Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Breakfast, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor JLP dumped a collection of heroes and villains – including our mateship king, Sam – into the Samoan jungle where the series began. Well, the re-reboot, at least. At the opening reward challenge, human puppy Matt jumped away from his usually heroic antics and tackled villain after villain to score some loot, though make no mistake, it was the legit Villains that delighted in the most drama. Though sadly the theatrics led to their first loss. At the Villains, George quickly aligned with Anjali and Jackie, and while the tribe were ready to get rid of him, the first immunity challenge had other thoughts, taking both George and Jackie out to receive care. Despite George being ready to conquer. With the obvious target off the table, Shonee grew nervous and tried to move the target elsewhere. And that was without even realising Stevie was feuding with her! At tribal council the tribe learned that Jackie would have to be medically evacuated and despite being given the chance to cancel tribal council, they powered ahead to boot Anjali.

Our first pancake, straight in the bin.

The next day the tribe were busy joking about how George will come back to the game should he be cleared, predicting helicopters,horses and all the theatrics in the world. Instead, he calmly returned with a completely busted face, stitches everywhere and swelling over his nose as the tribe immediately felt full of guilt. And as such, demanded he get a triumphant return, guard of honour and baptism included. But seriously, him crying about not feeling his legs after the accident and worrying about his mum getting a call to let her know he was paralysed was pretty hard TV. And again, his face is a complete mess, the poor thing.

I guess this has already flipped over to a George stan blog now, so enjoy and don’t say a bad word about my sweet angel George.

Over at the Heroes camp it was literally sunshine and rainbows as Sharni delighted in beach life, opening up about life as an actress in LA and how she is relishing the chance to finally show everyone who she is rather than a character or the fake world of Hollywood. Paige meanwhile was busy cracking the whip, telling the tribe to yarn and work, driving them to build themselves a delightful camp and well, she seemed to be loving everyone. Specifically Benjamin and David, the latter because he is a zaddy. Which is super relatable. We then learnt a little bit more about her life in the country, riding horses hard – her words, so completely innocent – and living the dream. And all she wants in return for playing the game is a new ute. Also, she is excited by the thought of making female friends like Hayley and Flick and ugh, she is perfection, I love her.

Back at the Villains the tribe was rather miserable, none more so than Michael who was getting angry about them being unable to get a fire. But there is a positive in his mind now that George is back, given he is still a massive threat and he can focus on booting him. Seemingly ignoring the fact that looking that injured instantly makes people feel guilty about potentially voting him out. Undeterred, Michael pulled Simon aside to float the idea to get rid of George and while he was on board, he was more focused on letting Michael do the work and jump in at the end for the final blow. George thankfully was an aware king and as such, knew he was in trouble and got to work making friends and reminding everyone that they need numbers and to win immunity above all else.

Enter Queen Shonee, who knew that George having no friends meant he would be desperately loyal if she took him in and well, being a shield for her doesn’t hurt either. As such, she approached bestie Liz – aka the alliance, Shiz which is way better than my Shizneeland couple name – to float the idea of bringing in George as their distant third. And given Liz now loved his vibe – stitches help, it seems – she was keen to bring him in and completely take control. We then learnt more about Liz, immigrating from Russian as a child and becoming the youngest Olympic pole vaulter which seemed pretty damn heroic to me! Sensing me questioning why she was popped on the Villains tribe, she admitted it was her spicy temper that landed her here and ugh, I love her. Maybe she and Shonee are like one person split across two bodies?

Oh but the tribe managed to get fire, so that’s a win!

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for the latest reward challenge – the Heroes gagged to see the Villains down not one but two members and George looking a total mess – where in rounds, a number of people from each tribe would face off on either sides on a turnstile to push the other over a line. With the first tribe to three getting 15 minutes of unadulterated pillaging time at the rival camp. George, Fraser and Michael faced off against Benjamin, Matt and Sam with George filled with the power of Macedonian Jesus, gritting his teething and pushing the other tribe. Hard. Sadly for the Villains, the Heroes played strategically, standing firm and letting them tire out as Sam coached them back to even footing before snatching the first point. More importantly, David and Shaun were rocking speedos on the bench and well, swoon.

As George shared how disappointed his gyms would be in him, his besties Shonee and Liz lined up to face Nina and Hayley, with my Shiz queens pushing through near fainting before getting a second wind to tie things up. Shaun and Flick were up next for the Heroes so the Villains knew the point would be lost, throwing in Stevie and Mimi to quickly hand the point to the Heroes. Next up was zaddies only as Simon – sadly in shorts – faced off against David who quickly lost, though he looked swoon worthy in a speedo and as such, was it really a loss? To take out the win, it was Liz versus Nina with the Olympian quickly proving her mettle and giving the Villains some much needed pep. While the Heroes tried to remind them how it is a social game and as such, they should be kind on their raid.

Which is precisely not what they did as they arrived at the Heroes camp and stole a tonne of food before George went wild, tossing their beans out and trying to cut their shelter down. Mimi though was wise and suggested they should only take half the food to help themselves when the tribes come together. Which obviously didn’t sit well with the tribe, particularly George. We then learnt about Mimi’s life in PR for a luxury brand before pivoting back to the fight, which fizzled out as she followed what her tribe wanted. Which included fizzling out their fire and leaving them but a banana each. As the Heroes returned they were thrilled to see their shelter was still standing while sweet Sharni reminded them it isn’t a shock they stole all the food given they were so damn hungry. That kindness was only until she spotted the fire had been put out and well, that was one dastardly move too far. Though given they have Paige and Gerry, the fire was quickly restarted and all was right in the world.

