Just Desserts premiere

Twitter says season 2 of Just Desserts starts Sunday at 7pm. According to the TV guide Seven has scheduled Bride and Prejudice in that time slot, so perhaps poor ratings have led to a quick switch.
Let’s hope Rachel Khoo does all the talking and Adriano Zumbo just nods wisely.
There’s a really interesting article about his financial woes here.
I just finished the latest GBBO, which pretty much spoils me for all other baking shows because I love it so much.
Will you be watching?


Khoo joins Zumbo’s new show

The Khoo is back! After an all-too-short stint on MKR, Rachel Khoo is coming back to Australia to help pastry chef extraordinaire Adriano Zumbo with his upcoming show, Just Desserts, which sounds like MasterChef, but with sweets. How much it’s like GBBO remains to be seen.
She’s a great pick, as in past TV outings on MasterChef Zumbo has looked like he’d rather be in the kitchen baking than speaking in front of the camera. I’m looking forward to this one – no air date as yet.


MKR – Tues, March 1

Welcome to Autumn, everyone. It’s Dee Day and she’s let poor hubby Harry Potter out from under the stairs to help in the kitchen. Bet he wishes he knew the Avada Kedavra curse ….
Sadly this is the last night The Khoo will be on MKR. Nooooo ….

Unfortunately I can’t watch til after 10pm, so have at it with the comments.

Here we go …

Look how happily married we are. For reals.
Look how happily married we are. For reals.

Dee and downtrodden Harry Potter husband (please, can someone please save him from his cupboard under the stairs and send him off to Hogwarts) head off to the shops with 7 hr 30 mins on the clock. So that’s 4 hrs 30 mins to shop and decorate, which seems a long time – are all the nearby Coles stores not pretty enough for TV?

In the car they get the background music of the novelty song, Macarena, because Dee is, you know, Spanish, and that’s the all they had on file. Remember this?

This was 20 years ago - feeling old yet?
This was 20 years ago – feeling old yet?

Dee is coaching Tim on how to say the names of their Spanish dishes, but I don’t hold out much hope given he’s one of those people who says “pronunciation” as “pro-nounce-iation”.
The menu
Entree: Lentijas – Spanish lentil soup with chorizo (sounds not very technical – it’s no twice-baked souffle)
Main: Albondigas Patatas Bravas – Spanish meatballs with potatoes and spicy sauce (I’ve only had these as two separate tapas – not togetether)
Dessert: Flan de Huevo (Spanish creme caramel)

And here’s our last-ever shot of The Khoo and The Fass – or do we call them by their celeb couple name Khoonidge or Fassoo – critiqueing the menu.

Look at us, in new outfits and pretending we don't film all these bits on one day.
Look at us, in new outfits and pretending we don’t film all these bits on one day.

In Coles, we learn Dee has written her shopping list course by course, rather than food groupings, so there will be a lot of time wasted running back and forth. That’s ok; it’s not like there’s a clock counting down or anything.
Harry Potter wipes his schnozz on the veg and this is a bigger crime than last night’s egg shaking.
Who's ever heard of a schnozzberry?
Who’s ever heard of a schnozzberry?

Sure, sniff away but don’t leave boogers on veg you have not paid for. Plus, they are supermarket tomatoes – if they had any tomatoey scent you’d fall over in shock.
After two hours in Coles and with still more shopping to do, Dee concedes she stuffed up the shopping list. Do you reckon she normally does online shopping and never sets foot in a real supermarket?
Finally home, they rush through the setting up of their travel-themed restaurant but still get into the kitchen way behind, with 2:28 on the clock. Tim gets cracking on the dessert as it needs time to set. His caramel looks pale, but maybe that’s the Spanish way.
Dee is micromanaging him, but in their confessional – with Dee within knifing distance – he tells the camera he loves being told what to do. But he’s blinking H-E-L-P in Morse code.
Modest Dee gets out the flour: “Bread. I make it every day. To me, it’s really easy. I’m pretty confiedent it’s going to be perfect.” So, we know something goes wrong with the bread.
And then it gets worse – she says she has changed the soup recipe from the traditional way she and her mum have always cooked. Normally she fries the chorizo first but she just chucks them in whole. Yeah, skip the frying, Dee, why would you want to add amazing flavour and texture to your dish? Might as well just chuck in some cocktail franks instead.
She goes to make the second batch of bread – the one Harry Potter started – and it’s not working and she instantly gets super whiny and oh this is going to get so much worse as the night goes on. And it does within two seconds when she sees her sauteeing onions are slightly brown. Instead of picking out the few browned ones she has a total tantie. Can Jessica come back instead – all is forgiven!
Then the tears start.
My four-year-old has more self control.
My four-year-old has more self control.

