Saturday, July 2, 2011

Masterchef Live 2011 at the BBC Good Food Show Summer

It was a little while ago on an evening in April that I was finally ready to submit my application to take part in the Masterchef Live Experience in the BBC Good Food Show Summer at the NEC Birmingham. I had spent a few weeks pondering the questions, such as 'What or who are your greatest food influences?' and 'What dish would you like to cook for John and Gregg and why?' And here I was about to click the Submit Button with crossed fingers, nervous and excited of the thought that maybe, just maybe I could be chosen. I wasn't until a couple of weeks after the closing date, cuddled up on the sofa for a lazy night in front of the telly, when my phone pinged. I stretched over to have a look, expecting more junk mail, then not to my surprise at the top it said 'CONGRATULATIONS!' 'Great, what have I won this time?' was the brief thought before I read on to realise that I had been excepted for a place on the Masterchef Live challenge. It then quickly turned into a frenzy of Facebook status updates and phone calls.

Well, after many practices and sleepless nights I was off to the show. And I can honestly say that the day is very much rated up there with my best ever. With a pep talk from Juan Sheet from Plenty ( their sponsor), and Andi Peters calling us onto the stage to cook, I was still waiting to wake up! And then it was time to cook and with that as a focus the audience disappeared and we all just got cooking. Tim Anderson, this years Masterchef Winner was being interviewed and then it was our turn as Andi and Tim both went round to talk to all the contestants. Then John Torode and Gregg Wallace came on stage to be interviewed by Andi, then it was their turn to do the rounds before our time was up. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to go through to the next round, but I got good comments about my food and the people who went through cooked amazing dishes, and when I read up about the overall winner, I don't think I would have stood a chance, he did an inspiring job. My dish was A Pan-Fried Pork Fillet with Apples and Cider Sauce, Served with Rough-Roast Sage and Onion Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas in Crispy Bacon. It has now become a favorite dish at home. However, after eating it so much in the run up I think I may leave it a little while before putting it on table again. Please have a go and adjust the quantities for your needs, this recipe makes two good-sized potions. And with more than 45 minutes to get it to the table, a sip or two of Cider makes for a perfect cooking experience. x

Pan-Fried Pork Fillet with Apples and Cider Sauce

  • 400g Pork Fillet

  • Olive Oil

  • 100ml Cider Vinegar

  • 200-300ml Cider

  • 2-3 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate

  • 1 tbsp Flour

  • 1 tbsp Butter

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples

  • 1 tbsp Honey

  • 3 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar

Put a large non-stick frying pan on a med- high heat. Slice the Pork into medallions approx 1 - 2 cm thick, coat with Oil and season with Salt and Pepper. Pan fry until you can see that it has cooked almost half way through, the pork should be nicely browned, then turn and fry on the other side for a few minutes. Remove to a dish and cover, place low in the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce and Apples. In the frying pan add the Cider Vinegar and de-glaze. Now add in the Cider and Stock Concentrate. Let the Alcohol cook off and taste. Adjust the Vinegar, Stock and Cider to taste. Combine the Flour and Butter to make a Beurre Manie. Whisk in half, and add the other half if you'd like your sauce thicker. But remember as the sauce reduces it will also thicken. Heat a separate frying pan and slice the Apples. Coat with honey then the Sugar. Fry in the pan until golden.

Sage and Onion Rough-Roast Potatoes

  • 4-5 medium Sized King Edward Potatoes

  • 6-7 Shallots

  • 6-8 Sage Leaves

  • Olive Oil

Pop your oven on to 180 c. Peel and chop the Potatoes into approx 3-4 cm pieces. Par-boil in a pan of salted water for 8-10 minutes. While they are boiling away, peel and cut in half the shallots, add to a roasting pan with the Olive Oil, and Sage leaves. Drain the potatoes and add to the roasting pan, season with Salt and Pepper and mix together well. Place into the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Give the potatoes a good mix, if any fall apart, all the better as this will add to the roughness. Place back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until Golden.

Sugar Snap Peas Cooked in Crispy Bacon

  • 2 Rashers of Streaky Bacon, diced

  • 180 - 200g Sugar Snap Peas

Put a medium pan onto a med-high heat, add in the Bacon and allow to Crisp up, releasing it's fat. Add in the Peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Your just heating them though, you don't want limp, soggy Peas.

I start with the Potatoes, and once in the oven, cook the Pork. Followed by the Sauce, Apples and Peas, to hopefully dish up at the same time.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. It has given me an awesome life experience and one that will be relived whenever I cook and eat it :)