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Custard ravioli does not get any tougher as MasterChef returns

MasterChef returns on Wednesday with a fresh batch of quirky dishes as eight new hopefuls compete for a place in the quarter-finals.

The new cooks try their hand at mushroom jelly and custard ravioli, following presenter Gregg Wallace's advice: "Be bold, be brave, you cannot play it safe".

"This could be the start of something truly amazing," he says as he welcomes the newcomers, who include a travel agent, a former footballer, an interior designer and a civil servant.

The show begins with the new "market test", which will see the cooks visit a makeshift store and pick out ingredients to transform into an unplanned winning dish.

An improvised risotto, freshly made pasta and a colourful lemon tart are among the results, which receive mixed reviews from long-standing judges Wallace and John Torode.

The pickled mushroom jelly raises a few questions, but sweet-toothed Wallace is delighted to see a dessert dish on the menu.

At this stage of the series, only five cooks make it through to the next round of the competition and a chance to secure a spot in the quarter-final.

Thursday's show will then welcome the next eight competitors out of the total 64.

Nerves reach boiling point as the remaining five present a two-course menu to former MasterChef finalists, including last year's champion Jane Devonshire.

Again, there are mixed responses, with the judges admitting some offerings are simple but done especially well, while others need "a little more love."

::MasterChef returns to BBC1 at 8pm on Wednesday.

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