From 18C to 7C in minutes

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 31 Juli 2014 | 20.01

When we first saw this image of Melburnians on Middle Park beach, we thought the black thing was an upside down labrador which had blown off its chain. We now realise it's apparently just a jacket. Either way, it illustrates wild weather. Picture: Nicole Garmston. Source: News Corp Australia

THE cold front has hit Melbourne. Tullamarine Airport plummeted from 18 degrees to 7.7 in a matter of minutes this evening, while the Yarra river is bursting its banks.

The Yarra is not overflowing because of rain, but due to a surge caused by incredibly strong winds which have buffeted much of south east Australia today.

Wild weather has blown off roofs, knocked over trees and left 15,000 Victorian homes and businesses in the dark.

A shop roof was blown off and became tangled in powerlines in the Latrobe Valley as a cold front moved across the state on Thursday.

The SES received more than 1670 calls for help, including to a supermarket car park in Bayswater where a tree fell onto 10 cars.

Power company SP AusNet, which covers large parts of regional Victoria, had 13,000 customers blacked out on Thursday night.

An SP AusNet spokeswoman said homes and businesses were steadily being switched back on as crews repaired fallen powerlines.

SES spokesman Daniel Burton said volunteers had been responding mainly to fallen trees and wind damage.

"Four residents of four Gippsland properties have been relocated due to property damage," Mr Burton told AAP on Thursday.

He said the worst of the strong winds appeared to have passed in metropolitan areas.

A shop roof was blown off at Newborough in the Latrobe Valley and was hanging from nearby powerlines.

A home in nearby Mirboo North suffered significant damage when a large tree fell into a room, a SES spokeswoman said.

Further east, horse races at Sale were cancelled because of safety fears, with the starting barriers straining on an angle against the strong winds.

Trains were suspended for several hours on the Ringwood line after a tree fell across the tracks at Ringwood East.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts winds of about 130km/h to 140km/h above alpine areas and between 90km/h to 110km/h for lower parts of the state, including the metropolitan area.

Colder temperatures will persist into the weekend and snow is forecast for areas 500 metres above sea level on Friday.

Meanwhile, strong winds have felled trees across Tasmania, killing a woman and leaving 10,000 homes and businesses without power.

The 63-year-old woman and her husband were clearing trees outside their Launceston house on Thursday when another tree was blown down, trapping her.

The man managed to free his wife but she could not be saved.

More than 10,000 homes and businesses are without power across Tasmania and the SES says its resources are stretched trying to cope.

TasNetworks spokeswoman Ann Kile said more homes are expected to lose power overnight as winds up to 130 km/h are forecast for the state's south.

"There remain a number of wires down, poles down and trees on lines from the earlier storms," Ms Kile said on Thursday night.

More than 21,000 properties were blacked out on Thursday afternoon, mainly across the north of the state.

Tasmania Police Inspector Michael Johnston said people should stay indoors and travel only when it was essential.

"We would urge people who don't need to make a trip tonight to stay at home or stay where they are," Insp Johnston said.

Inspector Johnston said the woman who died and her husband were working outdoors in high winds when the tree came down.

"They had a number of trees fall on their property and they were in the process of clearing those when a further tree fell and struck her," Insp Johnston told reporters.

"She was trapped under the tree, her husband was able to cut some of the tree away and get her out, but unfortunately she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics."

SES regional manager Mhairi Revie said it was proving difficult to cope with the number of damaged and torn roofs.

"Certainly our resources are stretched," Ms Revie said.

"When it comes to roofing crews, it takes a significant amount of training and expertise to get up onto roofs safely and to conduct their work in this type of environment."

A flight carrying Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey was unable to land in Launceston because of the weather and was diverted to Hobart.

Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey instead took part in the Tasmanian Economic Council meeting via teleconference.

Train lines across the north-west and west coast were also affected by the wild weather, with TasRail suspending train services on the Melba Line and west of Western Junction.

At least 15 Tasmanian schools will close on Friday as high winds and the risk of flash flooding keep children at home.

FROM EARLIER TODAY...

THEY call it the hairdryer.

It's a gale-force westerly wind that heats up the south east of Australia in late winter, tearing the snow off the ski slopes like paint stripper and giving east-coast residents an early, teasing taste of spring.

Then it slams the door in your face, mocking your T-shirt and shorts with an Antarctic blast that sends you scurrying for your winter woollies.

Storm chaser Hannah took this from her balcony in Docklands just as the cold front hit Melbourne this afternoon. Picture credit: Hannah Weddell Source: News Corp Australia

No, the weather hasn't gone mad. It's just gotten a little extreme.

It's also gotten extremely scary in some parts of the country. Launceston Police said a person had died as a result of injuries sustained when a tree fell in high winds about 12.30pm today. Strong-to-gale-fore winds will increase across much of south east Australia in the coming 24 hours.

So what's going on?

This is actually a classic setup for the second half of winter, and we're going to borrow a few weather charts from the Bureau of Meteorology website to explain all that.

This first chart shows the current weather situation right about now.

Lunchtime Thursday July 31. Source: NewsComAu

See the big low pressure system below Tasmania? The first thing to understand is that air circulates clockwise around a low.

The wavy lines, called isobars, help show you which way the air is flowing. So as you can see, right now there's a bunch of air flowing across NSW and Victoria which has more or less come from central Australia. As you'd imagine, that air is pretty warm.

You should also know that the closer the isboars are together, the windier it is. And those isobars are really close together. Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains has had gusts in excess of 100 km/h for each of the last three days. In the last hour or so before this story was published, wind speeds touched 124 km/h. Mt Hotham in Victoria just hit 113 km/h. Eek.

As mentioned, all that wind plus warmish temperatures create a real hairdryer effect. That's why the snow in the Aussie Alps has gone from this...

The Aussie snowfields a couple of weeks back Source: NewsComAu

To this...

The same scene after three days of hairdryer. Source: NewsComAu

But the cold is about to return with a vengeance. Have a look at the projcted weather map for Friday.

See what we mean? Source: NewsComAu

See how the cold front will have crossed the south east by late Friday morning? The front is the line with the black "shark fins" on it. Now the air impacting south east Australia is coming from a cold place way down in the Southern Ocean. That means good snow for the Alps, plus snowfalls to fairly low levels in NSW and Victoria. The suburbs of Hobart and Canberra may even see a few flakes Friday.

It also means your taste of spring is over. For now.

In summary, the weather has not gone mad. Cold outbreaks like this with big surges of warm air ahead of them are really common this time of year. The strong winds are common too. Be careful out there, people.

- with AAP

Got a wild weather pic? Tweet us at @newscomauHQ or @antsharwood and we'll upload the best ones into this story!

Gigantic waves crash into Mornington Harbour on July 31, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Temperatures dropped and strong winds of over 100mk/h hit Melbourne this afternoon, bringing rain and hail across the state. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images


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Hollingsworth, Etoundi sent home

Athletics Australia head coach Eric Hollingsworth will be sent home from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after being stood down following his public outburst with Sally Pearson.

The two protagonists: the soon to be departing Eric Hollingsworth and hurdling champion Sally Pearson. Source: GoldCoastBulletin

WELCOME to our live coverage of Day 8 of the Commonwealth Games.

Stay with us for updates throughout the morning's actions. All times are in AEST.

It's been a horror day so far for Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti, who has sent athletics coach Eric Hollingsworth home for his attack on Sally Pearson and he's also had to revoke weightlifter Francois Etoundi's accreditation for allegedly fighting in the athletes' village.

MORE: MONEGHETTI SAYS HE IS 'NOT EMBARRASSED' BY MISBEHAVIOUR

MORE: MIKE COLMAN: GET WITH IT, MONNERS! STORY WAS 10 HOURS OLD

9.00pm — BRONZE TO GARFOOT IN WOMEN'S ROAD TIME TRIAL

Katrin Garfoot peddles away to take third place in the women's road time trial in Glasgow. Source: Getty Images

GERMAN-born Katrin Garfoot who only became an Australian citizen last October is now a bronzed Aussie after a stunning ride to claim third place in the women's road time trial in Glasgow, writes Jon Ralph.

Garfoot, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport, was 16th of 32 starters to roll down the start ramp and when she finished the 29.6km course with the fastest time of 43mins 13 secs, faced a nervous wait for the rest of the field.

When they arrived only two had gone faster — New Zealand silver medallist from Delhi Linda Villumsen (42:25) who swapped that for gold in Glasgow and English former world champion Emma Pooley (42:31).

"It's unbelievable, I'm very excited and had tears running out of my eyes before because it means a lot my first Commonwealth Games doing that for Australia," Garfoot said.

MORE: GERMAN-BORN GARFOOT BECOMES A BRONZED AUSSIE

7.00pm — DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR MONEGHETTI WITH ETOUNDI CENSURED

Francois Etoundi on his way to winning bronze in the men's weightlifting 77kg class. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIAN weightlifting bronze medallist Francois Etoundi has been stripped of his Commonwealth Games accreditation and evicted from the athletes' village for an altercation with a Welsh athlete, writes Todd Balym.

Australian team chef de mission Steve Moneghetti announced last night that the Commonwealth Games Federation demanded Etoundi's accreditation be revoked and the 29-year-old will be sent home in disgrace after he faces Glasgow Sheriffs Court on Thursday.

Etoundi is alleged to have left a Welsh athlete with a broken nose after a fight in the early hours of Wednesday morning with police making an arrest at 6am.

Moneghetti said it would be "speculation" to assume alcohol was a factor in the incident, adding there was "no alcohol in the residence of the village" where the fight occurred.

