Vanitonne Milan

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

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

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

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

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

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

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

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

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

As. She. Should.

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

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Jesse Piccolopez Cone

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

Previously on Survivor the final five settled into their new beach before facing off in earning an advantage in and then competing in the latest immunity challenge. While Karla managed to jag herself the upper hand it was Owen who took out the win, meaning the target was firmly placed on both her and Jesse’s back as the two biggest jury threats left in the game. As the rest of the tribe tried to figure out who was the better option, they floated the idea of painting a target on Gabler and Cassidy’s backs instead. At tribal council Jesse made a show of playing Jeanine’s long-lost idol for himself and while Karla worked tirelessly to make someone else a target, the rest of the crew rightly banded together to send her out of the game in fifth place.

We followed the final four as they met up with Probst for the final immunity challenge of the season where they would race to move a bowl using tongs through a spring maze and balance it on the top of the structure. First to build their tower, winning immunity and deciding who would be sitting next to them at the final tribal council. Cassidy obviously got out to the earliest of leads as Gabler and Owen nipped at her heels. As Gabler took the lead, his tower started to wobble in the breeze due to it being off centre, with it dropping down to three bowls and handing the joint lead to Cassidy and Owen. The duo picked up the pace to pull ahead before Owen dropped a single bowl, twice, eventually knocking his stack and giving Cassidy plenty of breathing room to land her final bowl and snatch final immunity.

Proving the fact that when one Queen falls, another rises. All hail Queen Cassidy.

While the boys were heartbroken to lose the challenge, Cassidy was so proud to be living her dream and hopefully be an inspiration to little girls like those that came before her were for her. Oh and she tellingly suggested this could be a million dollar necklace, soooo, she is taking Owen and hoping Gabler will eliminate Jesse in the fire challenge, right?

Back at camp attention immediately turned to who would be better to take on Jesse in the fire challenge. Owen felt taking him on would be best for his game, while Gabler was fairly confident he would be better at it. Well, I assume. Owen admitted to us that he was feeling defeated by the game but desperately practised and after getting a roaring fire, immediately went to Cassidy to assure her that he can easily beat Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, he was well and truly terrified about his chances given he can’t really make fire. Bless him though, he knew his only shot at winning the fire challenge was to face off against Cassidy so he approached her to suggest that the only way she has a shot at winning is to eliminate him.

Which she obviously saw right through.

Jesse broke down in confessionals, knowing his time is seeing more and more likely to come to an end, disappointed to not be able to win a challenge – and the money – for his kids. Cassidy approached Gabler to check in with him before straight up auditioning him in fire making, though sadly, it didn’t appear to be going very well. Gabler then opened up to us in confessional that he plans to donate the entire prize to charity should he win and damn, that would be a wild flex and I love it. Oh and poor Cassidy continued to debate who would have the better shot at taking out Jesse, and not just that, who would take him out but also wouldn’t be able to use the challenge win to push them over the line to victory.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about how proud she is to have taken out the most important win of the season, flexing that this is also her third immunity win, equalling the most for the season. She opened up about being the most popular person in camp and how it is also a burden, given if she makes the wrong move, it could cost her. Jesse pointed out he suggested she should face off against him to win in fire, with her calmly articulating that she is confident in the game she played and as such, didn’t need it to prove anything further. With it clear Jesse would be making fire, both Gabler and Owen agreed they wanted to be the one to earn their spot at tribal council. Which Cassidy said was all well and good, but the only thing she cares about is making the decision which is best for her game. With that, she took Owen through to the final tribal council, leaving Gabler to be their potential saviour against Jesse.

The duo took their places at the fire making stations and got to work building their stacks. Gabler quickly got a small flame which quickly grew as Jesse got his going. Gabler methodically added sticks and nurtured his flame while Jesse’s whimpered out. Gabler’s continued to grow as Jesse got another flame which continued to grow, though tragically it wasn’t enough as Gabler earnt the third spot at fire making challenge – in a record breaking amount of time. Poor Jesse, the jury and us at home were heartbroken by the loss as Jesse fought back tears, sharing with Probst that he feels like he disappointed his family by coming this close and losing. Gabler sweetly assured him that they would all be so proud of him as he continued to cry about how disappointing it was for the money to slip through his fingers. Cassidy jumped in and assured him that he was only targeted because he was unbeatable and ugh, I too am now crying. Particularly as the jury applauded him as his torch was snuffed.

He was obviously gutted to come so close to victory as he arrived at Ponderosa, but I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that he will go down as one of the great players. And like Karla, is guaranteed another shot at the title (though given he is such a threat, winning may prove even more difficult). As such, he was quickly perked up as we toasted his killer run with a big fat Jesse Picolopez Cone.

Piccolo cones are fast becoming my jam. Small enough to not feel guilty, big enough to fill you with joy. Add in the fact these babies are full of flavour and you’ve got a snack you’ll keep going back to.

Enjoy!

Jesse Piccolopez Cone
Serves: 1 robbed goddess and his unwavering cheerleader.

