Experimental Foods Day

This Saturday we made dry ice icecreams and sorbets, had a chocolate truffle making masterclass, and experimented with molecular gastronomy to make burst-in-the-mouth fruit puree spheres. Plus a BBQ and our normal hacking session alongside. An exhausting, brilliant day!

For the dry ice icecream, we made a couple of batches of simple custard, cooled to around room temperature using a dry ice bath (because why not?):

…then everyone started adding their own mix of flavours, before quickly beating in dry ice converted to a powder in a finely calibrated process of Janine frenetically bashing it with a hammer.

Verdict: Amazing icecream! My personal favourite was the Glenlivet whisky icecream, but they were all (vanilla, cherry and chocolate, chocolate mint, Rum, Kahlúa) fantastic.

Andy’s Kiwi, Apple and Lime sorbet was similarly great. The fizzy taste from the dry ice gave it a really delicious edge.

Sarah ran our truffle making masterclass — deliciously messy, with fantastic results! Another great mix of flavours tried out — my personal favourite was chocolate and Henderson’s Relish. Because I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to cook anything in this city without at least a splash of Hendo’s.

Finally, a bit of molecular gastronomy. We got hold of some calcium lactate gluconate and sodium alginate to try out “reverse spherification”. A simple berry puree was mixed with the calcium salt, and dropped into a bath of sodium algniate, for about 2 minutes. This grows a thin layer of flavourless gel around the droplet of fruit, making a burst-in-the-mouth fruit sphere! Well, sort of sphere:

Never mind that they look like monkey kidneys, they were delicious, a really fun texture, and surprisingly simple and enjoyable to make. Lots of finesse needed for perfect spheres, but definitely worth trying yourself!

Finally, our incipient tradition of a BBQ and a few beers in the sunny courtyard before cleaning up and heading home to our respective food comas.

Thanks to everyone for helping out! If you missed it (maybe you haven’t come along to a meet yet?), you should’ve been there!

PS: There may have been some further gratuitous playing careful and sensible use of the dry ice:

…but our lips are sealed.