Previously on Survivor Jeffrey gagged the castaways with the fact that they would be split up into two groups ahead of the next tribal council. With both groups having someone win immunity and both groups voting someone out. After Jonathan won his group – with Maryanne, Tori, Lindsay and Drea – reward and the chance to be the second tribal council of the evening, the all male group headed off to scramble on a second beach. And while Rocksroy thought it was an easy Romeo vote ahead for them, Omar and Hai flipped things and blindsided Rocksroy from the game and straight over to the jury bench.
Travelling back in time a wee bit, the victorious group returned to camp, quickly frying up their kebabs and devouring their feast. Lindsay meanwhile shared how thrilled she was to be grouped with Jonathan and Maryanne, meaning the former Taku’s would be able to control the upcoming vote. And given Drea has an idol, Tori is clearly the easy vote. Jonathan meanwhile was desperate to blindside Drea with the idol in her pocket, with Maryanne thrilled to be a part of the plan, given she has been on the outs since the merge. Sadly for him however, Maryanne didn’t appreciate the way he spoke to her though was willing to suck it up if she gets further. But best believe she ran straight to Tori with the Drea plan, despite him forbidding her.
Meanwhile Jonathan caught up with Drea, telling her the fake plan to take out Maryanne to flush her idol. Which would be fine, except for the fact she also has an idol and that is something that would clearly come back to bite her. Jonathan then caught up with Lindsay, with her quickly point out that the plan to put a vote on Maryanne is stupid, given if Drea plays the idol, they are screwed. As such, she tried to convince him they need to loop in Tori so she and Drea put their votes on each other instead, so that if an idol is played, they have nothing to worry about. Though Jonathan just would not listen. At all.
At their tribal council, everyone was shocked to see Rocksroy was the one voted out by the first group. Drea wasn’t sure what exactly it meant, while Lindsay admitted that seeing him on the jury has made her question whether their current plan is the right one. Drea then pointed out that seeing two African American people voted out back-to-back made her nervous, while Tori was thrilled to be able to play in a little group as it gave them an opportunity to play with different people and try different things. Maryanne and Drea spoke about the previous tribal council playing on their minds, with Drea admitted that unconscious bias is likely leading to the African American contestants going out back-to-back-to-back and as such, she was playing her idol tonight.
This made Jonathan nervous and ask what her plan would be, with Drea throwing Tori’s name out there. While everyone got on board, Maryanne started whispering to Tori that she literally can’t vote out Drea and continue the cycle. And when the whispering was clearly heard by all, she gave an impassioned speech to the group about taking a stand for who she is outside the game. Jonathan then got defensive and said that he is not racist and then called Drea agressive and well, that is unconscious bias, but as a white heterosexual male, he struggled to see that. Both Drea and Maryanne spoke passionately about how they are not calling people racist, but are shining a light on the fact that they do have a harder path forward, particularly since they always have to be ‘on’ and have a lot of pressures that other people in the game do not.
The pressure of being a representative for their community got to Maryanne who admitted that she too would be playing her idol, not because she thinks she will receive votes but because she knows some idiot on the internet will say she only survived the episode because of race. Which is very true and so damn sad. Lindsay stepped in and praised the duo for being so brave, assuring Drea that she was not being aggressive and that she appreciates they have a harder experience that they don’t understand. Maryanne then summed things up by giving an impassioned, well-argued speech about how every minority has to play the game differently and ugh, I love her so much.
Given the raw emotion, the group opted not to officially vote and as such voted in the open. After Drea and Maryanne played their idols, Tori quickly deduced she would be the one going home and after getting them to give her a reason, she went to play her Shot in the Dark, which did not give her safety, sending her home while a teary Lindsay lived to see another day.
While Tori was overwhelmed by all the emotions of tribal council, she was happy with the fact there was little she could do to avoid being the boot given it came to only her and Lindsay in danger. And as such, she quickly moved on and was back to laughing it up and regaling me with tales to avoid giving me free therapy. When it became clear I wasn’t getting any freebies, I quickly plated up some Torikish Meelight and toasted a game well played.