The tribes reconvened for the next immunity challenge where they would each race through a tunnel, push a giant ball over a track and over a ramp before knocking over puzzle pieces and then – you know it! – solve said puzzle. After George quickly smacked down Stevie for wanting to do the puzzle – not on the same wavelength, boo – the tribes started to race, neck and neck through the tunnel before Shaun Shauned, single handedly pushing the ball and the Heroes into the lead. Simon and Liz powered to close the gap for the Villains, with both tribes working on the puzzle at the same time as Ben sorted through the pieces and lined them up for Nina while George and Fraser tried to work on the puzzle as Stevie kept trying to step in. While the Heroes tried to stay quiet for their solvers, Hayley spotted the image and started to calmly coach Ben and Nina through the puzzle, with the duo pulling away and securing immunity for the tribe.

With the Villains wishing they let Stevie work on the puzzle, who clearly would have dominated.

Back at camp George was rightly bricking it after bombing the puzzle and dooming the tribe to tribal council, so immediately gathered them around to apologise for letting them all down. With Shonee and Liz assuring him he tried his best, while Simon reminded them that they should also focus on the fact they can in fact keep up with their rivals on the physical side of things. Simon and Michael caught up with the former checking who Michael had lined up and when he just stared at him, Simon got less comfortable about things and grew worried about how skittish Michael is. After chastising Michael – which was hilarious – Simon stripped down to speedos to cool down (which obvi would convince me to vote however he wants) and go rally some troops.

First he floated the plan with Shonee who quickly shut it down before George joined them and made things awkward. The trio split up while Michael approached Stevie and locked in their plan to take out George, as Simon attempted to convince Jordie and the newbies that they needed to take out the King. And while Simon was confident it was all coming together, George could tell things were not going his way and approached Simon to reiterate that they need to keep each other around as shields. This looped in Queen Shonee who wisely went person to person, explaining why it is smarter to keep George around and after getting Jordie over the line, suggested he work on Simon. 

George asked Shonee what was going on, with her pulling him aside to assure him she is doing literally all that she can. Particularly since they have already lost two women and she is unwilling to lose their only gay – like an icon – and as such, got to work turning the tribe against Michael. She approached Mimi who was thrilled at the thought of getting rid of Michael, while Sarah tried to rally Liz against George. Thankfully Mimi caught up with Simon who was frustrated at the potential change, before Shonee opened her school and explained that a swap is imminent and as such, they need to keep him around so the Heroes focus their attentions on him, rather than anyone else. George then arrived and made things awkward before the group switched out, while Michael confidently reiterated George will be the one voted out tonight.

Which is never a good line for the person uttering it.

At tribal council George spoke about how welcoming the tribe were when he returned from hospital as he fought back tears, opening up about how shocked he was to return to the game. Simon piped up to talk about how much more chaotic tonight’s vote is than the previous one, given he isn’t even sure how he would be voting tonight. This made Jordie and Michael theatrically shocked before the latter aggressively pushed for him to stick to their plan and rudely told JLP to move on. George spoke about how nervous he was during the scramble with Michael continuing to go too aggressive, pointing out George lost the puzzle for them. Queen Mimi rose to her throne, pointing out it is wrong and it was a team challenge and as such, they lost as a team. This pissed off Michael with George hilariously pointing it out as the girls all jumped in to tell Michael not to speak for them and that they lost as a team, so to shut up.

As Michael continued to spiral, the tribe started to whisper about solidifying their plan due to the antics, with George calmly watching on and lightly throwing fuel on the fire. While Simon and Jordie tried to make him feel reassured, Michael continued to fire up, pointing out George isn’t trustworthy with King George continuing to be an icon, asking what he did to Michael to make him hate him so much. As Michael grew more and more angry, the tribe continued to whisper amongst themselves, clearly locking in a vote against Michael with Shonee saying that everything at tribal council only further solidified the way she was planning to go. While Stevie reminded them that if they want loyalty, buy a dog.

Which is important, in my mind.

With that the tribe voted and despite the fact he almost got rid of his nemesis, George calmly playing him at tribal council led to everyone flipping on Michael and sending him out of the game. Which makes me worried for Benjamin, given that is now two journos out the door in two tribal councils. But alas, that is a fear for another episode. Instead, as soon as Michael entered Loser Lodger, I gave him a pat on the shoulder and told him he tried his best, but sadly a singular focus and paranoia did him in. Yeah, it was a little half-hearted, but I was rooting for Michael to be a fun, messy schemer and I was disappointed to see him go so soon due to an unwillingness to bend. As such, I slid a Ham and Micheese Croisaarren across the table in the hope that he would feel better. Or as George would say, calm down.

I know what you’re thinking. How exactly can I justify a recipe for something as simple as a ham and cheese croissant? The answer lies in the glory of an aggressively cheesy custard that packs in the flavour. Velvety and rich, it lifts the taste into something special.

Enjoy!

Ham and Micheese Croisaarren

Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250ml cream
5 egg yolks
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ cup comte, grated
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp champagne vinegar
6 David Croissant
12 slices ham
½ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over low heat. While the cream is getting hot, whisk the yolks and nutmeg in a bowl. Once the cream is simmering, remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the yolk mixture until combined. Return to the saucepan and continue cooking until thick. Remove from the heat and fold in the comte, before leaving to cool. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

To assemble, split the croissants, pour over a little bit of the custard, top with ham and a little more custard. Close and top with a mix of the parmesan and cheddar, and transfer to the over to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp. Then devour, calmly.


