Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Heston’s red cabbage gazpacho with mustard ice-cream

I’ve mentioned before that I do love a Heston Blumenthal book, even if more for their food-porn with-a-twist aspect than actually using the recipes therein. Well, now I have Heston at Home, in which he’s made a sterling effort to offer recipes more within the reach of the average home cook.

They’re still enough of a challenge, and they have the Heston quality that sets every recipe apart from anything likely to be encountered in any other book. There are echoes of his Fantastical Feasts in the whisky gums, raspberry sherbert and salted butter caramels with edible wrappers. There’s a sequence of re-imagined classic beverages, such as gin & tonic with cucumber ice. There are banana and bacon cookies, but then what appears to be a totally straightforward lemon tart. There’s a delightful playfulness in really humble dishes or toe-curlingly tacky recipes from the eighties being given the Heston treatment – the process of making a ham-and-cheese toastie involves an initial stage with a wettex filling the space where the cheese will go, so that it doesn’t get overcooked in the time it takes the outside to brown.     

The photo of Heston’s red cabbage gazpacho was so sumptuous I couldn’t go past it, and central to the fascination was the mustard ice-cream he suggested should go with it. So I made them both.   

The soup is basically red cabbage juice, with a little pink mayonnaise based on red wine and red wine vinegar blended in. 

The flavours are clear and raw and somehow earthy, with a peppery edge that loooves the mustard ice-cream. The strangest thing is that the sweetness that the ice-cream has when tasted by itself dramatically recedes when accompanied by this soup, and it becomes all about the hot affair between the pepperiness and the mustardiness. Such goings-on.   

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