Rumethyst Custard

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

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race despite (my former friend) Todrick’s show eating into half the runtime, Ru and Co. served up a double dose of Snatch. Not like in All Winners, where they had to do two characters but just splitting the dolls in two given it was so damn early. Despite two groups of queens, it was Loosey that somehow managed to own both of them with a hilarious, pitch perfect Joan Rivers. Meanwhile Sugar and Spice malfunctioned, Aura was planned and Amethyst was a delight as Tanning Mom. Obviously that meant Loosey won, while the producers pulled the trigger on the Sugar and Spice lip sync, with sweet Sugar tragically felled by her twin.

Backstage Spice was well and truly heartbroken to have lost her sister, though to their credit, her new sisters rallied around her and made sure she knew that while she was now alone, she has them as a support system and a family and ugh, why am I crying. After taking a seat, Loosey was feeling her oats and got things shady pointing out Mistress clearly took out second place, which led to the drama between her and Marcia flaring up. They pivoted to getting out of drag with Spice frustrated that some girls were still there over Sugar and while Mistress tried to get her to spill, her lips were sealed.

The next day Spice was feeling a little better until Aura asked her to share who out of the safe queens she felt should have been in the bottom with her. Which obviously was stopped by Mama Ru’s arrival, who dropped by to open the library for the speedy version of the reading challenge. Given you essentially only got one gag from each doll it appeared everyone did well, with Luxx aggressively calling out Marcia’s looks while Mistress was brutal, Spice was cute, Sasha once again proved she is hilarious and Loosey continued to shine. I mean, she joked about MH17, shooting her sisters and well, it was only right she won. Again.

Before departing Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would form a trio of fashion houses – House of Kressley, House of Mathews and House of Visage – using homewares inspired by their leader. Oh and while it is individual, the dolls needed to create a cohesive collection. Team Mathews was made up of Malaysia, Loosey, Sasha and Marcia x 3, Team Kressley was made up of Anetra, Salina, Jax and Robin while Team Visage was Luxx, Mistress, Spice, Amethyst and Aura. After ransacking the warehouse, the dolls split up to talk through their collections, with Luxx quickly taking control while Spice was delightfully confused, making Mistress love her even more. Team Kressley were going for Willow Smith does Heathers while Team Mathews were going with palm trees. And Malaysia was just going to pretend she can sew until she gets it together.

Ru dropped by to kiki with the dolls with House of Kressley filling her with confidence given they can all sew and have a very clear plan. Oh and thankfully Ru called out Salina’s crunchy style and well, I love it. And her. When it came to House of Visage, Amethyst was relying on hot glue and a prayer, though Ru wasn’t living for their cohesive element being royalty. And that is it.

After Ru departed for the second time the dolls split up to work through their outfits with Team Visage moving away from the royalty prompt, disappointing Luxx who had an entire Marie Antoinette moment planned out. Though she eventually was keen to make pants, so there is that. Jax meanwhile was desperate to find out who Spice thought should have been in the bottom the week before and while she brushed it off, Mistress wished her new daughter would have relished the moment to be shady. Amethyst meanwhile was just busy spiralling as she got more and more confused and felt like she had no plan.

Elimination Day arrived with Jax opening up about being the only person of colour at school and how she struggled with the casual racism that comes along with it. Though she was grateful to move to NYC and see that the world could be so much more and finally be able to come into her own. Luxx and Spice meanwhile bonded over fashion and dolls, which was cute, sweet and I love them.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by THE Janelle Monae as Drag Race Fashion Week commenced. Mistress opened the House of Visage runways giving sexy Jersey ball glam, Aura gave sexy CEO Tarzan, Amethyst was old Hollywood though make it unfinished, Spice gave Baby Michelle at the VMAs while Luxx was stun-ning giving African glamour, complete with cape. Robin kicked off the House of Kressley giving an architectural school girl look, Jax looked like a gothic Harley Quinn, Anetra was stunning in a sexy business bikini while Salina served drama in a very Salina look. Closing out the show were House of Mathews, where Sasha gave sexy JLo resort wear, Loosey gave Brady beach chic, Malaysia gave Southern Belle at the beach before Marcia closed the show looking like a sweet ‘60s schoolgirl.

Mistress, Aura, Spice, Anetra, Loosey and Marcia were sent to safety before the judges praised Amethyst for upping her make-up skills, though read her for such a messy look. Luxx received wall to wall praise for everything she served from the energy to the impeccable workmanship and boy did she know it. Robin was praised for giving punk in her look, Jax was read for not telling a story, Salina was read for being Salina before Sasha took us back into the positive realm for just being a smart, talented icon. And Mistress was praised for bringing the regal and tricking them into believing she could sew.

