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Cooking with "Heston Blumenthal at Home"


ChrisZ
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This was the chicken tikka masala from In Search of Perfection, not HB at Home. But since it's close enough, I thought I would post it.

original.jpg

Unlike some of the other recipes in this series, this one is do-able. i.e. it does not have multiple layers of insanity, like the black forest gateau or the baked alaska. These are the steps involved:

- brine the chicken in 8% brine (6 hours)

- soak the chicken in water to remove the salt (2 hours)

- marinade the chicken in ginger and garlic (5 hours)

- make the garam masala

- marinade the chicken in yogurt, garam masala, and kashmiri chilli powder (10 hours)

- make a tandoor by stacking bricks in your Weber kettle then cook the chicken (2 hours heating and messing around)

- make the cashew nut butter (20 min)

- pressure cook tomatoes with coriander and cumin (20 min)

- make the sauce (20 min)

- bring the cooked chicken and sauce together and adjust (5 min)

Some comments:

- ignore the book's recommendation for salt. I did my usual thing and seasoned at the end, and I was glad I did. The thing was salty enough, and only needed a pinch to finish it off.

- the suggested amount of chilli powder was nowhere near enough. While I was cooking I had my suspicions and doubled the amount called for in the recipe and it still wasn't hot enough. It might be that my chilli powder was insipid compared to his ... but make sure you check.

- following the recipe as published gives you a very thick sauce (see photo). I diluted it with some water after the photo was taken.

- I ignored the book's suggestion to make a tandoor. Instead, I grilled it over an open flame on my kamado. Bad idea - the marinade sticks to the grill and a lot of flavour was left stuck behind. Don't mess with tradition - do what the book says and build yourself a tandoor.

- instead of metal skewers I used soaked bamboo skewers. Bad idea - soaking them doesn't stop them from catching fire.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Ham and Pea Soup.

This recipe is very straight forward and the result was great. The soup was very creamy in the end without any addition of cream and the texture and flavor were incredible. The key on this recipe for me was to take the time to develop the ham and vegetables broth from scratch which was the major flavoring agent. Two things that I noticed:

1. Using the exact quantities called out in the recipe, the quantity of soup was enough for 2 people instead of 4 as the recipe says. It could be that my straining techniques were not as productive as the book.

2. The grapeseed mint infused oil I did not care for and could barely taste the mint so I will probably skip that the next time.

I have a good amount of leftover ham that will be used for sandwiches and salads this week :-)

420036_10150593505504983_728274982_9130629_1907296215_n.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

In the recipes involving booze--the ones I've looked at in detail, anyway--Blumenthal 'burns off' the alcohol by bringing the wine/spirit/etc to the boil and then lighting the fumes with a match. He does this when adding, say, a fortified wine or brandy to a braising liquid or stock that's going to be cooked for a long time.

If you were making, say, Madeira sauce, which is basically demi-glace jacked with a little Madeira and then, pretty much, served (the Escoffier version still contains raw booze--he doesn't leave it simmering to cook at least some of it away and he certainly doesn't take to it with a match), would you still go through the process of burning it off?

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did anyone here make the Szechuan broth with duck dumplings' recipe?

I have the stock freezing in ice-cube trays at the moment but there's one element of the recipe that perplexes me, and that's the type of sesame oil HB intended.

When I went to the Chinese market to buy the Shaoxing wine etc., I saw different brands of roasted sesame oil everywhere - lots of it - but no unroasted oil, which leads me to believe that is what HB intended when he wrote '35g sesame oil'. To me, that looks like an enormous quantity of roasted sesame oil.

I'd therefore be interested to know if anyone has made the recipe and their feelings on the sesame oil question.

BB

Edited by Belgian Blue (log)

Belgian Blue

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In the recipes involving booze--the ones I've looked at in detail, anyway--Blumenthal 'burns off' the alcohol by bringing the wine/spirit/etc to the boil and then lighting the fumes with a match. He does this when adding, say, a fortified wine or brandy to a braising liquid or stock that's going to be cooked for a long time.

