly for Dani, Flick and Gerald were more loyal to Emmett, so instead the Brawn trio decided to let the Emmett vote happen and instead idol Dani out of the game. Sadly for them, George had all the information and decided it was wiser to bring the Brains back together. And as such, they sent sweet, unsuspecting Gerald from the game.

Things had calmed down the next morning with Laura doing some marine inspired dance moves while George was duck walking around camp, hoping not to pop a ball. All while poor Emmett looked on, still smarting about George finally proving Hayley right and officially turning on the Brawn tribe. While he was saltily chatting to Dani in the shelter, he worked up the courage to suggest that maybe they should call a truce and figure a way out of their combined current situation. Sadly for him, Dani really wasn’t interested. And that was before George even told her that the Brains only flipped because they wanted to save her.

Flick meanwhile was frustrated at not only George, but also herself for deviating from Brawn strong and casting a vote against Dani. With that, she caught up with her and apologised for turning on her before sharing with us that she struggles with lying in the game and doing things that in the outside world would be considered bad. We then learnt more about her family, with Flick sharing with Wai, George and Hayley that her mother is living in a care home as she is suffering from early onset dementia. She broke down as she spoke about coming on the show to draw attention to the horrific disease and ugh, don’t make me cry on a Monday night, Flick!

We did an extreme pivot and checked in with Hayley who shared that while she voted with George and the Brains to prove her trust, she also knows that George likes to play a big game and while she appreciates it, playing against it makes things difficult for her to navigate.

Another thing making it difficult for her is the fact that George is the one that found yet another clue that everyone seemingly walked past that morning, directing him to go to the well. There, he promptly found a key to a hidden immunity idol locked under the voting urn at tribal council. And better yet, said idol could be played anonymously, meaning he doesn’t have to out a relationship, should he want to play it for someone else.

Like Cara for instance, despite everyone knowing how close they are.

As Hayley and Emmett fished in the billabong, Dani shared how grateful she is that everyone is in such a zen headspace. The tribe then realised that Flick had gone missing and while Dani worried about what it could mean, they eventually learnt that her mother had tragically passed away and again, I was not emotionally prepared for this episode. Poor Flick held back tears as she spoke so eloquently through her grief, talking about her beautiful, courageous mum. Thankfully the tribe rallied around her and raised her up as she announced that after speaking to her family, they encouraged her to stay in the game and damn, I need her to win for her mum now.

Taking an even more extreme pivot than earlier, the tribe met Jonathan by a hill where he sweetly paid his respects to Flick and gave her a genuinely warm hug before turning his attention to the immunity. Said challenge involved the castaways racing up a hill to grab four sets of puzzle pieces, one bundle at a time, before solving a puzzle. Oh and to make things even more interesting, only the last four to finish would be eligible to be voted out at tribal council that night. 

Meaning a twist is coming, right?

While Andrew and Emmett got out to an early lead, Wai and Cara languished at the back. Given they just kept running up and down, it was kinda hard to keep track however it was very obvious that Andrew and Emmett quickly started to lap poor Wai. Laura and Dani had also essentially given up, encouraging each other on the walk to just think about how to work it back at camp. Cara meanwhile was one upping them, just straight up begging everyone that passed her not to vote her out later that night.

Andrew was obviously the first back with all his pieces, though was quickly joined by Emmett and Hayley. While the trio cooled down with the puzzle, Cara started walking with George and suggested they should all push to vote out Wai, given everyone thinks she is going to win anyway. Meanwhile at the start of the pack, Andrew took out the first immunity, followed by Hayley and Emmett at practically the same time. Flick arrived and quickly secured the fourth immunity, while George, Laura and Dani battled it out of the final slot. Which eventually was taken out by George as sweet Wai encouraged herself to keep pushing for her last stack.

Back at camp Andrew was excited to be immune, but disappointed that two of the people in the bottom are his allies. But instead of worrying, he focused on locking in the vote for Cara and while Laura and Wai quickly go on board, me thinks George’s idol is going to ruin that plan. A nervous Dani caught up with Andrew, with her grateful to find out that the target is not on her back. Feeling confident that everyone was happy to get rid of Cara, Andrew announced it to the rest of the tribe to vote for her too and seemingly decided to call it a day.

Which did not sit well with Emmett. Sadly for him, he doesn’t have any power in the tribe. But someone who does? Her closest ally George. While George assured Laura and Hayley that he is happy to vote however the rest of the OG Brains want to – and eventually agreed to vote out Cara – he then obviously ran straight to Cara and while he wanted to assure her that she would be fine, he knew that he couldn’t risk people finding out about the idol. Instead, he just tried to get her target off Wai and instead encouraged her to vote Laura and idol her out of the game with a single vote.

At tribal council Andrew said that he would be voting for someone that has plenty of relationships. Cara spoke about everyone deserving to be here rather than identifying a target and trying to sway people to her side. Wai spoke about the fact that there is always hope in the game, with Cara admitting that she will still try and shift the target despite seemingly giving up. And just not knowing who that would be. Hayley spoke about needing to continue to build trust while Cara hoped that sticking Brawn strong, wouldn’t be her undoing. And poor Emmett, he was just trying to find new allies given his alliance was blown up the night before. 

By George. And Cara. And Dani. And the Brains too, I guess.

George gave a monologue about how strong his relationship with Cara is, praising her for sacrificing herself for him previously. Laura meanwhile was just hoping her luck avoiding eliminations wouldn’t run out – is there going to be another twist? – while Dani just tried to make jokes about her lack of running ability, smartly downplaying her other physical strengths. George meanwhile was not being very stealth, whispering to Hayley whether the vote had changed and when she asked him whether he was going to do something to save her, he sadly said that there is absolutely nothing he could do.

