The Good Food Show is a massive showcase of food and drink producers held in the massive hangar at the NEC in Birmingham. The Masterchef Challenge was added to the show recently as a crowd puller and a way to further promote the Masterchef brand.
Miele, the sponsors of the Masterchef Challenge invited some bloggers to join in the fun, which was to include a Masterclass with Matt Follas, a cookalong with Alex Rushmer and Dr Tim Kinnaird and to top it all, to compete in the Masterchef Invention Test. After conferring with some twitter friends, they convinced me that it would be fun so I signed up.
The day began on the train to Birmingham with @memalee and @fussfreeflavours. MiMi was saying how people were practising and memorising recipes prior to doing the challenge, but I was totally unprepared, didn’t have any ideas for recipes and thought it too late so I would have to wing it.
The NEC was heaving, didn’t know there were so many ardent foodies around. It also became really obvious that we weren’t serious enough foodies as we didn’t bring our wheelie bag and miscellaneous Good Food Show merchandise.
Challenge #1, the Rosemary Chocolate Mousse Masterclass with Matt Follas of Wild Garlic fame
I had no idea we would be doing this on stage with an audience, slightly scary. He was ably assisted by our new best friend Edd Kimber (@theboywhobakes) who recently won the Great British Bake Off. Backstage, we were given a recipe to prepare ourselves and were led out to our work stations and to meet our sous chef. Then we had to go backstage again while Andi Peters did his bit to warm up the crowd before we were led out again, in single file.
We kicked off with instructions as per the recipe but as they were waffling so much, I wasn’t paying much attention of instructions. We were supposed to be watching the screens in front of us to see what the pros were doing but the camera was roaming the crowd and not showing what Edd or Matt was doing in front of us. At this point, I started to do my own thing, which ends up with some underwhipped warm cream, resulting in a very runny mousse. Looked pretty but although not succesful it was rather yummy. Get the chocolate mousse recipe here.
Challenge #2 – Cookalong with 2 other Masterchef finalists Alex Rushmer and Dr Tim Kinnaird
These two make a great double act and had the audience in stitches for this cookalong. We made Alex’s Duck Breast with pickled cucumber and spiced tobacco caramel and Tim’s Spicy Hot Chocolate but without the biscuits as there wasn’t enough time.
As before, Andi was waffling away while Alex was slowly explaining the cucumber pickles. Again, I wasn’t paying much attention as we couldn’t really hear what they were saying. I started cutting up my cucumber into circles instead of batons as Alex was doing. Well, too late, I couldn’t uncut them.
Then we used the gloriously sharp Kin Knives to score the duck breast and fried it skin side down. Wasn’t too sure about the right heat as the duck fat kept spitting but saved in a nick of time from burning. We also made the really clever Spicy Tobacco Caramel that Alex created, yes that is using real tobacco as a flavouring. The caramel smelt amazing, especially with the cinammon, cloves and star anise. You can recreate this with this Duck Breast recipe.
We also dropped by to taste Dr Tim’s lovely multi coloured macarons. We scoffed down the passion fruit macarons really quickly so didn’t get a chance to take a pic.
Lunch at the Masterchef Restaurant
A short respite from cooking, we had a bite to eat the Masterchef Restaurant where all the dishes are recipes of previous Masterchef participants. The kitchen was a bit confused which meant we had to wait ages for main courses but the food when it arrived was fab.
The highlight of the day was still to come, the dreaded Masterchef Invention Test.…cont’d