Cake making 

This past week I had to make 2 cakes, for 2 work colleagues birthdays, one day after another…of course they were busy nights the night before so they were made quite late, coming out of the oven at about 10:45pm on each night.

  
The first was a black and gold chocolate packet mix, topped with chocolate ganache, supermarket bought caramel popcorn and homemade almond praline.

Now I’ve never made almond praline before but it’s a lovely 10 minutes or so of stirring sugar until it melts and caramelises.

  
The second was a black and gold vanilla cake packet mix with a full fresh passion fruit added to the mix. It was topped with plain white icing and then on top I put a mixture of left over praline, freeze dried pineapple and freeze dried mango that I processed into a crumb.

  
 
  

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The Hotplate…elimination…Italian vs French

For the elimination we have Phillippe and Pascal up against Christina and Tania and Phillippe is feeling honoured as well as terrified about cooking for Guillaume…oh bless him.

The three ingredients they have to feature are pork, fennel and almonds and of course Christina knows nothing about fennel, oh he palate won’t be enjoying that and Tania’s freaking out about dessert after the salt saga from the last time that she cooked.

Christina’s off to a bad start cooking the entrée and cuts both thumbs while cutting fennel for a fennel puree.  With 1 minute to go they’re plating their barramundi and puree but dear Tania thinks the barramundi is mushy and the puree isn’t fine enough and is too lumpy.  Christina gets over the top and frantic and then tells Tania to shut up…ummmm mother dear are you seeing a pot or kettle anywhere???

Phillippe and Pascal are doing a salad that has black pudding amongst other things.

Entrée is served…Christina and Tania go in with their grilled barramundi and fennel puree with fennel and orange salad.  Phillippe and Pascal go in with Salade Paysanne with seasonal vegetables, black pudding and speck.  As for Christina and Tania’s dish, Tom liked the puree as did Guillaume, Lozz loved the whole dish.  Tom wasn’t keen on the fish…or in his words “it wasn’t awful, but it was slightly overcooked and not seasoned”…such a polite way of putting it.  Scott thinks it’s scary that the puree is the star of the dish and not the fish.  As for Phillippe and Pascal’s salad Marie loves it, while dear old Aron feels like a rabbit with all the salad and he can’t decide between two mediocre entrees.  Tom thinks it was “a very respectable offering”…oh sounds like he could be a royal.  Scott thinks it needed a bit of fine tuning.  Guillaume enjoyed it.

They start on main…Christina and Tania are doing crumbed pork chops with peperonata.  Tania’s going on about thinking of someone when she’s bashing the pork…mmmm I think mummy dearest is in the line.  Phillippe and Pascal are doing pork fillet with braised vegetables and mustard sauce and they’re sautéing some brussel sprouts, but they even separate the leaves…gee they’re getting fancy.  Tania’s crumbing the pork chops, but of course Christina carries on about being too busy to check them…which means she’ll have a sook later on.

Phillippe and Pascal get a go on the tart base for their dessert and get the base into the oven, while Christina’s screaming on Tania to “cook those porks,” Tania bless her has a good laugh and Christina puts oil into the pan that already has butter in it.  Pascal checks on the ice-cream and he’s worried because it’s really runny, but Phillippe’s not worried…until he says he doesn’t think it will set.  Pascal decides to have a crack at the anglaise and thinks he can do it better than his dad…oh bless him I hope he can.  Christian’s still screaming about the cutlets, Tania fries them and puts them in the oven…anything to shut her mother up.  Christina has already cooked the broccolini in water and now has them in a frypan…honey, it’s a green vegie, and it doesn’t need to be fried.  5 minutes to go and Phillippe and Pascal are plating, but they forgot about the brussel sprouts and speck until 2 minutes to go.  Now Christina wants the Italian flag on the plate…red from peperonata, white from the pork and green from the broccolini…oh honey seriously, it does not look spectacular to say the least, especially with the peperonata in a little dish on the plate.

The judges try Christina and Tania’s dish first…amazing with the other contestants old mate Aron loves it and dear Nols loves it.  Guillaume likes the pork cutlet and likes the peperonata, Tom thinks it worked, as for Scott he’s not keen on the broccolini, Tom shows that it looks overcooked and floppy, but it’s undercooked and crunchy.  They all try Phillippe and Pascal’s pork fillet and Emi can’t talk while muching on brussel sprounds, Nols can’t find any mustard in the sauce, Aron isn’t keen because it isn’t a whole meal.  Scott thinks it’s a bit too well cooked, only a minute or so…gee fussy.  Tom wanted more mustard in his “well behaved sauce” he wanted “naughty sauce” and poor Guillaume thinks the vegies are raw…oh no!!!

Time to focus on the dessert.  Phillippe and Pascal get onto the apples, until Pascal gets Phillippe focused on making frangipane cream and dear Pascal is worried that it’s grainy.  Christina and Tania get onto their dessert, Tania’s making a honey and almond mix, puts it in the oven and says “they’re looking good” and bless him the French flirt Pascal says “you’re looking good” and god love mother dearest who tells Tania to focus.  Old mate Arin’s worried about the frangipane tarts going in the oven with 20 minutes to go, he thinks they’ll take 30 minutes.  Christina gets onto flambéing some cherries…oh and of course they’re not fresh cherries.  Then Tania gets out the panna cotta to check them…and bless her they’re not set, back in the fridge they go.  Christina and Tania start to plate and Christina wants it to look refined…amazingly the panna cotta looks good and Christina is screaming that Tania is back…honey plate the damn food and stop screaming!!  Phillippe gets the tarts out with 4 minutes to go and he thinks they’re ready, Pascal says it they’re not right he’ll take his father to the guillotine…gee talk about stressful.  Oh no there’s a couple of wonky panna cottas going on for Christina and Tania, the last couple aren’t great.  Time is up and there’s a father son hug and a mother daughter hug…oh bless them.

