Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43

Previously on Survivor the Vesi tribe finally started to turn things around with a dominating win in the reward challenge. Sick of seeing Coco win, they opted to use their reward to steal from them, setting off their downfall. At the immunity challenge Vesi continued their streak and then helped Baka solve their puzzle, sending Coco to their first tribal council. That set off a chain of events where paranoia got the best of Lindsay as she spiralled and despite the target being between Cassidy and Geo, the tribe opted for calm and booted her from the game. Thankfully earning her a place in Second Chances due to her iconic flame out.

Back at camp the tribe rallied together as Cassidy reflected on how Lindsay’s nerves alone caused her downfall. That being said, she was super disappointed to have received one vote and requested that whoever did it talk to her to explain their process. And while mastermind Ryan wanted to smooth things over, Geo owned up and went for a walk and straight up made the entire situation worse, accusing her of voting against him – despite Lindsay clearly being the one to do it – and showing no remorse. After debriefing with Karla however, the girls were galvanised and once again ready to take out Ryan or Geo.

The next day Elie and Jeanine were busy hunting for the Baka hidden immunity idol, finally finding it, covered in ants. Jeanine threw caution to the wind and grabbed the Beware Advantage, learning that she now had to go through the bead saga. While filling in Elie though, they were caught by Owen, their second option for third place in their alliance. As such, they filled him in and while he considered holding on to his bead to screw her out of her vote and take control with Gabler, he ultimately handed it over to build trust. Elie then took the information straight to Sami, pointing out that he is actually the one they trust over Owen. Sami meanwhile was feeling safe with his place in the tribe, though he was concerned for Gabler, who had no idea what was going on. 

Oh and despite Gabler wanting to hang on to his special bead, he ultimately gave it over to Jeanine and powered her idol. Thankfully, Sami woke up and chose chaos this morning, pulling Gabler aside and pointing out that he just powered Jeanine’s idol and um, is Sami actually a savvy player that is going to win this?

The tribes reconnected with Jeffrey for the next immunity challenge where they would be tethered together to run through a series of obstacles carrying buckets of water to release a gate. And then, instead of the usual puzzle, they would roll three balls up a ramp and land them on a platform. Oh and the victors would get a tarp each. While Coco got out to an early, massive lead, they struggled to roll the balls, leaving Vesi and Baka plenty of time to close the gap. As the three tribes faced off, Dwight and Sami quickly got their eye in, overtaking Ryan – who knocked off his two balls – and secured immunity for Vesi, followed by Baka. Kinda proving Vesi’s strategy to weaken Coco was a good idea, given they would now be down two people by the end of the episode. Before heading out, Vesi was given the power to send people on this week’s journey, opting for Geo, Jeanine and Jesse. 

Oh and we then learnt that Ryan threw the challenge to get rid of Cassidy. Back at camp however, he pretended to be disappointed in himself while locking in the vote against Cassidy with James and Karla. Sadly for him, James took that information straight back to Cassidy and assured her that they can load their votes on Geo with Karla and get rid of him without Ryan noticing. Cassidy approached him to talk things through, with each pretending that Ryan would be the next one out, with neither of them deviating from their supposed scripts. And while Ryan thought he was playing it all expertly, it was looking more and more like the group would be targeting him and Geo, just in case he gets an advantage on the journey.

Speaking of which, we caught up with Jesse, Jeanine and Geo where they discovered they had to row a boat through very rough seas until they reached an island to get their risk options. Geo used the very long row to talk about how close he was to being voted out the night before to garner sympathy and while Jeanine didn’t buy his story, the fact that Geo was confirmed to be risking his vote, makes it dangerous for them to play. Sadly for Geo, neither of his fellow journey-ers cared about him and ended up taking the risk. But turns out, he did get lucky, given he was the one that jagged the Knowledge Is Power advantage on his return to camp.

While Jesse and Jeanine sadly discovered they were now without votes at the next tribal council, Jesse reading his note in public while Jeanine learned the news in private. And then admitted what happened to the rest of the tribe, though pretended it was her first time reading it. Which annoyed Sami, given they all knew she already risked her vote the day before to secure an idol and now they know just how hard she is willing to play.