The turkish delight chocolate bar may be the reviled snack-size left in the bag, but genuine turkish delight is straight up delightful. Floral and fruity, super sweet and melt in your mouth, it is the perfect way to turn around a day.
Torikish Meelight Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 4 ½ cups caster sugar ¼ cup powdered gelatine 1 cup hot water 1 cup cornflour ¼ tsp red food colouring 1 tbsp rosewater 1 cup icing sugar
Method Oil a lamington or slice pan and line with baking paper, pressing it into the edges and leaving a couple of centimteres overhang.
Once that is prepped, pop the caster sugar in a large saucepan with 1 cup of room temp water and stir to combine over low heat. Cook, stirring infrequently, for about 20 minutes or until the sugar has disolved.
Grab a candy thermometer and pop it in the pan. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil without stirring, simmering for about 20 minutes or until it reaches 116C or the ‘soft ball’ phase. Reduce heat back to low and continue to simmer for five minutes, maintaining the heat at 116. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile whisk the gelatine in a jug with the hot water. Pop the cornflour in a bowl and whisk the gelatine mixture in to combine, avoiding any lumps forming before whisking in the red food colouring to give a pale pink colour.
Slowly whisk the cornfloured gelatine into the hot syrup until smooth. Return to the heat and simmer for an additional five minutes or so, or until it is translucent. Strain into a heatproof bowl, removing any foam or scum in the bowl before whisking in the rosewater. Pour into the prepared pan and leave overnight at room temperature to set.
Once set, lightly dust a chopping board with icing sugar and turn out the turkish delight. Using an oiled knife, cut into large cubes, dust with icing sugar to coat and then devour. Greedily.
Previously on Drag Race UK the top five were put through their sped-up paces in a timed, yes timed, Fugly Ball. To rub salt in Krystal’s Snatch Game-sized wound, the second category even featured an appearance by Charity Shop Sue who lent them some of her charity shop wears to turn their looks. Vanity’s first look wasn’t loved while Scarlett’s last two were deemed way too boring. On the flipside, Kitty was living her best life from start to finish and was finally reward with her first victory of the season. Vanity and Scarlett meanwhile were forced to lip sync, with the latter sadly going home. Screaming like Bimini in Beastenders (which aired after this was filmed, so no hate).
Backstage Kitty was literally shitting her pants with excitement, proudly strutting back in while Vanity screamed about the fact she got rid of Scarlett. Kitty meanwhile was shocked that Scarlett wasn’t going to be in the top while Krystal was proud about how damn killer Vanity was in the lip sync. Kitty pulled focused back to herself, thrilled to no longer get shade for not having a badge and ready to get another. She then asked who they think will be the next to go, with Kitty suggesting Vanity should start packing her bags though she rightly pointed out that she can definitely turn a lip sync and save herself, should she bottom again. Which Ella told her didn’t scare her because she has two badges and no bottoms, and girl, be careful, Ru doesn’t care about track records anymore. Just call my love Bimini.
The next day the dolls celebrated the fact that they are officially the top four of the season, thanks to the fact they dumped three in the last two weeks. Ella admitted that she was surprised she didn’t win last week, though was tolerating the fact it went to Kitty. After Krystal pulled a me and reminded everyone how young she is, Ru dropped by and surprisingly didn’t murder her. Instead, she tasked the dolls with starring in Ru’s low budget sci-fi blockbuster Bra Wars: The Fempire Claps Back. And given Kitty is the current reigning Miss Fugly, she was able to assign the roles to her sisters.
