Sunday, 2 March 2014

A load of balls

I thought I would adventure a little further into the modernist kitchen with a journey into spherification and the reverse of the same. A few hours of fun on the interweb thingy son revealed a number of videos :


Having found a half decent starter kit ( for £15 and a bit of time on a Saturdey afternoon. Off I went. A little research and I had some basic ideas. Spherification appears to be something a little time constrained in that the process continues to full jellification. Oh. Hang on, a brief explanation of this load of balls is required:

In essence, you take two ingredients. One taken from pond scum and the other from the crunchy, salty bits in cheese. Sodium alginate and Calcium lactate. When the two meet in a solution of almost pure water they form a jelly separating one pool from the other. This can be used by the creative cook to produce small, caviar like pearls of intense flavoured sauce surrounded by a jelly case or larger 'spheres' of creamy silk flavours encased in jelly.

My first play was with reverse spherification. This is the simpler form in that once the spheres are washed off then the reaction stops. Apparently, spherification continues after the wash so you need to do this jut before serving.

Firstly I played with a mix of cream and blueberries. This formed rather odd, kidney shaped and colured jelly encased cream. Having toyed with this, I then played with limoncello. Having dissolved the calcium lactate in the limoncello and let the air settle out (the same for the deionized water and sodium alginate) I tipped spoonfuls of the limoncello into the alginate solution. A minute or two later I had jelly encased limoncello that could be handled with ease. Popped into the mouth, they exploded with the strong lemon flavour. My concern was that the shapes were not attractive.

A little more research soon showed that the odd shapes were not unusual. The stunning demispheres I have seen and experienced in restaurants are created using the freezer to create the shape and warm alginate solution to create the jelly.

Tonight's efforts went completely awry (more on that in a later post) but I will continue to experiment and post the results here. When the photographs appear then you know I am happier wit the results