Week 0: Carrot Cake (Gerhard recipe variaton with walnuts instead of raisins).
"Yummmm. I love Carrot Cake" - Gerhard
"Wait are there nuts in this?..Aaaahh" Becky
Week 1: Banana Bread. 2x Friday batch made with a Gerhard recipe innovation of adding a liberal amount of chocolate chips.
"Oh Dave these are so F$£"ing Good....." Dana
"What can I say? I sampled and it was nom nom nom..." Svet
"I've just been and sampled. Delicious! Make those donations and dive in" Martin
Banoffee Pie - 2x Actually got the recipe from Kez who once she tasted Ragazzi's Banana Cream Caramel Pie in 2004 quickly memorized and mastered the recipe.
Also it is written on the side of the tin....Luckily the people at Carnation have caught on that customers have been buying their condensed milk to boil it and turn it into caramel so I could cut out the 3 hours of boiling and buy the cans of caramel directly for only £.08p more. Works for me!
Made one to see how strong the crust was and even though it turned out perfectly broke the crust in the process...so we had a "home" banoffee pie for like a week....
Week 2: Chocolate Chip Cookies 3x. Best batch was the first so possibly a bit overconfident to come home from a night out and start making cookies at 11pm after several beers but the other 2 went over ok. Also made with Gerhard recipe variation adding Smarties instead of chocolate chips.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Without the optional walnuts as I used them up in the carrot cake. Still good though.
"Seriously...You should open a bakery" Dana
"I've lost count of all the cookies I ate" Matt A.
"Can you make cookies again pleeeeaaase" Teresa
Week 3: Rice Krsipie Squares. Added a nice but mostly cosmetic Masterchef logo in chocolate on the top..pretty good for free hand pouring it from a measuring cup I thought....The recipe variation adding in carmel from the banoffee pie was less successful and did not stick together. Incidently Banoffee filling goes awesome on a bowl of Rice Krispies.
"Well I was on a diet but not anymore. Can you send me the recipe?" Gina
Freshly Baked Croissants. Used the recipe for the ingredients but sought some technical help from this really straightforward video. Was really worried that I messed it up but they came out well if you like butter that is.....
"YOU made these? From scratch? Wow!" Universal Feedback
"Hey, they LOOK like croissants and TASTE like croissants. Awesome!" Gerhard
Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies I kind of felt bad that Michelle could not partake in all these awesome treats so I thought I would bake something that would be digestible by all.
"Thank-you very much. Yummy-scrummy!" Michelle
"Very Nice" Gareth
Week 4: Pecan Pie US Thanksgiving is a time for freshly baked pies and since pumpkins aren't widely available this far after Halloween (and I'll be damned if MMC will use tinned pumkin) I went the Pecan Pie route. Obviously I made my own crust as well.
It is very satisfying to do something that you've never done before like making your own pie crust and actually have it work out.
"Great pie. I had some yesterday and it was yumm." Dee
"MMMMmmmm. Thanks for saving me a slice." Teresa
"Did you notice I made the crust? Seriously. I MADE it. From flour and butter. I know, pretty impressive right?" Gerhard
Black Forest Cake - On a whim I volunteered to make Sian a birthday cake to bring to her birthday celebration at a Tapas restaurant in Brixton (where they awesomely let you serve your own cake!) I was unaware though that Sian had already requested a specific cake Lu was happy to let MMC have a go. Little did I know how challening it was.
It didn't help either that Nigella's recipe assumed quite a lot of knowledge like what "beating an egg until stiff" means or that it is widely understood how thick cherry sauce should be merely from the word "thicken." "Thicken is a relative word you see....(In the end I didn't let it "thicken" enough is why I mention it). And don't get me started on the befuddling ingredients-to-method mismatch....Also, if you've managed to make the ganache without curdling it (As I did on my 2nd attempt after dashing out at 11pm to get more chocolate) why would you need to pour it into a separate bowl to cool? Why can't it cool in the pot? Clearly Nigella doesn't do her own dishes!
"Such a great night. Thanks all! Amazing cake Dave" Sian
"What a fab gateau masterchef!" Namalee
"Hope you are happy with your cake - was amazing. You saw how much was eaten. That is a sure fire sign of success" Lu
Cheesecake Spectacular Grand Finale (4 recipes)
Vanilla-Gummie Bear Cheesecake. Also known as New-York Cheesecake. Through asking around and a bit of research found comments like "I like to add a bit of raspberry coolie" or "I like to add more vanilla" or whatever. Well you know what? I like to add Gummie Bears. So I did.
