Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji and immediately decided they wanted to emulate Kaôh Rōng and find out just how much can go wrong in a single season. Breaking records, poor Bruce hit his head in the marooning challenge and while he made it back to camp, he was promptly medevaced that night. Matthew then fell off a rock and dislocated his shoulder the next day before Brandon got heat exhaustion in the first immunity challenge, the latter sending Ratu to the first tribal council. And while Brandon was the obvious target, he had found the hidden immunity idol and as such, sent Maddy out the door as the first (official) boot with his single vote.
We then experienced yet another dark timeline where a string of young, iconic women went back-to-back-to-back, with Helen, Claire and Sarah rounding out an iconic pre-merge. Matthew’s lingering shoulder pain saw him quit-evaced before the tribes faked merge. This saw the demise of Josh, who had been the main target of multiple tribes for about 4 episodes.
We then saw nature heal, albeit in a heartbreaking fashion, as sweet Matt became the King of the Jury, partly due to his love Frannie winning immunity. Brandon and Kane soon followed before Frannie was felled for being too much of a threat. We then lost zaddy Danny before Jamie just missed her spot in the finale. After Lauren lost final five immunity, she was booted for her underdog story. Heidi then took out her first win of the season at the final immunity challenge however wanting a hero moment for her resume, sent Yam Yam and Carolyn through to final tribal council and faced off against young Carson for the final slot. And beat him in record breaking time to book her slot.
Despite playing a strong game and being beloved by literally everyone, Carolyn didn’t muster a vote at final tribal council – rude – while Heidi jagged one from her ally Danny, leaving Yam Yam to be crowned our King. And while I was disappointed for Carolyn, Yam Yam equally has my heart and played such a smart disarming game that he easily booked himself a spot as one of the top tier. Plus, he is fun, entertaining, silly and represents the sassy, curvy, queer men, so for that, I booked my stan card pre-season.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that for the first time since San Juan Del Sur, I picked the winner pre-season and for that alone, he is worthy of a piping hot dish of Candied Yam Yams Arocho.
While the concept of this dish always filled me with equal parts disgust and intrigue, however after trying it, I instantly fell in love. Earthy and sweet, this dish has everything. Kinda like our new King.
Candied Yam Yams Arocho Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 2kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3(ish)mm coins ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped ½ cup muscovado sugar 80g unsalted butter 1 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cayenne pepper a pinch of nutmeg a pinch of ground ginger kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 cups mini marshmallows, more or less as needed
Method Preheat the oven to 180C.
Butter a large baking dish – 2.5-3L – and layer the discs of sweet potato, followed by some pecans after every layer or two, then some more sweet potato and continue the process until it is all gone.
Combine the sugar, butter, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg and ginger in a saucepan with a good whack of salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it starts to boil. Once it has come together, remove from the heat and stir through the vanilla. Pour over the potato and pecan, cover with foil and pop in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.
Remove from the oven and scatter over the marshmallows and return to the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden and melted. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving, perhaps with a Turkey Wellington.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top five played a little quiz game for the power to assign teachers for this year’s makeover. Despite having to read herself for the win, Loosey paired everyone with people that made sense for each of them. Well, except for Luxx, who she decided to take revenge on for reading her for filth all season. While Loosey and her new sister looked like legit twins, the judges felt they had no chemistry on the runway. Luxx gave nothing to build their family resemblance, though her new daughter did look like Jennifer Collidge which should count for something. Ultimately Anetra was perfect from start to finish, which handed her her third win of the season while Luxx and Loosey faced off in the lip sync, with Luxx coming out on top and sending Loosey out in fifth place.
Backstage the dolls soon discovered Loosey was completely annoyed to be eliminated, while Luxx found it hilarious that Loosey was eliminated after trying to play dirty. Mistress on the other hand was just proud of Loosey for finally admitting she was playing the game, in addition to being stiff competition. Luxx admitted she was heartbroken to have been in the bottom so close to the end, while everyone was just excited to have made it to the top four. Anertra was proud of herself for being neck and neck with the one and only Ms Colby, while Sasha herself was just hoping for no last minute goopery costing her place in the competition.
The next day Ru dropped by to announce that for their final maxi challenge, the dolls would be writing and recording verses on Ru’s song Blame It On the Edit before filming the film clip with Miguel Zarate (swoon). And sitting with Ru and Michelle for a tic tac lunch, like icons. Oh and then he announced that only three of them will be going through to the finale, which obviously left them gagged. Just as Sasha feared. After Ru left, the dolls split up to listen to the song and work on their lyrics. Mistress was obviously super confident given she is shady as hell, while Sasha is glad she knows words. Anetra was planning to lean into her brand – voguing and sex – while Luxx felt like she had it in the bag, so went aside to have a nap like Pearl and Jinkx before her.
Sasha was first up to chat with Ru and Michelle, welcoming them to the meet and greet before talking about her epic career leading to this point. She admitted that she has struggled throughout the season, not wanting to do too well given she didn’t want the girls to hate her. She opened up about how her lack of support from her mother is what makes her worry about gaining people’s approval. She then went very deep, talking about how she was left everything after her father died, and how that was almost a seal of approval. And ugh, crown her.
Speaking of crowning her, Sasha’s co-winner Anetra was up next, talking through growing up Mormon and how drag is what opened her up to every colour of the rainbow. Michelle then gushed about how good her and Marcia’s lip sync was – shoulda been a double save – labelling it the greatest of all time. She spoke about how she learnt to vogue in Vegas, while Ru praised her for always bringing something to the challenges that only she can. Oh and you best believe winning would mean everything to her, and prove everything was worth it.
Mistress was next up, talking about what made her such an outspoken icon and how that got under Loosey’s skin. Who she in turn felt was different on camera to what she was like when the red light went out. She spoke about how she came to the competition wanting to prove why she deserves the crown, and that she desperately wants to make everyone proud. Particularly Mama Chavelle, winner of Season 16. Oh and you best believe she is now in her top three era. She tapped out with Luxx who spoke about how she came to the competition ready to serve looks at every moment. Oh and she opened up about going to Cicely Tyson high school and honestly, I am jealous as all hell. She spoke about how her parents taught her to be confident and proud of herself, and you know she took that and ran and now, is always ready to prove a bitch wrong.
The top four came together on set to work through the choreography and given Sasha is serving Barbwire realness, you know she is winning. Everyone admittedly looked amazing, though Mistress kinda got stuck in her head, worried about learning it all in time and ugh, it sucks to see someone so confident get so nervous. Without any time to process things, the back-up dancers were brought in and the dolls were put through their paces in front of the red light. Luxx was perfect from start to finish, while Anetra was surprisingly nervous. Most importantly, Luxx lost a nail in her outfit and ugh, she is hilarious and I am going to miss her when the season is over. They traded out with Sasha and Mistress and similar to the others, Sasha was perfect at every damn moment, while Mistress was so focused on the choreography, she didn’t give the attitude.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls splitting up to prepare for the final runway, with everyone shocked by how quickly the challenge has gone. Luxx and Sasha were obviously thrilled to have nailed the challenge, while Mistress vowed not to let the choreo get her down. Anetra too was nervous, given it took her some time to get it down, though was confident she did enough in the end. Mistress asked everyone to talk through their first impressions, with Anetra loving Luxx from the start while the dolls were all shocked by how kind and down to earth Sasha is, given she is as sickening as her legacy. Mistress always knew Anetra would be a silent assassin, while everyone was gagged by how much she has grown as she came into her own around the dolls. Anetra meanwhile loved that while Mistress is obnoxious, she showed she also had a massive heart too.
Talk turned to all of the feuds and damn, these girls really fed us with the drama. Well, Luxx at least, who found herself at the centre of all the -gates. Before they turned their attention to the fact one of them will win, with everyone confident they deserve to make it to the top but also nervous about falling so close to the end.
It was family only on the judges panel as Ru, Michelle and Ross took their places on the panel as Anetra opened the Drag Excellence runway looking stunning in a fitted blue velvet gown in honour of her Asian heritage. Luxx meanwhile was perfect in a shimmering white gown with a huge, curly wig. Sasha meanwhile was glorious in a silver crystal gown, referencing her Hawaiin heritage in the best ways possible. Before Mistress closed the show in a fringed, crystal cheetah print gown and ugh, I love it. Particularly since she wore it in a pageant previously, meaning she is the Kate Middleton of drag. When it came to the film clip, we may be able to Blame it on the Edit because everyone was stunning. Anetra was fierce as hell and v on brand, Luxx was full chanteuse, Sasha was sexy and perfect in every moment, while Mistress rapped the house down and delivered all the attitude.
After thanking the top four for all nailing the challenge, the judges praised Anetra for combining old and new on the runway and looking beautiful. They praised her for getting stronger from week to week, and truly shine when she let them in. Oh and Ru was proud of her, no doubt for showing off her branding prowess by always walking the duck. Luxx was praised for having such impeccable taste and always looking perfect. And showing off everything she has to offer. They all spoke about Sasha’s legacy and how somehow she exceeded all expectations week after week, and constantly slayed. And more importantly, she showed her massive heart and how she is always giving back to her sisters and the community and AGAIN, crown her. While Mistress was beloved for always giving polish and charm, truly showing Houston excellence at every moment. Though also being a versatile and intelligent performer each week.
Ru pulled out a picture of 5 year old Isiah, asking Anetra what she would tell herself, asking him to hold on through the dark days, knowing that one day the world will be safe for you to shine. And it will be so much better than she can even imagine. Luxx told baby Justin that all his dreams will come true, he just needs to know that everything that comes his way is what makes him who he is. Sasha told baby Sasha that she is a stunning woman, and that trusting her instincts will be what makes her dreams come true so just hold it down and know that you are loved. While Mistress told herself that despite how confusing life will be most of the time, that fire within will be what keeps him holding on to hope and that eventually, he will find his tribe and achieve the world.
Backstage the dolls were gagged by the fact one of them will still go home, with Mistress in particular nervous about struggling through the challenge given she has slayed all season long. The dolls rallied around her, agreeing she has done so well that it would suck to be in the bottom. Luxx was fairly confident she would not be in the bottom, despite Mistress reminding her she is kinda delusional. Sasha praised them all for being different and giving something unique, while they reflected on how great they have been throughout the season. Mistress’ least favourite moment was calling Marcia’s drag cheap and her favourite was proving herself in the Snatch Game. Anetra called Luxx’s highlight wearing her Ru look, while she loved saying Loosey should go home. While Sasha pointed out Mistress struggled with Love Connie, while her least favourite was the standup challenge. Everyone agreed that Anetra’s favourite moment should have been her ninja realness in the talent show, though.
Ultimately Sasha took out her fourth win of the season and booked her place in the finale, before Luxx was sent through to join her. Meaning Anetra and Mistress would have to face off for the final spot to Kelly Rowland’s – I don’t care about David Guetta – When Love Takes Over and ugh, they were stunning. Both of the dolls leant into the passion of the song, hitting every lyric, being silly when required and obviously serving tricks as Anetra walked the duck once again, as Mistress tried to swat her out of the competition. It was cute, it was fun and well, thankfully Ru went back on her word, going with a double shantay and keeping both of the girls in the running moving on to the finale.
