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Posts posted by ermintrude

  1. Sorry I didn't take pictures of the process but this is how I did it.

    Make a strawberry puree + calcium gluconate and put into small hemispherical moulds I used one like this silicone mould

    Do the same with cream and calcium gluconate.

    Freeze. While it freezing make up a sodim alginate solution leave to rest in the fridge.

    When the hemispheres are frozen take out of the freezer.

    Make up a 5% solution of calcium chloride (you could use gluconate) and using a paint brush paint the top 'flat' part of each hemesphere with the solution while still in the mold.

    Then take a little of the alginate solution (note put this is a small cup as if you contaminate the rest of the solution with calcium it will start to gell) and using a pastry pastry bush paint the top of ONE of the cream hemispheres (be generous with the alginate and leave it in the mould). Then pop out a frozen strawberty hemisphere and place on top of the cream hemisphere.

    The aim here is that the warm alginate solution will just melt the top layer of the hemisphere and react with the calcium to create a thing layer of 'jelly' putting the strawberry hemisphere on top will do the same resulting in layer of solidified alginate between the two hemispheres separating and sticking them together.

    You should end up with a bunch of spheres, half in the mould half out.


    When frozen take each sphere out of the mould and drop in the chilled alginate solution this will then form a layer of alginate over the outside of the sphere that links to the layer of alginate between the hemispheres.

    By the time the spheres have defrosted they should be 'cooked' and can be taken out of the alginate and rinsed.

    First attempt got about 50% usable the others had to much leakage between the halves.

  2. Since your in NYC (I'm in the UK) check out http://ideasinfood.typepad.com/ they do a great blog that you can subscribe to and have started running classes in hydrocolides and other MG things.

    As an aside I love the science of food (I did get a degree in Physics) but also work (IT that is) for a well known classic reasturant in england. The key to MG for me is McGee - why fish goes mush, why potatoes can stay hard after boiling forever - mistakes to avoid. For example the Simon Hopkinson recipie for Potato dauphinoise has you boiling the potatoes in cream (and it always makes the perfect dauphinoise) he just came across it because that was what worked but if you know about the chemistry it's obvious. That to me is MG.

    Ok I'm not a chef, bit of a scientist and semi geek - but I look at what the media concentate on (and here on Egullet to an extent) about MG as just fun, spherphication, hot ice creams etc - the core of MG is putting facts instead of superstition "seal the meat" etc.

    If you had to recomend a one off meal would you pick El Bulli or the great local reastaurant. But If you had to pick a place to eat every day for 6 months no way could I do El Bulli. I've never eaten at El Bulli (But at the El Bulli Hotel) but Fat Duck, FL, Hakusan, Nobo but no way would I want to eat from these places every day.

    If you ever came to a meal at my place then it's either clasic or a load of mad out MG stuff (to play with peoples heads) but with a core of basic food (That is also MG but no one knows) but no one leaves unsatisfied.

    BTW Do not trust the potatoes in Heston Blumethals 12 hour leg of lamb - the lamb works the potatoes don't in a domestic oven!

  3. Ordering this stuff you won't find at GNC.

    Not sure where you live but you could always import - it's what I do.

    Be careful to check out shelf like as things like Lethicin, Activia don't last long. Others do so no problems if you have to buy a kilogram. Check out http://www.texturaselbulli.com/ENG/index.html (Expensive) but they have many distributors and you can use them with the El Bulli books (pure food porn). And many people use them so it provides a base to work from as you would not believe how many types there are of methocell, alginates etc

    Another avenue is some food additive companies will give samples if you ask. So quantities of stuff only available in bulk you may get a free sample of 100g, enough to experiment with.

    Good luck

  4. I'm still somewhat suspicious of some new equipment, i.e. induction rings,

    edited for typos.

    I was too till I got one, my chef friend hated it when she came to mine - but after staying here for a few days and getting used to it she now prefers it to gas because of the control.

    Best of both worlds, induction (Efficient & most control) and gas (any pan and can burn peppers and stuff) - just seen a hob that does this



  5. the chef there in NYC said to use gelatin or agar agar for a solid ball and sodium alginate with a calcium chloride bath for a liquid center, so I am off tomorrow to GNC to try and find those items.  My local health food store didn't have them. I'll let you know......

    Not sure the alginate method would work as the parmisan being a cheese already has a decent level of calcium so you'd find the alginate would set solid. To get a liquid centre you'd probably need to do reverse spheriphication using a sodium alginate bath. Also as the calcium chloride now in the parmisan may change the taste and you may be better of using calcium gluconate. Finally if you use a parmisan stock (stir grated parmisan at 80 degrees C for 1/2 hour then strain) you'd need to thicking it with Xanthian gum to get a nice shaped ball - or freeze into balls before droping into the alginate bath.

  6. "harmful if swallowed"

    In it's dry form it is as it's very hydroscopic and can burn, once in a 5% liquid solution it's perfectly safe.

