Sugared Nuts

RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls were tasked with selling us on their own versions of heaven in a trio of afterlife infomercials. Sasha rightly leant into the fact she is essentially already a god, snapping her neck to the best ‘mercial of the week. Loosey got redemption from week one as she slayed as God-Dolly, while at the other end of the pack Princess Poppy was read for being basic and poor Amethyst just wasn’t funny. Despite selling herself as a comedy queen. Ultimately neck-snapping earned Sasha the win, while Amethyst found herself in another lip sync – to Di Ross, no less – as she did everything right to earn her safety, tragically sending Princess out of the competition. As she exited, flipping everyone the bird, accompanied by a burp.

Backstage the dolls were delighted to see Princess Poppy’s meaningful mirror message – aka scribble – while Salina joked about being shocked Amethyst survived. As they sat down the dolls checked in on Sugar who admitted she was shocked to not vibe with the girls in her group and be clocked by her sisters before talk turned to Sasha’s epic win. Which was only celebrated for a second before Luxx and Loosey argued about who was second. Which was obviously Loosey, but whatever I live for the delusion and confidence Luxx displays as it is iconic.

The next day Spice continued to lean into her new mother’s shade, checking if Amethyst was into baseball because if she is, she best be aware of the three strike rule. Ru then dropped by – short episodes, remember – to announce that this week the dolls would be playing the Snatch Game. And given there are so many of them, they will be split in half to compete in two rounds. Ru exited as the dolls split up to talk through their characters with Marcia Cubed going with Tim Gunn, Loosey pivoting from Dolly to Joan Rivers, Spice is going with my bestie Miley while Sugar is doing the iconic Trisha Paytas. Aura is doing Bretman Rock, Mistress is doing Rosie, Malaysia is doing Spicy Santana while Salina is doing the Virgin Mary.

We ventured to set where Bruno and Calex from the Pit Crew took their place at the Snatch chairs – flashing their snatch, no less – where Marcia slayed as Tim, Luxx was cute as Amanda Lepore, Malaysia was fun as Saucy, Mistress was a classic as Rosie, Anetra did Gorden Ramsey’s fake-sister, Robin gave the Grand Dame – as she deserved – before Salina slayed the game as Virgin Mary. Most importantly, Bruno proved he was more than his package, giving jokes. But when it comes to the contestants it was Marcia’s show, who was pitch perfect as sweet Tim while Mistress spat joke after joke as Rosie, despite not really sounding like her.

Bruno and Calex traded out with Bryce and Asaf, who is just, swoon. Loosey was perfection from start to finish as Joan, Sasha was a glorious Jan Crouch, Jax was the stupidest Mona Lisa, Sugar was all energy as Trisha, Amethyst was hilarious as Tan Mom, Spice gave Miley’s voice while Aura may or may not have been good as Bretman, I don’t know. But she was sadly devoid of jokes. More so than Marcia in the first panel, Loosey was perfection. Like, could compete with Jinkx, DeLa and Ginger Minj, good. At the other end of the pack, Aura was boring and the poor twins struggled to get any traction or went off on tangents, and there was no in between. While Amethyst got some redemption after last week and who knew Sasha had this many jokes?

Elimination Day arrived with Loosey and Anetra talking about their coming out journeys, with the former opening up about being post-school and how despite still living in the town she grew up in, she is more confident. She then spoke about being bullied and how teachers even joined in but she found comedy and used it to protect herself and make friends. Oh and ideally weaponised it.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Hunger Games icon Amandla Stenberg as the dolls stomped the Beautiful Nightmare runway. Marcia served in a pastel dental monster, Luxx dragged a brick giving sexy drowning victim, Malaysia was a sexy dead showgirl, Mistress was a gothic spider queen, Anetra gave sexy redback, Salina gave sexy zombie, Robin was a glam, ballerina spider, Loosey gave slutty Mrs Voorhees the second – aka Jason’s wife – Sasha was a sexy tree witch, Jax served snake snack, Sugar was a creepy porcelain doll, Spice was a murder porcelain doll while Amethyst gave Gaga getting stabbed on stage and bleeding out while Aura was glam as she bled out from an exposed back allusion.

