We've seen how hard it is recreating MasterChef Pressure Tests dishes with a recipe, so having to go without one? Er, we don't even want to think about it, but our hearts went out to Samira, Jess and Ben, who faced that extremely daunting prospect during Monday's elimination challenge. The three had to recreate a dish consisting of a mandarin sorbet, mandarin custard and microwave almond sponge without having seen or tasted it, going purely off Matt Preston's review.
With a panna cotta and custard that weren't properly set, it was Samira who was sent home. Though she may have been one of the more reserved contestants on the show, the 36-year-old stay-at-home mum has proven that she can cook just about anything, with the heart to go with it, too. Here's what she had to say about her show highlights, putting herself out there and message to all mothers.
On that elimination challenge . . .
"It was a pretty tough challenge having to cook from a review without getting to see the dish or having a recipe. And being under so much pressure, I think that was the toughest one I could've imagined to be in. The first thing I thought was to stay calm, do what I know and do my best. Staying calm and collected was the biggest thing I set myself to do."
On the gelatine . . .
"I didn't put enough gelatine into the panna cotta. Instead of two sheets, I used one and a half. And that little half was . . . I don't know, I don't know why I didn't use it, because I knew to put two. It was one of those things where I just crumbled under pressure and made a couple of mistakes that were detrimental. We're so far in the competition, the pressure's enormous, and there was also a bit of tiredness from the months of cooking. It was a tough challenge."
On her progress on the show . . .
"It's been incredible. I've come so far and have learnt so much about food and cooking, I've made incredible friends. There have been plenty of moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life, I'll remember them forever. Meeting Nigella; Gordon Ramsay, as crazy as that was, I still loved all of it; Prince Charles, that was just mind-blowing, and cooking in Adelaide Square and the markets . . . The whole thing has been amazing."
On her favourite moment from the show . . .
"This might sound a bit too humble, but as much as I loved meeting Prince Charles, cooking at the markets in Adelaide with Jenny was my favourite. Just that moment when our dish was the best and she picked me up and gave me a spin, that was amazing. It was a huge girl power moment, we were such a good team and had so much fun."
On how travelling has impacted her cooking . . .
"It's helped me a lot. I've travelled through Asia quite a bit, so there's been a bit of Asian influence. It's given me a wider knowledge and has been really helpful."
On whether she feels robbed of an immunity pin after that challenge with Sashi and Reece . . .
"I don't think so. It's a fair game, I feel really impressed with myself that I was able to beat out to professional chefs, and was really chuffed with myself just over that. And the chef that I cooked against was incredible, so it was fair. I don't feel like I was robbed of anything. I still get comments about it, but I don't feel that way, I'm OK with it!"
On the hardest part about being on MasterChef . . .
"Being away from my kids. That was really, really hard. Being away from them was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, I haven't been away from them for longer than one night. All of a sudden, I was away for months, but they've been great, they were so supportive."
On the biggest lesson she's taken away from the show . . .
"Being true to myself. I look at myself throughout the show and I know I appear so quiet and composed, but that's me. So it's been about sticking to my guns regardless of the pressure. It kind of challenged that part of me, and I loved that."
On putting herself out there . . .
"I'm an introvert, so it was quite challenging putting myself out there. I'm a stay-at-home mum, I'm very quiet, I keep to myself quite a bit, and all of a sudden, I'm on this big reality TV show. I loved it though, I loved that I challenged myself. And to all stay-at-home mums, it's proof that we can do it. We can be strong and put ourselves out there and do well."
On her favourite celebrity chef on the show . . .
"I loved Maggie Beer! There's something really special about her, it's like she has a halo around her. She's incredible, I always knew she was beautiful, but once I met her in person, it was like, oh my god, you're an angel."
On her plans now post-MasterChef . . .
"I've got several things going on at the moment. I've got my photography business and have my first photoshoot coming up with the Augusta abalone company. There's also a cookbook on the way with my own photographs, and I'm planning a TV series about Azerbaijan culture, which is my biggest dream."