When God Gives You Lemons

The more content I seem to have for this blog the less time I have to blog about it, a sad truth about the nature of work. That said, I have finally negotiated some free time to post something. I’m always aiming to keep whatever goes up on here at as high a standard as possible, I don’t want to post something ‘just because’.

Recently I enjoyed a glorious week of holiday, myself and some friends invaded my home back in Norfolk, went to the beach, drank immoderately and ate everything in sight. Whilst on holiday I decided to cook a small dinner for anyone who wanted in.

It’s a perspective changer to cook for your friends and not for customers, and oddly I felt rather under pressure about it all. I wanted to show how much I had developed as a chef and to say thank you for all the times they had put up with me chatting shit about food.

The spring season is a time I really love, and luckily I caught the very first crop of English asparagus at the market. I think most chefs have their little indicators about the changes in seasons and for me asparagus is the sign that the coldest months are behind us.

The menu:

 

English asparagus, 62 degree duck egg, Brillat-Savarin sheep’s curd

Lamb neck, cracked wheat, pea puree, braised baby gem lettuce

Lemon curd, lemon and thyme granita, meringue, lemon charcoal

 

The dessert was something I’ve been looking to work for a while now. The charcoal is an unusual element, you take the lemon ‘carcass’ after juicing and roast it at 200c until totally black, then blitz it. It has this amazing lemony perfume and a great charred, bitter flavour that cuts against the sweetness and acidity elsewhere. Happily, despite some dubious looks from my friends, it went down very well.

Technically there were some things to tighten on the dish, the oven blew out my meringues a bit they didn’t come out how I wanted, and the curd was slightly overset. I feel it might also need a puree balance the textures on the dish but I think if the curd’s consistency is right this probably won’t be necessary.

 

 

Lemon Curd

You could replace this with any citrus fruit, I’m tempted to have a bash at a seabuckthorn one – despite notable fuckups by great chefs like Nathan Outlaw with it. As a technique and form it’s pretty solid though.

3 sheets gelatin

150g citrus juice

12 large egg yolks

200g sugar

150g butter (diced)

3g salt

Bloom the gelatin in cold water.

Gently cook citrus juice, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Be careful to keep the temperature low, if you have a high heat you coagulate the yolk and screw up the texture. Start low and work up. Whisk often, when the mixture turns thick and forms a ribbon on the surface before melting back into the mix it is done.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and gelatin (squeeze excess water from it).

Finally, to make it light, transfer the mix to a stand mixer and whisk on full for 5-8 minutes, until fully incorporated.

That’s it for now, I am trying resolutely to keeping getting posts up on here so keep the faith. Myself and a couple of others have got a project night penciled in for later this month so I will post up everything from there, and probably the dish I test for it beforehand in the next week or so.

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