My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
http://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/

Peter & Gary love the sight of alcohol in a dish. LOVE it.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, and nobody expected Leigh & Princess Jen to beat the soldier boys in last night’s elimination. At least everyone went home friends, which is more than what the jury are doing. Tonight’s their last night to wreak havoc and you know – YOU KNOW – Peter is gonna make the most of it. Sing your silly song Ke$ha and let’s kick this thing.

The teams know that the four that survive tonight will be into the semi-finals. Smiles, hugs and well wishes seem to be spines in the eyes of the jury, though their superior attitudes (admittedly missing in their cooking skills) are proving to grate on the final five teams. “I think the second jury round really shook things up a bit,” says Gary. “Shook it up like a fox!” Peter just give him one of *those* looks.

Manu reminds the teams they can reach the finals by cooking just one dish – but to that the teams have to impress both the he and Pete and the jury. There’s hugs all round as the take to their stations to learn they’ll be cooking with… citrus fruit. “Out of all the challenges so far this has to be the worst,” says Andy, completely forgetting that seafood and citrus are a killer combination. The ‘Seafood King’ is dead – long live the King. With only an hour to prepare the dish, the teams high-tail it into the storeroom for ingredients and report back with their menu plans. Andy’s still scratching his head so it’s just as well Meg’s doing something, even if it is running around like a chook with it’s head cut off.

Nic & Rocco – Limoncello Chicken with orange salad
Carly & Emily – Lemon Tart with orange-glazed strawberries and orange syrup
Steve & Helen – Pork Fricassee with egg and lemon sauce
Megan & Andy – Citrus Cake with sticky orange syrup and lemon marscapone
Leigh & Princess Jen – Chocolate and Orange Surprise with filo cigar

Steve thinks he's EFFING HILARIOUS.

Nic & Rocco start straight in searing their chicken marylands as they know their time is limited. Peter & Gary get excited at the thought of alcohol being used in the dish (this from the guys who have two dogs called “Gin” & “Tonic”). Emily LOVES her lemon tart. She loves it. LOVES it. She admits it’s gonna have to be perfect though, as their parents have taught them from an early age you cannot love anything less than perfect. Especially daughters.

Helen tells Steve what they are making, and he comments he hasn’t had that since he was 6 or 7 years old – so this dish pre-dates time itself. They have to get all the ingredients for their stew completed ASAP so that it can sit for as long as possible in the hour available. Carly’s first attempts at pastry are falling apart so Emily has to take over to solve the problem – Carly. Nic & Rocco are hoping their chicken cooks in time after getting it in the oven with 45 minutes to go. They’re optimists of the highest order though, knowing a teeth-filled smile and knowing wink will ensure they get through anyway.

Pete notes that Megan & Andy are cooking a dessert tonight, and in the past that hasn’t been their strong point – they’re going out of their comfort zone but he questions if now is the time to show they’ve the necessary skills to complete long division. Pete then swings by Leigh & Princess Jen’s bench to see what they’re making, and learns their cigar fetish continues tonight – SURPRISE! It sounds very complicated, but he notes they’re clearly working against the claims of being lazy as the jury offered last night. As if by the power of super-hearing, Peter explains that the SA girls were marked low yesterday because they cooked a dud dish and for no other reason. When will those girls ever learn – it’s all so simple and without any kind of venom(!). Such a shame the girls are taking it personally.

The jury are now second guessing what Carly & Emily are making as “lemon tarts seem pretty simple”. There’s lots of talk from the girls about how nice the citrus is. “Lovely citrus,” says Carly. “Great citrus,” says Emily. People should talk about citrus more. Megan and Andy have got the entire end of the challenge wrong as they’re talking about sugar and toffee too much. Megan wants to barrel through and get everything done, but Andy figures the slow and steady approach will win it for them… even though his first batch of toffee nearly burned.

Creepy Thomas is creepy.

Steve sells a couple of lemons for $100,000 and goes back to the important job of preparing the dill. Emma & Andrew notice it from the jury, and they identify that Helen is working her butt off while Steve is busy being a dill plucker. If he doesn’t get his finger out and stop it with the plucking dill, he and his sister will have another chance tonight to prove they can cook under pressure. As usual Pete’s concerned that at least one team doesn’t have enough time to get everything on the plate – this time it’s Leigh & Princess Jen, who now have the process of announcing everything they do as they do it down pat. What will happen when they go home and start narrating their cooking preparation to nobody? Is this the second sign of reality TV madness?

Carly & Emily are stressed about getting their filling into their tarts and baking, but they managed to get themselves into their dresses before the show so I can’t see the worry. Megan & Andy are at loggerheads and arguing over who is and isn’t looking after the sugar syrup. Alert noses throughout the kitchen detect a hint of burnt sugar and it’s all eyes on the Tasmanians, when it’s actually Carly & Emily who’d forgotten their candied citrus peel which is now a sticky, burnt mess. The substance in the pot is blacker than Peter’s heart (and that’s saying something). They have to start again and they’re straight on to it. After all, they know everything about everything and they’re practically perfect in every way. Look out Mary Poppins.

