Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies

Baking, Dessert, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls were delighted to play Snatch Game. And while Sharonne slayed the game, there were many a stumble on the panel. While I lived for whatever vocal fry Sethlas was offering up, the rattlesnake noise told he that she was bombing just as hard as Diamante, who followed Trixie’s footsteps and botched RuPaul while Onyx was way too cerebral and didn’t bring any jokes. Sharonne rightly took out her second victory, while Sethlas narrowly avoided lip syncing as Diamante faced off against Onyx, sending my sweet zaddy home.

Backstage the dolls were shell shocked to have lost Onyx, while Sethlas in particular was struggling, given they were so damn close. Diamante even had mixed feelings, given she loved Onyx despite the fact she was thrilled to have survived her time in the bottom. Everyone congratulated Sharonne on a very well earned victory, while Marina quietly seethed about Diamante remaining in the competition. Which was only made worse when she admitted to being lazy in the lip sync and turning tricks rather than learning the words. Oh and then Marina’s wig got stuck on her head and Sharonne had to perform surgery to remove it.

Things were a little more chill the next day as Juriji teased Sethlas for hooking up with Onyx, before the girls read Diamante for being so callous in the way she wiped off the mirror message. Which actually delighted Venedita as it showed that she was a little unhinged. Before we were able to explore that further, Supremme arrived with the Pit Crew each wheeling in different bins of materials which they would each have to use to fashion a look. As this week, they’re throwing a ball and the final look would be designed from the materials, ready for the 30th century drag runway. After they stomp the 10th and 20th century runways before them.

Immediately, the Pit Crew opened up their packages of plastic, paper and metal and the dolls absolutely went to town on them … to collect their supplies. Everything was flying, Sethlas was getting swallowed up by cardboard and Estrella was fighting Juriji over umbrellas. It was WILD.

After Supremme exited stage left, the dolls got to work on their outfits, with Venedita confident in her skills, since she went to design school, while on the flipside, Estrella and Diamante were terrified given neither of them have any skills. Marina too was struggling to understand a sewing machine while Juriji just felt stupid. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were calmly working away in another corner of the room, while the other girls dropped by periodically for advice. Estrella meanwhile was going with a different plan of attack, trying to distract Juriji from her outfit before just straight up flashing her bum.

Supremme made her return to check how the girls were progressing with Venedita admitting to being a little overwhelmed by the task and worried it will all fall apart as soon as she starts walking. Estrella meanwhile was not fooling Supremme about her lack of skills or direction, while Diamante shared that she took some sewing classes before coming to the competition. Which don’t appear to be helping her, but whatevs. Thankfully she was faring better than Marina who was sprialling about anything and everything. Sethlas and Sharonne meanwhile were living their best lives, carving away at their cardboard and working with a clear plan. While Juriji was confident in her concept, just not happy with how quickly, or not, she works.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with the dolls speculating that Diamante was lying about her lack of sewing skills given the ease with which she pulled together her outfit. Everyone was equally impressed with what Sethlas could do with a glue gun, while Marina and Estrella were terrified about whether their looks would even make it to the runway, let alone down it. The dolls stopped throwing shade to start prepping their first looks where Estrella opened up to Sethlas about her friend Ivan who left her a letter in her luggage to help keep her motivated. And as is oft the case with the emotional interludes, I love how sweet the dolls are with each other.

Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by the iconic Choriza May on the judges panel, which honestly, is what she deserves. First up walking the 10th Century was Sharonne who was a bright, theatrical mess before revealing a jewelled bodysuit. Estrella gave mediaeval quest, Venedita was perfection as the moon, Diamante was harlequin chic before Sethlas stole the show as a stunning manuscript. Marina was a harvest earth mother while Juriji went from monk to the sexiest winged Joan of Arc known to man. And stole the show from Sethlas.

For the 20th Century looks, Sharonne went dripping in cash, literally. Estrella served gay Franco, Venedita was a post-Franco bride, ironically enough, Diamante was an architectural  floral delight while Sethlas served the internet. And broke it in the process. Probably. Marina was a slutty, plastic bride, while Juriji was delightfully demented as a liberated, mod Swedish girl.

Sharonne opened the 30th Century runway giving golden architecture, Estrella was a mess as a silver, robotic soldier while Venedita was perfect as a floral, structured delight. Diamante was simple yet effective as a satellite building, Sethlas was serving shaped, geometry realness – and slayed – while Marina was sloppy though did pair it with some nudity, so win. Oh and then Juriji stole the show as Gaultier Barbarella, having the time of her life.

After Sharonne was sent to safety solo, the judges read Estrella for absolute filth despite the fact they loved her personality. Venedita received universal praise for always telling a story while looking perfect, while Diamante was read for being a little safe and not really standing out from the crowd, good or bad. Sethlas was praised for telling a cohesive story over her three looks, and looking perfect while doing it. Marina was praised for selling her looks, though read for the last look being a bland mess. And then Juriji received universal praise for all that she served.

Backstage the dolls joined Sharonne before she went mad from boredom, quickly filling her in on who were the tops and bottoms. Despite it being quite obvious. Estrella was very confident she would be lip syncing, though was unsure who she would be against, while Diamante feared it would be her. Marina meanwhile was fine to be in the bottom, though mainly because she felt she didn’t belong there. Juriji meanwhile opened up about believing in herself before Choriza May swung backstage to kiki with her sisters. Who was just as charming as she was in UK 3, encouraging everyone that they are doing a great job and to not be too hard on themselves.

Juriji somehow was only deemed safe, leaving Sethlas to take out her first victory of the season. Which left Venedita as safe, before Marina’s superior first looks managed to save her from the bottom, leaving Estrella and Diamante to lip sync for their lives. To Se nos rompió el amor by Rocío Jurado, no less. And well, as requested by Supremme, neither queen left anything on the runway as they dug deep into the emotion. While it appeared like Diamante knew all the lyrics this time, and turned the show, she was no match for the charm, passion and raw emotion of Estrella who saved herself, booting Diamante from the competition.

Backstage Diamante was gladly holding her head high, proud of all that she was able to showcase in the competition and for giving it her all. And while that kinda, sorta makes me and my culinary comfort redundant, I gave her a big hug, reiterated how talented she is and celebrated her success with a batch of Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies.

Brownies are one of the safest sweets you can make. I mean, if they are undercooked you are left with a fudgy delight and if they are overcooked, they’re a bit cake-like. While you never want to overcook them, they will do in a pinch. And when they are full of juicy raspberries, well, it doesn’t really matter though, does it?

Enjoy!

Raspberry and Dialmonde Merybrownies
Serves: 2 dear friends, or 6 people.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
½ tsp kosher salt
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup slivered almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and leave aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars until combined. One at a time, whisk in the eggs until the mixture comes back together before folding in the flour and salt. Followed by the raspberries and almonds.

Pour the batter into a lined 25cm square cake tin and pop into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. And by just set, just set. Remove from the oven to cool in the pan for an hour before carving and devouring.


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Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after farewelling the last remaining other target in Swati, Tori was feeling very nervous on Ika and as such, beasted her way through the immunity challenge to guarantee her safety. Oh but not until after all of the idols were activated as Drea found Ika’s and Mike begrudgingly said his phrase. Knowing her vote was critical, Lydia didn’t bother to risk hers on her journey up the mountain with Rocksroy. Which was the right move, given she, Hai and Mike held all the power as Vati went back to tribal council and Daniel was booted from the game. Though not before Chanelle threw a random vote at Mike, making her all the more untrustworthy heading into the merge. Oh and Omar has no vote and Hai, Lindsay and Drea got an amulet advantage, in addition to the trio of idols activated last week.

Or non-merge, as the last season celebrated.

After tribal council, the Vati tribe were gagged to have pulled off the Daniel blindside, with Chanelle particularly thrilled to have bested Daniel in their feud. Though sadly for her, she threw out a vote against Mike to protect herself against any Shot in the Darks being played and thought he would be cool with it. Which he is NOT. Despite them hugging it out. Oh and while Hai would take a bullet for Lydia and Mike, Chanelle, not so much. So yeah Chanelle, you in danger girl. Meanwhile over at Ika Rocksroy was busy doing work around camp and picking fruits, while Tori tailed him like a hawk to try and find out what happened on the summit. Which annoyed the hell out of him as she wouldn’t accept his answers. Oh and as they fought, Drea and Romeo hid behind the bushes eavesdropping, agreeing that Tori is sketchy and not to be trusted. In the slightest.

We got to get a little whisper sesh from Jeff who explained that the merge twist would play out the same as last season, except for the fact they will know that the person going to exile will have a massive power and the victors are allowed to opt to go to exile instead of one of the sit outs. To further that sense of deja vu, the challenge was the same as last year too, where they will dig out a rock and then push it through obstacles to release a pair of keys and climb a wall before solving a puzzle. And the victors would get a massive Applebees feast, alongside a merge buff and immunity from the upcoming tribal council. Well, unless the exilee turns back time, that is. Lindsay and Rocksroy ultimately ended up pulling the grey rocks and landing on the sit out bench. 

Jonathan, Tori, Maryanne, Hai and Lydia formed the orange team, while Chanelle, Drea, Mike, Omar and Romero were on blue. And almost immediately, Jonathan took the lead for the orange tribe, coaching them through building a ramp and getting a massive lead as they quickly released their first key. While the blue team tried to close the gap, there is no denying this was team orange’s to lose as the group literally climbed Jonathan to get up the wall before he effortlessly pulled himself up. As Rocksroy and Lindsay rightly marvelled at his prowess. Maryanne and Lydia looked very zen as they calmly sorted their puzzle pieces while Drea held up blue as she struggled to climb the ball and ugh, it was tough to watch. Thankfully Mike and Romeo literally put their bodies on the line and they worked together to get up the ball and yeah, it was heartwarming.