Luxx, Malaysia, Anetra, Robin, Salina, Sasha, Jax and Amethyst were sent to safety as Marcia received universal praise for her Tim Gunn and while Michelle loved her giving more make-up, Ru wanted her to give draggier looks. Mistress received praise for the runway and for bringing fun to Snatch Game while Loosey rightly was named one of the best Snatches of all time and praised for looking perfect on the runway. Sugar meanwhile was read for being disruptive on the panel, while Spice was read for giving chaos only and despite having a stunning runway, Aura’s Snatch Game was read for being rigid and directionless.

Backstage Amethyst was far and away the happiest to be safe, finally ending her string of bottoms while Jax was desperate for another dance challenge to get back to the top. Amethyst then suggested the producers will be pulling the trigger on the Sugar and Spice lip sync, before the girls talked about the importance of getting the vibe and flow of Snatch Game right. Malaysia started to break down, shocked to have not been in the bottom and desperate to end her string of safety. The tops and bottoms joined the dolls with Mistress acting as the spokesperson, praising Loosey for being perfection while sharing that she and Marcia were also in the top. After Marcia suggested she was in second place, Mistress obviously took issue leading to a fight between the dolls. Because apparently being second place is now very important.

Focused turned to the bottoms with Aura expecting to be lip syncing while Sugar and Spice felt like they would be going in together as the judges have had enough of them. They then threatened to exit together should one be eliminated, leading to their sisters desperately trying to talk them out of it and get them to see they could flourish solo. Sugar then spoke about how they have experienced a lot of trauma growing up and how the exclusion made them even closer. As Spice exited in tears, Sugar opened up about how they were pushed out of their family leading to the dolls rallying around the twins and assuring them they are loved and have a family in them. Meanwhile Amethyst and Robin were looking after Spice and desperately assuring her that they will look after her if she is the one to stay.

Oh and then poor Amandla entered the super emotional Werk Room and praised the dolls for being stars and ugh, she is so damn sweet.

Obviously Loosey took out victory as Marcia and Mistress were sent to safety before Aura narrowly joined them, giving us what the producers wanted as soon as they were cast – a twins only lip sync. Once Pat Benetar’s You Better Run kicked off it was clear the dolls came prepared with duo choreography for every song as they gave matching moves and complimentary gags and while both were silly, entertaining and hit every lyric, Sugar‘s choreography was all about falling over and as such, she tragically found herself falling out of the competition. See what I did there?

Backstage I pulled sweet Sugar – no pun intended, surprisingly – for a massive hug and assured her that she should be nothing but proud of herself. While she was obviously disappointed to be out so soon, I reminded her that her placement in the show isn’t a reflection of her talent and TBH, she will always be remembered as one half of the twins. And as she went home early, she will likely become a robbed goddess particularly since she was so damn sweet and you can’t help but love her. As such, she was confident and ready to take on the world solo for a little bit thanks to a big bowl of Sugared Nuts.

While these are conveniently called sugared nuts, they obviously also have a little bit of spice added to kick the flavours up a notch. Earthy, sweet and oh so delicious, this slight tweak on Nigella’s edible gift is the perfect way to spread cheer and good will or just turn a mood around.

Enjoy!

Sugared Nuts
Makes: 4 cups.

Ingredients
1 cup walnuts
1 cup cashews
1 cup pistachios
1 cup macadamias
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp kosher salt

Method
Put a large frying pan over medium heat and line a baking sheet.

Pop the nuts in the warm pan and toss for a few minutes – not like that – until starting to warm and get lightly toasted. Add the garam masala, celery salt and chilli flakes and toads to coat.