The Australian team boss had previously opened the Games refusing to issue a blanket ban on drinking for team members despite issues of misbehaviour in Delhi four years ago where an athlete threw a washing machine out a window.

MORE: ETOUNDI KICKED OUT OF ATHLETES' VILLAGE

MORE: HOOPER SLAMS 'VIOLENT' ACT BY ETOUNDI

6.30pm — HOLLINGSWORTH SENT HOME IN DISGRACE

Sally Pearson and Eric Hollingsworth in happier days, at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Source: Getty Images

AUSTRALIAN chef de mission Steve Moneghetti confirmed Hollingworth's accreditation had been "revoked" for a breach of contract and he would be leaving Glasgow in the coming hours, writes Scott Gullan.

"We spoke to the section manager from athletics to decide on an appropriate sanction and as a result of that Athletics Australia withdrew Eric's nomination as head coach of the athletics section and this led to us revoking his accreditation," he said.

Athletics Australia acted quickly on Wednesday after Hollingsworth had launched an extraordinary attack on Pearson saying she was a "bad example" to the rest of the Australian team.

AA president David Grace immediately suspended Hollingsworth until a full review could be conducted after Glasgow although there is no way his contract, which ends in October, will be renewed.

The final nail in the coach's coffin came when he ignored management demands not to comment on his feud with the Olympic champion.

Eric Hollingsworth in a media scrum at Glasgow airport as he prepares to leave the country. Source: News Corp Australia

Eric Hollingsworth doesn't even get any peace while checking in for his flight. Source: News Corp Australia

The airport's security section and the departure gates beyond offer the only sanctuary. Source: News Corp Australia

MORE: SALLY FINE AS HOLLINGSWORTH SENT HOME

MORE: SALLY IS GOLDEN — TRASH HER AND YOU PAY PRICE

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‘He never looked at her the same’

The rumoured love triangle between Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr and Justin Bieber heats up.

Where it began ... Justin Bieber up close with Miranda Kerr at the 2012 NYC Victoria's Secret show. Source: Supplied

ORLANDO Bloom's clumsy bid to slug Justin Bieber was spurred by the fact that the "Lord of the Rings" star could no longer face his wife, Miranda Kerr, after Bieber got cozy with her at a 2012 Victoria's Secret modelling show, The New York Post has learned.

"He never looked at her the same," a Bloom pal told The Post.

Bieber, meanwhile, upped the ante in the duo's lightweight celebrity sparring match by posting an Instagram picture of Bloom crying on the red carpet outside a 2013 Broadway afterparty.

Happier times ... Model Miranda Kerr and ex husband Orlando Bloom. Source: Getty Images

The Canadian crooner quickly took down the photo — in which Bloom was overcome with emotion at his debut in Romeo and Juliet on the Great White Way.

But Biebs wasn't finished striking back at the punch-throwing actor. He also uploaded a sexy bikini shot of Kerr on Wednesday morning, obviously meant to make the Middle Earth elf see red.

Bloom and Bieber went to war early Wednesday when their paths crossed at a celebrity packed nightclub on the Spanish party isle of Ibiza.

Secret's out ... Justin Bieber performed at the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show where Miranda Kerr took to the catwalk. Source: Splash News Australia

Sources told The Post that Bloom flew into a rage when Bieber taunted him by saying "She was good" — a clear reference to his mysterious hook-up with Kerr at the 2012 modelling show.

Just how far the teen heart-throb and the lingerie lovely went that night has remained a Victoria's Secret. The two were only publicly spotted flirting.

But Bloom — who split with Kerr the next year — clearly suspected the worst as he balled his hand into a fist at the club and tried to knock Bieber's smug block off with a haymaker.

Witnesses differed on whether the epic blow actually struck the 20-year-old singer. But sources said that the actor's attempt to coldcock Bieber caused the crowd of onlookers to cheer.

Swung at Bieber ... Orlando Bloom with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies co star Evangeline Lilly. Source: AFP

Yet after the scuffle Bieber remained cocky, declaring "Say hi to her" as Bloom walked away, according to some witnesses.

Bieber continued his bravado the next day, as the Baby singer shamelessly posted Instagram pictures of himself carelessly lounging bare-chested on a boat.

"Sunburnt and a moustache," he captioned the image, in an apparent reference to his pubescent scruff of facial hair.

Latest pic ... Justin Bieber on a yacht after the altercation with Orlando Bloom. Source: Supplied

Kerr, meanwhile, was back at work doing what she does best — making love to cameras. She posted an incredibly sexy shot of herself topless in a bathtub and wearing 7fam jeans, which she endorses.

Moving on ... Despite a fight involving her ex and Justin Bieber, Miranda Kerr found some time to post this steamy pic. Source: Instagram


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Behind the scenes at Bachelor HQ

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 30 Juli 2014 | 20.01

Meet Blake, 2014's bachelor for The Bachelor Australia. Courtesy: Channel 10

Bachelor Blake Garvey gets some one-on-one time with Katrina. Source: Supplied

THE Bachelor season two is finally upon us.

Cue a collective "woo" from diehard fans of Ten's reality dating show, and a heavy "nooooo" from obliging husbands and boyfriends across the nation.

As viewers witnessed a fresh batch of ferocious women playing tug-of-war with one man, Mr Blake Garvey, we thought we'd provide you with a little insight into what really goes on behind the scenes before tonight's glitzy cocktail party.

Here's the bachelorette pampering schedule:

• Hair and makeup begins about 11am. Each girl gets 90 minutes to be primped and preened.

• Seven hair and makeup artists work frantically to get the 24 girls ready to meet their dream man.

• Most popular beauty items are always fake lashes, bronzer and hair spray.

• The experts work with each ladies' personal style and often have to subtly steer them towards a 'less is more' approach.

• The girls then spend 30 minutes in wardrobe with a head stylist and three styling assistants.

• A total of 300 gowns were sourced for episode one — the most favoured colour this year is black, followed by red, pink, white or navy. But they all love anything that sparkles!

Primped and preened ... The bachelorettes from Victoria. Source: Supplied

After hours of preparation, all 24 ladies are finally camera-ready for episode one. Phew.

As for the Bachelor, he spends the morning at his bachelor pad trying to clear his mind before the big debut. Garvey works out and goes for a swim. He then spends 30 minutes in hair and makeup followed by 45 minutes in wardrobe. Thirty minutes does seem excessive for this perfectly shaved noggin, but hey, he's gotta look sharp!

Brace yourself, Blake. The Bachelor doesn't know what he's let himself in for. Source: Supplied

Here's a quick runsheet of your Bachelor beauties for 2014 to familiarise yourself before tonight:

Emma F, 31: Interior designer from VIC

"I like to think I am quite personable."

Alana, 26: Legal secretary from WA

"My perfect date would be a picnic if it's good weather or a man cooking me dinner, so the majority of the date can focus on the conversation."

Alana, 26. Source: Supplied

Emma F, 31. Source: Supplied

Diana, 28: IT student from QLD

"I always say, you are never fully dressed without a smile."

Emma L, 28: Makeup artist from WA

"I prefer to leave a bit of mystery so I'll probably let them do most of the talking."

Emma L, 28. Source: Supplied

Diana, 28. Source: Supplied

Bridgette-Rose, 24: Law student from QLD

"I don't like men who are conceited, lazy, messy or who don't take their relationships seriously."

Chantal, 26: Design consultant from VIC

"I hope the Bachelor has a good sense of humour and wit. I love a guy who knows when to be serious and when to be silly."

Chantal, 26. Source: Supplied

Bridgette-Rose, 24. Source: Supplied

Holly, 23: Professional netball player from NSW

"I'm six feet tall. I'm very carefree and I don't take life too seriously."

Anita, 30: Dog groomer from VIC

"I have been single for a long time and I now have time to spend on myself. Plus, I am always up for a new experience."

Anita, 30 Source: Supplied

Holly, 23. Source: Supplied

Jessica, 24: Accounting student from NSW

"It's great to view the world with an excited, glass-half-full mentality."

Amber, 26: Personal assistant from QLD

"Most women lead with their boobs or butt, but I think legs are highly underrated and who doesn't love pearly whites?"

Amber, 26. Source: Supplied

Jessica, 24. Source: Supplied

Kara, 24: Law graduate from VIC

"I'm smart, witty, funny, outgoing, fun and can read other people's characters extremely well."

Amanda, 28: Account manager from NSW

"I've done a lot of dating and haven't found the one. It was a last minute decision; I applied the day before applications closed."

Amanda, 28. Source: Supplied

Kara, 24. Source: Supplied

Laurina, 30: Entrepeneur from VIC

"I'm looking for someone with integrity, emotional intelligence, who is affectionate, a gentleman and who has good rhythm and loves to dance."

Lauren, 27: Flight attendant from SA

"The everyday dating scene just wasn't working for me and I feel I need to take a more extreme approach."

Lauren, 27. Source: Supplied

Laurina, 30. Source: Supplied

Lisa, 27: Fashion designer from QLD

"I love romantic picnics, either by the water or in the hinterlands. This followed by a surprise activity I've never done before, like rock climbing or skiing, anything adventurous really."

Louise, 26: Events Planner from QLD

"I'm hoping he is driven, family-orientated, confident, smart, saucy and happy."

Louise, 26. Source: Supplied

Lisa, 27. Source: Supplied

Karla, 31: Nurse from NSW

"I have a real thirst for knowledge. I love facts and titbits of information."

Katrina, 26: Musician/Photographer from NSW

"I was disappointed in the dating scene. I have only been on one date this year and had stopped replying to boys who were messaging me."

