The Vivikorean Fire Pockets

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Winners the dolls were challenged with creating viral TikTok dances to sell their brand. Before that star-rich Trinity joked about wanting another star to poor single-starred Shea and Monet. While the last girl without being blocked Raja just desperately wanted to join the club. While everyone was strong in selling themselves and their brand, it was Jinkx with the least dance moves that stole the show as she hilariously made a sandwich. After following Ru’s Monet shone brightly, while Yvie gave moves that will totally be going viral. And obviously Raja was an icon. Because she is. Ultimately though it was Jinkx and Monet that landed in the top before they slayed the iconic spoken word lip sync from Designing Women. Monet’s usual schtick was enough to snatch the win over her sister before she gladly blocked an equally happy Raja.

Backstage the dolls were living their best lives, none more so than Monet who was just excited to finally have another star. And ever the competitive optimist, now she was looking to finish with the most. The Viv was proud of her sisters for serving spoken word, with Trinity more jealous that she couldn’t participate rather than not jagging a win. Talk turned to how Raja would take the fact there is no plunger secret, which obviously cued her entry. And damn was she hilarious as she entered pissed, frustrated and so cute as she called them all cunts. I feel like a broken record, but the moment was iconic. Trinity then pointed out that Jinkx and Jaida are now in front with three stars each before congratulating Jinkx on winning 4 mother tucking challenges. Shea and Monet meanwhile were talking about their uphill battle to make it to the end before Jinkx sweetly dropped by and told them that if anyone could win the last two challenges and make it, it is Shea.

And Monet, which obviously made Shea feel less special.

The next day Kennedy Davenport hijacked Rumail to announce that the Kennedy Davenport Center Honors nominees were about to be named. Which was all explained when Ru arrived, as for this week’s Maxi Challenge they were all tasked with roasting their fellow nominees – or sisters – in honour of the iconic Kennedy Davenport. In front of Ronan Farrow, no less. More importantly, the order would be decided by fate as the pit crew arrived for a little mini challenge where the queens would have to pop a balloon against one of the zaddies bums. With the colour of the confetti in their balloon deciding their position. In the challenge, obviously.

Jaida topped her way to 7th place, Trinity thrust into 5th, Jinkx struggled her way into 4th – insert they’re all bottoms joke here – Monet quickly fucked into 6th, Yvie jagged 2nd, Shea busted into 3rd, while Raja brought sexy back before dominating her man into first. Leaving The Viv to close the show without even needing to pop her cherry. Though bless, she was still allowed.

After everyone had a cigarette and calmed down, they split up to work on their sets with Jinkx confident to be playing within her wheelhouse. Though kindly asked her sisters if there was anything off limits she should avoid. Jinkx admitted she was struggling to write for The Viv, while The Viv was more concerned about her jokes getting lost in translation. Shea, Trinity, Yvie and Jaida caught up, with Shea scared about getting enough stars by the finale, while Jaida and Yvie were terrified about popping their roast cherries. Though Yvie was ready to do her best. Jinkx and Monet joined the fray, with the latter reminding everyone she won the All Stars roast. And that Trinity lost. Badly. She meanwhile was nervous about overcoming one of her weaknesses, with Jinkx offering to pay her back for her design challenge kindnesses and help her out in any way possible.

Shea was first to run through her set with Ross and Solomon Georgio and was so damn charming. While Jaida just tried to flatter her way through it all, Monet was in her element, Raja was cruel and totally silly and I love it. The Vivienne unwisely looked to be reading Ru, while Jinkx was having the time of her life. Trinity slowly started to get out of her head and power through the nerves, while Yvie was just being Yvie. In the highest of all compliments.

Performance Day arrived as everyone split up to beat their mugs, with Yvie ready to be read though unsure what people will be able to find to say about her. Monet meanwhile wanted everyone to go in on her, hard, while Shea was just terrified given if she doesn’t win this challenge, it is highly unlikely she has a path to get to the end. Monet and Trinity meanwhile pulled themselves aside to strategise who to block and while they thought they were being super subtle, everyone knew what was up. And well, Jinkx was thrilled to call them out about it. Again. Raja and Yvie meanwhile wanted to catch their way up, while Jinkx grew panicked about potentially being blocked tonight, given it could cost her making it to the end. And she really wants to beat her competition bestie Monet in the end.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by Ronan Farrow on the judges panel as the dolls made their way to the stage to open the Kennedy Davenport Center Honors Hall of Shade. Where icon Peppermint’s daughter Wintergreen gave the introductory address, a monologue delivered by Kennedy herself during her runs on the show. Which was everything. Raja opened the show and as usual, she was absolutely delightful and living her best life, as she just straight up vibed. Yvie went low and was oh so good and Shea was stunning as she charmingly destroyed her sisters before Jinkx absolutely dominated from start to finish, weaving big dicks and incest into an epic set. I mean, that timing! Trinity meanwhile did a killer job with zinger after zinger before Monet read her for filth for it, and then eviscerated all of her sisters. And it was so damn good. Jaida was cute and charming, despite her nerves. Well, until she just started reading herself, then she was gold. Before The Viv closed the show in brutal fashion. And it was perfect.

On the All Glowed Up runway Raja was stunning as an iridescent butterfly, Yvie was perfection as an illuminated mushroom patch, Shea was a gorgeously shimmering sunflower and Jinkx was a gloriously burning witch and ugh, it was amazing. Trinity was a neon carnival delight, Monet served sexy solar system realness, Jaida was a beautiful mermaid, though after dark, before The Vivienne closed the show as a gorgeous rainbow angel.

Before critiquing the dolls, Ru announced that this week the rules would be changing and nobody would be getting blocked. Since they want everyone on a level playing field for the final challenge. More importantly, the judges lived for how mean Raja was in the roast and for looking architectural and stunning on the runway. Yvie received praise for sticking to her vibe and serving a gorgeous runway. Shea meanwhile received universal praise for her stunning runway and for bringing power to her roast. Jinkx was obviously universally beloved, even though the judges had epically high expectations for her. Oh and they lived for her concept on the runway. Trinity too was universally beloved, from the roast to the runway and well, this was redemption. The judges lived for everything Monet gave them in the roast and for serving something classy and creative on the runway. While Jaida was clearly nervous in the challenge, they lived for how she powered through but more importantly, they thought her runway was absolutely perfect. Oh and the obviously adored The Viv for being dominant in every facet of the week.

Backstage Trinity was thrilled to finally deliver in a roast on the show while Wintergreen straight up shot the show in drag. Until the girls convinced her to join them for a kiki, and encouraged her to take Wintergreen out on the road. Wintergreen in turn praised the girls for all that they do and how hard they work. Everyone donned their dressing gowns, grateful to be out of the runways given they were so uncomfortable. Yvie thanked everyone for being such killer artists and making them all better. Everyone praised Trinity for finally turning things around, while she pointed out that everyone is great. Particularly Shea, who didn’t even have notes. Shea in turn pointed out that while she is last place when it comes to stars, she has had such a fun journey with everyone that it doesn’t even matter to her.

Ronan Farrow then dropped by and well, I want his suit so badly. It was killer. As was Jinkx wanting to bone him. So badly.

Ultimately it was Jinkx and Trinity that landed in the top before battling it out to Ava Max’s Kings & Queens. And well, Jinkx was a camp and poppy delight and it was oh so unexpected, I lived for every damn minute out it. Trinity was obviously on point with the comedy and all the lyrics, but there was no taking your eyes off Jinkx. I mean, she even did a damn cartwheel. Almost. Which proved to be enough to give her the ultimate win and net her another $10K.

Given how well she did in the challenge, it was kind of awkward to pull The Vivienne aside for some commiserations. Given she did THAT. That being said, she was disappointed to not land in the top, though the sight of her favourite scouser – me – made her feel so much better. I reminded her that like Raja, Shea and Monet before her, the number of wins and stars really don’t matter, given she has been so damn strong all season. I mean, the level of talent has been insane and The Vivienne has been the one to shine brightest. Which gave me the perfect excuse to reward her fire with equally fiery The Vivikorean Fire Pockets.

