Victoria Scones

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were challenged to become fitness instructors for Ru’s new business Dragoton. Which is awks, given Victoria busted her knee and was now forced to participate in physical activity. Something I find offensive on a good day. Elektra and Vanity were way ahead of the rest of the dolls in their team, while last week’s winner was terrified by the idea of a performance challenge. Thankfully Krystal overcame her lack of confidence to take out another victory, while Vanity and Elektra were forced to battle to survive before pocket-rocket Elektra was sent home.

Oh and then Victoria was summoned to the front of stage as Ru announced that her knee needs further medical investigation and as such, she would be pulled out of the competition temporarily before the doctors would decide whether it was safe for her to continue.

Backstage the dolls toasted Elektra’s killer lip sync, with Vanity admitting that while she deeply loves her, she was never not going to fight. And the rest of the queens best beware should they land in the bottom against her. As the girls split up to chat, Choriza checked in on Victoria who was desperate to continue to fight through the pain and make the most of the opportunity. After throwing some shade at Krystal’s fat shaming, talk turned to the gag that Charity avoided lip syncing with Scarlett admitting to being surprised while Veronica told her to just get out of her head and continue to fight.

The next day the dolls sans Victoria returned to figure out if there is anything Krystal can’t do, with her admitting that she was bricking it during the last challenge and as such, she planned to brick it for the rest of the season. Did I mention I love the phrase bricking it and thus included this pointless moment just to say bricking it? Bricking it.

Tragically, it was at that moment that Ru interrupted the dolls to announce that Victoria was officially out of the competition, much to the shock and disappointment of the rest of her sisters.

Thankfully I accompanied her to the hospital and while she was bitterly disappointed to be out of the competition, I assured her that her short stint would already have the world falling in love with her. Plus, Ru will totally have her back next season and if I have my way, she will become our first AFAB entrant in the Winner’s Circle. With that, I gave her a hug, dried her tears and we ate our feelings in the form of some Victoria Scones.

Ok, ok – this recipe is kind of a cop-out given you always have scones with jam and cream. But to that I say, I totes dusted them with icing sugar so they truly do look like baby Victoria Sponges. So, be grateful. I mean, I was so damn heartbroken to learn Victoria was Scone, so I could think straight.

Enjoy!

Victoria Scones
Serves: 2 dear friends or 6-8 peeps, greed dependent.

Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ cups milk
1 cup Raspberry Jam
600ml cream, whipped
½ cup icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Now following the Lisa Wilkinscone recipes exactly, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand.

Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and using a butter knife, cut across the bowl until just combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, making sure not to overwork the dough.

Flatten the dough until it is roughly 2cm thick and cut into small, cookie-sized discs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and puffed. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To assemble, slice each scone in half, top with a dollop of jam, followed by a dollop of cream and the top of each scone. Dust with icing sugar before devouring, as your melancholy washes away.


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Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Brad grew paranoid of his ally JD and how quickly things flipped at their first tribal council. Tiffany meanwhile was exhausted on Yase, leaving Xander plenty of free time to find the aware advantage – aka the three-way idol that is only powered if everyone says the same weird phrases at the same immunity challenge. Sadly for him, he was the only person that found one meaning it was powerless and he lost his vote. Oh and then Yase lost immunity again thanks to Tiffany struggling badly in the challenge. Despite this, it came down to the boys and while Evvie continued to explain Xander’s idol was powerless, Tiffany convinced them to boot sweet Voce instead.

The next morning Liana awoke bright and early, regretting the choice to get rid of Voce – I think – given it could cost her the game if the tribe continues their losing streak. As she tended to the fire, she missed an advantage sitting right next to her. Thankfully, Tiffany woke up not much later and found it under the watchful eyes of Evvie and Liana. As such, she beckoned them to follow her down to the beach where she learnt that later that night a boat would arrive to take her to another island where she would be faced with a choice. The failure to get on said boat would cost her her vote at the next tribal council. Which she was obviously thrilled about, while Liana questioned whether missing it will cost her the game.

Meanwhile over at Ua, JD was bonding with Genie, Ricard and Shan while Brad got up and started tending to camp. Thankfully for him, as the tribe partied together, he found the same advantage that Tiffany got and as such, the King and Queen of chaos are destined for a twilight meet-up and damn, I am excited! We then jetted over to Luvu where Sydney was telling the tribe that Naseer pulled her aside last night and suggested getting rid of Danny, while poor Naseer sat alone at camp. Breaking my damn heart, given he is so sweet and joyous. Thankfully he apologised to everyone and while everyone seemed great, Sydney was still very much against him. And then grabbed the hidden advantage in front of the tribe to avoid Heather or Naseer grabbing it.

We returned to Ua where JD was wandering around, searching high and low for a hidden immunity idol to add to his collection of advantages. Given he was struggling, he decided that someone else must have found it and then listed why every other person in the tribe had it. As the tribe reconnected, we learnt that Brad and Genie had found the idol together but half an hour earlier and while Queen Genie was disappointed to not be the owner of the idol, she was glad her closest ally had it. Brad started to feel guilty that their other ally Shan wasn’t in the know, so pulled her aside and let her know about the madness of the three-way idol before gagging her with the knowledge of his OTHER advantage. And while she pretended to be excited for him, she was also concerned about his growing power.

That night, Brad built a body out of supplies on the beach so that people would think he was sleeping away before he ventured out on his boat trip. While Tiffany and Sydney weren’t as elaborate with their escapes, they did meet him on a new island where they learnt that they would have to select themselves a tarp or ‘a steal a vote’. And like the other dilemma, if they all select the tarp they all get a tarp but if they all choose the ‘steal a vote’, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And then if the decision is split, those that choose tarp get nothing while the others get the ‘steal a vote’. Tiffany quickly suggested they all agree that one of them gets the ‘steal a vote’, while the others get nothing which made Sydney very nervous about her. After they discussed back and forth, they all made their decisions in private and returned back to camp.

The next day, Tiffany and Sydney learnt that they were empty handed while Brad was delighted to find his steal a vote. Which is the outcome Sydney was hoping for.

The tribes reconvened with Jeffrey for the latest immunity challenge where they had to swim out and cross a rope bridge over the water, run to shore, dig up sandbags and toss them on small shelves. Oh and the winning tribes also get a fruit platter. After Brad and Xander offered up their idol phrases, they sadly discovered that they were missing their third partner and they were now both without their votes. Deshawn got Luvu out to an early lead before Shan pipped him on the rope bridge and gave Ua the lead. The tribes continued to trade out the lead while Xander desperately tried to close the gap for Yase. Eventually all of the tribes caught up when it came to tossing the sacks, which proved to be Tiffany’s secret skill as she landed the first one for Yase. Xander quickly landed another two, while Deshawn tried to close the gap. Ua then got in on the action and landed a few but it was all for nought as Luvu took out immunity followed by Xander snagging a victory for Yase, sending Ua to tribal council.