Tim attempts to calm her down and she gets it together, only to realise she forgot to put the ham hock in the soup. Those lentils are going to be flavourless mush by the time that ham gets boiling.
Then she points out he’s left the sticker on a lemon that’s been sliced for drinks – let’s hope Lauren gets that one. She gets increasingly cranky that he’s making sangria when the kitchen looks like this:
This is all Tim's fault; none of this mess is Dee's. Not even the lentils and veg which are from her soup.
This is all Tim’s fault; none of this mess is Dee’s. Not even the lentils and veg which are from her soup.

And then this happens:
Tim's wishing he could drink the whole bottle.
Tim’s wishing he could drink the whole bottle.

And he splashes wine an inch away from their precious flans.
We’re only 25 minutes already in and theirs already been more drama and tension than the whole of last night’s episode.
The guests arrive and I was wrong: Channel 7 has one other Spanish song in its music library. It’s Bamboleo, by The Gypsy Kings. And here are the judges, looking schmick, as per usual, and they get the cool kids music of Goldfrapp We Are Glitter.
Last time Rachel arrives at an MKR house.
Last time Rachel arrives at an MKR house.

The guests peruse the menus and they are done in a cool airline-ticket style, but it’s all in Spanish – no translation – which is pretentious.
Back in the kitchen, Dee’s soup just needs one more thing: cumin powder. And what have they bought? Coriander powder. Fail! Again, it’s all Harry Potter’s fault even though they went shopping together.
"Anywhere but my face, Deeze."
“Anywhere but my face, Deeze.”

This is where frying off the chorizo would have helped, both to impart flavour and look more appetising on top of the soup.

It’s chew o’clock …
The Fass was happy with the hearty, peasant-style look of the dish, but that was it. The lentils weren’t cooked, the onion was raw, the chorizo wasn’t caramelised, there wasn’t enough flavour: “What I got was not very good.” The Khoo says it’s obvious they had trouble in the kitchen. Yep, her name is Dee.
She tears up and Lauren can’t hide her disgust, thinking she’s going for the sympathy vote. The only nice thing the guests can say is they liked the bread, so Lauren – who’s on the bottom of the leaderboard – is happy again.
Back in the kitchen they get to work on the meatballs and Harry Potter is tasked with toasting the homemade bread for crumbs in the oven. And burns the bread. And not in a gourmet “ash is cool” kind of way.
At least they have a back-up packet of breadcrumbs. Dee then gives hubby the complicated task of rolling meatballs.
It’s taking them ages – the guests are very restless – and, foolishly, Dee has made hubby wait til the rolling is done until they start browning meatballs, even they can only fit a few in the pan at a time.
And the ones he has done are raw in the middle. She’s a very supportive wife: “Just cook them! You’re pissing me off.”
Run away, Harry – don’t let the Dementor get you!
Why don’t they chuck them in the oven to finish off? They are plating up and it looks awful. Apparently they had a different vision for the dish, but it would be hard to make it look pretty, even if it was well cooked.

Chew time … and The Fass is disappointed with the blahness of the dish: “You didn’t give me Spain. I didn’t travel nowhere.” Not only are the meatballs uncooked, the sauce is, too. The Khoo gives them cooking tips for next time and says the aioli – which is easy to make, but then Lisa had to do hers four times – is good. The potatoes should have been par-boiled before deep frying to get them crunchy. She tries to buck them up: “Show me a cracker of a dessert.”
Carmine and Lauren are dancing on the inside.
Dad No. 1, who has nibbled the edge of one meatball, sums it up when he says: “If we had been able to eat them, I reckon they might have been enjoyable, actually.”
Carmine and Lauren aren’t as used to being tactful. “I would say they are going home already,” he tells the table, which is just the sort of comment to make people want to boot you from the comp.

Back in the kitchen they know they’ve screwed up, but at least their dessert is mostly done. The creme caramels slide out of the ramekins pretty well, and the two slightly bodgy ones are headed for Carmine and Lauren. The caramel looks super pale, and the side garnish of three raspberries and two whole, giant mint leaves is weird. Why not serve the dessert on dark plates for contrast, with some kind of crumb and perhaps a tuille to scoop with? Yes, that would be beyond their abilities but they could have done something else to fancy it up.