Another Brendan Pang number from Masterchef, these barely tweaked delights are the ultimate snack. Earthy, sweet and oh-so-spicy, they are the perfect snack for a cold rainy day or with an ice cold beer in the sweltering heat. So, like, whenever, I guess?

Enjoy!

The Vivikorean Fire Pockets
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup water
salt, to taste
500g chicken mince
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp Korean chilli flakes
½ tbsp minced ginger
½ tsp raw caster sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
1 cup grated vintage cheddar
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour and water in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, mixing with a fork until it has all come together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until nice and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.

Pop the chicken, shallots, garlic, gochujang, soy, vinegar, pepper, chilli, ginger, sugar and sesame oil in a larger bowl and scrunch with your hand until well combined.

Divide the dough into 8 portions and working one at a time, roll them out into a 20cm round. Place a couple of tablespoons of filling into the centre and top with a tablespoon of cheese. Working with your index finger and thumb, fold the dough towards the centre on top to enclose, pleating as you go until sealed. Place on a lined plate or baking sheet and repeat the process until done.

When it comes time to cook, heat a couple of tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once nice and hot, place half the pockets in, pleated side down, and cook for about five minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and repeat the process for another five minutes. Transfer to a lined plate and add a little extra cheese to gently melt over the pleats and repeat the process with the remaining pockets.

Then obviously, serve immediately with a drizzle of Korean chilli oil. Before devouring. Greedily.


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Three Cheese Calzonét X Change

Main, Pizza, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Winners Jinkx explained she blocked Viv for being on an upward trajectory and hoped to stop her dead in her tracks. She then handed her extra star over to Jaida, while Raja gave the universe balance as she handed hers over to Yvie. For the Maxi Challenge, the dolls performed in a Y2K Girl Groups challenge, with The Viv bringing the drama when Raja, Monet, Shea and Trinity formed their own group and left everyone else to form the other. That is until they came up with a killer, challenge winning concept and absolutely destroyed the performance. After everyone gave their best Dolly on the runway, Viv and Yvie landed in the top two and after turning an epic show, Viv won the lip sync and then promptly blocked Jinkx for the second time.

Backstage Yvie was feeling her oats after going from 0 to 2 stars in the span of an episode and now being a front runner, while Raja kindly pointed out that she is now also first in line to get blocked. Jinkx then came in here lookin’ like that – thanks Monet – and admitted she is feeling a little bit pressed by being blocked for the second time, particularly since she and The Viv were on the same team. The Vivienne rightly explained that she was just as pissed to miss out on her second star – which Jinkx pointed out happened to her and Trinity already – though Jinkx is truly the frontrunner and as such, she is content with her choice. And well, Jinkx admitted she is glad to be leading the way through the competition with another first to her name.

Like an icon.

Things were far more chill the next day, while Monet was feeling disappointed to be away from her home AND gorgeous cat Colleen. She and Shea were also missing being in the top, but well, maybe this week will be their time? Conveniently Ru returned to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be designing a signature look inspired by one of Ru and Zaldy’s eight favourite looks. As the winner of last week’s challenge, The Vivienne was first to pick her look going for the Despy’s Ru, Trinity then picked the Season 8 promo, Monet selected The Facekini look, Shea snatched the Sugar Ball look, Jaida then went with the Divas tribute to Diana Ross before Yvie jagged Supermodel of the World – which Raja desperately wanted – while Jinkx got the Down Under promo look. Meaning poor Raja was stuck with the Born Naked promo look. Which she promised to devour all the same.

Everyone split up to start designing their looks with Trinity confident in her peplum gown choices, while Raja just marvelled at how quickly she can pull together concepts and then execute them. And as such, she tried to make her second guess herself because, sabotage. Like a damn icon. Jaida meanwhile was feeling golden and looking forward to jagging her third star and overtaking Jinkx and Yvie as the sole frontrunner. As Raja was ripping her fabric, she was delighting Shea with the ASMR of it all. And you know, the fire in her butt. Yvie was feeling a little lost, while Jaida spun in circles and got dizzy – for real. Jinkx joked about The Vivienne making a bad choice by blocking her rather than one of the sewers, though was hopeful to improve on her last outfit and finally make something that she would like to wear. And well, she may not get a star but she would love the chance to revenge block The Vivienne. Monet too was unhappy about yet another design challenge, which, relatable.

Ru dropped by to kiki with the girls, talking through their looks with Yvie joking about being born the year Supermodel of the World was released, so was glad she got to jag it. And well, her plan to make massive pants on the way to literally flipping the outfit to become Supermodel of the Underworld is inspired. Just like her sister Willow. Monet admitted she picked her inspo because it was the episode she first lip synced in the competition. Oh and she was going to go the club kid route, complete with hats. And well, this could be interesting. Shea was going to be making a print on the fabric from scratch – wild – while Raja was disappointed to not get her first choice, though she was happy with the one she got and was ready to go full roped, white Mad Max. 

As Ru left, Yvie continued to work on her pants and started to worry about her lack of speed when it comes to sewing. Monet meanwhile was worried about how big her head was, along with her fundamental lack of atelier skills. On the flipside, Jinkx was looking forward to breaking her curse and making something nice. Until she tried to put it on and realised she glued the fabric to the bodysuit at its smallest size and had to start over. But well, Jinkx’s high on glue hysteria was a delight and I could watch this on a loop, TBH. Yvie meanwhile absolutely killed her pants, as Shea looked around and realised that she is far and away the furthest behind the pack. And needed to hurry.

Runway Day arrived with Jinkx feeling good about her designed look, while Trinity was living for Jaida’s design. As The Viv beat her mug, Trinity slid on over to help Shea finish her outfit before jumping over and finishing Monet’s and hot damn, is she the Miss Congeniality? Raja’s look meanwhile was a white delight and she was absolutely living for it and did not give a shit what anyone else thought about it. Which is good, because the Twinners were not vibing with it. Talk then turned to who they think they should block, with Trinity leaning towards Yvie despite Monet more than willing to block Jinkx again. Jaida and Yvie meanwhile knew they had massive targets on their back for a blocking, with Jaida hoping to top two her way to safety. Though given Trinity literally works down to the wire making more and more perfection, she is clearly going to have a fight on her hands.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by the iconic Betsey Johnson on the judging panel as the dolls debuted their legendary Legendary Legends Looks with Yvie looking straight up perfect in her orange pants complete with pink bodice and ALL the ruffles. The Viv served drama in her sexy golden gown, Shea was vintage glamour for a Sunday drive in her pink cheetah look. Trinity served a full on dramatic gown and well, it was stunning and the fact she made that in a day is just wild. Raja was punk perfection, while Jinkx actually delivered a full on gorgeous saloon girl look before Jaida stole the damn show in a golden showgirl, disco look. And well, Monet served a Pollack masked bodysuit. And it was GOOD.

The judges lived for how Yvie managed to distil Ru through her aesthetic and for making such polished pants. And obviously Betsey loved her chaotic vibe. The Vivienne received universal praise for her mug and for adding so many beautiful details to the look. Betsey loved Shea turning Ru’s look rocker and for bringing all the fun to the runway. Before Shea thanked Trinity for helping her finish the outfit. Speaking of Trinity, the judges loved literally every thing she served on the runway this week. And for the fact she made it in the workroom. In a day. Raja’s look was praised for giving something completely different and still looking perfect. Jinkx was rightly praised for serving such a polished look before Jaida far and away stole the judges hearts. From the cut, to the vibe and all the polish, she is far and away their number one this week. And it’s what she deserves. And Monet was also beloved, for being a clash of dumb and beautiful and damn am I proud of her and Jinkx this week!

