SousVide

Garden Salad Dessert

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I thought it would be nice to share this dish on the blog a year on from when I created it at the end of last summer for an event for Google where the theme was ‘The Garden’. So I took inspiration for the dish from the idea of a garden salad but turned into a dessert. The dish features in my new book -
‘Modern Vegetarian Chef’. It’s a delicious, light, refreshing dessert that uses a few techniques and ideas that I think people will find interesting. .

The first thing that tends to surprise people is the fact that the centrepiece to this dessert is a piece of lettuce which has been vacuum infused with chamomile syrup to sweeten it, then been frozen to create a crisp, delicate, sweet leaf, which makes a beautiful, if slightly unusual, finish to the dish.

The ‘Caramelised Almond Milk’ also uses a technique that is new to most people. I make my own almond milk, then vacuum pack it with sugar and cook it sous vide
at 90°C for 24 hours, during which time Maillard reactions occur which turn the almond milk a deep caramel brown and give it beautiful butterscotch, nutty, caramelised flavours. Its a great technique which I also use a version of to make caramelised white chocolate for other dishes.

The final noteworthy feature of the dish is that its served with an infusion of chamomile which is poured over dry ice to carry the scent of chamomile and citrus to diners as they eat the dessert.

The other items at the heart of the dish are a refreshing apple, cucumber & gin sorbet, caramelised walnuts & a sweet almond milk emulsion to mimic a dressing.


Apple Sorbet

  • 300g Fresh apple juice

  • 300g Cucumber juice

  • 75g Caster sugar

  • 75g Glucose syrup

  • 35g Gin

  • 7.5g Malic acid

  • 1g Ascorbic acid

  • 1g Xanthan gum

Blend all the ingredients together then freeze in an ice-cream machine.


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Chamomile Infusion

  • 500ml Water

  • 5g Dried camomile

  • Zest of 2 lemons

Bring the water to a boil then pour it over the dried chamomile and lemon zest.
Allow this to infuse for 30 minutes then strain.

Chamomile Syrup
  • 350g Chamomile infusion (see across)

  • 350g Caster sugar

  • 2.5g Ascorbic acid

  • 2.5g Citric acid

Combine all the ingredients together and blend well until all the solids are dissolved.


Chamomile Infused Frozen Lettuce

  • Chamomile infusion (from above)

  • Baby gem lettuce

Remove the outer leaves from a baby gem lettuce and place these into a vacuum bag with the chamomile syrup.
Vacuum infuse the leaves with the chamomile syrup in a chamber vacuum on full vacuum, then repeat this process.
Place the infused leaves on lightly oiled baking paper on a tray in the freezer
Freeze the infused leaves until solid.


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Homemade Sweet Almond Milk

  • 500g Blanched almonds

  • 1400g Water

  • Seeds of a vanilla pod

  • 300g Caster sugar

  • 5g Salt

  • 3g Xanthan gum (0.15%)

Soak the almonds overnight in fresh water to soften them.
Drain the water off the almonds.
Blend the softened almonds with the xanthan gum and the water.
Now strain this mixture and reserve the liquid almond milk that is drained off.
Now blend the sugar and vanilla into the almond milk.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or store in the freezer.

Caramelised Almond Milk
  • 500g Caster sugar

  • 250g Sweetened almond milk (see previous page)

  • 10g Bicarbonate of soda

Combine the sugar, almond milk and bicarbonate of soda and gently stir together (try not to introduce too much air into the liquid as it will foam a lot when vacuumed)
Then separate the mixture across 2 vacuum bags.
Vacuum seal the mixture on medium (60% vac). Now cook in a water bath at 90°C for 24 hours.
Maillard reactions occur during the cooking which give the almond milk an incredible caramel, nutty flavour and darken the milk to a caramel colour.


Almond Milk Emulsion

  • 150g Grapeseed oil

  • 50g Sweet almond milk (see across)

  • 50g Water

  • 50g Caster sugar

  • 2g Soy lecithin

  • 1g Xanthan gum

Blend together all the ingredients except the oil.
Then gradually emulsify in the oil.


