Easy Mayonnaise recipe

Forget dripping oil and whisking endlessly ... you don't have to ... this takes 30 seconds !

This has taken all the pain out of making mayonnaise for me ... use a blending stick. A version of this recipe was with my new Bamix blender but I only just tried it after three months of Bamix ownership. I have also tried using my trusty old philips stick blender and it works a treat too.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • seasoning (i use tabasco and fine salt)
  • rapeseed/sunflower/olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • lemon juice

As usual I'm not giving exact quantities ! ... it requires about 300ml of oil. Be aware that olive oil gives a lot of flavour so I use mostly sunflower with a little olive oil for a nice balance. Rapeseed oil makes a wonderful bright yellow mayonnaise.
Put the eggs into a container just wider than your stick blender (I often use a large mug) then add 150-200ml oil ... blitz.
Add more oil once it starts to bind to a mayonnaise and stop when you reach the texture you like (it gets thicker the more oil you add).
The mayonnaise will now taste of egg and oil so season first then add some acidity, I like a dash of vinegar and add lemon to suit.
Taste - but use a new spoon each time as this is a cold dish and you risk contamination.

You can then add other flavours, chopped wild garlic, dill for fish, capers for shellfish ... feel free to add suggestions ! Worth noting that flavours intesify over a while so be cautious with garlic especially as it will get much stronger in flavour after an hour or so.

This uses fresh eggs so treat with some caution ... keeps fine for a few days but I make it fresh as its so easy.

Crab Thermidor

OK ... its a simple dish to make but its all in the tasting like so many of my dishes. I don't put amounts in many recipes as I cook by taste the best way is to start with the basics and try for yourself. Different cheeses, stocks, crabs etc will have different tastes so the only way to make a dish you love is to taste as you cook.

A brown crab is not expensive, should be about £4. Ingredients for the stock should also be free from a decent fishmonger when you buy your crab.

First make a really good seafood stock with flatfish bones, scallop frill and a few prawn shells. Read about making stocks in a previous post here .

One good crab, spider tastes best but brown can be used for everyday
Seafood stock (about 300ml per crab)
Gruyere cheese
Parmesan cheese
English Mustard powder

Clean the crab, extract the meat and clean the shell ready for use as a bowl.
Make a veloute with the stock, by making a roux with some butter and plain flour then adding heated stock slowly mixing till the consistency of double cream.
Season then add some gruyere and parmesan to taste ... should be a nice balance of cheese and sea flavour.
Add tabasco and some english mustard to bring in a nice heat to the dish.
Add the meat to the shell then pour the sauce over.
Add a little extra cheese on top then bake for 20min or so.
It should be cooked through and slightly browned on top.

Serve in the shell, use some green veg to balance the shell or some foil.

enjoy !

Newspapers and events

I know I promised Thermidor recipe but thought I'd post a few links today ... I will get the thermidor written up and posted soon !

The Independent ran a great article today ... including a whole page picture of me ... very flattering ! Independant Article

May 3rd (not 2nd as I previously said ! sorry) I'm helping at the Dorset knob throwing event in my local village Dorset Knob lots of fun, not to be taken seriously ! and loads of local foodie stalls (I'm doing a BBQ with a mate ... spare ribs, Spatchcock chickens and other yummy things)

May Bank Holiday 23-25th May ... big festival at Hampton Court Foodies so and very excited and should be able to announce restaurant details there !

More to come soon ... watch this space ... Mat

Crab lunch

Made a delicious crab thermidor today with brown crabs ... more to come but wanted to post some photos while I have them:

Mango and Red Onion Chutney

Have been playing with chutneys today and thought I'd post a couple. Mangoes are great in a chutney as are red onions, add one of each and go from there !
Basic Ingredients:
  • Mango
  • Red onion
  • Sugar
  • Wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Tabasco
Add roughly equal quantities of Mango flesh and rough chopped red onion
Add red or white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup per Mango, 4-6 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt. 
Simmer for 20-40 minutes till onions and mango are soft and taste. 
Add heat with the pepper and Tabasco till quite hot to taste then leave overnight to cool, the heat of the chilled chutney will reduce overnight.