Katrina, 26. Source: Supplied

Karla, 31. Source: Supplied

Samantha, 25: Admin assistant from WA

"I just wanted to put myself out there as I don't really have time to meet a guy. I have always worked weekends."

Sam F, 25: Finance and insurance consultant from VIC

"I like to think I'm pretty witty. I have a good sense of humour and I'm good fun to be around."

Sam F, 25. Source: Supplied

Samantha, 25. Source: Supplied

Tiarnar, 31: Model from NSW

"My legs and bum seem to get a lot of attention."

Zoe, 25: Pharmacy training officer from VIC

"I've been living on a remote island for 14 months, volunteering in a developing world country, and it really put my personal life on hold. I thought it was time to do something for me."

Zoe, 25. Source: Supplied

Tiarnar, 31. Source: Supplied

Stacey Louise, 33: Fitness trainer and model from VIC

"I am a dreamer who is still looking for their prince. I have been waiting around on the farm for my perfect man to come along and sweep me off my feet for too long. It's time to put myself out there and chase my dreams."

Shana, 26: Poker dealer from QLD

"My dream date involves being taken by a handsome guy — in the back of a Ute with a mattress, pillows, blankets, strawberries and a bottle of bubbly — to the drive-in movies."

Shana, 26. Source: Supplied

Stacey Louise, 33. Source: Supplied

Who will be left standing, and who will be sent home after tonight's cocktail party?

The Bachelor kicks off tonight at 7.30pm on Ten.


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Breaking ice with Russian rebels

Kostya Tszyu in 2000 ... the Russian-born boxer who emigrated to Australia proved to be a talking for the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Source: AP

The head of a monitoring group is hopeful police will be able to access the MH17 crash site 'within days'.

KOSTYA Tszyu was a professional face breaker, but in the pro-Russian rebel strongholds of eastern Ukraine he's an icebreaker — a rare point of common ground in a place where they understand as little about Australia as we do of them.

Having driven south through Ukrainian checkpoints and arriving on the outskirts of the separatist-held city of Donetsk, the main staging post for international efforts to secure the MH17 crash site 80km to the west, and close to the Russian border, a stark scene awaits.

On the highway, under freshly dumped mountains of earth that form defensive bunkers reinforced with warrens of concrete blocks and crosshatched timber logs, separatist soldiers wearing bandannas aim AK-47s at all approaching vehicles.

Edgy scenes ... a pro-Russian separatist holds his gun as he takes cover behind a tree at a checkpoint in Donetsk. Picture: Bulent Kilic Source: AFP

LATEST: 'Mystery rebels' join fight and hindering MH17 search

EARLIER: Face to face with the Russian-backed rebels

Under their uniforms they wear blue-and-white striped Russian military-issue singlets.

Though supported by Russia, the separatists want their own new country, albeit one that dwells in the Russian sphere and rejects Ukraine's lean towards Europe.

The soldiers ask for ID and demand we stay in the vehicle as someone more senior is consulted.

As we wait they share vodka in plastic shot glasses, eat boiled eggs and kindly suggest, after a time, that we come behind the bunker because a Ukrainian sniper is operating from woodlands across the open fields.

We are in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, now fully surrounded and outnumbered by Ukrainian troops and the site of the first open conflict in Europe since the Balkans ended in 1999.

An old car arrives — a Russian-made copy of the Fiat, known as the Lada — and the separatists ask us to follow them a few hundred metres to a tollbooth where there are more separatists and more is waiting to be done.

Laughing (for now) ... armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard in front of the crash site. Picture: Bulent Kilic Source: AFP

The two soldiers assigned to sit in the back seat of our vehicle don't talk kangaroos; they talk Russian expat boxer Tszyu.

They understand why we are here; they know Australia has copped a huge blow in losing 38 citizens and residents of the 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet.

They know most of the world thinks they did it.

A young separatist with passable English asks me who, in my opinion, hit the plane. I turn the question back to him.

The fighter, who has left the Donetsk police force to join the fight and will not give his name, says he has no doubt who shot it down.

"Kiev," he says, referring to the Ukrainian capital, "did this in an act of provocation."

The separatists argue that Kiev downed the plane and blamed it on them in order to draw the west into a war against Russia.

There is no need to take the discussion further: a Ukrainian missile comes sailing in with a whistling scream and strikes the bridge 200m away, sending everyone diving for the trenches.

The separatists get up, slapping off the dust and laughing. That's when you realise these men are prepared to die to break from the Ukraine. And well they might.

Seriously scary ... separatists stand at their checkpoint near the front line. Picture: Bulent Kilic Source: AFP

A young man whom I'd barely noticed is told to remove his shirt and fitted with cable-tie hand and ankle cuffs. He's laid down in the back seat of the Lada. We are instructed to follow the car to Donetsk.

We arrive at a separatist battalion headquarters within the city, where the terrified prisoner is unloaded.

An officer asks to see my media accreditation for the Donetsk People's Republic, necessary to work in the region. I explain that I have none because I have just arrived.

There are shrugs, shaking heads and phone calls, but we are allowed to leave on the promise we get the necessary papers first thing in the morning.

We drive away but then my driver gets a call from the battalion: please come back.

We return to be told the security people have some questions.

We are taken four floors up an unlit stairwell to a door with an eyehole. Our escort knocks and the double-locked door is opened by a powerful young man in a black singlet, nursing a machine gun.

There are two shirtless prisoners facing the wall, hands behind their backs. They look frightened. There is a young blonde woman seated on a bench, rubbing her hands. She too looks very anxious.

Destruction in Donetsk ... a man climbs into his flat in a damaged residential apartment building after the shelling in Donetsk. Picture: Dmitry Lovetsky Source: AP

Severe laws have been mandated by the republic for all law-breakers during this war. And traitors — people working for Ukraine — have gone missing, been taken hostage or turned up dead. Same for the other side.

We are directed into what looks like a classroom and told to sit. No phone calls allowed. A smiling, soft-spoken man, clearly senior in this environment, asks for documents.

He then takes a seat on a stool and examines me. "Would you like a drink? Water? Coffee? Kompot? Cigarette?"

I go for the kompot, which turns out to be a warm Russian fruit drink. The gentleman, talking in the low comforting tones of an interrogator, says that I need accreditation. I explain, again, that to get the accreditation I need to come to Donetsk. I suggest if he lets me go, I'll get it in the morning.

He smiles. "No."

It's after business hours, but he says he will ask the press accreditation people to come here. We must wait.

We are assigned a guard who is not unpleasant, chatting with my driver. But through yellow glass windows to the entrance hall I can see the two shirtless men standing silent, heads bowed. Through the open door the blonde woman keeps looking at me, biting her lips.

The two male prisoners are, from what I can gather, likely suspected Ukrainian spies. It is believed the woman has been arrested for drugs.

We are in the interrogation headquarters of the Donetsk People's Republic and it's not a nice place.

The senior officer proves good to his word. After two hours, someone from the press centre arrives, takes a quick look at my documents and we are able to leave, with apologies for the delay.

Welcome to the DPR.


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Head coach’s shocking spray at Sally

All the action from day 6 of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Eric Hollingsworth has made a statement slamming Sally Pearson on the eve of her Games 100m hurdles defence. Source: Getty Images

THE feud between Sally Pearson and Athletics Australia boss Eric Hollingsworth has escalated, with the head coach saying she was a bad example for the team.

In an extraordinary outburst just a day out from Pearson beginning her Commonwealth Games title defence, Hollingsworth has broken ranks and sprayed his best athlete.

Athletics Australia advised the head coach not to comment but instead he poured more fire on what was already a volatile situation and could be sacked with hours.

News Corp Australia revealed on Sunday that Hollingsworth and Pearson were no longer on speaking terms.

Pearson was fined for missing the team's camp, preferring to compete in London because she was desperate to have more racing as part of her comeback from injury.

Eric Hollingsworth has made a statement slamming Sally Pearson on the eve of her Games 100m hurdles defence. Source: Getty Images

In a statement released by a PR representative on behalf of Hollingsworth he said: "Sally was coming all along until the last minute when she opted to take a race in London.

"What's lost here is she's the team captain and there's a reasonable expectation she'd be in the camp ahead of something as major as the Commonwealth Games.

"Her no-show sets a bad example to the entire national team."

On the fiery exchange at this year's world indoor championships in Poland in March which sparked the fallout, Hollingsworth suggested Pearson, who had finished second at the event, couldn't handle some tough love.

"I asked legitimate questions of her after the race, and she didn't like the line I was taking. So via her agent she sought a meeting with Athletics Australia's president, CEO and High Performance Director, which I was not aware of until the day of, or day before the meeting," he said.

Sally Pearson starts the defence of her 100m hurdles title on Friday morning AEST. Source: Getty Images

"While I thought at the time it was curious that I wasn't involved in that process in any form, Sally raised her issues, and the powers-that-be found no problems with my actions, and there was no case to answer.

"Subsequently Sally dug her heels in, as is her right, and asked for what is a new 'athlete performance advisor' which is the conduit between the athletes and Athletics Australia.

"I am that person for the bulk of the high-performance athletes, but not all, from a workload point of view.

"So we reassigned Sally which is fine, we had a good working relationship for nearly a decade, but she decided my challenging style wasn't what she was looking for, which is her prerogative."

Sally Pearson starts the defence of her 100m hurdles title on Friday morning AEST. Source: Getty Images

He denied suggestions that the Olympic champion's medical support had been reduced for this campaign.

"We've had a team physio travelling with Sally for the past three months, following her around Europe," Hollingsworth said.

