Mastercook – The third season – Em and Summer 2016

I got there.

I will spell out, it’s not as enjoyable trying to win Mastercook, whilst 3 kids (6, 4 and 2 years) are begging to do pastry biscuits, help, watch, borrow, fight, wail, and scream like a whistle. Although looking back on the pho-to-tos, butter wouldn’t melt (of course).

I got there, but.

I nearly chose Stephanie Alexander ‘Australia’s food educator’ and her tome of a rainbow book ‘The Cook’s Companion’. I had my hopes set on her Nut Meringue Cake (a fancy-pants nutella-like, 3 layered, creamed, torte). This would have been preceded by an entree of garlic prawns, snapper with burnt butter, and something potatoey, and something green both of which slip my mind now.

I returned to an old favourite, which my Mama introduced me to – O T T O L E N G H I  (The Cookbook).
I’ve said this before, but i’ll say it again, she must have given it to me the Christmas i was pregnant with first born, not yet born. For months afterwards, she asked me, with great delight (as only my fun-filled Mother can), have you cooked anything out of ‘the’ cookbook yet. Sometimes sheepishly, sometimes sleep-deprived-ly (as the year trailed on) i’d reply kindly, other times not so courteously, that the list of ingredients were overwhelming me. Could i get sour cherries in T G A? What the hell was sumac? How did i get the seeds out of a fresh pomegranate without wanting to bash it? Ah i do bash it – gently so not to bruise it – turned upside down into my palm, you say. Am i ever going to use orange blossom and rose water again? A face splash perhaps?

Anyhow, gently, my Mother would recommend one recipe after another and finally, embarrassingly, a whole 2 years later, i was hooked.

I’ve suggested people have Ottolenghi pot luck parties. The recipe books are a true treat for vegetarians and probably vegans alike.

The colours, the cocktail of flavours, and abundance of spice is frankly, yum yum.

So without further ado…
Me menu…

Olive Oil Crackers served with Castello white with truffles and Castello Creamy Blue.

Marinated rack of lamb with coriander and honey

Roasted red and golden beetroot (with only red)

Crushed new potatoes with horseradish (i used wasabi) and sorrel (from my garden)

What was the Mclaren Valley red wine we drank or was it Valley of Clare?

We drank R E D.
I begged the guests to make a stop for a Monteith’s summer ale.
This kept us all company until the kidlets were deep in sleep-time, and my concoctions had been concocted.

The Sunday eve, was full of sun, the beginning of our wee November heatwave.
I rolled with the European vibe and served the main at the Euro time of after 9.

Two to choose from.
Dark chocolate.
Fresh berries (with mascarpone cream).

Highlights of the 48 hour cooking extravaganza?

Visiting Tauranga Farmers Market to find fresh blackberries after ballet (we were too late for the fragrant boysenberries).
Was freshly invigorated by Bethlehem Butchery – what a selection of meats they have on demand. Duck. Quail. Cross-cut blade for my next Korma.
Making a mini-hedonistic-hedge of rosemary for the table.
Laughing with my sister and our men.

Elmsie is next with a pre-Christmas gastronomic evening, with the great New Zealand cookbook.

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