“ABDUCTED : PART 4″ – Short story continued…


Eddie’s attractive eyes widened as his suspicions were 100% confirmed! On pushing the bowl away in utter disgust some of the “Soup” had splashed onto the tray and ferociously began to sizzle eating away at the thin plastic! Was it sulfuric acid?! He shuddered to think of the damage it would have done to him internally had he been naive enough to taste some. Eddie had never felt so disgusted and significant in his whole life as he did now. Harrison had already committed attempted murder, once was clearly not enough to fill that mans twisted motives!!…. he was still trying !

HARRISON

Harrison hadn’t always been this evil, he had a fairly idyllic childhood and caring parents up until the age of 8. Then tragedy struck. Both his parents were killed after a truck had hit their vehicle, causing it to be partly crushed and spin madly out of control. There had been a fuel spillage, the car had been engulfed by horrific flames, they had been too badly injured to get out of the car and were burned to death. Unfortunately, Harrison decided to take a different route home from school that day and saw the charred remains of his parents in accident scene as their , unrecognizable bodies were removed from the car, he had understandably never recovered from the utter shock leaving him mentally scarred.

With no close relatives to care for him, Harrison was forced into foster care from a young age. His first set of carers were quite neglectful, often leaving him home alone and he found it very difficult to settle in with their family. He was a lost child, plunged into a cold world of misery and loneliness. Harrison refused any help or advice offered to him by councillors, neglecting their advice and failing to turn up to any pre-arranged meetings! Social services felt that a children’s home might be more suitable for him, giving Harrison the chance to mingle with children of his own age, recovering from similar tragedies. He wouldn’t hear any of it, all he wanted was to pull the shutters down upon his tragic life. His carers were concerned as he had an angry and violent disposition which was quickly spiralling out of control, Harrison was given the label of “problem child”

He liked to experiment as many young boys do. But these were concerning actions, not ones stereotypical of young boys.  Early on he decided to put baking soda from the classroom store cupboard into the tank of colourful, unsuspecting tropical fish at the end of a long school day “just to see what would happen.” Of course the next day they fish were floating upside down, dead as a door nail at the top of the expensive tank. They’d slowly suffocated.

The other children grew frightened of him as he began to threaten the younger ones and very quickly he became involved with theft. Firstly it was food from the class snack tray, it was too easy as it was kept out-of-the-way in the corridor. All he had to do was asked to be excused to go to the toilet and then swipe something from it, leaving his poor victim to go hungry. He’d steal pocket-money or birthday money from the younger ones in the children’s home. “Well it’s their own stupid fault for leaving it lying around” he thought selfishly to himself. Of course when questioned to whether or not he’d taken the money after lingering about the coats hanging on their pegs he’d think of some clever lie. Stealing at school and in the children’s home quickly turned to shop lifting. He only decided to stop after a group of them got caught on the local shops CCTV camera and he was given a police warning.

Harrison was turning out to be an attractive young man with sea blue eyes and carefully styled sandy blonde hair. Girls would do a double take after passing him in the street, he LOVED the attention. As it is said beauty is only skin deep, his heart was as cold and as hard as an iceberg . His mind was twisted containing more dangerous thoughts than could ever meet the eye.!! When he had decided on something he stuck to it, like his obsessive infatuation with Beth. He was besotted with her beauty, she had fallen for him too and soon became his “trophy girlfriend.” He took her out to expensive parties, she found his flighty behavior off-putting and told him so. Harrison was far too possessive. Beth recalled the time when they’d gone out to dinner and the waiter had smiled at her, of course she’d smiled back and he hit the roof. It caused a full-blown argument and they’d had to leave. That was only the start of things. His depression hit rock bottom, when Beth suggested that he should talk to someone he became furious and accused her of implying that she was crazy, the evening ended with a trip to casualty.

Further events occurred, like Beth’s suspiciously explained black eye. She claimed that she had tripped and fallen, when of course she’d been pushed. Beth foolishly suffered in silence like a terrified wild animal locked away in a lonely cage being, driven closer to carrying out drastic measurements. It was then as if by some miracle, her prayers was answered. She met Eddie……

PART 5 COMING SOON !

