Saturday, 26 April 2014

A Day At Play

New toys are always fun. Got up this morning and shot up to the market to buy some ingredients to play with in the new chamber vac. I have been reading a lot about 'instant pickles' and compressed fruit/vegetables so I returned with the spoils. Apples, rhubarb, turnips, pineapple, dragon fruit, nectarcots (I assume a nectarine apricot cross) and a bag stuffed with herbs.

We left the market and headed off for the 'Artisan Market' in Tweezledown. A pleasant 35 minute walk (unless you are carrying half a market garden and have a bad back). After a 45 minute  stroll around the stalls we left with some pork and peppercorn pate, some garlic sausage and some spice raclette cheese. Lunch in the Tweezledown pub (a fantastic lamb and apricot curry) and it was off home to play.

Once through the door and having put the perishables in the fridge, I set about learning the abilities of the beastie. No photographs today, but I will repeat the recipes that worked at later dates and show you the before, after and ingredients.

First into the vacuum was the nectarcots. I boiled up 250ml of Sauvignon Blanc vinegar, 80ml of maple syrup, 150 ml filtered water and 7g of salt. Meanwhile, I quartered the 8 nectarcots and popped them into a large bag along with 150 ml of brandy. Once the brine was bubbling, I poured it on top of the fruit and brandy then popped it into the chamber vac, on a 45 second cycle 7 second seal. There was an exciting time at the bottom end of the pump out as the water and alcohol boiled off just before the bag sealed. A few seconds later the vacuum was cleared and the pickled nectarcots went into the fridge. Apparently good for 3 months.

Some apples in cider and strawberries in white rum (for some jelly cocktails to be mentioned at a later date) soon followed. At this point, objections were raised that nothing had been tasted yet so I prepared a small bag of sliced strawberries in white rum for us to try. The strawberries sucked in a good measure of rum in a minute and were a great snack. Can't wait for the cocktail proper.

As a finale I popped some apple 1/8ths into a small bag with some maple syrup and compressed them. I also balled some watermelon and it underwent the vacuum treatment. These joined the potato salad with instant pickled red onion slices in basil oil  as an accompaniment  to our cheese, pate and sausage from the artisan market with a nice bottle of Rioja. A nice end to a busy day.

Once I am over the excitement of the new toy and have had a chance to get some recipes sorted out I will publish both photographs and ingredients up here. If you are brave enough to throw caution to the wind and buy one of these great machines then you can them out. Otherwise, you will have to take my word for how great the products are.

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