So the last few months…

Well everyone while I’ve been not blogging a fair bit has happened…

  • I completed my 2nd Masters degree…4 long years of doing 2 subjects a semester is over…now I was planning on having a break and not studying for a fair while, if at all…except I have to do studies in Religion this year.
  • I’ve still been losing weight…I’ve lost over 43kg (over 95lbs) since the start of 2015…so in 13 months!!!  Oh and before you ask I will put a photo up…later though, this is a relatively quick post before going to bed.
  • I happened to run into Novak Djokovic whilst walking down a laneway in Melbourne a couple of days before the Australian Open started!!!  Yes I definitely got a photo of him.
  • I went to the filming of Masterchef and saw Nigella and then went to see her talk at a different event.
  • I decided rather randomly to buy a new car.
  • I’ve had my first ever sporting injury as part of the whole losing weight thing…which has been the world’s most annoying injury!!!
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Masterchef…

Now I know the finale was on the other night and yes I did watch it.

But, I watched it with a friend who decided they needed to come over and watch it and doesn’t really know much about the show.

So I couldn’t really sit there and type while they were on the other chair in the lounge room, so the post on the finale will have to wait until I re-watch bits of it and type it up.

Masterchef…semi-final

Tonight is the semi-final…or if you believe the ads part 1 of the final, but seriously there are three left and there is this episode and one other.  We have Georgia, Billie and Jessica and just putting it out there I would be happy for Georgia or Billie to win…I wouldn’t quite feel the same about Jessica, I just haven’t been a huge fan of hers at any stage through the competition, I’m not sure why, but I haven’t really connected with her cooking.

Oh look even Georgia says it is semi-final day when she first appears on camera.  Georgia says they each have to serve 20 people main course and dessert.

They walk into the Masterchef kitchen to see applause from Gary, Matt, George, Shannon and all the eliminated contestants.

So they were told last week what this challenge was so they could plan and prepare, and it’s not just 20 guests, it’s 20 guests and the 3 judges and they have to do it on their own.  They have an open pantry and four hours of prep time.  They’ll be judged on deliciousness and Shannon will be a guide and support for them in the kitchen.

Georgia and Billie are at their benches planning onto paper first, while Jessica runs into the pantry to get her ingredients.  Jessica’s doing a roast pork belly for her main course.  Georgia’s doing seafood for her main course with about a dozen different elements on the plate…holy heck!!  Billie’s doing braised shanks for her main along with lamb backstrap.

½ an hour is already gone, gee that went quick.  Jessica says she’s keeping her main simple and refined while her dessert is the more complex dish.

Billie starts making ice-cream for her dessert.  She’s doing a version of a spider drink, sounds interesting if you ask me.

An hour has now gone, only 3 hours left.  Georgia has started freaking out as she’s doing her fish, plus her hands are shaking which is having an impact on the fish.  She needs to take a deep breath and settle the hell down, Shannon tells her they’re not the best looking fillets he’s ever seen and she says she’s freaking out, oh honey we know that!!  Then Shannon asks about portion size, Georgia says she’s doing 80 grams, he says to do 120 grams as 80 grams is entrée size…oh dear, more fish to do.

Jessica starts on her dessert, she’s doing grapefruit and popcorn domes, um okay.  Shannon’s not sure about her dessert and wants to play devil’s advocate with less is more.

Shannon talks to Gary and George and says that he thinks Billie is showing what Masterchef is all about and that Georgia is struggling.  For dessert Georgia is doing a frozen dessert with a yoghurt parfait and a sorbet.

Billie is wanting to roll the meat into a cylinder, but it’s not rolling all that well…oh dear.  She changes her mind about the cylinder idea.  Then she remembers the roast rhubarb that she had in the oven, she burnt them, oh heck honey.  Go and get some more rhubarb.

Then Jessica realises that she’s burnt the crumb in her frypan…oh heck they’re all having trouble now!!!

90 minutes to go and Jessica says she’s going to redo the crumb and now she’s added popping candy into something, oh dear.

75 minutes to go and Billie’s stressing about how to plate the lamb because the cylinders won’t work, but then she thinks that it can be done in squares instead of circles.  Thankfully this time she remembers the rhubarb that was in the oven and gets it out in time.

One hour to go and Georgia’s listing off all the elements that she hasn’t done yet, include smoked trout bones mayonnaise…what the heck???

25 minutes to go and Jessica gets the pork out of the oven and is happy with how it looks, then she does a smoked yoghurt.

