Wings of lace – short story

A writing exercise I like to do is to button mash on my computer and get a string of random letters. I just start writing whatever comes to me, using each letter as the start of a new sentence. Every piece ends up so random and fun, and I never know where it’s going to go, or how I’ll use the letters.
Here is the string of letters for the following story: uirthnioeurghveiourgnvhauirganrgcaveirbuuahilrghmcarinfbj.


Until yesterday, I always thought the only way I could possibly fly was if I crafted my own wings out of lace and feathers. I don’t know how I many combinations I had tried in the past, but it, so far, was the only thing that worked.

Really, it can be a combination of any lace like fabric and something light, like feathers or wool.

The thing is this – I love to fly. Having the ability to fly is possibly the best feeling in the world. Nothing and nobody could stop me flying.

I had my lace and feather wings in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, when my mum burst into the laundry.

“Oh, you didn’t put anything in there,” she paused as she pointed at the machine, “because I was about to put the whites in with the bleach.”

Everything started to fall down around me, realising my beautiful wings were being tossed gently around in bleach.

Unfortunately, not even frantic pressing of buttons and slamming open of the door could stop the bleach from pooling in the water at the bottom of the machine, my wings a dead bird ball.

Reaching in, I pulled out the lace, feathers falling down in wet limps.

“Great.”h

“Honey, I’m so sorry,” mum frowned at the feather slush. “Very sorry.”

Even though I knew it probably wouldn’t help with anything, tears started to cascade down my face. I couldn’t look at the chaos anymore, and I closed my eyes as I turned away.

Only flying could help fix my mood, and the only known contraption I had was ruined. Unless I could find something to replace it straight away, I knew I was going to be in a slump forever.

Right then, my mum put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You know, you don’t need to make wings, right?”

Grinning at me, mum took my hand and pulled me to my room. No-one can help me to calm down the way my mum does. Virtually nothing could calm me down except wings, so I wasn’t sure what could possibly work, given the mess.

“How about this?” mum asked, pulling a makeshift set of wings from the back of my wardrobe.

“Actually, they’re just a prototype and can’t fly.”

“Unless these are specifically made not to fly, then I’m certain these will work.”

I looked at the poorly constructed lace and the bits of wool haphazardly tied on. Reflecting on it, these wings hadn’t seen the light of day in several years, and I wasn’t sure they could handle the sky.

Grasping the loose ends, I sighed.

“Alright.”

Nothing could cheer me up, except for wings. Right now, I was accepting of the fact I’d have to give these makeshifts a try. Granted, these were the first attempts at making wings, and there was a slim chance of these working, but they were my best bet.

Cuddling under the lace, I felt the tough “soft” wool pressing against my bare shoulders. And I wasn’t scared. Various pairs of wings had made me worried about trying them. None had worked, but my lace and feathers were the only ones that felt right, and it worked. Even though they were ruined, and all I had left was this shamble of an attempt, I wasn’t scared.

I stood at the edge of the roof, looking down at the landing spots of my failed attempt, and then up at my target – the biggest cloud in the sky.

“Ready?” mum called from the ground.

Bracing myself, I took a few steps back, and readied myself. Usually, it was a run up, throwing myself out to the wind and hope for the best. Until my last wings, I had ended down on the ground, not feeling the greatest. And I felt comfortable, like the last pair, ready to propel my across the sky, not anticipating a fall.

Holding onto the little edges, I held out my arms, feeling the wingspans.

I started to run those few steps to the edge, closed my eyes, and leapt.

Leaping into the air, there was a moment where my stomach dropped, feeling like there was a chance of falling. Regardless, I pushed that small feeling aside and threw my arms open.

Getting into the air was never the problem, it was staying there, and for a minute, I was pretty sure I was actually falling. However, I opened my eyes and found myself dipping into a soar.

Mum started to cheer, and I beamed, looking up at the trees in front of me.

Could it be that these initial wings were just as good as my favourite?

As I flew higher and higher, the house grew smaller, mum became a dot in the green, and the clouds grew closer. Reaching into the clouds, I thought about how sad I had been not long ago, worried I’d never get into the air again, to feel the clouds, and scare the birds.

I felt so free, my wings feeling so comfortable against my skin. Never had I flown without the ends of feathers pricking me.

Falling was always scary, but the nose-dive to the backyard was always tough. Bringing my wings around my body, I let gravity throw me back.

Just as I started to gracefully descend, a bird flew into me, throwing off my concentration, and propelling me in an un-ladylike fashion toward the ground.

MasterChef Australia Recap

MasterChef Aus S12EPS 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 & 39 – Recap

Goodness gracious, I’m back!

So, good news (or bad news, depending on how you see it haha), my work hours have been significantly cut (damn COVID), so I’ve got like 4 days off, and 22 episodes to watch (easy peasy, I’m a champion binge watcher).

Here’s the plan: I’ll post recaps in chunks of five, a new page for each recap. Bear with, though, as I’ve never done multiple pages like that before, so it might be a bit weird. I’ll aim to get photos with it, but one episode usually takes me like an hour and a half to get everything together, so it will likely be more like when I did that last big binge than usual episode recaps, but we’ll see what happens.

With finals week right around the corner, I’m aiming to be up to date so we can have all the episodes done and ready when MasterChef officially ends.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Advertisements

EPisode 34 – Thursday 28th May – Immunity

In for immunity today is Khanh, Jess, Reynold, Poh, and Brendon.

Andy, Mel and Jock wait for the top five at the front

“Today’s challenge is all about telling a story, and the story you need to tell is under here,” Mel tells them, pointing to the hidden items.

The stories are: Goldilocks, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, the Ugly Duckling, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White.

I’ve always been a Snow White fan, so much so that when I cut my hair, I inadvertently got a Snow White hair cut.

So they choose a story and use it as inspiration, with unlimited possibilities, a real creative dish.

They have the pantry and garden access, with 75 minutes. The winner will have immunity for Sunday.

Time starts, and as I have so many episodes to watch and I don’t care about the cooking aspect of this show, I skip further ahead.


Time ends, and tasting begins. What I’ll do is put all the photos together and then run through what the judges say, and all that jazz.

First is Khanh with the Kladdkaka with Rose Ice Cream and Strawberries, inspired by Beauty and the Beast. He brought it out on a glass stand with a bell jar closh to put on top (image two).
Although a new dessert to the judges, they all really enjoyed it, full of flavour, surprised by a cake from Khanh. Mel calls it a bit romantic and dramatic. Andy would have preferred a sliver than a wedge. They all love the flavours.

