As a regular viewer of Great British Menu and MasterChef, I’ve been eager to replicate some of the more elaborate Heston Blumenthal-inspired molecular gastronomy dishes tried out on those shows.
Cuisine R-Evolution Molecular Gastronomy Kit
£44.99 from www.lakeland.co.uk, for more information see http://molecule-r.com
My chance arrived when I was put in charge of the starter for my girlfriend’s birthday dinner party last Saturday.
For those unfamiliar with the culinary dark arts, molecular gastronomy combines science with cooking to create innovative food textures and unusual forms. The Cuisine R-Evolution Kit is a cardboard treasure chest with pull-out drawers, each containing ten tear-open sachets of agar-agar, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, soya lecithin and xanthan gum. There’s also a DVD which takes you step-by-step through 50 video recipes and a range of spoons, pipettes, tubes and a syringe. Recipes range from custard raviolis to frozen chocolate wind.
The centrepiece of my starter was homemade Sicilian arancini (risotto balls), which I paired with two gelification recipes of balsamic vinegar pearls and aragula spaghetti. Making the pearls was actually pretty simple: first I needed to freeze a cup of olive oil for 30 minutes, then I brought ¾ of a cup of balsamic vinegar plus one sachet of agar-agar powder to the boil in a separate pan. I then deployed a pipette to suck up the boiled vinegar and add it a drop at a time to the chilled olive oil. Hey presto – I had mini squishy marbles of balsamic vinegar which were actually quite tasty.
This kit represents an impressive addition to my kitchen arsenal.