MKR – Tues, Feb 9 – Can Zana cook?

Who’s watching Zana and Plus One tonight? Still 10 mins til it starts here in SA, darn it.

So we start with the editors reminding us Zana and Plus One are super smart, scuccessful and rich yadda yadda.
Zana: “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, just doesn’t know where to shop.”
She’s Albanian, from Montenegro, and he’s Italian so I’m hoping to see some dishes that are new for me, with my boring Anglo Saxon heritage with its rubbish cuisine.

Some geography smarts coming at you.

Some geography smarts coming at you.

It’s off to the shops they go and Zana looks much nicer dressed “down” but they still have the make up slapped on her.
The self-confessed germaphobe teachers Plus One the correct onion selection technique.
“It’s extremely important that the onions need to be double layered, because if they’re exposed, babe, that’s germs.”
I can tell she’s never been on public transport, or she’d be dead from fear.
The pita entree sounds easy, but then we learn in Albania they make it from filo pastry, which I know from GBBO is not so easy to make and you need a tonne of bench space.
Mmmm … main is liver. I’d happily eat it but I can’t help thinking of that immortal Silence of the Lambs line: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” I think most of the guests – especially those with Maltese heritage and the Curlies – will just dig in. Manu and Pete sound worried about the guests’ reaction. I’m more worried about them being overcooked.

Driving home they have to pull over because the horn on their car gets stuck blasting at full tilt (much like Z herself). Plus One, are you sure this is your car or did you borrow it to look good on the show?
Their restaurant looks stylish in black and white and they have photos of their grandparents looming over everyone – they look a bit like those portraits you see at some funerals. Did Zana choose white so any specks of dirt would be easy to spot? Definitely not termite-infested moss placements here.
They enter the kitchen on time and Zana gets on to the pita while Plus One does the dough for the dessert, krofne. Google says this is basically a jam doughnut.

Entree: Albanian pita with beetroot hummus
Main: Crumbed calves livers with Albanian peppers
Dessert: Krofne with hazelnut ganache

Zana mentions she is using a recipe of her Nonna’s, but Nonna doesn’t use measurements. Uh oh – we know what that means … It doesn’t feel right – is what we saw in the ad going in the bin? Looks like it. Take two us also stuffed so she gets out the Kenwood and is happy with take three, but she’s wasted over an hour and still has to roll, butter and stretch everything. The finished pastry is filled with feta, eggs, yoghurt.
They haven’t started mains yet but the livers should be a quick cook.
Zana is starting to crack under the pressure. The pita isn’t cooking underneath – can’t she just turn on the bottom element? She takes it out and leaves it one the stove with a tea towel draped over it – wouldn’t this send the steam back down to make the pastry soggier?
The guests arrive and it’s all diamantes and lace, with the blokes in black tie (except Jordan gets a cute spotty one). Poor Plus One – that’s going to be make for sweaty cooking.
Zana cuts and the pastry and … it’s perfect (and she’s an expert on perfection). Here come the judges and Pete didn’t get the memo about black tie. Zana is worried about kissing them because she smells like garlic. I’m surprised Manu doesn’t have his own cologne range, Eau de Garlique.
The guests have a squiz at the menu and Cop 2 is squeamish about the liver.
In the kitchen the couple are happy with the beetroot hummus and utter a key danger phrase: “It’s exactly how we always make it.”
At the table, kudos to Curly Sue, who knows what Albanian pita should look like. She must have been boning up on her culinary knowledge – what a crazy idea for a cooking show contestant.
The plated up entree looks simple but the pastry looks lovely and flaky and they’ve added some colour to the beetroot hummus with pistachios and herbs. Does it need a little rocket salad, too, for freshness?

Some of the guests are pleased to see Zana and Plus One looks rattled, and Cop 1 is relishing the prospect of Zana taking a fall.
The judges go in for the chew and … Manu says “I hate to say but I’m devastated.”
Cut to ad break. Oh, Channel 7, you can’t fool me. You’ve taken a leaf out of Channel 10’s book, when Matt Preston threw a dish on the floor of the MasterChef kitchen and proclaimed it “disgusting … {lengthy ad break] disgustingly delicious”.

And we’re back and Manu finishes “… that I don’t have any more to eat”. You didn’t fool me, Manu! Zana tears up with happiness and her crying face is even more fun to watch than her disgusted face. What mascara is she using? It’s sticking like glue.

