MasterChef – Sun, July 3 – invention test archives

The judges reveal that this week will be the toughest ever. In this invention test contestants must choose between three of the hardest invention test dishes ever from previous seasons.

So here’s the pic from Twitter but I’m having trouble working out what everything is. The cactus is from 2012 – here’s the Wikipedia blurb: In a Mexican-themed Invention Test Julia chose cactus and prickly pear as the core ingredient. And while Mindy won a second shot at immunity, beating Alice and Dalvinder, Julia found herself in the Bottom 3 with Andrew and Kath.
(That’s the year Andrew (Andy) won.)
Is the dish on the vintage plate apricot chicken?
Anyone know what the bowl of layered soil stuff is?

Some thoughts from my quick watch the next day as I watch with the volume on high as the rain pelts down on the tin roof. They had a mystery box with these ingredients and, for once, had to use every ingredient – I like it when they do this. For once, there is nothing too weird in there: condensed milk, Granny Smith apples, corn, rum, dates, pork belly, onion and cinnamon.

Harry gets some back story – him cooking for his mates. So he must do well. Elise seems to be the only one doing a dessert. “This is very creative,” says Gary. Wow – praise from Gary for Elise – that never happens. How will she use the onions, though?
Brett is on a high from being praise last week and is determined to continue his success.
Intense Matt is trying to make a caramel from his condensed milk but has tipped it into a saucepan. IM – you need to keep boil in the can, man! We haven’t really seen how the others are using it in their savoury dishes.
Harry has used three-quarters of a bottle of rum – bloody hell!
Brett is worried that his dish will be too sweet so he decides to smoke up some corn puree. He’s gone all fancy – Brett from week one would never have even touched a smoking gun.
Elise is filling poached meringues (made, of course, in the red moulds of death) with apple and condensed milk and will coat them in onion ash. Hmm – this could go horribly wrong. I’m a bit over meringue desserts this year – we’ve seen almost as many of them as parfaits.
Mimi is getting almost as much airtime as Brett and Harry for her pork three ways. Come on – three ways is so 2015. I want to see pork four ways!
With a few minutes to go Elise is having onion ash drama and Mimi’s apple and onion soz is too runny. Her pork floss looks good.
Elena was making some kind of apple tart but we haven’t even touched base with Trent of Theresa, so they’re no hope.

The judges taste
Mimi’s dish

The judges say it looks great. Gaz loves the pork and that she added dates to thicken her soz.
Harry’s dish

Gaz says it was a clean and tasty dish when it could so easily have been a jumble of flavours. Matt says it’s a complex and subtle dish.
Brett’s dish
He’s used dried apple skins and pickled apple to garnish the dish and it looks interesting. Gary tastes first and goes in for seconds before the others can even try. George lets out a little moan. The judges tell him he’s evolved and is on fire. “You could win this competition,” says George. Good one, Brett.
And, of course, he’s the winner. He gives a little fist pump of delight.

Brett’s pulled aside into the pantry and presented with three invention tests fro the archives (and the minute they say the first one is from the 70s he names it before it’s revelaed).
Season 6 : Apricot chicken
Season 7: Earth – a conceptual test
Season 4: Cactus

And Brett picks apricot chicken. They try to dent his ego by pointing out most of the other contestants weren’t even born in the 70s. He says his mum used to make it all the time. Mine, too – and I made a version of it last month served with a nutty rice pilaf.

IM’s gone rogue and is using quail instead of chook, introducing some Middle Eastern flavours, serving it with cauliflower couscous.
Uh oh – Mimi is having a brain freeze like she did with the ye olden days challenge and is grabbing ingredients with no dish in mind.
Theresa has a box of french onion soup powder in her shopping basket, but admits she’s never tasted the original. “Asians don’t cook apricot chicken,” she smiles. This reminds me of the time Reynold was told he would have to cook a jaffle. Theresa is sous viding the chicken. So, the same technique as in the ye olden days challenge, although this time she’s brining chook breasts. Harry is also sous viding his chook, to serve with Middle Eastern couscous with apricot jus.
Mimi is pressure cooking a chicken leg and George comes over to give her the gloomy stare and tell her she needs to get it together. At least Elise has a clear idea. She’s also sous viding her chook and is including some charred apricots and chicken skin.
Trent is making an apricot chicken curry but he’s not confident. Theresa is running out of time to cook her humungous chicken breast – cut it up smaller!
Brett is doing a chook roulade wrapped in prosciutto with “flavour bombs”.
I think we’ve touched base with everyone but Elena, so she’s safe.
George and Gaz tour the benches and stare dourly at Trent’s curry. Gaz says curry is not sophisticated and looks “weak”. You’re in trouble, Trent.
Mimi decides she needs to make a cauliflower puree with lots of vinegar in it. It does not sounds good.
Ooh – Chloe just popped up. I totally forgot she was there! So she also didn’t get airtime in the mystery box challenge.
Matt tastes Brett’s sauce and it’s super sweet. Brett decides to add raspberry vinegar to balance it.
Mimi’s cauli puree tastes weird. She’s going to be bottom three.
Elise’s plating looks very desserty – smart move using the charcoal-coloured plate.
Uh oh – Theresa’s chicken is raw so she has to chuck it in a pan. I’d love to see Theresa plate a dish with a minute to spare, just once.
I like the look of IM’s toasted cauli couscous with apricot “jam”. He’s a little worried that he used quail.
Theresa looks down at her dish and thinks she’s plated a slice of undercooked chicken. She tears up.

