You may already know this, but, I studied Food Science at University. Think molecular gastronomy meets extreme chemistry with a sprinkling of maths and you’re about there. I enjoyed it immensely. All the tests and experiments that you see on the TV are familiar to me and if there’s something I don’t know about food poisoning it’s not worth knowing. Imagine what a joy it is to sit next to me at a formal dinner, “I wouldn’t take that from the buffet if I were you, there’s no guarantee it’s stayed out of the danger zone”. I have all the fun…
Cream Chargers got in touch with me to see if I would like to try out their caviar making/spherification kit at home (RRP £7.99 from Cream Chargers online). I saw it as a good reason to dust off my lab coat and safety goggles and have a bit of an experiment in the kitchen. The basic idea is to make a mixture which contains an alginate it is then activated when it’s put into a solution containing calcium forming a gel or a capsule.
I thought I would give it a go with rhubarb and follow the instructions. I boiled up the rhubarb with a little sugar and water and then strained off the juice to give me the 250ml required. I then added the sodium alginate (1/2 tsp) and blended it in with a hand blender. A lovely pink colour, all going well so far. I got my calcium lactate dissolved in 500ml water ready to pipette the rhubarb juice in.
The first attempt wasn’t great as I used the pipette but when I switched to the syringe I got much better results and could do slightly larger balls too. I had great fun making all sorts of shapes and sizes but I did find it really tricky to get the rhubarb caviar out of the solution (I didn’t have a slotted spoon). Because of the difficulty I had getting the caviar out I got a bit carried away with making big blobs which was really quite satisfying to do.
There was some success and I managed to scoop out a few bits of caviar to try but the rest of my attempts burst as I tried to get them out. I’m not very patient either which doesn’t help. I think the kit itself is good and provides you with background information and a few recipe ideas to try; if you’re experimental in the kitchen then I think having a go with this kit would provide you with all sorts of different possibilities. I think a slotted spoon would have really helped me out, or using something slightly darker in colour for my first at home attempt.
Thank you to Cream Chargers for the kit. All opinions expressed are my own.