Next is Reynold with a chocolate bowl. He pours hot caramel into it to make a rabbit hole effect (image four) to his dish, Down the Rabbit Hole, inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
They’re in awe of the dish, shocked at how quickly it was conceived of, and Mel calls it a bombshell, a real back to win dish. They all love it.

Poh did a Tofu Bloom with Dried Scallop Broth and Fried Rice. She wanted to use humble ingredients to make a great dish, inspired by the Ugly Duckling.
Andy describes the dish as a warm hug from grandma. They all love the broth. However, the rice is slightly undercooked.

Brendon’s up, also doing a Beauty and the Beast inspired dish called Hakien.
Andy feels like this is more of a dish Brendon wanted to cook and just shoed it into this brief. The presentation could have been better, the dipping sauce doesn’t really stand out. It’s a good dish, but just not for today and this brief.

Finally, Jess, inspired by Goldilocks, with her dish called The One Who Got Away. Each sphere has something different inside (image eight) – the first sphere has nothing inside, the second one has a yogurt and the third is a mango thing.
Mel feels like there’s a bit too many elements and crammed too much in a dish. Andy feels like she’s bit off more than she can chew.

Advertisements

It’s time for the decision.

Andy gives them all compliments, before the get into who the best was.
Mel calls it a one-horse race, hitting the brief out of the kingdom.
The winner is Reynold, his first immunity ever. He never got immunity in his season, apparently.

Reynold and Emelia have immunity for Sunday.


Alright, next page for the elimination.

I think I jinxed myself by writing that I have no hours. I suddenly got phone call after phone call from my bosses giving me work so, I guess this weekend is the best shot I’ve got to get everything done. Let’s crack on!

Australian Bushfires and Living in Canberra

I wasn’t worried.

The Australian bushfires didn’t worry me when it first started going in northern New South Wales and in Queensland in September. It was far away from me and looked like it was mostly rural areas — away from homes. Early as it may have been into bushfire season, it wasn’t going to affect me at all, and maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

My friend wasn’t worried either, and we occasionally watched the news, watching where the fires were in the red, ‘Emergency Warning’ (lives are in danger and people need to leave without delay). There were seven up north, and I scrolled through Facebook, occasionally glancing at the news, watching as another yellow fire, ‘Watch and Act’ (start taking action), turned red.

“Have you downloaded the ‘Fires Near Me’ app?” she asked me.

“Nah.”

“Why not?”

I shrugged. “They’re nowhere near us. I don’t need to.”

She nodded. “Have you got your survival plan ready? We’re going to get the animals together and let any other animals nearby out so they can escape.”

“We’re just winging it. We’re far enough in town that by the time it gets to us, suburbs will be gone.”

Even though she didn’t look convinced by my plan, she didn’t probe anymore on the matter.

Earlier this year, two major fires had the world attention, one in the Amazon, people outraged that it contributed for so much of the worlds oxygen, yet nothing seemingly happening bar letting the trees burn, and the other in California, with the world worried for the celebrities there, watching as their houses were burnt, and thinking how huge the damage had been for both of these events.

It’s not unusual for Australia to have bushfires during the summer months, December through February, with temperatures from 30 degrees upward (86+ F) on a normal day. But this year, the bushfires started early and strong. Temperatures have been consistently in the late 30s, regularly hitting the early 40s (95F — 110F) day after day.

It doesn’t help that we’ve been in a drought for years, and the once emerald farmlands around Canberra have turned dusty straw brown. Our farmers are struggling, and Australia is dry, which means the bush is perfect fire fodder.

Then, the fires started to come south, around the beaches. A fire between Bungendore and Braidwood meant road closures, and Canberran’s annoyed that we’d have to find another way to the coast this summer, hopeful that those residents won’t be affected, and concerned for the businesses that will be affected.

Watching the news again, my friend was upset by the coverage. She was getting a bit antsy, knowing she had friends in Bungendore, and didn’t like watching the news anymore.

“They’ll be ok,” I told her, looking at the ‘Fires Near Me’ app on my phone, something I felt I had to get when the fire near Bungendore started up. “It’s still a while away from the town.”

Everything was getting worse, and the fires were getting closer.

Another fire started in the bush between Bungendore and Queanbeyan. It was only blue, ‘Advice’ (no immediate threat but stay up to date), and not close to anything at this stage.

Over the next few days, my friend got more and more worried about the fire, seeing how it was growing, and flitting between blue and yellow.

From Belconnen, in north Canberra, driving towards the airport, you could see in the distance a huge flume of smoke.

I remember the sky was blue that day, and only a few clouds in the sky. The smoke looked almost like a big cloud on the horizon, wispy and round. It would have been so beautiful if I didn’t know it was smoke.

Again, that fire progressed, turning into a red. People in the area around Captains Flat and Hoskinstown evacuated, photos on Facebook of empty houses, animals being transported away, and people thinking this would be the last time they saw their homes. Eventually, it dropped back down to yellow, flitting between red and yellow a few times, before it started to get under control and settle in yellow for a while. This was late November or early December.

The smoke started to roll into the capital city, but it wasn’t too bad.

My partner and I went to the Cherry Festival in Young this year and found the sky blue there, a few clouds in the sky, and a bit of smoke further away — just a haze at this stage, although the second day was a bit smoky.

On the drive back to Canberra, I realised how bad the smoke had gotten. We had passed Yass and Murrumbateman, where the sky had been bright blue, when I saw almost a line in the sky. On the other side of the regular sky was grey-brown smoke. Slowly, the line shifted over the car, and the blue section became smaller and smaller before finally, I could only see it out of my rear window. Eventually, it was gone completely.

We had, of course, heard about how bad it was in Sydney, Tik Toks and memes about the poor quality. We knew there were practically fires surrounding the city, but at least it wasn’t that bad here.

It got worse.

I remember before Christmas, we drove to Belconnen and the smoke was getting thicker and thicker. It was around five in the afternoon, and the sun was visible through my window — a dark orange ball sitting in the sky.

Aircon blasting, it was around 35 degrees out, with the air circulating in the car, the smell of smoke was in my car, and my partner coughed a few times.

This was the first time I’d realised how bad the smoke was.

Every day since then, it has gotten worse.

I drove to work the other day, just before New Years, and at ten in the morning, I put my lights on. It was too dark — too much smoke — to see very far in front of me. I couldn’t see the usual sights, and it was quite confronting.

That evening, we went to see some family who had lived in Canberra during the bushfires in 2003. I hadn’t lived here and didn’t really understand the vague recollections I’d heard over the years.

“Was it this bad last time, or worse?” my partner asked.