Add the oil, sugar and rosemary, and gently stir with a spatula to coat until the sugar is melted and everything is rich and dark but not burnt. Pour onto the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the kosher salt and leave to set for about half an hour before packaging. Or you know, serving and immediately devouring.


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Vanitonne Milan

Bread, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.

After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.

Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.

Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.

As. She. Should.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.

They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.

The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.

Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.

Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).

The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.

Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.

After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.

Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.

Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup warm milk
7g dried yeast
150g raw caster sugar
250g butter, softened
5 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp kosher salt
80g raisins
80g sultanas
3 tbsp rum
100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped

Method
Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.

In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.

Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.

Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.

Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.


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Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche

Breakfast, Pie, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.

While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.

As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.

Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.

The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved
1 sweet potato, diced
1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
8 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to season
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
tomato relish, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.

Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.

Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.


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Dannaan Beard

Bread, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK 12 new dolls arrived in the UK Werk Room to battle it out for Ru’s love and attention. And when they get it, in the form of four badges, promptly lose the competition for being too good. But before we get there, Ru – and for one tragic week, Michelle – had to make some cuts with Just May sadly becoming the Gothy of the season despite being so damn sweet. She was followed out the door by the fashion queen of the season Starlet.

When the dolls formed duos, poor Copper came up short – rather than say, on top – before Sminty sad-twerked her way out of the competition and straight into our hearts, the history books and likely, an All Stars season. The pressures of the competition became too much for Baby who exited the competition to look after her mental health before Le Fil was too Polite for Snatch Game.

It was at that point that Ru chucked a sickie, leaving Michelle in charge who sadly cut the iconic Dakota for being too on brand. After Peppa and Jonbers both saved themselves from elimination with a killer lip sync, the top five put on a roast where comedy queen Pixie shockingly stumbled and landed in fifth.

The top four faced off in the traditional rumix, kiki and performance combination and while the song was an absolute bop with every queen getting a moment to shine, Ru decreed that only two would be lip syncing for the crown, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa tied in third place.

With that the two four badge queens – begging the question, does the UK just require one person with four wins to lose and this is how they got around the tradition? – lip synced to the iconic Shirley Bassey’s This Is My Life. And like the aforementioned rumix, it was an absolute show. Like their runs on the show, both Cheddar and Danny were perfect from start to finish, leaning into who they are as performers and giving classic Drag Race. And while I feel this would have been the most deserving double crowning of all time, ultimately Ru settled on one, crowning Danny Beard as the UK’s Next Drag Superstar and leaving the iconic Cheddar as the runner-up.

While I would have loved to see a double crowning, that in no way means I am any less excited about Danny’s victory. From start to finish she ran a near perfect race, never really faltering and always being a front runner. Plus, she is so damn charismatic and charming, you just know she is going to take the title and run with it to build an even bigger and better career because honestly, she is a born performer. As such, join me in toasting our newest queen with a piping hot Dannaan Beard.

My favourite thing about Indian food is probably a naan and while Spinach and Cheese – dedicated to another winner, begging the question is this the anti-Pizza – is my fave, there is something so damn perfect about garlic. Soft, pillowy and lightly flavoured, it paris perfectly with any curry. Or just as a solo snack, TBH.

Enjoy!

Dannaan Beard
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
450g flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
7g dried yeast
⅓ cup lukewarm milk
2 tbsp yoghurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp nigella seeds
garlic butter, to serve (optional)

Method
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and let it set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast and leave to get all foamy and glorious for 10 minutes or so. Once it smells like a brewery, whisk in the milk, yoghurt and oil.

Using the hook attachment, fold in the flour, garlic and seeds by hand until combined. Pop the attachment into the mixer and knead for a couple of minutes, or until smooth. Remove and transfer to a greased bowl to rest for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size. Punch back the dough and divide into 8 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, oil each ball and using a rolling pin, roll out to form a nice thin naan shape. Place in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat the process. Brush with a little garlic butter – optional, but advised – and then devour, victoriously!