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Anjali Raoll Dog

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Bread, Lunch, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor thirteen (un)lucky new castaways were deposited in Samoa alongside 11 newbies, ready to figure out who plays it best – Heroes or Villains. While the returning players found themselves on tribes based on how they’d played before, the newbies were arbitrarily placed based on occupation. Personalities be damned, looking at you Rogue. In any event, like the US OG version, the Villains appeared to be having a lot of fun at the first reward challenge, though not so much in the second as Jackie and George took a hard fall into a shallow mud pit. And while Jonathan only told the tribe both were being taken to hospital for further testing after the Villains immunity loss, I will spoil that poor Jackie at least was instantly deemed unable to continue due to a broken collarbone and as such, found herself becoming the first boot.

Back at camp Jordie quickly told the tribe they need to think like the duo won’t be there – which in retrospect, is super wise – which immediately terrified Shonee given she is a huge threat as the first three time player and George is no longer around to hide behind. Though being our iconic Queen, she planned to make friends to save herself, quickly locking in Liz to become this season’s bestie to form the Taurus Terrors. Which, swoon. Lizneeland caught up with Simon who was quick to focus on George coming back and as such, wanting to vote him out while Shonee countered he is the easier target whenever. Though really, knew she needed to keep him around as a shield. They worked through other options, going with Jackie if she came back – which we already sadly know, she doesn’t – before pointing out Anjali is also friendly with the duo and as such, she should go if Jackie isn’t around to weaken George.

The newbies quickly fell in line with the plan to get rid of Anjali – Shonee’s puppies were easy to manage – though they were planning to tell her the plan was Stevie to avoid spooking her. Anjali however was wary of the messenger in Simon, meaning she was quick to find a way to score herself a plan B. Speaking of Stevie he was continuing to be adorbs, well, until he opened up about blaming Shonee for his first downfall and as such, was only out for revenge. And Stevie, I was rooting for you, we were ALL rooting for you. Why’d you have to go for Shonee like this? Stevie went person to person trying to turn them against Shonee though as he said, she is always friendly and kind to people and as such, everyone was loving her. So too bad, so sad, bye Stevie.

Feeling nervous, Shonee approached Michael to make sure she was good and while he assured her she is safe, she wasn’t so convinced. Knowing that Stevie is not a threat and as such, is a threat to make it far. As she grew more and more nervous, Jordie, Simon and Liz tried to assure her she was safe and Anjali would be going out. Anjali then approached her for some advice, assuring her that she hadn’t heard her name being thrown out at all, and when Shonee assured her the same thing, I got nervous for Queen Anjali.

At the stunning tribal council – or tribunal, in honour of Chrissy – the Villains were disappointed to learn neither George nor Jackie would return to tribal council, but the decision on whether they can keep playing was imminent. Michael calmly explained to Jonathan he was ready to pivot in light of the news while Anjali was disappointed someone would be tossed out like the first pancake, despite loving everyone. Fraser mentioned he was focusing on building trust and how surviving tribal will help him read people into the future. Stevie on the other hand was busy admitting he was nervous of being blindsided, though was fairly confident in the one name he heard. 

Shonee spoke about being unsure who she could trust, though assured Jonathan she and Stevie were now besties and it doesn’t matter what she may or may not have done in the past. Stevie tried to downplay his hunger for revenge against Shonee before Jordie turned things to the task at hand and said that he is hopeful it is an easy vote given everyone agrees, though someone is sure as hell in for a blindside. Oh and Anjali was confident it wouldn’t be hard. Which obviously filled me with even more nerves.

With that the tribe voted but before they were read, Jonathan announced that George would be able to stay in hospital overnight before medical decided if he could return to the game the next day. The same tragically couldn’t be said for Jackie who, as you know already, fractured her collarbone and would have to be pulled from the game. JLP being a merciful zaddy, added a little spice to the premiere, giving the tribe the choice to either read the votes and make this a double boot – potentially even triple, if George is evacuated tomorrow – or destroy the votes and cancel tribal council.

While three timer Shonee pushed for cancelling tribal council to avoid giving the Heroes more of a head start, newbie Sarah suggested they rip the bandaid off and keep tribal council going. Stevie asked the right question in whether George was definitely coming back and despite Jonathan suggesting they could be down three players before the next challenge, the tribe opted to keep tribal council going. Which tragically led to my love for mother Anjali proved to be the final nail in the coffin, jinxing her to join Jackie out of the game.

As soon as she arrived back at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that while it was heartbreaking to see her go so soon, I am thrilled she did what needed to be done. Aka produced the hell out of the first episode, giving spicy soundbites and opting for exciting television – like the double boot, for instance – rather than the smartest move for the tribe. Which in my mind more than earned her a dish as iconic as she is, the Anjali Raoll Dog.

Despite sounding like I have it out for mother Anjali, the Roll Dog is an iconic Australian tuckshop delicacy I had forgotten about until Instagram fed me Katherine Feeney’s odd little dance sesh in the ABC lunch room. And while she is a nemesis of mother Anjali and I, I will be forever grateful she was able to bring it back into my life. Sausage roll and more carbs? Delicious.

Enjoy!