“Oh,” he started, “so much worse. I was at work, and a firestorm had started. These chunks of trees — ya know those bits at the end of the branches? — were falling right next to us, so we had to stop what we were doing, and I drove home. As I’m driving, it suddenly became so dark, like black, from all the smoke.”

He talked a bit about the air quality before we started talking about the types of masks one would have to wear for the fine particles, and then about the new Star Wars movie.

The next day, after my partner finished at work, she told me about how a man had been complaining about the smoke, and another said we should be grateful that we’re not caught in the fires, and to imagine how bad it must be for the firefighters. I try to be grateful; I really do, when I see on the news people stuck in their hometowns, scared that they’ll lose everything.

But I’m scared, too. Scared that having the highest level of toxic air in the world will affect my lungs, the lungs of the elderly, and the lungs of the babies. My friend has a three-week-old girl. How will this affect her in ten years? Twenty years?

One of my greatest fears at the moment is being told down the track that being exposed to this air day in and day out has fucked me up so badly that there’s nothing doctors could do for me — to not lose anything this year in the fires, but lose my life down the track from the effects of the disaster.

I’m glad that the fires are still a distant threat to us — Canberra doesn’t have to enact our bush fire survival plans yet — but that might change.

Last night on the news, they were talking about today, Saturday the 4th, how it’s supposed to be a terror of a day. Temperatures in Canberra will be high, around 42+ degrees (107+ F). NSW is in a state of emergency for the next seven days, and Canberra may follow suit, currently in a state of alert, with fears that winds will change and fires in the surrounding areas will come straight at us.

I looked at my partner, who normally hates the news, as she was glued on every word.

“If a fire comes, when are we leaving?”

“When it’s north side.”

“Where will we go?”

“In the opposite direction,” she told me.

I started to think about which path we’ll take, where we’ll go, if the fire threatens us, and depending on where the fire is. Roads will be closed, and we know we need to leave early to get out in time. If we don’t leave early enough, we’ll have to stay no matter what.

That’s what’s happening in places like Batemans Bay, or Narooma. People are stuck, roads closed, waiting and hoping for something to reopen and for a way to escape. In one place, only one petrol station is open. The news is saying people have to pay with cash because too many people had driven away without paying. Police told the manager to close, but he said he can’t — not when it’s life or death for people.

My Facebook is mostly images of the fires, people talking about how to get prepared to leave, and friends worried as they are unable to reach family and friends in affected areas, asking if anyone has heard from any of them or people in the area. One asked people not to post the good times of New Years on Facebook as they haven’t heard from their family on the coast. Another said they have nothing to celebrate while they stay in another town, waiting to hear if their town — their home — has made it or not.

We went out to the movies at Belconnen Mall. The fire alarm went off a week or two ago, because there was so much smoke getting in. Thankfully, it wasn’t smoky in the cinema. On the way home, I saw the moon. She was orange as well, a crescent, sitting in the sky. I realised I can’t remember the last time I’d seen the stars, and it felt like the first time I’d seen the moon in ages.

Yesterday, P2 masks were being handed out, with no end in sight for the terrible air quality.

I’m terrified.


These events are of course to the best of my memory, and any inconsistencies within the timeline of the bushfires are unintentional.

Also published on Medium.

The Super Switch – Review – spoilers

In this age of reality tv, the ones focusing on relationships tend to be sensationalised, focused on single people, and primarily exist for drama. It aims to make fun of people, and this is achieved by pumping people looking for their 15 minutes full of booze (see MAFS, Bachelor/ette, Bachelor in Paradise, etc).

The Super Switch was something different, looking at real relationships that are really struggling, and can’t be exploited for fifteen minutes. To look at the significance of The Super Switch, I’ll be comparing it to 2019’s Married At First Sight, which aired only a few months apart on two different channels in Australia.


The first time I watched Married at First Sight (MAFS), I didn’t really know what to expect. I had held off until marriage equality had passed in Australia, because as a young LGBTQIA person, having people say that ‘the gays are ruining the sanctity of marriage’, but then allowing people to get “married” for thirty days, was just wrong to me. With same sex marriage legalised in 2017 for all Australians, I was no longer bound by my own moral code and watched an episode, which then turned into the whole season.

There were a few instances throughout the show that I thought were important, and showed elements of relationships that should be reflected and analysed.

In saying that, there were many times through MAFS where Heidi would have an issue with Mike, and the next day he would act confused and frustrated with her emotions. Fans watching this (my friends and me) were horrified by Mike’s continuous behaviour, and the phrase “gas lighting” was thrown around a few times. Whenever this was brought up to the “relationship experts”, it was always a non-issue, something that Heidi was weaving in her head, because she has trust issues. And then that was that, next couple, time to make fun of someone new.

Throughout the series, it’s clear to see the experts are there to stir drama, encourage bad behaviour, and assist only those issues they find fit. While it wasn’t clear if they knew what was going on with Innes/Jess/Martha/Sam throughout the series, it was never brought up, except towards the end of each issue as a way to spark further drama within the participants and pick up the ratings.

There was only one relationship that the experts took an actual care to, a relationship that was pushed further on the back burner of the shows line up, as they never had any dramas like Innes’ cheating, Jess hitting on Nick, Martha causing dramas with Cyrell,

While I’m not here to analyse and critique MAFS, it’s important to remember these things for the context of The Super Switch (TSS).

There wasn’t a lot to expect from TSS, there was minimal advertising, bar from generic videos of a man pulling a switch and his girlfriend transforming into another woman. It looked to be another MAFS style show, however the relationship experts, Jacqui Manning and Guy Vicars, were always quick to shut that down, saying it’s not the same at all.

The show follows six couples, each with their own problems. They were split, paired up, and each pair went to one of two houses, the beach mansion and the city mansion. They had to decide how to share a room and a bed, things previously decided with their real partners.

There were two aims of the experiment: is their relationship fulfilling enough or do they need someone more like minded? and Are they able to grow through the experiment to return to a stronger, healthier relationship with their real partner?

To achieve these questions, Jacqui and Guy ran group therapy, and one on one, with the couples in the mansions. They arranged activities to grow the switch partners together, such as dates they wouldn’t normally go on, camping/spa week, and dates with purpose such as intimacy or bonding. The couples were also given money to buy their real partner something.

Ultimately, all the couples returned to their original pair and were happy to be better people.

Whenever there was a big issue, they experts took the time to look at it.

It was continuously an issue that Miranda didn’t want to talk about Lachlan. She said there wasn’t anything wrong, he was a bit jealous, but that was about it. Everyone picked up that this was an issue, and Guy said he was worried about her and the relationship. Watching Lachlan’s behaviour, to me and the other participants, this was a worry and a half, like veering towards domestic violence…

Lachlan ended up receiving some therapy specifically for how he gets possessive and aggressive when men talk to Miranda in public. Jacqui taught him about tap therapy and he started to use that as a way to calm himself down throughout the experiment.