Dessert is served.  Phillippe and Pascal serve their apple and frangipane tart with spiced anglaise and Christina and Tania serve their vanilla bean and almond panna cotta with honey almonds and amaretto cherries.  Phillippe and Pascal’s apple tart is tried first…oh dear Vanessa has raw apples and doesn’t like it at all, well honey you’re not keen on much.  Marie thinks it is delicious with the anglaise all over it.  Scott thinks it needed another 10 minutes, Tom wanted it more cooked, his apple was raw.  Guillaume likes the “sashimi style apple” because it brings tartness…bless him he’s a tad nice.  Time to try the panna cotta and Tom wobbles the plate around to see what it’s like, then we see all manner of weird facial expressions.  Marie enjoys the panna cotta as does Nols.  Vanessa bless her wants wetter cherries and Aron thinks it’s boring and doesn’t know who he would score higher.  Guillaume thinks it’s work in progress, Tom says it’s not quite right and starting to sag, but tastes nice and likes the honey almonds.  Guillaume is worried about the dried cherries and why they used fruit that’s not in season.  Scott thinks neither dessert is perfect.

Decision time…Scott says Phillippe and Pascal’s entrée was a perfect start to the evening, Guillaume says the barramundi wasn’t great because of the flour on it and Christina’s guttered of course.  Pascal is guttered when Guillaume says that their vegies were raw in their main.  Tom says that he loved Christina and Tania’s pork and Tania has a teary bless her…for a non-cook she’s going great!!  Scott talks about the tart and says it needed longer and Tom gushes over the crème anglaise…oh look Pascal’s doing well for a non-cook as well.

Tom says that it was really close, but one team showed more technique and all three judges agreed…and we go to an ad break of course.  Finally we hear that the best dinner was served by Phillippe and Pascal and both Phillippe and Pascal have a teary as does poor Tania.  Then Christina says that she’s very proud of her daughter…and Tania’s stoked hearing that.  Scott then says that they’ll miss Christina’s palate and they all laugh…oh that damn palate.

The four remaining teams are in the final round.  They get told they’re relaunching their new look restaurant for 30 diners arriving at the same time, oh and their staff are back to help them.  The top two teams will compete in the grand final for $100,000 and Emi and Marie are up first.

The Hotplate…time for a French revolution

We’re off to Chez Pascal with Phillippe and Pascal and they’re all set to do the makeover, oh dear, I’m worried about what will happen and bless him Phillippe is scared about what will happen because it’s looked the same for 29 years.  Oh Phillippe, take a deep breath and enjoy the experience.  They’re going to reupholster the chairs, redo the carpets and the mural is being taken down and both Phillippe and Pascal are a bit emotional about that…oh bless them both.  Phillippe has a teary and Pascal almost cries, it’s the first time he’s seen Phillippe cry, oh honey you need a hug, good thing your son is there to do it.  Then they get new cutlery, crockery and glasses.  Phillippe even admits that he didn’t think it would look that beautiful, but it looks really beautiful…oh Phillippe you are wonderful!!

Scott turns up with the box of food…he’s got ocean trout for the entrée and he wants the fish to be the star.   He wants braised lamb neck for main with a sexy new twist.  Then for dessert he has chestnuts and wants a modernised version of Gateau Mont Blanc, which is a chestnut cake.  Now Phillippe says he hasn’t changed the menu since 1986…oh heck.  Phillippe decides to confit the ocean trout for entrée to be served with pickled vegetables.  For main they’re doing lamb navarin, which is a traditional rustic lamb casserole.  He decides to do a white chocolate and celery sauce with the dessert…what the???  There are no other words.

Scott and Tom arrive and Tom’s first word is “sexy.”  Then both he and Scott think it looks a lot fresher and now has Pascal in it as well as Phillippe.  The others arrive and everyone except Aron and Vanessa think it looks great.  Aron and Vanessa think they haven’t done enough.  Phillippe welcomes them and starts having a teary, next thing you know Christina’s having a teary and so is Nols, oh ladies he needs a hug.

Phillippe goes and checks the fish, but the oil is at 64 degrees, but it should be at 55 degrees…oh heck, that’s a worry.  Nols had no idea what confit meant and Lozz explained it to her and it’s all good until Scott says it might be rare of medium rare and asks Lozz how she’ll go with it, mate have you not learnt.  Christina’s palate is in love thinking about the fish…back in the kitchen the oil is at 80 degrees and Pascal’s worried, but Phillippe says he’s watching it…holy heck…I’m worried.  They take it out and Pascal thinks it looks overcooked, Phillippe thinks it looks fine though and they start debating between themselves.  They start the fish over again and Phillippe decides to do it in the oven and not on the stove like before, but he’s never done it in the oven…hooley dooley honestly now’s not the time to make lots of changes.  Aron’s going on about how long it’s taking and Tania thinks he’s gone to catch the fish and poor Christina is starving.  Thankfully Phillippe is happy with how the second lot looks and is laughing up a storm in the kitchen.  Tania thinks it looks amazing and she can see Pascal’s influence and bless Pascal when he says “Nollsy baby would you like one that is a little bit more cooked?” such a sweetheart.  But then Nols realises she’s the only one that can cut into their fish, the others have raw fish.  Christina’s palate is struggling, along with her eyes, but she’s downing wine with each mouthful, or lack of mouthful and of course it’s not to her palate.  Scott says it looked fantastic, but his trout was raw.  Tom says it was fine as sashimi, but not as a confit trout…oh bless him, such a polite way to say it.