Back at camp the tribe tried to process their loss, while Brad was more frustrated by the fact his idol isn’t powered and as such, he doesn’t have his vote and nor can he play any advantages. A factoid we only just learnt. JD ventured off to go to the bathroom before returning with his extra vote visible. As such, Shan and Ricard pulled him aside to give him the chance to come clean but given they forced his hand, neither of them really trusted him. The duo then caught up and discussed the merits of getting rid of either JD or Brad since they are both untrustworthy, though they argued that the latter does contribute more around camp. Knowing he was screwed, JD apologised to Shan and offered up the extra vote for her to mind until later to the game. We then learnt that Shan felt emotionally connected to both of the boys and as such, she is even more confused about what is the right decision for her game.

At tribal council Shan spoke about how disappointed she was to be back at tribal council while JD quickly took responsibility for their loss in the challenge. Ricard admitted that he is already at the point of the game where he would rather vote based on his allegiances rather than strength, while Genie was concerned she was getting his vote given she voted for him last week. Though wasn’t overly concerned, given she has a solid alliance. Brad spoke about the importance of building trust, which JD jumped on and assured them that while they may not trust him at the moment, he hopes to win back the trust. Brad reminded them that things always look up after tribal council as the joy of surviving comes to them. JD spoke about how Survivor gave him his confidence and built him up to the man he is today and ugh, the way Brad watched on with pride was just too precious.

With that the tribe voted and powerless, poor Brad was gagged to find himself booted from the game. But more importantly, does this mean that Xander will never get to stop talking about his dead flying relatives?!

But that is a question for another time, because as soon as I saw Brad wander into Loser Lodge, I pulled him into my arms and started to cry over his loss. You see, I’ve known Brad for years after hitchhiking my way across America working as a ranch hand in the hopes of finding my own Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. While I was tragically unsuccessful, Brad took me under his wing and tried to make me into a decent person, often looking on with the same pride he looked at JD with. The results may have been hit and miss, but he was always proud of me when I whipped out a batch of Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There is no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate, a fact best proven by these little numbers. Smooth, chewy peanut butter, mixed with sharp, rich chocolate? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Serves: 2 dear friends, makes 36.

Ingredients
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter 
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
500g melting chocolate

Method
Combine the peanut butter, butter and muscovado sugar in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat until melted. Bring to a gentle boil before removing from the heat and folding through the icing sugar. Stirring until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Line 36 mini-muffin holes with paper patties. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and salt together until smooth and shiny. Immediately pour a tablespoon into each muffin cup and swirl to cover the base.

Take the chilled peanut butter mixture out of the fridge and roll into 1 teaspoon sized thick discs. Pop one in each of the muffin cups, top with the remaining chocolate and transfer to the fridge to set.

Remove from the pattie liners and devour, joyously.


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David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, we were once again blown away by the talent, goopery and charm of 12 Bwitish dolls. None more so than Bimini, who is well on their way to becoming the drag Oprah or Beyonce, in my not-at-all-humble opinion. While I am a ride or die Bimini stan, all the queen’s bing, bang, bonged their way into my hearts and somehow pulled off an even better season than the first. Meaning this new batch of dolls have a lot to live up to if they want to join The Vivienne and Lawrence in the iconic pantheon of UK winners.

Speaking of which, first up was our tragically fallen Season 2 queen, Veronica Green who was green around the gills but thankfully no longer COVID stricken and ready to slay in full. And even mocking her drag race for being dead boring. She was quickly joined by Kitty Scott-Claus who has the greatest drag name of all time and I absolute live for her. Kitty is lyf, Kitty is love, she is the moment – I LIVE. Just as I wondered whether she was the second coming of Chez, she goes and mentions they work together and ugh, I love the girls. River Medway arrived, apparently full of shit and I love her too. Despite not being well known which is exactly how she likes it, given she will be underestimated.

Scarlett Harlett arrived and immediately slayed my heart, calling the Werk Room a piece of shit and well, she is a power twink and I want to borrow the flanno. We also have a lot in common. And by that, a passion for being bred. Vanity Milan arrived as a technicolour delight, charming, energetic and so happy. Second best drag name, Ella Vaday, arrived in full fembot realness, a West End babe and again, I love her. Choriza May was up next with the best entry line of all time and well, shut it down and give her the damn crown. I mean, her fave part about Newcastle is her boyfriend’s dick – what more is there to love?

Our first AFAB queen arrived in the form of Victoria Scone and ugh, I love her too. She is a little nerdy, so excited and well, has a strong vagina and that alone is why you should love her. She is grabbing the opportunity by the flaps, after all. They were joined by little twink Elektra Fence who got her name from literally touching an electric fence and falling in shit. So, wait for it, again, I love her. Next up was the delightfully cartoonish Anubis who is wacky and wild and well, she is just perfect. Krystal Versace was up next and is the poster of what kids that grew up with visibility look like, she is fierce, confident and I feel proud of her, for some odd, old-man reason. And then rounding out the cast is the demented and devilish Charity Kase and well I love her, for the murdered Maria Antoinette realness she served.

The dolls were interrupted mid-kiki by Mama Ru who arrived to officially welcome them to the competition … with a game of dirty charades. And well, given Choriza has no idea what that is, she is thrilled to participate. First up were Kitty, Ella, Chorizo and Scarlett with nobody getting Kitty trying to sign ‘booty’ before Choriza gagged everyone by getting it right. She then got the next point as well and damn, I’m so proud. River, Vanity, Elektra and Veronica were up next and well, Veronica struggled but honestly, she had the hardest clue. Anubis, Charity, Krystal and Victoria rounded out the game, and well Victoria slayed it, having Ru in hysterics from start to finish.

With that out of the way, Ru tasked the queens with bringing two runways to help the judges to get to know them. One explaining why they are the queen of their hometowns and the other dedicated to something they love. As the dolls de-dragged, Ella was falling over, Kitty was getting her wet titties slapped, Anubis was checking whether Victoria was comfortable and Krystal was going through her plastic surgery. River meanwhile opened up to Vanity about her supportive mother who tragically passed away from COVID, sharing that she would be wearing one of her mother’s outfits and ugh, I’m crying. River is life.

Elimination Day arrived, with the queens quickly splitting up to beat their mugs. Veronica opened up to Kitty about not needing to prove herself this time, which has taken a weight off her shoulders. Vanity and Choriza opened up to each other about their partners, with the latter talking about how lonely she has been during the pandemic as her boyfriend works away and coming into the competition made her feel so good by simply being around others. And then all the kumbaya was shattered as my love Kitty asked who people thought would be going home, with Victoria more nervous about proving herself as the first AFAB queen.