Try variations by using different fruits, apples and cider vinegar are good ... chuck some cider in too. Raisins or sultanas add a nice sweet hit to chutneys. A web search gives lots of ideas but I suggest you start with a simple one like my Mango and red onion and then play with different flavours.

When we went down to the woods !

On Sunday we took the kids and went down to a friends woodland to see what is growing ... great fun but probably a little too early still for most foraged food due to the late spring.

We also had John Wright with us ... better known locally as 'Mushroom John' for his River Cottage mushroom book here and his TV work with HFW. John is just finishing a seashore foraging book due out May (I think) which will be a great reference. We had long discussions over seaweeds and umame flavours in the pub afterwards !

He has given us some great pointers on alternate local sourced seaweeds that I'll be trying as an alternate to the Japanese dried seaweeds I love to cook with ... watch this space !

John was tapping some birch trees for sap to try and make a reduction syrup ... to be honest the sap tasted like water but it was fun trying and hopefully, once reduced, the end product will be good.

We did find some wood sorrel which we were all very excited about, it will be a key ingredient when the restaurant gets started and watchers of Masterchef will have seen me use it at Noma making chef's signature dish. It has a great woody citrus flavour that goes well with meat dishes, its still early for the wood sorrel so we only picked a few samples but looking forward to going back and gathering in decent quantities.

Will post recipes over the next few days, filmed a spot on Market Kitchen last night ... more details to follow.

Simple Thai Style Dinner

Finally a day at home ... just fancied a simple dinner so knocked up a Thai style curry ... its easy to forget how simple it can be to make a quick dish that tastes amazing. Most of these ingredients can be kept frozen.

For two persons

  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • 2 Limes
  • 2 hot chillis
  • Lemongrass

Finely slice 1 clove garlic and equal amount of ginger ginger(across the grain) with one lemongrass stalk, coriander stalks (save leaves to decorate) and chillis, add lime zest and pummel in a mortar and pestle for a few minutes, add lime juice and leave to infuse.

Make bigger quantities and freeze if you want to keep some.

  • Green vegetables, I always have some frozen soya beans, green beans and peas on hand for this dish but visit your veg shop and buy what's in season too ... some fresh sugar snaps or mange tout to chuck in at the last minute are great to add
  • Chicken or prawns (I tried rabbit recently with this and it was great too !)
  • 1 onion
  • Tin of coconut milk

Fry off seasoned onion and meat in hot pan ... to sear and flavour the meat.
Add 1 tbsp paste and mix
Add coconut milk bring to hot but just below simmer
Leave on heat for 10 min or so then taste (the chilli tends to get hotter with time), add more paste now if not hot / flavoured enough to taste
Add frozen veg and keep on heat
Add fresh veg just before serving with some sticky rice

For lots more Thai and South East Asian ideas take a look at Andy Oliver's blog ... http://thecooksbroth.blogspot.com/

Andy was in the finals of Masterchef with me and makes amazing Asian inspired dishes.

What next ?

Just a brief update as the week has been mad. A flurry of press interviews and a few TV shows. BBC Breakfast went well with John T taking the p*** the followed by This Morning with Eamon Holmes and his wife Ruth ... they were lovely ... really nice and supportive on and off screen. We saw Eamonn again briefly the next morning on his radio 5 show which was great fun ... my final pudding was compared to a McFlurry Chrunchie ! lol.

Off to London to meet agents next ... I'm a little skeptical of getting much TV work but publicity is all good if we can get the restaurant going this year ... several offers of investment and premises so far so looking at them over the next few weeks.

The comments and emails ... and cards have been amazing ... it really is incredibly flattering so thank you.

I'll try and get back to publishing some recipes here next week !