It was clear that Jacqui and Guy cared about treating the participants and giving them ways to look after themselves. They weren’t there for show, or exist once a week to discuss what’s going on, they were constant presence to guide. They didn’t talk for five minutes about each relationship, trying to reassure participants to continue their experiment. They cared about each person, each couple, and each problem. While the viewer only saw segments of the therapy and only bits and pieces of the therapy, it was clear through people like Marcus and Ben that this was bigger sessions that focused on what was going on.

Marcus said it was though the experiment that he realised he was a negative influence on his relationship with Aimee, and before entering, thought he didn’t have any of the problems. Ben greatly accepted the assistance provided for him, even then things got tough, there was no motivation to leave. Unlike MAFS which has almost a guilt system that kept them there – for example, Heidi wanted to see if this could be something new, something good, even when Mike was constantly a problematic force in her life. MAFS have a rule where they couldn’t leave if their partner wanted to stay, which is completely opposite to TSS.

Ben was ultimately kicked out of the TSS experiment in the last few episodes after he had an altercation with Tyler. Christie was asked if she wanted to leave as well, however it was her choice if she did, and she would be able to stay, but she decided it was best to leave as well.
After Ben and Christie left, Tyler and Olga were still participating even without a partner.

There was no time for drama. In MAFS, if you kiss someone who isn’t your partner, it’ll be milked for all it’s worth for ratings. In TSS, it wouldn’t be tolerated full stop. Tyler and Christie couldn’t share a bed without being chastised by Neesha and Lachlan for “cheating”. Tyler tickled Christie over the pillow wall, and that was met with discomfort from all the participants, and led to the altercation between Ben and Tyler. It was impossible for them to not be there for the right reasons, because they had all these eyes on them, and they had the expectation that they would be ‘good’ for their real partners.

In The Bachelor and related spin-offs (Bacherlorette, Bachelor in Paradise), the participants are often seen drinking, and we hear about how regularly they drink. This show is all about the drama, and as such, having regular access to alcohol does the job.

This is the same as MAFS, in which the participants would arrive for dinner and straight away there’s drinking. Only one participant didn’t drink, and that was made a big note of by everyone else. As the season progressed, it was clear to see that alcohol was a regular thing with everyone else around. They drank before dinner, they drank during dinner, they sat at the table and continued to drink. With big personalities, like Martha, Ines, Jess, and Cyrell, having alcohol flowing provides the same drama as the Bachelor.

Alcohol wise, the contrast between MAFS/Bach and TSS is clear as day. The participants are only seen drinking a couple of times, out with the girls, out with the boys, and one night the beach mansion got wrecked. That particular night caused dramas between Justin and Miranda. She went to bed early, and had earlier agreed slept on the couch. He continued to drink and when he came back to the room, he majorly disrupted her sleep.
This was brought up in therapy for a while, and was never framed as a funny thing or positive in anyway. The viewer felt annoyed on Miranda’s behalf.

While watching MAFS, I would judge what was happening and how tacky everything was, whereas TSS had me judging the way people were treating their partners, and empathising more.


MAFS is a mindless show to watch with a bag of popcorn and judge the personalities of people aiming for 15 minutes of fame. TSS, although having a shallow sounding premise behind it, is less mindless, more documentary, and focuses on positives and being a better person, challenging the viewers own opinion of their relationships and what’s good.

It would be interesting to see what the participants are actually like, and if the portrayal was skewed (something all reality shows are notorious for, but see lawsuit). Having seen some episodes of the latest season of Seven’s ‘Bride and Prejudice‘, a show where engaged couples spend time connecting with disgruntled and disapproving family members to get them to attend their weddings, I’m looking forward to seeing if wholesome reality shows will become the norm in the future.

The Beast – Short Story

It’s gaining on me, and fast. From behind, I hear the click of my predator get closer and closer.

In a flustered frenzy, trying to get away as fast as possible, I stumble around names. They’re letters discarded from the threat of the ever creeping monster.

I swipe a look at my friend – sweating, just like me, staring ahead, trying to go as fast as possible.

We’re fuelled mostly by coffee at this stage, and the remnants of the bitter bean lingers on my tongue.

This isn’t my first encounter with the beast, and it certainly won’t be my last, as it tries to get its grubby claws sunk into me day after day.

My hands wipe away sweat, as I try and power on, knowing escape is a fleeting opportunity, and provides momentary rest.

“I don’t think I can do it anymore,” I say to my friends.

One has earphones in, a way to distract from the beast, and listens to music, rather than its toxic clicks.

The other friend shakes her head. “We’ve got to go on. There’s no choice.”

I feel a sob rising in my throat, and my friend reaches a hand out to me. For a second, everything slows. We glance at each other, sharing a look of understanding.

*’We can get through this,’* I think, and give her a nod.

After returning it, we break from the distraction and return to the task of evasion.

My fingers glide, feeling the motivation replace caffeine as my main fuel.

I glanced at the clock in the corner of my laptop. It was quarter to five, and I had fifteen minutes to finish this assignment and leave the library. My fingers were a flurry, as they tapped the keys, and banged out the final paragraph.

The beast continued to creep, as I saved the document and raced to upload it in time.

While I could hear time clicking away, waiting for a false move, the document uploaded, and I had finally escaped unharmed yet again.

I would live to see another day.

My Brother’s Name is Jessica – Book Review – Spoilers

(Cover photo curtesy of Penguin.com.au)

I originally wrote this review a few days ago. At the time of writing, I hadn’t read anything online, I had just picked up a book in a bookstore and thought it would be interesting to read.

After I initially posted it, I went on twitter to search for maybe an official page or something. What I found instead was sufficiently worse.

Here are two threads by Jay Hulme who talks about the book. I highly recommend looking through the two of them, as they are relatively short, but provide a lot of information, and shed a lot of light into how problematic the foundation of the story is.

Here’s another little something I found:

I found a lot of trans people on twitter were talking about why this book is bad, including normalising transphobia through the protagonist, the parents, and the general community.

As a cisgender person, while I do my best to be an ally to my trans siblings, I am aware that my experiences mean I have a bias, and like many cispeople (such as the publishers/editors of this book), I missed a lot of transphobia in the book.

In the afterword, John says:

“…I became interested in exploring how a child would deal with complicated issues of gender and sexuality, not when it’s a struggle that they’re facing, but when the srtuggle belongs to someone they love… I don’t know what it’s like to be transgender…  Talking to young transgender people while writing this novel, I was struck by their bravery but, more than that, by their honesty.”

