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Category Archives: Australian

OzMC the Unending Ordeal*

*in a good sense

G&GIs OzMC the crucible for all the best MC trial-by-concept moves? The just-ended O/G MC (feat.Toad&Gregface) seemed oddly and anxiously in its shadow — with the introduction of Toad’s make-my-masterpiece test a hurried and blodged redux of a Gary&George move. Natalie is lovely and clearly a deserving winner — in a very strong amateur final three — but the series seemed skimped and hurried, with the cutaway-to-gurning factor higher than ever. Too much cheaty editing. JohnT seemed uncharacteristically stressed in the later stages, also (and Gregface more unwatchably over-parodic; all these tics he doesn’t really earn by DOING anything except eating and letching).**

Thing is, Gary&George (&Matt&Matt) give themselves so much generously longer, with their 90-mins masterclasses following the trials, and the endless succession of high-end cookery names cheerfully coming in to present the masterpieces to be there and then made at sight (and taste), and really almost none of them being as d!ckishly brittle as the worst sleb-chef guests on O/G MC. (I’m judging by 2011, which I’m currently watching on Really: it’s more than three months in, and we’ve just reached their final three. 2012 I haven’t seen.) Read the rest of this entry »

 

hey now you’re an all star get your game on, go play

So, during the ridiculous, TWOANDAHALFHOUR season finale of Masterchef Australia, I told Carsmile “so, apparently as well as a Celebrity version there’s an All Stars series like what Top Chef do!”.  A few minutes later, after the confetti fell and the credits rolled, what happened?  A trailer for the aforementioned All Stars Australia!

ROCK.  AND.  ROLL.

I’m familiar with the concept: former competitors return with previous years represented.  They take part in challenges in order to win money for a chosen charity.  As far as I can remember, where Top Chef All Stars differed is that winners do not compete – it’s a chance for those who failed to try one more time.  In this, the first All Stars for Masterchef, there are two previous champions (with the remaining one being absent due to telly commitments).

Masterchef Australia All Stars

Does it include the 2012 winner?  A little too soon, me thinks.

This was originally aired during the London 2012 Olympics for three weeks.  I think even me, with my love for all things Masterchef would have felt my enthusiasm flag.  As it was, I watched a few episodes here and there then abandoned the show only to return for the 90 minute finale.

Maybe I’m used to the Top Chef mentality where the contestants are already professional chefs and the competitiveness never wanes.  Back in Sydney, there’s a very relaxed atmosphere, a little too relaxed for my liking; laughs, silliness and what seems to me like faux shock and anguish at the thought of revisiting disaster dishes.  Take it seriously, guys! ;)

It also gave me the opportunity to savor the beauty and vastness of the MC kitchen along with the gorgeous house on the hill in which they live.  Season five will relocate from Alexandria with a new home yet to be decided.  Hopefully it will be Melbourne so when we eventually fly over for the comedy festival and a trip to Chris and Julia’s Josie Bones, I can say we’re in the home of Masterchef, yay!

 

whinging pomms

The nights are putting in but I still get my hit of glorious sunshine in the form of Australian Masterchef.  To make me feel at home this week the producers brought a little bit of Britain to Sydney.

Once a week George and Greg give an hour long masterclass.  They remind us of what was in the mystery box and make some helpful suggestions.  Occasionally a guest will appear through the huge MCK (as they call it) doors.  This week, as soon as Greg introduced the guest ‘chef’ as an ex-model, I knew Ms Pascale would sashay through the kitchen with a big smile towards her Kitchen Aid.

The contestants look thrilled as always (there MUST be times when they have no idea who the head chef or food critic is but they hide it well) and Beau looked particularly delighted to see her; Read the rest of this entry »

 

greece is the word

With lots of shows cued up on my telly box and the weather waaaay too hot for lil’ ol’ me I decided to have, not quite a marathon, more a fun run of a few of these summery episodes.

One that stood out, initially for good reasons, was ‘Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece’.  One of the myriad Australian shows on the Good Food Channel, this was a 13 part road trip across the Peloponnese for a mother and son.  We are introduced to Blair Milan as an actor and voice-over artist and his mother, Lyndey, a presenter and all round culinary expert.  The moment Blair speaks he is clearly an actor, handsome and confident, appearing in Home and Away among other shows.

They seem to have a great relationship and when they stop in Athens to visit the Agora Market to point at the goat heads, Lyndsey exclaims “having brought him up to be knowledgeable about food I was surprised at how squeamish Blair was – so I decided to make him eat some tripe soup!”  The gelatinous soup is served …

L: “It’s an acquired taste”
B: “Let’s see how acquired … :( it’s not the best thing I’ve put in my mouth!” Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

reader, i mangled him

James Reeson.  WHY?  Why are you relaxing on the sofa of your modern, Australian, open planned apartment in khaki shorts and baseball boots?  “Today I’m gonna make a chocolate filo fruit basket and a lovely oxtail soup – OOOH, they’re all so TASTY!”