Backstage everyone was feeling confident in their performance before Raja admitted to shoplifting from Betsey Johnson’s store when she was a kid. Everyone praised Shea’s mug and lived for The Vivienne, before Trinity admitted she wasn’t sure about Raja’s look though admitted the end product took her breath away. Jaida meanwhile praised Trinity for helping all of the girls get their looks over the line, which allowed Trinity to open up about feeling how close they all are and that she just wants everyone to shine. And well, everyone has been helpful throughout the competition. Talk turned to who will be joining Jaida in the top, with everyone thinking it is Trinity’s to lose before Raja wisely asked everyone to talk about their track records. Painting a target on Jaida and Yvie’s back for having multiple stars and no blocks, keeping the heat off herself like a wise doll. Trinity asked what everyone’s strategy is with blocking, with everyone honestly super confused about which way to go.

Jaida turned the conversation to who is everyone’s biggest competition, identifying Trinity, The Viv and Jinkx as the frontrunners, with Trinity countering Jaida and Yvie are now frontrunners and having that late breaking momentum is always a good thing. She then furthered things by pointing out Shea, Monet and Raja have probably been the most consistent competitors however, and honestly could have been the top any week. Talk turned to their most iconic looks in her first season with Trinity living for her Club Kid look AND the fact she couldn’t even blink because she glued her eyes. Jaida loved her Stars and Stripes and Jinkx’s fave was her roast look.

Oh and then Betsey Johnson arrived and admitted she hurt her ankle doing a split on the mainstage and officially joined the Eureka, Victoria, Kornbread club! Proving it is a club for icons only.

Ultimately it was Trinity that joined Jaida in the top and as soon as Jessie J’s I Want Love kicked off, they were both hungry for the outright win. Trinity was sexy and sultry, Jaida was bringing the drama and using every inch of the stage. Trinity started doing flips and splits, but when she literally bit Jaida’s arse, it was clear it was her win. And given she is being the congenial icon of the season, she stuck to her word and blocked the only other eligible 2-star holder, Yvie. Since giving Jinkx her third would be cruel.

Backstage Trinity was thrilled to finally grab a second star and pocket some cash, while Jinkx quickly pointed out that Jaida is the first person to make it to three stars. Which obviously made her remind Trinity and Jinkx that they too should have three too, if blocks weren’t a thing. Speaking of the blockages, Yvie arrived to find out why she got blocked with Trinity explaining that she just couldn’t block Jinkx again and as such, went with the only eligible person with two stars. YOU SEE, I was right. Talk turned to track records, with Monet, Viv and Shea terrified about how they will be able to get into the finals given there are only four more chances to win. While Monet and Shea were just feeling super awks given they started so strong and then kinda faded into the back. Which isn’t true, but I know what they mean.

The next day Raja continued to live her best life while Jinkx was just delightfully on her own planet. Before Monet could get dressed into black or white like the rest of the dolls, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be starring in the new hit movie Santa’s School for Girls. A mashup of Christmas movies, horror and Mean Girls. And since Trinity won, she would be assigning the roles. After Ru left, the dolls split up to read through the script with Trinity trying to play things fairly by giving everyone one of their options. Well, except for when Monet realised Jinkx would kill the role and stole it out from under her to effectively block her from her next star. Because Jinkx’s audition they were forced to do was WAY better than Monet.

Everyone split up to talk through their plans for the characters with Viv keen to go full Joan Crawford, while Raja was looking to tap into her kooky goth vibes and be disinterested, packed full of angst and ugh, I can’t wait to see it. Jaida and Yvie meanwhile were worried about going up against such talented actors, though Jaida did admit she could easily see a path to the finals for herself so doesn’t really care. Trinity braved up to talk to Jinkx and apologise for not giving her the role she wants, but given Jinkx is a damn star, she was ready to kill her dud anyway. And steal all of the spotlights.

The dolls joined Ru and Janicxa Bravo – writer and director of Zola – on set as Ru forced The Vivienne to break because she couldn’t stop herself from laughing. Which is always a good sign. Yvie, Jinkx and Trinity bounced off each other well, Monet was charming as hell, Jaida committed to every moment while Raja absolutely devoured the scenery as she relished in the bad girl persona. 

Runway Day arrived with everyone splitting up to act a fool before Shea suggested The Viv should use some new dance moves in the lip sync. Because she slayed and was totally in the top. Raja too was feeling her oats – and maybe pissing on herself – before Trinity reminded everyone that only two people have never been blocked, which obviously made Jaida point out that since she is probs in the top four anyway, why would they continue to block her since nothing will stop her. Which obviously led to everyone arguing all of the arguments to avoid being blocked. Oh and then Shea and Trinity reenacted victims in horror movies, which added nothing but was super fun.

Janicxa stuck around to join Ru, Michelle and Ross on the judges panel as the dolls stomped the Knitty Knitty Bang Bang runway. The Vivienne looked stunning in a plated wool gown which was just so stunning. Shea was bright, covered in rings and a coat and ugh, it was perfect. Yvie gave fiery hippie alien priestess, Jinkx was gorgeous with a golden old Marlene Dietrich inspired gown while Trinity was pretty in purple. Monet was so damn fun in a striped knitted street outfit while Jaida was so damn cute serving full Big Comfy Couch realness. Oh and then Raja stole the show giving golden warrior robot in a knitted gown. When it came to the challenge, having a director that cared in the form of Janicxa made all the difference, as it was high camp, high energy and killer. Though yeah, it was definitely The Viv, Raja and Trinity that stole the show. And Monet when she went full Brenda-in-Scary-Movie.

And the Pit Crew police officers obviously, who were a total swoon.

The judges loved everything the murderous Vivienne served in the scene, giving gravitas and madness in equal measure. And then she demolished the runway to boot. They loved Shea’s African tribal inspired runway and her perfection as the straight queen in the scene. Yvie’s wickedness delighted the judges, as did how great she looked on the runway. Jinkx received universal praise for bringing so much to the smallest role and for looking beautiful and selling the shit out of her runway. They lived for Trinity leaning into stupid in the challenge and being unexpected on the runway. Monet was praised for committing to each and everything she did in the challenge and the runway, giving light and shade of what she can offer. Jaida’s commitment was beloved, as was how perfect she looked on the runway before Raja was absolutely lavished in praise for every minute of every moment she delivered this week.

Backstage the dolls were boiling it up in their knitwear, talking about how uncomfortable doing drag can be. Everyone lived for how great Shea looked bald, while Yvie was grateful that The Viv taught her about this thing called blending. Talk turned to how great Janicxa was in directing the scene, and how much fun they had (and how good things turned out). Trinity pointed out that The Vivienne is definitely in the top after that performance, though was unsure who would be joining her given Monet, Raja and Shea were all so damn good. With Raja admitting that she would love to finally jag another win. They also all praised Jinkx for what she brought to the role she was given, since she really didn’t want it.

Oh and then they spoke about the perks of big and little butts. And the majesty of eating cakes. Which is always important.

Ultimately Raja and The Vivienne landed in the top two, facing off to Super Freak by Rick James. And while The Vivienne was fierce and gave us everything, this was far and away Raja’s show as she gave stupid fun, followed by some ridiculously camp air saxophone that even if Viv didn’t trip, she was jagging that $10k. After taking it victory, Raja then camped it up on the runway, living for every moment as she was drunk with power before she ultimately blocked Jaida. Complete the kiss of death. Which, I would gladly take from Raja, TBH.

As everyone was filling out to return to the work room, I pulled Monet aside and gave her a massive hug and told her to be patient, because she will finally jag another win soon. Because as the girls told her last week, she has been hanging around the top of the pack every week and her one star dinner truly doesn’t reflect how well she has done. With that she perked up and was glad to have her sister around for a brief kiki before smashing a Three Cheese Calzonét X Change and returning to the Werk Room with a fire in her belly. (Pizza curse be damned! Unless calzones don’t count?).

While pizza is all well and good, when given the option to turn one into a calzone, one should always take it. I mean, the outside gets super crispy while the inside delicately steams until it is molten hot and delicious. Particularly with the perfect three cheese blend and dough filled with spicy sausgae, like this.

Enjoy!

Three Cheese Calzonét X Change
Serves: 2 dear friends with healthy booties.

