Tag: Panna Cotta

Weekend MasterChef Experience

So for my family far and away I thought i’d document my MasterChef experience.
Frame the Scene:

I got home from work at around 19h00 Friday night, thought i’d take a “quick nap” only to re-open my eyes at 23h00 still having to make my “trio of summer desserts” eek! Menu plan was Mini Pavlova’s, Mini Strawberry Cheesecake and a Mini Vanilla Pana Cotta drizzled with Raspberry Coulis.

Panna Cotta is easy breasy:

  • 2 cups cream (I use one thick cream, one normal)
  • ½ cup full cream milk
  • ½ cup double cream greek yoghurt
  • 1 Masterfoods vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp gelatine powder
  1. Place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat.
  2. Discard bean from cream mixture. Add sugar and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin over warmed milk (I pour it in a glass bowl and hold it above the steam from cream, adds to dissolving). Stir into cream mixture till dissolved, then add yoghurt
  4. Lightly oil 6 x 1/2 cup (125ml) dariole moulds or ramekins. Place on a tray and pour in cream mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  5. To serve, break the seal by inserting a small knife between the Panna cotta and the mould. Turn onto a serving plate and shake to release. Serve with Raspberry Coulis (basically just 300g raspberries plus about 1/3 cup icing sugar pureed together).

The Strawberry cheesecake is quite complex – I will need a whole blog just for that. Its got about 5 different steps from making the base, to making a strawberry syrup, to the topping (each stage needs to cool which is tedious). Pavolva is also quite simple.

Cut a long story short I went to sleep at around 05h00 am. Alarm set from 06h20 to get up and get ready to go through to auditions.

I bought a nifty cooler box on wheels from Cape Union Mart, along with around 10 ice bricks. Your dish HAD to be between 0-4 Degrees Celsius, if not then you get turned away. *Paranoid* I got there at almost 09h00 on the dot. The queue was INTENSE, I never thought I’d reach the front, however, I did meet some pretty awesome people in line. All of us abolutely focused on our “Ice” NOT melting, trying to keep cooler boxes in the shade. My 3rd dish was the Pavlova, and I had visions of getting to the front only to realise all the cream had melted and fallen off the meringue.

Props to all of the organizers of MasterChefSa, the auditions were exceptionally well organised. WoolworthsSA had people handed out free drinks and mixed snack packs (awesome thanks guys). There were some extremely theatrical ushers along the way to keep us entertained. The queue moved fairly quickly, reached the front at around 11h00. Plated up and entered the room of terror (now my hands were really shaking, did not aid me in trying to plate up the dish).

The Judges give NOTHING away, you cannot read their faces at all and all they do is tick a “symbol” (we are still trying to decode them 🙂 ) and then you move through to the next room! “CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE THROUGH !” WOOO HOO! On to the next round! (That alone was enough for me 🙂 ). 5 of us got clumped together and had a “Group Interview”, Not going into detail from this point as KZN and CPT still need to audition but finally finished at 21h00 that night.. Looong Day.

Typical me I forgot to take pic’s of my dishes plated up!! GourmetGuys, wish you could have caught me, I would have had backup!

I will tell you what the prize is though !!

  1. R250 000 in Cash to realise your culinary dream
  2. Hyundai Elantra 1.6 GLS
  3. An all expenses paid trip to Italy for 7 days , including an Italian Cookery Course (read my previous blog to see how much I love Italy)
  4. A Customised Sommelier course
  5. And ….. The MondoVino restaurant at Southern Sun’s Monte Casino

Now the wait begins.. Final Results out around Christmas…Its going to be a long wait.

The Next day, Sunday the 4th was my Love’s Birthday ! YAY! I love getting a whole day as an excuse to spoil someone !

Due to the lack of sleep the night before woke up LATE and went through to Cassalinga in Muildersdrift area. Beautiful long lunches, rolling green grass and fresh, fresh vegetables. Order of the day was a combination of Pesto Lasagne, Fresh Kingklip, Baby Marrow Soup and the most divine Crème Brulee. The glacèd Fruit they bring at the end is just the cherry on top!


So everyone who reads this, keep sending positive thoughts my way (There is nothing more I can do except wait. Maybe if people Retweet the blog one of the producers will see it and ill get the “final” final cut 🙂 ). And also HAPPY HAPPY Birthday Ahmed! You are my love, my life, (and without you saying “puulleaase I want to see you on MasterChef”, I would never have done it 🙂

One Step Close to living MY Dream !