Ingredients
1 batch Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream
24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh
200g white chocolate
1 cup crushed oreos

Method
Whip up the ice cream as per star of Season 2 of The White Lotus Kara Kay’s recipe and transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.

While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate, sprinkle with some crushed oreos and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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Cody Assenmars Bar

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

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

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

I. Love. Her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cody Assenmars Bar
Serves: 12.

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

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

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

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


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Anita Pike’lits

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

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World the dolls were thrown into the challenge of all challenge, Snatch Game. Now with a political edge because mother tucking Justin Treudau straight up dropped by to kiki with the girls. And while that adds absolutely nothing to the trajectory of the season, he is a zaddy so it needs to be referenced. In any event, previous Snatch winners Anita and Silky struggled while Stephanie committed the gravest sin of being forgettable. At the other end of the pack Icesis dominated as Donatella Versace – redeeming Dons on Drag Race – alongside Ra’Jah pitch perfect Big Freedia, which landed them in the top two. And after Icesis took out the lip sync she saved Down Under icon Anita and sent Stephanie packing.

Backstage Ra’Jah was gagged that Icesis sent home her Season 2 sister, while Vanity felt she was going to miss Stephanie’s energy. Anita on the other hand was just glad to survive. Ra’Jah and Icesis praised each other for turning a show, before Rita suggested that maybe everyone could take a break on eliminating Canadians for a wee bit. That led to Icesis opening up about wanting to play it fair with the eliminations and as such, saved Anita due to her track record despite her being the worst in Snatch Game. Talk turned to who Ra’Jah had been planning to eliminate and after a little Bebe-esque fake out, she admitted that she had also picked Stephanie’s lip sync, due to the fact they already gave her another chase.

The next day Vanity led the group in congratulating Icesis on her win, while Icesis shaded the US girls for not having scored a win yet. Thankfully that was quickly brushed aside as everyone told Anita she needed to stop coasting – rude – before Brad made his triumphant return to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be competing in The Weather Ball. And well, the dolls were excited. Well, some of them. Particularly Icesis, who was ready to take out another victory. First they would stomp the runway in Air Body Lace looks – aka lingerie – followed by serving Arctic Foxy Lady looks before debuting a high fashion look they made for Caught in the Rain Couture. Oh and the materials used will be thoroughly unconventional.

After Brad departed the dolls battled over a table of rainwear and fabrics before splitting up to kiki. Victoria was nervous about things given she has never done a design challenge, while Icesis was con-fi-dent given she won two of the three design challenges in Season 2. Ra’Jah was nervous given she has such a reputation as a seamstress, while Vanity was busy looking for redemption for her flop outfit. And well, now she can sew. Silky was very confident, emphasis on was, given she discovered she had left her patterns at home. Anita too was ready for her redemption after being sent home on a design challenge, while Rita was hoping to be as successful as she was in design challenges rather than how she bombed the ball.

Brad returned to kiki with the girls, with Icesis going with a look serving a fish caught in a net. Silky was confident in her hip hop concept though TBH, should probably focus on cashing the literal cheque she had lying around in her notebook. Anita was going with an asymmetrical blue look with yellow raincoat embellishments, which immediately made Brad talk her out of it. Ra’Jah was going with an architectural rain gown, Rita was going with golden 80s drama, Vanity planned to give ruffles and rain while Victoria was going high concept with the dew hitting an English rose in the morning. Which is just, chef’s kiss.

The dolls got to work applying Brad’s advice, which felt weird to Rita given she can normally rely on designers to do it for her now that she is successful. Icesis meanwhile was busy checking in with Silky to see who she thought would be in the bottom, with Silk mainly concerned about the number of bodysuits floating around the room. Victoria meanwhile was worried about Vanity looking like an ice skater, as Silky got to wandering around the room questioning why everyone was using the same blue fabric. She then checked in with Anita, advising her to take a few moments off the look to make it less circus and more fashion.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls beating the mugs as Vanity shared how proud she is to have actually sewed an outfit. Anita meanwhile got messy, asking if anyone has actually watched Down Under with Ra’Jah essentially admitting to have only watched Vanity and Victoria’s seasons and nobody else’s. Which is hilarious and iconic, but also super sweet in the end, given she opened up about rooting for Vanity given she saw a lot of herself in Season 11 in Vanity throughout the competition and it made her want to protect her.

Brooke and Brad were joined by Hollywood Jade and the iconic Jeanne Beker as Vanity opened the Air Body Lace runway looking like a Victoria’s Secret glamazon, from Smurfville. In the best way possible. Icesis was glorious in a seductive grape number before Victoria debuted her Drag King persona Victor Stone giving full Fabio and ugh, I’m wet. Ra’Jah meanwhile served sexy Cruella, Rita gave old Hollywood glam before Silky slayed in a canary yellow curtained number and Anita gave blue and white with her tits out.