You were right, Zana - you're a rock under pressure.

You were right, Zana – you’re a rock under pressure.


Manu: “I’ve got nothing negative to say.” Pete is also full of praise.
The guests enjoy it, even with the pow of garlic.
Cop 1 is in anti-Zana mode and doesn’t like the salty feta, nor the garlicky hummus. Realising this is her chance t justify a low score, Cougar backs her up.
In the kitchen it’s offal time. Zana drains the milk off in the sink and please tell me they are not reusing that washing cloth that’s sitting in the sink after they’ve drained bloody liver milk over it.
At the table some guests are feeling icky about the liver. Suck it up, people! You are meant to be foodies and this is when MKR fans start getting the shits with you.
Back to the kitchen and they’ve forgotten they have something in the oven. Oh, crumbs! Smoke pours out. It’s the breadcrumbs.

Quick, grab a glass cloche and trap it.

Quick, grab a glass cloche and trap it.

As it turns out, the crumbs are fine and it was just spilt beetroot jewses on the bottom of the oven burning.
Plus One does veg prep very slowly (and he’s annoying me by swiping it into a bowl with the sharp blade of his knife rather than reversing it to use the dull edge – quickest way to blunt a good knife) while Zana crumbs and fries the livers.
The guests are doing Geography 101 and Curly Sue, the youngest, is the smartest one in the room. The livers look yum but Zana rejects the suggestion for more seasoning – danger, danger!
The people scared about trying the liver need to pretend it’s a tasty schnitzel, which is what it looks like.

As she watches the judges chew, Zana does the “I need to do a wee dance” and looks super nervous.
Manu calms her down by saying this is the best possible way for someone to try liver as the unsuspecting won’t know it is. Turns out, that’s exactly what she did to Plus One, but he loves her for her tricksy ways.
Manu has one small criticism that it needs a touch more salt (as predicted). Pete is effusive with “wow”, “perfection”, next level” and “I’ll remember this dish for a long time”.
It looks smashing and is exactly the kind of dish I’d order when out, because I love figuring out what all the ingredients are in unfamiliar dishes. However, the editors are playing quirky, off-kilter music so, who’s going to spit the dummy?
No, it’s a classic MKR misdirect.
Paige: “I love liver. I also love yoghurt and onion and crumbs.” Rosie and the Curlies agree. Cop 2 is on board and Cougar Town know they are going down.
In the kitchen, it’s dessert time and Zana wants the filling to resemble Nutella so she is using Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. Urgh – it’s oily sweet stuff designed for the palate of five-year-olds. Grow up and embrace your dark side, Zana.
The melted chocolate is dangerously close to Plus One’s crisp white cuffs.
Manu pops into the kitchen to give them a pep talk: “We’ve had a brilliant night so far – don’t ruin eet.”
Cue obligatory jokes about cops and doughnuts.
Curly Bro is finally getting some airtime tonight – hope they try him with a man bun soon.
Zana is micromanaging the frying of the doughnuts and making Plus One nervous. They do a taste test and are pretty happy. Plus One is loving having some control for a change when he gets to wield the piping gun. Zana is in charge of espresso shots to go with the krofne.
It looks tasty.

I’m glad they’re doing doughnuts as it’s reminded me to whip out this beauty from the Italian bakery down the road to sustain me for the rest of this recap.

Hole lotta love.

Hole lotta love.

It’s Chew O’Clock … and Pete questions whether it’s enough for a dessert. Maybe it needs to be an affogato with hazelnut gelato. Sage advice. Manu slams their quality of chocolate, so he won’t be doing ads for Cadbury any time soon.
The guests mostly love the doughnuts (even Cop 1) but the boys wanted more and a swiftly sinking Cougar pulls out the ultimate insult: “It tasted like a doughnut you could buy at a store.” Ouch!
Time for the scores but, darn it, it’s off to kitchen HQ to find out who’s been eliminated. Usually we at least get to hear the guests’ scores, so they are obviously safe as they only have to smash 31.

Judges: Entree Pete 10, Manu 10; Main Pete 10, Manu 9; Dessert Pete 8, Manu 8.
The guests’ combined score – wish they would reveal the individual scores – is 42/50 for a grad total of 97. They are on top of the leaderboard, and deservedly so.
Since Cougar Town are now the dearly departed, we’ll call them Cheryl and Matt. They’re disappointed but take it well.
So tomorrow night it’s on to the new batch of victims: The Italianos, The Miners and Jessica – they’re the only ones we need to know, according to the ad.



