Masterchef & The Taste

Last year I had the delightful experience of meeting and also working with Jackie Kearney ( Masterchef finalist, Street food /Fine Dining Fusion aka The Hungry Gecko) and a friendship formed. Jackie’s knowledge and travels are poured into her food and her amazing food fusion creations – my personal favourite being Bombay Frankie although after this event her Butter Paneer now ranks joint 1st , is truly amazing.

We have also given you 3 recipes from the night below, so read on

Photo bombed by the audience Jackie and myself at Bolton Food Festival 2014

When food people get together great things happen – and for us a great friendship but also an exciting charity event The Banana Banquet was born.

The charity event with Masterchef Finalist Jackie Kearney, Clare Kelsey of Amazing GingersComfort Emporium IceCreams, Bread by award winning Fran Barker (aka @TheBarkerBaker) and myself was held in Jackie’s hometown of Chorlton, Manchester and was supported by fabulous producers

The venue was given to us for free on the night by the owners of The Beagle who have a great corner site on Barlow Moor Road with newly extended parlour area which on the day was being artfully and very coolly decorated ( making myself sounding very uncool and not down with the kids at all!). We were given the freedom to run the kitchen and do the event which was hugely generous of them and the team.

Supplies and produce sponsors:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables from incredible ladies who own Elliot’s Friit and vegetables. They run a charity calledMaddog helping the homeless by fresh hit healthy food truly inspiring woman themselves, as well as running the shop, they donated ALL of the veg and fruit truly generous. We got to say a little Thankyou because we feed them!
  • Frostys butchers – renowned butcher for high quality, local meat with full providence. Lee provided us with all our meat and all the eggs too
  • Evans of Didsbury provided us overwhelmingly  with all the fresh lobster and prepared it too, the fresh fish and delicious Morecambe bay brown shrimp
  • Fran Barker aka The Barker Baker, made fresh mini naan breads for us – and delivered them even after having a bump in the car ,(Fran and Sarah are all safe nobody hurt just the car thankfully),
The menu for The Banana Leaf Banquet

Jackie and I worked together over the menu and it was created and finalised, after having to painfully (not!) taste test lots an lots of Claire’s Gingers Ice creams at the Afflecks Palace cafe site, its a tough job but someone had to do it!

Charity Dining

The event was all about the 2 charities were Reclaim Project and Jubilee Campaign.

RECLAIM   a Manchester-based youth leadership charity set up in 2007 with a bold aim to end leadership inequality within a generation. We are committed, innovative and award-winning; we work hard to achieve lasting social change. We ensure young people maximise their full leadership potential, irrespective of postcode, school or family background. We seek out young people from working class communities with both leadership potential and a desire to create a better world. RECLAIM connects them with a network of influential decision-makers in order for them to lead change

and JUBILEE CAMPAIGN tackles the causes of injustice by effective lobbying and transformational charitable action to deliver real and lasting change for Children at Risk. We lobby political authorities and have campaigned at the United Nations since 1989. We also work through dynamic local partners to ensure our support goes directly to strategic urgent needs where we know our contribution isn’t wasted or duplicated. This is how we have made a difference in the lives of children forgotten by the world – See more at:

We sold tickets via Eventbrite and sold out of our 1st sitting and 2nd sitting was nearly full too, Jackie’s husband did the designing for us and printing and overall £1600 was raised through sales and profits going straight to the charities.

Jackie and I prepped and realised we  are both natural feeders and over prepared but we felt that you can never have enough!

The night had a family feel with my daughter and son (Georgina and Maximillien), Jackie’s daughter  (Rosheen and Emily) , Jackie’s husband (Lee) on multi tasking everyone did an incredible job , service was great and the kids did a really fabulous job without mishap and both services ran smoothly.

Here are some of the recipes from the night, Jackie has a CookBook coming out this year so for all her other recipes you will have to buy it!



The tastes in a beautiful vintage cup, and Soup in a bottle!  A spice flavour to the cauliflower cheese soup, with a light chai curry paint, delicious Lobster and curry/cauliflower combination works really well.


  • Shallots finely diced
  • 50g butter
  • Large Cauliflower roughly chopped, stem and leaves WHOLE Leave,  3 florets in tact put aside
  • 1l Milk
  • 200ml Stock we used vegetable stock
  • 250-350g Comte Cheese
  • Chai spices
  • 50ml Yoghurt or Cream (we used cream for a luxurious feel)
  • 1/2 Lobster Meat only
  • Coriander large bunch
  • Spinach 100g
  • tsp sugar
  • 50ml-100ml water
  • as required by packet Gelatine we used vegetarian

How to Make:

Cook the shallots n the butter until soft and not brown, Put the whole cauliflower chopped including leaves, stem (this is key to the depth of flavour) remember to leave 3 florets for the carpaccio cauliflower. Pour milk and stock in pan and all to cook until cauliflower is very soft 45-50 minutes, season and taste

Using a mandolin finely slice the cauliflower florets and scorch with a torch or gas flame. Put aside

Put the spinach and coriander (leave a few coriander leaves for dressing your final dish) , sugar and water into a pan and allow to wilt, blend until a smooth paste, sieve until you extract all the liquid, add your gelatine and allow to gel set.

