In this weeks episode contestants have to bake a spectacular chocolate cake fit for a wedding and Jade wears a painting drop cloth with a hole for her head and a belt around her waist. Minutes into the episode Dean lets us know that so far most contestants
are missing the mark, they are meant to be making the worlds best
chocolate- cake fit for a wedding, but alas they are into making a
wedding that that HAPPENS to be chocolate. There is also to be a twist at anytime.

So the ladies make cake. I love making cake, I often make bithday cakes instead of buying gifts. And let me tell you now that having different mousses as your cake filling is so much better than icing or cream. While watching this episode those of us present in our house all agreed that that I would have been better suited to this show than Masterchef (no crayfish in sight!). But now after watching an Eddie Izzard show (If you don’t know who Eddie is you have never truly laughed, British man and the best comedian EVER) and he raised a  very, very valid point about making a cake:

Eddie Izzard from Stripped: Cake mix, when I was a kid, was a
brilliant thing. You’d make a cake for your mum,  with a big wooden
spoon, la la la, and then you’d put that thing all in the bowl, and then
they said you could lick the spoon, and then— [mimes having a spoon in his mouth] “Oh my God. This is fantastic. Oh, wow! [points at cake]
What are we doing with that? This is just— this is good! This is
ready!” And then they’d take that, they’d put it in an oven, and it
would come out LESS GOOD!

After having seen Chelsea lick her fingers 2 episodes ago and eating a lot of cookie batter myself, you have to wonder why hasn’t someone just served cake mix and who was it that thought ‘hey lets put it in the oven, make it dry and less tempting. Dont lie to me or yourself, the stuff is fantastic and you know you love it!!!

So on NZHHB do contestants, judges, crew dip a finger??? during or after a challenge? If you have played any part in the show and know, please let me know if people get to lick the bowl.

Back to the baker women: most of them have made another key mistake in how they bake their cakes, they are filling very high tins with litres of batter, trying to force them to cook in 1 and 1/2hrs when they need 2, having a panic attack as time ticks away, then pull them out of the oven and have them sink along with all their hopes and dreams. They should have lined many tins with thin layers of cake that would only take 25-30minutes of baking and done this a couple of times, this way if they ran out of tin then only 1inch of cake would be ruined, not an entire tier of the whole damn thing. Then again uncooked cake mix in the center of a cake could be a naughty yummy…..

They all get to decorating. Catherine’s husband has been the incredibly handy man once more, jimmying up a cake stand and false tier for her and she has beautiful fresh flowers to decorate. When Dean is upset by the idea of the false tier and flowers, Jade is swift in setting him right in the common practice that this is. Paula’s cake has a simple elegance in it’s white fondant and black flowers, but it is missing the bottom tier due to a sinkhole. Gretchens cake………….*sigh* her draped chocolate fondant looked sad, she had some OKish roses on top, but really it just looked like a bad top hat. BUT THEN to really lessen her chances, she wanted to give it a gloss so she thought she would glace the whole damn thing with apricot jam!!! It looked like…….oh, no words can describe the mess. And Carolyn: she did well in having all three of her tier different types of chocolate but her final decorated cake looked like a small child’s drawing of a wedding cake.Was realy expecting something more fantastic than what they all put up.

But what is the twist I hear you ask? Today no one is going home, Carolyn and her 3D kids drawn cake win the mystery weekend this week as the judges decided to give it to the woman who best managed her time, clearly not based on the best looking cake. No one goes home as next week they have to cook all the goodies that will be served along side the cake, but they will have assistants, a significant male from their lives. I am guessing that they are expecting them to be bumbling idiots getting in the way so hopefully some good drama. 

And now onto watching Masterchef. Go out there and eat some cake mix XX     

Greetings and salutations one and all. So sorry, this is NZHHB recap for last weeks episode, life was a little hectic last week, but fear not my fair friends, I shall also have this weeks episode also up tomorrow

Towering deserts is the name of the game tonight and first thing that I notice about all the contestants is that they all look like the have had a big night out on the piss (am I allowed to use that colloquialism?Oh well I did). All droopy eyed, horse voices from ‘social smoking’, a good handful of slurred words and general confusion. Chelsea tells us about a technique she learned in the ‘Masterchef Class’ Dean took them through: wrong show hunny.

Gretchen this week was dressed by an angry chocolate-chip cookie dough(just because I can brag, I just made the best triple chocolate-chip cookies ever, I dare you to ask me for the recipe) and one thing I cant get over is the inappropriate footwear they all have on, either flats or just under the knee boots, which go by a term that I know I can definitely not say here.

Colin really enjoys using adjectives with flare and once again says that damn “done your dough” saying and I am contemplating hunting him down to let him know how much I hate it.

Unfortunately most of the contestants cant think of much outside of profiteroles and croquembouche ( I had to Google for the correct spelling) and Chelsea already seems a bit out of her depth: she has never made one before but being a keen bean she is going to attempt it while changing a large portion of the recipe and wants to ‘towering it up and made it look pretty’, not a smart move especially as she has only had a few hours sleep. Her desert is too ambitious for her as when it is up for judging, while her spun sugar is very good the profiteroles appear to have climbed up into some strange pile that resembles the left overs of a croquembouche, after it was been demolished by ravenous children.

