When I heard about the Simplot Food Blogger Cook Off Competition from my fellow bloggers, I knew that I would have to join this competition. Some of you might remember that sometimes last year I joined my very first cooking/baking competition and it sure has got me pumped for more challenges like this.
The process was simple, we each posted a recipe on our blogs using Simplot Hash Browns, and 8 of us were selected for the final, which was held on the 21st May at Masak-masak, Ben’s Independent Grocer Publika. Located right outside S.wine Cafe, it’s a fabulous spot that’s often used for cooking classes and demos, and fully equipment for any cooking needs.
To be honest when I saw the fine print of the competition I felt slightly uneasy, because we were to be at the venue at 10am. You all know I’m living a ‘musican’ schedule, haha. For the last week I was also going through a rough patch with very little sleep. So when the clock ticked over 9am I was not in the best of mood at all. However, when I saw some of the familiar faces (most of them probably didn’t have much sleep either) at Masak-masak and started chatting with them, I felt more relaxed.
Because of the time constraint, I didn’t get to try any new recipes before the competition so I decided to just go with the recipe I submitted anyway. At least it’s something I don’t even need a recipe for and I know it’s good.
We were all given an envelope with RM88 to buy all our ingredients (including salt, oil etc mind you), so I have actually visited B.I.G over the weekend to note the prices of my ingredients and their location. Shopping at B.I.G is always a pleasant experience especially their fresh produce section! You can find pretty much everything you need, though some of the imported items might be slightly more expensive. It’s also nice and spacious with clearly sign-posted aisles.
I’m posting this picture because you can see my red hair! Haha. I did ponder for a minute there for my choice of eggs. My shopping actually totaled lower than I expected which had me panicking a little and wondering if I had left anything out. But my list was complete. So back to the station I went and we waited for the cooking time to start.
The dish I made was the Vegetarian Baked Eggs with Hash Brown “Soldiers” (except I’ve added mushrooms for that extra earthy flavour). I’ve made this only about the millionth time! lol. Incorporating the Leggo’s pasta sauce makes it much quicker, so one hour is actually ample time for me to make this dish. After about 30 minutes of prepping + cooking the sauce, my dishes are ready to be sent into the oven.
As usual I’m the annoying noisy one that jokes around and there were plenty of laughters. When I’m nervous I talk a lot. Or is it the other way round?
So while waiting for my eggs to set in the oven, I sent my mini hashbrowns to the Philips AirFryer too. I’ve been intruiged by this product ever since I’ve first heard of it. The Philips AirFryer works just like a deep fryer, except with no oil. It’s just as quick but produces much healthier dishes. I was amazed at how easy it was to operate it too. Just set the temperature to 180 degree Celsius, and turn the timer to 10 minutes and my hash browns were perfectly golden and cripsy.
We were instructed to serve the big portion for the judges to taste, so I used my red cast iron skillet. This here was the smaller portion which I baked using a ramekin. Surprisingly, I was the first one to serve my dish. I wanted it to be tasted before the egg overcook and that was good 15 minutes before the cooking time finished.
Happy to hear all positive comments from the judges and I let out a sigh of relief. Even though I didn’t go crazy innovative this time, I knew I served something I’d eat over and over again. So it was up to the judges to decided the scores. After all the dishes have been tasted, we nervously waited for the results. I was really hopping that I’d at least be in the Top 3, and sure enough I was announced as the 1st Runner Up. *Happy Dance*
Simplot and Philips really did a great job offering such attractive prizes, apart from the giant cheque (literally and figuratively), I also got a Philips Pressure Cooker (always been curious about this), Philips Soy Milk Maker and a whole bag full of Simplot/Leggo’s products (more potatoes, hahaha).
Congratulations Jenn of Chasingfooddreams and Asliza for winning and coming 2nd runner up! Thanks to the judges, Chef Poobalan, Dr. Sidney Kan, and Chef Dato’ Fazley Yaakob and Vibes Communication for making this competition so successful. Let’s go for the next competition. Onward and Upward.
Photo credit to the official photographer for the event.