Recipe

Poppyseed Kuzumochi with Tomato Vine Dashi

Shiitake and Poppyseed Kuzumochi with Tomato Vine and Dulse Dashi, Lovage Oil and Spring Onion

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Kuzumochi are sort of sweet set japanese kuzu dumplings. They and thickened with kuzu (a gluten free japanese starch) and set to a texture somewhere between a gel and a soft dumpling. Here I add poppy seeds to them to give them added texture. Then they are also flavoured with shiitake mushroom powder and maldon salt so the kuzumochi are a mix of sweet an savoury, which pairs perfectly with the delicate sweetness of the tomato vine dashi.

The sous vide tomato vine and dulse dashi has a beautiful complex flavour with a punch of umami from the dulse and the lovely aromatic flavours from the tomato vines. Then the dish is dotted with lovage oil, which is a unique flavour with notes of anise. And finally spring onion provides freshness and the dish is finished with fresh viola petals.

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Kuzumochi
40g Kuzu
20g Caster Sugar
200g Water
1.25g Shitake Powder (dried shiitake mushrooms blended to powder)
5g Poppy seeds
2.5 Maldon Salt

Combine the water, kuzu and sugar in a pan and stir well to dissolve the sugar and kuzu cold. Then gently heat the kuzu mixture in the pan, after a few minutes it will suddenly thicken and turn translucent.

Remove the thickened kuzu mixture from the heat and fold in the shiitake powder, poppy seeds and salt.

Now spread this mixture into silicon hemisphere molds (available
here). Chill the kuzumochi in the fridge for one hour to set then carefully remove them from their molds.

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Tomato Vine and Dulce Dashi

20g
Dried Dulse
10g Yeast Extract
20g Tomato Vines
One Litre Water
5g Grated Long Pepper

Seasonings
10g Fresh Lemon Juice
10g Tamari
Large Pinch of Salt

Vacuum pack the dulse, tomato vines, yeast extract, water and grated long pepper at a high vacuum.

Cook the vacuum packed dashi at 60C for one hour then immediately chill in ice water.

Season the dashi with the lemon juice, tamari and salt.


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Lovage Oil

70g Lovage Leaves
210g Grapeseed Oil

Blanch the lovage in rapidly boiling water for 5 minutes, then place straight into ice water.

Strain the lovage and squeeze out any excess moisture, then allow the lovage to dry (you can speed this up buy placing the blanched lovage n the dehydrator for 30 minutes at 42C).

Combine the lovage and oil in a pan and gradually bring up to 60C.

Now while hot pour the oil and herbs into a liquidizer and blend continuously for 10 mintues.

Allow the oil to cool and infuse for around two hours then strain through a super bag or fine muslin.

For a really clear brilliant green oil I then spin the oil in a centrifuge but this is an optional step.

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Plating Up

Gently heat the kuzumochi in a pan with the dashi up to about 60-70C.

Remove the kuzumochi and place one in the centre of each bowl.

Pour over a little of the warmed dashi.

Then place sling onion strips in the bowl and dot over the lovage oil.

Finally garnish with fresh viola petals.

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Pressed Mushrooms - Mushrooms pressed and set with transglutaminase

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So I was going to hold off on sharing this yet but as my ideal date for publishing my forthcoming book has already passed I though it would be nice to share one of the techniques I worked on which is included in the next book. As far as I’m aware no one else has done this and it’s something new with the potential to be expanded on.

Basically this was an idea that I’ve had floating around for ages but hadn’t until now refined into something that worked how I wanted. The basic idea was to find a way to add protein to vegetables or a vegetable base, along with flavour, then bind this with transglutaminase (an enzyme which can bind proteins together sometimes know as meat-glue) so that you have an end product with a new texture and flavour which can be cooked if you wish but that is built from just a couple of ingredients.

