Andrew Pucles Chips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the top eight fought it out for a car, with Dani taking out the reward but unwittingly cursed her own game. At the immunity challenge Hayley took out her first victory over queen Flick, much to the delight of Hayley. Everyone was finally realising that Cara and George only cared about each other, with Emmett trying to rally everyone together to target them. Thankfully Queen Cara found a hidden immunity idol which they were able to use as leverage to try and woo Wai and Hayley back to their side to boot the conveniently vulnerable Emmett. Which is exactly what they did, continuing George and Cara’s epic streak of somehow evading certain doom.

The next morning the dwindling tribe slowly started their day with Wai and Andrew catching up about her flip, with Wai explaining that she is simply at the point of voting to make it to the next step rather than joining with anyone per se. Hayley joined them to explain the flip, with Andrew annoyed by the fact they rightly made a move to better their place in the tribe given the alliance he wanted them to join left them at the bottom. George obviously arrived on the scene to make it awkward enough for them to stop the conversation, leading to Andrew catching up with Dani and bitch about the fact Hayley continues to flip every few votes, rather than brainstorming ways for them to move forward.

Speaking of hustlers trying to make their way to the end, George and Cara took a moment to celebrate their status as the underdogs and the fact that they have an idol in their back pocket to help propel them to the final two.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where they would break into two teams to release poles from a frame, cross a balance beam, retrieve sandbags, cross a mud pit and then add sacks to the end of their poles and shoot the sandbags into the sacks. First team to land three securing a massive Italian feast. Oh and the person that doesn’t compete gets to bet on who they think will win and joins them if they are correct. Andrew, Hayley and George were facing off against Flick, Dani and Wai, with Cara backing the girls to take out victory and score the four of them some food.

While the girls got out to an early lead, Hayley and the boys quickly managed to close the gap. Well, until George crossed the balance beam in a positively glacial pace and the girls pulled away again. Wai struggled over the mudpit, giving the other team the slightest of leads as they got to shooting their baskets. Sadly for them, Dani quickly got her eye in, landing two baskets before Andrew landed his first. Eventually Andrew closed the gap, leaving the teams desperately fighting for victory before Dani landed her final basket and sealed victory for the team.

And Cara.

Dani, Flick, Wai and a very lucky Cara arrived at their massive feast, delighted by the overwhelming smell of garlic. The girls toasted their success, with Dani quickly suggesting that they push for an all female final five and while Cara and Wai agreed that they want to see a girl win, me thinks they aren’t at the point of turning on George yet. Wai admitted that she has been playing it day by day and really only decided to get rid of Emmett on the way to tribal council. Dani told Wai that George had told them that Hayley and Wai were going to vote out the Brawns next, which Wai immediately denied. 

Dani then pushed for Cara to stop playing George’s game and instead make a move to get to the end. This fired Cara up who said that they are both making decisions and she is trying to temper the chaos that he loves. Though she did admit that she would turn on him, but only when it was at the point that she didn’t immediately become the next to go home. And given he is the only one that hasn’t lied to her, she needs to build trust with others before that will ever happen.

The next day George decided to dress up for the latest immunity challenge, while Cara, Hayley and George caught up by the fire. Cara admitted that she was confident with their trio, but was worried Wai would quickly flip on them should something spook her and as such, George needs to be quiet and listen to Wai when she floats plans and start relying on Hayley to help get the information to her. Wai joined them and explained that she would like to see Flick be the next one booted from the game, given she is protective of Andrew. Cara pointed out that that makes her and George vulnerable the further they move along the game, but didn’t push her point and wisely left Wai to talk through her logic.

Meanwhile Flick and Andrew were catching up about the Italian reward, with Flick explaining that she and Dani pushed to see whether anyone would be interested in getting rid of George. Flick explained that while Wai would easily flip, there is no way that Cara will follow along with any of them. Andrew reiterated that he doesn’t want to play for the others and the only way to break up George and Cara is to win immunity challenges and force their hands.

The tribe caught up with my love Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each hold a platform for themselves to stand on using a rope and ring above their heads. Last one standing taking out immunity, obvi. Bucking tradition, George didn’t drop within the first seconds of the challenge, instead Cara dropped after a few minutes with Wai just behind. After a long battle, George and Dani were the next to drop, leaving Hayley, Andrew and Flick to once again battle it out for immunity. After 90 minutes, Jonathan made the trio go down to holding the ring with only one hand which quickly took out Flick before Andrew dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley her second victory in a row.

Back at camp Andrew regretted his choice to go down to his left hand rather than his right before saltily suggesting the majority should instead be tending the fire rather than him and Dani. Speaking of the minority, they caught up to try and figure out who the majority would target with each of them listing compelling reasons why it would be them. As such, they locked in their votes for George and as such, Dani decided to try and flip Wai to help their cause.

