Twas the night before Christmas
And the cooking hasn’t ceased
For there is much to be done
For tomorrows Christmas feast

The dishes are piling
With very little care
And overcooked meat
Is my biggest fear

I wish I was nestled
All snug in my bed
But visions of cheesecake
Dance in my head

I decide to have a break
Take a little nap
Flick on food TV,
For Christmas episode recaps

Something bothers me
Somethings the matter
With all that cooking and eating
How do the chefs not get fatter

So much to watch
So much to view
From baking dessert
To making good brew

There’s Nigella Lawson
With her sexy cake mix
The genius of Heston Blumenthal
And all his fancy tricks

In reality shows Gordon’s
Always cursing and swearing
But when hes just cooking
He can seem quite caring

Of course the french cook
Julia child,
The kiwi Al brown
Cooking in the wild

All the various styles
Of the show ‘Masterchef’
Where you too can cook
Even if your name is Jeff

Who can forget
The Oliver, called Jamie
Who when he speaks,
Spills a bunch of cockamamie

Now Giada, now Simon,
Now Ainsley and Bobby Flay
On Gary, on George,
On Donna and Rachel Ray

Too much sitting down
Time to get back to work
If i stuff it all up
I could look like a jerk

Now rolling out pastry
With flour on my nose
I wonder what 2011 will hold
In terms of cooking shows

Now will say to you
As i cook through the night
Happy Christmas to all
And to all a good night

Greetings one and all, this is now my 4th attempted to write this post. 1st time was interrupted by drama with a light bulb, 2nd Noah thought he should rearrange furniture in his room (1 ½ yr olds are stronger than they look), and the 3rd time Darwin decided that naps are for babies, forgetting that he is a baby.

So here we are now at last with my laptop, a cup of tea and last nights episode of UK Masterchef. While watching the UK version of Masterchef, which must be noted, is the original Masterchef, I feel like I am experiencing withdrawals from the Australian Masterchef ( wow, how many times can you say ‘Masterchef’ in one sentence). I do love the UK MC because it is very much all about the cooking and the food but when you have watched all 82 episodes (that’s right, there was 82!) of the Aussie one you do get a little hooked on their style. These two shows are essentially the same show but they also couldn’t be more different. They both have 3 things in common; contestants, judges and food but these are also the big points of difference.

In the UK show we see the contestants cooking for the judges and in restaurants and they talk briefly to the judges about their passion for food and where they want to go on their food journey. The judges do what they are there to do, judge. The food and the challenges they reside in clean cut and straight forward, the best dishes stay, the worst go.

Now when you watch this straight after viewing the Australian show you will either be craving the drama, drawn out decisions, a chance to get to know these contestants as people, fancy camera work and a few tears here and there. Or you will find yourself refreshed with a food competition which is purely about the food, no fluff and stuff, no judges constantly asking ‘tell me what you are feeling’, no focus on whether one contestant likes, loves, hates, envies, wants to marry another contestant and no over use of editing to make people simply cooking more dramatic and action packed than one of the ‘Die Hard’ films’.

I don’t remember any of the contestant’s names, except for Ash because he said “I like to put a little me, a little Ash in my food” and ashy food sounded quite yuck to me, and I don’t really remember……well…. anything that happened other than, they cooked, they ate, and they stayed or went home. I did enjoy watching it although I didn’t find any of it overly inspiring in anyway like the ‘invention test’ or ‘mystery box challenge’ would do for me. But maybe as the episodes tick by and I am weaned off the Aussie drama onto the British simplicity I hopefully will be able to watch it a bit more captivated than I just was just then. I know the UK MC is aimed at a slightly older demographic than the Australian MC but so far, a little hit or miss for me. Let’s see what happens but in the meantime ‘Heston’s Feast’ is on tonight and I will definitely be watching that, I love his crazy ideas.

Australian or UK Masterchef:  What’s your pick for food competition viewing???

