My family and friends know how much I loved watching MasterChef. Most of my readers have probably also picked up on this from the other recipes I’ve already made from MasterChef:
Strawberries and Cream Dessert 
Sticky Date Pudding 
Aria Chocolate Tart 
Chocolate Delice 
So why did I like it so much? While others were interested in watching drama unfold, I was waiting for the food. What will they cook with those secret ingredients, what would I cook? Which celebrity chef will be on? I wonder what they will make? (I really loved seeing the Chefs recipes, who wouldn’t?)
That’s why I was so excited to be receiving a copy of the MasterChef Cookbook! (Thanks to Random House for sending me the book). I know that many of the recipes can be found on their website, but how can people resist having the recipes in their bookshelf – along with some of the recipes, tips and step-throughs not included on the website. (My love of cookbooks will probably see me getting some new ones as Christmas presents this year 🙂 ).
One of the recipes I was looking forward to was the ice cream recipe – I remember how much people loved the silky ice cream, and the method seemed easy enough. One recipe most people won’t remember, as it was made very early in the series, was Linda’s blueberry and violet rice pudding. I remember it being presented to the judges when contestants were trying to get past the first round. It’s just so pretty! It’s on my list, and I’m happy to have the recipe.
The book itself is around 260 pages and covers a lot of the basics for cooking. Some of the tips include how long dry, wet, fresh and frozen goods should be kept, knife skills, sauces and stocks, different types of potatoes and onions and their uses, as well as a few step-by-step instructions, where it’s needed. There are photos of all the contestants, reminding you who made the dish, photos of the action, the judges and the celebrity chefs.
In front of many of the recipes are contestants views and thoughts of the dish, their inspiration or history behind it or just a reminder of where the recipe fitted into the competition. I love the large photos (almost one opposite each recipe) and I think this helps cooks make a quick decision as to whether they would be interested in making the dish, or at least how the dish should look once finished.
I would have liked to have seen a few other recipes in there, such as the chocolate and jaffa souffle which looked gorgeous, buttermilk hot cakes with candied apples and Julia’s baked ricotta (the recipe that got her through past the first round).
Overall, I think this book is presented in a great way and would appeal to both inexperienced and veteran cooks alike, and to anyone who likes a challenge!
I decided I would finally have to make the lemon tasting plate seen on one of the Masterclasses on MasterChef. This included Julie’s Lemon Diva Cupcakes, lemon curd, lemon creme fraiche and lemon vanilla syrup. The book has recipes for both the lemon curd and lemon cupcakes, although I just made up my own lemon cream to go with it – the result, a gorgeous blend of lemon flavours. The lemon cupcakes were lovely and light (these would also be great as plain vanilla cupcakes) and worked well with the slight tang of the lemon curd and the sweetness of the lemon cream.
Lemon Tasting Plate
Edited 18/12/09: Recipes removed due to request
My lemon tasting plate consists of Julie’s Lemon Diva Cupcakes and Lemon Curd from the MasterChef cookbook and my recipe of lemon cream
Recipe by me
250ml thickened cream
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1/3 cup caster sugar
Beat all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, until cream becomes thick and whipped.
Cut a shallow hole out of the top of the cupcakes (cut this piece in half). Place a teaspoon of lemon curd in the bottom of the well and then top with some lemon cream. Place the cut out halves into cream, with the curved sides facing one another to look like butterflies.
Smear some lemon curd onto a plate. Crumble over a lemon cupcake and quenelle the lemon cream and place on top.