When it came to the Arctic Foxy Lady runway, Vanity gave the sexiest ski movie villainess, Icesis was stunning in a high fashion snow woman look before Victoria gave an angry snow queen. Ra’Jah gave sexy diva in fur, Rita served old dame skiing in the 1920s, Silky was all drama as the deity of snow before Anita closed the show looking gorgeous in a shimmering white gown. Vanity’s Caught in the Rain Couture look was kind of a mess before Icesis was perfection as a suffocating sea monster. Victoria’s rose look was perfect from start to finish, Ra’Jah’s dress was polished and creative, Rita looked like the upcycled version of Baga’s brillo dress, Silky slayed as a hip hop Cheetah girl, on her way to the club, before Anita served her stormy look.

Icesis and Ra’Jah were sent to safety – when they should have won, but whatever – before Vanity was praised for serving perfection in the first two categories, though her design look was read for being a mess. Victoria received universal praise for each and every look, with the judges agreeing her Fabio look was far and away the best of the night. Rita was praised for her performances on the runway, though read for not padding enough for the looks or taking things where they needed to go. Silky too received universal praise for each and every look and well, condragulations Silky and Victoria. Silky opened up about particularly needing to hear the love from the judges since she didn’t feel beautiful today. Anita meanwhile was read for her first look though praised for slaying the middle category and doing a solid job on the third look. Despite not serving couture.

Obviously it was Silky and Victoria that landed in the top before Vanity was sent to safety, leaving Rita and Anita up for elimination. Backstage Silky and Victoria were feeling their oats, while Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted that both of them felt like they kinda, sorta should have been in the top. Rita praised Victoria for debuting a Drag King look before Icesis checked in with the bottoms. Rita admitted she isn’t surprised by any of her critiques, though was sad to be in the bottom with her bestie. Anita meanwhile was proud of what she pulled together, though was surprised she was in the bottom rather than Vanity.

Before a fight could erupt, Victoria caught up with Rita who reminded her of how strong her track record has been thus far, which kind of made Victoria question whether she should take out her competition. Silky meanwhile made sure Anita was ok though was worried she wasn’t taking in what the judges told her, which made Anita realise Victoria is her only hope of survival. The safe girls were busy speculating who would be going home, with everyone agreeing it should be Anita though if the dolls were going to be shady, who knows. Anita broke down as she spoke to Victoria about how proud of herself she is and that she wants to fight, while Rita straight up told Silky that should she look out for her this week, she will have her back should the tables be turned. Which she iconically took her up on, given duh, alliances are great.

After Victoria and Silky selected their lipsticks – guaranteed to rhyme with Peter as Victoria pointed out, which made me laugh more than it should have – they headed to the mainstage to battle for the cash tip and the chance to eliminate their sister. As soon as Deborah Cox’s Nobody’s Supposed to be Here kicked off – heck, before for Silk – both of the dolls swung for the fences. They gave all the attitude and emotion, hit every lyric and thankfully, didn’t tear any ACL’s. It was clearly Silky’s show though, giving gospel does flag twirling and ugh, it was perfection. The only thing I wasn’t vibing though, was her tragically eliminating our homegrown hero – because we steal all good Kiwis, duh – Anita from the competition.

As is oft the case, Anita followed the sound of my guttural screams backstage and quickly pulled me in for a hug and assured me that she is ok with her exit. Despite not getting the star moment she deserved – outside of being the only good person in the reading challenge – I reminded her that her perennially delightful personality and charm always shone through, so I am glad the world got to see it. Plus, now she has the added bonus of an underdog storyline for Down Under All Stars which was enough to perk her up alongside my Anita Pike’lits, of course.

Yes, yes – pikelets are nothing more than baby pancakes, but they honestly do taste different. It may be the change in ratio or the fact I feel you can get away with popping more toppings on them, but these little delights are perfect for any occasion.

Enjoy!

Anita Pike’lit
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
butter, honey, jam and/or whipped cream, to serve

Method
Whisk the milk and egg in a jug, and the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for about five minutes or so.

When you’re ready to party, heat a small knob of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Once hot and foamy, drop 2 tablespoon sized dollops of the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, pop and form craters (about a minute) and then flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until done.

Devour with your favourite condiments, which in my opinion should differ based on the occasion; butter and honey for a brunch treat, while go with jam and cream for morning tea or lunch. The important thing is to enjoy them.


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Fig James Jones

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

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

Leaving us with just three more women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And well, he was salty.

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

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

Enjoy!

Fig James Jones
Serves: 6-8.

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

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

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

Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.


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Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer

Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls finally revealed their snatches as Ru tasked them with playing the Snatch Game. As is oft the case, there were many highlights alongside some shocking lowlights. Specifically Pixie and Danny who got stuck in their heads, despite being the leading comedy queens of the cast. On the flipside, Cheddar was hilarious and shone oh so brightly, while Jonbers and Dakota stamped their place in the competition with smart performances. And then Peppa was a mess while Le Fil was there like her very polite character. Ultimately Cheddar took out victory while Le Fil landed in the bottom opposite. Peppa, with sweet Le Fil exiting stage left after a delightfully wacky lip sync. Or right, TBH – I don’t know the difference.

