Arielcini Rec

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race España we were blessed with a batch of twelve new iconic queens who had me gagged by their talents. And flooded my basement with their beauty. After a sultry, artistic nude-illusion photo shoot with the pit crew, the dolls rocked two looks dedicated to their hometowns on the runway. Poor Marisa and Samantha fell a little flat while Onyx took flight. Though more importantly, Marina flashed her penis on the runway which is more than worthy of a win in my books. Ultimately though it was Onyx who took out the first victory of the season while Samantha and Marisa battled in the lip sync, with the latter finding herself becoming the Porkchop of the season.

Backstage Samantha was gagged to have survived the lip sync while her sisters gathered around to congratulate her on her performance. After toasting to their sister Marisa, they sat down and rightly praised Onyx for her showstopping runways, who for some reason, was shocked to have taken out victory. Though grateful that her arse carried her to victory. Once again. The dolls spoke about how intense it is to be judged, admitting that the experience has well and truly woken them up to the fact that this is a damn competition. While Sharonne did some demonic vocalising which was as scary as it was erotic. For some reason.

The next day the dolls were back to living their best lives, taking it in turns to ride Estrella like a horse before she showed off her goodies on the table. And someone grabbed at her balls, which isn’t necessary to the story but will play on a loop in my head longer than the Oscars slap has. Wait, no, that one will never die.

Samantha meanwhile was ready to claim the title of lip sync assassin of the season, truly turning the lemon that is being the only queen to have lip synced so far into lemonade. Talk then turned to the burgeoning love between Drag Sethlas and Onyx, and yeah, I want to see that video. Before we could get any of the juicy, juicy details, Supremme arrived to task the girls with a little light reading. Si, la biblioteca is well and truly open and well, if all librarians looked like the pit crew, I would perpetually be dehydrated. First up was Sharonne who was hilarious and quick, Venedita was harsh, Sethlas went in on Estrella’s twirls, Onyx made the girls blush and then Estrella stole the show with some Harry Potter (non-transphobic) magic. Samantha bombed, Jota was even worse while Diamante brought the laughs back. Sweet Juriji was perfectly brutal before Ariel just flooded my basement and I don’t even know if she was good or bad because she is so damn hot. 

Oh and then Marina was read while trying to read. Did I mention Ariel is fucking hot?

Ultimately Sharonne took out victory before Supremme announced that they would be following up the reading challenge by putting on the Supremme Eleganza Talent Extravaganza in front of a live audience of surprise guests. Which Diamante immediately decided would be the Spice Girls. Dream big, I guess? Everyone split up to start planning their talents with Samantha a little bit terrified while Estrella was thinking of going the comedy route. Ariel meanwhile had too many talents to choose from, while Sethlas was hoping to not incite any controversy like she had in the past when she did a performance crucifying herself.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with everyone splitting up to beat their mugs ahead of the show with Ariel and Onyx bonding over their journeys with therapy and how it has helped them throughout their lives. Onyx opened up about how the pandemic broke her, with her partner leaving her around the time she lost her job, so she ultimately had to move back in with her parents. Thankfully they rallied around and reminded each other that seeking help is always the best idea.

Supreme, Ana and the Javiers were joined by La Zowi on the judging panel, while the cast of season 1 returned to watch the dolls perform. Drag Sethlas opened the show as a straight up transformer and well, I lived. She then vogued the house down before jumping from there, aka splitting from a massive box. Jota Carajota meanwhile went full Phantom of the Opera before singing a camp original song and well, I think I loved it. Ariel Rec did a moody original song and honestly, I just wished she stripped and called it a day. Because again, he keeps me drenched. Juriji gave a camp opera and damn, she has pipes. And the back-up dancers were in harnesses, so yeah, give her the win right damn now. 

Samantha Ballentines then painted a picture of one of the hottest pit crew members – which was just a penis – so obviously I now want her to win the challenge. I mean, I can’t. Venedita Von Dash went from peasant to glamazon as she flamenco’d around stage in a strip show. And again, basement. Flooded. Onyx cracked out of an egg before giving an alien lip sync and well, it was weird and wonderful. Particularly since she birthed her baby on stage, which is something I always love. Particularly if it is sliced ham. Marina gave us a moody midnight ballroom dance and damn, she’s got some legs on her. Estrella then slayed a camp lip sync in honour of fast mood, which is super relatable. Complete with mustard coming out of her titties. Sharonne then stole the show with a live jazz duet, complete with puppeteering her partner. Before Diamante Merrybrown slayed a lip sync, dancing the house down however coming after Sharonne, it was hard to steal the show.

On the Day of the Beast Runway, Jota was an alien delight, despite the odd body shape. Juriji was a sexy rose bush, Ariel was a sexy sleep paralysis demon – complete with blue blood and growing sores – while Samantha Ballentines served the most demented plastic surgery addict ever seen. Venedita was a bleeding mummy, Onyx was breathtaking as a massive spider and Marina gave us a two faced woman, half covered in burns. Sethlas gave demon llama, Sharonne was a kooky spooky voodoo doll while Estrella was a demented mirror queen and Diamante slayed as a hessian boogeyman. 

Ultimately Sethlas, Ariel, Onyx, Sharonne, Samantha and Diamante were classed as the tops and bottoms of the week, leaving the rest of the dolls to untuck while they received their critiques. The judges were happy with Ariel’s performance though felt like she wasn’t on the same level as her sisters in either the performance or the runway. Samantha was read for not slaying the performance and lacking originality while Onyx received universal praise for her performance and the runway, despite some pacing issues in the former. Sethlas was praised for splitting her kitty before Sharonne received universal praise for each and every thing that she served this week. Oh and the judges lived for Diamante too, so I guess Onyx is low, somehow?

Backstage the safe girls were relieved to be deemed safe though opted to get shady over who would be in the bottom, suggesting Sharonne should be. Which, lol. As the rest of the queens joined them, Samantha announced that she would definitely be in the bottom while Ariel felt like she would be lip syncing against her. Onyx meanwhile shared that she was disappointed her performance didn’t cut through with the judges as Diamante reminded them all that on the whole – swoon – they served a killer fashion show.

Ultimately Diamante was deemed safe before Sharonne took out her first victory of the season. Drag Sethlas was then sent to safety while Onyx narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Samantha Ballentines to lip sync once again. This time against Ariel Rec. As soon as Yo Quiero Bailar kicked off, the fight once against came into Samantha Ballentine as she served demented, wild fun while Ariel focused on turning a show. But given how hysterically everyone was laughing at Samantha, there was no way she was going home as once again she saved herself, leaving poor Ariel Rec to sashay away instead.

And well, her loss was my gain! As soon as we met up backstage, I pledged my undying love for her, thanking her for gracing the planet for her beauty and begging him to spend out lives together. While Ariel didn’t agree to get married, we did have a lot of hot fun. And gladly filled out holes with some even hotter Arielcini Rec.

I know I’ve probably said this countless times but it honestly bears repeating; the only way to make something as delicious as risotto better is by coating it and frying it. Crunchy breadcrumbs form a gloriously golden crust, keeping the cheesy rice piping hot and well, there is nothing better.

Enjoy!

Arielcini Rec
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
350g butternut pumpkin, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
¾ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable or sunflower oil, to deep-fry

Method
To make the risotto, pop the stock in a saucepan over low heat and bring to temperature. Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a pot over medium heat and saute the onion and pumpkin for five minutes or so, or until the onion is nice and soft. Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

Working a ladleful of stock at a time, add to the rice mixture and cook stirring until it has just absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been used. Stir through the parmesan, season and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, spread over a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Once things are hella chill, pop the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Using wet or floured hands, roll 1-2 tablespoon sized balls of risotto. Pop them first in the flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on another lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done before transferring to the fridge to set for an hour or so.

When it is time to fry, heat a couple of inches deep of oil in a stock pot until about 180C. Working a few at a time, add the arancini and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another minute or so. Transfer to a lined plate to drain and repeat the process.

Then devour, while still piping hot.


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Birriana Goodchild

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new castaways were dropped into the middle of the lush, Australian bushland. While they entered the game as 12 pairs, Jonathan quickly split them up to form two tribes of individuals. Each had to face off in the first reward challenge where Nina beat her mother – Queen Sandra – to secure reward for her tribe. The Water tribe however bombed the following immunity challenge, while a poor, injured Alex looked on from the sidelines. Back at camp, Andy quickly suggested everyone should band together to get rid of him, however Nina had other ideas as she effortlessly rallied the tribe against Andy. At tribal, Shayelle and Briana were beaten to the idol by Chrissy which was ultimately pointless given Andy was booted anyway.

The next day Shayelle was worried about how her partner Ben was faring over on the other tribe, so focused her energy on leading the tribe in some yoga as a distraction. Because she is an actual yogi, rather than a Henry yogi. While everyone was living for her calming energy, Chrissy was more focused on the fact she was a goddess and instead decided she would try and beef her up in the jungle.

Meanwhile over at the Blood tribe, Sophie was struggling with the heat and completely shocked by life in the jungle. We then learnt that the tribe had still not gotten fire which is quite a concern on Day 3. Thankfully, Briana’s dad Dave finally got a flame as everyone gathered around to block the wind, which instantly changed everyone’s mood as they sat down to a pot of rice. Sophie caught up with Sandra, sharing that a bunch of people would love to learn from her while they are here which made Sandra feel mildly more relaxed about her standing. Though Sophie knew that as great as having Sandra is, she is always a threat. Which should in turn make her nervous. The tribe ventured to the well, worried about who had been voted out at the last tribal council with Kate already having a bad feeling it was Andy. While Sandra warned us that should Nina be voted out, she will be coming for anyone and everyone like the Hulk.

Speaking of Nina she was busy knocking up a washing line on the Water Tribe before they all lazed under the shelter to enjoy some shade. That is, until some of the logs started to snap and they had to rebuild the entire structure. Nina shared that while her mum prepared her for life in the game, she is wanting to play her own game and opened up to her allies that Andy being so keen to be in the presence of her mum is part of what made her nervous about him. Tragically though, while she was vibing on Mark, Alex and Jordie, she was unsure how to feel about Khanh, which is essentially my dream alliance. Particularly as Briana got in her ear talking about how threatening he is.

While that makes me nervous, given the fact that Chrissy is out for Briana’s blood after the way she treated her at the last tribal council, I am hopeful Chrissy will get her revenge before I lose my love Khanh.

