Heston Blumenthal's Victorian Feast [video]
In the latest series from Channel 4 in the UK comes Heston's Feasts (website), Heston Blumenthal is cooking his way through history by mining the past for recipes. The first episode focused on the Victorian period, a decadent era fueled by absinthe, opium, and prostitution, or as Blumenthal calls it, an era "filled to the brim with invention, madness, and above all, imagination."
Blumenthal tries to create his version of a Victorian dining experience, taking inspiration from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. He invites six celebrity guests to his dinner: Jemma Redgrave, Dawn Porter, Rageh Omaar, Richard Bacon, Kathy Lette, and Toby Young, and watches their reactions via a video monitoring system.
It's incredibly bad timing for this series to start, what with Blumenthal temporarily closing his Fat Duck restaurant due to mysterious illnesses, but we can't wait to see future feasts that include a Roman Trojan Hog with edible intestines and 24 blackbirds baked in a pie.
The "Drink Me" drink from Alice in Wonderland: an individually layered drink with flavors of toffee, hot buttered toast, custard, cherry tart, and turkey.
Mock turtle soup with Mad Hatter tea: A watch made out of stock that dissolves into a soup broth, made with a complicated process: start with a consomme, freeze, ice filter, freeze, separate in a centrifuge, freeze again, freeze dry, set in molds, and then covered in gold leaf. With a turnip mousse to mimic an egg, a terrine of pressed and cured pork fat and oxtail, and enoki mushrooms. (See the video after the jump).
An edible Victorian garden: an undersoil made of bread, anchovies, and chopped herbs; soil made out of grape nuts, pumpkin seeds and black olives; a gravel path made of fried eel, tapioca, and waffle cones, baby vegetables, potato pebbles, and fried insects injected with a tomato concentrate ("to give a realistic ooze when bitten into"). Blumenthal says, "This is certainly as ambitious as anything I've ever made before."
An absinthe-based jello dessert, with a giant wobbling luminescent centerpiece powered by vibrators from a sex shop.