Friday, 13 June 2014


Fingerling Potatoes in a progression of textures & temperatures, - Baked Potato skin, Potato salad, Raclette potato, Juniper roasted potato, Potato soup and Crispy potato spoon & bowl.

                  First of all I must apologise to the followers of this blog for the lack of posts lately, as I have
just had surgery on my foot I haven't been able to make it into the kitchen or the backyard having said that, which is where my inspirations come from. Anyway here it is the first post for winter for this year and for a fitting kick off 'the humble potato'. This dish exposes the diner to the many ways the potato can be served. I've used the alpine theme with the likes of pine needles, conifer and juniper berries to act as the main component in flavouring the potatoes. The berries, like the needles, have a clean, bracing botanical flavour. This plate takes the diner on a progressional journey of textures, temperatures and techniques, making the boring old spud look a bit more enticing. Below I've highlighted each prep and its respective technique, these are not in any order of execution but for a tip letting the puree for the 'Raclette potato' hydrate over night does help with this technique.                                                                
BAKED POTATO SKIN- (hot, cold) Juniper, creme fraiche, caviar.                                                          
This is a taste of earth, sea, pasture and forest. To begin with I made a juniper oil by blending juniper berries with olive oil and straining the oil through a mesh sieve. I then baked the potato in a 170 deg. C. oven until tender. I then cut the potato into wedges, scooping out the pulp, the skin was then rubbed with the juniper oil and placed back in the oven to go crispy. Once removed, I placed a dollop of creme fraiche on to the skin and topped with black caviar, serve immediately.                                                        
POTATO SALAD- (cold) Pickled 83 deg. C. sous vide potato, mustard mayo, pine snow.                    
83 degrees is the optimum temperature for sous vide vegetables. Cooking the potatoes in vinegar and salt pickles them as they cook and the pine needle snow gives a refreshing jolt against the spice of mustard and the earthy potatoes. Thinly sliced potatoes, a dash of white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt were placed into a vacuum sealed bag and placed in to an 83 deg. C. sous vide bath for 90 mins. Once the potatoes were tender, the potatoes were removed from the bag and chilled in the fridge until cold. To make the pine snow I blended washed, finely chopped pine needles with water and a little glucose. This was then passed through a cloth lined sieve an poured into a plastic container and placed into the freezer. At the same time I placed a metal bowl in the freezer to chill. Once the the pine water was frozen solid I grated the ice into the metal bowl and placed the bowl of snow back into the freezer until I was ready to serve. For the mustard mayo I mixed two parts prepared mayo with one part wholegrain mustard and seasoned with a little honey and salt, this was also chilled to serve.                          
RACLETTE POTATO- (warm) Potato puree, Raclette cheese.                                                              
Raclette means both a type of cheese and also the name of a traditional Swiss winter meal where a round of cheese is placed by the fire and then the melted part of the cheese is scraped onto plates and accompanied with potatoes, gherkins and other fare. Raclette cheese has fantastic melting properties and is perfect for this technique. I used methocel for this preparation which forms a firm gel when heated and reverts back to its original state (in this case a puree) as it cools. But for best results it should be hydrated over night. I started this prep by boiling potatoes in salted water until tender. I then pureed the potato with a little melted butter, milk and a pinch of salt. I then added 5g methocel to 100g of water and blended with a immersion blender for about 2 minutes, this was then mixed into 160g of puree and placed covered in the fridge over night to hydrate. The next day I preheated the oven to 120 deg. C., I then filled a mould with the puree (in this case I used an eggshell for the mould), this was then baked for 8-10 minutes. Once firm the hardened potato puree was un-molded on to a lined baking tray, I then placed a thin slice of the raclette next to it and placed the tray back in the oven to melt the cheese. The cheese was then scraped from the tray lining and draped over the potato, smoothing the cheese to form a skin. With a strong brew of coffee paste and a small paint brush, I added some markings to resemble the potatoes imperfections and eyes. The potato was then lifted and plated to be served immediately.          
JUNIPER ROASTED POTATO- (hot) Coffee oil, juniper berries, sea salt.                                                  
With this I roasted the potato in juniper berries, the virgin coffee oil  rounds out the woody notes of the berries nicely. I simply roasted the potato in a 180 deg. C. oven with crushed juniper berries and a little olive oil, once tender the potato was served hot on a bed of conifer and the potato was topped with a drizzle of virgin coffee oil and a sprinkling of juniper berries and sea salt.                                        
POTATO SOUP- (hot) Smoked potato, blue cheese, gin.
Comforting, creamy earthy potatoes with the complexity of smoke, combined with the tang and bite of blue cheese with a kiss of gin. I first boiled potatoes in salted water until tender, once cooled I smoked the potato lightly before blending to a puree. In a saucepan I heated a little butter, milk and blue cheese until the cheese and butter had melted, to this I added the smoked puree and a splash of gin, seasoning with salt and pepper this was served hot.                                                                                
CRISPY SOUP BOWL & SPOON- Potato.                                                                                                
The final prep I carved a bowl and spoon from two larger potatoes, rubbing with a little olive oil and seasoned with sea salt I then roasted the potato spoon and bowl in a 180 deg. c. oven until crisp and crunchy. To ensure the soup bowl didn't leak soup everywhere, I prepared a water gel with a little gellan gum and lined the inside of the bowl. A great way to finish.                                                          


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