Thomas again overstates his position and that of the jury as the contestant shit the final 15 minutes. Also the smile he offers is *REALLY* creepy – the kind of smile you get from a podiatrist when they off-handedly remark they like feet a lot. Steve & Helen add their egg and lemon sauce to their fricassee and they seem well on the way to success, though Peter & Gary think they’ve got it tough on a number of levels trying to deliver a stew in under an hour. Andy starts pawing through the citrus segments that Megan’s just been preparing and complains they’re not consistent, so sends her off to prepare more. Obviously it was his turn to wear the big boy pants on the roster today. Cut to Nic who Gary notes has “very good technique” and he cuts orange segments pretty good too. “He’s a joy to watch,” he says.

The final five minutes are announced just after Carly & Emily admit that with their cream going wrong their lemon tarts are gonna look pretty plain. The excitement ramps up and nobody is plating seriously yet – that’s always saved for the final 60 seconds because the contestants have all learned nothing and are COMPLETE MADMEN. The dishes are coming together though there’s a concern that Megan & Andy are plating the simplest of all dishes – orange cake and syrup. Justine isn’t impressed, but as time runs out it all seems to magically come together for everyone so now it all comes down to ensure that Pete & Manu AND the jury are happy with the look and taste of what is presented them. Andy needs to shut the hell up about the cream not being quinelled as it’s all he seems to be moaning about.

"I wonder who thinks they're qualified to speak for the jury?"

Steve & Helen’s fricassee is judged first, and Manu loves the lemon and egg sauce. Pete says the pork is a let down as it’s overcooked (the jury agree). Nic & Rocco’s chicken gets big wraps for being amazing but Manu doesn’t understand the salad, so Nic pulls him aside and draws him a picture of how it all came together. When Carly & Emily deliver their tarts they’re concerned there is nowhere to hide which means they’ll loose the inaugural MKR Hide & Seek challenge slated for the next production break. The judges give the tart a glowing report – the pastry is perfect; the lemon curd is perfect; and the addition of the strawberries is perfect. Manu thinks it’s just perfect in every way and is heard whistling “A Spoonful of Sugar” as the girls go back to their bench.

Megan & Andy’s cake is presented, and there’s more complaints about quinelling the cream from Andy. Megan looks at him like she’ll quinelle his privates when they get back to the hotel. The judges like the taste, but feel that presentation has let them down – the clumsiest element is the cream. Megan looks at Andy smiling, who doesn’t dare return her gaze as he’s orange and quinelled cream with rage. Leigh & Princess Jen’s chocolate/orange creation is called out for being an excellent use of the key ingredient and the inclusion of the chocolate has set it off just perfectly. They’re relieved as Pete & Manu started by suggesting they may have focused on the wrong element to shine but it was classic misdirection.

Manu reveals that, with a score of 42/70, the jury have pushed Megan & Andy into tonight’s sudden-death cook-off. Of course Andy doesn’t think they deserve to be there. When the jury are given a chance to speak, Peter jumps at the chance. Carly & Emily offer faux puzzled statements as to who would want to speak on behalf of the jury. This is too delicious for words:

“As foreman of the jury, it is my duty to speak on behalf of it,” says Peter.
“The jury felt that all 5 dishes were very, very good. Megan & Andy, personally, I thought you had a great dish. I liked the fact you had all those different elements on the plate, and incorporated your citrus, which was orange. It is for this reason that I do not actually agree with this decision, but unfortunately for you, others have chosen to sentence you to a sudden-death cook-off.”

“That’s passing the buck,” says a snide Carly. “That’s not how a spokesperson works. A spokesperson delivers a message on behalf of everyone else around them.”
“Can I just say, for a lawyer, he’s pretty dumb.”

THIS, people – THIS is why the casting in season three of My Kitchen Rules is the best EVER.

POTgate!

The jury are excused with a neat “good riddance” from Megan. She sounds over the whole process. Pete announces that Steve & Helen will be facing off Megan & Andy in the cook-off thanks to the overcooked pork. Leigh & Princess Jen, Nic & Rocco and Carly & Emily have all made it through to the final four/semi-final rounds of this year’s competition – congratulations on a job well done so far. But there’s not a lot of time to spend enjoying the moment as that fourth team is needed and a signature dish cook-off is to be had! Game on, repeat offenders!

Megan & Andy – Jambalaya with mussels, prawns, crabs, pipis, chicken and chorizo
Steve & Helen – Rolled Chicken with Greek cheese sauce and spinach rice

Megan & Andy note that the key to success for them in this final challenge is to start trusting each other. Entirely reasonable considering the wealth of sharpened objects Megan has access to during the day, and the proximity with which she sleeps to Andy at night (HINT: DON’T MENTION THE QUINELLES). That they’re leaning on seafood shows they’re serious about wanting to stay in the comp, though they’ve only got an hour to deliver it.

