the day of reckoning

As promised, I have an update for my alaclaude.com blog followers.  You are (almost) the first to receive this MasterChef Canada update.

I received an email today – I hope it is spam – indicating I will not be moving forward with the top 50 in the MasterChef Canada season 2 process.

Although short-lived, this process has been tremendously exciting and loads of fun.  I must confess, I am astounded by the amount and volume of support from family, friends and alaclaude.com fans.  The blog and my culinary adventures will continue as I hone my skills for the next round of auditions.

‘A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work’, Colin Powell   

cherry clafouti

Late last week, Eric and I had a few neighbours over for dinner.  One of our guests is set to depart shortly for a year-long adventure.  We took this timely opportunity to chat, laugh, eat, drink and mostly enjoy each other’s company.  The evening began with the Friend of a Friend signature cocktail and finished with port-sized glasses of Southbrook’s award-winning Canadian Framboise dessert wine paired with a fresh baked cherry clafouti.  Stay tuned for details of the duck breast entrée and highlights of the soirée!  

Cherry clafoutiCherry clafouti

quick fire dinner

A bit of instant messaging banter with my head cheerleader and chief strategist, Sherri, who happens to be vacationing in Florence, got me thinking about when and how I should be preparing for the potential call to represent Winnipeg and Stoney Point in Season 2 of MasterChef Canada.  Something I have not yet tackled is cooking with a stopwatch.  The television series has time limits on each of its challenges – usually just 60 minutes!  Anyone who has seen me in action in the kitchen can attest the sight is comparable to a whirlwind – but some of my favourite kitchen tools help me steal a few seconds here and there to truly multitask.  As we know ‘a watched pot never boils’, yet an untended browning butter easily burns!

Sherri suggested brilliant ideas for this blog sparked from her culinary adventures across Tuscany.  Yet, her initial suggestion about the pressure test kept niggling away in my mind.  I had seen an episode of Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals on the weekend and I was determined to be able to replicate his efforts in a similar amount of time. 

Gorgeous greek chicken with herby vegetable couscous & tzatziki : Fresh Mediterranean flavours

Gorgeous Greek chicken with herby vegetable couscous & tzatziki

I stopped and picked up the required groceries and swiftly sped home as I was scheduled to attend a Fringe Festival event in less than two hours.  As soon as I arrived, I cleared the kitchen island and dug out the pantry staples – or at least what I thought were staples!  It seems I do not stock couscous any longer – yet Isreali couscous was found deep in my baking and bulk food drawer.  Realizing I missed picking up peas (I was distracted in helping another shopper find tzatziki), I surveyed the freezer and decided spinach would be a suitably Greek-inspired substitute.  I set off in a flurry of activity [boiling the couscous, frying the chicken breasts, making homemade tzatziki (What? No garlic? I’ll fix that!), and pulsing the medley of peppers].  The platter was prepared and prepped for its photo shoot by 5:36 pm.  A glance over to the grocery bill to realize I paid at 4:48 pm.  Not too bad considering the commute home and search for non-existent ingredients.  Now, if only my right-hand man, Eric, was in town to deal with the aftermath!