With that the tribe voted and what do you know, there is something George could do as he unlocked his hidden idol and secretly played it for Cara. Denying it yet again to Hayley as the votes were read, negating all but one of the votes, with Cara singlehandedly sending Laura from the game. Just as George planned. Again.

I did my best gay gasp when I saw Laura walk into the Jury Villa, shocked that once again George Gabon-ed the shit out of the season  – come on, he is boy Sugar – and sent the finally well positioned Laura home instead. I pulled her in for a hug and once again assured her that being booted in a memorable way is always better than a bland one, before catching up. You see, we’ve known each other for years after meeting while studying Marine Science. While I quit almost instantly upon discovery it wouldn’t make me Lori Petty in Free Willy, we became the firmest of friends. And I knew the only thing that could sweeten up her boot was a fresh Laura Bakewells Tart.

For some reason I spent my childhood assuming that bakewell tarts were disgusting but once I actually found out what was in one, I was hooked. I mean with the combo of frangipane, jam and glace cherries, how could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Laura Bakewells Tart
Serves: 6 people or two dear friends.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus 1 tbsp for the frangipane and more for dusting
250g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs
120g butter, softened
120g raw caster sugar
115g almond meal
½-1 cup cherry jam
12 glacé cherries

Method
Sieve flour and 50g of icing sugar into a large bowl. Using hands, work the unsalted butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add an egg and work together until it forms a ball. If the dough seems too wet, add more flour until it is at the desired consistency. Don’t overwork the flour otherwise it won’t be short, as the name shortcrust demands.

Pat the dough-ball into a disc, wrap in cling-wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Dust a surface and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 5mm thick. Cut the dough into 12 10cm discs and press into a greased mini-tart tin (or a muffin pan, in a pinch)

Prick each tart base with a fork, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the shells from the oven, line with pastry weights and blind bake for ten minutes before removing the weights and cooking for a further ten. Or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While they cool, beat the regular butter and caster sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mix in the remaining egg, followed by the tablespoon of flour and mix until just combined.

Spoon a tsp of cherry jam into the base of each shell, smoothing as best you can to cover the bottom. Now dollop a tablespoon of frangipane and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is golden and springy. Set aside to cool completely in the pan.

To make the icing, mix the remaining icing sugar with the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the top of each tart before pressing a glacé cherry on top. Leave to set for half an hour before devouring, sumptuously.


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Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Cara joined the Brawn tribe after a fake tribal council, much to the delight of Brawn and the absolute shock of the Brains. And delight of George, obviously. Particularly after the Brains won their first reward of the season. At the immunity challenge Jonathan hid an idol in the challenge and while George was first to break away from the pack, it was Hayley that snatched it. Though it was on the way to another Brains loss, so technically, it was a case of you win some, you lose some. Joey was fine with the situation, ready for an easy George boot. Sadly for him, Queen Hayley said not today and rallied the bottom feeders to take control of the tribe and instead blindsided Joey in the process.

We first checked in with the Brains where Laura and Georgia were trying to sleep by the fire, uneasy to have been blindsided and now find themselves on the bottom. Hayley meanwhile was feeling her oats, glad to have taken control and ready to crush some more dreams. While George joked about missing Joey, Georgia reminded them how much Joey meant to the tribe. And by the tribe, to her and the alliance. But bless George, he doesn’t care about being sensitive to their feelings. Instead, he requested to carry the flag into the next challenge to surprise the Brawns that he once again magically survived.

Rachel and Laura meanwhile went for a walk to the well, with George quietly following behind them to eavesdrop. While he didn’t hear much of their plans, he did see Laura find a hidden immunity idol. And while she was feeling great about it. The fact that he knows, has got to be a concern for her and Rachel.

Jonathan made an early return to the show as both tribes met by a river bank, with the Brawn tribe as gagged to see George as he hoped. While Dani struggled to understand why they would get rid of the strongest person on the tribe, Flick was grateful to be on such a great tribe like the Brawns. And you know what that means, because it is time for the tribes to swap. After they all dropped their buffs and grabbed new ones, the New Brawn was made up of Flick, Dani, Shannon, Chelsea and Simon with Andrew, Baden, Hayley, Wai joining from the Brains, while George, Rachel, Georgia and Laura remained on New Brains with a returning Cara, Emmett, Daini, Gerald and Kez.

Both tribes were dismissed to get acquainted with each other back at their camps, with Wai delighted to find herself on the Brawn tribe despite her lack of brute strength. But boy, did she quickly charm the hell out of her new tribemates! Andrew and Baden meanwhile were in their element, bonding with Simon while doing manual labour. Speaking of Simon, he pulled all the former Brawns aside and encouraged them to put their differences aside to take control of the new tribe. Sadly for him, Shannon didn’t sound convinced. Until he mentioned the fact he found an idol. Emphasis on an idol. Not two.

Meanwhile Cara was heartbroken to land back on the Brains tribe, though was grateful to have Daini, Kez and former friend George back in the fold. She quickly filled George in on things and how much nicer the Brawns are, assuring him that they have the numbers and he doesn’t need to worry anymore. That being said, she told him that he does need to scale back the smacktalk otherwise he won’t get much further in the game as people don’t like it. With that, she took him to meet Emmett, Daini and Gerald and they quickly welcomed him into the fold. Though mainly because Emmett would rather have a loose cannon on his side rather than against him.