Obviously the headstart proved insurmountable for the blue team as the orange group took out victory and the win, which likely means one of the five will be going home tonight giving this immunity means nothing. The group then cursed Lindsay, selecting her to join them on reward while sending Rocksroy to exile for two days. With only the game changing twist which will make him immune, for comfort.

The victors were giddy as they arrived at their island Applebees, smashing their burgs and delighting in the fact they had officially made the merge. Which is a lie they are tragically unaware of, while Jonathan admitted that he had considered opting to go to Exile which would have kept everyone that won safe. But before we could think about what could have been, Tori talked a bunch of shit about Rocksroy and their OG tribe and then aired all their dirty laundry. Which may endear her to them, or piss everyone off.

Meanwhile the losers ventured to the eventual merge camp where they were thrilled to smash the pity rice they received from Jeff before Drea rightly clocked the merge twist, which is honestly, so damn iconic. Drea then caught up with Mike and suggested that maybe since they both have idols, they should work together and as such, combine their individual alliances to take control. Leaving Chanelle and Tori well and truly on the outs in the process. 

We checked in with Rocksroy as he arrived at his desolate island where as predicted by Tori, he was absolutely thrilled to set up camp, whipping up a fire and shelter. And well, he was loving to have all this alone time to just live his best life and see all the vibrant colour the world has to offer (because he has a degenerative eye disease). Oh and he found the hourglass and hammer, but there were no instructions so he just moved them into his shelter.

The winners and losers reconnected at camp with Omar ready to befriend anyone and everyone to keep himself safe at the first tribal council. Lindsay meanwhile wanted to check in with Hai and Drea to discuss their amulet advantages and see whether they will stick together. And while they all said they would, Hai was nervous the women would eventually turn on him. Mike and Maryanne caught up, assuring each other they will work together before the iconic Maryanne started bonding with Romeo and assured him that the little people need to stick together. Oh and then she bonded with Tori too and while she looks well connected, I’m worried it will come back to bite her.

Mike and Jonathan meanwhile watched the sunset together on the beach, bonding over being gentle giants and agreeing to look after each other and ugh, I love them. And more importantly, how much they love each other.

The next day the tribe went hunting for food, collecting crabs and before Jonathan snatched an octopus, then almost grabbed a shark and well, it was iconic. While he is clearly a threat, Hai was still keen to work with him and use him as a meatshield. With everyone bonding around camp, Hai spoke about how he met his boyfriend which led to Romeo pulling him aside and opening up about being gay and wanting to be as open and honest as he is and ugh, I love them. Hai encouraged him to share his story and love himself as Romeo spoke about his fear of people not loving him or worse, needing to silence himself to be accepted. And ugh, once again, I’m crying.

Omar soon joined the boys and talk returned to the game, with Hai telling them both that Chanelle can not be trusted. Which confirmed to Omar that he doesn’t have a vote. And well, she doesn’t care enough for him to let him know he doesn’t have a vote and as such, he was ready for her to go too.

The next day Omar charmed Mike by telling him that he is saving himself for marriage and well, he is ready to marry his partner ASAP. Lydia and Maryanne bonded over being the younguns with the old lady gang names, while Hai officially locked in his alliance with Jonathan. They then pulled in Lydia, Omar, Drea, Mike, Lindsay and Rocksroy, and just like that, they had a majority. Oh and Chanelle or Tori are their number one targets, with Maryanne identified as the next to go from Taku. Though only because Jonathan didn’t want his new allies to think he wasn’t willing to offer someone up.

Oh and then Chanelle walked up to try and find some allies, with them all pretending they have no plans to take her out. Which made Chanelle more and more nervous as they assured her they will not take her out. As Hai, Jonathan, Drea and Omar caught up to further solidify their bond, Omar admitted that he may not have a vote at the upcoming tribal council. Though after confirming they are tight, Drea shared that she has an extra vote and would be willing to give it to him, should they need it.

We ventured back to Exile Island where Jeff arrived to announce the twist to Rocksroy, who was honestly buzzing with joy to be left on his lonesome for a couple of days. Probst then explained the twist to him and while he was nervous about potentially pissing a bunch of people off, he obviously then smashed the hourglass and earnt himself immunity. And guaranteed his place in the merge. And most importantly, left Tori in jeopardy.

The castaways joined Jeff for the first individual immunity of the season where they were gagged to learn about Rocksroy’s power and the fact that the winner’s of the last challenge are now at risk and would be competing in the immunity challenge to guarantee their safety. Which obviously delighted Chanelle, Drea, Omar, Mike and Romeo. Tori on the other hand was irate and told Rocksroy that she was pissed he took away her safety after she gifted him an advantage. Which only made everyone even more weary of her.

But back to the challenge, where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and walk back and forth along a lane, spell out immunity using wooden blocks. With the first person to finish guaranteeing their place in the merge and a spot on the jury at the minimum. Fuelled by her simmering rage for Rocks, Tori got out to an early lead in the challenge alongside Jonathan, until Hai picked up the pace and took out the lead. Until he dropped and handed the lead back to the duo. Then Jonathan dropped, giving Tori plenty of time to calmly walk the course and jag immunity. Despite a late breaking pursuit from Lindsay. And then Maryanne.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Tori on taking out immunity and assured Rocksroy there are no hard feelings. Before everyone quickly split into factions to come up with a plan, with Jonathan assuring Rocksroy he already has an alliance and has nothing to worry about. After Romeo and Tori bitched about the meatheads in the game, Romeo led the charge to get rid of Jonathan. While Maryanne, Hai and Drea weren’t overly keen, Maryanne also just didn’t want to lose her place in the game. Lydia tried to pitch Jonathan to Lindsay and Chanelle, which made go into protection mode and suggested Maryanne would be a better option because she is super strategic.

Chanelle meanwhile saw through her plan to protect herself and Jonathan, which made her more focused on rallying the troops to keep the vote on Jonathan. While Omar desperately worked to protect Jonathan, which gave him a crack as Lydia admitted that she isn’t sure about this new majority alliance. And as such, he went person to person to turn the tribe against her instead. Which obviously pissed off Hai.

At tribal council Hai admitted that this vote is very defining to their season, particularly since the game has been so fluid thus far. Romeo meanwhile spoke about trusting his gut and reading the cues, with Drea countering that sometimes people are just too nervous to make a move even if they want to. While Hai wanted to take this moment to take control of the game. Lydia once again spoke about how playing Survivor has helped her accept all parts of herself. Jonathan wanted to be able to say that he did all that he could do in the game when it was over, while Omar tried to be chill despite knowing people would come for him eventually. While Rocksroy spoke about his nerves over missing two days of the game.

Maryanne said that she planned to make the decision that will help protect her long term, which Drea said is not the right way to approach the game. Maryanne then tried to get her to agree they are on the same page, which Drea, again, iconically refused to agree. Maryanne spoke about being nervous about how charming and chatty she is while Hai spoke about everyone having a different perception of the game. Oh and then a beetle landed on Rocksroy, which is important, if you ask me.

With that the tribe voted, as Lindsay, Jonathan and Maryanne all received a few votes before the rest piled up on Lydia and sent her from the game. Just missing the jury, tragically. Despite the brutal way she went out – the twist, again, is not great – Lydia was still super calm and zen, happy to have been given the opportunity to play the game. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that while it sucks to go out in such an unfair twist, it does put her in the epic company of Sydney and she can always use it to justify needing a second go at the game. With that, he laughed and cried before smashing some Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

I know, I know – red velvet is just chocolate, but the elegant drama they bring to the looks department always make me excited to eat them. Delicate and fluffy, these babies are the ultimate way to sweeten the bitter after-taste of getting the boot. Or a rough day, TBH.

Enjoy!

Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
150g flour
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
150g raw caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk
50ml vegetable oil
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp red gel food colouring
100g butter, softened
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese, softened

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a cupcake tin with cases.

Combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl and pop the unsalted butter and raw caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the unsalted butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and beat in the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and vinegar until just combined. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry until just combined, before mixing through the food colouring. Again, until just combined but also a consistent colour.

Divide the batter amongst the cupcake cases and pop in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are chillin’, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and beat for another minute or so, or until just combined. But for realsies, because the longer you beat cream cheese, the softer it gets.

Once the cakes are cool, piping the icing on top (or dollop with a spoon and hope for the best) before devouring. 


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Jorgeousoufflé

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls were put through their paces putting on a little roast of the hilarious Ross MatthewsRu’s weekly intro-roast of the rotating judge. While Bosco slayed, Willow and Camden were hilarious and Angeria was charming as hell, the other three bombed and ended up in the bottom with not one but two queens told to sashay away. While DeJa was far and away the weakest in the lip sync, I gay gasped to discover that Daya Betty was deemed safe as the pocket-rocket lip sync assassin of the season was finally felled.

Yes, Ru’s favourite. The born-to-do-drag person of the season (usually a signifier of an upcoming winner). A queen Ru would literally give her left lung to keep alive. Jorgeous. Jorgeous was sent home.

While I agree that Daya’s performance made the most sense for the song – which is something I admitted to Jorgie – I was shocked that Jorgeous did slide through on charm. Because as villainous as Daya as been – which I live for – Jorgeous has been equal amounts charming and I thought she was going all the way to the finals.

Backstage I pulled her in for a hug, thrilled to finally be in the presence of someone shorter than me, and congratulated her on a race well run. And reminded her she has all the right chops to make it far on All Stars. With that, we did the requisite laugh, cry and chat before toasting her status as Ru’s favourite with a Jorgeousoufflé.

I honestly don’t think there has ever been a better connection between a recipe and their namesake. Sweet, fluffy and always ready to stop the show, souffle is a light, delicious delight that always impresses.

Enjoy!