With that, Ru disappeared and the girls gathered round to read through the script with Vanity thrilled to show some diversity. Ella and Kitty meanwhile vied for the role of Brabara-ella, which Kitty obviously snapped up for herself. Krystal was debating between Darth Shader and Baby Yolo while Vanity desperately wanted the latter. Kitty then dropped the bomb that she was debating between being casting the dolls in safe roles or being shady. Instead though, she decided to open a casting agency and got the dolls to audition for her. Ella was obviously great, Krystal was a bit of a mess until she started doing accents while Vanity had zero accent game. As such, Darth Shader went to Ella with She-3P-Ho to be played by Krystal and Baby Yolo went to Vanity.
The queens quickly split up to run their lines and get ready, with Ella thrilled to be doing her day job though knew that that meant she would really have to bring it because the judges will be harder on her. Vanity meanwhile was terrified upon discovering she is just a head while Krystal was worried about getting her lines down as she has dyslexia. While Kitty and Ella were praising her on the other side of the room given she was essentially born to be a drag queen and they are confident she will do well.
Our thesbians joined Michelle on set to film the first scene with Kitty just hoping they do better than the commercials where nobody won. From the start Vanity struggled … to stick her head in the baby carrier. Kitty meanwhile struggled to get the line, ‘space nut milk’ which was delightful and hilarious. Poor Vanity was in her head until Michelle encouraged her to give more and ugh, I really hope it’s a fake-out edit and she is great. Ella meanwhile couldn’t hear or breathe, flubbing her lines and starting to get in her head and well, now I hope this is the fake-out edit. Krystal too struggled to get her lines down with Michelle stepping in and talking her through her concerns, telling her to take a breath and relax. Begging the question, whatever happened to Michelle Visage-berg?
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls sharing how difficult filming was before Krystal reminded them that half of them will be in the bottom and as such, they really need to bring it on the runway. As they split up to get ready, Kitty shared how safe she feels with the dolls while Ella opened up about feeling terrified about walking down the street in drag. She spoke about a few weeks earlier when somebody threatened to beat them up on their street, leading to the girls opening up about how they have been conditioned to not do PDAs and their traumas of people behaving badly towards them in drag.
Ru, Graham and Michelle were joined by zaddy Russell Tovey on the judges panel as the queens walked the Scenes Stealers Runway. Krystal was in a stunning black and white Cruella inspired number with a gorgeous red coat. Ella was the sluttiest Oompah Loompah known to man, Vanity gave us stunning BAPs realness while Kitty was gorgeously demented as Kate Winslet’s entry scene in Titanic. And well, it was iconic from start to finish. I mean, she dropped the necklace and Michelle questioned whether Jack could fit on her wood. Perfection all round.
We then watched the premiere of Bra Wars and gurl, there were fake-out edits galore because the foursome killed it. Kitty was demented and charming, Krystal was hilarious, Vanity was gloriously OTT and Ella was a campy delight.
The judges loved Krystal’s willingness to listen in the challenge with Michelle praising her growth while filming. And obviously they felt her look on the runway was perfection. Michelle pointed out that Ella started off nervous in filming but ultimately killed it, while the judges lived for her killer Wonka look. Vanity was praised for throwing everything at the wall in the role and making it a moment. And again, they lived for her runway despite the fact Michelle wanted more diversity from her. Rounding things out, Kitty received universal praise from start to finish, giving it her all and injecting all the comedy she could. In the challenge and on the runway.
Backstage the dolls toasted to their killer performance in the challenge with Kitty ready to hook up with Russell. As was Ella. And Vanity. Krystal meanwhile felt uncomfortable watching her performance, worried that while she got good critiques, she will likely be in the bottom. The dolls spoke about who would be lip syncing with everyone agreeing that Vanity and Krystal will be in the bottom, including Vanity and Krystal. Ella pointed out that Vanity has given a few similar runways but Vanity was still proud of how she performed. Ella and Kitty then started debating which one of them will take out victory and while Krystal felt it was rude, she wasn’t bothered because it was very obvious they did the best.