Meanwhile George wanted to take out Andrew however was more concerned about doing something that would cause Wai to flip given he worried that would spell his doom. As such, he caught up with Hayley, Cara and Wai, talking about how Andrew just flipped out at him, suggesting that Wai is the most dangerous person and as such, needs to go. Surprisingly, Wai bought all of it and all of a sudden was less protective of Andrew, instead ready to join the others to vote him out.

The foursome split up, with Dani hunting for an idol before catching up with Wai and checking whether there is any point talking to her with Wai admitting that she is always open to talk, but she will also always be frank. Dani implored her to play her own game before they split up, with Wai admitting that she could ultimately go with either side, however going with George keeps a bigger target around.

Speaking of Geroge, he was eavesdropping on the minority trio and discovered that they haven’t had any success in finding the idol and as such, they’re good to go. Wai finally admitted to us that she doesn’t buy that Andrew was going to turn on her. As George praised Hayley for becoming the Queen of the tribe, Wai quietly looked on and really started to think voting out George would be best for her game. But TBH, she seemed like she was flip-flopping back and forth every few minutes.

At tribal council the tribe were surprised by a table with four urns sitting next to them which JLP explained would provide one of them safety once they are voted out. The catch being, they need to select the correct urn otherwise they’re booted for good. Hayley admitted that it is always nerve wracking to see someone come back after they were booted. Cara agreed that getting a second chance helps put a fire in your belly before George said that at this point in the game, you should just keep voting people out until it sticks. Dani opted to tell the majority alliance that they each need to start thinking about their individual games, unaware that sticking as a four for now – until say, top five – is the best option for all of them.

Andrew spoke about his nerves at the vote ahead, while Flick sold herself as a number that the majority alliance can use if and when it’s needed. Andrew played up George’s penchant for doing what is best for himself, though George admitted that even if he is the last man standing, there is no way he is a physical threat. Dani shadily said that once it is just him and the girls, they can come together and take him out then. George spoke about always feeling nervous, with everyone agreeing that only Hayley should actually feel ok. Wai shared that this tribal council doesn’t feel simple and easy for her and as such, anything could happen.

With that the tribe voted and George found himself becoming the last man standing as not only was Andrew booted but he also selected one of the unlucky urns and as such, officially exited the game and joined the jury. Given Andrew has been pretty even tempered throughout the entire game, despite being irritated by George, he took his boot in stride, with a big beaming smile.

Even when I smuggly made fire with a flint to prove that I am the ultimate survivalist, threatening to come for his gig. Given we’ve been friends for years – influencers and Youtubers go hand in hand, you know – he quickly told me I wouldn’t last a night in the wilderness without a bed or shower (so true) and as such, I should head into the kitchen and make us some Andrew Pucles Chips to smash while we catch up.

So, you know, I did.

Tangy and salty, crisp on the outside while gooey on the inside, these delights are oh so moreish. Though I do caution you, you will need a drink because these fried coins of perfection will make you thirsty. I recommended pairing with an icy IPA.

Enjoy!

Andrew Pucles Chips
Serves: 2 best mates.

Ingredients
vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dill pickles, sliced into coins and well drained

Method
These babies are pretty easy to make, so you can do everything all at once.

Start by heating 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat until it is about 180C.

Combine the flour, buttermilk, paprika, chilli, oregano and cayenne in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until smooth.

Pop half the pickles in the batter and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden and crisp. About a minute either side. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until all cooked.

Season with salt and serve with some Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie. Then, you know, devour.


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Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More importantly, how nice are the Brawn Queens?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Choc-Banana Dainini Tuiqeke
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brawn continued to take out victory after victory, with George sure that if he was put into a physical battle he could have changed their losing ways. That being said, he and Wai then single handedly took out immunity for the tribe earning their respect and saving George by the skin of his teeth. Back at camp, Janelle quickly became the target however for some reason Simon wanted Shannon gone instead. While he and the big guys targeted her, Janelle was having none of Emmett’s arrogance and instead tried to flip the vote on him. And while it failed and she found herself booted, she was still iconic and I love and miss her.

The next day the Brawn tribe were warming up by the fire and preparing to plan for the day ahead, while Simon was awkwardly trying to come to terms with the fact his plan is not the one that was executed. He then tried to dig his way out of the hole, putting it down to a simple miscounting situation. While Gavin quietly watched on as he and the rest of the alliance searched their minds for an answer before sharing with us that he booted Janelle because that was the last thing someone told him and as such, he thought it was the plan.