Masterchef finals - Diary

This is the diary my wife kept during the finals weeks ... these were her notes and impressions from our chats each night ... please read in this context

Final challenges

  • The filming for the final is made-up of groups of days … 3 days, 5 days, 1 day (filming at home), 1 day, 2 days (Copenhagen) and 2 days

Monday 25th August:

Location: Outside London Event: Travel day / overnight (They flew to Inverness … they’re with the Black Watch regiment).

Mat is thrilled because his Great Grandad was with the Black Watch. So, while Mat was in the stores being kitted-out for tomorrows filming, he rather cheekily asked whether they had a spare set of red feathers for his Great-Grandad’s hat (edit Mat - its a Tam O Shanter and the feathers are called Red Hackles) , and they gave him some! That alone has made the trip to Scotland worthwhile, Mat feels really honoured and humbled to get the feathers. We’re planning to ask a friend to make a frame that’ll fit the hat, and its new feathers.

The contestants and the Production team all went out for dinner together this evening. We’re guessing that tomorrow will consist of a Mass catering exercise feeding the Black Watch troops, followed by cooking a posh dinner for the officers in the evening.

Tuesday 26th August:

Location: Outside London Event: Film day / overnight

They were filming at a gorgeous location this morning; it was by a Loch. As we suspected, they were cooking for the troops; They had set-up three tents, each with a BBQ made out of a steel drum, and the contestants had to make two main courses and a pudding out of ration packs. Mat made Chilli, pasta with steak and tomatoes followed by sponge pudding with chocolate custard. As always happens, there was a mad rush at the end as the time was suddenly cut short. For Mat, it went well and he really enjoyed it;

He paced himself though, knowing that that was only the first of todays tasks. By 4pm they’d finished the morning task and were on their way to another location … the Officer’s Mess.

This evening the contestants were cooking for a Regimental Dinner. Andy made the starter (fish), Christopher made the main course (Duck with mash ) and vegetables) and Mat made the pudding (Chocolate Pot with Strawberries, Chantilly cream and shortbread). The diners said that Andy’s dish was the best on balance and that Mat’s needed more strawberries and Chantilly cream.The officers said Mat’s shortbread was some of the best they’d ever had, quite a complement from a Scottish regiment !.

Will John and Gregg think Mat was too busy helping Christopher making his mash for him, when he should have been concentrating on making his own pudding as good as it could be, this is a cooking competition after all. Will they think Mat should have taken more ownership of plating-up his pudding especially when PRESENTATION is his key issue ? Is Mat enjoying it too much, being too distracted by the fun of the occasion, to take making his food seriously enough? Maybe they’ll think Mat doesn’t want this as much as Andy !

Wednesday 27th August:

Location: Outside London Event: Travel day

Mat stayed up until 2am chatting to Gregg, John, the Production team and the other contestants. Then up at 6am’ish to travel back to London and then home; he was a bit tired when he got in !

Friday 29th August:

No filming on this day

We went foraging for Elderberries and Rowan berries today: The children had a great time learning which tree was which and discovering what fun ‘helicopters’ from Sycamore trees are to play with. (Mat would like to make a berry jelly to go with his rabbit dish for the starter in his final menu).

Saturday 30th August:

No filming on this day

We went foraging for seashore vegetables on the beach at West Bexington. We found Sea Kale, Sea Beet, Chamomile, Mallow and Sea Campion. I love the pink coloured pebbles on Chesil Beach and managed to amass quite a collection while we sat recovering from our plant hunt.

Sunday 31st August:

No filming on this day

Lamb roast dinner with the family and then Mat travelled back up to London, ready for tomorrow’s filming. Mat was feeling very down leaving the family behind as he thinks he’s going to struggle this week with the fine dining challenges and is worrying about his repertoire of food being up to the standard.