There was a certain section, although now I can’t see it at all, but I thought, ‘Oh, great, he actually talked to trans people and consulted people who are in the community about how to properly represent them.’ Seeing as he Inclusive Minds haven’t heard much at all from him ever, it’s a bit difficult to take what he says seriously.

Of course, we can analyse everything with the perspective of death of the author, in which the author is removed from book. That’s my general go to, as I don’t have the time or effort to research and look at what every author has done in the past. However when it comes to representation, and the author even admitting to not consulting trans people, you have to take this things into consideration when looking at the book.

That said, here is the original review, where death of the author was a heavy factor.


Yesterday I bought and read My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne (2019), who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006).

As I write for LGBTQIA+ young adults, seeing this book at my local bookshop, with its beautiful rainbow pattern, was pretty exciting. I haven’t seen a lot of young adult literature that is so open with having a transgender character, and I was looking forward to seeing how the character was represented.

I had concerns, prompted by the title, as it seemed to be misgendering. How this would translate in the rest of the book was a bit of a mystery. I was worried about the protagonist deadnaming his sibling and how this would be done.

In Australia as of late, there has been an increase in articles against trans youth. I was both excited and a bit scared to see how this book would go. It’s so important to have great representation for minorities, and with the growing acceptance of transgender people, but also the vocal transphobia, it’s certainly important for young people to see positive representation.

The blurb didn’t give away a lot, and my bookstore is a bit disorganised (YA, middle school fiction, children’s fiction all in one area. This was in the same bookshelf as Twilight), so I had initially come into it expecting YA, around 15/16+. I was pleasantly surprised to find the protagonist 13 years old, and his sibling only four years older.

The protagonist, Sam, is a 13 year old boy whose parents both work high up in the British government. He doesn’t have a lot of friends and is teased for being dyslexic. His brother, Jason, has adored him since day dot, is the captain of the football/soccer team, is very popular, and the reason why Sam is only teased and not bullied.

Lately, Jason has been growing his hair out a bit, and it’s staring to look quite feminine. He’s been a bit distant lately, and Sam misses how close they were.

One day, Jason comes out to his family and tells them he’s a girl. This is a disaster and a half for them, as they haven’t dealt with this before. Their mum is hoping to become Prime Minister, and this is just not something she or their dad want to deal with right now.

As I discuss the book, I will alternate between Jason and Jessica, and changing pronouns. I do this to maintain coherency with the book. Sam tells the story as though it is happening as it happens. Jason/Jessica’s gender changes depending on what is happening, so with their aunt they’re Jessica (she/her), but with the rest of the family, they’re Jason (he/him) until the final scenes of the book.

The book follows the family’s journey from denial to acceptance, the heartache they all endure, and finally the positive’s that come from it all, bringing them closer together.

I found the book very well done. Not only was the writing excellent, as to be expected, but the choice of protagonist, point of view, and characters were well executed. The story felt strong, and the message, and effectiveness could have been defeated if not for these choices.

Honestly, I feel like I can rave about all of these points forever if I have the chance.

There were a few moments of transphobia that made me cry. The first and main one was when Sam snuck into Jason’s room in the middle of the night and cut off his ponytail. Sam saw this as a good thing, something that would help Jason to realise he’s actually a boy, but it further alienated Jason from the family, and ultimately resulted in him leaving him and staying with his aunt.

Aunt Rose is a blessing and one of my favourite characters, along with the coach. She accepts Jason into her home, and creates a safe environment where she can use her pronouns freely, and call herself Jessica. While it takes a while for Sam and their parents to start calling Jason ‘Jessica’, and for pronouns to start, it was heartwarming to see the love from Rose toward Jessica, especially compared to what some trans youth face.

I mean, trans people in general have the highest suicide, murder, and rape statistics. It’s horrifying, and throughout the book I was worried for her.

This is addressed slightly by Sam towards he end. He says, “If her own family will cut off her ponytail, think of what a stranger would do.”

Fortunately, the worst that happens is alienation from her family, rumours and alienation at school, and in one of the final scenes, she returns home with stubble, dressed in men’s clothes, and with a buzz cut, ready to pretend for the sake of her mothers career that she is a boy. This is quickly shut down by Sam who announces, “This is my brother and his name is Jessica.”

One of the positive moments that made me tear up was when the coach came around to the house. At this stage, it’s early in the book, and Sam hadn’t cut off Jason’s hair.

Unannounced, the soccer coach arrives to discuss rumours regarding Jason to his parents. Everyone is on edge to hear what the coach will say.

He’s worried that Jason will quit the team. But what about the other rumours? He doesn’t care about his gender, because Jason is so good, that she – he – whatever, must keep playing. Genders dumb, football is where it’s at – it’s what’s important.

The interaction is set up to be awkward, uncomfortable, a scary experience. Of all people to come forward with transphobia and deny Jason the opportunity to participate in sport, it would make sense that it be the coach. But he doesn’t care about letters from parents, he accepts Jason as he is.

Again, having such a positive person is amazing to see. We’ve witnessed recently an American athlete being banned from competing as a woman because of the hormones she takes.

Another hot topic at the moment is what bathroom trans people use. This was also addressed by Jason saying he uses the disabled bathroom because he can’t use the girls and he doesn’t feel comfortable going to the men’s. He brings up his first memory – being forced to use the boys toilets and denied entrance to the girls.

This book was excellent as a way to speak to people of all ages. The topic of gender was broached well for young people, young adults, and adults. It talked about the complex issues surrounding it, acceptance, and difficulties, while also being an easy, upbeat read.

I would recommend this book for anyone, literally anyone. It provides a unique perspective and story, while being informative to people of all ages and genders. I can easily see this book being stocked in all libraries, being recommended to students facing similar situations, and ultimately being a book talked about for years to come.


Before I knew what had been going on behind the scenes, I would say absolutely read this book. Now, I would say consider it, but be aware of the transphobia. Don’t use this as a source of what it’s like to be transgender, and take what you read with a grain of salt.

This is a novel to be analytical about.

The Super Switch Aus S01E14 – Recap

Who are the couples in TSS? Here ya go:

Ben and Christie (swapped with Tyler and Olga). Ben and Christie have left, but Tyler and Olga are still in without a switch partner.

Justin and Neesha (swapped with Lachlan and Miranda).

Kendrick and Romina (swapped with Aimee and Marcus).

The beach mansion: Ben, Olga, Justin, Miranda, Kendrick and Aimee. Their therapist is Jacqui Manning.
The city mansion: Neesha, Lachlan, Christie, Tyler, Romina and Marcus. Their therapist is Guy Vicars.