  1. Seriously, Cheryl-Zana + One has already beaten you. Ughhh.

    Thanks for the geography lessons, Juz. :)

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    • Two fantastic courses already and Cheryl and Matt are saying all it takes is for one little thing to go wrong. Uh?? When you scored 31 it takes a lot to go wrong. I think Zana and Plus One could have beaten them if they stopped cooking after entree and certainly after main.
      And please producers NEVER make us listen to Cheryl sing ever again.

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  2. I think the guests all look really nice in their black and whites. Jordan in a tux is divine (and at least he’s not rolling sausage skin onto thin tubes again).

    But I can’t shake the feeling that if whatshisface messes up any of the meals, Zana is either going to divorce him or kill him. Possibly both.

    • Windsong it’s going to be so disappointing during the next round – for you because no Jordan, for me because I’ll miss your comments about Jordan.????

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      • I will miss his sweet handsome self, no mistake :). It’ll be a long two weeks.

        I mean, I could always make naughty one-liners about the miners, but my heart wouldn’t be in it. Still, part of me hopes the producers put out an edict – Jordan has to make sausages every time he cooks. We will be laughing our flamingo-themed socks off until the finale :D.

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  3. Soooo…Zana can cook. Well done to them, as everyone, including me, thought that they would flop as they talked themselves up so much. And watching Cougar and toyboy dissing the good food is pretty crappy…they should give credit where credit is due…cause no one has cooked as bad as them eva!!!!
    So to the score…..everyone loved the food, except the cougar I already mentioned!!! can we say the score yet??

    • Still the cougar scored fairly.
      Surely Zana can’t win as the public will be disgusted if they do. I am not sure how the producers can manipulate the editing to make the public like Zana.

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      • Zana is a turd who just can’t be polished and yes, no way in the world she will be allowed to win. It’s a deja vu of Chloe and Kelly.

  4. I can’t help but think the public might already be liking Zana. Each time they have been on the breakfast shows they have come over as lovely. The way they interacted in the kitchen was cute imo. I think viewers are generally aware of the producers manipulation. I want one of those donuts only with dark chocolate. Yum.

    • They were cute together in the kitchen (and I was a bit annoyed that the judges scored them both so highly. That’s gonna do Zana’s ego *no* good at all, going forward). I think Zana’s worst problem is she has no filter. If she thinks it, she says it, and that doesn’t leave a good impression (not when you’re sitting across the table from two police-women, and the first thing you says is how much you hate police). You know, there’s arrogance to the point of obnoxiousness, and then there’s just quiet positive confidence. We need more of the latter (a lot more) and less of the former (a lot less).

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  5. I thought Zana came across as a reasonable human being tonight, and she can cook! Seriously, they both seemed ‘normal’. They have always scored fairly despite the editing. I’m glad they did well.

  6. From Zana:

    “I think there’s an even bigger villain than Jessica (to come) … you’ll just have to watch. I’ve watched every series of MKR and I think in this one there’s going to be an explosion. People think I’m bad for being honest and scoring fairly, wait ‘til they see what comes,” she teased.

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  7. It’s interesting that Zana was so worried about people scoring strategically – suggests to me it’s what she would have done.
    Whether she was manipulated by the producers or chose to say stupid things, it can’t be very good publicity for the law firm.

  8. I find a problem with Zana claiming to be a germ freak fingering the food with her dirty bandage on. Dirty cloth in the sink. Not walkin’ the hygiene talk,baby. Just so long as it’s not her coppin’ the germs, you’re welcome to hers.

    Jessica will be the new Kat.

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    • Eugh. Kat. But yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. I wonder what Kat and Andre are doing with themselves these days … oh wait, no I’m not.

    • Yes BDD – I saw Gianni with the gloves on and thought – finally. Then the camera panned across to bare hands and band aid playing with the food.
      On a hygiene positive, last night Jordan gave his Mum a taste of something then put the spoon in the sink without putting it back in the pot first.

        • I’d really like to know what’s going on with Gianni’s teeth. Like, there’s something odd happening in there behind his lips.

          • I just had to zoom in to add some screencaps of Zana crying to my recap (near the entree judges’ comments), and it looks like he has a big gap on the top right, towards the back. I’m surprised he didn’t go for a less visible option.

