Recipe

Caramelised Almond Milk - Technique & Recipe

This is going to be short and sweet.

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Before

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After

I posted pictures of me making caramelised almond milk on my instagram with a brief description of the process and it seemed really popular with people so i thought I’d put those pics with the full recipe here. I’m not getting time to put much on the blog at the moment but I will try and put more ‘micro blogs’ about the techniques and recipes I use on my instagram and then if thats popular maybe post those here too.

So anyway, I came up with the technique for this a couple of years ago and it is a process I use a lot. At the moment I am using the caramelised almond milk just as a finishing element of a dessert on the tasting menu but I have used it for a variety of other things in the past - check out my books for some of those.

The caramelised almond milk has a rich intense flavour of caramel, toasted almonds, butterscotch, popcorn and vanilla. The basic process is that I sweeten homemade almond milk a lot and then cook it sous vide for 24 hours. During this cooking maillard reactions take place, browning the milk and producing the rich caramel flavours.

The full recipes are bellow

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Close up of the caramelised almond milk used a sauce to finish a dish on the current tasting menu

Caramelised Almond Milk Recipe

For the Homemade Almond Milk

500g Blanched Almonds
1400g Water
Seeds of a vanilla pod
300g Caster Sugar
5g salt
3g Xanthan gum

Soak the almonds over night in fresh water.
The next day stain the almonds then blend them with then 1400g of water and the xanthan gum.
Strain this mix through a fine nut milk bag of layers of muslin, or use a centrifuge if you have access to one.
Now blend the sugar and vanilla seeds into the nut milk.
Reseve.


For the Caramelised Almond Milk

500g Caster Sugar
250g Homemade Almond Milk - from above
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 and cook in a water bath at 90°C for 24 hours.


NOTE - store the caramelised almond milk in the fridge, but bring to room temperature for plating up. if this caramelised almond milk starts to crystallise or in general needs a touch of thinning add a dash of hot water

Vodafone Modernised Nut Roast

NUT ROAST 1-blog


This is the dish I developed for Vodafone as part of their christmas advertising campaign. They wanted a modernised version of a nut roast to accompany their run of TV ads.

You can see the full recipe, videos and more info on their blog
HERE

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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Easy Whip

Coffee

EasyWhip

EasyWhip is a product I designed for ‘Special Ingredients’ who produce a variety of innovative ingredients for cooks.
You can use it to make light airy mousses or meringues out of virtually any liquid. Simple to use - just blend
EasyWhip into your chosen liquid then whip it to a light stable foam. You can even dry these foams out at low temperature to make sweet or savoury meringue from almost any liquid.  

Bellow I’ve included some recipes using
EasyWhip and at the end of the post I also include a base recipes you can adapt and make your own, using your own choice of flavours, suited to your own unique creative dishes. 

Easy whip is available to buy online
HERE

Recipes, suggestions and tips Bellow

Mojito

Apple Mojito Meringue

300g Apple Juice
200g Caster Sugar
75g Fresh Lime Juice (approx 2 limes)
20g White Rum
15g Citric Acid
Zest of Two Limes
One drop of ‘Special Ingredients’ Mint Essential Oil
3g
EasyWhip


Combine the apple juice, lime juice, rum and mint oil in a jug.

Separately combine the dry ingredients - the sugar, citric acid, EasyWhip and lime zest.

Add the mixed dry ingredients into the liquid in the jug. Blend well until thickened.

Whip this mixture in a stand mixer (or with an electric whisk) on high for around 10 minutes until the mixture is light, airy and forms stiff peeks.

Spread this mixture thin on several non stick sheets.

Dehydrate at 60C for 8 hours in a dehydrator (or place in a low oven at as close to 60C as possible for 8 hours).

Store the meringue in a sealed airtight container until just about to serve.

Serving Suggestion -

Serve shards of the mojito meringue in a bowl with fresh mint as a refreshing, acidic, palate cleanser at the start of a meal or before dessert.

Beetroot

Savoury Beetroot Meringue

500g Beetroot Juice
80g Isomalt
20g Caster Sugar
3g
EasyWhip
Salt and Pepper

Mix together the isomalt, sugar and EasyWhip.

Mix this dry mixture into the beetroot juice and blend well until the mixture thickens.

Whip this mixture in a stand mixer (or with an electric whisk) on high for around 10 minutes until the mixture is light, airy and forms stiff peeks.

Pipe this mixture as mini meringue on a non-stick sheet then finish with a scattering of fresh ground black pepper.