Previously:

The participants had just head home to be with their real partners.

Aimee and Marcus had a drama and a half, and after therapy with Guy, mostly talking about how Marcus can’t just leave, Marcus left.

Olga and Tyler started talking about their behaviour, and Tyler lied to Olga about the situation with Christie.


Olga’s worried that Tyler will go back to his old ways.

Tyler starts to talk about the incident with Ben, and says that he said that he dropped the ball on the gift for Christie, and then Ben attacked him, and I’m like that’s literally not what happened? He asked you about the poke and you kinda laughed it off and started to talk before he grabbed you.

Do not like him at all.


Justin and Neesh go out with some friends. Justin goes off with the boys and have a few drinks. He goes, ‘Oh, you can’t really just be like time to go home to my girlfriend. Like it doesn’t really work like that,’ and I’m like … yes? That’s literally how it works? Imo, if you say that to your friends, and they don’t like it or make fun of you or whatever, they’re not good friends.

He reckons if he said he had to be home at 3am because Neesha says then he won’t hear the end of it. … Wow.


Marcus and Aimee are at their favourite restaurant to chat. Aimee’s worried he hasn’t changed enough, and tells him she needs someone strong to support her. She asks how he shows he loves her, and he’s like, ‘Well, I’m here.’

“I can’t do this, I can’t deal with this anymore. I need you to be an adult.”

She gets up and leaves, and he yells after her, “So now it’s okay for you to walk away??”


After being with their partners for two weeks, they head to Melbourne for a group dinner, before the final stage of the experiment.


When they turn up, it’s clear that there are only five spots, so Christie and Ben mustn’t be coming.

Aimee’s worried about turning up because she’s scared she and Marcus have been the only ones fighting since they got back.

One by one, everyone arrives, and everyone’s excited to catch up and see where they’re at with their real relationships.


Tyler says that when he saw Olga again, she said she wants to have kids now, and I’m like wild, after everything that happened, and the continuous, “I’m not gonna marry him”.

Miranda and Lachlan are like yeah things are going really well, and Olga goes, “Well, you keep talking about it like it’s perfect. Why are you here?”

Ugh, they start talking about their relationship and it’s terrible. Miranda is still like, ‘I sometimes get myself into those situations.’

Lachlan uses the word ‘female’, and I’m like, look it’s all well and good to use female in like female toilets, medical form male/female, etc, but when I hear a man talk about a woman and call her, or women in general, a female, I can’t. It just sounds gross. It’s like calling women girls, or talking about a woman and say, ‘she’s a nice girl’, like it’s infantilising, and calling women ‘females’ and ‘girls’ feels disrespectful. Like I didn’t like Lachlan before, but UGH!

Marcus gets up to apologise to Ro and give her a hug.

Then it’s revealed that Olga called Tyler a retard, and he’s like, ‘You said that?’

If you remember, Olga had denied the claims she had talked nasty about him to everyone else.

Then in walks Ben and Christie!

Olga is visibly annoyed, as is Tyler. Everyone stands up to greet them, but Tyler and Olga sit in silence and don’t even acknowledge them.

The first thing Ben does when siting down is to apologise to Tyler, and he says he’s had the time to reflect and he feels really bad, but Tyler doesn’t really acknowledge it.

Christie say tells Tyler not to lie through his teeth, and that he’d lie to make Olga happy.

Olga has a major go at like everyone, then she and Tyler get up and leave, swearing at them as she does.


As usual, I write my recaps as I watch the episode, so there will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

In case you missed any episodes here are the recaps for MasterChef.

You can watch The Super Switch episodes over at southhemitv.com, as well as catch up on this seasons MasterChef.

Enjoy my recaps? Consider buying me a coffee.

MasterChef Aus S11E57 – Recap

We’re into day three of Finals Week, and the top five walk into the kitchen.

Simon, Nicole, Simon, Tessa and Larissa, the top five, ones who beat the other 19 with a stick.
Look at Little G, trying to incorporate the other two judges in his fashion

Gaz starts to talk about what’s going on today. The winner of today’s challenge will have an advantage in tomorrow’s episode.

Then, Matt tells them to cook the one dish that will be the most important dish that shows the judges they deserve to be here. He asks Little G for the rules.

“You know what? There are no rules,” he says, before telling them to choose how long they’d like.

The contestants talk together before deciding on 75 minutes.

George tells them the pantry and garden is open, and starts time for them.

The contestants run to the pantry, and Gaz comes in to interrogate them.

As Little G discusses desserts with Larissa, something blue catches my eye…

George “Little G” Calombaris wears glasses, but has a backup on his pocket.

Whymst? It’ll be interesting to see if he wears the blue ones at any stage today. If he does, there’ll be a “George Watch”, the closest I can get to an Anushka Watch now. Gone, but not forgotten.

GEORGE WATCH: George, the littlest of the trio of judges, has been spotted with fifteen minutes to go, wearing both pairs of glasses.

In related news, MATT WATCH: Matt, the tallest of the trio of judges, has brandished a monocle??? Where, why, how?? I have so many questions? Does he have a monocle on his persons at all time? Was this a coincidence? Did he plan this with Little G?
Matt Preston – I demand answers!

Little G wears an excessive amount of glasses, with Matt at the other end of the spectrum with one glass.

The contestants are all going good, generally Gaz is coming around harassing everyone and asking if they’re doing the best thing for their dishes.

With only a few minutes to go, Tessa cracks open her chicken to find this:

Yuck

Her chicken is still raw inside, so she yeets it onto a pan, and hopes for the best.

In Project Runway, sometimes a contestant will go, “I want to show the judges that I can do a lot of things, so I’m gonna make pants,” even though they’ve never made pants before.
Simon has decided to make a dish that has NEVER worked for him before, but after going to MasterClasses, he thinks he now knows that to do to make his savoury porridge.
Simon has made pants. Let’s hope it works for him, because pants rarely do.

Time ends, and the contestants all wish they had an extra ten, fifteen minutes, and wonder why they didn’t go for longer.
But Larissa seems fine.


Look, all I can think is that these blue glasses relate to Little G’s squash injury, but maybe they’re just his new tasting glasses.

It’s certainly a pop of colour

It’s time for the tasting.

Nicole is up.

Chicken Breast with Mushroom Puree and Mushroom Sauce

When Nicole leave, Matt demands for more gravy.

Matt MUCH prefers this version of the dish

Gaz calls it utterly delicious, and Matt says it’s a great plate.

Next is Simon with his pants.