The guests start walking in with 15 minutes to go.  Billie is almost ready for service, she’s got her squares of meat ready and is a lot calmer than the other two appear to be.

Matt thanks the guests for coming, while Shannon is telling Georgia to be plating up as there are only 2 minutes to go.

Shannon calls the first dockets and the eliminated contestants are screaming, gee you would hate to want to dine in peace and Georgia’s still not ready and now thinks she’s over-complicated her main course.  Billie gets her first plates out, but the other two are a bit slower.  Jessica gets some plates out, but nothing from Georgia yet.

The judges get Billie’s main course, braised lamb and backstrap with peas and pear and mint puree, and they think it looks and smells beautiful and comment that it shows that she’s a country girl, but also shows how far she’s come.  Gary can only say “wow” to start with, he thinks it is absolutely delicious and he thinks she’s clever for how she’s done both bits of lamb.  George loves both bits of lamb.  Matt loves the whole dish and how the little things take it from mum’s lamb roast.

Finally Georgia has her first plates out, just as Billie gets her last four out…oh Georgia honey, I’m over hearing Shannon saying “come on Georgia!”  He keeps telling Georgia to hurry up and the poor love starts having a teary, plate the food already darling.  Bless her for saying she’s not going to give up or remove any elements, honey you’re wonderful.

The judges get Jessica’s main course, pork belly with smoked yoghurt shiso and poached quince.  George says she’s nailed it from a visual point of view.  Gary loves the crackling, no surprises there, I mean the man has social media accounts called crispy crackling.  He’s decided he’s eating the whole lot.  George is mesmerised by the dish.  Matt says she’s made the quinces savoury and it’s the best crackling he’s had in the competition.

Georgia’s got 12 plates to go when she realises that Billie and Jessica have finished serving their main courses.

The judges get Georgia’s main course, cured ocean trout with crispy skin, cucumber and apple.  Matt counts 11 elements on the plate before they taste it.  Matt says it is a technicolour explosion of a heap of different flavours.  Gary loves the balance of flavours in the dish.  George loves it because of the chefiness of it and the flavour.  Matt thinks it is amazing that one person was able to make that by themselves.

Billie is all set to pop the champagne for her dessert and Shannon does the tester and it looks seriously good and the eliminated contestants all yell and cheer.  Jessica starts taking her domes out and they have worked.

Georgia finishes serving main course and then has a panic because of how many elements she still has to do on her dessert.

Billie’s dessert goes out first to the judges, dill and rhubarb spider.  Matt says it looks amazing and is a spider and he’s excited before he tries it.  George just says “oh my gosh” and Matt says “oh my goodness,” no other words are required.  Gary says it is sensational.  George says it’s bought the spider up to date and they all think it is spectacular and Gary says it is an adults’ only dessert with the champagne in it.  George says if you got that at a restaurant you would want to meet the chef and say thank you.

Jessica’s dessert goes to the judges, grapefruit and popcorn, and we go to an ad break before any of them can comment, what more do we expect???  Matt says it looks amazing, Gary says it looks pretty.  George says she’s come a long way in terms of presentation, understatement there.  They smash open the dome to see what’s inside it, then they’re all surprised because it’s not what they expected.  Gary really loves it.  George says the popping candy is Heston like and yummy, but he can taste gelatine in the gel in the middle.  Matt thinks the sponge is a bit heavy for him and he questions if white chocolate, popcorn and grapefruit belong together.

Georgia’s on track for a change, bless her, she’s in a good space plating up her dessert.  Her dessert goes to the judges, mango sorbet with vanilla yoghurt parfait.  Matt says it smells amazing and looks beautiful, but it’s been hard watching Georgia and they can see the pressure on the plate.  Gary says the quenelles aren’t shiny and perfect as they should be.  George says that it is his favourite dessert because he’s got creamy, icy and crunchy in it and it is beautiful.  Matt loves it as well.  Gary says that it is very moreish.

The last of the plates go out and the girls hug and Shannon says they served 46 dishes each to 60 diners and the 3 judges in an hour and 15 minutes which is restaurant time.

Gary says that right now he can’t make a decision, he needs to really think about it.

When everyone’s gone the judges stand in front of the three girls and Gary says that the six dishes were the best they’ve ever tasted in the competition and they were well conceived, creative and delicious and all three of them would be fabulous finalists.

George tells Billie how amazing she is, not just in the kitchen, but as a person and that her lamb dish was his favourite of the three main courses and both her dishes were free of negatives and she’s into the grand final!!!  Thank god for that!!!!  Bless her she has a bit of a teary and she’s in complete shock, god love her.

