So the “real top 10” as Jessie calls it walk in for a mystery box challenge…honey don’t get me wrong, but there were 10 before you went through the chaos of the other day, then it went to 9 briefly and then back to 10.
Anyway George is going on about being pushed out of their comfort zone. They lift the lid and there’s a few weird sounds and poor Rose doesn’t get it, or what is in the box. Matt says it is a mystery mystery box. There are sugar ants, pheasant, sorghum, some Bolivian fruit which I didn’t really make sense of the name, a stringy Armenian cheese, Mexican cucumbers, some New Zealand fruit and something that is similar to cocoa. Righty-o…they’ve got no idea, but they have 60 minutes to cook along with the staples of flour, eggs, cream, butter etc.
Oh and George has only used a couple of the ingredients before himself, so even the tasting will be interesting. Poor Reynold can’t think of a dessert, so he’s going to use the pheasant, but doesn’t really know how to cook it.
Jessica decides to try and pop the sorghum and sets a fire into the pan and freaks herself out and the sorghum has then disappeared, Jessie has managed to make the sorghum into a popcorn like thing. Rose has decided to make ant praline…as you do.
Matt, Gary and George are worried about the people using pheasant as they’re not sure if they know how pheasant cooks. Then they check Reynold’s bench and they’re not at all impressed and the poor guy decides he has to start again…oh dear.
Jessica is all confused by the Armenian string cheese and she works in a cheese place, which makes things interesting, she was going to stuff it in the pheasant, then decides to see what happens when it is in a hot pan and amazingly it holds the stringy shape and Matt thinks it is genius. Billie decides to try and make an ant semifreddo, as you do, especially when you make a caramel and put ants in it.
Amy is desperate to be tried and all is going well until with 2 minutes to go she puts hot pan juices into her sauce and then it splits…oh honey. But there’s no time to make another sauce so she puts it on the side.
Tasting time…but all the contestants are busy gushing over each other’s plates before the judges even get a word in. First up is Billie with ant caramel parfait with popped sorghum and ant tuille and George loves how it is plated up and goes on about the black plate referencing the black ant… Matt loves the ant tuille as you can see the ants and Gary loves the whole dish.
Next up is Jessie with puffed sorghum parfait with ant praline and sour caramel and George thinks it is gorgeously good. Matt thinks it is clever with the bitterness of the dark caramel and he loves it.
Next tasted is…ad break after a build up of Matt saying they can’t wait to see the face of the person whose name they say…well we’ll have to wait a couple of minutes, but they flick between Amy, Jessica and Rose. Anyway they choose is Rose…and she’s slightly shocked because she thinks it is a simple tart. She made coffee flour tart with achacha (that’s the weird fruit I couldn’t get the name of) curd and ant praline and they can only say mmmm, mmmm, mmm and George tells her to eat some and she says it’s okay and he asks how can she say it is only okay and she says that it’s bloody delicious. Good thing she decided to put cream and not meringue on it, that seemed to be in her favour. Matt says it is the best thing she’s cooked in the competition.
The winner is Rose as Matt says it was a dish by stealth as it looked deceptively simple but was rather complex. So she’s got the advantage in the invention test and she’s off to the pantry with Gary and George. She gets to choose what they cook with, the style of cooking and time of cooking. The first choice is meat, poultry, eggs or dairy, whichever she chooses the other one goes out of the pantry. The second choice is European or Asian, same deal as before, the one not chosen leaves the pantry. The last choice is 30 minutes or 45 minutes. She chose meat, poultry and eggs, Asian and 45 minutes. Matt tells them there are no European ingredients and no dairy food available.