Ingredients
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 shallots, sliced
2 balls of dough as per the Pizsa Zsa Gabor recipe
flour, for dustin’
100g salami, sliced
Amber Marinara Sauce, for dippin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, basil and shallots in a bowl. Roll out the balls of dough on a lightly floured surface to form large discs and divide the cheese mixture between them, spreading them on one side of the circle, leaving a couple of centimetres around the edge. Top with salami and mushrooms, spinach and/or olives if you should desire before folding over and pressing the calzones shut, being careful to not leave much air in. Roll the edges to seal and transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the outside. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes before devouring, happily, with some Amber Marinara Sauce for dipping.


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Chicken Dianiel Strunk

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor despite blowing up his game at tribal council as he threw anyone and everyone under the bus, Daniel opted against apologising to his former allies. While they were all busy forming bonds with each other despite the fact they had just tried to vote each other out. Taku continued their winning streak before Ika narrowly lost the immunity challenge, leading to absolute chaos back at camp. Despite wanting to work together, both Tori and Swati busily tried to turn the tribe on the other. Then at tribal council, Swati played her Shot in the Dark and once again, it came up without safety and she found herself booted from the game. While a shocked Rocksroy looked ready to explode with rage.

Back at camp Tori was very grateful to still be in the game while Rocksroy tried to stay calm and find out what the hell changed between camp and tribal council to result in Swati going home. Romeo explained that she was busy playing both sides with Rocksroy appearing to be genuinely grateful to them for taking her out, while suggesting he can ride their social coattails through the game as a strong four. Which is something that Tori has zero interest in, instead looking to jump ship ASAP as she pulled faces about him in the dark.

The next day Maryanne was busy gloating about how great she is at Mario Kart at Taku, with her and Lindsay’s incessant conversation driving Jonathan absolutely mental as he desperately wished for a moment of peace and quiet. And well, the editors definitely picked the best clip to highlight this because even I was confused and frustrated and i’m a Chatty Cathy myself! Instead of completely blowing up, he got to work fishing and chopping wood until Maryanne popped her foot under the bamboo he was cutting and she made a very big deal about it. While they tried to clear the air, it was clear things were going nowhere so Jonathan instead suggested they just move on. And then went to the well with Lindsay and suggested they get rid of Maryanne should they go back to tribal council, given she is annoying. Which is what Maryanne was telling Omar she was worried about at that very moment, while he just wished everyone would get along!

Meanwhile over at Vati Hai was nervous about lingering tensions, knowing that he is still well and truly on the bottom of the tribe. Daniel and Chanelle were busy assuring each other that their last tribal council won’t come between them as they know they need each other, while Hai and Lydia caught up to figure out how they will get themselves out of the minority and make the merge. Just like that, Daniel tried his hand at fishing which allowed Hai and Lydia to question how he was able to fish for the tribe given he keeps sitting out of the swimming challenges due to his dislocated shoulder. Which well and truly pissed off Mike once the duo pointed it out to him.

Back at Ika, Drea and Romeo were busy trying to find their as-yet-unfound idol, with Romeo opening up to us about how he wanted to align with Drea initially because he wants to support strong women in honour of his mum. And the women he coaches to pageant glory back at home. Right on cue Drea then found the Ika idol, celebrating how advantage rich with advantages she is and knowing that Maryanne already has the Taku idol, it means she could have an active idol very quickly.

To womp-womp that though, we pivoted back to Vati however, where Mike was assuring the tribe that he has no plans to activate his idol at the immunity challenge given the idol is automatically powered at the merge and at which point he also gets his vote back. Which must be in very fine print because that has never been mentioned before.

We obviously then headed to meet up with Probst for the immunity challenge where Maryanne opened the show with her bunny line. Drea skillfully spoke about her potato-ness before Mike gagged even me by saying his damn line, activating all of their idols and locking in everyone’s vote for the tribal council ahead. But first, the immunity challenge, where each tribe would race up and over a net and untangle ropes to release a key. Then unlock a machete, chop free some sandbags and then knock over targets. Oh and the winning tribes would also get a tarp.

Following Sandra’s lead, Daniel once again sat out as Ika got out to a very early lead as Taku nipped at their heels. While calling out Jonathan for being a beast last week, it was Tori that absolutely dominated the challenge, burning through the key and machete portion giving Ika a huge advantage shooting at the targets. As Omar made Taku fall further and further behind, Ika took out the first immunity while Vati started shooting at their targets. Sadly for them, Taku finally joined them with Jonathan quickly knocking out the targets and narrowly taking out immunity for the tribe.

Ika then got to select someone from Vati to go on the special journey, opting for Lydia, with their very own Rocksroy offering to be the one to join her. 

Back at camp Hai reminded everyone that they are a family and to keep that in mind while they scramble. Daniel admitted that he felt nervous and asked for everyone to meet with him, which is a sentiment that Chanelle echoed. As Hai and Daniel caught up, the former admitted that he believes Chanelle is the least trustworthy of the two and that she is the most likely to flip come merge. Mike and Chanelle meanwhile were busy locking in the vote against Daniel. We finally got a clearer picture of things as Mike and Hai caught up, debating the merits of each of them while they both agreed that it is critical that Lydia holds on to her vote on the journey.

Speaking of which, Rocksroy and Lydia were in awe of their surroundings as they climbed the mountain, with Lydia sharing that the game has truly changed her as a person and made her feel more confident in her own skin. At the top Rocksroy tried to find out who would be the target on Vati, while Lydia tried to dance around the facts and admitted that she wouldn’t be shocked if she was in trouble again. Both of them admitted to us that neither had any interest in sharing too much information about their respective tribes and as such, the awkward as hell conversation made a lot more sense. After splitting up, the duo faced their dilemma with Rocksroy worried about Lydia’s nerves getting the best of her and as such, opted to protect his vote. Which is the same decision she made, given her PTSD from their last tribal.

Lydia returned to camp and quickly admitted that she felt there was too much at stake to risk her vote. She then caught up with everyone one by one to figure out what she missed with both Chanelle and Daniel pledging their undying loyalty and praising her for being in charge. Thankfully Hai gave her the real run down and assured her that they are safe and not to worry.

At tribal council Mike admitted that while somebody had to go home tonight, they are still a strong unit. Daniel praised him for being such a team player which is necessary at certain points during the game. Hai said that while they may be tight, somebody has to be being lied to right now given they still need for someone to go home. Daniel pointed out that Mike means the tribe are a team until the end of their lives, not just the game which made Chanelle point out that he is clearly playing into Mike’s affection for him. Lydia meanwhile pointed out that after tonight, each tribe will have four people remaining and should they merge next week, they need to guarantee their four is a solid one. Which is a sentiment echoed by Hai and Daniel, while Mike reiterated that his vote is based on game and he still cares for the person getting booted.

With that the tribe voted and somehow was split 2-2-1 between Chanelle and Daniel, with a random vote cast against Mike. Mike, Hai and Lydia then revoted and officially sent Daniel out of the game. While Mike angrily acknowledged Chanelle’s vote against him.

As soon as Daniel arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug which elicited massive screams from the sweetheart as I held tight on his busted shoulder. Proving definitively that yeah, he hurt! Given Daniel is a delightful superfan, however, he took that and his boot in stride, grateful to not just have had the opportunity to play the game, but also to get culinary comfort from me in the form of some Chicken Dianiel Strunk.

Yeah, yeah, Steak Diane Keaton is great – and oh so kitsch – but have you ever tried it with a chicken rissole? Because damn, does it taste good. Packing a lightly herbaceous punch, the juicy rissoles pair perfectly with the diane sauce to create a delicious and quick meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Dianiel Strunk
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly whisked
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnishing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
⅔ cup cream
roughly chopped parsley, to serve

Method
Combine the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, shallots, egg, parsley and half the Dijon and Worcestershire in a bowl. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Divide into 8 rissoles, pop on a lined plate and cover with cling. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once the rissoles are holding it together, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook half the rissoles at a time, cooking for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a lined baking tray and pop into the oven to keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and saute the onion over low heat for five to ten minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before stirring through the tomato paste and the remaining Dijon mustard and Worcestershire with half a cup of water. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until gloriously fragrant, before stirring in the cream.