"Since May we've provided this service, and there may have been one day or so where there's been an overlap when we've changed over personnel. To say we've withdrawn support is factually incorrect and a little disappointing."

Hollingsworth's future will be decided in the coming hours after a meeting between chef de mission Steve Moneghetti and athletics team section head Nathan Sims.

Athletics Australia president David Grace, CEO Dallas O'Brien and high performance manager Simon Nathan are currently locked away deciding whether to sack the head coach.

Sims will then present the findings of that meeting to Moneghetti with the final decision to be made by the ACGA given they control everything to do with team personnel in Glasgow.

O'Brien released the following statement late on Wednesday (AEST): "Athletics Australia is aware of the statement issued by Eric Hollingsworth.

"This statement was not made on behalf of Athletics Australia but by Hollingsworth as an individual and in no way should it be read as the opinion of Athletics Australia.

"Given Hollingsworth's current role as a Head Coach of Athletics on the Australian Commonwealth Games Team, we will be meeting with the Australian Commonwealth Games Association urgently to formulate a strong response."

Hollingsworth is out of contract after the Glasgow games.

Originally published as Head coach's shocking spray at Sally
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Did Eddie give away the answers?

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 29 Juli 2014 | 20.01

Teenager Khaled El-Katateny walked away from a game show with $100,000 despite not knowing a single answer.

Poker faced ... Eddie McGuire on the Hot Seat set. Source: Supplied

MELBOURNE law student Khaled El-Katateny walked away from the game show Millionaire Hot Seat on Monday with $100,000 despite not knowing the answer to a single question.

The 19-year-old had the audience and home viewers in stitches with his comedic antics, which included asking people to follow him on Instagram and telling host Eddie McGuire he planned to buy 10 jetskis if he won.

But instead of relying on his smarts, the second-year university student claimed he used his incredible knack for being able to read body language.

Funny man ... Khaled El-Katateny on Millionaire Hot Seat. Source: Supplied Source: Supplied

For each of the five questions he was asked, El-Katateny said he repeated the possible answers back and scanned host Eddie McGuire's face for a reaction.

"I didn't play the game — I played the man," he explained.

"If you look at it, you see me working Eddie McGuire. I'm reading every single subtle thing about his face. I was reading the audience behind him too. That's telling me the answer."

AS MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT celebrates its 1000th episode, do you have what it takes to win $1 million?

The footage doesn't show any readable clues or cues in McGuire's face and the larrikin teenager is looking down at his screen while repeating the options back.

There is every chance El-Katateny, much as he did during his appearance on the show, is simply taking the mickey.

Although the probability of fluking the answer to five questions from four options is low.

Whatever his trick, he has pocketed $100,000 and a couple of hundred new Instagram followers thanks to his on-air promotion of his account.

"When I got in the chair, there were five questions left to $100,000. I thought I'd make the best out of it and yell out my Instagram."

His username, which he reminded viewers repeatedly, is Kahled_ELK. His profile features a collection of selfies, pictures of his car and happy snaps with mates.

While he told McGuire he'd buy 10 jetskis for him and his mates if he won, El-Katateny has since backtracked on the cash splash.

"I'm definitely going to buy one jetski, but not 10. Look, it has struck a bit of controversy (with my mates).

"I really, really need a car charger for my phone. Every time I go somewhere, my phone dies — especially now it's blowing up."

Before planning how he'd spend the money, he offered it all to his parents but they refused the generous gesture and told him they were proud of the remarkable effort.

Just don't describe the cash as "winnings".

"I didn't win anything — I earned it."


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Who is the mysterious woman in black?

Who is she? ... Photos have started appearing online of a woman in black who has walked more than 800 kilometres across America. Source: Supplied

A SOCIAL media campaign has gone viral as people try to discover who this mysterious woman in black is and why she has been walking more than 800 kilometres across America.

The Facebook campaign started earlier this month as images of the woman walking along highways decked out in black and using a walking pole began to appear online.

The woman has been seen everywhere from Georgia to Ohio. Some TV stations that have been monitoring her movements say she rarely speaks and is on a religious mission.

Peaceful ... Raymond Poles says the woman in black in his sister, Elizabeth. Source: Supplied

"If you meet this woman, please, offer her a drink, a meal, whatever it may be you feel she needs. Be hospitable. Be kind," the Facebook group says.

Raymond Poles told Reuters the woman is his sister, Elizabeth Poles, 56, a US Army veteran, the mother of two children and a widow from Alabama.

He said she had been receiving treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals to deal with the deaths of her husband in 2008 and her father in 2009.

Mr Poles said the deaths had hit her particularly hard.

Mystery walk ... It is unclear why the woman has gone walkabout. Source: Supplied

He said one Sunday his sister shaved her head and refused to go to church. Ever since then she has been disappearing for months at a time. He described her as a good natured woman and urged anyone who comes past her to be kind to her and see if she needs anything.

"I wish she would come back and let us help her," he said.


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Greatest medal celebration ever?

All the highlights from day five of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Nigeria's Ojo Onaolapo celebrates his bronze medal with teammates. Source: AFP

WELCOME to our live coverage of Day 6 of the Commonwealth Games.

Stay with us throughout the day's action to get all the latest updates as they happen. All times AEST.

LINK: SWIMMING HEATS WRAP

10.50pm - DAD BRINGS HOME ANOTHER SHOOTING GOLD

FIRST David Chapman made Australian Commonwealth Games history, then he showed his daughter Hayley who was boss, Jon Ralph writes.

Chapman won gold in the 25m rapid fire pistol after he and Hayley had become the first father-daughter combination for the nation at the Commonwealth Games.

She had joked before the Games she was beating him in practice but he nailed gold on the Carnoustie range, the fifth for our shooters.

He closed in on India's Harpreet Singh and won the final with 23 shots to Singh's 21, with England's Kristian Callaghan winning bronze.

10.40pm - HENDERSON MINES BRONZE ON THE MOUNTAIN

ON Monday Rebecca Henderson painted her nails green and gold and today she wasn't afraid to get them dirty as she delivered Australia just its second-ever mountain bike medal in an Olympic or Commonwealth Games with bronze in Glasgow, Reece Homfray writes.

While Canadian star Catharine Pendrel stormed to victory in the women's 31.95km race, Canberra's under-23 world champion staged an epic fight with Pendel's teammate Emily Batty.

Cheered on by her Australian track cycling teammates who lined the course and spectators waving the Australian flag, Henderson crossed the line with her arms in the air and a big smile on her face.

"I'm so excited, this is my first Commonwealth Games and first medal and it's such a privilege to be here and an amazing experience and I'm so happy," Henderson, 22, said.

10.30pm - RISELEY ROUSE SEES HIM THROUGH IN 800m

A BRILLIANT tactical move to the inside has seen Jeff Riseley progress through the opening round of the 800m, Scott Gullan writes.

The Australian looked in trouble at the top of the straight before taking a split on the inside and surging to the line to claim victory in 1min48.63sec.

Sydney's Joshua Ralph finished fifth in his heat (1:52.48sec) and failed to get through.

Olympic champion David Rudisha qualified the fastest (1:46.89sec) with his main danger Botswana's Nijel Amos second in his heat in 1:50.56sec.

Canberra hurdler Lauren Wells went toe-to-toe with 400m hurdles gold medal favourite Kaliese Spencer in an impressive qualifying performance.

The seven-time Australian champion looked good and was still ahead of the Jamaican until the final hurdle before cruising over the line in second position in 55.79sec.

WRAP: CATCH UP ON ALL THE TRACK AND FIELD ACTION

10pm - 'SCOTTISH CATHY FREEMAN' STREAKS HOME IN HEAT

Scotland's Eilidh Child easily wins her 400m hurdles heat. Source: Getty Images

HOMETOWN hero Eilidh Child has made a dominant start to her bid to meet local expectations at Hampden Park.

The 27-year-old 400m hurdler is to Glasgow 2014 what Freeman was to Sydney 2000 and Jessica Ennis was to London 2012: the local golden girl who hoped to give her home crowd the greatest sporting night of their lives.

Running in the first heat, the Perth (Scottish version) native smashed the field, winning easily in a time of 55.56 to qualify.

MIKE COLMAN: CHILD CARRIES HOPES OF SCOTLAND

9.30pm - LAPIERRE FLYING IN LONG JUMP

Australia's Fabrice Lapierre in action during qualifying. Source: AFP

DEFENDING long jump champion Fabrice Lapierre has produced a season's best on his final qualifying jump to again put himself in the medal conversation, Scott Gullan writes.

Three Australians are through to the final with Lapierre ranked fourth (7.95m), Henry Frayne (7.85m) eighth and Robbie Crowther (7.72m) ninth.

England's Olympic champion Greg Rutherford didn't muck around, sailing 8.02m on his first jump to book a spot in the final.

Elsewhere, Nick Hough progressed from 110m hurdle qualifying after coming third in the opening heat (13.70sec) but Sam Baines fell short, coming fourth (14.03sec) in the following heat.

ATHS WRAP: AUSSIE TRIO INTO FINAL

9pm - IS THIS THE GREATEST MEDAL CELEBRATION EVER?

Nigeria's Ojo Onaolapo celebrates his victory with teammates. Source: AFP

A NIGERIAN table tennis player has found a whole new way to salute a bronze medal with one of the more risque celebrations you're ever likely to see.

Ojo Onaolapo got a little over-excited after winning his bronze medal match against India's Sharath Kamal Achanta, deciding the only suitable reaction would be to display his pants to the world. Not exactly in the corinthian spirit, but damn entertaining.

With shorts back on, the 19-year-old was paraded around the arena by ecstatic teammates while compatriots danced in the stands.