Anjali Raoll Dog
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
1 bread roll
1-2 tbsp Spicy TomaJones Sauce
1 Alyssausage Edwards Roll

Method
Slice the bread roll. Smear with sauce, plop the snag roll in the buns and close.

Then devour.


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Jackie Glaziered Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Jackie Glaziered Muffins
Serves: 6-12.

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

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

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

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

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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

Either way, devour with villainous glee.


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More #Shontent is always a good thing

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I don’t want to curse 2023 – we need a precedent-ed year again – but it feels like nature is maybe, just maybe, healing. Greta Thunberg is getting people carted off to priz, Pell is in hell and with the Australian Open out of the way, my love Jonathan is returning to our screens for more Australian Survivor.

And he has brought our Queen Shonee (and ten other returnees) back with him for another shot at the title. Or at the very least, to make it late in the game to prove she is our version of Cirie Fields.

While yeah, yeah, we’re all sad the Heroes V Villains theme wasn’t put on ice for a full returnee roster, the newbies include a personal hero (and stalkee), Sal Fletcher’s foster daughter, a beauty queen that sounds like someone that could have appeared in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Queen Anjali Rao who is ready to parlay fighting on RHOMelbourne into full blown villainy. And I am here for the glee with which she is playing it up.

Which hopefully won’t jinx her, given I am wont to do that.

As usual JLP chartered me a yacht – Triangle of Sadness style antics ensued – to Samoa to provide his cast with culinary comfort and entertain him, so check back before each episode to get all the deets.

In the meantime, who do you think will become the newest member of the Des Quilty First Boot Club?

📷: Channel 10.


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Sugared Nuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Sugared Nuts
Makes: 4 cups.

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

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

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

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


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Popbeef Capriness

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the biggest cast in herstory arrived in two little groups, each anticipating to compete in a little talent show. Little did they know, however, that Ruple and Co had grander plans for them all, bringing them together after their throwback mini challenges for one big ol’ talent show. And unlikely the last few years, one of the dolls would be exiting after said first challenge. While the show ended up being a sea of lip syncs – because, duh, they are performers – Anetra absolutely slayed, karate chopping her way into the first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack Loosey struggled singing live, while Amethyst and Irene struggled with premature e-joke-ulation and a complete lack of laughs which landed them in the bottom. And poor Irene a place in the Porkchop Club.

Backstage the dolls rallied around Amethyst, though were mainly gagged by the fact the competition is real and one by one they will go home. Thankfully that obvious revelation was brushed aside as Sugar or Spice asked Robin and Amethyst to talk about their brief relationship with both dolls insinuating they were the ones to end things. Mistress meanwhile was grateful that Loosey stuck around as she felt she had more to show, which well and truly fired up Loosey who felt she didn’t even deserve to be in the bottom and as such was pissed and ready to prove herself.

The next day the dolls were thrilled to still be alive in the competition before Ru straight up interrupted any chat to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, designing infomercials to sell us on the Queerafter. And as Anetra won, she would be the Team Captain of one team, lip sync victor Amethyst would lead the second and the third team – finally – would be made up of the leftovers. Which is messy and iconic and I love the producers for it. Anetra’s selected Luxx, Sasha, Salina and Marcia cubed while Amethyst went with Loosey, Aura, Spice and Poppy leaving Sugar, Mistress, Jax, Malaysia and Robin to form team all the rest, here on Gilligan’s Island.

With that Ru departed with the leftovers instantly fired up by the slight and ready to prove themselves while Anetra’s team immediately decreed Sasha as God and as such, she should play her in the ‘mercial. And their plot can just come second to that. Team Amethyst was throwing out all the ideas which made Loosey feel more and more anxious about proving herself, while Jax was busy trying to wrangle the leftovers as Sugar threw out all the ideas. Most of which, TBH, were good. And when they shut her down, her disappointment was bleedingly obvious to everyone except her team, apparently.

Team Leftovers were first up to shoot with Michelle and well, let’s just say they should have listened to Sugar given she was the only one that was remotely prepared or entertaining. Team Sasha-Colby-getting-the-label-she-deserves appeared to be getting the fake out edit as Sasha got in her head and struggled through the entire shoot. And by ‘appeared’ we’re getting the fake out, I bloody hope so. Meanwhile Team Amethyst’s script was confusing to Michelle, disappointing future WGA Award hopeful Princess Poppy. 

Elimination Day arrived with everyone energised and ready to turn it on the runway as Sugar and Spice caught up about what happened with their infomercials, with Sugar feeling like nobody is taking her seriously. Jax and Aura meanwhile were busy kiki-ing with Jax calling out the team for having too many big personalities, leaving her to pull everything together solo. Talk turned to religion with Malaysia opening up about her religious upbringing and how it impacted her coming into her self acceptance as a queer person, thankful for her luck at having a supporting family. As she sobbed Mistress opened up about her similar upbringing, sans a supporting family and as such, she cut off her family when she was 17 and opened up about how it was drag that saved her and pulled her out of poverty.

Ru, Michelle and TS were joined on the panel by Maren Morris as the dolls kicked off the Metallica runway with Anetra slaying in a foil warrior look. Sasha was stunning as a silver phoenix, Salina gave disco ball streetlamp, Luxx was a Grecian aflame in gold, Marcia was a sexy tin wo-man, Amethyst gave ruffled golden diva, Poppy looked like a space Sailor Moon, Spice gave the upcycled version, Aura again gave Power Ranger realness as a moon warrior – though this time, it was intentional – Loosey gave slutty space housewife, Jax went with Mortal Kombat realness, Robin was a golden warrior, Mistress was stunning in golden chains and a frill neck lizard embellishment while Sugar looked like Lizzie McGuire’s end performance in the movie. While Malaysia was stunning in a glam, silver gown.

