By Linda Parker
Well, after the excitement and kerfuffle of the ‘surprise’ finale of The Great British Bake Off, there was a restrained pause in the proceedings whilst we caught our collective breath and had a brief respite before launching into series Six of MasterChef: The Professionals
It’s a relief to get back to the serious stuff, to be honest, away from the nudge-nudge soggy bottoms and quivering lips of GBBO. I did have a problem with the wedding-cake finale of Bake Off… it seemed such a shame that the finalists had to rush through the task of producing a beautiful wedding cake – and indeed, given a fair amount of time, all three cakes would have been perfectly and wonderfully presented as the designs were gorgeous.
Is it me, or am I missing something?!
What is the point of having to produce a wedding cake in such a small space of time, it’s a job a professional would never have to do. People plan their wedding years ahead. It’s the Changing Rooms concept of TV, when a room had to be transformed in a too-short period of time; ultimately pointless and the reason why most of the designs were badly thought out and poorly executed.
So, back to MasterChef: The Professionals; it’s a delight to see the stern Monica Galetti and greedy Gregg putting the professionals through the mill, and a joy to see the respect and awe the youngsters have for Michel Roux Jr, who is as courteous and twinkly as can be. Nevertheless, several chefs let their nerves get the better of them, including Marcus’s with his soggy tuilles in the Skills Test in episode 2.
Much as I love watching Jamie, Hugh et al, knowing I can knock up one of their recipes fairly easily, watching these young chefs do their thing under huge pressure really does make one appreciate that higher level of ‘restaurant’ cooking. If I get the time to experiment with something complicated in the run up to Christmas I fancy the Bone Marrow and Duck Supreme plate – not for the faint hearted, but something that would really bring a wow-factor to the dining table!
I’m hoping that some of these recipes will be easier to produce using a whizzy new Mini Induction Hob that I’m trialing at the moment – an extra hob ring is more than useful when juggling numerous pans, and this one simply plugs into a standard socket.
It’s got touch controls and an electronic timer, so is perfect for tasks like gently melting chocolate, simmering, and leaving things to gently bubble away for a set time whilst you’re busy prepping and using up all the rings on your main hob. See a similar one here at Lakeland.
The other items I’m putting through their paces at the moment is the ultra-useful Midi Chopper and a super-stylish hand blender, both by Bosch. The Midi Chopper has an 800ml capacity bowl, which means you can chop, store and serve in one go, and it’s dishwasher safe too, along with the blade.
My hand blender was on it’s last legs, so using the Ultimate model, also from Bosch, is a joy – it’s got a 750W motor and makes quick work of blending soups in the pan.
Visit the Bosch website for more details and stockists.
So, armed with these kitchen helpers I’m off to investigate some recipes for quinoa, which made an appearance in Episode 1 of MasterChef: The Professionals, and which I’ve not used before. Hopefully my results will be a little better than Matt’s Strawberry Quinoa Rice Pudding, which looked unfortunate, to say the least…
And then it will be time to start searching out some goodies for Christmas. According to some of my food-writer colleagues, Lidl’s Deluxe Matured Christmas Pudding is an absolute winner, for just £2.99.
But that of course means that Christmas pudding doesn’t just have to be for Christmas day. I think I’ll be trying out diet recipes next!