The Bachelor – Week 4

Tonight White Rose wielder Alex finally gets a date and the girls get a fake baby challenge. Luckily they are already used to tanties of the grown-up variety.


MasterChef – Thurs, July 14 – US elimination challenge

The losing team from the Food Truck Challenge now faces elimination. Under the mentorship of Curtis Stone, they must cook a dish that symbolises what they’re going to do once the competition is over.

They get to cook at Curtis’s LA restaurant, Maude. According to the website, it only seats 25 people. Each month the menu focuses on a main ingredient that’s in season. At the moment it’s zucchini and next month it’s plums.
Curtis explains the seasonal concept to Mimi, Brett and Harry and says Maude (named after his Nan) makes him happy, but not rich. Luckily he does ads for Coles and is on every US cooking challenge show ever made.
The contestants have to cook “their dreams on a plate”.

Harry wants to do a lobster crudo with a smoked fennel, coriander and cucumber sauce. He draws a sketch of the finished product.
Mimi wants to show off her technique with her dessert of choc aero mousse with honey ice cream, whiskey jelly, honeycomb and lemon curd. It sounds like quite a lot of sweet elements. Curtis tells her it’s a lot for 90 minutes.
Brett tells Curtis of his dream to run a “simple” gastro pub in the country, and says his dish is inspired by something his mum used to make. Except she didn’t have a sous vide machine to do pork with roasted fennel and soil.
Mimi is having mousse drama, despite wanting to do “everything perfect” [sic]. Batch 2 works.
Brett is getting a lot of talking head time – he’s a goner. He’s making his soz last, when usually you’d do that first. And, guess what, we have yet another incident of people not looking in the fridge to see if the ingredients they need are actually there. Last night it was IM’s team and the crab (luckily that turned out ok) and tonight it’s Brett hunting, fruitlessly, for bones for his soz.
Harry is doing burnt lemon puree AGAIN! Why not chuck a brookie on there, too? He decides he needs some more elements for “a flavour explosion” as his dish is simple. These “explosions” are apparently pomegranate, microherbs and enoki mushrooms.
Uh oh – what Mimi thought was a freezer drawer seems to be just a cool drawer. She has a rapidly melting dessert on her hands.
Brett’s pork isn’t sous videing properly and now, almost at the end of the challenge, Gaz comes over to shake Brett’s soz pan – and his confidence – my suggesting he add some pork belly to add flavour to his jews. Brett’s head almost explodes and he decides to concentrate on getting his protein cooked instead. We get a lot of air time of him talking about his “okay” soz. Totally going home! Even though we get a fake out of Harry talking about how he forgot to taste his other elements with the burnt lemon puree.

The judges taste
“It comes down to the food,” George reminds the judges. Really, George? Really, George?

Harry’s lobster: First we get Harry talking about his childhood growing up near the Barrier Reef, and how the dish is his homage to coral. Curtis likes the “romance” of the food: “I think he’s done a really good job.” Gaz says it’s super creative and he loves it but the burnt lemon puree is too much. George says just the lobster and the soz would have been perfect. Matt says, nonetheless, they have a clear vision of his food dream.

Brett’s pork: He says his food dream is to serve meat and three veg in a modern way and gives a nod to his mum, who fed four kids with little thanks. Gaz loves the vibrancy of the carrot and ginger puree. The pork is cooked perfectly. Curtis says the soz has a residual bitterness.

Mimi’s dessert: Mimi says she wants to work in a professional kitchen to gain more experience. George says she’d have to start at the bottom, washing pots and picking herbs, and she’s up for it. Good to see realistic expectations. The judges like the look of it. Gaz and Matt can’t stop smiling once they taste it. “I think that’s the best dessert we’ve had this series,” Gaz says. Curtis is impressed and says if a chef wanting a job cooked that for him, he’d hire them. They agree Mimi is safe.

And the eliminated contestant is …
But first, Mimi gets some great feedback and is thrilled. She gets to join GE, Trent, IM and Elise in the finals week safe zone.
Brett, the “old man” of the cop is eliminated – oh so close to finals week. He takes it with good grace. Bye, Brett! You were good for a one liner and you never got frazzled or served up poncey food that needed tweezers.

Where is he now?
Brett has returned to his job as an airline captain. He still plans to open a gastro pub with his daughters.

Beetroot alert
It is now two episodes since a contestant cooked with beetroot. Hopefully they all got some to snack on on the plane trip home, so they didn’t get withdrawals.


MasterChef – Wed, July 13 – food truck challenge

The contestants are split into teams to run their very own food trucks at the world famous Santa Monica Pier. There is plenty at stake with the winning team guaranteed a place in finals week.