Dehydrate at 60C for 8 hours in a dehydrator or place in a low oven at as close to 60C as possible for 8 hours.

Store the meringue in a sealed airtight container until just about to serve.

Serving Suggestion -

The beetroot meringue works especially well with cheese. Try serving with herbed goats cheese and apple puree, or as part of a savoury dish of your own creation.

Coffee

Coffee mousse

400g Freshly made coffee - cooled
150g Sugar
5g Cocoa Powder
Seeds of one Vanilla Pod
2g
EasyWhip

Combine the dry ingredients - the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla seeds and easy whip.

Blend these dry ingredients into the cooled coffee until the mixture thickens.

Whip this mixture in a stand mixer (or with an electric whisk) on high for around 10 minutes until the mixture is light, airy and forms stiff peeks.

Store store this mousse in the fridge.

Serving Suggestion -

Serve as part of a dessert with complimentary flavours. For example, coffee mousse with finely grated dark chocolate, crushed caramelised hazelnuts and a caramel tuille.

Yoghurt

Whipped Yoghurt

200g Greek Yoghurt
150g Sugar
50g Water
25g Fresh Lemon Juice
3g
EasyWhip

Combine the dry ingredients - the sugar, and EasyWhip.

Now mix together the yoghurt, water and lemon juice.

Add the sugar and EasyWhip into the yoghurt mixture and blend well.

Whip this mixture in a stand mixer (or with an electric whisk) on high for around 10 minutes. This mixture will not reach stiff peaks but will form soft peaks and approximately double in size - resulting in a light mousse texture.

Store in the fridge

Serving Suggestion -

Serve as part of a dessert featuring soft fruit or other fresh, acidic, elements. For example, whipped yoghurt topped with fresh blueberries and peach and rosehip meringues made using EasyWhip.


Base Recipe and Tips Bellow

Base Recipe - For a Basic Mousse or Meringue

See the ‘Tips’ at the end of this post for more guild lines to help you great great results.

400g Liquid (flavoured liquid of your choice)
150g Sugar
2g
Easy Whip (0.5% of liquid weight)

Mix the EasyWhip and sugar together.
Add the sugar and Easywhip to your chosen liquid.

Blend these together well until all the solids are dissolved and the mixture thickens.

Whip this mixture to a stable foam ideally with a stand mixer but an electric whisk works as well. Whip for 5-10 minutes typically.

Serve as a foam/mousse or make dehydrated meringue

To create meringue either pipe the foam or spread it thin on a non stick sheet and dehydrate at 60C (or in a low oven) for 6-8 hours until crisp and dry. 

Store meringue in an airtight container until needed (them soften quickly if not kept air tight).


General Tips

Typical Percentage Use -  Typically use at at 0.5% - 1% of recipes weight.

Use fruit juices or vegetable juices as a base for your foams.

Thin liquids work best for these foams so if using a puree thin it with another liquid first.

It can take some time for the foams to form and whip to stiff peaks, allow 5-10 minutes whipped at high speed.

You can add alcohol to your recipe to create edible cocktails.

Use ‘Special Ingredients’ flavoured oils or flavour drops to create imaginative flavourful dishes.

For savoury mousses or meringue reduce the amount of sugar or replace it 1:1 with isomalt.

For longer term storage of EasyWhip meringue store along with silica packets in an airtight container.

Elderflower

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Elderflower - Cordial, Vinegar, Vodka, Honey, Fizz

Elderflower is a fragrance and flavour which immediately transports me to idyllic summer memories. It’s easy to forage for and is fantastically versatile.

This is going to be a short blog on how to forage for and prepare elderflower, then a couple of things you can do with it. This should give you some basics and a few recipes but there’s so many uses for elderflower I hope to revisit this in the future. For now I wanted to get this posted while the elderflower is still in season and you can go out and forage for it. Here I’ll tell you how to make Elderflower Cordial, Elderflower and Juniper Vinegar, Elderflower and Lemon Vodka, Elderflower Honey and Elderflower Fizz.

I might add more recipes later for instance one of my favourite things to make is apple puree smoked by burning dried elderflower, it gives the puree a delicious smoked flavour but with the unique aroma of elderflower. This is something I use in a dish which will be going into my next book but I won’t give too much away about that for the moment.

For now I hope you find this blog helpful and if you’re limited for time and only make one thing from these recipes I’d say make the elderflower honey, it’s so simple and so delicious you really can’t go wrong.