“ABDUCTED : PART 3″ – Short story continued…


Beth almost instantly thought of a potential prime suspect. Her ex-boyfriend Harrison was a perfect specimen of the word ‘bully’ ,making the past year of her life a living hell. Beth had lived in utter fear of his unpredictable irrational behaviour. He had a drink problem and the alcohol provoked his dangerous temper. Only recently had she learned of his previous criminal record which involved crimes such as burglary and domestic abuse. Many a time had he swaggered home from the local pub after carelessly spending his weekly wages,then purposely caused a heated argument often slapping her over petty things. Beth was sick of being told that she needed to lose weight or that she should wear her hair a certain way! gradually piece by piece he picked away at her self-esteem. She was never brave enough to speak out. Inside she was screaming desperately, but on the outside she kept her feelings hidden away under lock and key.

Beth’s family could be described as ‘well to do’, they were more than delighted when Harrison (who had rudely invited himself to dinner one evening) arrogantly announced that they were to be engaged. It was the first Beth had heard of it !! He could put on a very convincing show, her parents naively believed that he was ‘quite the gentleman’ when they couldn’t have been further from the truth!!

For a year she endured this hardship convincing herself that she was the one in the wrong , until gentle Eddie with his slightly shy but caring nature came along and taught her how to love again. He was a true gentleman and helped Beth find her feet with gentle reassurance, she had never been able to be this open with anyone before and it wasn’t long before they fell deeply in love. For the first time in her short life, Beth was treated like an equal instead of some insignificant child or lap dog. She knew in her heart of hearts that now she had found her soul mate.

Eddie felt the same. Beth’s self-esteem slowly but surely began to bloom beautifully and she began to take even more pride in her pretty appearance. Eddie promised that they would take things slowly as they were both damaged from their previous relationships, for the first time she was complimented instead of critacised and her spirits were lifted not crushed. This was to be a new positive chapter in her life, or so she thought!

Eddie

In the gloominess of the cellar Eddie was ever weakening due to the sheer lack of food. His rapid metabolic rate meant that he was used to eating little and often, he tried to recall the last time he ate. It must have been breakfast the morning he was abducted. He regretted skipping lunch that day, but his busy office schedule had been jam-packed with vital meetings giving him no time for breaks, only the chance to have quick sips of cool water.

More time passed at last there was a clicking sound and a secret hatch was revealed in the side of the wall. Where on earth did that come from? he questioned. A tray of food appeared, Eddie eyed it suspiciously. He sniffed the bowl of vegetable soup which seemed to be of an odd consistency. The smell was no different, he was too frightened to try it but how hungry he was! This was psychological torture! He cautiously ran the edge of the metal spoon around the plastic bowl. His sinister suspicions were immediately confirmed. The edge of the instrument was covered in the remnants of a powder, some sort of poison perhaps?

Harrison’s motives became all too clear, he wanted Eddie off the scene. If it meant killing him then that’s what he’d do. Eddie felt hopeless, there was no way that he could warn Beth of the ever approaching danger !

PART FOUR COMING SOON !

“ABDUCTED : PART 2″ – Short story continued…


Eddie closed his heavy eyelids, hoping to put the shutters down to block his fears. He managed to doze for a short period of time, dreaming restlessly and dreading what horrors the breaking of the new day might bring. As the room lightened slightly in the early hours of the morning it became apparent that it was a cellar with thick stone walls. The sheer density of the design made it completely sound proof. He tried very quickly to gather his lost thoughts from the frightening night before, quickly realising that his I-phone was in the pocket of his jacket not that there would have been any signal anyway he thought.

Eddie’s head pounded as he tried to recall the moment in which he was attacked but only had very vague, sketchy memories of the incident. Why on earth was he here?  He was suffering from lingering effects of concussion caused by the sharp blow to the head he had received. His body was covered in cuts and bruises; he was frozen to the bone, badly shocked and shaken after the frightful trauma he had endured. Placing his bound wrists over his knees, he scrunched his body up into a ball. This proved to be painful as he had unknowingly cracked some of his ribs during the stair fall earlier; he winced letting out a cry of pain and was forced to return to his previous position. Another memory struck him like lighting BETH !!! Oh god she would wonder what on earth had become of him he thought, and began to panic desperately searching for an exit.

There were no windows or doors to be seen. He had no idea of his destination or of the time, more than likely it was the early hours of the next morning, but Eddie couldn’t be exactly sure. The side of his head felt odd, slightly swollen perhaps ? Eddie could sense the congealed blood which had gathered in his hair causing it to become slightly matted. The dried blood upon his cheek and neck began to itch. He let his chin drop and rest upon his painful chest. A salty tear trickled down his chiselled cheek.