Jorgeousoufflé
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
unsalted butter, for smearing
1 cup raw caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
6 eggs, separated
1 tbsp lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
pinch of salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter 6 ramekins. Sprinkle with some sugar and spin around to coat the edges. Remove the excess.

Whisk the yolks with ¾ cup of the sugar until light and think, almost looking like soft butter, until it forms a ribbon. Beat in the lemon zest and juice until it comes back together and set aside.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until they form stiff, glossy peaks. Add a spoonful of the whites to the lemony yolks to loosen them, before folding through all the whites until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the ramekins, pop on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, devouring with a sprinkle of icing sugar.


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Tres Lechesse Hansen Cake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribe were put through their paces in a difficult immunity challenge which made everyone confused, except for Shay who slayed the game and well, proved Sam right. They should have booted her when they had the chance. The couples alliance continued to ignore Sam’s opinion while the cousins started to worry that Jordie was fast becoming an issue for their game. Jordie meanwhile was busy wanting to take out Mark, while Mark and Sam wanted to split up the cousins. Ultimately though, they stuck together and split the vote on the twins, with Mel tragically booted from the game.

The next day Chrissy was pondering whether Dave had passed away as he quietly slept by the fire, before moving on to Sam and getting her to colour in her brows with charcoal. While they joked about opening a beauty parlour to hide from their male overlords, Michelle was ready to fight thanks to her sister pointing out just how dangerous Josh was on her way out the door. Poor Josh meanwhile was struggling in the spotlight, wanting to try and improve his bond with Sam and most importantly, get rid of Jordie as he is the least trustworthy person in the alliance. You know, because he outed Mark’s idol to him which actually proved loyalty.

As Jordie and Jesse disappeared to bathe together, Josh pulled Sam, Mark, Chrissy and Dave aside to talk about Jordie’s duplicitous ways. Unaware that Chrissy and Dave also had no idea about Mark’s idol until he outed it. While Josh appeared to have their best interests at heart, this conversation irked Sam who desperately wanted to keep her closest ally Jesse safe and should they target Jordie, he runs the risk of being collateral damage. Sam and Mark caught up alone to talk about Josh’s plan, with Sam admitting she doesn’t want to make a move without at least talking to Jesse.

Sam found Jesse, with the latter pointing out that he and his brother are desperate to get Josh out ASAP. And after Mel’s performance at the last tribal council, he now knows he is a target and as such, the longer he survives the more nervous and paranoid he will become. Making his gameplay wilder, which is super solid logic!

The tribe joined Jonathan for the reward challenge where everyone was partnered up, tethered and forced to collect blocks before balancing them on a wobbly platform. And given they are playing for KFC, I could dive through the screen and gobble down everything in sight. Shay and Jordan were facing off against KJ and Sam, Mark and Michelle, Jordie and Chrissy, and Jesse and Josh, while Dave got to sit out and bet on the pair he thinks will win and should they succeed, he gets to join them.

Chrissy is clearly a KFC fan too, as she quickly guided Jordie through the challenge and got out to an early lead. Jesse and Josh worked fast to close the gap, while frankly Mark and Michelle were the absolute worst. While everyone started to get nice and high, Chrissy and Jordie worked methodically and scored our icon some glorious dirty bird. Obviously Jonathan is a messy kinda girl, so gave them the chance to select two people to join them, selecting Jesse and Mark. While Sam looked enraged, Jonathan let them pick one more person with them ultimately picking Josh. So you know Sam is going to be angry back at camp, which is my favourite flavour of Sam.

The happy group of KFCers arrived at the pop-up restaurant and immediately got to licking their fingers and smashing anything in sight. As it is wont to do, the game came back into play as everyone started watching each other like hawks to make sure nobody found a clue. Which is exactly what happened when Jordie grabbed a towel to sit down, leading to him shoving it down his brother’s speedos without anyone noticing. Well, other than me and my flooded basement. With that everyone started pulling apart the hut with Jesse for some reason opting to take it out of his bum to move to his junk and well, it looked like Crissy caught him.

Back at camp Chrissy, Dave and Sam caught up and immediately spiralled with paranoia about Jesse and Jordie potentially finding an idol and as such, started to tail them. Sam continued to worry about Jordie being the undoing of her relationship with Jesse and as such, pulled him aside to see if he would be honest with her. While he instead denied finding a clue and focused on getting rid of Josh, while Mark watched on and used his soldiering past to identify that he was a big old liar. And as such, Jordie, you in danger girl!

The tribe met up with Jonathan again for the immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a series of posts and use ropes to balance a plank, on which they have to balance a ball. Last one with their ball in the air taking out immunity. Michelle and Sam were the first to drop from the challenge before Shay dropped just before everyone transitioned to a smaller post. As did KJ and Dave, leaving challenge beast Chrissy against the Js and Mark. Tragically on the next transition, Chrissy dropped with Jesse soon following before Jordan fell off his post. The remaining trio moved to the next smallest post, which quickly took Josh out of the challenge, before Mark dropped out of nowhere, handing a struggling Jordie immunity.

Back at camp the tribe quickly split up to commence scrambling, with the boys locking in the vote against Shay, with a split on Michelle for safety. Though obviously, that wasn’t what was going to happen as Jordie and Jesse approached Sam to pull the trigger and get rid of Josh. While Sam admitted to being nervous, Jesse assured her the four of them will always have each other’s backs. With that, they roped in Michelle who was thrilled at the thought of getting revenge for Mel by taking out Josh.

Sadly for everyone, Mark was not keen on getting rid of Josh and as such, he approached him, Dave and Jordan to let them know and flip the vote on Jesse instead. And while he was spooked, he was also ready to use himself as bait so they could blindside Jesse without any risk. Mark then caught up with Sam to make sure she is ok with the thought of getting rid of Jesse, with her admitting it makes her feel uncomfortable and once again, Mark just did not care.

Josh went to Jesse to catch up with him, with them both pretending that they aren’t trying to boot the other. While Shay and Michelle were bonding over sarongs, Dave and Jordan were chatting in the water and as such, Jesse started to feel like something was up given everyone was so chill and as such, pulled his brother aside to go hunting for the idol using their clue. Which he quickly found, guaranteeing him safety too.

Wait, no – Sam spotted him and quickly jumped out of the bushes to congratulate him. And while he was glad that she was the one to find him, I have an awful feeling. Particularly when she talked him into handing over the idol for better hiding in her sarong, given everyone will be looking at him to make sure he doesn’t have one. And again, I don’t feel good about this.

At tribal council Dave spoke about sticking to the plan, essentially, while Sam continued to worry about the warring factions within the alliance while Jordie got sick of talking in circles and as such, admitted to there being a majority and well, they were ready to get rid of one of the minority. Both Josh and Jesse reiterated this fact despite both planning to take out the other before Mark stupidly talked about idols potentially coming into play tonight, while Jesse agreed anything can happen with an idol. Sam admitted that idols haven’t been played correctly this season and as such, they really need to focus on holding onto the numbers if they want to make it to the end. Which Jesse readily agreed with.

Jesse was also confident that his plan will be the one to win out at tribal council and ugh, I’m nervous despite the fact Josh was also confident his plan would come to fruition. And that logic should make me nervous for him too, but well, he isn’t Jesse. Sam spoke about a break in the majority being inevitable, but wondered when would be the right time and how it would all play out. With that, the tribe voted and tragically Sam sided with her husband’s alliance, blindsiding Jesse with an idol in, well, her pocket. Which is cold. Bold and gutsy, but cold, and not going to win her any jury votes.

Before exiting Jesse warned her that he will burn her should she not hand the idol over to Jordie before the next tribal council, and damn, is this season all about how Sam lost?

Thankfully by the time he arrived at the Jury Villa, Jesse was back to being his usually delightful self (though I am biased as he has the cutest speedos of the fleet of the speedo zaddies). I pulled him in for a massive hug and reminded him that since Khanh is the only won that is winning any money outside of the eventual victor, going out in a massive, memorable blindside is the best you can hope for. Meaning, in a way, he won. Particularly if you take into account he got to smash a Tres Lechesse Hansen Cake.

One of my favourite Mexican dishes, tres leches cake is sweet, smooth and gloriously moist – or dripping, even – and just warms your soul. Add in the perfection that is a maraschino cherry (or fifty) on the top, and there is nothing better.

Enjoy!

Tres Lechesse Hansen Cake
Serves: 12-16.

Ingredients
Cake
115g unsalted butter
1 cup milk
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Tres leches
300ml sweetened condensed milk
355ml evaporated milk
180ml thickened cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Icing
2½ cups thickened cream
¼ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
12-16 maraschino cherries, double or treble to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C and butter and flour a 25x30cm baking dish.

Combine the butter and milk in a saucepan over low heat until it is just combined. Remove from the burner and allow to cool completely. While it gets chill, whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium speed until thick and voluminous. 

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a bowl before folding half through the egg mixture. Next fold in the butter and milk mixture, folded by the remaining flour until just combined. Pour into the baking dish and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to rest for ten minutes.

While the cake is in the oven, combine the tres leches – condensed milk, evaporated milk and thickened cream – in a bowl with the 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Once the cake is done resting, stab the cake repeatedly with a bamboo skewer before slowly pouring the milk mixture over the top, allowing it to absorb all the sweet nectar. Leave to cool and absorb for about half an hour before covering with cling and popping in the fridge for an hour or so.

When you’re almost ready to eat, beat the remaining thickened cream, icing sugar, milk powder and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Spoon and smooth over the top of the cake before dotting with a heavy dose of maraschino cherries.

Then serving and devouring (or eating straight out of the dish).