"The addition of Gummie Bears to this recipe is pure culinary genius. I wish I thought of it...oh wait...I did..." Gerhard
"Did you give it the old "tappa-tappa" like Chef John recommends in the video? I swear by it." Ian
"Photo of cakes looks amazing. Where's my cheesecake?" Teresa
Luscious Lemon Made this one in cupcake form and despite having to wing it with the baking time they turned out "lovely". I added the zest of 2 more lemons than required in the recipe as I find that lemon things are often too subtle for my lemon loving pallete. Made My own lemon curd as well which was pretty good. Although I have nearly 2/3 of a pint glass full of it left over...
"Best Cheesecake Ever!" Svet
"Agreed [with Svet]" Dee
Cherry Swirl Cheesecake - Due to a misreading of the label when buying cherries for the black forrest cake I was seriously overstocked on cherries making this one an obvious choice. Plus it looks pretty cool as well.
Nutella Cheesecake - This is an unbaked cheesecake which is just Nutella and creamcheese. If you thought each of those things were great individually wait til you combine them in cupcake form. They don't travel all that well though and many of them smushed up.
"It certainly was Nutella-y" Richard
The key to a good cheesecake presentation is a Lego-scape with varying levels interspersed with awesome cheesecake.
Movember First Update
It seems that everywhere you look these days there is a cooking show or some food based project.
It also seems that I too have been seduced by this trend and the transition was so subtle that I didn’t even notice. In the past year alone I’ve got my own “personalised” apron, received a super amazing knife as an Easter present, watched 2 seasons (over 100 episodes) of Masterchef Australia, become North London’s foremost BBQer for countless cookouts and most recently put my skills to use by winning the inaugural Masterchef Team Cookout-Aganza featuring the first ever use of a canoe as a pantry.
“That’s great” you’re probably thinking, “I also consider myself a ‘foodie,’ but what does this have to do with Movember?”
Well think about it for a second...What is the one thing that all truly defines a great chef? No not the hat and I’m not talking about having a signature dish although that is certainly advisable and, well, actually I’m not referring to a trait of Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver or Marco-Pierre White or Heston Blumenthal and certainly not to Nigella Lawson or actually any of those celebrity chefs that I can recall from guesting on MasterChef.
No I’m referring to something else....The MO of course. While surfing online for a birthday present for my Godson I happened upon a chef that was so iconic that I knew instantly that he was the right guy to serve as this year’s Movember Muse. He perfectly marries my newfound ‘foodie’ sensibilities with super-awesome Movember styling.* I’m talking of course about the Lego MasterChef!
Yes I’ll be framing this year’s Movember Project around the foodie culture using the Lego Movember MasterChef as my inspiration. I expect many challenges notably:
1) Precision styling. Anyone who has done this before will know that trimming and styling a Mo can be challenging. The angles and symmetry of the LegoChef’s Mo will no doubt test my grooming skills to their limits.
2) Food: Given this year’s theme, I’ll be doing my utmost to expand my culinary horizons. Who knows I might even crack the spine on some of these cookbooks that we’ve acquired in the past year.
As there are 5 Fridays this month, Fridays seemed like a good day to bring in freshly baked treats each week** starting tomorrow with the highly rated Carrot Cake. We’ve made this cake 3 times now based on this recipe from the BBC Good Food Guide and it just keeps getting better as we gradually make subtle recipe variations that take it from good to Awesome. It will be interesting to see how the chef having a MO will impact the results. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.
3) The infamous Movember 10k in Greenwich is back on Sunday this year. I double checked. 3 years ago it was on Sunday (time of 57:15), then thinking that it was on the Sunday I missed the 2010 run even though I signed up for it because it was actually on the Saturday. Last year it was also on Saturday and I made that one (albeit with an even more disappointing time of 59:14 possibly due to the drag of the top hat) . Anyway, I checked and double checked and it is definitely on Sunday the 28 of November and again in hilly Greenwich so that gives me a few weeks to work in some hill-training in hopes of bettering my times from previous years.***
Once again I'll be raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. They help people live with cancer. Cancer is horrible and I hate it but it is a reality and the thousands of volunteers and trained nurses at MacMillan Cancer Support improve patients’ quality of life during their struggle.
Personally I was quite inspired by the network of people that helped my Dad fight his battle with pancreatic cancer (which he ultimately lost in 2009) and feel privileged to support them and the work they do.
To follow the adventures of Movember MasterChef and to donate to visit MovemberMasterChef.com.
