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Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection


tony h
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Blasting at the beginning doesn't work since the since adsorbs moisture and goes limp in the long slow cooking period.

However the browning " Maillard reaction" flavours do permeate the meat some from the intial browning, so it makes some sense to balt it at both beginning (for flavour and colour) and end (for crispness).

Thanks. I'll try that.

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His cooking is reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes.It is smarty pants bullshit to target a television audience.

Who in their right mind would want to cook a Roast Chicken or Fish and chips in such a manner.

Get a life Heston

http://books.guardian.co.uk/digestedread/s...1953188,00.html

...it wasnt as funny as his Black-Forest Gateaux though...when he added oil to the chocolate to thin it down for spraying he certainly put the 'w' into tv anchor man for me...

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Blasting at the beginning doesn't work since the since adsorbs moisture and goes limp in the long slow cooking period.

However the browning " Maillard reaction" flavours do permeate the meat some from the intial browning, so it makes some sense to balt it at both beginning (for flavour and colour) and end (for crispness).

Thanks. I'll try that.

Has anyone tried one of those electric paint-stripping heat guns?

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Is there an advantage to browning meat/chicken skin more quickly with a higher intensity of heat? Will this give a better "Maillard reaction" than a conventional blowtorch?

As an aside, Heston Blumenthal was on “The Panel” last night, a satirical news show hosted by Dara O’Briain on Irish TV, talking about his show and book. He mentioned the ice cream as being the most useful recipe in the book, saying that it’s easy to get your hands on dry ice, and ice cream made this way is so superior to the over fatty, sweet result of a conventional ice cream machine.

Again, he came across as being an incredibly nice guy, and he was very comfortable talking off the cuff in a non-contrived situation. He’s got a lovely, natural touch; I could listen to him all day. I hope we see plenty more of him on TV.

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Its just heat. Unless you are reasonably skilled with a blowtorch its easy to overheat a spot and burn it, which doesn't taste as nice. I find a blowtorch like a plumbers torches or paint stripping guns with a broader heat spot easier than those miniature chefs blowtorches.

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His cooking is reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes.It is smarty pants bullshit to target a television audience.

Who in their right mind would want to cook a Roast Chicken or Fish and chips in such a manner.

Get a life Heston

http://books.guardian.co.uk/digestedread/s...1953188,00.html

I take it you've never eaten at the Fat Duck? His exploration of ingredients and technique has produced some wonderful food and his current series about "everyday" foods is "In Search Of (Perfection)" so even if you don't care for the finished result, or think it's a waste of time, the search itself is fascinating. It's like a cruise which returns to its original point of departure, you may end up where you started but you've been to some interesting places on the way.

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I bought Heston's Family Cooking at the weekend - it seems very good. He recommends a probe for testing the temperature of meat. This appeals as I often get my meat timings wrong - and I don't think I'd slow-cook a chicken without one: can anyone recommend a good probe supplier?

Nisbets shoot from £20 (which looks rather cheap) to about £100 - I was hoping to find something in the middle - or would the £20 job be OK?

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Its just heat. Unless you are reasonably skilled with a blowtorch its easy to overheat a spot and burn it, which doesn't taste as nice. I find a  blowtorch like a plumbers torches or paint stripping guns with a broader heat spot easier than those miniature chefs blowtorches.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

A man after my own heart.

I have a Rothenberger Multigas with a fishtail attachment.

I saw a Kiwi plumber using it while he was doing my kitchen and I ended up buying it off him. I gave my 'chef's' one to my Dad for lighting his pipe on his boat.

(ETA: Rothenberger)

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Right, I'm thinking of doing Heston's turkey for Christmas at home - it was in the Sunday Times this weekend. I am a bit worried though. Problems:

1. Can I still stuff the bugger? Relatives will get peeved without stuffing. I need to get the Turkey meat to 60 degrees. Does sausage meat need to go higher? Will it take longer as it's right in the centre of the bird?

2. Timing - Heston reckons 6-8 hours to get the temperature to 60 degrees. How do I time the thing so everything's ready at the same time and people get fed when they expect to get fed? I suppose I can keep the turkey warm in the smaller oven if necessary.

Might just brine the turkey, then roast as usual, injecting the juices back in a la heston. Pan frying the skin at the end sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Any ideas?

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Well that's that over then.

For me the series staled rapidly as it went on. To be honest, I expected it to be much better than it was. A niggling doubt was raised in the first episode when Heston went to all that trouble to get the 'bonfire' flavour to his bangers. I couldn't help wondering why smoking pork fat and making toast infusion was preferable to actually cooking the bangers on a open fire.

On his website Heston says:

Any comments concerning food being just about taste are misguided. Try drinking a fine wine from a polystyrene cup or eating a beautifully cooked piece of fish off a paper plate with a plastic knife and fork, it is not the same.