Backstage the safe dolls were thrilled to be backstage rather than being read for filth by the judges. Speaking of which, they praised Loosey for killing the reading challenge. Spice directed talk to Amethyst’s look and general lack of sewing skills in general before Mistress checked in with Spice, who opened up about how she still looks around the Werk Room looking for her sister, though was ready to stand on her own two feet. Talk turned to family with Marcia opening up about being a twin, while Anetra shared that she doesn’t talk to her family and how she misses seeing her siblings. While Mistress assured her that she is in the same position and well, it is their loss, not theirs. The latter their being Mistress and Anetra’s.

The tops and bottoms joined the frackass with Malaysia thrilled to be in the top alongside the other dolls, while Luxx was well and truly feeling her oats. Jax was a little confused given her reviews were mixed, which clearly left Salina and Amethyst as the bottoms. With the former being positively heartbroken about it. While Spice assured Amethyst that despite the critiques, she looks beautiful. While the dolls reminded her she killed Snatch Game and well, that should count for something. As the dolls kiki, Salina quietly sobbed until Sasha pulled her aside to give her a pep talk and ugh, mother is mothering and if she doesn’t win, I will riot.

Janelle then gagged the divas with a visit and well, she is an icon and I look forward to her EGOTing in the next five years because there is nothing she can not do. Including pep talks.

Ultimately Luxx took out victory as Malaysia, Sasha and Robin were sent to safety while Jax narrowly scraped through, leaving Salina to face off against Amethyst to survive. And when she said she was going to fight to stay in the competition, she meant it. As soon as Janelle’s Q.U.E.E.N. kicked off she was right in the pocket, hitting every lyric and giving all the right vibes. Amethyst gave another solid performance, but sadly for her, Salina just had it down and as such, she found her run of luck running out as she exited the competition. On the third strike, just as Spice predicted.

While Amethyst was disappointed to be out of the competition, I tried to remind her that being a bright spark in Snatch Game is what people will remember her for. Which seemed to pull her out of any funk. Sadly it wasn’t enough to get all the deets on her former romance with Robin, so I eventually stopped pushing for intel and instead toasted her killer performance with a big, boozy bowl of Rumethyst Custard.

While brandy custard is the usual festive direction people take their custard in, I find rum is an even more glorious way to take it. Though maybe that is because like Bowen Yang, I am from Queensland. Smooth with a big ol’ kick, it is a delight. Just like Amethyst.

Enjoy!

Rumethyst Custard
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
200ml double cream
700ml milk
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp cornflour
100g raw caster sugar
1 tbsp rum
¼ tsp salt
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg, to garnish

Method
Combine the cream and milk in a large saucepan and gently bring to a near boil. While that is on, whisk the yolks, cornflour, sugar, rum and salt in a large bowl. When the milk and cream is hot, slowly whisk into the eggs until combined.

Clean out the saucepan and wipe dry before transferring the mixture back. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard is thick. Strain into a bowl, cover and chill for a couple of hours.

Or devour warm. TBH, both ways are delicious with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.


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Jackie Glaziered Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Cake, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.

We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.

We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?

Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.

The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.

And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.

After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.

Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! –  who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.

We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.

That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.

Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.

Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!

But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.

Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.

Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.

The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity. 

The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.

After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.

Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.

Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.

Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.

Enjoy!

Jackie Glaziered Muffins
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
140g butter, plus extra for greasin’
1 cup golden syrup
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 cup Guinness
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
2 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.

Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.

Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.

Either way, devour with villainous glee.


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Sugared Nuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Sugared Nuts
Makes: 4 cups.

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

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

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

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


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Vanitonne Milan

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

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

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

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

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

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

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

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

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

As. She. Should.

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

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Cody Assenmars Bar

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Sami was feeling nervous after being left out on the last vote, immediately trying to do damage control with Karla. And despite knowing he couldn’t be trusted, Karla was open to working with him moving forward. With the glimmer of hope, Sami got to work turning Cassidy and Karla against each other. A boat arrived announcing a new mystery clue hidden in the jungle with everyone darting off and walking directly past it multiple times before Cody finally jagged it, allowing him to bet on the next immunity challenge. After Owen and Karla literally outlasted the tide, Probst decreed they were both immune which made Cody also immune, given he bet on Owen. At tribal council Sami’s double dealing finally caught up with him and despite a late-breaking threat to play his Shot in the Dark, the tribe banded together to boot him from the game.

The next day the top six watched the sunrise together, reflecting on Sami exiting as wildly as he played. Owen meanwhile was happy that the plan came together – and that he was in on it, for once – though was annoyed that they weren’t able to embarrass Karla in the process, thanks to her late breaking flip to voting for Sami rather than Cassidy. But don’t despair, he was more than ready to find another way to splinter the girls’ relationship. He pulled Cassidy aside for a walk, talking about how glad he was that she was still in the game given Karla had almost gotten the votes to flip things on her. While she knew she couldn’t completely trust Owen, she didn’t want to be naive and as such got to work figuring out where the truth lay. Cassidy immediately approached Karla and while she assured her that she never brought her name up – when she did – she could tell Cassidy wasn’t believing her. And then straight up turned on the waterworks to guilt her and ugh, it was iconic.