We ventured back to Coco where Geo filled the tribe in on the journey, lying to them and explaining he didn’t risk his vote. Before pulling each of his allies aside to share the truth, showing them his Knowledge Is Power advantage and while he thought it would build trust, it made Karla and James nervous enough to turn their attention to him, rather than Ryan, who had somehow become the actual target. While filling in Cassidy, she then started to get nervous about her doing a Lindsay and starting to spiral, which made them actually consider voting out one of their allies. Again.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about the fact that while their momentum has waned, she believes they can swing it back. Ryan spoke about synergy – corporate buzzwords for the win, I guess – before opening up (in lie form) about feeling like he is the target tonight, given he bombed the challenge. Which Cassidy pointed out was noble, but kind of hard to believe. As he continued to play the aw shucks role, Karla admitted that easy votes are always tempting and given he offered himself up, it could make things good for the rest of them. Geo spoke about feeling uneasy given he missed so much potential scrambling time though was hopeful he had done enough, while James praised him for being so honest after the journey.

Probst then made Geo nervous about how to vote, while Karla – after a brief mental blank – slyly told him that he should trust in his alliance rather than being nervous. Oh and then Ryan asked everyone to say what they liked best about him as they voted, while Cassidy was just looking forward to having another chance for the tribe to prove trust by doing what they planned. With that the tribe voted before Ryan and Geo were shocked as the latter was booted from the game, with an advantage barely in his pocket.

While Geo was both surprised and disappointed to find himself booted from the game, he is such a delight that he took it all in his stride. I pulled him in for a massive hug as soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, assuring him that he played a strong game and while I love the three tribe format, it truly is the hardest one to navigate given there is no room to hide. So between that and his personal story, I was thrilled to be able to toast his success with a big fat bowl of Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken.

I am normally a basic girl that lives for a good old honey chicken or something of that ilk when it comes to Chinese take away, but this little number has that trumped. Complex, spicy and sweet, it is the perfect comforting dish to eat through your feelings or finish out the week.

Enjoy!

Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
2 star anise
3 tbsp coriander seeds
4 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup kosher salt
8 black tea bags
1kg chicken breast or thighs, diced
2 shallots, sliced, to garnish

Method
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once shimmering, add the ginger, garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant, before stirring in the water, soy and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea to steep for ten minutes or so. Remove the tea bags and the brine to cool completely. Pop the chicken in the large bowl and pour over the chilled brine. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken and heat the remaining oil in a wok over high heat. In batches stir fry the chicken until cooked through and repeat the process. Serve piping hot with a garnish of shallots and devour, regally.


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Baoverly Buns Kills

Main, Poultry, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls formed girl groups and while the producers tragically opted against keeping costs down and getting the girls to talk about their tight tucks, it did work out for the best as it was absolute fire. Like the first season of UK, one team absolutely molly wopped – not whomp, which I just learnt was different and something I would love TBH – while the other team had a Cheryl trying to hold them up. While Spankie took out her third win, Hannah her second and Kween her first, Beverly was the aforementioned Cheryl on the losing group, which tragically resulted in the elimination of my fave – and total baby zaddy – Yuri.

Backstage everyone was rallying around an emotional Molly, who had been expecting to the one going home. She toasted Yuri for being such a hard worker before Spankie stepped in and gave a beautiful speech about just how great Yuri is and reiterated that she belongs, while she (and I) sobbed. And ugh, just crown Spankie this instant, you cowards!

The next day the girls were still feeling their girl group oats, though fearful that Minnie was also lingering in the rafters, ready to start a feud at any moment. Kween meanwhile apologised for bringing the room down last week, though stopped short of apologising to Beverly specifically for fighting. She felt she was most disappointed in the fact she was so frustrated that she straight up missed the chance to toast Yuri and remind her how proud she is. This led to Bev instead apologising to her and while they hugged it out, I feel like things are still tense.

Ru interrupted things to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be filming tourism infomercials promoting their hometown. As they split up to come up with a plan, Hannah locked in Perth while Molly was going to lean into Newcastle, given it is where she and Rhys are both from. Bev meanwhile opened up about being like me, starting on the GC before moving to Brisbane while Spankie was proudly going to rep Palmerston North and smalltown life. Kween meanwhile opened up to Hannah and Spankie about how much she is struggling with her depression, while everyone rallied around and vowed to always be there for each other. And ugh, I love seeing it!

My fellow Tweed local Samantha Harris then dialled in to advise them how to sell shit and while it didn’t add much, she is Tweed Breed 4 Lyf like me, so you all should stan.