Now it’s down to Georgia and Jessica for who is in the grand final and who is eliminated…and of course we’re off to an ad break.  Matt says it comes down to the food they cooked today, him and Gary thought that Jessica’s pork was the best main course of the day, but they questioned the gel and the sponge elements of her dessert.  With Georgia they thought there was so much going on with the main course but it was all in balance, but the rush was seen in her plating of her dessert.

Matt says it is the toughest decision they’ve had to make all season.  He says that deliciousness always wins out and Georgia is in the grand final because of how delicious her dessert was!!!!!!! Yes!!!  She’s in shock and crying and shaking and wants to throw up, oh honey take the moment for what it is!

Then Gary says a lot of lovely things about Jessica before telling her that it’s time to join the others and she asks for a hug first, then she races over to Sara who is crying as she hugs her.

God love that we know that Heston will be part of the grand final…we all know I love a bit of Heston!!

Masterchef…four becomes three pressure test

I’ll start this by saying that I read online before the episode that Masterchef accidently leaked who was eliminated a few hours before the episode.  The Masterchef people claim the facebook post was human error…no good removing it minutes later as a lot of people screenshot it and the newspapers all reported on it.

Billie, Jessica and Reynold are up for elimination and because Georgia’s safe she’s decided to cook them all breakfast, bless her.

They get to the kitchen and are met by Matt and George, Gary’s not there because he’s sick.

The chef coming in has numerous accolades that Matt lists, he’s also the highest ranking Australian chef and has the number 10 restaurant in the world, Brett Graham from The Ledbury in London.  He says the dish he’s bought in has broken a number of chefs in the past.  They have to recreate his flame grilled benito with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and shiso.  It has avocado puree, pickled cucumber, cucumber jelly that is in a roll with various things and the fish.  Reynold says the fish will either make him or break him…yep it’s that simple.

So they have 2 hours to make the dish and 5 minutes at the end of cook the fish and plate up.  Jessica starts off by drawing what the dish looked like so she could use it later on, the others don’t.  Billie looks through the ingredients and sees they’ve only been given one fish.  She starts gutting her fish.  George asks if Reynold sketched the dish, he says it is in his head and George likes that he’s confident.  Reynold’s grateful he did fish at The Press Club so he has half an idea of how to do it today.

Brett and George are watching Jessica fillet her fish and says she done a brave move with the way she’s done it.  Billie’s feeling frazzled while filleting her fish, especially with Brett and George watching.  Reynold’s filleted his fish and seems happy with it.

Next they make the picked cucumber and Jessica cuts it the same way that Brett did.  The cucumber goes into a vacuum bag with picking liquid.  Reynold has kind of forgotten how the wedges looked, the image in his head is blurry and he’s now regretting not drawing the dish before…oh well too late now.

30 minutes are down…Billie’s still working on her fish and hasn’t started on her cucumber yet, oh honey get a wriggle on, Georgia’s on the balcony and she’s worried about Billie finishing the dish.

Reynold’s now making the cucumber jelly and he’s happy with how it looks and feels comfortable making it.  Brett comments on how good it looks.  Then he gets on to the avocado.  Jessica’s done her cucumber jelly and is doing the avocado puree, she thinks she’s done it well, then Brett comes and tastes it and says that it is very nice.

Jessica then starts on the dressing, while Billie’s finally got her cucumber into the pickling bag while making the jelly and chopping up avocado.  Jessica gets the charcoal onto the stove and puts the fish bones on the steamer to smoke.  Then gets onto the rest of the dressing.  Reynold gets on to the dressing, he decides to grate the garlic on the microplane instead of slicing it like the recipe says and Brett and Matt notice.

Billie’s onto putting the fish bones on to smoke, while Brett and Matt go and taste Jessica’s dressing and they nod to each other, but she is too busy chopping to notice.

Half an hour to go and Billie’s dressing as boiled and she goes to grab the smoked bones.  Oh no…Billie realises that she hasn’t had her burner on and her stuff hasn’t been smoking.

Jessica gets onto the tartare rolls with have fish, cucumber and avocado and dressing.  The outside of the roll is cucumber jelly.  Reynold gets onto his tartare rolls and he’s not stressing as much as Jessica about making them.

Jessica gets onto making the crispy shallots, so does Reynold.  Billie’s now onto the tartare rolls.