Oh and then George spilled about Laura having the idol and damn, Laura, you in danger girl.
Jonathan returned the next day for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where in pairs, they would carry six balls over obstacles and to a pontoon, where the remaining tribe members had to run around a maze to solve a ball puzzle. Both tribes were neck and neck, until Andrew fell in the water on a balance beam and gave the Brains a decent lead. However Wai struggled in the water, slowing them down until Flick pulled a Chappies and literally swam Wai through the entire challenge, then sweetly coached her through all the outstanding obstacles as Chelsea and Shannon cheered her on. That gave Brawn the lead as George struggled on the balance beam. Brawn continued to pull away, landing their first ball in the puzzle while Rachel now desperately tried, and failed, to make it across the beam. Make that first through fourth, before Brawn quickly landed the last and snatched victory just as the Brains got started.

More importantly, how nice are the Brawn Queens?!

Back at camp Emmett tried to keep things positive, though when you have the automatic majority, it is easy to have that feeling. As they all went to pow-wow, Laura, Georgia and Rachel tried to figure out a way out of their predicament. That being said, since George and the Brawns were planning to split the vote on Laura and Rachel there isn’t much hope for them. More specifically, Rachel, my Queen.

That being said, Rach and Laura decided to try something and thought targeting Daini would be their best shot. With that, they approached George with Georgia in the hope that he would join them for one tribal only to take out a Brawn before washing his hands off them for good. Not feeling it, George left the Brains and rejoined his Brawny friends as they tried to decide who they would be voting for in the vote split and damn, do Laura and co. actually have a shot at this tribal council? Because George really confused everyone while identifying names. I mean, I can’t even tell where their votes are meant to go and I have the luxury of a pause button and notes.

At tribal council Emmett was thrilled to be back in Jonathan’s presence, while Daini was nervous to see how Brains get things done at tribal council. Just like that, Queen Rachel fired up and called all the Brawns out for being so vocal about being Brawn strong and said they may as well just admit that she is the target and the former Brains are sitting ducks. Daini meanwhile argued that Rachel, Laura and Georgia should all be concerned, with Jonathan wondering why George was exempt. With Daini and Emmett admitting that they like him, so he’s safe.

As Daini’s confidence grew further into the cocky realm, Georgia and Laura grew more enraged and served some killer eye rolls. Georgia was annoyed that they were all left with no game to play, while Rachel tried desperately to fight for their lives. Cara welcomed them to her world, given she and George were left out on the original Brains tribe and well, this is what it feels like to be on the outs. Daini and Emmett were laughing about the fireworks at tribal while the Brains girls all quietly whispered about whether they should stick to the plan, ultimately doubling down on Daini given the vibe he was giving off during tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and while Laura boldly played her idol on Rachel, three votes landed on Rachel before the real fireworks happened. You see, when the first vote came in for Georgia, Cara got a very nervous look on her face, verbalising how confused she was. And while Daini assured her to calm down, the second vote for Georgia confirmed her fear that she screwed up as the next one came in for Laura. That meant that when the next three votes from the former Brains girls came in for Daini, they booted him out of the game thanks to her blunder.

That being said, by the time a shocked Daini arrived at Loser Lodge things were not as spicy as he advertises, given he is one of the most upbeat, gentle and fun loving people to appear on the show. Instead of being angry, he pulled me in for a big ol’ hug and rubbed his hands with glee, knowing he was about to smash a freshly baked Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke.

Full disclosure, this is 100% Nigella’s majesty but when it tastes as good as Daini looks, I didn’t want to mess with perfection too much. Rich, earthy and fudgy, this little loaf cake is a pure delight.

Enjoy!

Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large ripe bananas, mashed|
¼ cup vegetable oil
60g tahini|
1 large egg
50g raw caster sugar
30g muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g buckwheat flour
25g cocoa
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
100g dark chocolate chips
2 tsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a loaf tin.

Place the mashed bananas in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the tahini on medium before slowly adding the oil, egg, sugars and vanilla, beat well after each addition.

Meanwhile combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl. Remove the wet ingredients from the mixture and fold the dry ingredients through them until combined. Then fold through the choc chips.

Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin before sprinkling with the sesame seeds and baking in the oven for 50 minutes, or until risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and storing. Or devouring, because it is GOOD.


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Mikaron Laws

Baking, Dessert, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa, Chappies and Paul decided to align with Santoni due to the fact that she was the weakest person on their tribe and as such, was the most likely to be sent to Immunity Island and score some loot. Meanwhile at Zamba, Shaun was trying to win back people’s hearts in the hopes of finding some allies. After Vuna lost the immunity challenge, Santoni was sent to Immunity Island and boy did she score loot, winning a clue to an idol hidden at tribal council and finding another clue directing her where to find the idol at BOTH camps. Back at Vuna, Mike was looking like a lock to be voted out but thanks to some handy work from Anesu and Carla, they saved him and booted Pinty from the game.

Back at camp Carla was thrilled to have successfully pulled off a blindside, while Anesu was sad that she had to get rid of her friend to keep the tribe in harmony. As Paul and Chappies were on the outs, searching for the cause of the blindside and identified Mike as the crafty master manipulator. But since he wasn’t, all it did was piss off Carla who was the actual manipulator, given it is sexist to just assume it was a male.

The next day Paul and Chappies were still angry about the blindside, though Mike was hopeful that they’ll quickly be able to get rid of Chappies and therefore don’t have to worry about it. Speaking of Chappies, he caught up with Santoni who quickly spilled the beans on one of her idol clues to build trust, but wisely kept the other deets to herself. Like the icon she is. With that, they started searching for their tribe’s idol, three steps in all directions from the well but apparently came up short. Or long. The one thing I know is that they didn’t find a damn thing!