I. Love. Her.

Karla approached Jesse to get him help convince Cassidy she didn’t throw out her name and while he agreed, he instead went and confirmed Karla was coming for her. And just like that, Karla and Cassidy are now gunning for each other. For realsies.

The tribe met up with Probst for a reward challenge in teams of three, where someone would be strapped in a ball to guide two blindfolded players to navigate them through a course to a table maze. And then have to direct the still blindfolded people to solve the maze, with the first trio to finish getting to smash coffee and pastries at the Sanctuary. Aka a gazebo decked out with treats. Owen directed Cody and Karla into the earliest of leads while Cassidy desperately tried to keep Jesse and Gabler hot on their heels. Despite Owen getting his team to the puzzle with a massive lead, both teams managed to be working on the puzzle at the same time and it became a race to the finish with Owen, Karla and Cody winning the reward by a matter of seconds.

We followed the victors to said Sanctuary where they joyously smashed their reward, which instantly made Cody giddy. After dancing off the sugar, talk turned to the game with Karla feeling like she has a massive target on her back. She lied to the boys that she doesn’t even have the idol everyone thinks she does before turning on the tears to help convince them, lamenting how she has had a target on her back all season long. After going for a walk, the boys conferred that they finally think Karla doesn’t have an idol though they agreed that one of Karla or Cassidy has to go. And while Cody would prefer the latter, Owen still thinks Karla is the biggest threat.

Back at camp Gabler was proposing they lock in a final three, highlighting how you can’t really split Jesse and Cody or Cassidy and Karla’s game, and as such, both of them need to axe their allies to take out the win. They started to debate the merits of getting rid of both of them before Cassidy straight up told them about Karla’s idol. The two groups came together with Gabler quickly catching Cody up on the existence of said idol and while he was feeling good about Karla on reward, he is now sure that she needs to go next to ensure he is the only person in the final five with immunity.

The tribe met up with Probst again for the latest immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles to release numbers, which they would then use to release a key, which they then use to unlock puzzle pieces. And then, you guessed it, solve the puzzle! Cody got out to the earliest of leads with Cassidy nipping at his heels. While Jesse was at the end of the pack, he whipped through the numbers and darted out in front. Despite the excitement, everyone made it to the puzzle at the same time – obviously – as Cassidy started to inch out in front as Karla nipped at her heels despite the fact her hands were literally numb and cramping, which is honestly concerning. In any event, she tried to power through but it was all for nought as Cassidy slotted in the final piece just ahead of Cody and snagged herself immunity.

Back at camp Owen and Gabler lamented that Cassidy’s win was the worst case scenario for them, given the fact both Karla and Cody can be protected by their idols. Speaking of which, the duo caught up to admit they each have idols and locked in a plan to bluff about playing them to get people to flip the vote on to Gabler or Owen and then use their idol at the next tribal council. Both Gabler and Owen were fine to vote for the other as Karla locked in Cassidy. Sadly for Karla, Cody caught up with Owen to tell him it is all a ruse to get Karla to not play her idol so they can actually blindside her tonight. Which obviously worked for all the guys.

Except for Jesse, who knew that taking out Karla boosts Cody’s resume and not his.

Jesse pulled Owen aside to let him know that he is actually in possession of Cody’s idol and as such, they can actually use it on Owen to spook Karla into playing her idol, while actually taking out Cody, which essentially moves all the credit on to Jesse. That plan then whipped through camp before Cody and Karla decided to do show and tell with their idols, meaning Jesse was no longer in possession of the idol and all the plans could be thrown into disarray. But trust, Cody is still sure tonight will be the biggest blindside of the season. Which feels ominous. For him.

At tribal council Karla opened up about how her body is completely shutting down and how she is struggling with hunger and exhaustion. Cody meanwhile was bummed that he lost immunity by seconds, while Jesse pointed out that he and Karla are also safe given they have idols and they are going to be playing them tonight. Owen played up how nerve racking it is to know he could go home from just one vote, while Jesse admitted that while Cody and Karla could be bluffing, he feels he doesn’t have any power to call them on it. Cody agreed that he and Karla had spoken about the fact they planned to use their idols to keep going forward and decide who goes home, while one of the few without immunity, Gabler, was still confident he will be here tomorrow. Which lol, of course. Jesse meanwhile was worried about which plan would come together, while Owen admitted that he was just leaning into the school of Sandra and assuring everyone he will vote anyway, as long as he is safe.

Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.