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Parsley Oil

  • 200g Parsley leaves

  • 300g Grapeseed oil

Blanch the parsley leaves for 45 seconds in rapidly boiling water then refresh immediately in ice water.
Strain the parsley and squeeze out any excess moisture, then allow the leaves to dry off. Combine the parsley & oil in a pan and gradually heat to 60°C. Now while hot pour into a blender and blend continuously for 10 minutes.
Allow the oil to cool and infuse for around two hours then strain through muslin.

Crushed Caramelised Walnuts
  • 75g Walnuts

  • 50g Caster sugar

  • 25g Sunflower oil

Cook all together in a nonstick frying pan for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat - the walnuts should be toasted and the sugar should caramelise. Cook until the sugar reaches 160°C.
Tip the caramelized walnuts out onto baking parchment and spread them out.
Let the sugar cool and set then lightly crush the caramelised walnuts into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.

To Serve
Pre-chill bowls in the freezer, then place a scoop of the sorbet in the centre of a bowl. Dot some of the almond emulsion next to it and spoon some crushed caramelised walnuts over that.
Drizzle some caramelised almond milk and parsley oil around the plate. Then finish the dish by placing one of the frozen infused lettuce leaves over the sorbet.


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Tamari Cured Egg Yolks

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This is a new technique I developed for curing egg yolks in tamari. The results are truelly delicious, the tamari cured yolks have a parmesan like flavour but also still something unique and not quite the same as an aged cheese. When I taught this technique in Athens a number of the chefs said it tasted like bottarga. But whatever you liken it to it is a stand out delicious product that can bring a big kick of umami to a variety of dishes. You can see the technique in the video bellow and the full recipe is given at the end of this post.

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There are simpler, traditional methods for curing yolks in salt but I found that the results can be overly salty. I wanted something less salty but with lots of umami and a more complex, aged flavour. After trying a few different approaches, some trial and error and then time spent refining the method I arrived at this technique which I now use all the time. The yolks are cooked in a tamari cure (extra salt and sugar is added to the tamari) in a waterbath at 62°C for 6 hours. In this time the yolks are cured and set, then the cured yolks are dehydrated until completely dry. The finished tamari cured yolks can be grated finely with a microplane.



The dish pictured is from my upcoming book which should be released in May. It is a take on a salad with confit potato and fresh peas dressed in smoked yoghurt and hidden under a generous grating of the tamari cured egg yolks.

I’ll also be serving dishes featuring the tamari cured yolks at my upcoming
supper clubs, so if you are in the Manchester area you can come and try them in person.

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Tamari Cured Egg Yolks

Tamari cure liquid
200g Tamari
20g Sugar
20g Salt

Blend the ingredients for the tamari cure liquid together and place in a squeeze bottle.

For each egg yolk

Cut a piece of cling film and place over a cup.
Separate an egg yolk from the white.
Place the yolk in center of the clingfilm.
Pour the tamari cure over the yolk.
Pinch clingfilm together to form a package - excluding as much air as possible but careful not to break the yolk.
Twist the cling film to secure the package.
Clip the clingfilm packages in place.
Trim the excess clingfilm off.

Cooking

Carefully place the packed egg yolks into the waterbath on a low circulatory flow.
Cook the yolks for 6 hours at 62
°C.
Once cooked carefully remove yolks from their clingfilm packaging and pour away the tamari cure.
Finally dehydrate the cured yolks at 68
°C for 6-8 hours until completely dried.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.

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Making Halloumi

How To Make Your Own Halloumi & Cook It To Perfection

Homemade Halloumi

I will keep the pre-amble at the top of this blog short so we can get right onto the making of some delicious, salty fried cheese. But first I should apologise to those of you that follow the blog regularly for not having posted much recently. I’m really busy with a couple of big projects and I’ve been working on a lot of new stuff including ideas, techniques and dishes which will soon be put together in a new book due out for early 2015 I hope. Rest assured there will be lots of exciting stuff coming next year, some great new projects and announcements and lots more on the blog to accompany all this.

That out of the way here I’m going to give you my recipe and technique for making your own halloumi. It's really satisfying to make your own cheese, and for delicious cheese making at home or in a restaurant a salty, brined, fried cheese like this is a great rewarding project.

I’ll take you through the process of making halloumi and the adaptations/modernisations I’ve made to the process to suit my purposes, then I’ll take you through how to cook your finished halloumi to fulfil its full potential.

