Thank goodness MasterChef Australia is over. I don’t know how much more I could have taken. The pressure has been intense.
Julie - the winner
Since the show started, I have been forced to serve up meal after meal of increasing difficulty and complexity. Although it was a massive boost for my confidence recently when Mister Four scored me a “twenty thousand million out of ten” for my amuse-bouche of quail eggwhite omelette and misted gazpacho. Mister Ten was not quite so generous, giving me a five and saying that he felt there was no balance between the sweet and savoury flavours on the plate. Mister Twelve was much more positive scoring me an eight, but felt that the mint and dill garnish should have “looked more like autumn leaves that had fallen”.
The Masterchef season has also been a period of incredible inconvenience. Deconstructed sandwiches are very difficult to pack into school lunchboxes, and the boys’ demand for fresh sourdough keeps us up baking into the early hours.
And it’s been really embarrassing at the hockey field canteen when Mister Four insists on a tomato reduction with his sausage sandwich. Although, it has to be said, the canteen organisers had already bowed to pressure from other children by offering sausage options of duck neck and sage, or pork and fennel. Surely a tomato jus isn’t too much to ask?
We have been under tight scrutiny in the kitchen, questioned on everything from our choice of ingredients and cooking technique to “plating up”. Mister Twelve pulled me up recently for my choux pastry, which I was preparing for our weekly croque-en-bouche. “It’s a little dry,” he said critically, rolling a piece around between thumb and forefinger. “There’s no way your profiteroles are going to hold together. My recommendation is that you start again.”
Our kitchen, not the largest to begin with, is now so crammed full of appliances and specialist cooking utensils that it is becoming difficult to find what we need. The other day, while making mashed potatoes, or pomme puree as the boys insist we call it, I couldn’t locate the moulis and had to serve up a grainy mash that attracted considerable negative comment.
So, from now on, it’s back to our usual fare of chops and three veg, ham and cheese macaroni, and schnitzel and salad. For school lunches, it’s back to sliced white with devon and plastic cheese. Whew!
A word of advice to the MasterChef Australia producers for next season: can you employ those women with their four-ingredient recipes? That would make things so much easier for all of us. And a word of advice to the hockey canteen: keep making the duck neck and sage sausages – they’re delicious!