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Michael Crocembouche

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor we were finally introduced to speedo king Jordan’s cousin Josh, who proudly joined the new Blood tribe to eliminate his cuz’s former ally Amy before she could turn the tribe against him. While Nina had positioned herself in her new tribe, she tragically injured herself when coming off a slide during the reward challenge. As Blood enjoyed their reward, Jordie, Josh and Mark vowed to share any idols clue they came across. Which is exactly what Mark didn’t do, unaware that Jordie spotted him stealthily popping the clue in his shoe. Before we could get a resolution to that scene, Nina was whisked away from the reward for further testing before returning at the site of the next immunity challenge where we learnt she had an avulsion fracture in her ankle and was tragically being medevaced from the game.

With Nina’s departure confirmed, Jonathan did a hard pivot as the castaways wiped off their tears before learning of the upcoming challenge. First they would race through a mud pit, barge through a wall of hay bales and clear a path to carry a chariot, before throwing a monkey fist to release sandbags and lift the rider to the top over the tower to collect the sandbags and drop them down for the tribe to use to knock out tiles spelling their tribe names. Oh and in addition to immunity, the winning tribe would also get an advantage they can read all about after they get back to camp.

Blood got out to the earliest of leads which was only extended as they quickly smashed through the wall of hay. Jordie and Jesse then got carried on the chariot for their rival tribes, with both boys struggling to land their monkey fists before Jesse landed his out of nowhere, collected all the sandbags and started shooting while Blood floundered. Jesse and Khanh traded out with Khanh shooting away at the targets as Jordie finally released his sandbags and against all odds, ended up closing the gap. As Josh and Khanh shot head to head, Josh took the lead for Blood again, while Khanh was always just behind, tragically allowing Josh to jag a come from behind victory for Blood.

Back at camp Ben was frustrated to once again lose a challenge, though joined up with Sam and Jesse to lock in the vote against Michelle, with a split on Khanh to clear out his idol. While Ben was feeling good to be near the top, but not near enough to ever be the target, it was sadly all a ruse as Sam and Jesse went for a swim to laugh about their upcoming blindside against Ben in place of the Michelle votes.

Sam and Jesse split up to lock in this vote, with Jesse left behind to keep Ben feeling good about his place in the tribe. Sam, Chrissy, Michelle and Khanh caught up by the well, all glad to jump on board the vote against Ben while they worried about whether Croc would be ok with getting rid of his ally Ben. While Chrissy reminded them to all keep quiet and not pull a Cara. As the group split up, Sam caught up with Chrissy and suggested that they really do need to get rid of Khanh’s idol ASAP, despite their assurances they won’t target him.

Back at camp Ben started to get nervous about everyone whispering, while Jesse worked overtime to make sure he felt ok before pulling KJ aside to talk through the plan with her, with her obviously agreeing to join them and load her vote on Khanh, given she doesn’t really have any options. While Jesse was confident about the plan coming together flawlessly, Chrissy straight up told Ben that she had heard his name being thrown around and while she tried to say she’s heard a lot of names, you could tell she realised that despite her warnings, she had become the Cara. Much to young Jesse’s simmering rage.

Jesse tried to downplay her faux pas, assuring Ben his name has not come up in any of the plans though and quickly went through all the votes again to keep him safe. As Jesse and Sam caught up and spoke about how safe Ben is feeling and how perfectly this will play out, Croc decided that he wasn’t thrilled with the plan and instead wanted to flush Khanh’s idol instead. With that, Croc went to KJ, Michelle and Chrissy and floated the idea of genuinely flushing Khanh’s idol, which they were all thrilled about. Particularly KJ, who didn’t want to be dictated to by a 21 year old.

Jesse noticed an increase of whispers and approached Croc and KJ to make sure everything was ok, with Croc admitting he’d rather get rid of Khanh than Ben. And well, the vibe between them was just all kind of weird and as such, Jesse was terrified the blindside would backfire and they’d have to deal with a very angry Ben back at camp.

At tribal council the Water tribe were gagged to learn that the Blood tribe would be joining them, since their advantage was to sit in on tonight’s tribal council. Oh and that was followed by another gag when Jonathan announced that the tribe would be voting immediately. Which you know means this is a non-elimination and Sam really just can’t catch a break when it comes to trying for a big ol’ blindside and production screwing her. After everyone voted, Joanthan tallied the votes with 1 somehow landing on KJ, 2 on Khanh and 4 on Ben, however before he got his torch snuffed, Mel read the second part of their advantage where they could steal someone from the rival tribe. The catch being, they can only vote to steal someone from Water who had received a vote at tribal council.

This finally got some discussion happening with Mark talking about voting for what is best for the tribe. Shay meanwhile was hopeful the tribe would reunite her with her boyfriend, who was angry about his blindside. Which is why I would leave him there if I was the Blood tribe. Chrissy was nervous about potentially having to deal with the fallout back at camp while Jordie was busy whispering to his allies about who they should vote for, admitting to Jonathan he was weighing up making a great decision for his tribe but also trying to keep his brother safe. This blew Khanh’s mind who didn’t even think about it, while KJ just straight up pitched that she was ready to jump to the other tribe and reconnect with her original allies.

Mark spoke about the fact it is probably easier to bring a single over – aka Khanh or KJ – rather than making another pair, while Josh was nervous about the prospect of bringing Khanh over, given that could make things dangerous should they go to tribal council given his idol. Jonathan then explained that one at a time the Blood tribe would vote for the person they want to steal, with the person with the most votes immediately joining the tribe. With that, the tribe voted and Jordie straight up said he was voting KJ to leave Ben to completely blow up his game, as the rest of his tribe – minus Shay, obviously – joined the fun and snatched KJ to join Blood.

Back at the new-ish Blood tribe, Shay was angry with her tribe for not bringing her partner over to the tribe while it really feels like the best thing for her. That being said, she was glad to have another woman join the tribe because they are well and truly a sausage fest ATM and – I never thought I’d say this, ever – not in a good way.

Meanwhile over at the Water tribe Ben was trying to act like the blindside never happened and he was still dear friends with everyone in the tribe. Chrissy meanwhile was feeling super awkward, worried how things would blow up with him eventually. As she swam in the water with Ben and Jesse, Jesse apologised to him and while the boys quickly made up, she looked on in shock. Particularly since she was worried that Ben was angriest at her, given they were so close.

Chrissy and Jesse then caught up alone by the fire, worried about Ben getting to merge and reuniting with Shay and being protected by the other boys. Jesse’s only answer however was to throw the upcoming immunity challenge and get rid of Ben ASAP, particularly before Ben realises it was him and not Chrissy that organised it. As Chrissy and Jesse whispered by the fire however, Ben called them out for gossiping before assuring everyone that he just wants to be an asset and hopefully, they won’t have to return to tribal council.

Back at the Blood tribe KJ was living her absolute best life, loving the new surroundings and glad to be back with her allies Jordie, Mark and Josh. She caught up with Jordie to get the lay of the land, with him admitting that he is essentially working with everyone but Shay. And knowing the Water tribe wants to get rid of Ben made him even more sure it was the right move. As Shay quietly did chores in the water, the boys told her Shay was glad to have another woman in the tribe though given KJ planned to work with the group, I feel like it may not actually be helpful. Though KJ was living for the speedo king Jordan and his allies, so I have no choice but to stan her. Shay meanwhile continued to feel on the outs, missing Nina even more,knowing that the only way to guarantee her safety is to win immunity. Though based on last night, that may doom her/my speedo king Ben.

The tribes met up with Jonathan for the next immunity challenge where they would have to navigate three balls through an upright obstacle using a flat paddle, passing it off from person to person, one at a time, as they each navigate their own maze. Both tribes were neck and neck from the start, until Jesse dropped his first ball – deliberately – to slow them down. Michelle joined in the fun of throwing the challenge as Mark landed Blood’s first ball in the final obstacle. When Ben landed the first ball for Water, Jesse stepped up his game and started dropping more and more while Ben looked frustrated while he waited at the end. Obviously Mark whipped through the final maze and landed their second and third balls, handing them immunity. But yeah, Water definitely threw the challenge.

Back at camp Sam was thrilled to have a target laying in wait for the tribe, quickly locking in the vote against Ben with Jesse, Chrissy and Croc reminding them that his survival would make post-merge chaotic for all of them. With that locked in, the quartet disappeared with Croc ready to leave Chrissy to play with her allies while he instead thought about going out on his own to save Ben. With that, he pulled Michelle, Khanh and Chrissy aside and instead floated the idea of getting rid of Jesse instead, given he and his brother are just as threatening, if not more so, than Ben and Shay. Chrissy just looked awkward, while Khanh and Michelle appeared on board with the plan.

After Chrissy shared how horrible Croc’s plan is for her game, he caught up with Ben to float the idea of getting rid of Jesse and while he appeared down with it, he immediately went to Jesse and Sam with the information. The two people who led the blindside against him the night before. With Jesse and Sam seething with this news. 

Ben pledged his undying loyalty to both Jesse and Sam, assuring them that he would gladly work with them moving forward. And just like that, the vote moved on to Croc with Chrissy to be kept in the dark. They split up to lock in the rest of the numbers, with Ben quickly getting Michelle on board before she went to catch up with Chrissy. Who felt like she was stuck in the worst position, given she and Croc are on different pages in the game. And she does not want to vote for Jesse.

While Chrissy was already feeling guilty, she caught up with Jesse who assured her that everything is still the same as the night before, without either of them realising they are both lying to each other, despite not wanting to. Chrissy reconnected with Croc, opening up about how much she doesn’t want to get rid of Jesse, given she considers him like a child while Croc just couldn’t care less about it. And once again, somehow, Khanh appears to be about to skate through another tribal without using his idol.

At tribal council Chrissy shared that Ben handled his blindside with grace, unlike how she would have played in the same situation. To which Ben responded that he thinks the tribe has just found its natural order again and all is right with the world. Chrissy reiterated she wouldn’t be handling things as cooly as he was, before Sam spoke about Ben being a threat, though the fact she now questioned whether it was even the right time to get rid of him last night. Jesse meanwhile agreed that things change very quickly in the game of Survivor, while Ben showed his gratitude for the fact everyone is still willing to work with him.