5 minutes to go and Jessica starts plating up and grabs out the drawing she did earlier.  Billie gets her shallots out but they’re too dark and taste bitter, so she tries again with mere minutes to go.  Reynold starts plating up but didn’t do a drawing and is regretting not having a picture, but is happy with how he is going.  Billie’s shallots are ready with 2 minutes to go.  Reynold says he’s done and Georgia asks where the pickled cucumber is so he puts it on, but he can’t remember how much needs to be on the plate and puts two pieces on with seconds to go.

Time is up and Reynold goes over to Billie’s bench and sees that there should have been only one piece of pickled cucumber on the plate.

Billie cooks her fish and chars the skin then finishes plating up before taking her dish into the judges.  The judges all comment that the dish needs more dressing on it.  They think the fish is cooked beautifully.

Jessica is next.  She cooks her fish, but it stills to the rack it was on while she was charring the skin and of course we go to an ad break before we know if she gets it off without breaking it.  Oh dear, she tore the skin.  George is excited about the pool of dressing, even though it has the tore skin.  Matt says it looks like all her food, a little bit messy and a little bit chaotic, but you know the flavour will be there.  Matt loves the sauce, he’s moaning and groaning about it.

Last up is Reynold.  He starts cooking his fish and even though the recipe says to only cook it skin down he flips it over for a few seconds.  Then some of the skin sticks to the rack.  They notice the skin that’s come off and that there are two bits of cucumber.  The judges talk about the cooking of the fish and they notice that it was cooked on both sides.  George loved the jelly and how fine it was.

Decision time…Matt says there was one detail that they couldn’t overlook, Reynold’s fish was overcooked and dry and he has been eliminated!!  Bugger I liked him.  George says amazing things about him and poor Reynold starts crying.  George asks him how many desserts he’s made in the Masterchef kitchen and he thinks it’s been 15.  George says it’s been 27 and he shouldn’t matter if he can’t cook fish perfectly, because his desserts are absolutely amazing and that he’s the best pastry cook they’ve ever had in Masterchef and he has to walk out of their with his head held high and bless him Reynold’s having a teary.  Oh George all that was just a tad too sweet!!!

Masterchef…The Press Club challenge.

Now I’ll start this by saying I was out for dinner at the local pub while this was on and watching it there, so I’ve re-watched it as we were talking the whole way through it, but there were some interesting comments made while we were watching it that I will add during this, admittedly we really started paying attention when the food was being served.

So the contestants arrive at The Press Club Projects, which is where George tests ideas for his restaurant The Press Club before they go onto the menu and he says that he’s handing the keys to The Press Club over to the four contestants and Georgia wants to faint and is terrified.  They’re cooking George’s food, in George’s kitchen for 35 of the best chefs and restaurateurs from Australia, but George will be in the kitchen with them.

The person who makes the best dish is straight into the semi-final, the other three are through to elimination.  They’re cooking a four course menu of dishes that are currently on The Press Club menu and they’ll do a course each.  Course 1 is a green Greek salad and they have to make one of the breads.  Course 2 is whiting cooked in lamb fat and they’ll make the second bread.  Course 3 is an onion and leek dish that is served with lamb skewer.  Course 4 is dessert and is George’s version of a crème brulee served with a snow made in liquid nitrogen.

Jessica’s advantage is to pick which course she wants to do.  She decides on course 3, the lamb dish.  The other three decide through a knife pull.  Georgia picks first, then Billie, then Reynold last.  Georgia chooses the salad, Billie chooses the dessert, leaving Reynold with the fish course.  Billie says she chose the dessert because of how hard it was when she did it in the Marco service challenge.

There are 4½ hours of prep time before service starts.  George takes them into The Press Club kitchen and they each have the dish they’re cooking in front of them and the recipe and he tells them they have to go like the clappers.

Jessica starts on the lamb belly.  Reynold’s feeling under pressure about cooking the fish and George says it is the day for Reynold to prove something.  Reynold gets the treacle bread dough on, then gets on to the whiting.  Georgia gets on to her Easter bread dough.  Billie gets on to making tuile, she has them ready, but the tray is too big for the oven…oh well, time to do them again.

God love George in the kitchen, yelling and screaming and a lot of “Yes George” being said.  Reynold’s working rather slowly on the fish, he has to gut, scale and pin bone the fish.  Georgia starts on kale puree but it’s just water coming through the sieve, so she blends it more and it works.

Two hours down and Reynold is still working on the fish.  Jessica’s up to step 10 out of 53 and she’s starting to freak out.  Billie’s made ganache and starts whipping it, but is splits.  So she has to make another one, but it has to be in the fridge for an hour.

