Everybody loves pizza. Its relatively uncomplicated to try at home. Provided you can lay your hands on three key bits of pricey kitchen kit and a couple of obscure ingredients. So the toppings are restricted to a tri-colour combination of tomato, mozzarella and bay-zill. Live with it. Do any of us know what the hell it even is?

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And Baked Alaska too. All you need is a knife and some pans. Note: This is a very long post, nearly words, as befits a perfection recipe. Special Equipment: None Special Ingredients: Sherry vinegar most large supermarkets , Rustichella-brand Spaghetti optional star anise, coriander seeds.

Tough, because this recipe features lots of it. I had an ache down the right side of my body the next day that made me want one even more. I used to mock a uni mate of mine for putting carrot in his spag bol though back then mine came out of a Heinz can. Heston uses quite a lot of carrot in his recipe. Turning a whole pork shoulder into 1cm cubes was a breeze in comparison.

Oh, for both of the first two steps you might want to have some finger-sized plasters nearby. STEP 3: Frying the sofforito, onions and meat I juggled a few pans here to save precious minutes lost chopping.

Something easy at last! The caramelised onions take a bit longer. The addition of star anise is kitchen science all Hestonthusiasts will know about. Doing this regularly could mean a lot of cash spent at the supermarket Schwartz-aisle. My advice would be to go to an Asian wholesaler where you can pick up a lifetime supply in a massive sack of the stuff. Anything to avoid the risk of biting into a chunk of woody star anise in your finished meal.

I promise. The final ingredient here is nothing more exciting than water. Sorry, Knorr. Then you just set the pot on the lowest possible heat for the next 6 hours. You might have better luck, but when I cooked this it smelled atrocious. The entire house reeked of rendering fat. Warning: You do need to keep an eye on this, keeping the water topped up so the meat stays covered. Trust me well, trust Heston it will all come together at the end.

You need to get straight on with this next step. Several steps, actually. The first being the bloody awkward business of briefly boiling and skinning the tomatoes.

Scooping, salting and sieving the seeds is also a chore. This is our next lesson in kitchen science, and part of how Heston earned his PhD. Tomato seeds or the pulp around them are incredibly rich in umami compounds, this step gets the most out of them to help create a supremely rich, meaty dish.

Heston talks about there being a lot of carrot in the dish, but at this point you need to add a third lot of onions along with the tomatoes. Hope you remembered them in your earlier chopping. STEP 6: Cooking the tomatoes Along with the onions the tomatoes will spend the next two hours in their pan, most of the time on a low heat. Next comes the fun part: seasoning. Still, you backwards-folk are welcome to put your two-pence in the comments section.

The final part of this step did make me think twice though, pouring a massive amount of oil in to fry the tomatoes. Again, trust Heston and the fat Duck development team, the next two hours will make all the difference.

Note: with only one hob going this is the best time to think about dessert. To keep the dish authentically British Heston still uses spaghetti for his spag bol. His preferred choice is from artisan pasta makers Rustichella. For the rest of us, the TV show stated that the two key elements in making the perfect pasta are shaping it through bronze dies and slow drying. Look for these details on the side of the pasta packets in the supermarket. Let me know if you find any others. Then slather it in oil and butter to stop it sticking together.

You can do all this while the finished sauce is off the heat and infusing in step 9. STEP 9: Finishing Touches After 2 hours of slow simmering that pale, thin sauce we left in step 7 will have reduced the a magnificently thick, richly flavoured consistency.

The bouquet garni, parmesan cheese, Sherry vinegar and, since this is a Heston recipe, lots of butter. This recipe asks for a slightly less alarming g of the stuff to be stirred in at the end. Blue cheese butter. His perfect chilli con carne? A Bloody Mary butter or rich spiced butter if you go with the Waitrose recipe. Can chefs become immune to butter over time? Disposing of these tiny strands will be particularly galling if you paid extra for the Rustichella stuff.

Make it a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. And try to be a bit neater than I was. An object lesson in how unexpected ingredients can bring out the key elements of a dish. And after all this rich meat the decadent, dark chocolate fondant was a perfect dessert.

This is spag bol dialled up to Replace the oxtail with shin or cheek. Nearly as flavoursome, easier to handle. Use tinned tomatoes. Less oil for frying the tomatoes. Omit the finishing butter. Plus, I care about my arteries.

Make twice as much, and freeze the rest. After all this work, why not enjoy more another day. And along with the rich meatiness those were the stand-out features for me. Brilliant writing and photography. Cairmen : A dedicated and detailed account of cooking the spag bol recipe. Worth reading. Just Hungry : A concise and engaging take on the recipe, with an alternative version worth trying. Rurbanism — Another fast-track version of Heston;s Perfection recipe If you liked this post, have tried the recipe yourself, or have an opinion on going to all this trouble for a humble spag bol then please leave a comment.

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And Baked Alaska too. All you need is a knife and some pans. Note: This is a very long post, nearly words, as befits a perfection recipe. Special Equipment: None Special Ingredients: Sherry vinegar most large supermarkets , Rustichella-brand Spaghetti optional star anise, coriander seeds.


Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection

Cut the chips nice and chunky. Get the biggest pan you can lay your hands on and bring it to the boil. DO NOT bring the pan to a rolling boil, as the vigorous bubbling will jostle the tender potatoes about and break them into tiny pieces before you can rescue them. Most of the flavour in potatoes is in the skin, this way you can infuse that flavour into your chips. Start checking your chips at the 15 minute mark. Be very gentle with them. Then they go back on the rack, then back in the fridge, then they wait to be fried a final time.

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