Friday, December 24, 2010

Taking on Masterchef

In architecture school, you pretty much HAVE to stay up entire nights working on your design, most nights of the week, especially in third year. More often than not, what you end up slaving upon throughout the night is an execution of design ideas: drafting, drawing, rendering, formatting, model making et al.

Well, beyond the designing stage, it's basically not mentally engaging, which means I can have the television running in the background. And thank God I do. Because I discovered shows I know I wouldn't ever have thought twice about during the day. Also, God bless the 1:00 am re-run of Masterchef Australia; it has changed the way I look at food.


Cooking has always been an art, but true application of culinary genius, in preparation AND presentation never hit me till about 2 months ago, when this whole Masterchef ordeal started.
From a pinch of ground rosemary, to a careless dash of liquidy meringue, by jove I was hooked.

Never did cooking look so creative, never did I see endless possibility in ingredients and their various permutations and combinations. Ordinary food became boring and looked lovelessly cooked, as I gazed longingly at the forms and colours of food swimming in front of my eyes.

A year or so ago, I saw 'Julie and Julia' with the amazing Meryl Streep playing the amazing-er Julia Child. Basically it's about a young woman (Amy Adams as 'Julie') who takes on recipes from Julia Child's cookbook on French cooking and blogs about her progress through 524 recipes in a record 365 days.

First off, I have no such intentions, OR inclinations. But I DO want to cook for the sheer joy of it.
So the semester has ended, and I need to indulge my creative side, AND my sister (a victim of the CBSE 12th Board Exams).

So yesterday, I tried my hand at my first Masterchef recipe (click to go to the recipe):

Let me state right at the beginning that I know what most Pizza chains in the world do wrong in their pizza: the base.

I've been to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, and TRUST me the base is supposed to be more like naan than the insanely thick oven-browned bread that we are used to.

So there I sat, on the kitchen floor, kneading pizza base dough, throwing in much more than just flour (the base has it's own flavour), then rolling it out to 3-4 mm thick circular elastic awesomeness. I did try the chef pizza base hand-spin, but I sucked :P

Everything else, from the tomato-base sauce to the grated mozzarella progressed smoothly.

Some things in the cooking technique changed, obviously, like I didn't have a ceramic tile to cook my pizza on, so I used my limited baking knowledge to butter and flour steel plates to cook my pizza in. And I switched parsley with basil, well, just because it's my favourite food ingredient :P

'Complete' is a good word for how I felt when I pulled those plates out of the oven.
'Happy' is a good word for how my sister felt when I 'plated up' and put the pizza in front of her.
'Proud' is a good word for how my grandmother felt.

I wanted to click a picture, but my parents have run off on a vacation with my camera. Sorry!


Thank you Masterchef! Partners in crime, you and I ;)

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