Hannah Burton channels Heston to review Lakeland’s Cuisine R-Evolution kit…
Lakeland have outdone themselves this year in terms of excellent foodie gift options, no more so than with the R-Evolution Cuisine Kit, which provides an introduction to the world of molecular gastronomy.
Molecular gastronomy brings together science and art in food prep and became a well-known term in foodie households when Heston Blumenthal rose to fame for his unusual approach to cooking. Now, thanks to this fantastic kit from Lakeland, fans of Heston’s quirky style can master some of the techniques for themselves. This kit is a particularly great gift idea for anyone who loves the science behind cooking, and happily, I’m a bit of a food nerd – I couldn’t wait to have a go.
The kit includes everything you need to master the basic steps of molecular gastronomy, with 20 sachets that help to transform the texture of your ingredients – you can turn juices, dressings or really any liquids into foam, bursting beads, spaghetti or gel. The kit also includes helpful DVDs with 50 recipe videos.
Armed with our tools, we got stuck in, deciding to start by making some balsamic vinegar pearls to top mozzarella, tomato and basil bruschetta.
Balsamic Vinegar Pearls
What You’ll Need
1x Tall Glass of Vegetable Oil
90ml Balsamic Vinegar
½ sachet (1g) of Agar-Agar
Chill the tall glass of vegetable oil for 30mins in the freezer. A tall glass is recommended to obtain uniform round-shaped pearls, as the gelification will complete while the vinegar drops through the oil, and cold oil speeds up the gelification process.
Combine the agar-agar and vinegar in a pot and bring to the boil. Pour the solution into a bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes. Remove the oil from the freezer. Fill a pipette with vinegar solution, and slowly drip from the pipette into the cold oil. Pearls of vinegar will form (we used about 3 drips per pearl before moving to a different spot) and drop through the oil. After you’ve made enough pearls, use a sieve to remove the pearls from the oil and rinse in water before serving.
We served about 10 pearls on a small bruschetta canapé, with a slice of tomato, mozzarella and a couple of basil leaves. The pearls proved to be the perfect way of serving a sauce on a canapé, as there was no mess. We’re planning on using this technique next to top cocktails with complementary flavoured pearls, eg. lime and mint pearls on the top of a Mojito.
Next up, we made some mango spheres for a cute breakfast-themed dessert.
What You’ll Need
1x sachet (2g) Sodium Alginate
1x sachet (5g) Calcium Lactate
About 750ml filtered water
About 250ml mango juice
This uses the reverse frozen spherification process. Dissolve the calcium lactate in the mango juice, and freeze in a round ice cube tray for an hour or longer (until solid). Dissolve the sodium alginate in the filtered water (filtered because if water has slightly high calcium content ie hard water, calcium would react with sodium alginate to form a gel in the water). Chill the water mixture in the fridge for 30 mins or longer (this finishes the dissolving process and gets rid of air bubbles). Once both mixtures are ready, drop the frozen mango spheres into the sodium alginate solution. Swizzle around with a spoon so they don’t stick together, and leave for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove and dunk into a bowl of water for a few minutes to rinse.
To serve the spheres, we filled egg cup with top-quality vanilla ice cream and made a dip in the centre. We tucked a mango sphere into each dip and laid out shortbread fingers on the side – voilà, dippy eggs and soldiers for pudding!