Autumn 2013
707ers Dinner
The meal that never was!
I never got to implement the exciting menu I was developing below, but if I had this is what I would have wrote:

I foolishly agreed (OK - I was secretly pleased to be asked) to do a dinner for Rachel's 707 team.
Who purely coincidentally are all girls.

If you're one of Rachel's 707ers and don't want to have your dinner surprise spoiled then look away now!
There may be oysters...

Dinner Menu
Amuse Bouche
Oysters with Green Apple Jelly, Spherified Sauerkraut, Oscietra Caviar
Thanks to thecriticalcouple for reporting this Martin Wishart dish. Sounded great. Thought I'd have a go.

Karl's Clam Chowder
Having failed to acquire Rosy's Dad's clam chowder recipe I'm forced to create my own...

My fish en-papillote with vanilla vodka
(with sea bream or sea bass Ok maybe not Sea Bass. Rachel's probably sick of my Sea Bass?)
Saffron Potatoes
Slow-cooked in milk? Or fondant with stock?

Chocolate and Avocado Ice Cream
Well, I could try it anyway. Tried it. It would have been great!

Bask In The Glory
Coffee and Tablet
Or maybe some little marshmallows?

Oysters with Green Apple Jelly, Horseradish and Oscietra Caviar
fish starter experimental
This started life as an attempt at a Martin Wishart recipe, whose mention in a critical couple review happened to catch my eye.

The original used sauerkraut, though it looks like it might have had some horseradish cream in there too from the photo, but I was a bit daunted by the idea of trying to spherify sauerkraut off the bat (why is it so white?), so I decided to start with horseradish.
As a recipe it's still very much a work in progress. Or a work in lack of progress...

You will need some:

Round One
I figured that since sauerkraut contains quite a lot of calcium it probably wouldn't allow for normal spherification, so I will have to go with the reverse method.
I happened to have some horseradish (sour) cream lying around that needs using up, so I decided to try reverse-spherifying that first. Hence Oysters with Green Apple Jelly, and Horseradish Cream Spheres.

Well, it turns out that reverse spherification is awkward and untidy and I made an interesting collection of horseradish cream squids and worms. But the oyster combination tasted lovely! I'm now wondering if I could use normal spherification to make green apple juice and horseradish caviar instead?
Or I could work on this reverse spherification - wider reading suggests that it is possible to do a reasonable job - thoughts:
  • use low-calcium bottled water (Evian?) to make my alginate solution
  • thicken the flavour mixture with xanthan gum so it doesn't just puddle on top of the alginate
  • inject the flavour mixture into a spoon in the solution.
  • Freeze the flavour mix into hemispheres and drop them in the solution so they hold their shape.
  • Practice??

My jelly sheets were also a bit messy - possibly I didn't use enought gelatine to set them firmly enough, and don't forget to consider how you're going to get your jelly sheets out again when you choose your setting container.
Choose a shallow tray so you can more easily turn them out.
And make sure it's quite level when you leave the jelly to set :)
Of course you could also set them in half-filled ice cube trays and just warm the tray to release the slices. Easy Peasy!

Mix the lecithin grains with hot water. I've read that leaving them to soak for an hour can help. Mix the sodium alginate with very hot water - still needs blending though. Seems to settle in less than an hour.
And that's all I wrote! Can't help feeling some spherification instructions are missing but you're on your own from here...