Masterchef Australia Season 7 Finale Feast

After 3 months, 61 episodes, 22 eliminations, (+ 2 days of complete social media ban) it was time for us to watch the Masterchef Australia Season 7 finale. We had Rosemarie and Lauren over for a 4 course team challenge finale watching dinner where we all made fancy things from the show.

Lauren made salad rolls with shrimp and a dipping sauce.

Rosemarie made sesame beef tataki with gochujang aioli, pickled vegetables and puffed rice. Plated up in modern, negative space style.

Scott made meat pie with homemade crust, and homemade tomato relish (ketchup, hehe).

And I made lemon & thyme ice cream sandwiches with a lemon thyme syrup. Let’s not talk about the TWO glass bowls I shattered while double boiling, or the ummm… XTREME DARK CARAMEL syrup that fused itself to the pot…

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Seven Stones Winemakers Dinner

Teri organized for Scott and I to go to a fancy winemakers dinner with her and Lindsay at Seven Stones winery in the Similkameen Valley. Teri works with Seven Stones, so she knew George, the winemaker already. The dinner took place in the “caves” underneath the winery, where it was MUCH cooler than outside (thank goodness).

First course: Local Organic Peach Salad (grilled peach, arugula, bocconcini, white balsamic reduction), with 2012 Chardonnay

Light and tasty. I came to the dinner armed with antihistamines because I figured they would be using lots of fresh Okanagan produce, and unfortunately I am allergic to a lot of it. But it’s so good it’s worth it. The peaches were sweet and juicy and the balsamic reduction was amazing.

Second course: Smoked Duck (Fraser Valley smoked duck breast, dried berry, du puy lentil stew, cherries, red wine glaze), with 2010 Pinot Noir

Tender duck over tender lentils with pops of sweetness from the cherries. The only thing was that it was kind of hard to cut the duck in such a deep bowl.

Third course: Espresso Marinated Tenderloin (beef tenderloin, mushroom risotto, tiger blue crumble, roasted summer vegetables, plum and olive jus), with 2009 Meritage

Perfectly rare beef over creamy cheesy risotto, om nom nom. It was a huge chunk of meat but we all finished it all because it was so delicious. I loved the little baby zucchini pieces as well. Oh and the Meritage wine was really good, it’s sooo smooth. I don’t even usually like red wine that much! Too bad it’s $35 a bottle, ha.

Fourth course: Coffee and Dark Chocolate Mousse (chocolate mousse, espresso shortbread, berry compote, smoked vanilla whip, chocolate mint), with 2012 Cabernet Franc

OMG and then the dessert. The chocolate mousse was ultra smooth and not too sweet, with a perfect melt-in-your-mouth buttery cookie, and little bits of slightly sour berries to balance it out. Amazing.

George took everyone on a quick tour of the barrel rooms, pointing out the water feature (to keep the humidity levels just right) and the speakers from which they are going to start playing classical Baroque music (the particular vibrations are supposed to cause the yeast particles to eat more sugar and produce lower sugar, tastier wine quicker). Kinda neat. I suppose we will have to wait and see if that actually works…

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Penticton 2015

Starting the trip off with a beergarita with Teri and Lindsay while we waited for Braz and Lisanne. I feel like we need a flowchart to explain the group:

Scott –> friends with Braz (aka Marcus) (from Melbourne) –> girlfriend is Lisanne (from Edmonton but lives in Melbourne too) –> friends are Teri and Lindsay (live in Alberta).

The first day we went to a whole bunch of wineries close to Penticton and a tiny distillery that makes gin. There was one chardonnay that tasted like BBQ corn…. ew. We went to Bad Tattoo Brewery for dinner and drinks. The six of us each got a pizza each and then shared so we got to try 6 types (YUM).

The next day we bought a party island (and extra boat to float our cooler) and did the channel. That’s Lindsay and Lisanne in the front, and me, Teri and Braz in the back. Our drinks were perfectly cold (unlike last year camel pack atrocity) and umm… we drank a whole lot of them. It was funnnnnnn.

Waiting for a taxi back to the motel.

