We all remember agar, yes? Using it in petri dishes for growing bacteria? What you may not know is that you can use agar for other things. Edible things. It turns out that it can take the place of gelatin in many recipes, especially jellies. Which is quite handy if you're a vegetarian, unless you like marshmallows, as it doesn't quite work in the same manner. Today's FOODSCIENCE! is all about agar! The first experiment of the day was to try and recreate the chocolate jelly seen oh-so-briefly on Masterchef a few weeks ago. Nothing special here: melt 100g of chocolate with 300ml of water, mix in some agar and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a mould. Leave in the fridge for two hours, and you get this:
I learnt a few things. Firstly, when they say CAREFULLY, they really mean it. Press down too hard on the whipper and you'll send the noodle shooting across the kitchen. Secondly, fruit purees are far too thick to be inserted into the tubes. After two unsuccessful attempts, I watered down the strawberry puree with orange juice and managed to get a couple of noodles from the remaining mixture. I'm thinking that the best idea is to use the gelatine filtration method to produce a consommé first, and then mix the agar into that. If I have time, I may try that before I go to America (the process takes a few days to work).
Still, they do look pretty, don't they?