easy peasy: molecular gastronomy

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the kitchen.

I don’t count on looks, quantities or price. Complete opposite to what I hope for in a husband ;)

What matters to me is taste, it’s all about taste, it all boils down to taste.

However, this stance led me to wonder if it was because of my lack of skill. I’m no scientific chef, I don’t go around making sure my tomatoes all have the same shape and size, I don’t count on a measuring cup to tell me if my cake is going to be the perfect height (although I should?)- and I definitely do not care if my end portions are bigger than my head.

I started looking at these modern gastronomy chefs, and really started believing that it was my skill. I just wasn’t up to par, as I was never trained or needed to be a professional cook: there was no way my food could match up to those good-lookers.

But then a few months ago, I started working with molecular gastronomy ingredients. My mentor Chef Soufiane insists on calling it ‘Modern Gastronomy’, he told me it’s not what it looks and the process is not what it seems. Don’t be fooled, you are not a fool, and you can make these wonderful works of art that are worthy of a Harukami pattern.

Really?

Well, I put him to the test yesterday to show a few bloggers and chefs what to do with these scientific ingredients.

Ferran Adria started off the molecular gastronomy thing, and with his incomplete recipes and own ingredients brand Texturas, owned the molecular gastronomy world. But then, his suppliers used and abused his magnificence and started creating their own brands and creations thus SOSA was born. SOSA has been trying to make these recipes more accessible, and ingredients more simple and friendly for all kitchens, and even households.

Miraculously, SOSA is now being used in Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal and Andoni Adruiz restaurants. Respectively El Bulli, The Fat Duck and Mugaritz.

Yesterday, armed with a trunk full of SOSA, Chef Soufiane and Chef Rajesh Balan faced a group of hungry and tired foodies at the end of the day, and in the wonderful private forum kitchen of Marta’s Kitchen: We saw magic.

We started off the session with voluptuous spheres. Cold spheres, hot spheres, and even spheres shaped like a tomato were churned out right before our eyes within seconds.

For single-flavour hot preparation spheres, the mixture can be placed straight into a bowl of SOSA Alginate.

Green Pea Spheres

Ingredients: Green Peas Juice 500g, SOSA Gluconolactate 20g.

Water 1 liter, SOSA Alginate 5g.

Clean Water

Method: Mix the ingredients of the first line of recipe with a hand mixer. Do the same for second part separately.

Put the first mix in sphere spoons, and pour into the second mix.

Remove the spheres and wash in clean water.

For both spheres, you can vary the flavors between sweet and savory depending on your needs (and your whimsy of course).

For cold wrapped preparation spheres, you need to freeze the inner concoction before placing in gelatin mix.

Mango Golden Sphere

 

Ingredients: Mango Puree 500g, Water 400g, Simple Syrup 100g, vegetable Gelatin Powder 30g, Gold powder q.s.

Method: Freeze the mango puree in semi sphere moulds. Mix water, syrup, vegetable gelatin powder and gold powder and heat to a boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until 85°C. Take a thin needle to pick up spheres and dip them in the gelatin mix. Leave until defrosted.

Next up was the flavoured sand, which was made by simply mixing any ingredients that contain fat- with malto sec.

It is important to make sure you have fat in the flavored addition, as it is the reaction between the fat and the malto sec that creates the crumble and sand mixture.

Truffle Oil Sand

Ingredients: Truffle Oil 50g, SOSA Maltosec 25g, Salt 3g.

Method: Mix all ingredients until you get a sand, or crumble texture.

You can easily replace the oil with other ingredients, such as chocolate or pistachio.

We also made some copper chocolate crumble (I called them pebbles) with this same recipe, just adding a little less malto sec and some glittering copper powder.

White Chocolate Copper Crumble

One of the most difficult and dangerous (but delicious) creations in the kitchen has to be curd/custard. But because of the egg content, and the difficulty in consistency, many chefs sadly make it a lot less than we all would desire.

