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  • Katie Home Cook

Britain's Best Home Cook, Sharing Feast Week

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

So that’s me out of Britain’s Best Home Cook…. 

But it’s not the end of me, next week we have 2 episodes, the Ultimate Canape Party and the Final. I will be posting the recipes I would have made for both and you can let me know what you think…

Once Trevor left the mood in the house, at least for me, dramatically changed, the others were nice enough but they would go to bed early and spent most of their time, either reading recipe books or talking about food, it’s safe to say I felt lonely.

The pressure was mounting this week, especially as 4 out of the 5 cooks who had left had said that they wanted me to win and it had to be a Sharing Feast!! I do not cook sharing platters at home, in the summer when entertaining I might put out a spread, homemade breads, pate, cold meats, olives, salad, etc, but I didn’t think that would cut it with the judges, so I went for ribs which is what I love to eat.

I was distinctly aware that for the first time in the competition I was at a distinct disadvantage, almost all the other cooks styles of the cooking lent themselves almost completely to a sharing platter!

Going into the kitchen on the first morning I was determined to do my best no matter what, Claudia was waiting for us and then in came the judges. 

I got straight to work I had a lot to do, the judges had asked for 4 different dishes and I was making 7!! Everything went to plan, although on reflection I did cut my cornbread too early making it dry under the studio lights, a mistake I would never make at home!

For the first time though I was really happy with what I had served and couldn’t wait for judging to be over so I could tuck into the leftovers!! 

Dipa was up first for judging, she had been really nervous before cooking because she hadn’t practised, but she was making dishes she knew so well I knew she’d be fine! Well she was more than fine that fish curry was out of this world and the lamb chops, so good! I ate so much of Dipa’s food!

Philip was next for judging, his chicken wasn’t cooked, which he was gutted about.

Pippa was next, her sharing feast looked beautiful but if I said I was making a feast to my family and only served that much food, I’d be lynched!!

Then it was my turn…. The judges were shocked at so much food, but they really shouldn’t call it a FEAST in future! Mary and Chris, really enjoyed my ribs, and the flavour of my cornbread, but Dan didn’t seem to like anything, especially the ribs, he told me that ribs should only be cooked on an open flame… well that’s me told! They also seemed disappointed that my chicken wings weren’t spicy. Overall as you probably saw it didn’t go very well.

It was hard to watch the episode on Thursday when Chris and Mary were discussing me experimenting in the quarter final and that not making sense. All my dishes had been an experiment in one way or another, even my ox heart which I make regularly had been an experiment as I had to change my cooking method for the time I had in the show. And most of my other Ultimate dishes I created especially for the show… I felt like I was being judged ever before the tasting.

Tobi was next to be judged, he seemed to get mixed feedback from the judges but overall they seemed to enjoy it.

Dan and Chris both chose Dipa and I was so glad for her, and so well deserved. Mary chose Pippa. 

The choice this week was between Squid and Mackerel and despite my dislike of most seafood, I actually love squid and I’m super comfortable cleaning it and cooking with it, but they choose mackerel!!!

I knew what I would be making, a potato salad with horseradish, my mother always raves about mackerel and horseradish. The cooking wasn’t going to be my problem it would be getting the fish to a place where it could be cooked, I just knew it would have a head on, but would it have guts as well? The other contestants thought so… apparently I just needed to put my knife into the poop hole and away to go…. Gross!

I couldn’t sleep all night and the next morning, although I was up first at 4.30am, I was exhausted, who guts and fillets mackerel at home? I had conquered the crab, I didn’t think we would get another fishy challenge so soon.

We head into the kitchen and we’re told that we have to make 2 mackerel dishes or mackerel two ways. Well I have no back up as usual, I have to come up with something on the fly and quickly. One of my main reasons for going for the salad was that I could flake the fish and the filleting wouldn’t be as important. How was I going to fillet 2 fish and make 2 dishes in the time? And they wanted to see the bones, to judge how well we had filleted the fish, did that matter? Really??!!

I am on the verge of tears all day, it’s was so overwhelming, I know it seems silly but when there is something so unfamiliar put in front of you and my Ultimate dish had gone down like a lead balloon, it felt like too much. Dan and Chris came to speak to me during the challenge and I just burst into tears, Chris was lovely he gave me a big bear hug, but I was so nervous I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. 

I must have always come across as confident, because Dan said during the episode that I had lost some of my usual confidence, but I was never really confident. I’m just good at hiding my nerves and pushing through, bit like at work, I can’t fall apart no matter what, so deep breath and carry on. But this time there was no hiding it…

The hour went by in a blur and watching the episode back for the first time I remembered very little of the cooking, but I had produced two pretty and flavoursome dishes. I was proud of my cooking.

Since the show I have fully perfected my mackerel recipe and now I quite enjoy filleting mackerel, but quite often it is the fear of the unknown that gets us. 

Pippa is first, she made a pate and a ceviche, the judges loved the ceviche but her pate hadn’t worked, needless to say I didn’t try either… you know fish!!

Phil was up next, his looked like a dish out of a 1970s dinner party cook book, and I have to say I loved the look of it and so typically Phil.

It’s my turn for judging, the judges comment on my smoking not working, which it didn’t, but most of us tried to use the smoker and no one’s worked. I had some lovely comments on my salad all the judges complimented me on it but it wasn’t highlighted in the show, the judges liked the flavours on my paprika mackerel but Dan explains that the fish should be skin side up, I didn’t know that but I do now. Overall I was proud of what I had produced especially given my aversion to mackerel at the start of the challenge!!

Tobi made a mackerel goujon which looked amazing and the judges seemed to like the two ways he cooked his fish, he’s ever the innovator.

Finally its Dipa’s turn, her curried mackerel was very tasty even for a fish dish! And the judges seemed to really like it, I hoped she would be safe.

Claudia send us for tea and coffee and biscuits, (there were never any biscuits) and I know that I will be cooking again and that’s fine, but I really have no idea who else will be cooking with me. I was expecting a sweet challenge, because so far it has been savoury and then sweet, so we are due a sweet challenge.

We’re called back and there are no stools, for the first time we will all be cooking, and we have to cook a Chicken Kiev. I have always wanted to cook a Chicken Kiev so here’s my opportunity. I get the chicken off the bone quickly, I’m used to doing that because I make spatchcock chicken for the BBQ all the time in the summer. Before I know it, times up and I’ve done all that I can.

I’m glad that my first time cooking again I was with everyone, and in a way it’s better than sitting and watching someone else suffer.

During the silent judging I can’t help but let out a couple of silent giggles, Chris’ tasting faces!! Then they retire to deliberate.

I have been waiting a long time to hear what the judges had to say about my food and on the whole it was what I expected. Throughout the entire competition and during all my cooking at home I have never under seasoned anything, to the contrary I was always complimented on my seasoning.

My seasoned mash...

I do hope that you all enjoyed my time on the show and be sure to keep an eye out for my cameo on Thursday. I really hope I did Wales proud, I used welsh produce in all but one of Ultimate dishes and I talked about Wales and Welsh food so much more than you even see on the show.

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