Given the judges were feeling all the love, Ru announced that instead of a bottom two this week, the top two would instead lip sync for the win – yay, finally its a good surprise to reward them for slaying! Well, after sending Vanity and Krystal to safety and making Kitty and Ella’s eyes bug out of their heads for shits and giggles. As such, Kitty and Ella were beckoned to the front of stage and forced to battle for victory to Girls Aloud’s Something New. And damn, did they fight! Ella was popping and dropping, selling sex all over the stage while Kitty was a damn fucking star. She hit every lyric, was camp and ridiculous, giving us everything we could want and more. And then Ella did a series of splits before humping the ground. And then Kitty rocked some death drops. And well, it was all perfect and I can totally understand why Ru gave them a double win.
Because. They. Slayed.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have all survived the challenge and ready to continue slaying as the top four. Kitty and Ella admitted that they were shocked as the other dolls got called safe, though were glad to have a pleasant surprise. Ella rightly directed the dolls to their track records, pointing out that she has three wins to their 2-2-1, though Kitty did argue that her sash should count for something. Kitty then posed nude for Ella to draw her and damn, this is the Titanic I would have loved.
Note to self, is there a gay porn parody of Titanic? Because I need it.
The next day Ella was still feeling Kool Aid man with herself now that she has three badges, while Vanity pointed out that while she only has one badge she is killing it. Kitty joked that she plans to get to the end by winning challenges, while Vanity told her that she will always win a lip sync while Ella knows she will get to the end based on talent. As poor Krystal admitted that she is feeling a bit under the weather.
The dolls then had a clothed orgy which was interrupted by Ru who arrived to task the dolls with a roast for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they roast themselves and the panel including guest judge Kathy Burke. Oh and they will be performing in front of their eliminated sisters, meaning they’re fair game for a reading too. And because Ella has the most wins, she is allowed to decide the order. As the dolls sat down to kiki, Krystal admitted that she is shitting herself while Kitty is ready to slay, while Ella is nervous about writing jokes and Vanity is ready to read herself and the colour orange.
Kitty asked the girls how hard they are going to go in during the roast, with her encouraging everyone to go hard because at the end of the day, they need to make people laugh. Oh and Krystal is ready to go in on Ru because she is always a good sport. Which you know is going to backfire. Ella asked the girls where they would like to go in the run before admitting to us that she plans to put the worst first so she can go second and slay, followed by the next worst and then close the show with a stronger person. Which is convenient since Krystal wanted to get it over with, Vanity requested a middle slot and Kitty wanted to open or close. As such, she decreed the order as Krystal, herself, Vanity and Kitty, which didn’t go unnoticed by the latter.
The dolls split up to start working on their sets with Kitty taking the role of cracking herself up, while Vanity admitted that she was struggling to go in on the judges as she only likes to tear herself down. Ella meanwhile was ready to lean into her dad jokes, which she finds hilarious and oh god, is she in danger?! Kitty turned everyone’s attention to the fact this challenge is what gets them to the final with her admitting that she will be destroying everyone because she is hungry for the win.
As they split up to beat their mugs, Vanity and Ella bonded over their childhoods with the former talking about how confident she was as a kid. Ella admitted that she had a very supportive upbringing, however dance school made her try and act more masculine. She then shared that Ella is how she taps into her feminine side and makes up for lost time. Vanity admitted that her femininity gets clocked all the time but she is grateful that her parents instilled confidence in her and were so supportive and ugh, I love them.
Meanwhile Kitty was loving how gorgeous she was looking.
But before we could explore her charming confidence, we headed to the mainstage where Ru, Michelle, Alan, Kathy, Anubis, Elektra, Victoria, Veronica, Charity, River, Choriza and Scarlett were waiting with bated breath for the roast. Krystal opened The Pearly Gates Roast by going in on Charity in a cute, charming way. She then made a tonne of age jokes that went over well before opening up about being a virgin, and then explaining what a virgin is to Michelle which should have been an easy laugh but was NOT. Krystal then made more age jokes at Veronica’s expense which opened up the audience roasting her as Veronica started heckling with Ru quickly jumping on the bandwagon.