Despite the fact all the dolls were kept in place, I had already gotten busy in the kitchen, so tapped Mistress on the shoulder and told her that I’d like to pre-emptively celebrate her run in the competition. And given the number of wins was the fairest way to decide who would be first, she was the first I’d be catching up with. While she questioned whether that meant I didn’t think she would win, I pulled her in for a massive hug to stop her questioning, instead getting her to focus on how good her run was. As despite only getting one win, there is no denying how good she has been each and every week. Which alone makes her more than worthy of a shot at the crown and a piping hot batch of Mistress Isamaple Crookies.
These cookies are the perfect little snack – Halloween decorations, or not. The delicate flavour of the maple works perfectly with the crunchy cookies to provide the ultimate all rounder snack. Perfect for celebrating a queen that is good at nearly everything.
Mistress Isamaple Crookies Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 300g flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp kosher salt, plus a pinch for icing 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature 200g muscovado sugar 1 egg, at room temperature 160ml maple syrup 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped 115g icing sugar any sprinkles you feel inspired by, for decoratin’
Method Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking soda into a bowl, and add the salt. Meaning in a stand mixer, cream 120g of butter and the muscovado sugar on medium for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides, add the egg and mix for a further minute on low. With the mixer running, add half the maple syrup and vanilla extract, mixing until just combined. Remove from the stand mixer and fold through the dry ingredients and pecans before returning to the mixer and beating for a minute or so, until well combined. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets.
Once the dough is chill, using an ice cream scoop, roll out 1-2 tablespoon balls of dough and pop on a baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for spread. Once all rolled out, pop the sheets in the oven and allow to bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies get chill, pop the remaining butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until combined. Whisk in the icing sugar and a pinch of salt and stir until it has come together again. Drizzle the warm glaze over the cookies, add sprinkles for fun and allow to set for five minutes before devouring. Like a winner.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the producers once again proved to be shady little icons, as the top six starred in Wigloose! The Rusical, mere moments after Anetra sent Marcia Cubed home in the lip sync of the season. After everyone kind of knocked it out of the park and slayed the runway, leaving Ru to jump on the shade train and task his dolls with identifying who should go home for him. Luxx gave an elaborate Ted Talk about how wonderful and unique everyone is except for Loosey, Loosey and Anetra said Salina, Salina returned serve and identified Loosey while Mistress wanted to put an end to Sasha’s meet and greet. Sasha on the other hand wanted to cut Luxx or Loosey for being her biggest threats. Ultimately though another emerged as Anetra took out her second victory, before Loosey defeated Salina and sent her back to WeHo.
Backstage the dolls were disappointed to have lost Salina, well mainly just Sasha, who considers her a friend and shared how proud of her she is. They discovered her mirror message was about her deserving to go home, which obviously made Loosey feel a certain way, given her name was said multiple times too. And you know she felt it just sucked. As they sat down, Mistress laughed about how she could have been mean but didn’t, so hello congeniality era, yet again. Luxx meanwhile doubled down on EVERYTHING she said, with Loosey trying to be calm as she said she will obviously disagree. She bit her tongue as best she could, with Luxx shutting it down, reminding them the end is in sight and that she will be doing nothing but focusing on making it.
The next day the tension was put aside as Mistress assured them she will be winning this week before Ru dropped by to briefly distract them with a little Spill The Tea mini challenge, complete with Norvina. Basically it is a quiz where they have to answer questions guessing who the group thinks will be the most likely answer. If that makes sense, because I really struggled to think that one through. In any event, it was a little bit shady and a whole lot of fun, with everyone kinda feeling their oats and laughing it up, with Loosey even saying she will be the next to go home just to guarantee her victory in the challenge.
After Norvina was swept away, Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would makeover teachers in honour of his High School drama teacher. And as the winner of the mini challenge Loosey had the power to pair up the queens with their teachers and while she had the opportunity to be shady, she literally paired them up with their most similar person. Well everyone except Luxx, meaning she is either winning or sending Loosey home and there is no in between.
The duos split up to get to know each other with Anetra’s teacher – Mrs Mahoney – a Drag Race superfan absolutely adorable, despite being nervous to walk the stage. Loosey praised Mrs Wallace for being so smiley and happy and they are super similar, so this should be easy for Loosey. Mistress and Miss Tang were essentially twinning and I love that for them, particularly as her teacher broke down as Mistress thanked her for living proudly and vibrantly for her students. Sasha and Mrs Marchbanks – who watches Drag Race with her husband – were ready to go OTT and pad for the Gods, while Luxx just seemed a little awkward, despite Mrs Reyes giving her full control over everything. While Luxx worked on the outfits and completely forgot they needed to form a relationship too. Mistress’ daughter quickly learnt to be as shady as her mama, challenging Loosey’s daughter to a walk off. And while I’d love to say Mistress and her baby won, Loosey’s daughter kinda served. But trust, Mistress was focused on winning when it counts.
Ru dropped by to kiki with the queens with Sasha first up introducing her daughter Ferocity Colbybanks and talking through their sexy Hawaiian looks. Mistress rightly played on her daughter’s name, christening her Madame Thang, with her sharing she will also be whipping up two velvet gowns. Which will be super easy to hide a kitten heel under, just in case Madame can’t walk. Oh and Madame Thang is adorable and I love her. Anetra and her daughter were awkward and giggly, and I love them. As does Ru, so lets hope they both walk that fucking duck. Luxx and Mrs Reyes – aka Asia Azul – were very mismatched and while I want Mrs Reyes to kill it because she is adorbs, I have a bad feeling. While Lala and Loosey LaDuca were going with the vibe of rich ladies at the beach, with Ru getting shady and asking Loosey how she felt about queens saying she should go home. And what do you know, she would have Ru believe that she is completely unbothered.
Oh and before Ru departed she announced that in addition to walking the runway, the newest queens would also be lip syncing. So they have even more work to do. Loosey and Lala were first up to talk through lip syncing and Mrs Wallace is such a delight, I want only good things for her. Sasha was delighted her daughter knew who Leiomy is, Mistress went full Abby Lee on her daughter while Anetra tried to help her find her duck walk. And well, poor Luxx’s teacher was giving mum dancing and it was so sweet and she needs to win just because of that.
Elimination Day arrived with everyone split up to get their daughters in drag, wth Anetra proud hers wants a resting bitch face. They then bonded over wanting to find a place to escape reality, before Anetra asked if she believes people can unlearn bigotry and even just hearing Mrs Mahoney talk about how she definitely thinks things can always get better, I am filled with hope. Luxx’s teacher asked if she had experienced homophobia, with her opening up to Luxx that she left her church because she couldn’t stand them not accepting her children. Like a damn boss. Mistress’ daughter was nervous about walking the runway but distracted herself by getting shady, asking everyone to talk about their track records. With Loosey continuing to believe mini challenges matter. Mistress pointed out that Lala looks exactly like Loosey before they taught the dolls some slang. While poor Asia Azul looked bored and sad. While Loosey felt Mistress’ teacher looked like a Disney Villain, which is basically Mistresses vibe, so win.
Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined on the panel by Hayley Kiyoko as Sasha and Ferocity Colby walked the runway looking absolutely perfect. They were twinning, they were glam and oh so confident, and I love it. Loosey and Lala gave girls-trip realness, Mistress and Madame were full on glamazons before Luxx and Asia looked beautiful but gave zero family resemblance. And well, then Anetra and Alektra gave sexy Dr Evil and Mini Me realness and well, crown them now.
The judges gave Sasha nothing but praise for giving complete family resemblance and clearly vibing. Ferocity meanwhile loved being padded. Loosey was praised for looking alike, though Michelle felt they weren’t on the same page on the runway while Ross wished that Lala’s shoes had been stoned for the occasion. Mistress was beloved for dripping in chemistry and attitude, before Luxx was praised for making Asia look so stunning – and giving off Jennifer Coolidge – before being read for doing absolutely nothing to give resemblance. Oh and then Anetra was praised for knocking everything this week completely out of the park, particularly for inventing the arm foreskin. And by the time she praised her teacher for bringing all the queerness to the classroom, it was clear it was another win for her.
Before sending the queens backstage, Ru put the teachers through their paces in their first lip sync for their lives to Ru’s Champion and well, they were all so amazing and living their best lives. And yeah, I love them. Particularly since Mrs Reyes is basically Jennifer Coolidge when she moves too.
Backstage the dolls toasted themselves for making the top five before Luxx announced that she knows she will be lip syncing. But trust and believe, she is ready for a fight and good luck to whoever she faces. She then pointed out Loosey is likely lip syncing with her, with Loosey agreeing, though quickly pointing out that she disagrees completely with the judges opinions and thinks she doesn’t belong in the bottom. Luxx accepted all of her critiques, though pointed out her teacher was living and having star quality is clearly their family resemblance. She then asked Loosey why she was shady with the allocations, with her trying to say it was because she was competition before admitting it was also because she was rude to her, leading to some epic tension. For ages. Before Mistress turned things positive, praising Anetra and Sasha for doing so well.
Talk turned to the teachers with Luxx living for how lovely Asia is as a parent, protecting her queer kids and supporting them to live their authentic lives. Loosey asked her sisters about their drag families, with Sasha pointing out they can provide all the love and support that queer people often miss out from their bio families. Sasha then got a call from the iconic Kerri Colby and ugh, I love her so much. And how much she is riding for Sasha to take out the win, which is correct. Loosey was up next with a call from her family and friends, breaking down as she got the unconditional love and support she had clearly needed. She then opened up how hard it is to be away from her family, apologising for being robotic due to being so focused on the competition.
The teachers dropped by to join their mothers who brought a lovely energy to the room, with Mistress explaining why Loosey and Luxx were rehearsing. Sasha’s teacher thanked her for making her dreams come true and then asked to stay in touch and ugh, I am so damn jealous she gets to be Sasha’s friend.
Ultimately Mistress and Sasha were sent to safety before Anetra rightly took out her third win of the season, leaving Loosey to lip sync for her life against her nemesis Luxx. And well, maybe she shouldn’t have set up Luxx, because she can turn it. That being said, you know that Loosey felt she didn’t belong in the bottom and was angry. So angry, she was ready to demolish Hayley Kiyoko’s For the Girls. As Loosey fought valiantly, giving camp and sass, Luxx was all fire, giving tricks, energy and all the sex and ugh, it was good. But sadly, once again track record took precedence as Luxx was sent to safety leaving Loosey to exit. In tears.