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Picking and Preparing Elderflower

Elderflower is in around in the UK from late May to early July. Its easiest to find in wooded areas and hedgerows. The fragrant flowers bloom on small Elder trees and are fairly easy to identify (but obviously if in doubt with any wild foraging go with someone who knows what they are looking for or consult guilds).

It’s best to pick elderflower in the morning when it is at it’s most fragrant and don’t leave it too long between picking and processing.

The way I find best to prepare my picked elderflower is to dip the heads of elderflower into a bowl of cold water to remove any hidden insects then allow the heads to dry upturned on paper towel. Then when using the elderflower in recipes trim off the flowers with as little of the stem as possible and discard the
excecess stems.

Bellow you will find some simple short recipes to get you started with using elderflower


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Elderflower Honey

8 Heads elderflower
650g Honey

Simple mix the prepared elderflower into the honey and leave to infuse for one week.
Strain the elderflower honey and store in jars in a cool dark place.
This stuff is insanely delicious, especially with cheese!!


Elderflower Cordial

25 Heads elderflower
Juice and zest of four lemons
1kg Sugar
60g Citric acid
1.5 Litre water

Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the elderflower and lemon zest. Cover this over and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
Strain this liquid and add the sugar, lemon juice and citric acid to it.
Bring the liquid to a simmer for five minutes.
Allow to cool and finally bottle up.
Store short term in bottles at room temperature or long term in the freezer.
This is great in alcoholic or soft drinks and I also use it in various ways in cooking - especially desserts.


E3

Elderflower Fizz

20 Heads elderflower
Juice and zest of four lemons
1.5kg Sugar
100ml White wine vinegar
8 Litres water

Mix together all the ingredients (except the elderflower) until the sugar is dissolved then and pour this liquid over the elderflower.
Leave this mixture to infuse for four days at room temperature.
Strain the infused elderflower liquid then pour it into bottles which can withstand carbonation.
Ferment the elderflower fizz for four weeks, checking on it regularly.
If it is not carbonated after four weeks you can leave it for up to four more weeks to fully ferment.
The elderflower fizz is lovely with an extra dash of elderflower cordial in it.

Elderflower Vodka

16 Heads elderflower
750ml Vodka
Zest of two lemons

Simply mix the prepared elderflower and lemon zest into the vodka.
Allow this mixture to infuse for two weeks then strain and keep it until you need it.

Elderflower and juniper Vinegar

16 Heads elderflower
1 Litre wine wine vinegar
25g Dried juniper berries

Heat the vinegar to a simmer then pour this over the prepared elderflower and dried juniper.
Leave this mixture to infuse for two weeks then strain and use as desired. It works well in simple dressings and pickles.


E4

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.


H2

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.


Searz 2

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.

Searz 1

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

Rosehip & Violet Meringue

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This recipe and video for Rosehip & Violet Meringue comes from a dish in my new book ‘Vibrant Vegetarian’

The dish is a Sparkling Chamomile Palate Cleanser with Rosehip & Violet Meringue and Lemon Balm.

Here I’m going to share with you the recipe, technique and video for how to make this delicious, light, colourful meringue. I hope if you are interested in this you’ll check out the book,
‘Vibrant Vegetarian’, itself which is available now on iTunes for £3.99.



Rosehip & Violet Meringue

50g Hydrated Methylcellulose Slurry (see the bottom of this post for the preparation method)
50g Isomalt
20g Caster Sugar
20g Lemon Juice
80g Rosehip Syrup (Full recipe in
‘Vibrant Vegetarian’)
200g Cranberry Juice
1.2g Xanthan Gum
1g Ascorbic Acid

Combine all the ingredients except the isomalt and caster sugar.

Whip the mixture whilst slowly adding in the isomalt and caster sugar.

Whip well for at least 5 minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Spread thin onto no stick sheets.

Crush some crystallised violet and sprinkle over the meringue.

Dehydrate at 57°C for 10 Hours.

Store in an airtight container with silica.



Methylcellulose Preparation -

Top prepare the hydrated methyllcellulose slurry you will need
Methylcellulose f50 or the Texturas Brand ‘Methil’.
Available from
www.Modernist-Chef.com

6g Methylcellulose
400ml 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 it is cool.

Allow this mix to sit for a couple of hours for the methyl cellulose to fully hydrate.

You can prepare this mixture in batches then keep it stored in the freeze indefinitely to defrost and use as needed.