Savoury Porridge with Mushroom Broth and Nettle Puree

Honestly, with the broth, it looks gross.

Gaz says it wasn’t what he was expecting at all. He was expecting a big bowl of warmth, but this is just components.

Looks like the seams in his pants weren’t right.

It’s Tessa time.

Roast Chicken with Kale and Bearnaise

The trio of judges taste, and say it wasn’t great.

For the first time, I’m not envious of their food, they should be envious of my dinner, even if it was just sweet and sour pork.

Tim’s next.

Gaz looks at it and says it looks like a prawn synchronised swimming event.

Corn and Prawn

They really like the look, and crack into eating.

Not shocking, they love it.

I don’t know, the idea of eating prawn heads just really puts me off. Like, you can see their eyes! Prawn eyes just make me really uneasy anyway.

Finally, Larissa, worried about taking too big of a risk.

Parsnip Ice-Cream with Caramelised pear and Chocolate Sauce

While I can’t imagine the taste, I really want to eat it. I’ll just have to settle with the Reeces ice-cream in my freezer, I guess.

Little G calls it a rock and roll dish. Gaz says her clarity of dishes gets better with each episode.

The judges know who their favourites are, and go out to deliver the news. Little G has changed from his blue frames to his regular ones.

Matt starts by telling Tim and Nicole it was tasty, but there was one that just really got them. It’s Larissa!

Yay! He tells her that they loved it.

Gaz tells Larissa that she’ll find out what her advantage is tomorrow, and tells them to get out of the kitchen now.


As usual, this recap was written as I watched the episode, so there will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

I posted a MasterChef rant about Sandeep, and you can read it here. I also did a bigger rant about the rest of the season, and you can read that here.

If you have a Hot Tip or want to suggest a show for recaps, tweet me, leave a comment, or head over to my contact page, and let me know what’s good.

To catch up on this episode, or other MasterChef eps you’ve missed, head over to southhemitv.com.
If you want to watch The Super Switch, southhemitv.com also has you covered, and I’ve got the recaps here. Double episodes every Wednesday night.

Enjoy my recaps? Consider buying me a coffee.

MasterChef Aus S11E56 – Recap

It’s the first elimination of Finals Week, and after failing to impress in the invention test yesterday, the losers are gonna cook for the chance to be in the top five.

The losers, Tim, Anushka and Nicole, start their day by looking at photos of their families, and making coffees.
That’s how I feel getting ready for work – looking at photos of my loved ones, listening to dramatic music, and making a coffee before I get in a car and go somewhere where maybe I’ll die a little inside and try to keep it family friendly.
Lmao no, I enjoy my job, but occasionally I lose five years of my life.

When the losers arrive at the kitchen, they find Gaz and Matt waiting for them. George “Little G” Calombaris is away, possibly relating to his squash injury, but who’s to say. All I’ll say is this: I would like to see George rock an eyepatch during a Masterchef ep, but never actually mention or acknowledge it at all. Maybe a slight pirate accent. I’m not fussy.

Matt’s got a bit of a leopard print going on with his cravat and pocket square. To each their own, but you’ll never see me wearing animal print.

They tell them about the guest chef. It’s Ashley Palmer-Watts, chef director behind Dinner By Heston in Melbourne and London.

He reveals the dish. This dessert is possibly the fanciest version of a lamington.

Once recovering from the shock of how many elements and layers there are, the losers prepare to cook.

Ashley starts time, and off they go, grabbing things to get going.

ANUSHKA WATCH: Top six, Anushka, 49 year old optical distributor, always has amazing frames on, and changes every day. Today, she’s wearing her elimination frames.

So proud of her :’)

Throughout the montage, there are a few dramas.

Tim adds cocoa butter instead of cocoa powder into his biscuit, before Larissa yells at him to check the ingredients, and he adds the powder.

Nicole sprays her lamington with the chocolate gun thing, and it blows away a chunk of it, so she has to figure out what to do with that.

Anushka didn’t roll her biscuit thin enough, and now she’s hoping it works for her.

I’m really hoping Tim goes home, because then we just need Simon out, and then I’ll be happy with the remaining contestants and the resulting top three.
I feel like I’ve said this before, but sometimes Tim talks and I’m like, no thanks. I have to remember that the editing has been done in a way that I don’t want to hear from Tim and the favouritism has me rooting against him, but he does seem like a lovely person. And we all know how I feel about Simon (see rant for deets).

At the last second, Anushka hasn’t gotten her raspberry gel, and missed that element.

It’s time for tasting.

First is Nicole.

The judges all love it, and say she’s set the bar HIGH.

Next is Anushka.

She’s nervous about the lack of raspberry gel, and she hopes that the rest of it is great.

The judges taste and agree that the whole raspberry flavour isn’t there.

Finally, Tim.

We’re actually hearing so much from Tim, especially compared to Anushka, who literally just said she missed an element, and Gaz told her it’s not over until it’s over, and then Matt kicked her out.
Whatever, we already know about the blatant favouritism from the judges and the editing room.

The judges say the chocolate isn’t as strong in this one for whatever reason, but they agree it’s a great effort.

It’s time for the results, and the contestants file in.

Gaz thanks Ashley for coming before it’s time for the decision.

Wasting no time, Gaz says that Ashley found one buiscuit hard and had no raspberry gel, so that’s why Anushka is going home.

It’s time for her montage of top dishes, and the judges have nothing but positive things to say about her.

“I’m going to need a chair for this one,” Anushka says, before going for a hug with Matt.

Here’s a final photo of Anushka, as she races to her culinary future.

Run, Anushka, be free!

Where are they now? Anushka is launching her cooking school, focusing on food as a creative outlet and therapy for mental health issues. Amazing. She’s working on her website Anushka’s Kitchen!

Here’s a quick article about how Anushka is the oldest person to get this far in MasterChef Aus.


As usual, this recap was written as I watched the episode, so there will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

I posted a MasterChef rant about Sandeep, and you can read it here. I also did a bigger rant about the rest of the season, and you can read that here.

If you have a Hot Tip or want to suggest a show for recaps, tweet me, leave a comment, or head over to my contact page, and let me know what’s good.

To catch up on this episode, or other MasterChef eps you’ve missed, head over to southhemitv.com.
If you want to watch The Super Switch, southhemitv.com also has you covered, and I’ve got the recaps here. Double episodes every Wednesday night.

Enjoy my recaps? Consider buying me a coffee.

MasterChef Aus S11E55 – Recap

It’s the first day of Finals Week, and the top six are Anushka, Tim, Simon, Nicole, Tessa and Larissa. Tonight is the mystery box and invention test.

