For the winter solstice (an opportunity to use the shift and play of light and dark to shed that which no longer serves you) we host the final Mastercook – Middle Eastern.
Husband kept making jokes he was going to dish up Turkish takeaways, because what else was he going to cook?
I popped Ottolenghi under his pillow. Nana florabunda & cake donated Moro East to the cause. Julie Le Clerc’s Persian Anise Cakes got a mention.
My sensations travelled east along the Mediterranean sea… I remembered Morocco. Semi-circling (with a Marrakech family) a slow roasted lamb’s carcass and pulling the flesh with communal fingertips. The tagine with the Berber in blue in the desert.
Remembering also, husband took out the comp in 2013.
I knitted yarn bomb stocking and he weaved menus. Bliss.
Day before final equals:
Toddlers having slumber party at Grammy and Pops.
Husband food shopping for some sort of duck extravaganza.
I receive texts – where a pomegranate?
New World, Countdown, City Markets (in all burbs of the Bay), Nosh, Logan at the Fresh Market, Choice Food and Spices.
Auckland’s the answer.
A Saturday FB post – anyone in Auckland driving south, I need a pomegranate by 7pm Sunday.
FB found us a courier in Emma Wood.
I phoned Farro Fresh, Nosh, Franklin Rd New World (the best supie in the land), Fruitworld, Countdown (Auckland wide), Bhana Brothers.
Not a fresh blood red seed to be had.
So, dried pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses and pomegranate powder up sleeves for substitute. Nana florabunda & cake suggested husband change the menu, but duck was bought, the show must go on.
3 children under 5 allseep (I mean asleep) by 7.
Husband a tad ruffled when rosewater sorbet doesn’t set. Poached pears will fly solo tonight.
Coraleigh from pickled whimsy arrives with goodie bags for all. I feel good.
Husband looks sexy doing his stuff around /my/ oven, with /my/ spices and chopping boards.
Guests drink nothing Middle Eastern and everything Kiwi – Boundary Road pilsner and viognier from Waiheke Island.
We dip (too much), pita crisps into homemade hummus with chilli flecks.
A Middle Eastern violin is on repeat, docked.
We are called to the crisp lime orchid dressed table.
Moet and Chandon shots await in 60s nip vessels.
And there sits our Persian Pita.
Duck with crunchy skin.
Pomegranate (of sorts).
It’s a tower of texture, flavour, colour and sauce and it all looks jolly glamourous on its restaurant style white plate, white tablecloth, framed by white napkin and white printed menu.
A triangle of us grab at seconds, going a little eager with the duck skin.
Some time later the pears float in, walking down a catwalk toward us with their voluptuous curves.
Purple and lime pistachio spot the arabic syrup.
Husband loses the brothers at this point, the two brothers who hate fruit.
Logged with cuisine. Gosh I’m good with the figurative language techniques. Log used in a food review – interesting.
Logged with cuisine, like never before on Mastercook, we all drape unmoving on couches, sheepskins, each other.
Coraleigh thinks I look like a cat upon the sheepies and beneath baby’s cot blanket.
Rosewater a sedative I ponder?
But tonight ladies and gentlemen, we score.
We have our cash for the kitty – $2 per person per Mastercook.
The winner takes home $60 to spend on ‘gourmet’.
We text another sister our scores and she painstakingly feeds us anticipatory information. One text. For each. Sentence.
3rd place: Thailand (the fruit-hate brother-in-law to be, maybe, one day?)
2nd place: Middle East (the husband and his Persian pita without pomegranate)
1st place: Italy (the sister with her perfect panna cotta).
Congratulations Tessa Mowbray – winner of Mastercook 2014.
Husband and I are already thinking Mastercook, the third series.
We are thinking not International, but random themes. Such as:
What themes would you add?
Send me your pics of your Mastercook nights to www.facebook.com/wildandgrace