They get onto the main and Pascal is worried about the potatoes as they’re meant to be crispy and he doesn’t get how they’re crispy and he’s not sure about the plating, he doesn’t want it to be meat and 5 vegetables, he’s on Phillippe’s back about his vision with plating…honestly Pascal it is casserole, you can’t make it look really pretty.  Pascal tells Phillippe not to put too much sauce because Scott said not to focus on the sauce, oh well that doesn’t stop Phillippe, he puts plenty of sauce.  Oh course Aron has his negative Nancy pants on again and says there’s nothing modern about it, I feel like saying if you can’t say something nice, say nothing.  Emi and Marie are concerned about the potato because the menu says crispy potato and it’s not crispy.  Poor Vanessa says she hasn’t been to a restaurant in ages that serves peas on the plate….honey come to the country, you’ll get them every day of the damn week.  Phillippe and Pascal think the dish will redeem their entrée mistakes.  Scott says he asked them to reinvent the dish, it was cooked perfectly, but it wasn’t a new modern, twist, it was the old Phillippe.  Tom mentions the non-crispy, lumpy mashed potato and it was a great dish but had no wow factor…oh dear.

Marie says it is her favourite dessert and one she always gets when she goes to Japan which confuses Christina’s palate no end, until she calls it Chateau Mont Blanc and everyone laughs and she has no idea why and Pascal says the others are laughing at him and Phillippe…oh mate, nothing of the kind.  Then they try doing chestnut puree noodles and they look a bit wrong if you ask me and Pascal’s worried and confused and it’s not a great look for him.  Then Phillippe releases he didn’t cook the chestnuts in the sugar syrup which didn’t make them smooth…oh dear.  Plan B comes into play.  Then they put the white chocolate and celery sauce on the plate and then get onto the spun sugar which looks pretty, but it is a very small dessert.  Tania’s all set to wear the spun sugar as a fascinator for Melbourne Cup…how does one respond to a comment like that????  Aron thinks that can’t be what the dish is meant to taste like and honestly I hope the wind doesn’t change given his facial expressions.  Thankfully Pascal thinks the comments on dessert won’t be great.  Scott says the dessert was a miss, not a hit, but he liked the celery and white chocolate sauce and the Mont Blanc was like an avalanche.  Tom thinks it wasn’t great, but it’s important that Phillippe and Pascal are still smiling at the end of the night.  Phillippe apologises because of his disastrous night, oh honey you’re a rad too sweet and Christina is all set to have a teary for him as is Lozz.

Scores… Lozz and Nols score them 4/10.  Christina and Tania give them 4/10.  Emi and Marie score them 4/10.  Aron and Vanessa give them 4/10.  They get 16/40 from the other teams.  Tom scores them 13/30.  Scott scores them 14/30.  They end up with 43/100 putting them in bottom place so far after three teams cooking and Pascal thinks it was a generous score given their night.  Emi and Marie are next.

The Hotplate…Wings and Finns…no it’s now Wings and Fins

We’re back to Wings and Finns, Lozz and Nols restaurant at Tooradin airports and they’ve got the $20,000 and 72 hours to do the makeover and thankfully they decide to remove the second N from Finns first.  So it’s now Wings and Fins with Fins spelt correctly.

They’re making a 5m bi-fold door to open the restaurant up to the views and they’re giving it a more beachy view.  They’re planning to put a huge propeller in the restaurant and it hasn’t arrived and is apparently 3 days away…well that’s no good.  Then of course it starts pouring down rain, oh Nols, however will you cope with the rain???

Thankfully we skip from day one to day three and of course there’s no propeller so far and they haven’t put in the bi-fold door yet, but it is sunny.  They’ve even got new plates and glasses and then of course the propeller finally arrives.

Scott arrives at the restaurant with a box of food and tells them they have to use the crayfish shell and make a crayfish bisque for the entrée.  For main course they have to use a garfish and Lozz isn’t keen on that because of how small they are, but he says that not everyone who goes to the restaurant can afford a huge crayfish.  For dessert he wants them to use quinces, which Lozz hasn’t touched before in her life, I’m hearing you girl, neither have I.

90 minutes until the others arrive…they decide to do a crayfish bisque with prawn ravioli for entrée, scallop stuffed garfish with okra and beans for main and poached quince and cheese board for dessert.  Lozz gets the bisque on and gets onto the pasta dough and adds some parsley to the dough.  Nols gets the quinces peeled and into the pot to cook, then goes to stir the bisque pot and a crayfish shell goes flying into the heat.

An hour to go and Lozz is onto filleting and deboning the garfish, honestly why did he chose those fish???  Then she stuffs the fish with scallops and wraps them in prosciutto.

Nols starts making mixture for a tuille, but it is all lumpy, which annoys the heck out of Lozz…oh well time to start over again.  Then Lozz puts the bisque into the blender to crush up the shell and it gets everywhere, all over her and Nols and all over the tuille mix…tuille mix number three coming up with 10 minutes to go.

Scott and Tom arrive and notice the new sign straight up and the put the tuille into the oven as the 90 minutes is up and they head into the restaurant just as the judges walk in and Tom’s comment is “wow!”  Scott thinks it’s a light wonderful space and Tom’s going on about every last thing, even the cutlery and how much better it all looks and of course they think the propeller is impressive, I’m not sure about Tom calling it handsome though, I mean really it’s a propeller!!!

God bless Aron for his cockiness straight up, saying that the makeover won’t threaten him and Vanessa, it’s only based on the kitchen, but then goes on about how they should have gotten wine glasses…gee mate, jump around much.  But everyone loves how amazing the place looks.  Then they hear the menu and they’re rather impressed and say it’s a step up from the first time they were there.

They get onto the pasta, Lozz rolls it and Nols helps to fill it, then Lozz seals them and cooks them.  Nols gets to fry the leek and it all confused about when to put salt and pepper on them, oh hell, she is so not a cook.  Lozz starts stressing about is the pasta cooked and Nols gets all flustered getting a plate to put one on so they can test it, the poor love is running everywhere around the kitchen.  The dish looks great and Lozz has included every part of the crayfish in the bisque.