Briana meanwhile was living her best life, loving her in-game bestie Shayelle and thinking she is a boss. We learnt a bit more about her, which essentially was that she rollerskates, wears rainbow stripes and is fun. Which is all you need to know – I mean, after the last two years, I’ll take an eternal optimist to bring up my mood! Thankfully, she is self-aware to know her performance at tribal council could be a problem for her game so approached Chrissy in the water to apologise to her and clear the air. And while I thought it was going to be a good thing, her apology was essentially, the game has started and as such, Chrissy was even more annoyed by how intense she is.

The tribes joined Jonathan by a river where poor Kate was heartbroken to see her big brother Andy had indeed been voted out and ugh, watching her hold back tears was heartbreaking. Until she shaded the Water tribe, pointing out he is weirdly good at both puzzles and throwing things and as such, they just made it easier for her tribe to win challenges. Speaking of which, today’s would see people from each tribe racing to climb out of a large, net cube before jumping off and grabbing a flag to secure a point. First to four winning fishing gear and comfort items.

Once again, Sandra refused to sit out of the challenge with Sam taking her place on the sit out bench as Croc and Jesse faced off against her husband Mark and Khanh. And damn, Khanh was a beast as he battled Jesse, climbed out and scored the first point for Water. Kate and Sophie then fought off Nina and Briana and damn, was it a fight as they all scraped and yanked at each other before Nina broke free and snatched another point for the Water tribe. Leading to Sandra apologising to Kate for her daughter’s behaviour.

We then had Mark introduce Khanh to Sam as his boyfriend and just like that, my basement is flooded. I mean, Mark and Sam are so relaxed and fun this year, and I’m living for it!

Up next were Shay and Chrissy fighting Sandra and Amy, with Shay single handedly fighting everyone off and taking out another point for Water. That meant KJ and Khanh faced off against David and Michelle for victory, where David literally tried to rip off Khanh’s shorts who nearly gave full Sugar, before pulling up his pants and securing the win for his tribe. Given this is Blood V Water, Jonathan gave them the opportunity to share their spoils with the other tribe with Water quickly opting to give their loved ones some comfort items while they hung on to the fishing gear.

Back at camp the Water tribe were thrilled by how well they performed in the reward challenge. Well, for a split second before Briana held on to the tackle box with a vice grip to hunt for an idol clue in front of all of the tribe. While she thought she was super smooth and bubbly about it, she was well and truly putting everyone off side as Khanh complained about her intensity. And vowed to keep how at risk she is from her so she continues to annoy the tribe until they boot her from the game.

Meanwhile the Blood tribe were grateful to have been given their comfort items, none more so than Kate who was still heartbroken to have lost Andy. As she walked off to clear her mind, Michelle joined her to make sure she was ok. As they wandered chatting and looking for firewood, Kate spotted Ben, Sophie, Amy, Jordan and Sam plotting by the well, suggesting that if Andy is cutthroat, it is likely Kate is too and as such, they need to keep an eye on her. We then learnt more about Sam who promised us that she has learnt from the mistakes from her first game, vowing to be less anxious and more observant. Oh and she and Mark just want to get to the merge so they can reunite and run the game to the end like Rob and Amber before them.

Back with the rest of the tribe, Croc was asking Sandra about whether there is a point in the game where everyone just loses their mind, with her wisely explaining how everyone gets paranoid at different times and you just need to be agile. Sadly for Croc though, while he was learning from the great, Sam and Sophie are already suggesting he can’t get to the merge and as such, he won’t last long enough to find out more.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would have to drag three barrels over hurdles before grabbing three more barrels, which they thenhad to navigate through a path and up to the top of a platform before rolling them down to knock vases off a series of poles. After Sophie took her place on the bench – Sandra wisely choosing to keep performing in the challenges – both tribes made their way to the second trio of barrels neck and neck. While Water had the slightest of leads, Croc’s leadership, and honestly brute strength, was enough to see them close the gap. Wait, no, Water pulled away again and then knocked over their first vase before Blood even joined the fray. Eventually Blood started rolling too, quickly tying things up as both tribes knocked off their second vases in quick succession. Before Jesse calmly knocked off Blood’s third and secured immunity for the tribe.

Back at camp Briana was ready to cause a little bit of chaos in the hope of saving her game, while Chrissy shared that she is feeling like a hot mess. She admitted to KJ and Mark that she is feeling very nervous, with Mark emphatically telling her not to worry. Chrissy then caught up with Mel, Jordie and Josh to lock in the vote for Briana, knowing that she has been playing too hard too fast and as such they need to take her out. Chrissy assured them that she watched Briana like a hawk yesterday but reminded them that somebody needs to watch her today to make sure she doesn’t find an idol and ruin any plans.

Oh and Chrissy shared she is aligned with KJ, Mark, Mel, Jordie, Josh and Khanh and ugh, why is Nina not included in this majority?!

Speaking of Nina, Briana pulled her and Alex aside to float going after Chrissy which they obviously agreed to. As Briana went person to person to woo them to her side, she got absolutely nothing and as such, grew more and more paranoid. She and Shayelle then went hunting for the idol, leading to the rest of the tribe sending out a search party, arriving just in time to see Shay unhook a hidden immunity idol from the top of a tree. As Briana ran to her to celebrate the moment and I assume, her safety.

While King Khanh threatened to steal it before making the real boss move of picking it up from the ground and handing it to Shay, reminding her it is hers and hers only. In front of everyone. After Briana went back to camp, Khanh and Nina got into Shayelle’s ear and told her that Briana was totally planning to steal the idol from her which is why he jumped in to give it to her. Sadly, the drama only made Shayelle more confused about tribal council given she will clearly either be sending her ally Briana home or instead Chrissy, who brings good vibes to the tribe.

At tribal council Alex opened up about how shocked he was to survive his first tribal council, though he shared how grateful he was, given he feels much better. Josh spoke about how that speaks to their desire for a cohesive tribe rather than tossing him aside at the first sign of injury, which immediately made Briana talk about how much she loves everyone. Though she did admit that she is closest to Shay. As Briana spoke about hoping the tribe valued her, Chrissy said that everyone should be expecting their name to come up and as such, she is nervous. Jordie said that everyone is performing in challenges, so like Josh, his vote would be based on keeping the tribe harmonious. 

Chrissy suggested she would have received more votes at the last tribal council if she didn’t find the idol. Mark suggested that this tribal council would be pretty logical and not problematic while Briana assured her allies that she trusts everyone she spoke with (like Andy last tribal, uh oh). Chrissy agreed she could trust her people though wasn’t exactly sure she trusts the plan. Briana then started whispering to Shay to vote for Chrissy before Khanh spoke about being close to a few people, which made Briana more and more nervous. Despite being confident earlier, Briana started to spiral before trying to pull it together. And then immediately threatened the tribe that she was ready to do something crazy.

With that, the tribe voted and nothing crazy happened as the tribe banded together to boot Briana from the game. Well except for Mark who threw a vote on Chrissy, ideally to paint a target on Shay though I feel he is way too nice and was just covering bases in case an idol was played.

But I’ve digressed. Like Andy yesterday, seeing Briana arrive in Loser Lodge was quite triggering because I see a lot of myself in her. I’m a little bit too much and when backed into a corner, try too hard to win people back despite it being the last thing people want. While Bri was disappointed to be out of the game, she was already hopeful to come back, learn from her mistakes and take out the win – which honestly, is the kind of energy the world needs right now. As such, I served up a big bowl of Birriana Goodchild and vowed to send all the good vibes for her second go.

Don’t let the looks fool you! While birria may appear to be a boring old stew, it is actually a feisty bowl of flavour and goodness. Which like Bri, is just what the world needs more off.

Enjoy!

Birriana Goodchild
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 dried guajillo chillies
4 dried ancho chillies
4 dried chiles de arbol
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
400g tinned crushed tomatoes
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1.2kg beef chuck, cut into a large dice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
1L beef stock
2 sprigs thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon cloves

Method
Place the chillies in a bowl and top with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before removing the stems and seeds. Combine the soft chillies with the apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin and 3 cups of the chilli water in a blender and blitz until smooth. Leave aside.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, season the chunks of beef and sear a few pieces at a time, until browned and caramelised on the outside. Remove to rest on a plate and repeat the process until done.

Return the beef back to the pot and top with the chilli mixture, onion, stock, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Stir and bring to the boil before covering and popping in the oven to cook for about 3 hours, or until juicy and tender.

Remove from the oven and remove the visible bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves – or play it fast and loose like me and eat around the cloves. Serve immediately and devour, glad to have played the game.


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June Jambalaya

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race the second batch of queens arrived to discover a half-used Werk Room before they were put through the same paces as their already-moved-in queens. Complete with a second first elimination. From start to finish, Angeria slayed more than Camden’s heart, oozing charm, personality and most importantly, all the damn polish. As such, she kicked off her debut with back to back mini and maxi challenge victories. At the other end of the spectrum, Daya and DeJa struggled with their performances and letting the judges know who they were, ultimately ending with sweet Daya being eliminated.

Backstage DeJa was shellshocked post lip sync, though was glad to have well and truly filled the dolls with nerves over her assassin ways. As they tried to process the loss of Daya, Alicia Keys popped up in the mirror to announce the arrival of the other six queens. And just like that, it was on. Kornbread was thrilled to see her seamstress DeJa was in the room, while Jasmine was thrilled to see Kerri given she is a superfan of her mother. The dolls spoke about who went home from each group with Kornbread talking about Orion’s short story while nobody batted an eyelid at the name Daya Betty from the Methyd dynasty. Most importantly, Willow was gagged to see a child other than Willow in the competition in the form of Jorgeous.

The next day the dolls were still trying to get to know each other while Bosco was just hoping to continue her streak of highs, despite the fact there are more girls. Ru dropped by and immediately welcomed Orion and Daya Betty back to the competition and well, I’ve been bamboozled!? Orion was thrilled for a second chance while Daya was just ready to prove all the girls wrong and let them know that she is a threat. Ru then followed this twist with another twist, where each doll would select a RuPaul candy bar and sign their name on it. Should the queens lip sync, the dolls are to take their chocolate bar to the runway and should they be eliminated, they open their choccie and if it is just that, they go home but if they grab a golden one, they get to remain.

So Survivor, does Willy Wonka, does Ru.

