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Posts Tagged ‘masterchef’

According to an email I received from WordPress at the end of 2010, my blog is doing really well based on traffic/stats. That’s pretty amazing since it hasn’t been updated in about five months.

So whoever has been visiting (Twitter followers?) I thank you.

If I did an audit on the number of blog posts and tweets about food versus television or entertainment I think food might win.

On that note, I’d like to post a photo of a macaron from the famed Adriano Zumbo –  “Patissier of Pain” as he came to be known on MasterChef Australia.

macaron from Zumbo, Rozelle, Sydney

Salted caramel macaron from Zumbo, Sydney

The Rozelle cafe outlet is much smaller than I imagined. It sells a selection of hot pies and sausage rolls, the ubiquitous macarons, tarts and assorted pastries like croissants. There are perhaps eight to 10 stools to perch at while having a nibble and a coffee. As a bonus, there are windows into the commercial kitchen where the macarons are being made. And yes, Adriano was at work the day we visited.

There were perhaps a dozen flavours on offer the afternoon of our visit including peach tea, apricot and rosemary, raspberry licorice, banana but alas no chocolate. Actually the macaron pictured may have been salted butter caramel.

I’m looking forward to the documentary series Zumbo coming to SBS next month where Adriano sets out to create 60 flavours.

Zumbo macarons

Zumbo macarons, a little worse for wear after flying Sydney to Perth!

I also hope to return in search of a chocolate or hazelnut macaron to benchmark it against my favourites in Perth from Choux, Rochelle Adonis, Jean Pierre Sancho and Globe.

The best bit about the Zumbo macarons is they are only $2 each – in Perth most are anywhere from $2.30 to $2.80 and I’ve even heard reports of $3.50 a pop!

It was a relief to finally try the real deal, having grabbed a macaron from a Sydney cake shop in October that was oversized, too sweet and ended up in the bin. Ditto the one I picked up on the run at a Sydney wine bar/cafe last month, which was more like a meringue.

Last but not least, here’s a hazelnut macaron with banana icecream from the dessert menu at Rockpool Bar & Grill. No, I didn’t order it.

Hazelnut macaron wiht banana ice cream filling

Hazelnut macaron with banana ice cream centre from Rockpool Bar and Grill

What did I order you might ask.

Well, there are two things I Tweet about a lot.

Macarons

and

Donuts.

Voila:

Donuts for dessert

Dessert donuts at Rockpool Bar and Grill, Sydney

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There’s no point having a blog if you don’t update it regularly so on my recent track record, I should be thinking about closing this site down.

Working full-time, watching preview DVDs at night, doing interviews as early as 6am and raising a family leaves me with little time to update this but I am going to have another crack.

There’s also the issue of public versus private. How much do I reveal here now my face is in the paper most days of the week? Do I even need this as an outlet?

For starters I am going to post a few links to stories that have been in The West.

Last week I chatted to Dr Andrew Rochford for The 7pm Project’s special report on the state of mental health funding.

I also recently chatted to Bondi Vet and all round nice guy Dr Chris Brown

Chaser performer and writer Chris Taylor took time out from shooting to talk about The Chaser’s new series Yes We Canberra! although my byline seems to have fallen off this one.

All in all it has been a busy couple of months, with a flying set visit to Melbourne in June that allowed me the opportunity to squeeze in a meal at Grossi Florentino.

Over the coming months this blog is likely to become more food focussed as I leave my TV commentary to the newspaper and Twitter.

So, having just backed up my iPhone, let’s start with a few foodie pics.

Inspired by MasterChef and my sweet tooth I have been trying macarons from just about everywhere, though I am still hanging out to get to Sydney to visit Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie.

Here are some recent purchases, top to bottom, from Jean-Pierre Sancho in Perth and Cafe Vue in Melbourne. I can’t seem to find any photos of macarons from Choux so will add them later. And I was about to upload one of Rochelle Adonis’ chocolate macarons when it disappeared.

Photos backed up from my iPhone seem to be appearing in totally random order, not by date taken. Frustrating!

Macaron Madness - macarons from Jean Paul Sancho, Perth

Macaron Madness - macarons from Jean-Pierre Sancho, Perth

Macarons from Cafe Vue, Melbourne

Macarons from Cafe Vue, Melbourne

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Between all the book labelling and mad hunt for hats and socks and uniform bits I finally finished watching My Kitchen Rules last night.

And although I probably shouldn’t say this, I don’t think I like the South Australian team. Nope. Can’t wait to watch when it’s Paul and Melissa’s  turn to cook for 10 people.

The first episode features Michael “Mossy” Moss and wife Gabrielle from NSW; he’s a senior police officer, she’s a lawyer and they’re the only competitors with kids (six from memory).

They have to prepare a three course meal for their competition rivals as well as judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel.’The meal is prepared and served in the contestants’ homes – so having a flair for entertaining and interior decorating helps.

After just one episode it’s easy to tell Pete and Manu know the ropes when it comes to the demands of reality TV, which is quite a different beast  to daytime cooking shows.

They know how to work the camera, play with words and make the contestants squirm as they await the verdict. But so far, they’re not being mean – just honest. No one wants to wait 90 minutes for a main course.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of  Mossy and Gabrielle’s rivals, who are happy to dump on them and are brutal when it comes to scoring.