Of course it is a small portion size for Aron, the raviolo isn’t filled enough with him and dear of Christina is busy taking a sniff of the bisque, and another sniff and another sniff…honey no need to raise the bowl to your nose.  Vanessa says the dish has absolutely no flavour and Emi says it is strong in flavour…okay I’m confused.  Tania isn’t disappointed with losing her bisque virginity and Pascal thinks you should only use your virginity to a Frenchmen, while Phillippe wouldn’t have sent the bisque out.  Scott loves that they made the pasta themselves, but wanted more filling, he’s channelling Aron for a moment.  Tom thinks a bisque should be filthy and over the top, while what he ate was like a fish soup and was a mermaid’s sigh and not Neptune’s roar.

Tom asks Christina about garfish and she says she’s a lazy eater so doesn’t normally eat it or buy it because of how many bones are in it…oh heck honey, there is no suitable response.  While Vanessa’s never had okra.  Then Lozz makes a sauce with capsicum, tomato and adds tabasco sauce to it and it’s got a bit too much kick for dear Nols, but she knows she’s not feeding her palate.  The dish looks lovely.  Emi says “wow”, god bless her, she’s just so nice.  Marie likes the fish, but isn’t keen on the stuffing.  Phillippe thinks the fish was magnificent.  Aron’s having a sook about it being a boring dish that doesn’t tie together.  Tania loved it, but dear Christina had a couple of bones and scales and that wasn’t to her lazy palate.  Tom goes on about each component of the dish, he loved the fish, he loved the okra, but wanted more punch in the sauce to make it a superb dish.  Scott thankfully got no bones and liked all the components, but thinks it wasn’t cohesive.

They get onto dessert with poached quince, quince chutney, blue cheese shortbread, almond tuille, mascarpone, ricotta and vanilla creme anglaise.  Of course Aron thinks it doesn’t sounds fancy enough because the dish says quince and cheese board…just wait until you see the plate mate.  Lozz is making the creme anglaise and of course the gas is off…oh honey focus on the cooking.  Christina’s palate doesn’t just want biccies and a quince chutney.  Back in the kitchen they’re going on about the tuille and Nols is sure she did pistachio and not almond…oh dear.  Now poor Lozz can’t find the fine sieve to strain the creme anglaise, honestly where do people hide things in these kitchens???  Lozz thinks the dishes look spectacular.  Aron thinks the dish has everything except the kitchen sink…negative Nancy is calling darling she wants her negative pants back.  Poor Pascal is confused about the creme anglaise and Aron thinks it is all condiments and is a big mess.  Emi thinks it was sophisticated and is better than Aron’s deconstructed lamington.  Phillippe goes on about how much he hates when people do dishes like that and thinks it is terrible and our dear Christina thinks he was over the top.  Lozz thinks it was the best dish she’s done tonight…oh honey, I’m worried for you.  Tom says the quince was poached perfectly and asks how it should have been eaten, then says he respects them for leaving the comfort zone, but he doesn’t get it.  Scott asks how they felt about the dish and says it’s great that the respected what they did and that the dish is going to be controversial…you don’t say mate.  He loved each bit, but didn’t get it all together and Nols says she’s standing by it and Lozz gets all teary…honey, honey, honey, you did well.  Tom says Lozz’s technical skills aren’t in doubt, Scott comments that each dish is getting better and better.

Scores…Christina and Tania give them 6.  Emi and Marie score them 5.  Phillippe and Pascal give them 5.  Aron and Vanessa score them 6.  So they 22/40 from the other teams.  Tom scores them 17/30 and Scott scores them 18/30.  Their total score is 57/100 and they’re in 2nd place.

The Hotplate…transformation time

So I got to watch the last episode while I was in Sydney, more on that later, and as annoying as Conrad and Liam are, I’m actually a bit sad they’re gone because they bring a lot of personality to the competition.

Anyhow, we’re onto the next round where the teams get $20,000 and 72 hours to renovate their restaurant and have a menu makeover, then they cook again.  Aron and Vanessa are up first, they’re making the restaurant lighter and brighter.  Aron’s stressing through the makeover, while Vanessa’s all cool and calm.

Now it’s time for the menu makeover and Scott front’s up to the restaurant with a box full of food.  Scott says him and Tom want sophisticated version of classic Australian dishes.  They want a chicken pie for entrée, surf and turf for main with Balmain bugs and eye fillet and a modern lamington for dessert and they’ve got 90 minutes.  They decide on a chicken and shitake pie for main, then an Italian style surf and turn and a deconstructed lamington for dessert.

Oh bless him, during the preparation Aron gets a cramp and Vanessa is definitely not too worried about it and tells him to have a baby and then see what pain is like, oh honey you’ve got no chance of sympathy.

They start on the lamington and they’re doing a pannacotta, sorbet, jam and goodness knows what else, I’m not too sure about the sound of it, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.

Aron gets the pies done and Vanessa thinks they look like boobs, oh heck, now I’m worried.  Then Aron decides to try different ways with the bugs and the judges are arriving in 6 minutes, gee mate, get a wriggle on.

Time is up and they haven’t even set the table…plus the judges are strolling down the street and Tom’s got his pink socks on again.  The judges say “wow” as they enter the restaurant and Scott thinks it feels modern, alive and contemporary.  The other contestants arrive and Phillippe likes the look of it, he thinks it looks spunky and the makeover is to Christina’s palate…oh bless her and her palate.  Marie says how she hated the leopard print before and gets the evil eye from Tania, so she says she hated it on the chairs…well Christina and Tania weren’t liking that one little bit.

Tom strolls into the kitchen and asks about the pie and says it’s a risk putting the raw chicken into the uncooked pastry…oh well too late now, can’t go back and change things.

Christina’s not keen on the idea of pie as an entrée at a sophisticated restaurant, and bless Lozz and Nols as they came from a pie shop before getting the lobster restaurant, but Nols isn’t sure about the tamarind sauce as she’s never had it before, but the pie is being served with a tamarind caramel sauce.  Thankfully Aron and Vanessa decide to get a pie out to check if it is cooked, but they’re not 100% sure, so put them back in the oven for a couple more minutes.  Oh dear Nols isn’t keen that the pie is dry and says that Aron’s failed, but then says that it tasted delicious.  Pascal bless him says that the pie is like a little B cup boob.  Christina’s palate thankfully liked the pie and Tania thinks it’s the most exciting pie she’s ever had.  Scott says the pie was sensational and perfectly cooked and the tamarind sauce took away the dryness of the filling.  Tom says they’ve nailed flavours and may be the team to beat.