All Eddies ebooks are now available to download as PDFs

Modernist Marshmallows (Vegan)

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Picture - My new marshmallow technique applied for Gin & Tonic Marshmallows (a dish which will be in my next book)

Probably once a month I get an email asking me for a good vegetarian marshmallow recipe and I have now finally gotten around to creating one. In fact in the end it turned out the way to make the best marshmallow possible was actually to make a vegan recipe - there are two big advantages to this -

1) Everyone can eat these (they are Vegetarian & Vegan, Gluten Free etc)

2) This technique for making marshmallows allows you to add flavours, alcohol etc into the marshmallow mixture itself (in fact I just finished a recipe for Gin and Tonic Marshmallows based on this technique).

So not only are these marshmallows vegan but they can be flavoured in ways that traditional marshmallows can not (including adding alcohol into the mixture).

The texture and taste of these marshmallows is genuinely identical to traditionally made marshmallows, in fact they can even be toasted like traditional marshmallows!

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These marshmallows can be toasted just like traditional marshmallows!

While the technique may appear to be a little complex if you are not familiar with some of the ingredients, it is worth the effort as it gives you incredible results. If you read the recipe well beforehand, measure out all your ingredients, and work in an organised way this recipes should be achievable for everyone.

The modern ingredients used in this recipe are available from -
www.Modernist-Chef.com

Other vegetarian marshmallow recipes often over simplify and call for agar, a gelling agent which is great for some things but does not set with the correct texture for making soft marshmallows. So here I use a combination of Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum, which when used in synergy create a gel with the same texture as a gelatine gel. This is perfect for texture we want in marshmallows.

Then in the place of egg whites this recipe uses Methylcellulose, which is a modern ingredient derived from plant cells that acts as a whipping agent - allowing us to whip the marshmallow base into a very stable foam (even more stable than egg whites would be). And using methylcellulose also means flavourful liquids can be whipped into the marshmallow base, opening up a huge range of potential creative flavour possibilities.

Its also possible to add freeze dried fruit, nuts, spices etc to the marshmallow base once it has been whipped, so it’s really easy to make some interesting, exciting, flavoured marshmallows.

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Strawberry Marshmallows with crushed freeze died strawberry folded through the marshmallow base

My Basic Modernist Marshmallow Recipe
This can be adapted for a range of flavours

Before you try making this recipe read it though well and measure out all your ingredients. The hydrated methycellulose slurry can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge or even frozen indefinitely (see the end of this post for detail on how to prepare the hydrated methylcellulose).

I Hope you enjoy the recipe

Before you begin lightly grease a small baking dish then dust it with 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour. Then set this dish to one side

Marshmellow Base

50g Hydrated Methylcellulose Slurry (See the bottom of this post)
100g Caster Sugar
60g Water (or flavourful liquid)
1g Xanthan Gum
2g Vanilla Essence (approximately a teaspoon)
0.2g Rose Water (a drop)

Combine all the above ingredients except the sugar in a bowl and begin whipping them (ideally in a a stand mixer).

Slowly add the sugar into this this mixture whilst whipping.

Continue to whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks (like an egg white meringue)

Syrup

200g Sugar
60ml Water

Combine the sugar and water in a pan and slowly heat until the mixture reaches 125°C.

Gelling

150g Water
3.5g Kappa Carageenan
2.2g Locus Bean Gum (or 4.5g Biozoon Brand Locuzoon)

Once the temperature reached syrup has hit 125°C slowly whisk in the the 150g Water (being careful as the mixture may spit and bubble).

Then adding a bit at a time whisk the Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum into the hot syrup.

Stir this mixture well for approximately two minutes (the mixture will be consistency of a thick syrup).

Now for the next stage you need to work quickly.

Gently but swiftly pour the hot syrup mixture into the whipped marshmallow base whilst whisking the marshmallow base.

Then as soon as the syrup mixture is mixed into the marshmallow base pour the whole mixture out into the prepared, dusted baking dish, smoothing out the top of the mixture if necessary (working quickly is important here)

Now chill the tray of marshmallow in the fridge for at least an hour.

Then carefully slice the marshmallows to the desired size and coat them well with a 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour.

The marshmallows should keep well for a couple of days.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and it helps people to make some creative dishes of their own.

Cheers

Eddie

Methylcellulose Preparation -

Top prepare the hydrated methyllcellulose slurry you will need
Methylcellulose f50 or the Texturas Brand ‘Methil’.
Available from
www.Modernist-Chef.com

6g Methylcellulose
400ml 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 it is cool.

Allow this mix to sit for a couple of hours for the methyl cellulose to fully hydrate.

You can prepare this mixture in batches then keep it stored in the freeze indefinitely to defrost and use as needed.