Sadly for him, his was not the plan that came together as the tribe voted and Jesse played Cody’s idol for Owen, which instantly spooked Karla into playing hers while Cody had no way to protect himself. With that votes came in for Owen and Karla before the rest piled up on Cody and blindsided him from the game. Brutally. But entertaining as hell for us, obviously.

While I was living for the epic late-breaking move, I kept my joy to myself and instead focused on how sad I was that poor Cody was the victim. I mean, Cody would have been like a smart, strategic version of Fabio winning which TBH, is something I would have loved to have seen. Which was obviously more than enough to cheer him up post-boot, as I pulled him in for a hug and congratulated him on a game well played with the recipe of the season, a Cody Assenmars Bar.

While I’m always Team Snickers if I have to choose, a large portion of my heart is still dedicated to the Mars Bar. Melt in your mouth, all at once light and rich, this copycat bulks up the ratio of the filling and enhances all the joy. In my not-very-humble opinion.

Enjoy!

Cody Assenmars Bar
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 ¾ cup glucose syrup
3 ½ cups raw caster sugar
1 cup cream
½ cup milk
2 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup water
1 tsp malt extract
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
800g milk chocolate, melted

Method
Kick things off by getting to work on your caramel, combining 1 cup of the glucose syrup, 1 ½ cups of raw caster sugar and the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat without stirring until it reaches 119C. Pour into a lined, heatproof 8x30cm dish and place it into a cold water bath. Leave to rest.

To make the nougat, combine the egg whites, ¼ cup glucose syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, and the remaining sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan with the water and malt extract. Pop the saucepan over low heat and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 116C. At that point, turn on the stand mixer and whip the whites on high speed. Once the saucepan hits 127C, remove from the heat and add into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Once it is gloriously thick, reduce to medium and add the cocoa powder and a quarter of the chocolate and beat until well combined. Remove and pour over the caramel and allow to cool completely before popping in the freezer to set for a few hours.

To assemble, cut the caramel and nougat into 12 equal bars. Dip each into the chocolate and place on a lined baking sheet to set for a further hour before devouring, gloriously.


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Dannaan Beard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Dannaan Beard
Serves: 4-8.

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

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

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

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


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Fig James Jones

Condiment, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.

Leaving us with just three more women.

Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?

We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council. 

Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.

We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.

They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.

At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.

James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.

And well, he was salty.

When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.

While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.

Enjoy!

Fig James Jones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg figs, trimmed and diced
500g raw caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips

Method
Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.

The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.

Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.


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Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Baka finally got in on the excitement of bead idol-palooza as Jeanine stumbled across an ant covered note. She immediately looped in Elie and went to their allies to convince them to hand over their beads, while Sami waited until after the idol was powered to tell Gabler just what he had done. After Coco lost their second immunity challenge, Jeanine, Jesse and Geo were selected to go to Journey Island where they all risked their votes before Geo jagged the advantage. And Jeanine popped a bigger target on her back as Sami wondered why she would risk it when she already had an idol. When it came to Coco, it came down to Cassidy and Geo as the targets, and while Ryan thought he was valiantly pretending to be the one to go out, he was blindsided by the departure of his only ally Geo.

The next day Coco discovered treemail announcing the (non-)merge, offering them ten minutes to pack their things and get on a boat to leave camp. While everyone was feeling thrilled to have made it to the next phase, Karla wisley knew that Jeffrey would have some sort of shenanigans to officially make it to the merge and as such, was tempering her expectations. Over at Vesi, Jesse was ready to prove himself while Baka just got to stay at their camp, waiting to greet the other tribes and all their spoils. And while everyone was excited to meet new people, Cody knew it was about to descend into chaos and as such, wasn’t that happy to have new friends.

As everyone got together to kiki and get to know people, Noelle was nervous about the fact they don’t have buffs nor a feast. Because duh, that is the go now, listen to Karla! Owen meanwhile was concerned about all the potential advantages floating around their new mega-tribe. Noelle meanwhile dropped by Elie and Sami to talk about how wild Cody is, sharing an anecdote about him making a hat for tribal council, which did nothing more than announce that Cody is the one that owns the Vesi idol. A little fact Elie quickly took back to Jeanine.

Jeff made an early appearance to announce that once again they need to earn their place on the merge tribe, though this time, there would be no stupid hourglass of doom. The group would be split into two teams for the first opportunity to merge, racing to release a sled buried by sandbags and then drag it through obstacles to collect large blocks. They would then build a staircase to release a key, then climb up a platform, release puzzle pieces and then solve a word puzzle. With the winners officially part of the merge while the losers have to survive the upcoming vote to get there. And given there are 13 people left, someone would land in the middle and be given the chance to bet on the winner and if they were right, they would also be immune and get to partake in the merge feast with them.