If you were making, say, Madeira sauce, which is basically demi-glace jacked with a little Madeira and then, pretty much, served (the Escoffier version still contains raw booze--he doesn't leave it simmering to cook at least some of it away and he certainly doesn't take to it with a match), would you still go through the process of burning it off?

I don't know Escoffier's recipe so cannot comment on it but whenever I use alcohol in dishes I always cook or burn it off.

BB

Belgian Blue

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Burning off or boiling, you're not really removing all the alcohol (check out this link for eGullet discussion of this issue). I've always considered flaming a bit of showmanship in cooks who like to make things catch on fire.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Burning off or boiling, you're not really removing all the alcohol (check out this link for eGullet discussion of this issue). I've always considered flaming a bit of showmanship in cooks who like to make things catch on fire.

I can only go by personal experience here and after reducing or flaming off the alcohol I add to sauces, etc. the end result has a mellow depth of flavour that is far removed from the raw alcohol initially added.

BB

Edited by Belgian Blue (log)

Belgian Blue

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When I went to the Chinese market to buy the Shaoxing wine etc., I saw different brands of roasted sesame oil everywhere - lots of it - but no unroasted oil, which leads me to believe that is what HB intended when he wrote '35g sesame oil'. To me, that looks like an enormous quantity of roasted sesame oil.

I'd therefore be interested to know if anyone has made the recipe and their feelings on the sesame oil question.

BB

I haven't made the recipe yet, but that does sound like a lot of oil if it is indeed supposed to be roasted, which leads me to think that what he is calling for is un-roasted.

Edited by Pilori (log)
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Today I made:

- slow-roasted leg of lamb

- pommes boulangere

- potato and leek soup

The leg of lamb was okay. I think I'll revisit it w/o the anchovies. At 60C, the anchovies do not melt as they do in a leg cooked at the more usual 160-190C. Well. To a point they do. But nowhere near as much as you maybe want.

The potatoes were again, okay. I used chicken stock as I didn't have any lamb stock on hand.

The soup was nice enough, altho' out of the (two) soups I've made so far I think the mushroom is vastly superior. Will get around to the marmite consomme soon enough.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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When I went to the Chinese market to buy the Shaoxing wine etc., I saw different brands of roasted sesame oil everywhere - lots of it - but no unroasted oil, which leads me to believe that is what HB intended when he wrote '35g sesame oil'. To me, that looks like an enormous quantity of roasted sesame oil.

I'd therefore be interested to know if anyone has made the recipe and their feelings on the sesame oil question.

BB

I haven't made the recipe yet, but that does sound like a lot of oil if it is indeed supposed to be roasted, which leads me to think that what he is calling for is un-roasted.

Initially when I got to the market I felt elated as there were lots of brands of oil all simply labelled 'sesame oil'. It's only on close inspection of the label that you find the word 'roasted'.

I think that when I get to the point where this has to be added I'll do the 'mise en place' with both types of oil and (try to) apply a 'sanity/taste' test to the ingredients for the mix. However I'm hoping someone here has done the recipe and can throw some light on it.

Thank you.

BB

Belgian Blue

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The first dish I tried was the 'scallop tartare with white chocolate' which uses HB's fish stock.

I couldn't imagine ever being wowed by a stock but this one left me stunned it is so very good - all I could think of was Marseilles and a good 'Bouillabaisse' - it's that good and for me personally, this stock alone made buying the book worthwhile.

Back to the dish - all the single elements worked - the prawn oil was quite a surprise. At first I thought, 'nothing happening here' then as the oil cools, the flavour and colour emerge and it packs quite a prawn punch.

The scallop tartare - good, very subtle. The walnut oil, sherry vinegar and lemon work well together without overpowering the sweet scallops (I didn't make HB's pickled lemon as I had my own preserved lemons).