When it came to the infomercials, Team Anetra’s was thankfully a fake out – you could tell Michelle wasn’t annoyed when giving direction – as Sasha slayed with glam and gags and ugh, I live. They had throwbacks to past seasons, shade and sex. But well, it was totally the Sasha show as she kept breaking her neck to transition scenes which obviously had Ru in hysterics. Team Amethyst was all sex all the time, until Loosey stole the show as their god, Dolly Parton. Which is correct. Team Leftovers meanwhile was Sugar’s show as the annoying straight girls at the club, while the rest of the dolls were stuck in their own personal hells.

Anetra, Salina, Marcia cubed, Spice, Aura, Robin, Mistress, Sugar and Malaysia were deemed safe before the judges lavished all the praise on Sasha. She listened to direction, she was hilarious and most importantly, she looked perfect. Because she is Sasha. Luxx was praised for a stunning runway and for serving all the comedy in the performance. Amethyst was read for once again not being funny while Michelle encouraged her to embrace her nose rather than hide it when painting her face. Princess meanwhile was read for fading into the background and for looking nice on the runway, but nothing more before Loosey received her praise for playing it smart in the infomercial and for looking stunning. Jax meanwhile was read for not padding or synching and not looking the best during the challenge. Never mind the fact their infomercial was a mess.

Backstage the safe queens were thrilled to be safe, while Anetra was excited to be able to get to know her sisters a little better since she was busy getting critiques the week before. Marcia was glad to get a turn to relax, though was disappointed to hear Michelle mock her make-up during her walk with Mistress giving her tips like the mother she is. Malaysia meanwhile was bitter to have not gotten the chance to hear from the judges, while Mistress continued to be iconic and said she was ready to get her moment when it happens and knows she can’t be good at everything. Robin meanwhile was glad that most of her team were safe, particularly since they were the leftovers. Which made Mistress step in to be an icon once again, pointing out she was shocked she wasn’t picked first. Like she deserved. Talk turned to Jax in the challenge and how she steamrolled without slaying, with Mistress asking Sugar why she didn’t clap back at her when she was mean and while Sugar admitted she struggles with speaking up, Mistress assured her that if she wants to be her daughter, she needs to defend herself and have confidence.

And again, I love their bond.

Aura then got shady over the leftovers video, despite only Team Anetra’s being good. That summoned the tops and bottoms with everyone praising Sasha for slaying every moment this week. Particularly the neck cracks. Jax meanwhile opened up about how the judges kinda hated everything she did, quickly blaming taking control of the script and her sisters ad libbing for her predicament. Poppy meanwhile mocked herself, saying the judges lived for everything she served rather than hated that she faded into the background and isn’t standing out. She then opened up that she was thinking about quitting drag last year and as such, she isn’t bothered if she is eliminated given she just didn’t want to be the first boot. Poor Amethyst meanwhile started to sob about not doing well, questioning whether she is just making a joke of herself. Oh and then everyone congratulated Loosey for giving a killer Dolly before Maren Morris dropped by to kiki with the girls and while I didn’t know anything about her before she jumped on the panel, I love how sweet she was with the dolls.

Ultimately Loosey and Luxx were sent to safety as Sasha took out her first victory of the season before Jax narrowly avoided the bottom – with a challenge from Ru to step her pussy up – as Amethyst returned to the bottom two, this time with Princess Poppy for company. As soon as my girl Diana Ross’ version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough kicked off, it was clear Amethyst was not ready to go home, giving pitch perfect Diana which is the only way to rock it in front of superfan Ru. And while Poppy started off similarly, she leaned further into the camp as the song went off and while it served and showed us who she is, Ru was only going to save the person that did Di justice and as such, sent Poppy packing from the competition.

Backstage Poppy was pretty upbeat, grateful to have gotten her passion for drag back and to leave arguably the most iconic mirror message of all time – scribble! I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for showing us who she is and bringing such a chill, fun energy to all that she does. I assured her that her early departure isn’t a reflection of her talent and while she already knew that, I feel she really appreciated the fact she got to smash a Popbeef Capriness to lift her spirits.

This little local-butcher’s-number copycat is as soothing as everything else wrapped in pastry. Rich and earthy with a hint of sweetness, the tomatoes, spinach and feta work perfectly to elevate the beef into an elevated parcel experience.

Enjoy!

Popbeef Capriness
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry
4 thin cuts of steak, like scotch (depending on size you could go with two and cut them in half
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
200g greek feta, cut into 4 rectangles
1 egg, whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut each sheet of pastry into four squares, and half of them into strips.

To assemble, place the steaks onto the centre of each square of puff pastry. Top with the spinach, sundried tomato, pesto and a piece of feta. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with some egg and layer the strips to form a crosshatch pattern, press in at the edges to hold in place.

Transfer the parcels to a lined baking sheet, brush with a little bit of egg and pop in the oven to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed – as the name would imply – and the meat cooked through. Then devour, with a generous helping of mash. 