One by one the girls selected their bars before Ru announced that this week, the queens would be throwing a ball with each group getting a theme of their own. Group One would be running the Hide and Chic Ball, serving Zebra Print Resort, Leopard Evening Gown and serving a final Wedding Gown Eleganza, aka a self-made animal print delight.Meanwhile Group Two would be serving looks in the Red White and Blue Ball, rocking the rival runways of Red Hot Resort, Evening Gown Down – All In White – and Wedding Gown Eleganza in red, white and blue.

As soon as Ru departed, the dolls pillaged the supplies and quickly got to work on their final, showstopping looks. Bosco meanwhile was thrilled to be assigned animal print given it speaks to her on a deep level. She then kikied with Maddy about her heterosexuality, with Kornbread joining in and learning more about her girlfriend. Kerri then eavesdropped and only just  realised Maddy was straight and ugh, I love her.

Jasmine meanwhile was ready to prove her killer design skills, given she turns a new home-made look each week back at home. June on the flipside was starting to spiral, given she is not a crafty queen despite knowing how to style an outfit. And based on Bosco’s assessment of her ideas, she should be worried. DeJa meanwhile was feeling confident, ready to show the judges everything she’s got. Kerri meanwhile had no idea how to sew, but thankfully Jasmine is so starstruck by the Colby name that she was willing to do anything for her. While the outfit looked a mess, Kerri was feeling her oats and that was enough to make Bosco happy.

Then the dolls found a dead dragonfly on the floor, which Kornbread offered to pay Daya $1000 if she would eat it. AND SHE DID.

Willow meanwhile was struggling with the sewing given her fingers were too cold but thankfully, Kornbread is a delight and helped her with her pinning and got her a warm cup of water to help get the feeling back to her feelings and UGH, I love them both so much. Jorgeous meanwhile was giving a sexy silhouette in the hope of finding a man while Daya was hoping to dazzle the judges with frills and an ‘80s bridesmaid inspired look. Maddy was inspired with an old fashioned American wedding look, while Willow felt she was more inspired by Colonel Sanders.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls splitting up to get ready as June pulled Orion aside to welcome her back to the competition, by explaining she wasn’t thrilled to see her return. But is now ok with things. Angeria meanwhile was busy flooding Lady Camden’s basement with her accent as she bonded with Willow and spoke about their drag styles. Orion opened up with Daya and Jasmine about her mom taking her own life a few years ago, admitting that she took up drag because of her mother and how she is dedicating her ball looks to her. And ugh, now I want Orion to win.

Kerri, Kornbread and Angeria meanwhile were talking about Kerri’s coming out journey. As Kerri spoke about being kicked out of home as a child, Kornbread started to sob as she shared that she too had to move out of home during high school. Kornbread went outside to compose herself before opening up with her sisters about how she is still trying to process her childhood traumas, though admitted that it would have to wait because they need to focus on the runway.

Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judges panel by Christine Chiu from Bling Empire. Alyssa opened the Zebra Print Resort runway giving me ski-sexy though was allegedly a jockey. Bosco thankfully slayed in an apres ski bodysuit. Willow meanwhile was a pastel delight as a mum heading to the hotel bar. Kerri was a stunning teenage belle while Kornbread slayed in a balck and white pantsuit before Orion slayed as an extra from Heathers. And June was perfect as a rich, sexy socialite. For the Red Hot Resort looks, Daya Betty slayed as a cross between a Simpsons character and Cindy Brady. Angeria was perfect in a red, mod number while DeJa was perfect in a floor length gown. Jasmine was beautiful as a lobster pin-up, Gorgeous was a Miami party girl while Lady Camden looked straight out of Studio 54’s resort off-shoot. Maddy meanwhile slayed in a jumpsuit, complete with a very white attempt at a twerk.

On the Leopard Evening Wear runway, Alyssa was an architectural dame, giving all the curves. Bosco gave clashing patterns and looked like a dream while Willow was a 90s delight in black on black leopard print. Kerri had a spinning fascinator and was a stunning CEO in a purple pantsuit while Kornbread was a vamp in black leopard. Orion was the sexiest hunter to take the stage before June was gorgeous in her too flowy gown that had her tripping down the runway. Daya slayed the Evening Gown Down runway in an all white, sexy choir outfit. Angeria gave the sexiest pastor known to man, DeJa gave a similar vibe though sadly following Angeria, didn’t stand out. Jasmine meanwhile was a delight in a frilled and fringed mini, while Jorgeous was an absolute goddess in a simple, fitted gown before Lady Camden was tied up in bows. And then Maddy was perfect in a dramatic moon and star gown and headpiece.

For the Animal Print Bridal Couture runway, Alyssa was a hoop-skirted delight in golden animal print. Bosco slayed, giving Betty Page does Cruella de Vil, while Willow gave clashing prints in a bridal pantsuit. Kerri meanwhile was feeling her oats despite the sloppy outfit. Kornbread was a sexy, snake print delight despite it also being a little sloppy. While Orion gave a polished outfit, giving the perfect hourglass with Peggy Bundy does the Flintstones. And June was a jungle delight, though literally hid behind a bouquet the entire walk. On the red white and blue Bridal Couture, Daya stepped out of Crystal’s shadow by making a replica of Crystal’s promo look. Angeria was perfect in a tight red gown with a white snowflake on the front. DeJa was stunning in a textured red mermaid gown, while Jasmine served stars and stripe realness. Gorgeous was a sequined delight while Lady Camden was a clash of fabrics, a little tacky but totally hilarious. While Maddy gave a literal Americana gown, thrilled to finally get married.

Alyssa, Bosco, Kerri, Kornbread, Daya, DeJa, Jasmine and Lady Camden were sent to safety backstage where they immediately agreed that they were grateful to be safe on the ball, despite some of them thinking they should have done better. Jasmine was the first to admit she felt she should have been in the top, annoying Daya who felt she definitely shouldn’t have been in the top. Alyssa meanwhile was disappointed because she came into the competition, desperate to win the Ball. Jasmine praised Camden for doing such a good job on the runway, though Camden admitted she really felt she was lucky to be safe. Kerri spoke about just wanting a little bit of feedback, while returnee Daya just wanted everyone to be happy and for them to kinda calm down.

Daya opened up about how happy she was to be in the competition and as such, was overjoyed to be safe. Kerri praised her for bringing such a different vibe into the competition and encouraged her to believe in herself. Though then the dolls opened up about being annoyed to see two extra dolls come back into the competition, Kornbread admitted she was frustrated, though still believes they all deserve to be there. Kornbread spoke about how good her outfit turned out despite her skills, before DeJa and Jasmine jumped in to claim their help. Kerri meanwhile was just thrilled to make it through the ball, while Jasmine said she would need help writing lyrics when they get to those challenges, given that is where she struggles.

Which surprised Daya, since she doesn’t shut up.

Talk turned to who would land in the bottom with Kornbread worried for her sister June, while Alyssa essentially wanted everyone to lip sync for their lives.

Meanwhile on the mainstage, Willow received universal praise for everything she served this week. Particularly given how strong her final look was and how perfect her workmanship is. Orion was praised for serving a beautiful mug and boy did she know it. Sadly, Michelle wasn’t thrilled by the lack of diversity in her looks while Ru just wanted her to give a little less. Which TBH, is the opposite of this show, but I digress. June meanwhile received praise for her first look before being read for filth for her second and third, particularly given she was clearly ashamed of her final look.

Angeria received praise for everything she did this week, with the judges particularly thrilled by her styling skills. Jorgeous too received universal praise for her first two looks, though the judges weren’t thrilled by the Evil Kenevil look she made as a wedding gown. Oh and she is winning the season, because Ru said she is born for drag, so I guess we can just pack this up?. Maddy was read for being a bit too pedestrian in the first category and not giving enough personality in her second look. While they lived for the personality she gave in her final look.

The two groups reconnected with Willow opening up about how much the judges lived for her. On the flipside, the dolls worried it would be a rematch between June and Orion in the lip sync. Kerri shared that she was worried June was feeling defeated all episode, as Kornbread jumped in to give her a pep talk before all her new sisters surrounded her with love. June opened up about how June has given her the power to embrace all the parts of herself and feel whole. Maddy opened up about her fears being in the bottom before Jasmine told any nervous girls to get prepping for the lip sync. 

As June demanded Alyssa take off her shoes and started to break down, Maddy calmly downed her drink in the corner while Orion watched on. Though given Angeria told her she wouldn’t be lip syncing, maybe she is right to just chill. Oh and then Maddy fired up in front of the mirror as she got ready for battle.

Ultimately Jorgeous was deemed safe before Willow took out a well earned victory, meaning Angeria too, was safe. At the other end of the spectrum, Orion found herself narrowly avoiding the bottom as June and Maddy were tasked with lip syncing for their lives. To our Kylie’s I Love It. Maddy was cute and energetic, giving loved-up diva while June was fierce and ferocious. She gave wig reveals and pulled her outfit apart, while Maddy just felt her oats and turned out a show. As she avoided the trip hazard that was the remnants of June’s outfit. Ultimately Maddy was able to save herself, leaving June to open her candy bar and tragically comie up chocolate. Making her the third first boot of the season, though the first one to officially stick.

While June was heartbroken by the time she made her way into my arms backstage, I had well and truly got my ‘being the first boot is better than coming anywhere outside of the top 6’ line perfected and her mood quickly lifted. Though this time I also included the fact that doing what she was able to do in her two episodes while still a baby drag queen is super impressive and she needs to focus on the path ahead. Because her future is oh so bright. I know, I know, it was so kind of me even I was confused by who was speaking, as such, I served her the only thing I could, a delicious June Jambalaya.

Jambalaya is one of the easiest, tasty meals you can throw together. I mean, sure, this is probably not the most authentic you can have, but when you’re slapped in the face with flavour half an hour after you start making it, you won’t be complaining.

Enjoy!

June Jambalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced chopped
1 red capsicum, cored and cut into strips
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
2 chorizos, cut into thick coins
500g pork steaks, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups long-grain rice
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and when hot, saute the onion and capsicum for about five minutes. Add the garlic, cajun spice and chorizo and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant and the chorizo is releasing its spicy juices.

Add the pork and cook, again stirring, for five minutes, or until cooked in the gorgeously red oils. Stir through the stock and tomatoes before bringing to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for up to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has almost all absorbed.