Jessie decides to go duck, Georgia decides to do chicken and sweet corn soup, but realises that she grabbed duck and runs gracefully back to the pantry with the duck…or she thinks she’s running gracefully. Sara’s doing a poached chicken breast with Chinese influences. Rose decided to choose Asian to force herself to be inventive as she’s not great with Asian cooking. She’s doing an Asian style Scotch egg and George asks her about how long she’s going to cook the egg…oh dear, now she’s all worried. Reynold is doing a beef rendang, which normally takes his dad 4 or 5 hours to make and he’s got the whole of 45 minutes…oh dear this could be fun. Matthew decides on doing a spicy Asian broth with beef dumplings, but he’s got 30 minutes left and the pressure cooker says exactly 30 minutes. Georgia is telling Gary and George about her soup and how she’s going to add a raw egg into the soup mix right at the end and how that’s her inventive part of the dish. Jessie tells Matt that she’s doing a duck breast in spicy caramel and when he tastes the caramel his eyes almost pop out of his head. Jessica’s doing a Japanese beef dish, which confuses Gary and George when she tells them about it. The judges get to Matthew with 20 minutes to go and tell him that he’s mad…honestly why set the pressure cooker with the exact amount of time left on the clock, why not set it for a few less minutes. Matt tastes Georgia’s stock and almost chokes on the amount of chilli in it…oh dear that’s not a good thing.
10 minutes to go and Reynold’s beef isn’t ready…oh dear. 5 minutes to go and Rose covers, crumbs and starts to fry her Scotch egg and then Matt gets in her ear…gee leave the poor love alone so she can cook. Sara manages to set a pan on fire, unintentionally of course and I have no idea why. Rose takes her Scotch egg out and it looks rather brown and dark on the outside, so she does another one with a couple of minutes to go. Matthew finally decides to give up on the dumpling idea with 5 minutes to go and he’s stressing no end. 3 minutes to go and poor Reynold’s beef still isn’t cooked properly, oh dear!!! Rose meanwhile had forgotten about her second Scotch egg and it’s just as brown as the first one.
Time is up…and the two boys, Matthew and Reynold are very disappointed with themselves. Tasting time…first up is Jessie with pan seared duck with bitter caramel and pickled daikon and they say it is very pretty, Gary says it is a great dish and he loves the caramel.
Next up is Rose with Thai style Scotch egg with mushrooms and dipping sauce and amazingly the egg is still runny when George cuts it open. Matt likes the subtle flavours in the Scotch egg, but doesn’t like them blown up in the sauce as it overpowers the Scotch egg.
Next up is Ashleigh with quail and it looks very pretty. Billie made beef with a Thai salad and poached egg and Matt likes it. Amy made poached chicken breast with Vietnamese herb salad and Gary loves it.
Then Georgia goes up with her bowl of soup and her other plates which include a raw egg that she adds in front of the judges and she’s nervous and she’s not seeing it setting or cooking and we go to an ad break as usual. George says he’s like Georgia and he’s not the best at Asian cooking and Gary says that the egg has made the texture of the soup go really odd…oh honey.
Jessica goes up with black sesame tare sirloin with spicy nori salt and wasabi relish. George says he tastes Japan when he tastes the dish. Matt says it looks great and it is nudging her into the top three.
Reynold goes up with beef rendang and Matt asks how long it normally takes his dad to cook it and Gary says the beef isn’t tender straight up and his only positive is that the garlic is crispy and George says it is a bad day in the kitchen for Reynold…oh honey.
Next up is Sara with poached chicken with black sesame paste and she put the poaching stock into cups so it’s is like a tea ceremony and George says that little touch is genius. All three judges love it and keep going back for more. Matt says she’s got to be in the top three and if she’s not he will eat George’s hat!!
Last up is Matthew who is very disappointed with his dish, beef in a beef broth, and he adds the broth to the bowl while in front of the judges and George says there is no way he himself could have done the dumplings in 45 minutes and he needs to be realistic.
Righty-o…decision time…or actually, ad break time. The top three are Sara, Jessie and Jessica. The bottom three and Gary says they didn’t have a moment of madness, they had 45 minutes of madness, they are Reynold, Matthew and Rose…gee Georgia is lucky.