Heston Blumenthal’s new show on Channel 4 is a real mixed bag for me. Some bits I love, other bits I’m not so much of a fan of. Each week Heston concentrates on a specific ingredient and gives us simple, complex and interesting ways to cook with said ingredient. This week his concentrated on Chocolate.
My one problem with this show is that he often uses ingredients and implements that are beyond the average cook. Tonight he used blowtorches, a milk frother and even a paint gun (yes you read that right!). Despite the lack of accesible tools and ingredients, Heston is really inspiring to watch, and to be honest he does make me want to go out and buy a paint guy to spray my cakes with a fine mist of chocolate. However we don’t all have people to clean up after us like I imagine he does and it seems that spraying a fine mist of chocolate with a paint gun would make quite a mess in the average kitchen! I promise you if I do try this I will take photos of my destruction!
The best parts of Heston’s shows are where he takes things right down to basics – Last week he showed us simply how to boil an egg! Now this may seem like common sense to most of us but Heston’s methods have obviously gone through a rigorous scientific procedure in order to find out the perfect method. You can find Hestons egg methods here – he tells us that the best way to boil an egg isn’t to boil it:
“The secret to the perfect boiled egg is… don’t boil it! You’ll end up with rubbery whites or undercooked yolks. Instead, put your egg in a pan of cold water, bring up to the boil, and, the moment it starts boiling, take it off the heat and leave in the pan for six minutes. The residual heat will cook it gently, leaving the yolk nicely cooked, but runny.”
Most of Heston’s methods involve constant timing and temperature control using a kitchen thermometer; he claims that these precise methods are foolproof. My parents reported to me that they tried out the boiled egg method and were happy to report fantastic resutls – they did point out however that his method doesn’t take into account the size of the eggs. Using slightly smaller eggs my parents suggested a time of more like five and a half minutes would be better and Heston’s time of 6 minutes would probably be more suited for large eggs (see the recipe for more details).
One of Heston’s other simple yet effective methods was how to cook the perfect steak (click here for the recipe). The highlight point in this method was that instead of leaving the steak for 2/3 minutes each side, instead he turns the steak every 15/20 seconds for 2/3 minutes. Again he uses a thermometer to check the temperature.
I’ll be trying out Heston’s methods in the next few weeks and reporting back if they really do result in perfectly cooked food. In the meantime, if you have tried any of Hestons methods or recipes please comment below, I’d love to hear about it. You can expect many more blog posts about Heston in the near future.