If you're in Glasgow and not at the ping pong, you're clearly missing out.

8.10pm — TEEN WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMP FAILS DOPE TEST

Nigeria's gold-medallist weightlifter Chika Amalaha has failed a drug test. Source: AFP

NIGERIAN weightlifting gold medallist Chika Amalaha has failed a doping test at the Commonwealth Games.

The 16-year-old Nigerian returned a positive test for diuretics and masking agents after winning gold on Friday, Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Hooper confirmed today.

She will have her 'B' sample tested at a laboratory in London on Wednesday. If it comes back positive, she will be stripped of gold.

Amalaha said last week that she took up weightlifting despite opposition at home, AP reports.

"I started at the age of 12, but my family were strongly against me doing the sport at first," she said. "They kept me telling to stop doing it, but I persuaded them by getting a female coach.

"From then on, it was hard work, training, a lot of pain and dedication that got me here today. And now my family were in the audience and they are so excited and so proud."

8pm — ATHLETE TO STAND TRIAL OVER TOILET INCIDENT

Papua New Guinea's Toua Udia competes in the Clean and Jerk of the men's 77kg. Source: AP

A COMMONWEALTH Games weightlifter from Papua New Guinea has been committed to stand trial over an alleged sexual assault on another man, Robert Craddock writes.

Toua Udia, 22, is alleged to have touched the man in a Tesco toilets less than a kilometre from the athletes village.

He was arrested and charged last Tuesday and has pleased not guilty, claiming it was "a misunderstanding".

Udia was released on bail after surrendering his passport and was given permission to attend the opening ceremony.

He competed in the 77kg weightlifting category on Sunday, finishing ninth.

7.45pm - SWIM TEAM TO GET STRAIGHT ON THE PLANE

AUSTRALIA's swimmers will jet out of Glasgow less than 24 hours after their meet, subjected to a booze ban and curfews that prevent them leaving the village at night, Jon Ralph writes.

The aftermath of the disastrous 2012 London Olympics for the swimmers, affected by what official reviews dubbed a "toxic culture", has seen them kept on a tight rein in Glasgow.

The upcoming Pan Pacs competition in August on the Gold Coast means they will miss the Closing Ceremony, after being forced to skip the Opening Ceremony with competition about to kick off.

The Pan Pacs will see much sterner competition from the star-studded American team, with Japan and Canada also involved in the four-nation swimming meet.

MORE: SWIMMERS TO MAKE EARLY EXIT

7.30pm - AUSSIE TEAM RALLIES AROUND CHAMOUN

AUSTRALIAN team bosses have vowed to support blind weightlifter Malek Chamoun, who was distraught after crashing out of his competition without lifting a weight, Jon Ralph writes.

Chamoun has been one of the inspirations of the Australian team given his qualification despite the degenerative condition retinitis pigmentosa.

He had promised to inspire Australia but he recorded three no-lifts at 140kg in the snatch section of the 85kg competition. It meant he was eliminated from the Glasgow competition and could not even attempt a lift in the clean-and-jerk event.

Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said Chamoun would be supported by the entire Australian team including father George, here in Glasgow.

"He took it really hard and we are all aware of the back story and hopefully we can get around him and support him,'' he said.

MORE: CHAMOUN OUT OF GAMES

SWIMMING HEATS WRAP by Todd Balym

AUSTRALIA'S men's 4x100m medley relay team set themselves for a crack at gold tonight by qualifying fastest for the final in 3:37.36, ahead of Canada (3:37.71) and England (3:38.39).

The team of Josh Beaver, Kenneth To, Tommaso D'Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy will be replaced for tonight's final by a likely team of Mitch Larkin, Christian Sprenger, Jayden Hadler and James Magnussen.

The women, meanwhile, set themselves for an almost guaranteed gold medal as fastest qualifiers for tonight's final in 3:59.44, ahead of England (4:04.56) and Canada (4:07.13).

The heat team of Belinda Hocking, Sally Hunter, Alicia Coutts and Bronte Campbell will be replaced for the final by Emily Seebohm, Lorna Tonks, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell.

Swim team rookie Remy Fairweather has qualified for her first international final, progressing to the 400m freestyle final as the second fastest in a time of 4:07.35 behind New Zealand's Lauren Boyle (4:07.06).

Australian champion Bronte Barratt was third quickest in 4:08.81, but teammate Jessica Ashwood missed the final in ninth in a time of 4:11.23.

Australia's Daniel Tranter will start favourite for tonight's 200m medley final after going through as fastest qualifier from the heats in 1:59.05, ahead of Scotland's 400m champion Daniel Wallace in 1:59.36.

Thomas Fraser-Holmes, the 200m freestyle champion, snuck into the final in eight place in 2:00.97.

FULL COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCHEDULE

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Thieves pick wrong place to rob

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 28 Juli 2014 | 20.01

Gas station worker savagely beats thieves who attack his colleague

WHEN thieves decided to commit a robbery in Houston, Texas, they picked the wrong petrol station.

The attendant, Mayura Dissanyake, is not only an expert in dispensing drinks and snacks - he also happens to be an accomplished MMA fighter who was five times national champion in his native Sri Lanka, according to local staion KPRC.

The surveillance tape shows his co-worker being attacked by thieves as he pulls up outside with a bank bag.

VIOLENT NEW SPORT BRINGS STREET FIGHTING TO THE RING

Mr Dissanyake lost no time in rushing to help, kicking one of the robbers in the face and following up with a barrage of strikes.

The following one-sided scuffle puts the robbery firmly in the "attempted" category.

As the thieves try to escape Mr Dissanyake knocks one over with a punch, and he is abandoned by his mates as they make their escape.

The last word goes to a happy customer who described the incident as "a feel good story".

Read more here.

Originally published as Thieves pick wrong place to rob

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MasterChef Grand Final result

In a nail biting race to the end with Brent pitted against Laura, it was his desert that got him over the line to win. Courtesy: MasterChef Australia

The decider ... MasterChef Australia's final was between Brent Owens and Laura Cassai. Source: Supplied

BRENT Owens will be quitting his job as a bobcat driver after winning this year's MasterChef Australia.

The 24-year-old Owens, from Victoria, staged a come-from-behind victory over teenage student Laura 'Lottie' Cassai on the Channel 10 reality cooking show tonight.

Owens finished with 83 points out of a possible 100 — three points ahead of South Australia's Cassai, the youngest grand finalist ever on the show.

GEORGE CALOMBARIS: My favourite five recipes from series

The pair went head-to-head over three rounds — a Mystery Box challenge, a Family Chef's Table challenge, and a Pressure Test to recreate Peter Gilmore's Chocolate Ethereal dessert.

Owens was trailing Cassai 48 points to 49 after the end of the second round but snatched victory with a better score for his dessert from Gilmore as well as judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston, and Gary Mehigan.

"It (winning) is surreal — an emotion I can't explain," Owens said after being the win. "It's never good playing catch-up. I had to do a little bit more (in the dessert challenge) to get across the line. I knew I had to focus."

come from behind winner ... Masterchef Australia 2014 winner Brent Owens with judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan. Picture: Channel 10 Source: Channel 10

MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA: Emelia Jackson nearly quit after first week

Owens will quit his bobcat job at girlfriend Madison's father Laurence's excavation business to pursue his food dream.

"I think he (Laurence) will be a little bit disappointed but I'm sure he won't be surprised," Owens says.

"He knows how much I love food. As hard as it will be for him, he'll be rooting for it. It's a part of my life I'll never forget. I really appreciate what he's done for me — but it is time for me to move on.

"I've got so many plans — ultimately I want my own cafe and a line of food products."

Owens' and Cassai's first challenge was to cook a dish in 60 minutes using 8 ingredients — scampi, garlic, anchovies, red cabbage, pearl barley, fennel, chervil and sherry.

Owens scored 27 out of 30 for his 'textures of pearl barley with poached scampi, red cabbage and chervil with Preston saying the dish was "inventive, exciting, inspiring and really beautiful".

Cassai scored 25 out of 30 for her grilled scampi with anchovy butter, roasted garlic cream, pickled cabbage and puffed barley.

Owens stumbled in the second round when the pair had 90 minutes to cook six plates of food for their families as well as the judges.

Owens did a modern version of the Lancashire Hot Pot which was meant to include a delicate potato galette. After three attempts, Owens was forced to dump the potato element — and was penalised. He scored 21 out of 30.

Cassai won round two with 24 out of 30 for lightly seared scallops with herb butter poached lobster, fresh radish, mushroom panzanella and chestnut chips.

It all came down to the Chocolate Ethereal dessert which Gilmore described as twice as hard as the 'Snow Egg' dessert he created for the finale of season two. 40 points were up for grabs.

The complicated dessert was made up of delicate sheets — a milk skin, two types of pulled or stretched caramel, a butter vanilla toffee, tempered chocolate and sugar starch — as salted caramel, roasted almonds, and a chocolate ganache.

Cassai struggled when she incorrectly added sugar in with her honey for the nougat and had to start over. She hit another hurdle with her chocolate and had to begin again.

Cassai also had issues with the plating, with the judges noting there weren't as many sheets as Gilmore's original.

Owens followed the recipe to the letter and was rewarded with 35 out of 40 — enough to snatch victory. Cassai scored 31 out of 40.

Owens receives $250,000 in cash, a cookbook deal, work experience in some of Australia's best restaurants, and a new car for taking out the Channel 10 cooking show. Cassai receives $20,000.

"I want to publish my own home style Italian cookbook," Cassai said after tonight's loss. "I also have an incredible opportunity to work with Jock Zonfrillo as a junior chef at Orana in Adelaide."


