Friday, June 18, 2010

I wanted...I bought ...I made

Me and the Masterchef men - and a lady who lunches!

Hugely excited. It is the lovely Vicki's birthday Saturday and we're all off to a special tasting menu supper at Trinity about which I have heard nothing but exceptional things. Should be a treat. It was indeed.

On Saturday I am off to Birmingham for the Good Food Show courtesy of Miele and, to a mix of delight and trepidation, they have booked us into an Invention Round with John and Greg and the whole Masterchef whizz bang lights and music. The man is off again by himself to Borough so he has decided it's a good week to get healthy for summer as we have nothing else planned. Think he's hoping for a lot of crudité! So Sunday shall be roast with salads gammon that he cooked in the afternoon with white bean and fresh herbs from the garden salad with leftovers for lunch, Monday I think salad composé in the french style asparagus and poached egg topped with a little friton for added joy, Tuesday lentils with halloumi and a side salad of yoghurt and dill because I was planning that for Thursday last week and it didn't happen chicken and mash and peas but I am still much taken with the idea. Wednesday steamed tofu, steamed aubergine peppers and black beans and rice, Thursday chicken and mash because the man loves that more than most things wonton soup as I bought wonton Wednesday at Jen café and didn't eat them, Friday omelette and salad. Healthy, no?

Had a brilliant day Saturday while the man stayed home and did stuff. Got to Birmingham by train and met up with everyone - Jo, Ali, Kavey, Mimi and James, as well as Roxy and Nicola from 1000heads. Was very surprised to discover the Masterchef experience was first thing. The bloggers collected in the back room got a list of pantry items to check for a few minutes then a peek in the mystery bag with two minutes to decide what to make. It doesn't get tougher than that.! Remarkably difficult to think straight at that hour with a few hundred people sat watching, a man with a movie camera flitting about and lots of questions from Andi Peters - a previous winner on the celeb version, so qualified more than most to be up there.
My first thought was to make pasta with bacon and peas and some mascarpone but really I wanted stir fry so, despite the fact that there was nothing much to use to make a decent sauce, I went with chicken with crispy garlic and ginger over basmati rice. Partly because it could be done inside 30 minutes and partly because I could see eating hot shredded chicken in a way that I could not see eating creamy pasta before 11 in the morning.
This year's Masterchef winner, Dhruv, and last year's winner, Mat, who will be known forever to readers of Nancy Banks Smith's Guardian column as Ming the Merciless both clad in Wild Garlic t-shirts roamed the benches and tasted and compared. Followed closely by Greg and John themselves, more charming and less shouty in real life, also doing lots of tasting and chatting. As well as Andi Peters and the man with the camera. No wonder my nerves were shaky.
Thirty minutes later we were all plated up and - joy - given champagne. Mat and Dhruv had a short list of three for John and Greg to choose the winner. As the first guy brought his dishes forward - he'd done main and dessert - I abandoned hope of being on the list and started chatting to others to see what lovely things they'd made. Then Kavey was called with a great plate of raspberries and pancakes and she explained herself and her dish. Then it was me! That came as an unexpected surprise. So I shimmied up to the counter and watched while they tried my dish and there was serious love for the crispy ginger and garlic but, no sauce, too dry, I did not win. But yay! for Kavey if it couldn't be me.
Check out the video's on Jo's blog if you fancy seeing the action.
A wander round the show - madly busy - was followed by lunch in the Masterchef restaurant (where the picture was taken). Food was great - all of it dishes from previous winners - and being slightly away from the hustle was seriously relaxing. Jumped the rope to be back on the Miele stage for the follow up session, a cookalong with a Good Food journalist Barney. Weirdly this was much more difficult despite having no decisions to make and not being nervous at all. Made chicken skewers with pitta crisps and toffee berry tartlets - all in under 30 minutes, reinforcing my desire to have a total Miele kitchen as the whole lot came out perfectly.
Total respect to all those who, after a three course lunch, sat down and ate the lot. I was happy to give mine to Kirsty, the trainer from Miele, who'd been working so hard she'd had no lunch. Good deed done and a great day out I was back on the train home, Masterchef apron safely tucked in my bag for an outing in the feast with bron kitchen, where invention rules.


Ailbhe said...

Hi Bron. Yes it was a good day and fun to meet up with all the foodies. Hope you made it back in time for Trinity and more importantly had room for the menu!

reena, coconut raita said...

Hi Bron. Fantastic post - and well done! It sounds like an incredibly tough challenge and you kept your head. Not sure I would have kept mine. Enjoy the apron - you deserve it. Reena

bron said...

Ah yes - dinner was very good indeed - not only because the reservation was 8.45 so plenty of time to digest a great lunch!

Cheers Reena - harder than it looks on the tele!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I don't know if you've seen it but I did a similar Miele Masterchef thing at the Miele showroom in London a week or two ago. They were pretty shouty that day but it was nevertheless good fun.

bron said...

Sarah I think pretty much anything done in a fully equipped Miele kitchen is fun. Specially if the home economists are there to help.