On the Queen of Your Hometown runway, Victoria slayed as a bloomin’ sunflower. Kitty was a chocolate cheerleader, Ella was a camp, mod delight and Anubis was gorgeous as a Brighton carnival ride. River slayed as a statue with a traffic cone on her head doing the same pose, having the judges – and me – in absolute hysterics. I mean, iconic, charming – RIVER IS MY FAVE. Krystal was a gorgeous, garden delight, looking like baby Raven, Veronica was killer in cotton while Scarlett slayed dotted in pearls, Elektra served coal miner realness, Vanity slayed in a Jamaican inspired, frilly delight, Choriza looked like Kita Mean in her All Blacks look and Charity was a stunning, demented rose.

On the My Favourite Things runway, Victoria scone was an iconic high tea, complete with a dropped sandwich. Kitty served ABBA realness, Ella was a vision in a patchwork of pride, Anubis was wacky as a squid, River was a disco diva, Krsytal was the glow-up of Gothy’s 50P face-paint, Veronica was a bright, delight in honour of video games, Scarlett too was dedicated to music, this time in a cheeky mini. Elektra Fence marked her birthday, jacked up on sugar in the most demented, demonic way possible. Vanity honoured Estonia, Chorizo was a bright pop-art delight while Charity was horrifically polished in honour of freak shows.

Ultimately Kitty, Ella, Veronica, Vanity, Chorizo and Charity were sent to safety before Victoria received universal praise for everything she brought to the runway. Anubis meanwhile was praised for her hometown look, though the favourite things runway was read for filth for being basic and a little sub par. River’s statue walk was loved by the judges, despite them not understanding WHY she was being so funny. Sadly though, her second outfit was deemed underwhelming, though Ru freely admitted that had she added her now signature pose, she would have been safe. Krstal meanwhile received universal praise for both looks while Scarlett was praised for selling two vastly different looks. While poor Elektra was read for not going far enough in the hometown look, though praised for being wacky in the second runway.

Meanwhile the safe girls were glad to be safe, though Vanity was looking forward to topping soon. Apparently. Charity was a bit disappointed to not be in the top, though glad to be safe. Talk turned to the tops and bottoms, with them speculating Scarlett would be in the bottom while Victoria would definitely be in the top. Speaking of which, the girls arrived with Scarlett talking about how much the judges lived for Victoria. The girls asked Scarlett what the judges felt about her, with them gagged that she was clearly in the top. With Charity going so far as to call her basic. Elektra felt she got the worst critiques while River just wasn’t sure who would be safe out of the three of them. Poor Anubis broke down, disappointed that she couldn’t explain her sea animal look to the judges, given it was a dedication to her dad since the last time she saw him, they went to an aquarium. Which is heartbreaking and I love her.

The queens returned to the mainstage where Ru announced that the top two queens would be lip syncing for victory in addition to the bottom two lip syncing for their lives. Scarlett however was not one of them, with Victoria and Krystal first up to battle for the win to Total Eclipse of the Heart by Queen Bonnie Tyler. But more importantly, I just got the pun of Victoria’s name. It was a battle from the very first bars as Krystal served killer, sexy lip sync while Victoria was a hilarious icon, chucking sandwiches and stripping off platters before falling to her knees. Ultimately though, it was Krystal that took out the first win of the season while poor Victoria looked like she was holding back tears.

The trio of bottoms were next up with River’s charm and personality enough to save her from the lip sync, leaving Anubis and Elektra to battle it out to Little Mix’s ‘Sweet Melody’. Anubis gave camp, glamour and hit every lyric, however that was tragically not enough compared to Elektra who straight up bounced and flipped around the stage, hitting every letter and serving all the emotion in the most demented way possible. As such, she saved herself and poor Anubis found herself following in Gothy and Joe Black’s footsteps.

Thankfully Boris Johnson was compelled to let me in – blackmail, what blackmail? – so I was able to be there for my dear friend Anubis in her time of need. I first met Anubis down in Brighton – aka the kiss of death for a UK queen – and was blown away from her talent and charm. And as you know, when I sniff out talent, I immediately hitch my wagon to them and vow to be their bestest friend ever. Meaning I felt it was only appropriate to pull Anubis in for a hug, remind her how damn talented she is and give her a big batch of Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits to celebrate her success.

Sticky, sweet and oh so perfect, these Donna Hay inspired numbers are the perfect way to dull the first boot pain. The crunch warms your heart, the gooey chocolate soothes your soul and the milo is well, milo. So buckle in and eat up!

Enjoy!

Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs, 1 separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp water
2 cups flour
¾ cup malt powder (aka Milo)
¼ tsp kosher salt
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Beat butter and sugars in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, or until sandy. Add a whole egg plus the extra yolk with the vanilla extract and beat on high for two minutes.

Meanwhile combine baking powder, bicarb and water in a little bowl and fold through the wet ingredients with the flour, malt powder and salt. Return to the mixer and beat on low until just combined.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the chocolate and pecans.

Roll ¼ cup dollops of batter into balls and flatten on a lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for the inevitable spread. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Repeat until done, then devour.


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Custard George Mladanish

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Dessert, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.

The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.

George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.

Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.

At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.

And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.

Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.

Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.

Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.

Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.

Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.

Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.

Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.

As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.

Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cornflour
2 cups milk
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
⅔ cup flaked almonds

Method
First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.

Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.

While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.

Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.

Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.


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Laura Bakewells Tart

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Baking, Dessert, Pie, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani, Wai, Flick, Laura and Gerald scored a massive KFC reward which honestly would have made my damn life. High on fried chicken and tipsy from the beers, Dani quickly suggested they pull together an alliance to get rid of Emmett. Which is convenient, given he lost his first individual immunity challenge. However sadly for Dani, Flick and Gerald were more loyal to Emmett, so instead the Brawn trio decided to let the Emmett vote happen and instead idol Dani out of the game. Sadly for them, George had all the information and decided it was wiser to bring the Brains back together. And as such, they sent sweet, unsuspecting Gerald from the game.

Things had calmed down the next morning with Laura doing some marine inspired dance moves while George was duck walking around camp, hoping not to pop a ball. All while poor Emmett looked on, still smarting about George finally proving Hayley right and officially turning on the Brawn tribe. While he was saltily chatting to Dani in the shelter, he worked up the courage to suggest that maybe they should call a truce and figure a way out of their combined current situation. Sadly for him, Dani really wasn’t interested. And that was before George even told her that the Brains only flipped because they wanted to save her.

Flick meanwhile was frustrated at not only George, but also herself for deviating from Brawn strong and casting a vote against Dani. With that, she caught up with her and apologised for turning on her before sharing with us that she struggles with lying in the game and doing things that in the outside world would be considered bad. We then learnt more about her family, with Flick sharing with Wai, George and Hayley that her mother is living in a care home as she is suffering from early onset dementia. She broke down as she spoke about coming on the show to draw attention to the horrific disease and ugh, don’t make me cry on a Monday night, Flick!

We did an extreme pivot and checked in with Hayley who shared that while she voted with George and the Brains to prove her trust, she also knows that George likes to play a big game and while she appreciates it, playing against it makes things difficult for her to navigate.

