Are you glued to the TV every Sunday and Monday night watching the latest Masterchef challenge?
We were delighted to see plenty of Marlborough produce included in Sunday's episode 7 group challenge where contestants were required to cook Bouillabaisse.
Unfortunately the pressure was too much for Masterchef mother-son duo Jon and Donna-Marie who say they enjoyed the experience.
A bearded oyster and other mishaps cost the pair during their final challenge and Jon said the intense Masterchef glare may have got to them.
"It was down to bad luck, the timing and pressure," he explained.
"We didn't get too negative ... it was just it was under pressure and time and all that jazz.
"We left feeling good about ourselves because we still felt we put in a great effort and got as far as we could."
They didn't go in with high expectations but were pleased with how it all went, Jon said.
"The way I saw it was if I was in for another round it was a bonus."
The competition made the bond with his mother even stronger, Jon said.
"It was great for me and my mother because we were always close, but it brought us closer together."
At times the judges were intimidating but it was good to get their feedback, Jon said.
"The judges were alright but mum was always intimidated by them.
"You're sitting there and waiting to find out what they are going to say and it is a wee bit intimidating.
"But it is always good to find out what other people think of your food, especially famous judges like them."
Since leaving the show, Jon has landed a dream job at Prime Restaurant in Queenstown.
"It's what I always wanted to do and I think Masterchef sparked that passion again to do what I love doing."
Donna-Marie has retained her love for cooking and is continuing her culinary exploits at home.
200 gm Marlborough king salmon
1/2 heilala vanilla bean, seeds scraped
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
6 scampi, peeled & deveined, head & shell reserved
4 mussels, steamed open, juice reserved
4 slices baguette, toasted
1/2 b coriander, washed & chopped
50 ml olive oil
Reserved scampi heads and shells
2 clove garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 small fennel, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1 lt Campbell's Real Stock Fish
Pre heat oven to 100C. Remove the skin and bloodline from the salmon. Cut into 2 equal sized pieces. Mix the vanilla seeds with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Rub well over the salmon and then cover & leave to marinate at room temperature.
To prepare the shellfish: For the clams & mussels steam them separately in a covered saucepan with a splash of water until just opened. Strain & reserve the juice. Remove the meat from the mussel shells but leave the clams in their shells and place in the fridge until ready to braise.
For the oysters & scallops: Shuck the oysters, strain and reserve the juice. Check the oysters for shell & reserve covered in the fridge. For the scallops, remove the tough muscle off the side of the scallop and reserve the cleaned scallops covered in the fridge.
To make the sauce: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a heavy based sauce pan and add the scampi shells and heads, sautéuntil they change colour. Add the shallot, garlic, fennel, tomato, bay leaf & thyme and sweat for 5 minutes until it is all soft. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the fish stock & shellfish juices and then simmer until reduced by half. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and then season.
To finish: Place the salmon on a baking paper lined tray and cook in the oven for 6-8 minutes until just done. Heat a large sauté pan over a medium to high heat and add a little olive oil. Season the scampi, & scallops and add to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add 3 tbsp. of xo chilli sauce then add the oysters, clams & mussels and cook for 1 minute then add the stock and bring to a simmer then turn off & add the coriander. All of the seafood should be just cooked. Check seasoning.
To serve: Ladle the seafood into a wide bowl and then place the salmon on top in the middle. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve the rouille & croutons on the side in a bowl for people to help themselves.
- The Marlborough Express