We started the week in Western Australia, and after some spectacular sites and interesting challenges, we are probably now all reeling after MasterChef’s latest elimination that saw SA’s Andrew sent packing. Tonight; we try to recapture some of the magic from earlier in the week by ending it with a sweet tasting MasterClass.
I’m so glad that for a show like MasterClass, the producers are actually able to keep the previews at reasonable length. This show is long enough as it is.
The contestants enter to yet another roundhouse smile from the judges which, the more I think about it, gets more annoying every week. Gary welcomes the contestants to MasterClass and reminds the contestants about the highs of the past week. George reminds the eighteen people left what MasterClass is all about; taking dishes from the week and teaching the contestants a thing or two about making it. He then introduces Frank Shek, the chef who will be taking two contestants on their own private MasterClass.
George reveals that the first contestant to go is… Kumar! An odd choice, but he defends the decision because Kumar truly is, the Kuma-nator; surviving four elimination challenges. I believe that is the first time the term Kuma-nator has been used on this show.
The other person is someone who did the best job in the mines; especially her brownies; this person is Rachel. The two contestants head off and sixteen people are left to look at this weeks elimination and that Massman Curry. Today however, Gary will be making another type of curry; a Fish Curry. Sounds… interesting.
It’s a South Indian curry and won’t be traditional; it will be a ‘Gary’ curry. We get a small preview on how he will make the flat bread before he starts to slice and caramelise onions. Both Gary and George are participating in the creation of this dish. Gary also adds some tamarinds and garlic to the mixture. With the tamarind, he places it in a bowl of water for later.
He pours peanut oil into a pan followed by some spices and chillies with cinnamon. He finishes the mixture by putting some mace and fennel seeds in.
He explains what the contestants are looking for before chucking in the onions and some more oil for the onions to stew in.
We move on to George who, with the turmeric, ginger and onion, blends a mixture with water into a paste for the bread.
There’s a lot of questions from the contestants being asked, which is good, meaning these contestants are really, really interested in this.
To the pan mix from before, Gary adds some freshly grounded coriander, cumin and Chilli powder. He then adds the garlic and turmeric paste to the pan and stirs. It’s starting to look interestingly nice. Back over to the tamarind mix,, and it looks very thick and nice and they drain the tamarind water. Shannon tastes the sour tamarind water and is blown away by the sourness.
Gary then adds some sugar to the mix and I can almost smell the flavours; it looks so good.
He then adds some chicken stock and curry leaves to the mix. My god there’s a lot of steps. I don’t envy anyone who is cooking this for the first time.
To finish off the dish; a nice pinch of salt.
After the break, we return to the spice mix, which is simmering quite well. Gary now turns to the fish and turns his attention to some Indian flour made by none other than season two’s Jimmy. There’s a bit of ad placement for both Jimmy and Coles before reminding the contestants that ‘this MasterChef thing’ does really well.
To that Indian flour, Gary and George adds salt and milk. They make it into a nice dough and roll several balls of it into form before letting it rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the judges are very happy with the results. They now flatten the dough to fry them and adds some spice to the dough beforehand. A bit of a discussion of what Greeks invented (war, politics, George), they sprinkle all the toppings on the bread and finally, they get on to a peanut oil covered pan and fry.
George also gives out a few tips on the quality of the cooking pan.
We move back to the curry sauce, which has been simmering away for some time now. Sun is called up for the mussels cleaning which includes getting rid of the beard and a steel wool scrub. A funny moment, the judges then joke that they have gotten someone to do the hard work for them and pressure her to hurry up. It’s a nice addition to the show.
Gary then cuts up the fish and makes some recommendations for other proteins and cuts of meat before putting the fish pieces in the sauce. He then puts the lid on and lets cook.
After three minutes, the mussels go in as the fish starts to cook through. Gary now gives the dish another three to four minutes after which time, the flavours are now raging through the curry.
Gary adds some last minute lime for acidity and some more curry leaves with coriander and coconut cream.
The deep fried onions from before go into the curry with some more coriander leaves and the fish curry is finished! Everyone wants a taste however it is Hayden, Sun and Mat that get lucky and they just dig in. Hayden doesn’t care how grotty he gets.
The contestants go back to the bench and a bit of an awkward moment as Craig asks Hayden if he can lick his fingers. Hayden seems to blatantly shut him down and Craig looks a little upset. Hehe.
A few last minute tips from Gary who recommends people to use Jimmy’s special flour.
After the break, we head to Chinatown where Kumar and Rachel have arrived for their MasterClass with China Doll’s Frank who will teach them to cook Peking Duck with pancakes and Duck San Choy Bau. The contestants look very happy with this before they head off to the duck shop and buy some ducks.
Back at the Doll House, they begin their first dish by chopping up some fresh cucumbers. For this MasterClass, he has gotten the contestants to get involved again, which was a bonus last week.
They also cut up some shallots before they move on to the sauce, which must be robust. To some nice looking sauce, sugar water is incorporated before some peanut oil. It’s like Asian mayonnaise according to Rachel.