Another thing making it difficult for her is the fact that George is the one that found yet another clue that everyone seemingly walked past that morning, directing him to go to the well. There, he promptly found a key to a hidden immunity idol locked under the voting urn at tribal council. And better yet, said idol could be played anonymously, meaning he doesn’t have to out a relationship, should he want to play it for someone else.

Like Cara for instance, despite everyone knowing how close they are.

As Hayley and Emmett fished in the billabong, Dani shared how grateful she is that everyone is in such a zen headspace. The tribe then realised that Flick had gone missing and while Dani worried about what it could mean, they eventually learnt that her mother had tragically passed away and again, I was not emotionally prepared for this episode. Poor Flick held back tears as she spoke so eloquently through her grief, talking about her beautiful, courageous mum. Thankfully the tribe rallied around her and raised her up as she announced that after speaking to her family, they encouraged her to stay in the game and damn, I need her to win for her mum now.

Taking an even more extreme pivot than earlier, the tribe met Jonathan by a hill where he sweetly paid his respects to Flick and gave her a genuinely warm hug before turning his attention to the immunity. Said challenge involved the castaways racing up a hill to grab four sets of puzzle pieces, one bundle at a time, before solving a puzzle. Oh and to make things even more interesting, only the last four to finish would be eligible to be voted out at tribal council that night. 

Meaning a twist is coming, right?

While Andrew and Emmett got out to an early lead, Wai and Cara languished at the back. Given they just kept running up and down, it was kinda hard to keep track however it was very obvious that Andrew and Emmett quickly started to lap poor Wai. Laura and Dani had also essentially given up, encouraging each other on the walk to just think about how to work it back at camp. Cara meanwhile was one upping them, just straight up begging everyone that passed her not to vote her out later that night.

Andrew was obviously the first back with all his pieces, though was quickly joined by Emmett and Hayley. While the trio cooled down with the puzzle, Cara started walking with George and suggested they should all push to vote out Wai, given everyone thinks she is going to win anyway. Meanwhile at the start of the pack, Andrew took out the first immunity, followed by Hayley and Emmett at practically the same time. Flick arrived and quickly secured the fourth immunity, while George, Laura and Dani battled it out of the final slot. Which eventually was taken out by George as sweet Wai encouraged herself to keep pushing for her last stack.

Back at camp Andrew was excited to be immune, but disappointed that two of the people in the bottom are his allies. But instead of worrying, he focused on locking in the vote for Cara and while Laura and Wai quickly go on board, me thinks George’s idol is going to ruin that plan. A nervous Dani caught up with Andrew, with her grateful to find out that the target is not on her back. Feeling confident that everyone was happy to get rid of Cara, Andrew announced it to the rest of the tribe to vote for her too and seemingly decided to call it a day.

Which did not sit well with Emmett. Sadly for him, he doesn’t have any power in the tribe. But someone who does? Her closest ally George. While George assured Laura and Hayley that he is happy to vote however the rest of the OG Brains want to – and eventually agreed to vote out Cara – he then obviously ran straight to Cara and while he wanted to assure her that she would be fine, he knew that he couldn’t risk people finding out about the idol. Instead, he just tried to get her target off Wai and instead encouraged her to vote Laura and idol her out of the game with a single vote.

At tribal council Andrew said that he would be voting for someone that has plenty of relationships. Cara spoke about everyone deserving to be here rather than identifying a target and trying to sway people to her side. Wai spoke about the fact that there is always hope in the game, with Cara admitting that she will still try and shift the target despite seemingly giving up. And just not knowing who that would be. Hayley spoke about needing to continue to build trust while Cara hoped that sticking Brawn strong, wouldn’t be her undoing. And poor Emmett, he was just trying to find new allies given his alliance was blown up the night before. 

By George. And Cara. And Dani. And the Brains too, I guess.

George gave a monologue about how strong his relationship with Cara is, praising her for sacrificing herself for him previously. Laura meanwhile was just hoping her luck avoiding eliminations wouldn’t run out – is there going to be another twist? – while Dani just tried to make jokes about her lack of running ability, smartly downplaying her other physical strengths. George meanwhile was not being very stealth, whispering to Hayley whether the vote had changed and when she asked him whether he was going to do something to save her, he sadly said that there is absolutely nothing he could do.

With that the tribe voted and what do you know, there is something George could do as he unlocked his hidden idol and secretly played it for Cara. Denying it yet again to Hayley as the votes were read, negating all but one of the votes, with Cara singlehandedly sending Laura from the game. Just as George planned. Again.

I did my best gay gasp when I saw Laura walk into the Jury Villa, shocked that once again George Gabon-ed the shit out of the season  – come on, he is boy Sugar – and sent the finally well positioned Laura home instead. I pulled her in for a hug and once again assured her that being booted in a memorable way is always better than a bland one, before catching up. You see, we’ve known each other for years after meeting while studying Marine Science. While I quit almost instantly upon discovery it wouldn’t make me Lori Petty in Free Willy, we became the firmest of friends. And I knew the only thing that could sweeten up her boot was a fresh Laura Bakewells Tart.

For some reason I spent my childhood assuming that bakewell tarts were disgusting but once I actually found out what was in one, I was hooked. I mean with the combo of frangipane, jam and glace cherries, how could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Laura Bakewells Tart
Serves: 6 people or two dear friends.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus 1 tbsp for the frangipane and more for dusting
250g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs
120g butter, softened
120g raw caster sugar
115g almond meal
½-1 cup cherry jam
12 glacé cherries

Method
Sieve flour and 50g of icing sugar into a large bowl. Using hands, work the unsalted butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add an egg and work together until it forms a ball. If the dough seems too wet, add more flour until it is at the desired consistency. Don’t overwork the flour otherwise it won’t be short, as the name shortcrust demands.

Pat the dough-ball into a disc, wrap in cling-wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Dust a surface and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 5mm thick. Cut the dough into 12 10cm discs and press into a greased mini-tart tin (or a muffin pan, in a pinch)

Prick each tart base with a fork, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the shells from the oven, line with pastry weights and blind bake for ten minutes before removing the weights and cooking for a further ten. Or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While they cool, beat the regular butter and caster sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mix in the remaining egg, followed by the tablespoon of flour and mix until just combined.

Spoon a tsp of cherry jam into the base of each shell, smoothing as best you can to cover the bottom. Now dollop a tablespoon of frangipane and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is golden and springy. Set aside to cool completely in the pan.

To make the icing, mix the remaining icing sugar with the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the top of each tart before pressing a glacé cherry on top. Leave to set for half an hour before devouring, sumptuously.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Cara joined the Brawn tribe after a fake tribal council, much to the delight of Brawn and the absolute shock of the Brains. And delight of George, obviously. Particularly after the Brains won their first reward of the season. At the immunity challenge Jonathan hid an idol in the challenge and while George was first to break away from the pack, it was Hayley that snatched it. Though it was on the way to another Brains loss, so technically, it was a case of you win some, you lose some. Joey was fine with the situation, ready for an easy George boot. Sadly for him, Queen Hayley said not today and rallied the bottom feeders to take control of the tribe and instead blindsided Joey in the process.

