I had no idea we were rebooting The Flying Nun.
Another group of celebs trying to fill their empty schedules with a trip to the Christmasified MasterChef kitchen!
The celebs this time are Amar Latif who happens to be MasterChef’s first ever blind contestant, Spencer Matthews the man who refused to learn from his mistakes and repeatedly grabbed a 90°C tandoor pole despite getting severely burnt every time, Craig Revel-Horwood who is very upfront about the fact he is only here because the panto was cancelled and lastly we have the cloud of chaos that is Crissy Rock, potentially most famous for serving up this abomination to the judges:
That is indeed a desecrated sea bream with a pile of pear fried rice.
The first challenge is for the celebrities to cook with their mystery ingredients, apparently the advent calendar was only good for one use because the turkey they had hidden behind Door 25 went a bit off because they filmed this during the August heatwave – and yet somehow everyone is still managing to wear their Christmas jumpers and not die. For their Secret Santa everyone has been given a couple of pears (dangerous considering Crissy’s past Pyrus Crimes) and a partridge as well as a mystery ingredient: Craig has been given a whole bottle of sherry, Spencer gets chestnuts, Crissy got dried cranberries as well as this absurd turkey hat that the production have forced her to wear for the entire challenge
and Amar drew the short straw and got a jar of Star Anise. It is sadly explicitly stated that they don’t have to use both the pears and the partridge – I was looking forward to some real Early MasterChef style FrankenFood.
The only person to go fully sweet (we’ll get to Crissy Rock) was Amar who had no real choice with his Star Anise and so he set about begrudgingly making a Pear Frangipane Tart with a Star Anise and Vanilla Custard while muttering under his breath how much he hates Star Anise. His dessert turned out pretty well though, other than looking a touch anaemic
It’d certainly be first in line for a vaccination.
The others all went the obvious route of various kinds of Roast Partridge. Spencer is lucky anyone could even eat his after he pondered whether 10 minutes was enough time to roast a partridge – it’s absolutely not, it takes AT LEAST 30 minutes. He tries his best to “MasterChef it up” by serving it with a butternut puree that was ominously bubbling away and seemingly achieving sentience
His final dish may have looked like a partridge caught in a bomb blast but apparently it tasted quite nice
Craig’s approach to the partridge was much more… traditional because he was mummifying that bird like it was an ancient Egyptian royal.
Cleo-partridge if you will.
His approach to using the sherry was to apparently use the entire litre bottle of it as he was making both a sherry reduction sauce, basting his partridge in it and making a Orange, Pear and Sherry Stuffing
Remember he was explicitly told he didn’t HAVE to use both the pears and the partridge.
John and Gregg do their best to be polite about the stuffing that is at least 70% fruit and essentially closer to Rachel Green’s Beef Trifle than it is Delia’s Sausage Stuffing. But his Partridge was well cooked!
And lastly we have Crissy Rock who has taken it upon herself to make a full on 2 course meal, the main course being a Roast Partridge stuffed with Cauliflower and Cranberries alongside Baked Horseradish Mashed Potato, Boiled Cauliflower and Red Wine Sauce that was almost certainly just slightly warm wine that NOBODY ever even pours out
And yes John Torode scooping out the cauliflower and cranberry mush from the partridge’s anal crevice was as horrifying as you might think
I am about to start a petition to get the government to ban Crissy Rock from ever cooking again, I think we could fairly easily reach the 100,000 signature threshold if we mobilise ourselves correctly.
John does his best to find something to be nice about, it is Christmas after all, and tells her the the partridge is “nicely” cooked, the “nicely” being delivered with the sharpness of telling someone who just broke your pencil that “it’s fine.”
Not happy with violating a partridge or baking her mashed potato for some reason, Crissy decided she would also wrestle with “filiof pastry” and make a Cranberry and Mincemeat Parcel
And for some reason it didn’t even cross her mind to put the pears inside them, such is the mind of Crissy Rock.
Over The Kitchen Wall
The second task is once again the wall divide challenge, a challenge arguably not making a difference to Amar but only focusing Crissy Rock into a laserbeam of pure chaos and destruction that a Bond villain could only DREAM OF. I will happily write that screenplay if MGM is willing.