Then devour immediately, thinking how well you will go in your second season.


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Roast Liamba Wallace

Main, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe came back together after their split tribal councils with Deshawn and Shan’s trust levels at an all time low. Despite having a beautiful discussion about playing the game for more than themselves, they agreed that they will continue to work on their trust though they knew that they both posed a threat to the other’s game. Wanting to weaken Shan, her alliance decided that getting rid of Ricard was their best plan, which obviously meant he won immunity. After Liana spilled the deets to Shan, she in turn told Ricard and rather than be reassured that she had his back, he worked with Erika to rally everyone but Liana to band together and get rid of the biggest threat, Shan.

After tribal council Danny and Deshawn quickly pulled Liana aside to discuss the blindside and smooth things over with their ally. Liana asked for a simple explanation as to why they flipped on her, with Danny explaining that it was Ricard’s plan and that the numbers were already against them, so they either joined the minority or risked the target moving to them. While Xander, Ricard, Heather and Erika quietly celebrated taking control back in the shelter. Xander assured them that he would use his advantages to benefit this newfound alliance and damn, is this overconfidence going to backfire on him next? After Liana returned to camp, Deshawn shared his frustrations with Danny about Shan calling him a snake. He then returned to the shelter and asked Ricard why she wasn’t pressed about his betrayal as well, with Ricard calmly explaining that they always knew they would have to cross each other and that she understood because her alliance’s plan led to his speeding up the process to target her.

But Deshawn did wisley – unwittingly or not – reiterate that Shan told Ricard he would have her vote in the end which isn’t something you want to hear if you were considering facing him in the end. 

The next day Ricard pulled Deshawn aside and suggested that he was coming off as paranoid and advised him to calm down, with Deshawn reiterating that it was a witting decision to paint said target on Ricard’s back, though did vow to calm down. Deshawn then caught up with Liana and assured her that they are together and he will never write her name down and while they looked all friendly, she was still fired up to get revenge on him.

We then checked in on Danny who opened up that it was the 25th anniversary of his father’s death and while he usually tries to keep himself busy, there is nowhere to hide in the game and he finally has to acknowledge his feelings. He shared that he always resented his father for dying and despite knowing there was nothing he could control, he missed him and realised he needs to move forward and live for his legacy.

And fuck Danny, why you got me ugly crying so early in the episode?!

Jeffrey arrived to loop us in on a new twist the castaways were about to face at the immunity challenge. Each castaway would have the choice whether they would participate but should they do, the first person to drop out would have to face a ‘Do or Die’ twist where their fate is decided by a game of chance. Should they win, they are also immune at the upcoming vote but should they lose, they are out of the game and tribal council is cancelled. Oh and to make it more triggering, the challenge was the one that cost Cirie and Malcolm Micronesia and Philippines, respectively. You know, you hold up cylinders between blocks and balance a ball with the last one standing winning.

Heather and Liana decided the risk was too great and jumped on over to the sit out bench leaving Erika and the boys to battle for immunity. Almost instantly Deshawn dropped, leaving him to face the coin flip of destiny, as I would have preferred it be called. Erika dropped just before the end of the next phase, while everyone else made it to the final round. As the wind picked up, Ricard and Xander dropped in unison, handing Danny his first immunity of the season. And why am I crying thinking about how proud his dad would be without him even saying anything?

Back at camp the tribe started to prepare for the option of Deshawn surviving the coin flip as he gladly admitted he is either safe or he can say he was never voted out. Danny opened up to Deshawn and admitted that he was so grateful he was able to make his father proud at the challenge before pivoting to a plan to get rid of Ricard. As such, Danny pulled Xander aside to float the idea of turning on Ricard at the upcoming vote and while he agreed Ricard is a threat, he also knew that he was the next biggest threat and with Ricard gone, Xander is the one they’d be coming for. Xander instead wanted to target Liana, though Danny reminded him that she is a non-entity and they can always deal with her later.

With that Xander and Erika caught up, with the latter reminding him that Ricard is a threat to both of them winning, though the question remains about the right time to pull the trigger. Xander and Ricard caught up and they both warned the other that both their names were out there, while they agreed that as long as their alliance sticks together, there is no risk and Liana will go home. Well, unless she plays her Shot in the Dark. And poor Erika just continued to go back and forth between which way to go.

At tribal council Jeff filled the jury in on the Do or Die twist before Liana spoke about how she didn’t sit out of the challenge because she felt safe, but because she hasn’t been doing great at them and as such, the risk was too high. Then Heather put that sentiment in a far less eloquent way, reading the people on the jury for being worse than her and as such, she had no flops left in the game to guarantee her safety. Essentially. Xander spoke about how much he is loving all the twists thrown at them while Danny is just glad to be immune, despite worrying about his closest ally being at risk. Jeff gagged them all with the fact it is their last chance to play their Shot in the Dark, which made Erika super nervous given there is so much to navigate around. And well, today is one of the days she totally hates the game.

Deshawn opened up about why he played the immunity challenge, sharing with the jury that he felt his confrontation with Ricard after the last tribal wasn’t him at his best and as such, he knew he was in trouble. This led to Ricard stepping in pointing out that Shan came to him to get rid of Deshawn and as such, that is what set the wheels in motion. Deshawn started to break down over the fact he had to turn on Shan to further his game despite wanting to stick with his culture. 

Liana agreed that in life and playing Survivor, she is always a black woman first and foremost and that puts bias on how people treat her and as such, they have so much more pressure on them to do better and be the representation they didn’t have growing up. Danny agreed that the alliance was so much more than that and that he looked forward to them starting a broader conversation outside the game. 

Xander thanked them for sharing and acknowledged his privilege in not having to represent any cultures and was aware how much easier life is for him, leading to Danny thanking him for being such a great ally. Heather jumped in and shared her gratitude for Deshawn being so open, apologising – for what, I wonder – and sharing how grateful she is to be learning from her fellow castaways. Liana spoke to the audience and apologised for bringing the real world into the game, but reminded those haters that this is the world and Survivor has always meant to be a microcosm of society and as such, these are important conversations.

Finally Jeffrey set up the Do or Die twist which tragically wasn’t a coin flip, but instead three boxes laid out in front of Probst. One box contained safety, while the other two contained Deshawn’s demise. Somehow, Deshawn shockingly defied the odds and guaranteed himself a spot in the final six. With that, the game continued and the tribe voted, with Erika sticking with her alliance and sending Liana from the game.

Despite the heavy, emotional tribal council, Liana had her head held high when she arrived in Ponderosa and was proud of how well she played the game. While I’ve only known Liana a short while – we crossed paths in DC when I was meeting with Michelle Obama about a business deal after Barack left office – her kindness is something I truly love, so I was glad to be able to help dull the post-boot pain with a Roast Liamba Wallace.

Honestly, there is nothing better than a perfectly cooked roast lamb. Despite being more a sausages and mince kinda carnivore, roast lamb is something that I will never go past. Plus, how damn good as the cold leftovers on a little sandy-j with a really punchy mustard?

Enjoy!

Roast Liamba Wallace
Serves: 6, plus leftovers, ideally.

Ingredients
1.6kg boned leg of lamb
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp flour
½ cup dry cinzano
½-1 cup chicken stock

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Using a paring knife, make six holes 2cm deep and 2cm long in the lamb and press a clove of garlic inside. Carefully rub the leg of lamb with some of the oil and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper before placing the lamb in the oven for an hour or so for medium.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate before covering with foil to rest for 15 minutes.

While that is happening, remove the rack from the pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to form a roux, using your judgement on how much flour is needed. Whisk in the cinzano and half the stock, scraping all the baked on goodness from the pan for optimal umami goodness. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or so, adding additional stock as needed until the gravy is at your desired thickness.

Once the lamb is well rested, carve and serve with your favourite veggies, completely slathered in gravy. Then devour.


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Coco Jumbalaya

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens were put through their paces in the inaugural Down Under Snatch Game. And while Anita slayed the game and stamped herself as a frontrunner, pretty much everyone else bombed. Hard. There was a Dolly without an accent, a Coolidge without the jokes, Lizzo without energy and Bindi Irwin without the Bindi, despite the fact the bogan take was still funny. Ultimately the latter two performances landed Coco and Art in the bottom two, and the remaining girls – and us at home – gagged, gooped and broken as Art was shockingly eliminated from the competition. Sobbing her way out the door.

Backstage the queens were in absolute shock, not only to have lost Art but I assume trying to grapple with the raw emotion they just experienced. Karen was speechless to have lost her bestie slash fellow front-runner, while on the flipside Coco was glad that winning the lip sync proved some drunk bogan lady married to her boss who said she would never compare to Art wrong. The one thing everyone could agree on is how the  departure of such a big name means the competition is well and truly wide open, with Etcetera desperate to leverage that opening – who wouldn’t – to put herself at the front of the pack.

The next day things were less shell shocked as the girls celebrated still being in the competition, with Kita pointing out she is now terrified to lip sync against either Coco or Elektra given they can both turn it the hell out. Bless, Etcetera suggested they could just both land in the bottom together and send each other home and save everyone else the worry!

They were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to put the queens to the test as full-bushed, sexy lifeguards. Etcetera was obviously demented and syched for the Gods before popping her balloon titties mid-rescue. Karen served clown realness with the fullest of full bushes, while Kita was giving the Pit Crew something to suck on. Elektra was hilarious, giving pube reveals as she saved all the lives. Coco meanwhile was giving me life as a slutty lifeguard. Anita then came out as lifeguard Yetta and I still stan her, while Maxi burnt her feet on the sand and Scarlet popped both tits and stole the show as the dumbest lifeguard of all time. 

Ultimately – and somewhat obviously – Scarlet and Elektra took out joint victory in the mini challenge. As such, the duo were team captains in a girl group battle for the premiere of the maybe-gonna-be-a-hit song Queens Down Under. You know, the iconic one from the one trailer the show got. Not that I’m bitter or anything. With the two pulled aside, Scarlet grabbed Etcetera Etcetera, Coco Jumbo and Anita for her team while Elektra went with Karen and Kita, with Maxi joining them by default. Which didn’t bother her in the slightest. Like a damn icon. Anyway the queens would write their own verses, record them with Michelle and then debut them on the mainstage with their own choreo. Because we are not ready for Jamal Simms to land Down Under, as much as I want him to.

