Heston Blumenthal has torn up the rulebook again
Dishwasher-poached pears, strawberries glazed in a sandwich toaster and beef cooked for an entire day.
Thursday 02 July 2009
Take one dishwasher, add a pinch of sandwich toaster and finish with a hint of scouring sponge. Cleaning equipment doesn't ordinarily feature in recipes, but then Heston Blumenthal doesn't specialise in the ordinary. His taste for innovation doesn't just concern his famously surprising combination of ingredients, but also stretches to the equipment he chooses to employ in the kitchen.
So, in his recipe for strawberry and olive sundae, he uses a sandwich toaster to create some stunning glazed strawberries, whilst he turns a dishwasher into a giant steamer for his poached (and scoured) pear salad. His mushroom velouté is made using a juicer.
And why not? Blumenthal, owner of the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck at Bray, believes cooks should "be open-minded and aware that ideas can come from anywhere and, in particular, places where you would least expect them to come". These places encompass more than just the latest technology. "Innovation does not exist without tradition. Modern cooking is an evolution and not a revolution of what has gone before." So, along with his poached dishwasher pears, one of his new recipes is for blade of beef that takes 23 hours to cook, taking time-honoured principles of slow-cooking and transforming them into something new.
Not that he's abandoned gadgetry altogether. He says: "We embrace technology in everything that we do, so why not in the kitchen? Some traditionalists are resistant to it, but it's not the technology that can produce dodgy results, it's how it's used.
"Innovation comes from being aware of the world around you, being inquisitive and loving what you do." Fully embodying that philosophy, these delicious new recipes will impress even the hardest-to-please guest – and give you a whole new set of cooking tools.
Salad of dishwasher-poached pears in mead with stilton and hazelnuts
Makes 6 starters
For the poached pears
1 lemon, zest (reserve the lemon)
1 orange, zest
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, spilt
1 whole vanilla bean split in half lengthwise
3 ripe pears (the softer varieties like comice work better for this)
In a saucepan combine the mead, the zests, peppercorns, mace, star anise, cinnamon stick, split vanilla bean, and honey. Place the pan on a medium low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Gently simmer for 20 minutes to evaporate off the alcohol. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid, tasting and adding salt if necessary.
Peel the pears. Soak a brand new green scouring sponge in cold water and use to smooth the surface of the pears and rinse them gently in cold water. Cut the pears in half lengthwise and use the edge of a potato peeler to remove the core. Place the pears in a single layer in a food saver bag and add the mead infusion. Seal the bags at full vacuum in the Food Saver so that the pear halves are surrounded by the liquid.
Place into the dishwasher and run on the highest temperature setting (most dishwashers have a setting to run the full cycle at 75C). Once the water in the dishwasher has fully heated and is running the cycle, check the pears after 20 minutes. How long they take to soften will depend on how ripe the pears are. Look for the pears to soften through and absorb the liquid without becoming too soft or mushy.
Remove the pears from the dishwasher and allow too stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool completely.
For the vinaigrette
Reserved pears and liquid
1 tbsp English mustard
400ml grape seed oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Cut open the cooled bags of the cooked pears and drain the liquid into a container. Measure out 200ml of the liquid and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the mustard and whisk together, squeezing in lemon juice. Begin whisking in the grape seed oil to form a vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper adjusting the acidity with more lemon juice. Keep chilled until ready to use.
For the salad
Washed and trimmed leaves of endive, chicory, and red oak leaf lettuce
Whole hazelnuts toasted in the oven and lightly crushed
120g stilton cheese (cut into small wedges)
Freshly ground black pepper
Slice the pears lengthwise and divide amongst six chilled salad plates. Spoon some vinaigrette over the pears and use the rest to toss with the salad leaves. Divide the salad leaves amongst the plates and garnish with the hazelnuts and stilton pieces. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Heston Blumenthal makes dishwasher poached pears
Sandwich toaster strawberry sundae
For the strawberry syrup
500g ripe English strawberries, hulled
Combine the strawberries and fructose in a metal bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place the bowl over a pan of water on low heat for six hours. Strain through damp muslin, collecting only the free-run juice; do not squeeze the pulp through.
Transfer the juice to a pan, place on a high heat and reduce the juice to a syrup. Set aside until needed.
For the olive purée
400g Kalamata olives (with stone)
Remove the stones from the olives and blanch the flesh in boiling water three times.
Place the fructose and blanched olives in a food processor and blend to a rough purée. Pass through a mesh strainer. Refrigerate until needed.