As she found me back in the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a massive hug and praised her for giving such a dominating performance across the season. While her sisters – and maybe the producers – kinda trolled her or didn’t give her the flowers she often deserved, there is no denying she is a killer queen. Just sadly sometimes she was a little too polished, which appears to be triggering for Ru. I assured her that she did an amazing job throughout the season and reminded her that while queens like her often get trolled in regular seasons, they are usually the ones that dominate All Stars. Which is something I definitely see in her future, like a young DeLa for instance. And with that reference of BenDeLaChrist, she was once again her happy bubbly self and ready to tackle the world with a belly full of Loosey LaDucanut Cake.
Coconut has a very special place in my heart and I’ve spent years hunting for the ultimate coconut cake recipe, with this coming the closest to perfection I personally can muster. Sweet and flavourful, with a gorgeously light icing coated in chewy coconut, it is truly glorious.
Loosey LaDucanut Cake Serves: 2 dear friends, 1 being a future All Stars winner.
Ingredients 550g unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cups raw caster sugar 5 eggs, at room temperature 3 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp coconut essence 3 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp kosher salt 1 cup milk 300g shredded coconut, toasted 450g cream cheese, at room temperature 1 tsp almond extract 450g icing sugar
Method Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two round 23cm cake tins.
Using a stand mixer, cream 350g of the butter and the raw caster sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. About five minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing the batter to come back together before adding the next, followed by 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and the coconut essence. It may look curdled at this point, but keep calm and carry on.
Remove from the stand mixer and sift in the flour, baking powder and soda, followed by the salt – which probs won’t sift – before folding into the batter, slowly adding milk as you go until it is all just combined. Return to the mixer and beat on low for a minute or two to ensure it is all together. Remove again, fold through 120g of the shredded coconut until just combined.
Divide the batter between the pans and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a baking rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.
As the cake gets chills, cream the cream cheese and remaining butter with the remaining vanilla and almond extract for a couple of minutes. Slowly add in the icing sugar and mix until smooth and combined.
When the cakes are cold enough to not ruin your hard work, pop a cake on a serving platter and spoon some icing on top to give about ½ centimetre layer once the second cake is stacked on top. Ice the top and sides of the cake before pressing with the remaining shredded coconut (and any extra, if desired) to coat the cake. Then devour, greedily.
Previously on Australian Survivor the OG Heroes were well and truly screwed as the Vigilantes fed us with their dominance. After spending most of the game as the producers punching bag, Simon was just too giddy to be part of something, while Matt exploded onto the screens as he relished the drama. Echoing her run on All Stars, Shonee was out for revenge against Flick after her protecting her pre-merge was repaid by her trying to spearhead her blindside. Knowing she was screwed, Flick went idol hunting and despite looking all around the spot where it was, didn’t find it. After Liz won immunity, Shaun considered playing his idol for his closest ally, though ultimately held firm as Flick was sent out of the game to become the Queen of the Jury.
The next day we caught straight up with Jonathan for a reward challenge where they would be split up into pairs and forced to stand and hold onto a large pole with the last duo standing taking out the win. For an epic KFC feast in a lush tropical location, so yeah, I am hungry, jealous and my basement is a little flooded. Simon and Nina, Shaun and Sam, Hayley and George, Gerry and Shonee and Liz and Matt took their places with Hayley coaching George on how to handle the pain, given he is a huge KFC stan. Sam was busy wiping sweat off Shaun’s feet as Simon became the first person to drop after just six minutes. Shaun and Sam then followed them out leaving only Vigilantes fighting for the food. After fifteen minutes the duos dropped down to the narrower footholds leading to Shaun whispering to Simon about how the girls will win every upcoming endurance challenge. After twenty minutes Liz dropped, eliminating her and Matt leaving Hayley and George to fight Shonee and Gerry. But given JLP moved them to the narrowest footholds, it wasn’t much of a fight as Gerry dropped handing Hayley and George the reward.
They were then given the chance to select one other pair to go with them, rightfully picking the second place icons to smash chicken. Leaving Liz, Matt and Simon with the minority, who would know doubt use the time to work on a way out of their mess. Well, Shaun or Nina may give it a try, at least. The foursome arrived at a lush picnic area overlooking the ocean, with Shonee thrilled to smash food with cutlery while George was just proud to take out a win. The foursome spoke about the fact their alliance was in it for the long haul, though if they need to get rid of Simon along the way, they aren’t overly concerned, given he is definitely the most likely to flip. They then ventured to a hidden swimming hole, while Shonee reminded us that her bestie was back at camp and as such, she felt like she could relax knowing she was all over it.
Back at camp however she was not all over it, instead napping in the hammock as Shaun and Nina caught up with Simon by the fire to tell him that should the Vigilantes split the vote 4-3, their vote would be on George. And if he flipped to join them, it would be the biggest move of the game. Simon told them that they should probably go hunt for an idol to help with this little plan, which led to Shaun immediately spilling the beans about his. And while he danced around the when of his find, the Heroes trio were thrilled as Simon told them he had a lot to think about and if he kept his word, he hoped they would repay him at final tribal council. Which hardly feels hopeful for their long term survival, no?
The victors returned to camp that night as Simon napped in the hammock. Shaun caught up with him, and admitted how long he has been holding on to his idol. He then lay it on even thicker, telling Simon that he is now the one he is closest to – just like Simon always dreamt – and locking in the plan for them to share the title of King Slayer. Begging the question, how are the producers going to troll Simon this episode?
The next day Simon was hanging with his allies, as George made a lot of pointed statements designed to keep him in their group. He spoke to us about how great everyone is in the alliance and that they bring different things to the table; Gerry is wise, Matt is friendly and the Spice Girls have control. While he knows he and Hayley are only aligned for a time, given they are both each other’s biggest threat. He pulled her aside to loop her in on the fact that he won $60K at the auction, meaning both of them have an uphill battle to get the money from the jury. And while she thought it was done to make her think taking George to the end was a good idea, he actually did it to know at what point she is turning on him when people start talking about his money.
Hayley and Sam were next to catch up, with Sam assuring her he is always open to chatting and his door is not closed to working with her. While Hayley agreed she is willing to do whatever it takes, she knows there are still way too many people in the game that would beat her and as such, she needs to start positioning herself ASAP. As she and Sam rightly identified George as the one to beat, Hayley suggested to us that should one of the OG Heroes win immunity, it may just be time to make that move.
Speaking of immunity, the tribe rejoined Jonathan in a volcanic field where they would each have to hold on to a rope balancing a frame on which they will stack blocks to spell out Heroes Vs Villains. Which means we know that Sam is very unlikely to be immune. Right on cue, Sam dropped instantly, followed by Matt, Shonee and Nina as Simon, Gerry and Hayley got their eye in. Simon then dropped as Shaun got the hang of things before he dropped, putting Liz in front. She then got too confident and dropped a couple. Everyone went back and forth until Shaun rebuilt and pulled ahead, before he dropped again and gave Simon the lead. And when it was nearly all over, he dropped a couple on his last run allowing Shaun to close the gap. Somehow he managed to correct without dropping the entire stack as Shaun dropped all his blocks, giving Simon enough time to take out the win. And put everyone out of their misery.
Sadly for him though, George noticed that he immediately celebrated with the OG Heroes giving the King all the ammunition he needed to reignite their feud. Back at camp though, Simon was feeling unstoppable, completely unaware that George was ready to destroy him. The Vigilantes caught up to lock in their target, with Simon suggesting Sam is not a threat and as such, they need to split the vote between Nina and Shaun. Simon asked to be one of the people voting for the main target in Nina, which confirmed to George that he would be flipping on him. He then pulled Hayley and the Spice Girls aside to change the vote to Sam instead, with the group locking in the plan, as Liz marvelled at how Simon could do that to them. Again.
Hayley meanwhile wasn’t thrilled by how the season was going, feeling like now should be the time for her to pop her head out and make a move. As such, she pulled Nina aside to paint George as the biggest threat that has corrected his game since last time and will beat them all. Nina asked if she was in danger tonight, with Hayley telling her that she is fine and if she had an idol, she wouldn’t need to play it. Nina casually asked who should be playing one then, with Hayley straight up telling her that Sam is the target. And as there is no split, George would then go home, if that was their plan.
Nina then took the information straight back to Sam and while he was open to working with Hayley the day before, his gut told him he couldn’t trust her and as such, he didn’t want to believe it. The duo then approached Shaun and while Nina felt like they should trust in Hayley, he too was unsure whether they could risk it. While vowing to avoid Simon to lessen suspicion that they were working together. Instead the trio got to work hunting for another idol to improve their chances, as Sam missed it just like Flick the week before. Thankfully though, Nina wasn’t so blind and instead found the idol meaning the Heroes minority were just that little bit more confident heading into tribal council. The trio caught up to speculate which one was the actual target and how to use their idols successfully. While by the fire, George and Matt laughed about how powerful they were, as Hayley worried that leaking the information would backfire on her.
At tribal council Shonee spoke about how nerve wracking it can be to take time away from camp, though was confident the allies left behind held it together. Nina awkwardly danced around whether any conversations paid off while George reiterated that everyone aligned in the majority did so to further their games and would be stupid to mess it up. Which Gerry agreed with. George took it one step further, reiterating he would also not be voting for anyone that flipped in the final tribal council, should he land on the jury. Hayley spoke about finding the balance of keeping your game secret from the players while impressing the jury, while Simon spoke about needing to be careful about how you send people out of the game, not wanting to piss them off in the process.
Nina suggested it was a good time to make a move with the minority to pad their resumes, with George telling them it is too late to start playing on Day 33. Shaun agreed you really should have at least one move under your belt by now, while Nina suggested a big enough move would always be impressive. Talk turned to the idols, with Hayley playing it coy, while Sam spoke about how difficult it is to correctly identify who the target is. Even though they were explicitly told. George spoke about how good he is at reading people, filling everyone with terror that he was on to their plans. Sam spoke about how confident the majority is, though alluded to the fact not everyone is on the same page. You know, based on body language. Which piqued George’s interest and made Hayley absolutely terrified, while Shonee casually reminded them they have seven people. And left it at that. While George was just hopeful nobody would be surprised by the outcome. Tonight, at least.
With that the tribe voted as Sam told Nina to play her idol for herself, which she promptly did, followed by Shaun playing his idol for himself, as Sam begged him to play for him. The first four votes piled up on George – with Shonee hilariously pointing out which handwriting was Simon’s – before the rest of the votes piled up on Sam, sending him out of the game and costing Shaun a carton of beer. Meaning that this time it was the OG Heroes that trolled Simon, not the producers.
While I have been a little shady about Sam’s game, it is really hard to find him anything but lovable and charming. I pulled him in for a hug as he arrived at the Jury Villa and thanked him for learning from his first experience in the game and playing with a little bit of strategy. Despite the fact the OG Heroes were expertly outplayed by George and Shonee, it doesn’t take away from the fact he only said mateship once (that triggered me enough to remember, at least) which is more than enough to earn him a big vat of celebratory (for the growth, not the boot) Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream.
For some reason as a child I absolutely despised gingerbread, however as my palate developed and I became far more sensible. This little number is the perfect use of the flavouring, giving you a spiced ice cream that somehow warms your soul.
Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1 ½ cups milk 1 ½ cups cream 6 egg yolks 125g muscovado sugar ¼ cup golden syrup 1 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup gingerbread biscuits, roughly chopped into chunks
Method Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until it just starts to bubble around the edge. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, golden syrup, spices and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Still whisking, slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the spicy egg mixture until combined. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium low heat for about five minutes, or until the custard is just starting to thicken. Transfer to a clean bowl and place over ice, stirring occasionally until it has cooled completely.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn per its instructions, adding the crushed gingerbread at the first sign of it starting to freeze. Once done, transfer to an airtight container and pop into the freezer to fully set. Then, devour.
Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes were delighted to get a reprieve from challenges with the arrival of the auction, only to be gagged by a tribe swap. Venturing to the Heroes tribe, Shonee was heartbroken to be split up from Liz, though grateful that she at least still had George. After jagging an epic reward at the auction, George took the girls for a little party where Shonee found a second idol, though assured them she would be ready to hand it off to Liz if and when needed. Simon was nervous about being on the bottom of the new Villains, though sucked up to the alphas to win them over. Plus, he was in possession of what he thought was an idol. After the Heroes lost immunity the OGs planned to blindside George, only for George and Shonee to school them, wooing Gerry to their side and idoling out Paige. As God wanted.
The next day Shonee was blissfully napping away the morning, thrilled to be on top with George and close friends like Stevie and Gerry. And now that Paige is gone, she can eat all the crispy rice she wants and ugh, it is what our Queen deserves. Long may she reign.
We checked in with the Villains, where Simon was talking about how normal it feels to be moist. Which doesn’t add anything, but I love it because it sounds so suss. Liz meanwhile was heartbroken to be away from Shonee, breaking down in tears to us as she spoke about how lonely she feels. Particularly since the Heroes are clearly dominating the new tribe and she, Jordie and Simon are left out. The trio caught up with Simon checking if they had had any luck making friends before he suggested he will play the idol for one of them, should it be needed. Which Liz knows is a lie, given he is clearly too selfish and he refused to play one for Stevie just last week.
Back at the Heroes tribe George was just as radiant as Shonee, thrilled to have taken control and ready to eliminate the original Heroes one by one (by one). He caught up with Stevie to talk through the plan before Benjamin interrupted to see if he could join the chat. Ben admitted that the only reason George copped votes the night before is because they are intimidated by him but that now he would truly like to work with him. George then caught up with Shonee as Flick took her turn to pledge her undying loyalty, one upping Ben by suggesting she could even be a double agent to sweeten the deal. Oh and then closing out the pitches, Matt pulled George aside one on one, offering up all the information about his allies and how he could be of value to help the Villains take control come the merge.
And oh god, if Matt is telling the truth, go with him as I want to see how the Meat Tray takes the betrayal. Particularly Sam, as he will be salty.
The tribes came together with Jonathan for the reward challenge with Liz delighted to see Paige booted, while the OG Heroes were gutted. But more importantly, the challenge where in groups of four each tribe would race around a course in the shallows, carrying bags and chasing each other with the first tribe to catch the other scoring a point. And the first tribe to three getting a big Aussie breakfast. First up were Matt, Shonee, Ben and Flick versus Shaun, Hayley, Liz and Simon with Ben the first to drop out of the challenge, followed by Shonee, Hayley and Liz, with Shaun and Simon pissbolting to hunt Flick and Matt down, scoring the first point for Villains. Sam, Shaun, Jordie and David made quick work of Stevie, Gerry, Ben and George, but damn were they adorable. As were the original Heroes talking through the status quo on each tribe, while Liz and Shonee bitched about hating everyone before Shonee promised to hand her an idol should she need it. Oh and then the Villains won the third round with Simon and Sam quickly catching the Heroes.
Back at camp the Villains were thrilled to find a table laden with fruit, bread, eggs, bacon, hash browns, cheese and most importantly, coffee. And ugh, I am hungry just looking at it. Simon toasted them for being so strong before they downed the coffee and went absolutely wild. Well, except for Liz who quietly watched on thinking about how bland and annoying all the men are. Which was beautifully juxtaposed with Simon screaming and celebrating as he desperately tried to win friends. Given she is invisible on the tribe, she knew she could excuse herself without anyone noticing and got to work foraging through the jungle to find an idol. And hot damn, our girl did it. And as expected, not a soul noticed. And if they did, she could just say the coffee and eggs went right through her, no?
Upon returning to camp, Liz invited Jordie for a trip to hunt for wood where she quickly filled her only ally in on her hidden immunity idol with the duo thrilled to have hope amongst the chaos. Assuming they play the situation smartly, that is. They returned to camp with Liz filling him in on Shonee’s idol and that she is willing to hand it to them at a challenge should they need it. And well, Liz is ready to call in that favour and blindside one of the Heroes. Yes, come through Spice Girls!
Shaun meanwhile was heartbroken about Paige getting voted out, taking Sam for a walk to talk through how they make the most of their numbers advantage. Sam suggested they tell Simon they will take him to the merge if he hands off his idol and while Natalie Bolton and Cirie Fields can pull it off, Sam definitely can not, given he is not it. Plus, it isn’t an idol. Sam pulled Simon aside to tell him that he spoke to the guys and while they are friends, there is a caviar – his words – in that they need Simon to give him his idol before they agree to take him to merge. Simon wisely pledged his undying loyalty and assured him that he wants to go to the very end with them, not just merge. Oh but he would only be willing to hand the idol over to Shaun. As such, Simon and Shaun caught up by the well with Shaun doing a far better job sharing the plan, telling Simon he knows it is risky but he also knows that out of the three Villains, he is the one they want to protect.
Simon then pulled Shaun and Hayley aside, doubling down on the plan and suggesting they hand the idol across to Flick on the Heroes tribe so that she can play it to blindside George. And that he wants to get a message to Stevie so that he can help them move forward. Upon showing them his idol however, Hayley questioned if there was any paperwork and when he said it came with nothing, she wisely asked how he was sure it was an idol when it could be something else, like a nullifier. But sadly – or well, not – that was where the logic ended, as they laughed about how poetic it would be for Simon to send his idol to the other side to blindside his nemesis George, which will be a huge move. And again, lol.
Almost as lol as Simon botching his quote about living long enough to become a Hero and the producers trolling him by keeping it in.
The tribes came back together for the immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles before chopping wood to release coconuts and then shooting coconuts at six targets, with the first tribe to finish jagging immunity. The Villains got out to an early lead, quickly releasing their sack of nuts – this time JLP’s words – while the Heroes desperately tried to close the gap. Nina hit the first target for the Villains before Matt finally started shooting for the Heroes. More importantly, Shonee and Liz just casually walked over to each other and started discussing how to hand off the idol. Nina knocked her second target as Matt took out the lead for Heroes as he smashed three, then four and five before ultimately jagging immunity for the tribe.
After the challenge David and Flick hugged, talking through the non-idol hand off while Simon tried to talk to Stevie about trusting in Flick and to vote with her at their next tribal council. While Shonee calmly handed the idol to Jordie unnoticed before Shaun awkwardly passed the disc off to Flick. And oh god, I need the non-idol to blow up in someone’s face so badly. And now I’m not even sure who I want to be the victim.
Back at camp the tribe rallied around to process their loss, while Liz and Jordie couldn’t wipe the grins off their faces. Hayley meanwhile was confident about tribal given they have the numbers, pointing out to Simon and Shaun they should split the vote on Jordie and Liz and ultimately get rid of Jordie should no idols get played. The Heroes quickly locked in their plan, while Jordie and Liz laughed it up at the well, given they can derail whatever it is they are planning. Wanting to have more impact than a single moment, Jordie suggested they pull Hayley and Nina aside and show them the idols before making them pick which of the boys they want to send home. And then promptly not play the idols at all. Which obviously made Liz nervous, given she wasn’t sure they should trust them and instead just go the safe route of playing their idols.
They pulled Nina and Hayley aside with both of the girls shitting their pants, unable to name who they want to go before Liz narrowed it down to either Sam and Shaun. With Hayley first to lock in Sam, given he is so loyal it is hard to work with him, given if you upset him, he is done with you. Liz suggested this is the night to prove loyalty, before Jordie pointed out it isn’t a threat but if there is whispering at tribal council, he will gladly change the vote.
Backed into a corner, Hayley approached Shaun to ensure that should she and Nina have to work with the Villains, she hasn’t burnt everyone. The plan to take out Sam spread like wildfire, with everyone kind of accepting the fact Sam is screwed. David suggested they instead just vote out Simon, while Shaun reminded him he swore on his children’s life and as such, can not do that to Simon. And to be fair, Simon and Sam will both fill the same role in their alliance. Right on cue, Sam approached the group and both awkwardly and aggressively asked if something was wrong with David, Nina and Shaun just dancing around things as Mateship looked enraged.
Hayley meanwhile caught up with Simon to fill him in on the situation until she exited because he looked too shocked and to calm down. Jordie approached him and asked why he looked so rattled – lol – with Simon pretending to still be OG Villains strong and as such, all in on voting out Sam. Shaun, Nina and Hayley then caught up, with Nina cautioning that she truly believes they will play the idols and as such, if the Heroes just lock in the vote on Sam, there will be no surprises and they can make a move next time.
At tribal council Shaun spoke about how grateful he is that their new tribe is stacked, while Jordie turned the attention to the fact the OG Villains are well and truly outnumbered which Simon agreed made him nervous. Shaun wisely suggested that everyone really should be worried. Jordie spoke about how tight the Heroes tribe are known to be with Sam talking about how loyal the Heroes are, while they all looked ready to vom from the guilt. Jordie spoke about how today was an epic scramble as Nina motioned to Sam that Jordie and Liz both have idols. While Liz watched on as all the Heroes grew more and more paranoid. As Simon spoke about how nervous he now is, Liz filled Jordie in on the whispers happening while Hayley reiterated the Heroes needed to stay strong, before Sam suggested that if the Villains have an idol, they should be nervous.
As Simon spoke about being rattled, Shaun told Nina that she and Hayley should still vote Sam while he, Simon and David switch back to voting for Jordie so that should the idol be played, Sam goes home, otherwise they can get rid of Jordie on the revote. Jordie admitted it feels like it could be his last tribal council tonight, with everyone agreeing they feel just as nervous. Liz admitted she is stressed, but that you need to risk it for the biscuit while Hayley wanted people to walk away from tribal council with some clarity about who they want to work with, while Jordie wanted everyone to leave knowing this is how you play the game.
With that the tribe voted and tragically neither Jordie or Liz played their idols, resulting in a tie between Jordie and Sam. Which on the revote, led to the Heroes eliminating Jordie, leaving Liz all alone. As is often the case, Jordie found his way to Loser Lodge by following the wailing sounds of my screams when I found out he came so close to not just breaking up the Heroes but also sending Sam, the worst person to ever play Survivor in the global franchise, home. Sadly though, he took the gamble of holding onto his idol to navigate through to the merge and while it cost him his game, I am impressed with the logic behind it, given he knew he was screwed if he couldn’t leverage an alliance.