The groups quickly split up with Elektra desperate to prove why she is here and show off her dance background, while over on team Scarlet she was focused on killing it with sharp choreography despite Etcetera and Anita wanting to take it easy so they could all shine. That being said the choreography is the least of their problems, given Coco was on struggle street with the first part of the process, her lyrics. Things were then interrupted by a massive blow up between Karen, Elektra and Kita but psych, it was fake to get into the other girls heads. But nobody really batted an eyelid after the initial excitement died down.

Another siren went off with Drag Race songwriter Leland and Troye Sivan Zooming in to encourage the girls. And just as I was about to write it off as a boring way of including celebrity guests in this COVID world, Troye Sivan dropped all the ways he wants it up the arse in such a filthy way, I blushed, flooded my basement, took notes on new positions and then silently pledged to stan that hero until the end of times. They then encouraged everyone to give all the personality in their performances, but nothing will ever show more personality than the mouth of my King.

Team Elektra – aka Three and a Half Men – was first to record their lyrics with Michelle. Karen kicked things off very flat, before Kita absolutely blew Michelle away with her energy and lyrics before Elektra knocked out some hilariously self-deprecating lyrics ripping on her basic drag. And then Maxi, girl, you in danger – she struggled to find a beat, let alone stay on the beat. Instantly making her teammates shit themselves. Though not in the Scaredy Kat way.

Team Scarlet introduced themselves as the Outback Fake-Hoes – is that a play on Queen Sandra’s favourite chain?! – with Anita continuing to knock everything out of the park, Etcetera feeling her oats while working her way further into my heart. Scarlet too was great but then again, anyway looks perfect next to Coco who really struggled to find any key, despite how much I love her charm and how hot she is as a boy.

Three and a Half Men were first to learn the choreography with everyone feeling great about Elektra’s work and grateful about how patient she was while teaching everyone. Backstage she shared that she hasn’t taught dancing in such a long time, opening up about how she lost her dance studio and then her home. The rest of the dolls rallied around her as she broke down about her pain and loss and ugh, now I am an Elektra stan as well as my lusting after her.

The Outback Fake-Hoes were less streamlined in their rehearsal process as Scarlet tried to be nice and let everyone have an opinion. Etcetera used the opportunity to help by leading from behind, which led to them spending most of the time fighting over what to do while poor Coco and Anita stood off to the side of stage, looking on in utter confusion.

But will it all be a massive fake out?!

Elimination Day rolled around with Etcetera stumbling upon a note in Coco’s workstation telling her to ‘watch out.’ While everyone was speculating about who could possibly have written it, Kita lamented sadly that she wished it was her to cause some drama. That being said, it was painfully obvious that it was Art. Which is the perfect kind of messy I love and now miss.

UPDATE: Art has confirmed it was she who left the note. Like a shady little producing icon!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys strapped themselves in – with Rhys fearlessly ripping on Ru and Michelle with hilarious results, swoon – as Outback Fake-Hoes took the stage. Anita’s filthy lyrics delighted the judges, Scarlet hit every beat of the choreography, Etcetera oozed charm and Coco really kicked it into gear from rehearsal, though still seemed out paced by her team. Three and A Half Men kept things more even as Karen served Australian Trixie, Kita was an absolute high-energy delight, Elektra was an absolute star and Maxi was the exact right kind of slutty-demented, working around any of her perceived weaknesses with ease thanks to her killer characterisation.

Am I now a Maxi stan as well? This is getting exhausting.

On the Bogan Prom Realness runway Etcetera was a total slapper in a pink juicy tracksuit fresh from gittin’ her nails done. Coco was full bush after pulling herself away from the man she was doing in the shrubs, Anita was demented and truly sold bogen chic. Scarlet slayed in a goon sack gown with ciggie necklace, offering gobbies to her teacher to further lock up this week’s victory in my eyes. Elektra was a total golden bogan babe with a tonne of accessories and then some. Kita meanwhile went a different route, serving neon rocker realness. Maxi was a damn star as the bogan chaperone, while Karen was a mess as her ruffly daughter, in the greatest way possible.

Ultimately Etcetera and Karen were sent to safety, leaving the judges to read Coco for messing up the performance despite looking like perfection. Ru liked her look on the runway but wished it was more elevated. Anita meanwhile was praised for not letting her stumbles in the performance hold her back and therefore slaying from start to finish. Particularly with her filthy lyrics. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did, with Ru feeling more in touch with Australiana from witnessing her runway. Elektra was read for trying to be the Beyonce of the group, with them not loving the fact she is continuing to be basic on the runway. Kita was universally beloved, despite the fact she didn’t really serve the category. Maxi was read for struggling with the record, though praised for being so damn stunning and magnetic. With Michelle reminding her she is so much more than funny to boot, and encouraging her to lean into her beauty.

As the queens untucked Coco resigned herself to her fate in the bottom two, while Elektra gagged her team with the knowledge that she too is in the bottom. The only thing more annoying than being in the bottom for Elektra though, was how smug Scarlet was to receive universal praise.

Back on the Mainstage Anita and Kita were quickly sent to safety as Scarlet took out her first victory of the season, despite the fact Ru made it sound like she had already won multiple. Meanwhile Elektra was gagged to find herself in the bottom with Coco, thanks to her basic runways while a shocked Maxi was sent to safety. And as suggested at the start of the episode by Etcetera, both of the potential assassins were ready to fight tooth and nail to survive to Peaches & Herb’s Shake Your Groove Thing. Elektra once again let out her full Beyonce while Coco felt the song and damn they bounced off each other so damn well. Elektra gave the most fluid death drops to ever grace the mainstage, was high-kicking and an absolute ridiculous delight and damn, this is where she shines as the hilarious, scrappy fighter.

Despite Coco’s magnetism, Elektra bouncing in a split for an entire verse was too fierce to overcome as she once again saved herself, sending my love Coco out of the competition. While my arms were wide open ready to embrace my northern-ish NSW friend, she was less happy to see me on account of the fact I forced her to dress as a gorilla in week one.

As one of her dearest friends, Coco came to me for advice on how best to impress Ru, Michelle and my king Rhys, and I suggested celebrating the jewel of Coffs, the big banana. Other than the iconic Maccas you’d stop at on a drive to Sydney at Christmas when it was still in the ‘90s location, but I digress. You see, my young gay loins were well and truly girded in the coastal hub when I saw the Wallabies in the pool while staying at a resort in Coffs Harbour. The moment went on to inspire the scene in the second Sex and the City movie but also washed away any doubts of potential heterosexuality and ignite my passion for a big banana.

It was a truly touching coming of age story, in more ways than one, and Coco agreed to do me proud. And well, we all watched episode one so the less I say about it the better, though I do think the judges would have loved to hear my touching story. 

After apologising profusely for being out of touch – who knows how to do human interaction after COVID?! – Coco warmed to my tears and was just grateful to have a friend by her side. I reminded her that she gave good talking-head for the three episodes she was in and was a babe out of drag and as such, will always be beloved by the fandom. And will probs win an All Stars season if and when it happens, I can just feel it in me waters. With that, we sat down to dinner hand in hand and giddily ate up our friendship while smashing a fresh Coco Jumbalaya.

Ya ya yi, you thought I was going to cocoa our jumbo, didn’t you? While it was the more obvious option when creating a recipe for a friend as sweet as Coco, I instead wanted to highlight her spicier side. Like Coco, this baby as the rich velvety sweetness of the tomato and capsicum with some delightful depths from the chorizo and chilli kicking it into gear.

Enjoy!

Coco Jumbalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, sliced
2 chorizos, skin removed and filling pinched out into small meatballs
500g chicken breasts, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup basmati rice
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onions and capsicum for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until they release some of their flavourful oils. Stir the chicken through the pan and cook for another five minutes, or until starting to brown on the outside.

Add the garlic, spice, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper – more so off the pepper, but that’s my preference – to the pan and stir for a minute or so before stirring in the rice. Pour in the tomatoes and stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is plump and rouged.

Serve immediately and devour, thinking of the biggest bananas you’ve been lucky enough to see.

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Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Final Three arrived at the final immunity challenge, ready to face a no doubt brutal and traumatic bout of endurance to win their way to the final tribal council. Though not before their loved ones were wheeled out to make us all cry. While it was sweet to see everyone soften at the sight of their families, reminded of what they are playing for, Moana wins best family thanks to the iconic one-two punch of Queen Vinnie who is pure joy and love personified and her sweet wife Isabella. Tragically though, Moana was the first to fall out of the challenge and after David eventually took out the final victory, she was sent to become the final juror of the season.

The final two awoke on Day 50, shocked to have made it all the way to the end while Dave was still feeling guilty about having to blindside his friend Mo. Despite it not really being a blindside since she was one of two options. In any event, David reiterated how much he wants to win before listing his entire resume and hot damn, this is going to be a complete and utter blow-out, isn’t it? I mean, I forgot about the fire from scratch thing it was that long ago.

As they settled in for their final breakfast and mimosas – treat yo’ ‘self – by the shore, Sharn told us how big of a mistake Dave made by taking her to the end, given she is the first and only player in Australian Survivor to make it to 100 days in the game. Which yeah, it is super impressive. She spoke about how hard the first loss was on her and she assured us that she had a fire in her belly and was not going to lose again. And oh Sharn, I am starting to feel bad about you losing again.

At tribal council Sharn kicked things off with her opening statement, reminding them that she is the only person to have played 100 days in the game and the only one in their season that has never had their torch snuffed. She said that after the winners were booted first, she knew that runner-ups would be targeted soon after and as such, she kept things quiet. She highlighted that she played both sides all season, told them that not going to rocks was a huge move and her plan as the puppet-master was to ride the Golden God before turning him into her golden ticket. And well, it all just felt a little bit too staged no?

David followed that up with a super sweet, relatable speech, fanning over the jury and charming the shit out of everyone. He admitted to being the mole, he told them how he found his idols – playing Phoebe in the process – blindsided Locky out of a necessity, voted Harry out because he wanted more days played than him before switching tacts and apologising for voting out Tarzan because he loves him, but loves his family more.  Oh and then he welled up talking about how much of a beast Brooke was and how much he loved Mo. Hell, is Sharn going to vote for him too?