Monday 1st September:

Location: London Event: Film day (Cooking two salmon dishes in 1 hour)

They had to cook two dishes. Mat made Thai fish cakes with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and then a broth with vegetables (leeks, celeriac and pak choi) and mushrooms with a piece of salmon (poached in stock) placed on top. John and Gregg loved the Thai fish cakes, Gregg said that the fishcakes should be more flaky, so John corrected him, saying that Thai fish cakes should be exactly like Mat had made them. The presentation was great. However, John and Gregg didn’t like the salmon with vegetable broth as much. They said that the broth washed-out the other flavours, but the salmon was cooked perfectly.

Christopher made salmon carbonara, then a piece of salmon with celeriac mash and vegetables.

Andy made Ravioli, then an asian flavoured piece of salmon.

Tuesday 2nd September:

Location: London Event: Film day (60 Canapes in 1 hour 15 minutes)

They have to cook 20 Hot canapés, 20 Cold canapés and 20 sweet canapés. Mat’s going to cook hot mini jacket potatoes with goats cheese and chopped chives dressed with a chive flower, cold clams with caper mayonnaise and a thyme flower, and Burnt Creams for the sweet.

Arghhhhh Beth can’t get thyme or chive flowers, so there goes the presentation ! Bugger !

Beth then spent the morning trying to find flowers for Mat, and she did, she found beautiful pink mint flowers for the clam canapés which looked absolutely great.

The good news is that all three contestants completed 60 canapés each. Mat’s mini jacket potatoes, they hated. John said “you should have done something expensive with them like fois gras or truffles”. Of course ! It seems obvious now ! They liked the Burnt Cream canapés, they thought it was ‘very Mat’. Best of all, they absolutely loved the Clam canapés; even Beth said that she was going to steal the recipe for her wedding next year. Mat made the best and possibly the worst canapés today, but John and Gregg applauded him for taking a risk and said that you have to get things wrong sometimes to enable you to produce something great.

Apparently, Christopher’s canapés looked like dinner party canapés which just isn’t good enough for MasterChef. He made Strawberries dipped in chocolate, Ricotta cheese with toasted pine nuts, wrapped in courgette (which tasted good), and Choux buns with ham. Unfortunately he finished 15 minutes before the task ended;

Andy made Rye bread with smoked eel and horseradish, Onion bhajis and he also made Strawberries dipped in chocolate but presented them on cream.

Wednesday 3rd September:

Location: London Event: Film day (Buckingham Palace) / travel & overnight

It’s my birthday and the first day back at school for the children after the summer holidays.

Mat phoned at 07:30 to say happy birthday, oh and by the way, I’m at Buckingham Palace. My jaw dropped and I felt very sick with excitement and nerves for about 3 hours.

They were Cooking lunch for the queen’s household, about 550 people. They each made a main course and a pudding. Chris and Mat needed to make 100 portions each of their main course (Christopher ended up doing 200), Andy needed to make 200. They were all supposed to make 70 puddings each. The production team put Mat in charge.

Mat made Thai Green vegetable curry (which turned out really well and chef liked it) followed by a Cheesecake. Andy made Roast lamb (which all three contestants spent the first half an hour preparing) with dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables, followed by a fruit salad (which John and Gregg stepped-in to make)

Christopher made fish on a ratatouie with new potatoes, followed by apple crumble

This afternoon they traveled to Rutland, The Barnsdale Hotel http://www.barnsdalehotel.co.uk. Just across the water from their hotel is Hambleton Hall, with the award winning Restaurant of Michelin star Chef, Aaron Patterson. Aaron produced a trio of Rabbit for his heat of The Great British Menu. Mat’s starter for his final menu is a trio of Rabbit (we know Aaron did a trio of rabbit but can’t find out what cuts of meat he used or how he did it, or presented it, or anything about it !Mat remembers there being a rack). They could also be going to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which starts tomorrow or pie making in Melton Mowbray.

Thursday 4th September:

Location: Outside London Event: Film day (Burghley Horse Trials) / Travel back to London

They were up at 6am and off at 7am. When they arrived at Burghley House, The Lady of the house (Miranda Rock) was busy bundling her children into a car to get them off for their first day at school. Rather poignantly, John and Gregg were both missing one of their children’s first day at school.

