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23 September 2015

Leo Fernandez makes it to Masterchef NZ Top 3

Let's zoom along, shall we?  In this 2-part episode in Dubai, the 4 contestants duke it out in the open dessert (that's part 1) where the boys won the round.
Seriously, I cannot imagine how it is like to cook out in the dessert with the grill and frying pan on high.  Especially for Kiwis, who are accustomed to the cool climate.

On part 2, they headed off to the Dubai Marina to replicate a three-course dish at chef Gary Rhodes' restaurant.

It was a pretty tight contest, with each contestant getting at least one great review with their dish.  I have listed the ones for Leo below, complete with screenshots! (literally, I took shots of the show from the TV with my camera)

Entree: Smoked Haddock with Welsh Rarebit & Tomato Salad

"It's a stunner, isn't it?"
"It looks beautiful"
"I thought it was a more complete dish, certainly with the oil, pepper and the salt, and the seasoning"
Get the recipe on TV3.co.nz

14 September 2015

Filipino makes it to MasterChef NZ Top 4

If you haven't been watching the latest edition of MasterChef NZ, you still have time to catch up with the Top 5 competition.  And there is good reason to watch, for we have our own 32 year old Leo Fernandez who made it to top 5!

 We weren't actually able to catch the early episodes ourselves.  A friend alerted us about this and we have been tuning in ever since.  We would have loved the episode where he showcased maja blanca and adobo!

If your region allows it, you can still watch the more recent episodes on 3 Now.  On TV, MasterChef is on Sundays at 7pm and on Mondays at 7.30pm.

In the meantime, here is one of Leo's recipes.  The judges found the lettuce spring roll very flavoursome so I would like to try that!

Photos and recipe from the TV3 website (no copyright infringement intended, such TV-related articles disappear over time so I would like to keep a copy here for archiving purposes).

5 Spiced Pork Roast, Bean and Lettuce Spring Roll, with Apple and Oyster Sauce
Recipe by Leo Fernandez
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Makes 1 Portions/Servings

 1 Pork Chop
 1Tsp. Five Spice Powder
Spring Roll Stuffing
 50g Minced Pork
 ½ Granny Smith Apple, cored and diced
 1Tbsp. Peanut Butter
 1Tsp. Fish Sauce
 2Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
 1 Onion, peeled and diced
 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and diced
 1Cup Green beans (cut diagonally)
 Apple Sauce
 1 ½ Granny Smith Apples
 Oyster Sauce
 3Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
 1Tsp. Sugar
 1Tsp. Flour
Finishing Touches
 3 Iceberg Lettuce Leaves, trimmed and washed
 4 Coriander Leaves, picked
 1Tsp. Chives, finely sliced


  1. To make the Five-Spiced Roast Pork, start by blanching the pork in a pot of boiling water for 5mins. Remove from the pot and pat dry with paper towels. Rub with the five spice powder and place onto a lined baking tray. Put in the oven at 200° for 10mins. Then reduce the temperature in the oven to 180° and continue cooking the pork. Set to grill to achieve a nice crackle on the pork. Set aside. 
  2. To make the Spring Roll Stuffing, start by sautéing garlic and onion in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook over a high heat until soft. Season and add pork mince. Stir well and cook until the pork starts to caramelise. Add the beans. Then season with fish sauce and oyster sauce. Add peanut butter and diced apple. Stir well and lightly season. Take off the heat and cool. 
  3. To make the Apple Sauce, place apples into a medium pot with just enough water to cover the base of the pot. Cook over a medium heat until tender. Lightly season and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve and set aside. 
  4. For the Oyster sauce, mix sugar, flour and oyster sauce in a pot and cook over a medium heat. Cook until it starts to thicken. Take off the heat and set aside. 
  5. To plate, spoon 2Tbsp. of the spring roll stuffing into each lettuce leaf. Add coriander, chives and a good dollop of apple sauce. Serve with the pork chop drizzle with oyster sauce.
Show your support to Leo by 'liking' his profile on the TV3 website!

16 February 2015

Mum's Night off

Innuendos aside, this ad is actually clever and likeable.

I'll be checking out the Mum's Night Off website and see what I can cook up - which might include something for beer night!

14 January 2015

To grow a tree, you first need to plant a seed

A friend gave us some avocadoes November of last year, and as is usual practice we would throw away the inedible parts (ie skin and seeds). However in this instance I had a flash of inspiration and decided to try and give the 3 seeds (or, in this case, pits) a second chance.  So I googled for the best way to get the plant going and pierced the pit with three toothpicks to suspend it on glass with its pointy end submerged in water.

07 January 2015

Boodle fight

'We're going to have a boodle fight,' my friends said as a matter of factly while they busied themselves with covering the dining table with banana leaves.  There was also a lot of activity in the kitchen, so I knew food was involved.  Was there going to be a food fight?  Close, but not quite.