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Some MasterChef dirt to dish out

Brent Owens and Laura Cassai battle it out in the grand finale. Source: Supplied

SEASON six of MasterChef is cooked, as Brent (Brenty) Owens and Laura Cassai battled it out for the title of MasterChef winner for 2014.

WHO WON? DESSERT FROM HELL SEPARATES THE TWO

Here are a few things you might not know about Ten's reinvigorated reality cooking show.

MORE: Emelia 'nearly quit in week one'

MORE: Matt Preston's biggest food secrets

• The top three — Brent, Laura and Emelia — endured a total of six months of non-stop 14-hour days in their fight to make it to tonight's grand final. That's a LOT of kitchen time.

• All three admitted that they seriously underestimated the mental, physical, and emotional toll of plating up unique dishes episode after episode for the judges. "I really expected MasterChef to be easier than it is," Emelia admitted to News Corp prior to her Sunday night elimination. "I never considered how exhausting, mentally draining and emotionally-charged the experience would be."

• Until now, Callum Hann has been the youngest contestant to make the MasterChef grand final. Hann was 20 when he was runner-up to Adam Liaw back in 2010. But if 19-year-old Laura takes out the crown for 2014 she will be the first teenager to win MasterChef Australia.

Contestants Adam Liaw and Callum Hann from 2010. Source: Supplied

• The contestants are given an allowance to cover expenses they may have outside the house each week. Some reports put it at around $500.

• Ever wondered where all the leftover food goes? You'll be pleased to know it goes to a good cause. OzHarvest is a not-for-profit food charity and uses the leftovers to make meals for homeless people and those in need.

• Doesn't the food get cold? Yep. The time it takes to move cameras around for each segment means most of the meals are cold by the time the judges taste it. "Some things do get reheated if it's like a sauce," George Calombaris admitted to Nova radio, "but when we say, 'Stop cooking' we do a quick wander of the room and taste stuff out of their pot."

• The MasterChef house where contestants live full-time throughout the competition is a multi-million dollar property in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Brighton.

• A chaperon lives with the contestants at the mansion. "We have somebody with us at all times, and there were a couple of people who looked after us," eliminated contestant Renae Smith revealed.

Sydney-based single mum Renae Smith in the Masterchef kitchen. Source: Supplied

• Despite being located right on the beach, contestants aren't actually allowed to leave the house during the competition. "The hardest thing about being on MasterChef isn't the cooking, it's the living with strangers and not knowing what's coming next," Ben Macdonald told news.com.au after he was eliminated. "You've got to be able to stay positive in a strange environment."

• Outside of filming hours the contestants are forever practising and honing their cooking skills. They were constantly sent fresh produce and would buddy up and muck around with new ingredients in the kitchen.

• Contestants are permitted to Skype their loved ones four times a week but only get to visit their families during production breaks. "It was hard, I was calling them four times a week and then you do get flown over to see them occasionally," mother-of-two Renae said of missing her daughters.

• Production ensures there is a psychologist on hand at all times to guide contestants as the competition progresses.

• After five seasons of MasterChef, not a single winner has returned to their job, abandoning roles in IT, law, teaching, an electrician apprenticeship and town planning.

• Shine Australia, the company that produces MasterChef, estimated to Fairfax media that nearly 70 per cent of finalists have gained a career in food after appearing on the show.

MasterChef contestant Jamie Fleming was a favourite to win this season. Source: Channel 10

And now for a little dirt on your MasterChef judges:

• George Calombaris actually started his career working for Gary Mehigan at the Hotel Sofitel in Melbourne.

• Matt Preston moved to Australia from London in 1993 to take up a job as a "soap opera correspondent" for British magazines What's On TV, TVTimes and Women's Own. His task was to review shows such as Neighbours and Home and Away.

• George's first foray into television was as a regular chef on the daytime cooking show, Ready Steady Cook.

• During season one Gary lost a bet between the three judges that he would be the first among them to cry on MasterChef. Mehigan had to cough up for a dinner at Tetsuyas for the trio.

• Who knew Matt Preston had released a CD? In 2009, he put out a compilation called Music from Another Platter — Music for Cooking, Music for Eating.

• Preston actually names each of his cravats, among them is: Short Michelle, Long Sonia, Kate DW, Uncle Monty Blue, Ros, John Wood and Professional Judy.

Until next season ... Masterchef Judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris. Source: Supplied


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‘I almost quit in week one’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 27 Juli 2014 | 20.01

She was close to quitting ... now MasterChef's Emelia Jackson has been eliminated from the competition. Source: Supplied

MAKING it to the final three on MasterChef almost didn't happen for Emilia Jackson, who admits she came close to walking out of the cooking competition in the first week.

The 24-year-old Melbourne marketing assistant was sent home on Sunday night in a nailbiting judges' decision, leaving Brent Owens and Laura Cassai to face each other in the grand finale on Monday night.

JAMIE FLEMING 'absolutely devastated' at missing the MasterChef finale by a matter of days

But Emilia has revealed her exit could've happened sooner, with the heat in the kitchen becoming too much to handle just days in.

"I was going in to challenges and choking," Emelia said.

"Being constantly judged is hard to adjust to, and I really struggled. I couldn't handle some of the feedback I was getting.

"It reached a point where I wondered why I was putting myself through the stress."

Then there were two ... MasterChef final three Laura Cassai, Brent Owens and Emelia Jackson. Source: Channel 10

Determined to give it a go, Emelia set herself a deadline of six weeks, after which time she'd pack her bags and quit the Channel Ten competition if things hadn't improved.

"I considered walking away but gave it a go. Thankfully, I was in love with it by week three."

Emelia's growing confidence was rewarded with praise from the judges and a spot in the top three.

However that confidence was at times misjudged, with viewers on occasion criticising her for appearing smug.

When she heard about some of the things being said on social media, Emelia imposed a ban on reading the comments.

"I'm aware it can be quite negative so I've tried to stay away from it. I've heard about some of the comments. It doesn't really bother me because I know who I am as a person. I'm confident with who I am."

Suck it up ... Emelia has been booted, leaving Laura and Brent to battle it out, Source: Channel 10

A positive to come out of Sunday's emotional elimination for Emelia was a shock offer from judge George Calombaris to work in his restaurant, The Press Club.

"That was pretty incredible! I really wasn't expecting it all. It was a huge accolade for me."

Not wasting any time, she has worked a few casual shifts in the kitchen's pastry section already.

"I really loved it. It's an amazing team and everyone is very supportive."

Brent and Laura will battle it out on Monday night for the title of MasterChef winner.


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Shelley wins marathon gold for Australia

Track star Usain Bolt has been asked a series of bizarre questions in a press conference after arriving in Glasgow for his first Commonwealth Games.

Michael Shelley celebrates after winning the men's marathon at Glasgow Green. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

WELCOME to our rolling coverage of Day 4 of the Commonwealth Games.

Stay with us for updates throughout a jam-packed day of action. Latest updates on top. All times AEST.

Jodie Kenny celebrates after scoring her second against Scotland. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

10.50pm - HOCKEYROOS FAR TOO CLASSY FOR SCOTS

THE Hockeyroos are moving powerfully through these Games, today outclassing Scotland 9-0.

Australia's first seven goals came from penalty corners with tall defender Jodie Kenny scoring three and Anna Flanagan two.

Scotland received strong support from its home crowd yesterday but Kenny turned down the volume level with two early goals and would have had a third had Scotland keeper Amy Gibson not pulled off a stunning save.

10.10pm - DIAMONDS MUSCLE PAST BARBADOS

AUSTRALIA's netballers have easily beaten Barbados as they march towards Glasgow's semi-finals, making no apologies for their physical play, Jon Ralph writes.

The Diamonds used their third pool game against Delhi 2010's seventh-placed side to test the depth of their 12-woman squad in an effortless 77-27 victory.

They made easy work of Barbados despite a handful of heavy fouls by Barbadan captain Latonia Blackman on Tegan Caldwell.

"It is definitely a physical game, but it is games like that that make the sport really exciting,'' said defender Julie Corletto.

"Everyone is putting their body on the line right down to the last seconds of the game.''

9.50pm - AUSTRALIA BEATS WELSH IN SEVENS THRILLER

PAMA Fou scored a dramatic matchwinner a minute after the siren to help Australia steal a quarter-final victory from Wales, and keep their Commonwealth Games medal hopes alive in Glasgow, Iain Payten writes.

The bumbling Aussies looked dead and buried in the first half after the Welsh raced out to a three-try, 19-0 lead, much to the delight of the huge Ibrox Stadium crowd.

But the Aussies refused to give in, tightened up some sloppy ball retention and rallied back.

A try to Ed Jenkins on halftime and another to Sean McMahon after the break got Australia back in the game but crucial mistakes near the end again appeared to have Wales home.

When Fou slipped over near his own line with less than a minute on the clock, Wales looked certain to score but veteran James Stannard pulled off an incredible try-saving tackle inches out and gave Australia one last chance.

As the siren sounded, Australia took a tap in their own quarter and Cam Clark squeezed through a gap and set sail downfield.

He was hauled in but following a penalty, Fou tapped the ball and in just his fourth game of sevens in 18 months, the big Queenslander stepped through the defence and dived over to score.

Clark cooly slotted the conversion to secure the 21-19 win and book a semi-final date with New Zealand.

Michael Shelley wins the men's marathon and gets a hug from teammate Liam Adams and Steve Moneghetti at Glasgow Green. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

9.40pm - MONEGHETTI RAN WITH ME - SHELLEY

MARATHON winner Michael Shelley has revealed how 1994 gold-medallist and chef de mission Steve Moneghetti ran the last 1km with him, offering invaluable support.