Things turned over to the jury, with Locky asking Dave why his desire for a big game disappeared at the merge and he started to hide in a big alliance. Dave explained that being the Golden God got him to tenth last time, and as such he had to pull his head in if he wanted to make it to the end. Shonee then savaged Sharn by asking why she would bother voting for Sharn this time, when she didn’t the last time she was in this situation. Sharn spoke about how well she played this time and built up the alliance that dominated the merge, but didn’t really add anything else. A.K. spoke about the fact Sharn talked him out of going to rocks, and suggested that she can pick rocks for a chance to win his vote. Or leave it up to her game alone and damn, Sharn, the fact Zach laughed should tell you everything about the lack of votes coming your way.

After what felt like an eternity, Sharn opted to back herself and her game and as such, lost another vote.

Brooke decided to add some messiness to the proceedings, asking Dave why Sharn doesn’t deserve to win. Ignoring the question, he spoke about how he was the idol whisperer of the season before circling to the point, I think, by saying his relationships are what brought him to the end. Harry dragged Sharn for constantly pretending to be in alliances with people and pretending she was going to flip and while she tried to highlight it as good gameplay, Brooke reminded her that she burnt a lot of people in the process and as such, she was too focused on going to the end, rather than winning.

Oh and then Tarzan reminded Sharn that she told him to vote Mo in the near-rock tribal and while she tried to pretend that she was testing Tarzan’s loyalty, he thankfully pushed and said it wasn’t a test because if he did, Moana would have gone. This pissed off Moana who joined Tarzan in dragging her and while Sharn tried to dance around it and said it turned out to be her biggest move, Mo pointed out it was actually just her doing nothing. Harry then told her to keep telling herself that – slay – before Moana pointed out that Dave voting her out proved him to be weak, given he preached non-stop of competing against the best. She then asked the boldest question, asking whether he felt she played the bigger game. David expertly praised her and her game, apologising for ruining her dreams, reminding her that taking her to the end weakened his chances and ultimately they are playing for the title of SOLE survivor.

Dave then listed why everyone played killer games, praising them for their moves which is the exact reason why he made sure they all ended up on the jury. I mean, hot damn – that is a Todd Herzog level tribal council performance!

With that speech sealing the deal, the jury voted and then because of COVID-19, we awkwardly got to experience the single weirdest winner reveal of all time – potentially until Winners at War, I guess – as Andrew G was wheeled out to talk to Jonathan who was trapped in the US because of travel restrictions, before he tallied re-written votes in the US … which ultimately crowned David the winner of the game. Much to poor Sharn and her family’s bitter disappointment via satellite from their lounge room.

Tragically poor Sharn’s biggest fears came to a reality and while once again she came second, she does hold a tonne of records which prove her to be one of our best players. Despite how messy her second game may have been as her fears started to play on her mind. As such, I am so glad I was able to be on hand to once again provide her culinary comfort with a hearty batch of Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies!

Now lamb shanks and I have a complicated past. I mean, despite what you may think, I’m not a fan of sucking meat off a bone (well, in the kitchen). But in pie form? Sign me up! Earthy, rich and encased in a gorgeously buttery pastry, there is no better may to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 lamb shanks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, finely sliced
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cup red wine
1 ½ cup beef stock
6 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 bay leaves
2-4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 sheets butter puff pastry

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss through the shanks to coat. Heat a good lug of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the shanks, cooking for five minutes or until nice and caramelised on the outside. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Add the remaining oil to the dutch onion and saute the carrot, celery, onion and garlic for five minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process with the wine, followed by the stock before adding the thyme, bay leaves and shanks to the pan, covering and popping in the oven to cook for 2 ½-3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Once cooked, remove from the oven – leaving it on – and carefully remove the meat from the bone and roughly chop into largish chunks. Return the meat to the pan, remove the bay leaves and cook over medium heat until the sauce has reduced. 

To assemble, line 8 individual pie dishes with a square of shortcrust pastry to fit the mould. Line each and fill with some baking weights. Pop them on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for ten minutes, or until the pastry is starting to cook. Remove from the oven and remove the baking paper and weight combo.

Fill each dish with some of the shank mixture and brush around the rim of each dish with some egg, followed by closing with the puff pastry and cutting a little slit into the top. Brush the pie tops with more egg and transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour, or until golden and puffed.

Then devour.


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Roast Chooke Jowett

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brooke was all alone, with only the love and dreams of the nation to keep her company. Well, that and the immunity necklace, which she won for a record breaking fifth time, despite the fact we’re all forgetting the pre-merge victory. Back at camp David and his bland (well, dominant) alliance realised that they needed to flip on themselves, splitting down gender lines with Tarzan pushing to get rid of Sharn and Moana suggesting they get rid of Tarzan in the hope that David could defeat Brooke at the next immunity challenge. Ultimately though, David sided with the girls, while Brooke tried to vote for Dave – despite his idol – and poor Tarzan was booted from the game.

The next day Sharn was doing ASMR about Tarzan to David to make sure he knows just how much she really, truly valued him and everything he did. Though love me, David, LOVE ME is all I heard. Thankfully Brooke was acting as the voice of the public, calling out Moana and Sharn for playing a boneheaded game and not trying to take a shot at David when they had the chance. Though once again, she was hopeful to win immunity, fuck up their plans and force them to send him out of the game and start writing her winner’s cheque.

Meanwhile Dave joined Brooke near the shelter and after coughing like you would pre-COVID, sat down with her to ask if she is still hellbent on facing off against him. Brooke laughed it off, saying she literally has no options and nobody wants to work with her, so he is safe … unless he is interested in working with her. Knowing that he is completely falling apart after back-to-back seasons, he said that he would be interested to work together since whoever loses the next challenge is going home. But if they work together, they can save themselves and make this interesting.

After putting the idea out into the universe, Dave approached Moana to reiterate the importance of getting rid of Brooke at the next tribal council. Moana then spoke about how much she, David and Sharn need to win the game, which honestly annoys me, because this game shouldn’t be about need. I mean, that is what GoFundMe or my fellow high school alumni Celeste Barber is for!

We then got some generic filler supercuts with Brooke reminding us that Sharn and Moana dogged her at the last tribal council, Dave reminded us that he is playing his game for his kids and to be able to spend more time with them. He then started to cry about spending so much time away from them playing two seasons and just like that, I am back to wanting Dave to win. Or well, being ok with it … if Brooke can not.

My love Jonathan arrived for the penultimate immunity challenge of the season and hot damn, it’s a doozy! The final four would race to roll a ball down a shoot, race through obstacles and catch it before it hits the ground. They would then shoot the ball into a cup before shooting coconuts at a wall to break two tiles, then crawl under a ladder dragging a bag, building a ladder and scaling a wall before collecting three bags each containing a ball. Which they would then guide to the top of an upright maze to land them in three holes. And then they win immunity. As has become the way, David and Brooke were neck and neck at the start of the challenge with Brooke the first to catch her ball on the obstacle. Sadly while she struggled to land her ball in the cup, David made it past the first obstacle and quickly landed his ball. He then continued to extend his lead, crashing through the first tile as Brooke landed her ball. She quickly cracked her first tile, evening things up and making things more interesting than Jonathan’s spicy commentary. That being said, I do love David busting nut after nut. Brooke cracked her second tile just before David, as they went neck and neck under the net.

Oh and Sharn and Moana were absolutely nowhere. That isn’t relevant, but lol.

David made it over the wall first and had a slight lead going into the maze, before Brooke caught up. Both of them shaking from fatigue as they worked on the maze as Brooke landed her first ball which was quickly followed by David’s first. Brooke tried to play it fast to get a lead, though dropped right at the top giving David a lead as he landed his second. And while she fought valiantly, he landed his third and secured immunity. Back at the start of the challenge, Sharn and Moana were just thrilled to be able to stop while David and Brooke hugged, both crying as he congratulated her on being a beast and apologised for crushing her dreams. Well since it is obvious that Brooke is joining the elite group of fourth place robbed goddesses, I guess I am thrilled that it is Dave that will be taking out the win.

The final four returned to camp where David couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, praising Brooke on her continued challenge prowess. She then went to quietly reflect on the end of her game, while Dave worked to assure Sharn and Moana that they too are safe. Knowing that she needs to dig deep, Brooke caught up with Sharn by the fire and suggested that she is ending her own game by voting out Brooke, given that Moana and David will both take the other to the end over her. This made Sharn paranoid and contemplated her options, giving Brooke enough ammunition to approach Moana and let her know that Sharn, once again, is playing both sides. Because Brooke wants to battle Moana at final tribal council

While they were chatting, Moana and Dave caught up about the fact that they don’t have anything to worry about given at worst, it will be a tie and she and Brooke will need to face off in a fire challenge. That being said, Moana was hopeful that her real world friendship would be enough to stop Sharn from flipping. Brooke didn’t even need to talk to Moana, as Sharn’s growing cockiness at the thought of having the game locked up made Moana nervous about what her friend was planning. As such Moana approached Brooke to find out what Sharn was playing at, with Brooke pointing out that Moana truly needs to make sure she is in the final three with two other people that want to take her to the end and keeping her in the game means both she and Dave would take her, guaranteeing her a shot at final tribal. Which honestly is the best possible pitch because Moana is literally the only person that would be guaranteed to make the end in that situation. And realistically won’t go if she is in the final three with David and Sharn who would take each other, for some weird reason in Sharn’s case.

At tribal council – which was interrupted by another confusing, meandering presser from the PM (just tell us to stay inside and act like we hate COVID like Jacinda, please) – David spoke about his shock at making it to this point, a guaranteed shot at the final immunity challenge. While he was elated, he was kind of surprised that nobody went after him despite the mammoth target on his back. Continuing to play to the jury and the audience, David rightly lavished Brooke with praise and said that playing against her has been the biggest honour and joy for him. On the flipside, Brooke was disappointed to have lost immunity though took it with grace. But not lying down, advised Moana and Sharn that whoever joins her tonight will be the one she takes to the end. She then read them both for filth, pointing out they both told her that they can’t win at the end against Dave, and nor can they beat him at final tribal and as such, they’re stupid not to at least try going against her.