During the interview segments with the rival couples, I couldn’t help feeling these people have all watched too many episodes of Survivor and all think they are Matt Prestons or Rob Broadfields in the making (minus the years of experience).

They complain about the mashed potato, the choice of meal, the presentation, the cheesecake. About the only thing they seem to like is the jus.

Key to any show like this is casting. There is always going to be a degree of animosity in a competitive environment, contrived or otherwise. It’s not just about cooking, it’s about presentation, conflict and performing under pressure.

Unlike Masterchef, I don’t see My Kitchen Rules necessarily sending viewers for the pots and pans. What it may lead to is more dinner parties and a more picky, discerning (and potentially backstabbing) breed of diners and guests.

My Kitchen Rules premieres tonight Feb 1 at 7.30pm on Seven, with episode two screening tomorrow at the same time.

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On Saturday I travelled to the Margaret River region with Channel 7 and assorted media types and Perthonalities for the launch of Seven’s new reality cooking series My Kitchen Rules. 

WA contestants Marc & Natalie with MC Mark Gibson at MKR launch

When this show was announced last year, I groaned. It sounded like a knee-jerk, copycat reaction to Ten’s hit Masterchef Australia. Worth noting I also doubted Masterchef would work when Ten announced it in 2008. 

Paul & Melissa, SA contestants in MKR

I’ll start by saying I am yet to see a full episode of MKR, which some including Reality Ravings have already called a cross between Seven’s previous hit series My Restaurant Rules and Come Dine With Me. Hopefully I’ll be seeing it early this week. 

Having watched a lot of TV over the years, I was asked by other guests/media  on more than one occasion the million dollar question – how I thought the show would go? 

Again, not having seen a full episode, there are several factors to consider. First, the talent. Whether we like or dislike the contestants and how they behave and react under pressure is pretty important  (I have an inkling there’s at least one person viewers are going to find irritating – it is after all, reality TV). 

Then there are the judges; Peter Evans and Manu Feildel both have plenty of TV experience, Evans on Nine’s Fresh (he was also cooking for IGA at the Perth Royal Show last year) and Feildel on Ready, Steady Cook and Masterchef. 

Crispy skinned salmon with salsa

Yet  some media didn’t seem to know who they were. Still, that’s not such a concern – how many TV viewers had heard of Matt Preston this time last year? It’s their advice and how they give it that will count (some are predicting Frenchman Feildel will win over female viewers). 

Also worth considering – timeslot. MKR is being launched in double chunks, at 7.30pm Mondays and Tuesdays from Feb 1. Is that too much to swallow? Not when you consider Masterchef was stripped every night bar Saturday. 

But what will MKR be up against? On Nine, the answer is all new  Two and a Half Men/ Big Bang Theory and Survivor (for week one at least). On Ten, The Biggest Loser Couples and So You Think You Can Dance. 

That’s tough competition and not everyone can come out a winner. On the positive side, there will be no other cooking shows on prime time commercial TV – with Masterchef not on air until The Biggest Loser concludes around May. 

But if I had to pick a winner at the launch, WA contestants Marc and Natalie (the only married couple on the show) got the big thumbs up for their grilled lamb with Moroccan cous cous (maybe I am being parochial, maybe Sam Kekovich has me brainwashed and maybe it was Moroccan lamb, not cous cous). 

Marc & Natalie's Lamb with cous cous

I’m not sure if the side serves of potato salad and spinach salad with roasted sweet potato were also their handiwork but the results were delish. 

Apologies that there are no photos of Gen and Tanja from Queensland’s prawns, they were on skewers and eaten too quickly. 

*In my original post, I didn’t factor the food into how MKR would rate. Once I would have said accessible food we can easily make at home is the key – but the croquembouche challenge on Masterchef proved otherwise. 

And let’s not forget where the launch was held – award-winning home/luxury retreat Incognito 

Imagine waking up to this… 

View from Incognito luxury retreat

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Wow, if ever I needed confirmation of the power of Twitter, I had it this morning.

I met  last night’s evicted Masterchef contestant Kate Rodrigues at Cantina in Mt Lawley for a casual chat and coffee. And of course I had to ask about Sam and THAT hickey.

Kate said Josh gave it to Sam as a joke when he visited during the Easter filming break. It was not done by Sam’s wife, or Kate.

I intended to tweet the info right away but then had to go get my daughter from the school sick bay 😦

When I got home I noticed Ten’s Perth publicist, the lovely Bec Harrold had, after me stirring about her lack of Twitter activity, added it to one of her tweets.

Next thing you know Woman’s Day, Channel 10 PR and TV.com all tweeted they had hickey-gate solved!

On to more food-related matters, Kate is back working part-time at the Punjab in Innaloo and lists Le Papillon in Bulwer St Perth and Le Paris Brest in Kalamunda as two of her favourite places to pick up sweet treats if she doesn’t have time to back herself.

And if you see Kate out and about – say hi, don’t star – she says the staring freaks her out!

She will probably resume her legal studies next semester while investigating whether to attend a pastry school in London or Paris.

Will add more from our chat later.

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