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I used mushrooms, and this is now something I’ve made many times and given out tasters of, and it is truly delicious! Definately the meatiest thing you will ever taste that isn’t actually meat! Its got amazing depth of flavour from the combination of mushrooms with umami rich tamari and then a final stage of being smoked before being salted and marinated in oil. It has a flavour like a cured or aged product and a big hit of Umami

I’m going to share the technique and my recipe here but not the completed dish that I use this in, you’ll have to wait for the book for that and the other new ideas I’ve been developing (now due in september).

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So before the recipe here is the break down of the techniques basic steps

1) Slice & dehydrate your chosen vegetable (in this case mushrooms sliced thin)

2) Rehydrate the vegetables in a 12% soy protein isolate solution along with additional flavours (in this case tamari)

3) Squeeze the vegetable to get rid of as mush liquid a possible

4) Stir 5% of the mixtures weight of transglutaminase through the prepared vegetables

5) Press the Vegetables in a tofu press or similar for around 4 hours to bind together

6) Now its set vacuum the resulting pressed block and cook sous vide at 62C for 2 hours to de-nature the enzyme (necessary in some countries for food hygiene when using transglutaminase)

Additional steps -

7) I then cut the pressed mushroom block into cubes and smoked it with oak using a Smoking Gun

8) FInally I salt the pessed mushroom cubes and marinade them in oil

Note - Transglutaminase is itself an enzyme rather than a meat product and so is suitable for vegetarians so long as you check with your suppler that it was produced in a manner suitable for vegetarians.

Recipe - Pressed Mushrooms
This recipe could be adapted so long as you use 5% Transglutmainase and 12% Soy Protien Isolate

80g Dried Sliced Mushrooms (from approx 750G fresh mushrooms dehydrated)
80g Tamari
500ml Boiling Water
60g Soy Protein Isolate
20g Transglutaminase Activa EB
Maldon Salt
Rapeseed Oil

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First slice thin and dehydrate approx. 750g fresh mushrooms.
Dehydrate at 52C for 12 hours

You should end up with approximately 80g dried mushrooms.

In a bowl mix the 80g of dried mushrooms with 120g tamari

Then in a jug mix together 500ml of boiling water with 60g Soy Protein Isolate, stirring well to create a slurry.

Pour this hot soy protein slurry over the friend mushrooms in the bowl and mix together well then allow this mixture to sit for one hour.

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Next strain the mushrooms and using muslin squeeze out as much liquid from the mushrooms as possible.

You should have around 400g of mushroom mix at this point.

Season with maldon salt

Mix in 5% of weigth in
transglutaminase - 20g in this case

Mix well.

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Place this mixture in a tofu press lined with muslin and place a heavy weight on top then let this sit at room temperature for four hours while the
transglutaminase binds the protein spiked mushrooms together.

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Take the resulting firm pressed mushroom block and vacuum pack it then cook SousVide at 62C for two hours. When finished cooking place immediately into ice water to cool.

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Now cut the mushroom black into cubes of your desired size and place in a bowl. Use the smoking gun to smoke the mushroom cubes with oak and sit them in the smoke for 5 minutes.

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FInally sprinkle the pressed mushroom cubes with salt and place in a tub with a clove of fresh garlic and a couple of bay leaves and pour over enough rapeseed oil to cover.

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Allow to marinade in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.

Hope you enjoy it
Cheers
Eddie



Tofu Temupra, Sour Cucumber Puree, Seaweed Ash

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Tofu Tempura, Sour Cucumber Puree and Seaweed Ash

This dish is taken from my next book which should come out this spring or early summer. Its built from a mix of traditional and innovative new ideas.

The Tofu is marinated in a simple, traditional, japanese dashi before being cooked as a tempura. To create an incredibly light crisp batter some of the water in the batter is substituted with vodka (which evaporates out much more quickly during cooking), the batter also includes methylcellulose F50, which forms an oil impermeable film in the batter (so the tofu steams inside the tempura and doesn’t absorb any oil or become greasy), finally the whole batter is carbonated in a cream whipper to create an incredibly light airy batter which turns out crisp and glassy once cooked.