Basically Halloumi is a salty cheese with a high melting point, so it can be fried, grilled and cooked sous vide. Traditionally it is made with a mix of sheep and goats milk, however after a few test batches I found cows milk worked best for me (I’m sure this will upset some purists but cows milk honestly gave me my best results), but feel free to try whichever milk suits you best.

For my method I use both a chamber vacuum sealer and a temperature controlled water bath in the process of making my halloumi. These are fantastically helpful and allow me to get exactly the result I want but you could still follow my technique if you don’t have access to this equipment, just make some slight alterations and be aware you might not get quite the same quality results. 

I also choose to shape my Halloumi into a sausage shape, rather than the traditional folded block. I do this so it cooks nice and evenly and portions well into rounds (which suits how I serve it), but feel free to shape it as you want.

Finally when we come to cooking the finished cheese I give you some options but my favourite method is to cook the halloumi sous vide with fresh mint, butter and lemon zest, then finish it with a quick high heat sear just before serving. I do discuss some other cooking options as well though and it will depend on your equipment and circumstances which method is best for you.

As with all cheese making make all your surfaces are clean and where possible sterilise equipment, pans and cheese cloth with boiling water before you begin.

So bellow you'll find my recipe and method broken down into stages, along with some pictures. I hope you'll find it interesting and useful.


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Stage 1 - Making the Curds

4 Litres whole cows milk
2g Liquid vegetarian rennet mixed with 50g mineral water
0.5g Calcium chloride dissolved in 50g mineral water
Salt

Before starting this step I should just highlight that it's important to make sure to remember to reserve the whey after making the curds in this first step as you will need the whey for a later cooking step.

So to start off making the curds slowly heat the milk to 32°C in a large pan over a low heat.

While the milk is warming dissolve the calcium chloride in 50g of mineral water. Then stir this in to the warm milk.

Once the milk hits 32°C dilute the vegetarian rennet into 50g of mineral water and then stir this in to the warm milk.

Now remove the milk from the heat and allow it to sit for 45 minutes to coagulate. When you return to the pan you should find the milk is set into a delicate curd.

Now use a large sharp knife to cut the curds in the pan in a crisis cross. Then slowly heat the mixture to 40°C over a low heat, stirring gently occasionally. Once the curds reach 40°C remove the pan from the heat and leave it to sit again for another 30 minutes.

Now pour the curds through a double layer of cheese cloth in a sieve set over a bowl to collect the curds in the cheese cloth and reserve the whey in the bowl underneath. Then collect the edges of the cheese cloth and squeeze the curds to remove as much of the whey as possible from them.

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Stage 2 - Shaping the Curds

Now we'll heat the curds up to 50°C, the easiest way to do this is using short 15 second blasts in the microwave , squeezing the curds gently between blasts to remove more whey, until the curds reach 50°C (note if you find the curds uncomfortably hot to handle you can wear clean rubber gloves while doing this).

Once heated to 50°C the curds should come together and be easy to work with and shape.
Now you can form the curds into the desired shape. At this stage I prefer to shape my curds into a sausage shape. I use a clean sheet of cheese cloth to roll the curds and tighten them into my desired uniform sausage shape or torchon. There is a bit of a knack to this if you are not used to this technique.

Once you have formed a neat tube tighten the cheese cloth at both ends by twisting, then tie the ends to secure the shape.

Finally I place each of these wrapped Halloumi torchons into vacuum bags and vacuum pack them, this applies pressure to the wrapped Halloumi evenly from all sides, performing the same job as traditional pressing of the curds but preserving the shape I want. Then place the vac packed curds in the fridge for 2 hours to cool and firm up.

(Note - as an alternative, if you don't want to follow my method as I've described of shaping the curds, at this stage you could instead simply form small cheese cloth parcels of the curds and place a heavy weight on them to press them until the curds firm up.)


Stage 3 - Cooking the Curds in Whey

500g Whey (saved from making the curds)
10g Salt

The next step in giving the Halloumi its distinctive texture is cooking the pressed curds in whey. I do this sous vide which helps to keep the cooking controlled and means there is no risk of the curds catching on the bottom of a pan (which can happen if cooking in a pan on a stove top).

First off take 500g of the whey reserved from the last stage and mix in 10g of salt.