For the main Aron rattles off a list of different components for the dish, holy heck there’s about 8 different things on the plate.  Aron cuts the steak ready for the plates, but puts a piece back on the grill for Nols, mind you she doesn’t think she’ll get a well done steak.  Then Aron plates up a well done steak for Nols but covers it in the jus because he doesn’t like how it looks.  They take out the main, prosciutto wrapped beef fillet with Balmain bug and Pascal thinks it looks like a restaurant refined surf and turf and Nols is ecstatic about her well done steak, until she cuts into it and it’s still a bit pink for her.  Emi wants more bug on her plate, she’s not happy with only half a bug.  Christina and Tania think it’s too safe, as does Emi.  Tom says the steak and bug were cooked beautifully and the jus was good, but he didn’t know why it was there because it took over the garlic butter and everything else.  Scott wanted wow factor, but couldn’t find it and he definitely looked for it.

Dessert time…oh dear, Aron’s stressed about the sorbet because they haven’t gone near it since they put it in the freezer and Vanessa thinks it is too coconutty…oh honey, it is a lamington after all.  Amazingly the jam set.  They get onto the sponge by microwaving it in a takeaway coffee cup for 40 seconds, because apparently that’s how top chef’s do it…ummmm okay, whatever you say.

Now we find out that Phillippe has never had a lamington in his whole life…the others are in shock.  Mate you’re in for a rude shock when you see what they’re doing.  Oh dear they start with a chocolate smear on the plate with some coconut, then the sponge crumbed and guess what Marie guesses that’s what they’re going to do, I’m thinking it won’t be to Christina’s palate as she doesn’t like deconstructed things.  Aron tries to get the pannacotta out and we go to an ad break, because of course they need to build the drama.  Oh look they’re perfect, so much for building drama and Aron says they’re like boobs, so the others got boobs for entrée and for dessert, so they got a pair, are you kidding???  Then he isn’t happy that Vanessa smears a bit of jam…mate I wouldn’t be annoying her right now, just get the food out there.

Christina thinks it looks like a big mess and wants to know where the lamington is, Nols is the same, and she wants to know where it is as well and hopes it tastes like a lamington.  Vanessa thinks the others look blown away…ummm no, they’re in shock, not blown away.  Christina thinks it is clever but she’s not sure.  Emi and Marie are confused by the smear as Aron said if you can’t eat it don’t put it on the plate and they can’t get the smear off the plate…then again Marie can’t say “you have to walk the walk and talk the talk.”  The others mostly enjoy the dish, but don’t think it is a lamington.  Tom says it look sophisticated and sexy, but doesn’t like a smear that you can’t eat…ummmmm he’s channelling Marie and that the dish was fun and clever.  Scott says it is a dish he would come back for again and again and again, yes we get the hint.

Scoring time…and Tom says that the other teams all have to score directly to the hosting team and the other contestants are all shocked…as they should be!!!  The teams score out of 10 and Tom and Scott score out of 30 each giving the total score out of 100.  Phillippe and Pascal give them 7/10.  Emi and Marie give them 7/10.  Christina and Tania give them 7/10 after saying they don’t normally score high.  Lozz and Nols score them 9/10, which Christina doesn’t agree with.  So they got 30/40 from the others.  Tom scores them 24/30 and Scott scores them 23/30.  Their total score is 77/100.

Next up is Lozz and Nols.

The Hotplate…Japanese

Turns out we may only get two more episode of this show seeing as Channel 7 has taken Channel 9 to court over it being too much like MKR…please, there are a few slight differences, they actually own proper restaurants, plus has Channel 7 watched it, there are a few good personalities…yes Liam I’m talking about you.

Anyway, we’re off to Emi and Marie’s Japanese restaurant, Bird’s Nest.  They make a good start and I’m thinking that Nols is going to be struggling if there’s meat that’s raw in the middle, even though she reckons she’s open to trying…yeah right honey.  Then they’re doing a ponzu jelly instead of a ponzu dressing, as you do…I’m not sure about that.

Scott and Tom check out the menu, funnily enough they mention the beef that Marie was just working on, heck I never would have picked that…oh look and they mention a pate and funnily enough the girls talked about that as well.  So the pate is French, until you add the soy sauce…oh Phillippe will be antsy about that I think.

Scott and Tom look at the mains on the menus, they mention the chicken arteries…oh look Emi mentions the chicken arteries…which is apparently the top part of the heart, holy hell Nols won’t be going anywhere near that, especially with 5 on a skewer.

With half an hour to go they start on a ginger infused crème caramel, oh heck Phillippe will be going off about that one as well and they put it in little jars…well that looks a bit different.  But poor Marie has curdled it, see what happens when you say you’ve made something a lot of times before, you put the mozz on it and it stuffs up.  Scott and Tom look at the desserts on the menu and heck, would you believe it they mention the crème caramel straight up.  Thankfully they’re out of the oven with 2 minutes to go until the judges arrive.

Hang on, time is up and they go off to get changed…what the heck???  Oh but they have to look Japanese for their dinner.  Tom thinks it’s modern, clean and very Japanese and he loves the attention to detail, he can’t fault it.  Scott thinks they should embrace the Brisbane weather and have outdoor tables.

The others walk towards the restaurant, it must be warm as Tania’s in a leopard print tank top with the girls on display, but then it’s on when she walks in the restaurant, maybe the aircon is on inside, the poor love must be struggling.  Phillippe likes how it looks, Liam’s jealous of how the restaurant looks “if I didn’t like them so much I would hate their guts” oh honey you’ve got the lines.

Then of course Scott says that after tonight one team is up for elimination…oh poor Conrad is stressed.