The 'white' foam base (aka sauce) tastes wonderful but it wasn't white - it was more of a deep cream colour (not surprising as the stock has quite a lot of saffron in it). Maybe it would have foamed 'white' if I'd had a more powerful stick blender - I'll try it again just to see if it foams but the taste was great.

It was at the finishing stage that I felt disappointed; the addition of the white chocolate gave a definite sweetness to the dish. Personally I didn't like this and would have preferred the dish without it (the recipe gave no information about the chocolate which did surprise me - if I try another savoury recipe using white chocolate I'll contact Callebaut or another chocolatier beforehand to find out which chocolate would be the most appropriate). The other element of the finishing is the 'caviar or salmon roe'. I used salmon roe and, in my opinion, it doesn't work. The overall subtlety of the different elements of the dish need some sort of counterbalancing kick and IMO the caviar would have provided this.

The biggest surprise is that the photo in the book doesn't match the plating instructions in the recipe and the portions are TINY. There are just 2 scallops per portion served in a (smaller than) 2" (5cm) ring mould which leaves just enough surface to place one scallop on top - if you're lucky! - whereas the recipe calls for the scallops to be cut into 3 discs each. So there are hiccups on that front (and I met the same type of hiccup in another recipe) which is annoying but quickly sorted by re-portioning (if you have enough to start with) and re-plating.

That said, I had great fun making all the elements of this dish and I learned a lot at the same time. There are elements I will use again and again in the future.

BB

Edited by Belgian Blue (log)

Belgian Blue

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  • 1 month later...

Made the red cabbage gazpacho and mustard ice cream for a dinner party I catered recently. It's definitely a suprisingly tasty combination!

48085_380690531976699_227866787259075_977213_1163943457_n.jpg

Then tonight, I made the garden salad with sauce gribiche for a potluck. To say it was a big hit would be an understatement. And so fun to do! I'm going to do a couple of big ones for an event next week. Will probably doctor up the sauce gribiche with some cream cheese to give it a little more bulk and a consistency more capable of holding up aspargus spears.

380177_383945488317870_227866787259075_985756_482117856_n.jpg

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Tammy, that salad looks amazing!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Tried the lemon tart and the potato and leek soup. The lemon tart was great, but the soup was really pretty average and it was made very clear to me that Heston's recipe is inferior to my wife's!

Heston's recipe has 750g leeks, 200g onions to 180g potatoes. Normally when we make it we have about the same weight of potatoes as leeks (or even more), which makes the leek flavour quite mild and smooth. I didn't mind the different recipe but compared to what we're used too it was quite pungent and sharp.

Hopefully I'll have time to try some of the more complex recipes...

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When I went to the Chinese market to buy the Shaoxing wine etc., I saw different brands of roasted sesame oil everywhere - lots of it - but no unroasted oil, which leads me to believe that is what HB intended when he wrote '35g sesame oil'. To me, that looks like an enormous quantity of roasted sesame oil.

I'd therefore be interested to know if anyone has made the recipe and their feelings on the sesame oil question.

BB

I haven't made the recipe yet, but that does sound like a lot of oil if it is indeed supposed to be roasted, which leads me to think that what he is calling for is un-roasted.

Initially when I got to the market I felt elated as there were lots of brands of oil all simply labelled 'sesame oil'. It's only on close inspection of the label that you find the word 'roasted'.

I think that when I get to the point where this has to be added I'll do the 'mise en place' with both types of oil and (try to) apply a 'sanity/taste' test to the ingredients for the mix. However I'm hoping someone here has done the recipe and can throw some light on it.

Thank you.

BB

I have no idea what HB is actually calling for in his recipe. However, you can easily untoasted sesame oil in an Indian grocery store, especially one that caters to South Indians, as it is used quite a bit in South Indian cuisines. It's also a great massage oil :)

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Tried the lemon tart and the potato and leek soup. The lemon tart was great, but the soup was really pretty average and it was made very clear to me that Heston's recipe is inferior to my wife's!

Heston's recipe has 750g leeks, 200g onions to 180g potatoes. Normally when we make it we have about the same weight of potatoes as leeks (or even more), which makes the leek flavour quite mild and smooth. I didn't mind the different recipe but compared to what we're used too it was quite pungent and sharp.