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Irene Hamdubois Helper

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which started out as a teeny, tiny show whose first challenge was filmed in the car park behind WoW opposite the Jim Hensen offices – which I’m not sure is a legit fact, but for some reason I think it is so let’s run with it – turned into a global phenomenon. Icons were born, legends were made, moments were gagged, we were left gooped and Ruple and Co. became bonafide Emmy powerhouses. But most importantly, it gave us back rolls, Alyssa’s secret, do-wa, Aja jumping from there, a confession to killing Judy Garland and a Snatch Game throwback to that moment, absolving said veteran of said murder. But that was then and this is now, as Season 15 is ready to take its lap. Sadly without chocolate.

Womp womp.

First to enter for this fifteenth (main franchise) crown was Irene Dubois looking like a ginger COVID virus and well, she is hot out of drag and is Bosco’s drag sister, so I love her. She was followed by Luxx Noir London looking like Bowie and Dynasty era Joan Collins had a baby whose hair was inspired by Ariana Grande. So again, I love her. As the duo got shady, Aura Mayari arrived and gave glamour as she vogued her way into the Werk Room and straight into my heart. And loins, out of drag obviously. Giving cousin IT by Cher from Clueless, we met Marcia Marcia Marcia and after she flicked her hair back to reveal she was rocking the iconic broken nose look, I live for her.

Though not as much as I love people clocking her as looking like (a) Jan.

As she was busy regalling her new sisters with her love of Ariana Grande and serving it on Broadway thanks to her BFA (like Jan, TBH), we were joined by Anetra who is giving off fun punk showgirl vibes and well, I love her energy so much and feel like she is going to slay. Which I hope isn’t the kiss of death because my support usually curses trajectories. They were joined by Malaysia Babydoll Foxx serving the sluttiest depression kitty I have ever seen and I love her. LOVE. She is charming, cute and has a voice like velvet. Princess Poppy arrived serving Art Simone’s twink sister in the best way possible. Though her sticking her ears inside themselves scares me because I’m a child. Then Sasha Colby happened and well, yeah, I stand by what I said earlier, crown her. Now. She was serving as a Hawaiian warrior queen and had the energy that she was ready to have fun and slay.

We then had Ornacia make her triumphant return and ugh, I LIVE. Wait, no it is Ariana Grande. Whistle tone queen, icon, legend and well, let’s just say, I’m as gagged as the dolls.

As Marcia started to hyperventilate, Ariana gave the dolls a hug and thanked them for bringing so much joy to the world. While Luxx in turn thanked her for Break Free which TBH, is correct. Ariana regalled everyone with tales of her previous time on the judging panel and encouraged them to take in every moment and enjoy the journey. Ru then stole her thunder, dropping by to welcome his newest daughters to the race and officially announce the doubled up prize. Oh but first, they would have to compete in a little throwback Mini Challenge doing a sexy photoshoot washing the car. With the Pit Crew, so swoon. 

The boys started spraying themselves as they washed the car before Irene dropped by and bathed in it, living her bukkake dream and TBH, that is the only way to do it. Luxx meanwhile got wet in all the wrong ways though thankfully still served. Aura was ready to touch them all and ugh, it was hot and I love it, while Marcia served good girl gone bad. Backstage Marcia was thirsty for boy Irene while Luxx was scared of her, meanwhile Anetra was drowning out in the carpark and had Ru cackling. Malaysia was heartbroken to ruin her good drag but hot damn did she serve while Poppy got her holes filled and Sasha tried to give supermodel, despite not loving the fact she didn’t get said moment.

As everyone dedragged they all clocked Aura as the trade of the season – including Aura – and were positively shocked that Marcia looks exactly the same in and out of drag. Talk turned to what the other group would look like before Ru interrupted them talking about Irene’s passion for  reading everyone to announce that she took out the win in the Mini Challenge. Much to Luxx’s surprise. Ru then filled the dolls in on the fact their first Maxi Challenge would be a little talent show titled One Night Only (said with jazz hands, obvi). And in addition to their individual performances, they would have to choreograph an opening number together.

The group quickly ventured backstage and talked through their skills, with Marcia pushing to take the reins in the choreography and while Aura tried to add to it, Mother Sasha quietly watched on, knowing that she would end up fixing whatever they came up with and get her new kids over the line. As the kids continued to fight back and forth for control Irene joined Sasha in asking one of them to just back out and let the other take the lead so they don’t get stuck with two different choreographies. 

As Group 1 descended into chaos, the crew reset the Werk Room just in time for Salina EsTitties arrived giving banjie energy and was totally jacked up on Mountain Dew and I live for it. She was quickly joined by Amethyst serving 2000 pop tween, claiming herself as the first viral TikTok queen to make it to Drag Race. Jax arrived ready to cheer the house down and called herself the Simone Biles of drag, so yeah, I stan. They were joined by Loosey LaDuca who looks like a campy, nice version of Sh3rry Pi3 in blonde. Which isn’t a read, despite how it may sound. Mistress Isabelle Brooks was up next serving short, goth Eureka and I love everything about her. Robin Fierce joined them looking like a stunning woman in tan and ugh, I love her. Oh and she and Amethyst have a past and while I was ready to ship, she told me I can’t, so that is that. We then got a double arrival as Sugar and Spice trotted in serving actual dolls and while Amethyst thought she was the TikTok superstar, these girls are the thing.

Though Mistress will not give them the pleasure of knowing she knows them.