It was going to be a long day, 18-20 hours or so until home-time.

The contestants each had to produce 200 plates of beautiful food. Mat’s was a plate with 3 individual creations on it; a crab meat quenelle on green beans, Gravadlax with celeriac salad and a tiny portion of mackerel marinated in sweet chilli sauce. Greg came over and gave Mat a cuddle at the end of the day, so it must have been obvious to everyone just how hard it had been. Andy made Chocolate tarts and Panna Cotta. Chris had the same sort of day as Mat. The contestants all went out into the restaurant and got a big round of applause from the diners – the Olympic horse team, Zara Phillips and Capt. Mark Phillips, amongst others.

Wednesday 10th September:

No filming on this day

Tidying and cleaning the house ready for the crew to arrive tomorrow

Thursday 11th September:

Location: Dorset Event: Film day (Filming at our house)

We kept all three children off school for the day, so that they could share the experience with us and it’s great for them to see how a television programme is made. We had four crew, Director, Cameraman, Soundman and runner. They were all lovely; completely professional and really great company for the day.

They started by interviewing Mat in the garden for an hour or so, then the family walked out of the front door three times, trying not to look at the camera, then down the road twice, before walking along by the river at the end of the road and playing pooh sticks over the bridge with helicopters from the Sycamore tree. Next, they filmed scenes around Beaminster because it’s so beautiful and then people we know, like Charlie at the butchers. And that was the morning finished. So we all decamped to the Hive Beach Café for lunch. Yummy food but a howling gale, still, who cares when you’re by the sea.

So, on to the afternoons filming. We, the family, walked along Chesil Beach and back twice, then across the beach and back twice, and along the beach silhouetted by the bright sun, and back again, twice, or was it three times. We’d reached a point where we were all a bit tired and had achey calves, so they sat the children and I on a rock and asked a few questions.

Meadow was climbing on the rock and trying to reach the guinea pig (it’s what we told her the soundman’s boom was) which was positioned just above my head, and giggling uncontrollably every time it moved out of her reach just as she grabbed for it. All this encouraged Jack (who was standing in front of me and whom I was desperately gripping between my knees so that he couldn’t move very much) to join in too. So, whilst Meadow mountaineered up my back and Jack waved his arms in front of my face, I tried to answer Ed’s questions. It didn’t go well. I remember thinking at the time, why are you talking so fast? why are you rambling? why can’t you say a sentence without sounding like you didn’t finish school? They quickly tired of me. I exclaimed that my mouth was really dry and apologized for my complete inability to talk on camera. The Director was generous and reassured me that the same thing even happens to heads of industry when a camera is pointed in their faces; it was very kind of him, what a nice chap. I’ll be very surprised if any of that footage is aired.

Next, it was time to go back to the house and the children and I were done. I put them in their rooms for a bit of quiet time and made a cup of tea.

Mat and the crew loaded up his diving gear into their van and after filming him leave the street on his Harley Davidson a couple of times, they all left for West Bay. They filmed Mat in his dive gear on the boat for a while holding some huge spider crabs, then they were finished.

When they got back to the house, they all looked absolutely shattered; like they’d had alot of sea air and were going to sleep like babies tonight.

I’m so glad that’s over; it was fun, a great experience and the TV people are really lovely but I wouldn’t choose to do it again. That was the second time, the first crew came down to see us in June at the start of the semi-finals … twice is enough for any camera shy wife who doesn’t like to scrutinize herself too closely.

Monday 15th September:

Location: London Event: Film day (Cooking for 8 Michelin starred chefs – they have 16 stars between them). They were Michel Roux jr. http://www.michelroux.co.uk/

Eric Chavot http://www.capitalhotel.co.uk/restaurantbar_eric.html

Michael Caines http://www.michaelcaines.com/

Shane Osborn http://www.london-eating.co.uk/newsletter/2004/february/recipe-of-the-month.asp

Helene Darozze http://www.helenedarroze.com/index.php

John Campbell http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/

Tom Kitchin http://www.thekitchin.com/

Christopher is making the starter, scallops amongst lots of other lovely stuff; Andy is making the main course, rib of lamb etc. etc.; and Mat is making the pudding, Chocolate mousse etc. etc.