The enthusiasm keeps coming, terrible jokes, and boring stories.  Heard the one about his dad living in the UK not being able to sell oxtail soup coz, yuck, oxtail’s GROSS?  He renamed it end of year soup instead and people started to order it!  Y’know, ‘end of year’ – you eat it in the winter and the tail is near the rear of the beast … [sigh] or something.

This is all meat and potato stuff – well, not literally.  This is similarly styled to Justine’s Everyday Gormet; home kitchen style studio, no messing around.  Unfortunately though James likes to mess around.  He flips his leeks in the air like Tom Cruise with a cocktail shaker and, in a particularly embarrassing bit, after peeling a cucumber into pretty ribbons he decides to lay one across his forehead to alleviate a headache then demonstrates how it “looks like a long TONGUE! :)”

FFS, James.  Get on with it.

The food itself (sorry, got a bit sidetracked there) seemed nice enough and not too difficult.  The standout dish was the lamb salad on a bed of cos lettuce (“why is it the best?  COS!”), tomatoes and the ribboned gourd.

It seems James is a local lad afterall, starting off in Bristol then hopping across the Channel to work in Paris.  Look, I’m sure he’s top bloke but I don’t think I can take any more tomfoolery, you dag.

 

 

TORODE! TORODE! TORODE!

On Saturday Kitchen’s Best Bites on Sunday there was a rare re-run of John Torode actually cooking something, a jammy beef rendang. The MC mask is off, he looks really relaxed, fires off gags, and his Australian accent is a lot more noticable (g’day!). Lovely knifework too (like all proper brigade chefs he can do that thing with an onion that drew blood from me the last time I tried it). The segment featured at least a couple of plugs for his book John Torode’s Beef, which has one of the most unattractive cookbook covers I have ever seen:

Image

“John. John? Heeeeyyy. Don’t worry about the hair. Can you sit on this throne (THRONE!) in stagey blackout and look a bit diffident? Then we’ll get the trainee designer to stick billion-point Machine all over the cover like it’s 1996 or something.” Weirdly, I went past the Dalston Oxfam shop on the bus yesterday and there was a copy in the window, his bored-puppy face watching the hipsters stroll by.

It seems to be pretty popular with Amazon buyers, if fairly sticking-to-the-knitting. Also, when I Googled for ‘john torode’s beef’, the first auto-complete was for ‘john torode’s wife’. The public have declared their real interests.

 

all tuckered out

I feel that part of my dietry requirements must be to watch all programmes on the Good Food channel.  At least once.

So next up, on a chilly Sunday evening, was Justine Schofield’s Everyday Gourmet.  Justine was a popular contestant on the first series of Masterchef Australia and her bright and breezy personality leaps through the echoey kitchen studio into the family homes throughout the country.

 

This is a fast paced, half hour show with Justine donning a new outfit for each recipe and the odd guest or two for company.  And a tin of tuna.  Many tins of tuna.  It’s kind of subtle at first but soon you’re being smacked round the head with tins of the stuff.  Did you know that tuna and pesto bruschetta is a very quick and cheap snack?  No, me neither.  In fact they love tuna so much that they repeat the quick snack recipes throughout the series.

After each recipe a caption appears giving details on servings, timing and cost.  One thing that intrigued me was that Justine did not sample her final dish.  She only eats when cooking with her guest (the WeightWatchers lady or previous Masterchef contestants).  I like this idea.  In fact, I’m going to write a separate post about it.

Justine also likes to display her wares on wooden chopping boards.  Don’t get me started on THAT ONE!  ;)

 

shouting larder, larder, larder

Anyone familiar with cookery shows will know the phrase “a quick meal made with everyday ingredients from your larder”.  Yeah, right.

Whilst watching Everyday Gourmet I heard this phrase and my groans were cut short by Justine’s mention of tinned tuna.  Yes, a tin of tuna.  I have one of those, I thought.  In my larder.  Bloody hell!  Justine went on to make fish croquettes with wasabi mayo.  I don’t have any wasabi, but you can’t win them all.

This made me think about my own attitude to what constitutes an ‘everyday’ ingredient and my initial snobbishness about using tinned fish.  Justine aims her programme at families, people on a budget or those short on time.  A seemingly far cry from Nigella’s luxurious pantry, the size of a small shed.

Ingredients will no doubt differ depending on: status (single, family, shared accommodation), location (city or rural), what you can afford etc. 

Masterchef Australia has a challenge that involves cooking a fine dining meal using everyday items from an everyday family’s cupboard.  No cinnamon infused sugar a la Nigella or a canister of liquid nitrogen that Heston surely keeps at home.  Frozen food, tinned fruits, biscuits and cereal were their ingredients.  Some successful results but many failures.

So, I wonder, what is the most random item in your larder and what is the most ridiculous thing declared an everyday ingredient by a TV chef?

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Australian, Masterchef Australia, Nigella Lawson

 
 
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