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Guest Blog - Making Your Food Go Up In Smoke

12:08 pm

I’m sure I’m not the only person with a childhood memory of being taken to a “posh” restaurant.

Part of my favourite “experience” of eating out was when the waiters performed the art of cooking the food at the table before serving it. The sizzling plate of hot meat was enough to turn heads and produced a theatre that’s not often seen these days.

Whilst the sizzler plate has become less fashionable in some establishments, operators still look for a way to keep their guests entertained and The Smoking Gun from Polyscience fits this bill perfectly!

I first became interested in the Polyscience version after watching it being used by a number of chefs on this year’s “Great British menu”. On the programme, chefs used it to create theatre for the judges. When the cloche was removed a cloud of bonfire smelling smoke would rise revealing their dish.

Although such theatre is fantastic, the greatest benefit I believe, is that the Smoking Gun gives the food a subtle flavour rather than the all consuming taste you can get with some other methods of smoking. With the Polyscience Smoking Gun, the taste of the food remains in the forefront whilst the smoke flavour remains subtle yet distinctive. This I believe helps enhance the foods natural flavour rather than mask it.

A few weeks back, I spend a couple of days with fellow chef, Justin Brown, in his restaurant, the Fifield Inn in Berkshire, where we played around with a few new recipe ideas.
One that features in Justin’s new book was smoked butter.

First we made our own butter by using the Waring food processor. One of the free accessory disks you get when you buy the machine is a whipping disc. If you leave it running for about 30 seconds the cream over whips and separates between the butter and the butter milk. Smoking the butter afterwards with Apple wood gave the butter a completely new take and offered us something different to the usual bread and butter served as part of a meal.

The smoking gun was also so easy to use. You simply load the gauze with a teaspoonful of woodchips, turn it on which starts a fan and use a lighter to ignite the chips. The stand you get with it is brilliant as you would otherwise need a “third hand” to help you balance it. In less than 2 minutes its all done and your food is smoked.
Another toy we had to play with was the new Buffalo Sous Vide water bath. Here we cooked a couple of Hens eggs at 62˚C for 2 hours. We served one with crushed potatoes and a pea puree and of course
smoked it before sending it!

The subtle smoked flavour worked perfectly in harmony with the delicate flavour of the sous vide egg and the theatre created by the smoke from the cloche produced a buzz in the restaurant similar to my fond memories of the sizzler.

It made me think, will my children be reminiscing one day over wafts of smoke from their dinner being served?

By Richard Ebbs


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