They all look at the menu and Pascal’s shocked about the pate and Christina…well of course she can’t cope with the arteries.

They order for entrée beef tataki and trio of appetisers.  For main miso lamb cutlets and chicken skewers.  For dessert that order ginger infused crème caramel and tofu doughnuts.

God bless Emi for telling us that beef tataki has to be seared up to 2mm on the outside and raw in the middle…yes just 2mm, no more than that.  Of course Tom asks Nols if she’ll give it a go and amazingly she says she will for Tom…I’ll believe it when I see it.   The trio of appetisers is the pate, the chicken crackers, which I thinks the skin and an omelette, which Marie says is sweet and is really tricky to cook because it’s layer upon layer.  Marie has practised for 2 years, as you do.  Funnily enough some of the others aren’t omelette fans as part of dinner.  Of course Conrad knows it is sweet, but Christina’s palate won’t like a sweet omelette.  Ponzu jelly time and of course it is set.

Time to serve…bless Marie when she walks out and says “alrighty then…” honey what the heck???  It explains why you’re in the kitchen.  But Christina’s sending a search part out for the rest of the food, as she says she likes to eat and it won’t be enough for her, but of course she can’t eat the omelette it’s too sweet and not to her palate…okay I’m confused.  Nols can’t manage the chopsticks, I’m hearing you hon, I can’t manage them either.  Pascal can’t find the Japanese influence on the pate.  Liam’s loving the entrée, hands are flapping all over the joint and Conrad’s full of fluffy adjectives.

I’m thinking maths it’s Marie’s strong point as she says “we put in a hundred thousand million percent”…um how do you do that???  Scott talks about the beef tataki and he says it was cooked perfectly.  Tom talks about the trio of appetisers, he loved the crackers, he couldn’t see the Japanese side of the pate and he thought that the omelette was beautifully light.  Scott loved the omelette and Marie’s getting all teary over it, focus hon there’s still two courses to go.  Naturally Aron’s feeling sorry for Marie’s husband as he had omelette for lunch every day for 2 years while she practiced…bugger that.

They get onto making the lamb cutlets on their fancy Japanese charcoal grill that is rarely used in Australia and of course it will be medium rare, I hope Nols tries it, I’m not sure how Christina’s hungry palate will cope.  Christina says you eat with your eyes and can’t cope with seeing the chicken heart and arteries, Tom suggests she close her eyes, yeah that’s not going to happen.  Then they get onto talking about Pascal’s heart and open shirt and next thing you know we find out Phillippe used to do belly dancing and he’s got his belly out and moving all over the shop for us, holy heck button up that shirt please.

Now dear Emi is starting to stress about the plating because Marie’s getting a tad bossy while she’s also cooking 40 skewers and can’t get distracted.  Emi goes to cut the lamb and the poor love’s stressing majorly, but it looks perfect to them.  The cutlets are served against a whole garlic, plus served with wedges…I never knew potato wedges were Japanese.  They get both dishes plated at the same time.

Time to serve main…Nols is dealing with how the arteries look, but is stressing about them when thinking about them.  Pascal thinks the cutlets look like a roast dinner and not Japanese.  Bless her Nols tried the chicken artery, not that she enjoyed them.  Liam thinks he’s better than Nols and Christina because he’s trying the artery.  Christina of course doesn’t like the balls and can’t deal with the arteries and thinks the cutlet is too blue for her…honey it isn’t rare…and honestly your palate is getting on my nerves.  Bless Tom he asks Christina what her palate thought of the skewers and she wanted them on a silver skewer and didn’t like that Tom said she wouldn’t get them that way in Japan.  Liam says he’s expanded his horizons and the skewers are for the more articulate people there, poor Christina and Tania feel like they’ve been slapped in the face.  Vanessa thinks the skewers all taste like chicken, Conrad wonders if she wanted them to taste like lamb…heck there’s some bitchiness at that table tonight.

Scott talks about the lamb cutlets and says it’s risky serving lamb with miso and then putting a full garlic on the dish makes it riskier, but he thought it was perfect, except he wasn’t sure about the wedges, but got it from a business side.  Tom talks about the chicken yakatori and says the cooking was fantastic and tasted wonderful and the broth is the soul of the restaurant and they’re up there with the best and with Japan and poor Christina’s feeling like she’s on another planet because of her palate…honey your palate needs to expand a little.

Emi starts making sesame brittle to go with the crème caramel and Marie makes matcha cream to go with the tofu doughnuts.  The others think the girls will go okay with desserts, even if they don’t think they will themselves.  Marie thinks the others will be worried that the desserts aren’t as sweet as they expected, plus they’re worried that the crème caramels won’t be set.

Dessert is served…Vanessa thinks it smells weird, Conrad loves how it is presented and Phillippe is trying to work out where the crème caramel is when he’s presented with a little jar of it.  Oh dear, there’s too much ginger in the crème caramel for Nols…honey, you’ll need something to eat on your way home.  Phillippe tips the crème caramel out and it pours out all over the plate and it’s not set and it is “total sacrilege” oh heck, he’s not happy at all, he’s ready to blow and thinks it’s offensive.  Aron wanted sweetness with the doughnuts and thinks they’re awful.

Scott talks about the crème caramel and his was cooked perfectly and thankfully he says others weren’t set and it wasn’t fantastic, but his was better than others.  Tom talks about the doughnuts and says they’re not really doughnuts because they were heavy and stodgy and not sexy and the cream was overpowering.

Scores…Aron and Vanessa give them a 5.  Phillippe and Pascal score them 6.  Lozz and Nols give them a 6.  Conrad and Liam score them 8 and Christina and Tania give them a 2, 1 point for the entrée and 1 for the décor because of course they have psychic abilities to talk to each other about their palates.  So from the others they have gotten 27/50.  Marie thinks game play is going on and the score was pretty crap…got to love the honesty on this show.

Scott gives them 8/10 for the food and 8/10 for the experience.  Tom gives them 8/10 for the food and 9/10 for the experience.