Khanh meanwhile was just shocked his name was not part of any of the plans that he heard, which actually, come to think of it, makes him more nervous, given it means he may actually be the plan. While Croc was just trying to stay strong and hold his ground. Jesse admitted that there are definitely strong alliances in the tribe, though most of the votes have been ones of consensus. Ben continued to play it cool, agreeing while there are people calling the shots everyone still has a voice. Which is something Michelle agreed with, encouraging them all to leverage themselves to put them in the best position possible.

Chrissy essentially said she and Croc – or she and Jesse – would be voting differently tonight, which made Jesse nervous while Croc reiterated he is voting solely on how things will play out post-merge. Which led to Sam jumping in, reminding them that there is no guarantee the merge is around the corner and they need to find balance, while Jesse straight up said he was very confident he was onboard with the winning plan. As was Croc.

With that the tribe voted and Jesse’s confidence appeared warranted as the tribe joined together to blindside Croc from the game. Now leaving them to contend with a very angry and upset Chrissy.

Despite his obvious disappointment to be arriving at Loser Lodge, he was confident that he had left Chrissy in a good standing for the rest of the game and as such, he couldn’t feel too sad. Which is 100% the kind of guy Croc is. I’ve known Croc for years and years as we’re both part of the broader Roosters alumni – my dad played three first-grade games, which makes me an immortal, FYI – so I knew he would need something sweet enough to move past his blindside. Sweet enough while impressive, both technically and physically, meaning I quickly served him a commiseratory Michael Crocembouche.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve done profiteroles before – for another NRL great, no less – and technically, croquembouche is nothing more than then stacked into a tower (a small one, in this instance) but that doesn’t take away from how good these are. Plus, this time we have caramel!

Enjoy!

Michael Crocembouche
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
1 ⅓ cup raw caster sugar
90g butter, at room temperature
½ cup thickened cream, at room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake it for about 10 minutes or until the pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and ⅓ of a cup of sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

To make the salted caramel, heat the remaining caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and stir constantly into the sugary clumps that form turn in a thick, molten liquid. Once melted and it becomes amber in colour, whisk in the butter until combined. This will splatter and expand, so be careful to avoid a burn.

Cook for a further minute without stirring before slowly adding the thickened cream, again being careful to avoid the rollicking mixture. Allow to boil for a minute before removing from the heat and leaving to cool slightly. Stir in a teaspoon or two of salt, stirring until well combined.

Once cool enough to work with, dip each puff in the caramel and repeat the process as you build them to form a croquembouche. Or multiple mini ones like my lazy self did.

Whatever structure you choose to go with, devour immediately, in anticipation of Chrissy burning everything to the ground.


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Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes joined Jonathan by the water where he decide to make things exciting by switching up the tribes. While that resulted in Croc and Chrissy, Josh and Jordan, and Sandra and Nina reuniting, odd-man-out Mark was given the chance to join Sam on the new Water tribe, and instead elected to join Blood. Sophie meanwhile was reunited with Sam, making things, in a word, very awkward given the blindside. After Nina and Sandra lost the immunity challenge, new Blood quickly planned to take out Mel for being clumsy until Nina’s allies decided it would be far more interesting to blindside her mum instead. Caught between and rock and a hard place, Nina joined her allies to take out her iconic mother Sandra. On Day 16. AGAIN. Like fucking bullshit.

Back at camp Nina was shocked to have gone full Ciera on her mum, while the tribe checked in with her to make sure she was feeling ok with them all banding together to take out the Queen. Which she humbly – and wisely – said was ok and that she completely expected it to happen eventually.

The next morning she was quietly reflecting in her mother’s hammock while the tribe caught up by the fire, trying to give her some space while she processed everything. She opened up to us about how the move should benefit her in the long run, given it shows her loyalty to the alliance despite the personal pain it caused. She then joined the rest of her tribe and was delighted to catch a fish, feeling her oats at everything looking up. Jordie then opened up about how great it was to claim Sandra’s scalp, given it is such a big move, though sadly he ignored the fact it is still very early in the game and half the potential jurors weren’t even around to see it. Jordie caught up with Mark, Jordan and Josh to lock in their allegiance to each other, gossiping about who they would target next, defaulting back to last night’s original target Mel.

Meanwhile over at Water, Khanh was hosting another episode of Survivor Kitchen – don’t come for my gig, sweet angel Khanh! – with Sam giving some awkward acting as a studio quest. Thankfully she quickly snapped out of it to remind us that she and Sophie are still feuding, and given the daggers being shot her way, she is well and truly right to be worried. As Soph continued to wander around bitching about Sam, Sam wisely darted around to her people to remind them how dangerous and angry Sophie is before calmly leaving them to reflect. Michelle meanwhile was hanging with Sophie and KJ, hilariously telling them she is thrilled to not have to deal with her sister yet given it could ruin her game.

As the duo looked on, wide eyed and fearing for their place in the game.

Sophie then caught up with Sam to talk strategy while she was chatting to KJ, suggesting that maybe now is the time to secretly work together given nobody would expect it. Sophie once again threw out Khanh’s name, with Sam all smiles and agreeing it was a great idea. After Sam walked away, Sophie confronted her sister to find out what they were talking about before she arrived and repeatedly told KJ she was fine with her pretending like she doesn’t care about her trying to stay out of the Sophie-Sam drama. When she cared. Truly, madly, deeply cared.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the latest immunity where they would each have to line up and hold discs between their hands like paper dolls with the last tribe with a disc left standing taking out immunity. Since both Sam and Mark had played the challenge before, they each gave differing advice as Sam told them to put strong people together, focusing on similar heights while Mark just told them all to keep moving, focusing on blood flow and staying alert. After Jonathan threw shade at Chrissy for struggling, Amy and Mel became the first to drop. They were quickly followed by the disc between Chrissy and Croc, and the one between Sam and Michelle. Josh then dropped out for Blood, followed by Michelle and Jesse for Water. It came down to Mark and Jordan and Jordie and Dave battling against Ben and Sophie and Chrissy and KJ.

Sophie then started to struggle, directing Ben how to help her reset before ultimately dropping, pinning all her hope on Chrissy and KJ. Aka our iconic challenge beast queens. Mark and Jordan meanwhile started doing micro-moves to stay focused, as Mark reminded us that the last time this challenge was played it was won by him and Henry and ugh, I am living for Mark’s quiet confidence right now. Tragically I did not love watching Chrissy and KJ struggle as they were desperately trying to hang on for their tribe, arms shaking and fumbling before ultimately dropping and handing immunity to Blood.

As the tribes hugged each other in congratulations, Sam whispered to Mark that Sophie was coming for her before he encouraged her to take her out quickly. And yes, this is the fight I need to shake me out of my post-Sandra-boot depression. 

Back at camp the tribe congratulated KJ and Chrissy on a job well done before Sam immediately got to work taking out the biggest threat to her game. She and Jesse quickly locked in the plan with Jesse agreeing that Sophie doesn’t seem to realise it was the entire tribe trying to get her out, not just Sophie, and more importantly, it is the entire tribe wanting to get rid of her again. They then caught up with Ben, Michelle, Khanh, Croc and Chrissy to lock in a plan to split the vote, putting two on KJ as a back up. With Sam requesting she be one of the votes for Sophie.

Back at camp Ben went for a walk with Sophie and instead suggested voting out Khanh instead, with them joining up with Chrissy, Croc, Jesse and Sam to float the idea. Sophie even suggested Sam go so far as to talk about how much they hate each other and that she needs her out to really sell it. Everyone was keen to get rid of him, particularly with Sophie as the person they split the votes with so she goes if he does play the idol. That being said, it was all actually bullshit and Croc had no intention of turning on Khanh and as such, it was all a distraction to get rid of Sophie and finish the job.

Assuming nobody is confused by the duelling plans.

When Chrissy, Sam, Jesse and Ben caught up, they were all well and truly confused with Chrissy thinking the plan was still Sophie, Sam thinking that was the plan too, Ben thinking the Khanh plan was legit while Jesse now wanted the Khanh one to be legit so he could take out an idol and make the game a little safer. While Chrissy worried to us that she would pull a Cara and cook the vote. Even after the ad break the group were still confused, leading to Croc pulling Chrissy aside to make sure she was onboard with the correct plan. Michelle joined them to make sure Chrissy was all over it and when they finally got it through to her, we cut to KJ and Sophie hunting for an idol and oh god, she is getting an idol, isn’t she?

KJ caught up with Chrissy to complain about how selfish Sophie is for hunting for an idol in plain sight, given it is spooking the tribe into splitting the vote on her. Thankfully KJ caught up with Croc who calmly looped her in on the plan and assured her she won’t be going home on his watch, which made her feel a little calmer. When she caught up with Khanh, he encouraged her to prioritise what is best for her game and hot damn, are we getting back to back family boots? While Sam was trailing Sophie and Ben on their idol hunt, Sophie started saying things that made it sound like she had found an idol, however she didn’t seem to move, making me think it was all a fake-out. But whatever it is, I was confused as they exited camp and living for how damn entertaining Sophie has been.

At tribal council Chrissy spoke about how hectic things were back at camp after the challenge, admitting multiple plans were in play and that frankly she just needs to wait and see what happens. Ben agreed that while there are multiple plans, there is one he plans to stick with, filling Sophie with delight. Khanh admitted the idol makes him a target, so he wouldn’t be shocked to get votes tonight. Sophie then opened up about how she is super loyal and that she is definitely going to do what she says. While Sam reiterated she is telling some truths, Sophie fired up and fought back at Sam and while I was living for it as an audience, poor KJ started to break down over the fact she feels trapped by having her sister on the tribe.