I love a good food truck. Anyone else watch The Great Food Truck Race, the US show where food trucks drive all over the country and compete in challenges?

I didn’t think Matt Preston’s suits could any pinker, but his outfit is super musk stick-pink today.
They do a random draw and red team is Harry, Brett and Mimi, so blue is Intense Matt, Trent and Elise. (Glowing Elena gets to sit out, having won the grape challenge). The guest chef today is the founder of what is apparently a successful food truck empire, Guerrilla Tacos: Wes Avila.
They have 2.5 hours to prep two items for at least 200 people.
Luckily for them they are actually cooking outside of the food trucks in a kitchen bigger than some restaurant kitchens. IM suggests BBQ chicken as one dish.
Harry wants to do a soft shell crab taco and here he goes again, using someone else’s recipe, doing a burnt lemon soz they had at a restaurant in San Fran.
Over on blue, they decide to do soft shell crab as well but – uh oh – red team has used all the soft shell crab (there weren’t that many to start with). But blue doesn’t know that because they are busy chopping up chook.
Red’s second dish will be a corn and guac salad with corn chips. Chef Wes thinks it sounds more like a side dish. They decide to add prawns.
Wes like’s IM’s chicken dish but he warns them to check they have enough crab and, uh oh. They have to do seared tuna with avo, corn, jalapeno and pineapple instead.
Red team spends a bit of time discussing whether the prawns’ poop chutes have been cleaned. They decide they already have. Does this they haven’t?
The teams use the trucks to grill their chook and tortillas and fry their corn chips.
It’s taking Harry ages to peel the prawns and now he wants to skewer them. This is where Brett needs to go rogue and just tell him “no”. After the initial crab hiccup, it was smart of blue to go with tuna, which just needs slicing and a quick sear.
With 15 minutes to go, Brett steps up and allocates everyone tasks. Good one, Brett – you sort out Gen Y.
On blue team, IM wants to give everyone a quarter of a chook with some slaw, but Elise – good on her – speaks up and says that would be a nightmare for the punters to eat standing up. Too true. He listens and chops it into smaller serves. Please let the chicken be cooked.
Red team decide they don’t have time for the tacos and it will just be soft shell crab with salad – good call.
IM is loving working in the food truck and Elise is bantering with customers – nice to see happy people in an MC challenge.

The judges taste

Red’s soft shell crab with fennel salad: Wes is a bit sad they didn’t do the taco. Gaz says the crab is well cooked and the lemon soz is yum.

Blue’s tuna with pineapple and corn salsa: Matt says it’s a bit old school but suits the beach on a sunny day. George reckons it’s a bit simple and Wes says the pineapple wasn’t consistently chopped. (Two women in the crowd note the blue team chefs were “gorgeous”.)

(Meanwhile, IM is worried no-one is ordering his chicken, instead wanting the more exotic tuna. If I was offered free food I’d pick tuna over chicken, too.)
Blue’s bourbon and ginger chicken with apple slaw: “You’d be rapt if you got that,” says George of the portion size. Matt says it might be hard for others to eat. Wes says it’s juicy and delicious. They love it.

Red’s charred prawn with corn salsa and tortilla chips: Gaz loves the fresh flavours but George isn’t eating his prawn. Gaz has to drag the reason out of him, for dramatic effect. Poor Georgie has a pooey prawn. Wes had poo, too. They’d love it otherwise.

The judges decide
Well, they ain’t giving it to the in the poo team.
Matt tells them the three things that bring people unstuck in the MasterChef kitchen are: bones in fish, undercooked chicken (did IM’s heart miss a beat just then?) and leaving poop chutes in prawns.
So, yes, team poo loses.

Tomorrow night
It’s elimination time and Mimi, Brett and Harry are in black, cooking under the eyes of Curtis Stone “to keep their food dreams alive”.

Beetroot alert
Note: None of the dishes tonight used beetroot. Hopefully someone will do beetroot two ways tomorrow to make up for this glaring omission.


MasterChef – Tues, July 12 – grape challenge

Four of the most impressive contestants are cooking for a guaranteed place this week at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook Estate in the Napa Valley.