In the taxi. Hahaha.

The next day Lisanne and Braz continued on to Edmonton, and the rest of us moved on to separate hotels (although we would meet back up with Teri and Lindsay for our fancy dinner later).

Scott and I went out for breakfast ice cream at Tickleberry’s (nutritious!), where at least this time we knew to get child size. Seriously what kind of child size comes with two flavours??! (I had salted pretzel, and salted caramel). I couldn’t even finish mine, I wish they had infant size.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing in different locations. We went to the beach on South part of Okanagan Lake but it was way too windy so then moved to the North part of Skaha Lake. We ate a fancy-schmancy charcuterie board at a fancy-schmancy winery (Painted Rock) on their patio with great panorama views of the lake. Then went back to the hotel pool bar (!!), and then went back to Bad Tattoo for more delicious pizza.

Carolina BBQ – slow roasted brisket, mushrooms, shallots, spicy BBQ sauce

Black & Blue – roasted apple, blackberry compote, blue cheese, toasted malt

Their pizzas are awesome. Super thin crust, tasty toppings. We loved all of them. The only thing was that the Black & Blue pizza was totally different the second time compared to the first. They put waaaay more compote on the second time and it was a bit too much. But mmm that sweet-salty combination.

Avoid peak dinner time if you don’t want to wait in line, as it seems to be very busy in the summer.

Click to add a blog post for Bad Tattoo Brewing on Zomato

 

Saturday Scott and I went down the channel again, just the two of us on the giant party island. It was a very relaxed float, we just drank water, haha. We got quite sunburnt, oops.

Then we drove to pick up Teri and Lindsay and had a fabulous dinner at Seven Stones winery, which I am saving for another blog entry.

The last day Scott and I took the long way back to Vancouver, via Osoyoos because I really really wanted to go back to Platinum Bench for some ~~artisan~~ bread. We also stopped at a few more wineries too including Church and State which had some hilarious labels and Jackson Triggs to see if they had my favourite $9 chardonnay (they did not, haha).

We slow roasted ourselves the whole way back in the car at 38 ºC with no air conditioning. It was…. uncomfortable. And we drove past this amazing looking swimming hole, just before Princeton I think, but by the time I saw it it was too hard to turn back and I still feel regret even now a month later that we didn’t go back. It was like a mirage. I mean… WE MUST GO BACK.

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July

It stinks to have to work on your birthday, but it’s greatly improved when your (only) coworker has the same birthday too! The day started off shaky though, I couldn’t get the QC on the CT part of the camera to work and we had to call the service guy, who had to take the cover off the camera to investigate… while patients are piling up in the waiting room waiting and waiting and waiting. It was a bit stressful. Birthday cupcakes helped.

We had a bunch of people over after work for my birthday. Rosemarie organized a blind wine tasting. Everyone brought a secret bottle of wine (you can see them in the bags above), then Rosemarie made a list of the variety and the ~flavour notes~ of each of them (plus a few extras) and we had to taste the wine from little shot glasses and match it with the list. Plus say the country we thought it was from (basically a wild guess, haha), and the price ±$5. We had 4 whites and 4 reds, including one $7 bottle and one $30 bottle, hehe.

No one did particularly great but we did make some amusing conclusions. 1. $7 wine doesn’t taste good. 2. No one likes organic wine. 3. Vipi thought he didn’t like wine but turns out he’d just never had one sweet enough. He looooved the Barefoot Moscato, which basically tasted like syrup hahaha. 4. I really do like chardonnay, since I picked it as my overall favourite without actually knowing it was a chardy (for the lardy). 5. Everyone else’s favourite just HAPPENED to be the most expensive one…. after the prices were revealed. :P

Birthday gift headlamp. We ate chicken and vegetable kebabs and seven layer dip and all the rest of the wine, hehe.

Then we spent the weekend on the Sunshine Coast with Lesley and Stephane (Rosemarie and Lauren came too). We played lots of games (including this ultra nerdy version of Settlers!) and bummed around and PLANNED on going swimming at a lake, but then the next morning when we woke up it was suuuuper smokey out and ash was raining down from the sky. That was the first day where the smoke from the crazy forest fires drifted into the Vancouver area. Apparently there was a fire burning pretty close to where the lake was, so we didn’t go.