Chrissy assured her that she would be freaking out if it was her and her sister with poor KJ just saying how tired she is with everything. Sophie tried to calm her sister and let her know that she is ok before pointing out that there are bigger strategic and social threats in the tribe, which turned conversation back to Khanh. Who was thrilled to have drama deflecting from his idol. He then said that multiple idols could show up tonight, with Croc agreeing that should Sophie have an idol, the game will flip upside down. As Sophie continued to play coy about whether she found one, while poor KJ reiterated it will be her going home should multiple idols appear.

With that the tribe voted and after Sophie pretended to pull out an idol, none were actually played and instead KJ followed in Nina’s footsteps, joining the tribe to vote out her sister like a damn icon.

Sophie was delightfully chipper by the time she made it back to Loser Lodge, thrilled to be out of the environment and not thrown through another emotionally jarring non-elimination. As a fellow internet celebrity slash influence, Soph and I have long run in the same circles, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and thanked her for providing such glorious entertainment in her short run. After that, we laughed and toasted her success with a piping hot bowl of Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi.

And oh, it was glorious. Everyone knows that potato and cheese are the two most comforting foods, and in such a polished combination, they truly are transcendent. Pillowy gnocchi, a sharp punch of parmesan and the spice of pepper work together to thoroughly warm your soul.

Enjoy!

Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients
500g gnocchi
4 tbsp unsalted butter
130g parmesan, grated
1 ½ tbsp black pepper, freshly ground

Method
Cook the gnocchi per packet instructions, drain and reserve 500ml of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and fry for a couple of minutes before folding through the cheese and pepper, along with half of the cooking water. Raise the heat and cook stirring until combined, adding more water to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency. Season to taste.

Transfer to bowls and devour, in honour of our pre-merge icon!


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Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.

The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.

The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.

Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.

Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.

Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.

We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.

Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.

And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.

Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears. 

Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.

Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.

Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.

At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.

This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.

Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.

With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown. 

My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.

Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.

While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.

As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.

Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.

Enjoy!

Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine
Jock Zonfrillo’s original recipe
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta
25g smoked salt
25g dark muscovado sugar
10g ground black pepper, to season
10g hot smoked paprika
10g ground star anise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.2kg pork belly
1 cup cloudy apple juice
150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs
230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
120g unsalted butter, diced
60g flour
2 ½ cups milk
130g blue cheese, diced
130g Fontina, coarsely grated
130g Talleggio, coarsely grated
salt and white pepper, to taste
400g smoked bacon lardons
1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained
¼ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.

Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.

Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.

In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.

When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.

And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!


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Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté

Baking, Bread, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Side, Snack

Previously on Drag Race, Ru got nice and meta by tasking the dolls with filming two parody super-tease commercials for their own season. Obviously madness ensued as Maddy made up that her dads cast her out for being straight, DeJa hilariously broke down over being born when she was young and Angeria continued her charming ways. At the other end of the spectrum, Kerri was read for not going ugly enough, Alyssa for being one note and Kornbread for not giving enough levels – complete with a slow-mo, mid-fake-tantrum! Ultimately Angeria rightly took out another victory for slaying the commercial and the J-Lo runway, while Kerri destroyed the lipsync in the actual green J-Lo dressing, saving herself and sending Alyssa home from the competition.

Backstage the dolls were heartbroken to see sweet Alyssa go home, while Kerri was just proud to have shown the girls what she is made of. Despite the fact she wished she was doing better in the competition, she was also glad to be able to get feedback and learn the judges wanted Scary Kerri to come back. The dolls took a seat and congratulated Angeria on her victory, while Bosco just wished she was cutting through as much Angeria with the judges. Kornbread meanwhile shared that she was heartbroken to have been in the bottom, though more than ready for her redemption. Oh and like Bosco, Camden was sick of continually being safe and was ready to star.

And YAS, we’re entering the era of Bosco and Camden, aren’t we?

The next day the queens returned to the Werk Room, with Kornbread conspicuously missing from the line-up. Before they could get answers, Ru arrived to announce that poor Kornbread’s onkle LITERALLY went cleek and that doctors advised that she would have to stay off her feet for two months and as such, was leaving the competition. In a filmed message to the girls, she praised Kerri for being the monster within, encouraged Jasmine to speak enough to the two of them and reminded Willow to look after herself. But also to throw away her damn flip flops. This got Willow ugly crying and ugh, I love them all.

While everyone was heartbroken to lose sweet Kornbread, Daya was thrilled that there was now one less front runner to contend with. Oh and Ru also announced that Kornbread didn’t have the golden ticket, so it is still in play for one of the remaining dolls.

We then did a hard pivot as the Pit Crew arrived to help split the girls into groups for the upcoming Maxi Challenge. One by one, the dolls would have to dirty dance with the hunks – oh god, am I old?! – until they pop their balloon bussies, with the confetti inside deciding which group they’re in. Bosco went first and blew green confetti, Jasmine got purple confetti all over Bryce’s back while Bruno had to power bottom to announce DeJa was on the orange team. Maddy poorly topped for the first time before landing on the purple team before Kerri effortlessly exploded to land on team orange. Daya and Camden got green while Jorgeous just couldn’t top before power-bottoming on to the orange team. While an orgy left Orion on purple and Angeria on orange.

Ru then wheeled out Tempest DeJour – complete with matching shirt to Daya – Jaymes Mansfield and Kahmora Hall before Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, each group would be making a PSA for the Save a Queen foundation, which supports first eliminated queens. With that, Tempest went to team Orange, Purple snagged Jaymes Mansfield while Team Green got the iconic Kahmora Hall.

The groups immediately split up to get to know their first boot sisters, with Tempest quickly looking after her babies and inspiring them to go in on her age, given that is the drama that surrounded her one-episode arc in Season 7. Despite Tempest keeping them focused and motivated, poor Jorgeous was super overwhelmed and nervous as public speaking is her weakness. Meanwhile over at Team Jaymes, Maddy opted to focus the PSA on giving her a second chance while Orion was just being mean. Which is hilarious. Maddy and Willow were a dream team with the scripting however, while Willow and Jasmine were just awkwardly off to the side watching the back and forth.

Ru ru-turned to kiki with the teams with Team Kahmora talking about the importance of keeping Kahmora in on the joke and given she is delightful, I feel this will be fun. Ru told Camden to think about a serious issue close to her heart to connect with the fake emotion required, with her literally just repeating the sentence back to Ru rather than sharing an issue. Ru then popped on his shady boots, pointing out Camden, Daya and Bosco have never been in the top, so wondered how they will make this work out for them.

When Team Jaymes jumped up, Jaymes shared how great her career has been despite being a first boot. Maddy led most of the discussion, while Orion was super nervous about getting the challenge done, given PSAs usually make her sad. Which made Willow nervous about how to land their characters. Team Tempest meanwhile were confident, with Angeria glad to mock her age as Tempest assured them she wants them to go really rude. Ru reminded them they need to play it straight, given being too jokey will give it away. Jorgeous took that to mean ditsier and cutesier and girl, please get out of your head because I love you.

We then followed Team Tempest to the set where they filmed in front of Michelle, where Jorgeous ripped off the band-aid but sadly couldn’t get her rhymes in during the allotted time. DeJa meanwhile got stuck in her head and forgot all her lines and while it appeared like that was contagious, Angeria rallied and knocked it out of the park. Oh and Kerri’s version of ugly was popping on glasses. Which is offensive to my bad eyesight, despite me loving her.

When Team Kahmora took stage, Bosco immediately took charge and directed the shoot and well, it was joyous, perfect and demented. Camden leant into her accent and was completely perfect, despite being a little quiet. Bosco on the other hand, was not quiet and lent into things with full rage. And then Daya gave full newsreader realness and damn, this is the group to beat.

Wait Jaymes Mansfield looks perfect and ugh, they could challenge her. Orion was in a jumpsuit while the rest served weather girl realness, with Maddy strong and Willow perfection – as usual – while Orion was sadly a little one note and Jasmine gave us the Count from Sesame Street realness leading to an EPIC read from Maddy which was perfect.

One bad take, ugh ugh ugh. Two bad takes …

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls quickly splitting up to beat their mugs with Daya, Bosco and Camden feeling confident in their PSA, while Camden was nervous she’d once again be safe. Bosco praised them both for nailing the entire thing while Jorgeous watched on awkwardly since she was counting on them bombing to save herself. Jasmine and Maddy kikied with the latter feeling very confident while Jasmine was super nervous given filming was a struggle for her. Orion meanwhile was feeling good and glad that she tried super hard, which made Jasmine nervous for her given she was kinda flat.

Jasmine moved on to talk to Jorgeous to chat about their first time in drag, with Jorgeous sharing that she started when she was only 16 at pride. She jumped on stage, starred and then booked a weekly gig at a club where her parents had to be there as chaperones and ugh, it was GREAT. Angeria and Willow were also kikiing about their families, with Willow talking about how close she is with her mother before opening up about how her body is disintegrating due to her condition and broke down to Angeria and Kerri about how that fires everything she does. And just like that, Willow has two new protectors to replace kornbread and ugh, it’s just so wholesome.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined on the judges panel by Ava Max as the queens kicked off the show on the Spring has Sprung runway where Jorgeous was perfect in a cute, pastel green mini dress. Kerri was a demented, stunning alien, coral-floral delight. Angeria too went floral with a yellow bodice dripping in flowers. DeJa served slutty Easter Bunny realness, Maddy was perfection as a torrential storm, Jasmine was a sparkly green showgirl while Orion did an even sluttier version of the Easter Bunny. Willow was delightful in a pastel country house dress, complete with Help Me written in blood on the back of the house built around her head. Daya was stunningly messing in an orange number while Camden did a weaker version of the Canadian Marie Antoinette runway. Well until she spilt the macrame tea. Bosco then served a killer reveal, going from a stormy cloud to a stunning sunshine gown.