We first checked in with the Brains where Laura and Georgia were trying to sleep by the fire, uneasy to have been blindsided and now find themselves on the bottom. Hayley meanwhile was feeling her oats, glad to have taken control and ready to crush some more dreams. While George joked about missing Joey, Georgia reminded them how much Joey meant to the tribe. And by the tribe, to her and the alliance. But bless George, he doesn’t care about being sensitive to their feelings. Instead, he requested to carry the flag into the next challenge to surprise the Brawns that he once again magically survived.

Rachel and Laura meanwhile went for a walk to the well, with George quietly following behind them to eavesdrop. While he didn’t hear much of their plans, he did see Laura find a hidden immunity idol. And while she was feeling great about it. The fact that he knows, has got to be a concern for her and Rachel.

Jonathan made an early return to the show as both tribes met by a river bank, with the Brawn tribe as gagged to see George as he hoped. While Dani struggled to understand why they would get rid of the strongest person on the tribe, Flick was grateful to be on such a great tribe like the Brawns. And you know what that means, because it is time for the tribes to swap. After they all dropped their buffs and grabbed new ones, the New Brawn was made up of Flick, Dani, Shannon, Chelsea and Simon with Andrew, Baden, Hayley, Wai joining from the Brains, while George, Rachel, Georgia and Laura remained on New Brains with a returning Cara, Emmett, Daini, Gerald and Kez.

Both tribes were dismissed to get acquainted with each other back at their camps, with Wai delighted to find herself on the Brawn tribe despite her lack of brute strength. But boy, did she quickly charm the hell out of her new tribemates! Andrew and Baden meanwhile were in their element, bonding with Simon while doing manual labour. Speaking of Simon, he pulled all the former Brawns aside and encouraged them to put their differences aside to take control of the new tribe. Sadly for him, Shannon didn’t sound convinced. Until he mentioned the fact he found an idol. Emphasis on an idol. Not two.

Meanwhile Cara was heartbroken to land back on the Brains tribe, though was grateful to have Daini, Kez and former friend George back in the fold. She quickly filled George in on things and how much nicer the Brawns are, assuring him that they have the numbers and he doesn’t need to worry anymore. That being said, she told him that he does need to scale back the smacktalk otherwise he won’t get much further in the game as people don’t like it. With that, she took him to meet Emmett, Daini and Gerald and they quickly welcomed him into the fold. Though mainly because Emmett would rather have a loose cannon on his side rather than against him.

Oh and then George spilled about Laura having the idol and damn, Laura, you in danger girl.
Jonathan returned the next day for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where in pairs, they would carry six balls over obstacles and to a pontoon, where the remaining tribe members had to run around a maze to solve a ball puzzle. Both tribes were neck and neck, until Andrew fell in the water on a balance beam and gave the Brains a decent lead. However Wai struggled in the water, slowing them down until Flick pulled a Chappies and literally swam Wai through the entire challenge, then sweetly coached her through all the outstanding obstacles as Chelsea and Shannon cheered her on. That gave Brawn the lead as George struggled on the balance beam. Brawn continued to pull away, landing their first ball in the puzzle while Rachel now desperately tried, and failed, to make it across the beam. Make that first through fourth, before Brawn quickly landed the last and snatched victory just as the Brains got started.

More importantly, how nice are the Brawn Queens?!

Back at camp Emmett tried to keep things positive, though when you have the automatic majority, it is easy to have that feeling. As they all went to pow-wow, Laura, Georgia and Rachel tried to figure out a way out of their predicament. That being said, since George and the Brawns were planning to split the vote on Laura and Rachel there isn’t much hope for them. More specifically, Rachel, my Queen.

That being said, Rach and Laura decided to try something and thought targeting Daini would be their best shot. With that, they approached George with Georgia in the hope that he would join them for one tribal only to take out a Brawn before washing his hands off them for good. Not feeling it, George left the Brains and rejoined his Brawny friends as they tried to decide who they would be voting for in the vote split and damn, do Laura and co. actually have a shot at this tribal council? Because George really confused everyone while identifying names. I mean, I can’t even tell where their votes are meant to go and I have the luxury of a pause button and notes.

At tribal council Emmett was thrilled to be back in Jonathan’s presence, while Daini was nervous to see how Brains get things done at tribal council. Just like that, Queen Rachel fired up and called all the Brawns out for being so vocal about being Brawn strong and said they may as well just admit that she is the target and the former Brains are sitting ducks. Daini meanwhile argued that Rachel, Laura and Georgia should all be concerned, with Jonathan wondering why George was exempt. With Daini and Emmett admitting that they like him, so he’s safe.

As Daini’s confidence grew further into the cocky realm, Georgia and Laura grew more enraged and served some killer eye rolls. Georgia was annoyed that they were all left with no game to play, while Rachel tried desperately to fight for their lives. Cara welcomed them to her world, given she and George were left out on the original Brains tribe and well, this is what it feels like to be on the outs. Daini and Emmett were laughing about the fireworks at tribal while the Brains girls all quietly whispered about whether they should stick to the plan, ultimately doubling down on Daini given the vibe he was giving off during tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and while Laura boldly played her idol on Rachel, three votes landed on Rachel before the real fireworks happened. You see, when the first vote came in for Georgia, Cara got a very nervous look on her face, verbalising how confused she was. And while Daini assured her to calm down, the second vote for Georgia confirmed her fear that she screwed up as the next one came in for Laura. That meant that when the next three votes from the former Brains girls came in for Daini, they booted him out of the game thanks to her blunder.

That being said, by the time a shocked Daini arrived at Loser Lodge things were not as spicy as he advertises, given he is one of the most upbeat, gentle and fun loving people to appear on the show. Instead of being angry, he pulled me in for a big ol’ hug and rubbed his hands with glee, knowing he was about to smash a freshly baked Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke.

Full disclosure, this is 100% Nigella’s majesty but when it tastes as good as Daini looks, I didn’t want to mess with perfection too much. Rich, earthy and fudgy, this little loaf cake is a pure delight.

Enjoy!

Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large ripe bananas, mashed|
¼ cup vegetable oil
60g tahini|
1 large egg
50g raw caster sugar
30g muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g buckwheat flour
25g cocoa
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
100g dark chocolate chips
2 tsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a loaf tin.

Place the mashed bananas in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the tahini on medium before slowly adding the oil, egg, sugars and vanilla, beat well after each addition.

Meanwhile combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl. Remove the wet ingredients from the mixture and fold the dry ingredients through them until combined. Then fold through the choc chips.

Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin before sprinkling with the sesame seeds and baking in the oven for 50 minutes, or until risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and storing. Or devouring, because it is GOOD.


