The Bad Date Chronicles

 

One thing I’m asked quite frequently about my MKR experience is “What’s everyone REALLY like, were some of them actually that bad?”
My answer is always the same…
Tough competitions (especially when you’ve got a 250K carrot dangling in front of you) can bring out the best in people, and  also, sometimes the worst.

I have to admit, going in, I had no idea which direction, when I was under intense pressure, I was going to travel.
To the light side… or the dark?

I’m a good, mentally stable person, but I’m certainly no Angel and if you asked my husband he’d tell you, I’m not always a walk in the park…
I can be quite feisty.
And, I have at times (like most women…premenstrual or otherwise) had a tendency to morph from sane individual to asylum escapee in mere seconds, especially in the kitchen.
I am definitely getting better with age, and having children teaches patience through necessity, because honestly, who wants to be that screaming banshee mother ALL of the time?

Note to all mothers of small, occasionally demonic children: Being a screaming banshee is perfectly acceptable some of the time.

And, I have to say that being on MKR really taught me to have complete control of my temper under extreme mental and physical strain (which is precisely the opposite reaction the producers want, and no doubt were expecting from me).
Don’t get me wrong, anybody who’s ever worked with me will tell you, I deal with pressure situations well.
I can keep my head.
But, working in the MKR pressure cooker (pardon the pun) and having to, at all times, be on guard and ready for absolute, unyielding stress and to be eternally optimistic and able to always roll with the punches even when you’ve been beaten way, way down, was a major test for me.

Not being able to perpetually have my way in the kitchen was a seriously tough gig too, especially for a straight up Scorpio who’s used to always ruling her own oven.

But, above all else, I was concerned about how I’d potentially react when any of our dishes invariably, went south…
I am a serious perfectionist.
Look, I’m not ridiculous about it, I am well aware that nothing’s ever perfect first time around.
None of my recipes ever totally make the grade first plate off the stove.
But, If I’m cooking something I know well and it doesn’t stick to my exacting program.
I get mad.
I get really mad and sometimes, I get even.

Case #1: Sticky Date DOA
Our good friends Kris and Eva were visiting from Melbourne.
We were off to Cory’s cousin Bubby’s house for dinner and of course, I, being me, decided that two desserts are always better than one.
Variety is the spice of life, as you know.
Imagine my sheer delight when the Citrus Tart that I’d so lovingly prepared from scratch, emerged from the oven in all its tangy custard glory, an absolute picture of perfection.
Such joy.
I couldn’t wait to present it, I could already visualize the repeated OOOHH’s and AAAHH’s that were likely to accompany it’s unveiling.
Unfortunately, while I was otherwise distracted, meticulously caring for my crowning achievement, the tried and tested Sticky Date that I can usually cook with my eyes closed, got shafted like a virgin on prom night.
Man, was I peeved.
If I’d pulled it out of the oven 5 minutes earlier, my pudding would’ve held a much different fate.
Anyhoo, Cory still to this day, takes great delight in regaling all with the story, of the time he and Kris returned home to find a cake thrown on the road out the front of our house.
At least the birds and neighbourhood cats got a good feed… and Eva got a good laugh, as scarily, this psychotic episode was witnessed in the flesh by her…
And yes, I did make another pudding (once I’d calmed down from my murderous, dessert related rage).

Case #2: Porkgate
Another good friend, Nick, was joining us for dinner.
I decided to make Pork Belly with Caramel sauce.
Being such a huge fan of anything Pig related, I am always experimenting with my crackling and testing new ways to cook and serve Pork.
On this occasion, I decided to roast my belly, skin side down and then turn it for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Pork belly, as you know, is always a labour of love, so understand my horror, when I turned the belly to find that the Teflon from my non-stick pan had decided to jump ship and my pork was now wearing it like a cheap, grey suit.
Out of respect for the animal, I didn’t discard the belly (just the crackling) and instead felt it was a much more satisfying course of retribution to maniacally launch into my backyard with the loathsome pan and stomp on it, with so much forceful wrath, that it promptly turned from a roasting dish to a flat cookie tray.
In hindsight, the speed with which I dispatched this hideous pan is testament to its cut-price nastiness.

Note to everyone: Buy crap cookware and it will eventually turn on you.

Nick and Cory also appreciate having this story in their fantastic ‘Crazed, Lunatic things we’ve witnessed at the hands of Bree’ repertoire.

Case #3: A Trifling Genocide
I don’t believe this requires any explanation, other than the fact that if any part of my trifle decides that it’s better to be an individual and not perform like the rest of its dessert layer comrades, things won’t turn out well for anyone involved.
Death will be swift and brutal for them all.
It doesn’t pay to be a trifle defector, especially in my kitchen, where it’s expected that you will surrender to my rule and execute (hmmm… fitting choice of word, considering…) the tasks you are assigned, no exceptions.

Disclaimer: At no time was I at fault for not adding enough gelatine. Just like every other, cold blooded Dictator, in my mind, I am only as good as my worse subjects, therefore the blame lies solely on their incompetent defiance.

Anyhoo, with these stories and the many others that I don’t have the time or blog space to mention, I feel it’s pretty clear that I can sometimes act like a total ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ in my kitchen.
Yes, it’s fun times all around after the fact, but I’m sure you’ll agree that if I’m deep in the throes of vengeful cooking passion, it’s really best to just give me a wide berth.

I will also point out, that you can surely now understand my worries about losing my mental marbles on TV and likely being committed to a loony bin by Channel Seven because I undercook some Chicken…

Remarkably, the competition instead, actually brought out only my Zen-like personality traits.
I somehow, always managed to keep my cool, inside the kitchen and out.
I have said in the past I learnt a lot about myself on MKR, and this is just one of the many lessons I was taught.
I truly realize now, that losing my proverbial shizen is never conducive of success, it’s actually incredibly counterproductive.
My kitchen is now a very serene place to be…
At least, it is when things work out, exactly how they are supposed to, at all times…
Anyone for Sticky Date?

 

Recipe: Sticky Date and Pecan pudding with Salted Caramel sauce 

Categories: Baking Dessert Recipes

4 comments

  1. Bianca DalCollo said on July 14, 2014 Reply
    made this sticky date on the weekend for my family dinner - it was a hit! x
    1. Bree May said on July 14, 2014 Reply
      Hey Bianca, I'm so glad! xxx
  2. Beck said on August 8, 2014 Reply
    Loved this recipe! I would probably make it with a little less ginger next time. I love ginger so loved the hit I got from it but for those out there who don't like it as much as me, a little less than suggested would be recommended. The sauce was AMAZING and topped off with my homemade vanilla ice cream, I slowly slipped into a food coma :o)
    1. Bree May said on August 11, 2014 Reply
      Thanks Beck, I love ginger too so I always add lots. I'm so glad you loved it! xx

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