Put your whole chai spices into a dry pan and cook until they release their natural oils and flavours, grind util very fine,  and allow to cool  then mix with the cream or yoghurt to make a smooth paste blend until very smooth,  Put aside.

When the cauliflower is soft and you have seasoned the soup base, blend until smooth, if too thick add a little extra, milk/water or stock. Taste and season, put back in pan and add the grated comte cheese, stir until melted through.

Now dress your plates/cups. Paint the the chai cream, in pipe or spoon a little coriander gel, add a piece of scorched cauliflower and 2-3 pieces of lobster meat, pour soup into a small jug and serve.


A complete feast of flavours and curries- Naan Bread with ginger and garlic tempering,Butter Paneer, Nam Jim Coriander Chicken Curry, Mahkani Dhal, Karnatakan Vegetables, Fishcakes with Brown Shrimp, Pakora Roulette and basmati rice.

Jackie has given me the opportunity to publish one of her recipes and it’s the amazing Butter Paneer dish- remember her book is being published this Autumn so you will be able to get ALL her recipes from the Thali then

RECIPE: Butter Paneer

  • 350g paneer, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp shashlik paste, mixed with 1 tbsp natural yoghurt (I use The Hungry Gecko, but you could use other marinades – obviously they won’t be as good ;0) or substitute with following simple marinade

Basic marinade:

  • 1-2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed & chopped
  • 1” piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala

For the butter masala:

  • 50g ghee or butter
  • 6 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 2” piece of cassia bark (or cinnamon)
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2” thumb fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, cut lengthways (add less if you want it less spicy)
  • 2 ½ tsp paprika powder (mild variety)
  • ½-1 tsp hot chilli powder (add less if you want it less spicy)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 120mls double cream
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Handful of fresh coriander


  1. Marinate the paneer pieces, using either the shashlik paste marinade or the basic marinade you have made yourself. Cover and set aside in fridge for at least an hour (but preferably a few hours or even overnight).
  2. In a large pan, melt the ghee then add the cardamom, cassia bark and cloves. Gently fry until aroma is released, then add chopped onion. Fry gently until onion is transparent and starting to turn golden.
  3. Lay the marinated paneer on a well oiled tray and bake in a hot oven (210C) for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure nicely browned on all sides.
  4. Add the ginger, chillies, paprika, coriander and garam masala to the large pan, and fry gently for 2 minutes. Then add the tomato puree, syrup and a small cup of water. Bring to simmer and then add fenugreek powder and season with salt. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, then add cream and bring back to simmer.
  5. I prefer to place the cooked paneer in a bowl and pour over the butter masala, as this helps the paneer maintain some bite and keep it’s lovely marinade. But you can add the paneer to the large pan also, stir gently and then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with steamed rice and soft chapatis or parathas, garnish with fresh coriander, and some freshly sliced cucumber, red onion and a wedge of lemon on the side.


Eccles Cake IceCream  ( we found out later its Chorley Cake Ice Cream! It seems the raisins are in one and the raisins are rolled into pastry that makes the difference between the 2!) The delicate flavours and spices of vanilla, cardamon poached pear and warming ginger used in the Sable biscuit and a rich decadent Port reduction.


Ginger Stem Sables

  • Flour 100g
  • Butter 75g
  • Sugar 35g
  • Egg yolks 2
  • Crystalised ginger Stem 25g (grind to a fine powder)

Poached Pears

  • 4 Pears (we used mini pears)
  • 10-14 Green Cardamon Pods- broke open shells and seeds
  • 6-8 black Cardamon Pods _ bashed
  • Vanilla Pods x 2 or 4 tsps of vanilla paste
  • Water to cover the pears in a pan

1/2 x Bottle of Port

Ice-Cream buy from Gingers Emporium! Or choose one you love

How to Make

Make the biscuit dough by putting all the ingredients together and blend into a dough, put in between 2 pieces of clingfilm, roll into a round, chill for minimum of 30 minutes

Peel the pears leaving the stems and cut the bottom of the pear so it sits flat on a plate, put the water , cardamon , vanilla into a pan and simmer for 30-40 minutes cooked through , they should not be too soft. Keep the stock they are cooked in. Remove the pears and allow the stock to cool, if not making immediatley pour the cooled stock over the peas and chill. otherwise all ears to sit chilled and uncovered in the fridge

Take the sable biscuit dough out of the fridge roll onto a floured works surface and cut with a fluted round cutter, place on a baking sheet and using a egg white and water mix paint over to create a glossy biscuit when baked. Cook in a 180 oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.

Reduce the port in a pan until it turns into a thick syrup takes about 20 minutes, allow to cool.

To plate put your pear, make an ice-cream sandwich , pour over your port syrup


We want to thank everyone for their support, their contribution, or sponsors and mostly I would like to Jackie for allowing me to be included and heres to many more!

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