Crissy is paired with Spencer who are in charge of making a Gingerbread House Cake and seemingly set up for failure given that THIS is the example picture which looks like someone made it while suffering from a hangover
Or if Laura from Bakeoff made it in the midst of a heatwave.
Amar and Craig make up the other team and will be making a Cherry filled Yule Log.
Yule Regret This
The teams obviously get a bit of a time to discuss the recipe and look at what it’s meant to look like, although this is a touch wasted on Amar as Craig has to describe the example image to him.
They’re first task is to get the sponge for their roulade made, a task that goes much better than expected, the only problem being the momentary delay as Amar has to search for the oven.
As ever the trickiest part of a roulade is rolling it and the fact you have to do it while it’s still piping hot. Both of them seemingly succeed and you would think it was all going very well until they unroll the and tey both look like they were shipped to the studio by Hermes
Less of a log and more of a bag of compostable wood chippings.
They both desperately try their best to patch the pieces together using their wildly different buttercreams – Craig asking Amar to describe the colour of his buttercream could well be a TV highlight of the year.
While focusing entirely on stitching his log back together Craig forgets to put the cherries in the centre and then has to devote a large amount of time surgically injecting cherries into the centre of his Yule Log like a literal tree surgeon.
The appearance of the two logs is obviously widly different, mostly down to the colours, Amar’s being correct and Craig’s being much too light
I do love that Amar obviously gave up on assembling the fondant mushrooms and just scattered their dismembered bodies around the log like the scene of a brutal fungal murder. His Yule Log managed much more of a swirl than Craig’s did
Although he wasn’t having to insert cherries beneath its skin like some sort of mind controlling microchip.
The Gingerbread House that Jack Built
For some reason from his point forward Crissy’s turkey hat has gone AWOL and I can only image that there was some sort of health and safety issue, or so I like to believe.
The task is *slightly* easier than it would first appear because the gingerbread dough is pre-made for them, all they have to do is cut out the shapes and their gingerbread house is apparently a three doored pyramid
What kind of bourgeoisie gingerbread people are these? GUILLOTINE THE LOT OF THEM.
This doesn’t stop them from burning the gingerbread though as Crissy takes out a VERY singed set of stars
While the gingerbread was burning away they got on with their cake batter and Spencer got very ahead of himself and while he was greasing the cake tins, Crissy was still mixing her cake batter and he tells her to “put a little oil on your hands” and Crissy just looks more confused than usual
And that’s before we get to the caramel where the two of them start to go over a cliff Thelma and Louise style, except in this case Spencer is an unwilling Thelma to Crissy’s wine drunk Louise. The first sign things were going wrong was the fact Crissy’s technique for measuring out sugar was to just grab fistfuls of it like a barbarian
She then proceeds to constantly stir the sugar, preventing it from melting an instead solidifying it into a sort of saccharine cement
So on to Attempt No. 2 in which she “accidentally” adds an entire bowl of sugar and then pretends it was a mistake. She was an actress on Benidorm, she’s not one for convincing performances. Nor is John Torode who stands just behind her, visibly waiting for the floor manager to cue him to exclaim “A WHOLE BOWL OF SALT? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?”
I’ve seen better acting in the TV Production practical classes in which we have to re-enact scenes from Emmerdale with 3 minutes to learn lines.
So Crissy then has to beg the production team to give her more sugar because she’s burnt through an entire 17th century Dutch sugar baron’s annual supply in the space of 10 minutes.
Throughout this caramel debacle Spencer has been ignoring Crissy as she howls over the wall like some sort of Liverpudlian werewolf on a full moon
Having two children truly prepared him for this moment.
You would think by the third attempt Crissy would have finally come to grips with the concept of caramel but alas her third attempt has solidifed in the bottom of the bottle and she has to cut it out
Honestly, brave of them to let her near knives given that they confiscated the turkey hat.
In a truly miraculous aligning of the planets the two attempts at the Gingerbread House Cake turned out remarkable similar, save for for the obviously difference in the states of matter of the caramel
Those sporadically scattered massive chunks of solidified caramel on Crissy’s cake just waiting to break a tooth ❤
In a bizarre twist it’s Crissy’s cake that manages to display more defined layers
Mostly because Spencer’s tactic at halving his sponges left a lot to be desired
Honestly, ban 4 layered sponges that require you to halve two sponges. WHO HAS THE TIME?