Ella was charming and hilarious from start to finish, reading Anubis with glee and calling Veronica a threat to society. It was brutal, polished and damn, I love her. IT. WAS. PERFECTION. I mean, is this the best roast on Drag Race ever? Yes. The answer is yes. Scone or scone, the debate continues! Talk about being typecast?! They were stupid but so funny and charming. Poor Vanity never really stood a chance following Ella’s performance, though her read about her fellow sisters being the white supremes was great. Kitty completed Ella’s nefariously brilliant plan by also knocking it out of the park – she was self-deprecating, upbeat and hilarious. And brutal. So damn brutal.
On the Oh My Goddess Runway Krystal was stunning as a sun-crowned dream, golden and perfect. Ella was a frosty, icy delight in a constellation bodysuit. Vanity wore The Bodyguard version of Krystal’s look, Cleopatra and Queen of the Damned rolled into one. While Kitty was a flowing, Greek goddess in the most Kitty way possible. Krystal received praise for starting out strong and being charming, though read for sticking to age and whore jokes. And obviously, they loved her runway. Ella rightly received universal praise for literally everything this week, because there is no way she is damn losing this challenge. On the flipside Vanity was read for not going hard enough though both her looks were beloved. And then Kitty too received universal praise for killing the roast, despite being so reliant on her notes. And again, they loved her opera diva does Hercules look.
As the dolls untucked backstage they all agreed that Ella clearly has her fourth win in the bag as they toasted to making it to the top four. Kitty was thrilled by her feedback while Vanity and Krystal were proud for pushing through despite being so nervous and outside of their comfort zones. Their kiki was interrupted by a siren where we got a message from Ella’s boyfriend and more importantly, their gorgeous, angel pupper, who is now my lovely prince. Kitty’s parents were sweet and more importantly, their dogs are great and not interested. Krystal’s mum looks my age, so that is that and now I feel super old. Then Vanity’s sweet husband came on the screen and ahh, I ship them, he is so damn cute. Oh and then Ella told them all that they are family now too and argh, it is so lovely and sweet and I love it.
Obviously Ella took out a very well-earned, fourth victory with Kitty joining her to battle for the crown next week. That left a fired up Krystal and Vanity to lip sync for the final place to Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate. And damn, they were ready to earn their spot in the finale. Vanity was her usual killer self while Krystal was flicking her hair and serving the judges everything. There were synchronised splits, they hit every lyric and ugh, they proved why they made it to the top four. Though obviously, somebody had to go and poor Vanity’s luck finally ran out as Krystal went through to the finale.
Backstage, sweet Vanity was so thrilled to see me and to celebrate making it to the top four. I mean, yeah it sucks to know that you made it so close to the end, but that, as they say, what friends are for. You see, Vanity and I have been dear friends for years – I painted my bedroom orange when I was ten and she wore a couple of orange looks on the runway – so knowing that she had the love and support of one her closest was more than a win to her.
We laughed, we cried and then frankly, we got to work smashing the recipe of the season in the form of the gorgeously talented and stunning Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice.
Velvety smooth custard, the crunch of the pastry and the punchy flavours of baklava combine to form the greatest of desserts. Sweet, earthy and honestly, stunning, there is no better way to honour such a talented queen.
Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients ⅓ cup pistachio kernels ⅓ cup walnuts 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed 20g butter, melted ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 ½ cups cream 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 ¼ cups raw caster sugar 1 ½ cups milk ¼ cup cornflour 6 egg yolks 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 tbsp honey 6 whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 2 tbsp rosewater
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 10x20cm loaf pan, and lined the sides with baking paper, leaving an overhang. Finely chop the pistachio and walnuts and place them in a bowl.
