If you’re familiar with the lyrics of U2, you’ll be aware Bono climbed mountains, ran through fields, and scaled city walls without much success. It’s unclear if he still feels this way after selling 150 million records describing the process.
In any event, over the last 6 weeks I’ve moved house with a cold, employed a head chef (ex Marco Pierre White), 3 sous Chefs (ex Marcus Wareing, 2 ex Gordon Ramsey) and changed every dish on our menu. In the process I’ve found exactly what I was looking for, and yes it does feel like I’ve scaled a high precipice, although it may be a while before 150 million people know about it.
Of our new menu, I’m particularly proud of our chocolate parfait, made as follows:
For the tempered chocolate tear:
First temper the chocolate by placing dark chocolate over a pan of warm water. When the dark chocolate reaches a temperature of 54oC, take out ¼ of its volume and set aside. When the larger dark chocolate quantity reduces to 26.4oC, add the smaller volume and keep at a consistent temperature of no higher then 30o.
Cut the acetate into 21cm length strips. Add 2 tablespoons of the dark chocolate and using a palate knife scrape the chocolate down the full length. When dry add another 2 tablespoons of the chocolate and scrape down using the palette knife. Shape each acetate strip into a tear with the chocolate on the inside, fasten together and refrigerate for no less than 10 minutes.
For the sponge:
Separate the whites and yolks. Wisk yolks with icing sugar and then the whites to firm soft peaks. Fold the whites into the yolks, adding small, sifted quantities of cocoa powder as you progress. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread with a palette knife, cooking at 180oC for 6-8 minutes.
For the chocolate mousse:
Combine 190g double cream and 20g glucose. Cut a vanilla pod down the middle and scrape the seeds into the mixture, adding the pods. Bring up to the boil and then pour the contents over 260g of white chocolate. Now add 500g of could double cream. Leave in the fridge for 5 minutes and then whip until thickened. Add mousse to a piping bag.
For the raspberry gel: Mix the sugar and water together, and place in a pan over a low heat until a light syrup is formed. Add the xanthan gum and raspberries and then blitz; pass through a sieve.
Crumble the sponge into the base of the tear; add a little mousse, some raspberries, more mousse and smooth over. Garnish the dish with the raspberry gel, more cake crumble, and serve with a little whipped cream.
I’ve moved to Maida Vale from Hampstead Garden Suburb, the latter of which is on top of a hill, and as a result, looks down upon the rest of London with a patronizing gawk for not having a sustainable food recycling policy. I’m attached to that hill to the point where I divert my daily bike ride into work by several miles just to climb it; perhaps someone, somewhere is trying to tell me I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
For the tempered chocolate tear: 500g 70% cocoa solid chocolate
For the chocolate sponge: 3 whole eggs, 50g icing sugar, and 40g cocoa powder
For the white chocolate mousse: 190g double cream, 20g glucose, 1 Vanilla pod, 260g White Chocolate, and 500g double cream
For raspberry gel: 50ml water, 8tsp sugar, 1tspn Xanthan Gum, a large handful of raspberries
Additional equipment: 4.5cm x 20m Acetate roll thermometer, piping bag, and palette knife from www.nisbets.com