AGRH!!! This time next week it’ll be Christmas Eve already, and I have found most of my planning for Christmas has been about food: Christmas brunch with Jamie’s family, Dinner with my grandparents, Boxing Day BBQ with extended family and all the yummy in-betweens. And of course in the back of my mind I’m conscious about how after 10 weeks after the birth of Darwin I have managed to loose all my baby from both my boys (size 8 again, am very proud of myself!) and don’t want to pile it all back on in one holiday . But never the less it’s also time to just relax and enjoy the season. Bring on the ham and mincey pies!

So I’m cruising the food network Christmas episodes for inspiration for my Christmas feasts when I find myself watching ‘Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Kitchen’. Now let me just say this, from what I have heard from other people, you either love or hate Nigella and I HATE her. It’s not her food I hate –all be it that most of it is swimming in butter or chocolate- but her style of presenting is somewhat……erotic….. borderline softcore-food-porn.

She is a beautiful voluptuous woman but the way she is incessantly, seductively licking her fingers, moaning as she pours cream into a bowl and describing her ingredients like she writes Mills and Boon novels is a bit too much for me, I’m have expecting her eyes to roll back in pleasure. I watch her not knowing whether I am meant to be inspired to cook, turned on, or suspicious about the hygiene rating of her kitchen. Naughty, Naughty woman.

Also I don’t think that you could easily replicate a recipe of hers from the show as she rarely gives measurements but rather everything is “a snow of sugar, a splash of water and a glorious glug of brandy”. What the hell is a ‘snow’ of sugar, are we talking a dusting of snow, a lovely evening of snow, or a snow as in the blizzards the have just had in the UK. I’ve heard her books a little messy like this too. And unless you are well seasoned in the kitchen and have a great cook’s intuition, I can imagine trying to copy her dishes could be somewhat disastrous.

I am hoping that someone will air a Delia Smith Christmas special soon. I remember watching these every Christmas as a child and really enjoyed listening to her with her lovely accent, cooking away in her conservatory. There is something so homely and relatable about Delia that makes you want to be right there in the kitchen with on Christmas, helping with the cooking, chatting over a brandy, rather than being in the noisy, busy party. Delia’s recipes are also very straight forward and easy to read.

Both of these Brit babes (am I allowed to call Delia a babe?)do offer pearls of cooking wisdom and do have some great recipe ideas that have helped inspire me with my Christmas cooking but give me Delia over Nigella any day, at least I don’t question whether I should be watching Delia with the children in the room.

Hello to one and all. So this is my first post for ‘In your face’ where I will be blogging about all things food tv. And who am I you might ask? Well my name is Karyn Fisk and was a contestant on the New Zealand Masterchef show, most remembered for the death of a crayfish. But there is more to me than that, I am a mother of two beautiful boys, Noah(19months) and Darwin(11weeks), I’m fiancé to the handsome and loving Jamie Thomas, my favorite comedian is Eddie Izzard, I sing loudly when no one is around (and sometimes when people are around),I find housework soothing and I looooove to cook. I’ve been cooking since I was six and haven’t stopped since –a girl has got to eat and why not eat well!

Before we begin I will point out that this will be a long post, last night was the final and there is a lot to cover so I ask you to please make like a grizzly and  bear with me. Last night was the last episode of Masterchef Australia season 2, all 135mins of it, and I will confess that as soon as the season started several months ago I googled it to see who wins because I hate not knowing things. But 1stly I must tell you about how left at the beginning of every episode in the opening credit we have seen a 1sec shot of a heap of knives stabbed into chopping boards and standing on point. Let me say now NEVER, EVER DO THIS!!!!!!! It wrecks your knives.

OK, so here we are opening with shots from the whole season and the voice over man talking of how this has been a tremendous journey for the contestants and now it is down to Callum and Adam, who I must say I think are pretty good picks for the final, the other two I thought that might be there were Marion and Aaron. At least Jimmy is not in the final, if I wanted to watch 135mins of curry making I’d watch a show specifically on Indian food.