I think given the tasks and the obstacles they faced both teams did remarkable well but I think it’s really a win for Spencer and the fact he managed to retain a semblance of his sanity.
As with last time the celebs are tasked with creating an alternative Christmas dinner – some taking it to more of an extreme than others.
Amar wanted to honour his mother and having grown up in a Muslim household chose to tandoori a poussin and serve it alongside Chilli Roast Potatoes and Achari Sprouts
Achari being the Hindi word for “pickle”. The whole dish sounds lovely and then you get to the curry sauce which has taken on a rather alarming consistency
We shall politely move on to pudding, which is a Fruit and Nut Sevaya served with a Vanilla and Saffron Cardamom Cake
Sevaya being vermicelli noodles softened and stewed in sweet thickened milk – it almost like a noodle-y rice pudding.
They love his flavours and the balance of texture is very good – Gregg describes it as “a magic carpet ride of flavours” – it’s a yikes from me babe.
Spencer, who spent his childhood Christmases eating roast turkey on the beach – I can honestly not imagine a lot worse than a full roast dinner on a beach. For his festive feast he is making a Roast Lamb Rack with Hasselback Potatoes, Cauliflower, Candied Carrots and Cauliflower Cheese all finished with a Red Wine Sauce
It’s A LOT. It also should be a lot but the fact he did all of this in the middle of August while wearing a Christmas jumper should surely qualify him for The Honours List?
Gregg and John are both rather taken with his cauliflower puree – I love the disparity between Gregg and John’s opinions on things and the critics who come in and eviscerate the mere existence of cauliflower puree.
His pudding of a Mince Pie Crumble with a Vanilla Creme Diplomat is his crowning glory though
It it absolutely just mincemeat with crushed biscuits on top of it? Almost certainly. But John, Gregg and their severely lowered expectations are fully invested in this pudding for some reason.
And then we come on to both Craig and Crissy who have decided to various forms of beef, Craig going for a Beef Fillet and sensibly pairing it with all the trimmings including a normal stuffing and some roast vegetables. He gilds the lily slightly with a chicken liver paté and a tuile that have no place being anywhere near a fillet of beef
But it was nice for someone to eventually make a red wine jus that John and Gregg could be seen to be eating on national television.
Crissy in the other Beef Corner had chosen a nice piece of rump steak which she was Frankenstein-ing together and shoving it full of pizza toppings like mozzarella cheese, red peppers and that famous herb “oremeganeo”
Making yet another appearance alongside it is her now infamous Horseradish Mash and some sprouts that she had bedazzled with pomegranate seeds and then topped it all with a creamy mushroom sauce and presented like a smaller county’s flag
Because all of that makes sense together. And just to complete the horror show Crissy cooked a turkey leg, named it Turkey George and is forcing it to watch them eat the beef
It looks like both a character that Aardman Studios rejected because it made children cry and some sort of sacrificial doll from The Wicker Man.
She claims Turkey George is looking at the plate and is happy to not be the one being eaten, EXCEPT YOU STILL COOKED THE TURKEY LEG.
None of it garners even the faintest form of praise, John and Gregg mostly just point out that she’s make a steak calzone.
Crissy went much more simple with her dessert of Port Wine Jelly with Almond Biscuits and Fresh Berries
It would be difficult to screw up a jelly, although she came close
Craig on the other hand decided to wonderfully over complicate things for himself and was making a pancake cake which required so many pancakes that he was having to double tap it
He was then going to cut these pancakes and shape them into roses and top them with kirsch soaked cherries which sounds like it should look very delicate and pretty, except it ended up looking like some sort of Angela Carter-esque horror
Or a Doctor Who villain from the 60s.
The kirsch in it is so strong and raw that it just about bowls Gregg over. it wouldn’t be Christmas without that one drunk relative, although I think Crissy has that base more than covered.
I had thought Spencer was firmly on track to win the show – he seemed the strongest in all three of the challenges and arguably win the wall challenge by a country mile and yet our second MasterChef Christmas Champion is…
Gregg did have to find a way of apologising to Craig for making him watch that Charleston and Cha Cha Cha that suspiciously went unmentioned during this entire episode.