Bonkers pots and pansman, professor of gastronomy and some even say chef, Heston Blumenthal, is unveiling his latest nonsense today in a new book entitled Molecular Codology – Temples of Gastronomy.
In the book he introduces ‘new takes’ on tried and tested classics, but this time fellow chefs and critics are not impressed. Tarquin Slingsby, writing in The Times, view is typical. ‘Dear old Heston is a trailblazer and we all owe him so much but I rather fear that he’s gone too far this time. His recipes although stunning are simply way beyond the reach of the average home cook.’
Fellow chef and Michelin-starred Raymond Blanc said something too, however his French accent was so impenetrable no one was able to understand it.
But Blumenthal has hit back: ‘These recipes are perfect for someone fed up with the daily humdrum of beans on toast or roast beef and all the trimmings.’
So as the argument rages back and forth The Blether is printing a short extract from the book so you can judge for yourself. If you’re feeling ambitious why not try the recipe yourself and let us know how you get on.
‘Chippy Tea”’with a difference!
Recently it has become popular, thanks largely to Jamie Oliver, to cook some main courses ‘en papillote’ as they say en France. That’s ‘in a paper bag’ to me and you, but quite frankly this technique has become so prevalent with even lower order chefs that it’s now all just a teeny-weeny bit passé. However if you’d like to take the basic concept and run with it, then why not try my exciting interpretation of unusual cooking methods with a stunning variation on the Friday evening teatime classic of Chippy Tea.
This recipe is not simply a meal but more an exercise in logistics and project management, and if executed correctly will amaze and enthrall your dinner guests.
Chippy tea in a swimming pool
This really is a super dish and one rich in its theatricality. It’s ideal for making a grand statement or else just showing off in a big way.
Oil in the pool coming up to temperature © Molecular Codology 2018
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as an al fresco impromptu snack with drinks.
4 Cod fillets
8 Large potatoes peeled and cut into chips about 1.5 inches long
4 Standard servings of mushy peas (homemade or tinned)
1 Rebecca Adlington (optional)
1 Lemon quartered
1 Olympic sized swimming pool (drained)
2000 Heavy duty industrial heating elements
1000 Portable electricity generators
1 Oil refinery
2000 Petrol tankers
2,500,000 Litres of cooking oil
For the batter:
6 Ounces of plain flour
¼ Pint of fizzy beer (lager or bitter is fine)
Salt and Pepper
Tomato and Tartare sauces
Mayonnaise – if any Belgian guests
Brown sauce if you’re common or live somewhere up north
First a little bit of preparation the day before is required. Have your swimming pool drained and meanwhile ensure the oil is transferred from storage at the refinery into the fleet of petrol tankers. Obtain a permit from the police that will allow you to close all roads near to the pool to ensure the tankers can get close enough.
Then on the day itself start by washing, peeling and then chipping the potatoes. Pat the cod fillets dry with some kitchen towel and set aside. Meanwhile after having obtained the permit, marshal the tankers close enough to the previously emptied pool, so as their hoses can easily reach, then have them fill the pool with the cooking oil. When the pool is filled with oil attach the heating elements to the feeds of the generators and start them up. Distribute the elements evenly across the entire area of the pool and heat the oil to 120c. Check temperature by throwing a small piece of bread into the pool. If it pops and fizzes then the oil is at the correct temperature. Place the chips in a wire basket and then into the pool. Cook through until they are soft but not browned, remove them and set aside.
Meanwhile mix the batter in the normal way and coat the cod fillets. Increase the output of the heating elements and when the oil temperature reaches 170c pop the cod into a second basket and gently lower this into the pool. As the oil is now dangerously hot be careful it doesn’t spit at you as you do this, or worse still, that you don’t overbalance and fall into the pool to your certain and, if I may say so, untimely horrible death.
After five minutes add the chips back into the oil (careful now again!) and allow them to fry along with the fish for a further 5 minutes. When this is happening make the mushy peas by whizzing them up with a blender or simply open the cans of the ready made.
When the cooking time is complete remove the fish and chips and set them on a work surface before patting them dry with some kitchen towel.
Finally have Rebecca Adlington (optional) arrange the fish and chips on four plates, or on one large platter if it’s al fresco snacking. Place dips in little pots and have Rebecca serve your guests either at the table or on your patio – and there you are. Trust me – chippy tea will never be the same again!