"Seeing Monas out on the course right towards the end was pretty special," Shelley said.

"He was yelling out and I was just trying to dig deep. I was hoping I wouldn't blow up like I had in the past and I was fortunate enough not to blow so it was good.

"I just put my head down and bum up, I didn't think about it (winning) too much because anything can happen and I had a little bit of things going on with legs so I just had to keep going and keep digging."

MORE: SHELLEY SHOCKS WITH GUTSY GOLD

Jess Trengrove on her way to bronze in the women's marathon. Source: Getty Images

9pm - TRENGOVE BATTLES TO BRONZE IN MARATHON

TO cap off a great day for Australian distance running Jess Trengove won the bronze medal in the women's marathon, Scott Gullan writes.

The 26-year-old South Australian lost her way midway through the race but surged over the final 5km to get on the podium.

Kenya's Flomena Daniel won gold in 2hr26.45sec from teammate Caroline Kilel with Trengove another three minutes behind.

Cate Campbell is in 'cruise control' in the Commonwealth Games pool. Source: Getty Images

SWIM HEATS WRAP - CATE IN 'CRUISE CONTROL'

WORLD champion Cate Campbell has issued a warning she was ready to fire in the 100m freestyle, cruising to an enormous win the heats in a time of 53.20s, Todd Balym writes.

Australia's new pool queen Emma McKeon was second fastest in 54.19s with Bronte Campbell third in 54.42s to set up a chance for a podium cleansweep on Monday night.

Cate Campbell said she was in "cruise control" for most of the race and would be ready to take it to another level in the semis and final.

Christian Sprenger has begun the process of casting aside his troubled meet with a strong 27.57s heat swim in the 50m breaststroke to qualify in fifth place for tonight's semi-finals. Aussie teammate Kenneth To also progressed to the semis in 16th place in 29.17s.

Reigning champion Alicia Coutts looked in control as she qualified second fastest for the final of the 200m medley in 2:12.00 behind England's Siobhan O'Connor (2:11.42).

Fellow Aussie Emily Seebohm qualified sixth fastest in 2:14.66, setting her up for two finals tonight in the 200m backstroke and 200m medley.

Butterfly duo Jayden Hadler and Chris Wright made promising starts to their 100m campaigns with solid heat swims to qualify second and third fastest for the semi-finals.

Hadler clocked 52.81s, just ahead of Wright in 52.89s, with teammate Tommaso D'Orsogna also moving through in eighth in 53.53s.

Sally Hunter used the excitement of her 200m silver medal last night to post a strong 100m breaststroke heat swim of 1:08.42 – qualifying third fastest for tonight's semi-finals.

Commonwealth Games 50m champion Leiston Pickett qualified in eighth in 1:09.46 while team rookie Lorna Tonks had a strong swim in fifth in 1:09.03.

Teenage rookie Alanna Bowles produced a shock 800m freestyle heat swim to be the third fastest qualifier for Monday night's final.

Bowles, 16, sat on the shoulder of Kiwi world No.3 Lauren Boyle to smash her personal best time by four seconds to touch the wall in 8:25.19.

Australian record holder Jessica Ashwood worked into her race, building over the final 300m to be fifth fastest in the heats in 8:34.21 while Laura Crockart took the eighth spot in the final in 8:37.22.

Australia's men's 4x200m freestyle team set themselves for what is an almost guaranteed gold medal tonight with a commanding heat win in 7:12.85.

The team Thomas Fraser-Holmes, David McKeon, Ned McKendry and Mack Horton finished well ahead of South Africa (7:16.44) and Scotland (7:18.93) with Cameron McEvoy to be added to the team tonight.

Michael Shelley celebrates after winning the men's marathon at Glasgow Green. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

8.15pm — SHELLEY WINS GOLD IN MARATHON

HE ran the race of his life for silver in the heat of Delhi four years ago and in the wet of Glasgow Michael Shelley went one better, Scott Gullan writes.

The Queensland marathoner became the fourth Australian to win Commonwealth gold with a brilliant display, breaking the back of his main challenger, Kenyan Stephen Chemlany, over the final five kilometres.

Shelley raised his arms in triumph as he crossed the line in a new personal best time of 2hr11min15sec.

It was an inspired performance from the 30-year-old whose previous best performance was the silver medal in Delhi. He was 16th at the 2012 London Olympics.

Shelley's name goes alongside some of Australia's greatest distance runners with our previous winners Rob de Castella (1982 and 1986), Steve Moneghetti (1994) and Dave Power (1958).

MORE: SHELLEY SHOCKS WITH GUTSY GOLD

7.50pm — HOCKING EASILY THROUGH IN POOL

AUSTRALIA'S world No.2 Belinda Hocking has secured a comfortable path through to the final in the 200m backstroke, qualifying third fastest in 2:11.07, Todd Balym writes.

Teammates Emily Seebohm (2:11.47) and rookie Madi Wilson (2:11.53) also had impressive and controlled heat swims to progress in fourth and fifth place.

GLASGOW COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2014- Steve Moneghetti speaks to the media during the Australian Athletics press conference at the Main Press Centre, Glasgow. Pics Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

7.15pm — AUSSIE CHIEF WON'T INTERVENE IN SALLY STOUSH

AUSTRALIAN chef de mission Steve Moneghetti has admitted Sally Pearson is suffering frustration leading into Glasgow after being fined for her non-appearance at a pre-Games training camp.

As revealed by Scott Gullan this morning, Pearson's preparations have been compromised by a dramatic fallout with team management and her relationship with head coach Eric Hollingsworth has deteriorated to the point where they're no longer on speaking terms.

Moneghetti said he would not personally intervene in the dispute and is adamant Pearson has the composure to put the distraction behind her and defend her Delhi 100m hurdles gold.

"I know what I read in the paper. (She had) some issues leading in with her funding and she dealt with that very well and she hasn't let that affect the way she has been a member of this team,'' he said.

"She is a leader. She is a leader of our team, she is a leader of the athletics team. She is looking at the overall picture and while she might have opinions on certain things it is very clear to me that she is separating that and at this point she is very focused on representing her country at the Commonwealth Games.

"We will be happy and the athletics team will be happy that the athletics program kicks off today. They can let their legs, arms and bodies do the talking. Actions speak louder than words."

MORE: PEARSON AT WAR WITH TEAM BOSSES

Jess Trengove (centre) among the runners at the start line of the women's Commonwealth Games marathon. Source: Getty Images

7pm — TRENGOVE OFF AND RUNNING IN MARATHON

AUSTRALIA'S Jess Trengove is pounding the damp streets of Glasgow, keeping pace with the leaders after 10km along with Melanie Panayiotou and Sarah Klein.

Jess's brother and AFL star Jack will be cheering her home as she finishes around 9pm AEST, hopefully in medal contention.

There's little separating them in the men's race which is past the halfway stage, with Australia's Martin Dent, Michael Shelley and Liam Adams all still in touch.

FULL COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCHEDULE

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The best recipes from MasterChef

Masterchef is down to three contestants - Brent, Emelia and Laura -who will battle it out in the season finale over two nights, starting 7:30PM Sunday on Ten.

Best cooking seen on TV show ... George Calombaris with top three contestants Laura, Brent and Emilia at Calombaris' Press Club in Melbourne Picture: Martin Philbey Source: News Corp Australia

HE says it has been hands down the best cooking they've ever had on the show.

Now, on the eve of the MasterChef Australia finale and after tasting hundreds of dishes, George Calombaris nominates the five favourite things he ate during the show shown on Network Ten this year.

MASTERCHEF: Jamie Fleming 'absolutely devasted' in not making final three

Classic cooking ... Sarah Todd's Apple stuffed chicken roulade with carrot puree and crisp salad. Source: Supplied

Sarah Todd's Apple stuffed chicken roulade with carrot puree and crisp salad

George says: "I am a sucker for classic cooking. This year Sarah really demonstrated some great classic technique. I love this dish as it was classic in technique but modern in interpretation. Delicious as well."

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 small whole chickens

150g butter

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

300g Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated

90g mushroom, finely chopped

12 sprigs thyme

12 slices pancetta

2 tbsp oil

4 carrots, 1 roughly chopped, 2 peeled and grated and 1 peeled and thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, 1 roughly chopped and 1 thinly sliced

5 onions, 1 roughly chopped

500ml chicken stock

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1/3 cup milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Preheat water bath to 60C. Preheat deep fryer to 170C.

2. Remove breasts from chicken, discard skin. Remove thigh meat from skin and bones, cut into 1.5cm pieces and reserve. Roughly chop carcass and bones and reserve.

3. To make the roulade stuffing, place 2 tbsp butter in a frying pan and set over medium heat. Once melted, add shallots, apple, mushrooms and 4 sprigs thyme and cook until softened. Remove from heat.

4. Butterfly chicken breasts. Lay down pancetta slices on a piece of plastic wrap and top with chicken breast. Add stuffing and roll tightly. Place in water bath and cook until just cooked through, about 35 mins.

5. To make the sauce, place 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan and set over high heat. Add chicken bones and carcass and cook until brown. Add roughly chopped carrot, celery and onion and cook until browned. Add stock and 6 sprigs thyme and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer, skimming fat from top occasionally until reduced, about 40 mins. Remove from heat and strain into a clean saucepan. Add 80g cold, diced butter and whisk until melted. Set aside, keeping warm.

6. Peel remaining 4 onions and cut into flowers by making cuts all the way around but not all the way through. Place in the oven to bake until charred on the ends.