Ultimately Noelle landed in the middle, opting to believe in the blue team, made up of Gabler, Karla, Jeanine, Ryan, Jesse and Dwight. Which seemed like a great choice, given they got out to the earliest of leads. Not to be outdone, the red team picked up the pace and overtook them while collecting their blocks. Things got worse for the blue team and Noelle as Karla crushed her hand on a block and started to bleed profusely as she tried to finish out the challenge. As the red team extended their lead and started to work on the word puzzle, the blue team worked together to get the bleeding Karla up the wall. And then completely dominated the puzzle, narrowly taking out immunity just ahead of the red team and proving Noelle was wise to back them. And hopefully Karla would soon get a bandaid.

Back at camp the losing team were heartbroken to be potentially going home tonight, with Elie in particular breaking down about bombing the puzzle. She rallied though and caught up with Owen, suggesting they lie to OG Coco and tell them that Cody is the target, and then split the vote on Cassidy and James, continuing to get rid of Coco. Elie quickly locked in Cassidy and James and while she thought they had bought it all, James felt she was being a little suss and as such, thought she could be the better option.

Meanwhile the victors and Noelle were busy smashing their feast and downing beers, before Karla floated the question of what they should do at tribal council. Ryan immediately suggested they could just lock it in as the final 7 at this point, which obviously annoyed Jeanine, who wanted to stick with her allies. The group pivoted, instead talking about who they wanted to protect with everyone trying to save their OG tribes. Except for Gabler, who admitted that she does not care for Elie and outed her for going through her bag. Which made Jeanine even more furious.

The two groups came together and filled each other in on the plans, with Elie throwing Cassidy under the bus for floating Cody, which was actually her plan. As they caught up with Dwight and Jeanine, the duo filled Elie in on the fact Gabler is coming for her which made her just as furious as Jeanine. Elie obviously went to confront Gabler, denying the fact she looked through his bag, though try as she might, he had no interest in listening. She cut her losses and instead went to confront Sami and Owen for outing her with Gabler and while they both denied it, they also offered to help clear her name. Well, until she was gone, when Sami decided that Elie was too dangerous to last another day.

Gabler then caught up with Jeanine and while she was just as angry, she calmly suggested they talk to Owen and Sami to try and reiterate the importance of staying Baka strong. With Sami eventually getting through to Gabler after Jeanine left, when he reminded him that Jeanine has an idol and as such, could save Elie and screw one of Owen or Sami if he doesn’t pull his head in. Vesi and Coco meanwhile were busy catching up, locking in Elie as the biggest threat. And after Ryan straight up told James and Cassidy that they were Elie’s actual target, it looked like everyone would be coming together to get rid of Elie.

At tribal council the soon to be merged tribe took their seats before Gabler spoke about the chaos of the day, failing to mention the fact that he was the one that kicked it off. Cody agreed that it was overwhelming, while Sami spoke about how nerve wracking it is to be one of the few options to go home within the broader group. Cassidy and Owen were nervous and unsure who to trust, while Jeanine said it was hard to even try and fathom what everyone else’s priorities were. Elie opened up about the fact her name was put out amongst the tribe while Karla spoke about the fact that there are a large number of potential advantages and as such, there is even more they have to worry about navigating. Sami mentioned how difficult a position it can be if you know about an advantage, given there are pros and cons to keeping your mouth shut, while everyone agreed that paranoia – about everything – is the most difficult thing to deal with.

With that the tribe voted and despite the chaotic afternoon pre-tribal, the final plan appeared to be solid as Vesi, Coco and Gabler banded together to boot Elie from the game. While Probst officially welcomed the other five castaways to the merged tribe.

Elie was obviously super disappointed as she arrived at Loser Lodge, particularly given she had only just been talking up how well she had been playing the game. Which I calmly explained is exactly what happens and to not let her down, particularly given she is a lock for a second chances season (sorry Lindsay) given she had an iconic feud with Gabler which cost her her game. Which proved enough to cheer her up as we plotted her second go over some fresh Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti.

While sometimes I worry that they will chip my teeth as I get older, there is nothing better than biscotti. Light and crunchy, these numbers pack a glorious punch of coffee alongside the chewiness of the cherries to create the ultimate textural sensation.

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup espresso powder 
2 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup raw caster sugar 
2 tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried cherries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Combine the espresso powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk the flour, raw caster sugar, baking powder and salt. Finally, beat the eggs and espresso-vanilla mixture in a stand mixer until thick and golden. Fold through the dry ingredients, walnuts and cherries, and beat until just combined.

Split the dough in half and form into two small, flat loaves. Pop on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour.

Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf into 4mm thick biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet. Once the biscotti are shaped, return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until perfectly crisped. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Then, devour.