Catherine is making a brownie pyramid with another brownie pyramid and tops the lot with a chocolate orb. The orb is made over a balloon on a stand that her husband put together for her. This gives lots of ammunition to the Jeering Jade who thinks that people from a farm are all country bumkin/ hillbillies and are lower on the food change. Shame on you Jade, maybe some fresh cream straight from the farm will mellow out your bitterness.

Carolyn has aquired a road cone from somewhere, possibly from a big night out that they all look guilty of and is using his as her mold for her profiteroles. Everyone has their doubts as to whether the profiteroles will stick or not but it all is a towering triumph….well that is until she decides to dump a whole heap of toffee over it and it looks like a child’s science fair project gone wrong.

Gretchen is making some spice cake with whole pears poking out and a spun sugar ‘halo’. A bit risky doing a cake as this is maybe more of a morning tea treat and not truly a dessert. Her spun sugar starts well just not quite the shape she wants. so wanting to impress Dean she goes about trying to shape it like it is playdough but this is a no-no with spun sugar, it is way too delicate for the hands of an angry cookie dressed woman. In the end it is all scrunched into a ball, dumped on the top of the cake, and if spun sugar could be suicidal from feeling it has no purpose in life or a dish, then this sugar would be holding the gun to it’s head upon judging.

What I love to laugh at in this show is that you have mainly woman in their mid 30’s to 40’s and you then have a male judge walking around giving little tips, telling them what to do, the woman, sometimes, are all ‘ I know what I am doing, you may have your professional way but I am a woman and you are a silly man, now leave me be to cook while I tend to the children, iron the shirts and have dinner and a whiskey ready on the table when my husband returns from work at 5’.

Paula is pretty on the ball for today and just cleanly and timely cruising her way through. Her desert looks beautiful I love Paula, she should win just because I said so.

Colin continues to potter around being a general pest, doesn’t he have models to annoy? But then again I do enjoy having a laugh at him.   

Agrh!!! JADE GO AWAY!!!!!!!

You have to have a good giggle when Colin gives the countdown and when he says “step away from your benches” Chelsea dunks her fingers into the bowl for a good lick.

Judges try all the desserts while the contestants all wait in the secluded viewing cupboard jam packed with sponsor placement, talk about how they know best and come to their decision and this week Chelsea has done her dough…what the hell does that even mean anyway!!! Wouldn’t done dough result in beautiful bread??? I digress. Catherine takes the win this week with her geometrical brownie tower, I think it was staying away from the profiteroles that really gave her the edge. As the winner she of course gets the mystery weekend and due to her husband assitance behind the scenes Dean suggests she gives him a little something more than just a weekend away…..

Chocolate cakes fit for a wedding next episode which I shall have for you tomorrow. With my own nuptials only 44 days away I watched this one with particular interest as our cake is to be chocolate so until tomorrow xx …………. WHAT! really only 44 days to go!?!?


Reality shows follow formulas and recipes.In many ways they are like cooking it’s self: add the butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate and create something yummy. But if you alter when the ingredients are added and the application of the ingredients i.e melting the chocolate, separating the eggs, warming the sugar, low and behold you can have something completely different. All you need is the right characters/contestants, snippets of dialogue and cut-away facial expressions and you have become the master of what is perceived as ‘real’.

When you are sitting on the couch on a Monday night getting your weekly fix of ‘Desperate Housewives’ you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that it is completely fake without being told but now we have a new realm of television refereed to as ‘reality’, (Masterchef is called ‘constructed reality’ at TV award ceremonies)we believe – because TV would never lie- that what is being sold to us is gospel, that no one would tweak or manipulate situations, painting us a different more exciting image that what truly transpired. For great insight into the tricks and simple editing used to do this checkout Charlie Brooker’s ‘Screenwipe’ on YouTube. This is not limited to the Kardashians and Big Brother, it is overly used too in ‘competition’ shows, formulas are used to audition/cast contestant/characters,create drama (come-on, sometimes when cooking for 2hours nothing exciting happens)and to find winners. Without all this scripting,for lack of a better word, ‘reality’ TV could be quiet boring. Let’s face it, it is why we watch these shows, because sometimes, the true reality can be a bit boring and monotonousness so we want to escape for an hour or two. What gets me is when people don’t want to admit and accept the truth that ‘reality’ TV is not reality, big hint that it is not real is the ‘TV’ part of the genre name.

Last year Brett McGregor took out the Masterchef title. He fit the bill of the suave male, whose tales of journeys around the world are retold on the plate and from whom the win could mean a complete career change, thus giving a great follow-through story. So this year I predict something completely different. I think we could see a woman win, someone quite maternal, and cooks traditional home food.

These are my season predictions:
Cameron will be this season’s ‘Steve’: he will be consistent and get very far in the competition but will fall short of the final episode and a lot of people will think that he should have won.

Michael may be to young to win – 18year olds aren’t the biggest Masterchef audience and you want your viewers to relate.

Stu is a teacher and a teacher has already won MasterchefNZ.

Nadine has already featured in a fair amount of airtime already which makes me think she wont have any coming up due to elimination. Anthony and Fiona are this seasons middle road folk, they’ll will sale under the radar, end up as a team leader and then go home, I don’t think Fiona could take it out having been in season 1 already and that might not go down well. I reckon Michelle and Sam will be our underdogs who have at some point a real shining through moment. And I think we will see the most improvement and possible win by Tracylee and Jax. It’s nice to see a few more man’s man this season, bit more ruggered, trying to pull in more male viewers – or females 😉
The show needs a good mix of age groups, ways of life, cultures and when picking (yes I said picking) a winner you need to consider what and who will make a great story.