90 minutes to go and finally Reynold’s gutted and scaled the 20 fish, but he hasn’t filleted or pin-boned them.  George tells him not to worry about falling behind and to move and gives him a pep talk.  He starts making the black garlic puree.  Jessica starts on the fondant potatoes as well as the leek cannelloni which are filled with chicken mousse.  She has to do 40 cannelloni, but she only has enough mousse to do about 30, so George tells her to make more mousse.

One hour until service and Georgia has to go and get the herbs for her salad and goes over to the community garden at Federation Square and she runs there and back.  Reynold’s back to his fish and he’s struggling to fillet it.

Guests start to arrive upstairs and George says there are 15 minutes to go until service starts.  The contestants freak when they see who some of the guests are.  Somehow Jessica manages to scrape out chicken mousse enough to fill 37 cannelloni which is enough for the 35 diners and the 2 judges.

George says that when the dockets come in he wants Georgia to get the salad to the pass in four minutes.  Service starts plating the first of the salads.  George tells her that they look spectacular and if they all look like that he will love her.  Georgia is loving the pressure.

Billie goes back to her second lot of ganache and starts whipping it and it has worked this time.

Georgia’s dish is taken to the judges “monokhromos’ green Greek salad with kale puree…I’ll say our comments when watching it was that it looked pretty good and we would want to try it.  Gary says it looks beautiful and it is almost identical to George’s.  Gary thinks she has done well.  The guests all love it as well.

Georgia also made tsoureki.

George tells Reynold that it’s time for the fish soon and George says that Reynold may need to ask for some help from one of the others and Billie starts to help him with pin boning the fish then gets back to her dessert.  Jessica is also stressing about not having enough time and is starting to get overwhelmed.

Reynold is plating up the first of his whiting.  The fish is covered with lamb fat on both sides before cooking and Reynold’s stressing about cooking the fish perfectly.  The first plates go out and oh dear one of the guests sends his back because the fish is undercooked.  George just says to get another one and fix the problem.  The judges get the dish, ‘the whiting that wants to be lamb tzatzizi’…our comments were along the lines of what the heck and that it looked pretty good and when the first one went out raw one of the comments was “brother boy there better keep a better eye on that damn fish, he can’t be sending it out like that”.  Gary says it’s not as sharp, clean and shiny as George’s dish.  Matt says the finer details aren’t perfect.  Gary loves the black garlic and the yoghurt together and there isn’t enough lamb fat on it.

Reynold also made treacle bread.

Time for Jessica to start service and she’s having a teary.  Georgia says she’ll help her once she’s cleaned up.  She starts freaking out completely and says she can’t cook everything and plate everything.  One of our comments at the time was “gee sister girl’s already crying, just cook the damn food already girl”.  George says there are smiles from the customers and that’s what it’s about and she’s still having a moment while cooking and George and Georgia are helping her with George doing all the plating.  Then two of the leek cannelloni end up on the floor and she doesn’t have any spare…oh heck!!  We were saying that we knew she needed extras.  She tells George she doesn’t have any spare, he tell her to make the decision of what to do, cut them in half or not serve them, but she has to explain to the customers.  So off she goes to tell them that they have half leek cannelloni on their plate and amazingly she doesn’t cry in front of them.  George is proud because she stood up to them and tells her that she picked the hardest dish.  She gets back to the last of the dishes and Georgia keeps supporting her and plating up and George is still on his little pep rally.  The judges get the dish ‘the devil’s footsteps’ lamb with potato and leeks.  Gary says the onion is delicious as it the lamb, but he’s not keen on the fondant potato which needed another 15-20 minutes.  Matt loves the lamb and the onion puree and thinks if there were one or two less elements she would have done an amazing job.

Billie’s time to step up and she’s already plating the first desserts before George calls for them.  Then she asks for the liquid nitrogen and she’s worried because she’s never used it before.  She puts on the goggles and gloves and starts making the snow.  She gets through service quite easily.  The judges get the dish, crème brulee a la grecque with commandaria snow.  While we were watching one of the others was all over the joint about the liquid nitrogen as they’d never seen it used with food before, but they were quickly impressed.  Then when they saw the tuile melted at the table we were all excited about the dish.  Matts says it looks amazing and Gary says he had no problem finishing it at all.  Gary says the only thing was the mascarpone cream was slightly heavy, but that’s a small thing.

Service is over and George gives all the contestants a beer and that even though he doesn’t drink beer he’s having one with them because he needs it as well.