Over at Zamba Thoriso was telling the other girls that she needs them to prove trust to her, annoying Nicole, given Thoriso is the one on the outs and as such, needs to prove herself to them. While I hate to see icons argue, their awkward banter led to them suggesting they could form a girl band. And I live for the suggestion.

My love Nico arrived for this week’s reward challenge, but before it could happen, he gagged them with three simple words – drop your buffs! Shocked and confused, the castaways all grabbed new buffs out of an urn, with new Vuna made up of Anesu, Tyson and Kiran with Renier, Nicole, Thoriso, Dino, Qieän and Marisha. While Chappies, Shaun, Santoni, Wardah, Carla, Amy, Anela, Paul and Mike formed Zamba.

With that, they were tasked with facing off against each other, one at a time, to grab a sandbag and drag it into their zone of a ring, with the winner of each round scoring an item for their tribe. First up were Nicole and Carla for a hammock, with Santoni filling Paul in about the idol to relay a message to the other tribe while watching the challenge. Oh and Nicole won the hammock for Vuna. Paul then faced off against Tyson for chairs and while they battled, Paul filled Tyson in about said idol which Dino spotted just before Tyson lost the chairs for the tribe. Round three was for blankets, with Chappies quickly snagging victory, despite a cut hand. the Tarp was a hard fought battle between Wardah and Marisha and damn, as Marisha dragged them both to her zone. The fifth round was a sponsored high protein pack AND a tribe advantage for the next immunity challenge, with Dino battling Anela. They hugged, they grappled, but ultimately it was Anela’s round, as he quickly took out the win for Zamba.

New Zamba returned to camp, with the former Vuna members shocked to discover how nice their new digs are. Shaun took them to find the well, while Anela quickly looted the reward for any clues, and upon finding nothing, opted to snatch a few extra protein bars for himself. Without even getting caught. At Vuna, Dino introduced the OG trio to his fellow former Zamba tribe members. Tyson meanwhile was feeling nervous by the huge numbers disadvantage, but thankfully he snatched the idol in record time. Sadly for him though, the tribe noticed he was gone and Renier quickly deduced that the chat at the challenge was about an idol clue. He returned to camp, then went for a walk on the beach with Anesu who assured him that the idol was well hidden by his bulge. And just like that, the minority trio have a little bit of hope.

Back at Zamba, Mike started to work on Chappies and Paul to make sure that they wouldn’t flip to the OG Zamba trio and completely blow up his game. Carla meanwhile was not feeling keeping them on side and as such, Mike wasn’t sure how to keep the numbers if she didn’t want to stay Vuna strong.

The next day Amy pulled Chappies aside and told him that Mike was telling them to target him or Paul, quickly building an alliance between the trio, Paul and Chappies. Oh and Santoni, who was thrilled that Amy was keen to join them as she was going to go wherever the numbers are, but was glad the numbers stayed with her friends.

At the immunity challenge, the tribes raced out into the water, climbing over obstacles to collect five rings. And then toss the rings onto a post in the water. Oh and because Zamba won an advantage, they only had to collect four of their five rings. Shaun and Renier were neck and neck grabbing the first rings, as were the second, third and fourth duos, giving Zamba a handy lead when it came to tossing. Sadly for them, Chappies and Anela struggled big time and didn’t score their first point until Vuna had their fifth back. Both tribes continued to be neck and neck until Kiran got his eye in, taking the lead and quickly securing immunity for his tribe.

New Vuna opted to send Amy to Immunity Island, where she quickly accepted the challenge to solve a square puzzle in a very short timeframe. Just as quickly as she accepted the challenge, she lost it and with it, the chance to loot three items from the other camp was gone and instead, she lumped her tribe with being looted of three items.

Back at Zamba, Mike quickly got to work on Santoni and Wardah to support him in getting Chappies and Paul to stick Vuna strong, despite their tensions. Santoni immediately got to work, though sadly for them she fought for herself – icon – taking the information to the boys and Shaun, telling them she trusts neither Carla nor Mike. She left and Mike joined them, asking Chappies and Paul to come join old Vuna to talk things through, with Mike making a very compelling case to Chappies and Paul that they need numbers after the merge and can’t let this stage stuff things up for them. Chappies and Paul agreed to stick with them and threw out Anela as the best target, but given they then headed to tribal, it really can’t be that simple, right?

At tribal council Anela admitted to feeling nervous to be in the minority but reminded them that they all should all be treating this as a fresh start, Paul preached Vuna strong while Carla played things a little more coy, saying that she was hoping that things were mended. Which immediately made Shaun pose the question to his new tribemates, whether they should just start fresh with new allies. Wardah spoke about the fact that you really can’t be sure you can trust someone after only 24 hours, though Anela rightly pointed out that clearing the air today was a reactive move and as such, how genuine can it be? This annoyed Carla, who admitted that there was a clear rift and as such, she continued to work on mending things because it clearly hadn’t worked the day before.

Mike grew nervous and jumped in, asking Chappies if he was sticking Vuna strong which he agreed that he would be sticking to the plan, like a young Keith Nale. To round things out, Amy admitted to being disappointed not to have a vote, Chappies spoke about voting with the majority while Paul was  focusing on strength and building trust. With that, the tribe voted and it turns out Chappies and Paul weren’t actually Vuna strong as they joined with the OG Zamba peeps and Santoni to send Mike from the game.

Poor Mike never really found him footing in the game, despite landing in the majority at the previous tribal council. And sadly for him, that was enough to keep the target on him this week despite a killer argument to Chappies about why they should stick together.