Backstage the girls were reeling from Le Fil’s departure, with everyone missing her kind, fun ways. And her wild lip syncing skills. Danny praised Peppa on how much she killed the lip sync before everyone toasted how killer Cheddar was in Snatch Game. Danny opened up about how badly she got into her head before the game, though wisely she just laughed it off and was ready to slay another day. Talk turned to how strong they are as a top six, with Pixie shading Jonbers for coasting and Danny went for Peppa for being the best lip syncer. Which she iconically agreed that yeah, that is her skill so you best watch out.

The next day the dolls were giddy and excited to slay whatever Ru had to throw at her. Dakota meanwhile opened up about feeling lighter after getting past Snatch Game, hoping for this week’s challenge to be something more within her wheelhouse. Which obviously summoned Ru to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be doing makeovers on the crew. Specifically, the Queen Team aka their handlers and well, if this doesn’t give us the second coming of Wintergreen, I don’t want it. Despite how excited the dolls were to makeover their heroes. Ru introduced the six lovely women – Fleur, Gemma, Lucie, Mystique, Olivia and Wendy – before pairing them up with the queens alphabetically. As such Peppa got Fleur, Cheddar went to Gemma, Dakota was partnered with Lucie, Danny scored Mystique and Jonbers got Olivia, leaving Wendy and Pixie to become sisters. 

With that Ru excited stage left – for the episode, no less – with Danny quizzing Mystique on her comfort levels and ugh, I love their vibe already. Dakota meanwhile almost broke down talking about how much Lucie means to her and how confident she is to kill the Schiffer-isation. Peppa was busy vowing to look after Fleur and turn things around and glam her up and while she was initially confident, Fleur’s aversion to heels had her bricking it. Cheddar was busy heaping Gemma with praise and seeing them giggle and vibe was just lovely. Particularly since Gemma was living for her new name, Brie Gorgeous. And then Jonbers and Olivia were just having a craic, while Pixie was giddy to have gotten the mother hen Wendy who was ready to go full glam. Though wanted to be called Hugh Jarsse, despite not wanting to be a King.

We ventured back to Danny where he was unveiling Mystique’s beard wig and well, to say she wasn’t vibing it is an understatement. While Pixie was getting Wendy working on her runway walk, Dakota was delighting Lucie with her gown. As Cheddar and Gemma continued to kiki, Raven dropped by to talk to the dolls about their concepts with Peppa sharing they would be going club kid leading to Raven reminding her to make sure the makeup is sharp and cuts through. Pixie and Wendy meanwhile had Raven giggling over her history of backstage bullock tucking and a general passion for heels. At funerals only. Cheddar and Gemma meanwhile delighted Raven with their energy, while Raven lived for Jonbers plan to clown it up, dishing out even more make-up tips.

Which coming from an Emmy winner is a real treat for the dolls!

Dakota and Lucie were super sweet and while Raven suggested they go with more drama in the make-up, I’m not sure their versions of drama are the same. Mystique meanwhile opened up about her reservations about wearing a beard on the runway and while Danny was happy to go with what she likes, Raven gave her a sweet pep talk and encouraged her to let go and embrace the concept of gender fuckery that is drag.

After Raven departed the dolls rallied around their new sisters and got them prepped with Cheddar corseting, Peppa training walks and Jonbers discovering Olivia has no idea how shoe sizing works. Mystique meanwhile was coming out of her shell after getting the padding on, living her best life and ugh, I love it. Oh and Pixie was just making a horror show of an outfit. Peppa and Fleur meanwhile bonded over their coming out journeys and ugh, I hate hearing how difficult it was for Peppa in the Caribbean, though I love how strong she is to have lived through that trauma and built such a beautiful life for herself.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls quickly getting to work on their sisters, with Danny still worried about whether Mystique would go with the beard. Peppa noticed she and Danny had similar concepts, but like the battle of the Blobbies, she was confident she would be coming out on top. Wendy meanwhile was reading Pixie – werk – while Cheddar was thrilled by how perfect Gemma’s skin was. Dakota continued to gush about how much she loves Lucie, before they bonded over the trauma of stereotyping and how they’ve come into their own when it comes to gender. While everyone was kinda just vibing, though Cheddar was nervous about it all playing out, given everyone was strong.

We transitioned to the mainstage where Michelle stepped in for Ru, Raven for Michelle and Graham for himself. Alongside Dorit and PK’s cash cow, Boy George. Jonbers Blonde and Nanu Noir opened the Drag Family Realness runway serving black and white mime perfection and ugh, I love them. Pixie Polite and Trixie Truelove were beautiful butterflies – despite Pixie making Trixie look older than she is – Danny convinced Mizzie Moustache to don the beard as they served pastel, mod glamazons and ugh, I love it. Cheddar and Brie Gorgeous were alien, ethereal glam and ugh, hand her the badge, this is perfection. Black and Chilli Peppa were connected by their hair and giving club, bondage cutesie before Dakota and Bridgette gave all the dolls in the valley.

