Budgeting for Taste on Masterchef SA
Carla van Straten
Proven a truly tough challenge, contestants were to create a masterpiece under the “constraints of a budget”. Budget: A planning of future expenditures, a swearword in some languages, and for a chef, the reality of impending doom. With ten contestants left, it is all about “upping the game” from here on out. Special guest Abigail Donnelly, editor of Taste Magazine, expressed her own experience in budgeting, and how challenging yet important a factor it is the food industry.
Budgeting is one element in the greater scheme of planning your cooking properly. Another element to budget for is time. Having a collection of versatile kitchen appliances by your side will allow for making hearty dishes inexpensively from scratch, instead of buying pricy readily prepared products.
Let us address the two most common products on your shopping list; bread and milk. We can’t help you with making your own milk obviously, but we can assist in encouraging you to make your own bread. These days, cookbooks are flooded with innovative bread maker bread recipes. The Kenwood Bread Maker BM210 is the most reliable and easy-to-use bread maker you will find. It has 600 wattage power, 700g and 900g capacity, and an incorporated Coolwall. The Bread Maker BM210 allows you to cook economically while encouraging you to get creative with bread. A simple Italian bread recipe for your bread maker follows.
Italian Bread using a Bread Maker
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 & 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- Place flour, brown sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil and yeast in the pan of the bread maker in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press Start.
- Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into two loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a cutting board generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise, until doubled in volume about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven 190 degrees Celcius.
- In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the risen loaves with egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the centre of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the cutting board to make sure that the loaves are not sticking. If they stick, use a spatula or pastry knife to loosen. Slide the loaves onto a baking sheet with one quick but careful motion.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Enjoy with a creamy soup.
Once you have planned your dish thoroughly and are in the process of cooking, “taste your foods!” Abigail noticed the lack of contestants tasting they’re food for flavour while cooking. This could be a fatal flaw for a chef, especially when it comes to making soups where the flavour should be tested with every added ingredient.
Accompany your home-made bread with one of the world’s top ten most favourite soups. No, not Minestrone, but the legendary Seafood Chowder.
- 300g fresh peeled & cleaned shrimp
- 300g fresh mussels out of their shells
- 1 lemon (optional, used on frozen seafood)
- 1/2 large onion
- 2 small scallions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small stalk celery
- 1 small handful fresh parsley
- 4 large skinned potatoes
- coarse ground black pepper to taste
- 1 dash sea salt
- 200g butter
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 100ml light cream
- 1 sweet red bell pepper
- If you are using frozen shrimp and mussels, rinse with cold water and add 1/2 fresh lemon juice.
- Finely chop onion, scallions, garlic, celery, and parsley. Dice potatoes into small cubes. Cut butter into small cubes. Chop up red pepper.
- Place all above ingredients (except cream) into large pot with cover on at medium heat until desired texture of potatoes is reached, stirring occasionally.
- Before adding cream, you may want to subtract some of the liquid from the pot, you can always add it back in if it becomes too thick.
- Slowly add in about 2/3 of your cream into the pot, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Heat until it reaches desired temperature.
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with home-made bread.