I recently received an e-mail from Miele asking if I would like to take place in a mini Masterchef with 4 other food bloggers. Naturally I agreed straight away without really thinking what I had agreed to. As the day got nearer I became slightly worried about it; John and Gregg do have a reputation for being acerbic and shouty and giving feedback that could be kindly described as robust.
I had had to plan and give my menu to the organisers in advance. In a burst of organisation, I had ordered everything I needed from my local butchers, the utterly fabulous HG Walter in Barons Court. Everything was ready for me when I popped in this morning to collect it and utterly perfect. I got to the distinctly futuristic Miele demonstration gallery yesterday lunchtime and was greeted with a most welcome nerve calming glass of champagne and some lovely food. I am hugely keen on buffet food so dived in.
The competition (fellow food bloggers) arrived. It was lovely to see Mimi (Meemalee’s Kitchen) again, and to put faces to Danny (Food Urchin and WMPC) Sarah (Maison Cupcake) and Ireena (Fastest Food Blog). With all of us fortified with champagne and nibbles (and me with espresso) we were shown our work stations and assigned our Miele Home Economist that would help us use the equipment (and find pretty bowls and plates and pieces of equipment). I unpacked my food, dug out all the pans I needed and was ready for the off for an hour of cooking.
I was so engrossed that I did not even notice Gregg watching me whilst I was serving the veal.
At the end of which I had made:
Veal on a Mediterranean sauce of garlic, onion, raisins, capers & olives with a rocket and broad bean salad.
Lime and Elderflower posset with berries marinated in my homemade elderflower cordial and an Irish Lace biscuit.
It was fantastic fun. I had been slightly worried about it all, but arrived and decided that I had to enjoy the experience. I thought that the timing would be incredibly tight, but I had loads of time and even managed to get a glass of champagne whilst cooking! The Miele equipment was wonderful I am quite smitten with the induction hob with all the control of gas but without the burners and an easy to clean glass top. The oven was fantastic with its digital temperature display and my biscuits cooked perfectly. My huge thanks to Hazel, who was assigned to help me with the equipment and found me everything I needed and then cleaned up around me; I think that Miele should clone and sell her. Every kitchen needs a Hazel as well as the fantastic Miele equipment.
We lined our dishes up and awaited judgement from John and Gregg. I waited a long time as I was at the end of the line.
I was hugely pleased that the feedback that I got from John and Gregg. The worse thing that was said was that my chive garnish was pointless. Gregg did not like the sweetness of the raisins in the sauce, they liked my salad and said that the veal was well cooked but they would not serve the salad with the veal and tomato sauce. I am puzzled as to what I should serve with the veal – it needs something with it? Maybe some simple green beans? They also really liked my pudding saying it was ideal for a hot summer’s afternoon. Considering that I had woken in a cold sweat the morning of the cookoff having dreamt that I had been told that I was a disgrace and should never go near a kitchen again I was delighted.
The winner was Ireena who made salmon spiced with cumin and coriander, vegetable pilau rice, and aubergine raita followed by a pudding of baked nectarines with amaretti crumble topping & mascarpone/orange cream.
I was very impressed with Sarah who made hazelnut french macarons with nutella and mascarpone cream filling and an apple and pecan loaf with lavender chocolate chips in the hour – something I would not consider attempting in the time allowed or in a strange oven. Danny made grilled mackerel on bed of spring onions, potatoes with calcot sauce and pea shoots then gooseberry pudding with soft meringue peaks. I had never heard of calcot sauce before and it was utterly delicious and something I shall be trying soon. Mimi who arrived with a scary large and firey looking bag of chilies made Ohn-no khao swe (Burmese coconut chicken noodles) followed by blueberry and orange zest shortcake, whipped cream, blueberry and orange coulis.
Danny putting the finishing touches on his fish.
All smiles with Gregg after the judging!
It really was immensely fun and last night I dreamt of that lovely Miele oven. Many thanks to Forever Better and 1000 heads for asking me. And a huge thank you to HG Walters for having my order ready and supplying such perfect product, they are the best butcher I have ever used and well worth a visit if you are in the direction of Barons court.
I will try to get the recipes blogged in the next week or so.
I attended the event as a guest of Miele and Forwever Better who also paid all my food costs for my menu.