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The Blacaforenast Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

While it feels like a nearly weekly occurrence since the start of the pandemic, the establishing shots of a new Werk Room fill me with so much joy. Particularly when they’re as bright and fun as our newest iteration to join the franchise, Drag Race España. 

Side note, remember when there was such a time as off season? Gagged.

But anyway, on to what you’re waiting for! We first met Arantxa Castilla La Mancha in full technicolour delight and given she is a passionate fan of Hannah Montana, I live for literally everything she stands for. Particularly since she has such a fun and stupid energy. She was joined by Sagittaria who looked like Else and Aquaria’s baby, though I’m fairly certain that is the point. Next up was Hugáceo Crujiente who looked like a work of bloody art – complete with frame – and I live for everything about her weird artsy vibes. Carmen Farala arrived serving muscle Joslyn Fox with a Jersey tan and Teresa Guidice’s wig and I hate how flooded my basement got. 

Oh and please note, her name is Farala not Farala – just to get the pronunciation correct. 

Pupi Poisson yodelled her way into the Werk Room and my heart and already, I know she is an icon. As well as Arantxa’s auntie and the most charming, shady queen in the bunch. Killer Queen was up next serving superhero realness and is a literal doctor, so I’m ready to get married because she is stunning. But then I’d need to keep Dovima Nurmi as a side piece as he is hot and in drag, a sexy vamp. Oh and she has a history with Sagittaria that didn’t end well, but they chose to hang out in the Werk Room because it is always better the devil you know. You know?

Inti made an iconic entry in all red, carrying your dad’s underwear and I live. Particularly since she has such a cool vibe which hits the exact Indigenous futuristic notes she is wanting too. Drag Vulcano looked like a glamorous, warrior porcupine and could choke me out of drag. And rounding out the cast is The Macarena who is just so delightfully positive, camp and wacky, so she too has me absolutely living. Particularly since she arrived with a tupperware container of pork rinds and some vegan snacks if the queens were that way inclined.

Their getting to know you was interrupted by Supremme de Luxe, welcoming her queens to the competition and introducing the dolls to the first two members of the oversized, gorgeous Pit Crew as they were challenged to a photoshoot while riding a mechanical bull. Last in was first up as The Macarena kissed the bull and fell off immediately before serving glamour in the pillowed floor. Sagittaria fought to stay on before getting into a rhythm and serving pure sex. Dovima was awkward, Inti was one with the bull (and was lucky enough to have long enough legs to keep them firmly on the ground). Carmen popped her balls, and that is enough to snatch the win in my eyes. Pupi had the time of her damn life, Killer Queen wisley needed the Pit Crew to ‘assist’ mounting the bull, Hugáceo was thrown around like a ragdoll and Vulcano shockingly didn’t pop the air mats with her headpiece, which Arantxa desperately needed as she ungraciously flipped around the arena. While having the best time, obviously. Ultimately Supremme is as big a fan of balls as I am, handing Carmen victory before dismissing the girls to de-drag.

As the queens removed their entry looks, we learnt that Dovima superglued stuff to her face while Sagittaria just completely got naked in the background. The dolls were gagged by Arantxa’s boy look while we uncomfortably watched The Macarena seemingly give birth while removing her tucking tape. Back with Arantxa we learned that she doesn’t tuck and instead uses an intricate system of tight panties, while Macarena was having a deep and meaningful with Inti and Vulcano about how she used to be very self-conscious but learnt to love herself and now lives for being naked. 

And well, let’s just say I love all the queens already.

Supreme returned to the Werk Room with some more of the Pit Crew to announce that this week’s Maxi Challenge would required the girls to serve glamour using wagons of trash and as Carmen won the mini challenge, she would be able to pick her box of trash before the rest of the queens fought it out for theirs. Quite literally. More importantly we learnt that Killer Queen only runs for drag and buffets and honestly, I feel we connect on a deep level.

The queens split up to start prepping their looks with everyone playing around with their junk, while Killer Queen straight up whipped out the sewing machine and immediately started assembling her outfit like a damn icon. Supremme arrived to talk to the less organised dolls, with Carmen talking about how confused she is about everything and is struggling to even think, overwhelmed by having to  make an outfit in front of fashion designer Ana Locking. Sagittaria was hiding her nerves a bit better, while Dovima was straight up stressed. Until they started talking about their fight over a man and damn, I need all the details immediately.

Día de Eliminación arrived with the queens all upbeat despite the fact one of them would be going home by the end of the day. Macarena was hoping to just not to shit her pants before they were distracted with talk about plastic surgery – shading Carmen as the most silicone of the group. Macarena shared that they identify as non-binary, with Arantxa, Hugaceo and Inti shared that they too are non-binary. Carmen spoke about making dolls out of random objects as a child, Inti shared their mum identified them as an artist, rather than queer while Sagittaria and Hugacaeo shared touching stories about their mothers too. And well, Macarena ran her mouth a lot, much to Carmen’s chagrin. Oh and Pupi was going the Monet route and covering her shows in sponges, knowing that her look is definitely going to be a mess. And Sagittaria, Hugaceo and Arntxxa were kikiing, with the latter admitting that she has already learnt the lip sync, unsure whether she should trust her instincts with the look she pulled together.

Supreme was joined by Ana Locking, Javiers Ambrossi and Calvo and guest judge and my dream boyfriend, Jon Kortarjaren for the first runway de España. Inti slayed in a monochromatic drape number with pink and purple tassels around her hair. Arantxa was a bright, mod delight complete with bubble guns. Hugaceo was breathtaking in a blue and white gown with her face blending into the fabric of her look. Killer Queen was pretty, floral perfection, with an ode to Marie Antoinette. Sagittaria was breathtaking in a gown of black balls and hoops, serving space age sexbomb. The Macarena was a bright confectionary delight with a flamingo nesting on her shoulder. And carrying a rubber ducky just because. Dovima was a black and green furry sea creature bondage dream. Pupi Poisson was a hot mess with her cleaning products look, but her polish and humour on the runway was charming. Carmen once again looked full woman, ready for a casual lunch with the cast of RHONJ down by the Shore. While Drag Vulcano was a shimmering silver delight in a bodysuit with pinwheel flower embellishments.

Drag Vulcano, Arantxa, Killer Queen and Inti were sent to safety before the judges gushed about everything that Hugaceo did, with Ana in particular living for her fashion aesthetic. Sagittaria too received universal praise before the judges read Macarena for being a little basic and unfinished. Dovima was read for her runway walk, with Jon reminding her to not go so far that she ends up making her life too hard. Pupi was praised for turning up on the show given her legacy, though the judges didn’t like anything about her outfit. Oh and Carmen too received universal praise, with the judges loving her energy.

Backstage the safe queens celebrated not being the first boot before trying to guess who would be joining Carmen in the top. Inti suggested that Macarena would be joining her while Killer felt Pupi would definitely be at the bottom. But as you know, we’re all bottoms. The other dolls joined them with Hugaceo suggesting Carmen will win, while Pupi acknowledged she’d be in the bottom, as did Dovima. For not being able to get out of her head. And then Macarena gagged the girls by pointing out that she is probably in the bottom too.

