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Posts from — July 2011

Masterchef – The Recipe Challenge

Dani sighed “I am completely out of touch with the home cook”. I loved how Dani tried to blame  the home cook for the dish disaster, when in fact her recipe was poor in concept and badly written.

In fact I would argue her home cook had been following the recipe correctly she should not have plated up the pork belly in her pork belly and wanton soup. They only had 90 minutes to cook and her recipe said the pork belly was to be cooked for 70 minutes, then grilled for 10 – 20 minutes, and then rested for 10 minutes. However the home cook must have missed out on one of those steps as there was pork in the dish presented to the judges.

The challenge for the first day of final’s week was a cracker it was to develop a recipe for the home cook. It had to be something they could cook in 90 minutes. They were judged on quality of idea, how good the recipe tested and how good it tasted. The special guest judge/mentor was Curtis Stone.

Curtis advised that it had to  be clear, concise and to the point.

He also said that if they were going to say it would take 30 minutes to give a bit of leeway to make it fit into the timeframe.

Was Curtis having a go at Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals, where the time frame is only achieveable if you are a professional chef?

The challenge was interesting as it gave an indication on what direction the remaining four were taking with their cookbook concept.

Kate was going for a bit of a Donna Hay look with her Hazelnut and Chocolate Torte with Ganache and boozy oranges.

Dani was going for an asian theme with her soup, Michael was like a outdoor fresh feel with his chicken and cos lettuce dish, even though it was cooked indoors. Alana cooked a dessert of apple and rosemary tart tartin which reminded me a bit of Maggie Beer. Alana when she has a choice does tend to cook desserts.

Once the home cooks hit the Masterchef kitchen the contestant was when the episode got really interesting.

The home cooks had to make the dish exactly how the recipe told them to, which is why I query how Dani’s cook could have got the pork belly in the soup.

Dani’s recipe looked like a Christine Mansfield one. Lots of ingredients and a lot of elements. In fact the person who would make that recipe are the types that won’t be buying Dani’s cookbooks. One of Dani’s mistakes was to put four litres in the soup recipe, whereas she had only used two litres. This mistake meant there was not as much flavour in the home cook’s stock.

Curtis loved the flavour of Dani’s soup. Gary was not so kind, he liked the soup but made a jibe about it being a weekday meal that the homecook would not make as it was too time consuming.

Michael’s lady produced a dish that looked exactly like the recipe. However she did get help from George Calombaris to break down her chicken. Which I thought was unfair, as the recipe should have been more specific in how to break it down, whether it was into four or six pieces and skin or off. The recipe did say to get your butcher to do it for you – but who gets a butcher to break down a chicken?

In fact every butcher in town probably thinking great now every customer will be expecting this service.

Michael’s home cook produced her dish to look like the photo, and Michael cooked his lettuce to get a more smoky flavour. In fact Matt Preston said if it had been an immunity pin challenge, the home cook would have won the immunity pin.

Alana’s recipe did not have any obvious faults, however her home cook’s prototype was not cooked all the way through nor was the puff pastry 100% correct. Apparently it did taste delicious. Also her cook made it in the wrong size frying pan. George liked the taste, and also liked the fact Alana was making people at home make pastry.

It was no surprise that Michael won, and his advantage was going into the pantry with Maggie Beer to see what the four would have to cook tomorrow. It was a chicken terrine and he was also given the recipe to take home to examine. Poh in season one also got this advantage in the final’s week, and she made it through to the finals.

Here is an interesting article in the SMH by TV writer Greg Hassell where he talks about how he would ‘fix’ Masterchef. A lot of what he writes about has been said on this blog by you guys the commenters.

Also The Gruen Transfer advertising “guru” Todd Sampson was in the Sun Herald today talking about how Masterchef Australia “‘the most effective advertising vehicle in Australian history”. Also how this is how advertising will occur more in the future.

Read more:

July 31, 2011   96 Comments

The Block Houses To Make A Loss

The Block houses even when refurbished have the Herald Sun claiming they will not be making a profit.

The article says:

The four properties in Cameron St, Richmond will be auctioned on August 20, with agents quoting $800,000 to $880,000 for the three single-fronted residences.

The double-fronted property renovated by Melbourne’s Josh and Jenna is being advertised for $900,000 to $990,000.

Watercress Productions paid about $950,000 each for the dilapidated Victorian and Edwardian houses, including stamp duty.

The four couples have each spent more than $100,000 renovating the properties, though that fails to take into account the second storey added to the single-fronted houses, which would have cost upwards of $200,000, pushing their cost to around $1.25 million each.

Advantage Property Consulting’s Frank Valentic said that once holding costs were taken into account, each house would need to raise between $1.3 million and $1.4 million to break even.