    For the tomato spheres you could try reverse spherification using calcim cloride and/or calcium gluconate in with the tomato, you'd probably also need to add some xanthian gum to get spheres in the alginate solution.

    Also not sure how the acidity of the tomato water would affect reverse spherification so you may need to add sodium citrate to bring the acidity down.

  7. Bibendum was recently awarded "The Most Consistently Excellent Restaurant award" by Tatler magazine.

    Also for user reviews check out top table http://www.toptable.co.uk/venues/restaurants/?id=474

    I've eaten here for the last 12 years and yes it has had it's ups and downs - mostly due to service more than the food - but in general out of 4 meals each year out of those I've had 2 bad ones, 4 excellent ones but the others were exactly what I expected and at the moment it seems to be on great form in terms of consistency.

    Don't expect fireworks, or flash stuff, just good food, in a great setting. in a great room with decent portions - I.e for the snails - not 6 but 12 etc. Also they don't turn tables - you book at 7pm and want to stay there till 1pm if you wanted - not like many restaurants I could mention

    I persuaded my work colleagues to go there for our Christmas event - for many there first experience at this scale of restaurant - they were very impressed. Especially with the somellier, basically told them 'work event', ans we were paying do your best - they came up with outstanding wines and a we huge shock with the bill as it was much lower than people anticipated. Trust me the sommeliers there are good.

    Sorry but people always post here when they have an amazing meal or a bad meal - not when they got what they expected. Hence "The Most Consistently Excellent Restaurant award" is very appropriate for Bibendum.

  8. "All products have the same gastronomic value."

    Does that include "Mac & Cheese" that I had at MoTo, it was a briliant twist on what so many people eat but twisted and as part of there GTM menu was very appropriate - your in a great restaurant and eating something that tastes like what you could McDonalds. TechnoEmotional - I hate it but it does describe what these restaurants are doing. Especially as is your eating 10+ items then a bad one (for you), the briliant on (for you) and the fun ones are all part of the package.

    Dining is MORE than the food, it's the complete package. Because of unusual circumstaces MoTo so far has been my best dining experience. Best (commercial) food would be a tourist restaurant (sorry can't remember the name) in Cyprus but they were serving 60 covers with 2 hot plates and one oven so huge delays in service which detracted from the meal.

  9. Ok I'm now on my 2nd AEG integrated pull out out cooker hood (see model EFi60012), not expensive at around £80 but useless as far as I'm concerned.

    The reason, you can't flame under it. Even doing a creme brulle managed to destroy the last one.

    Yes I know the manual says your not supposed to flambee under a cooker hood as if grease has built up in the filters it's a major fire hazard. But I always keep mine clean or could even remove them. The trouble with the AEG is the fan housing is plastic and just the heat from doing creme brule (and the last time burning of the alcohol from 1/2 bottle of wine) caused the plastic to sag and so it now won't work.

    Where can I find an integrated cooker hood (does not have to pull out but must be ventilating and fit where the pull out one is) that is decently built - I.e metal rather than cheep plastic - I don't mind paying as the choice of a pull out cooker hood was for design but know it's fitted it would be difficult to change. The manufacturers web sites/manuals are useless - they can't say you can flambee (in case some idiot used greasy filters and they catch fire) but do not specify construction (i.e metal not plastic - that melts at anything more than frying food)

    If you know a good make can you let me know or if you've any alternate ideas let me know.


  10. I've one of these http://www.aeg-electrolux.co.uk/node146.asp?ProdID=3021

    it can steam, be a regular or fan oven, go from 30 up and you can even use a temperature probe to stop the oven - great when your doing a 12 hour leg of lamb.

    I've a lot of gripes with AEG as far as any appliance they make that involves plumbed in water - don't start me off. But I love the oven (above) and their induction hob and there combi microwave is also very good.

    As for using the steam function it's not that often, but it has come in useful, I use the temperature probe and low temp facilities more.

  11. I think they were freezing the spheres at WD50 with nitrogen. You need freeze fast if you want to block the cross linking after spherification. There are some references up thread.

    I was thinking of freezing the liquid containing the calcium and droping into an alginate bath - i.e. reverse spherification - and as they started to thaw they would spherify.

    If say these spheres could then be frozen in a larger calcium containing solution would the spheres survive - thinking of making say strawberry and cream - cream pearls in a strawberry sphere this way. Any one tried before I have a go and make a potential mess!

  12. Freezing spheres.

    Any one tried this?

    What happens when you freeze a sphere does it break the integrity. E.g the water expands and you end up with a mess as the sphere has been ruptured.

    Freezing and then dropping into an alginate solution works and can make things easier if you have the time, but anyone tried to make say caviar and then freeze these in a larger volume of another liquid and then reverse sphereify that?. Would the small spheres survive the freezing process? (Thinking a tomato juice sphere with Parmesan and basil pearls inside). While I could try this, as a home cook and hate to waste food would like to know if anyone has tried this before.