As the dolls recovered from learning they are only bedroom queens, Sugar opened up about wanting to be part of the drag community and wanting friends which is equally sweet and heartbreaking. We then got another Ornacia entry, this time with the legit Vivacious who announced Ru’s arrival to welcome the rest of her daughters to the competition and put them to the test in their Mini Challenge, the drag race wind machine photoshoot classic. Salina was up first and served sex and speeding as her face blew away, Amethyst gave Timezone realness while snacking on leaves before Jax was all erotic, no auto. Mistress was smizing the house down, Loosey lived her Tippi Hedron fantasy through feathers while Robin was perfection, whether the fan gave her a beard or not. 

As the twins made it to the stage for their shoot, the other girls kikied about Sugar and Spice being inexperienced with Mistress opening up about how underwhelming they are to her. And while everyone reminded her they were cute and sweet, she felt like not knowing what wig glue is was a mortal sin. And well, I’m here for the shade. Sugar meanwhile was having fun on the bike, serving silly and ridiculous before Spice ripped off her wig against Ru’s advice, serving hairography with a shower cap. They rejoined the dolls as everyone dedragged with Sugar and Spice gagging over their sisters and praising them for looking so different out of drag. Mistress kinda admitted to reading them and threw down a challenge for them to impress her, while they just spewed talk at the girls, trying to make friends and well, I love everything about them despite myself.

Ru made yet another return to announce Loosey took out victory in the Mini Challenge, which emboldened her to declare she will be the first person to win every challenge. Which already ius not the case. Ru then gave them a spiel about the talent show before sending them off to the rehearsal space, where the other dolls finally appeared to be making progress. Well, until Ru dropped by to kiki and threw the two groups together. The factions lined up like the jets and sharks, ready for two to become one and put more choreographers amongst the queens before Ru announced that unlike last year, one of them will be going home before the end of the week.

After Ru departed the groups introduced themselves and sat down to get to know each other, with Sugar and Spice monologuing about their lives and while they annoyed everyone else, I love their lack of self awareness. Also Sugar kinda looks like young(er) Austin Butler minus the lingering accent work. Group 1 then got up to show their newest sisters their choreography with Mistress laughing through it with her soon-to-be-bestie Sugar. While Marcia tried to push through, Malaysia cut her off and then everyone started to fight before Mistress cut them off and asked them to focus on the task at hand because dancing is her weakness and she doesn’t want to bomb. Then she and Irene got sassy and Sugar and Spice started quietly laughing together.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls finally unpacking their gear and finding a station with everyone laughing it up and being silly. Sugar and Spice meanwhile just focused on beating their mugs because they take so damn long. Irene meanwhile measured up her wig against Luxx’s to confirm whether her entry was 40 inches. Defeated, Luxx then joined the twins to get ready, bonding over being social media queens and how it really is the only way they can start when they aren’t old enough to go to a club. Sugar then noticed Mistress and Irene were sitting together and was shocked that the enemies elected to get ready together, leading to the older girls explaining shade and how being a working queen works. Loosey, Anetra and Amethyst meanwhile were talking about their talents with Loosey opening up about her original song, while Anetra was keeping her cards close to her chest. Oh and then we learnt Irene is making ice water.

While Sugar and Spice were still nowhere near being ready to go on while everyone put on their finishing touches.

Ru, Michelle, Ross and Ariana took their places on the panel as the dolls made their debut for the opening number which was a campy, pageant delight and ugh, I’ve missed this show (in the two weeks we went without it). Malaysia meanwhile opened up the individual performances, lip syncing the house down to an original song and while it was repetitive, Bryce came out in gold speedos, so I love it. Spice meanwhile was silly and cute, having Ru and the dolls in hysterics, so well done babe. Luxx hit every line and lyric on her lip sync and was honestly just a delight. Though the gradual split really made me love her. Mistress went boxing for her lip sync which was a win when she pulled out a RuPaul chocolate bar and nearly slid off the stage.

Loosey gave us something different by singing live and while I wanted to live for it, to quote the great Coco Montrese, find a key. Anyone will do. Marcia danced her way into my heart as a horny nerd sexing it up for a portrait of Ross. Robin was energetic and worked every corner of the stage as we went back to lip syncs before Irene bombed, hard, while making a glass of iced water and while I knew what she was going for, that wasn’t it. Anetra then followed it up by bringing the house down as she duck walked all over the stage as she lip synced to her original song – Walk the Duck – before straight up moving into karate chopping through boards. AND THEN KICKING A BOARD IN HALF.

Poor Sugar had to follow that up and while her lip sync was fun and silly like the sweet version of her sisters, she didn’t karate chop. Despite that, the fact she and her sister served it wore down Mistress which is a great win. Princess Poppy meanwhile gave parasite puppet lip syncing realness and it was perfect, before Salina gave red carpet lip sync into street glamour before referencing Will Smith’s slap so if Anetra doesn’t Anetra, I’d say this was a win. Amethyst then won my heart lip syncing to All Around the World as a drunk mum with a baby tethered to her back before Aura gave a fierce lip sync and while she had all the attitude, it felt a little flat by comparison. Mother Colby then lip synced to Zombie in a straight jacket and ugh, she is perfection. It was moody, it was fierce, it was powerful and well, the kids best watch out. And then Jax came out and lip synced before skipping with her own ponytails, which is yet another win for me.

And that was before she backflipped from the back of stage to the front, proving she really is the Simone Biles of drag.

