387 words on Food
This weekend I tried out one of those strange tricks of ‘chemists’ cooking’. I first heard about that back when I was a fresher and indulged in reading the cookbooks by Hervé Thisback then. They’re really cool as they explain some of the chemistry and physics involved in the cooking which in my opinion makes it easier to get a feel for the techniques and to understand what the frying, baking or cooking does to your ingredients – thus enabling you to more easily transfer techniques from one dish to another when seeing that the situation is quite similar.
Of course the most amusing bits of those cookbooks are the freakshow scientist parts such as the ‘making ice cream with liquid nitrogen’ thingy. And having plenty of physicists among my friends, means I even had the opportunity to enjoy that. A less spectacular – but home kitchen compatible – one of these techniques was picked up in Heston Blumenthal’s Kitchen ChemistryWhat looks like a really bad idea – throwing chocolate directly into hot water to melt it – can actually lead to something nice if you put enough whipping and cooling into it immediately.
That looked both fascinating and reasonably easy, so I wanted to give it a try and made this kind of chocolate creme with both bitter and mil chocolate: heat about 100ml of water, throw 100g of broken chocolate into it and beat it for a while with the pot you use being on ice water. Instead of going all yucky, the chocolate will become a little creamy and actually turn reasonably stiff once you put everything to rest in the fridge.
I used both the dark and the milk chocolate and the creme was more solid for the dark chocolate and nicer for the milk chocolate. To spice things up a little I put some ground chilis in the chocolate I put at the top (not the best idea as they were just roughly ground and fiendishly spicy…). It was an interesting new take on a chocolate mousse – and in a way a low-calorie one. But I am not sure it’ll be the next great thing as I thought it tasted a bit watery. No complaints from the others, though. (Them not caring? Them being too polite? Me being to sceptical?)
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