The Fat Duck Cookbook — Orange and Beetroot Jellies

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This weekend I made my first attempt at tackling a recipe from The Fat Duck Cookbook. I attempted orange and beetroot jellies as the recipe seemed fairly easy and blood oranges and beets are in season. The key to this recipe is it is supposed to create jellies that fool the diner with their colors. The orange jelly is red and the beet jelly orange due to the use of blood oranges and yellow beets — or at least that’s how it’s supposed to turn out.

On Saturday we went to the farmers market and picked up blood oranges and yellow beets. I also picked up some 170 bloom leaf gelatin. The next day I went to work on my jellies. The blood orange jelly went off without a hitch. It turned out a beautiful beet red color, was smooth, and delicious.

The beet jelly, however, was not without its problems. I had a very hard time juicing the beets. No matter how much I tried, I could not get more than a tiny bit of liquid out of them and I ended up breaking my blender in the process. To add insult to injury, the more I tried to juice the beets, the greener the liquid became. I ended up taking the green pureed beets and forcing as much as I could through a fine mesh sieve. I ended up with more of a thick green paste than a golden liquid. I decided to go ahead with the beet jelly as by that time I had invested quite a bit of time in juicing the beets. Plus, if the key to the dish was surprising colors, I certainly had that with my green jelly! The result left a lot to be desired. It tasted like beet paste and looked like baby food. I don’t know that I would try this dish again. Even if I were able to get yellow juice out of the beets and create a more delicate jelly, I’m not really sure that I would want to eat beet jelly again. I haven’t quite figured out how or why to incorporate that as part of a meal.

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Eat Breathe Cook…the beginning

Over the last few years, my obsession of all things food has been growing exponentially. It started slowly back in middle school, when I realized that if I wanted to eat something other than my dad’s standard fare (tacos, chili, chopped salad, and….there must have been some others…), I would have to cook it myself. So I began offering to cook once a week or so, often to my parent’s chagrin.

In college I began to explore other cuisines, and for a brief time my friends and I started an international food night where we would try a new cuisine every month.

After college I moved to North Pole, AK and was determined to try every restaurant in the North Pole/Fairbanks area before I left. My girlfriend (now wife) was a good sport about it though she occasionally tired of me saying, “Let’s try something new.” To which she’d respond, “We always try some place new.”

We moved to Las Vegas a couple of years later, and I started cooking more often, rarely cooking the same dish twice. I loved cooking new recipes, because it was the perfect opportunity to try new foods. I started to get increasingly interested in cooking and took a few cooking classes for the home cook at Creative Cooking School in Vegas. After several of these classes, I realized I wanted a deeper knowledge and understanding of cooking, more than what was offered in these four hour workshops.

I found out that the local community college had a culinary program and offered weekend classes. I enrolled in Culinary 101 and spent every Saturday in class. I loved it! After that first semester, my work schedule/travel no longer meshed with the classes they offered, so I was relegated to reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows to obtain the knowledge I craved.

We moved to the Bay Area about a year ago. My job no longer requires frequent travel so I have been looking for culinary classes out here. So far none of the culinary schools I have found out here offer night or weekend classes. However, that has not dampened my passion. I find myself spending my free time reading cookbooks, cooking, watching cooking shows, frequenting farmers markets, planning which restaurant try, and all around obsessing with food. In fact, for the past month or so, I have been waking up early so I have time to cook before work. When I get home from work I start cooking again. After I eat, I read one of my cookbooks.

Right now I’m reading Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Cookbook. As soon as it came in the mail, I knew this was going to be an amazing book. So much so that as soon as I opened it up, I hugged it to my chest and told my wife, Jennifer, “This book is going to change my life.” So, yeah, Eat Breathe Cook. That about sums up my life.