There’s been a murder!
It’s our first quarter final and you’ll be glad to know that the group is as chaotic as ever.
A Two Course Race
For their place in the semi-final (which in the grand scheme of the MasterChef schedule is likely in 9 weeks time – it truly is a show that never ends) the three remaining celebs had to cook a two course meal for three returning champions and it was a stellar trio with last year’s winner Riyadh Khalaf, Kimberly Wyatt and Angellica Bell all taking up their spots at the Responsibly Socially Distant Long Table for the proceedings
I wont lie, the extremely long tables that don’t allow them to get everyone in one shot (as well as the absence of the pro-kitchen rounds) kind of make me love Covid Times MasterChef A LOT.
All three of the celebs decided to do a main course and a dessert with Bez and Duncan finding themselves in a bit of a fishy showdown, an unusual occurrence considering that fish poses a big risk of overcooking, so often avoided at all costs. Bez was using every MasterChef contestant’s go-to fish: sea bass and just cooking two fillets sandwiches together with a filling of coriander and garlic and then utterly drowned in olive oil like he was trying to consecrate the poor fish
I was sure that at least someone would comment on the fact their fish was visibly slimy but I suppose that would require you to get over the fact he had smeared the cooked fillets with what he called a sauce and I shall only refer to as walnut humus
as is customary for Bez everything is a rather awful shade of what I can only describe as Hospital Food Grey, and yes, those were once upon a time peas, why are they that colour now? I can only assume it’s liver failure.
He had intended to have some sweet potato fries on the side (this is celebrity MasterChef after all) but sadly they were too soggy and he whacked the temperature of his oven up and burnt them, much to John’s entirely overly dramatic horror
They’re just sweet potato fries John, I promise you’ll get through this!
Despite the fact Bez’s dish looked a bit like a sun bleached photo in an abandoned seaside café, everyone did amazingly like his dish and commended him for the perfect cooking of his sea bass, so what do I know about oil quantities?
Duncan’s use of fish was of a much more Indian persuasion as he set about making a Miscellaneous Curry – dubbing it a curry primarily because it had curry powder in it. He was using smoked haddock which both John and Gregg kicked up a big fuss about being an unusual fish to use for a curry and… guys… kedgeree exists and is loved the world over? JOHN TORODE LITERALLY HAS A RECIPE FOR IT ON BBC GOOD FOOD. It sounds like I’m really defending Duncan, I want it on record that I am absolutely not because this what-we-shall-generously-call-a-curry sounded pretty horrendous, and that was before the accidental mangoing.
His dish was smoked haddock in a curry sauce, inexplicably served with cauliflower puree and chunks of celeriac, sweet potato and peas bobbing around the place. I would personally very much appreciate it if we could exclude peas from the curry narrative, all in favour say “Aye”… I’m just going to assume it was a unanimous vote.
During the preparation of the hell curry Duncan did accidentally tip most of the mango that was intended for his dessert into the curry, which isn’t the worst thing you could possibly do given that mango chutney is a thing but the thought of coming across a squishy bit of a mango while eating your smoked haddock does make me dry heave a bit
at least the colours are good?
The worst part of this all is the fact everyone kind of loved it and I now have no choice but to cancel the lot of them. Maybe the #DefundTheBBC crowd were right? (That is joke, pay your license fee.)
While Duncan gave us the vague illusion of India and Bez took us to wherever in the world makes walnut humus – Su was going thoroughly Italian with her main course of Chicken Parmigiana which she was serving with a rather neglected pile of broccoli. The best part of the dish was the fact Riyadh was worried he was about to be made to eat a health chicken and broccoli dish apparently completely oblivious to what a chicken parmigiana actually is and quite how liberal Su Pollard is with cheese. Although that could have been more to do with the fact she couldn’t see a damned thing for a lot of the time
which also might explain why it was presented with all the flair of Lunchlady Doris
it apparently tasted great though, as anything packing 500g of buffalo mozzarella probably should.
Su was very much taking the rustic approach for her entire menu with her dessert being that Mass Catering Challenge favourite: bread and butter pudding except there was no white bread to be seen as she was replacing it with hot cross buns and pains au chocolat (as a recommendation, bread and butter pudding just made with croissants is a God Tier midwinter pudding). The worry was that it’d be too sweet so it made sense that she was serving it with a dollop of mascarpone that she was taking far too much credit for but had at least meant she didn’t have to make a custard. She was however completely negating this by then serving it all with a needless side of Cherries Jubilee
the whole thing does sound very nice though but I can’t help but wonder if this was at first going to just be the bread and butter pudding or just the cherries jubilee before someone told her that she was being a bit too simple with her dessert. And Duncan could really have done with a similar friend for his Mango Fool (an apt name all things considered) – Riyadh pondered allowed if Duncan was just going to be serving his mango and whipped cream dumped in a glass because surely he wouldn’t? That would be very lazy and disappointing… readers, he did just that
and there wasn’t much of the mango anyway because it was all languishing beside the smoked haddock in his maybe-curry.
The fool lacked the required zing and could have done with a lot more sweetness as Angellica Bell called for at least 5 tablespoons more sugar. And can we acknowledge that Kimberly kicked off the proceedings by saying “Mango fool is quite a healthy dessert” which… IS IT? I mean, if it makes me look like Kimberly Wyatt, I’ll do it!
It was far too simple a dish and he really could have made some sort of a biscuit to serve alongside it.
And then we have Bez who was making a vanilla panna cotta with some pineapple flambeed in pineapple flavoured rum which Gregg had a rather generous amount of over the course of the round
I cannot thank our lucky stars enough that we only had to deal with 2 weeks of him on Strictly.
With Bez so obviously drawing his inspiration from a Pina Colada you would think he could have had quite a lot of fun with his presentation and yet instead he served it up looking like some sort of cursed necklace pendant leaking ectoplasm and ready to possess the next person who wears it
by which I mean, PUT IT IN A MUSEUM because this is art.
The panna cotta has absolutely no wobble to it unless Kimberly Wyatt smashed the entire plate against the table but everyone does rather love the taste of it, so at least we know everyone like pina coladas. That’s what we really learned today.
The First Quarter Final Dish Ranking
- Who Doesn’t Love a Chicken Parmigiana?
- Su’s No-Bread and Butter Pudding with Accoutrements
- Bez’s Pina Cotta
- Bez’s Oily Fish ‘n’ Humus
- Duncan The Mango Fool
- Duncan’s Miscellaneous Fish and Mango Curry
At the end of the round we had to lose someone and prior to tonight I would have placed money on Su Pollard crushing and burning under the pressure of having to use more than 5 ingredients and yet she was given an instant pass while it became glaringly obvious that Duncan was the only one that had really screwed up when it came to his misplaced mango and thus Duncan From Blue misses out on the semi-final.
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