The judges taste

Brett’s roulade with couscous: It looks interesting. The judges say it is sophisticated and he’s continuing his successful streak.
Trent’s curry with flatbread: Yep, it looks like a curry. Gaz says it’s tasty but everyone else has amped it up.
Elena’s cauli rice chicken salad: “You have jammed an enormous amount of flavour into that dish,” says Gaz.
Chloe’s chook with apricot and carrot puree: Matt loves it.
IM’s quail with cauli couscous: The judges think it’s pretty. “Geez, you can cook, Matt – that’s for sure,” says George. They love it.
Mimi’s chook leg with cauli puree: Gaz -after dunking his spoon straight into the soz carafe – says it’s underwhelming after tasting the other dishes. George says the puree was overcooked.

Elise’s sous vide breast with charred apricots and crispy skin: “It looks amazing,” says Gaz, and then: “That is bloody delicious.” Even George seems happy. She’s nailed it. Well done, Elise. Another success, following up your fennel apple tart thingy that got rave reviews in ye olden days challenge.
Theresa’s sous vide chicken with leeks: She’s crying before they’ve even tasted it. “There are lots of mistakes in that bowl,” says Gaz. They tell her she needs to manage her time better. Matt points the undercooked piece is next to an overcooked bit.

Harry’s sous vide chicken with couscous and apricot port jus: The judges are giggling with either happiness or tiredness. The soz is a huge hit. “Bang,” says Matt.

The top three dishes
Going through to the immunity challenge on Tuesday night are: Elise, Harry and Brett (one of the few MasterChef contestants not cursef by having the advantage).
The bottom three
No surprises with the names:Theresa, Mimi and Trent. The real surprise is Theresa’s the only one who’s been in an elimination test before. They have to cook a Peter Gilmore dish that involves liquid nitrogen.



  1. Just been watching the ad for Zumbo’s new show and I suspect none of this years MC contestants would be good enough to get in the show. There are 12 contestants and is coming up on Ch 7. I assume it will be after the Olympics.

    • Meringue sphere. Never crossed my mind. Cute. I would do this. Not like Elise but plain and simple, with fruit.

  2. Please no prickly pear. What’s the bet that ends in nine people trying to make ice-cream (parfait).

  3. Toughest MC eva? Reinvent Apricot Chicken. Is this the weakest Top 10?

    They should have had a 1970s Women Weekly Elimination Challenge for the Top 50.

  4. Theoretically, I don’t mind this challenge. At least all the cooks are on a level playing field and we are comparing like with like. In reality, I keep changing the channel and forgetting to come back.

  5. So the quail has become a chicken.

    Tomorrow I will tell my chooks that they will be quails from now on

    • Very thing is soo good. He just keep praising himself!!!

      And Theresa need to know it is her time management that will send her to elimination. Nothing to do with a bad cook.

  6. Julie,
    Brett resembles Quagmire from Family Guy

    Harry is just loving his food. Not an ounce of humility in him. Elena quiet today.
    Theresa’s dish looks awful.

  7. Theresa struggles with timing, nearly every time! Her dish looks pretty bad. Not sure about other two though, they showed lots of Trent, so maybe his curry isn’t good enough.

  8. Lovely to see Elise genuinely happy. It reminds you of how few genuine moments there are this season.

  9. Dear little Chloe, as soon as judges mention outstanding dishes her face lights up and eyes sparkle! She certainly expects praise …

  10. Could barely summon enthusiasm to watch!
    Might just wait till Recap & decide if it’s worth it.
    From the comments I have gleaned that Harry is loving himself sick & used the word beautiful a lot (primarily about himself), Chloe expected (unwarranted) praise and Theresa struggled with time management. Status quo.
    The only thing I’ve heard that might be worth seeing is watching Elise being praised and not bullied.

    • Not sure if and when I’ll get to it – still haven’t caught the rainbow challenge! I have much fast forwarding to do.

      • Never mind – the recaps are better than the show, but realise it’s burden for you to watch too.

