Balmoral Hotel, Belfast MasterChef
Last night I took part in the semi-finals of the inaugural Balmoral Hotel Belfast Masterchef competition! I got to cook in a professional kitchen for the first time, which was a huge tick on my bucket list!
The competition is part of Feile an Phobail, the people's festival, in West Belfast, where I live and am from. Last night six of us were let loose in the kitchen of Season's restaurant (soon to be Stix and Stones!) at The Balmoral Hotel.
It was a great bunch to cook with and have a bit of craic, although it gave me a whole new appreciation for professional chefs, the heat in the kitchen with six of us cooking one dish each was unreal, I can't imagine what it would be like during a full dinner service!
My dish was tuile baskets, filled with creme diplomat and fresh raspberries. I paired it with bitter chocolate shavings, bitter chocolate sauce and fresh mint. The raspberries and mint were from my garden, luckily the weather in Belfast has been good recently so I have had a good crop!
I wasn't happy with my creme diplomat, it was a little runny but otherwise was pretty happy with how the dish turned out.
My inspiration was my favourite dessert of all time my sister's wedding cake.
I changed the recipe a bit, because I don't think I could use shop bought puff pastry in a competition and time was not on my side to make it from scratch!
Instead I decided to make tuile baskets with a different type of pastry cream, diplomat cream. This combines the 2 creamy layers of the tarta milhojas, crème pâtissière and slightly sweetened cream to make it lighter. Tuile baskets are light and delicate so I wanted the cream to be lighter. Served with a really simple bitter chocolate sauce and some of my homegrown raspberries and mint.