I know what category they cast me in and I know when things on screen were altered, taken out of context, prompted and just down right complete opposite of what happened but when you agree to be in these shows that’s what you knowingly sign up for. At least those near and dear to me know who I am and what I am about.

After having taking part in one of these shows you very quickly realize that all the magic in TV is about the same amount of magic in the cover of a Harry Potter DVD and as much truth as 15year old me telling my parents ‘I am going to the park to read a book’. At least we only watch these shows for entertainment not the news.

Greetings one and all. A little late on this post but last night I was in Auckland at Simon Gault’s restaurant, Euro, with all the top 12 from season one for a fundraiser for the Christchruch quake recovery. We haven’t all been together since the first time we were in Masterchef kitchen and it was good to have a chance for a short natter over what we think about the second season. Having all been on the other side of the camera we all have our idea’s on who will make it to the top but that inside knowledge is privelledged. But what I will let you in on is the theory that the winners of reality shows are often not showcased too much at the beginning of the show, and I am putting my money on it being a woman this year. But you never know…….or do I mawahahahaha!( That was my feeble attempt at an evil laugh)

Last night was an Italian pasta challenge and while some of the 11 knocked it out of the park, others fell into the sauce and struggled to climb their way out. There were some remarkable moments, Robert deciding to be a martyr for the cause and cooking prawns, Ray’s comments on ‘the sauce of prostitutes – quick and easy’, several spelling mistakes in the dish title bar that appears at the bottom of the screen – and that’s saying something if dyslexic me picks up on that, the Italian guest judge trying to woo Michelle, spouting on about her beauty.

The bottom 2 of the night were Robert and Michael. Robert had an incredibly confussed dish complete with prawns, feta, beetroot and sundried tomatoes. And Michael took the challenge to simply be pasta and says he didn’t hear the part where it had to be Italian. Got to say I think that he was just covering his hinny while trying to step out of the box and having it hugely backfire on himself. He really needs to pull it in, being granted the golden apron on day one just got him to the top 12, it wont get him to the final. He needs to take a deep breath and keep a level head, not a big head.

Cameron had the inside scoop on the task and once again he humbly and simply cooked his way to the top of the challenge along side Jax who was having some form of stress induced meltdown throughout the cooking. But meltdowns didn’t deter her ability and the judges and contestants applauded both there efforts and an Italian dinner out is their reward. Although I think my crystal ball is telling me that they will both be team captains next week in a team challenge. Should be interesting how quiet Cameron will go with that.

Robert and his meter high hair was sent packing as Ray said he was out of his depth. He really just should have stuck with what he knew and I think it is a great loss to the competition having such a different style of cooking gone but the show must go on.

Last Friday week we had the 1st ever NZ masterclass and it was great to see the judges relaxed, in their element and speaking unscripted lines. I have so often heard how the judges come across mean and discouraging, and yeah I agree with this, it doesn’t help that we all compare them to the lovable Australian judges (well Mr Mole George wasn’t exactly my fave)but maybe seeing them in a different light will alter our perception of them in the challenges.

At first I quite liked Josh Emmett, and I will always like him better than Ross Burden/wanna-be-podgey-Pierce-Brosnan, but now I am not so sure. I know this is his first crack at it but he is soooooo wooden it is painful. And not just wooden in the sense of personality but he also looks like he has a wooden pole strapped to his back keeping him in place (that is my G rated way of saying what I think, you work what I really mean). So are you like Josh or is TV not really a place he should be????

Later in the week I will post my theories on who will and will not win and why so keep reading, keep watching and cooking xx

Well today the Top 12 arrive at the Masterchef House, all walking through the door and gasping as if they have never seen a house before. One contestant says “The house is indescribable”. Having stayed there myself I can describe it as having walls, floors and a roof, just on a slightly bigger scale. I think Cameron put it well: ” I would have been happy just sleeping in a tent, but this is nice”.

We have lots of little shots of people in their homes, with work mates, family and friends and there seems to be a theme in most telling us how they have had a life long dream of setting up a restaurant of cafe. I don’t quite understand this, if that is your dream and it has been for a very long time, why don’t you go to cheffing school? When the show ends you are still not a trained chef, you have just cooked a few good meals on TV?

Both Jamie (my main man) and I laugh when we hear Anthony say he is a debt collector, I can imagine he will be  in the show for a long time just to stop him from getting ticked off in an elimination and pulling up a judges file.

OI!!!! They all got new fancy phones from Telecom, where was my phone, all I got
was a crumby apron and terrible service every time I go into a Telecom store.
Yes i am jealous.

Just before heading off to the MCK (Masterchef Kitchen) for their first challenge, Mr Brett McGregor walks in to give some words of inspiration to the new season of contestants, and eye up who will be taking his title. Tracylee is quite starstruck and apparently nearly wet her pants when he came in.

But Bretts influence does not stop there, he really must have stuck in Kathleen’s mind as she made the same mistake he did in the 1st MCK challenge: took to many ingredients from the pantry. The judges don’t kick her out for this though, rather just confiscate their pick of items.

Can I just say that I have been trying to put a finger on the vibe that I get from Josh Emett and today I finally sussed it out: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Next time you are watching, imagine he is saying everything with Arnie’s ascent, it’s uncanny.

Today they have to cook their take on modern Kiwi cuisine using one of the three core ingredients, lamb, fish or fruit. Ray then go on to remind Michael that he has only cooked once for them so he better blow their socks off, no pressure.

EVERYBODY DRINK!!! A judge just said again that the standard is higher this year.

Simon is clearly a big meat eater and can not understand why Robert (Am I the only one he thinks he looks like Gok?) isn’t, he gives him these quizzical looks, almost to say ‘ are you human?’. Robert too feels looked down on and that hey don’t consider him as talented because he is a vegetarian. Yes his meal was in the bottom two, but not because he doesn’t eat meat, but because he had a bad day in kitchen. Michelle didn’t cook with meat and they enjoyed her dish…OK, OK, OK it was chocolate cake, but still. Meat doesn’t give you magical powers.

 Josh refuses to try Stu’s dish – Lamb rack, mash, peas – as it is boring and he with his wizard powers already know what it tastes like

Micheal’s dish really doesn’t go down that well and I think he has been
watching a few too many reality shows like ‘Big Brother’, he talks of how
he had had a strategy in place to not cook as well, so to not seem like too much of threat. Um, yeah, this isn’t ‘Survivor’ where we make
alliances with the other competitors and people vote off he best. But as he is the youngest I can
understand him saying that to save face, especially after the judges put
a truckload more pressure on him in-front of everyone.

The judges approach Kathleen’s dish like a MVA patient for whom they hold little hope. I commend her for making pastry, sadly it is falling to bits and her meat is overcooked (you have to cook it to medium rare). Ray describes it as grim and Josh lets her know its in the bottom load of dishes for the day.

Cameron is going for the surf and turf. and hits the brief perfectly,
his dish is loved by all three judges, would just love to see him crack a
smile though. He goes on to take the win for the day. As a prize he gets to see what is in next weeks mystery box – A pasta machine.

Stu, Robert and Kathleen are the bottom three for the day and sadly Kathleen leaves us. I would have loved to have seen her crazy red hair go further in the show but someone always has to be the 1st to go back home. Kathleen leaves the MCK disappointed for it all to be over, especially over pastry which she makes all the time at home, but once home is determined to jump back on the food horse.

I will have the pleasure of speaking with Kathleen tomorrow so if there is anything you would like me to ask please post and I shall.

And that is it for another week of MC, before I sign off I’ll let you in on a little secret. While it may take 10minutes of viewing time (excluding ads) to watch the judges taste all the dishes; in real time it can take up to 3hr (when there was 12 of us) to get through everyone. A very, very long 3 hours.

Last Night on New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker the six remaining contestants had to bake using all the 6 mystery ingredients in their stylish brown paper bags. Some contestants were good, some not and someone went home, the end…………………..


Nah, I wouldn’t just leave you with that but what I will say about last night is, that I want a rematch. It is my opinion that last night was the most unfair judging on the show to date. The contestants all got their mystery bags and had to create baked goodies for children. As per usual we have judges Dean, beaming away at Gretchen and Jade, who looks like she has been styled to go into a ‘Star Wars’ casting audition (Do I need to pay George Lucas for saying Star Wars?….). Carolyn asks if they can please define children and they are told it is 16 and under and here we have our first problem for the day. 16 and under includes, hungry pubescent boys, self conscious tween girls, ‘veges are gross’ school kids, picky toddlers, puree fed babies and breastfeeding infants. So really no guidance what so ever. The contestants are allowed their favourite recipe books with them and Colin uses that horrid line ‘someone will have done their dough’ once more, if he says it again next week I may write a strongly worded letter.

There is a mix of sweet and savory items in their bags, there is no cheese in sight and while some bags have fairly straight forward ingredients, others have random curve-balls like fennel. Carolyn is making a fruity ANZAC biscuit and low and behold it is one of Dean’s recipes, maybe she is jealous of Gretchen and trying to get his attention. I do think though that it is a bit off using the judges recipes, they should work with a base recipe and adapt it, to make it into something original, not something complete from a book. Steve feels more confident, Chelsea keeps smiling away, Paula is very controlled, Gretchen is out to impress, Catherine is making ‘turd’ cookies and Carolyn is cruising. All in all the challenge is rather uneventful.

I do however, have a bone to pick with Judge Jade. Can someone PLEASE knock that woman off her high horse!!!! Yes she is trained, a professional and has done her dues in the industry but that does not give her the permission to talk about contestants in such a condescending manner. In her side interviews she is often laughing at their attempts and is all ” So’n’so was trying to bake whatever by doing blah blah and I was thinking, oh my god how could they be so stupid, I never would have done that, I know they are home bakers but they should know, by some magic, all the professional techniques and skills I have been taught. What dumb-bos!”. Even when she was impressed with Paula she was laughing in a belittling manner, as if her skills were a fluke. But I shall try to breathe and push through the rest of the season with her.

OK, and this is where we come to my biggest problem with this episode: the judging. Dean, Jade and Colin go around tasting everything. They speak of how somethings are to complicated for kids,some things are too simple, too much flavour, too little flavour and as a general whole contradicting themselves for 10minutes. Dean at one point even goes to the pantry, pulls out Queen food colouring and sprinkles (filling this episode product placement quoter) and says how they should have been using heaps of this sort of stuff. I bet if they did they would complain that they shouldn’t be pumping kids with artificial colours and synthetic ingredients. Either way they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. But how can you have an episode where you are trying to bake food for kids and you have professional bakers judging what kids would like. WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN!!!!! They should have had kids also trying the food along side the judges, letting them know what they thought was the yummiest. This is not fair and I want a rematch!

After all the judging, contradicting and condescending, the top three for the day are Catherine, Carolyn and Paula. Paula gets her first win for the day, Gretchen is green with envy as she is only ‘safe’. The bottom two are Steve and Chelsea and we’re all wondering if they will eliminate the shows gender diversity or the ethnicity diversity. Sadly Steven is the one to go as he didn’t use all the ingredients in his bag, thus missing the brief, and Chelsea stays for another day, maybe Jade didn’t want her too go so she could laugh at her more.

I wanted Steve to stay, primarily because he was the only male and I wanted him to have a chance to out do all the women but alas no. Not a very exciting episode, but by the looks of next week we should have an hour more dramatic than Shortland Street as they have to make towering desserts with wow factor.

But please tell me: Am I the only one who thinks that Jade has a real ‘attitude’ going on that is really hard to watch??? 

Last week we had the first round of auditions where the masses were chopped down to just 25 and we were introduced to newbie judge, Josh Emett, who made an excellent replacement for Ross Burden.Michael Lee was awarded the ‘Golden Apron’ which acts as a ticket straight through to the top 12, leaving the other 24 to battle it out for the remaining 11 spots

Tonight the 24 are bussed to the RNZAF Base in Auckland where their challenges shall beginning. Contestants talk of the butterflies fluttering around in their stomachs (don’t eat butterflies if you know you are going to be competing). As they enter the hanger, like in the first season, there is a long row of benches with chopping boards stabbed with chef’s knives. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, don’t ever do that to your knives!!! It’s really not good for them.

The Judges strut towards the contestants with a look that means business. Today there are two big challenges. Time for the 1st: a forklift enters ‘with what looks like a gazillion eggs’, the competitors have to create a dish with the humble egg as the star and they have two minutes to grab whatever they want from the ingredients pantry provided. And here is the kicker, within the 45minutes they have to cook, they can be eliminated at anytime. Talk about pressure.

A few contestants are taking the huge risk of making a hollandaise sauce, it is not an easy sauce to make when relaxed, but under the pressure of the challenge my fears are that it will split and will lead to their demise. One contestant cracks their egg and whoopee it is a double yolker, hope this brings him luck.

Brazilian contest Bruno Goncalves is making an egg in a chili tomato paste but has forgot his bread, yet he longs to look into his mothers eyes and tell her that he ‘made it’. Jampa Stuart is aiming to make his omelet very garlicky so no kissing for the judges after tasting this meal. Hunter Cameron Petley tells Simon how he is using his saffron as a garnish causing a dubious eyebrow raise form the judges, but he tells us how he has been practicing hard so maybe he knows something we don’t.

Simon is still going on about how this year is better than last, I think he needs to let go and focus on whats happening today. Rochelle Flavell last week presented a beautiful whole stuffed flounder but today is cooking a ’21st century baked beans on toast’, oh dear, I’m hoping this is not a huge step back for her.

One contestant is cremating her salmon while explaining to Simon how she is going to deep fry her eggs, Simon acts as if he has never heard or tried something like this before. Um, HELLO! I made that last year Simon and you loved it. Another contestant is making two dishes, dinner and dessert.

Fiona Read is so determined to get to the top 12 after not making the cut last year. Builder Sam Henderson is running into trouble as his eggy wraps are falling to bits and Sarah Irvine is struggling with her hollandaise. This certainly is a time where every one has had to put their eggs in one basket. Cameron is finished already, will his dish be too cold? 

With 5 minutes to go, one contestant has realized that the flame has gone out on her cooker. Returning contestant Carmen McGregor’s egg is completely raw and doesn’t look like it will make it to the plate, concerning as the egg must be the star. Rob Coe-Tipene was putting his egg on the dish when it slipped off and into the BBQ and has resigned himself to going home. Jampa’s plate is so overloaded it’s scary

Time is up, judging will begin, who will have egg on their face (man I love egg puns). Judges taste and so far don’t give much away. Traceylee Hooten has made a poached-fried egg and prays to every god she knows that the yolk oozes when Simon pierces it with his knife…….and golden nectar pours from the center, she is safe.

Rochelle presents her beans on toast and no one is impressed, sadly she wont get a chance to compete in the next challenge and is going home. Caremon’s saffron garnished dish makes it through despite him not having an understanding of saffron. Jampa’s overloaded dish apparently could scare away vampires with all the garlic, I hope it wipes out all that stupid Twilight nonsense, but it is good enough to keep him in. More make it through, more go home, Carmen sadly doesn’t make it through as her dish resulted in a corn fritter which wasn’t eggcellant. Nadia Lim is in tears with her two dishes as she awaits the verdict, Simon teases her, telling her to untie her apron…and tie it up tighter because she is safe. Bruno’s dish apparently looks very eighties, I dont know what is wrong with that, some great things can out of the eighties. Jax Hamilton has the word ‘boring’ thrown at her, but her salmon has saved her. Vegetarian Robert Jacobs is stumped when told he made a good dish. So now only 18 left.

The Judges single out the worst of the day and let everyone else know that they only just made it.

Mystery Box Time: A BBQ dish must be prepared using 2 of the 3 core ingredients -one has to be the steak cooked to medium rare- in the box, a steak, iceberg lettuce and a potato. Jax sees this and  ‘everything is flushed away’. One hour to cook and 2minutes in the pantry again.

So far I will admit to being jealous that all their challenges are cooking, where-as in season 1 only of 3 challenges where actually cooking. Ray seems concerned the one women is grilling her lettuce. Robert and Jampa are really not familiar or confident with the steak but I am keeping my fingers crossed for them. Cameron has the judges singing his praises over his skills, he has to be a shoe in. Simon still wants his 5% magic (I hate that line, have heard it way too many times)….AGRH he just said ‘rock’n’roll’. They need to script him some new lines. A fairly uneventful hour of cooking passes by and it’s t-time.

Alex Landon-Lane has a Thai noodle stack which collapses as the clock runs out and Bruno doesn’t have lettuce or potato on his plate, because he ‘didn’t want to use them’.

Stu Todd, Michelle Berry and Kathleen Te Raki are the first into the top 12. Bruno is knocked out straight away when he put down his dish without the other needed ingredient. Jampa has over cooked his steak and humbly exits. Nadia wows the judges once more, and with the guidance of simplifying it down is through. Jax’s steak is perfectly cooked and will be bringing her Caribbean flare to the Masterchef house. Cameron’s dish is restaurant worthy and given the thumbs up. Robert is delighted that his steak, the first he has cooked, is medium rare and the heavens rejoice as he is moving into the MC house. Anthony McEntee and Sam make the grade. Only two spots left.

Luana Ruaine’s Masterchef dream ends. Traceylee is through and now for  the remaining three. Fiona,Lidia Nowak, and Alex. Lidia’s dish lacks direction, Alex’s steak is underdone, Fiona’ s fault was there not being enough. Fiona has improved since last year and has made the cut for season 2, so happy for her. 

And we finally have our top 12!!! Great to see it filled with so many different ethnicities, style of cooking, and a vegetarian.

Due to news coverage of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker obviously didn’t air last night so there is no need for me to write a recap. I would though like to use this chance to express my deepest condolences to the people of Chirstchurch, NZ and the world, who have lost friends, family, their homes, town, livelihood, sense of security and peace.

It is in a time like this that everything else seems trivial and we realize how many things we take for granted: who made the best cupcakes is less than nothing compared to the fact that some people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 

I have been blown away watching the way Bob Parker has handled this horrific event. His ability to continuously be a man of strength, courage and hope: delivering the facts, comforting the broken people of his town and hold his own together is a testament to the man that he is.

Christchurch will never been the same again, but it will be stronger than ever as it recovers from having it’s world literally pulled from beneath it. I encourage people to help in anyway that they can, open your wallets and homes, donate basic life essentials, hug and comfort your neighbor who still doesn’t know if a friend or family member is safe.And when you sit down to eat your dinner tonight be grateful for every single bite of food.

Everyone has been affected by terrible ordeal in some way, and it is only through coming together that we can show that even the violent shaking of the our planet can not shake the goodness of humanity.

Christchurch we love you, our hearts weep with you, continue to be strong xoxoxox

A very strange feeling washes me over as the Masterchef logo burns across the TV screen, I am very nervous and I’m not too sure why. I guess I can put it down to an empathy for what the contestants are going through.

Out at Ellerlsie Race course hopefuls are cooking for their dream of being the next Masterchef NZ and winning the plethora of prizes: a car, cookbook deal, groceries and kitchen equipment.
Throngs of people yell ‘Masterchef!’ and display their excitement for this one in a lifetime opportunity…. well not completely once in a lifetime as we see some familiar face that tried out last year and made it through to top 24.

25 covertd aprons up for grabs and Simon Gault, Ray MacVinnie and Josh Emett are our ‘Idol’ like judges deciding people fate and it’s all on.
Straight away what I am loving about this year is the great array of nationalities and cultures. Last year was, lets face it, pretty one skinned toned, but New Zealand is such a heterogeneous of different ethnicities, its great to see in the show and should make for a better variety in dishes.

Everyone has an hour to cook, present and impress. Lots of purees this year and the execution is looking good. So what where the stands outs, dramas and other points of interest for tonight?

-Rochelle Flavell cooked a whole baked flounder stuffed with roast vegetables and caperberry dressing that looked simply exquisite and it had Josh Emett wanting everyone to leave the room so he could go into a quiet corner with some wine and eat it all himself.

-Cameron Petley cooked Venison Backstrap Steak. He loves to spend as much time in the bush as he can so he can cook up a feast for his huge, lovely looking family. The judges asked him what he thought of his wife’s cooking and had her brought into the room so she could hear him say that it’s not good. But all is forgiven and he is redeemed with a place in the top 25

– Frank from Wellington, welding a huge Chinese cleaver cooks rabbit with a special berry that is meant to increase ‘man power’ but alas when asked some basic food knowledge questions like how to make pasta and he responses with making it with butter and milk in it, he is sent packing.