    Also as knowing I could make spheres and freeze them would help loads as I could make a batch and use whenever. If know one knows, I'll make extra next time and see what happens.

  13. Truffled Chicken

    (Serves 2)

    Prepare 2 days before.

    1 Poulet de Bresse (Or similar good organic free range chicken) 1.4 – 1.6Kg

    30g of fresh Pergourd black truffle

    125g Butter

    5 table spoons of good brandy

    Grate of Nutmeg

    1 Small bay leaf.

    Starting from the neck end of the chicken, using your hand, carefully loosen the skin on each side of the breast and over the thigh.

    Warm the butter over a low heat until it is liquid, carefully skin off any scum and pour the clarified butter into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.

    Thinly peal the truffles and roughly chop the peelings.

    Slice the truffle into approximately 1-2mm slices (i.e thin)

    Dip the truffle slices into the clarified butter and push them under the skin of the chicken over the breast and thighs and distribute evenly.

    Pour the clarified butter into a small saucepan and add the truffle peelings, heat on high until it starts to sizzle then turn down to low and fry gently for 4minutes, swirling the pan now and again ensure no hot spots. Remove from the cooker; add the bay leaf, a good grate of nutmeg, stir and cover with a lid, and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Stir, cover and place in freezer, stir occasionally with a fork to distribute the truffle peelings and incorporate the brandy and leave until set but not solid. When it’s set but not solid, remove from the freezer and give it a good stir. Don’t worry if the butter is grainy, and some liquid has separated out as this is normal.

    Get a sheet of tinfoil and place the chicken in the middle, make sure you have enough tin foil so you seal it into a parcel later. (Using two crossed sheets is a good way to get a good seal). Cover the breast and thighs of the chicken with the truffle butter using your hands to smear it evenly. Make sure the the closure allows you to easily expose the breast later.

    Leave in the fridge for 24 – 48 hours – you may want to cover the chicken in cling film to keep the smell in! Roast for the first 30 minutes in the foil then open the foil to get the breast golden

  14. 18/10 steel on it's own should not work with induction.

    I have some great Spring pans which are 5 layer.

    1. 18/10

    2. Aluminium for conduction

    3. Iron for induction

    4. Aluminium for conduction

    5. 18/10

    The lids are also great, but if you leave a hot pan to cool down conating any steam the lid gets vacuum sealled on.

    The only downside, hollow handles so after a trip trough the dishwasher they can accumulate water and need to be drained!

  15. Roast Chicken,

    Thinly slice a black truffle and layer the slices between the skin and breast, leg meet of the chicken. If you've some truffed butter place this under the skin as well.

    Wrap the ckicken tighltly in cling film of foil and leave for 24 hours.

    Unwrap the chicken and cover the skin with loads of butter and roast till done.


  16. The alginate liquid, when I make it, is like a thin liquid gell.

    I also have the problem of water with a lot of Calcium in it but I just use distilled or de-ionised water from my local chemist. Don't buy the small bottles (E.g. that they sell for irons) but ask at the pharmacy counter they often have large containers of it available for low price.

  17. Strawberries have 20-25mg of calcium per 100g.

    OK, so I need to lower the PH, correct!?

    No the calcium will cause the alginate to gel and not stay liquid, looks like you've have to use reverse spheriphication - not sure how much calcium gluconate you'll need to add to the strawberry though.

  18. Ate here on the 27th, we were early (5:30pm) as having a meal between theatres but had worked out that we would have enough time to fit in the tasting menu. However when the day arrived my companion had a cold so we decided to skip.

    Firstly service, excellent as my companion had a cold he just went for the lamb chops and these were very tender - but could not report on taste due to the cold. But immediately a small bowl of tissues was on the table and the staff took it in their stride and were very understanding.

    Me I had:-

    Tuna tartar that was presented as a tower with layers of roasted red peppers and was exemplary.

    Pigs trotter on parmesan toast. Rich full of flavour with the unlisted addition of three or four slices of black truffle on each piece of toast.

    Scallops with black truffle. Three perfectly cooked scallops each topped with one or two slices of black truffle. Served on a bed of creamed leaks with a sauce containing finely chopped black truffle. The only thing that jarred here was the leaks, perhaps slightly undercooked so the slight stringiness seemed to jar with the texture of the scallop and the excellent sauce.

    Sweet was a hot red berry puree with Yuzzu ice cream - presented under a golden dome that melted when the puree was added. A great semi sweet but tart and sharp way to end the meal.

    Wine - can't remember as the bottle that we ordered was not available but a good red (£20 cheaper) was offered and worked well with the food.

    The above + vodka and coke, campari and orange came to £154 which was expensive for what we had I plan to go back again to sample the full tasting menu.

    To be honest I probably would have ordered one or two other items but with my companions snuffling not being able to taste anything I didn't have the heart to do so.

    Overall a great place to go for a treat, but not for a for romantic meal.

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