But with gelcrem cold, it becomes a breeze, and tastes like rays of heavens. Chef Rajesh explained you can also add different flavors, without affecting the texture.

Thank you Francine for your modelling fingers.

This custard can be used in a myriad of desserts, but maybe none so loved as in macaroons :)

Raspberry Custard in Macaroons

Ingredients: Raspberry Frozen Puree 400g, Simple Syrup 70g, Lemon Juice 30g, Gelcrem Cold 25g.

Method: Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until you achieve thick texture.

The same problem of custard arises in meringue, but an additional problem arises if anything acidic is added to meringue- it immediately drops. Not, we are told, if you have Albumina powder. Chef Rajesh prepared the meringue with help from the same creator of the curd: Kitchenaid.

You can also slightly burn the meringue for a crispy texture.

Passion Fruit Meringue

Ingredients: Passion Fruit Juice 150g, Water 100g, Sugar 150g, Albumina powder 25g.

Method: Whip all ingredients until you reach meringue texture.

The funniest texture we played with had to be the pea-soup and tomato foam. Baked in the microwave like a cake (but finished within seconds, and achieving a lighter texture text bread), it unraveled in coral like shapes in magnificent colors.

Tomato Sponge Cake

Ingredients: Whole Eggs 200g, Flour 25g, Salt and pepper q.s, Tomato Powder 20g.

Method: Mix all ingredients with a blender and put into siphon gun. Put 2 charges for a little one, and 3 for the big one. Cook 25-30 seconds in the microwave at maximum temperature.

Then we played with edible rain drops, aka ‘caviar’.

For this you also need a kit to help you make the caviar quickly and smoothly, and not one by one with a syringe (aka “the celebrity chef” way).

Coffee Caviar

Ingredients: Water 450g, Syrup 50g, Coffee Paste 25g, Gelespessa q.s until you get a coulis texture

SOSA Alginate 2.5g, Water 1 Liter

SOSA Sodium Chloride (Clorur) 10g, Water 1 Liter

Method: Mix the ingredients of the first line of recipe with a hand mixer. Do the same for second part separately.

Put the first mix in the caviar kit, and pour into the second mix.

Remove the caviar and wash in clean water. 

You may have noticed that I sneakily skipped showing you the tomato shaped spheres I spoke about above. This was to save a grand finale for you.

Soufiane’s Caprese Salad

Tomato shaped mozarella foam, olive oil and truffle flavored sand, tomato foam, along with some real tomatoes and mozarella cheese.

Yes. That tomato is fake, and it is filled with mozarella foam.

I truly admire any chef that can make this method their habit, and finally understand the beauty behind these inventions, not just physically, but organoleptically.

A traditionalist like me, although you may call me a liberal one, cannot deny when a plate of food looks and tastes fantastic. No matter what my habits, seeing a magnificently plated epicurean creation never gets old, never stops being emotional and will never be denied on the basis of cultural bias, or old-fashioned arrogance.

I truly learnt a lot today, and saw how these creations (although simple to imitate now) are only borne from chefs with big ideas, true dedication and hard work.

An important thing to realize about molecular gastronomy is that it is always evolving, just like the ways we look at, taste and consume food differently. This evolution also depends a lot on what you, the creator, brings to the dish.

In the end, says Chef Soufiane, Modern Gastronomy is just changing the texture and colors of our every-day ingredients. The taste, mixture and the concoction of flavors is still your choice, your creation, and ultimately- your responsibility.

Other attendees: Minna, Francine, Marta, Ameen, Drina

About The EpicurUAEn

knowing food, knowing you.

7 comments

  1. Pingback: Do play with your food – Look-see into Molecular Gastronomy «

  2. Food Stories

    Loved all your pictures :-)

  3. Pingback: an exclusive invitation: to play with your food « epicurUAEn

  4. jarjac

    I don’t understand how the reconstructed tomatoes were created to be perfectly round. How do you meld two half spheres together to dip them into the mousse?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,456 other followers

%d bloggers like this: