Sunday, 1 May 2011

What would I have cooked in the final?

I've thought about this question many times over the last week.  I knew it would be 3 courses and we all had ideas about what big guns we wanted to keep in store, in hope of that final place.  I was so proud to see Tim make burgers and noodles, as I know this is the food that sings from his heart.  And didn't it just!

We often had so little time to develop a menu, that some dishes were barely practised, or often only having had the chance to make one or two components.  It was terrifying not knowing what something was going to look like all together on a plate.  A clear case in point being my posh dessert at Woburn Abbey.  I watch that back and find myself thinking, stop, stop...  no more things on the plate!  There was enough kulfi to feed a family in that one portion, never mind several puddings in one dish.  Lesson learned.

So my final menu would have been something along these lines:

StarterCrispy beancurd filled with spicy vermicelli noodles & beansprouts with a sesame chilli glaze, served with a Tom Yum style tea (hot & sour soup with lily buds, shitake, woodear & black moss)

MainSmokey tempeh rendang served with lime rice, crispy watercress & snake beans, and tumeric wafers

DessertSticky mango samosas served with a ginger & pistachio brulee

And no, it would not have been the winning menu by any stretch.  Because Tim is a demi god when it comes down to creative cooking.  And it's funny to see now, after Sara and Tom raised their game so much, that the menus in my head at the time would never have stood up to any of their final dishes.  But it won't stop me serving it on my restaurant menu when that time comes.

I haven't got round to testing or developing these dishes, so I can't post any recipes yet.  But I will in the coming weeks.  Also on the agenda is a first attempt at making thai cup cakes, a kind of gooey centred coconutty breakfast snack (from David Thompson's Thai Street Food, just LOVING this book. The recipes and photographs are very special).  The cakes are clearly a lot more complicated than the vendors make it look.  And you need a special pan which is proving a bugger to find.  I've started a list called "reasons why I need to go on a food research trip back to Asia".  Needing a pan is surely as good a reason as any ;0)

But perhaps not this week.  This week I have some very important work experience to attend to.  To which I intend to commit every bit of focus I can muster and learn as much as possible.  Hugely exciting and hope to blog more about it later...


  1. Sounds delicious to me. Andy at might be able to help with where to source unusual things. His contact details are on his blog.

  2. I've only ever had Rendang made with beef, but the idea of smoky tempeh rendang makes me want to sing with joy! Your whole menu sounds delicious but that would be the star for me.

  3. wow! sounds really tasty! look forward to the recipes! :-)

  4. Couldn't help myself, but when I read the menu, in my head, it read itself in the Masterchef narrator's particularly sultry, gravelly voice. Sounded very tasty (the food, not the voice).