Place the pastry on a baking sheet and brush with the butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, followed by half of the nut mixture. Then a drizzle of the rest of the butter. Place in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven, stab with a skewer and top with a second baking sheet to keep flat. Return to the oven to break for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
While things get as chill as Cynthia Bailey post-wedding, stir the cream, vanilla, ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer before removing from the heat. Then combine the cornflour with the egg yolks and remaining milk in a jug. Whisk the two together and return the saucepan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes or until nice and thick.
Cut each piece of pastry in half and place a rectangle, nut side down, into the loaf tin. Top with custard mixture, followed by pastry, custard, another slice of pastry, the rest of the custard and finishing with the pastry. Cover and pop in the fridge to set overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and zest in a saucepan with the honey, cloves, cinnamon and ⅓ cup water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves before cranking to high and simmering for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Strain and allow it to cool.
To serve, decant the slice, carve, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and drizzle with the lukewarm syrup. Then, devour.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK ten queens walked into the Werk Room in sunny old England, thrilled to be part of the very first season of the icon show. And boy was this season iconic. From Gothy’s meow on the runway, followed by Scaredy Kat birthing herself before exiting the competition, Vinegar Strokes hodge podging out the door third and Sum Ting doing wrong on Snatch Game after a stellar series of runways.
Then, you know, Frock Destroyers happened owning literally all of the girl groups challenges that have come before them, sending poor Crystal home followed by the iconically shady Blu before Cheryl bottomed out in fourth place, leaving Baga, Divina and The Vivienne to fight for the crown.
And fight they did.
With three wins a piece, it all came down to the final challenge before Baga was eliminated leaving Divina and The Vivienne to lip sync their way to the top, with the latter ultimately taking out victory.
From the very first challenge, The Vivienne came in with the focused fire usually reserved for an All Stars winner. She was polished, she was determined and most importantly, she was fierce. And the one time she was down, she turned out one hell of a lip sync which is the skill that ultimately secured her victory.
She was obviously over the bloody mood to be crowned the first winner, particularly given the competition was so tight.
I’ve known The Viv for years. We ran in the same circles on the club scene, quickly becoming firm friends thanks to our similar sense of humour. Once we both got sober, we leant on each other for support and used to catch up for cups of tea and some freshly baked The Viviännchen. So I knew it was the only way to mark the occasion of her victory!
Sweet, crumbly, delicate and light, these biscuits fill you with a life affirming warmth. More importantly, they are delightfully easy to make and as such, are the perfect treat to quickly whip up for your friends.
The Viviännchen Serves: 1 current reigning queen and her wannabe scouser friend.
Method 1 medium egg yolk , mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Break marzipan into 1cm cubes and place in the bowl of a stand mixer with the icing sugar, almond meal, flour, rosewater and egg white. Knead with your hands until the dough comes together before transferring to the stand mixer to combine on low for a minute or two. Wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.
Once chill, break off small balls of dough about the size of golf balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process, leaving a gap for expansion, until the dough is done. Next step, press three almonds into the top of each cookie, pointed end towards the top. Whisk the egg yolk with a little bit of water and brush to glaze. Transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for fifteen minutes before devouring, victoriously. Knowing you’re the UK BeBe.
Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.
JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.
Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.
While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.
Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.
Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.
A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.
Courtney Love Cake Serves: 8.
Ingredients 350g raw unsalted cashews 1 tbsp rosewater 1 tsp ground cardamom 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 ½ cups raw caster sugar 4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks 1 ½ cups semolina ⅓ cup honey icing sugar, to serve
Method Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.
Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.
Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.
Once again, I’ve reached the end of my Oscar Gold celebrations and no tea no shade to Diablo, Henry, Kathryn, Brad or Mahershala, I’ve well and truly saved the best to last – current reigning Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis.
And that is not just because we’ve been the best of friends for 17 years. She is the only Black Actor to win the Triple Crown of Acting, and that makes her long overdue for some coverage on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace.
I first met Viola on the set of Kate & Leopold when dropping by to visit Megs (Megs, Megs) and Liev, and while she only had a bit part I knew she was destined for greatness. As such, I sidled up to her at the craft services table and promptly hitched my wagon to her, to achieve greatness by association.