Flick, the other turncoat, was not unwitting and instead was glad to draw a line in the sand and save her friend Shannon, given she knows that going with the boys, she’d be forth at best. She was kiki-ing with Gerald and the girls and honestly, again, I love them all. Particularly since Flick was ready to take out a meathead at the very next opportunity.

Meanwhile over at casa de Brains, Laura was feeling her oats to have had the night off as the team woke up and enjoyed breakfast. That being said, she was starting to get desperate for a fire. Instead of focusing her energy on that, George suggested the group rest up so that they’re best placed to take out victory in the reward challenge and potentially win a flint. Rather than have their strongest player blister their hands and get weak. Given he has zero capital in the tribe, as soon as he disappeared the tribe got to work trying to start a fire. And given Andrew – aka not-Tommy Little – is a straight-up survival expert, I’m not actually sure why they haven’t had fire for the first five days. In any event, as George washed off in the water, Andrew and Baden started a roaring flame and just like that, the Brains are back in the game.

Well, the Brains minus George who was plum tuckered from his walk.

Dear, sweet Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would face off to hold a trough up the longest as the other tribe attempted to fill it with water and weigh it down. All for coffee, tea, sugar and Iced bloody Vovos. Rachel and Baden valiantly held it up for Brains as Daini and Gerald looked super chill and steady for the Brawn. Surprising Dr Mitch I assume, who was super shady about their brain power, Emmett and Simon lead the Brawn tribe to strategically fill the trough as quickly as possible and damn, Brains, you’re in danger. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a contest and once again, Brawn took out the reward giving them the most plush camp in Cloncurry.

Brawn were obviously overjoyed to return to camp to find their afternoon tea set-up, complete with a collage of photos of them with their loved ones. As everyone sobbed, Gerald popped the kettle on and whipped up their drinks before they settled in to talk about their families. Chelsea spoke about her close bond with her dad, Gerald opened up about his pride for his sister, Big D broke down in tears sharing how he and his mum had nothing growing up and her tenacity is what pushes him to work hard.

Kez felt like the reward brought everyone together before we learnt about her journey to becoming a bodybuilder after being bullied throughout school and ugh, I love Queen Kez and her lack of jumper so, so much. Particularly since she stumbled upon an idol clue while collecting sticks in front of everyone and like an icon, she quietly pocketed it and went to the bushes to learn where she needed to look.

Back over with the Brains, the tribe were feeling far from joyous but hey, at least they have fire? Oh and Andrew, who quickly dammed off their water and got to work deoxygenating the water to force the fish into the net and hot damn, they’ve got a bit of fight left in them as they’re heading into the immunity challenge.

Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race to solve a giant brain teaser to release a ring, which they would then use to climb a wall before crossing rope steps, knocking over a tower, then immediately rebuilding it on the end of a seesaw. Wai quickly took charge of the brainteaser for the Brains tribe, while the Brawn tribe just straight up struggled. Wai decided the Brains tribe needed a bit of muscle and despite George wanting in, Joey slotted in while Georgia tried to keep him calm. But thankfully for them, he was persistent and Baden finally listened and suggested the tribe switch him out and damn, George immediately solved the puzzle. As such, Brains quickly worked their way through the course and won the challenge, just as the Brawn tribe made it across the rope steps.

And once again, was George the hero of the challenge?!

The defeated Brawns returned to camp and while they appeared down, Flick was pretty pumped to be able to take a shot at Simon, Emmett and Gavin. She was already aligned with Shannon and Kez and as such, the girls got to work bringing in Gerald, Daini and Benny to form a majority alliance. Which they appeared to quickly secure with the vote locked in for Gavin. Shannon was excited to get her revenge on the boys and as such, suggested they talk up voting for Simon to throw the others off the scent.

Meanwhile Simon could see the writing on the wall and as such, got to work trying to flip Big D and take back the numbers and get rid of the eternally charming Shannon. And ugh, poor Big D, he was just feeling both anxious and spicy to find himself in the middle. Speaking of finding, Kez got nervous after witnessing Big D talking to the boys and instead turned her attention to the idol. Which she quickly found, the catch being that it was buried under a rock right in front of everyone in camp.

Unsure what to do, Kez enlisted Flick’s help, pulling her aside and sitting in front of the tomb to collect the idol. The catch being that since she didn’t pack enough clothes, she had to pretend to sunbake in the scorching sun until Flick rescued her and brought her some shoes to finally hide her idol in. And you best believe that she is willing to play it should she feel worried for her girls.