Ich Bin Der Chefkoch
Translation: Movember MasterChef
Week 1 Update - Headlines
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
LONDON - The news from the upper lip is, well, there isn’t any. Unfortunately Movember MasterChef is still at the stage where people say discouraging things like “Hey what happened? I thought you were doing Movember this year.” In response to this public reaction, MMC has taken swift and decisive action and purchased Just for Men to highlight the growth to date. “Similar to making a cake it is vitally important to follow the instructions step by step to avoid a catastrophe” relayed MMC (who knows from experience in his 2009 Movember Man on the Street interviews and his efforts to “Frenchify things up a bit” in his C’est La Beard Project of a few months later),
“I’ll have to wait until the weekend in order to take my time and be careful with the dying of the MO as well as the first go at precision trimming.” The results will no doubt feature in next week’s update.
Dish of the Week – Bacon 3 Ways
There are unconfirmed reports out of North London this week that Movember MasterChef has tied the record for most use of “Bacon” in the title of a dish (3). The dish in question, his ‘Bacon Spaghetti Bolognese (with extra Bacon) and Bacon on the side (Served with Teresa’s Greek style salad and garlic bread)’ was the feature dish in this week’s Movember Sunday Night Dinner series and was described by one diner as “Amazing. I mean I’m not a big Bacon lover but as the 3 Bacon named dish was the only thing on the menu, that’s what I ordered. It was really really delicious and despite the name, it wasn’t too Bacony either. And if you ask me using a strip of Bacon as a garnish akin to those cinnamon sticks in a chocolate sundae was pure culinary genius.”*
Movember MasterChef said he got the idea from his brother who swears by Bacon as the counterintuitive main ingredient in his (only 2 Bacon named) ‘5 Star Bacon Seafood Chowder (with extra Bacon’). “Nobody loves Bacon as an ingredient for creative dishes more than Matt” said MMC, “whether on a camping trip or just making seafood chowder it’s always going to feature prominently.”
So when faced with the prospect of jazzing up the otherwise good but not out-of-this-world Spaghetti dish, Bacon seemed the logical choice (also because MMC’s local Tesco supermarket doesn’t carry Chorizo or any of the other yummy ingredients he considered before settling on Bacon).
Other Awesome Dishes this week include Dave’s patented Maple-Whiskey glazed salmon, Teresa’s favourite steak & ultimate mash, leftover Spaghetti two times (MMC got a bit carried away with quantities on the Sunday Night Dinner) and a trip to Gourmet Burger Kitchen (which doesn’t really count but does at least have the word Gourmet in the name).
This Ain’t No Bake Sale
Movember MasterChef was emphatic that Movember’s charity fundraising was first and foremost about the growing of an Awesome Lego-Chef inspired Moustache and that any association with baking was purely peripheral and solely to aid in embodying the spirit of the character “I think people need to remember that this is Movember! and not some Women’s Institute Bake sale” he said referring to all those yummy baked goods of his Mom’s association that he used to partake in as a kid, which, while nice enough, are much less rugged and manly than a good Moustache Project.
Peripheral though they may be the treats have been aplenty and except for a near miss relating to MMC’s failure to disclaim that as a result of a yummy yet potentially dangerous recipe customisation, last Friday’s Yummy Scrummy Carrot cake “may (or in fact did) contain nuts”.
Otherwise the first effort of the month from MMC went over well and hardly anyone complained about the reasonably amateurish job of icing the cake either. MMC said “I’m glad that people are less critical about my desert making than they are about my moustache growth since I’m reasonably new to baking but have proven time and again that the Mo will come good eventually.”
Other treats included mid-week Banana Bread which he made again for Friday but this time added chocolate chips, as well as the delicious albeit somewhat impractical, Banoffe Pie (as it is supposed to be served cold) which will be served as the afternoon treat on today’s Friday Menu.
Best of all though, so far donations have exceeded £225! Of this MMC said “This represents a tantalisingly delicious starter to this month’s menu of ambitious fundraising goals. Thanks to everyone who donated thus far. Remember your donations help people with cancer. For those not able to partake in the treats remember that the charity fundraising is primarily about moustache growth which CAN be appreciated from afar.”
Movember MasterChef has also requested that people keep the recipe suggestions coming and added “Although I won’t have time to make everything that people request I definitely want to step out of my comfort zone a bit more this month so look forward to many challenges ahead.”
To follow the adventures of Movember MasterChef or for links to the amazing recipes or to donate, visit www.movembermasterchef.com.
*MMC will be the first to admit that he needs to work on his food photography. The 3 Bacon named Dish of the Week was waaaaaaaay more delicious and appetizing than it looks in the photos.