I pulled him in for a massive hug, congratulating him and Sam on their pregnancy and thanking him for being such a damn delight this season. I mean, while Jordie was balls deep in an all male alliance last year, this year he channelled Erika Jayne, ready to give the gays (and girls) what they want, working with Shiz and George while gloriously mocking the Meat Tray. I told him I was proud of how grounded and fun his energy was and assured him that when it comes to his third time, he is poised for another deep run. And until then, he always has Jordie Hansenhos de Abobora.
These Portuguese pumpkin donuts – aka Sonhos de abobora – are positively delightful. Earthy, spiced and oh so sweet, the crisp shell gives way to a pillowy little cake that will have you coming back for more and more.
Jordie Hansenhos de Abobora Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 250g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced 1 ½ cups raw caster sugar 80g butter, melted and cooled ¼ cup brandy 2 tbsp dried yeast 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 eggs, lightly whisked 2 ⅓ cups flour, sieved ½ tsp kosher salt 2 tbsp warm water vegetable oil, for fryin’ 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Method Steam the pumpkin for 10 minutes or until nice and soft. Remove from the heat to cool and then blitz in a food processor until nice and smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
Whisk half a cup of sugar, the butter, brandy, yeast and vanilla into the pumpkin until well combined. Set aside for 5 minutes and leave to prove. Whisk in the egg before folding through the flour and water to form a thick dough. Cover, set aside and leave to prove for another half an hour, or until doubled in size.
Heat about 15cm of oil in a large saucepan until it hits 160C and mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon. Cook spoonfuls of dough a few at a time for about 3 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel to drain for a minute before tossing through the cinnamon sugar. Repeat the process until all cooked, then devour with glee. Ideally with some Dulce de Nick Lachey.
Previously on Australian Survivor George returned from hospital with a brutal facial injury, which instantly endeared him to the tribe that desperately wanted him gone. The tribe christened him and despite the rebirth, Simon and Michael were still out for his now exposed blood. Simon in particular desperate to have the title of Kingslayer on his resume. The Heroes dominated yet another immunity challenge as George bombed the puzzle – justice for Stevie – sending the Villains back to tribal for a second time in a row. Back at camp, the tribe locked in a plan to get rid of George, though Queen Shonee was an icon as she turned the tide and saved our king, sending Michael from the game instead.
The next day the Spice Girls – aka Shiz and George – were busy bonding with Sarah, hoping for answers to whether she actually pushed Miss Greece down the stairs. And while she assured us that she didn’t, I live for the black humour of how she would have wanted to alongside the assurances she was only temporarily in a wheelchair, to get out of anyone thinking she is awful. We then learnt more about the iconic beauty queen, who plays rugby league in her spare time and loves it due to her passion for smashing people. Begging the question, did she actually push Miss Greece?
Stevie meanwhile was doing some tai chi as Jordie and Simon caught up about the fact George is still here, with the boys thankfully moving on and agreeing it was best to use him as a shield. For now. The tribe convened to talk through how they plan to maintain the fire while away at the upcoming challenge, while Stevie adorably tried to keep them all focused and motivated before pulling them into some tai chi. And while he isn’t great strategically, Shonee lives for his kooky ways despite him wanting her gone. And what is good for Shonee is good for me.
Jonathan made a speedy return for the reward challenge where the Heroes were gagged to see George survive, rather than the fact it was Michael that departed. For the challenge, the tribes would face off one on one to grab a sandbag in the water and score a goal, with the first tribe to three getting a giant cookie jar. More importantly, this kind of challenge generally gets us buns as the boys grapple in the water. First up were Shonee and Flick with our Queen putting in one hell of a fight before Flick scored the first point for the Heroes. Stevie once again faced off against Shaun who obviously won before Jordie scored the first point for the Villains against Matt. Sam and Simon were up – the latter in speedos, swoon – with Simon tying things up after a brutal, brutal battle. That left Mimi and Paige to battle for the win which started off a bit derpy before the duo fought hard, dragging each other back and forth before Mimi secured the cookies for the Villains. Like a damn boss.
We finally checked in with the dejected Heroes trip with Shaun sad to have missed out on the cookies, while Rogue gave them a pep talk which obviously sounded more like reprimanding them for not being strategic enough. Everyone started to speculate whether a clue would be in the cookies and how ultimately it would make the Villains more chaotic and as such, could help them in the long run. Shaun, David, Matt and Sam caught up in the water to form an alpha male alliance with Benjamin pointing out to the girls what was happening, while Ben narrated an ad for all the meat on offer and yes producers, thank you, thank you, thank you!
While Rogue was busy questioning who, other than her, was actually a hero.
Back over with the funner Villains, the tribe instantly cracked the cookies and got to work smashing them before Jordie suggested they sit by the shore to continue eating them. George meanwhile went to crack a coconut – which was obviously code for idol hunting – as the tribe were otherwise occupied. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the perfect cover as Jordie questioned where he was as everyone praised his strategy in the challenge. And while he did find the idol, it may no longer be a total secret as there is suspicion. And a giant bulge in his pocket.
That being said, it appeared that nobody had actually noticed George’s antics, as the tribe seductively ate cookie after cookie before everyone started to speculate whether they should search the jar for a clue or advantage. Despite the risk of literally getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. While Jordie cautioned Fraser against it unless he was feeling nervous, Fraser tried the same with Mimi who was less concerned about the repercussions. After night fell, she quietly got out of bed and started searching through the jar – unsuccessfully – as Liz awoke and just as quietly watched on behind her. The next day Mimi was disappointed to have not found anything while Liz got to work spreading the update to everyone in the tribe.
And just like that, Mimi was now public enemy number one.
The tribe rejoined JLP for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes would have to race a ladder over a series of obstacles before releasing a sack of coconuts and then using said coconuts to smash six tiles. The Villains got out to an early lead on the first obstacle before the Heroes’ brute strength slowly closed the gap. And then they pulled way out in front. To the point where they smashed all of their tiles before the Villains even released theirs.
Back at camp the tribe were, how do you say, very disappointed, with Stevie questioning what the hell they are doing wrong. He caught up with Simon and Jordie to suggest they focus on getting rid of dysfunction by taking out Mimi. Which the boys were obviously on board with, particularly since they know he would be loyal to them if they protect him. The Shiz too were focusing on Mimi or Stevie, with Shonee rightly pointing out that since Stevie is coming for her, it makes sense for her to get rid of him. The boys joined the girls, Sarah and George, quickly pushing them back towards getting rid of Mimi for her shiftiness.
Well, for a little bit.
George obviously hates not being in control, so approached Mimi to fill her in on what has been happening and told her to go hunting for an idol while he worked overtime on turning the tide on Stevie. He and Fraser joined up with Shiz and quickly locked them in on the Stevie plan, before they floated the plan to Sarah. Everyone eventually reconvened at the shelter where Simon stumbled upon the advantage that was hidden in the cookie jar. Wait, no, the producers crossed out the idol symbol so I am just guessing it is a random token with zero power. Or if he is lucky, an idol nullifier. Simon caught up with Jordie, filling him in on the potential idol before floating the idea of idoling George instead. And damn, things just got spicy or funny. And there will be no in between. Begging the question, do the producers have a fetish for making Simon look silly? Because if so, the idol is for real fake.
Simon got to work making sure everyone was voting for Stevie, laying it on thick with George to ensure he thought they were tight and as such make the blindside all the more sweet. Mimi meanwhile caught up with Shonee to see if they were good, with the Queen assuring her that duh, of course they were. Stevie traded out with Shonee, suggesting Mimi goes idol hunting while both of them pretended they didn’t know the other was a target. Simon and Jordie caught up with Shonee, not letting her in on the plan before she reiterated that while she doesn’t trust George, she knows she needs him for now to save herself. And after she left, Jordie rightly pointed out that they can’t afford to make a move without at least checking in with Shiz, because otherwise, they will flip on the boys and they will follow him out the door.
At tribal council Fraser tried to downplay the fact they are slowly growing more and more screwed, as the tribe snacked on cookies. Liz spoke about being sick of tribal council but knew it was the game and as such, was ready to get on with it. Simon started to whisper to Jordie about wanting to make history, before Jordie told Jonathan that he is more focused on quality over quantity and while he wants numbers, he’d like to make sure they are loyal. Simon reiterated the fact they have won a couple of challenges and as such, they at least know they can beat the Heroes, with George agreeing that the last win in particular was arguably the best he has had in both seasons.
Talk turned to the paranoia of the cookie jar with Jordie outing someone for hunting in it for an advantage. Though stopped short of naming Mimi, despite everyone already knowing about it. Liz hilariously then admitted that she knows who it is given she was the one who saw them, before Simon and Jordie started whispering again as Jordie desperately asked him to reconsider. And when he didn’t listen, he instead asked to talk to the girls who swiftly told him they would not be on board. At all. Despite the whispering, Stevie was not concerned and assured Jonathan that if they wanted him to know what they were talking about, they would tell him. He and Mimi then argued over whether he was loyal or had trust, and while they fired up, it made Shonee and Liz keen to flip things back on to her instead of Stevie.
After Shiz got the boys on the new page, Simon decided it was a good idea to now play his non-idol for Mimi while Jordie openly declared that tonight is not the night for big moves and that instead, they needed to focus on building trust with the people they want to work with. Aka Simon, cool your jets, you can get idol redemption another day. Well, if it is legit, that is. The tribe finally voted and Simon wisely opted against any theatrics as Mimi was brutally blindsided from the game, meaning Shonee has now booted and saved Stevie. Like a merciful queen.
As Mimi pulled up at Loser Lodge, I quickly ran out to give her a massive hug, disappointed to see yet another queen exit the game too soon. I assured her that despite the stumble with the cookie jar, she had been playing a solid game and should be proud of how she always stayed true to herself. Plus, she totally dominated the reward challenge. With the formal pep talk out of the way, we gossiped about whether we thought the Villains were doomed for a Stephanie LaGrossa V Bobby Jon demise, or whether they’d be able to win immunity soon. But that goss is not something I’m willing to share just yet. Just the secret to some delicious Mimi Ricottang Cookies.
Yes, yes, it is another festive recipe, but you’ll have to accept that the show filmed last year and festive cheer commences in July in my house. Plus, you don’t necessarily need the sprinkles to make these ones a winner. Soft and melt in your mouth, the light flavour transports you to a place of calm.
Mimi Ricottang Cookies Serves: 12.
Ingredients 240g unsalted butter, softened 425g raw caster sugar 1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 eggs 480g flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp kosher salt 450g icing sugar ¼ – ½ cup milk, depending on desired consistency
Method In a stand mixer, cream all but a tablespoon of the butter and caster sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and half the vanilla, and return to medium speed to beat until well combined. One by one, beat in the eggs, allowing the mixture to come back together between them. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before folding in flour, baking soda and salt. Return to the mixer one last time and beat until everything is just combined. Cover the dough and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a few baking sheets.
