Celebrity Masterchef

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 12th June 2009


The current series began transmission on 10th June and my 'episode' was shown on the first programme.  We recorded last December so in many ways the programme was a distant memory.

I'm glad I took part - it was an interesting challenge though there was no way on earth I stood a chance of winning - my cooking is fairly straightforward and no nonsense.  My favourite cuisine is French and I'm not really into all the modern mixtures - for example I cannot bear the mixture of Fish and Chorizo which is all the rage.  Why kill the subtle flavour of fish with a highly spiced 'sausage'?  Being a big fish eater, I've had several meals in the last few months where the delicate flavour of the fish has been lost under some heavy sauce.  Good fresh fish requires little in the way of 'dressing'.  In fact I have my own take on Lobster Thermidor and Neuberg - I think the recipes were invented to disguise the fact that the Lobster wasn't fresh.  When I'm in South Africa I can obtain Lobster (they call it Crayfish) at a reasonable price and fresh out of the sea.  There is no better way to eat it than steamed for a few minutes and then served with a salad and new potatoes - Heaven!

In Masterchef - there are three sections - a Mystery box - where you have to invent dishes in very limited time - Cooking in a  Professional Restaurant - and making a two course meal in one hour.  Doesn't sound difficult but when I give a Dinner or Lunch party, I've usually made the Starter and Dessert in advance so the actual timing is not an issue.

My favourite part of the whole experience was working in the Professional Kitchen - in the Restaurant Pearl nr. Holborn.  The Building was the old Pearl Assurance HQ - and what a fantastic building it is.  It's now a superb hotel with the gorgeous restaurant called, of course, Pearl.  The building is all wood and marble and a feast for the eyes.

Of course the programme was edited to highlight our 'mistakes' and the two chefs give no quarter.  Strangely enough almost the only praise I was given was for a dessert that I 'invented' - a Plum Fool which I concocted to offset the richness of my main course Pork a la Creme and something which wouldn't take much time and would have a lot of colour.  I always try to get some colour onto my plates.

As the Plum Fool was my invention I can give you the recipe with no fear of copyright.  It's simple and very effective especially if you can get the Red plums which are red fleshed throughout - good colour for the table.

Plum Fool

1 lb red skinned Plums - ripe if possible.

Zest and juice of Pink Grapefruit

Honey to taste

1/4 bottle Red Wine

Crème fraiche

Grand Marnier

Chopped Pistachios for decoration.


Cook plums with Grapefruit juice and zest , Honey and red wine.

When soft, lightly liquidise (leaving the mixture bitty)

Add 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier

Swirl in Crème Fraiche leaving a marbled effect and transfer to Stemmed Serving Glasses.

Chill in fridge for an hour.  

Serve decorated with a swirl of Crème fraiche topped with chopped pistachios.

I'm away next week so there won't be any news but maybe there'll be a lot to talk about when I get back.  Going to stay with friends down in the Dordogne near Bergerac.  Maybe it's because of my Huguenot ancestry, but I simply adore France and would love to go and live there.  My french is passable but not good enough for Dinner Party conversation and can you imagine trying to deal with a Call Centre in French - I can't even understand the accents of half the Call Centre Operatives in the UK.

Eh bien.  A Bientot.  Jani

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