Heston's Greatest Hacks
Photography: Myles New/Waitrose Weekend
Add some magic to your cooking with these tips from the master
Chef Heston Blumenthal is known for his whimsical and innovative approach to cooking. And since 2010, the year he teamed up with Waitrose, his food has delighted – and occasionally divided. His Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding was so popular when it launched in 2012 it sold out in days and was advertised on eBay for double the price. This year, his eagerly awaited Christmas collection includes Night Before Christmas mince pies and other festive treats.
Heston’s recipes often include neat tricks that go against the norm. Here are some highlights from his time working with Waitrose.
“Most people carve a leg of lamb, for instance, so that the meat is parallel to the bone. But to make it more tender, carve down the bone, remove the meat and then slice it crossways. Do the same with turkey breast meat. Oh, and always rest the meat. Rest, rest, rest, rest, rest."
“Sprinkle chicken wings with skimmed milk powder before roasting them… it kicks off the Maillard reaction which gives you so much flavour which makes for fantastic gravy."
"If you were just to roast a piece of gammon at a high temperature, it could end up being quite dry. This way, it's sitting in liquid and it is a much gentler cooking process."
“To make the best roast potatoes, leave them under running water, you need the starch to be washed off. If you keep the starch in the potatoes they won't go crispy."
''Many people ask me how to make Brussels sprouts taste nicer. For me, the best way to eat sprouts is to treat them like cabbage by separating the leaves and cooking them in butter with smoked bacon, but please don’t overcook them!''
For this year’s Christmas pudding, why not go for a family-friendly chocolate flavour? Heston says: "I love pouring chocolate sauce over my Christmas pudding... it goes really well with rich figgy pudding and makes a change from the usual brandy butter."
To cook the perfect steak, Heston recommends putting the meat on a cooling rack on a tray in the fridge 24 hours before. When cooking, use a very hot pan and flip them every 15 to 20 seconds.
Heston’s famous triple-cooked chips are widely celebrated. His thrice-cooking method means that the fat, finger-sized chips have golden, crisp exteriors and insides that are light-as-a-feather fluffy, like a down pillow.
Pack in the taste with frozen peas. Heston says: "Frozen peas are actually sweeter and tastier than fresh peas because they are frozen within minutes of being picked."
Upgrade your bacon buttie this weekend. Heston says that rolling your bacon with a rolling pin in parchment paper “has a slight tenderising effect”. He also recommends toasting only one of the two slices of bread.