At their home, Beth paced up and down the narrow hallway of their London flat awaiting further phone calls from the police. When Eddie wasn’t back by 11pm she had begun to fret. It wasn’t unusual for him to work later into the evenings but never this late ! She had made many attempts to call his phone with no reply, only to hear his chirpy pre-recorded answer machine message. She began to devise reasons in her head to why he was so late. Maybe there was something that he wasn’t telling her and that was the reason why he wasn’t coming home. She mentally scolded herself for ever thinking such a thing. Eddie wasn’t a cheat, he was kind and thoughtful, but this was getting beyond ridiculous now. Sleep was not on her side and as the hours passed she sat up fully awake in bed, with her phone resting next to her on the pillow on the empty side where Eddie would normally be slumbering peacefully. Beth smoothed his slightly crumpled pillow and stretched across to lay her head upon it. It smelled like Eddie, fresh and soothing with a slight gentle aroma of his expensive shampoo, tracing the creases of the material with her fingertips. As she did she attempted to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together in her confused mind.

The next day was dreary and she spent all of her time fraught, answering useless phone calls which held no news or any glimmer of hope for finding Eddie. She wiped away a frightened tear. Beth had to stay strong, sobbing wouldn’t help anyone find Eddie but neither would to solely rely on a half-hearted police search. It was time to take matters into her own hands!

PART THREE COMING SOON !!

“ABDUCTED : PART 1” – Short story


Thick billows of smoke from spluttering chimneys filled the darkened January air. Eddie walked home in blissful ignorance of the misfortune that was about to befall him, his head filled with thoughts of Beth someone who had recently filled a space in his once lonely heart. Somebody with sinister intentions lurked like a sly fox, hiding amongst the shadows. It was a perfectly planned attack,  the evening was rapidly drawing in, and the once bustling streets were deserted. If it was carried out with enough precision no-one would suspect a thing….until tomorrow.

Eddie unknowingly passed his potential attackers. He was a fast walker with a tall and elegant frame. The night  was nippy, his hands were tucked into the deep pockets of his warm, yet rather expensive jacket making him even more vulnerable. This was their chance!!

The attackers sprung out , a brutally sharp blow struck the side of Eddie’s face with an almighty force, causing his vision to rapidly blur. A flow of scarlet blood began to pulsate from the gash and trickled down his neck staining his once pristine white shirt. Eddie seemed to sway as if drunken and rough hands grabbed his arms in a grip as strong as steel iron. Semi-conscious Eddie was gagged and forced into the back of a small van; too dazed to struggle. The boot was airless and his body jolted violently as the vehicle sped carelessly along the poorly lit city streets. He drifted in and out of consciousness for the duration of the dreary journey completely disoriented.

At last there was a clanking noise as the boot was jerked open, Eddie was dragged out. His legs turned to jelly as they approached a disused building. He could not see the faces of his captors as they were heavily clad with woollen balaclavas. Brutal hands grasped his shoulders, forcing him forwards and causing him to trip and fall down a small flight of slate stairs. He struck his head sharply on the uneven stone wall, falling into frightening darkness.

*******

On opening his eyes Eddie was aware of the bitter cold, his coat was gone and his bruised body ached badly. The icy stone floor seemed to numb the throbbing pain slightly. He felt nauseous from the lingering effects of the head injury; as he was badly concussed.

Why would Harrison do this and go to these extremes? Eddie loved Beth more than words could ever express. They had only been together for 6 months but they were so in tune with each other’s emotions. Beth was beautiful, with stunning emerald eyes and porcelain skin, and had a heart of gold. A girlfriend any man should have been proud of. Harrison her ex-boyfriend on the other hand was a major issue. He was possessive and unpredictably aggressive, often resorting to using his fists, not to mention his unruly and sinister crime involved family. When Harrison stated that Beth would regret leaving him for Eddie, no-one could have predicted that this would happen. Hours of darkness seemed to pass, as the new day dawned it brought twisted promises of further misfortune…..

PART TWO COMING SOON !!

Celebrity Masterchef : Day 3 – 22/8/12


Today was day 3 of this round of celebrity Masterchef as the 4 celebrities battle it out for a place in the next round. I know who I personally would have eliminated from the competition, but Gregg and John made a very different decision.

The dessert challenge

The first test of the day was a classic recipe test. They were expected to make an apple tarte tatin with crème anglaise to accompany it. They had exactly one hour to impress and prove that they could follow a recipe successfully.

Gareth stated “when it comes to the crunch I’m better at eating desserts than making them.” He was working in the dark as he had never made tarte tatin before. The judges were concerned as he chopped the apples into small pieces, they were just too tiny. Leila was also very nervous, not knowing what the dessert looked and tasted like. Emma Kennedy claimed she was unsure stating “I think the biggest gap in my knowledge is puddings and pastry. I know nothing of them they are a mystery as deep as the seas.” Emma had 3 attempts at her caramel sauce, but would she get it right?