Mat phoned briefly at 5pm to say good night to the children. He’d escaped for half an hour because the chef’s didn’t feel he was under enough pressure, so they’d sent him out while they devised a plan to make life more difficult for him.

Mat’s having a wonderful time, he’s having a great masterclass.

The chef who’s looking after him and over his shoulder today, is Elisha Carter (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chef_biogs/a.shtml#elisha_carter), who was in the South-West heats of the Great British menu. Mat say’s he’s very cool and has been a really big help.

When the meal was served, the Michelin Starred Chefs all said good things, Mat received no criticism at all; they said they were amazed that such a large bloke could make something so delicate and precise. How wonderful !

As Trigger (production crew) was escorting the Chefs to their cars Eric Chavot was singing Mat’s praises to the other Chefs … brill … we love Eric !!!

Tuesday 16th September:

No filming on this day

Mat has a day off in London. He’s going to a Kiwi Coffee Shop for a ‘real’ cup of coffee, Fortnum & Masons food hall, a Japanese supermarket, a pro cook shop etc. etc. He’s relaxing and ruminating about the details of his final menu … which he’s submitting at the end of the day. He’s particularly interested in changing his pudding after the amazing things he learnt yesterday.

Thursday 18th September:

Location: Outside London Event: Film day (Copenhagen) / travel

Very early start … Mat flew to Copenhagen with the crew. He’s going to be working at Noma http://www.noma.dk/ in Copenhagen, the 10th best restaurant in the world. Apparently, the restaurant is all about foraging, hooray! Chris went to France, Andy went to Spain, both at 3 Michelin Star restaurants which they worked in today. Mat is working at Noma tomorrow because Chef was in New York and has just arrived back. He’ll be doing lunch service and then preparing Chef’s signature dish for him to critique.

The crew with Mat are Ed (Director), Fiona (production), Mike (soundman who came to our house), Craig (Kiwi cameraman) and Suzi (Floor manager)

Mike, the soundman said that John and Greg judge purely on the food whether they like the contestant or not, and that he never knows who they are going to choose.

Ed asked Mat who he thought is going to win. Mat said he thought it was between Andy and himself . Both Andy and Mat have both had up-days and low-days, Scotland was an up-day for Mat, and Burghley was a low-day. Mat said he thought it would come down to the final menu; he’s going to do something quite different and really put himself on the line and if he executes it really well, he feels he may just win.

Friday 19th September:

Location: Outside London Event: Film day (Noma) / travel back to London

First, lunch service. Mat did really well; he was responsible for part of a dish and was working with a sous called James (who has worked for Rick Stein …). Chef (Renee, an incredibly charismatic man) and the sous in the kitchen, said that they were really surprised by Mat’s skill level and his natural ability to achieve results that even they had only managed after several practice attempts.

Then, it was time for Mat to make Chef’s signature dish. Having seen Mat’s abilities at cooking fish, Chef decided the dish was too simple, so he changed it to make it more of a challenge. The dish was all about presentation and precision in plating-up. Mat did it perfectly and Chef said he had no criticism at all; everyone was amazed by how well he did it. Afterwards, Mat spent some time discussing his food career plans with Chef.

Noma is in epitome of everything Mat could aspire to, a two Michelin starred Restaurant that produces local, seasonal, foraged, un-messed-with, exquisitely presented, delicious food. Today was probably the most important day of the competition so far for Mat, because it showed him just how far he can take his style of food.

I imagine that Andy also did extremely well at the Michelin star restaurant he was at in Spain, so it really is going to come down to that final menu.

The flight from Copenhagen landed at Stansted at 10pm, and then Mat drove home, arriving at 2am.