Ru made her ru-turn to the Werk Room to kiki with the dolls, cutting down all of Spankie’s ideas and telling her to highlight the best part of Palmerston North, herself. Beverly then dropped by and well, let’s just say I’m not mad, just disappointed, that she has never watched Muriel’s Wedding. The cinematic celebration of TWEED HEADS. Is this the Tweed showcase episode?! While Ru just wanted to find out who Beverly is, Kween was told to bring the fun, Hannah was told to be less serious and well, Molly’s version of Newcastle was quote-unquote, sad.

Done dropping bombs, Ru exited stage left as they started to get ready while Beverly asked her sisters for advice on how to show more of her personality. With Hannah jumping in with suggestions before Bev even finished her sentence, while Kween joined in with more advice that Bev felt was aggressive. As such, she started to spiral leading to another epic pep talk from Spankie in the rack of costumes and again, if Spankie doesn’t win, we riot.

Kween was up first to film with Michelle Visage and down under icon Suzanne Paul and well, she was a little boring. But given the pit crew are hot, I loved it. Spankie meanwhile slayed as the drunk aunty wandering through town on her way home from a night out. Hannah arrived looking stunning and was so organised, prepared and most importantly, bonkers, that I live for her. Molly meanwhile was sexed up, demented and a little confused, but Michelle and Suzanne were having fun together and that is all that matters. Oh and then Bev was living for her concept hunting for a sugar daddy as a lesbian Irwin. And well, I love the shoot portion if nothing else, because Bev was fun.

Elimination Day arrived with Beverly opening up about the fact she has realised that she is still trying to find herself and that that, combined with her family’s drive for success has made it difficult for her to just be. Talk then turned to the girls’ families, with Kween opening up about how her oldest sister died the year she was undergoing her gender confirmation and how she is living with the regret of not getting to know her or support her on her journey. She then immediately pivoted and encouraged everyone to do what they love as it makes them happy. And that is the sweet Kween Kong that I know and love.

Michelle, Rhys and Ru took their places as Kween opened the Swimsuit Edition runway giving oceanic goddess realness. Spankie was sex on legs as Pamela Anderson’s older sister, Molly was a stunning Meter Maid – complete with high-beams – while Hannah was a confection in a bright, mod delight while Beverly gave another Meter Maid, this time with a ruveal AND coins.

When it came to the commercials, Kween’s was silly and demented though the judges wanted it to be more funny funny and less dark humour. Though they loved her runway.  Oh and then Ru gave an epic monologue about internalised homophobia AND daddy issues, which was amazing. Spankie was up next with a gloriously deranged commercial that confused the shit out of everyone, meaning it was perfection. And then add in her Baywatch moment and well, it was a good week for Spankie. Molly’s ad meanwhile was classic bogan Australian and I love it and sadly, feel like I’ve lived it. Multiple times. Hannah’s ad was camp perfection, telling a story and was so damn smart. I mean, she fought a black swan AND exploded. Oh and they loved her pivoting on the runway and standing out in all the right ways. Bev meanwhile lived her Irwin fantasy, though kinda fell flat by being so polished rather than showing her messiness. 

Ru opted to get messy and asked the dolls to identify who should go home with everyone opting for Bev due to her track record, while Bev instead felt Kween’s commercial was the weakest. Adding that her track record wasn’t much better than her, either.

Backstage Bev was heartbroken to be the one everyone named, despite understanding why they called her out. Hannah once again cut her off and encouraged her to stop being so in her head and instead just be. And while Hannah felt she was being encouraging and trying to push her to be better, Bev cut her off and started to sob. Once again Spankie gave her a pep talk and helped lift her back up, encouraging her to swear at Hannah all she wanted. Which she sadly opted against, instead choosing to practice the lip sync since she was totally in the bottom.

Ultimately Molly and Spankie – ROBBED – were sent to safety as Hannah joined the triple winners club with Spanks. Which obviously left Kween to face off against Beverly to Ru’s very own The Beginning. And damn, did the dolls turn a show. Like I know I say that a lot, but it was actually WILD. There was almost a collision within the first three bars, they were flipping and spinning every second line, backwards AND forwards, hitting every lyric and oftentimes in complete synchronicity. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was now, because this was amazing. Like a gymnastics version of Alyssa and Tatianna. Sadly though, somebody had to go – apparently – as Kween was sent to safety, sending my fellow Bris-babe Bev out of the competition.