Result

Emma’s was first up for scrutiny. Her caramel was too runny and Gregg critacised her pastry for being under-cooked. On a positive note her crème anglaise was fantastic!

Leila was next. Hers was more of a golden colour and Gregg immediately said “Yum! We’re almost there, the apples are soft with a caramel flavour with lovely creamy vanilla custard but your pastry isn’t cooked long enough” John stated “It’s not bad”

Gareth continued to look very nervous and was immediately critacised. He placed the vanilla on top for decoration instead of putting it in the dessert! John stated “you can see the pastry in the middle isn’t cooked enough, the apples are cut too small so they break down very quickly, your caramels not dark enough. There are little tiny lumps in your crème analgise which says that it is just on the edge of curdling.” Flavour wise Gregg declared : “It doesn’t taste like a tart tatin ‘cos it doesn’t have a caramel and it doesn’t have any vanilla but you’ve got soft buttery sweet apples with a sweetened cream, nice flavours just not the flavours we were expecting.” Gareth afterwards said “Pastries and desserts are not my strong point so therefore, it was hard work from the offset.”

Last was George. His looked messy and poorly presented nothing new there with 3 ridiculous slices and his custard appeared to be really thin. John said “The pastry isn’t cooked enough” but praised the actual flavours. Gregg said “your custard isn’t cooked and your pastry is too thin!”

Overall John and Gregg were disappointed with the round.

Contestants own dishes

Their own dishes in the next round would determine who was leaving the competition. They had 1 hour to impress the judges with a main course of their own design.

George

To my HORROR George’s was actually quite decent. He hoped to impress the judges with stuffed quale, vegetable spaghetti and mashed potato served with a wild mushroom sauce. John described it as “Close to stunning” the dish was a success except for the mashed potato which was lumpy. He clearly hadn’t learnt from his mistake during the mass catering the experience the other day.

Emma

Emma’s dish looked very presentable ; a salmon, prawn and butternut squash curry served with flat breads. John was impressed immediately uttering the words “I think it’s delicious I love it ‘cos it’s got heat from the chilli, sweetness in the sugar, a richness from the coconut milk, saltiness from the prawns and the oil from the salmon. The most impressive thing about your dish Emma are these brilliant little flat breads.” Gregg found it a little chunky but like John, loved the flat breads. Emma stated “The fact that I have managed to put out a decent curry with ACTUAL flat breads is for me…amazing!”

Gareth

You could tell from Gareth’s face that he was very stressed and disappointed even before Gregg and John had made their comments. He cooked venison with a potato puree, ham lardoons, spinach and a red pepper wine jue, once again his presentation was elegant (like him) John stated “I like your presentation but actually Gareth, what I am confused about is that we have this small amount of mashed potato with a very large piece of meat, in my opinion it’s all out of proportion.” Gregg thought it was lovely, but said “there’s no excuse for that much mashed potatoes, nothing can be there to purely decorate your plate.” After the end result you could really tell that Gareth was beating himself up inside.

Leila

Leila was miles ahead of everyone else. She cooked a spiced lamb shank with prune jam, almonds, couscous and harissa. The dish was very popular Gregg stated “I love the flavours you’ve going on there the heat and sharpness of harissa as well. Some of these flavours are magical.” The lamb did need more cooking. John described the flavours as “rich and opulent” and stated “you are this close off one of the most fabulous decision that I’ve eaten in a long time” She commented afterwards “I never thought anyone would ever talk about my cooking like that, it’s a huge compliment.”

Final decision : Who would leave the competition?

Gregg and John had to come to the final decision of who would leave the competition. Based on that round I think it was obvious who was going to be eliminated. The judges felt that George really pushed himself on that round. They loved Emma and Leila’s dishes, Emma really redeemed herself with the successful flatbreads. The judges enjoyed the richness of Gareth’s sauce to accompany the venison but thought the balance was wrong with the tiny swipe of mashed potato and a large piece of meat. Gareth said “A place in the next round means so much to me, none of us want to leave.”

They waited nervously in a line waiting for the person’s name to be called. John said (much to my disappointment and my Mums) “The person leaving us is….Gareth.”  As Gareth left he declared : “I’m really really gutted the other 3 were amazing you know, so that’s fine by me. It’s a shame I only lasted a week but it’s been a really really good week.” I don’t think it was particularly fair, George had an AWFUL first round on Monday and his presentation is horrendous he should have been the one to go.