The judges lived for Jonbers simple vibe and perfect presentation, though she was read for not serving any family resemblance. Pixie was read for her weak padding and make-up skills on her sister, despite slaying the performance and serving sisters. Danny meanwhile received universal praise from the colour and the looks to the resemblance, and hearing how Mystique felt all the love from Danny was just beautiful. Cheddar too was lavished in praise for everything she and Brie served, particularly for giving such rich, glam, artistic looks. Peppa was praised for the concept, though read for kind of stopping all the work at their waists before Dakota was praised for pushing her make-up to the next level, despite Michelle wanting her to give her even more.

Oh and then Michelle gave everyone in the Queen Team a RuPeter badge!

Backstage Jonbers didn’t immediately point out she was the only person in the room without a badge, instead Dakota toasted everyone on a job well done. Jonbers spoke about how confused she is about the critiques, not sure who will land in the bottom. Pixie pointed out that everyone else’s looks kind of spoke to who they are as drag queens, while Jonbers kinda didn’t tell them anything. While Cheddar tried to kindly explain her signature, Jonbers was having none of it while Pixie continued to just go in on her. Dakota opened up about how much fun she has been having, though was worried to potentially land in the bottom. Pixie meanwhile was ok with potentially landing in the bottom, while Peppa read her for filth – to us – for making Trixie look so damn fucking old. Before Danny toasted the Queen Team on giving them the best week of the competition.

Pixie was immediately put up for elimination before Danny was sent to safety with the highest of commendations, while Cheddar took out her third win of the season. Peppa joined them in safety before Jonbers narrowly joined them at the back of the stage, leaving Dakota to battle Pixie. And damn, did Dakota turn it OUT. As soon as Culture Club’s Miss Me Blind kicked off, she absolutely commanded the stage and hit every lyric and trill and ugh, I loved it. Pixie meanwhile gave camp drama however, and that appeared to be enough, as Dakota was tragically felled from the competition. As she and I sobbed, cursing Miselle for bungling her first chance in the main seat. 

Backstage I pulled her in for a massive hug, putting down her silly elimination as nothing more than a gaggy exit for gaggy exit’s sake. Because from the makeover to the lip sync, she well and truly nailed the assignment this week (and honestly, shouldn’t have even landed in the bottom two). That being said, going out as a robbed queen is always better than overstaying your welcome. And that little factoid, alongside a sweet Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer were all it took to take away the bitterness of the elimination!


I don’t know if it is because I feel like it is healthier to eat piccolo cones, but these are essentially my new personality. Petite yet chunky, packed full of nuts and a sweet stuffed base – they are perfection.

Enjoy!


Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 cup shelled hazelnuts
600ml thickened cream
395g condensed milk
1 tbsp hazelnut liquor
1 tbsp vanilla extract
24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh
200g milk chocolate
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Method
Start by blitzing the shelled hazelnuts in a high speed blender until a smooth paste is formed.

Combine the condensed milk, cream, liquor, vanilla and paste in a large bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium speed until the-softer-end-of-firm peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.

While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts before folding in the roasted hazelnuts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.

Then, obviously, devour the entire batch.


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Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cherry Eliespresso Biscotti
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

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

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

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


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Biscopper Topp Blondies

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were split down the middle – kinda – to headline the Yassss-tonbury Festival. Aka Girl Groups, but make it rock. As a tertiary educated songwriter, Baby was ready to slay and take her moment in the spotlight. And while she well and truly did, nobody else on her team (other than Peppa, of course) was and as such, they landed in the bottom. And boy did they hear about it, as Baby told them all how disappointed she was backstage. Despite having the time of her life Michelle felt Starlet was all nerves while Jonbers went the Toto route and had too many lyrics for the beat and couldn’t keep up in the lip sync. As such, the duo lip synced and Starlet tragically exited.

Backstage Jonbers was a mixture of shocked and relieved to have survived the lip sync, while Cheddar was disappointed to see someone as strong as Starlet exit so soon. Jonbers opened up to the girls about how disappointed in herself she is, though trust and believe, she was ready to prove herself. Sminty pointed out that she saw Starlet as the ultimate look queen of the season and is gagged that she is gone. But also, kinda glad she is now the premiere look queen. Baby spoke about how she was gutted not to stake a claim on the challenge, though was ready to join the extensive badge club ASAP. While Cheddar just wanted Sminty to know that she and her mushroom look are not an old maiden silhouette, ok?

And, werk.

The next day the dolls were a little more zen – and Peppa looked sexy as hell – while Sminty shadily suggested that while the rival team all have a badge, maybe each of them didn’t deserve it. Baby pointed out that while she didn’t get the win thanks to her team bombing, she knows she slayed and for the moment, that is enough. And by moment, until she gets a badge. Ru dropped by to help the girls welcome our favourite season – awards! – as they voted for their sisters to win the Naff-ta awards. Oh and put on the show in their red carpet quick drag. Beast in Show – the doll with the most star quality – went to Black Peppa (as it should), Best Background Actress in a Non-Speaking Role went to Copper Topp, Best Scene Stealing, Attention Grabbing, Camera Hog rightly went to Danny Beard while Best Actress Resting on Pretty went to Baby and Best Hot Mess was deemed Sminty Drop.