While Bev went through a lot of emotion this week, she held her head high as she returned to the Werk Room. I pulled her in for a massive hug and tried to give her my very best Spankie impersonation, reminding her that she is a star and has all of her career to figure out who she is, so to just believe in herself and have fun. Because spoiler alert, she is already a massive success. Which thankfully got through to her, allowing us to laugh and cry, as we reminisced about the glory of the GC and Brisvegas (and I firmly explained the importance of watching Muriel’s Wedding) before smashing some glorious Baoverly Buns Kills.

It is no secret that I passionately and ardently love both a porkie – praise be, Benedict – and baos, but this little duck number is just a little bit better than the rest. Rich, sweet and a little bit fresh, the flavours dance over your palate as expertly as Bev in a lip sync.

PHOTO 2

Baoverly Buns Kills
Serves: 4

Ingredients
8 buns Bret LaBao Buns
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp shaoxing wine
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
4 boneless duck breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
⅔ cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for drizzlin’
¼ cup kewpie mayo
2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into lengths
2 shallots, sliced
¼ cup coriander, leaves torn

Method
Prepare the baos as per Bret’s recipe. Combine the salt, light soy, shaoxing and five spice powder in a bowl and rub into the duck. Transfer to a plate, leaving the skin up to dry for an hour or so.

When you’re ready to cook, pop the oil in a heavy based skillet over medium heat and once nice and hot, pop the breasts in the pan, skin side down and cook for about 10 minutes, agitationg frequently, or until crispy and the fat had rendered out.

Drain most of the fat and flip the breasts and cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove the duck and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Shred the duck and return to the pan with the hoisin and toss to combine.

To assemble, smear mayo on the baoss, layer with some cucumber and shallots, top with a heaping of duck, a drizzle of hoisin and some coriander. Then, devour.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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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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Shayelle Larbjoie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Poultry, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final four met Jonathan on a cliff over a watering hole in the middle of the outback, ready to hang over the edge for their final immunity challenge of the season. Because surprise, as we’ve expected, there was going to be a final three this year! As everyone has speculated throughout the season, Shay took out the final endurance challenge of the season, leaving the boys and Chrissy at risk. Despite assuring Chrissy that she had her back, the boys tried to run interference and confusion. Or at least Josh did, as Mark quietly joined the girls to eliminate Josh as the final juror AND Fourth Place Robbed Goddess of the season.

The next day Chrissy was heartbroken to discover that she had burnt her socks while trying to dry them on the fire before Shay interrupted her bickering with Mark to pull them aside for a walk. Mark admitted that he is proud to have made it to the end though is super grateful to Sam, given she played a massive part in him making it all the way. And PREACH, because she was an absolute powerhouse this season. Mark then opened up about his time in the military and how tough it was and that living in the bush had reminded him of some of the situations he had encountered, leading to him breaking down.

And again, congratulations Mark. But damn, Chrissy was so sweet as she told him that he will now have memories of his time on Survivor when he sees a creek, rather than the trauma of war, and helped him process his emotions. So he can win the competition and Chrissy just gets our hearts, I guess?

The trio headed back to camp where they discovered a huge basket of food for the traditional final three feast as we heard from Shay, who was proud to show that women can be strong icons and ugh, I love her. While Chrissy was just completely shocked to have made it to the end, she reminded us that her name has never come up and that proves that she has played a strong game, though the fear is that a jury may not value it enough to reward her with a vote. Though trust and believe she was ready to tell Khanh how bloody good he has looked, rocking his fashions on the jury.

The final three arrived at tribal council where Jonathan introduced the jury and ran through how this evening’s proceedings would go. Each member of the final three would get to make their pitch, followed by the jury asking questions followed by an open forum. Oh and then they will vote for a winner.

Mark kicked things off talking about how stepping out into Samoa changed his life, though lost the game of Survivor, making him and Sam enter this game with a steely focus. He highlighted that he has been playing a strong strategic game from the very first tribal council by taking out Andy as a threat. He then chose to stay away from Sam at the swap before ruining the season for me by taking out Sandra. He then praised Khanh for playing such a strong game which is why he blindsided him at the merge before praising Jesse as one of the biggest threats, which is why he had to go. He then continued the praise game, explaining he has been pumping Josh up all season to have a meat shield at the end of the game and as such, his departure is why he is sitting there.