This annoyed Sharn who said that while that was Brooke’s pitch, she never actually said that she didn’t think she could beat Dave and lol. I mean, I loved Sharn in her first season but how in the hell can she not see that she has – to quote Spencer – zero percent chance of winning the game? Brooke called her out for lying and told her that she has admitted that she has no chance against Dave, then went in on her and continued to paint her as a shady liar. Brooke then heaped praise on Dave as the best Survivor player in the world, trying to scare Moana into action. This led Sharn to step in and fight, reminding everyone (read: Moana) that this is the only path for Brooke and honestly, she will win final immunity if she gets there. Sadly that logic is flawed, given she has said time and time again that Dave will win in the end, so if she does win final immunity, she will take anyone but him. And while they’re both kind of guaranteed to lose unless they are against each other, they surely have a better chance against Brooke.

Moana jumped in and said that while Brooke doesn’t think either of them have the ability to beat Dave, it is up to them to prove her wrong. And while I admire the confidence, I don’t know if they are accounting for who is sitting on the jury. That being said, if Moana didn’t think she could beat everyone left, she would have blindsided them. Sharn agreed that she also thinks she can win – lol – before David admitted that he is fully aware that should he lose final immunity, he knows that he is going to come in third. Smelling blood in the water, Brooke said that taking someone strong to the end is the boldest play you can make and already, she would award Dave the title knowing what he is visibly done. Though she knows that he has played harder than that and will have a compelling case.

Moana said she was confident in the direction she has chosen to take, while Brooke said that people have suggested they may vote with her, they all need to realise that loyalty won’t get you to the end. More specifically, it won’t give you money to buy your family a house, Mo. With that the tribe voted and tragically Brooke was finally felled from the game, though thankfully she joined the illustrious ranks of our fourth place robbed goddesses – Flick, Michelle, Shonee and Luke.

Through tears, I stood at the doors of Jury Villa and applauded our newest queen as she arrived to officially join the ranks of the iconic fourth placers. Please note that every fourth placed robbed-goddess has also played the game twice, which is a testament to their skillz and charm. Given I was overwhelmed by emotion (and knowing that Brooke’s loss likely put us on the trajectory we’re currently on in corona-ville) and I knew Brooke would be in need of some much needed nourishment, I quickly whipped up a Roast Chooke Jowett and toasted on playing the best losing game of the season.

Like her underdog journey, there is something so nourishing and wholesome about a perfectly roasted chicken. Your home is filled with a gorgeous aroma, there are leftovers for days and honestly, you feel a little bit smug because it always seems much more daunting than it is. Essentially, it is a culinary hug, which is what Brooke deserves.

Enjoy!

Roast Chooke Jowett
Serves: 4-6, depending on the amount of leftovers you want.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled (or just washed, no judgement) and cut into 3cm lengths
2 sticks of celery, just into 3cm lengths
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and bruised
olive oil
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, ideally thyme, rosemary and sage
1 lemon, pierced with a skewer
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp flour, ¼ cup vermouth and 2 cups of chicken stock, should you want to make an accompanying gravy

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C and take the chicken out of the fridge for about half an hour to come to temperature.

Throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a large baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine. Grab the chicken and shove the herbs and lemon inside the carcass. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, rubbing over to make sure it is well coated. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, reduce the oven to 200°C and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.

Remove chicken from the oven, transfer to a plate, cover and rest for fifteen minutes at which point, mash all the veggies in the pan juices should you be making a gravy. Add the flour and cook over medium heat on the stove until bubbling. Whisk in the vermouth and stock and cook, stirring, until a thick, glorious gravy is formed. Season with pepper.

Serve the chicken with your fave roast veggies, drowned in gravy with some white crusty bread for sopping up – like a queen – as you devour.


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Michelle Ragougan

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the All Stars were immediately thrown into some brutal challenges, the first of which featured a clue to a hidden immunity idol hidden at tribal council. And while Henry was lucky to grab it unnoticed, it was only valid for three tribal councils. When his tribe won the next two immunity challenges, he handed it off to Mat to cause some chaos at tribal council. Mat and the leader of his rival alliance, David decided to come together to help protect each other, and for David, to get revenge on one of his allies. Brooke then found an idol hidden at camp, completely throwing their plans into chaos. Until they gave an Oscar winning turn at tribal council and Mat correctly played him idol on Jacqui, before David begged Brooke to play hers on him and poor Daisy was gobsmacked to be booted from the game third.

In time to do exit press for her first season.

We checked in with Vakama the next day where the excitement of the previous tribal council was a thing of the past, and instead, Jacqui was showing off her killer physique. I mean, she looks like what Teresa Gudice wishes she looked like in a bodybuilding comp. Back at the shelter Mat was still processing his emotions from the epic tribal council, still shocked that the plan worked and that David didn’t backstab them. On the flipside the wounded majority alliance were feeling super nervous, unsure how Mat found out the votes would pile up on Jacqui and as such, speculated that there is a rat in their midst. Locky approached Mat to see if he could get any intel from him about the mole and while Mat dutifully told him that it was an educated guess, Locky did not buy it.

Speaking of the mole, David was on cloud nine – flushing both the idols, solidifying his secret alliance with Mat and getting his revenge on Daisy. Which I’m not really sure was needed, but since it was spectacular, I will let it slide. That being said, David was nervous and knew that he needed to keep his story straight and make sure nobody compares stories and realises he is a mole.

Meanwhile over at Mokuta Nick was busy knighting Lee for his spaghetti arms, while Henry was quietly sulking the corner since he is left right out on the bottom of the tribe. He regrouped and decided to approach Nick, bonding by the water well and hoping to form an alliance. Sadly for Henry, Nick learnt from his first season and was happy to sit quietly and wait for the chance to strike and as such, cannot align with Henry. Though obviously he pledged his loyalty to Henry and planned to ice him ASAP.

My love Jonathan graced us with his presence for the reward challenge where one at a time, someone from each tribe would face off on either side of a chest and try to push it and therefore their rival, off the edge of a dock. With the winning tribe getting some piping hot fish and chips. Oh, but before that AK threw Henry straight under the bus and announced that Mat played an idol at the previous tribal council THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY HENRY AT THE LAST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE. I mean, I didn’t love him in Season 2, but AK is a deadset messy legend and I live. Henry was first to face off against Mat, allowing plenty of time for people to make jokes about them being idol buddies. Despite looking like an easy win for Mat, Henry stood his ground and clawed back the lead … until Mat overpowered him and sent him into the water.

Next round Jacqui chose to avenge Zach’s shitty views, however was sadly pushed straight into the water. But damn I love her. Lydia was up next, with AK challenging as Locky reminded him that Lydia is strong as shit. Direct quote. Despite being strong as shit and putting up a hell of a fight, AK dominated and scored another point for Vakama. Net up were Tarzan and Harry and hot damn, Tarzan is a beast and I live, easily winning the point. Though sadly not giving Harry a kiss like the last challenge. Just some hella sass on his way to winning the reward for his tribe.

The victorious Vakama were thrilled about the prospect of smashing their fish and chips, until they discovered they had actually won fishing gear and some potatoes, oil and salt to make chips once they catch the fish. With everyone trying to pretend they weren’t bitterly disappointed, they used the time to hunt for a clue or idol amongst their spoils to make the win moderately worth it. Mat then flipped the crate and found the idol hidden inside it in front of the entire tribe, leaving the majority furious and Mat, well, he was left smiling with a big, shit-eating grin.

As the majority went fishing to calm their nerves, Mat pulled Moana aside to let her know about his secret alliance with and growing trust in Dave. Finally finding her missing spark, Moana was thrilled about the turn of events and was happy to make a deal with the devil if it gets her further. And keeps Mat and David as the biggest threats. I mean, does Moana need a nemesis like Russell to keep her fire burning? Whatever it is, I love her again.

Later that night Dave was feeling nervous about his growing alliance with Mat, so slinked away into the night to make a fake hidden immunity idol. Well eventually, after hours and hours trying to cut a gem off their tackle box. Side note: aren’t all tackle (boxes) a gem?

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge which required the tribes to hold barrels over tiles with a rope, with people allowed to step out of the challenge and hand their barrel over BUT as soon as a single tile breaks, the tribe loses. Meanwhile the iconic Shonee sat out of the challenge, directly on top of an immunity idol clue and please don’t let her follow Michaela’s lead and miss it. David and Lee had a Zoolander approved model off in the first five minutes before Michelle dropped out of the challenge and handed her barrel off to Zach. After half an hour Zach passed a barrel off to Henry, by way of Lydia, while Sharn struggled to hold on. Out of nowhere Phoebe passed her barrel off to Locky before Lee took over Sharn’s barrel. After more than an hour and 15 minutes, and some desperate back and forths, Zaddy John dropped one of his two barrels and handed victory to Vakama. And Shonee exited her seat without noticing the idol clue.

Back at camp Michelle was feeling nervous about being the first one to drop out of the challenge, particularly since her tribe was made up of three-four professional athletes, depending on where you stand with washed-up Gladiators. Lee pulled Michelle aside, with her reminding him that she is on the bottom and as such will vote for anyone other than her. She echoed that sentiment to Sharn, John and Zach. Though she could tell that nobody was actually interested in saving her. Meanwhile Abbey was using the loss as motivation to keep the tribe strong, dejectedly tell everyone that they need to start winning challenges – after just coming off a winning streak – and get rid of Michelle. Not to be outdone, Lydia too was rallying the troops to get rid of the weakest.

Thankfully Henry knows that brute strength is not how you win Survivor and as such, decided that Sharn is the smarter vote given how persuasive she can be. Unless in front of a Survivor jury against Shane, obvi. Henry pulled Zach aside, with the latter quickly agreeing to getting rid of Sharn instead. He then approached a receptive John and Michelle, before making his way to Nick. Who was not thrilled by the turn of events, and as such, wanted to flip the vote on Henry. For trying to flip the vote on Sharn. With that Nick approached his little rascals, with both Harry and Shonee keen to change things up and get rid of the threat. Nick approached Lydia, Abbey and Lee to try and get them to see sense and get rid of the very sketchy Henry. However, sadly, that made Abbey nervous about Nick being shifty. Though not enough to get rid of him, since he is still stronger than Michelle.

At tribal council John struggled to stick his torch in the slot – I have one ready for him, though – before talking about their loss at the challenge and how people dropping out impacted them. Zach was surprisingly diplomatic before Michelle went all in, reminding everyone that after Lee bombed the first challenge they agreed that losing a challenge wouldn’t be punished in a boot. Sharn agreed that challenges will always cater to different types, before Michelle commenced pleading to the athlete mentality and quoting football. Lydia agreed that they do need a good mix of skills, though didn’t seem to convince Queen Michelle who reminded everyone that loyalty is just as important. Particularly if a tribe swap is imminent. John and Henry agreed loyalty and numbers are critical to making it further, before Abbey agreed it is important but, yeah nah, she cares more about strength.

