So I’ve become enamored with Heston Blumenthal and the way he cooks. No, not the molecular gastronomy part. The mad scientist part. IT’s not that he uses dry ice, and liquid nitrogen and vacuum sealers and cooks sous vide… it’s that he understands if even on the basic level the slightly mad scientific principals needed to begin an undertaking.
It’s like if you were asked to create a human being from spare parts of dead humans you’d say “That’s Mad!” Well that’s what Dr. Frankenstein did, hence the mad scientist title. Heston to me is kind of like that. If you told me he would create a dish that had edible sand with sea foam and sea ‘food’ creatures and water and it would look like a day at the beach but the whole thing would be edible. I’d tell you, you were crazy. Yet he’s done it.
sounds of the sea dinner dish image by heston blumenthal

Sounds of the Sea by Heston Blumenthal

I watched a series of his that he did for the BBC back in 2007 just recently (Thank you internetz). What I found amazing was, that he really looked into certain ingredients, figured out what made them tick, what was the best way to get the most flavor, presentation, value out of a food item and then figured out how to do it in a way that us cooks at home could replicate. Sure, you have to have a little mad scientist in you I’ll admit, but it’s doable. I started with probably the most crazy of his ideas, dry ice ice cream. It was fantastic. I made a batch of creme anglaise flavored with a bottle of ‘Joe Cola’ soda and some vanilla bean. Vanilla coke, ha. And then chilled the mixture in the refrigerator before putting it into my KitchenAid mixer and putting it on the first setting.
I set my husband upon the bag of dry ice with my rubber mallet and told him to smash it to powder Ooklah we ride!!! Which was good because in about a minute he had utterly destroyed that sad piece of dry ice, it was glorious, and my Boos block was luckily none the worse, good thing we put the towel around the ice first as Heston suggests ;) I had to stand back as Erik had the good Harrods oven mitts on (Good lord those things could save you from Dragonfire!) and into the mixing bowl it went. BOOM! Dry ice cloud billows out of the mixing bowl and immediately my bare feet are 10 to 15 degrees cooler on the floor. Fascinating. So I come over to the mixer and lean in and give a good ‘blow’ to disperse the fog and I look in and the liquid is actually about 85% solid… I can’t believe it… so I notch up the beater to the 2nd notch which on mine says “Stir” and in fear for the little plastic beater blade (I think I’m putting the metal one on next time!) I wait 30 seconds and then I can hear it, it’s done. The motor begins to strain just slightly. I hit stop and grab the bowl and blow off the fog and it’s frozen, I mean, instant ice cream. None of that ice cream mixer consistency ‘soft serve’ crap that’s half melted. Just good solid, yet still scoop-able ice cream. OH my god I’m in heaven.

Sadly there are no pictures. The whole operation was over in 2-3 minutes and there just wasn’t time with so much fog going on. I’ll try to get pictures on another adventure with it. Our next opportunity we are trying coconut ice cream. Then more lemon…

But the thing is I just purchased a Soda Siphon with gas chargers…. And I will be charging a batch of ice cream to attempt to make it ‘lighter’. Erik doesn’t like my ‘Gelato’ style ice cream. I know, he’s crazy. However, my theory is, that if I can charge it with enough aeration to lighten it, can I charge it with flavored syrups injected into the mixture?

Because I’m thinking… I might try to make a lemon syrup and then charge it in the siphon and discharge it (making it a foamy mousse esqe) and swirl that into the creme anglaise and then dry ice it. I also have to figure out how to use the siphon to get my favorite wine Riesling into my ice cream… decisions decisions… so many options, choices, plans…
And now as I cackle off into the sunset you know how the mad scientist begins their descent into madness…