One of the best things about working in the fat duck was the things I learnt and what I picked up which I could then transfer into my everyday cooking. For example, you try going to the shops and buying a sous vide machine on a student budget, let alone find the time to individually separate grapefruit cells while trying to meet a deadline. But the brilliant thing about the fat duck is it isn’t just a show of conjuring tricks (hot and cold tea – just wow), foam for foams sake. It also has some of the most inspired texture, flavour and smell combination. While creating a dish, Heston thinks about every aspect and the overall sensation, no sense is more important than another, the dish should look aesthetically pleasing, it should impress with its innovation, but it should also taste pretty damn good. So I decided to spin a few of the recipes I saw being created to make them easier to create fast and easily, while maintaining the amazing flavours. Even if you are not a fan of snails (the snails are actually not essential in my version) YOU MUST TRY THIS DISH, think the warming sensation of porridge mixed with the flavour comfort garlic bread.
Snail Porridge (My version)
Ingredients (serves 3 as a starter)
12 snails, shelled
2 cloves garlic
3 cloves garlic
large bunch of parsley
5 baby mushrooms
1 fennel head
1tbsp walnut oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar
shavings of parma ham (optional`)
1. For the butter, finely dice the garlic and mushrooms. Fry the garlic in 25g butter for 1min then add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Meanwhile pick the parsley from its stalks, puree in a food processor. Mix (using a electric whisk) the remaining butter, garlic mix and parsley and refrigerate.
2. For the snails, melt the butter in a pan with 100ml water. Add the garlic cloves whole and bring to the boil. Add the snails for 2-3mins each. Remove and set aside.
3. For the fennel salad, finely slice the fennel with a mandolin, toss in the oil and vinegar and season.
4. To serve, heat the butter in a pan till melted. Add the oats, then the stock in two batches, whisking with a fork throughout. Cook for 2-3mins then place in small dishes. Carefully place the parma ham on top then top with a handful of fennel salad and serve.