The sour cucumber fluid gel is fresh and sharp with very clean flavours, it acts as the sweet and sour element in the dish, provides vibrancy and mimics the use of cucumber in fish dishes (here the flavour of the sea comes from the use of seaweeds).

Finally the whole dish is finished and seasoned with a Seaweed Ash, this is something I haven’t seen anyone else do before and I was really pleased with as a finishing touch for the dish. Incinerating the dried dulse seaweed to ash keeps its delicate flavour of the sea and slight saltiness whilst giving you a beautiful, unique new product to season the whole dish and provide the final flavour of the sea.



Sour Cucumber Puree
600g Cucumber Juice
120g Caster Sugar
8g Citric Acid
8g Ascorbic Acid
7g Agar Agar

Juice the cucumbers to obtain 600g fresh cucumber juice.
Immediately mix the ascorbic and citric acid into the cucumber juice, followed by the sugar.

Separate out 300g of the cucumber juice into a pan, whisk in the agar and gently heat to a simmer whilst stirring. Hold the mixture at a simmer for three minutes then remove from the heat.

Now off the heat slowly pour the cold cucumber juice which was set to one side into the hot juice in the pan. Stir and then pour out into plastic containers to set in the fridge.

Once the gel has set use a stick blender to blend it to a smooth puree.

Reserve in a squeeze bottle

Marinated Tofu
240g Plain Tofu
1 Stick / 12g Kombu
50g Dried Shittake
500 ml boiling water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
80g Tamari
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Combine the kombu, shitake, thyme, tamari and vinegar in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water and leave to infuse for 2 hours.

Strain the dash and cut the tofu into 3cm cubes. Marinade the tofu cubes in the dashi at least 24 hours before cooking.

The Tempura Batter

100ml Methylcellulose Slurry (Made by blending 3g methylcellulose in 200ml boiling water then stirring until it cools and thickens - store excess in the fridge)
85ml Vodka
125g Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
Pinch Dried Chilli
A good pinch of salt

Mix all the liquids together and stir well.
Combine the flour with the spice and salt in a bowl.
Now whisk the liquid into the flour until smooth.

Strain the batter to remove any lumps.
Pour into a cream whipper and charge with two co2 chargers.

Chill if the fridge. Ideally for arround two hours

Heat deep frying oil to 190C.

Place pieces of tofu first into flour and coat. Shake off excess flour.
Spray some batter out of the whipper into a bowl.
Dip the tofu into the batter then drop in the fryer, cook 2-3 mins until crispy.
Drain off excess oil on paper towel.

Seaweed Ash

Burn Dulse seaweed with a blow torch in a bowl until it no longer flames but just glows read.

Allow to cool, carefully place the ash in a spice grinder and powder, store in an airtight container

Plating up -

Dot cucumber purée arround the plate,
Place a few of the tofu tempura arround the plate.
Finish by sprinkling over the seaweed ash

Fresh Home Made Tofu

I thought I’d right a short post on making your own tofu, it’s a totally different beast from the shop bought stuff and can be genuinely delicious.

I was working with fresh tofu for a new dish, which in the end I didn’t think was ready yet, I might come back to the dish and change it/ work on it in the future or it or it may never get re-visited. Don’t get me wrong it was pretty delicious but particularly as I work on my next book I’m setting a high standard for the dishes that are going to make it in there. So even thought the whole dish was a lot of work both in development and preparation, its not making the cut for the book as it is (but I think its important to be pretty strict in self editing).

However I really liked the fresh homemade tofu, especially when then marinated in cold pressed sesame oil with smoked salt and lemon zest. (I tested a variety of marinades and also smoked different homemade tofus with a variety of flavoured smokes too, but the sesame oil marinade was my favourite - it adds a light nitty flavour which I liked).

