I don’t know whether you’ve heard of Blipfoto? You get the chance to take one photo a day and upload it with as much or as little description as you like. Fellow blippers (people who upload photos) comment on the photo or the topic
Commenting on a photo I’d taken at L’Enclume in Cumbria, K’s comment made me think. Just how do you define the fascinating, challenging, tasty cooking you get at certain top restaurants? How would you describe the experience to someone who hasn’t had the chance to discover how wonderful it is?
For me, to eat the food at such a restaurant is a real treat. It’s food you’re very unlikely to cook yourself. The ingredients can be unusual or unexpected. They may not look as you expect. Portions are small in size.
Is it molecular gastronomy? Is it simply modern cooking? We’ve probably all heard descriptions of some of Heston Blumenthal’s wilder creation such as snail porridge which may not make it very enticing.
I’ve come up with 5 essential ingredients of modern cuisine:
It’s about bursts of flavour
A favourite from Castle Terrace Restaurant. Tiny cubes of apple burst on the tongue to complement the other flavours.
It’s about surprise
A dish full of pebbles? Which one is edible? The one to the right of the green leaf: an apple meringue with chopped oyster inside. Even more astonishing is the green leaf, somehow it too tastes of oysters.
Not an egg yolk at all. It is cod, accompanied by a warm garlic mayonnaise set on puffed rice with smoked salt.It’s an amazing flavour worth seeking out. L’Enclume smoke their own sea salt but you can buy Maldon‘s version.
It’s all about texture
L’Enclume’s soft artichokes, crunchy malt, creamy Ragstone (a cheese) and a perfect foil: crispy artichoke skin.
It’s a seasonal thing
January is a difficult month for seasonal food. You’ll find many top restaurants closed at this time of year. L’Enclume pride themselves on cooking seasonally and this dish is a great example. Alexanders have a flavour that is parsley or chervil-ish. Rock samphire is part of the carrot family and not related to marsh samphire you might have come across. A revelation for me, as I am not partial to turnips!
It’s simply spectacular
This type of cooking seeks to assault all the senses and not least how beautiful it looks, crafted with precision and an eye for design. To end on a sweet note, gelled Cartmel grapes, yogurt with nuts, and brown sugar caramel
Over to you
Go on, take a chance. Every dish might not be to your taste, but what an experience. All your senses will have been engaged. That’s why I love modern cooking, but perhaps:
It’s nothing new
Your eyes tell you it’s a satsuma. In fact it is supremely silky chicken parfait at Dinner by Heston. The recipe dates back to the 1500s.
L’Enclume is located in Cartmel in the Lake District. You can stay over in one of their delightful rooms.
@dominicjack – Castle Terrace’s Chef Patron
Castle Terrace located in the heart of Edinburgh, recently won its first Michelin star.