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Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel

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

Previously on Survivor, Gabler continued to struggle with the conditions on the island, leading the girls to continue to plot around his idol. Sadly for them, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to him and when told no, he promptly outed all their plans to Gabler. Karla meanwhile found the Beware Advantage and despite initially leaving it, circled back and bamboozled everyone into giving her the beads and jagged herself an idol. After losing another immunity challenge, Vesi decided it was time to start focusing on strength and despite Noelle being on the outs, they banded together to boot Nneka from the game.

Back at camp Noelle quickly rallied everyone around to thank them for saving her, while the tribe assured her that they believe in her and know that things are about to turn around. Despite Cody feeling like they are running dead last. We pivoted to Baka in the early hours of the morning where Gabler was trying to help his tribe out by putting palm frond blankets on them to stay warm but, sadly, only ended up pissing everyone off. And well, that lack of self-awareness kinda had him running dead last in the tribe. Once the sun came up, the tension was palpable as they tried to get the fire going as Gabler and Elie butted heads over building a fire and the size of the fucking sticks used.

Before you even had time to appreciate my Eliza reference, the tribes joined together for the first solo reward of the season where one person from each tribe would knock blocks of a ledge with sandbags and then roll on two blocks to the end of a field, before handing off sandbags to the other three people who each have to land one on a hanging disc. With the winners getting to go to one of the losing camps and looting an item, in addition to ten fish. Cody dominated the first section of the challenge putting Vesi well out in front as Sami tried to nip at his heels and Ryan completely fell out of it. Despite Baka slowly catching up and Coco getting back in the game, Vesi finally landed their third bag and scored the power to loot (and the food).

After farewelling the losing tribes, Noelle bartered with Jeff to trade the fish for fruit and a fishing kit instead, given they still have no fire and therefore can not eat fish. Back at camp they celebrated by eating her success like royalty – RIP, Liz – as they spoke about who should go to the other tribe, with Cody offering to go and cause a little chaos. Which instantly filled Dwight with fear, given Cody is such a wildcard. Talk turned to which camp they should go to, with Baka having the most gear but Coco having the most people and as such, they wanted to hurt them. After locking in Coco, they planned to go after the machete as the most likely way to hurt them. Or at the very least, open them up to negotiate for the reward they really wanted.

The tribe were heartbroken as Cody arrived at Coco, with Cassidy seeing the choice to rob them for what it is and instantly turned on the charm to protect themselves. Cody too was turning on his charm, while Lindsay freaked out at the thought of losing the machete. Thankfully (kinda) James stepped in and started bartering, giving him limes, fishing gear and some root vegetables. And while Karla could see just how badly they played it, the rest of the tribe were grateful he didn’t take the machete. Which was never even Vesi’s plan. But hey, Cody now is in trouble because Queen Karla is out for blood, so it was a messy trip for all of them, I guess.

The tribes rejoined Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would race to knock sandbags off a ledge to find keys, unlock puzzle pieces, drag them under nets and then build a square. Once said square was built, they would then dismantle it and carry the pieces up a cargo net to build a triangle with the last placed tribe heading off to tribal council. Baka absolutely demolished the sandbags and got out to an early lead,  while Vesi stayed right on their tail, as Coco brought up the rear. Baka swiftly built their square and got it checked off before moving on to the final puzzle while Vesi trailed behind and Coco grew more and more confused. Eventually all three tribes started work on the triangle before Vesi solved it out of nowhere. Before they got to work helping Baka along to force Coco off to tribal council. Which is exactly what happened. And is oh so shady. And. I. LOVE IT.

Back at camp Coco were frustrated by the fact the other two tribes had banded together to send them to tribal council. When it came to the scramble, Ryan was just trying to protect his ally Geo, who in turn was targeting Cassidy given everyone else has a strong relationship with her but him. Cassidy then approached the girls to lock in the vote against Geo for sassing her out, with James quickly on board. And just like that, it was a done deal.

Well, until Lindsay happened, as she decided it was too easy and started to question why people are still running around and talking. She then approached her allies and confronted them for scrambling without her and not talking to her, which made Karla question whether they should actually turn on her given that paranoia is only going to get worse the further they go along. James tried to pull Lindsay aside to talk some sense into her and calm things down and when it didn’t go well – at all – James was on board to get rid of her. Despite Geo’s growing ego frustrating them.

At tribal council the tribe were gagged to see Jeff and the set with Ryan opening up about how strong they are and how well they are getting along. James jumped in and praised Ryan for being their provider, with Jeff sweetly praising him for embracing the adventure of the game. Lindsay spoke about the fact they know what works for them, well until today, when everyone started to scramble. And then pointedly said that some people didn’t talk to her. While Ryan pointed out she didn’t give the vibe she wanted to speak to him, with Geo admitting that as long as the vote is not on him, he doesn’t really care. Karla meanwhile tried to explain why you have to continue to confirm the plan is still on and nothing has changed, leading to Lindsay admitting that she did that a little too much and may have made her a little paranoid.