As always Gareth left gracefully, although it was clear that he was devastated and wiped away a tear! 😦

Celebrity Masterchef Tuesday 21/8/12 (Day 2) :


Tuesday was the second day of this week’s Celebrity Masterchef with the 4 celebrities: George Layton, Leila Rouass, Emma Kennedy and Gareth Gates. They were given a mystery mass catering challenge and whisked away in taxis to The Royal Holloway University in London. Their task was to prepare a lunch and mass cater for the students. It was girls VS boys as Leila and Emma were a team as were Gareth and George (unfortunately) they were expected to make 40 portions of a main course and 40 of a dessert of their choice.

In charge of the kitchen was Karen Veleho. The teams had 2.5 hours to cook their 2 course meal. The selected ingredients included: lamb, aubergines, leeks, potatoes, herbs & spices, apples and plums.

The pressure is on

Gareth and George were under huge amounts of pressure to get their dishes in the oven within the hour. Preparation was the key and it had to happen fast! George set to chopping the vegetables for their stew while Gareth took charge with cutting up the bread for their bread and butter pudding asking George to make the custard. The issue was that they didn’t really seem to know who was in charge and it really let them down. Gareth began the vegetarian lasagne he stated “I’m used to making little foods that taste great; this is very different we’ve just been throwing it in the pan.”

Meanwhile Leila and Emma had nearly finished all their preparation and were onto flavouring their chicken. Emma was streets ahead with her dessert and was relieved that she’d been given crumble stating “between you and me it’s the only pudding we know how to make!” I had to laugh when Emma said to Gregg Wallace “Gregg what do you do with your plums?” he just looked at her in utter horror!

 

Running behind

By this time 90 minutes were gone. George was nowhere near ready with his bread and butter pudding. He was critacised by John for his messy presentation. At long last his dessert was finished. When taking it out the oven Gareth uttered the famous last words of “Mate watch you don’t spill it….oh he’s spilt it!!”

Gareth was seriously running behind saying “I’m in major trouble I need to get my lasagne in NOW or we’re stuffed” John was worried about the portions telling him “there’s no way there’s 40 portions of lasagne there” to which Gareth replied “Well I’m hoping that there is !” with no time to spare, quickly thinking on his feet Gareth sensibly bulked out the sauce with beans. Greg was concerned to why there was no cheese, but any Gareth Gates fan will know that Gareth is VERY allergic to it !

With 15 minutes until service began things were looking bad for both teams. Emma’s curry was far too hot according to Gregg. Gareth was extremely frustrated and said to George “That’s not enough mash!! And it’s lumpy!!” he really wasn’t happy and later declared “This is the worst mash I have ever seen in my life!!”

Food Service

All the food was out on time (luckily) Emma and Leila’s Moroccan chicken with couscous looked very presentable, as did the vegetarian option of chick pea curry served with rice. The dish went down an absolute storm. Gregg and John liked the chicken curry. John said it was “Wonderfully moist and nice and spicy” but said the couscous was AWFUL. The vegetarian dish was also decent and described as “moreish with a nice bit of spice, not a bad job actually”

Gareth and George didn’t do so well (much to my disappointment, but not to my surprise) they probably should have been more careful with their portion sizes during food service. Gregg wasn’t happy with George’s mashed potato saying “The mash isn’t mashed it’s partly crushed and partly boiled potatoes” the meat was a bit dry and the sauce should have been thicker. The vegetarian dish was rather poor and was described as “not good, it could have been a lot more saucy and cheesy.”

Pudding

The girls made a great plum crumble and custard which went down very well, while the boys made a bread and butter pudding with cream which was  criticised for not being sweet enough with a back taste of egg however, the raisins gave it depth.

Result

The girls clearly won that round hands down and Leila came out of her shell. Emma was a really willing sous chef, meaning that the two of them worked brilliantly together. Gareth and George suffered as they didn’t really work as a team as they should have done. Gareth stated “Today was hard I thought, we had our ups and downs however, by the end we managed to pull it together by the skin of our teeth.”

Tomorrow we lose a contestant, their culinary dream will be over. I’m praying that it will be George as so far he has been the weakest of the 3!

Celebrity Masterchef Week 2, Monday 20/8/12 (day 1) :


Celebrity Masterchef hit our screens last week with a brand new series. Jamie Theakston and Javine made it through in the first heat. This week we are joined by 4 new celebrities. Holby city star Leila Rouass, actor George Layton, author Emma Kennedy and the person who I was most excited about seeing West End Star Gareth Gates !