Time for the judges to masticate …
The Khoo liked the plating but says the caramel was under. The Fass agrees but found the garnish “pedestrian”.
Hazel loves the flan and it’s generally well received, although no-one seems to have touched their mint leaves, perhaps because they’d need a knife to cut them.
Just before scoring time, Lauren is winning friends: “I hate to think that, if I had cried my eyes out, that would have saved me. I’m not going to put on tears just because I want to win votes.”
Time for the team scores but, oh, that’s right, we have to go back to HQ for the reveal. They need to beat Carmine and Lauren’s 51 and if everyone scores fairly, Dee and hubby will get the boot for having two inedible dishes.

Judges: Entree Khoo 3, Fass 2; Main Khoo 2, Fass 2; Dessert Khoo 6, Fass 6. The guest teams gave a combined score of 11/50, for a total of 32.
Bye bye, Dee, and – sniff – bye, Rachel Khoo. Please come back next year for more than four eps.
The other teams file back in, 15 in total. As with last year, the bottom two teams will go another round with Pete and Manu. At the end, two teams will get the boot. So it’s out of The Ducks Nutters, The Miners, The Cops, The Stepsies, Carmine and Lauren and SA Besties Rosie and Paige. From the promos, MKR is relying on Lauren to stir the pot.


MKR – Mon, Feb 29

It’s the Newcastle Dads’ turn to cook, and we find out one is a physio and the other a dietitian. Nice to see two blokes who have maintained such a strong friendship since they were sprogs.
This is the first time I’ve seen contestants stroll to the shops on MKR – should have got one of those handy granny trolleys so they don’t have to lug it all home. Then the physio picks up a carton of eggs and shakes it.

I’m baffled by the egg shaking.

Who the heck does that? I want to shake him at this point. They are advertising Coles Free Range Eggs (well, alleged free range – according to Choice “For eggs to be labelled free range, the Model Code of Practice says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare. But many commonly available “free range” brands do not adhere to this, with some brands keeping as many as 10,000 chooks per hectare.” And guess how many Coles has?)
The menu
Entree: “Double the fun”: Twice-baked cheese souffle
Main: “Sweet Swine” Prosciutto-wrapped pork fillet with potato puree and honey sage jus.
Dessert: “Crunch Time” Chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline and raspberry coulis
Discussing the menu, the judges are looking fab – as always- and The Fass is thrilled by the main: “You had me at pork.”
Can't we just keep these two? Who needs Pete and Manu
Can’t we just keep these two? Who needs Pete and Manu

The guys are cruising through the shopping, stopping to taste test prosciutto, and buy decent dark chocolate for their dessert (Zana, I still haven’t forgotten your shameful use of Cadbury Dairy Milk). Last stop is for booze at Liquorland and this episode is much more blatant in its advertising than some of the previous ones.
Whose genius idea was it to walk?
Whose idea was it to walk?

At home (looks like a rental for the show) they quickly set up “Sand and Steel” and the guests get some kinetic sand to play with. It’s fun stuff so I’m hoping The Fass will give it a go.
They are in the kitchen as the clock starts at 3:00 and are straight on to the dessert elements that need time to set. But Cookie (the dietitian) scrambles his first anglaise for the ice cream but gets it right second time round (no four goes to make mayo-type disaster here).
Then they get on to both the entree and mains prep – Hazel and Lisa could learn some time management skills off these guys. Both seem to be capable cooks, whereas the other teams have had an obvious chef and sous chef vibe (except the Italians).

Here come the guests and what the hell is Mr Chops wearing?

Shirt stolen off an 80yo man at the local RSL.
Shirt stolen off an 80yo man at the local RSL.

Inside, Lauren is the most chipper we’ve seen her since she bombed, and actually compliments the decor and plays with the sand.
But Hazel and Lisa don’t have much time for new Lauren, based on their view she is scoring strategically. “I don’t have much time for cheaters,” Lisa says. Hmm, has she learned yet there was a whopping big hair in Lauren’s meal?
In the kitchen the Mates are happy with how the souffles are looking – what a shame they only brought 12 ramekins with them and can’t test one. And since it looks like a rental, they can’t just grab any old dish to do a tester in.
Here come The Fass and The Khoo, the latter looking like he’s off to a picnic in the Italian countryside.
10/10 for this skirt.
10/10 for this skirt.

The lads start plating up the entree and it looks delish. There’s a minor hiccup of getting a plate stuck in the saucepan – yep, that’s as close as these fellas come to a tense moment in the kitchen.