And given Big D is still unsure which side to go with, she just might have to. Particularly since he suggested they instead vote for Kez rather than Shannon and they all just folded to his preference. While Simon and Gavin were confident he was with them, Emmett was still nervous and well, I hate to agree with him but I am nervous. But for my girl Kez instead.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded them for being back so soon before Chelsea spoke about how hard it is to lose being so damn competitive. Shannon admitted that they overcomplicated the puzzle which ultimately cost them the challenge, while Simon doubled down on them voting out Janelle being the right move. Despite not actually voting that way. Kez coyly suggested that there is always a chance of a blindside and that she hopes this tribal council identifies the snake in the grass within their tribe. Emmett agreed that it is challenging trying to find your footing, though he knew who he was voting for and that is half the battle. Big D admitted that he naturally goes for people he vibes with, though in the game he will make his decisions based on strength for the tribe.

Immediately filling Kez with fear. 

Emmett was arrogant and cocky about his alliance having the numbers while Simon admitted that there can always be a spanner thrown in the works. That spanner usually being an idol. Big D suggested that the vote would be the one to draw a line in the sand, while Simon shared that he was shocked it wasn’t drawn sooner. Which immediately riled up both Queen Flick and Queen Kez, who said it was pretty obvious that Simon drew a line in the sand, but nobody else was that pigheaded. Essentially. Big D admitted that trust changes throughout the game, while Gavin and Dani were just wanting to prove loyalty.

With that the tribe voted and feeling nervous, Queen Kez pulled out her idol and played it for herself as the rival alliance looked like they were shitting their pants. That being said, it was unnecessary as Big D stuck with the good guys and Gavin was booted from the game by the new 6-person alliance. And ugh, he is so damn sweet it is almost hard to see him go.

As you know, I’m highly influential in the sporting world and as such, have known Gav for years and we’ve been the best of friends. We locked eyes with each other across loser lodge and I pulled him in for a hug, assuring him that being the third boot isn’t anything to sneeze at. Particularly when it comes with a side of sweet, sweet Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes.

I know, I know – you hear green tomatoes (which you’re inexplicable pronouncing tom-a-toes right now, aren’t you) and think, that is disgusting. But hear me out, because these are delicious. Salt, sweet and packing a kick of heat, they’re the perfect snack for whiling away an afternoon. Or processing post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes
Serves: 4 dear friends, two of which are obviously Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Ingredients
3 firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
⅓ buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup polenta
1 cup vegetable, canola or another appropriate frying oil

Method
Cut the tomatoes into 1cm slices, sprinkle with a good whack of salt and leave to rest on a chopping board for five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the flour and spices in one bowl with a good whack of pepper, the buttermilk and egg in another and the polenta in yet another.

Bring the oil to heat over medium heat and once nice and hot, dip the salted tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg wash followed by the polenta and into the oil three or four at a time. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further three minutes, or until golden and brown. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until down.

Serve piping hot with a bit of hot sauce and savour every bite.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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Jason Porkstein Chow Mein

Main, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, TV, TV Recap

After the longest, darkest off season Survivor is back. No not the Jiffy Pop brand of Survivor but a Survivor, and since Nico my love is super hot, you’re going to buckle in. Whether you like it or not, ok? Because this is Survivor SA.

We opened with my dear Nico, perilously close to a cliff face on the southern tip of Africa, filling me with fear and dread since we’ve all lived through enough in the last 18 months. I mean, that was worse than the Game of Thrones series finale. Anyway, my mood perked up when we met Tyson who is a babe and just like that, I love him. We followed him with Jason who is thrilled to have a homeground advantage being in SA, despite everyone having the same advantage. Though it turns out Amy kinda proved Jason may actually be correct, since she has no idea what to fear IN HER OWN COUNTRY.

Though maybe that is because in Australia, we just assume all bugs and snakes will kill you.

My hair twin Qieän was living for lady Rupert who we learnt is called Santoni. She in turn is scared by how built Marisha is and Anesu was intimidated by a shirtless old zaddy called Shaun. Nicole is looking forward to being underestimated, shirtless zaddy was shirtless so I didn’t absorb much information aside from his passion for backstabbing while sweet Pinty was pumped to be honest – no Queen Pinty. Nico then introduced us to the conceptImmunity Island which appears to be the same as Island of Secrets, which was fun and not overpowered, so I’ll let it slide.

Oh and Thoriso is ready to win, Wardah is ready to practice her mindfulness and Renier is excited to prove himself. And Tyson swung back around to tell us he will win. So I’m going to say he actually will win. As much as I love most of the cast.

The castaways finally joined Nico for an official welcome to the game where Santoni spoke about her weird and whimsical ways and damn, I love her. Tyson again reminded us he is here to win and again, I’ll listen. Until I realised Chappies was showing off his beautiful gams because now he has won something. My heart. Oh and Marisha the strong was charming and iconic, and I feel deep within my waters that I’m really going to enjoy her.

