Saturday, 19 September 2015

Red Cabbage Gazpacho with Mustard Ice Cream

The starter for a three-course Heston Blumenthal extravaganza is the famous Red Cabbage Gazpacho, a Fat Duck classic. Simply put its a gazpacho soup, served cold, with diced cucumber and mustard ice cream.

I'd already tackled the bacon and egg ice cream the day before so by now my ice cream maker was getting a good work out. The ice cream was to be the starting point of the recipe given that the remaining components such as the fresh cabbage juice and a mayonnaise flavoured with red wine were to be done just prior to being served.

The ice cream isn't all that dissimilar to the bacon and egg ice cream in its composition. Whipping cream and whole milk are mixed with skimmed milk powder and caster sugar and heated until the sugar and powder have dissolved.

Mustard Ice Cream

Once cooled over an ice bath you then mix in the mustard. The recipe calls for English mustard and Wholegrain. I used Dijon and Wholegrain, mixed like crazy and then placed into the ice cream machine to churn.

Mustard ice cream does sound a little on the side of weird but after tasting the bacon and egg ice cream the day before I decided to give it a! This is incredible! Sweet but at the same time the fragrance and heat of the mustard comes through producing a 'fire and ice' effect, almost like a Dijon style sauce that you would use on chicken but cold, incredible flavour.

Making the gazpacho itself isn't too tricky. I blitzed red cabbage in a food processor and placed it into a cloth set over a sieve. If you have a juicer this is a heck of a lot easier. Squeezing the cloth while suffering a bad case of purple hands resulted in the required 250ml of juice with half a cabbage to spare.

Blitzed Red Cabbage

Cutting a cucumber into dice doesn't really warrant much of a mention so with that the only thing left was to make the red wine mayonnaise which was a normal mayonnaise with red wine and red wine vinegar to produce acidic notes and a pink colour, oooh hello sailor!

Purple bread anyone?
Diced cucumber

Finishing the gazpacho leads you to using a piece of bread as a sponge to add starch to the red cabbage juice to act as a thickener before combining the resulting liquid with the mayonnaise.

Serving up requires the dreaded rocher. You really must feel sorry for the poor buggers in the kitchens of The Fat Duck who have to sculpt these egg-shapes of ice cream perfection. Key criteria for the perfect rocher seem to be a warm spoon, a steady hand and ice cream that's on the point of returning to double cream consistency.

The final plate

Managing to place a semi-pro rocher into the centre of the bowl surrounded by purple goodness went pretty well in the end, so how did it taste? The ice cream is awesome, simply brilliant, sharp and sweet at the same time. The gazpacho is acidic with a lovely fresh hit. The whole thing together is weirdly reminiscent of a prawn cocktail, minus the seafood. That's the closest comparison I could reach. Its definitely a great dish for the summertime and not all that tricky to knock up for a few people.

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