It’s chew o’clock … And The Khoo establishes her claim to be a cheese expert by saying she lived in Paris for eight years. She is happy with their use of parmesan and cheddar, but wanted more flavour from their side veg – and she tells them to roast the tomatoes next time. Colin says they should have sprinkled cheese on top for cheesey crunch, but he still praises their effort.
The guests are enjoying their souffles, except Dee reckons hers is overcooked. Lauren has been bodysnatched by aliens and replaced with a nice Lauren who hails the souffle as “the dish of the competition so far”.
The Stepsies are baffled by the MKR equivalent of doing this:

I'm crazy enthusiastic for no reason, like my friend Lauren.
I’m crazy enthusiastic for no reason, like my friend Lauren.

But they console themselves in their confessional to camera by cackling that Lauren should go eat her spaghetti in a bag: “No-one else did.”
Twinning at insults.
Twinning at insults.

Back in the kitchen they get on to mains and things are going well until the power goes out, but it’s only for a minute. Talk about an anti-climax.
Cookie is feeling the pressure a bit and dithering over how well he should cook the pork.
Emotions ... feelings
Emotions … feelings

Cook to please Pork Ambassador Colin, I say. At least they have enough to do a tester. They struggle a bit with the timing – this is where a meat thermometer would be handy.
Cookie moves on to the potato and you can tell he’s a serious cook because he’s using a drum sieve, which is painstaking work but gives super smooth mash.
They’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the plating up – it looks great.

It’s chew time … and The Fass is impressed by their gutsy effort in cooking 36 medallions or pork, and doing it well. “The dish is actually like something I’ve had on the menu before.” The only fault he finds is that the sauce soaked into the mash. The Khoo is happy, too: “You couldn’t have done a better job.” She wanted a bit more butter in the puree (perhaps dietitian Cookie let his professional knowledge stay his hand).
Dee and Lauren both say their meat was overcooked – looks like the aliens brought original Lauren back.

Back in the kitchen the lads are making praline, while at the table Dee explains she doesn’t like choccy mousse, which is a shame for Husband of Dee, as he loves it. However, every night Dee confines him to a cupboard under the stairs, Harry Potter style, so no mousse for him.
They Mates are plating up and Cookie is a bit heavy handed with the dusting cocoa. The plating looks great and this is a much more complicated dessert than the last few we’ve seen.

Time to chew … The Khoo is happy (apart from the heavy layer of cocoa powder) but The Fass wanted more of his promised crunch. It was good, but not as delish as the main.
They’ve done well and deserve high scores. Apparently the dessert was confusing to Dee but it made her backflip on her claim she doesn’t like chocolate mousse.

Team scores: Dee and That Guy 8; Lauren and That Guy 8; Zesty Stepsies 8; Tarq and Joke Dad 7 (not wanting to relinquish top spot); Mr and Mrs Chops 9.
Judges: Entree Khoo 8, Fass 7; Main Khoo 9 (note how she pronounced the dish “fillay”), Fass 9; Dessert Khoo 7, Fass 7 (with the comment: “A lot of cocoa powder- must have got it on special”)
Total 87, which puts them at the top of the leaderboard, seven points above Tarq and Dad. Hooray – at least two pairs this round can cook!

Tomorrow night: It’s Dee Day! And we get to see poor Harry Potter fail spectacularly at pouring wine into a container with a very large neck.

Missed it by that much.
Missed it by that much.


MKR – Sun, Feb 28

Chat here for Sunday MKR.

It’s the turn of step besties – stesties? – Hazel and Lisa tonight and we don’t know much about them other than they like twinning their outfits. Oh, and they do a good Kath & Kim impersonation and have been fair and non-catty in their commentaries. Which makes them likeable, but can they cook? Given the performances in this round so far, a half-arsed job will see them safe anyway.

It’s kind of nice to see a stepmum and stepdaughter who get on so well. Hazel is a fitness instructor, of the annoyingly upbeat variety, and even though I rewound it twice, I could not catch Lisa’s profession – is flooring finance a thing? Or did she say boring finance.

Their menu is:

Entree: Salmon croquettes with lime aioli

Main: Beef Wellington with potato gallete and green beans

Dessert: Citrus polenta yoghurt cake with pistachio ice cream

The croquettes sound simple but so much could go wrong with the Wellington, from the pastry to the doneness of the meat – made all the more difficult by the number of people they have to cook for.

As she peruses the menu The Khoo is looking as divine as always – if her cooking empire crumbles she could definitely start a makeup and fashion house.

The Khoo in all her glory.
The Khoo in all her glory.