When it came to the Who Is She? runways, Irene came in goth alien dominatrix, Luxx gave glamour pastel vixen going from the races to the boudoir before Aura gave all black Rita Repulsa, in all the right ways. Marcia gave sexy pastel prep, Anetra was an iridescent warrior, Malaysia gave sexy angel lounge singer in the hottest club in heaven before Princess Poppy gave lollipop ballerina delight. On and then Sasha gave the ultimate flex, rocking the gown she won Miss Continental in. Salina gave blue jean baby, Amethyst was a slutty, lilac Sailor Moon, Jax was NYC street in all the right ways before Loosey gave a glamorous gown version of Britney in Toxic. Mistress was iconic in a bejewelled, red cowgirl corset, Robin was an ice queen in shimmering baby blue, Sugar gave slutty Belle and ugh, I hate that I love Spice gave the other side of the look – kinda – with whore Ariel.

Luxx, Aura, Malaysia, Princess Poppy, Sasha, Mistress, Robin, Sugar and Spice were all sent to safety before Irene was praised for looking good on the runway though read for giving absolutely no humour in her performance. Marcia received universal praise for giving humour and dancing perfection, though told to give more than a streak of lip gloss when it comes to make-up. Anetra rightly was universally beloved for being perfection from start to finish, despite only learning to duck walk today. Amethyst was read for showing the baby too early in her performance, though she was praised for looking cute. Despite her lack of padding. Jax too got wall to wall praise, particularly for rolling her eyes while effortlessly doing acrobatics meaning poor Loosey was read for her performance, despite looking stunning.

Backstage the safe girls celebrated making it through the first week, particularly Princess and Robin who were shitting their pants. Talk turned to who was the best with everyone agreeing Anetra owned the show, while Poppy lived for Jax. Robin in turn congratulated the twins for surprising everyone with their sickening performances, with everyone rallying around and finally welcoming them into the drag family. This turned into a conversation about the stigma about the social media dolls and while Luxx pointed out social is a live portfolio, Malaysia explained she only questioned if they could translate their talents to the stage. Talk turned to how great Sasha’s performance was, with her opening up about her trauma while praising her father for raising her.

The dolls started to open up about who they knew before the season which was only an excuse to bring up the fact Robin and Amethyst briefly dated back home. That obviously summoned the tops and bottoms with Irene praising the tops for killing it before Amethyst announced she is definitely in the bottom, though hopefully not against her sister Loosey. That led to Loosey breaking down, heartbroken to have bombed, leading to the girls rallying around and praising her for killing it and pointing out they really only wanted her to lip sync so she could make the performance bigger. That led to Irene admitting that she will totally be the one in the bottom with Amethyst given they just hated her performance.

After everyone agreed that Anetra would totally be winning, Ariana dropped by to kiki with the girls and literally gave them the sweetest advice and well, I guess I’m all in on being an Ariana stan now? She bid the girls adieu, leaving Irene and Amethyst to rehearse their lip syncs and get their heads in the game.

Ultimately Marcia and Jax were sent to safety as Anetra took out the first victory of the season while at the other end of the pack it was Loosey that was saved, leaving Amethyst and Irene to battle it out for safety to my girl Ariana’s 7 Rings. While Irene leant into her alien kooky aesthetic, it was clear the song was perfect for Amethyst and her general vibe. Irene twerked and gave sex, which sadly wasn’t enough as Amethyst was saved and poor Irene joined the Porkchop Club.

Backstage Irene was rightly disappointed to be gone so soon and not get to show the world more, though I reminded her – as I do each season – it is more memorable to be a first boot than saying a mid-comp queen, giving you an air of mystery and an underdog spirit. Which seemed to be the pep talk she needed, thanking me for always supporting her – I am Bosco’s drag great-grandmother thrice removed, so we’re family – as we sat down to smash a heart bowl of Irene Hamdubois Helper.

Not to be confused with Australian hamburger helper – which is essentially seasoned breadcrumbs – this tweaked version of Half Baked Harvest’s take on the American classic is near perfection. Packing a punch of spice (sadly without sugar) and heat, while velvety smooth and creamy, it is an easy mid-week number to warm the cockles of your soul in winter.

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
500g small shell pasta
2 cups beef stock
300ml cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Method
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the mince and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, or about 10 minutes. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the tomato paste, chilli and paprika and cook for a minute before stirring through the zucchini, carrot and pasta to coat. Stir in the beef stock and cream, bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low to simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Once the pasta is al dente, stir through the cheeses, adjust the seasoning – you’ll probably need more pepper, less salt – and cook until everything has combined.

Serve piping hot with some token parsley for the appearance of health and devour, happily.


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Quinceañeru betta werk

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

After the longest Drag Race off season in years – two entire weeks between – Ru, Michelle, Carson, and the hilarious Ross Mathews are back for the biggest season ever. And thankfully, they’re bringing the delightful TS Madison with them.

Oh and a record breaking number of queens, a bigger prize and the gaggiest twist of all – announcing the winner before the show even airs! Because you best believe Sasha Colby aka Kerri’s mum aka a legend of the scene will be taking out the crown, mark my words.

So yeah, you could say Ru is definitely going all out for his quinceañeru!

While this would normally be the point where I ask who will win, we don’t need to do that this season, so just settle back and enjoy the ride because you best believe all the dolls came to slay. And once they’re eliminated, I’ll be dishing them up some culinary comfort or humble pie. Their choice.

Who will be the first to get the chop and join the Porkchop Club?

📷: MTV / World of Wonder.


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Vanitonne Milan

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

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

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

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

Broken bottle of spices be damned.

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

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

Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.

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

As. She. Should.

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

Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Vanitonne Milan
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

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

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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