300g Fresh apple juice
300g Cucumber juice
75g Caster sugar
75g Glucose syrup
7.5g Malic acid
1g Ascorbic acid
1g Xanthan gum
5g Dried camomile
Zest of 2 lemons
350g Chamomile infusion (see across)
350g Caster sugar
2.5g Ascorbic acid
2.5g Citric acid
Chamomile Infused Frozen Lettuce
Chamomile infusion (from above)
Baby gem lettuce
Homemade Sweet Almond Milk
500g Blanched almonds
Seeds of a vanilla pod
300g Caster sugar
3g Xanthan gum (0.15%)
500g Caster sugar
250g Sweetened almond milk (see previous page)
10g Bicarbonate of soda
Almond Milk Emulsion
150g Grapeseed oil
50g Sweet almond milk (see across)
50g Caster sugar
2g Soy lecithin
1g Xanthan gum
200g Parsley leaves
300g Grapeseed oil
50g Caster sugar
25g Sunflower oil
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.
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.
Tamari Cured Egg Yolks
Tamari cure liquid
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.
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.
How To Make Your Own Halloumi & Cook It To Perfection
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
Stage 4 - Brining the Cooked Curds
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
500g Double cream
250g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150g Caster sugar
150g Whole milk
110g Egg yolks (approx 6 free-range medium egg yolks)
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
Dehydrated Chocolate Mousse
Sous Vide Lime Curd
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
Sous Vide Caramelised White Chocolate
Caramelised White Chocolate and Saffron Ice-Cream - Sous Vide
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 :)