Shopping goes smoothly and it’s home to decorate their restaurant, the aptly named Zesty. There have been a few celebratory hip bumps so far by “Daughtie” and “Steppie” – will these lessen as the night goes on?

With the clock at 2:40 they head to the kitchen, so 20 minutes late already. Wisely they start with the icecream but I don’t know why Lisa is starting with mayo when someone needs to make pastry. It’s not that hard to make mayo once you’ve done it a few times – just add some hot water to it, Lisa! But, no, she’s trying again and it’s flopped again. Did she forget the salt? are the eggs not room temp?

Meanwhile, Hazel starts on the puff and puts it away for the first rest, before moving on to the entree. Earlier, The Fass and The Khoo had said they wanted bechamel or mash holding their croquettes together but Lisa – or is it Hazel? – sees these flavoursome binders as “unwanted carbs” (thinking of you, Jessica!). Uh oh. Hazel is boning the salmon, so Lisa is definitely the sous chef in this kitchen.

I hope everyone likes mushrooms.
I hope everyone likes mushrooms.

Here come the guests and the girls look lovely in their frocks – not a white knee sock in sight – but poor Tarq’s Dad has been lumbered with a navy double-breasted jacket.

Off to a wedding?
Off to a wedding?

The other guests ooh and aah over the decor but Lauren is ready for a war and can’t even muster up the manners to say something nice in her confessional.

Ready to stab someone if they dare insult her inedible food.
Ready to stab someone if they dare insult her inedible food.

Here come the judges and, sadly, The Khoo is not wearing one of her signature vibrant prints.

The Khoo looking rather Sandra Dee.
The Khoo looking rather Sandra Dee.

Unfortunately the Steppies can’t open the door as Lisa left the tap open on the fryer while she filled it up, and the Exxon Valdez is happening in their kitchen. Just what they need. Eventually it all gets sopped up with reams of paper towel and the croquettes look golden and crunchy, but they are serving them with a fennel and strawberry salad … Colin is going to go off his nut!

But before the judges can taste, this happens:

Special garnish for Lauren.
Special garnish for Lauren.

Now Lauren has something to justify the low score she already planned to give them. Hair in food doesn’t bother me much and it was bound to happen on a show where the contestants can’t wear hair nets or chef’s hats.
Cue the chew … The Fass finds, as foreshadowed, the croquettes are too dry due to lack of moisture and there was not enough aioli to compensate (insert your own memory here of Manu asking: Where’s the soz?). The Khoo tries to soften the blow by saying the aoili was zesty and the croquettes had crunch. But basically the filling and the salad sucked.
And what do the guests think of the strawberries in the salad?
Mate/Dad No. 2 speaks for everyone.
Mate/Dad No. 2 speaks for everyone.

Back in the kitchen Hazel and Lisa think Lauren was just being her snooty self by not eating her entree. Again, Hazel shows she is the cook of the pair by doing all the work for the Wellington, but they are not wrapping everything in a crepe, as is traditional, which means the moisture from the mushroom duxelle could make the pastry soggy. They are in trouble with timing, as those are huge pieces of meat that will take over an hour to cook, and Stepmum already spent time searing the meat and assembling the layers. And then they need to rest it at the end.
Wellington in the oven, Hazel gets to stirring her thimbleful of sauce on the stove. Lisa has to convince her they need more than spot on each plate. How can you be a contestant on MKR and not know the first rule of MKR is: More soz.
So, they add cream to what looked like a jus. And then red wine. Bleaurgh.

Pink soz.
Pink soz.

Hazel:It’s actually a nice colour; it’s really interesting.” Interesting – it’s what you say when you aren’t convinced but don’t want to see rude.
Look at moi, soz.
Look at moi, soz.

In the dining room the guests are so delirious with hunger they’ve started singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
Remember these guys from 2012 MKR? It was three hours between their entree and main, and they served dessert after 1am.
Villains BL (Before Lauren).
Villains BL (Before Lauren).

The Steppies use the time spent waiting for the Welly to prep their dessert. Finally the Wellies are out but OMG they have not cooked the galletes. Why didn’t they shove them in at the same time? And after all that some of the pastry is cracked, the bottoms are soggy (that’s why you use the crepe, girls) and one of the fillets looks to be overcooked. They could break the record here for longest MKR wait between meals. Colin is going to tear them a new one.
They rightly decide Lauren will get one of the dodgy pieces.

