My bucket list is a pretty ambitious thing I must confess. Oh there are the usual things, visit certain countries and eat or do certain things. However on the list is to be a guest at one of Heston Blumenthal's Fantastical Feast dinner parties as well as eat at The Fat Duck and Dinner. The latter two are much more achievable but I'd love to actually meet him and find out what makes him do the creative things that he does. Because if anyone melds imagination, science and food perfectly it is Heston Blumenthal.
The last book I received of his was Fantastical Feasts which was a fairy tale type of book with how he made the items that he did for the show. His graveyard inspired me to make my Halloween party graveyard. This year however sees the release of quite a different offering from Heston, a tome on how to cook at home titled "Heston Blumenthal at Home" with a picture of Heston taking out some goodies from the fridge on the front.
In the book there are classic dishes like onion soup, roast chicken, prawn cocktail, Scotch eggs, shepherd's pies and lemon tart but there are also dishes that come from Fat Duck, albeit the simplified at home version, including scallop tartare with white chocolate, his famous bacon and egg ice cream as well as a salad that resembles a garden and an intriguing cinnamon and vanilla ice cream that can switch from one flavour to the other. His tips are invaluable along the way-after all this is a scientist that experiments and shares with you the results of his experiments.
He starts with the basics of taste and explains that salt is actually the best item to counter bitterness, not sugar, then discusses the fifth taste of umami and then launches into the recipes with each chapter starting with an in depth explanation on the item. There are basic stock recipes like white chicken and brown chicken stock (not the actual colour of the chicken but rather the brown uses browned vegetables and meat). There are also very doable salads, sauces, mains and side dishes (and most recipes are about a page long) from the Italian Bagna Cauda vegetable dip, chicken and ham pies, tea smoked salmon, the cleverly presented scotch egg picture above, slow roasted rib of beef with bone marrow sauce and a very simple but effective liquorice poached salmon. Desserts range from a tiramisu, banana Eton mess and a delectable golden syrup creme brulee. Not every recipe has a picture but the ones that do you may find yourself automatically bookmarking.
Comfort food gets the Heston treatment and there are recipes his triple cooked chips and the ultimate cheese toastie complete with a kite length of mozzarella string where the first ingredient is "1 new washing up sponge (without scourer)" and a fish pie that looks like fish, sand and the beach on top-a more at home version of his famous Sound Of The Sea dish! If you want to have a little look, here is a sneak peek of the book and below is his hot chocolate recipe from the book.
Hot Chocolate from Heston Blumenthal at Home
Rich, sweet and warming, hot chocolate has got to be the ultimate comfort drink, and Ive added cream and real
chocolate to make it about as comforting as you can get. Frothing the mixture with a hand blender gives it a lovely
light, velvety texture. Serve with pineapple, orange-blossom or rosewater marshmallows (see book).
100g Dark drinking chocolate
55g Dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
60g Whipping cream
Pinch of salt
Step 1 - Put 200g cold tap water and the drinking chocolate into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
When boiling, add the dark chocolate, whipping cream and salt, and stir until the chocolate has melted.
Step 2 - Using a hand blender, aerate the chocolate before pouring into a big mug to serve
Thanks to Bloomsbury, one lucky Not Quite Nigella reader will win a copy of Heston Blumenthal At Home valued at $65 and two runner ups will receive a copy of Hestons Fantastical Feasts valued at $55! For a chance to win all you have to do is tell me what is the top restaurant on your bucket list! Simply add your answer as a comment to the story. The competition ends at midnight AEST on the 4th of December, 2011. You can enter this competition once daily and it is open to anyone within Australia. To learn more about Heston and the book and win other prizes, you can visit the facebook page.
*The winners are:
Weichen Y. of ACT (Heston at Home)
Carol L. of NSW (Fantastical Feasts)
Leonie J, of NSW (Fantastical Feasts)
Best of luck!
Lots of love,
This giveaway is sponsored by Bloomsbury