Ginger Sorbet with Orange Glass & Citrus Mist

GInger 1 - done


Please enjoy this recipe and video from my new book ‘Vibrant Vegetarian’. The full recipe is featured bellow along with a video.

Vibrant Vegetarian is out now, I hope you enjoy this sample recipe and video and if so check out the whole book - available via iTunes and iBooks

Cheers

Eddie



All Eddies ebooks are now available to download as PDFs

Ginger Sorbet with Citrus Mist



This is a really refreshing end of meal dessert.
Citrus and ginger with coriander give a bright, clean flavour.
The orange glass gives the dish a little texture and yet more vivid citrus flavour.

The exclamation point to the dish comes in the form of the sensory impact of the citrus mist, both aromatically and visually dramatic.

I think this makes for a beautiful way to end a meal - light and vibrant. It’s a dish in which both the flavour and presentation are memorable and elegant.

Ginger Sorbet

250g Caster sugar
400g Water
70g Grated ginger
Juice and zest of one lemon
40g Cointreau
1.5g Xanthan gum

Squeeze the grated ginger in cheese cloth to extract as much juice as possible. Set the ginger juice to one side and keep the grated ginger solids separately.
Heat the water and sugar in a pan with the grated ginger solids. Simmer for five minutes.
Now strain the hot liquid into a bowl to remove all the solids. Add the ginger juice, cointreau, lemon juice and zest into the hot liquid and then allow the mixture to cool.

Once the liquid has cooled blend in the xanthan gum, then allow the liquid to chill for a couple of hours in the fridge.
Pour a little of the chilled sorbet base into a metal bowl. Then fast freeze the sorbet by whisking in powdered dry ice (or place the chilled liquid into an ice cream machine and churn while it freezes) then store this in a sealed plastic tub in the freezer.
NOTE – Dry ice is very cold (-78°C) so should be used with caution, and ensure no pieces of dry ice remain in the sorbet when it is served.

Orange Glass

170g Fresh orange juice
20g Lemon juice
10g Cointreau
Zest of two lemons
20g Kuzu
30g Caster sugar
10g Isomalt
½ Teaspoon chopped dried safflower petals


Mix all ingredients except the safflower petals together and stir well.
Now heat this mix while stirring until it thickens and turns translucent.
Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the chopped safflower.

Spread this mixture thinly thin on a non stick sheet.
Dehydrate at 64°C for 14 hours (or in a low oven for the same amount of time or until crisp).
Store the orange glass in an airtight container with silica until ready to serve.

Citrus Mist

500ml Water
Juice and zest of three lemons
One bunch of fresh chopped coriander
20 Crushed cardamom pods
2 Sticks of lemongrass
10 Dried kaffir lime leaves
One piece of chopped ginger


Heat all the ingredients in a small pan and simmer for five minutes.
Then turn off the heat and leave covered to infuse.
Store the citrus infusion in the fridge.

Serving
Spoon a little dry ice into a bowl and cover this over with slices of lemon and orange.
Spoon some of the sorbet into a glass and sit this on top of the lemons in the bowl.
Place a piece of the orange glass in the top of the sorbet and garnish with coriander.
Finally pour the citrus infusion over the dry ice and the emerging mist will carry the citrus scent adding a final layer of flavour to the dish.


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

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

caramelised_white_chocolate

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 :)

'Hydrocolloids for Cooks' - FREE DOWNLOAD PDF

A free, simple introduction to hydrocolloids & other modern ingredients for chefs & home cooks.

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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.

Mushroom 8


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



Methylcellulose. An introduction and two recipes.

P1000872

(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.

Grape Amuse Bouche

P1010025_2Carbonated Anti-griddle ‘Seared’ Grapes - Purple Grape Glass - Fennel Sugar Strands

This dish is a celebration of grapes, with just a couple of simple complimentary flavours.

The ‘Purple Grape Glass’ is brittle and delicate but delivers an intense, lingering flavour. The fizzy, carbonated grapes are refreshing and palate cleansing, cutting the sweetness of the sugar strands. They also have a solid, then smooth and yielding, fast frozen edge. Finally the fragile, crisp, crunchy fennel sugar stands provide an extra hit of sweetness along with the distinctive and complementary flavour of anise.

This recipe uses fantastic bit of kit called an ‘Anti-griddle’. Its available on the
www.Modernist-Chef.com shop. It’s an amazing piece of modern kitchen equipment made by PolyScience, with a ‘griddle’ surface which chills down to bellow -35C . The anti-griddle allows you to freeze items incredibly quickly (thus giving you a smoother texture as ice-crystals don’t have time to form) and to freeze objects upwards from the ‘griddle’ surface by increment, allowing you to achieve unique textures and temperature contrasts within elements of a dish.

