Sunday, May 13, 2012

Masterchef Australia episode 3 - Mornington Peninsula

In this episode the top twelve cheftestants from the Mystery Box challenge from the day before had six hours to go down to the Mornington Peninsula, get their fresh ingredients, get back to the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, and cook their dish.  Six of them would get their aprons and be in the top 24.  By fresh ingredients, they meant it all, fruit, veg, meats and seafood.   This also means things like eggs, onions and garlic.

I will run through what the cheftestants did and then explain what I would have done.

Mastechef logo emulating the Royal Exhibition Buildings
main window
The parameters of the challenge are too wide for my liking, "cook what you like".   When you have too many options it is hard to be creative because the lack of adversity does not push you.   I could see that many of the cheftesants suffered from having too much latitude.   Interestingly the two that screwed up and did not get some of the things they needed - Audra did not get her eggs and Dalvinder did not get onions and garlic that were needed for her lamb curry.   Both of them had to improvise and both of them made dishes that were stellar.  They were the two that returned with the most time, just short of two hours to cook.

The six who got an apron:

Audra made a chocolate tart covered in a cherry port gelee and topped with the fresh raspberries.  Matt Preston said it was one of the best deserts ever in Masterchef.  Good enough that she got her apron before they finished all the tasting.

 Dalvinder made a cashew curry that really wowed George, a man that is a not a fan of curries.   I hate to say that too me it looked very dry.

Amina - Alexandrian style snapper, she comes from an Egyptian and Korean ancestry, a very interesting combination of cultures.

Andrew - mussels with fried herb calzone.   He got an apron, but left a beard on a mussel.

 Jules - Pork belly with a goat's cheese salad.   I am not sure what to make of this one because they spent so little time on it.

TK - Crispy pork belly with a sweet berry sauce.  As someone that like k├Âttbullar with ligonberry sauce, meat and sweet is not so crazy to me.

Now the list of those that missed:

Lucy  - Pan fried trout with abalone and artichoke on the side.  She undercooked her trout, the rainbow trout she went to the trouble of catching herself.   It also is not a very complicated dish and then was not well executed.

Sam - Mussel Custard.   He may not have got an apron, but this is a very interesting idea and makes me want to try and make a seafood custard to see what you end up with.  His plate was overly busy

Wade - Seared snapper with broad beans  - a simple dish that did not stretch him.

Karen - a tasting plate of trout, it did not wow Gary.  I am not sure what the three forms of the trout were on the plate.

Yuki only made a grilled pork chop and some odd condiments to go with it.  Fuck, I could have made that in 15 minutes.  Seriously, grilling a pork chop is about all that was going on.

Philipo, he made a bad meringue - he started too late and could not achieve what he wanted.   With only 44 minutes he should have come up with something else.   You could see as George cut into it that it was bad.

So what would I have done? 

The seafood on offer was clearly very fresh, but it is not what I would have gone for. With cherries and raspberries in season they would have to be my focus. I love both fruits and would, if I could, eat them without end everyday.  As a teen I spent several summers picking cherries in the Okanagan.   It was long hard work, 12 hour days were normal, but one reason I liked picking cherries as a job was because I could eat cherries all day long.

I would like to play with the cherries and raspberries with some sort of interesting ways.   An intercate desert is what comes to mind, something channelling the spirit of Heston Blumenthal.  I am thinking setting the jiuce of each agar agar or some other gelling agent.   Solid enough that I would have something that work cut into cubes or in a thin sheet.

Bad haircut for Matt Preston 
I want to play with the temperatures and textures with the goal of a desert that looks like a work of art but is also very interesting to eat..

Elements that come to mind:

  • A tuile bent into some interesting shape then wrapped in a sheet of set raspberry or cherry. 
  • Pearls of set cherry juice set which would be put together to look like a raspberry
  • Raspberry flash frozen in liquid nitro and made into a powder, I am thinking I would mix it with a praline crumb to form the base of the plate I was making.
  • Cherry and raspberry sorbet as the centre of the plate.
  • A shard of sugar glass flavoured with cherry.
  • and finally a couple fresh cherries and raspberries
I have never tried anything like this, but in this challenge you would not be eliminated and therefore the risk or trying something out there is worth it.   

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