“There is no way they are worth that,” Mr Valentic said. “It’s definitely not what I would call a profitable renovation syndicate. But Channel 9 has paid a premium for their TV ratings.”

Biggin Scott Richmond director Russell Cambridge, who is selling Polly and Waz’s property at 37 Cameron St, said Watercress paid above the market rate to secure four properties side by side in fashionable Richmond.



July 31, 2011   16 Comments

The Renovators – Channel Ten Will Be Sticking With It

With the plethora of design reality TV shows on TV at the moment the networks are fighting it out for the viewer.

One show which is not faring as well in the ratings stakes is Channel Ten’s The Renovators which is having trouble hitting the magic million mark. However they have confirmed in the Daily Telegraph today that they will be sticking with it  as they are confident the audience will grow.

I am really liking this show, and when Masterchef Australia finishes next week, The Renovators will probably fill the void, however The Block is still at the front of the ratings.

July 30, 2011   13 Comments

Masterchef’s George Calombaris Has Had A Baby Boy

In what could be the reality TV baby of the year, George Calombaris, from Masterchef Australia welcomed a baby boy into the world.

Well it was really his partner Natalie Tircario who did the hard work. No news yet on a name.

Congratulations George and Natalie.

UPDATE: @womansdaylucy says it is a good chance the name will be James George Calombaris.

Source: Daily Telegraph

July 30, 2011   2 Comments

Sun From Masterchef Australia Is Getting Married

Sun who went into the Masterchef Australia house single is now engaged to be married, and she appears to be happy about it as she is smiling in OK Magazine with her fiance Brently Frazer.

Brently who is writer, and Sun have had a on/off relationship for some years however her being away doing the show made him realise she was the love of his life. He proposed the night she got home after she was eliminated.

OK Magazine interviewed both of them about their romance.

Here is what the interview said:

How did you two meet?

Sun: We met in 1998, and while we’ve been on-and-off since, we’ve always ended up back together…. There’s a whole lot of love and history there.

Why is now the right time to take the next step?

Sun: I applied for Masetrchef broken-hearted. We’d separated before I applied and my application was basically the result of two or three hours of unloading. It read like a big soapie.

Brentley: Distance and strange cicumstance like her being on Masterchef brought some clarity.

Sun: We had two production breaks while I was on the show. On the first, we met up and got back together, on the second, we got engaged.

Were you planning the engagement the whole time she was in the competition, Brentley?

Yes, I was. I’d asked her dad for permission…

Sun: You asked my father I didn’t know that!

Brentley: I knew that  he couldn’t tell you while you were in the house. He said it was about time, too!

How did Brentley propose?

Sun: I was at the airport with Ellie [Paxton-Hall], on the way home for our production break, and she jokingly asked if Brentley and I were engaged. For fun, I messaged him asking if we were, and replied ‘Heck yeah we are!’ I thought he was joking, but when I came home after I was eliminated, he made it clear he didn’t think it was a joke at all.

So how did the official proposal transpire?

Sun: I was jet-lagged after coming back from New York, and he came out with, ‘So what are we going to do with this ring?’

Have you set a date yet?

Sun: We’ve been talking about the end of October.

Wow, that’s soon! Have you made any plans?

Sun: A very good friend of mine is a dress maker so I’m sure he’ll have some ideas. I think we’ll get married in parklands. Neither of us is very religious, and Brentley’s sister is a marriage celebrant, so she’ll be marrying us. It’ll be family and friends and things that mean a lot to us – like a reception in the courtyard of our favourite cafe restaurant.

How about the wedding cake – will you make it yourself, Sun?

I might put a little thought into that.

Brentley: I had a certain cake in mind.

Sun: He loves the croquembouche!

Brentley: I want to try a toffee covered one.

Sun, you grew up Hare Krishna – are you going to incorporate any of those traditions?

Sun: No, that was my early childhood. I’m definitely not the weird hippie chick anymore.

Brentley: We’re going to keep it simple and stylish.

Will any Masterchef contestants be invited?

Sun: Of course. Craig [Young] actually offered to play the cello, and there have been offers to make the cake. I’ll definitely have Peter [Vickery], Billy [Law}, Craig, Ellie, Alana Lowes and Kumar [Pereira] and his lovely wife there, but I want them to be guests; I don’t want to make my friends work when they should be relaxing and having a good time.

Have you thought about a honeymoon?

Sun: Somewhere sunny with good food. Thailand maybe? I’d like to eat my way around a country.

Will you take Brentley’s surname?

Sun: That’s tricky – I’m attached to my surname.

Brentley: I think our kids are going to have double barrel surnames, let’s put it that way.

So there will definitely be babies?

Sun: Yes, we’ll see what happens, but definitely in the short to medium term future.


July 29, 2011   8 Comments