Nico explained that someone will head to Immunity Island after losing an immunity challenge. Once there they will be faced with a challenge offering them advantages and disadvantages. But that is all he was willing to share at this stage.

Nico instead announced that they would be split into two tribes based on random draw with Amy, Anela, Dino, Jason, Marisha, Nicole, Qieän, Renier, Shaun and Thoriso landing on Zamba and Vuna made up of Anesu, Carla, Chappies, Kiran, Mike, Pinty, Paul, Santoni, Tyson and Wardah. Nicole was thrilled to be on the tribe with buff queen Marisha, while Paul was annoyed to be the only buff guy on the weaker looking Vuna tribe. Though Anesu thinks orange is a colour of abundance and therefore, didn’t care. And now, I vote for her to win. Oh and Thoriso was annoyed to be with the buff squad while Amy was thrilled to be with them, as Wardah was loving the energetics of her tribe. And then Jason talked smack about his rivals’ chill ways.

But enough set-up, the tribes were immediately tasked with running into the jungle to grab as many supplies as possible in two minutes. Oh and to make things more complicated, there were two immunity necklaces for each tribe that are good for their first tribal. As they ran off Renier knew not to go for immunity and instead to look out for an advantage amongst the loot, while everyone ran around like mad for the fruit and snacks. While Dino it turns out, was the one to make a run for his tribe’s immunity necklace. And nobody from Vuna snagged one. Dino was thrilled to not become the first boot, though was nervous about what it could potentially mean for his game. Nico then announced that there was also a brown envelope with a tribe advantage in it, but the person had to reveal who they were to receive it. With Renier thrilling his tribe by the fact that he grabbed it, but I can’t help but feel the secrecy may come back to bite him. And you guessed it, I love him.

Particularly since Nico told them that Renier is a game player. Though he did win the tribe camp comfort supplies, so maybe they won’t worry too much.

With that the tribes grabbed their maps and headed off to their camps, ready to start the game. We first checked in with Zamba where Dino was apologising for grabbing the immunity necklace before the tribe went on a group trip through the jungle to get water and to get to know each other. Meanwhile at Vuna they was far more chill about things as they got to work and hanging as a pack, talking about not working too hard and just doing a temporary shelter to get them going. Chappies meanwhile was wooing me as he rubbed two sticks together in his undies to try and make fire.

We bounced back to Zamba where Renier was happy to let other people take a leadership role in the tribe and paint a target on their backs. And given how the tribe grew more and more frustrated as they attempted to build their shelter, Jason girl, you’re in trouble. Well other than Shaun and Qieän who were desperately searching through the supplies for a flint or an idol. Which Amy noticed and immediately reported to Renier, Dino, Jason and Anela. And all of them were thrilled to have a target on someone else’s back. Oh and during the conversation we learnt that Nicole and Marisha were also aligned, apparently.

At Vuna Pinty and Chappie waded in the shores and quickly aligned, Kiran and Anesu aligned in the shrubs due to attending the same university before Kiran roped Carla, Mike and Tyson into their alliance. Oh and Anesu was quick to align with Wardah, given they are both influencers and Wardah thinks Anesu should keep her career as a doctor secret. And then Wardah caught up with Tyson and aligned with him too as Chappies and Pinty tried to recruit Anseu. But let’s be honest the main take away is that everyone wants to align with Anesu. And who wouldn’t because she is now my winner’s pick.

That night Zamba were sleeping under their shelter on the ground while Vuna struggled to stay dry in the rain. Though Carla proved herself to be a damn icon and that truly matters to me.

Zamba woke up dry and comfortable on day two, ready to finish their shelter and make things more comfortable while Thoriso worried about getting herself up from the bottom of the totem pole. As such, she set her sights on Shaun and his brash lack of people skills and turning people against him.

Before she could get to that, treemail arrived tasking each tribe with sending one champion to go and battle creating fire using a flint, with the winner securing a fire making kit for their tribe. Chappies and Jason were each nominated, with Thoriso quickly surmising that by nominating Jason the tribe appear to trust him and as such, she had another target in her sights. In any event, Jason and Chappies joined Nico with the latter trying to intimidate Jason by pretending they already have fire. Which Jason rightly called bullshit on. But more importantly, I think they should date. In any event, both of the boys were quick to get a flame but Chappie ultimately smoked the competition and secured reward for his tribe.

Oh and then Nico gave them diplomatic immunity, meaning both of them now have the power to mutiny from their tribe after losing immunity but only before the merge. Which could be really interesting.