Now it is time to cut up the duck and after Frank gives an overview of what they are about to do, he cuts off the neck and begins to cut off shards of skin and meat. That skin looks sooooooo good.
After the cutting of the duck, they move on to the pancakes. They are going to cook pre-made pancakes in a bamboo container before plating up the duck, vegetables, sauce and of course, the pancakes.
Frank then demonstrates how to wrap the ingredients into the pancakes before Rachel, who doesn’t know how to use chop sticks, begins to humorously have a go. Kumar has no troubles of course. He’s the Kuma-nator!
He concludes the dish with some hot tips. We then move on to the Duck San Choy Bau which looks a little more complicated.
Firstly, Frank describes what to do with the iceberg lettuce however he has already done the preparation of the lettuce. He clips the leaves of the lettuce into a nice bowl shape before taking the duck carcass from the previous dish and pulling off some meat. He describes why duck meat is better and more flavoursome than chicken meat. From half a duck, you could easily feed four people with compliments.
After chopping up the duck into little pieces, he begins to make the sauce, using oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Soy also goes into the sauce as well. He whisks the ingredients together and they are ready to cook.
He adds some oil to a pan and adds shitaki mushrooms before adding corn and peas. The duck pieces follow soon before adding some more ingredients including celery, water chestnuts, shallots and peanuts.
After cooking, he plates up and makes a complicated looking dish look easy. They taste and it looks better than the Peking Duck. Brilliant. And what a nice looking restaurant. With that; the private MasterClass is over.
Back in the MasterClass kitchen, Gary revisits the Vines challenge in Margaret River before congratulating Jay again for winning the challenge. With this, Matt Moran enters the kitchen with a closh. Hmm, wonder what’s under that. It ends up being Blue Swimmer Crab. Hmm… those crabs look ugly, not too sure I want to watch this. Oh, alright, I love you guy’s too much to omit this section.
Matt Moran is cooking a Wok Fried Black Pepper Crab today and George leaves him to it. Matt Moran reveals that this dish will teach them some handy tips.
First thing to do is clean those crabs properly. Peter, who cooked the king crab in the challenge in Margaret River, is asked to clean one of the crabs.
He begins by ripping the limbs and underside of the crab open before going through the main body part and after removing the gunk and the gills, he cuts it into quarters. After demonstrating, he gets Peter to have a go before starting on the wok.
He dumps half a cup of oil in the wok and lets it simmer. He then adds the crab to cook and straight away, they change colour.
After a break, we return to make the sauce. Adding to the left over oil and crab bits, Matt adds some pepper, garlic and chilli before giving it a bit of a stir. He then adds soy, oyster sauce, sugar and an unusual ingredient, not associated with Chinese cooking; butter. He then adds some water and the crab then goes back into the sauce.
After seven minutes; he puts in some shallots before plating up the crab. According to a returning George, it smells wonderful, but it just looks like a pile of dead crab. Alana, Danielle and Peter are asked to taste and they make a lot of mess. Alana is having ‘fun’ whilst enjoying all the flavours.
Matt ends his dish with a few nice tips; and there we are, dish over. Didn’t take too long.
After a break, George reminds the contestants from that dreaded can and frozen challenge. George then reveals that for the desert stage of this MasterClass, he will be making a frozen and canned version of his Summer Pudding.
He reminds them that with a few techniques; they will do well. He picks up some frozen berries and places them gently on some paper to defrost properly before putting them into a pot and adds some golden syrup.
Next up, cut a mould of white bread (sliced, of course). He then goes back to the berries and strains them and sets them aside to cool down. After a while, the bread goes into the residue berry juice from the berries and he fills the mould with the berry soaked bread. He then fills the mould with the berries and the lid goes on the mould (the lid made of the rest of the bread.
A weight is placed on top and is placed in the fridge.
Now time for the caramel swirl ice cream. He adds some condensed milk and golden syrup to a pot and stirs for ten minutes. This is something that Shannon struggled to do. With four minutes to go, he adds some cream to the caramel mix and after four minutes; the ten minute cooking time, the caramel sauce is done. He adds some salt and Shannon gets a taste of the caramel.
He grabs some vanilla bean ice cream from the freezer and swirls the caramel through before taking a massive bite of the ice cream. Comically, Gary runs in and steals the wooden spoon of ice cream just before Hayden grabs it. A short race ensures and eventually, he gets to taste.
After the break, George plates up this gorgeous, make at home dish before Michael, Shannon and Craig try the dish.
With that, another MasterClass is over. This episode has been quite enjoyable, especially that last dish. The canned food idea allows us commoners to try it on our own at home. This episode has allowed me to forget about the contest of the series yet again and has done well to provide yet another onslaught of professional looking dishes made simple.
Next week we get to go to Malaysia, and I’m not too sure when the contestants are actually going, but I certainly am looking forward to another week of MasterChef Australia!
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.7/10
In loving memory of my loveable pet, Gorgeous, who passed away today 3/6/11 at 12.15pm.