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Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade

Breakfast, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with their final, epic challenge for the crown. Writing and recording verses on a Ruple mega mix and performing it live on the mainstage alongside their fallen sisters Just May, Starlet, Copper – yep, it’s happening – Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie. After a cheeky kiki with Ru and Michelle, obvi. Despite all four of the dolls killing the final challenge and serving stunning looks on the runway, the judges decided the final lip sync would be a two horse race and as such, kept Danny and Cheddar to fight for the crown and eliminated Jonbers alongside the iconic, lip sync assassin Peppa.

While I was heartbroken to miss out on one final lip sync from Peppa, I understand why the judges kept the final two around given their track records were so evenly matched. That being said, it didn’t make losing Peppa any easier.

Peppa exploded out of the gate in the very first episode, giving an iconic entry, an artistic photoshoot and perfection on the runway. And while she landed in the bottom a couple of times, she was never really bad, leading me to question whether Ru just wanted to see her turn out another show just like Alan and myself.

After shooing Jonbers away to finish off his pity burger, I pulled Peppa in for a hug and thanked her for not just being an icon, but also for gracing us with her presence. Because that honestly feels like the only appropriate way to react to seeing her perform. As such we laughed, held each other tight and toasted her run with a piping hot Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade.

This little basque brunch number almost is almost the personification of Peppa herself, a little bit fiery with surprises dotted throughout – pancetta, in this case – and ultimately a positively lovely way to spend your time. Though instead of watching her perform, you eat.

Enjoy!

Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil
200g pancetta, cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
800g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs
¼ cup basil leaves, shredded
crusty bread, to serve

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a deep frying pan or dutch oven and cook the pancetta and onion for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the pancetta crisp. Add the capsicums, tinned tomato and tomato paste with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has started to reduce slightly.

Make 4 wells in the stew and crack an egg in each. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. Sprinkle the basil over the top and serve immediately. Before devouring alongside a tonne of bread, because duh!


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Noelle Lambertshranger

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was carved back into two for the now-annual split tribe double tribal round. And as we’ve come to learn, chaos well and truly ensued. Over at the losing group Queen Noelle led the charge against James, playing her Steal a Vote on Owen to lull him into a false sense of security before brutally blindsiding him from the game. Over at the winning group, Cassidy and Ryan’s feud came to a head with the former finally coming out on top, blindsiding him from the game with a full bag – and pair of pants – of seafood to boot.

Back at camp emotions were mixed as the groups came together and though Karla was meant to be out of the loop on the James plan, she was glad Sami told her about it. Obviously though, she was nervous. Cassidy meanwhile was thrilled to outplay her nemesis Ryan, particularly when he was still actively targeting her. Jesse on the other hand was feeling super powerful, knowing where all the advantages are and being super well connected with literally everyone in the tribe. Begging the question, is this the pride that comes before a fall or a strong thing to point out for a winner?

My love Jeffrey returned early in the episode for the latest reward challenge where they would each stand in a frame and spin around to wind in a buoy before racing over a cargo net and over a balance beam to collect a sandbag,  untying knots and tossing said sack on a pole. For an epic feast and luxury overnight reward. So yeah, it was a big one. Owen got out to an early lead, followed by Noelle, Cody, Sami and Karla. Eventually everyone made it to the balance beam which is where things got a little hard to watch as Noelle struggled due to her leg. While everyone started tossing their bag however, Noelle persevered as she fought through tears and the suction on her leg giving out before she finally arrived at the end of the challenge and straight up won on her second toss.

Like the damn queen that she is. I mean, oh my god she is amazing.

Everyone rallied around to congratulate her on such an epic come from behind victory before she opened up about how hard she tried and how losing her leg ultimately made her the resilient person she is (and I could only wish to be). Probst then dropped the bomb that in addition to food and a bed, she would also be getting letters from home and she’d be able to take two people to join her. After selecting Sami and Jesse, Jeffrey gave her one more, ultimately selecting Owen, perfectly splitting the tribe in two to no doubt cause some chaos.