Now open the vacuum packed curds and unwrap them from the cheese cloth. Then in a fresh bag vacuum these set curds with the salted whey and cook in the waterbath at 90°C for 2 hours. Then after 2 hours cool the bags rapidly in ice water.


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Stage 4 - Brining the Cooked Curds

200g Water
30g Salt (15%)
1g Dried mint (0.5%)

The final stage is to brine the cooked curds.

First prepare a brine by combining 200g water, 30g salt and 1g dried mint.

Now open the cooled bags the halloumi was cooked in with the whey and strain off the whey.

Cut each tube of the halloumi into two in the centre and place four of these pieces of halloumi in a vacuum bag. Then pour the mint brine into the bag to cover the halloumi.

Now vacuum these bags of brined halloumi and store in the fridge. Leave the halloumi in the brine for at least 24 hours before serving it.

I can't advise you on exactly how long the Halloumi safely stores in its brine in the fridge but I personally feel confident to serve it at least a month after preparing it. And it actually appears to be ok for up to three months after its made. But as I don’t have the resources to establish it’s safe storage period with certainty the suggestions I give here are just opinion and you'll have to judge for yourself.


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Cooking with your finished Halloumi -

You could cook your halloumi by traditional methods - on the grill, bbq or pan frying etc, but personally I think you get the best result by cooking the halloumi sous vide. Cooking it longer at a low temperature gives you a beautifully soft, moist finished product which isn’t squeaky or dry as halloumi can become with some other cooking methods.


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Sous Vide and Pre-sear vs Post-sear

If you are able to cook the halloumi sous vide you will still want to brown the cheese for the delicious Maillard reaction browning flavours and a slight crust on the outside to contrast the soft cooked cheese centre.

This leads us to the question of whether to pre-sear or post-sear the halloumi when cooking sous vide. Basically do you want to brown the cheese lightly first then vac bag it and cook in the waterbath or cook it in the waterbath first then sear the cheese quickly just before serving it.

For sous vide halloumi pre or post searing both have their advantages depending on the circumstances you are cooking in. Generally when possible my preference is the post sear method. I think the halloumi has the best texture and stays as moist as possible if it is cooked sous vide first and finished with a quick high heat post sear just before serving.

However, the Halloumi then has to be served quite quickly after searing to keep its texture, so if you wanted to serve a number of portions at once this could be tricky to do. Therefore if you're are cooking in larger batches and want to serve a lot of portions at the same time I suggest pre-searing the halloumi because it can be done in advance so the halloumi can be vac bagged and cooked sous vide and when ready to serve you simply have to cut open a bag and plate the halloumi up.

Basically in an ideal world I would cook the halloumi sous vide and finish with a post sear but when I was cooking for an event and had to do 30 portions of this to go all at the same time I used the pre-sear method and that worked great and took the pressure off service.

A final note on searing, I recently finally received my ‘Searzall’ from
http://bookeranddax.com/searzall which I had backed as a kickstarter and this is more or less the perfect tool if you are cooking a couple of portions at a time and want to finish them with a quick, high heat, post-sear. If you don’t have one then a hot pan will do the job too.

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Cooking - Sous Vide Time and Temperature

Having chosen to cook your handmade halloumi sous vide and decided whether to pre or post sear your finished halloumi here is the detail of the sous vide cooking method.

Obviously if you are pre-searing the cheese do that before the sous vide cooking step and allow the cheese to cool before vacuuming, then ignore the post-sear instructions and just serve straight after removing from the vac bag.

Cut your halloumi into 1.5cm thick rounds. You want 4 or 5 rounds of halloumi per portion.

In a vacuum bag place 8 to 10 rounds of halloumi, the zest of a lemon, 25g butter and a few fresh mint leaves.

Seal the bag and then cook the halloumi at 85°C for 1.5 hours.

Finally remove the halloumi from the water bath and finish it quickly with a high heat post-sear in a hot pan or using the Searzall (or your preferred method). Then serve the halloumi as soon as possible, as the texture is best just after cooking. (If you had already pre-seared the halloumi before cooking sous vide then simply serve it hot straight after the sous vide cooking step).


Homemade Halloumi

I hope this is helpful and of interest to you guys.

Loads more stuff to come and I’m sat on a lot of new material and projects I look forward to getting out into the light of day next year.