Remove the rissoles from the oven and pop them into the pan to simmer for a further fifteen minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glorious. Sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve immediately, ideally with a glorious mash for optimal devouring.


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Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David finally lived up to his juicy name as he relished his role as the swing vote. After promising to take the girls with her to an overnight spa reward, Jordie convinced Shay to make herself a target instead as she opted to take him and Josh with her. And oh girl, Chrissy was angry to miss out on the pampering and KJ once again, was ready to get rid of Shay. Josh dominated at the immunity challenge before joining up with Jordie to finally flush (one of) Mark’s idol(s) while blindsiding Dave so that Josh could keep Jordie thinking they were nice and bloody tight.

Back at camp the tribe were thankfully not feeling intense for once, with Jordie and Shay thrilled to still be in the game and to have blindsided Dave. Well Jordie was thrilled by all but the fact KJ tried to vote him out on the revote and as such, pulled her aside to see where they stood. KJ explained that she assumed everyone was coming for him and as such, she was sticking with what she assumed were the numbers. And while that is logical, it also made Jordie nervous about what she and Mark may do next since everyone else appears to be on his side.

The next day Chrissy was shocked by how much she was loving her time in the bush, enjoying the rice and bean life before she straight up brutalising a tree knot in the ground that she stubbed her toe on. While Chrissy was thriving, Mark was fading fast, exhausted by the game and unsure whether he can trust Josh much longer. But sadly for him, he has no other option should he want to get rid of Jordie.

Speaking of Jordie, he was opening up about getting a lot of smiles from Jesse at tribal council, though he felt like Jesse could tell he was nervous about the revote. Jordie then opened up to us about how he has played the best game of anyone remaining and was confident in his chances should he make it to the end. Which totally means he is going tonight, right? He caught up with Josh, with them each pledging their allegiance to the other again. While Josh weighed up whether it was better to go to the end with Jordie or Mark. When I would argue, it is with neither.

The tribe met up with Jonathan for the final six immunity challenge where they would each race through a bunch of complex obstacles before swinging to a frame, untying a ladder, climbing up and over a tower before unlocking a treasure chest and, yes, solving a puzzle. Jordie got out to the earliest of leads while Mark and Josh tried to stay in the game. And Chrissy was just confused about how to get over her frame. Eventually Jordie, Mark, Josh and Shay all made it to the puzzle while KJ and Chrissy tried to keep each other motivated. Mark then started to pull away on the puzzle, which led to Jordie and Shay starting to copy off him before Chrissy straight up stopped doing her puzzle and instead started helping Josh solve his. Which proved enough to give him immunity once again.

Back at camp Josh was feeling super confident now that he was immune, weighing up whether to go to the final three with Jordie or whether he should try and regain some trust with Mark. Jordie meanwhile was also feeling super confident, given it is their last chance to burn Mark’s idol and as such, everyone would be stupid not to take the shot. Mark meanwhile washed off his defeat before going to hunt around the bush with Josh. Mark’s pitch to the tribe was to load up the votes on Jordie to get rid of him so that he can keep his idol for the next round. Which, dude, is only good for you and nobody else. Sadly though, KJ saw merit in getting rid of Jordie and as such Mark dropped by Josh and Chrissy to lock in the vote against him. Despite the fact Mark still didn’t know whether he could trust Josh.

Jordie and Shay meanwhile were tending fire by the camp before catching up with Josh to float the idea of getting rid of Mark. While Jordie straight up assured him that he will definitely go to the top four with him should he win immunity in the next round, Josh still was unsure and erring on the side of keeping Mark. This made Jordie feel nice and nervous, so he approached Chrissy to try and convince her that at least flushing Mark’s idol is their only move. Which she seemed very interested in following through on. Well, if Josh was ok with the idea too. As such, Jordie tried to keep Mark calm so pitched a fake plan to vote out Shay in the hopes of making him not play his idol.

At tribal council Jordie spoke about the ever more blurred lines within the tribe, though admitted that the closer they get to the end the harder it is to trust people given they all want to get to the end. Mark admitted that Jordie approached him during the day and even had pitched some good ideas, while Josh reiterated that he and Jordie had been working well together for the last few rounds. Jordie spoke about the fact they need to focus on keeping people around that aren’t threatened by you while Mark shared that if he has a second idol, it may come into play tonight. Which Chrissy admitted she didn’t believe. 

Mark once again told her that he definitely doesn’t have an idol, while Jordie suggested that should Mark have an idol he could only hold on to it if he could find a plan that he trusts. Josh admitted that while he and Jordie have trusted each other, the closer they get to the end the harder it is to see clearly while Mark reiterated that he is focused on moving forward in the game with people he can trust. Josh meanwhile debated whether to stick with those he can trust or make a move with those he thinks he has a better shot against. Oh and whether it is important to vote out people that could likely win the final immunity. Like Shay.

With that the tribe voted before Mark made a massive song and dance about playing Jesse’s idol and using it to knock out Jordie. Which would have been good if he received any votes at all, instead he just looked like a smug man that misplayed an idol. As Sam looked enraged that Mark literally wasted all of her hard work, which is essentially heterosexual relationships. No?

As Jordie arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled him in for a hug and thanked him for trying his darndest to keep the season interesting by giving us such a compelling underdog. Plus, I am a sucker for a man in overalls – Luke Perry in early 90210, swoon – so I congratulated him on a game well played, laughed over Mark’s idol faux pas and then smashed a tonne of Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls.

Fresh, sweet and packing a hidden kick, these babies are so damn good with an icy cold beer after more than 40 days living in the bush. Or you know, whenever, because they don’t need an excuse.

Enjoy!

Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1 carrot, grated
⅓ cup hoisin sauce
1 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp flour
16 x 20cm spring roll wrappers
vegetable oil, for brushing

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the shredded chicken, shallots, carrot, hoisin and chilli flakes in a large bowl. Then, mix the flour in a small bowl with three tablespoons of water to form a paste.

To assemble, place a wrapper on a clean bench and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture along the edge. Fold the bottom over to form a sausage, then fold in the sides and roll up the spring roll. Smearing with a little bit of the flour and water mixture at the end before sealing. Repeat until all the spring rolls are made.

Pop them on a lined baking sheet, brush with vegetable oil and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some more hoisin or chilli. Or you know, whatever sauce floats your boat.


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Artimoke Hearts in Garlic Cream Sauce

RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Side, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World the top four took to the stage to participate in a lip sync smackdown for the crown. With the first round battles decided by Lemon and her wheel of destiny, which doesn’t add much to the story but I think Lemon deserves her recognition. In the first face-off, Mo destroyed Baga and progressed to the top two while Blu and Juju were a far more even pairing, with the young Irish lass ultimately besting the Rob Mariano of Drag Race – conveniently, also from Boston – and eliminating Juju in third/fourth place for the FOURTH time.

Because she’s what? Consistent.

With that, the top two took their places on the stage for the final lip sync to Supernova by Kylie Minogue and while Mo promised to devour Blu, the little lass once again came ready to fight. While Mo was fierce as she felt every damn lyric and moment, Blu left everything on the mainstage, giving cute comedy and all the energy. Which proved to be enough as Blu was crowned Queen of the World.

Having dealt with me each time she has competed, Mo knows to follow the sounds of tears and screaming backstage as like Juju, I am consistent. Consistently enraged when an icon like Mo is eliminated from the competition without a crown. But as always, although she lacks a rightful crown for killer performances, I make up for in culinary comfort in the form of Articho-ke Hearts in Garlic and Wine.

Smooth, creamy, sweet and a little bit earthy, these babies are positively delicious. And the perfect accompaniment to any and all meals. Well, maybe not ALL, but they are great.

Enjoy!

Artimoke Hearts in Garlic Cream Sauce
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
800g canned artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
½ cup white wine
¼ cup cream
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp parsley finely chopped

Method
Heat the olive oil in a large pan of medium heat and saute the garlic and shallots for a minute or so. Stir in the artichoke hearts and cook for a further minute before pouring in the white wine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes or until reduced.