        I’m struggling to locate my interest in this over hyped and under talented group of amatas and really just want it put out of its misery. I wonder whether Chloe twisting with excitement at Golden Gate will spark my enthusiasm? (Question asked, question answered!!)

      • Thanks Juz! I am pleased there was some pleasantness towards Elise but conspiracy theory says it’s just so there is something to feature in her farewell package.

  11. At the end of this bigger than evah, seriously hard and amazing week, no doubt they’ll be announcing the trip to San Fran. I suspect Theresa won’t make the flight and hopefully Harry will miss is too!

  12. I am puzzled. Was reinventing apricot chicken seriously supposed to be one of the toughest challenges evah??? I didn’t even think the mystery box was difficult.
    I’m guessing (and hoping) that Theresa will finally be eliminated but then they might want to get rid of Trent. Didn’t realize that neither Mimi nor Trent have been in any elimination challenges yet. That could be to their disadvantage although Theresa’s freneticism and poor time management could lead to her exiting the MC kitchen.

    • Teresa can only cook desserts, and almost all the elimination challenges seem to be desserts (except when she was eliminated – couldn’t get her head around parfait duck).
      Another dessert tonight (Surprise!) so I predict Trent to go.

  13. Another meh episode… preparing us for the underdogs to rise to the finals it seems… could Quagmire or Elise be those people???

    Chloe kept looking for her praise.. almost looked as though she thought she was top 3.

    Say goodbye to trent…don’t think he’ll be able to outdo the ladies in a dessert.

  14. I think Trent will stay. He’s male , he’s got muscles, tatts and abs. In the past $hineEndemol have pursued a gender balance against all odds. He might be shit at desserts compared to those he’s up against……but not sure that’s what it comes down to, even when Jowl$y brays that “it comes down to the dish you cooked tonight”.

    I don’t know if I can face the encore after the bagging this ep has had.

    I only saw the last 20 mins from basically Chloe’s face beaming when her arse was crawled up by the judges. House Rules was much better.

    Elise’s reaction was good. Gary wasn’t a bastard for once. What a champion.

  15. Trigonometry shows us how useful triangles and circles can be. So round and round we go with Elise’s dome moulded offerings. Still, last night at least her mystery box challenge meringue sphere with apple sphere centre was followed in the invention test by a top three judged non-circular apricot chicken interpretation. I’m surprised that she didn’t accompany the chicken with egg-shaped quenelles.

    • Elise is obsessed with spheres, just as Theresa is obsessed with sous vides and running out of time.

  16. I noticed that Theresa had a packet of French Onion Soup mix in her basket. Looking for inspiration from original ingredients OR did she actually use it?

    • Since you mentioned the French Onion Soup, Brett also used it in the chicken roulade.

      I think they must have some cooking classes just before this cook off.

      3 contestants doing sous vide chicken and also a lot of couscous last night

  17. Ta heaps as usual, Juz. You are a gem. Your recaps, and setting up and managing this forum, sparkle. Actually, amongst “us lot” you are sometimes probably a diamond in the rough. Cheers, as I watch tonight’s lamington challenge again.

  18. A bit late but I’ve been busy preparing for Eid 🙂

    l’ve never had Apricot chicken (yes I’m asian) but after today’s episode I think I might look up the recipe. I reckon it tastes like Mango chicken, creamy, sweet and fruity?

    I’m so happy Brett won twice and Elise got the praise she deserved, the judges always seemed to be mean to her in the past!

    • Ooh, what will you be cooking for Eid, Jasmine? It must be exciting having a big family feast to look forward to. Apricot chicken isn’t creamy but it is sweet, so I try and hide vegies in it to get my 4yo to eat them. With limited success. It’s yummy served with a savoury, nutty rice or quinoa side to soak up the juices. And it freezes well.

      • Not really Juz as our families are in Malaysia so there will only be hubby, myself and our 4 yo tomorrow celebrating with friends. A far quieter celebration than what we would have had in Malaysia with our big families but a happy one nonetheless 😍

        However we have 30 people or so (close friends and their families) coming this Saturday to celebrate together so that will be an exciting event as we will be cooking:

        Nasi lemak and condiments (coconut rice, two types of sambal: vegetarian and the traditional one, anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber slices)
        Chicken rendang
        Chicken curry
        Seafood stir-fry noodles
        Vegetarian potato curried karipap (currypuffs)
        Chicken and beef satays with peanut sauce
        Dessert: Eid cookies (pineapple tarts and peanut butter cookies), spicy maruku (the only store-bought item out of the lot), a chocolate cake and fresh fruits.
        Drinks: Rose syrup and lime sweet and sour drinks (something both hubby and I used to have for Eid growing up in Malaysia).

        And thanks for the tip, always keen on any recipes where I can can hide veggies in it. Aren’t 4 y olds the worst! haha 😆

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