Shay meanwhile spoke about how she has fought hard throughout the entire season, losing her allies before merge came and at her lowest after being sent to Purgatory. She then fought her way back and has pushed herself all season. Oh and she also won the most immunities throughout the season. Chrissy went a different route, telling the jury that she has played a far stronger game than any of them even realised, relying on her biggest strength, her personality. One by one she formed bonds with everyone in the tribe, before she went against Croc to save Jesse post-swap which ultimately cost him his place in the game, leading to her taking out Ben. She then said that while she loves Josh and sees him as her family, getting rid of him was her big move.

She then finished it off by praising the jury for being icons that taught her a bunch too, just for good measure. And damn, may she will actually take it?

Jonathan then opened the floor to the jury with Khanh questioning Mark over how he felt about screwing his wife over to get to the end with him admitting that they were always playing the game for one of them to win and they had to do what they had to do. Jordie jumped in to question why he made Jordie feel like shit for sending Jesse from the game when he did the same thing, which led to Mark apologising for making him feel a bit shit to get himself further. KJ meanwhile asked Chrissy whether putting the needs of those she loves in the game ahead of herself ruined her game with Chrissy explaining she did end up turning on Josh. In no small part thanks to her kids.

Michelle asked Shay how she would rate her game with Shay giving herself a solid 8 – no 8.5 – explaining that she always played from the minority and as such, she couldn’t pull the big moves like everyone else but she fought tooth and nail to get to the end. Josh meanwhile cussed out Chrissy for voting him out despite the fact he voted against her too. She explained that things felt off with him after the immunity challenge and as such, she knew he was making a move against her. He then asked Mark why he also turned on him with Mark essentially giving him the, too bad so sad, it was what I had to do to give myself the best shot at the win. Since that is why he is here, for his family.

Speaking of family, Sam was up next, who spoke about how much the jury loves the game and while it is obvious she is voting Mark, she wants to know what winning would mean to Chrissy. She opened up about coming into the game having zero clue about the journey she was signing up to and well, yeah, the jury didn’t like it. Jesse followed it up asking Mark how managing his threat level got him to the end, with Mark opening up about trying to make as many friends as possible and then essentially laying as low as possible. And then when Jordie identified him as a threat, he just agreed that he was so that it kind of disarms the issue. Leading to Jordie praising him for being a role model to him and his brother and damn, they really are telegraphing this win, no?

With that the jury voted before Jonathan wheeled out a TV to Skype with their loved ones with poor tired little Harry just wanting to go to sleep while Sam and Mark held back tears over how much they missed their son. Jonathan then wheeled out his dad and stepmother in the flesh before the tears really started flowing. Shay’s parents and Ben arrived on the scene with her mum rocking pink hair like an icon and well, her dad is adorbs, so I love them too. Chrissy’s daughters were then wheeled out and once again, I am crying. I’m also crying to see Croc again, given he was the iconic alpha male winner that we deserve. Most importantly, her daughter Lulu is a Jonathan stan too and well, I love her. Particularly since she felt sad for Chrissy having to sleep in the dirt for almost 50 days.

Chrissy admitted that it is what it is at this point, while Mark was grateful to have his parents here while Shay would be honoured for the jury to crown her as their winner. Sadly for her though, they did not, as the votes all piled up on Mark and handed him the win.

As soon as she wandered out of tribal council, I pulled Shay in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a job well done. While the jury clearly didn’t appreciate her gameplay, there is no denying that she dominated physically and when nobody is willing to play with you on a strategic level, what else do you do? As such, I toasted her success and celebrated her with a piping out Shayelle Larbjoie.

Piping hot and packed with flavour, there is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked larb. And while I may not be perfect (at cooking larb, at least), this is still a glorious punch of flavour. Hot, salty and sweet, it fills your palette with joy. Basically.

Enjoy!

Shayelle Larbjoie
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup jasmine rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 shallots, sliced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 tsp lemongrass
2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup mint, roughly chopped
salt, to taste

Method
Place a wok over low heat and toast the dry grains, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, grind and set aside to cool. Add the oil to the wok and fry half the shallots until crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a sheet of paper towel.

Crank the heat to medium and once scorching, add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp. Add in the sugar, fish sauce and lime zest and juice and stir until sticky. Add the ground rice, raw shallots and herbs and cook for a further minute before seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fried shallots and then devour.


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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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