Monday, 8 December 2008

A return to the molecular kitchen

A while ago I wrote about the el Bulli Texturas kit which was (and still is) probably the best present I have ever received.

Initial experiments resulted in, erm, indeterminate results and my attempts at spherification seemed to be as successful as a Mormon monogamy pledge.

I soon discovered (ok, ok, my girlfriend discovered) that as we live in a hard water area, the algin was likely reacting with the salt we use in our water softener which was what was causing the less than successful blobs as opposed to the smooth orbs of perfection that grace the plates of restaurants that espouse such methods.

Since the initial failures, I have had little time to ponce about with edible chemicals in an attempt to create new and wonderful bursts of flavour, preferring instead to concentrate on meals that have a little more nutritional value.

Part of the problem was the, shall we say, vague nature of the book that the kit came with. I say book, but leaflet would be a more accurate description.

It simply wasn’t detailed enough.

And being somewhat limited in the understanding of chemistry I felt a little out of my depth.

Which was why I was delighted and excited and babbling like Ralph Wiggum on crystal meth when I spotted this particular tome in a Parisian bookshop.



But not just any bookshop, a bookshop dedicated entirely to food and drink and cooking and gastronomy and all things wonderful.

Although their English language section was small, there was plenty to keep me interested and I even managed to get my grubby eager paws on a copy of The Fat Duck Cookbook – the first time I’ve ever seen the silver gilded oversized bible.

But back to Librairie Gourmonde and Anne Cazor’s excellent little book, Petit Precis de Cuisine Moleculaire which explains 20 techniques (including the thus far elusive spherification) and 40 recipes to those who aren’t in possession of a lab coat, let alone a PhD in bio-chemistry.

This is swiftly going onto my Christmas list and I can’t wait to share the results come the New Year.

Oh, and Paris? It was freaking awesome. I’ll tell you about it sometime…

3 comments:

Foodycat said...

So your chemistry isn't good but you are happy to buy a cookbook in French? You specialised in the humanities at school, didn't you?!

Alex Rushmer said...

There is a distinct possibility that I did, yes.

Hopie said...

Oooh, I went to the Librarie Gourmand when it first opened at that location. Heaven for foodies (especially those who may or may not admit to having majored in humanities).