The contestants come in to find the trio of judges, Matt, George and Gaz, all wearing blue. They’re quick to congratulate and hug the contestants, and welcome them back from WA.

George tells them that every moment this week will count.

Gaz is like, “I just got shivers down my spine,” before reminding them that one of these six will be the winner and will hold the trophy high.

ANUSHKA WATCH: Anushka, top six, 49, optical distributor, glasses frame icon, always seems to have a new pair of glasses every day. In the first week of Finals Week, she’s wearing like a tortoise shell frames.

The contestants head over to their benches and get to open their boxes. There’s one ingredient, different for each contestant, and a letter in an envelope with their name on it.

Tim immediately recognises the handwriting as his wife’s.

Each letter is from someone at home, and everyone is in tears.

Anushka has a letter from her daughter, and her ingredient is walnuts.
Tessa has tomatoes from her mum.
Nicole gets her letter from her partner, and her ingredient is goats cheese.
Simon’s letter is from his partner, and she’s given coffee.
Larissa gets lemons from her parents.
Tim’s is from his wife, and his ingredient is basil.

Matt lets them know that they’re using their ingredient for the cook. They’ll have the pantry and garden, and have sixty minutes. Everyone is tasted but they’re just looking for the top one.

Time starts, and the contestants all run to the pantry.

Everyone takes some inspiration from home to get an idea together.

At the end of time, Gaz tells them he hopes it was like a warm hug.

First to taste is Tessa.

Celebration of Tomatoes

The love all the different tomato flavours.

Next is Tim.

Basil Pork Roll with Pumpkin and Fennel. “For Abby,” Tim says.

The judges call it a flavour bomb, and love it.

Nicole’s up.

Goat’s Cheese Parfait with Macerated Grapes and Walnuts

Gaz calls it a dish full of lots of different elements, however the goat’s cheese isn’t the best, and dull.

Agreeing, George calls the goat’s cheese dulled down.

Up is Anushka.

Paklava Fingers with Cinnamon Honey ice-cream and Honey Sauce

They say it’s nice, but too homestyle for top six.

Next dish is Larissa. She’s a bit worried because she’s gone for an unusual combination, inspired by her dad eating olives and lemon together with bread, or something.

Lemon Parfait, Black Olive Madeleine and Poppy Seed Cream

The absolutely love it, and love how it’s clever and inspirational. George says it’s the best dish she’s put up in the whole competition.

Last, Simon.

Parsnips with Smoked Onion, Beetroots and Coffee Stock.

He pours the coffee stock over the dish.

George says it’s nice and that Simon’s really developed into an incredible cook. He calls it spot on, and would serve it in his restaurant tomorrow.

Gaz says it could be harsh and bitter, but comes into a lovely flavour.

It’s time for the decision. Matt says one dish really blew them away.

Larissa’s done it! She heads upstairs as they do the invention test.

The judges tell them about the next challenge. Each contestant has an ingredient chosen for them by the judges.

Anushka gets quail.
Nicole gets Moreton Bay Bugs.
Tim gets bone marrow.
Tessa gets John Dory fish.
Simon gets cauliflower.

The contestants are each really happy with what they’ve been given. George says the top two will join Larissa, and the bottom three will go to elimination tomorrow.

They’ll have an open pantry, garden in play, and an hour to cook.

When time starts, they first run to get their main ingredient, before heading to the pantry.

Gaz meets them in the pantry and asks them what their plans are.


While they’re cooking, let’s talk about this week and the near future.

Hot Tip: @JohnsonLeung on Twitter has let me know what’s going on for next week. Thanks for the tip!

This brings up another thing: what recaps to do next? If you have any suggestions, let me know. At this stage, I’m planning on doing The Proposal and/or The Bachelor, depending on timing and if it clashes.

The Super Switch has a total of 15 episodes, and starting either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how I’m feeling (I haven’t been getting a nap at about 4 lately lmao), I’ll be posting a recap every day until the season is complete, which will mean posting before the episode has aired in Australia.

Blah blah blah.

TL;DR, all the recaps I’m working on are wrapping up within the next two weeks, so I’ll be looking for some new Australian shows to recap, and I’m open to suggestions.

Tweet me, comment below, send me a message through my ‘contact’ page, and let me know what Aussie shows you’re excited to watch and/or read about.


During the cook, Nicole has drama after drama with her pasta, and she can’t believe it’s going this badly for her.

Anushka is rushing and nervous about getting everything going.

Gaz starts counting down from ten seconds, and everyone hurries to get the last stuff plated.

First is Simon.

Cauliflower Cheese

They judges really like it, and say there’s a few minor deets that are the difference between lifting the trophy and not.

Next is Nicole.

Moreton Bay Bug Ravioli with Bisque

The judges say the ravioli isn’t great. It’s not a disaster, but it’s not a great Nicole dish.
Matt does like the bisque but says the pasta is tough. He suggests that she should have done the bisque, bug and scallops.

Next is Anushka

Japanese Inspired Quail

She forgot to add the pickled mushrooms.

George says there’s a lot of flavour going on, and it’s not a usual dish from Anushka.
Matt really likes it and says she’s got the skills, now it’s a matter of finesse.

Tim time.

T-Bone’s Marrow – with brussels sprouts, a cracker, bone marrow, marrow crumb, etc.

The judges also really like this, and say the crumbs are great. Gaz says he wants a couple of bones each, but says the cracker isn’t good, and it’s too hard.
Matt tells him he cooks brilliantly. But if it’s not good, it goes in the bin.

Finally, Tessa. She jokes that it’s John Dory with lots of butter, and Gaz says he’d order it.

John Dory with Almonds, Capers, Grapes and Caviar

After devouring the dish, the judges say it’s great, and they warn her that she’s heading for a great career in cooking.
George says he wouldn’t change anything – it’s spot on. In fact, it’s her best dish ever in this competition.

It’s time for the decision. Gaz tells everyone that there’s two great dishes – Simon and Tessa. They’re safe and in the top 5 with Larissa.

That means Tim, Anushka and Nicole are facing the pressure test tomorrow, and one of them will be going home.


As usual, this recap was written as I watched the episode, so there will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

I posted a MasterChef rant about Sandeep, and you can read it here. I also did a bigger rant about the rest of the season, and you can read that here.

If you have a Hot Tip or want to suggest a show for recaps, tweet me, leave a comment, or head over to my contact page, and let me know what’s good.

To catch up on this episode, or other MasterChef eps you’ve missed, head over to southhemitv.com.
If you want to watch The Super Switch, southhemitv.com also has you covered, and I’ve got the recaps here. Double episodes every Wednesday night.

Enjoy my recaps? Consider buying me a coffee.