Cheers
Eddie

Easy Sous Vide Chocolate Ice-Cream

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Rich Chocolate Ice-Cream - Sous Vide

This incredibly rich, luxurious chocolate ice-cream is simple to make with the precision of sous vide cooking and will seriously impress every time!

It’s got an immense intensity of flavour from the dark chocolate and a perfect rich, smooth texture which is always spot on and consistently repeatable with the accuracy of sous vide cooking.

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For the ice-cream base the sous vide method aids consistency, accuracy and makes the ice-cream making process easier and neater. This means you get fantastic results every time and have more free time, so its an ice-cream technique that suits home cooking when you are busy or can allow you to focus on more technical culinary exploits knowing your ice-cream is taken care off.

The cooked ice-cream base will keep in its vacuum bag in the fridge for up to a week before being frozen. So it can actually be made well ahead of time but frozen as close to serving as possible to prevent the formation of large ice crystals and so keep a beautiful smooth texture.

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Recipe

500g Double cream
250g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150g Caster sugar
150g Whole milk
50g Butter
110g Egg yolks (approx 6 free-range medium egg yolks)
Pinch salt

First melt the chocolate and butter either in the microwave or in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.

Now bit by bit stir the cream into the melted chocolate.

Combine this chocolate and cream mixture along with all the other ingredients in a blender and puree until the mixture is completely smooth.

Now split this ice-cream base between two vacuum bags and seal in a chamber vacuum at approximately 40% vacuum (the vacuum strength is relatively low to prevent the ice-cream mix bubbling up out of the bag) or seal the mix in ziplock bags excluding as much air from the bags as possible.

Place these bags of ice-cream base into a waterbath at 82°C, the water temperature will briefly drop, as soon as the temperature climbs back to 82°C start a timer for 20 minutes.

Cook the ice-cream base for 20 minutes at 82°C then remove the bags from the water bath and immediately chill in cold water while squeezing the bag to ensure the contents are moved around well.

You can store this ice-cream base in its in the fridge for up to a week before freezing, or freeze immediately by your preferred method, I use a simple ice-cream machine at home.

Let the ice-cream soften at room temperature before serving.


For more on Sous Vide cooking check out my books and the Sous Vide Category of the blog

Sous Vide equipment is available from
www.Modernist-Chef.com

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VIbrant Vegetarian - OUT NOW



My new book Vibrant Vegetarian came out today, please have a look at the promo video and if you decide to buy it and like it then please, if you don’t mind, suggest it to your friends or write nice review of it on iTunes

Cheers all

Thank you

Eddie



All Eddies ebooks are now available to download as PDFs

New Book - Vibrant Vegetarian

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Vibrant Vegetarian
The innovative new ebook from Eddie Shepherd
Out Now




All Eddies ebooks are now available to download as PDFs
Vibrant Vegetarian is the innovative new cookbook from award winning modern vegetarian Chef Eddie Shepherd.
Creative dishes, new techniques, hundreds of beautiful photos and helpful videos make this unique book not just a culinary gem but a visual delight.
An original and groundbreaking book, lavishly augmented with pictures and video, this is a must have for all foodies, chefs and enthusiastic cooks, vegetarian or not.

Follow
@vegetarianchef on twitter f

Chocolate, Lime, Rose

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Dehydrated Chocolate Mousse
Sous Vide Lime Curd
Crystallised Rose

This is a beautiful, small, simple dish. Just a couple of bites worth of food with just three main flavours.

The deliciousness of the dish all hangs on the flavour combination and the two contrasting textures - the crispy, light, dehydrated chocolate mousse juxtaposed with the rich, smooth lime curd.

The combination of chocolate and lime is nothing too unusual and neither is combining chocolate and rose. The thought to combine all three flavours like this came in part out of thinking about spice and mexican flavours and also from the combination of lime and rose in a Gin and Tonic with Hendricks (perhaps my favourite gin - it is infused with cucumber and rose).

The dehydrated chocolate mousse carries a really intense chocolate flavour but in a very light form.

Then the Lime Curd is made Sous Vide. This makes the lime curd less labour intensive than using traditional methods but also makes it extremely consistent, as well as helping to infuse the lime zest flavours into the lime syrup - giving it a really ice aromatic lime flavour.

Watch the video of me preparing the dish then you’ll find the full recipe bellow.