When the dough is cold and firm, shape into tablespoon sized balls and place on the baking sheets leaving about 5cm between them to allow for spread. Pop the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly baked, just before golden, before allowing to cool for five minutes on the tray after which they should be stabilised to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cookies cool, melt the remaining butter. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl before slowly whisking in the melted butter, lemon juice, remaining vanilla and enough milk to form a glaze. That will depend on your own preferences.
Pour a little bit of glaze on top of each cookie, followed by the sprinkle of your choice – don’t have to be festive, but why not, I say – before smashing. Gleefully.
Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World after slaying the ball, Ra’Jah and Icesis admitted they were a little bit surprised that one of them didn’t land a spot in the top, despite how well Victoria and Silky also did. Thankfully there wasn’t time to dwell on things as the top six performed Cameos before Brad announced they would be putting on a little stand-up show. And he and his husband Gary would be on hand to help. Despite everyone slaying their rehearsal, Icesis appeared to be getting inside her head. The next day as the dolls beat the mugs for the show, Icesis continued to struggle before admitting to Ra’Jah that she is straight up exhausted and is struggling with her mentally health. Ultimately stepping out of the competition to look after herself, with the support of all her sisters on the way out the door.
After Icesis exited, the dolls all broke down in tears before Reverend Doctor Silky Nutmeg Ganache led them in a prayer before they re-beat their mugs and well, it was really bloody touching.
Brooke, Brad, Traci and Gary Janetti took their places on the panel as Ra’Jah kicked off the show with all the energy and damn, I love her. While she had some solid jokes, the middle lagged a bit, but thankfully she was able to finish strongly. Vanity’s nerves sadly got the best of her, but bless, she won us back with some knock knock jokes. Rita’s French gag landed as well as it could, but thankfully she knew how to work the crowd and won them back. Sadly for her, as soon as Victoria took the stage she owned the damn show. Her jokes were on point, she was charming and energetic and oh lord, just give her the bloody crown. Oh and Silky was obviously just as good as she tossed her notes into the crowd and went off the cuff and stole the show.
Broken bottle of spices be damned.
On the Plaid Girls Club runway Ra’Jah was perfection as COVID-Ru and Carmen Sandiego’s love child. Vanity was a glorious, non-prolematic Dionne from Clueless, Rita was demented and delightful in a pink vintage number while Victoria was stunning in an oversized purple suit and Silky gave sexy biker girl. The judges felt Ra’Jah’s pacing was a little off throughout the set, though they lived for her glamorous runway. Vanity’s look received universal praise while they felt she got stuck in her head throughout the challenge. Rita was praised for her charm throughout the performance, despite it being a little too long. Oh but they loved the runway. Victoria’s runway was beloved, though the judges loved her performance even more. And while they lived for Silky’s comedy, Brooke felt her runway was basic. Specifically perfect for a meet and greet.
Once again Silky and Victoria landed in the top before Rita was sent to safety, leaving Ra’Jah and Vanity up for elimination. Backstage the girls congratulated Silky and Victoria on their win, while Silky admitted that she is super disappointed to have to eliminate one of her SRV bandmates. Vanity opened up about feeling down, though assured them her fire was still there while Ra’Jah broke down about letting her inner saboteur get to her. Ra’Jah and Silky caught up with Ra’Jah pulling herself together and reminding her that she will bounce back and their Venus and Serena energy can live on. Though Silky did admit she was concerned about the girls thinking she would only save her because she is her sister. Vanity meanwhile told Victoria that she is still focused on taking out the win and wants to take the platform back and elevate black queens in the UK.
Oh and Rita was entertaining herself.
Ra’Jah tapped out and caught up with Victoria, assuring her this is nothing but a moment and she will bounce back. While Victoria admitted she did do better in the challenge. Vanity meanwhile opened up to Silky about how she was shocked to not be the first boot, though she assured her she wants to be a role model for her black sisters and ugh, poor Silky is really struggling with this decision. As soon as Your Daddy Don’t Know by Toronto kicked off, both of the girls gave it their all, but it was Victoria’s filthy performance that won the judges heart and handed herself victory. And more importantly, because Icesis exited the competition already, Brooke rightly suspended All Stars rules and cancelled the elimination.
As. She. Should.
Backstage the dolls were thrilled to not have to lose another sister, while Victoria was just giddy to finally have a win. Ra’Jah led the girls in praising Icesis for being an icon and how she ultimately ended up saving them. That obviously led to Victoria having to admit that she had chosen Vanity to go home, though assured her she is thrilled she got saved and hopes it puts a fire under her belly. Silky meanwhile didn’t want to announce who she chose in front of everyone, with Ra’Jah assuring her that she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want and if she chose her, there would be no hard feelings. Luckily for her though Silky too had chosen Vanity, pulling her aside to quietly let her know and assure her that she loves her and is thrilled she is still here.
Which is just classy and ugh, I love Silky.
The next day the top five compared track records with Victoria and Silky realising they are neck and neck, while Rita was hoping for another win to bookend her run. Given people only really care about the start and end, so the rest – aka the ones Silky and Victoria took out – don’t really matter. Traci dropped by to loop the girls in on the next Maxi Challenge, filming a trailer for the blockbuster new movie Spy Queens. And since Victoria won the last lip sync, she had all the power to cast the roles. The dolls sat down to read through the scripts with Rita getting the house mother, while Silky and Vanity fought for the lip sync assassin. But given Silky suggested getting tapped out with a skinny stunt double would be funny, she totally won the battle. Victoria took the shade assassin, Vanity got the look queen while Ra’Jah got the body-ody-ody.
They immediately did a read through of the script with Victoria and Silky delighted to get another kiss, while Vanity, Ra’Jah and Rita kikied about how they can knock their rolls out of the park. Rita tried to remind them that whether they have the most lines or the fewest, they are always on the stage and as such, need to serve it all. Ra’Jah on the other hand was just hoping to redeem herself in an acting challenge. Victoria and Silky meanwhile were busy bonding over their passion for acting – get Silky on Grey’s Anatomy as she deserves – and the way they have experienced stigma due to their weight, though thankfully have learnt to love themselves.
The dolls joined Traci on set where Victoria and Rita were perfection from start to finish, while Ra’Jah powered through flubbing her lines while Silky was just charming as hell, whether she was a character or not! While Vanity was on struggle street as she got more and more in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the Ra’Jah feeling like she got redemption, while Rita admitted she forgot it was a competition as she was just living her best life. On the flipside, Vanity felt like she was far and away the worst, while Silky admitted she was just vibing. Talk turned to their love lives, with Victoria opening up about how grateful she is for her girlfriend while Ra’Jah admitted that duality between Benji and Ra’Jah makes it hard to find love. Vanity meanwhile admitted her husband wasn’t thrilled about drag at first but now had become her biggest supporter. And costume maker. While Ra’Jah and Rita sweetly praised their sisters as being their new support systems.
Brooke, Traci and Brad were joined on the panel by Joe Zee as the dolls stomped the Y2Gay Runway. Rita opened the show as a glorious pink and green hourglass. Vanity meanwhile was stunning in black with highlighter yellow hair, Victoria destroyed – the set, literally – as the millennium bug, while Silky gave sickening drag Oblina from Aaahh! Real Monsters while Ra’Jah was perfect in a bronze and orange sexy Teletubby look. When it came to the trailer, Victoria and Rita were far and away the best while Ra’Jah camped it up and Silky and Vanity kind of faded into the background, somehow. (Maybe the writing).
The judges lived for everything Rita served this week, from committing to the character to giving a creative, playful look. Vanity’s look was praised for giving all the references, despite not giving Club Kid. Oh and she was read for getting lost in the performance. Victoria was universally beloved for her performance and the look, despite breaking the set, before Silky was read for being hit and miss in the performance, though received universal praise for her runway, despite it being a bit crafty. Ra’Jah meanwhile got her redemption in the performance, receiving universal praise for always being in the moment while everyone loved her look, despite it confusing Brad. Victoria and Rita obviously landed in the top two while Ra’Jah was deemed safe, leaving Vanity and Silky in danger of going home.
Backstage Ra’Jah was gutted that her fellow girl groupers were in the bottom, though praised Rita for manifesting a spot in the top. Victoria was proud of getting her third win, which triggered Silky, who felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. Vanity meanwhile started to break down, talking about how she saw each of her sisters knocking it out of the park as she faded. Everyone stopped her in her tracks, reminding her that she too is an icon and as such, needs to put some respect on her own name.
Silky and Rita were first to catch up, with Silky reiterating she feels like she doesn’t deserve a place in the bottom and isn’t ready to go home, particularly since she has slayed the competition. While Rita assured her they have an alliance, she admitted to us that getting rid of Silky would give her a better shot at the crown. Vanity meanwhile assured Victoria that she just wants to slay another week, while Ra’Jah kikied with herself. When Rita and Vanity caught up, the latter reminded her that Silky has competed three times while this is her second and as such, she wants the chance to fight for the crown and go home and let the girls know Rita is the reason she made it to the end. Silky meanwhile assured Victoria that she just is not ready to go and wants the honour of competing against her next week.
After Rita and Victoria selected their lipsticks they ventured to the mainstage and as soon as Estelle’s Freak kicked off both the dolls went off, Rita leaning into camp comedy while Victoria was silly and street. Ultimately though it was Rita that took out victory with her sticking to her word and sending Vanity from the competition. Though not before telling Silky to go snatch the crown for her.
Backstage I pulled Vanity in for a massive hug and immediately continued on her sisters work, reminding her that she already is an icon and should never doubt herself. She is a killer performer, she is charming, can turn a look and even better, she is super sweet. Obviously she was grateful for my kind words, but I think the thing she was most grateful for, however, was the big fat (festive) Vanitonne Milan awaiting her.
Like many random things growing up, I decided that panettone was disgusting and never tried it. Until my husband came along and would smash multiple each Christmas, eventually enticing me to try it. And well, it was a glorious day. Sweet, spiced and gloriously fluffy, this is the perfect way to dull post boot pain or more importantly, get into the festive spirit.
Vanitonne Milan Serves: 8.
Ingredients ¼ cup warm milk 7g dried yeast 150g raw caster sugar 250g butter, softened 5 eggs, lightly whisked 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp almond extract 1 lemon, zested 1 orange, zested 550g bread flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp kosher salt 80g raisins 80g sultanas 3 tbsp rum 100g candied lemon and orange peel, roughly chopped
Method Pop the warm milk in a bowl with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave to get all foamy and glorious.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the remaining sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract on medium speed until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the zests, followed by the eggs one at a time, adding the next only when the last one is fully incorporated.
In another bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. While stirring, slowly pour the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the buttery eggs, until a soft dough forms. Return to the stand mixer and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or until it has all come together, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.
Pop the raisins, sultanas and rum in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the fruit is plump and juicy.