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          • He’s def got some transparent braces and some ugly metal work on the right hand side. Fortunately, he’s so pussy whipped he’s not allowed to open his mouth much. Good luck pickin’ the bits of calf liver out of that dental debacle, mate.

            Serving the vital organs of a baby animal in the name of pleasure. The gates of life have closed on Gianni and Zana. My $laughterhouse Rules.

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  9. I have a theory:
    You good pick the chosen villain with the sound turn down by the way they make them up.
    Zana looked much better without all the OTT lip and eye make-up.
    They’ve just done bad make up on Jessica – too much blusher and clumpy mascara.

  10. I wonder how the lawyers would have taken to a guest getting up and pi$$ing in one of their vases, then? Lovely people.

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  11. Zana doesnt know how to stop the food processor and make espresso from the coffee machine make me think she is not cooking in her own home

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    • Since they live in Bris and are cooking in Melbourne that’s highly likely LP.
      An unfamiliar oven would also explain her worry about the Pita cooking evenly.

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  12. I saw the mum and Windsongs crush on tv today. They said the zana was so nice and they were the people they were the closest with.

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  13. Great re-cap. Yep, Zana is a princess but she/they can cook….the dishes they know well. Thrown out into a carpark somewhere and being expected to serve 50 hungry kids (or something like that) may well be her undoing. They scored everyone fairly so can’t be accused of strategic game play – at this point. I hope they keep the momentum up, but it’s really just the same as other seasons, just a new set of faces. Looking forward to the scene “Australia will be talking about it….” with next round contestant, Jess.
    Anyone tune in to Here Come the Habibs?

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    • Yes, I think she could crack when she hasn’t had time to plan every detail. And does she have knowledge of Asian cuisine, Mexican etc.

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    • I don’t think anyone has accused them (or anyone except the cops) of strategic scoring, but given the second team cooking scored 31, the need for it was negated.
      Yes, it will be interesting to see how she manages in the other tasks.

  14. Loved the recap Juz- “Driving home they have to pull over because the horn on their car gets stuck blasting at full tilt (much like Z herself)”- lol, and I was hoping from the promos that Wimpy Gianni had blown the gearbox or something good. Still, his bafflement at the horn was satisfying. Truly, that guy must have a spine made of fairy floss to not be telling Z to shut up and stop being a twit on a regular basis.

    I didn’t see any chickpeas going in the hummus? If it was mainly beetroot and garlic they should’ve called it beetroot skordalia…. anyway it looked good. But how was that filo any different from puff? I get it had 15 layers per sheet but it ended up looking like a flattish puff pastry.

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  15. Well done to them.. a couple of points.

    1. a lawyer I’d recommend not being filmed on tv wearing your seatbelt incorrectly……
    2. For someone who has class… “Cadbury dairy milk”.. seriously???? First of all it’s not “real” chocolate (it ain’t couverture as it contains a fat that isn’t cocoa butter)… if you’re going to use milk choc than go for a Callebeaut (Coles does sell some in the deli section, especially in that Brighton Coles), Felchlin or Vahlorona… worst case the Nestle Plainstowe range is couverture and they do have a milk version.
    3. Well done on timing and plating up and entree and main.. but the dessert really was nothing too special in the end.. And your filo pastry kinda wasn’t a “pure” filo… kind of like a hybrid version… but kudos to throwing out the first 2 batches till you got it right.

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    • I like Lindt and Darrel Lea. But I swore off sugar about 5 weeks ago after watching The Sugar Conpiracy. I don’t know wether it’s my health or the fact that I hate being suckered that has made me stick to it so easily.

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    • Zana as a solicitor (they’re not barrister), I would recommend you think before you speak when being filmed for a popular TV show.

  16. It’s Zana way or the highway. I am surprised she didn’t put her foot down and shop elsewhere. No different to us earthlings who shop in Coles.

    • And yet, all I’m really thinking is, Gianni has a really nice body under those clothes. I want him to challenge Jordan in a shirtless cooking challenge. Go!

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  17. I had a peek last night. Hmmm, I think they may have gone home a bit hungry.

    The producers might switch designated villains. They have done so before; eg Princess Jen.

  18. They cooked in her parent’s home. If you weren’t over these two for a hundred different reasons, check out their $2million dollar pad in Brighton, Vic. on

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