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Category Archives: Masterchef Australia

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 »

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le masterchef est mort, vive le masterchef!


OK.  Australian Masterchef.  If you have Watch TV.

A brief mourning followed the Olympics and a deeper mourning after the Paralympics so I was thrilled with the return of Celebrity Masterchef.  Any further sadness at CMC’s demise has been quelled by the start of OZ MC two weeks ago.  RESULT.  Does this mean my culinary comedown will be twice as bad in 10 weeks time?

For the uninitiated OZ MC is like the UK version on crack, as I explain here.

A tattoo loving, roller derby loving cook? Yes please!

Having missed the first week I was thrown into the deep end.  The final six contestants were chosen and off we went to the lovely house on the hill.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

hopped up on melonballs

So, the inevitable has happened.  Masterchef has found it’s Queen – it was a no-brainer as they say, but Tom gave it a good shot.  Now, I have to wake up each morning knowing there will be a Greg Wallace shaped hole in my life.  Probably for the best.

One thing to note: going cold turkey on UK MC is a cinch.  Once Masterchef Australia gets it’s needle in your veins (or should that be meat thermometer?) there is one hell of a withdrawal.

"Meat thermometer? Who stabs somebody with a meat thermometer?"

If you think you’re addicted to Masterchef, you may not be able to handle the Australian version.  Believe me.  This is culinary crack and goes a little something like this …

Read the rest of this entry »

 

mystery box

As an armchair critic of shows such as Masterchef (UK/Australia/New Zealand) I am often bemused at the contestants lack of knowledge with the culinary basics.

I am, at best, an average cook and I know I’m being harsh but once you get through the audition process and the screen tests you surely must practice, practice, practice. 

If you can’t make the perfect shortcrust pastry – KEEP TRYING!
If your first few attempts at pasta don’t make the grade – MAKE IT AGAIN AGAIN!
If your mayonnaise would fail to impress Monica – DO IT BETTER NEXT TIME!

Really!  I would make gnocci until they were beautiful, light pillows that melted in Greg’s massive gob.  I wouldn’t sleep unless my flatbread was fantastic nor my souffle superb.

Memorise the recipes.  Carsmile is the pastry king of Fanny Towers: “6oz flour, 3oz fat and about 6 big spoons of water” is the automatic response to my often asked question “how’d you make pastry again?”

If you know the basics inside out, you will go far.  As a little green fella once said: “Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained.”

 

 

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?