Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In praise of the frying pan

Heston Blumenthal is the wunderkind of British cooking - his Fat Duck restaurant in Bray (England) has 3 Michelin Stars so he's a seriously good chef. However, he’s particularly famous for the application of scientific methods and chemical analysis in the creation of his dishes. Snail Porridge is, perhaps, his best known signature dish.

He’s now got a weekly TV show on BBC and tonight he was cooking up the perfect Spaghetti Bolognese, a standard, quick, one-pot (ok, 2) meal for many families.

Except Heston’s version requires the meat to be cooked for 8 hours. That leaves you plenty of time to prepare and cook a couple of other elements which are added in during the cooking process. All in all, a long and fairly involved process. What he seems to have missed is that Spaghetti Bolognese is popular for 2 main reasons - (i) it’s simple to make and (ii) it’s relatively quick. His version is neither.

I’ve only seen a few bits of the show over recent weeks but I suspect that there’s little to be learned that would be of use to the home cook/entertainer.

A couple of weeks back he was making some sort of dessert for which he used liquid nitrogen to keep the temperature very cold in a food mixer while combining ingredients. He then acknowledged that this wouldn’t be practical at home. “Thank God”, I thought, until his alternative solution for home use turned out to be “dry-ice” instead. I’ll just pop out to Tesco for some!

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