The smokey view from our balcony. The air quality index went up to 14 (10 is extreme!) in Vancouver. [It went up to 35 in Whistler!!] It was bad for several days. Made us all feel really tired and gross and everyone had a sore throat. Everyone was soooo happy when it finally rained and the air cleared up.

There are still a ton of fires around the province. It’s been a bad summer.

Found at the Shoppers Drug Mart downstairs. Purple yam and cheese. Interesting… interesting… is it worth $6 to try? What if it’s gross then I’ve wasted $6 and 1.5L of ice cream… but why would they even produce it if it wasn’t possibly good?

Celebration of Light fireworks night. I was extremely impressed with the sand couch these guys constructed. I was not impressed with the actual fireworks show. I would give China a 5/10 on fireworks (they lost 2 points for having those corny smiley face fireworks), and a 1/10 on music choices. Whyyyy was it so slow and sad and boring?? And cheesey!!

Other things that happened:

  • Scott and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. We didn’t go out on the actual day, since we were going out for a fancy-schmancy dinner in the Okanagan a couple days later (another post coming). We ordered sushi and ate it while watching TV from separate couches. ~ROMANCE~
  • Kevin, Lisa, Phil and Lesley came over for dinner and Cards Against Humanity. We drank large amounts of wine. My face hurt from laughing so much. So much inappropriateness.
  • We spent a few days in Penticton with Braz and Lisanne (another post coming).
  • We hosted a Masterchef finale 4 course cooking party at our place (another post coming).

 

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June

I somehow convinced myself (and Scott) that we should hike up the Chief. I regretted the decision after the first 15 minutes of climbing. But, after 556,434 breaks, we made it up to the first peak. Most of the hike is forest stairs, but the top made of wide open smooth rock, and then you get a sweet panorama view of the Howe Sound and Squamish.

Speaking of sweet panoramas… Scott was pretty pleased with that idea, haha.

Quote of the day: “I’D RATHER DIE THAN DO EXERCISE!!”

It got really hot in June. I went to Kits Pool a couple times after work to cool off. I like that pool, it’s nice that it doesn’t have so much chlorine (it’s a salt water pool).

We also got our own pool. Our balcony rules.

Confetti nails. I love ~negative space~ nail designs.

This one is actually from like 6 months ago, but who cares. Zoya Pixie Dust is so easy to work with. You can make gradients and blend colours really easily. And as the nail grows out, you can just fill in the new part with another colour because it’s all textured. Like ceiling spray texture, haha.

Other things that happened, with no pictures (so did they really happen??):

  • I went sled pushing with Matt and Grant on Grant’s DIY skeleton sled at a nearby track. It’s pretty realistic compared to actual skeleton, including the fact that we don’t have a good way of slowing down. We rolled on to the grass or dragged our toes (a good way to ruin your shoes). I VERY nearly took out an elderly man, but luckily Grant ran in at the (very) last moment. The man had no idea. Note to self: look up.
  • Our check engine light came on and I got really stressed out. I was looking for OBDII code readers online and found a guy on Craigslist who said he had two types of scanners and would pull the code for $10. So we drove out to Coquitlam and got him to do it. Turns out Scott just didn’t screw the gas cap on tight enough. The dude cleared the code and we haven’t had any problems sense. I wonder how much that guy has made from doing that. It totally make sense, it took him maybe 10 minutes tops to make a quick $10! You’d pay off the scanner in no time.
  • Lesley had a birthday and we went to her house and drank a lot of sangria.
  • Scott and I used our Scene Points to go see Jurrasic World at the fancy schmancy VIP theatre in Coquitlam (I went to Coquitlam more times in the last 2 months than I did in the last 5 years (zero times)). We ate burgers and fried pickles and drank alcohol in our comfy seats while watching people get CHOMPED by dinosaurs (I almost wrote dinosours, mmmm). It was cool, although I would never pay the real price for a ticket.

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