I’ve known Mike for years, working together at Woolworths which I assume, is why he mentioned needing to be a salesman to get deals over the line.When I saw him enter Loser Lodge, I was sad for my friend but glad that I was the one to cheer him up and remind him that luck plays a huge part of the game. And when it doesn’t go your way, that is when you need Mikaron Laws. 

There is nothing better than a freshly cooked macaron, particularly after a crushing blindside. Melt in your mouth cookie, rich velvety ganache. What more could you want?!

Enjoy!

Mikaron Laws
Serves: 2 salesmen about town.

Ingredients
135g icing sugar
135g almond meal
20g Dutch cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
130g raw caster sugar
95g egg whites
60ml double cream
70g 70% dark chocolate
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Combine the icing sugar, almond meal and cocoa in a food processor and blitz to form a fine powder without needing to sieve. Transfer to a bowl.

Combine the water and caster sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium heat to make a syrup. Bring to the boil and once rollicking, start whisking 45g of egg whites in a stand mixture on medium speed. When the syrup hits 118°C, turn the mixer up to high and slowly pour the syrup into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whisk until you have a thick, glossy mixture that has started to level out in the bowl, rather than form peaks.

Meanwhile combine the remaining egg with the dry ingredients, folding until well combined. Remove the meringue from the mixer and fold half of it through the almond mixture to loosen. Once combined, lightly fold through the rest.

Transfer to a piping bag and using a 10mm round nozzle, pipe the mixture into small 5cm-ish circles, leaving space for growth. Once the mixture is fully piped, tap the trays on the bench and level the tops of the macarons before transferring to the oven to back for 15 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven to cool completely.

While they are chilling, combine the cream, chocolate and vanilla in the top of a double boiler and cook until melted and combined. Remove from the heat, whisk in the salt and leave to cool.

Once everyone has cooled down, spread the filling on the base of half the biscuits before using the others to complete your macarons. Then and only then, may you devour. 


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Carrot From Finance Cake

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

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

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Blacaforenast Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

While it feels like a nearly weekly occurrence since the start of the pandemic, the establishing shots of a new Werk Room fill me with so much joy. Particularly when they’re as bright and fun as our newest iteration to join the franchise, Drag Race España. 

Side note, remember when there was such a time as off season? Gagged.

But anyway, on to what you’re waiting for! We first met Arantxa Castilla La Mancha in full technicolour delight and given she is a passionate fan of Hannah Montana, I live for literally everything she stands for. Particularly since she has such a fun and stupid energy. She was joined by Sagittaria who looked like Else and Aquaria’s baby, though I’m fairly certain that is the point. Next up was Hugáceo Crujiente who looked like a work of bloody art – complete with frame – and I live for everything about her weird artsy vibes. Carmen Farala arrived serving muscle Joslyn Fox with a Jersey tan and Teresa Guidice’s wig and I hate how flooded my basement got. 

Oh and please note, her name is Farala not Farala – just to get the pronunciation correct. 

Pupi Poisson yodelled her way into the Werk Room and my heart and already, I know she is an icon. As well as Arantxa’s auntie and the most charming, shady queen in the bunch. Killer Queen was up next serving superhero realness and is a literal doctor, so I’m ready to get married because she is stunning. But then I’d need to keep Dovima Nurmi as a side piece as he is hot and in drag, a sexy vamp. Oh and she has a history with Sagittaria that didn’t end well, but they chose to hang out in the Werk Room because it is always better the devil you know. You know?

Inti made an iconic entry in all red, carrying your dad’s underwear and I live. Particularly since she has such a cool vibe which hits the exact Indigenous futuristic notes she is wanting too. Drag Vulcano looked like a glamorous, warrior porcupine and could choke me out of drag. And rounding out the cast is The Macarena who is just so delightfully positive, camp and wacky, so she too has me absolutely living. Particularly since she arrived with a tupperware container of pork rinds and some vegan snacks if the queens were that way inclined.

Their getting to know you was interrupted by Supremme de Luxe, welcoming her queens to the competition and introducing the dolls to the first two members of the oversized, gorgeous Pit Crew as they were challenged to a photoshoot while riding a mechanical bull. Last in was first up as The Macarena kissed the bull and fell off immediately before serving glamour in the pillowed floor. Sagittaria fought to stay on before getting into a rhythm and serving pure sex. Dovima was awkward, Inti was one with the bull (and was lucky enough to have long enough legs to keep them firmly on the ground). Carmen popped her balls, and that is enough to snatch the win in my eyes. Pupi had the time of her damn life, Killer Queen wisley needed the Pit Crew to ‘assist’ mounting the bull, Hugáceo was thrown around like a ragdoll and Vulcano shockingly didn’t pop the air mats with her headpiece, which Arantxa desperately needed as she ungraciously flipped around the arena. While having the best time, obviously. Ultimately Supremme is as big a fan of balls as I am, handing Carmen victory before dismissing the girls to de-drag.

As the queens removed their entry looks, we learnt that Dovima superglued stuff to her face while Sagittaria just completely got naked in the background. The dolls were gagged by Arantxa’s boy look while we uncomfortably watched The Macarena seemingly give birth while removing her tucking tape. Back with Arantxa we learned that she doesn’t tuck and instead uses an intricate system of tight panties, while Macarena was having a deep and meaningful with Inti and Vulcano about how she used to be very self-conscious but learnt to love herself and now lives for being naked. 

And well, let’s just say I love all the queens already.