Back at camp Chappies was quick to share his victory with the tribe though wisely kept quiet about his power to defect, should he need it. While Mike pondered whether something else happened at the challenge, Chappies invoked Zaddy John and got naked and ran into the water as a dick-straction. So basically, I love Chappies and would die for him. Meanwhile at Zamba, Jason was heartbroken to have lost and he too kept his mouth shut about his immutinity. Queen Thoriso meanwhile was frustrated by the fact the loss won’t really change anything for Jason and right on cue, he wandered off to align with Shaun.

That night at Vuna, the tribe joyously gathered around fire and basked in the warmth and victory as they roasted their veggies.

The next day Nico returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would swim out to retrieve rope rungs from buoys before using them to build a rope ladder to get to a second level of a tower where they would need to solve a rope ladder puzzle and then venture to the top floor and wait wait wait, I’ve missed this, solve a puzzle. Renier got Zamba off to a slight lead over Chappies, which Paul quickly closed as Jason was felled by knots. Vuna continued to hold on to their lead, building their ladder while Zamba desperately tried to close the gap. Until Santoni struggled and the tribes became neck and neck. Zamba got their start on the second ladder first, getting to the final level while Vuna languished on the second. But then the puzzle happened, as Vuna smoked them and snatched the first immunity thanks to Queen Anesu. As Dino begged Paul to save him and send him to immunity island.

Sadly for him, the tribe went with my Queen Thoriso. Which is the only answer I was willing for them to make.

We followed Thoriso off to Immunity Island where she learnt that she had earned immunity for herself, as well as food, shelter and fire. But obviously there was a cost, where she could face a challenge for another advantage and risk losing her vote at the next tribal. Though if she doesn’t play, she has to return to the tribe and hand over the immunity necklace to someone else. Obviously she opted for the challenge and got digging in a sandpit to find a red ball within a couple of minutes, which she sadly failed at and ended up losing her vote.

Back at camp Shaun was annoyed by Dino trying to align with the other tribe while Amy languished over being the reason they lost the challenge. Dino acknowledged that he was trying to woo the other tribe and Rinna it (aka owning it) to his advantage. Thankfully for him, Amy, Nicole and Marisha didn’t care as they desperately wanted Qieän gone first and were willing to join him. Meanwhile Jason and Anela – aka Smash – were catching up about who best to target and focused on the scramblers, which made Jason nervous given he is aligned with Shaun. In fact, it made Jason so nervous while trying to protect Shaun that Anela started to think Jason needed to go. 

Shaun meanwhile was busy searching everywhere for the idol.

Renier joined Jason to talk plans and while they were aligned, Renier grew nervous about Jason’s unpredictability. And immediately got to work turning the vote on Jason. The girls quickly got on board, but only if Smash was willing to join them. Then Jason and Renier spoke to Dino about the vote, with Renier earning icon status by pointing at Jason to let Dino know to vote for him. While Jason was confused as to why he was holding his hand up the entire conversation. Meanwhile Shaun was desperately trying to get Anela to protect him, surmising that since nobody has given him a name, he is clearly the name. Which really upset Qieän, given it was a sign that she will be an early boot.

At tribal council Thoriso rejoined her tribe, completely unaware that even without immunity she would have been safe tonight. Shaun spoke about the nervousness caused by the backstabbing of the previous day as people were looking to build their alliances. Jason spoke about the beautiful friendships they are already forming, before Shaun cut in to tell them that friendship is nothing and they need strength to make it to the merge. Amy spoke about focusing on trust as her deciding factor while Shaun continued to try and cut in, this time talking about working hard and being above board with everything. With Anela cutting him off to point out the target was on his back because he was searching through the food for an advantage.

Shaun said he was actually trying to find bad fruit to dispose of it before it ruins the rest of their food. Shaun told them that if they felt he had an idol, they should have gone through his bags or at least asked him. Because that is how you build trust. Thoriso was thrilled to have immunity amongst such uncertainty, while Shaun pointed out that he would always be the target. And then instead opted to remind everyone that Dino is trying to build bonds with people on the other tribe. Thankfully that was brushed over as Thoriso was forced to announce that she doesn’t have a vote at tribal, which didn’t bother Jason because one vote doesn’t really matter should you have the numbers.

Which he tragically learnt he didn’t as he was blindsided – genuinely, I might add – as the first boot. Much to the shock and delight of Shaun, who didn’t receive a single vote. He was gutted but delightful, given he is such a babe and as such, I was thrilled to fill me, hard, to the brim with some Jason Porkstein Chow Mein.

Spicy, sticky and oh so sweet, these noodles are near perfection. A little bit of hit, full of fresh veggies and packed with my other other favourite white meat. Noodles and stir fry are always a winner, particularly if you’re the first boot.