It’s chew time … and the first thing The Fass does is notice the soggy bottom, so he gives them a lesson in where they went wrong. The potatoes and green beans are a bit undercooked and they did not cook out the wine in the sauce. The Khoo struggles to provide constructive criticism.
It’s a fail and it will be interesting to see if the guests score it higher than it deserves because they want to keep Lauren and Carmine out.
Back in the kitchen the Steppies are getting dessert out quickly, but have they allowed enough time for the syrup to sink in to the cake? Nothing worse than stodgy, dry polenta cake. Why didn’t they also serve some syrup on the side?
Lisa seems unaware of how much trouble they are in. “We’ve had an okay entree, a good main; we really need a great dessert.” No, you need a time machine, Lisa.

Time for the judges to chew … The Khoo is happy with the cake (the syrup must have sat for a lot longer than the editing indicated), but not the ice cream, as it’s more vanilla than pistachio. The Fass must really like them as he’s been a lot more brutal in the past. He’s glad they had a comeback with the cake. “That was your dish of the night.”
The camera cuts from a glowering Lauren (gotta keep the villain edit going) to a stoked Lisa.

"Fail, fail, fail." "We didn't fail!"
“Fail, fail, fail.”

Mr and Mrs Chops enjoy the cake. They are too normal and pleasant to make the edit much, so here’s a reminder of what his hair looks like:

No drama, just weird hair.
No drama, just weird hair.

Team scores: Mr and Mrs Chops 5; Tarq and Dad 5; Dads/Mates 5; Dee and That Guy 5; Mr and Mrs Villain 2.
Judges: Entree Khoo 4, Fass 4; Main Khoo 6, Fass 6 (he’s definitely mellowed); Dessert Khoo 8 (very generous), Fass 7.
Total: 57. They’re safe.

Being likeable goes a long way with the scoring – take note, Lauren.
Tonight we’re off to Newcastle to see if the childhood mates can cook. There hasn’t been much promo for them, so perhaps they can.


MKR – Wed, Feb 24

A teaser from The Fass for tonight’s show. I won’t be recapping tonight but if anyone has time, please go ahead! Otherwise I’ll catch up at the weekend.
And if you can’t get enough of The Khoo, catch her over at SBS later in the week.

No recap but here are are some dish pix.


MKR – Tues, Feb 23

Tonight it’s New Zanna and The Plus One Who’s Allowed to Speak … Hopefully some yummy Italian dishes in store.
Wish I could tell you their real names but Channel 7 hasn’t bothered putting bios up on the website for any of Fass’s teams. So, guessing none of them win, then?

Let's just call them New Zanna and New Plus One.
Ah, so that’s their names … but let’s just call them New Zanna and New Plus One until we know they are sticking around.

We start in a quite dated kitchen that doesn’t match the outside of the house, so I’m thinking this is not their place as they don’t strike me as brown tile people. Perhaps it belongs to their parents.
New Zanna (aka Lauren) is talking herself up in between footage of them working out and he’s not far behind. Do they have actual jobs or like Jess and Marcos do they purely go to the gym and cook?
Looks like they live somewhere north-east of the city (did any TTV readers recognise the Coles?).
The menu is:
Entree: Zucchini Involtini with Homemade Ricotta
Main: Seafood Spaghetti in a Bag (that’s a new one on me)
Dessert: Rum Baba with Lemon Custard
Lauren is running round Coles in an electric blue play suit and is looking forward to showing off her ricotta-making skills, apparently a first for MKR. Really?
Back home they are happy with their time management and, setting up the decor, reveal they met in a pub. What an unusual story. So they are setting up their restaurant with a pub theme.
In the kitchen, on time, Carmine gets on to the past making, having learnt at the elbow of his Nonna. He’s happy with the dough but it looks pretty dry. He then moves on to the fiddly task of cleaning the seafood.
Lauren is making the ricotta and it’s not working, so she starts again but before she gets too far in she realises her first batch worked after all. D’oh!
The timer is at 1:09. I hope she achieved a lot more in the past two hours than we were shown – surely she was not standing over a pot, waiting for it to boil.
Carmine moved on to pasta making, with the obligatory bag of Coles plain flour positioned in shot – and there is no way they actually used that to make the dough.
Here come the guests and Chops is wearing a hideous purple shirt and orange pants. Did he get the same stylist as Jessica?
Chops and Mrs Chops finally are able to meet the other guests and there are a lot of woeful dad jokes flying around.
In the kitchen Lauren is not initially happy with hubby’s zucchini charring technique, but once that’s sorted they seem on track.
The Fass and Rachel arrive – both looking fabulous. Do we even need Pete and Manu next year? Can’t we just have this pairing?
Carmine does the formal greeting and he’s been to the Jeff Fenech School of Elocution: “Lovely to have youse guys here.”
In the kitchen they are having trouble rolling their zukes ( Lauren earlier mentioned she sliced them by hand – embrace the mandolin, Lauren!). Eventually the plates look quite good but I expected more char on the veg.