With the awards out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be splitting into pairs to design looks ready for a night out at the Bingo Hall. The Brit Crew got out their balls to pair the dolls, with Le Fil getting Sminty, Baby and Dakota got paired up, Cheddar teamed with Copper, Danny and Pixie were an iconic duo which left Peppa and Jonbers together. Oh and since Sminty was deemed a hot mess, she was able to gift each pair with a box of fabrics. She jagged blue for herself and Le Fil, Dakota and Baby got black – so chic, Jamie – Cheddar and Copper got gold, Danny and Pixie got purple, leaving Jonbers and Peppa to rock acid green. Much to both of their chagrin.

The duos split up to kiki with Copper and Cheddar looking to help each other with their weaknesses, while Dakota and Baby were straight up ready to jag their badge. Sminty and Le Fil were talking styles before looking through their fabrics and regretting their choices, while Danny and Pixie were shitting on everything they got stuck with. Cheddar and Copper planned to sell luxury, while Jonbers and Peppa were thrilled with their haul. Oh and Baby and Dakota just continued to vibe, while Sminty wanted to scream over ALL the ugly fabrics.

Ru returned to check in on her daughters with Peppa and Jonbers thrilled to pull together a fashion warrior look, complete with kay-app. Copper and Cheddar sold their pairing, Baby and Dakota continued to vibe and were ready to enhance their sisters’ aesthetics – slay – while Danny and Pixie were not reinventing the wheel while Ru cautioned them to embellish a little before Sminty shat some dung to Ru talking about her feelings, rather than the concepts. And while she told Ru she was over hating her fabric, Ru told her she clearly wasn’t, but gave her a sweet peptalk and well, I love to see it.

After Ru exited, Copper wanted to make things messy, asking everyone who voted for her as most likely to fade into the background with Baby and Danny quickly owning up. While Jonbers told her she voted for her for being quiet, not a star. While Copper tried to fight against being quiet, she fought it out with her sisters while Cheddar tried to assure her that she is running a different race and to simply not worry. Because when you’re an icon like Cheddar, that is obviously how you play it. While Jonbers reminded her that Ru hates her name and as such, she had it the worst in the mini-challenge.

Everyone got quiet as they worked through their looks with Peppa and Jonbers continuing to feel good, while Copper was proud of how iconic Cheddar is while she in turn admitted she is always scared of being too drag and not ‘fashion’ enough. Sminty meanwhile made a smurf gimp mask and while it adds nothing, I love it. Baby and Dakota meanwhile continued to be perfection and honestly, is it that obvious they are winning, or are they going to be the surprise bomb of the episode? Le Fil questioned Peppa and Jonbers about how long they are taking to cut out their outfits and while they thought it was all good, I am not so confident. Just like Le Fil. While Danny felt it was all a mess.

Elimination Day arrived with Sminty unveiling a gorgeous, confident mood that made Le Fil oh so happy. Cheddar was confident in her architectural look and while she and Copper don’t look cohesive, she is confident they could sell it. Despite Copper wanting to sell Barbarella. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were still weaving. Pixie and Danny were kiki-ing about the latter’s boyfriend and ugh, I love hearing about how much they love each other. Pixie opened up about how she and Tia were a former power couple but after breaking up, she has struggled to be alone and to not have her biggest support system. Despite knowing Tia is rooting for her back home. Cheddar opened up to Dakota and Baby about dating as a drag queen and while it was a struggle, she is now in a happy relationship and she has learned to not care. Le Fil meanwhile spoke to Sminty about how they usually date straight men and the general struggles of finding love while being fluid.

Oh and Baby was only focused on the fact her sisters were relying on hot glue and a prayer. While Peppa and Jonbers were now just hoping to wear something.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leomie Anderson as the dolls stomped the Bin-go She Better Don’t runway where Sminty and Le Fil served Studio 54 synchronised swimmer realness and well, I love it. Peppa and Jonbers’ looks were barely done but I loved their attitude, Danny and Pixie were glam sisters who own 51% of the company and just divorced your uncle, Dakota and Baby were perfection from head to toe – STUNNING – while Cheddar and Copper gave synchronicity good vs. evil, though Cheddar clearly outclassed her sister.

Pixie and Danny were sent to safety before Sminty and Le Fil received universal praise for the look, vibe and charm. Peppa and Jonbers meanwhile were read for filth given how unfinished their looks were despite the clear concept they were selling, while Dakota and Baby received the most effusive praise possible, giving sisters though selling themselves as individuals. And ugh, I love it, condragulations dolls. Copper was read for being too simple while Cheddar received universal praise for being iconic as all hell. And bless, I love that Cheddar tried to raise her sister up in front of the judges.