Decision time…Gary says it was an unforgettable experience for all four of the contestants.  George says about how great it was to see Georgia and Billie help Jessica.  Matt says that Reynold and Jessica are into the elimination…our comments at the time were along the lines of “f… me dead, sister girl’s crying again, she’s got to stop that crying already”.  Then says that every table said the entrée and dessert were the stand out dishes of the day.  Matt says they loved one dish slightly more than the other, it was sweet, salty, a little acidic, but it was also still very very green and Georgia’s in shock when he says that Georgia has won the challenge and is through to the semi final.

Masterchef…no rules challenge

Jessica, Billie, Georgia and Reynold walk into the Masterchef kitchen to be met by the three judges.  He tells them nobody is going home today, but the winner will get a massive advantage in the next challenge.

Matt says the challenge will show how far they’ve come and test their creativity.  They get to cook whatever they want and there are no rules and all except Jessica are smiling, she thinks having no parameters is harder.  But between the four of them they have to decide how long they want to have for cooking.  They decide on 90 minutes.

Billie decides to do a dish inspired by growing up on the dairy farm, it’s a take on cornflakes.  Jessica has decided to do a cheese based dessert.  Gary and George go over to her and assume it is a savoury dish and are shocked when she says it is a dessert and George says it will be all about how well she presents the dish.  Georgia’s dish is based memories with her grandma and she’s doing a take on lemon meringue.  Gary asks why she would do a dessert when Reynold is doing a dessert and she fires back that she’s not worried what Reynold is doing, they like how confident she is.  Reynold is making an apple and caramel dessert that has 3 apple elements and 3 caramel elements.  Gary and George go to Reynold and George tells him that the pressure is high on him.

Reynold’s been melting white chocolate in the oven for a caramel element, but it is burnt…oh dear.  Take two on that bit of the dish.  The judges go to Billie and George is worried about her putting lemon verbena and saffron in the dish, he’s excited, but not sure how they’ll connect and now Billie is worried.

Georgia has decided to plate her deconstructed lemon tart on individual wooden spoons which worries her.  Then she works on a blueberry jelly and is worried that it is grainy, so thankfully George gives a couple of hints and she puts it back in the saucepan.

Jessica’s doing an oloroso sherry ice-cream as part of her dessert as well as a blue cheese cream and is worried and stressed.

Matt goes up to Reynold and asks him if he’s surprises that everyone else is doing desserts and he says yes and no.  Matt goes up to Billie and asks about the lemon verbena and saffron and tells her she’ll win by surprising people, not by doing what everybody knows.

Jessica starts on a burnt butter crumb, and tells us burnt butter is her favourite flavour in the world, yes by now we know that.  Gary asks if there is something that brings it all together and she says there’s a caramel sauce that she’s making.

Billie starts making her saffron tuile, they need saffron so they’re the colour of cornflakes, but the colour isn’t right for her so she adds yellow food colouring, but now it is neon yellow and she’s worried.  She decides to put it really thin and cook it for longer.

Reynold’s tuile is out of the oven, it’s very think and looks like a nest.  But the judges are worried that he’s got burnt apple bits and wonder what having them burnt adds to the dish.

10 minutes to go and Gary goes to look at Jessica’s ice-cream and asks if she’s having trouble with it.  She says it’s icy and he says it’s not creamy enough.  Mind you it is only the second time she’s made ice-cream in the Masterchef kitchen.

Billie’s tuile is out of the oven and now looks golden brown, so she’s happy with how they looks.  She takes her mousse out of the mould and she’s still worrying about going against George’s advice about using saffron and lemon verbena together.

Georgia starts plating onto the wooden spoon and is worried that the judges think that it looks tacky.  She flames the meringue but has to make sure that she doesn’t burn any of the other elements and then the baking paper gets on fire and we go to an ad break, but thankfully none of her dessert got burnt.

Billie’s covering her lemon verbena mousse with the saffron tuile.  Reynold starts plating his dish.  Jessica is playing up two dishes so she can work out which one to present to the judges.  But while she’s plating one of the biscuits snaps, so that makes up her choice.  Georgia races to the garden for some flowers that are purple and yellow because her dessert is purple and yellow.  Reynold finishes and thinks that it’s the most beautiful dessert he’s ever plated and Jessica’s having trouble with her ice-cream and at the last second she put it on the plate, then realises that it is on the plate with the broken wafer biscuit and dodgy looking piping…oh well too late now, but she has a teary anyway.