Stir in the cream, salt, pepper and parsley and cook for a further minute before serving, greedily, either solo or as a side. The latter probably makes the most sense. Either way, devour like the icon you are.


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Jujubeef Dim Sims

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World the final four stomped the runway alongside their fallen queens, showing off their Grand Finale Eleganza. As Cheryl, Jimbo, Pangina and Janey took their seats side of stage, Lemon gave us her best game show assistant and spun the wheel to kick off the lip sync smackdown for the crown. As soon as Mo was selected, she knew she wanted to face off against Baga and while the latter served her best camp fun, she was no match for Mo and was eliminated from the competition in third/fourth place.

With Mo backstage to prepare for the final lip sync, Blu and Juju took their places at the front of the stage to face off to The Reflex by Duran Duran and well, it was a damn fight. Blu had all the energy, working the stage and giving a diverse, hilarious performance. Juju meanwhile was feeling her ‘80s oats, giving all the swagger and serving full Duran Duran realness. Which is the highest compliment I could bestow on anyone, since they are a total pack of babes.

Despite giving us a very fun performance, it was Blu who progressed to the final lip sync while Juju was tragically eliminated. Once again, in third/fourth place. Like the consistent icon that she is.

As the crew once again ushered everyone aside to prepare the set for the final showdown, I tapped Juju on the shoulder as she happily jumped into my arms for a hug. “I’m so glad you’re back to cook for me again! You truly make every sense for me, now,” she said. Which honestly is the highest praise I could receive from the ultimate bridesmaid of the franchise. Which was enough for me to try my hand at whipping her up a batch of Jujubeef Dim Sims (and start thinking of other recipes I can whip out for her next appearance).

Maybe it is the ‘90s nostalgia of the kinda dim sims we used to get at the local Chinese restaurant of my youth, but there is honestly nothing better than a dim sim. I mean, these are a tonne of dumplings I’d pick first, but these have such a soothing joy. Plus, if they pack heat, I eat – so win.

Enjoy!

Jujubeef Dim Sims
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 wombok, thinly sliced
500g beef mince
1 egg
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
30 round wonton wrappers
olive oil spray, to grease

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat and cook the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add in the cabbage and cook for a further two minutes, or until just wilted. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the beef mince, egg, shallots, ginger, garlic, white pepper, salt, soy sauce and sesame oil until well combined.

To assemble, place the wonton wrappers on the bench and place a heaped spoon of filling in the centre of each. Working one at a time, brush the edges of the dough with water and holding in the palm of your hand, push the dough up around the edges, pinching around the opening to firmly hug the filling with an opening at the end.

That was a bad way to describe folding a dim sim, wasn’t it?

While steaming is the healthier – and arguably best – way to cook the dumps, place the dim sim on a baking tray, exposed end up, and repeat the process until done. Spray with cooking spray and pop in the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until cooked through and crunchy.

Then devour, like a consistent icon.


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Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, while Blood and Water were still battling it out, Jonathan switched things up and offered an individual immunity for each tribe. As both of them were attending tribal council, meaning hijinks were guaranteed to ensue. On the Water Tribe, things came down to Khanh and Sam, with the former promising his necklace to Sam, who quickly fainted when stepping out of the challenge. On Blood meanwhile, Shay completely dominated her tribe while Jordie tried valiantly to bring her down. With their main target immune, the sausage fest opted to take out Mel over on Blood, while Sam and Jesse were owning Water and ready to finally get rid of Ben. Sadly for them, he had one last shot at redemption as Mel and Ben were able to battle in a fire challenge to return to the game. With Mel ultimately smoking the competition and sending Ben home. For realsies, this time.

The next day the Blood tribe were thrilled to be waking up on Day 26, particularly Mel since she had suceesfully won her way back into the game. Jordie spoke about how great the last 26 days have been, exhausted and overwhelmed but so happy to have made it this far. He encouraged everyone to celebrate their successes given everything could change in a minute and oh God, my newly minted villain king is going, isn’t he? Shay meanwhile was missing Ben though thrilled he is getting some breakfast sausage – OMG, swoon – while Jordie was more focused than ever to get to the end with his brother.

And again, Jordie is toast, isn’t he?

Both tribes joined Jonathan in the middle of the bush where he quickly announced that their tribes are no longer as they have officially merged. Which is convenient as Sam literally brought all her belongings, including a fishing rod like it was 6 year-old me taking my maths book in a fire drill. But I’ve digressed. After everyone hugged and traded out their rancid buffs for fresh, clean numbers, Shay shared she was ready to kick things into overdrive, while Jordie was thrilled to actually be hanging with his bro and Sam was just grateful that she and Mark finally made it to the merge. I assume because it means they can stay together.

With that out of the way, they were tasked with competing in their first individual reward challenge where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and then walk back and forth to collect blocks which they would use to build a pyramid on the balancing board. Oh and the winner would score $60k. Like, what?! That is more than Sharn won over two seasons as the runner-up. Madness!

Madness, but also lols.

In any event, this sort of challenge is never exciting to read about, so I will spare you the they dropped, they dropped commentary and instead will tell you that while Mark got out to an early lead, Shay was playing it fast and loose while Chrissy was surprisingly dominant. Though none of them were competition for Khanh and his steady chef hands, who defied everyone dropping around him and jagged the mega-jackpot reward without dropping once. And sadly made that target on his back just that little bit bigger.

The newly merged tribe arrived at a sandbank in the middle of the river – which TBH, is a bit triggering in Brisbane ATM – for a celebratory feast where they quickly congratulated Khanh on taking out his massive prize, which he was thrilled about despite now being the foremost challenge beast of the season. He was thrilled to be a single in the newly merged tribe, given he doesn’t have to worry about anyone else when playing his game. While everyone was thrilled to be smashing their food, Jordie pulled his brother aside to focus on the game, looping him in on Mark’s idol and catching him up on his sausage fest alliance.

The tribe ventured back to the camp formerly home to the Water Tribe where we finally met Mel and Michelle, who are iconic identical twins who are ready to come and dominate the game. By putting their twin powers to good use, obvi. Sam and Mark too were thrilled to finally redeem their first runs, ready to get some idols and take some names. While Mark oddly stayed quiet about his idol, despite the fact they are straight up married. Sadly for him, Jordie and Sam then caught up by the shelter with Jordie telling Sam about her husband’s idol and well, let’s just say she was pissed. And while Survivor may have brought them together, it may also be the reason for their divorce.

Sam eventually confronted her husband, who thought it was absolutely hilarious she found out from someone else. Giving his mate a smirk on the way out of camp to fight about it. While Sam was happy that Mark’s little snafu had proven himself loyal to Jordie, I can’t help but feel like it makes him look like he has some hardcore trust issues. But whatever.

The tribe reconvened at the shelter to come up with the merge tribe name with both Glitter and Bin Chicken thrown around before they settled on the even worse option of Lava. Which, yuck! Thankfully though Chrissy was well and truly ready to fight for her place in the game, which makes the shit name feel better. Mark caught up with his alliance of five men – the four J names and him – thrilled that with the addition of his wife as their sixth member, they can take control. And with Sam, comes Khanh meaning they should be unstoppable. But you best believe that while Mark was willing to use Khanh, he was still focused on getting him out ASAP. Meaning, maybe not?

The Lava tribe joined Jonathan by a dam for the first individual immunity challenge of the season, the iconic ‘When it Rains it Pours’, most famously won by Shi Ann in All Stars as she briefly blocked Romber’s dominance. You know they one, they hold on to a rope tethered to a bucket of water with the last one standing, dry, winning immunity. Out of nowhere Chrissy was the first to drop out of the challenge, quickly followed by Michelle while Jordie was talking shit at everyone before he and Khanh dropped together, followed by Mark. 

After ten minutes, Mel and Josh dropped back-to-back, leaving the rest to battle it out. Five minutes later, KJ fishing for compliments led to Shay dropping out of the challenge, followed by Jordan, while Mark and Jordie grew bored as they waited around and started strategising, debating the merits of voting either Khanh or Shay out. Sam and Dave were next to drop, leaving Jesse and KJ to fight for immunity. Despite putting up a strong effort, poor KJ couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping her rope after 50 minutes and handing immunity to Jesse.