Backstage Danny and Pixie were thrilled to be safe and sound, knowing they’d return next week. Their sisters joined them, with Peppa disappointed to clearly be in the bottom, while Jonbers was heartbroken to be going in the bottom again. While Cheddar felt great, she was heartbroken the judges clearly weren’t vibing with what she served. Copper started to break down about potentially leaving, with Peppa encouraging her to fight if it comes to it. While Le Fil was hoping for a second win, it was clearly Dakota and Baby’s week and well, both of them were feeling the hell out of their oats.

Dakota and Baby OBVIOUSLY took out the win before Sminty and Le Fil were sent to safety. Cheddar clearly joined them, given she was only low by association, while Jonbers surprisingly joined her, leaving Peppa and Copper to fight for safety to Jax Jones Ella Henderson’s This Is Real. And while Peppa is obviously an assassin, giving all the lines and dominating from start to finish, Copper stole the show with all the fire as she hit every lyric. Sadly for Copper, you just can’t beat dropping into a split on the beat over eight bars, followed by voguing and as such, she was eliminated. Despite me feeling like it was more than worthy of a double shantay, but alas, it wasn’t.

Backstage Copper was still a little heartbroken to be eliminated so soon, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her just how talented she is. I then pointed to her RuPeter Badge and reminded her that even without that win, she is a star and should be so proud of herself. She had a message, she was polished and she gave all the heart. Which is well and truly worthy of global adoration and a fresh batch of Biscopper Topp Blondies.

While I am only relatively new to the biscoff cult, these blondies reminded me why the spread is so beloved. Spicy, sticky and oh so delicious, they are also super easy to whip up meaning they are perfect when you need a hit of comfort.

Enjoy!

Biscopper Topp Blondies
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
120g unsalted butter
200g biscoff spread
200g muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the butter, biscoff and muscovado in a saucepan over low heat and cook stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, cinnamon and salt, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lined, square baking tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.


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Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.

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

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

ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
Serves: 4-8.

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

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

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

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

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


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Molly Poppancakes

Breakfast, Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the top five starred in tourism infomercials to sell their very own home towns. And well, the resulting five infomercials – directed by Suzanne Paul, no less – were vastly different, verging from melancholy to masterpiece, alongside a healthy dose of manic for good measure. Spankie was delightfully demented, Kween went dark but forgot to add the humour, Bev was confusing but appeared to be having fun, Molly gave drunk chick realness and Hannah gave us pure cinema. Obviously it led to Bev and Kween landing in the bottom and TBH, I’m glad it did because they turned the best lip sync in Down Under history. And while Bev went home, after that performance, it was on a very high note!

Backstage the dolls toasted Bev’s run in the competition and shared how proud Brisbane would be, which yeah, we are. Kween meanwhile was grateful for the journey and to be able to turn the lip sync, though was not planning to do it again until the crown. Which, as usual, is foreshadowing right? Molly asked Spankie how it felt given everyone that is eliminated seems to be leaving messages telling her they are rooting for her. Which obviously made her feel damn great, admitting it means the world to her that they feel loved, while Kong admitted that she too is team Spankie given she is so lovely and helpful. But make no mistake, she also wants to win. As do Hannah and Molly who showed off their aunty moves to prove it.

The next day the top four were thrilled to be lining up for the second last challenge, while Molly was frankly shocked to have made it this far. Particularly over Minnie and Yuri, who they all agreed are each icons in their own ways. They then got a call from zaddy – and recently minted Emmy winner – Murray Bartlett who dropped some hints for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the makeover. Which was quickly confirmed by Broom when we arrived with a super fan, his father, cousin and uncle and TBH, all of them could choke me. In any event, the family would be joining each of the dolls’ drag families. With the duos decided by a game of scissors, paper, rock, with Molly first to make her choice, opting for Keelan the superfan. Kween went with cousin Tyler, Hannah opted for Tony the dad(dy), leaving Spankie with Uncle Paul.

Molly and her new sister were vibing and living their best life, with her quickly kikiing about the dolls while Kween looked on, grateful she would have someone that didn’t already have all the energy. Hannah and Tony meanwhile became the fastest of friends, learning that three of his sons are gay and that he was ready to get the biggest titties possible. Spankie then learnt that he was partnered with a fellow Palmy local, and while Paul knew they had to work hard to get Spankie to the end, sweet Spanks just wanted her to have fun. Kween meanwhile was partnered with the chillest, sweet guy and given they have similar builds and personalities, condragulations Kween, I was right about the foreshadowing. And though her partner was ready to break down some barriers, he was scared of breaking his ankle in the heels.

Which the youngens mastered – unintentional death drops be damned – while the older generation seemed to struggle. Though given Spankie almost stacked it in the walking showcase too, who actually knows what will happen. 

Ru returned to kiki with the new families, with Molly and Keelan going for a bit of sweet and sour while Molly just hoped to keep up with her new sister’s energy. Keelan opened up about how lovely his family are and damn, I want to hug Tony. Speaking of him, he and Hannah charmed the hell out of Ru who then gave Tony some tips about walking in heels. Spanks and Paul were living their slut dream and made Ru even happier than Tony, and I’m so ready for this. Kween and Tyler meanwhile were a little subdued, but damn Kween is in her element and ready to slay. And you know Tyler is going to be feeling her oats, though needed to sell everything in her eyes.