Callum is packing his bag and really wants to win and for some strange reason Adam is getting dressed while being filmed, hmmm. And we can conclude that they both want the prize and have got to put their all into it. I like Callum, there is a softness to him and a quiet strength and I can identify with him when he talks about feeling of being young putting him at a disadvantage. But he has really proven himself with all his wonderful desserts.
Adam’s food has a real elegant, exotic flare to it and looks so exciting. I will admit that I don’t quite understand why one would want to throw in being a qualified practicing lawyer to cook but you’ve got to follow your bliss, just don’t cook 3 course pizza!. And like Callum, Adam comes across as a real gentle man. 

All the previous contestants are there to greet Adam and Callum, the judges are standing in their normal spots. Matt Preston (who really is a tall man) is wearing a jacket that reminds me of an ottoman my parents had as a child. Callum feels like he has been swallowing bricks. George tells us that there will be 3 rounds and the over all score will be a sum of these rounds and be totaled out of 100points. Is it just me or does George look like a mole?

Round 1 begins 22mins into the episode according to MySky and is a basic skills test. This has been something that I have really enjoyed in this season and think it is a valuable addition from the first season.  Under the first cloch is……spices! Identify the 3 spices, fairly basic but where is Jimmy when you need him? The three are turmeric, fennel seeds and schezuan peppercorns and they both get 3 for 3. Next fruit is 3 fruits, same deal here and they are pretty fruits, cumquat, star fruit (the  shape kind of gave it away). On the 3rd fruit Callum has zero confiance and Adam worked it out after he had written another answer and it turns out to be a guava. C-4, A-5. Now for cheeses and George smugly talks of how the size of the first cheese is meant to reveal all to them. The challenge continues with plates of fish and sauces (which has them both a little stumped and Callum thinks a hollandaise is a lemon curd, where is the Watties!?!?!).

Now for skills, the boys have to chop some carrots into 3 different ways in 8mins, still fairly simple, they must be warming them into the harder challenges. The judges have a nice laugh at their ‘turned’ carrots which look a little hacked. The final cloch contains eggs and its time to make an omelet in 6mins, not too complicated but I imagine its much easier making an omelet on a Sunday morning rather than in the Masterchef kitchen. Callum scrambles his first, come on man you can do it!! Both omelets are before the judges and poor Callum looks unhappy with his after his failed attempt and George and Gary think its too heavy but praise be for Adams eggs which are light and creamy and thus Adam wins round one with a total of 17 points to Callum’s 13, a good early lead.

‘Round 2, ding ding, bring it on’- George….um yes, just start the round please.
Yay! Special guest time…oh wait, its just Matt Moran, yes he is great but he has been on so many times now that he is more like a reoccurring role other than a special guest. And this round is an invention test, a challenge which I think is the true test for the contestants, true thinking on your feet, pushing the boundaries and being creative without falling on your face. The theme ‘3 ways’, a real chance to show off 3 different techniques with 1 protein core ingredient which they get to pick themselves. Pork belly for Adam and chook for Callum and a mad search in the pantry for everything else needed. Will someone forget anything?? Hope not cause it’ll muck up their dish but also hope so because that’ll be fun to watch (yes I am evil).

Adam is real nervous and talking about a pork belly bun, which is so much fun to say, and the judges are already trying to discourage him by questioning if he has the time to get it all done. Stop talking to him and let him get on with it then!!!! Callum has made a lovely green pea puree that puts ‘The Exorcist’ pea puree to shame and again the judges are questioning Callum’s ability to get it done. The eliminated contestants look down like vultures on the boys. I am worried at this point that Adams wont be cooked and that Callum’s chicken sausage is to mushy. Will Adams pork be cook? Will it have blown up? Drama, Drama, Drama!………It’s beautiful (of course).

Dishes are being plated up and readied for the judges as George seems to get a little too worked up. The countdown and then that’s it. Both dishes look beautiful but I like Callum’s best, the vibrancy of the peas and the continuity of the whole dish I feel works better than Adams which looks like 3 separate dishes on one plate.