Geo admitted that he wanted to make sure his people were calm, which made Cassidy point out that just because it looks calm on the surface, does not mean there isn’t chaos below. James said that he was just trying to stay calm to make others calm, while Cassidy admitted they won’t really know who they can trust until the vote happens. And well, given they were still talking all the way up to leaving for tribal council, Karla felt there were still way too many questions in the air. With that the tribe voted and despite being excited for them to be read, Lindsay was gagged to see that her allies had deserted her and joined Ryan to boot her from the game.

Making her paranoia prophetic, I guess?

Lindsay was well and truly shocked as she made her way to Loser Lodge, unsure whether she was right to be paranoid or if that is what cost her the game. Which obviously meant I kindly stepped in to assure her that she was completely safe until it got to her but given it made for an iconic (flameout) exit, she will have burned a place in the hearts and minds of fans and as such, she is the perfect candidate for a future Second Chances season. And that is the kind of comfort that is only bested by a Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel.

I love buns, and more importantly, sausages in buns, so you know a weiner pretzel is something I love in and around my mouth. A little bit sweet and a whole lot salty, these giant pretzel-pigs-in-blankets are perfection.

Enjoy!

Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel 
Makes: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
7g dry yeast
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 ¼ cups plain flour
30g butter, softened and diced
1 tsp fine salt
8 hot dog wieners
¼ cup baking soda
1 egg, lightly whisked
maldon salt flakes

Method
Warm the milk in a saucepan until it is roughly 50C and pour into a large mixing bowl for a stand mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave to bask in the warm milk bath for about 2 minutes before stirring in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Add the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining flour and the fine salt and knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth yet a little bit sticky. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a warm place, in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling wrap for about two to three hours.

While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220C.

Punch the dough back and divide into 8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 40cm(ish) rope shape before coiling each around a weiner, pressing together to enclose as you go, leaving just a little tip of weiner at each end. And honestly, I’m not even trying with the innuendo anymore, I just can’t stop. Pop on a lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave them to prove for 20 minutes or so.

Pop 2L of water in a Dutch oven with the baking soda and bring to a gentle boil. It will bubble easily, so keep an eye on it the entire time. Working two at a time, pop the pretzels in the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once half-way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the baking tray.

Once they are all boiled, brush each with some egg, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool for ten minutes or so before devouring, alongside your favourite condiment.


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Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor despite bombing the first challenge Baka did as their name suggested and bounced back-a, coming together and winning immunity. I mean sure, there was still some drama in the form of Elie having to explore which of her island sons were her favourite and Jeanine going through Gabler’s bags to check if his idol was expired (it wasn’t). On Coco, Karla dominated socially, just like her tribe continued to dominate the challenges, leaving Vesi to head to tribal council. And despite Karla being a star, I am gutted she isn’t vibing with my zaddy Ryan. At Vesi, Nneka felt like she cost them the challenge, Dwight had no vote due to his visit to advantage island while Cody lost his just before heading out (though regained it). The three duos faced off with five votes in play, which led to Justine being tragically booted.

The next day Cody and Jesse caught up, with the former thrilled to have narrowly jagged his idol and managed to keep his vote. And more importantly, keep the numbers to get rid of Justine and protect his ally Nneka. Jesse on the other hand was nervous about how upset Dwight would be with him for turning against Noelle and Justine, who he wanted them to side with. Speaking of Noelle and Dwight, they were nervous to be on the outs and while they were wary of Jesse, they were willing to work with him if they needed to. Given Cody and Nneka are still super tight, which is always a problem.

Over at Baka Elie and Jeanine continued to be concerned about how Gabler was handling the elements and while he assured them he is fine, Elie was ready to get rid of him ASAP. The duo caught up with Sami to figure out how to navigate around Gabler’s idol situation, with Elie suggesting they should simply pretend it is dead and talk to him about using it as a fake ‘down the line’. Sadly for Elie, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to Gabler about it and when they shut it down, he took the information about the plan straight back to Gabler and cut them off at the knees. And while yeah, it locked in the alliance between the two boys, if Owen sticks with the girls, Sami will be the one to go home.

We checked in with Coco where the tribe were still zenning out and living their best lives as they celebrated James’ birthday and gifted him a bracelet. He then suggested they go for a walk amongst the rocks and look for an idol, which obviously got them all talking about idols and instantly paranoid. Cassidy, Lindsay and Ryan went fishing as James took a nap, leaving Karla enough time to go on said hunting expedition. And while she instantly found the Beware Advantage, once again, she opted against taking the risk for an advantage.

Back at Vesi Nneka was bonding with Dwight and Noelle, opening up about a Nigerian mission that she supports and how they inspire her to be better. And ideally win the money and be able to give back. 