After Ru exited, Molly started to grow nervous about Kween and Tyler who were clearly coming together perfectly. Particularly since Keelan kinda-sorta hated her outfit and wanted to slut it up a little more, making Molly’s life quite hard. Spankie too was struggling to make all the alterations required to pull together Paul’s look, making her terrified about landing in the bottom again. Which was heartbreaking as she started to cry.

Elimination Day rolled around with Tyler spending the night before practising his walk, while Keelan was taking notes for where she and Molly can improve. They then received another call, this time from Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills. After that commercial, the duos split up to start getting ready with Tyler nervous about letting down Kween, leading to Kween going into Spankie territory and giving the most beautiful pep talk and well, they are totally winning. Right? Spankie and Paul meanwhile bonded over family, with Spankie admitting she moved back to Palmy when her father was given six months left to live and while he is still alive and well, he is grateful he was able to build a stronger relationship with his father. Which is essentially what Paul did for his own father, with the duo breaking down and becoming the best of friends.

And. I. Live.

Molly meanwhile was ready to give Kween the win, given Tyler looked like a woman and well, she had run out of time to get her and Keelan into drag. With Keelan then trying to pull a Spankie and Kween by giving her a pep talk.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places on the panel as Kween Kong introduced Sister Kong on the Opposites Attract runway, serving angel and demon and well, Tyler SLAYED. Molly Poppinz and Kandy Flippinz were a camp delight as Kandy lived her best life. Spankie and Flash Jackzon gave pizzeria realness, now with pineapple – WHICH IS ALWAYS WELCOME ON ANY GOOD PIZZA – and they looked so cute together. Hannah and Elle Gator gave mediaeval, regal realness and were oh, so beautiful.

Kween and Sister received universal praise, particularly given how much Tyler was living for how beautiful she looked. Kween opened up about how wonderful her week was, while Tyler was proud of how much fun he had. And I assume, for doing THAT. Molly and Kandy were praised for giving sweet and sour, while Michelle couldn’t understand the narrative of their runway. Keelan opened up about how jealous she is of how good her family looks and for how much fun they were. Spankie and Flash were praised for giving sexy and having fun, though Spankie obviously had the better mug. Spankie opened up about how close she felt to Paul and ugh, I love it. Hannah and Elle were praised for their vibe and how beautiful Tony looked, while Michelle and Ru lavished praise on Tony for how much of a wonderful parent he is and ugh, of course I’m crying.

Backstage the duos toasted their success with Kealan so happy for the experience, while Tyler felt like it was a powerful, transformative experience. Everyone then lavished each other with praise, talking about how grateful they are for the experience. Hannah then started to break down, feeling like it would be her and Molly lip syncing tonight leading to everyone having a tear, desperately hoping that nobody would be eliminated instead.

Obviously Kween took out her second win of the season – Tyler is the new Wintergreen, right? – while Spankie was deemed safe, tragically leaving the self-proclaimed hobbit twins to lip sync. Just as was foreshadowed, and then expected. And while Hannah was threatening to go the park and bark route, she turned Heartbreak in This City by Steps and Michelle Visage, using every corner of the stage and hitting every lyric. And while Molly also turned it, I feel like Ru fell back on the track records and sent Hannah through to the finale, tragically eliminating the delightful Molly Poppinz.

Going out just before the final is always a bitter pill to swallow, but given Molly is such a sweet delight, she took it all in stride. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her she had a wonderful run on the competition and truly got to show how kind and funny she is. In addition to serving some killer looks. And while she was felled at the near-final hurdle, she is the perfect kind of star to go out and snatch an All Stars crown. With that, she was well and truly perked up, which is convenient, given you can’t be sad ahead of eating a big stack of Molly Poppancakes.

Before brunch became a thing, pancakes at home were well and truly my favourite weekend treat. Fluffy, pillowy discs of carby goodness, drizzled with a heaping of maple syrup, honey or lemon and sugar. Whatever your choice of topping, pancakes are always a win.

Enjoy!

Molly Poppancakes
Serves: 2 dear hobbit friends (which I can say, given I’m built like the hobbit queens).

Ingredients
1 ¾ cup milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
butter, for fryin’ (and servin’ too, obvi)
your fave condiments, to serve

Method
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a measuring jug and combine the dry in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients until the batter is just combined.

To fry, pop a large skillet over medium heat. Once nice and hot, add a bit of butter to the pan and spread across as it melts. Pour about ¼-½ cup of batter into the pan and cook for two minutes, or until bubbles start to form, pop and hold their shape on the top. Flip and cook for a further minute or two, or until they are cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm and repeat the process until done.

Serve immediately with butter and your favourite topping, before devouring, in the triumphant melancholy only carbs can fix.


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