Dehydrated Chocolate Mousse with Rose

150g Dark Chocolate – 70% Cocoa Solids
200g Free-Range Egg Whites (Approx 5 Whites)
60g Free-Range Egg Yolks (Approx 3 Yolks)
60g Caster Sugar

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.

Now off the heat mix the egg yolks into the melted chocolate, then set that to one side.

Next beat the egg whites to soft peaks, at which point reduce the speed of whisking and gradually add the sugar until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Now take a quarter of the whipped egg whites and beat them thoroughly into the chocolate.

Then gently fold half of the remaining egg whites into the chocolate followed finally by the last of the egg whites.

Spoon the mousse onto a non stick sheet and spread it thinly with a palate knife (approx 2-3mm thick).

Now take some crystallised rose petals and crush them in a pestle and mortar. Then sprinkle the crushed rose over the chocolate mousse.

Now place the chocolate mousse in a dehydrator at 68°C for 14 hours.

Once dry break the dehydrated mousse into pieces and store in an airtight container.

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Sous Vide Lime Curd

100g Free-Range Egg Yolk (Approx 6 Yolks)
200g Caster Sugar
100g Fresh Lime Juice (Approx 4 Limes)
Zest of Four Limes
300g Unslated Butter - Cubed and Chilled
Pinch Maldon Salt.

First vacuum pack the egg yolks in one bag.

Then in a separate bag vacuum the sugar, lime juice and zest.

Now place both bags (the yolks and the lime syrup) into a water bath set at 64°C and cook for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes remove the bags from the water bath and ,while still hot, blend the lime syrup into the cooked eggs yolks.

Now Bit by bit blend in chilled cubed butter.

Once all the ingredients are combined rest the lime curd in the fridge at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Before serving transfer some of the lime curd to a piping bag and keep this chilled until needed.

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To serve -

Spoon some of the lime curd into a piping bag and keep this chilled in the fridge.

When ready to serve take a pice of the dehydrated chocolate mousse and pipe a large dot of the lime curd onto of it.

Then sit another piece of the dehydrated chocolate mousse on to of the lime curd.

Serve immediately.
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I hope you like the recipe, technique and video. Keep and eye out here and on my twitter page for announcements about my new book and a tasting menu diner both coming soon :)

Cheers

Eddie


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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Sous Vide Caramelised White Chocolate

Sous Vide Caramelised White Chocolate
&
Caramelised White Chocolate and Saffron Ice-Cream - Sous Vide

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NOTE THE FULL RECIPE FOR THIS DISH APPEARS IN MY NEW BOOK ‘VIBRANT VEGETARIAN’




Caramelised white chocolate is a delicious product, with flavours of caramel, dulce de leche, white chocolate and nutty/coffee roasted notes. Strictly speaking it turns out we shouldn't really call it 'caramelsied', as i'll explain in a moment, but for convenience and because it sounds best i'm happy to continue to call it 'caramelised white chocolate’.

It’s usually made in the oven but I have been working on a method to make it sous vide which makes the process much more consistent, accurate and convenient. Basically the white chocolate is vacuum packed then cooked in a water bath whilst it slowly browns, no fuss, no mess, and a consistency fantastic finished product with amazing flavour.

I give you both the recipe for Sous Vide ‘Caramelised’ White Chocolate and for a Sous Vide Ice-Cream made with the caramelised chocolate bellow but first how this process works is worth a brief discussion.

At first I thought in this technique that the sugar in the chocolate was caramelising and causing the browning at the comparatively low temperature of 90C over a long cooking time in a similar way to what Harold McGee’s discusses in his excellent article about caramelisation here.

However having done some more tests I've found that actually rather than the caramelisation of sugar what we are really seeing here is a Maillard reaction.

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Vacuum Packed White Chocolate

The amino acids from the protein rich milk within the white chocolate react with sugars - this causes the browning and slowly creates delicious caramelised flavours. (To confirm this I ran various tests of caster sugar cooked SV at 90C for eight hours and whilst sugar alone won't caramelise or brown in these conditions sugar with the addition of a little milk will brown and develop caramelised flavours - this points to the Maillard reaction as the process at work. The Maillard reaction requires the presence of amino acids (in this case from the milk protein) and sugars, thus when I tried to brown the sugar on its own at 90C there was no reaction but with the addition of a splash of milk to provide the protein the browning reactions and flavours occur).