I’d highly recommend making your own tofu if you have never tried it or if you are dubious about how delicious tofu can be, its a real eye opener.

The recipe I’m going to give you is for a slightly lemon flavoured tofu, then marinaded in cold pressed sesame oil, with smoked salt and lemon zest. This is delicious lightly fried in a dry pan (so it cooks just in the oil it is marinated in).

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The picture above is the dish that didn’t quite make the cut for the book (but the tofu was delicious!)
All of the elements (listed bellow) were lovely, but for me the dish as a whole just didn’t quite cut it.
Lemon and Thyme Tofu
Cadamon Scented Dashi
Sweetcorn Panna Cotta
Smoked Lemon Zest Powder

This tofu recipe though I’m really pleased with -

Recipe - Lemon Tofu

350g Organic Soy Beans
1125ml Water - for Soaking the Beans
1200ml Mineral Water - for Cooking
4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice (for traditional tofu use 2 1/2 tsp Niagri instead)
300ml mineral Water - to mix with lemon Juice

Soak 350g of soy beans in 1125ml water overnight

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Blend the beans in their soaking water until as smooth as possible.

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Now heat 1200ml of mineral water to the boil in a large pan. Then add the soybean puree into the boiling water.

Now bring the liquid back to a simmer, then drop the temperature and continue to cook for 10 mins on a low heat.

Strain this mixture into a container through muslin cloth collecting the soy milk liquid which pours through the cloth.

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Now mix 4 tablespoons of lemon juice into 300ml water (for a traditional tofu you would use 2 1/2 tsp dried Niagri). Reserve this to one side for the moment.

Heat the fresh soy milk in pan to approximately 70C. Then remove the pan from the heat and stir the soy milk to create a whirlpool.

Now slowly pour in half of the lemon juice and water mixture. Then stir milk in the opposite direction, again creating a whirlpool, and pour in other half of the lemon juice mixture.

Cover over the pan and leave it to sit for 15 minutes. The soy milk will split into curds and whey (very similar to making paneer if you have made that from scratch before)

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Note - the light foam on the top of the liquid, very similar to the texture/form of an ‘Air’ - this is due to the natural presence of lecithin in soy milk. Soy lecithin is a really useful emulsifier and also one of the things we can use to make stable, light, foams and ‘airs’.

Now strain the split soy milk through muslin to collect the curds.

Wrap these curds up in muslin and place in vestle – (a tub or colander) with holes in the bottom, then place a heavy object on top of the wrapped tofu and leave it to drain for at least 1 hour.

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Then carefully unwrap the tofu and gently rinse it in cold water.

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Then I like to break the tofu into chunks and place it in a bowl then sprinkle it with a good pinch of smoked salt. Add the zest of one lemon then finally pour over just enough cold pressed sesame oil to cover the tofu. This gives the tofu some seasoning and flavours it with more lemon, smokiness and nuttiness from the oil.

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These pieces can be stored like this in the fridge then removed and pan fried in a dry pan for a minute or so on each side.

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Enjoy :)

Bronze Fennel, Apple and Elderflower Infused Cucumber, Feta

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Bronze Fennel, Apple and Elderflower Infused Cucumber, Feta


This dish was inspired by some of the things growing in my parents garden in the summer. This dish is just a couple of elements but to me it is my parents garden at this time of year on a plate.

I loved the shapes and look of the bronze fennel leaves and their natural taste, so I did nothing to these except for pick the tips at random. The leaves have a slightly sweet anise flavour, almost like liquorice.

I decided to pair the fennel with elderflower that was growing near by and then also apple, which goes beautifully with both fennel and elderflower.

I prepared a sweet and aromatic infusion of apple and elderflower, with a hit of calvados and vacuum infused (
see bellow) cucumber with this liquid. The vacuum infused cucumber has a really interesting texture and a translucency that makes it look like gellee once it’s been cut to small 2mm cubes.