Supreme returned to the Werk Room with some more of the Pit Crew to announce that this week’s Maxi Challenge would required the girls to serve glamour using wagons of trash and as Carmen won the mini challenge, she would be able to pick her box of trash before the rest of the queens fought it out for theirs. Quite literally. More importantly we learnt that Killer Queen only runs for drag and buffets and honestly, I feel we connect on a deep level.

The queens split up to start prepping their looks with everyone playing around with their junk, while Killer Queen straight up whipped out the sewing machine and immediately started assembling her outfit like a damn icon. Supremme arrived to talk to the less organised dolls, with Carmen talking about how confused she is about everything and is struggling to even think, overwhelmed by having to  make an outfit in front of fashion designer Ana Locking. Sagittaria was hiding her nerves a bit better, while Dovima was straight up stressed. Until they started talking about their fight over a man and damn, I need all the details immediately.

Día de Eliminación arrived with the queens all upbeat despite the fact one of them would be going home by the end of the day. Macarena was hoping to just not to shit her pants before they were distracted with talk about plastic surgery – shading Carmen as the most silicone of the group. Macarena shared that they identify as non-binary, with Arantxa, Hugaceo and Inti shared that they too are non-binary. Carmen spoke about making dolls out of random objects as a child, Inti shared their mum identified them as an artist, rather than queer while Sagittaria and Hugacaeo shared touching stories about their mothers too. And well, Macarena ran her mouth a lot, much to Carmen’s chagrin. Oh and Pupi was going the Monet route and covering her shows in sponges, knowing that her look is definitely going to be a mess. And Sagittaria, Hugaceo and Arntxxa were kikiing, with the latter admitting that she has already learnt the lip sync, unsure whether she should trust her instincts with the look she pulled together.

Supreme was joined by Ana Locking, Javiers Ambrossi and Calvo and guest judge and my dream boyfriend, Jon Kortarjaren for the first runway de España. Inti slayed in a monochromatic drape number with pink and purple tassels around her hair. Arantxa was a bright, mod delight complete with bubble guns. Hugaceo was breathtaking in a blue and white gown with her face blending into the fabric of her look. Killer Queen was pretty, floral perfection, with an ode to Marie Antoinette. Sagittaria was breathtaking in a gown of black balls and hoops, serving space age sexbomb. The Macarena was a bright confectionary delight with a flamingo nesting on her shoulder. And carrying a rubber ducky just because. Dovima was a black and green furry sea creature bondage dream. Pupi Poisson was a hot mess with her cleaning products look, but her polish and humour on the runway was charming. Carmen once again looked full woman, ready for a casual lunch with the cast of RHONJ down by the Shore. While Drag Vulcano was a shimmering silver delight in a bodysuit with pinwheel flower embellishments.

Drag Vulcano, Arantxa, Killer Queen and Inti were sent to safety before the judges gushed about everything that Hugaceo did, with Ana in particular living for her fashion aesthetic. Sagittaria too received universal praise before the judges read Macarena for being a little basic and unfinished. Dovima was read for her runway walk, with Jon reminding her to not go so far that she ends up making her life too hard. Pupi was praised for turning up on the show given her legacy, though the judges didn’t like anything about her outfit. Oh and Carmen too received universal praise, with the judges loving her energy.

Backstage the safe queens celebrated not being the first boot before trying to guess who would be joining Carmen in the top. Inti suggested that Macarena would be joining her while Killer felt Pupi would definitely be at the bottom. But as you know, we’re all bottoms. The other dolls joined them with Hugaceo suggesting Carmen will win, while Pupi acknowledged she’d be in the bottom, as did Dovima. For not being able to get out of her head. And then Macarena gagged the girls by pointing out that she is probably in the bottom too.

Ultimately Carmen was sent to safety, handing Hugaceo the first win of the season to their adorable delight. Sagittaria was deemed safe before Supremme gagged us all by saving Pupi, leaving Macarena to battle Dovima to I Will Survive but not that I will Survive. The Monica Naranjo version. In any event, both of the queens immediately felt every lyric and worked overtime to avoid being the first one sent home. Then Dovima pulled out a damn whip, Macarena lost her wig and it was all over. Though I feel that the lip sync was a very hard fought draw, Dovima’s better outfit clearly managed to save her as The Macarena became the first queen eliminated.

I was so heartbroken to see my dear friend The Macarena walk back into the Werk Room and immediately pulled her in for a hug. And gave her the usual first-boot-of-a-franchise pep-talk. You know, the one where I tell them that as THE Porkchop, they will always be remembered while everyone else will fade into obscurity. Plus, if you speak about your penchant for nudity on camera, the world is going to love you. Particularly if you are nude while eating a The Blacaforenast Cake. There is a massive market for it.

Rich and fudgy, tart and sweet; a black forest cake is one of the greatest inventions. Like a slab of fruit and nut chocolate, this cake has it all. And what it lacks in nuts, Carmen is willing to flash hers. And well, so is my nude friend The Macarena.

Enjoy!

The Blacaforenast Cake
Serves: el español Porkchop y their also nude friend.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
400g dark chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs, whisked
600ml thickened cream
2 tbsp kirsch
400g pitted sour cherries, drained but saving the ju-uice, buuuddddy
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tbsp icing sugar
maraschino cherries, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the caster sugar, butter, cocoa and bicarb with 60g of the chocolate and a cup of water in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it boils. Reduce to low and simmer for a couple of minutes, or until it is homogenous and combined. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Whisk in the flour, baking powder and eggs until well combined. Pour into a lined 22cm cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once rich but cooked, removed from the oven and allow to cool slightly in pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish the job.