Enjoy!

Jason Porkstein Chow Mein
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp minced ginger
¼ cup shao hsing
⅓ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g pork mince
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
400g tin baby corn
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 tbsp minced chilli
440g fresh chow mein noodles
1 cup wombok, sliced
4 shallots, sliced green

Method
Mix the garlic, ginger, shao hsing, oyster sauce, soy sauce and pepper together in a jug and leave to rest.

Place a wok over medium-high heat and add half the vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the mince until cooked through. Add half the sauce and cook until sticky and browned. Transfer to a bowl to cook.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add literally everything but the noodles, wombok and shallots. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and devour. Joyously. Because a Survivor is back and Jason is as gorgeous as a stir fry.


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Crunchwrap Supremme de Luxe

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

I have just finally seen the first episode of Drag Race España and while I may have come for Jon Kortajarena – I said what I said – but damn I am glad I went through countless quarantines to venture over for the dolls because they were fierce. I mean, ¡ qué divertido ! 

(And you know, the fact that it is available on Stan in Australia so I can watch along with the rest of the world. FYI, this is not an ad. For some reason nobody wants me endorsing their products).

But that is enough about the episode until next week – I have a new take on spoilers and not ruining things for people. Instead, I wanted to focus on the other non-Jon reason for months of quarantining – my dear friend Supremme de Luxe.

I’ve known Supremme for years and years after meeting in a Diana Ross & The Supremes message board on the AOL. Does that age me? 

Don’t answer that.

Anyway, we quickly became the best of friends – like a non-romantic You’ve Got Mail – and when I finally returned to Spain in the mid-aughts to reclaim my throne as Pedro Almodovar’s muse, we finally met and solidified our bond.

She gave me a call a few months before filming was due to commence and honestly, it kind of broke my heart.

“Hey Ben, I know you’re friends with Fred and Pangina too but couldn’t cover their franchises because of language barriers (read: laziness on my part) and lack of timely local broadcasts on a streaming service you have, but I’d really love it if you could find it in your heart to fit your dear friend Supremme into your schedule.

“Oh and Jon will be there, if you could fit him in.”

With that, I vowed to fit everything in and jumped the next plane to Spain and after weeks of quarantine measures, finally got to hold Supremme in my arms, celebrate the upcoming season and split a delightful Crunchwrap Supremme de Luxe.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that there is nothing better in life than a crunchwrap. Tragically both of the ‘Bells in Brisbane are in the outer suburbs and by the time I get them home, they delights are decidedly lacking in the crunch. Thus why I immediately jumped on the copycat train to experience them in all their crunchy glory as Supremme intended.

This riff on the fast food delight is super cheesy, super crunchy and packs a killer punch of chilli and well, let’s just say that this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

Crunchwrap Supremme de Luxe
Serves: 2 hungry besties, 4 normal people.

Ingredients
2 cups Chilli Con Kim Carnes
6 large tortillas
1 cup nacho cheese sauce
2 cups tortilla chips (because tostada shells aren’t readily available, and I love Téa Leoni)
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado, mashed
1-2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
vegetable oil, for brushin’

Method
Some may call me lazy, but after the pandemic travel and quarantining, I was exhausted upon my arrival in Barcelona and as such, went with the easiest version of the recipe possible.

Once you’ve done the mise en place – did you know je parle français aussi?! – get to work assembling by placing four large tortillas on a bench. Divide the beef mixture amongst them, followed by the cheese sauce, leaving an inch or two bare around the edge. Top with tortilla chips, sour cream, avo, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Split the remaining large tortillas and use to top the the filling before folding in the edges to create a tight disc. Flip over and leave to settle for five-ten minutes.

Once you’re confident they are closed – you should never be too confident – place a large frying pan over medium heat and once scorching, reduce to low and brush with vegetable oil. Carefully transfer a crunchwrap, seam side down, to the pan and fry for five minutes or so, or until nice and crunchy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is nice and melted. Repeat the process until done.

Then, obviously, devour.


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Jojo Zahohos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Side, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Simon were sent to exile beach before facing off to return to the game, with the queen of green grass and rain exiting the game for good. After Luke took out immunity, Simon once again found himself as the target with Abbey, Luke, Baden and Harry planning to send him out of the game again. JaQueen and Pia weren’t so keen on that idea however, trying to woo Simon and the Contenders to their side to take out Abbey instead. When it became obvious that their backs were against the wall and the plan was a bust, they joined the rest of the tribe to send Simon out of the game. Unanimously. Again.