Cue the chew … Colin thought the ricotta was “nice” but they should have charred the zukes more. Rachel is more enthusiastic about the ricotta and agrees about the lack of char. Colin says it’s a simple dish so they needed to get it perfect: “I’ll put it this way: it’s like going on a date and not getting a kiss at the end of the night.”
The guests quite enjoy it but New Villain Dee is predictably unimpressed: “it’s not a competition dish.”
Back in the kitchen they are cleaning the goo out of the squid and hopefully the guests can’t hear her making retching noises as she does it. They should have prepped their squid earlier, and now look to be running a little behind (although at least we know whoever owns the house barracks for the Crows as there’s a team mug in the cupbaord above the squid-skinning station.
While the pasta sauce simmers Lauren gets on to the babas (anyone else got Kate Bush’s Baboushka stuck in their head? No? How about now?).
Carmine is slicing calamari and it’s all differently sized. He’s cooking it but seems to be asking her a lot of questions about the timing of adding the seafood – why doesn’t she just do this bit?
And then we hear the phrase that is usually the MKR death knell: “Usually when I make X I don’t …” Yep, she’s putting par-boiled pasta into the hot sauce instead of the usual cold, so I’m guessing it will be overcooked. They are panicking too much about time.
At the table Dee is being a drama queen about her ravenous hunger and Mr and Mrs Chops look bemused to be encountering her attitude for the first time. The others are all fairly chilled and good ole Stepmum Hazel has been sticking up for everyone in the two episodes we’ve seen her.
In the kitchen the couple is putting the dishes in the oven for much less than usual, so perhaps the pasta won’t be overcooked after all. However, if they are leaving them in for only two minutes, what’s the point of the paper bag?
We don’t see them tasting, but that footage could have fallen on the editing room floor.

Chew o’clock …or actually, sniff o’clock as the judges unfold their bags and inhale. Looks like The Fass got a bracelet-sized ring of squid in his, much like the unwanted toy in a Christmas cracker. Colin has done this dish many times in his restaurant and is a big fan of the method. And we’re waiting for the “but” … Ad break … “What we’ve got here is closer to sushi than it was to being cooked.” Yikes. The seafood was all under and the pasta was over. “I’m not here to drop the axe but it’s just a very bad dish.” Rachel:”It’s a bit of a disaster.” Then she tells them to put it behind them and move on.
So, the couple definitely didn’t do a taste teaster then, gooses.
The guests don’t look keen to tuck in. Villian Dee’s hubby immediately gets a mouthful of beard (insert your own joke here), which is not pleasant, and reveals his mussel is uncooked. Icky! This makes last night’s overcooked lamb look Michelin star worthy.
Dee tells the table: “I hate this dish. This is just murder.” The editors then have fun with a montage oof the guests pulling faces as they try the dishto the strains of Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat it”.
Stepdaughter suggests the calamari could be used as a scrunchie.
In the kitchen the couple tries to stay positive and moves on to dessert. Lauren is happy with how things are looking, but then they realise a Baba Blob is threatening to burst from their oven and eat them. The babas were overfilled, so she has to pick bits off half-cooked ones to stop them going all Elephant Man – and only then does she put an extra one in “for insurance”. Why not make a double batch to start with so you can pick the best ones?
At the table starving Dee, whose accent is slipping all over the place, has never heard of baba, and Hazel is amusing everyone with her Kath and Kim impersonation.
I’m not a fan of baba because of the wet texture and the rum flavour, but a good lemon custard could win me over.

But what do the judges think? Chew, chew … Rachel: “I think it looked beautiful. Custard … to me it was delicious.” Colin admires the aeration of the babas but says the custard needed more lemon zest. Rachel wanted more booze but perhaps that’s because she’s been listening to Dee all night.
And over to Dee: “Tastes like baby food… I would say it was a mediocre dessert,” she tells everyone.
Team scores: Dee and the Mute 3 “My stomach says zero” (I don’t need to attribute that – you know who said it); Step twins 6; Dad and Golfer 5; Dad Mates 4; Mr and Mrs Chops 3.
Total: 21/50. Carmine and Lauren are not happy and think it’s all down to strategy. “Up yours,” he says in his confessional. Their score seem fair given the main was inedible.
Judges: Entree Fass 6, Rachel 7; Main Fass 1, Rachel 1; Dessert Fass 7, Rachel 8.
Total: 51. (Mr and Mrs Chops got 59.)
And tomorrow night it’s up to Queensland to see if Dad and the Golfer can cook. Let’s hope so because it’s about time someone put up a decent meal. Come back, Zana – all is forgiven.