Basically caramelisation and the Maillard reaction are separate and distinct processes that can some times look very similar and are frequently confused. At times they can even produce similar flavours, as in this case. But Maillard reactions can occur at lower temperatures than caramelisation, which is why due to its protein component we can achieve the flavourful browning of white chocolate at 90C over 8 hours but not brown caster sugar at this temperature, at least not over a similar timescale.

Maillard reactions produces a wealth of flavour compounds which in this case give us the caramel flavours and roasted notes which make the 'caramelised' white chocolate so delicious.

So now following these experiments I’m really pleased to have a fantastic sous vide method for making this awesome product at a comparatively low temperature with much more consistency than I could achieve before in the oven. And understanding it as the Maillard reaction opens up possibilities of some more things I'd like to try in the near future.

The important thing to focus on though is not the science but that this is an amazingly delicious product.

The primary reasons here for cooking the chocolate, and also the ice-cream base, sous vide are - consistency, acuracy & convenience - already since mentioning this technique on twitter a lot of fellow chefs have commented on how useful it will be to have a method for ‘caramelising’ white chocolate which is this consistent without risking burning the chocolate.
Both the ‘caramelised’ white chocolate and the ice-cream base can be made using other techniques, but not with the precision and repeatability that sous vide offers or how simple it makes both these techniques.

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Sous Vide Caramelised White Chocolate after 6 hours at 90C

Sous Vide Caramelised White Chocolate

300g White Chocolate

Vacuum pack the chocolate and cook for 6 hours in a water bath at 90C.
The chocolate will turn a light gown within the first hour or two of cooking then gradually continue to darken.
I found that 6 hours gave me a great caramelised flavour and the intensity I want for the ice-cream but you could probably even push the cooking time on for another hour or two if desired for a darker caramel.

I’ve posted a version of caramelised white chocolate ice-cream before using ‘traditional’ methods for both the chocolate and the ice-cream, but I’ve chosen to revisit the ice-cream here as well as it also benefits from being cooked sous vide, so it seems like it fits neatly into this blog.


Caramelised White Chocolate Ice-Cream - Sous Vide

I then use this caramelised white chocolate in an ice-cream which is also cooked sous vide before freezing. In the case of the ice-cream base once again the sous vide method aids consistency, accuracy and makes the process easier and neater.

The method is incredibly simple, basically all the ice-cream ingredients are blended together, then vacuum sealed and cooked at 82C for 20 minutes which gives you a perfectly cooked ice-cream base which will keep in its vacuum bag in the fridge for up to a week before being frozen. So the ice-cream can actually be made well ahead of time but frozen as close to serving as possible to prevent the formation of large ice crystals and so keep a beautiful smooth texture.

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Caramelised White Chocolate Ice-Cream ready to be cooked Sous Vide

250g Caramelised White Chocolate (from above)
250g Double Cream
500g Whole Milk
100g Caster Sugar
6 Medium Free-range Egg Yolks
Pinch Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Saffron Threads

Combine all the ingredients except the saffron in a blender and blitz to a smooth consistency, then pass through a sieve.

Vacuum bag the blended ice-cream base with the saffron.

Cook the ice-cream base at 82C (from when the water bath returns to 82C after the initial temperature drop as the ice-cream is added to the bath), for 20 minutes.

Then remove the bag from the water bath and chill in an ice bath while squeezing the bag to ensure the contents are moved around well.

Now store the ice-cream base in its vacuum bag in the fridge for up to a week before freezing, or freeze immediately by your preferred method.

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Churning the Ice-Cream

Enjoy and please keep checkin in on the blog over the next couple of weeks as there should be some cool stuff finally ready share here soon :)

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



Modernist Vegetarian - OUT NOW


So with Modernist Vegetarian, my first ebook, out earlier this week I thought I would share some images from the book with you.

You can download it here - Just £3.99
Note it is iPad only currently!



But here are a few screen shots to whet your appetite.

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Modernist Vegetarian - Eddie Shepherd

Modernist Vegetarian Video


A short video preview of my ebook
Modernist Vegetarian
Coming July 2012


Available on the Apple ibook store soon

Please share this video, I’m making this book on my own right down to taking all the photos and video and doing the design so any help and support with promotion would be hugely appreciated.

Cheers

Eddie