At reward the foursome were well and truly thrilled as they sat down to smash the feast before they took time for a little bit of love from home. Owen sobbed, Jesse was brought back to being in juvenile detention and reminded of how far he has come in life and yep, it only took two people to have me crying like a baby. Noelle’s mum was an icon, sharing she was checking the weather and sending good vibes, while Sami’s dad had given up some food in his honour. After bonding over the love, Sami turned the conversation back to the game and suggested getting rid of Cassidy as soon as possible given she is allegedly a flipper. And while Noelle was more concerned about Sami being a flipper, she was onboard with Owen’s plan to split the vote on Karla and Cassidy and for the reward group to take control of the game with Gabler and Cody.

Back at camp the losers were far less energetic and jubilant as they ate a sad coconut over the fire. Not wanting to be left out of the fun chats they were having on reward, Cody tried to get people focused on the game and spoke about how untrustworthy Sami is. Cassidy took him for a walk and the duo spoke about instead targeting Noelle, given she is going from strength to strength in the game and as such, needs to be stopped in her tracks. Cassidy moved over to Gabler and Karla with them equally keen to get rid of Noelle. Though Gabler, TBH, was more excited about the fact he is the one with all the options.

The two groups came together to meet Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to balance a platform with a rope and build a house of cards first. Or, you know, the one to have it highest after a certain amount of time. Noelle and Karla quickly dropped as they found the rhythm of the challenge, followed by literally everyone multiple damn times. And as hilarious as it is to watch the supercut, I’m guessing it isn’t fun to read, so I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Cassidy won. Well, eventually, after almost winning multiple times before she finally put everyone out of their misery.

Back at camp Noelle was nervous about what to do now that they can’t split the vote, which only got worse when Gabler confirmed that the other women were going for her and tried to flip Cody. Speaking of Cody, he and Jesse caught up about what happened while the tribe was split and while he was grateful to Noelle for giving him the love from home, Jesse also knew she was a threat. And well, the letter reminded him why he is here, and as such, the duo locked in the vote against her. 

Jesse meanwhile was nervous about it all falling apart, so told her the plan was still to get rid of Karla but that they would now split the votes on Sami. He then got busy throwing Sami under the bus by telling Noelle he is going for her on the split. Lastly he went to Karla to lock her in and while she was nervous about it coming together, he approached Gabler to lock in an outright majority to get rid of Noelle. Wisely though, Gabler knew it would be dangerous to burn Owen and Sami so close to the end, leading to Jesse dominating by calmly outlining just how threatening Noelle is. He then looped back to Cody to fill him in, while Gabler approached Karla to assure her that he will be voting Noelle to save her. And then target Jesse and Cody next, given they are clearly the power couple.

At tribal council Noelle spoke about how proud she is to overcome the challenge and prove to other people with a disability that they can do anything. Jesse pivoted to the reward, talking about how grateful he was to hear from home despite his ugly crying now going to be shown on TV. Gabler meanwhile alluded to a shake up, while Noelle admitted it was tough to navigate amongst the confusion while Owen was hopeful that relying on trust would pull him through again. Jesse agreed that trust is the currency, though shared that confirming whether it is real is the hardest part of the game. While Cody was more concerned about timing, given the contents of the conversations change minute by minute and as such, you can never tell whether you’re in power. 

Sami agreed and admitted none of them really know what will happen until they vote. Oh and then Gabler spoke about being snipers, while Karla was hoping to catch people out before it happens. Noelle acknowledged the fact there are still idols in play and as such, they have to play a quiet, sneaky game before Jesse reiterated what his son said, which was to get that money. With that the tribe voted and Karla wisely held on to her idol as the plan came together and Queen Noelle was tragically booted from the game.

