Friday, 4 December 2009

Molecular Gastronomy - New Site and Freebies

At some point in the not too distant future I will be helping the good folks at Cream Supplies, purveyors of the finest molecular gastronomy goodies, to launch a new interactive cooking site.

The focus will be on making molecular gastronomy accessible to us mere mortals.

We will be de-mystifying the processes, equipment, ingredients and techniques used by many of the world’s finest chefs and showing you how to achieve those same results at home.

But before we can get down to the serious business of playing with our food, we need to know what you want to know.

What would you like to learn?

Perhaps you want to know how to make lighter than air foams? Or those neat little caviar pearls for cocktails? Maybe you want to make spaghetti from strawberries, vegetarian panna cotta or little spheres that burst in the mouth.

Whatever your question, we’ve got the answers. Please either email me or leave your question as a comment below.

To sweeten the deal we have five awesome kits to give away to the best questions:

What’s more, one lucky so-and-so will be sent one of these to get you started on the road to molecular greatness:

You’ll be making airs, foams, spheres and edible pearls before you can say ‘Ferran Adria’.


To give you a little flavour of the sort of thing we’ll be getting up to, here is a lavender rice pudding with black olive caramel and a black olive foam.

Infuse 200ml of milk with a few lavender leaves and sweeten by dissolving in two tablespoons of sugar. Toast some risotto rice over a high heat and add a nob of butter and 25ml of sweet vermouth. Pour over the warmed milk, cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.

Rinse and finely chop 50g black olives. Add half the olives to 200ml milk and blend using a stick blender. Heat gently and stir in 1g soya lecithin. Blend again and allow to cool. Pass through a fine meshed sieve and leave until ready to serve.

Heat two tablespoons of caster sugar until it starts to brown. Add the remaining black olives and allow to cook for thirty seconds. Pour onto a silicon or heatproof mat and leave to cool. Break into small pieces.

Use a stick blender to agitate the olive, milk and lecithin mixture until it begins to create a foam.

Spoon the rice pudding into a warm bowl and garnish with a few lavender flowers, the black olive caramel. Spoon the olive foam over the top and serve immediately.

Lecithin is an emulsifier found in eggs and soya beans that allows you to create foams and airs from a huge range of ingredients.


Whatever. said...

I've just been getting into the molecular gastronomy thing for a few months now, and a chance to win one of these kits AND get a question I have answered is too good to pass up. Here it is:

Whenever I cook a risotto, I use a short grain rice. Usually, I'll cook the rice in a pan with butter and oil for a few minutes before I add any of my liquid, but occassionally, I've been lazy and just thrown the rice in the liquid from the beginning. However, whenever I skip that step, my rice ends up kind of mushy. I thought the butter & oil was for flavor, but after numerous times of mushy rice, I'm beginning to believe it does something to the short grain rice to make it not mushy. Any ideas?

Unknown said...

Though not a materials scientist, I find the tools, vessels, and other equipment we use in cooking to be one of the most fascinating aspects of the artful science. And it affects outcomes in huge ways: a copper pan really does heat more evenly, food stored in cans does pick up a slight metallic flavor, and an aluminum pan WILL be ruined by strong acids.
So, I've found it so interesting that molecular gastronomy which is defined by such high levels of precision and planning relies so heavily on plastics. They can impart bad flavors and, are often difficult to clean, don't take heat well, and may react badly with certain ingredients.
Is there a reason for this? Would it be foolish to replace a plastic pipette with some equivalent made of glass? Are there options available? And, finally, is this even an issue in the world of molecular gastronomy?
Interested in answers, references to those who might have answers, and the chance to win one of the kits and begin my own kitchen experiments!

Kavey said...

Sounds like a really exciting new venture and am very excited myself about chance to win one of the prizes - talk about something a bit different!

I've been reading quite a bit lately about the technique for creating spheres of liquid using sodium alginate and calcium chloride. Absolutely fascinating and I've really enjoyed reading about and watching TV shows about this.

I'd like to try it but am wondering whether there are particular ingredients that suit the technique more than others or whether any liquid food stuff will work? Also, is it just a case of experimentation to work out how long to leave the spheres in the solution, or are there guidelines for timings?


Cyn said...

Thanks for the link to the molecular supplier! Also wanted to stop in and say happy new year. Enjoyed reading you throughout the year.