This suggests that his bangers are not better because they taste better but because prior knowledge of the process contributes positively to the diner's experience of eating them.

In other words, by manipulating what the diner knows about the dish they are eating one can control to some degree how the diner will react to it.

The problem is then, how to distinguish between when Heston is using genuine culinary know-how to practical ends and when he is simply bigging up his product (and himself) by making it sound complex and interesting.

Heston is a long term adept of NLP, from where, I suppose, this sophisticated element of self publicity is drawn. But, I do feel that NLP sits uncomfortably with the science stuff, since NLP is about getting the upper hand, whereas science is about truth. Regarding the food, as long as people continue to believe that Heston has access to the ultimate reality in which dwell the Platonic forms of gastronomy then his food will continue to taste perfect.

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Right, I'm thinking of doing Heston's turkey for Christmas at home - it was in the Sunday Times this weekend. I am a bit worried though. Problems:

1. Can I still stuff the bugger? Relatives will get peeved without stuffing. I need to get the Turkey meat to 60 degrees. Does sausage meat need to go higher? Will it take longer as it's right in the centre of the bird?

2. Timing - Heston reckons 6-8 hours to get the temperature to 60 degrees. How do I time the thing so everything's ready at the same time and people get fed when they expect to get fed? I suppose I can keep the turkey warm in the smaller oven if necessary.

Might just brine the turkey, then roast as usual, injecting the juices back in a la heston. Pan frying the skin at the end sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Any ideas?

Cook the sausage meat seperately - I do mine in a loaf tin, nice and brown on top and you get nice thick slices

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Having felt that the series was pretty bobbins to start with, I found myself quite addicted to Heston's programme.

It has its flaws - the fucking awful background music being one major one, but I thought his enthusiasm and background research into the dishes were facinating. Not all of it was useful. I seriously doubt that anyone in the UK is going to attempt to make his black forest gateau, but the pizza, spag bol, fish and chips and chicken were all eminently cookable and look like they reward in the taste department.

He has shown innovative techniques and different ideas, giving us all some insight into what has gone into him gaining 3 stars at the Fat Duck. I just wish the BBC had spent some more time in post-production. The DVD that came with the Times was almost infintiely more interesting than some of the pieces that they kept in.

Adam

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Funny enough it grew on me as well although by the end of last nights show I was convinced that I was watching a chef make a dish that wasn't bolognese. Last night he went on about the taste memory thing, this is surely a completely different thing from seeking perfection.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Heston is a long term adept of NLP, from where, I suppose, this sophisticated element of self publicity is drawn. But, I do feel that NLP sits uncomfortably with the science stuff, since NLP is about getting the upper hand, whereas science is about truth. Regarding the food, as long as people continue to believe that Heston has access to the ultimate reality in which dwell the Platonic forms of gastronomy then his food will continue to taste perfect.

Agreed, pretty much all the way.

But I didn't realise that HB was quite such a Black Hat NLP wizard. It makes sense - it fits well with the self-made control freak type.

I don't see NLP as anti-science though. I mean it's ludicrously unscientific but it's couched in pseudoscience terms. It's generally practiced by people with a simplistic belief that there's a mechanistic answer to everything and it invariably falls over for that reason. (ETA - For me it's bad-science not anti-science)

It's really interesting to hear this though. When I spoke to him I probed a little into the more obvious modality and state stuff and he shot off into a whole range of mad Eriksonian sounding guff about implants and triggers.

It would be a shame if his exploration of the wilder shores took him into that sort of half-baked voodoo. HB, the Paul McKenna of the kitchen :laugh:

I heard recently that HB has been presenting seminars arranged by one of the big management consultancies. Maybe this is his next step... out of the kitchen and into the world of corporate gurudom.

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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since NLP is about getting the upper hand

That's a rather reductive way of describing NLP and puts Heston in rather a bad light in my opinion. If your interested, there's more info about the subject here.

Thanks for the link, begs the question though since it's only likely to convince someone already predisposed to believe in that kind of stuff. Rather like citing the Bible as evidence for the existence of God.

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Andy - have you not seen star wars?! I can just see heston in his Jedi outfit with dry ice rising around him (adding special effect and freezing his ice-cream simultaneously) with blow torch in hand and telling his staff to use the force!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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Do people "believe" in NLP? I thought it was a technique rather than a faith.

It has been variously described, depending on how closely the speaker's involvement with it is. These descriptions range from "technique" to sinister cult.

Very interesting - I must look into the subject a bit more closely.

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Do people "believe" in NLP? I thought it was a technique rather than a faith.

It has been variously described, depending on how closely the speaker's involvement with it is. These descriptions range from "technique" to sinister cult.

Very interesting - I must look into the subject a bit more closely.

I found this a good place to start.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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