-Alex Landon-Lane cooks a bouillabaisse but it isnt enough to win the judges over, but when she tells them of a lambs brain dish her grandfather would make she is sent off to get the ingredients and be back in 2hours with that dish for the judges. She returns with her Granddad’s Lemon Scented Lamb Brain Pikelets with Fried Apples and Bacon and the blonde with the brains is through to the next round.

-Jampa Stuart prepares Himalayan ‘Mouse’ Dumplings in a Light Broth and Aubergine Fritters. This gentleman has such a lovely, gentle disposition about him, but of course he would, he spent 18 years of his life living in a Tibetan monastery. His dumplings show the work of skilled hands and he is blessed with an apron.

-Robert Jacobs presents his Grilled Vegetarian Stack with Haloumi & Sundried Tomato Pesto but Simon is really not sure about Robert being a vegetarian and how he would find future challenges. “I’ll eat a sauage right now if that’s what it takes”, he boldly exclaims and Simon is off into the kitchen only to return with a lambs brain. Robert eats the whole things and earns his way through. I’ll be honest I am not sure whether I agree with him having to do that to get his top 25 place. If you have to eat meat then the show should be called Meat Masterchef. So many people these days make the choice not to eat meat for whatever reason and that is OK. And why is it that meat is the only food type that they seem to discriminate against (they did it last year with Eva), do they also question whether people eat dairy, gluten, chocolate and tomatoes??

-Carmen McGregor ( will her surname bring her luck??) is a returning contestant, last year her father died the day before auditions and she didn’t make the cut but now she is back with a Chocolate Fondant. It is not an easy dish and needs to be cooked to perfection. The judges crowd around it as they break into the fondant and you can feel the joy pour out of her as the fondant is marvelously gooey in the center. With an apron she has made her late father proud

– Fiona Read with Roast Hapuku and Black Pudding on Sherry Potatoes with Saffron Aioli, Nettle Pesto and Watercress Salad and Sarah Irvine with Pan Seared Skate on White Bean, Fennel and Tomato Salad with Saffron Dressing & Black Olive Salsa are both contestants that got through to top 24 last year but are back to fight again and now have another shoot at top 12

-Jax Hamilton with her Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice with Mango Salsa has Simon doing a strange little dance number as he puts her through to the next round.

-Michael Lee is a high school student, is the last of the day and just before he cooks he realised he has forgotten his soy sauce. He is allowed to run off to get some but its is coming out of his time. With time no longer on his side he gets the soy sauce and cooks for the judges Soy Braised Angus Short Ribs with Kasundi, Cucumber and Coriander Salad. The judges are blown away and after he reveals that he can also sing, Josh literally makes Michael sing for his supper. His is the best dish of the auditions and for his reward he receives the ‘golden apron’ enabling him the chance to bypass the top 25 challenges and straight onto the top 12.

And we have our top 25 after the judges mention having a higher standard (which there should be) over 12 times. So far I am enjoying new kid Josh, he has charm not cheese like Ross Burden. Next week we are working our way down to 12 contestants. 
If you could ask the judges anything what would you ask them????
Until next time my faithful readers, keep reading and keep cooking -even let me know what you been making, especially if you try any of the Masterchef recipes xx

Last week on NZHHB Desiree left the bunch after deciding to present as little as possible and that cakes need to be mainly comprised of red food colouring.

Today we are right back into a new challenge, contestants have a bread recipe from Dean, a cupcake recipe from Jade and they are to add their own flavours and spin on the baked goods within 2,1/2 hours.

Jade is wearing an interesting yellow top that looks like something a bumble would make if they got a hold of MC Hammer’s pants and she is giving off an air that she would rather be other places. Colin reminds us that it is important to bake well: don’t you love being told the obvious.

Chelsea is taking Dean’s Italian bread out of Europe and into the Pacific Islands. I’m not sure this is a good move as these cultures are very different and you’d really need to know your stuff to pull this off. Dyani ‘The Messy Nester’ is not sure where to add the malt extract. Oh well, if in doubt Dyani you could just add it to the mess on the bench and I am sure it’ll end up in the bread at some point.

Steve ‘The man’ hasn’t had much eperience with bread but firmly believes that it is more of a man’s thing ‘with the whole kneading thing by hand, it takes more strength’. OK, stop right there ‘Man’: I have been baking bread for quite a few years, and those who know me can testify to this fact and also (without blowing my own horn here), that I am actually quite good at it. It is not a ‘mans’ thing, it’s a people thing and sometimes having a lighter touch is important because bread is sensitive and you need to have the sensitity to understand at what stage it is at. If you want to talk about what takes strength, try pushing two people out of your body and into the world. Yes, thats right, I just played the birthing card, I promise not to do that again.

Oh look, Dean is in Grtchen’s kitchen, what a surprise. Dean “how are you going, are you building up those muscles’, Gretchen ‘Oh yeah, I guess I didnt need to go to the gym”, Dean (lights up) ” Oh yeah”. Wow, they are standing close. They discuss when the kneaded dough has reached the right texture and Dean tells us it needs to be ‘Baby Bottom smooth, thats a nice thing to put in the back oh your mind’….WHAT!

Dyani is stirring will Jade looks over her shoulder and appears to also be stirring but in a different sense, Dyani just wants her to go away. Paula ‘The Crier’ seems to have pulled herself together today and gives us a little inspirational quote on hope and we are the better and wiser for it. Dean has heard the rumours that Chelsea is really mucking with his precious reciepe and seems horried. I know she doesnt really know what she is doing but isnt that what they asked them to do, play witht the recipe and make it original.