For the strawberries
12-16 ripe English strawberries (roughly the same size as each other), hulled
Heat an electric sandwich maker for 10 minutes before using. Using a flat tray or plate, sprinkle enough fructose to cover the surface. Cut the strawberries in half, lengthwise. Place the cut side down on the fructose.
Once the sandwich maker is hot place the strawberries, fructose side down and allow the sugar to melt without caramelizing. Once the fructose has melted, remove the strawberries from the surface, pour any left over juice over the strawberries.
To serve (per portion)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Fill a piping bag with vanilla ice cream. Using a sundae glass, place two halves of the strawberries on the bottom of the glass.
Add some of the ice cream, olive purée, as well as some of the strawberry syrup.
Continue building up the layers of halved strawberries, olive purée and strawberry syrup until just below the rim of the glass. Using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, pipe vanilla ice cream on top of the strawberries. Finish with strawberry syrup.
Heston Blumenthal makes fizzy blackcurrant sorbet
23-hour braised blade of beef with savoury parsley porridge
For the braised blade of beef
Grape seed or groundnut oil
1.5-2 kg boneless beef blade (ask the butcher to truss or net the cut for cooking)
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
10g star anise
1 leek (white and light green only) divided lengthwise, washed, and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
250ml red wine
5l brown beef stock
2 sprigs rosemary
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
10 stems fresh parsley
Pre-heat an oven to 80C. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat just until it begins to smoke and add enough oil to liberally cover the bottom of the pan. Season the beef lightly with salt and sear on all sides, remove from the pan, and reserve to the side.
Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and star anise. Sauté the onion with the star anise for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the leek, carrot, and garlic. Lightly brown the mixture for an additional 10 minutes and deglaze with the red wine. Simmer the wine until it has reduced by half and transfer the mixture to a metal pan for braising.
Place the beef in with the vegetable mixture and cover with the beef stock (make sure that the beef is completely submerged in the stock; if not, use a braising vessel that is not as wide). Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns and cover the top of the pan first with cling film and then with foil. Place in the oven for 10 hours.
After 10 hours remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the cover. Add the parsley and infuse for 20 minutes at room temperature as the liquid begins to cool.
Carefully remove the beef and reserve to the side in a storage container. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and pour the liquid over the beef, discard the vegetables and aromatics. Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using.
For the savoury parsley porridge
550g unsalted butter
85g garlic, minced
l0g lemon juice
50g Dijon mustard
40g ground almonds
15g table salt
240g curly leaf parsley
120g chicken bouillon
60g porridge oats, sieved to remove any powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt 50g of the unsalted butter in a pan, add the garlic and sauté until pale gold and fragrant. Add the lemon juice to the pan, then transfer the mixture to a mixer with the paddle attachment, along with the mustard, ground almonds, salt and the remaining 500g unsalted butter.
Chop the parsley and sprinkle on top of the butter mixture and run the paddle on medium speed for five minutes. Remove the butter from the mixer and roll tightly in cling film. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.
At the time of service, heat the chicken bouillon in a saucepan and add the oats. Simmer until the oats have absorbed the liquid and are cooked but still retain texture (this should not take more than two minutes; overcooking the oats will make them starchy).
Add 120g of the reserved parsley butter and stir to incorporate this into the oats. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the roasted garlic
3 heads garlic
Preheat the oven to 150C. At the top of each head of garlic slice across exposing just the tip of each clove, leaving the root intact on the other side to keep the cloves together. Rub the exposed surface with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt.
Wrap each head individually with foil and place in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove and allow the garlic to cool completely. Squeeze each roasted clove out of its skin and keep intact. At the time for the service re-warm the cloves either in a sauté pan or in the oven.
For the dish
Pre-heat an oven to 80C. Remove any solidified fat from the top of the chilled braising liquid. Transfer the liquid and the meat back to the braising pan. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour to return to temperature. Remove the cover and gently extract the beef, covering in foil and reserving in a warm place. Strain the liquid into a pot, bring to a simmer and begin to reduce. Continue reducing the braising liquid in the pot to a sauce consistency, seasoning at the end with salt.
Remove the trussing from the beef and slice, across the grain with a sharp knife into 6 pieces (the grain of the meat should be running in the shorter direction of each medallion of beef to optimize the tenderness).
Divide the beef amongst 6 warm plates. Check the sauce for seasoning and spoon over the beef. Garnish the beef with the roasted garlic and divide the porridge between the plates.
Heston's innovative recipes have been created in support of the Finish Diamond Standard Innovation Challenge, a nationwide search for the next great British innovator. If you have an innovative kitchen idea go to finish.co.uk to submit your invention.
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