Adam has done a lot of techniques that are not Western, is this a tactic on his part? Cook in a way that is not traditional in the western world so it is harder to tell if you have done it wrong? Either way praises all round. Callum now dishes up and George is falling in love with his sauce, ‘lickable’ is how he describes it, hmmm saucy. And again the judges are full of praise. I’m thinking that this is going to be very tight. Score at the end of round 2 sit at: C-49 and A-53.

Round 3: The Pressure test and is meant to be the hardest dish ever on the show. It’s created by Peter Gilmore, a true Aussie cooking legend and it’s rated at a difficultly level of 10. Guava and custard apple snow egg. It looks so elegant and almost like a snow globe but when its explained, damn I am glad that I do not have to make it! Lets see how the two finalists go.
And off they go, the ever so positive judges keep reminding Callum that he is behind in his score, leave him alone. Both of them are working like machines. Yay, a little sound bite of Aaron, his animated way of thinking and talking have really helped liven up some flatter episodes. So far they are just cooking from a recipe, not that exciting because they all seem to be doing well. Callum’s puree is silky and Adams meringues are perfect, they are both neck and neck.

One hour left and George is telling them to take a minute to think about it being the last time they cook in that kitchen. NO!!! let them cook, man George is the king of distraction. Adams tuiles are too thin now and half of Callum’s granita flies onto the floor while Gary has butterflies in this tummy. Plating up again and wow there are some shaky hands there, should they really be handling a blow torch? Both having trouble with the tuiles now and things are getting desperate at the 5minute mark. But both plate in time and Adam cries, someone hug him please.

Callum presents to the judges and they are truly drooling over the dish and Matt makes a lame joke about Matt ‘Meringue’. Adams turn, the judges stare every intensely, Gary is entranced by the bottom of his glass and again the judges love it. Both dishes look truly amazing and very delectable, I myself would love to have the food mind to create such a dish…….ok, id just settle for getting to taste that dish. More tears from Adam.

Now for the long drawn out process of announcing the winner. The judges ask the contestants for the millionth time in the season how they are feeling. I think these judges are starting to think that they are psychiatrists rather than chefs. Previous guest chefs march in, including last years Masterchef, Julie, who looks like she is about to burst into tears for some reason. Callum’s score comes to a total of 83/100 and then they begin to announce Adam’s: just going by basic maths it looks like he has taken it out……..and low and behold he has!!! Adam is now Masterchef 2010 (half expected Julie to hand over a tiara or something). I think that Adam really deserved the title, although Callum was also highly skilled, Adam has another level of creativity that really elevated him a higher plane. The overly positive George grants  Scholarship to Callum so he doesn’t miss out.

I think this season has been that much better than the previous, obviously the budget was bigger but the overall standard of food has been really high so the contestants have pushed themselves quite hard. If there is anything I will take away from season 2 it is Gary’s recipe (from a masterclass) for BBQ pork ribs, you have to look it up on the Masterchef sight and make them, they are delicious. Bring on the next UK season and soon the next New Zealand Masterchef.
Should Adam have won? What was your favorite moment from this season? What do you think they need to do differently?

It’s been a few days since the 2011 line up announcement for TVNZ, and it’s looking a bit more brighter than 2010. I think it could be a bit more creative, but I think it’s decent. It’s got more verity, and style.

The big question is, will it be enough, or will TV3 win again? I’m not sure. But, if Dancing With The Stars was still on, then TVNZ would’ve still had an advantage.

Over the years we have had people getting stabbed with scalpels in hallways, declarations of love, Brits running over blondes and running away, weddings on the beach, volley ball and drugs on the beach, doctors singing ‘Why does love do this to me’, and a crazy nurse, who could draw really well, about to strangle a nurse who knew how to get around.