The eliminated dolls returned to the runway with Tempest messy – in a good way – in leopard while Jaymes was delightfully campy in pink while Kahmora was obviously stunning in vintage Mackie.

When it came to the PSA, Angeria starred for Team Tempest while the rest were all ok, though Jorgeous really should have edited her script as there were too many words. And only Toto can pull that off. With Team Jaymes, it was Maddy and Willow’s show while Jasmine was bored and Orion struggled. Team Kahmora meanwhile knocked it out of the park with both Bosco and Camden really standing out and finally getting their star moments.

Well out of the queens, because the Sarah McLachlan cameo calling the PSA offensive was EVERYTHING.

Ultimately Kerri, DeJa, Maddy, Willow and Daya were sent to safety, with Daya complaining about just wanting to get critiques so she knows where she needs to improve. Kerri too was feeling flat about not being in the top while Maddy was shocked that Willow wasn’t in the top once again. Willow admitted she was just glad to not be judged as a group given their commercial was the weakest. Daya shared that she felt Maddy deserves more credit for what she is given so far in the competition, while Daya couldn’t tell how her sisters would be placed. When it is obvious they’re the top two.

DeJa meanwhile felt she should be in the top but when her sisters didn’t ask, she threw a tantrum about them not loving her. Before the drama could escalate, Tempest, Jaymes and Kahmora joined the dolls to untuck with Tempest and Jaymes reading them all for filth, while Jaymes praised herself for being great. Maddy then read her for filth and ugh, I love it. Tempest stepped in to remind Maddy to ignore the haters when she gets out of the competition because people will come for him for being straight.

On the mainstage, Jorgeous was praised for her killer runway though the judges were concerned by the disconnect between her confidence on the runway and her nerves in the challenge. Once again, Angeria’s performance was universally beloved while the judges felt the runway was a little ill fitting. Jasmine’s excitement didn’t translate to the performance given she was tragically monotone, though they lived for her runway. Orion was praised for looking stunning on the runway, while her challenge performance was read for being bored and tired. Lady Camden received universal praise for her camp runway and the seriousness she brought to the PSA. While Bosco too was completely beloved, with Michelle and Ross loving her willingness to take a risk and do something different.

The tops and bottoms joined the dolls untucking with Jasmine admitting she is definitely in the bottom though felt it was unlikely she’d be the one lip syncing. Orion on the other hand knew she’d be lip syncing while not really feeling it makes sense. Once again, Angeria shared that the judges lived for her while Camden was giddy to finally become a top. Which was a feeling shared by Bosco. DeJa suggested it could be a double win, while Daya narrowly avoided crying about being safe, wanting to know what she needs to do to land in the top. While her sisters read her for being too much. Jorgeous too was sure she’d be lip syncing and when everyone praised her for being such a killer lip syncer, Orion looked ready to cry. Because yeah, Jorgeous is an assassin.

Angeria and Willow then toasted to Kornbread’s performance in the competition as they opened up about the letters she had left them all. Jasmine shared she was grateful Kornbread called her out because she can genuinely grow from it and there was no malice. Willow opened up about how heartbroken she was to lose her dearest friend, with the queens agreeing that they all knew they couldn’t cross Willow without facing the potential wrath of Kornbread. Kerri started to break down over her bond with Kornbread and how she feels like she’s now lost her lifeline. As they prepared to return to the runway, DeJa gave Jasmine and Jorgeous a pep talk and reminded them to fight with no mercy even if it was against each other.

Given Orion already had some culinary comfort, I gave her a pat on the back for a job well done and legged it over to Kornbread’s hotel to make sure she was following doctors and feeling a-ok!

Poor Kornbread was in a moonboot as I joined her to help pack up, heartbroken to go out via an injury particularly given she was expecting to be a finalist. I reminded her that she truly was one of the front-runners of the season, but should she also return next season, she will have the rest of the cast terrified before they even step foot in the Werk Room, which is kinda a blessing. With that, we laughed, we cried and she vowed to come back bigger and better next year while splitting a Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté. Because obviously!

Oh and I also think it is important to note that she Vanjied out of the Werk Room for the last time this season chanting ANKLE. And. I. LIVE.

Given Kornbread is a star on her own, I opted for a simple, traditional recipe to honour her performance. A little sweet mixed with a tinge of salt is the perfect pairing for the fluffiest side imaginable. In a word, it is perfect.

Enjoy!

Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and left to cool
1 cup buttermilk 
¼ cup honey
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt and stir to combine. In a measuring jug, combine the melted butter, buttermilk, honey and eggs.

Using a wooden spoon, create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly stir in the wet ingredients until it is just combined.

Transfer the batter into a lined square cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to rest for ten minutes before cutting and devouring.


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Danny MousseCrayke

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

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to offer up one final, major twist to the game where the first person eliminated from the immunity challenge would have their fate decided by a game of chance. Should they win, they are also immune but should they lose, they are eliminated and tribal council is cancelled. After Liana and Heather nope’d out of the challenge, Deshawn was the first to drop out and prepared to have his game left to chance before Danny took out immunity. Back at camp the tribe tried to come up with a plan B, which obviously was Liana, despite Deshawn and Danny making a compelling case to take out Ricard instead. Ultimately, Deshawn got lucky and stayed in the game before the majority held firm and booted Liana from the game in an emotional tribal council.

Back at camp Danny and Deshawn were reeling from tribal council, with the latter shocked by how emotional things were and how hard it was to send Liana home. Deshawn assured the tribe that he was ok but needed to talk to Danny to debrief and talk through their experiences. Danny then went to visit Xander, shocked by the fact Xander opted to get rid of Liana over Ricard, the far bigger threat. While Xander explained that Ricard is a shield for him, he agreed with Danny that getting rid of Ricard is now the priority given the protection isn’t needed anymore.

Which means Ricard is totally winning immunity, right?

The next day Heather caught up with Deshawn to talk about tribal council, grateful that she has had the chance to learn from him and grow. He explained that getting rid of Shan didn’t hurt him as much as voting out Liana, because they didn’t have the best relationship but explained to her that while race and culture shouldn’t come into things, his experience permeates everything whether he likes it or not and that is why getting rid of Liana was so hard. 

Deshawn then caught up with Erika, with her too telling him how proud she is of his ability to explain his feelings to the tribe, particularly because she too has the same concerns about herself playing the game for herself while representing a culture. She opened up about how she felt like voting out Liana runs contrary to her wanting a female – ideally herself – to win after such a long drought, though sometimes in the game you have to make decisions against what you want, to further your game. And it is tough.

The tribe caught up with my love Jeffrey for a reward challenge where they would split into two teams, climb up a net, jump off a pontoon, collect balls and then land said balls in a basket. And the victorious team can either pick a chicken and veggie feast or desserts, which Deshawn was disappointed about because he would have preferred a letter from home. Danny got his team – with Ricard and Heather – out to the earliest of leads which was quickly lost as Xander powered through the water. Both teams were neck and neck throughout the swimming portion before Deshawn landed the first basket for his team. After struggling with shooting, Danny traded out with Ricard who quickly landed his first basket. Sadly for him, Deshawn then quickly landed his second and third baskets, handing them victory and a, dun dun DUN, chicken and veggie feast.

And no letters from home.

Upon returning to camp they quickly smashed their food before talk turned to alliances, with Deshawn gladly offering himself up as a number. Erika and Xander admitted that they would love to get rid of Ricard next and as such, they would love to work with him. Which quickly escalated to them floating the idea about going to the final three together. Meanwhile the losers were hiding out in the shelter until Heather and Ricard left to do some chores, leaving Danny behind to search for Shan’s rehidden idol. Sadly for him, they returned to camp soon after and his absence made both of them nervous that he had, in fact, found an idol. 

The next day Deshawn and Erika were catching up by the well with Deshawn assuring her that he would truly like to go to the end together. Particularly since her going with Heather risks people not being able to distinguish their games and lessening their chances of winning. Which he pressured her to talk about, all to get Erika to verbalise the need to get rid of Heather.

The tribe reunited with Probst for the immunity challenge where they would need to navigate an obstacle course – while dizzy – to collect puzzle pieces before using said pieces to solve a word puzzle. Danny got out to the earliest of leads, though they all managed to catch up at a balance beam. Which Ricard made quick work of. While Ricard got to work on his puzzle early, the rest of the tribe soon joined him. Deshawn and Ricard both figured out the phrase at the same time, leading to a rush of activity as they battled to assemble it first, ultimately ending with Ricard winning his third immunity of the season.

As predicted, FYI.

Back at camp the tribe quickly split up to work on their plans while Danny and Deshawn discussed how stupid everyone was to vote out Liana over Ricard at the last tribal council. Danny next caught up with Ricard who confronted him about potentially finding the idol, with Danny denying he had one, though did share with us how happy he was to at least make them nervous. Xander meanwhile was catching up with Heather, suggesting that keeping Danny would be their best chance at beating Ricard at an immunity challenge and as such, they should think about keeping him a few more days.

Heather then caught up with Erika, with the latter pushing to get rid of Danny over Deshawn, given he is willing to work with her while Danny is not. As such, she got to work trying to convince the rest of her alliance that keeping Deshawn is in all of their best interests. She first caught up with Ricard, who sadly knew that was a bad idea for his game. Meanwhile Deshawn was trying to take control of his fate, pulling Xander and Heather aside to highlight their bonds and the fact that he would take them to the end while Danny probably wouldn’t and as such, it is in their best interests to keep him around.

At tribal council Deshawn was still smiling despite the fact it is clearly him or Deshawn going home tonight. Ricard meanwhile shared that he had a great day with Deshawn, though would still gladly vote him out tonight. Particularly since they both targeted him at the last tribal council. They both explained that they tried to take the shot when they had it, given he had been dominating the challenges and pointed to his victory as their proof. Erika stepped in to talk about the fact they all decide what is threatening to their game and that that is different for each of them. She trusts Ricard while Liana had previously voted for her and as such, she got rid of her.

Xander admitted that jury management is now also playing a part of their decision making while Danny and Deshawn were both just proud of their games thus far. Deshawn then decided to  cause some chaos, outing his conversation with Erika at the well about her getting rid of Heather. Eventually. Hilariously Ricard stepped in and told him that his truth bomb was kind of a terrible idea, given the fact he doesn’t even know if he is going home tonight and may have just cost him a chance of working with Erika in the end. Erika too questioned his timing, given that while they have had an up and down relationship, she has always been willing to work with him and the only thing his outburst did was confirm to her that she can’t trust Deshawn.

With that the tribe voted and as predicted, things were tied up between Danny and Deshawn, who each voted for the other. With that, Ricard, Heather, Erika and Xander re-voted and despite Deshawn’s messiness, unanimously sent Danny from the game.

Given Danny is such an upbeat, kind person, he was pretty chill by the time he arrived at Ponderosa, ok at being outplayed and ready to relax. While he was disappointed to be out of the game and for his alliance to be apparently going out back-to-back-to-back, he was proud of the way he played. Though I also think he was just eyeing off his Danny MousseCrayke, so who wouldn’t be feeling happy?

Velvety smooth mousse, perfectly poached pears and a light, spongy cake work together in harmony to deliver a cake that is as fluffy as it is decadent and rich.

Enjoy!

Danny MousseCrayke
Serves: 12

Ingredients
6 eggs, 3 of them split
285g raw caster sugar
75g plain flour
20g cacao powder
pinch of salt
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm slices
2 tbsp lemon juice
100ml spiced rum, plus 1 tbsp for the mousse
400g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200ml milk
3 egg yolks
500ml cream, lightly whipped

Method
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and grease and line a 26cm spring-form cake tin.

Start by creaming the three whole eggs and 120g of the raw caster sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add to the egg mixture with the melted butter and fold until just combined. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, line the tin again and return the cake.

While the cake is getting chill, combine the lemon juice, rum, 110g of the sugar and ½ a cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the pears and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the pears and leave the slices to cool, keeping the poaching liquid aside for serving.

Finally, combine the chocolate and milk in a heatproof bowl and cook in a double boiler, stirring minimally, until the chocolate is velvety and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. While it is chilling, cream the yolks, remaining sugar and tablespoon of rum for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Before folding in the whipped cream until it is, you guessed it, just combined.

To assemble, layer the pears on top of the cake, followed by the mousse, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Transfer to the fridge to set for 6 hours, or ideally overnight, until set.

Then, finally, slice, serve, drizzle with poaching liquid and devour. Gloriously.


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Naseared Garlic Buttalif Steak

Main, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribes officially merged into the new Viakana tribe where instead of the smaller OG tribes joining forces against the dominant Luvu group, Shan whipped a mega-alliance together leaving Evvie, Xander and Tiffany alone on the bottom. Well, that, and the fact that the drama of the previous tribal council made them all targets and they were willing to throw each other under the bus to get further. At the immunity challenge Probst offered up a bag of rice for the tribe should four people step out of the challenge, which Shan, Naseer, Xander and Ricard were willing to do. As such, Evvie destroyed the remaining competition and since they were immune and the tribe feared Xander’s idol, poor Tiffany was booted from the game to become the Queen of the Jury.

Though not before Heather created chaos at the second tribal council in a row.

After tribal council Heather was trying to run damage control with Deshawn after setting things off rather than just sticking with their alliance’s plan. While Deshawn assured her that he loves her, he does need her to stop being messy given it is now causing problems between him and Shan. Deshawn then went to Danny and questioned why he didn’t speak up when Shan suggested Heather be the new target, as Shan bitched to her alliance about how Deshawn needs to stop being difficult and put the alliance first. Evvie meanwhile was just thrilled because any time chaos occurs in the game it only can benefit those on the bottom. Like say, them.

The next morning the tribe rallied together to watch the sun rise as Shan and Deshawn finally cleared the air, explaining why they had been hurting each other. And then Shan immediately brought up Erika and Heather being dangerous again and suggested they should get rid of them, making Deshawn nervous again. WIth that, he checked in with Evvie to try and rebuild their relationship so that he has options for when the alliance with Shan inevitably explodes. You know, if it hasn’t already.

We then returned to the camp where Naseer was approaching Heather to assure her that there are no hard feelings about her voting for him the night before, which she vehemently denied. Xander watched on relishing the chaos and staying mum over the fact it was in fact him who cast the vote for Naseer before Heather tried to rope Evvie in to back her up. Who immediately threw her further under the bus. And then backed it up and ran her over again.

As the drama subsided the tribe sat down to feast on their rice where Ricard shared that he is hard of hearing, while sharing with us that it is advantageous in the game, given he is used to reading lips and body language. Sadly Shan is so obvious with her moves, that anyone can see what is happening as she pulled Liana, Deshawn and Danny aside to talk strategy directly in front of Xander and Erika. Which immediately made the duo decide to try and rally the rest of the tribe to take control rather than feuding.

The tribe met Jeffrey on a beach where they were gagged to learn that for this week’s twist, they will be split into two groups with one winner from each being immune at their group’s tribal council. Oh and the person that sticks it out the longest also wins stew for their group. Yes, stew. Wait, I missed the main point – for the challenge, everyone would need to stand on a small perch and hold on to a bar behind their head, with the last one standing winning. Erika, Heather, Shan, Ricard and Naseer were set to face off against each other while the rival group consisted of Evvie, Danny, Deshawn, Liana and Xander.

Despite being the last two standing in the last immunity challenge, Evvie and Heather were the first two out after ten minutes. They were followed by Liana and Shan in quick succession, before Danny and Ricard fell out of nowhere, leaving Erika and Naseer fighting out for one immunity and Deshawn and Xander the other. Naseer suddenly dropped, handing Erika immunity, who just as quickly gave up trying for the stew, giving their rivals a feast as Deshawn and Xander continued to fight. As Liana willed the latter to drop, she bitched about hating his face, which is some passionate language for someone you’ve known for 17 days. Which made it all the more funny when Deshawn dropped after 33 minutes handing Xander victory.

Heather, Shan, Naseer, Ricard and Erika were swiftly sent to the former Ua camp to strategise prior to their tribal council with Naseer feeling firmly in the middle of the duos. Shan meanwhile was frustrated that their easy target was now immune. She approached Naseer to get him to join her and Ricard to get rid of Heather, giving she is Erika’s number two. Naseer being too kind, he approached Heather and Erika to let them know that Heather will be going home tonight and while Erika tried to float different options, he continued to give her a big old hell no. Which made Erika decide that the better plan may be to get rid of Naseer.

As Naseer caught up with Ricard, he was puzzled why people are actually thinking of getting rid of a non-threat like Heather out when somebody threatening like Naseer is still around. This led to Ricard catching up with Heather and Erika to float the idea of working together and making Naseer feel calm enough to not play his idol and get blindsided. And while they were down with the idea, Shan was NOT happy about it given she thinks Naseer is a solid number for her and as such, wanted to keep him around. Which made Ricard grow more and more frustrated as the afternoon progressed.

At tribal council Ricard played up how tight he is with Shan and Naseer, with Heather joining in to point out that she is clearly the only option to go and as such, she knows she is going home. Erika jumped in to point out that having no advantages creates barriers to moving forward before Jeff questioned why everyone knows about all the advantages before Shan and Naseer reminded him that they had to say stupid phrases to activate everything. Ricard spoke about the madness of navigating around all those advantages while Naseer spoke about how hard it is going to be to vote out Heather given they are so close.

Heather then gave the performance of a lifetime, breaking down about not being ready to go given she has learnt more and more about herself each day, eliciting sympathy from Erika and an unwitting Naseer. With that the tribe voted and everyone held on to their idols as the votes piled up 3-3 between Heather and Naseer after Shan used her extra vote. They then revoted between the duo with poor, sweet Naseer blindsided from the game. Begging the question, what exactly inspired Shan to waste her extra vote if they were all working together to eliminate him.

In any event, after Naseer exited the jury bench he was awkwardly sent to after his boot and officially entered Ponderosa, I pulled him in for a big hug and sobbed over losing him from the game. But, you know, given he is a total sweetheart he quickly told me that he has had the best time on the show and I shouldn’t be sad. Because he is so happy. Though did admit that he would be happier if I were able to whip him up my famous Naseared Garlic Buttalif Steak.

I’ve had a long, difficult history with steak. As a kid, all I wanted in the meat-family were sausages – and look at me now! – but after a traumatic three week recovery from wisdom teeth surgery without eating (and missing the 2005 Big Day Out), all I wanted was steak. This led to me successfully having my first. I then moved out of home the following year and since my dad is the only person that can cook steak well, I never made it myself. Well until this. Buttery, crusty and packed with flavour, this is the perfect way to try cooking your own steak (if you’re still a child like me.

Enjoy!

Naseared Garlic Buttalif Steak
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 ribeye steaks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
75g unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sprigs rosemary
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Method
Get your steaks out of the fridge a good half an hour to an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature.

Pop the oil in a heavy-based skillet and place over high heat until scorching hot. Dry each steak with paper towels, season generously (or to taste) and place in the skillet for cook for two minutes or until the seasoning forms a gorgeous crust.

Flip the steak and cook for a minute before adding the butter, garlic and rosemary. Baste the steaks with butter and cook for a further minute or two, depending on doneness.

Remove the steaks from the pan to rest for ten minutes, covered in foil before serving with mash (or your favourite sides) and with the crisp garlic, rosemary and a generous heaping of browned butter.

Then, obvi, devour.


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