Modern cuisine at its best

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

Smoked eel, savoury pannacotta, apple jelly

Smoked eel, savoury pannacotta, apple jelly

A favourite from Castle Terrace Restaurant. Tiny cubes of apple burst on the tongue to complement the other flavours.

It’s about surprise

Oyster Pebble at l'Enclume

Oyster Pebble at l'Enclume

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.

Cod 'yolk' and garlic, salt and vinegar

Cod 'yolk' and garlic, salt and vinegar

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

Jerusalem artichokes, Ragstone cream, tarragon, malt

Jerusalem artichokes, Ragstone cream, tarragon, malt

L’Enclume’s soft artichokes, crunchy malt, creamy Ragstone (a cheese) and a perfect foil: crispy artichoke skin.

It’s a seasonal thing

Dumplings of turnip in Westcombe cheese, radish, alexanders and rock samphire

Dumplings of turnip in Westcombe cheese, radish, alexanders and rock samphire

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

A sweet finish at l'Enclume

A sweet finish at l'Enclume

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

Meat Fruit

Meat Fruit at Dinner by Heston

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.

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About Bread Baker Danielle

Danielle founded Edinburgh Foody in 2010. Having qualified as a professional bread baker in France in 2014, she is now on a new adventure in Gloucestershire. Check out Look out for occasional posts for Edinburgh Foody


  1. Pingback: Favourite Foods, Restaurants and Food Travel 2012 | Edinburgh Foody

  2. Pictures, descriptions, and details are just mouth-wateringly delicious! Thanks for doing this. You can do more of this kind of thing any time! I have been unable to subscribe to your blog. I think you have to put a widget on it that lets people know by email when you post something. The RSS feed is useless to me because I don’t ever check RSS (don’t even know how), and they don’t send a note to your email address when there is a new post. The email subscription would be a nice plus.

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