Noelle followed the sound of my rage cries to Ponderosa where we pulled each other in for a massive hug. As a fellow famed athlete, I obviously met Noelle while a college athlete and we became the firmest of friends. And while I obviously gave it up due to scandal and laziness, we kept in contact, so I was thrilled to be able to be there to celebrate her killer game post-boot. And commence plotting how she will win her inevitable All Stars season over a piping hot Noelle Lambertshranger.

While a bushranger isn’t exactly a famed pastry dish, I spotted it in a local butcher and immediately knew I had to try my hand at a little copycat version. The rich, earthy lamb works perfectly with the mustard and SOMETHING ELSE to give you a light, hearty dish that will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Noelle Lambertshranger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 small boneless lamb steaks, flattened to about 1cm thick
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add in the garlic and cook it off for about a minute before stirring in the mustard, red wine, most of the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for another couple of minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens and becomea little claggy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To assemble the bushrangers, place the steaks on a board and divide the mixture amongst them to form a line across the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters and place the lamb parcel on one side. Brush the edges and cover with another piece of pastry, getting as creative as you like with crimping of using offcuts to decorate. 

Brush the parcels with egg, sprinkle with the leftover rosemary and transfer to the oven to backe for 20-3 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with either a creamy mash or a fresh salad, then devour. Like a Queen.


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Ryan Wedgranos

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.

But first, let’s take a little step back.

We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.

Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!

At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.

Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.

After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.

You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Ryan Wedgranos
Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.

Ingredients
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.

Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.

Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Dwight Moorshroom Gravy

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the three tribes came together for not the merge, but the now traditional non-merge-but-earn-your-place-in-the-real-one-a-palooza. Now, thankfully, gloriously hourglass free. After Elie, Owen and Sami were left vulnerable, the Baka’s worked overtime to put the target on Cassidy or James. Though obviously told them to target Cody. Sadly as hard as they worked to get rid of anyone else, Gabler decided to air their dirty laundry at the merge feast and outed Elie for going through his bag earlier in the season (when it was in fact Jeanine). And while she valiantly kicked it into overdrive to save herself, it was all it took to unite the rest of the group against Elie and boot her from the game as the final pre-merger.

Tragically, for my drama loving heart.

We returned to camp where the Gaia Tribe were reeling from what happened at tribal council, specifically Jeanine who was ready to rise from the ashes despite being left out. Noelle pulled her aside and assured her that despite what happened to her closest ally, she is still safe and if her experience with being left out of the Justine vote is anything to go by, it may actually help things. As such Jeanine went person to person, assuring them that there are no hard feelings and she is glad to lose her partner. Though in private, she still kinda just wanted to just cry.

The next day everyone ventured down to the beach for sunrise where Owen and Dwight quietly strategised about how to proceed, with Owen admitting he just doesn’t see himself working with Gabler any more given he is too unpredictable. Speaking of Gabler, he was busy talking to Cody about how chill he feels now that Elie is gone. He explained to us that he planned to continue playing like an ali-gabler. Aka duck back under water to chill until he next needs to strike.

Owen and Dwight continued their double act, collecting treemail which they thought was for art supplies to paint the tribe flag. Instead they learnt that the tribe would need to split into pairs for the upcoming challenge. And how those pairs were formed is completely up to them. While everyone obviously was desperate to get Ryan or Cody though, nobody outright said it and instead they decided to draw rocks.

We quickly pivoted to said epic challenge where Jeffrey confirmed it was for immunity and explained that the pairs would only be pairs for the first two stages of the challenge and after that, it was everyone for themselves. In the first stage, the pairs would race through a tangled net tube before digging up planks and a flag, with the first four back to their mat moving on. For stage two, they would race up a cargo net and cross a rope bridge and race to a mat with the last two pairs moving forward to the final stage, where they would each have to hold a bucket containing 25% of their starting weight. Last one holding the bucket jagging immunity.