Mystery Box

The 4 celebrities all appeared to be very nervous before the start of the heat. Gareth Gates stated “I’m very competitive; I’m in it to win it.” They were all presented with the mystery box test where they were given a random selection of ingredients and expected to create something. They had just 50 minutes to prove their potential.

The main ingredient was pigeon, something that I’d never even dream of eating myself! The box also included:

  • Rhubarb
  • Poi Lentils
  • An orange
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Pancetta
  • 1 pepper

 

Emma

Emma created orange roasted pigeon wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with garlic, served with creamed potatoes, cabbage, buttered carrots and a parsley sauce. John immediately stated “You like your seasoning don’t you!” the duck was perfectly cooked as was the rest of her dish although she was criticised again for over using salt.

George

George’s presentation was messy. He made pan-fried pigeon breasts and served them with pancetta, savoy cabbage, sautéed potatoes and very randomly a separate red pepper salad. The pigeon breast was excellently cooked but the potatoes and cabbage were slightly burnt. The judges accused him of having bad presentational skills. George stated “I’m sort of happy but I know I can do better and will do better.”

Leila

Leila pot roasted her pigeon with the potatoes and served them with the red pepper stuffed with the pigeon liver and lentils. The bird was slightly overcooked however, her potatoes were delicious. Gregg stated that her pepper was weird and the combination of pepper and lentils shouldn’t be together. She was disappointed and claimed “It wasn’t as bad as I thought and I’m glad it’s over.

Gareth

The head was still on the pigeon and I had to laugh when Gareth (after decapitating it) picked up the head and said “You alright?” making it nod!!! Gareth created pigeon breasts neatly wrapped in parma ham, roast potatoes and a carrot puree very impressive! He stated “ I’m all about the way things look.” John and Gregg were obviously very impressed when Gareth stated that he could visualise how the dish was going to look in his head. They then said “Are you at one with the spirit in the sky?” Gareth laughed and stated “I certainly am!”

 

Gareth’s result

Gareth was streets ahead of the rest in this round. John immediately stated “That looks fantastic!” and after tasting described the dish as “Wonderful iron rich pigeon, beautiful taste of that bacon round the outside all smoky and a really beautifully seasoned sweet carrot puree. I think it is really very good indeed. So so impressed Gareth!”

Gregg was also a fan saying “I really really like that it’s a perfect match. I’m really impressed ‘cos you’ve had no time to practice this at all”

After the round John said “Wow! Guys that may be the best start I have ever seen to a heat on Celebrity Masterchef, absolutely brilliant!”

 

The skills test : Tomato Bruscetta

Next the contestants had 10 minutes to complete a skills test. Firstly they had to remove the skin from the tomatoes. What really shocked me is only 1 out of the 4 knew how to blanche a tomato! They were expected to toast the bread, rub ground garlic over the bread and mix the tomato and garlic together. They then had to add salt, basil and olive oil and place them on the bruschetta. Quite simple… but how would they fare.

Gareth

First was Gareth. He began by chopping the garlic and was clearly very nervous. I wanted to shout at the TV when he began to peel the tomatoes with a vegetable peeler!!!! He nearly forgot to toast the bruschetta. John gave him a subtle hint stating “have you had bruschetta before Gareth?” to which Gareth answered “many a time yes” John continued “and how’s the bread normally?” Gareth nearly forgot to toast it !!! Once again the presentation was elegant but you could tell that Gareth wasn’t happy with his finished result.

Leila

Leila cut the bread IN HALF! and then continued to cut it too thinly. Effectively she gave them dipping soldiers with a tomato salad. Gregg picked un an olive which had pretty much collected all of the garlic! John stated “It’s just alright, its ok!” not a great start for the first 2.

George

Again, George cut the bread in half! He placed the tomatoes in the boiling water and removed the skin the correct way but the finished dish looked like a car crash! Gregg stated “This is more like a pizza! You definitely need to work on presentation.”

 

Emma

Last but not least was Emma. I have to say that I was very impressed. She finely cut the bread and knew how to effectively take the skin off a tomato. The bread was well toasted and flavoured with the garlic. John said “what you have done here is almost perfect I am absolutely ecstatic!!” Emma had by far the strongest bruschetta round!

 

Final thoughts

All four celebrities had their ups and down on their first day. Tomorrow they have their biggest test so far in their outside challenge (gulp) I can’t wait to see how they fair!

Celebrity Master chef 2012 week 1


Last week Celebrity Master chef hit our screens on BBC 2 once more for its 7th series, as the first 4 celebrities battled it out for a place in the semi-final. The celebrities were Anne Charleston from Soap opera Neighbours, singer Javine, Jamie Theakston and Steve Parry.