Steve & Helen are delivering a dish they’ve invented(!) so, as Steve reminds us, “It’s a true signature dish”. Only because he’s adding ink again though. They’re pan-frying the filling to the chicken so it’s ready for the chicken and banging it in the chicken pieces and getting sorted to whack it in the oven. There’s nothing delicate about this dish.

Time is quickly evaporating like so many MKR hopes and dreams, though Steve still finds time to set the progress of acceptance of the Greek Cypriot community back to the 80’s when Mark Mitchell was the funniest man on television – and that’s saying something. With 30 minutes to go Megan has her first batch of crabs done, and everyone scratches due to the subconscious suggestion. She pours the boiling water out with the crabs then realises her mistake – she still has more to prepare. While it won’t set them back to the industrial age it will slow them down “when every minute in this competition counts,” Pete reminds us.

"This is the way we cook dessert, cook dessert, cook dessert..."

If there’s one thing that’s consistent about Steve & Helen’s cooking it’s that they use two things in abundance: butter, garlic and love. OK, they use three things: butter, garlic, love and olive oil. Amongst the ingredients they use in abundance are… I’ll come in again.

The zucchini and Helen are revolting over Steve putting too many slices in the pan at once causing it to boil rather than fry. Megan convinces Andy to consolidate their Jambalaya into a deeper but smaller COLD pot so that everything can mix in, thus commencing #potgate for season three of MKR. While the former may seem like a trivial matter, Andy is stressed out of his tiny mind and understandably so – they might not even get to plate a dish.

The guest judges are welcomed into the kitchen and, with 10 minutes to go, there’s all sorts of finger-pointing and worrying taking place. Potgate continues for Megan & Andy, while Helen notices the chicken in the oven isn’t cooked through yet. Plating starts at the six minute mark and Helen reminds us “This is feeling intense” – so intense that Megan is sticking her bare hand into a hot pot to plate their Jambalaya. Andy’s freaking out about their presentation with 30 seconds to go, and he’s messing around moving the crab and counting mussels and crying about quinelled cream. Time’s up and the dishes from both teams look great on the plate.

The teams are ushered out as the judges start with Steve & Helen’s chicken dish. Karen Martini starts by announcing she’s tasting “Steve & Helen’s table and something straight from the heart”. After an awkward moment and a whispered producer comment she alters that to “I’m feeling like we’re sitting around Steve & Helen’s table at home, with food that’s prepared straight from the heart”. As usual Guy Grossi talks about “a depth of flavour” in the dish – ENOUGH WITH THE DEEP FLAVOURS, GROSSI! The judges are impressed with the dish and note the chicken is cooked perfectly.

Everyone's happy saying 'Jambalaya'...

Megan & Andy’s jambalaya is picked over by the judges, and Liz Egan notes that Andy’s done it again. Manu thinks that it should be a little more like a paella with more rice, but that seems to be a slightly superficial criticism – but Nic & Rocco and Carly & Emily also note there’s nowhere near enough rice.

It’s not gonna add up to a hill of beans shortly, as it’s time for the cook-off contestants to learn their fate. The fate-iest fate that ever fated. Can’t someone just lose – why do we need to be concerned with “their fate”? Do Pete & Manu know what the rest of the loser’s life will entail? Are they arranging a mob-style hit on them?

Helen & Steve
Guy Grossi – 6
Tobie Puttock – 6 (“It was great to see some technique from you tonight.”)
Liz Egan – 6
Karen Martini – 6 (“There was so much love in your food tonight.”)
Manu Feildel – 6 (“The Spanish rice was fantastic.”)
Pete Evans – 6
Total score – 36/60.

Megan & Andy
Guy Grossi – 8 (“The broth in your dish tonight was simply sensational.”)
Tobie Puttock – 8
Liz Egan – 9 (“You got such wonderful intensities of flavour into that dish in such a short time.”)
Karen Martini – 8
Manu Feildel – 8
Pete Evans – 9 (“What a beautiful looking dish when it hit the table.”)
Total score – 50/60.

Sixes to eights and nines, it’s pretty clear how the cards fell tonight. It’s a fond farewell to Steve & Helen as we recognise that Megan & Andy have made it into the 2012 MKR finals. With Steve & Helen as the very first instant restaurant, the siblings have lived life large throughout the entire competition, and Pete notes that everyone has enjoyed getting to know them. For those montage-minded there’s lots of happy memories of Steve & Helen’s time on the show. Don’t worry, be happy.

Tomorrow however, it’s the finals decider and the teams are playing for points. Oh. Em. Gee – this is gonna be huge, and we’re not just talking the length of the episodes either.

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