In this recipe the cut edges of halved carbonated grapes are frozen on the anti griddle. The top three quarters each grape stays soft and unfrozen so you keep the taste and texture of fresh grapes (with an added fizz). But you also get a texture and temperature contrast within each grape, and a really bright clean flavour from the frozen edge.

Whippers and The AntiGriddle available from www.Modernist-Chef.com


Grape glass
Above - The Purple Grape Glass

Purple Grape Glass

165g Purple Grape Juice
40g Pure-cote B790
15g Caster Sugar
5g Icing Sugar
Tiny Pinch of Salt
0.5g Ground Cinnamon
15g Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice (roughly equal to the juice of half a small lime)

Slowly heat all ingredients except the lime juice to 90C in a small pan whilst whisking, and hold the mixture at 90C for two to three minutes, continually stirring.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid into a blender, now adding the fresh lime juice. Blend the hot mix for ten minutes on full power.

Now dab a small amount of olive oil on to a couple of sheets of acetate and wipe with paper towel to form a very light coating.

Pour the warm grape juice mix onto the acetate sheets and form as thin a layer of the juice mix as possible by moving the sheets around.

Place the acetate sheets into a dehydrator ser at 33C for 3 -4 hours until the juice mixture has become a malleable but dry film. (The coated acetate can be left at room temperature to dry overnight but I find this low temperature stage in the dehydrator works well and speeds up the process).

Peel the grape film away from the acetate and shape the film as desired. For this dish I tore small pieces of the film and simply crumpled them up a little, pinning then in that shape with transparent cocktail sticks.

Finally dehydrate the shaped grape film on baking paper at 57C for 10-12 hours until you are left with crisp and brittle, abstract shaped, pieces of purple grape glass on cocktail sticks.

(These can be stored in an airtight container - layering with baking paper along with a small wrap of silica crystals to prevent the fruit glass from absorbing moisture).

Fennel Sugar Strands

40g Isomalt
20g Glucose Syrup
20g White Fondant
0.75g Ground Toasted Fennel Seeds (about ¾ of a teaspoon)

Heat all the ingredients except the ground fennel to 165C in pan.

Once the sugar mixture hits 165C remove the pan from heat and let it rest for a few seconds, then quickly stir in the fennel powder. (The mixture should be clear and uncoloured except for the fine fennel powder suspended in it).

Pour the hot sugar mixture onto a silicon mat (such as a Silpat)

As soon as the sugar is cool enough to touch, but still flexible, pull and stretch thin pieces of the ‘caramel’ into long, fine abstract shapes, working quickly.

You want a variety of shapes – some small flatter pieces and some long thin strands of sugar. Allow the fennel sugar strands to cool and harden on baking paper.

(As with the fruit glass these can be stored in an airtight container – layered with baking paper along with a small wrap of silica crystals to prevent the sugar stands from absorbing moisture).

For the Grapes

A mix of good quality Green and Red seedless grapes
Two Co2 chargers

Take about 20 mixed grapes and cut them in half.

Place the halved grapes into a
cream whipper and charge it with two Co2 chargers. Then place the whipper in the fridge and chill for at least two hours.

Complete the following steps once you are ready to serve the dish (and have prepared the Fennel Sugar strands and Grape Glass)

Lightly oil the surface of the anti-griddle and turn it on around ten minutes before your ready to use it so it can fully chill down to temperature.

Now, when you have everything prepared, fully vent the gas from the cream whipper, then carefully open it up and remove the grapes.

Place the grapes, cut side down on the lightly oiled anti-griddle. Allow the cut edge of the grapes to freeze and the freezing to continue up the grape by about a 2-3mm (this will happen very quickly)

When the grapes are frozen at the base remove them from anti-griddle surface with a silicon spatula. This should be done as close to serving as possible so that the edge of the grape remains frozen whilst the rest is fresh and fizzy from carbonation.

Putting it together

Alternately place the prepared grapes and some of the smaller pieces of fennel sugar in a small shot glass.

Arrange a couple of the longer thin strands of fennel sugar protruding from the shot glass.

Finally take one of the pieces of purple grape glass on its cocktail stick and gently press the tip of the cocktail stick into one of the grapes in the shot glass, so that the purple grape glass sits above the shot glass.

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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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 :)

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