While I also wasn’t able to convince her to bring me along as a date, she did have a surprise up her sleeve … she convinced one of our mutual friends to take me (let’s call her Beryl Strap)!
Anyway, I could talk about her being the only good thing about Fences, slaying in How to Get Away with Murder and realistically should have a couple of Oscars under her belt by now, that isn’t what you came for. You came to hear our opinions on who will snag the female acting gongs.
Like my date with Mahersh, I started to feel down thinking about Margot likely not snagging a win for Karl and Susan. That led to the requirement for something sickly sweet and totally delightful, like my Viola Halvis.
While there are so many forms of halva, this is obviously the best. Rich and nutty, delicate and floral, all wrapped up in a sickly sweet package, it is the perfect way to honour the ninetieth Oscars and Faye and Warren’s inevitable mis-crowning.
To The Goldfather, enjoy!
Viola Halvis Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 250g walnuts 250g blanched almonds ¼ cup sesame seeds 500g pitted dates 1 tbsp rosewater icing sugar, to dust
Method Preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine the nuts and sesame seeds on a large baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or so, or until toasted and fragrant. Remove and allow to cool.
Place the cooled nuts in a food processor with the dates and rosewater and blitz for about five minutes, or until completely combined.
Pour the mixture into a lined small baking sheet and transfer to the freezer to set for an hour or so. Then remove and cut into squares, dust with icing sugar and devour.
Running into an ex is always awkward, but when it is seeing the person that broke your heart after getting them on the show … after they were just voted out is kinda satisfying.
Scrap that, it is fucking glorious.
This week we started with Petey trying to woo Tai into his third showmance in six episodes while over on Chanloh, part-time model Debbie and her adonis Nick engaged in, what on the island was, the filthiest and most explicit romance since Ozzy and Amanda in Micronesia.
Love, however, isn’t what we watch for … it is all about Probst making a series of ball puns while people were bobbing for them during the reward challenge. Once again, Aubrey continued to be the challenge beast of the season.
Peter spent most of the episode putting a target on his back and being paranoid, before a block almost took out Biden at the challenge. Thankfully he wasn’t evacuated, giving Aubrey another chance to shine when she literally crossed out Julia’s name and changed her vote to Peter.
I don’t know if it was due to budget cuts or they are trying to be green, but I’m thankfully there are limited pieces of parchment for drama’s sake.
I first met Petey on the impersonating circuit where he, obviously, was a Time Square Obama and I was any misc-dark haired celebrity with curls, but was most often recognised as Fred Savage, Ray Martin or aggressive Andy Samberg.
Pete and I, again obviously, fell into a torrid love affair bathed amongst the lights of Bro-ad-way (right near where, I assume, Reed cheated on Josh). Our loving relationship was so strong, he convinced me to don blackface (to upset my nemesis Harry Connick Jr. – he always refused my advances/to whisper my name) and play the Michelle to his Barack.
Mich (who I am also friends with) loved the idea and thankfully deemed my arms perfect enough to play her … lucky I invented that workout system with her in 2014. I must look at releasing it soon, if only I paid Todd Tucker for his work filming it.
Anyway, when I found out Pete was officially going to be on Survivor I quickly tried to call Probst and try to help pre-game for my lover, but his attitude got in the way (I’m team Biden on the circuit, not on the island) and we sadly went our separate ways.
While you may assume that I would handle a break-up with expletives, lighter-fluid and booze, that wasn’t the case when I reconnected with Pete in loser lodge … probably as I was so smug to see him just before the merge, meaning my break-up, once again proves that Kat Mr. Edorsson is a genius – who wants to date someone that doesn’t make the merge?
Thankfully I am very mature and rational and was kind enough to whip it out him up a nice batch of my (usually post-coital) Peter Baklaventos.
Baklava, while time consuming, is one of the easiest sweets you can make but still looks impressive. Obviously this is my favourite kind of recipe – one that gives you the most bang for your buck … particularly if it is for a post bang meal.