Grease and line a deep 20cm deep cake tin. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, slowly working in the candied peel and rum-soaked fruit until it is all together. Transfer to the prepared tin, wrapping baking paper around the outside to help keep the height as it rises. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size while you preheat the oven to 160C.
Remove the cling and pop the panettone in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Before devouring, dusted in icing sugar.
Previously on Survivor the final five settled into their new beach before facing off in earning an advantage in and then competing in the latest immunity challenge. While Karla managed to jag herself the upper hand it was Owen who took out the win, meaning the target was firmly placed on both her and Jesse’s back as the two biggest jury threats left in the game. As the rest of the tribe tried to figure out who was the better option, they floated the idea of painting a target on Gabler and Cassidy’s backs instead. At tribal council Jesse made a show of playing Jeanine’s long-lost idol for himself and while Karla worked tirelessly to make someone else a target, the rest of the crew rightly banded together to send her out of the game in fifth place.
We followed the final four as they met up with Probst for the final immunity challenge of the season where they would race to move a bowl using tongs through a spring maze and balance it on the top of the structure. First to build their tower, winning immunity and deciding who would be sitting next to them at the final tribal council. Cassidy obviously got out to the earliest of leads as Gabler and Owen nipped at her heels. As Gabler took the lead, his tower started to wobble in the breeze due to it being off centre, with it dropping down to three bowls and handing the joint lead to Cassidy and Owen. The duo picked up the pace to pull ahead before Owen dropped a single bowl, twice, eventually knocking his stack and giving Cassidy plenty of breathing room to land her final bowl and snatch final immunity.
Proving the fact that when one Queen falls, another rises. All hail Queen Cassidy.
While the boys were heartbroken to lose the challenge, Cassidy was so proud to be living her dream and hopefully be an inspiration to little girls like those that came before her were for her. Oh and she tellingly suggested this could be a million dollar necklace, soooo, she is taking Owen and hoping Gabler will eliminate Jesse in the fire challenge, right?
Back at camp attention immediately turned to who would be better to take on Jesse in the fire challenge. Owen felt taking him on would be best for his game, while Gabler was fairly confident he would be better at it. Well, I assume. Owen admitted to us that he was feeling defeated by the game but desperately practised and after getting a roaring fire, immediately went to Cassidy to assure her that he can easily beat Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, he was well and truly terrified about his chances given he can’t really make fire. Bless him though, he knew his only shot at winning the fire challenge was to face off against Cassidy so he approached her to suggest that the only way she has a shot at winning is to eliminate him.
Which she obviously saw right through.
Jesse broke down in confessionals, knowing his time is seeing more and more likely to come to an end, disappointed to not be able to win a challenge – and the money – for his kids. Cassidy approached Gabler to check in with him before straight up auditioning him in fire making, though sadly, it didn’t appear to be going very well. Gabler then opened up to us in confessional that he plans to donate the entire prize to charity should he win and damn, that would be a wild flex and I love it. Oh and poor Cassidy continued to debate who would have the better shot at taking out Jesse, and not just that, who would take him out but also wouldn’t be able to use the challenge win to push them over the line to victory.
At tribal council Cassidy spoke about how proud she is to have taken out the most important win of the season, flexing that this is also her third immunity win, equalling the most for the season. She opened up about being the most popular person in camp and how it is also a burden, given if she makes the wrong move, it could cost her. Jesse pointed out he suggested she should face off against him to win in fire, with her calmly articulating that she is confident in the game she played and as such, didn’t need it to prove anything further. With it clear Jesse would be making fire, both Gabler and Owen agreed they wanted to be the one to earn their spot at tribal council. Which Cassidy said was all well and good, but the only thing she cares about is making the decision which is best for her game. With that, she took Owen through to the final tribal council, leaving Gabler to be their potential saviour against Jesse.
The duo took their places at the fire making stations and got to work building their stacks. Gabler quickly got a small flame which quickly grew as Jesse got his going. Gabler methodically added sticks and nurtured his flame while Jesse’s whimpered out. Gabler’s continued to grow as Jesse got another flame which continued to grow, though tragically it wasn’t enough as Gabler earnt the third spot at fire making challenge – in a record breaking amount of time. Poor Jesse, the jury and us at home were heartbroken by the loss as Jesse fought back tears, sharing with Probst that he feels like he disappointed his family by coming this close and losing. Gabler sweetly assured him that they would all be so proud of him as he continued to cry about how disappointing it was for the money to slip through his fingers. Cassidy jumped in and assured him that he was only targeted because he was unbeatable and ugh, I too am now crying. Particularly as the jury applauded him as his torch was snuffed.
He was obviously gutted to come so close to victory as he arrived at Ponderosa, but I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that he will go down as one of the great players. And like Karla, is guaranteed another shot at the title (though given he is such a threat, winning may prove even more difficult). As such, he was quickly perked up as we toasted his killer run with a big fat Jesse Picolopez Cone.
Piccolo cones are fast becoming my jam. Small enough to not feel guilty, big enough to fill you with joy. Add in the fact these babies are full of flavour and you’ve got a snack you’ll keep going back to.
Jesse Piccolopez Cone Serves: 1 robbed goddess and his unwavering cheerleader.
Ingredients 1 batch Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream 24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh 200g white chocolate 1 cup crushed oreos
Method Whip up the ice cream as per star of Season 2 of The White Lotus Kara Kay’s recipe and transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.
While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate, sprinkle with some crushed oreos and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.
Previously on Survivor Sami was feeling nervous after being left out on the last vote, immediately trying to do damage control with Karla. And despite knowing he couldn’t be trusted, Karla was open to working with him moving forward. With the glimmer of hope, Sami got to work turning Cassidy and Karla against each other. A boat arrived announcing a new mystery clue hidden in the jungle with everyone darting off and walking directly past it multiple times before Cody finally jagged it, allowing him to bet on the next immunity challenge. After Owen and Karla literally outlasted the tide, Probst decreed they were both immune which made Cody also immune, given he bet on Owen. At tribal council Sami’s double dealing finally caught up with him and despite a late-breaking threat to play his Shot in the Dark, the tribe banded together to boot him from the game.
The next day the top six watched the sunrise together, reflecting on Sami exiting as wildly as he played. Owen meanwhile was happy that the plan came together – and that he was in on it, for once – though was annoyed that they weren’t able to embarrass Karla in the process, thanks to her late breaking flip to voting for Sami rather than Cassidy. But don’t despair, he was more than ready to find another way to splinter the girls’ relationship. He pulled Cassidy aside for a walk, talking about how glad he was that she was still in the game given Karla had almost gotten the votes to flip things on her. While she knew she couldn’t completely trust Owen, she didn’t want to be naive and as such got to work figuring out where the truth lay. Cassidy immediately approached Karla and while she assured her that she never brought her name up – when she did – she could tell Cassidy wasn’t believing her. And then straight up turned on the waterworks to guilt her and ugh, it was iconic.
I. Love. Her.
Karla approached Jesse to get him help convince Cassidy she didn’t throw out her name and while he agreed, he instead went and confirmed Karla was coming for her. And just like that, Karla and Cassidy are now gunning for each other. For realsies.
The tribe met up with Probst for a reward challenge in teams of three, where someone would be strapped in a ball to guide two blindfolded players to navigate them through a course to a table maze. And then have to direct the still blindfolded people to solve the maze, with the first trio to finish getting to smash coffee and pastries at the Sanctuary. Aka a gazebo decked out with treats. Owen directed Cody and Karla into the earliest of leads while Cassidy desperately tried to keep Jesse and Gabler hot on their heels. Despite Owen getting his team to the puzzle with a massive lead, both teams managed to be working on the puzzle at the same time and it became a race to the finish with Owen, Karla and Cody winning the reward by a matter of seconds.
We followed the victors to said Sanctuary where they joyously smashed their reward, which instantly made Cody giddy. After dancing off the sugar, talk turned to the game with Karla feeling like she has a massive target on her back. She lied to the boys that she doesn’t even have the idol everyone thinks she does before turning on the tears to help convince them, lamenting how she has had a target on her back all season long. After going for a walk, the boys conferred that they finally think Karla doesn’t have an idol though they agreed that one of Karla or Cassidy has to go. And while Cody would prefer the latter, Owen still thinks Karla is the biggest threat.
Back at camp Gabler was proposing they lock in a final three, highlighting how you can’t really split Jesse and Cody or Cassidy and Karla’s game, and as such, both of them need to axe their allies to take out the win. They started to debate the merits of getting rid of both of them before Cassidy straight up told them about Karla’s idol. The two groups came together with Gabler quickly catching Cody up on the existence of said idol and while he was feeling good about Karla on reward, he is now sure that she needs to go next to ensure he is the only person in the final five with immunity.
The tribe met up with Probst again for the latest immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles to release numbers, which they would then use to release a key, which they then use to unlock puzzle pieces. And then, you guessed it, solve the puzzle! Cody got out to the earliest of leads with Cassidy nipping at his heels. While Jesse was at the end of the pack, he whipped through the numbers and darted out in front. Despite the excitement, everyone made it to the puzzle at the same time – obviously – as Cassidy started to inch out in front as Karla nipped at her heels despite the fact her hands were literally numb and cramping, which is honestly concerning. In any event, she tried to power through but it was all for nought as Cassidy slotted in the final piece just ahead of Cody and snagged herself immunity.
Back at camp Owen and Gabler lamented that Cassidy’s win was the worst case scenario for them, given the fact both Karla and Cody can be protected by their idols. Speaking of which, the duo caught up to admit they each have idols and locked in a plan to bluff about playing them to get people to flip the vote on to Gabler or Owen and then use their idol at the next tribal council. Both Gabler and Owen were fine to vote for the other as Karla locked in Cassidy. Sadly for Karla, Cody caught up with Owen to tell him it is all a ruse to get Karla to not play her idol so they can actually blindside her tonight. Which obviously worked for all the guys.
Except for Jesse, who knew that taking out Karla boosts Cody’s resume and not his.
Jesse pulled Owen aside to let him know that he is actually in possession of Cody’s idol and as such, they can actually use it on Owen to spook Karla into playing her idol, while actually taking out Cody, which essentially moves all the credit on to Jesse. That plan then whipped through camp before Cody and Karla decided to do show and tell with their idols, meaning Jesse was no longer in possession of the idol and all the plans could be thrown into disarray. But trust, Cody is still sure tonight will be the biggest blindside of the season. Which feels ominous. For him.
At tribal council Karla opened up about how her body is completely shutting down and how she is struggling with hunger and exhaustion. Cody meanwhile was bummed that he lost immunity by seconds, while Jesse pointed out that he and Karla are also safe given they have idols and they are going to be playing them tonight. Owen played up how nerve racking it is to know he could go home from just one vote, while Jesse admitted that while Cody and Karla could be bluffing, he feels he doesn’t have any power to call them on it. Cody agreed that he and Karla had spoken about the fact they planned to use their idols to keep going forward and decide who goes home, while one of the few without immunity, Gabler, was still confident he will be here tomorrow. Which lol, of course. Jesse meanwhile was worried about which plan would come together, while Owen admitted that he was just leaning into the school of Sandra and assuring everyone he will vote anyway, as long as he is safe.
Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.
Sadly for him, his was not the plan that came together as the tribe voted and Jesse played Cody’s idol for Owen, which instantly spooked Karla into playing hers while Cody had no way to protect himself. With that votes came in for Owen and Karla before the rest piled up on Cody and blindsided him from the game. Brutally. But entertaining as hell for us, obviously.
While I was living for the epic late-breaking move, I kept my joy to myself and instead focused on how sad I was that poor Cody was the victim. I mean, Cody would have been like a smart, strategic version of Fabio winning which TBH, is something I would have loved to have seen. Which was obviously more than enough to cheer him up post-boot, as I pulled him in for a hug and congratulated him on a game well played with the recipe of the season, a Cody Assenmars Bar.
While I’m always Team Snickers if I have to choose, a large portion of my heart is still dedicated to the Mars Bar. Melt in your mouth, all at once light and rich, this copycat bulks up the ratio of the filling and enhances all the joy. In my not-very-humble opinion.
Cody Assenmars Bar Serves: 12.
Ingredients 2 ¾ cup glucose syrup 3 ½ cups raw caster sugar 1 cup cream ½ cup milk 2 large egg whites 2 tsp vanilla extract ¾ cup water 1 tsp malt extract ½ cup cocoa powder, sifted 800g milk chocolate, melted
Method Kick things off by getting to work on your caramel, combining 1 cup of the glucose syrup, 1 ½ cups of raw caster sugar and the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat without stirring until it reaches 119C. Pour into a lined, heatproof 8x30cm dish and place it into a cold water bath. Leave to rest.
To make the nougat, combine the egg whites, ¼ cup glucose syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, and the remaining sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan with the water and malt extract. Pop the saucepan over low heat and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 116C. At that point, turn on the stand mixer and whip the whites on high speed. Once the saucepan hits 127C, remove from the heat and add into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Once it is gloriously thick, reduce to medium and add the cocoa powder and a quarter of the chocolate and beat until well combined. Remove and pour over the caramel and allow to cool completely before popping in the freezer to set for a few hours.
To assemble, cut the caramel and nougat into 12 equal bars. Dip each into the chocolate and place on a lined baking sheet to set for a further hour before devouring, gloriously.
Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls finally revealed their snatches as Ru tasked them with playing the Snatch Game. As is oft the case, there were many highlights alongside some shocking lowlights. Specifically Pixie and Danny who got stuck in their heads, despite being the leading comedy queens of the cast. On the flipside, Cheddar was hilarious and shone oh so brightly, while Jonbers and Dakota stamped their place in the competition with smart performances. And then Peppa was a mess while Le Fil was there like her very polite character. Ultimately Cheddar took out victory while Le Fil landed in the bottom opposite. Peppa, with sweet Le Fil exiting stage left after a delightfully wacky lip sync. Or right, TBH – I don’t know the difference.
Backstage the girls were reeling from Le Fil’s departure, with everyone missing her kind, fun ways. And her wild lip syncing skills. Danny praised Peppa on how much she killed the lip sync before everyone toasted how killer Cheddar was in Snatch Game. Danny opened up about how badly she got into her head before the game, though wisely she just laughed it off and was ready to slay another day. Talk turned to how strong they are as a top six, with Pixie shading Jonbers for coasting and Danny went for Peppa for being the best lip syncer. Which she iconically agreed that yeah, that is her skill so you best watch out.
The next day the dolls were giddy and excited to slay whatever Ru had to throw at her. Dakota meanwhile opened up about feeling lighter after getting past Snatch Game, hoping for this week’s challenge to be something more within her wheelhouse. Which obviously summoned Ru to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be doing makeovers on the crew. Specifically, the Queen Team aka their handlers and well, if this doesn’t give us the second coming of Wintergreen, I don’t want it. Despite how excited the dolls were to makeover their heroes. Ru introduced the six lovely women – Fleur, Gemma, Lucie, Mystique, Olivia and Wendy – before pairing them up with the queens alphabetically. As such Peppa got Fleur, Cheddar went to Gemma, Dakota was partnered with Lucie, Danny scored Mystique and Jonbers got Olivia, leaving Wendy and Pixie to become sisters.
With that Ru excited stage left – for the episode, no less – with Danny quizzing Mystique on her comfort levels and ugh, I love their vibe already. Dakota meanwhile almost broke down talking about how much Lucie means to her and how confident she is to kill the Schiffer-isation. Peppa was busy vowing to look after Fleur and turn things around and glam her up and while she was initially confident, Fleur’s aversion to heels had her bricking it. Cheddar was busy heaping Gemma with praise and seeing them giggle and vibe was just lovely. Particularly since Gemma was living for her new name, Brie Gorgeous. And then Jonbers and Olivia were just having a craic, while Pixie was giddy to have gotten the mother hen Wendy who was ready to go full glam. Though wanted to be called Hugh Jarsse, despite not wanting to be a King.
We ventured back to Danny where he was unveiling Mystique’s beard wig and well, to say she wasn’t vibing it is an understatement. While Pixie was getting Wendy working on her runway walk, Dakota was delighting Lucie with her gown. As Cheddar and Gemma continued to kiki, Raven dropped by to talk to the dolls about their concepts with Peppa sharing they would be going club kid leading to Raven reminding her to make sure the makeup is sharp and cuts through. Pixie and Wendy meanwhile had Raven giggling over her history of backstage bullock tucking and a general passion for heels. At funerals only. Cheddar and Gemma meanwhile delighted Raven with their energy, while Raven lived for Jonbers plan to clown it up, dishing out even more make-up tips.
Which coming from an Emmy winner is a real treat for the dolls!
Dakota and Lucie were super sweet and while Raven suggested they go with more drama in the make-up, I’m not sure their versions of drama are the same. Mystique meanwhile opened up about her reservations about wearing a beard on the runway and while Danny was happy to go with what she likes, Raven gave her a sweet pep talk and encouraged her to let go and embrace the concept of gender fuckery that is drag.
After Raven departed the dolls rallied around their new sisters and got them prepped with Cheddar corseting, Peppa training walks and Jonbers discovering Olivia has no idea how shoe sizing works. Mystique meanwhile was coming out of her shell after getting the padding on, living her best life and ugh, I love it. Oh and Pixie was just making a horror show of an outfit. Peppa and Fleur meanwhile bonded over their coming out journeys and ugh, I hate hearing how difficult it was for Peppa in the Caribbean, though I love how strong she is to have lived through that trauma and built such a beautiful life for herself.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls quickly getting to work on their sisters, with Danny still worried about whether Mystique would go with the beard. Peppa noticed she and Danny had similar concepts, but like the battle of the Blobbies, she was confident she would be coming out on top. Wendy meanwhile was reading Pixie – werk – while Cheddar was thrilled by how perfect Gemma’s skin was. Dakota continued to gush about how much she loves Lucie, before they bonded over the trauma of stereotyping and how they’ve come into their own when it comes to gender. While everyone was kinda just vibing, though Cheddar was nervous about it all playing out, given everyone was strong.
We transitioned to the mainstage where Michelle stepped in for Ru, Raven for Michelle and Graham for himself. Alongside Dorit and PK’s cash cow, Boy George. Jonbers Blonde and Nanu Noir opened the Drag Family Realness runway serving black and white mime perfection and ugh, I love them. Pixie Polite and Trixie Truelove were beautiful butterflies – despite Pixie making Trixie look older than she is – Danny convinced Mizzie Moustache to don the beard as they served pastel, mod glamazons and ugh, I love it. Cheddar and Brie Gorgeous were alien, ethereal glam and ugh, hand her the badge, this is perfection. Black and Chilli Peppa were connected by their hair and giving club, bondage cutesie before Dakota and Bridgette gave all the dolls in the valley.
The judges lived for Jonbers simple vibe and perfect presentation, though she was read for not serving any family resemblance. Pixie was read for her weak padding and make-up skills on her sister, despite slaying the performance and serving sisters. Danny meanwhile received universal praise from the colour and the looks to the resemblance, and hearing how Mystique felt all the love from Danny was just beautiful. Cheddar too was lavished in praise for everything she and Brie served, particularly for giving such rich, glam, artistic looks. Peppa was praised for the concept, though read for kind of stopping all the work at their waists before Dakota was praised for pushing her make-up to the next level, despite Michelle wanting her to give her even more.
Oh and then Michelle gave everyone in the Queen Team a RuPeter badge!
Backstage Jonbers didn’t immediately point out she was the only person in the room without a badge, instead Dakota toasted everyone on a job well done. Jonbers spoke about how confused she is about the critiques, not sure who will land in the bottom. Pixie pointed out that everyone else’s looks kind of spoke to who they are as drag queens, while Jonbers kinda didn’t tell them anything. While Cheddar tried to kindly explain her signature, Jonbers was having none of it while Pixie continued to just go in on her. Dakota opened up about how much fun she has been having, though was worried to potentially land in the bottom. Pixie meanwhile was ok with potentially landing in the bottom, while Peppa read her for filth – to us – for making Trixie look so damn fucking old. Before Danny toasted the Queen Team on giving them the best week of the competition.
Pixie was immediately put up for elimination before Danny was sent to safety with the highest of commendations, while Cheddar took out her third win of the season. Peppa joined them in safety before Jonbers narrowly joined them at the back of the stage, leaving Dakota to battle Pixie. And damn, did Dakota turn it OUT. As soon as Culture Club’s Miss Me Blind kicked off, she absolutely commanded the stage and hit every lyric and trill and ugh, I loved it. Pixie meanwhile gave camp drama however, and that appeared to be enough, as Dakota was tragically felled from the competition. As she and I sobbed, cursing Miselle for bungling her first chance in the main seat.
Backstage I pulled her in for a massive hug, putting down her silly elimination as nothing more than a gaggy exit for gaggy exit’s sake. Because from the makeover to the lip sync, she well and truly nailed the assignment this week (and honestly, shouldn’t have even landed in the bottom two). That being said, going out as a robbed queen is always better than overstaying your welcome. And that little factoid, alongside a sweet Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer were all it took to take away the bitterness of the elimination!
I don’t know if it is because I feel like it is healthier to eat piccolo cones, but these are essentially my new personality. Petite yet chunky, packed full of nuts and a sweet stuffed base – they are perfection.
Hazelnut Daconeta Schiffer Serves: 12.
Ingredients 1 cup shelled hazelnuts 600ml thickened cream 395g condensed milk 1 tbsp hazelnut liquor 1 tbsp vanilla extract 24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh 200g milk chocolate ¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
Method Start by blitzing the shelled hazelnuts in a high speed blender until a smooth paste is formed.
Combine the condensed milk, cream, liquor, vanilla and paste in a large bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium speed until the-softer-end-of-firm peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.
While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts before folding in the roasted hazelnuts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.