THE APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE

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For some time now, chefs have been portrayed as artists, and I must admit that it’s a title that doesn’t quite fit as far as I’m concerned. Sure enough, to present your food or paint a picture on a plate, an artistic streak helps, but it won’t make you a better cook or turn you into a culinary genius. With a large amount of common sense and a little understanding of kitchen science, you’re more likely to succeed.
Chefs that have the ability to be totally unique and original, whilst maintaining some kind of understanding with flavours and textures, might attain cult status and something close to true artistry, but they never forget taste. Taste has nothing to do with art and everything to do with science.


CHOCOLATE, BASIL, MANGO & POLLEN
What Einstein Told His Cook
Two of my favourite books are both about the science of food. I’ll never read them from cover-to-cover, but they are a great treasure trove of information on the history and science behind food, cooking techniques, ingredients, physiology and diet.
They have also given me a greater appreciation of what I'm doing in the kitchen. Does the alcohol really boil off when we cook with wine? Are smoked foods raw or cooked? Are green potatoes poisonous? Everything from milk, its components and why it curdles, to meat and how animals are slaughtered and why they are hung,
is discussed thoroughly in an easy to understand way without being too academic and long-winded.

At the end of the day, cooking is all about blending flavours, chemical reactions, playing with textures and the energy of heat. To achieve the highest standards, one must follow rules; with the help of chemistry you can cook a vegetable to perfection and the whole thing about art is that there are no rules, no boundaries, its about emotions, and while a truly gastronomic experience can move and effect people in many ways, for me, it doesn’t make it art, because the highest scientific principals had to be followed and adhered to make it happen.

Much has been written about the so-called “new sensation” that swept through the culinary world over the last decade called molecular gastronomy. This movement applies the principles of chemistry and physics to cooking. By examining how foods react to different cooking methods and which foods combine well on a chemical level, chefs are able to experiment with new food combinations and methods to create unusual menus with stunning results. That’s the theory at least. In the wrong hands it can be a complete disaster!




CHOCOLATE & BASIL CREMOSO” WITH MANGO AND POLLEN
 This is a complex dish in some ways. The flavour combinations may sound unusual but they really do work. It is now a classic recipe at Simply Fosh.

Ingredients:          for 4 persons

For the Chocolate “cremoso”:
250ml            cream
125ml            milk
300g            milk chocolate
100g            dark chocolate
10            basil leaves
60            sugar
10g            egg yolks

Whisk the egg yolks & sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Bring the cream, milk and basil leaves to the boil and remove from the heat. Pour the warm cream over the egg yolks, return to the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat.

Break up or chop the chocolate and add to the warm cream.

When the chocolate has dissolved, whisk well and pass through a fine sieve.
Pour into a plastic container and leave in the fridge to set.

Mango-Pollen sorbet:
500g            Mango puree
25g                 glucose
25ml            white balsamic vinegar
1            tablespoon of pollen

Bring to the boil the mango puree, white balsamic and glucose. Remove from the heat and whisk in the pollen. Pass through a fine sieve and churn in a sorbet machine until smooth.

Basil Jelly:
50g            basil leaves, Blanched
150ml            water
15g            sugar
1.5       Gelatin leaves

Soften the gelatine in cold water.
Bring the sugar and water to the boil. Squeeze gelatine dry and add to the sugar syrup. Remove from the heat and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved. Add the basil leaves and puree with a hand blender. Pass through a fine sieve; allow to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours and cut into small squares.

To serve:
Using a hot spoon, place a spoonful of chocolate cremoso in the middle of 4 plates. Sprinkle with a little flor de sal. Place a couple of basil jelly squares around the chocolate with a few basil leaves and a sprinkling of pollen. Finish with a little fresh mango & a spoonful of Mango-pollen sorbet. Serve immediately.

Bomba' Rice with Smoked eel, Mango
& Fresh herb Chlorophyll

Ingredients:            Serves 4

150g            Spanish “Bomba” rice
750ml Chicken stock
125ml white wine
½ Medium onion (finely chopped)
2            Garlic cloves (crushed)
1tspn Fresh thyme
100g  butter
75g            freshly grated Manchego cheese
2 tbsp Olive oil
            Seasoning

To garnish
100 g smoked eel fillets
1 fresh mango

Chlorophyll of fresh herbs

250g            fresh green herbs (Parsley, chives, basil)
100g            spinach
500g            water

Bring the water to the boil.
Cut off the stalks of the herbs and spinach. Boil for 2 minutes.
Liquidise in a food processor until all the fibres have broken down and strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
Slowly bring the liquid to the boil. The rising temperature will bring the chlorophyll to the surface. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and remove the chlorophyll from the cloth. Season to taste.

For the “Bomba Rice”, bring the chicken stock to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the chopped onion, crushed garlic and fresh thyme. Cook gently and allow the onions to soften without colouring them. Add the rice and stir to coat well. Increase the heat and add the white wine and a large ladleful of chicken stock. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add more stock and continue to stir until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice has softened.
Add the grated manchego cheese and stir in the olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Chlorophyll of fresh herbs

250g            fresh green herbs (Parsley, chives, basil)
100g            spinach
500g            water

Bring the water to the boil.
Cut off the stalks of the herbs and spinach. Boil for 2 minutes.
Liquidise in a food processor until all the fibres have broken down and strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
Slowly bring the liquid to the boil. The rising temperature will bring the chlorophyll to the surface. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and remove the chlorophyll from the cloth. Season to taste.

To Serve.
Place a large spoonful of creamy rice over 4 plates. Garnish with a couple of squares of fresh mango, smoked eel, fresh herb chlorophyll & some wild leaves.
Serve immediately.




Comments

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