Category Archives: centrifuge

Centrifuged peas – w/ raw seafood

A quick nod to The Grove for the inspiration for this dish. I’ve been staging there on Saturdays recently. One day I brought some centrifuged pea juice to the restaurant and chef Ben Heaton said it would go really well with raw shrimps. So I decided to do exactly that.

There really is just something special about centrifuged juices. The intensity of flavours and cleanliness of textures are unmatched. Even if the initial ingredient was not at it’s peak, the juices that come out are still incredibly sweet (But of course, you should not use that as an excuse).

There are 2 variations. One with the pea “butter” which I first heard of from the book Modernist cuisine. It is essentially the very tiny amount of fat from peas. The 2nd variation is with the pea juice. I personally prefer the juice variation because of how clean and refreshing the juice is. It’s just a better fit with the raw seafood.

Raw shrimp, scallop, sea urchin – ginger, salmon roe, coconut gel, fennel

Variation 1. The green dollops are the pea butters.

DSCF8089

 

Variation 2. Instead of pea butter I just used the blanched peas for texture. Also, notice how vibrant the colour of the pea juice is.

 

DSCF8092


Purity vs Complexity when components are separated

So, finally after a whirlwind work trip, I’m back. Needless to say, I’m too happy to be in the kitchen lab again. So much work to catch up on, but still found time to do a quick experiment.

Few years ago I dined at Auberge du Pommier and one of the courses served was, from what I recall, a mushroom soup served in a coffee cup. It was quite delicious. I thought hey, why not take the coffee and mushroom theme a little further. So I did, and here is where the thought of purity vs complexity came into play.

I did two trials. On the first one the mushrooms were seared for flavour, then mixed with coffee and more water. The 2nd trial was with simply making mushroom stock, and mixing the stock with a 3:1 ratio of stock to coffee. In both trials, everything was pureed to increase flavour infusion, then putting them through the centrifuge to remove the solids. At first I thought the trial with the seared mushrooms would be more delicious. However, it was quite the opposite. The batch with the seared mushrooms tasted almost awful, while the simpler one was delicious, had a pure mushroom flavour with a hint of coffee.

This is my theory for why I got those results. By removing the solids, all you are left with are the flavour compounds in liquid, which has a much stronger, faster flavour release. So you ONLY have the flavour compounds; nothing to mask/complement/ balance that seared mushroom flavour other than other flavour compounds. Because of this, the bitterness from the searing process really comes out. Remember also that I had some of the mushrooms before I pureed them, and they tasted amazing.

I suppose this theory also ties in with other experiments that involve extracting/isolating flavour. Rosemary essence from the rotary evaporator, for example, smells very close to Vicks Vapor Rub. Basil essence tastes like licorice, and it makes sense since its the same flavour compound found in both.

I could go on and on, but I’ll keep it till here and end it with a photo of the non-seared mushroom “cappuccino”. There is no dairy in this. The foam was made using a $5,000 non-dairy coffee frother, aka the SonicPrep. That is one of the things I found the SonicPrep to do really well, haha!

 


Butter from the centrifuge at 8000rpm, again!

Sometimes I really do just take advantage of the fact that all these equipment are available to me. A few days ago I wanted to make some butter with the centrifuge. Reason being is that it tastes quite different from store bought butter. One main difference is that the milk flavour really carries through. It’s also softer. Personally I think it just has a more luxurious taste to it, being more creamy. It’s also extremely easy to make. Step 1, put cream in the centrifuge vials. Step 2, spin at 8,000 rpm for 15 minutes. Step 3, collect butter.

Another possibility is culturing the cream before spinning it. I know a few people have done something similar. What I ended up doing is folding some grated Parmeggiano Reggiano with the butter and leaving it in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld. It tastes similar to cultured butter, but with more intense nutty and cheesy notes. Obviously this can be tweaked by varying the amount of cheese. I used 60g of parmesan in 330 grams of centrifuged butter. The reason for that amount of butter is that is how much I got from a 1 litre box of heavy cream.

Here it is in the vials after being spun. The top layer is the butter, middle is whey and water, bottom is a mixture of (I think) the solids, whey and water. Also another thing to note is what when using organic cream, there’s only 2 layers.

One thing I will mention though, is that this butter is quite perishable. I think my last batch lasted just over a week before it became too funky. This may just be due to the cream/butter temperature going up and down during the process.

Here’s the butter after it was folded with the cheese. One big ball of saturated fatty deliciousness.


Ox tail, heirloom carrots, wild mushrooms, mushroom butter

Something I made a few weeks ago. Funny how the component that takes the most time to make are the ones that aren’t the center of attention – the reduction and the mushroom butter.

So let’s get straight to it. What did I do to the reduction and mushroom butter? Here it is.

First, the reduction is made the traditional way of roasting the bones, vegetables, and making a stock from it. Mind you, I think I had equal amounts of bone to water at the beginning. This step alone takes at least 8 hours. I can’t leave the stove turned on overnight so I had to do it over 2 work days. Then collect the stock, and partially reduce it. Just so I can actually put it all in the centrifuge vials. Once that’s done, I centrifuge it to remove all the solids, aka scum. What happens is you now have stock that is free of any solids and has the smoothest mouthfeel ever. After that, reduce it to the point where it resembles tar. That dark, thick beautiful substance that can blow minds. At the end, add a nub of butter, swirl, and done! Well, not quite yet. Put 100ml of that reduction into a beaker, and blitz it in the SonicPrep. Why? It changes the mouthfeel. It makes it even more velvety. Also, it’s not as quick to get sticky when it cools down. The colour also changes into a creamy dark brown.

Comparatively, the mushroom butter is less involving. First, brown some portobello and oyster mushrooms. The more browning, the better. Then freeze it overnight before heading to freeze dry for 2 days. Once its as dry as British humour, turn it to dust using a vitamix blender. Then just add it with melted butter.

See, I don’t even want to bother talking about the ox tail itself. But let me just say, it was damn good.