7. Place grated carrot, 40g butter, 2 sprigs thyme and ¾ cup water in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until carrot is soft. Remove from heat, transfer to a blender and process to a smooth puree. Pass through a sieve into a clean saucepan, season and set aside.

8. Place flour, 1 tsp salt and chilli powder in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the milk in a bowl. Dip chicken thigh pieces in flour mix then milk then back in flour to coat.

9. Place chicken, carrot and celery in deep fryer to fry until golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

10. Place 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan and set over medium heat. Remove chicken from plastic wrap and place in fry pan. Fry until browned on all sides. Remove from heat and allow to rest.

11. To serve, slice chicken and place on serving plates. Add carrot puree, onion flower, crispy chicken, carrot and celery salad and drizzle with sauce.

Concept dish ... Emelia Jackson's Herb and garlic snails with a squid ink parmesan crumb. Source: Supplied

Emelia Jackson's Herb and garlic snails with a squid ink parmesan crumb

George says: "OMG, this dish that Emelia cooked was so yum! For me the parmesan crumbs were so delicious. Concept dishes can look great but taste ordinary. This dish took you there and tasted even better!"

Serves 4

Ingredients

50g parmesan cheese

50g plain flour

105g butter

20g squid ink

¼ bunch coriander, roughly chopped

¼ bunch parsley, roughly chopped

¼ bunch basil, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 x 200g jar snails and their shells

2 bunches asparagus, tips only

100 grams enoki mushrooms, tops only

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. To make the parmesan "soil", place parmesan cheese, flour, 30g butter and squid ink in a food processor and process until a coarse crumb. Transfer to an oven tray and place in the oven to bake until firm, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a food processor and process to a coarse crumb, set aside.

3. Increase oven to 200C.

4. To make compound butter, place herbs, garlic, shallot, lemon juice, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, remaining 75g butter and 1 tsp salt in a food processor and process until well combined.

5. Fit snails back into shells and top with 1 tsp compound butter. Place on a shallow oven tray and place in the oven to bake until butter melts and the snails are warmed through, about 4 minutes.

6. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus tips and cook just until bright green, remove from water and place in iced water until cooled. Remove from iced water, pat dry and drizzle with remaining tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

7. To serve, spread some parmesan "soil" on each plate. Stand up asparagus tips and enoki mushrooms. Add snails, spoon over extra melted butter from cooking tray and season to taste.

Inspired by heston's presence ... Amy Shields' Surf 'n' Turf. Source: Supplied

Amy Shields' Surf 'n' Turf

"The pressure of Heston rocking up in your house would put the best chefs off their breakfast. But for Amy, she lifted and produced a cracker dish of surf and turf," George says. "I loved the flavour and the honesty of the dish and the ability not to over-think the dish just because Heston was in da house."

Serves 4

Ingredients

Pork

2 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced

½ bunch thyme

2 cups beef stock

1.2kg pork belly, skin scored

2 tsp olive oil

Salt

Sauce

1 cup beef stock

3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 lemon

100g butter, cubed

2 tbsp cream

½ cup finely chopped parsley

White Bean Puree

1 tbsp olive oil

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup chicken stock

2 tbsp cream

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Juice ½ lemon

To serve

2 tbsp olive oil

12 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3

12 scallops

salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. To roast the pork, place the onions, thyme and beef stock in a large roasting pan. Place the pork on top of onions. Rub olive oil into the pork skin and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and cook for 1.5 hours. Increase oven temperature to 200C and continue to roast until meat is tender, about another 45 minutes. Change oven to grill setting and grill pork until skin is crunchy, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

3. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, place the stock, shallots, garlic and wine in a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Allow to simmer until reduced by half. Add lemon juice and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain into a clean saucepan, season and set aside.

4. To make the bean puree, place olive oil in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent. Add cannellini beans and the stock and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Add cream, mustard and lemon juice and process until smooth. Set aside, keeping warm

6. Place asparagus on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven to roast until just tender, about 8 minutes.

7. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and place over high heat. Add scallops and cook until caramelised but still rare inside, about 30 seconds per side.

8. To finish the sauce, place over medium heat. Once warm, add butter, one cube at a time, whisking, until well combined. Add cream and parsley and whisk to combine.

9. To serve, carve pork into slices and place on serving plates. Add a spoonful of bean puree, 3 scallops and some roasted asparagus. Drizzle with wine, herb sauce and season with salt and pepper.

"Nailed our sensory dining experience" ... Ben Macdonald's Campfire' rib eye with charred leeks, potato in squid ink and smoked anchovies. Source: Supplied

Ben Macdonald's "Campfire" (rib eye steak with charred leeks, potatoes in squid ink and smoked anchovies)

"Ben hit the nail on the head regarding a concept dish that nailed our sensory dining experience. In saying that, the dish tasted delicious. Everything looked burnt but tasted sweet and meaty. Loved it!"

Campfire

Serves 4

2 beetroot

110 ml olive oil

2 leeks, washed

2 tsp miso soup powder

2 x 400 gram rib eye steaks

8 sprigs thyme

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

190g butter

8 anchovies in oil

750ml red wine

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 celery stick, roughly chopped

500ml beef stock

4 shallots, cut in half lengthways and peeled

4 potatoes

3 tbsp squid ink

1 tbsp mirin

12 black olives, pitted and finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Preheat sous vide machine to 56C.

2. Place each beetroot on a piece of foil. Drizzle each with a tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap foil around beetroot and place in the oven to roast until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and set aside, still wrapped in foil to keep warm.

3. To make the leek "twigs", cut white part of 1 leek into fine matchsticks and place on a paper-lined baking tray, in a single layer. Place in the oven to bake until dark brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

4. Roughly chop green part of 2 leeks and lay in a single layer on a baking tray. Place in the oven to roast until a deep, dark brown, about 30 minutes.

5. Place roasted green leeks into a sieve and crush over a bowl to collect powder. Add miso soup powder to the bowl, stir to combine and set aside.

6. Place each steak in a sous vide bag with 2 sprigs of thyme, a garlic clove and 20g butter in each. Place in sous vide machine and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from water and set aside.

7. Place the anchovies in a small bowl, add smoke using a smoking gun filled with hickory chips. Cover and allow to smoke for 5 minutes. Remove anchovies from bowl, chop into 5mm lengths, return to bowl and set aside.

8. To make the sauce, place the red wine in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Allow to boil until reduced to 100ml.

9. Meanwhile, place 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan and set over high heat. Roughly chop remaining white part of leek and add to hot oil with carrot and celery. Cook until brown, add beef stock and 4 sprigs thyme and allow to boil until reduced to about 100ml. Remove from heat, strain and add to reduced red wine. Set aside.

10. Place 20g butter in a frying pan and set over medium heat. Once melted, add shallots, cut-side down and cook until browned. Transfer to the oven and cook until soft, about another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

11. Peel potatoes and cut into irregular "charcoal like" shapes. Using an apple corer or small cutter, cut some into cylindrical shapes.

12. Place 100g butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and set over medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, add potatoes and fry until lightly brown on outside and tender inside. Add squid ink and agitate pan to coat potatoes in ink until they resemble coal. Remove from heat and set aside, covered to keep warm.

13. To finish the steak, remove steaks from sous vide bags and cut each in half to resemble pieces of wood. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and set over high heat. Once hot, add steak and fry until brown, about 1-2 minutes each side, or to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside to rest.

14. To finish the sauce, return saucepan to a medium heat. Add the mirin and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Add remaining 30g butter and whisk in until emulsified. Season to taste.

15. To serve, unwrap, peel, and slice each beetroot into 6 slices. Arrange 3 slices on each serving plate. Scatter some olives, anchovies and potatoes on the beetroot. Place steak pieces in reserved bowl of powder and toss to coat. Add coated steaks to each plate. Top steak with leek "twigs". Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover each plate with a cloche. Using a smoking gun, fill cloche with smoke. Serve with sauce on the side.

Simple Italian cooking ... Laura Cassai's Seared tuna with anchovies & tomato reduction, salsa verde and toasted chestnuts. Source: Supplied

Laura Cassai's Seared tuna with anchovies & tomato reduction, salsa verde and toasted chestnuts

George says: "I love Laura's cooking. It's honest and it has stayed true to its origin since she entered the competition. It's simple Italian cooking but done well. She cooked the tuna perfectly and the addition of the anchovies made the dish complete."

Serves 4

10 (160g) chestnuts

1⁄2 bunch coriander

1⁄2 bunch parsley

1⁄2 bunch dill

1 clove garlic

1⁄2 cup olive oil plus more for frying

2 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and dried

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

8 cherry tomatoes plus more for garnish

1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

2 x 2cm thick tuna steaks

3 radishes, thinly sliced on mandolin

Baby basil leaves, for garnish

Grated orange zest, for garnish

Grated lemon zest, for garnish

Salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Score chestnuts and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven to roast until skin starts to open and peel away, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, peel and slice and set aside.

3. To make the salsa verde, place coriander, parsley, dill, garlic and 1⁄2 cup olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

4. Place 2 tsp olive oil in a frying pan and set over medium heat. Add capers and fry until crisp. Remove from heat and set aside on paper towel.

5. Place 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add anchovies and cook until browned. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze pan. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Place 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and set over medium-high heat. Add tuna and sear until golden, about 1 minute on both sides. Remove from frying pan, season and set aside to rest.

7. To serve, thinly slice rested tuna and place on serving plates. Add sliced chestnuts, radishes, capers, and shallot mix. Drizzle with salsa verde and garnish with basil leaves, orange and lemon zest.


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