Back at camp Jesse was well and truly feeling his oats, thrilled to be immune though definitely concerned about how exactly he would be taking control of the tribe. He caught up with his former tribemates, with Sam, Mel and Michelle thrilled to band together as the couples to take out the singles. Sam’s husband Mark meanwhile was still solely focused on blindsiding Khanh. He and the boys were thrilled to lock in the vote split between him and Mel, given they can eliminate another pair at worst case. Meanwhile Sam and Jesse were focused on getting rid of Shay instead, locking in their plans and ready to dominate the tribe. After Khanh was looped in, he pulled KJ aside to lock her in as a number against Shay before moving on to Mel and Michelle.

The latter then approached Sam back at camp, with Sam assuring her the plan is still to get rid of Shay though she did think she should check in with Mark. Who then straight up shat all over her plan when they caught up. Mark then went in on Sam’s loyalty to Khanh, ignoring the fact Mark and his alphas are all the more threatening than Khanh and leaving him as a target could help their longevity. Their bickering was interrupted by the arrival of Khanh, who quickly pointed out they were having a domestic and offered to help counsel them. Sadly unaware that Sam was fighting to protect him, while Mark was stubbornly wanting to get him out.

Sam moved on to Jordie to question why nobody is considering Shay as a viable boot option, with Jordie admitting that turning the tribe off voting out Khanh simply seems near impossible. But boy did Sam continue to fight, bless her. Jesse meanwhile had given up fighting Khanh, approaching his brother with each agreeing to stay loyal to their alliances to get the maximum amount of information for them as a pair. And maybe they will be a formidable duo after all?

At tribal council Shay spoke about how difficult it already is to navigate the merged tribe given she hasn’t even had a chance to talk to everyone before firmly calling all the pairs out as threats. KJ agreed that being outnumbered by the pairs is scary, particularly since they’re all so strong. Jesse tried to downplay their advantage, talking about the fact there are so many ways the tribe could split things. Mark spoke about how he and Sam have not seen eye to eye so far, but out of the spirited discussions, the best ideas have risen to the top. Aka his, in his mind. While Sam tried to downplay the fact they were having a domestic and assured everyone she will stick to who she is loyal to. Mark agreed that tonight is a big vote for everyone to prove their loyalty.

Khanh fully accepted the fact he is a massive target, particularly since he just won $60k in a challenge. While he wasn’t sure he could truly trust anyone in his tribe, he opened up to Jonathan about how trust is always a risk in life and sometimes you just have to take the risks to build something great. Shay meanwhile wasn’t having much faith in the tryibe though reminded everyone that she is a safe single vote that can be added to any alliance. Which led to Mark continuing to gloat about how much better his alliance and plans are than Sam’s and ugh, yuck. Khanh meanwhile was just hoping his trust wasn’t blind.

With that the tribe voted and Khanh held on to his idol while Sam tragically sided with her husband’s alliance and booted him from the game. Thankfully to become the King of Jury, which honestly is the only worthy finish for him if he couldn’t take out the win.

As he arrived at the fresh, clean and very empty Jury Villa, Khanh was still taking his shocking blindside in his stride but given he will be the person taking home the second biggest prize of the season, how could you not be happy? Given we’re both highly respected members of the queer cooking community, Khanh and I have long been the best of friends so he was thrilled to see me waiting for him. While normally my meals are a step down from what he makes for himself, after a month in the bush, he was thrilled to see me whipping up something other than rice and beans. This time in the form of my – Diana Chan inspired – Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs.

As you’ve probably noticed (or definitely will have by the end of the season), I am almost as obsessed with dumplings as I am about burgers. I don’t know if it is the fact they are essentially little mouthfuls packed with flavour, but these babies are so good you’ll forget you just got booted and are now responsible for the entire jury.

Enjoy!

Thai Chickhanh Dumplongs
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely sliced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
6 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp muscovado sugar
40 gow gee wrappers
vegetable oil, for frying

Method
Combine the chicken mince through muscovado sugar in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for an hour to rest.

Once things are nice and chill, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp and fold as desired. Given my lack of skills, I try and hide behind a pleat to cover my bad joins.

Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.

Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. Ideally with some Nam Jimbo Dressing.


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Nam Jimbo Dressing

Condiment, Dip, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World, the top eight – it is true, despite the fact they only started with 9 – threw a ball to celebrate all things Mama Ru, with the final category requiring them to whip up an outfit that Ru herself would wear. Given it was a design challenge, Cheryl, Baga and Juju were absolutely terrified. Though the latter was confident with her plan to just pick a colour she knew Ru vibes with and to hope for the best! As she spiralled backstage, Mo encouraged Cheryl to focus on the task at hand and well, it was super sweet. On the mainstage Michelle told Juju to hurry up and arrive, while Jimbo and Janey received universal praise and rightly landed in the top. With Janey taking out victory in the lip sync and eliminating Cheryl from the competition.

Backstage Janey and Jimbo were on cloud nine after their wins, while Juju was just thrilled to be saved, despite it meaning poor Cheryl had to go. Blu opened up about how heartbroken she was to lose such a bright spark like Cheryl, though admitted it was the fair thing to do given she was far and away the worst in the challenge. The dolls sat down to kiki with Juju thanking Janey for the save, before talk turned to who Jimbo picked with her admitting that she chose Jujubee for being the biggest competition. After a hilarious bit pulling yet more food out of her cleavage. Annoyed, Juju then told the girls that she and Jimbo had actually made an agreement to save each other during Untucked with all the dolls completely gagged by how shady Jimbo seemingly was. And well, Jimbo girl, you’re in danger. Unless Baga wins, since she confirmed with Jimbo that their alliance was for realsies after they all split up.

Things were far more zen the next day with Janey proudly showing off her badge to her sisters, while Blu was just jealous she too couldn’t go from bottoming to the top like she does on her favourite weekends. Blu continued to produce the season, asking Juju how she felt about Michelle critiquing her for not going arriving yet with Juju admitting that she has officially woken up thanks to the statement and was ready to turn it out. Monique interrupted proceedings to ask the dolls to start calling her Mo, as she wanted to officially change her name to reflect a more genderless aesthetic. And I live. Particularly since Juju then asked for them to call her Amber.

Before anyone else could jump on the trend, Ru arrived to open the library – now in three different languages! Maybe four, depending on how much Jimbo learnt from Rita Baga, I guess. Janey was up first and savaged Baga’s plastic surgery, Pangina was adorable as she destroyed Jimbo’s lip syncing skills before Jimbo was brutal, first with Ru, then Pangina and finally Mo, for being a whore, smelling and being a whore respectively. Baga went for Jimbo’s age while Mo was just terrible. Like so terrible it became good and then bad again. Thankfully Juju followed and had everyone in hysterics with her filthy, brutal reads. I mean, is she wrong to call Baga Princess Di-arrhoea?! Then Blu went IN on the girls, while wanting Janey to come in her. Despite Blu’s last ditch push for victory, Juju won her THIRD reading challenge – damn you, Yar-lexis for ruining her perfect record – and well, it was very well deserved.

Ru then announced that for this week’s challenge, they would be putting on a rusical for the judges called West End Wendys: the Comeback!, a harrowing tale of washed up performers competing in a Broadway themed talent show. For you guessed it, a comeback! And as Juju won the challenge, she was given the honour of casting the whole damn thing.

As soon as Ru disappeared the dolls sat down to listen to the rusical with all of them agreeing there were no bad parts. Given Juju wanted to be kind, she offered to let everyone pick their parts, after she had taken her role. However when Juju admitted she wanted the role of Lally Bowelz, Baga got very, very angry. And it was not a very, vey good look. Given Baga was so fixated on the one role she couldn’t have, Mo and Janey got shady and made Baga audition and read her for filth, despite doing Liza on the reg in her shows. 

