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Heston Blumenthal at Home Hardcover – November 22, 2011
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'What fun it is to follow in this gastro-wizard's footsteps' * Observer Food Monthly * --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Entirely self-taught, Heston Blumenthal is the most progressive chef of his generation. In 2004 he won the coveted three Michelin stars in near-record time for his restaurant The Fat Duck, which has twice been voted the Best Restaurant in the World by an international panel of 500 experts. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE. He lives in Berkshire with his wife and three children.
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This book is solid and is nicely divided into a section for people who have modern kitchen gear and people who don't. If you're like me and have a lot of this gear already, you will and can easily adapt and enhance a lot of the recipes to work with your circulators, chamber vac's etc.
Chamomile panna cotta - amaizing result, great idea of flavoring
The roasted lamb – at the beginning I was quite skeptical of the roasting time and temperature, but result was the best roasted lamb ever
The Chocolate soufflé – for me this was the scariest dessert ever. Well Heston’s way of having two different mixtures for the liquid center and for the crust around is amazing
The roasted potatoes – they didn’t come our right and the process is a bit complicated. Well I will give another try because I can imagine how good they can be :)
Now I am a big fan and looking forward of trying more things!
His introductions before each chapter are well informative. The photos are superb as well. Not all dishes have photos tho - but most. I'd rather not recommend this book to anyone because then everyone will be cooking like Heston. But it is an excellent buy. The freight to New Zealand was a little pricy but that's the price we have to put up with for living in the colonies. :)
He does recommend quite a range of cooking tools. Equipment that your typical cookbook will not ask you to ever consider. However, if you "like" kitchen gadgets, this book provides you with a certain latitude for your interest/obsession. It's much easier to buy an inexpensive instrument that measures sugar content if you can compare that purchase to the kind of equipment that Blumenthal employs at his restaurant. "Me? No, I'm not addicted to kitchen toys. Hester Blumenthal is a real addict - I'm not that bad." So far, I've only allowed myself to purchase a hardware store blow torch, which Blumenthal takes beyond its typical use for creme brulee.
I'm slowly working through recipes with my 22 year old niece and 13 year old niece-ette. We first tried Blumenthal's macaroni & cheese recipe. We used the version from the television series that is associated with this book, since my hard copy was on order at the time. (There are some variations between the t.v. series recipes posted on the BBC Television site and those in this book, but I think that is a bonus. It provides ideas for alterations.) I never really liked mac & cheese, but I'm a convert. Unbelievably lovely & tasty. I had to make a second batch the next day because my family wanted more.
What I find shines through the most from the narrative sections of the book is Blumenthal's commitment to informing the reader about what he has learned over the years. And, again, he does so in an organized fashion where you will read about why he uses star anise with onion before you'll find a recipe that pairs those ingredients, for example. He provides information about what he has found works best for his taste, but also how to intentionally alter his recipes. (Here I'm thinking specifically about how he arrived at his own technique for making ice cream, but how home cooks can vary the ingredients to create a finished product according to what they want in their bowls or cones.) In other words, he seems to respect his readers, and this cookbook often feels like a silent collaborator in the kitchen. It generously offers possibilities, insights, information and technique.
And, of course, the tastes of these dishes are special and memorable.
I haven't told my young relatives about my plan to buy dry ice (as Blumenthal recommends) to have an ice cream making party this summer, but I'm sure it's going to be a hit. I also can't wait to make the tomato tart with basil mascarpone, but I'm holding off until my own tomatoes grow in the garden. In the end, what excites me about this cookbook is that it encourages, informs, and somehow, almost subversively, spurs readers to make their own experiments at home.
Can you tell that I'm excited to pop down to the kitchen right now?