It’s Trent V Mimi V Intense Matt V Glowing Elena in a wine-themed challenge, with the prize a shortcut to finals week.
Matt Preston is in his pink suit in tribute to red grapes.
The estate looks gorgeous, made even more appealing by me trying to ignore the sound of hail on my windows as I write this – SA is particularly Artic today.
The contestants are presented with a table laden with local produce and must create a dish that’s all about “the grape”.
IM is getting the most talking heads, followed by GE and Trent. Mimi is apparently also in the challenge.
Elena is cooking quail with grape chutney and vine leaves and a wine and verjuice soz.
Trent is making grilled quail with cauliflower skordalia and a raisin agrodolce (which Google says is an Italian soz made by reducing sweet and sour elements). Gaz and George tell him he’s on a roll.
Mimi goes the dessert route, determined to stand out, with a sweet inspired by a cheese platter. It’s a red wine and grape sorbet with a red wine cake and a blue cheese cream. Matt Preston reminds us Mimi pretty much won the Atelier Crenn challenge for her team yesterday with her work on the beetroot sorbet, but then scares her by saying wine sorbets don’t usually work. Oopsie.
IM is making roast lamb rack with chicken and mushroom jusand celeriac puree. Now, I love a good lamb rack but we’ve seen it so many times, and I’d rather see him cook something I wouldn’t have a crack at myself for a Sunday dinner. Gaz and George are worried there are hardly any grapes in his dish – luckily they reminded him at the start of the cook. He decides to ditch the mushies from the jus and add some red wine and dried grapes instead.
Trent is sounding confident about his dish and has lots of grapey elements.
Mimi adds red grape juice to her sorbet to help it freeze more and GE is dehydrating vine leaves for texture.
I’ve never seen cauliflower as yellow as Trent is using -it looks amazing, even if it is too lumpy.
GE is worried about the sweetness of her dish so decides to infuse lavender in milk to whip through goat’s cheese. The judges are worried about the lavender but she goes with it. Please don’t let this be another green tea jelly pond mistake.
And please let IM’s lamb rack cook in time.
Uh oh – the red moulds of death DID make their way over to the US, and now they are giving Mimi grief with an unset sorbet. She plates the rest of her dish and waits til the last second to get the sorbet.
Trent is getting yet another talking head – he could well win this one. His quail dish with fennel salt and cauli puree sounds delicious.
George does the obligatory “yes, George”. Sigh. IM’s lamb isn’t cooked enough so he has to pan sear it. Does this mean it’s not rested? Mimi has success getting her sorbet out and GE’s sticky glaze for her quail looks fab.

The judges taste

Trent’s quail: “It looks fabulous,” Gaz tells him. They love the colour pop from the red grapes and dill and the taste of the skordalia. “It’s a sophisticated plate of food … The flavours are pure Trent,” says Matt. Gaz says he’s found his mojo.
IM’s lamb: “I think it looks fantastic,” Gaz says. IM has a little moment, thinking about his wife back home, whom he hasn’t seen for ages. She is going to bawl when she sees this bit.

The lamb is actually spot on. George drags through the sauce with his finger and licks it. They appreciate the work that went into the soz. “Great food,” says Gaz.

Mimi’s red wine and cheese dessert: “It’s all the things I like to eat,” she tells them. Gaz thinks it’s creative and gives his portion a good ole sniff. Matt thinks the winery could well use this dish as a signature dessert. “I think she’s smashed it,” says Gaz.

GE’s sticky quail: Uh oh – first we get a talking head of GE doubting her use of lavender. I think it belongs in the garden and drawer fresheners and that’s about it, but I hope for her sake it worked. Gaz tells her she’s been putting up great food lately. George says he’s mesmerised by the dish. He can’t wait to get his giant tweezers stuck in there. “How bloody good is that,” says Gaz. “It’s a dish with all the boring bits taken out,” says Matt. The lavender worked.
They’ve all done really well – how refreshing to have a challenge where no-one was too flustered and everyone was happy with the end result – but it sounds like GE has got this.
The judges decide

It was tough but the winner is GE. Woo hoo! Oh – there’s Brett, Elise and Harry on the sidelines. They’ve apparated in at the last minute. Hope they got to check out the cellar door while they were there.

It’s a food truck challenge at Santa Monica Pier. This should be fun. It looks like the red team is Brett, Harry and Mimi, which means blue will be IM, Elise and Trent. My money’s on blue.


MasterChef – Mon, June 27 – Heston ice block challenge

For one day only, Melbourne’s iconic Brighton Beach bathing boxes become ice cream stands selling Heston-inspired ice creams and ice blocks. The least impressive team will face elimination.
Poor kids, rocking up expecting a delicious treat and copping a scoop of fennel and beetroot parfait …