While Baga continued to mutter about wanting to be Lally, Pangina snatched up former child-star Widdle Orphan Fannie, Blu was typecast as slutty-nun Mariah Gon Trappy, Mo was ready to go sweet as Dr Spank-n-Spurter, Janey jumped at the chance to play Meryl Streep while Jimbo jagged Dodo the Dog. Leaving an irate Baga with the worst role of Tracey Fatberg. With Mo hilariously calling out Baga for being super bratty and as such, tough titties girl, you need to move on.

The dolls split up to get prepared with Baga continuing to be irate while Jujubee finally realised Baga was actually being serious when talking to Blu and well, it was funny just not a joke.

The queens joined Johannes Radebe to work on their choreography with Pangina up first and well and truly feeling the pressure. Though she shouldn’t be nervous given she is an absolute hilarious star. Baga was up next and still pressed about her role, and that was before she found out she had a tonne of steps to learn and not enough brain capacity to do it. Juju went next and appeared to struggle her way through the choreography, though I’m desperately hoping it is a fake-out edit. Though at least she appears to have charmed her way into getting Johannes as a boobyprize, I guess.

Blu proved the role of a horny nun is the one she was born to play, while Mo was asked about her ability to pull off tricks and despite her past performances on the mainstage, she was ready to cartwheel and split everywhere. Just after she stretches, because something definitely went cleek during rehearsal. Janey was thrilled to challenge herself as Meryl, though was wishing for more dance given that is her background. And well, rehearsal was rough because she was told to stop holding back on the dance as she was clearly coming across as flat. And this better be a fake-out. Jimbo closed out rehearsal and opened up about a neck injury which was news to all the girls, though given she was barely moving, I kinda believe her.

Elimination Day arrived with the general vibe being much betta, as Mo asked Baga whether she had calmed down. Juju checked in with Jimbo to see how her injury was, with Jimbo admitting that it felt better though she had considered lying and telling the girls she was still injured to lull them into a false sense of security. And well, Pangina just felt the entire thing was all kinds of shady.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined on the judging panel by Viscount Bridgerton himself, Jonathan Bailey, for the world premiere of West End Wendys: The Comeback. And well, it continued in the tradition of Drag Race UK rusicals of being equal parts fun, camp and stupid. Pangina was demented and perfect, despite hating her role Baga was solid and sold it and Juju was solid though I feel she shouldn’t have taken such an in demand role, because I definitely think someone could have done more with it. Sadly, liek Baga. Blu was hilariously horny and oh so good, while Mo was sexy, camp and delightful, even as she tripped mid-cartwheel, before Janey stole the damn show as Meryl Streep. I mean, she had the mannerisms and energy, and was just so damn magnetic. And well Jimbo was a glorious dog, though got lucky with the Defying Gravity parody song because there wasn’t much else.

On the Dot Dot Dot Runway, Jimbo was an alien delight in a black-spotted green raincoat. Juju was trapped in a spotted snake with clashing colours and Blu wore a horny, velvet dress with a bunch of spotted faces all over it. Janey was in a glamorous Mugler-inspired yellow spotted gown, feeling her Catherine Zeta-Jones realness, Mo gave sexy Sulley from Monsters Inc. realness while Pangina stole the damn show in a gorgeous white gown splattered in rainbow dots, complete with a chinese lantern inspired headpiece which words do not do justice. Baga then gave Pretty Woman at the polo, but sloppier.

Blu and Baga were sent to safety before Jimbo was read for not going far enough with the role, though the judges did live for her impeccable runway. Juju was praised for doing a good job, though read for not giving enough as Baga smirked from the back. Oh and the judges hated her look and felt it was far and away the weakest, leading to Ru encouraging her to step it up because they love her. Janey received universal praise for everything she gave in the performance and for making it effortless. Graham felt there was something wrong with the outfit, though couldn’t articulate it. Mo was praised for her magnetism, though they wished she didn’t get in her head when she makes mistakes. And they LIVED for her runway. Pangina too received universal praise from start to finish, both the performance and the runway. Ultimately Janey and Pangina were deemed the top two while Mo was sent to safety, leaving Juju and Jimbo in the bottom together.

Backstage Janey and Pangina were thrilled to still be sitting in the top while Baga was still not over getting a shit role that she didn’t want and as such, was glad to be safe. While Juju quietly cried, Pangina went to her side and called Baga out for being a brat and told her the tantrum was not cute which led everyone to jump on and agree with her. Leading to Baga apologising to everyone and vowing to be better. 

Juju meanwhile started straight out sobbing, disappointed to not be able to knock it out of the park given she thought she did good. And this time, she can’t lip sync her way out of it like she has in past seasons. Jimbo seemingly missed the judges critiques, saying she shouldn’t be in the bottom and as such, she was shocked. With Baga admitting to us that Jimbo deserved her place in the bottom, despite the fact they were besties.

When Pangina and Jimbo caught up, she talked round and round in circles while Pangina wished she would get to the point. And when she did, she just pointed to her killer track record and the fact Juju isn’t hitting her marks. Juju meanwhile was telling Janey that she still has a fight in her and doesn’t want to go home, before pointing out Jimbo had picked two lipsticks to go home and that they were hers and Janeys. Though Janey questioned whether voting out Jimbo is playing the same shady game she played. The safe girls agreed Jimbo’s track record was flawless, though Mo admitted she just doesn’t trust Jimbo. Juju then told Pangina she will always have fight in her and honestly, did better than Jimbo in the challenge they’re being judged on this week while Jimbo reiterated to Janey how much she wants to be here.

After picking their lipsticks, Janey and Pangina legged it to the mainstage where they battled to We Like To Party (Vengabus) by The Vengaboys which was, in a word, ICONIC. I mean, I once taught my niece the worst dance to the song and she still does it and well, she too is an icon, so this all makes me so happy. But I digress. Both the queens gave a killer performance, though it was truly Pangina’s show. I mean, she jerked off when the vengabus was coming, she vogued the house down and even rocked out streamers. While Janey gave great disco moves that were perfect for the song, there was no taking my eyes off Pangina, who rightly took out the win. And then gooped the queens – and the judges – by sending Jimbo home.

As she vowed to get Ru and her little dog (Michelle) too, begging the question, did she create exit lines based around each questions or did she just get lucky that it coincided with her performance as Dodo.

While Jimbo opened up and shared the answer to my query when we caught up in the Werk Room, like Bebe, out of respect to DeLa, I will never share the response. Though I will share how grateful she was to have a dear friend like my waiting to cheer her up. As you know, Jimbo and I have long been the dearest of friends after fighting over the same jumbo breastplate in a store. While yes, we both ended up in jail for 24 hours, that time bonded us for a life and knew the only thing that could dull the pain of being this year’s robbed queen is a fresh, zingy Nam Jimbo Dressing. 

While this is normally something you’d serve with some sort of Thai finger food, Jimbo and I play by different rules and as such, are completely down to have something as delicious as this as a drink. Hot and spicy, tangy and packing a herbaceous punch, it truly does engage all your senses.

Enjoy!

Nam Jimbo Dressing
Makes: ½ – 1 cup.

Ingredients
2 green chillis, tailed and chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp grated palm sugar
¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method
Ok, so this is another tough one so like Scar always says, be prepared.

Pop everything in a blender, blitz and pour into a serving bowl. Or you know, shot down like a bologna slingin’ icon.


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Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.

The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.

The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.

Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.

Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.

Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.

We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.

Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.

And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.

Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears. 

Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.

Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.

Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.

At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.

This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.

Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.

With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown. 

My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.

Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.

While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.

As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.

Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.

Enjoy!

Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine
Jock Zonfrillo’s original recipe
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta
25g smoked salt
25g dark muscovado sugar
10g ground black pepper, to season
10g hot smoked paprika
10g ground star anise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.2kg pork belly
1 cup cloudy apple juice
150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs
230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
120g unsalted butter, diced
60g flour
2 ½ cups milk
130g blue cheese, diced
130g Fontina, coarsely grated
130g Talleggio, coarsely grated
salt and white pepper, to taste
400g smoked bacon lardons
1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.

Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.

Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.

In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.

When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.

And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!


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Simon Meeso Ramen

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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