Monday, October 19, 2009

Heston's Alice in Wonderland Feast

So here's something I've never done before: reporting on something I saw on TV last night. Channel 4 has a lovely food extravaganza called Heston's Victorian Feasts, featuring Heston Blumenthal experimenting with old and insane recipes, turning this whole show into basically tripping on acid in three courses. In a surreal ambiance, the guests were invited to jump through the rabbit hole and enjoy a feast made up of reinventions of old Victorian recipes cloaked in inspiration taken from Heston's favourite book, Alice in Wonderland. And this was the menu (more or less accurately, it was late and I didn't wanna take notes):

"DRINK ME" potion - inspired by the same drink in the book, Heston infused milk with six different flavours (toffee, hot buttered toast, turkey, cherry pie, pineapple and custard), then tinted them all pink and jellified every flavour slightly, so he could layer them in the glass. Which by the way was not a glass, it was more of a test tube. Therefore, as the guests indulged, every sip tasted totally different and it all became a "guess the flavour" game. I have to say they got quite a few right, the coolest thing was the look on their face as the flavours changed so dramatically in their mouths. Magical.

Mock turtle soup - this was by far the prettiest food I've ever seen in my life. The dish consisted of a soup plate and a teacup. The soup plate had in it a small turtle-shell made of turnip and swede I think, tiny mushrooms, black truffle cubes, a terrine of condensed pork fat and braised ox tale, micro greens and some other bit I forget. I'm so pissed I didn't find a picture of it on the internets, it was just delightful. Think of this colourful little wonderland in a plate, everything small and cute and colourful and flavoursome due to its condensed state. The teacup had in it the Mad Hatter's teabag: a pocket watch-shaped concentrated beef stock covered in gold leaf, which you had to infuse in hot water, thus making a soup which was then poured over the food toys in the soup plate. Double magical that was.

EDIT: got some more pics and you can see the soup being served here.

The main course I wasn't so enthused about. The idea behind it came from the fact that at some point during Victorian times when food was scarce, this smart fellow decided people should eat more insects - full of protein, free, what's not to like about them? The result was a Victorian garden the size of the whole table, with everything in it edible: flowers, greens, veg, potato pebbles, soil and gravel alleys made out of eel, anchovies, black olives and nuts and many other wonderous things, all this topped with crispy insects injected with a special sauce for extra taste. Now don't get me wrong, it looked great and it was funny to see the guests spoon up earth and eat it, but I just thought it was more of an artifice and I'm not sure the tastes worked great together, it felt more like a mish-mash of stuff put together for the sake of making the garden. Although, maybe it did taste good... I can't know, I wasn't there.

For dessert, Heston made a humungous glow-in-the-dark wibbly-wobbly Absynthe jelly, shaped like a, well, elephant cock, complete with a shaking table operated by dildo motors. It looked quite great. And while this one was more for show, I think, the individual desserts where strawberry, Absynthe and something else jelly with a creamy custard (?) center and served with Earl Grey ice cream. The adult desserts where also served with green balloons filled with helium and Absynth flavour. Inhale and enjoy.

I just really had to get that out. It was pretty freakin' brilliant and I wanna put it down while I still have it fresh in my mind. I'm exhausted.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A bit of Blixa never hurt anyone.

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