But what will be in stall for December 17th 2010??? What are we building up too??? Will Tracey and Scotty make it down the aisle, will the Christmas party go smoothly for once, will Maia make the move on Jennifer, will Evan Cooper make it on to Santa’s Nice list (I highly doubt it)???

Tell us how you think the 2010 cliffhanger will go down.

If you’ve been loving this season of Making Tracks on C4 then make sure you check out their official website: www.makingtracks.co.nz

Loads of behind the scenes, bonus footage as well as all the re-original music videos!

Check it!

The Box are going to play the latest season of Dexter (Season 5) straight off the satellite, or near enough.

Take note TVNZ and TV3 if you have the guts. This is how you please the TV viewers and encourage us to watch your TV channel.

If you take risks with your TV programming you may very well be rewarded.

It’s been a massive show.  The country has fallen in love with the Wests but tonight, we say goodbye.

As the show goes to air at 8:30pm on TV3, we’ll be wondering if the finale can top the season premiere’s ratings.  Will #outrageous and #OF trend tonight on twitter?  Will the ending give the West’s the send off they deserve?

What have been your favourite moments from the show from the last six seasons?  

I just LOVED this week’s episode! It’s so nice to spend an hour watching the girls who all deserve to win. I’m so glad they got rid of Dakota Biddle!!

I was so sick of having to listen to her stink attitude all the time. Our girls need support right now, not someone bringing them down! To be honest, I only made it to 5th place so I can only imagine how our beautiful young ladies are feeling.

Elza was upset last week after being in the bottom two.  She did so well this week though.

The Top Models finally went on their first go-sees, visiting designers around Auckland for their lesson and challenge this week. They were greeted by Colin and partnered up with a boy to drive them to their go-sees, although the girls still had to find their own way there by using a map. The girls looked rather happy to see some boys as they have done no photo shoot with boys yet. 

Courtenay managed to get rather lost and it looked like her driver wasn’t in much or a hurry as well. It was almost like they had to have one girl late. I honestly think that was set up after my experience with go-sees, being the only girl to go to Newmarket and back to town in rush hour. Danielle did really well in the go-sees as did Michaela.

The photo shoot this week was AWESOME!!! Craig Owen really put our girls to the test by not giving too much direction. It was actually with Glassons. In the new Newmarket store I think?

Ezla Jenkins was so cute. She looked like Lady Ga Ga with with pink bow in her hair and candy floss as her prop. Danielle Hayes, wow what a babe! She looked fantastic as well, being covered in Tattoos. I actually loved her tatt’s. I don’t know what the judges were on about.  She is a new model and needs guidance on how to move especially with a flat background. She had no prop like the others did.

Courtenay Scott-Hill tried too hard in this photoshoot… oh noo! She’s so pretty that she hardly needs to do anything to look great in a photo. Michaela Steenkamp was rather upset before her shoot and went on to set looking a little down but ended up taking direction really well. Her make-up was so full on! My favourite photo this week would of been mmmm… come to think of it I don’t have a favourite. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not… wow the competition really is getting tough.

I was a little surprised to see Courtenay and and Elza in the Bottom two this week. Courtenay went home but I really hope she keeps on modeling. I don’t get why she got no bookings but who cares!!!… really!! I always get no bookings then boom I’m hit with an amazing job!! The girls who get all the booking’s are not always the prettiest girls! Most of the time it’s just that they are super tall, not too skinny and can walk! Courtenay would do fantastic adverts and photo shoots!! And that’s where the money is. 

This is really rude of me and I may lose clients but who really cares about modeling in New Zealand? The internationals only come here cause they get no work at home and need to get photos for their portfolios.

I can’t believe there is only one show left of New Zealand’s next top model! It’s mental how fast these weeks have gone by.

I think Danielle would be better off not to win as she would go far without a big title! Sometimes being on TV can make you be seen only as that girl of that show instead of wow, look at that model, where did she come from?

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to watch the season finale! Who do you think will win?

Have a fantastic week

Talk soon

Much luv

Vic  xx