Poor Trent and Heather – the “losers” paraded in front of the other contestants in their elimination blacks.
The other contestants have to make ice cream for 500 people and laugh nervously when they hear they have to do savoury ice cream. And not only do they have to be savoury, they have to trigger nostalgia.
The team pick is done by a zoopa dupa lucky dip into George’s Esky, which is literally cool.
The teams are: IM and Harry, Elena and Theresa, Mimi and Elise, Brett and Chloe. They have 4.5 hours to make one flavour of icy poles, two flavours of ice creams and waffle cones.
IM and Harry are going nuts with their flavour combos, doing prawn cocktail and Vegemite and butter ice cream and a gazpacho icy pole.
George and Heston (or let’s just call him “H” from now on, as his buddy George does) are worried about Chloe’s smoked beetroot, goat’s cheese and dill ice cream. They reckon the strong cheese will coat the roof of the mouth. Last time Chloe ignored a chef’s advice (in the Curtis Stone challenge) she and teammate Nicolette ended up in elimination. But it’s okay – Chloe has done it before and it’s awesome. What do George and H know?
Theresa is having waffle cone dramas and H tells her it’s because she needs more sugar in her batter.
Mimi is making cucumber, ginger and mint ice blocks and her mix is a lovely green colour, while Chloe and Brett are creating carrot and ginger icy poles with soda water and edible flowers (bleagh) – will the bubbles affect the freezing process?

Theresa has finally mastered her waffle cones but has yet to start her mustard ice cream with bacon and hot chips. She knows it will take forever to crack all the eggs for it so she decides to use an eggless recipe she half remembmers from seeing on TV. Oh dear. And if she fails she’ll take Elena down with her.
Mimi and Elise give a cucumber ice block to H to try and he says it’s too sweet. So they add vinegar. At least they’re ahead with their waffle cone making. Harry hasn’t started his but decides he’ll do waffle cups instead, which will be quicker than cones.
Mimi’s second ice cream is pea and ham ice cream but they are rushing it and don’t properly cook their peas and chuck a whole bunch of half cooked pureed bacon in it. Ick.
The boys’ Vegemite ice cream looks good (they’re serving it with a toast crumb topping – hope it tastes better than Cadbury’s Vegemite chocolate), and Theresa’s eggless ice cream seems to have worked. Whereas Chloe’s beetroot ice cream looks weirdly dry because of the overload of goat’s cheese. And that’s why you always listen to the chef. Her second ice cream is rosemary mascarpone and her ice blocks are ready but the soda has separated.

Uh oh – here comes the crowd, including a bunch of sprinting kid who are going to be sooo disappointed there’s nothing chocolate on offer. IM looks deliriously happy to be there – he’s still on his hot streak.

The judges taste

IM and Harry’s Vegemite and panko crumb ice cream: They like the texture and the crumb but H thinks there’s too much Vegemite.
Gazpacho icy pole: The judges love it. “That’s a cracker,” says H.
Prawn cocktail ice cream: George loves the look. Matt says it equals other savoury ice creams he’s had elsewhere. They like the concept.

Mimi and Elise’s pea and ham ice cream: The cones look great but Matt pulls a face when he tries the scoop. “I don’t like that at all… they’ve made me feel a bit queasy.”
Ginger, cucumber and mint ice block: H says it’s still too sweet.
Sour cream and chives: They redeem themselves; H says it’s delicious. The texture is great. So, one out of three.

Elena and Theresa’s mustard, bacon and french fries ice cream: H says he likes chips on the beach. “I reckon this ones the best one so far,” says Gaz. H says he could eat a tub of it. [Sorry I doubted you, Theresa.]
Lemon, pine nut and rosemary ice cream: It’s not right, the judges say. It’s bland and a bit medicinal.
Chilli, lime and coriander icy pole: They love it . “It’s like a frozen bowl of Thai dipping sauce,” says Matt.

Brett and Chloe’s beetroot and goat’s cheese ice cream: “Oh God,” says George, and not in a bang the spoon on the table way. “It’s got that curdled consistency in your mouth.”
Mascarpone, rosemary and bacon ice cream: The cone looks good and they like the bacon crumb. “That’s pretty tasty,” says Matt.
Ginger and carrot icy pole: “Oh dear.” “Oh god.” “There’s no flavour of carrot here.” Brett must have thought he was on a winner when he was teamed up with Chloe at the start of the challenge. Now he’s in real danger of being eliminated this week.

The judges decide

The two teams who stood out were Theresa and Elena and (Theresa gets dish of the day for her mustard and chips ice cream) and Matt and Harry (the prawn cocktail wasn’t perfect but, with tweaking, could become a signature dish).
Chloe and Brett are going into elimination with Trent and Heather, who have suddenly appeared again on the sidelines to stare at Heston, unable to touch him because they’re dead to him now.

Tomorrow night

An underground carpark is the scene for a pop-up chocolate-themed restaurant. We see the teams are Elise and Theresa, Mimi and Harry and Elena and IM. So I’m barracking for Elena and IM. Does Elena need an abbreviation now, too? She’s always so radiant and glowing – GE?