That gives them 60/90 putting them one point behind Aron and Vanessa, which means that Conrad and Liam are still on the bottom and they have to cook to not be eliminated in the next round.  They’ll either be against Lozz and Nols who cook next, or Christina and Tania.  Please, please, please let it be Christina and Tania, I could do with watching some sparks fly.

The Hotplate…Will Karma be a bitch?

Thank the television gods for the preview on the website of Conrad and Liam’s episode.  They’re in Mandurah, Western Australia and the first thing we hear Liam says is “I don’t want to belittle the other teams but what they do has been done”…oh darling, that’s a bit of a narky way to start.  He thinks they innovate and then Conrad says the others all underestimate what was needed to be done…oh heck, seriously???

They own Duck Duck Moose and it’s Asian fusion and of course they’re self proclaimed food snobs and they think the customer isn’t always right, they need to be educated…far out!!

Oh look, Conrad has trouble lighting the oven…which he normally does easily, but of course nothing goes perfectly when you’re under that type of pressure.

The judges check out the menu and Tom says it’s exceptionally complicated, what more did you except from Conrad and Liam???  I mean seriously, Conrad’s still lightly the damn oven…he didn’t push the right button, really????  What the hell???

In go pork cheeks for steamed for buns and Tom loves steamed pork buns and expects perfection and slow cooked pork.  But of course Conrad thinks most people won’t be familiar with pork cheeks, honestly his nose is pointing rather high right now, mind you Liam thinks that Christina’s looking down her nose…ummmm pot, kettle, are you seeing each other???  Now Liam has realised he’s not the Ferrari he thought he was…save me now.

They go looking for dried apricots for a chutney and they can’t find them, Conrad’s on the phone to the chef and there’s none because they didn’t order them so he tells Liam to put pineapple in.  Liam says it says apricot on the menu…I’m thinking our dear boy Liam isn’t over happy.

Tom starts going about the mains, stuffed squid actually and there’s more going on in the menu description and he wants to know why the prawn is broken and not just written as prawn…well Tommy my boy they want to educate their customers remember, maybe this is the education.  The squid is stuffed with prawn, mango and chorizo and Liam tells us that prawn and chorizo go together like Sonny and Cher…what the heck???  Get into this century, or actually this decade!!

Ohhhhh now Conrad is tempering chocolate…mind you it’s for chocolate mousse with five spice in it and Liam says to add double the amount of five spice…I’m not enjoying the sound of that and it’s a rather chunky mousse and Liam’s not liking it.  Then Conrad realises after it’s all in glasses that it’s not right and he starts it again.  Honey thick, lumpy, bumpy mousse is not good.

Liam goes to set the table and Conrad starts stressing.  Liam thinks he looks like he’s run there from Papua New Guinea and he’s moist…where does he get his lines from??

The judges arrive…and they both have a cloth in their hand.  Tom comments on the view from their restaurant and Conrad says how they’ve now realised the pressure the others were under…gee really???  Scott loves the cutlery and the coloured glasses, Tom thinks it’s cold and clinical and lacks warmth.

The guests arrive and Aron comments that Liam’s hair isn’t perfect so he must have been under pressure…good observation there mate.  Seeing as Conrad’s been going on about carpet at every other restaurant Christina comments to him “you’ve got carpet?” rather shocked and the poor buggers all confused.  Then she notices the fake grass on the wall in the sign with the restaurant’s name and she’s struggling to cope.  She thinks it’s more café like than restaurant like.  Vanessa’s worried that if the food is as good as the restaurant looks they’re in trouble…didn’t we hear that line last episode????  Now poor Liam’s worried they haven’t done enough, well you lost time on pressing the wrong oven button didn’t you???

Lozz feels like she’s in an Ikea catalogue and it’s too perfect for her.  Christina thinks it’s too cold for her, even though it’s hot in there, well Liam isn’t happy hearing her from the kitchen.

They look at the menu and they’re all confused with the amount of words…angry vegetables, broken prawns and Aron’s not keen on 2 of the 6 entrees being mushroom based.  Conrad and Liam come out and the judges ask if there are any questions and Christina bless her drops the line from last restaurant about the menu being like the United Nations cafeteria food and now Aron’s peeved, oh it reads like United Nations to her, but she says that Conrad said it not Liam and of course Mr Perfectionist Liam pulls her up.

They order steamed pork buns and wild mushroom wonton cups for entrée, tea smoked salmon and stuffed squid for main and five spiced chocolate mousse and mango tapioca pudding for dessert.  Strange how the meals they focus on showing us during prep are the meals that the judges order in each restaurant…just saying!!!

Naturally Conrad and Liam talk about Christina’s comment and Liam’s response is “if you’re going to be a bitch at least get your facts straight, shut up, eat, drink, have a great time”…oh Aron’s still fuming in the dining room, he’s seriously peeved, Pascal can see smoke coming out of Aron’s mouth and nose and all Christine can say is “oops I’ve thrown the grenade and run” gee really honey???  Plus she says she doesn’t like to cause trouble, well honey your daughter definitely doesn’t believe that line.

Oh my god Eli is talking!!!  I can’t believe it, I’ve hardly seen her open her mouth.

Conrad’s cooking the entrée and now he can’t find the XO sauce that he needs for the mushroom cups…lesson here is that your kitchen should be as organised as the front of your restaurant, I mean between the apricots and now the XO sauce you’re not going well.

Now we’ve got cheeky Nols back, she’s going to try everything on the menu and Tom asks if the boys theory on diners needing to be educated makes her feel like a good school girl and of course she was never a good school girl and everyone laughs, especially our dear Pascal.

Finally Conrad finds the XO sauce, funnily enough it wasn’t labelled!!!  Mate you’ve got to focus on things.  Then he’s putting the steamed buns in the pan and strangely enough the pan is too hot and then Liam says he’s never seen Conrad that pale or getting things that messy.  I think Mr Perfectionist may lose the plot before long!!!