Vacuum infusing the cucumber with apple elderflower is my play on the idea of the dish as a salad. I also used tiny cubes of feta give a nice salty and sharp touch.

I loved playing with idea of presenting the dish in a way that contrasted the beautiful natural and spiky shape of the fennel leaves with the geometric shapes I cut the feta and infused cucumber into.

NOTE - I actually came back to this dish a year later and did a version of it for Norwegian D2 Magazine, here I included some diced pickled beetroot and a smoked apple puree.
They ended up using the dish on their front cover -

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Apple and Elderflower Vacuum Infused Cucumbers

Apple and Elderflower Liquid -

200g Calvados
400g Apple Juice
4 Tablespoons Dried Elderflower
75g Caster Sugar
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon

Heat all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to gently simmer, occasionally stirring, for 15 minutes.

Set the pan to one side to allow the liquid to slowly cool.

Then strain and add the lemon juice.

Chill in the fridge until needed

Cucumber Infusion –

The easiest way to perform this vacuum infusion is using a chamber vacuum machine, however if you do not have access to one you can go to the following link for information from Dave Arnold on other infusion techniques - see his post
here

So first off I cut thin (a couple of millimetre thick) strips of cucumber flesh.

Place the cucumber strips in a tub. Pour over all of the chilled apple and elderflower liquid to cover the cucumber well.

Now pull a vacuum on the cucumbers which are submerged in the infusion liquid - you will see air bubbling out of the cucumber strips.

When you release the vacuum the air rushes back in - this will force liquid into the space left from removing the air from the cucumber

Once infused the cucumber will turn translucent. You then just need to cut the cucumber into small 2mm cubes.

Feta

Simply cut good quality feta to the same 2mm cubes as the cucumber

To Plate Up

I simply placed a few springs of the bronze fennel around the plate. Then placed cucumber and feta cubes all around the plate and finished off the dish with a sprinkling of fresh elderflowers and a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt.

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Methylcellulose. An introduction and two recipes.

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(Savory Beetroot Meringue using Methylcellulose)

Methylcellulose

An Introduction and two recipes –
- Savory Meringue
- Super light and crispy Tempura

Available from www.Modernist-Chef.com

Methylcellulose is a popular hydrocolloid which can form a gel or act as a thickener when hydrated. Particular to methylcellulose is that it gels when its heated rather than once it cools. Because of this unique quality it’s often used to make mousses and gellees which are firm when they are hot but melt as they cool. Due to this many chefs have used methylcellulose in the pursuit of creating a ‘hot ice-cream’, the idea being to create something with the texture of ice-cream but served hot which then melts in the mouth as it cools (personally I haven’t come across a version of this yet which I think really works i.e. really gives an experience like eating ice-cream only hot –but I hope someone will crack it at some point).

Methylcellulose is used in various ways in modern cuisine. It can be used to great effect to create foams. Can be added to liquids which may then be dried to form films and baked into crisp brittle sheets. It can act a replacement for egg whites in some recipes as it can be whipped in a similar way to provide a similar structural element in a recipe (like with the beetroot meringue recipe bellow).

It’s also used in some deep fried foods, as when it comes into contact with the hot oil in a fryer it forms an oil impermeable film. Due to this using methylcellulose in deep fried products both reduces the amount of moisture which escapes from the coated ingredient and also reduces the about of oil absorbed into the coated item – this can help to achieve a crispier, lighter product with a great texture.

Methylcellulose is one of the very few modern ingredients I use which is not entirely ‘natural’ but synthesized from natural ingredients, namely cellulose - often from cotton. Its non-toxic and non-allergenic and a perfectly healthy and safe ingredient to use in food so don’t be scared off by the fact it’s synthesized. Bear in mind you most likely consume it fairly regularly already as it’s used in huge variety of products including foods and medicines (even vitamin tablets).