The next day the tribe awoke to wish Pia a happy birthday before reminiscing about what she would normally do on her birthday. She then spoke about how hard the game has been and how much she has missed her family. She then wrestled with Harry to celebrate and vowed to overcome the overwhelming minority she has found herself in since Abbey flipped the script on her and JaQueen.

Abbey, Pia and Luke then went fishing together while the latter regaled us with tales of how far he has come in the game and most importantly, how proud of himself he is. He then welled up and honestly, swoon – he is too pure for this world. And that is before he even mentioned his daughter having cystic fibrosis. We then checked in with Harry who reiterated that he is a cockroach before he and Baden caught up to come up with their next plan, deciding to join with Pia and JaQueen at the next tribal council and take out Luke. Speaking of JaQueen she shared that she signed up for Survivor to challenge herself and honestly, she is just a bloody icon. She then reminded us that while she is now on the bottom of the tribe, she believes in herself and Pia to make it through. Speaking of Pia, she was still out fishing with Abbey and Luke, charming the shit out of them and looking for another in while JaQueen approached Baden who floated the idea of joining together to get rid of Luke.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where the castaways would need to untangle themselves from a rope that is looped over a log, crossing a balance beam, tossing sacks to release a key and unlocking themselves and, wait for it … solving a puzzle. Luke and Abbey got out to an early lead while Harry looked to be nearing a heartattack which honestly, is not something I want to witness on TV tonight. JaQueen started to chastise herself as Luke and Abbey started to navigate the balance beam, with the AFL champion snatching the lead. Well until Luke proved more adept at tossing sacks. Luke started solving his puzzle while Abbey tried to close the gap and the rest of the crew slowly made their way to the sack tossing portion of the game. Harry joined Abbey and Luke on the puzzle, with JaQueen and Baden soon following. While Harry desperately tried to close the gap, Luke started to panic before getting his eye in and snatching immunity for the third time.

And unwittingly blowing up everyone’s plans.

Back at camp Abbey was the only person that wasn’t completely bummed that Luke had won yet another immunity challenge. JaQueen quickly pulled Baden and Harry aside to flip the vote on Abbey instead, given she is the next biggest challenge threat. Sadly for her Harry was more interested in targeting her instead, so pulled Abbey aside with Baden to float booting JaQueen instead. The boys then mentioned that Janine and Pia had suggesting voting her out to try and seal the deal, however, that only seemed to make her less likely to join them. Abbey then took the intel back to Luke and mentioned that she caught the girls getting frustrated after he won immunity, and while they agreed they need to stick together, they weren’t sure which duo to side with. We then returned to JaQueen who told us that her and Pia have no intention of siding with Harry and that their plan is actually to reconnect with Luke and Abbey to get rid of Baden. Which everyone agreed on as he stumbled upon the scene.

At tribal council Harry spoke about the likelihood that a Champion will take out the game, though did vow to fight until the very end. Baden praised them for staying tight and holding firm on their Champion strong mantra. JaQueen spoke about how tight their group remains and how she wants one of them to take out the game. Preferably her. Harry tried to pitch that the Champions who feel most likely to be blindsided should join him and Baden to make a move first. Abbey spoke about the generic confusion of the game, unsure which side was telling her the truth and she should trust moving forward. Baden continued to point out that it is always better to make a move sooner rather than later, rather than regretting their choices from the jury. Luke and Abbey spoke about the safe option sometimes being the smartest.

Harry was disheartened, Pia mentioned that making a move at the wrong time was just as bad as not making one while Luke mentioned that the vote ahead will be straightforward and simple. With that the tribe voted and it turns out that the vote was straightforward for Luke and Abbey, as they flipped on Janine and Pia and sent the godmother from the game. While the tragedy of JaQueen exiting the game is something that I will carry with me for the next few months, I am grateful that we could honour her spirit with some Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries.

 

 

 

Now I know we’ve already experienced the majesty of haloumi fries in the Australian Survivor context – oh, hi Mark! – the addition of lemon and garlic is enough to give them a boost. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth in the centre and packing a major punch of garlic, these are proof that you can always do better. Which I imagine is what Janine would remind us in a killer inspirational speech.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries
Serves: 1 powerful CEO and her dear pal.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced plus 2 extra finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into long chip shapes and patted dry
vegetable oil, for fryin’
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine flour, garlic, dried oregano and chilli in a bowl.

Pour 2cm worthy of oil into a large pan and place over medium heat.

Once nice and hot, coat the haloumi in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and transfer to the oil to cook for a couple of minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until the haloumi is done.

To serve, combine fresh oregano, lemon zest and a good whack of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the hot chips. Squeeze some lemon juice and devour, hoping to work through the confusing trauma of losing one of our Queens at the hand of another.

 

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