Saturday 20th September:

No filming on this day

Mat at home. We did the timed run-through of Mat’s final menu. It took 2 hours, 30 minutes, He’ll have just 2 hours on Tuesday, plus he’ll need to allow extra time for chats with John and Greg and the inevitable stress and confusion of the day. Having said that, the plates looked absolutely amazing! I wrote-up the overall method for the 3 courses, so we’ll see how much time we can save on tomorrow’s run-through.

We went to ‘Little Groves’, our local garden centre, to pick-up some edible plants to go with the main course. We bought Pineapple Sage (the flowers are incredibly sweet and scarlet red), Salad Burnet (the leaves are the most exotic shape), Cinammon Basil (the tiny flowers are pale lilac and very beautiful) and Lemon Thyme (with pale lilac flowers).

Sunday 21st September:

No filming on this day

Mat at home. We did the second run-through of Mat’s final menu. Everything came out beautifully. Mat’s really delighted with the final menu; he thinks that if he executes it perfectly on Tuesday, he’ll win; and he really wants to win. I hope he does.

This afternoon, Mat went to West Bay to pick-up some Spider Crabs for his final menu and the children and I went hunting for fresh, young nettles. Then we all sat around the table and enjoyed a roast lamb dinner together; it was like ‘The Last Supper’ before the MasterChef final, and Jack, our 5 year old, said “I think my Dad will win”. That may seem extreme (and I’m sure it will when I read this again in the future) but the competition has been going on for so long, it really has assumed biblical proportions in our minds.

Monday 22nd September:

Location: London (St. Pancras and Studio) Event: Film day

Mat left at 5am to ride up to London on his motor bike. He took the live Spider Crabs, herbs, flowers, nettles, wild garlic puree etc. for his final menu, all stuffed in his roll bag. After breakfast at Kings Cross, he went to St. Pancras Station for filming.

Mat then delivered his cargo of fresh ingredients to Beth so that she can take care of them until tomorrow’s Final Menu challenge.

This afternoon they were back in the studio doing an invention test. Andy made a Prawn bisque with a piece of filleted fish in the centre. Christopher made a Sweet potato ravioli with chicken wrapped in pancetta. Mat made Venison on wild mushrooms, with a tiny drizzle of a dark plum/raspberry sauce (to make the meat look glossy), sliced roasted baby beetroots, and a sprinkle of crushed roasted cob nut/roasted almonds (with salt, sugar, and slices of chilli).

John and Greg were very complimentary about all the contestants dishes, but they absolutely raved about Mats dish.

Tuesday 23rd September:

Location: London Event: Film Day (The Final Menu)

John and Greg were nice about Chris’ dishes but their hearts weren’t in it, Chris was really upset knowing he’d overcooked some of his food.

Andy made an Asian 3 course meal. A starter of Crab salad, followed by Duck with layers of things on it, and then a Mango icecream with coconut and passion fruit juice for pudding.

Mat cooked his dishes even better than he had over the weekend, but he’d used every last second doing it, blimey, how stressful. They were stunned by his presentation. John said the lavender mousse was like going back to his childhood, and Greg just couldn’t stop eating it. Mat stressed to John and Greg that he’d tried to make a menu that was original and not out of any cook book.

At 7:50pm Mat phoned, “I’m on camera … I’m holding a trophy!” I remember crying a lot, then he said “OK, I’ll talk to you later” and he was gone. There was a sudden deafening silence. “What did he say”, I said to myself. “He didn’t say he’d won did he? what did he say? Did he just phone or did I imagine that?” Then Jack came thundering downstairs, “Why did you scream Mum?” “Did I scream?” I said. Crumbs, I don’t remember screaming … he must have phoned then. Oh my god, HE WON!

Masterchef pictures

See we can all smile !
Yes its me with the trophy ... I will post some diaries soon ! Thank you again for all the lovely messages !
Trio of Rabbit Starter

Crab Thermidor Main
Lavender Mousse dessert