To make the ganache, bring half the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and once shimmeringly hot, remove from heat and whisk through the chocolate until smooth and silky.

While that rests, combine the cherry juice with the arrowroot in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until viscose and shiny. Then leave that to rest.

Finally, beat the remaining cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks form. And when one of us is nude, the peaks are definitely stiff.

To assemble, cut the cake into four layers. Place the bottom on a plate, drizzle with a third of the kirsch, followed by the syrup and whipped cream. Sprinkle with cherries and repeat layering process until you’ve got the last piece of cake on top. Spread with the ganish until covered and smooth. 

Top with maraschino cherries and devour, triumphantly, in the nude. Like a damn icon.


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Marquise au Chocky Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Stars were abandoned on the shores of Fiji looking for revenge, redemption, a combination of the two, or simply to retain their crown in Shane and Jericho’s case. Though sadly for them, their second chance ended before it even began as the Olympian became the first boot and was followed out the door by the cookie monster. They were followed by Daisy, Michelle and Henry in quick succession before the tribes switched things up. After an attempt on her scalp, Shonee took revenge on Abbey, Lydia and John before Mat was bundled in on the deal, I assume solely because he too was an athlete. We then entered the darkest timeline and lost three OGs back-to-back-to-back with Queen Phoebe, fourth place robbed goddess Flick and Nick all just missing the merge. The latter because Jacqui hulked out in the immunity challenge and kept ruining it for the tribe.

We checked in with Mokuta the next morning where Zach was ritualistically carving Nick’s initials into a tree as Sharn reflected on turning on her close ally Nick. Even though it feels like she doesn’t have the right, though maybe I am just bitter. Completely jubilant however was David who had managed to take control of the switched tribe, had an idol that his allies know about – and more importantly, fear – and a secret idol that can keep him safe. Oh and he is going into the merge with a 7-5 advantage based on swap tribes, and an in with the OG Vakama tribe. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, David called an all tribe meeting to plot for the upcoming merge, convincing them to play up that he is on the outs so that he can try and get back in with Vakama, blindside them and fully take control. And drag Zach along for fun.

Forgoing any chatter from Vakama, the tribes joined Jonathan at the top of a hill where after Harry and Shonee processed the pain of losing their bestie Nick, the tribes were officially no more as the tribes merged. AK and Moana were thrilled to have finally been able to make the merge and become an eligible bachelor and bachelorette respectively. Moana was even more motivated to win the money for her family, while David was ready to destroy his competition.

On that note, Jonathan tasked them all with their first individual challenge for an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. All they would need to do is hold a clay pot tethered to a rope over a ledge with the last person standing taking out the prize. Almost immediately AK dropped his pot, followed closely by David who immediately started catching up with Brooke and AK. Harry soon dropped out, joining the catch-up while Shonee dropped and was all alone down the other end, silently willing her friends to return to her side. David continued to sell Mokuta’s prearranged lie before Tarzan and Brooke dropped from the challenge. After an hour, Jonathan grew tired and forced everyone down to one hand, leading to Sharn dropping out, followed by Moana, Locky and Zach, leaving Jacqui and Lee to battle it out. After another hour in the sun Jacqui showed her first sign of weakness, while David continued to reel Vakama in with his eyes. Oh and then out of nowhere Jacqui dropped, handing Lee an advantage. Which he won’t learn about until the immunity challenge.

The merge tribe arrived at their new camp – the former Mokuta – with Tarzan thrilled to finally make the merge, Shonee was thrilled to make it again – and be one step closer to some Gucci – and AK was just thrilled about the palatial digs at the new camp. Oh and the huge feast awaiting them by the shore. Locky was screaming, the tribe were grabbing at things, Moana was cracking the booze and Shonee was just thrilled to have cutlery again. After toasting to their successes, Sharn suggested the tribe name of Kalokalo which allegedly means star in Fijian. Everyone agreed, though I assume not because they cared per se and more because they were too interested in smashing the food and eyeing up the competition.

Kalokalo slowly migrated back to the shelter where everyone was mingling, with Brooke chatting to Brooke and Lee, though not that Moana has anything to worry about given she is the Godmother and is fully in control. And she was willing to paint Mokuta as a fractured tribe to stay there. She and Sharn told Brooke about Dave being on the outs, and the need to keep him happy to blindside him. Though really, her plan was to get revenge on Locky who spent the first two weeks of the game targeting her. And voted out her bestie Mat. With that, she pulled Dave aside to lock in the vote against Locky deep in the jungle, with him thrilled by the idea given getting rid of Locky is in his best interests.

Shonee meanwhile was nervous to be in the minority and as such, decided it was time to find two people that she can flip to their side and take control. She caught up with Brooke by the well, who agreed that Dave and Zach were their best hopes and as such, Shonee got to work reminding Zach how much he loves her. She told Brooke that an easy in with Zach is birds, given he has a passion for rescuing birds and has heaps of averies. With that she loves birds and Brooke too now loves birds, regaling him with tales about hand rearing birds and honestly, I can’t actually tell if she bred birds. David could see that they were desperately trying to flip him, glad that Zach too was playing along. As such, he pulled Locky aside to see how they can take control, with Locky spilling Vakama’s entire plan and assuring Dave that Shonee is confident that she will be able to flip back and keep them all safe. Later that night Vakama 2.0, Zach and David caught up to lock in their plan for the upcoming vote, eventually settling on Sharn as Locky wished for chaos, as that is where he does his best work.