APOLOGIES TO ANYONE WHO’S BEEN HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE SITE TODAY. Someone fed the computer gremlins after midnight and they wreaked havoc. We should be back to normal in a day or so. Thanks.


MKR – My Kitchen Rules

How skinny is Pete? Does Manu have enough sauce? This is the place to chat about MKR disasters (remember the bought curry paste?) and triumphs. The new season starts Monday, February 1 on Seven.

So, who is the new judge? There’s a bit of chatter it may be Rachel Khoo. If you watch the new SBS food channel you’ll see her Kitchen Notebook shows.

Here’s the promo (love the dress):

And here’s a link to her website with some photos of her. http://www.rachelkhoo.com/books/rachel-khoos-kitchen-notebook What do you think?

And here are the team blurbs as per the official MKR website (here’s the link https://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/teams/#page1). What, only one SA team this year? Are Adelaide cooks holding out for MasterChef?

QLD: Best mates Alex and Gareth are almost each other’s shadows. From Mackay, they live together on the Sunshine Coast and both work in fly in/fly out mining jobs. And these 25-year-olds have both been saving in the hope of chasing a food dream in the near future.

QLD: Hailing from Brisbane, sales/marketing manager Cheryl and student Matt are used to people misinterpreting their relationship. Mum-of-one Cheryl, 50, has been happily dating 26 year-old Matt for the past 18 months and says he won her over with his chicken Caesar salad.

QLD: For Nelly, 25, it was love at first sight when she met her new boss JP, 30. Luckily, after leaving the job love blossomed along with a healthy appreciation of nutritional food. Now “tea obsessed” Nelly wants to wow the MKR dining table with her tea-infused menu along with some help from her beau, who just happens to be the son of a French chef.

VIC: Facebook is to thank for Jessica and Marcos following their food dream and applying for MKR. Childhood friends, they lost touch after Jessica, 30, moved. But these old Sydney school friends reconnected online and discovered their shared love of healthy eating after Marcos, 29, also migrated to Melbourne. Now they’re ready to rattle the competition with their raw and nutritious menus.

VIC: Siblings Mitch, 21, and Laura, 19, may be the youngest cooks in the competition, but you won’t find many teens dishing up offal quite like these pair. Avid fans of nose-to-tail cooking, they are inspired by the great produce surrounding their rural Mornington Peninsular home. Both students, they are yet to decide where their future lies but the lure of the kitchen is hard to resist at times.

VIC: Siblings Tasia, 26, and Gracia, 24, can fight like the best of sisters, but they say it only fuels their passion in the kitchen. After growing up in Indonesia, India and Australia, these homely cooks have very big international influences on their cooking style. Just don’t tell anyone they fear they can’t cook rice without a rice cooker!

VIC: Newlyweds Gianni, 27, and Zana, 24, don’t do things by halves. About to open their own law firm in Melbourne, these high achievers have the MKR title in their sight. And they aim to win it while educating viewers on traditional Montenegrin food.

SA: Mum-of-two Rosie, 37, and best friend Paige, 34, love nothing more than a gossip in the kitchen. There they are happy to experiment with creating flavourful healthy food and with a wine in hand they can “solve the world’s problems”. The next step in their future is a wedding event company for Rosie, and a providore for Paige.

WA: After meeting each other two years ago, Nev and Kell found they shared a passion for food. Nev, 48, a control room attendant, thinks it’s the “duck’s nuts” to be on MKR. No need for prize money, he would’ve done it just for the apron says cleaner Kell, 44.

WA: Anna, 55, was destined to have one of her four sons grow up to be her sidekick in the kitchen and Jordan, 23, is happy to take up the role. Although her young apprentice has a few of his own ideas on making Anna’s traditional Maltese and Italian dishes a tad healthier.

NSW: Workmates Sarah, 26, and mum-of-four Monique, 33, bonded over their love of food in their stressful office. As police officers, work is serious and coming home to cook is a good relaxer for these two.

NSW: Luciano, 49, was one of the first people Martino, 48, met when he moved to Australia 11 years ago. After dancing the night away at Mardi Gras, they became instant friends and began throwing Italian dinner parties showcasing authentic dishes for their lucky friends. Now as they approach 50, they are ready for a big change and cooking just might be the answer.