Hopefully I'll have time to try some of the more complex recipes...

It seems Heston's intention was precisely to have a sharp leek flavour, as he insists on cutting everything very small and cooking for less than 20 minutes to keep their flavour. That was the original part of the recipe to me, as any other recipe I've ever seen cooks the vegetables for at least 30 or 40 minutes.

I've made it and found it really good, not mind-boggling but good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Made the chicken with sherry/cream/onions, it turned out really well and my guests enjoyed it. It's really quite a simple dish and I don't think it's one where you need to be precise with the exact ingredients- next time I won't worry if I don't have gruyere or pancetta in the fridge; some cheddar and bacon will be fine. And the same with the wine - you could easily use a madiera or a port etc etc and the dish would remain basically the same.

Funnily enough it reminded me of a recipe I used to make when I was much younger - an early teenager. I had found a recipe called 'chicken with garam masala sauce' which looked pretty simple - it was basically chicken pieces fried in a pan with onions, then cream and garam masala were added. The thing is that when I was a teenager I had no idea what garam masala was and there was no internet then to look things up. I looked through mum's pantry and found a bottle of marsala wine and figured that would be close enough. It was many years before I discovered that marsala wine is nothing, nothing at all like garam masala!

But I liked the result and I made it that way a few times - and Heston's chicken with sherry recipe was comparable, and jolted my memory back a few decades to my garam masala/marsala wine days...

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  • 2 months later...

It took ages but I recently made Heston's Chicken Tikka Masala. It was truly the best curry I have ever eaten. The garam masala mix makes enough for about 20 more recipes though! Here is a picture of mine - I served it with a small bowl of jasmine rice (I had no basmati). It went down very well.

555500_10151173160416061_589017954_n.jpg

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I have made a few other Heston dishes from this book - rather than posting one post per recipe I will just put them together in one.

Here is his steak and kidney pudding - it was incredible. I would definitely go to the trouble of getting a syringe to inject a little more sauce though next time. The suet pastry was the best suet pastry I have ever eaten. It was truly stunning. I used the leftover (of which there was a LOT) to make apple dumplings the next day. The pastry was equally divine used as a pudding pastry.

428913_10151169142016061_1111102364_n.jpg

Chicken with cream and sherry casserole. Oh my God. It was stunning. One of the best chicken dishes I have ever eaten. The chicken was incredibly tender and the sauce was almost worthy of tears! I will make this one again and again.

386857_10151182624921061_291342408_n.jpg

Chicken and Ham Pie. Despite following the recipe exactly and buying 10cm pie dishes (mini casseroles actually) this only made enough for five pies - not six. It was amazing. The gammon was delicious and the chicken was incredibly moist. The sauce is surprisingly flavorsome and rich despite only having a little cream and no butter. It is another I will make again and again (not just because the pie dishes were $70 each!!!)

561707_10151189747111061_2056636363_n.jpg

And tonight I will be making the crab lasagne. Wish me luck!

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jfrater: awesome shots- you have motivated me to attempt the chicken tikka masala.

I have made the lemon tart a few times now, the filling has the perfect balance of texture, flavour, sweetness and acidity. The only thing I have noticed is that it takes quite a long time to set, and based on previous efforts I'll always make it the day before it's to be served so it can sit in the fridge overnight. The temperatures listed in the recipe are precise, and I follow the directions carefully, but last time I tried making this the same day it was to be served it was still too soft to cut after 6 hours in the fridge. It did set after a few more hours, and the texture was beautiful, but I'm curious to know if others have noticed the same thing?

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Merkinz I scanned through that recipe and I can confirm it does look identical to the HB recipe from "In search of Perfection".

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Thanks Keith, appreciate that! Looks like quite a task but I'm always up for a challenge. :wink: Might skip the homemade tandoor oven and just grill the chicken over some coals for a bit.

Watch this space ...

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