Dyani’s honey and pistachio cupcakes have green food colouring in them and Jade is not impressed -Jade (in interview laughing) ‘It looked like she was pouring snot into the cases I just couldnt believe it, WHY would you add green food colouring to your cake when it is not ST Patricks day’. Valid points but man alive, she talks down to the contestants.

Dean is impressed with ‘The Mans’ innovation with helping the bread rise in the cold kitchen. Gretchen is doing fresh raspberries, white chocolate and rose water cupcakes which, as it turns out, is on Jade’s website and the most popular selling cupcake in her store, but I am sure this wont be too much of an issue as Dean will be on her side.

Ominious violins play as making backing music as firey Dyani repeatedly throws her sad looking dough in an attempt to knead it, but you can almost hear it quietly scream ‘Help me, Help me’. The look on Dyani’s face is scarey. Dean comes over to give her some gentle advice ‘for the future…if you’re still around’ about cleaning up her bombsite of a kitchen.

40minutes to go.

Colin is in Catherine the cattle farmers kitchen. (remember how he thinks they have the same haircut). They are both wearing blue, well she is wearing a blue cardi and he has a very busy blue floral shirt and Colin loves how they are ‘rocking’ the same colours: ‘We even look like twins!!’, Colin walks away. Catherine rolls her eyes and mumbles ‘yeah…no comment’ under her breath. Paula and Jade discuss oven temperture and placement which gets me thinking about why on earth do these contestants only have one oven?!?! Especially if things need cooking at different temptures and placement in the oven. Add to that all the oven opening and closing (big no no) and also having savoury and sweet in the oven at the same time is not good because aromas can transfer flavours into another baked good.

Carolyn is playing it safe today except for wearing very high heels in the kitchen which really tickles Colin’s fancy and he carries on about how asks himself every morning if he feels beautiful and then answers himself ‘yes’.

Chelseas cupcakes are quiet mountainness, Jade is smiling and really talking through her teeth as she asks how high the oven temp was. It was too high ‘so they have dark little bottoms’

Colin is standing in Gretchen’s kitchen eating her cupcakes as she busily flys around, reminding her that she won last week and she better again other wise she will have failed everyone and bring 15years of shame on her family.

Paula is doing really well today, I have deduced this by the fact that we are seeing really little of her. But she is indeed cool, calm and collected, also making her own beautiful lillies to garnish her cupcakes with. Jade likes her technique but is way to caught up that they are ‘death lillies’. Oh come on, a flower is a flower and Paula’s look great. Jade does have high hopes for Stevens cupcakes though, they are forming perfectly in the oven so she stands there with the fan-bake oven door wide open so Colin can see. Is she trying to sabotage him?????

Chelsea’s coconut buns are not doing well and Dean seems to want to be banging his head against wall rather than watch his bread be frankensteined. He believes that she is ‘just too happy’.

Colin is back harassing a very busy Catherine. Word for word, this is what is said:

Colin: We could be related you know

Catherine: Do you think?….our skin tone is a little different

Colin: Do you think I will fit in on the farm, especially in this shirt

Catherine: My Fa (laughs), My Fa (laughs, I dont think he would let you through the gate in that shirt

Colin: I’ve seen Broke Back Mountain, I know how it works. (to illustrate his point he does a rodeo, horse ridding gig behind her complete with a ‘YEEHA!). 

How does this show have a G rating!?!?!?

Down to the wire now, everything is looking real messy and thrown together at the last minute and then suddenly its all over.

Carolyns cupcakes aren’t to shabby and her bread is ok. Stevens bread hasnt been kneaded proberly, hmmm but isnt he a man and it is more of a mans thing. His cupcakes lack finesse but are simple and good. Catherines cupcakes are baked onto the paper and her bread are all diferent sizes, having burnt bottoms (what is it with bottoms today) and are really lacking. Gretchen’s cupcakes do look good and taste really good, well what do you except when you pinch a recipe from the judge. Her bread is sutble and has gentle flavours. Cheleas cupcakes look like they have been decorated with a 50c mix and the bread is a complete disaster. Dyani’s turn, Dean says the bread represents her ‘really angry’, back stage Dyani angerly yells ‘what the heck!’, Dean: ‘ the bread has no life’, Dyani: ‘well I DO have a life’. Sadly her cupcakes are also bland and boring. Paula’s decorating and presentation really take the cake, taste great, full of technique and great flavours. I have her pegged for todays winner.

The verdict is now in. Today, rather than 3 stand outs there was only two, Paula and Gretchen, (please be Paula!!!). and this weeks HHB and it’s Gretchen, WHAT!?!?! it should have ben Paula, what is going on back stage. Todays worst are Chelsea and Dyani , my guess is Dyani: Hate to say it but Chelsea is the only non-NZ- European there and that may just keep her in.

And he baker going home is Dyani. What I do like is that she takes it on the chin, thanks the judges is quite gracious.

Next cooking for kids and with mystery…..paper bags. ???????? Just wondering, if you were given a plain cupcake recipe what would you turn it into??? I myself have managed to create something different, a chocolate, coconut, curry cupcake. I know that sounds wack and it is not everyones cup of tea but I tell you what, they taste great. Until next time XX