Ultimately Carmen was sent to safety, handing Hugaceo the first win of the season to their adorable delight. Sagittaria was deemed safe before Supremme gagged us all by saving Pupi, leaving Macarena to battle Dovima to I Will Survive but not that I will Survive. The Monica Naranjo version. In any event, both of the queens immediately felt every lyric and worked overtime to avoid being the first one sent home. Then Dovima pulled out a damn whip, Macarena lost her wig and it was all over. Though I feel that the lip sync was a very hard fought draw, Dovima’s better outfit clearly managed to save her as The Macarena became the first queen eliminated.

I was so heartbroken to see my dear friend The Macarena walk back into the Werk Room and immediately pulled her in for a hug. And gave her the usual first-boot-of-a-franchise pep-talk. You know, the one where I tell them that as THE Porkchop, they will always be remembered while everyone else will fade into obscurity. Plus, if you speak about your penchant for nudity on camera, the world is going to love you. Particularly if you are nude while eating a The Blacaforenast Cake. There is a massive market for it.

Rich and fudgy, tart and sweet; a black forest cake is one of the greatest inventions. Like a slab of fruit and nut chocolate, this cake has it all. And what it lacks in nuts, Carmen is willing to flash hers. And well, so is my nude friend The Macarena.

Enjoy!

The Blacaforenast Cake
Serves: el español Porkchop y their also nude friend.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
400g dark chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs, whisked
600ml thickened cream
2 tbsp kirsch
400g pitted sour cherries, drained but saving the ju-uice, buuuddddy
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tbsp icing sugar
maraschino cherries, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the caster sugar, butter, cocoa and bicarb with 60g of the chocolate and a cup of water in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it boils. Reduce to low and simmer for a couple of minutes, or until it is homogenous and combined. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Whisk in the flour, baking powder and eggs until well combined. Pour into a lined 22cm cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once rich but cooked, removed from the oven and allow to cool slightly in pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish the job.

To make the ganache, bring half the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and once shimmeringly hot, remove from heat and whisk through the chocolate until smooth and silky.

While that rests, combine the cherry juice with the arrowroot in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until viscose and shiny. Then leave that to rest.

Finally, beat the remaining cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks form. And when one of us is nude, the peaks are definitely stiff.

To assemble, cut the cake into four layers. Place the bottom on a plate, drizzle with a third of the kirsch, followed by the syrup and whipped cream. Sprinkle with cherries and repeat layering process until you’ve got the last piece of cake on top. Spread with the ganish until covered and smooth. 

Top with maraschino cherries and devour, triumphantly, in the nude. Like a damn icon.


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Jojo Zahohos

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Snack, Sweets

We open the inaugural episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under with all the pomp and circumstance us Aussies can muster, meaning there was a kookaburra carrying on over the beautiful, smooth baritone of a didgeridoo while Ru let rip with some spectacular Australiana puns. And coming from the foremost pun enthusiast of this great southern land, he should really take that as a bloody compliment.

Oh and in the great tradition of bring the US of the southern hemisphere, I’m ignoring the fact this show is half New Zealand – aka our Canada, the prettier more charming country – and should one of their queens win, claim them as quick as we claimed Rusty, Keith Urban, Rebecca Gibney and the iconic Richard Wilkins.

But enough of my ramblings, I really need to turn my attention to the first shiela to show off her map of Tassie in the Down Under work room, the iconic Art Simone. Full of bogan charm and bouncing with joy, she flew her way into my heart like a flaming Galah. After a brief period of isolation which no doubt triggered memories of her recent hotel quarantine, she was joined by Maxi Shield who won my heart by quoting another Australian legend, Lara Bingle. As the two gabbed about in the Werk Room, they gave the world the first taste of the finer details of the Australian language with a few fucken oaths, you’re a srubber and other phrases that really say, how the fuck do Australians think this is how you’re meant to talk to friends? 

Dripping in her self-proclaimed Faboriginality Jojo Zaho quickly became my fave as out of drag, he is hot as hell and rocks the mouth of a trucker. We got our first taste of the queens from the long white cloud when Elektra Shock entered the fray and quickly gagged the Aussie girls, despite them not knowing who she is. Side note, she was absolutely robbed of victory in House of Drag season 2, so if you underestimate her, you may just find yourself da-da-da-da-da, fucking off.

Making things a little more controversial, Scarlet arrived looking like Aquaria and thankfully not rocking on of her many reported black face looks. Coco Jumbo arrived and brought a tonne of charm and energy, and maybe I love her most of all instead? I mean, at least she was charming while mocking Elektra’s thirsty wig. Speaking of Elektra, one of the queens that robbed her of victory on House of Drag, Kita Mean arrived, this time to compete against her. Talk quickly turned to how gaggy it is for Kita to appear without her partner Anita, with Kita admitting that it feels weird to be going it alone. Up next was my new, ultimate, super mega best value favourite Etcetera Etcetera arrived dressed as a cockroach and shut it down, right now – she wins my heart and then hopefully the competition. Messed up antler or not. We then learnt that wait, Kita does not need to worry about getting lonely as Anita also made her triumphant debut and damn, I wish I knew how she managed to stay so charming despite being way too fucking much and so so positive.

Oh and please note, this now means that both of Elektra’s bosses are now in competition with her.

Rounding out the cast is Karen from Finance with the greatest entrance of all time, missing her mark and out of shot while dressed like Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. And like her friends Trixie and Katya, I live for her.

Barely getting any time to kiki and get to know each other on a deep and spiritual level, the siren went off and Mama Ra arrived to welcome the dolls into her international family and then immediately tasked them with a screen test overseen by the man that floods my basement most, Taika Waititi.

Speaking of flooded basements, we quickly pivoted to the shoot where the Pit Crew were well and truly packing – and had me primed to shoot – as the queens filed in to film their audition for Thore. Art was first, lisping her way further into my heart and completely charming Ru with her stupidity. Maxi was sexy, Jojo was ready to mount the Pit Crew – #RelatableQueen – Scarlet rocked laser titties, Coco was wacky, Etcetera was ridiculous and in the zone, Kita was focused, Anita served anger and joy in exactly the same way, while Elektra was absolutely demented while screaming out her rage and having Ru in hysterics. Karen then danced her way into my heart. But sadly for her, not Ru and Taika’s, as Elektra took out the first Mini Challenge of the series and silenced all the girls that didn’t believe in her.

With that out of the way, Ru quickly dropped the bomb that their first Maxi Challenge would be a cheeky little get to know you ball. The first category is Born Naked, with the queens getting us thirsty in their sexiest nude illusion. No Place Like Home would be the second category, giving the queens the chance to sell themselves while selling what makes their hometown so good.