Time is up…the judges are in the tasting room and Matt says that it is Reynold’s challenge to lose.

Billie is up first and she’s still going on about the lemon verbena and saffron and we go to an ad break before she puts her dish down.  Honestly I’m over hearing about lemon verbena and saffron.  She made lemon verbena mousse and saffron flakes.  Gary says that it looks like cornflakes and the colour is spot on.  Gary says it is very clever and Matt gets the sense and flavour of having eaten cornflakes.  George says the saffron isn’t too potent because it has been baked.  Matt says the lemon verbena and saffron are married together perfectly.

Georgia is next with lemon meringue with blueberry and Matt straight up asks why the wooden spoons and she says it’s about the memory of licking the wooden spoon when cooking with her grandma as a child.  Matt says his initial reaction is that it is ridiculous and stupid, but when he hears the story he thinks it’s good.  Gary says he can’t get the smell of the dessert because of the wooden spoon.  George thinks it is a great idea, but the meringue is really sweet, Matt says the whole thing is really sweet and it is an overload.  Gary wants the crumb, not just curd and meringue.

Next in is Jessica and George asks her what’s wrong as soon as she sat down and she says she’s embarrassed about how it looks.  She’s made roasted figs with blue cheese cream and oloroso ice cream.  Gary says it smells great, then after eating it pours a spoonful of caramel sauce to eat on its own.  Matt says it was delicious and he loved the burnt butter crumb and he loves the dish.  Gary also loves it.  George says that you can forget about the presentation when you are eating something as great as that dish and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

Reynold is in last with apple and caramel with almond tuile.  Gary says that it looks amazing.  Matt says it looks good, but if there is even a minor slip up in it that he won’t win.  Gary says it is one of the best looking dessert they’ve ever had on the show, from both contestants and professional chefs and George agrees.  Matt says he finds it has too much caramel and he wants more apple to balance all the sugar.  George says the letdown is the apple as it could be fresher.  But the ice cream and caramel sauce are beautiful.  Gary wants to make a tuile like the one that was on the dish.

Decision time…Gary tells Georgia she didn’t win the advantage and she’s disappointed.  Matt says that Billie’s, Reynold’s and Jessica’s dishes would have fitted in at any fine dining restaurant and that the made the decision almost impossible and says that Jessica is the winner and she’s in complete shock and has the giggles.

Masterchef…not so mystery mystery box

It’s finals week in Masterchef.  The top 5 are Georgia, Reynold, Sara, Billie and Jessica and we start with them going on about how great it is to be in finals week and in the top five, well I guess they should be able to do that.

Matt tells them they have earnt the right to pick what goes into the mystery box and they’re all in shock…of course there is a but, they only get to pick one ingredient each and then the judges will pick the final three ingredients, oh and they won’t get to find out what the others have chosen until the box is lifted.

Georgia picks first as she’s the closest to the pantry and she only gets 30 seconds to choose an ingredient.  She chooses figs.  Next to choose is Jessica, she chooses prawns.  Reynold chooses almonds straight away.  Sara chooses squid.  Billie chooses last and she chooses beetroot.  George and Matt join Gary in the pantry.  We don’t see what they choose and Matt carries the box into the kitchen.  Gary put in lemons, Matt put in dill and George put in very dark chocolate.

They have 60 minutes to make their dish and the other usual mystery box rules apply, except they’ll taste all the dishes.

Sara’s decided to be all creative to do textures of squid with beetroot and use the beetroot to colour the squid purple, she tells the judges her plan and they don’t seem convinced and George tells her not to forget flavour and Gary says beetroot and squid don’t go well together.

Georgia decides to do a dessert using chocolate, lemon, almonds and figs.  Reynold also decides to do a dessert using almonds and lemons and a lot of elements.  Jessica decides to do a prawn dish with a Japanese steamed custard.  Billie decides to do a beetroot, dill and lemon stack and George says he won’t knock it, but they did that in the 90’s a lot and asks how she can do it for now.  She then decides to make her own smoked ricotta.

Sara decides to do her beetroot squid and pours the beetroot juice all over the squid.  Jessica gets her custards into the steamer.

Reynold is trying to make a milk skin as part of his dish.  He’s had a saucepan of milk in the oven, gets it out, goes to get the skin from the saucepan and touches the handle and burns his hand…oh dear.

Georgia is poaching figs in beetroot juice and Matt comes over and asks how it all ties together and if there is a cold element, there isn’t, but she decides to do something.

Sara checks the beetroot soaked calamari and it has stayed purple and while she’s frying it orange appears, so she’s happy.

