Well, Claire's through, and she is quite amazing. A meal that looks like an edible flower arrangement, with dessert to match... And she's only 22.
Inspired by this programme, and not having learnt my lesson from previous experience (see Hollondaise sauce disaster), I decided to make a chocolate and raspberry tart, a la Michel Roux. I didn't use his recipe as it had some rather outlandish ingredients, but found another off the internet.
I should have realised as soon as I saw the ingredients: 300g plain (no-nonsense, 70% cocoa solids) chocolate, plus half a pound of butter, plus creme fraiche. And that was just the filling.
Filling being the operative word. it looked pretty enough, but oh dear. We struggled through some of it (poor daughter-in-law had to give up towards the end), but the rest languished in the fridge, with John manfully (I love that word) having some every evening after his meal for nearly a week, until I put it out of its misery and threw the rest away.
There was nothing wrong with it; just nothing much right with it, either. I realised too late that this is the kind of pudding you have after a "fine-dining" meal (these always remind me of the garden-on-a-dinner-plate arrangements we made as children for the village show compeition), and are still very, very hungry. But our main meal had been a hearty stew, and somehow the two didn't go together. Or even one after the other.
Never mind. I'll get back to Claire, with her beautiful blue eyes and her grey hair(yes, grey. She seems to have dyed her hair grey, thus supporting my view that more people would go for grey hair if it were not associated with old age). All the contestants are good, but there's something about Claire. And this kind of thing is no fun at all if you don't have a favourite.
I do hope Monica comes back next week.