As soon as Ru departed the queens scrambled to find a place in the Week Room, while Etcetera, Coco and Jojo were busy looking for the trade of the season. Which fills my heart with joy that the trio of icons have their priorities correct. While Kita decreed Maxi the trade of the season for looking like a trucker, Coco identified Anita as the PeeWee Herman before nearly fainting as she discovered that Elektra is hot. As such, she immediately regretted being shady about her as her only shot now may be a hate fuck. Speaking of Elektra, she was already feeling like the underdog of the season and felt like she really needed to turn out the first challenge to counteract the other queens’ reputations.

Elimination Day arrived – the episode ran fast, fam – with Karen sharing that her hometown runway was inspired by all of the drunk girls late in the afternoon of Melbourne Cup, meanwhile Jojo was going to rock a look in honour of her ancestry rather than one specific place, before sharing with Art how proud she is to be an Indigenous Australian. Elektra and Kita meanwhile were kikiing about their Born Naked runways, with Kita sharing that she is still uncomfortable in her skin after losing weight after her recent lap band surgery. Oh and Anita was starting to feel very awkward about competing against her dear friend, though vowed that this is her time to shine as Scarlet’s born naked outfit tore open as they were about to head off to the runway.

With that, we check in with Michelle – lover of penal colonies – and Rhys, who loves his new daddy RuPaul. Who conveniently was sans drag as her make-up decided not to join her in New Zealand in time.

On the Born Naked runway, Scarlet was able to sew together her silicone catsuit and rocked full bush and nips, proving Australia and New Zealand are a bit more lax with their censorship. Maxi meanwhile lived in her see-through trench. Elektra was inspired by Ru in a gladiator number, Coco covered herself in over-sized, camp drag props, Etcetera rocked their non-binary roots in a gory and glamous goddess gown. Jojo meanwhile had me living with her even fuller bush than Scarlet, Karen looked like a sparkle, stripping dream while Anita slayed as Eve, though not as much as Alaska Eve, it should be noted. Kita’s bodysuit was sadly  ill fitting around the arms but she made up for it with a beautiful ball covered number while Art gave split personality in the most polished way possible.

Extra points go to Kita for getting Rhys to quickly assert himself as the alpha non-Ru-or-Michelle judge on all franchises ever by uttering, “I love balls slapping against my arse,” which I feel in my soul. I mean, ugh, it is soothing and I’m glad Rhys is bringing it into the broader consciousness.

Category No Place Like Home saw Scarlet slayk, serving Black Swan realness, Maxi served Big Prawn eleganza in honour of Ballina – which for those that have tragically never been, was a petrol station. Elektra was a technicolour dream angel for Auckland, which was stunning despite me not getting her references. Coco rocked King Kong chic in honour of another of my Christmas roadtrip faves, the Big Banana of Coffs Harbour. Etcetera served the map of Canberra in the sexiest way possible before Jojo stole the damn show as the self-crowned Queen of the Kooris. Karen pivoted in the best way possible, slaying as a very realistic drunk chick at the races. And I should know, as I was once kicked out of the races. Oh and then Anita turned up as a sheep, before Kita was All Black and sexy as hell and Art closed the show with a reveal, from little black dress to a graffiti covered gown and honestly, it was impeccable.

Ultimately Maxi, Etcetera, Anita and Kita were sent to safety, leaving the tops and bottoms – you know I have to say it, we’re all bottoms – on stage to receive critiques. The judges lived for Scarlet, despite her meaty damn tuck. They thought Elektra’s looks were simple albeit great, and then confusing and basic for her hometown look. They didn’t love Coco’s nude look, but lived for her hometown runway despite it potentially being legitimate Party City. Jojo was tragically read for being unpolished despite having a powerful message. Karen meanwhile received universal praise for both looks, as did Art.

Critically, Rhys followed his earlier majesty by quoting his boyfriend, “this is a strong opening, I hope you can top it.” And with that, the hilarious Ross Matthews, Carson, Alan and Graham started to worry about their job security.

Backstage Coco was gutted to have received mixed reviews, while Elektra was sure that she was in the bottom with Coco. Jojo meanwhile was heartbroken to not impress the judges, breaking down as she listened to the lip sync song, sure of her fate before she even returned to the stage.

Ultimately Scarlet was deemed safe as was Art, meaning Karen took out victory in the first challenge. On the other end of the spectrum, Coco scraped through by the skin of her teeth leaving Elektra and Jojo to battle it out in the first lip sync of the season to Tragedy by the mother tucking BeeGees.

Right from the start Elektra was desperate for victory as she slapped her pussy into the stage, but damn did both of the duo kill it. Bouncing off each other, the queens gave comedy and ultimately were delightfully congenial and altogether ridiculous, giving the world a taste of just how fun Down Under drag can be. Tragically though, someone had to become the Pork Chop of the franchise and despite it being such a strong opening lip sync, poor Jojo Zaho was felled from the competition.

Upon arriving backstage, I immediately pulled her in for a massive hug partly because I was so heartbroken to see her go and partly because she is hot. As I wiped away her tears, I reminded her that as her dear friend – we met at that place when we were both doing that thing, I’m sure I mentioned it – I know that this will not bring her down and frankly, snagged herself one of the most iconic places in the history of the series. Bested only by a crown. But since she was eliminated wearing one, she kinda got the best of both worlds. With that, we whipped out our Jojo Zahohos and toasted to all her success.

I was going to try and avoid smut upon my return, but when serving up a long, firm pole filled with glorious, sweet cream there is no way to avoid it. I am a ho for a hoho and after putting one in your mouth, you will be too.

Enjoy!

Jojo Zahohos
Serves: 2 dear friends, looking for a creamy filling.
Edited from Gale Gand’s recipe.

Ingredients
7 eggs, two of which need to be separated
¾ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup clarified butter, warm
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil, or whatever flavourless oil you prefer

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two jelly roll pans with baking paper.

Combine five whole eggs, two yolks – you could use the whites for a cheeky Macarooney Mara – muscovado sugar and two teaspoons of the vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture homogeneous. Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer, beating for five minutes or so, or until light and fluffy.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour, cocoa and baking powder until just combined before finally folding through the clarified butter. Split the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Take the cakes out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and cover with some cling while you get to work on the rest.

While the cake is getting chill, mix the icing sugar, butter and remaining vanilla with the paddle of a mixer until the sugar is wet. Insert the paddle into the stand mixer and beat on medium for a few minutes or until so light and fluffy it is pulsating.

To assemble the cakes, smear a layer of filling over the top of each cake, leaving a centimetre on one of the long sides. Roll each cake tightly to form a fat roll, trim into lengths, transfer to baking sheet – seam side down – and place in the fridge to set for an hour.

While they’re in the fridge, combine the chocolate and oil in a bowl over a double boiler and mix until it forms a glossy liquid. Leave to chill for five minutes before grabbing the cakes and working one at a time, dip them in the glaze, allow excess to drip off and then transfer to a baking sheet to set.

Once firm, plate up, serve them to your iconic friend and devour together, in the smuttiest way possible.


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