Archive for the ‘molecular gastronomy’ Category

TGRWT #22: Chicken stew

Monday, August 20th, 2012

For TGRWT #22 I started by looking at the foodpairing tree of raisin (see below). I decided to include roasted hazelnuts, bacon and cooked chicken. With fresh peppermint available in the garden I considered that as a possibility too. And perhaps with a Moroccan tajine in the back of my mind I figured I would like to add saffron, so I included that as well. Interestingly saffron appeared in the foodpairing tree of peppermint. To turn all of this into a stew I decided to include onion and tomato as well. It turned out quite tasty, and there was even an aromatic surprise, so please read on.
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TGRWT #22: Raisin

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


Impatient raisin waiting to be cooked

More than 1 1/2 year has passed since the last round of They Go Really Well Together, and in the meantime there’s been quite some publicity with TGRWT being mentioned both in Gastronomica and Chemical and Engineering News. Based on predicted aroma similiarity participants are given two or more ingredients to cook with and blog about. The idea is based on a science guided approach to bring together ingredients one might otherwise not have used together when cooking. Altogether somewhere between 100 and 200 recipes have been submitted in previous rounds, so it’s worthwhile browsing through the rounds-ups that have been published. Some readers have inquired about a continuation of the blogging event, and I’m happy to announce a new round of TGRWT starting today here at Khymos. In previous rounds two ingredients were chosen, but this time there is a slight twist as there is only one ingredient: raisins. Participants will then be able to select one (or more) ingredients to pair with raisins using food pairing trees at the Foodpairing website. Raisins alone rarely play a significant role in cooking, but their rich flavor arising from enzymatic browning reactions (as opposed to the non-enzymatic Maillard browning), and as such they are one of the rare examples of desirable enzymatic browning. I believe raisins should open up a host of possibilities ranging from savory dishes to the obvious sweet ones and look very much forward to see your contributions!
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Maximizing Food Flavor by Speeding Up the Maillard Reaction

Monday, June 4th, 2012


Is there a way to speed up the browning of onions? (Photo: Frying onion from Bigstock)

An idea that struck me once was to add baking soda to browning onions. I chopped an onion, melted butter in a frying pan, and added the onions together with a pinch of baking soda. And voilà (as Louis-Camille Maillard himself would have said): the color of the onions changed faster than without the baking soda. The taste of the browned onions was remarkably sweet and caramel-like, and compared with conventionally browned onions, they were softer—almost a little mushy. By the addition of baking soda, I had changed the outcome of an otherwise trivial and everyday chemical reaction, and the result seemed interesting from a gastronomic perspective!

The idea of the baking soda addition was not taken out of the blue but based on (more…)

Modernist cuisine at home available for pre-order

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

What a surprise to see tweets about the new Modernist cuisine at home which will be available for sale in October and is available for pre-order already! Interestingly this book is not an extract for food enthusiasts of the 2400-page Modernist cuisine. Rather, it’s a new book focusing on equipment available to enthusiasts (sous vide is included, but no rotary evaporators or centrifuges), techniques and recipes. There are more than 400 recipes, all of which are new. The printing quality is the same as in Modernist cuisine, so while you’ll think twice before turning the pages with greasy fingers it’s a good thing that the single volume is accompanied by a spiral bound kitchen manual on washable paper!
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Help needed on “natural sous vide”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Eggs boiled in onsen (japanese: hotspring), Nagano, Japan (Photo: Miya.m. Permission: GFDL, cc-by-sa-2.1-jp).

In Japan eggs cooked in hot springs (onsen) are known as onsen tamago. I’ve also read that Māori women used boiling pools at Whakarewarewa to cook. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if many people with access to hot springs would have considered using them for cooking. But finding examples isn’t so easy, so now I need your help: Are you aware of other examples of “natural sous vide”? By this I mean cooking of food at temperature below 100 °C/212 °F without the use of a temperature controlled water bath. It could be in a hot spring, near volcanoes, in steam baths or even in saunas (in a previous post on eggs I mentioned Finnish sauna eggs and Korean Maekbanseok gyeran). Any help finding other examples would be greatly appreciated! I’m interested in modern-day examples as well as traditional practices.

The new journal Flavour went live today

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

It’s quite amazing that two journals so relevant to gastronomy and science have gone live within little more than a month. Last month we saw the appearance of International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, and today the first few articles in Flavour appeared, a few days ahead of the official launch event on March 28. If you’re in London you should consider attending the seminar “Flavour and the new nordic cuisine” jointly hosted by the London Gastronomy Seminars, the Centre for the Study of the Senses and BioMed Central, the publisher of Flavour.

The articles that appeared today include a paper on umami from the Nordic food lab, a study which shows that you take smaller bites of food with a strong aroma and finally an interesting paper exploring why you often perceive taste and smell as one. Oh, one more thing – did I mention that Flavour is an Open Access journal? I suggest you check out their content section immediately!

First issue of International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science is out

Saturday, February 18th, 2012


I first wrote about this journal in March 2009 and finally it is here, the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science. The official launch of the paper version was during Madrid Fusion 2012, but last week the electronic version became available. All 10 articles, nearly 80 pages in total, are available for free download. At the moment I’m not sure if IJGFS will remain an open source journal, but let’s hope so! I see no point in listing all the contributions here, just head over to the table of contents and start reading!

Mineral waters à la carte

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012


Cloning popular brands of mineral water is now simpler then ever before with the updated version of the mineral water calculator!

When I blogged about DIY mineral water last year it was mainly a theoretical exercise since I didn’t have the required salts at hand. My experience was limited to adding some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to water before carbonation. Luckily Paul Hinrichs tested the calculator! In the meantime I have purchased the required salts and with several kilograms in total I’m probably well stocked for the next decade! Based on the output from the calculator, I mixed the salts required to clone San Pellegrino, added water and carbonated the mixture. And the good news is that it works! The water tastes great and I’ve been enjoying cloned mineral waters every day now for the last couple of weeks.
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New project: Exploring culinary claims

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

My fellow bloggers Anu Hopia (Molekyyligastronomia) and Erik Fooladi (Fooducation) together with Jenni Vartiainen and Maija Aksela have embarked on a collaboration project to explore claims about food and cooking. If you are a researcher (from any field), teacher at any level, chef or simply a foodie who finds this interesting you can find info at the end of this email on how to contact them. I bring here their description of the project in extenso:
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Books for your Christmas wish list

Friday, December 16th, 2011

A couple of books have caught my eye during the year and have naturally made their way into my Christmas wish list (and some I’ve already ordered myself). Please let me know if there are books you belive should be on this list that I have missed.
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