Entrees are served and bless him Conrad straight up says that the relish isn’t apricot because they didn’t have apricots and there’s a few funny faces going on and Conrad’s shaking like nobody’s business.  Philippe doesn’t like the big plate with the little entrée and Aron’s underwhelmed…yes he actually said that.  Marie’s animated about the blandness of the mushrooms and lack of different textures and everyone pretty much comments about the blandness of the food.  Aron decides he won’t play nice after hearing the United Nations cup…between dry pork on bread and deep fried bought wonton cup…honey take a chill pill!!!  Heck even Eli is talking again and backing Liam and Conrad!!  Speak up more often girl!!!  Christina says Conrad and Liam have left themselves open for brutal criticism after their nitpicking about the others’ food…honey there is nitpicking and there’s being nasty…there’s a huge difference.

Oh look Conrad says “don’t throw stones at glass houses” because as he says they were so critical of the others…karma’s a bitch darling is all I can say.  Scott talks about the wonton cup, then he says there needed to be wild mushrooms in the dish when you call it wild mushroom wonton cups…well we know there were none in there.  Tom’s not too worried about the change in the relish, but he wanted more.  Then Tom talks about the steamed pork buns, he loved the meat, but it was too dry, so was the bun…oh dear all Conrad can do is nod and now the poor bugger feels like a con artist.

They decide to suck it up and move on to try and get out of the hole they’ve dug themselves after entrée.  They get the salmon in to smoke and Scott appears in the kitchen and asks about the salmon, he doesn’t want it too smoky, but Liam of course loves it extra smoky and says it is very popular because of how memorable the smoke it.  But Conrad’s all confused now, Liam says “it ain’t broke don’t fix it”…then oh dear the smoke alarm goes off and the smoke is going into the dining area…ohhhhhhh it is so hard not to laugh.  Conrad’s all set to run out of the kitchen and keep running, instead of just stopping the fire alarm.

Now they’re onto the risotto…it has no dairy and it has turmeric and coconut milk, ummmm how is that a risotto???  Aron’s not happy with this fusion as it is served with the tea smoked salmon.  Lozz is praying to the god of seafood that the salmon tonight isn’t as good as her salmon.

For goodness sake now they’ve lost the salad that Liam made earlier, that fridge is a black hole with all the stuff that’s gone missing tonight, honestly I’m sure there’s another whole restaurant hiding in that black hole given that the pawpaw salad has disappeared.

They take the food out and Conrad’s still shaky and sweaty…honey keep the sweat away from the food, food the love of god keep it away.  Oh dear, the salmon looks dry to Marie as soon as it’s put down and the risotto looks like scrambled eggs, honey you haven’t cooked yet so be careful.  Vanessa likes the risotto, but Aron’s definitely not liking it one little bit.  Christina can’t eat the salmon, the smell doesn’t agree with her palate, plus the risotto isn’t a risotto and the squid hasn’t been cleaned enough for her…gee love, just say what you think.

Scott likes the size of the salmon and liked the flavours of the risotto…and the salmon was overcooked and the skin was burnt…oh dear, poor Conrad, you could knock him over with a feather.  Then Tom says the squid wasn’t clean enough with the beak still in there and the chorizo punched everything else in the face in the dish, even the fish sauce.  Liam’s ready to be put out of his misery, he’s becoming slightly quieter as the night goes on…miracles do happen.  He’s even called his own food low quality and haphazardly put together.

Conrad says they’re going down and poor Liam is embarrassed.  Amazingly the desserts didn’t get lost in the black hole of the fridge.  They put on desserts and peanuts to get ready and they’re still worried, poor things.  Aron’s now feeling sorry for Conrad and Liam, I’m wondering if it is because he knows he’ll score higher than them.  Poor Nols can’t even crack a smile or joke talking about what she wants from the dessert.

Desserts are served and the judges get a glass of both.  Poor Christina is fading away to a shadow and is desperate for a good food.  God bless Nols, the poor love can’t say tapioca, just taste the dish love.  Eli enjoyed the mousse, as did Aron but he couldn’t cope with the tapioca though.  Marie says she can’t cook tapioca and neither can the boys.

Liam and Conrad want their feedback.  Liam says “if disappointment was an Olympic sport give me my gold medal,” oh honey you’ve still got your five minutes of fame on reality tv.

Scott talks about the mousse and thankfully he thought it was stunning.  Thankfully Conrad could smile, because there was no chance of Liam cracking a smile or a grin.  Tom talks about the tapioca, he says it wasn’t pannacotta on the top of it, but the dish would have been better if the tapioca was cooked more, but he did like it and Conrad smiles again…not Liam though.  Mate would it hurt you to crack a smile???

Oh dear Arin says it’s the worst meal he’s ever eaten…you poor thing.  Arin and Vanessa score them 2.  Eli and Maria score them 5.  Lozz and Nols score them 3.  Phillippe and Pascal score them 2.  Then poor Tania who’s been awfully quiet tonight says she’s in shock…maybe that’s why she’s been so quiet, but Christina and Tania score them 1 and Christina says “karma’s a bitch!”  They get 13/50 from the others.

Aaarrrgh….that’s all we get to see on the preview episode…are you serious channel 9???  No good giving me all that then making me wait 4 nights to see the final scores that they get!!!

Fast forward to Monday night and it’s on tv…god how I hate waiting for things, I have the patience level of a flea sometimes.

Anyway Tom scores them 4/10 for the food and 8/10 for the experience.  Scott scores them 4/10 for the food and 7/10 for the experience.

So all up they get 36/90 which dear old Conrad thinks is really generous, it also means that they’re at the bottom of the scores and that Phillippe and Pascal are safe.  Then Liam says they deserved what they got tonight, which impressing the delightful Christina, who’s so shocked you could knock her over with a feather, or maybe it’s because she’s so hungry.

Next up is Eli and Marie and it looks like things will get ugly and teary…sounds like it will be good to watch.

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