Alvin Quah and I agree firmly on two things; we both think food is a religion and we’d both jump at the chance to have Gary Mehigan’s babies …

My excitement at having the opportunity to cook with this Masterchef Australia contestant, who was my favourite in Season 2 / 2010 of the series, was heightened by the prospect of seeing my beloved friend Tandy, who had flown up to attend the event and to spend some time with her sister before the latter moves to Australia.
Alvin says he loves South Africa, especially the bushveld. After spending time at Phinda Nature Reserve, he can no longer stand the sight of zoo animals “they look so sad; in the bush they look happy and free and you get to eat them that night, it’s a circle-of-life thing …”

After a demo session, we got down to business in the test kitchen. Tandy and I paired together like pros; we cooked Alvin’s ‘Drunken chicken and bruised salad’ and ‘Green duck curry’. I chopped a whole chicken in half for the first time and Tandy showed her mastery by frying off the duck breasts perfectly.

While Tandy got the green curry sauce going, I sliced the duck and prepared the bruised salad. Alvin seemed impressed with us; we changed his recipe for the curry by frying the mushrooms instead of boiling them.

We sat down to eat the salad and curry, and brought the chicken home for supper. Of course the day would not have been complete without wine, and we toasted absent foodie friends with Hill & Dale Dry Rose Merlot; the pink wine that has some of my blog friends so perplexed.

Rose is the perfect wine for this time of year, crisp and cool; it is simply the best tipple on our hot afternoons …