Ryan and James were first through their tube followed by Karla and Cassidy. After Ryan and James moved on to the final round, Owen and Gabler and Cody and Dwight joined them, while Karla and Cassidy secured their spot in the next round with the other duos making it to the end as Noelle and Sami, and Jesse and Jeanine were eliminated without even exiting the tube. Before moving on to a new round, Probst gave a speech praising how hard Noelle fought in the challenge and while she was down on herself, seeing Sami and the rest of the tribe rally around her was heartwarming.

We then did a hard pivot as Probst set the second round in motion as Dwight and Cody blitzed through the competition and secured their place in the final round before Owen and Gabler narrowly joined them as the Coco duos dropped as they tried to rush to the finish. The four men took their place holding the buckets for the final round. Almost instantly Dwight dropped out as the other trio shared what was inspiring them before Owen lost concentration and dropped his bucket. Oh and then after 37 minutes of Gabler dedicating minutes to random people – which was far sweeter than I just made it sound – Cody put us out of our misery as he dropped his bucket and handed immunity to Gabler.

Back at camp Gabler opened up how much the veteran community means to him while the rest of the tribe washed the mud of themselves. In the water everyone started scrambling with the Baka and Vesi crew looking to stick together to get rid of James or Ryan. That is until James, Dwight, Owen and Sami went to get water and found a clue in the well, telling them an advantage was hidden under the shelter. While James assured them he wouldn’t take it until after tribal council, he obviously made a beeline for it. Dwight then went and looped Noelle in, who in turn went and told everyone about the advantage, rallying the troops against James.

Jesse and Karla meanwhile were spooked by how quickly Noelle was able to get everyone on side and as such, wanted to weaken her. When Jesse approached Cody about getting rid of Noelle, Cody suggested that getting rid of Dwight would be the better option, given Dwight is better at challenges and has always been sketchy to him. James meanwhile learnt that he had found the Knowledge Is Power advantage, fresh from Geo’s pocket. And rather than keep things quiet, he thought it could help build trust with people and as such, told his potential allies. Who were immediately spooked and started trading out idols and advantages so that he couldn’t snatch them. Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight, Owen scored Noelle’s extra vote and Jesse ended up in possession of Cody’s idol. Meaning everyone was nervous and mildly confused by the end of the day.

At tribal council Karla spoke about how reflective the immunity challenge was of the game, while Jesse felt like today truly levelled up the competition. Dwight spoke about how everyone has kicked in to playing their own game while Noelle felt like they needed a steady stream of plans to make sure they and their allies survive. James spoke about how advantages are only useful when played correctly and as such, people needed to spend less time focussing on them and, instead, just play the game. Cody spoke about surfing at Probst’s request, while most people admitted they were feeling confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Except for Sami who knew that there was always a risk and as such, they just needed to all play balls to the wall. Basically.

With that the tribe voted and despite a solid 7 out of 10 he was sure he was on the right side of the numbers, Dwight was shocked to be voted out of the game. With Jeanine’s idol in his pocket, no less! Despite being crushingly blindsided as the final pre-juror, Dwight was in pretty good form and took his boot like an absolute champion. While he played a low-key game – at least in the edit, given he was on a tribe with Cody – it was clear he was a strong contender, having relationships across all the OG tribes and dare I say it, should he had survived the vote, had what it takes to go all the way. And given that was a super upbeat and nice assessment from me, he was feeling pretty happy with himself and as such, gladly drank a jug of Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to toast his success.

The earthy nuttiness of the mushroom and the punch of wine work perfectly with the cream to form a warm, soulful gravy. Pop it with chicken, steak or maybe even something coming up later this season, and you’re alway left with the same result. An empty plate and a happy belly.

Enjoy!

Dwight Moorshroom Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
⅔ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute for five minutes or until golden, soft and the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and leave to bubble up, cooking till it’s almost all absorbed before stirring in the cream. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes until it slightly thickens before seasoning to taste, alongside the parsley.

Then devour, either pour onto a protein or into a glass. No judgement.


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