Jonathan returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would each have to balance on see-saw and take blocks from a dish on one end and stack them on a tray on the other, with the first till nine winning immunity. Well not Lee, as his advantage was to remove a block and only go for eight. The tribe all stepped on to their platforms and while everyone struggled to find their feet, Shonee was like a statue and quickly stacked eight like it was nothing. Sadly she lost her stack though, forcing her to restart. Thankfully she also set off a chain reaction as everyone else lost their balance allowing her to start things up again and build her second tower at lightning speed before everyone followed the trend and dropped again. Ultimately Shonee quickly built her third tower like it was nothing, securing immunity like the freaking icon that she is.

Thanks pilates!

Back at camp the tribe celebrated Shonee’s athletic display of dominance, while the icon was just thrilled to know that there is no way that she is going home. Oh and she let us know that she is just great at balancing and hasn’t even done pilates in over a year. While Locky would have preferred to have won for himself, he was glad that immunity was at the very least in his alliance’s hands and as such, can target Sharn with the help of David and Zach and take control. He then got way to confident and hot damn – Locky, you in danger girl.

Almost like I manifested it, Moana pulled Sharn and Lee aside to lock in the vote for Locky and tee up Sharn to play the fool and pretend to slip that they are targeting AK. With that, she pulled AK aside to let him know that her alliance would be voting for him tonight. And given he has no reason not to trust her, took the information to David and Locky and reconfirmed that they were still on for voting out Sharn, nervous about going home himself should their plans fail. The only person more cocky than Locky at the moment was David, giddy to be in the swing vote position and safely in the majority no matter which side they select.

He caught Zach up on the plan and returned to play mind games with Vakama 2.0 but was proving to be so convincing, that Tarzan started to panic that he had actually flipped. This made him nervous enough to call Moana over and the duo approached him to stress the importance of the upcoming vote to prove their loyalties. Moana was nervous, Locky and Brooke were confident and while it feels obvious, it is so obvious that Locky will go, that maybe I am wrong?

At tribal council Harry spoke about the intricacies of navigating the first post-merge tribal council, before Jonathan threw shade at AK for not making it before. AK spoke about his surprise at how few people approached him after the immunity challenge and truly felt like nothing had changed and everyone was locked in their alliances. David spoke about someone potentially being blindsided, given everyone is keen to make a statement and take out a big player first. Locky admitted to feeling on the bottom as the former Vakama, though was hopeful to have found enough cracks to save them. Sharn spoke about splitting cracks and honestly I get distracted by such innuendo.

Harry continued to prove how dangerous he would be if he gets the chance to plead his case at tribal council, calmly outlining the importance of not only surviving but also impressing the jury enough to win. David agreed but pointed out that you need to get there, oft by making smart decisions, to even get to plead your case. He then spoke about Mayan sacrifice and it got real dark, real quick. Zach had a slip of the tongue, alluding to the vote coming down to old tribal lines. As he desperately tried to play the fool and bumble around who could be aligned, you could see him desperately wanting to crawl back into his avery.

Harry said that they’re at the point where some people haven’t had the chance to play the game yet and as such, looks forward to them showing what they are made off. Locky urged people to step up, while Moana slyly reminded him that she has. Tarzan spoke about the importance of loyalty, while his ally Moana preached the virtues of making the safe move. Locky interjected and told her that there is no way that he will vote for her in the end then. She tried to defend playing it safe, before Locky schooled her about the pre-merge not really counting, since they aren’t around to reward the big moves and as such, she needs to step up. Moana schooled him and asserted that a quiet game doesn’t mean it isn’t a good game. Sharn was confident, Locky was confident and shock horror, David was feeling confident. With that, the tribe voted and poor Locky discovered that his was misplaced as Mokuta 2.0 stuck together to send him out of the game and over to the jury.

Likely not to vote for Moana.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful Locky – I hate to see him go, but hot damn watching him leave truly floods my basement. He entered Loser Lodge just as it upgraded to the Jury Villa, so I took him into my arms, realised I am devoid of upper body strength and got him to take me in his arms and spin me in a circle like a rom com.

“The King of the Jury needs his queen, and I am forever yours,” I whispered into his ear.

He giggled, maybe awkwardly, maybe a little nervous, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Locky is straight up the most interesting player of his archetype besides Malcolm. Good strategically, charming and likeable, athletic and built like a God, he is perfect for this game and could have taken out the season, had Dave and Moana not had control.

His eyes welled up with tears as I told him all this before he started giggling again, this time at the sight of my Marquise au Chocky Gilbert.

 

 

Velvety and smooth, sweet, rich and oh so delicious, the marquise au chocolat melts in your mouth. And is the perfect thing to distract from post boot pain, in bed with your love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marquise au Chocky Gilbert
Serves: 2 lovers that can also be friends.

Ingredients
255g dark chocolate, cut into pieces
1 tbsp espresso, cooled
1 tbsp amaretto
100g raw caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
175g unsalted butter, melted
cocoa, for dustin’

Method
Line a loaf tin with cling.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the coffee and amaretto and place in the top of a double boiler – well, if you don’t have steamy, unbridled sexual tension with your mate – and cook, stirring until the chocolate has just melted and everything has come together.

Meanwhile combine the caster sugar in yolks in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. You could do this in a stand mixture, but I like to watch Locky whisk shirtless and I got him to give me a hand. Fold through the chocolate and butter until well combined. Leave to cool.

Finally whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold through the combined chocolate mixture until it forms a homogenous, shiny mixture. Transfer to the lined tin, cover with cling until airtight and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 12 hours.

Once set, turn out, cut into slices and serve, dusted lightly with cocoa. They devour, on plates, or Locky’s chest. I went with the latter option.

 

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