There was no rest for the wicked for as soon as the contestants arrived they were given a skills test which involved making their own home-made pasta and pesto in just 10 minutes. It was to be a success for some and more of a disaster for others.

On Tuesday they were unleashed onto the unsuspecting public and cooking in pairs Steve and Javine and Anne and Jamie, where they had 110 hungry mouths to feed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. Jamie and Anne were expected to deliver an excellent chicken dish while the other pair made a chilli concarne and a vegetable lasagne. John Torrode and Gregg Wallace were concerned by the fact that Jamie and Anne were working together as they were barely communicating with each other. The food from both teams seemed to go down well.

Elimination Day

Day 3 of the competition meant elimination day. The challenge was a cook off in the Masterchef kitchen with 2 tests. The first was a classic recipe with a blackberry and frangipane tart. They had 1 hour and 10 minutes to perform.

Javine clearly struggled with her pastry and seemed to fail to follow the recipe properly, resulting in a “gooey horrible mess” she was absolutely gutted. Jamie’s tart was a little soft in the middle but very presentable to the eye down to pure luck much to John & Gregg’s amazement. Anne’s wasn’t completely awful however it had more of a Victoria sponge texture according to the judges. It was Steve’s strongest round.

The next challenge was for the cooks to create one of their favourite dishes with the time limit of 1 hour. Jamie made a fillet of venison steak with a cream sauce, roasted vegetables, creamed potatoes with a red current and juniper sauce. John and Gregg were impressed with the flavours within the dish.

Anne’s was to follow scallops served with a mango, pepper and avocado salad with a drizzled chilli dressing. Some of the scallops were badly torn and described it as “a little overpowering” once again critacising her presentation, stating that “Your dishes need to be as elegant as you”

Steve created pepper steak, garlic mash, green beans and pepper corns with a shallot sauce. Greg quickly stated “ I love it love it love it! I would eat the whole thing.” John was also impressed but would have liked the sauce to be thinner to bring the dish together.

Javine cooked a fillet of steak, parsley, celeriac mash and a red wine and spinach jue. It was probably the best looking dish of the night however; the spinach was a problem as it was leaking water into the sauce.

The contestants waited to hear who would be evicted, it was Anne and she left the competition with her head held high.

Episode 4

Things seriously started to hot up. At 8am Steve, Javine and Jamie headed off to cook in their 1st professional restaurant, one which specialised in French cuisine. They were greeted by head chef Michael Weiss and had 3 hours to impress.

Steve had 80 scallops to prepare in 1 hour for the starters. Javine was put in charge of the tricky venison main course and was expected to remove the unwanted muscles from the meat. Jamie probably drew the shortest straw- being in charge of the expensive monk fish in his braised monkfish, pomme puree and roasted fennel dish. Each portion had to be weighed perfectly and the membrane had to be removed.

With only 40 minutes to go until service Steve was feeling the pressure and had to call on some help. At 12 midday the first customers began to arrive. Both Steve and Javine were criticised on their presentation and as service became more and more hectic the head chef’s concerns grew.

They faced one final challenge in that restaurant having to prepare steak tartar for Michael Weiss. Steve’s overall presentation and dish was good although his pieces of steak were slightly too big. Javine’s version was excellent except for the bread crumbed egg on top which had been overdone and exploded inside. Jamie’s was too spicy with the meat unevenly chopped however, his egg was perfect.

Day 5

Friday was the final day for this round of celebrities. Today was make or break. They had to cook for 3 previous celebrity master chef contestants Andi Peters, Lisa Faulkner and Phil Vickery. They had just one hour and 15 minutes to cook a 2 course meal of their own design.

The judges were slightly worried about Javine’s starter – red snapper with mango, plantain and a starvenise and honey sauce. They thought she was being a little too over ambitious however the dish proved itself to be elegant. Her dessert was perfection. I had to laugh when John, Greg and Javine crouched around the oven and prayed. The chocolate pots were served with a hazelnut crème and a raspberry coulis.

Jamie made pan-fried duck breast with a bitter orange and pea puree. Andi complained that the duck was underdone but overall the judges were happy and decided to take on his own demon, the frangipani.  This time it was chocolate and ginger with a beautiful fondant centre, the presentation was beautiful and the dessert went down a storm.

Steve’s main of Mediterranean vegetables, chicken wrapped in Parma ham, mozzarella and gnocchi proved to be a massive gamble. The chicken didn’t appear to be 100% cooked and the vegetables were too el dente.