Between the pastry, rosewater and sticky nuts dripping in a sweet, moist glaze … this is something you need to have in and around your mouth. ASAP.
Peter Baklavenstos Makes: About 24 pieces.
Ingredients 250 gm each pistachios and walnuts, finely chopped 100 gm caster sugar 3 tsp ground cinnamon 200 gm butter, coarsely chopped 500 gm filo pastry Honey syrup 300 gm caster sugar 125 gm honey 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only 1 cinnamon quill 4 drops rosewater
Method Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, set aside and keep warm. Brush a 24x34cm baking dish with butter. Cut filo sheets to fit tray snugly and cover with a damp tea towel.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Yes this can be annoying and I generally avoid this set when making filo pies … but this is the one dish you kind of can’t avoid this step, sorry.
Spread half the nut mixture on top, repeat the process with the next third of filo, top with the remaining nuts and do the filo again. Once more, with feeling and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and cut the dish into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife, making sure to get through all layers of filo and bake until golden and crisp, about 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly.
While in the oven, get onto the honey syrup by combining the sugar, honey, lemon rind, cinnamon and 300ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes and the flavours have gloriously steeped in the liquid. Remove from heat, strain and stir through the lemon juice and rosewater and set aside.
Cool baklava for about 5 minutes and pour the syrup evenly over the pastry. Set aside at room temperature to cool completely … if you can. Then go crazy and devour it.
As I’ve said, step two is always one of the trickiest aspects to complete of the Meggstravaganza. I mean, no want wants to be classed a struggling musician … unless they are like pre-Usher Bieber. When you’ve enjoyed a successful career however, struggling is quite a down-grade.
Thankfully my dear friend Axl Rose doesn’t let his pride get in the way of helping to reignite careers. Particularly those of the star of his three favourite movies, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and *cringe* The Women.
I first met Axl in the 80s outside The Troubadour in West Hollywood. I was turning tricks, trying to net myself a musician lover to fund my addiction and my adicktion. While Axl wasn’t interested, he loved my rock and roll attitude and we quickly became friends with me playing an integral part in the ‘85 merger that formed Guns N’ Roses.
We grew apart while I was away in prison and running scams, but I always played an integral part in inspiring the group acting as the Chief Groupie Advisor and muse.
As I said, Axl is a huge Meg fan and was very eager to get into the ritual arriving with a bandana/headress hybrid, some peyote and various useful percussion instruments. Maybe I should have mentioned a KitchenAid Mixer and a dry bowl was all I really needed to make the egg-white sacrifice known as my Axl Rosewater Meringues.
Crusty bakery meringues in the 90s turned me off the treat, until I realised they weren’t meant to have the texture of asbestos powder with similar health benefits.
These little treats are sweet, crusty, gooey and everything you want out of a good meringue. Now with pistachios!
I’m off to the hen house to pick up some more eggs before my TV star friend drops by – enjoy!
Place sugar in a small pan over medium-low heat and cook until it starts to dissolve. When it reaches 115°C on a thermometer, place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whisk on high speed until the whites just begin to foam like an OD outside the Viper Room in the 80s … aka around a minute.
When the syrup reaches 121°C turn off the heat, increase the mixer to high and with motor running, gradually pour the syrup into meringue. Reduce the speed to medium and continue to beat until cooled to room temperature and thick and glossy.
This takes about 15 minutes, be patient. You want to be hypnotised by its beauty, like Skarsky peen-scene.
Line two trays with baking paper. Use two spoons, shape the meringues into generous, rough quenelles. You can make these as large or as small as you like, Axl for instance loves my little friendship-kisses sized domes, other lovers friends like them realround, thick and juicy. The only three secondrule I have is to space them well apart to allow for the growth as they get hard and hot.
Sprinkle meringues with the chopped pistachios and leave to bake for about 2 hours, or until set – firm on the outside and just soft in the centre.