Billie gets her stack out of the fridge and removes the mould and it holds together, thankfully because she only made one stack.  She puts the crumb and smoked ricotta all over it.

Sara gets onto making a prawn crumb and decides to use the prawn heads in the crumb to have extra prawn flavour in it.  Then she has to work out how to plate it.

Jessica gets her custards out and then realises that her custards aren’t as impressive looking as the other dishes and decides to make squid pasta.

Time is up…Sara is up first with textures of squid.  Gary straight out says he wouldn’t have done beetroot and squid, but it looks amazing and George says it is the best plated dish from a mystery box challenge this season.  Then George says it is the best dish she’s put up in the competition so far.  Matt loves it and sprouts a variety of adjectives about the dish.  Gary says they can’t teach Sara any more about creativity.

Reynold is up next with almond with lemon.  There’s almond ice-cream, sponge cake, lemon curd, lemon jam, almond tuille and milk skin.  Matt loves the combinations and says it is a brilliant and creative dish.

Georgia is up next with chocolate dacquoise that also has beetroot poached figs, beetroot cream and dark chocolate ganache.  Matt keeps thinking that he needs ice-cream until he tastes it and says it is sophisticated cooking.

Jessica is up next with prawn chawanmushi with squid noodles.  The judges think the consistency is good and Gary says the quality and flavour are great.

Billie is up last with beetroot and dill stack that also includes smoked ricotta and Gary says is looks modern and up to date and he loves the intensity of it.

Decision time…Matt says that they all pushed themselves and there were two dishes that the thought couldn’t be improved, Billie and Sara.  The winner is Sara.

Sara goes into the pantry with Gary and George and her choices for the invention tests are three different food trends.  Cheeks and jowls, which is nose to tail with regards to protein, peel to stem, which George says is the nose to tail of fruit and vegetables, and savoury sweets.  She doesn’t want to choose savoury sweets because of the strong dessert cooks that are left.  She chose peel to stem and some of the others are confused.  They have 60 minutes and all dishes will be tasted, two will be safe and the other three are in an elimination pressure test.

Georgia’s all confused from the start and spending a lot of time in the pantry.  Matt says he doesn’t want to see a protein centred dish, oh dear…Reynold has got chicken on his bench.

Billie’s using cauliflower, but isn’t sure what the dish will be.  Reynold is doing a poached chicken roulade with celery and mushrooms.  Sara has decided to do watermelon and crab.

Reynold’s been working on the chicken for almost 30 minutes and about to put it in the oven when Gary and George walk over to him and Gary says he doesn’t care about the chicken, oh dear Reynold has now realised the vegetables are the important part of the challenge, not the chicken.

Georgia has decide to use parsnips and baby carrots.  Sara’s going well until George asks her what she’s doing with the watermelon skin, as she’s got the flesh and rind, but not the skin in the dish.

Jessica’s using silverbeet and adding cheese and the judges are worried that she’ll think the cheese will win them over.

Poor Reynold’s in all sorts of mess with runny puree and then Matt goes over to him and asks him what’s wrong and the poor thing struggles to answer.  Then he realises it tastes nice, so maybe it can be a soup.

10 minutes to go and Sara is still stressing over the watermelon skin and how to use it.  Then while she’s plating up she’s stressing even more and she decides to leave the watermelon skin off the dish.

Time is up…Sara is up first with…well they say nothing except go to an ad, oh dear.  She’s made compressed watermelon and watermelon rind salad and Gary is stunned not sure if he likes how it is plated up because it isn’t sophisticated.  Matt asks about the watermelon skin, which wasn’t used.  Matt likes the dish, but says she hasn’t shown what she can do with all of the watermelon and George wants more.

Billie is up next with cauliflower puree with pickled stems, a crumb and leaves.  George loves the dish and says she’s done so much with the cauliflower.  Gary says it is delicious and very clever.

Jessica is next with stewed silverbeet and chickpea with a stem puree, crispy leaves, chorizo and manchego cheese and George asks if she’s laden it with cheese and butter.  Gary comments that it is wholesome but not pretty.

Georgia takes up her dish parsnip and baby carrots and George asks why she used two vegetables.  George thinks she was mad using two vegetables, but pushed herself and made a tasty dish.  Gary thinks it is beautiful.

Last up is Reynold with celery heart with veloute, mushrooms and parsnip cream.  Matt says it was delicious as does Gary.

Decision time…Gary names the people in the pressure test…Sara, Jessica and Reynold.

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