Final result

After quite a poor round Steve was eliminated from the competition but stated “ I’ve absolutely loved it, it’s been so much fun.” Jamie and Javine will go through to the next round in a few weeks time.

Next Week

Next week 4 more celebrities will don their Master chef aprons they are Holby City’s Leila Rouass, actor George Layton, author Emma Kennedy and the person who I am most excited to see ; popstar and West End Star Gareth Gates but how will they fair….? Tune in next week to find out!

Tom Daley takes BRONZE in the Olympic diving final !


 The Olympic diving final

I wait nervously with bated breath in anticipation for Tom Daley to dive 9th. I think many people momentarily forget the fact that he’s only 18 years of age, competing against older and more experienced divers in the men’s 10m platform diving.

Round one was a 2  ½ somersault 2 ½ twist in pike position with a difficulty of 3.6. His take off was slightly disappointing, giving him a score of 75.6  .  Clearly he was not happy with the dive and stated that all the flashes from the cameras in the crowd were off-putting, slightly diva-ish perhaps but true. Unexpectedly, Daley was granted his re-dive, it was almost like fate! He scored  an amazing 91.80, putting him in 3rd place.

Round two was also brilliant and Daley scored 86.40 putting him in 5th position out of 6 in the leader board.

Round three showed a vast improvement ; an arm stand back triple somersault pike with a difficulty of 3.5. Once again he nailed the dive scoring 92.75, he moved up one place into 4th position on the score board, with a total score of 270.95 only 7 points away from being in 3rd place.

Round four was absolutely outstanding, 4 ½ somersaults and it was incredible. The crowd went completely wild he scored 98.05 at the end of the round Tom was in 3rd place.

Round five again was an improvement with a back 3 ½ somersault in pike position, difficulty 3.6. Oh my god what a dive! That clean-cut dive gave him an amazing score of 97.20 putting him into 1st place but the fate would be in the next round.

Round 6 : The final diving round

The country waits nervously in anticipation. Tuck position, reverse 3 ½ somersault. The dive was nearly perfect and had footballer David Beckham on his feet.

USA’s David Boudia was just too incredible scoring a whopping 102.60 and claiming the gold medal, snatching it almost literally from the grasp of China’s Qui Bo! Showing that the Chinese are beatable!

Tom Daley came a proud 3rd receiving the bronze medal with a final total score of 556.95.

He was interviewed shortly after his success and stated

“Honestly this medal means so much to me, it’s unbelievable after, well it’s been the hardest year of my life, losing my Dad and you know it’s a shame that he wasn’t here today because I know he would have been proud of me for what I’ve done. To go into the prelim yesterday and have a shaky start and just scrape through to the semi-final and come back the next day and not lose the confidence. I’m literally so happy. I really wish that my Dad was here to see that”

Tom Daley makes the London 2012 Olympics diving final


TWITTER TROLL

After a shaky start squeezing narrowly through the prelims finishing in 15th place with a rather low score of 448.45 points, Daley endured unforgivable abuse on the social networking site Twitter. Tom was targeted shortly after finishing the dive by a heartless bully who accused him of “letting his Dad down” after he finished 4th in the syncronised diving.

Daley re-tweeted a message from the user @Rileyy69 which stated “You let your Dad down I hope you know that” Daley quickly responded stating “After giving it my all… you get idiots sending me this” A 17 year old was arrested by Dorset police officers at a guest house in Weymouth on suspicion of “malicious communications”

KING OF COMEBACKS

Tom Daley has recently proven himself to be a very determined and worthy competitor at the London Olympics, not to mention the king of comebacks! The 18 year old showed a rapid return to form last night. His timing could not have been more perfect. Daley looked more relaxed as he progressed through his first 4 dives and very soon it became apparent that he would make the final 12. His 1st dive was more controlled and scored more highly than it had done on the previous nights preliminary competition scoring a respectable 81.00 for his 2.5 somersault & 2.5 twist dive.

The 1st round came to an end and Daley was ranked 9th. In his 2nd attempt he scored 86.40 which meant he stayed in the same ranking position.  The 3rd round really showed off his talent and potential when he scored his highest mark of 89.25. He didn’t quite achieve that in this mornings semi final but scored a solid 84.00.

He moved up to 8th position progressing with the top 12 in tonights diving final due to be shown at 8.30pm in which he will dive 9th.

Daley stated on his Twitter page :

For those wanting to watch…my final is on at 8.30pm 🙂

The nation will be hooked to their seats tonight in under 1 hour,  waiting with baited breath. I wish him the very best of luck!