The semi-finals of MasterChef continued last night and my obsession with Tony's wonderful moustache shows no sign of abating (he has redeemed himself since admitting he doesn't know how to cook polenta).
Following the relay from the night before which was, let's be honest, TV gold, this episode sees the semi-finalists in a team environment once again, heading to Lincolnshire to cook for the mighty red arrows (did I just see Robert tenderly place his hand on Beth's shoulder? Jealous), who will be celebrating their 50 year anniversary this year.
Marching out to the magnificent and hugely appropriate Fanfare For The Common Man, the team are briefed on their mission - to cook lunch for the 90 officers, crew and support staff that make the Red Arrows. The teams from the relay remain, Blue team: Tony, Sarah, Simon (team leader) and Pete vs. the Red team: Robert, Paul, Beth and Emma (team leader).
John's rousing brief ends with the statement, "today, the food has to take my breath away" cue camera shot to Tony's epic moustache.
The teams have different ingredients to make 2 main courses and a pudding and come up with the below:
Saddle of lamb stuffed with kidney, bacon and herbs with caramelised shallots
Wild mushroom stuffed squash
Both served with braised lentils, kale and salsa verde
Pears, poached in mulled wine with baklava and chantilly crème fraiche.
Salmon fillet with salmon mousse raviolo, clam, bacon and samphire sauce
Ricotta and herb ravioli and an egg yolk raviolo with vegetable fritti, asparagus and spinach and cream sauce
Spiced plum tarte tatin with custard
With less than four hours to complete the task, it's revealed that the losing team will have to go back to the kitchen for a cook-off against each other, the loser of which is going home.
The red team start by butchering 6 saddle of lambs, which they're then going to stuff with bacon and kidney yumminess. I start worrying that the butchering is taking too long, but it's worth it as the rolled and tied lamb looks amazing. John even steps in to help out, I love him.
The red team plough on with Beth stuffing squash with a mild mushroom and garlic filling that looks amazing, I think I'll do that for dinner tonight. We're all worrying about the lamb though, they've only got half an hour and it's just not cooked.
John senses that the teams aren't stressed enough so takes the two team leaders into the hangar to show them the expanse of tables and chairs…finishing his threat "we need everything over here in half an hour." THEY START RUNNING.
The teams start transporting their food from the kitchen to the hangar and I actually can't watch, my head is in my hands as a pan of beautifully caramelised shallots slip off the trolley and falls to the ground. Disaster.
The teams start plating up, and I honestly think that the food looks amazing! The blue team's salmon and raviolo with clams is stunning, a real spring dish. I can't believe they've cooked such beautiful food for such a large number of people! Greg echoes my sentiment "I've been in restaurants where the food doesn't look as good as this, let alone coming out of a tent in an airfield."
Their second dish looks just as delicious (maybe a bit beige?) and the team suffers the only slightly negative feedback of the day - that that there wasn't quite enough on the plate. When you're feeding the chunks of manliness that are the Red Arrows you need to pile on the portions.#Television