Which obviously annoyed Michelle.

Nick joined the fray to remind everyone of the importance of forming a cohesive, harmonious group. Shocking nobody, Zach was focused on strength before Harry countered that his vote is solely based on forming solid alliances, while Shonee was just glad to finally be asked a question at tribal council. Michelle again reminded everyone the importance of trust before Henry gave her the kiss of death, saying he is confident that the votes are going to go his way. With that, the tribe voted and tragically, Queen Michelle was felled.

I knew that we would lose one eventually, but I am so heartbroken to see one of our Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses exit the game. Though I guess at least Mish kept things semi-consistent by becoming the fourth boot. Which is the only positive thing I could come up with as I sobbed into her arms as she entered Loser Lodge.

Remember when Michelle completely destroyed Ben at tribal council in Season 2?


That is how I choose to remember Michelle. Not as the woman that was felled by the strength first mentality which comes from the brutal challenges of Australian Survivor. Lucky my Nigella inspired Michelle Ragougan is hella comforting, because I truly needed it.

 

 

Sweet, salty and covered in a silky melting of cheese, the ragu is the perfect hearty little meal to whip up when you’re down. Add in a little bit of chilli to Nigella’s classic, and you’ve got perfection. No offence Nige.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Ragougan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
200g pancetta, diced
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup marsala
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g green lentils
200ml beef stock. You could use chicken, but the bird and land combo makes me anxious. Like the thought of Flick and Shonee carrying the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess flag alone
125g red leicester cheese, grated

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the pancetta and cook for a further five minutes before adding the lamb mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.

Crank the heat to high and add the marsala and a good whack of pepper – and salt, if ya like it salty – stir while it bubbles like crazy before adding the tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, or until the sauce has thickened up.

Serve immediately, cover in a generous heap of cheese and devour. Knowing that eating you feelings is the only appropriate way to work through your pain.

 

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Couscous Crystalad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the queens participated in the inaugural UK Snatch Game, with politics taking the focus as The Vivienne and Baga Chips stole the show as Donald Trump and Maggie Thatch. While Sum Ting and Crystal bombed as icons David Attenborough and my dear Rue McClanahan before the former was sent from the competition. Much to the pain of one Ms. Geri bloody Halliwell.

Back in the Werk Room Cheryl was sad to lose her friend, though felt that Sum Ting’s time had well and truly come. Crystal meanwhile was heartbroken that she had to beat sweet Sum Ting to stay, though was glad to be able to prove herself in a lip sync. The queens started to untuck and congratulated Baga and Viv on their win, despite Cheryl and Blu questioning whether it was worthy of a double victory. Though sadly neither were willing to say who they thought should have had it by themselves. Crystal brought it back to Divina and asked her who she felt talks over her all the time, with Divina telling Baga and The Vivienne that they keep talking over everyone and she feels like they are trying to throw everyone off their game.

The next day Cheryl was excited for another week of mediocrity, while Baga and The Vivienne tweaked their double badge nipples. Talk turned to Cheryl’s passion for bottoming, before Ru arrived to open the library and task the girls to read each other for filth. Baga kicked things off by accusing Cheryl of using the Eiffel Tower as a dildo and Blu being the prostitute love child of Casper and The Milky Bar Kid. Divina got revenge on Baga and The Vivienne for being trash, Cheryl called Divina a horse, The Vivienne called Crystal vapid, Crystal slayed with poo jokes – The Vivienne proving you can polish a turd – and sweet Blu called out Cheryl’s overbite and backrolls like her hero Alyssa Edwards, and still slayed, despite breaking a prop covering Baga’s face. Ultimately though, it was Crystal’s scat play that took out victory.

Before Ru departed, he announced that this week’s Maxi Challenge would see the girls split into two girl groups to record their debut and farewell track Break Up (Bye Bye) under the tutelage of MNEK. As she won the Mini Challenge, Crystal was given the chance to select her team, snatching The Vivienne and girl group superfan Cheryl. The teams split up and Cheryl was thrilled to be forming a girl group, while The Vivienne was looking forward to working with Cheryl and getting to know her better. Cheryl meanwhile was super confident, given her major moneymaker was in a Girl’s Aloud covershow. Over at the other side Baga was nervous about working without The Vivenne, though looked forward to throwing herself in with her fellow Frock Destroyers. And they vowed to destroy their competition, Filth Harmony.

Each team started to write their songs, with The Vivienne nervous as she is the only one that can sing on her team. While the Frock Destroyers gossiped about their rivals and how badly Crystal will be overshadowed on her team.

Filth Harmony arrived to record their song, with MNEK proud of how well The Vivienne sang though were very concerned about her lack of spelling ability. Cheryl was totally in her element as the personification of the ba-ba-ba-baaaooooouu noise, which is beloved by Pitbull. Cheryl then did some ad libs for inclusion throughout the song and honestly, she alone should make the other team nervous. Well, until I heard Crystal’s singing, which got some awkward silence from MNEK. Cheryl though was living, calling herself the Beyonce of the team. Which is honestly true.

The Frock Destroyers owned their recording from the moment they arrived dressed in matching turbans. Baga then showed off some impressive pipes, Blu surprised herself with how strongly she sang and then impressed me with her smut. And Divina, well, she fucking can do whistle tones and holy shit, give her the damn badge right now. Sorry Filth Harmony, you’re fucked.

Speaking of Filth Harmony, Cheryl was hard at work on the choreography and had no interest in taking any feedback. And honestly, I am team Cheryl on this one, as she is carrying them this challenge. When it came to the Frock Destroyers, Divina was less of a choreog-tator and made sure everyone was comfortable with their moves and could nail everything. Back in the Werk Room both teams tried to get in the other’s head, though the Frock Destroyers confidence seemed far less misplaced than the other team.

Elimination Day rolled around and Cheryl was still thrilled by the challenge before Crystal brought the mood down and asked how school was for everyone. Blu and Crystal said that it sucked, despite not being outright bullied. Divina spoke about all her insecurities coming from her formative school years. She then taught us about Maggie Thatcher’s abhorrent law which made it illegal to ‘promote homosexuality’, meaning teachers couldn’t step in and as such, erased the queer community. To warm our heart though, she broke down telling a story of how her own students cussed out a girl in his class that called her a faggot, knowing it meant life was better for future queer kids. She then reiterated that idiot’s beliefs are just that, but their lives are reality and they are all worth it.

And just crown Divina now, because I love her.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall, as Filth Harmony made their farewell debut and while The Vivienne started out strong, she faded fast. On the flipside Cheryl was living her best life, nailing every syllable and keeping the judges in hysterics. And while Crystal was good, it was clear that Cheryl owned this performance. Then Frock Destroyers happened, coming out in matching outfits to the opening bars of Divina’s whistle tones. And they owned the week. Baga quoted herself to the delight of Michelle, Blu gave her best performance yet and Divina, as previously mentioned, is a global treasure and has more talent in her pinky toenail than we could ever dream of having.

On the Day at the Races runway The Vivenne slayed as Alexis Carrington and Pretty Woman’s love child, Cheryl stuck with her Essex roots and I loved it, while Crystal was the best of the group in a skin tight floral outfit from toe to gimp mask. Baga was quintessential Baga with a ball of flowers for hair, Blu was stunning with a horse head for hair and Divina stole the show as the sexiest jockey with a horsetail pony.

The judges felt The Vivienne stumbled for the first time, with that cracking her armour and allowing her to show some heart. Cheryl broke down before the judges even told her how much they loved her in the challenge, explaining that this is the first time she has felt like herself in the competition and was thrilled to do well. Despite Michelle hating her outfit. Crystal received universal praise for her runway despite it not nailing the brief, though they all felt she faded away in the performance. Once again Baga received universal praise, though was happy to share it around and lift up her teammates and let Blu take full responsibility for the killer band name and attitude. Baga broke down because of how great the praise was, feeling like she isn’t the front runner. Blu too received universal praise and the judges were thrilled to see her finally arrive at the competition. And then Divina got the most glowing praise of all, with the judges loving everything about her. Though Michelle was concerned about her ashy make-up.

Backstage The Vivienne and Crystal looked like they’ve come back from war, with Vivienne breaking down and showing her human side finally. Blu tried to remind her about everything she has achieved in the competition, while Cheryl assumed they would put her in the bottom just because of her runway. She then asked Crystal how she was feeling … and then spoke about her passion for girl groups and again, I love Cheryl. And her inability to read a room. Divina steered things back to Crystal and gave her the chance to work through her feelings, while The Vivienne brokedown, gave them a farewell message and pulled everyone in for a friends forever hug.

The girls returned to the mainstage where for the first time in Drag Race herstory, the Frock Destroyers were given a three-way victory. Which honestly just feels right. Cheryl was congratulated for owning her performance and was sent to safety, leaving The Vivienne and Crystal to battle it out lip syncing to Power by Little Mix. Despite fading away during their earlier performance, there was nothing holding The Vivienne back, hitting every letter and owning the entire stage. And that is no shade to Crystal, who also slayed the lip sync. But there was no way that The Vivienne was willing to go home and that passion and fire showed. As such poor Crystal was eliminated and The Vivienne lived to fight another day. And I pity anyone that has to lip sync against her in the future.

Crystal being Crystal she was bummed to leave the competition but took it all in her stride, simply grateful to be given the opportunity to show off her talents. As you probably could have guessed from my thirst, I first met Crystal while stalking her. I saw her in the street one day and was overwhelmed by her beauty, immediately enrolling in the same course at University and trying to endear myself to her. While it failed, we did become the best of friends and as such, I knew that the only way to cheer her up would be with a Cous Cous Crystalad.

I know you don’t make friends with salad, we all know that, but somehow this one manages to defy the odds. Fluffy cous cous, sweet sundried tomato and creamy feta join together to wipe away the post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Couscous Crystalad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
1 ¼ cups couscous
2 garlic cloves, minced
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 red onion, diced
½ cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
½ cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and pour into a bowl with the couscous. Stir and cover with cling wrap and leave to cook for five minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and leave to cool.

Add everything else to the bowl, stir to combine and devour.


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Abbean Holmes Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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