This is tapioca maltodextrin.
It's a starch that bonds really well to fatty foods. In the fancy-free world of molecular gastronomy, it has been used for weird and wonderful things like making peanut butter powder; I just had to have a go.
On the left we have 40g of nutella, whereas on the right there's 26g of maltodextrin. You put them in a food processor, blend until mixed, and then sift them out into a contain. BEHOLD, LOOK WHAT I HAVE CREATED!
It's a rather odd sensation; the powder recombines in your mouth and tastes exactly like nutella, albeit somewhat less strong than if you just have it straight. For those of you wondering just what use this is, erm...I'll come up with something eventually.
That is olive oil powder. I'm still struggling to think of any use for this, but think! You can carry olive oil on a plane now! (okay, so maybe security might wonder what the mysterious unmarked powder is, but I'll sure they'll be understanding...)
For my next trick, I mixed chocolate with space dust (or pop rocks, as they're known in the US). My theory was that the dust reacts with water, but as there's no water in chocolate, it would set until it was eaten. I was partially right; some of the rocks starting popping as I poured the bag into the melted chocolate, but enough of them stayed dormant to make the finished sweets rather interesting (the flavour of the rocks seems to get washed away in the process, but the popping still works wonderfully!). Just wait until I conquer tempering.
My repeat of the aero experiment from North Carolina failed miserably. I'm not quite sure why. At the moment, I'm thinking that I didn't shake the whipper enough (one recipe says to do it for a minute, whereas the iSI instructions say only 3-4 times). That and maybe plain chocolate works better, so I'll try it again next weekend!
The final experiment for this weekend was Salmiakki Koskenkorva. It's the drink that I had on New Year's Eve at Christa's (remember?), a mixture of Finnish liquorice and vodka. You can see why it appeals to me.
The most difficult part was obtaining the sweets (I eventually tracked them down via eBay). After that, it was simply a matter of pouring the broken liquorice into a bottle of vodka, giving it a vigourous shake, and leaving it all to dissolve. Hurrah!
Next week: the next attempt at aero chocolate, and SPHERES!