Typical use levels –

0.5% - 2% typical concentration for use in cooking

To replace egg whites use 2g Methylcellulose blended into 35g water to replace each egg white. Note – Methylcellulose prepared this way will whip to stiff peaks but you need to be persistent in your whipping to get it to nice stiff peaks.

You can buy Methylcellulose
here.

I will return to this post soon to add recipes and techniques for foams, hot gellees and mousses which melt as they cool, films, and brittle sheets - all using methylcellulose.

Savory Beetroot Meringue (vegan)

Methylcellulose here replaces egg white in giving the meringue its structure and texture. These meringues are then dried until crisp in a dehydrator. Here I’ve used isomalt to replace some of the sugar in order to create savory Meringue but sweet meringue could be made in the same way by simply upping the sweetness.

Here this is just a base recipe which you can flavour up, add acidity or other flavours to but its a really solid technqiue and then you can build in and play with the flavours you want.

The way I do this now is to first make a methylcellulose ‘slurry’. This hydrates the methycellulose before you use it in the recipe and makes it much easier to work with for this technique.

Methocel slurry
 
3g Methylcelulose
200ml Water
 
Boil the water in the kettle then measure out 200ml of just boiled water.

Now blend the Methylcellulose into the hot water with a stick blender.

Next begin to cool this mixture over an ice bath while stirring intermittently until cool.

Allow this mix to sit for at least a couple of hours but for best results sit in fridge overnight.

Beetroot Meringue
 
45g Methocellulose Slurry – (see above)
260g Beetroot Juice
1.2g
Xanthan Gum
40g
Isomalt – powdered
10g Caster Sugar
Seaonings to taste
 
First blend together the beetroot juice, methycellulose slurry and xanthan gum with a stick blender.

Then in bowl start whipping this mixture with an electric whisk and add in isomalt and caster sugar bit by bit.
Whip this mix to soft peaks, this will take a little time (more than whipping egg whites) but will go to stiff peaks eventually if you persist and want more control of the meringues finished shape.

Pipe into neat blobs on a non stick sheet or spread into a thin layer (or basically produce any shape you like)

Dehydrate at 57C for 10-12 hours till crispy.
 
This technique can be adapted for a wide variety of juices and a similar textured liquids.


Tempura - Super light and crispy tempura. (vegan)

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Using Methylcellulose in this tempura batter helps to create an incredibly light, crispy batter inside which the vegetables essentially steam whilst they’re cooked. It helps to keep moisture in the coated ingredients and also reduces the about of oil absorbed through the batter.

As well as using methylcellulose here I’ve also replaced some of the water in the batter mixture with vodka, which boils out very quickly during frying, giving you a fantastically crunchy, crisp texture.

Finally I also carbonate my tempura batter in a cream whipper to help get a beautifully light batter.

350g Vodka
450g Water
250g Plain Flour (or Rice Flour)
Pinch salt
Pinch chilli powder
8g
Methylcellulose
Plus your choice of ingredients to batter – ie shitake mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn, carrot batons, strips of peppers etc.

Blend the methylcellulose into 250g of the water using a hand blender.

Next whisk the vodka into the flour (seasoned with a pinch of salt and chilli powder).

Now add the methylcellulose mixture into the flour and finally whisk in the remaining 200g of water.

Whisk the batter until smooth then pour it through a sieve.

Take 500ml of the tempura batter and pour it into a cream whipper then charge this with two Co2 chargers (soda chargers).

Give the whipper a good shake and place it in the fridge to chill of around two hours or until your ready to it.

When your ready to make your tempura invert the cream whipper and dispense the batter into a large mixing bowl.

Dip your ingredients to be fried into a little flour then into the batter before gently placing them in a deep fat fryer (at 190C). Only fry a few tempuras at a time.

The tempura will cook very quickly (less than two minutes), take them out of the fryer when they are crisp and crunchy and serve up with a dipping sauce or with as part of a larger dish.