We pivoted back to Coco where Karla was discussing idols with James and whether he believed there would be old school idols or just beware advantages, these days. As they were talking, she realised that her wife would want her to take a damn risk and as such, quickly snuck off to grab it. Upon learning she would need to steal beads, she quickly got to work bartering with her tribemates and making a fake necklace for her wife to get her vote back and score an idol. She was giving away earrings and beads, pretending she wanted them all to share a part of themselves with each other and honestly, it was beautiful to behold. Almost like Sandra in the opening of Pearl Islands, TBH.

Jeffrey finally arrived for this week’s Immunity Challenge where the tribes would dive off a platform, climb blocks and dive again, this time to retrieve keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzle. With the winners jagging a toolkit and some fruit, while second place would get budget versions of the reward, while last place would be heading off to tribal council. After Geo took his place on the sitout bench and Noelle took off her leg, the challenge got underway with Owen getting Baka out to an early lead. Despite Karla and Noelle closing the gap on the second leg, Baka continued to stay out in front until Ryan dominated the third leg. All three tribes got to work solving the puzzle and while Vesi got out to an early lead, the other tribes closed the gap and overtook them as Nneka and Jesse grew confused. Ultimately sending Vesi back to tribal council.

As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.

Before sending everyone out, Baka was given the chance to send someone from each tribe to go on a journey opting for Noelle, James and Owen. We followed Vesi back to camp where Nneka was feeling bad to have lost another immunity challenge due to the puzzle, quickly checking in with Dwight to see what he was thinking. She immediately started to break down, not wanting to get rid of Noelle, given she is so inspirational. Jesse and Cody meanwhile were busy debating the merits of getting rid of Noelle who is strong or Nneka who they are tight with. Jesse opened up to us about how Nneka reminds him of his mum and worried that voting her out would be just as hard.

We checked in with the trio on Journey Island where Noelle was concerned about being away from her tribe this close to tribal council. On the journey she opened up about how her amputation impacted her life and by impact, it kinda didn’t as she is still an epic athlete and ugh, I love her. On the walk she told the boys that she is on the bottom of the tribe, offering that should they look out for her and let her have the advantage, come merge, the trio will work together to take control. And well, it worked and I love her. What an icon.

ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?

As Noelle returned to camp, Dwight was still nervous about whether they could trust Jesse to work with him and how what happened to Noelle will dictate how things go. Despite telling everyone she didn’t risk her vote, she pulled Dwight aside and assured him that she did snag an advantage. And conveniently, it was the very one they needed – a vote steal – so should Jesse give them bad vibes, she could steal his vote to take out Nneka.

At tribal council Nneka once again took accountability for losing the challenge, with Jesse jumping in and blaming himself. Nneka admitted it was quite a heartbreaking afternoon as they came to terms with losing one of their tribemates and that she was struggling with ending someone’s journey. While Cody agreed it was sad, he realised it was a game and had accepted it. Dwight spoke about finding the balance between trust and strength, while Noelle was concerned about how her journey would impact things, given she couldn’t scramble. Though she assured them she is there to prove things to herself, rather than destroy the competition. While Jesse mentioned they are also concerned that maybe Noelle also jagged an advantage on her journey.

Jeff asked everyone how confident they were that things would go their way and after they finally agreed on survey metrics, all but Noelle admitted they were very confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Which obviously meant that when the tribe voted one of them was wrong, as the tribe banded together to choose strength and booted sweet Nneka from the game.

Given she is a kind, sweet delight, she took her boot in stride and gladly thanked me for welcoming her to Loser Lodge. Nneka was a breath of fresh air in the game, at times feeling like a player from the earlier seasons in the way she quietly built up relationships and looked after the tribe. But alas, these smaller tribes leave little place for those games to survive if the person isn’t bringing it in challenges. And while that is a bitter pill to swallow, it was sweetened up by a Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish.

Flaky on the outside while all at once sticky, sweet and earthy on the inside, these decadent danishes fill you with joy. Though, I am a sucker for pastries so I am always going to say that. So why not give them a go and see for yourself!

Enjoy!

Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
50g whole blanched hazelnuts
200g whole blanched almonds
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g raw caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 sheets good-quality butter puff pastry, quartered
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved

Method
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pop the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (though leave the oven on).

Once the nuts have cooled a little, pop them in a food processor and blitz until they have formed a meal-like consistency and no further. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs and blitz until well combined.

Blend the cooled nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground – keep an eye on them and stop as soon as they’re ground or they’ll become oily. Transfer to a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and a little paler. Using a large metal spoon, slowly fold in the eggs.

To assemble, place the puff on a clean bench and place half a pear, face down, in the centre of each portion. Dollop over some of the praline, leaving a 1-2cm edge around. Crimp the edges to form whatever shape you desire and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp. Then, obviously, devour.


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