When we read Kita’s report about Heston’s Essential Flourless Mustard Sauce recipe from Masterchef Australia on I Want To Cook Like Heston we couldn’t wait to try it out ourselves.
This blog has turned into a regular group hug of late. It’s been a joy to dedicate posts to some of the other blogs that both entertain and inspire us. Our way of trying to give something back to people who’s writing we really enjoy.
You may have seen our San Marzano tomato Spaghetti Bolognese tribute to BigSpud, one of our all-time favourite creative blogs. Then there were reports on the Heston from Waitrose Earl Grey Panna Cotta and Beetroot Spelt Risotto in honour of Michelin Microwave, a brilliantly funny reviewer of celebrity ready meals.
Most recently our round-up of eating out round London was a tribute to The Critical Couple, whose engaging and authoritative reviews are our first point of reference before eating out in the capital. (We keep meaning to do a Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream tribute for the magnificent Kavey Eats, but our typical 2 – 6 week lead-time on publishing posts means we always miss her deadline).
Today we’d like to salute Australian cook Kita’s blog, “I Want to Cook Like Heston”. A set of highly detailed, personal and entertaining reports on the fun of recreating a huge selection of Heston Blumenthal’s recipes. We really like Kita’s approach, her step-by-step photos, accessible writing and honest opinions are something to aspire to with what we do here. Like us, she’s not afraid of a long post either! Some of the feasts she’s planned and created are a marvel to behold.
Her most recent post, an account of Heston’s Flourless Mustard Sauce recipe from Masterchef Australia, looked like something we just had to try for ourselves. And we were intrigued by the idea of a sauce that sets while you’re still eating it.
We especially wanted to try it as we’ve had absolute disasters with Heston’s sauce recipes in the past. Both our Heston Thanksgiving Gravy recipe and Heston Christmas Turkey Gravy recipe turned out to be far too bitter to be enjoyable. We were excited to try out a sauce with a thicker texture whose flavour wouldn’t be ruined by careless reducing.
Special Equipment: Stick blender
Special Ingredients: Agar powder / flakes
Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cost: About £5, but a lot of the ingredients are store-cupboard standards
Serves: 2 – 3
100g White Wine
75g Chicken Stock
115g Whole Milk
110g Double Cream
1tbsp Agar Flakes
15g Dijon Mustard
20g Wholegrain Mustard
2.5g Tarragon leaves, chopped
5g Flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Reduce wine by 2/3 then add stock and cook for 1 minute.
- Add milk and cream. Bring to boil then lower heat and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and sprinkle in agar. Return to heat and whisk thoroughly to mix.
- Continue to cook for 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in the mustards and herbs.
As Kita points out this is a fairly easy recipe to make. Step 1, reduce some wine.
Then stock, milk and cream go in. Cook these for ten minutes to remove the raw dairy flavours or “lactic note”.
In goes the Agar powder. Seeing as we’re making this recipe as a tribute to Kita we took her advice and reduced the amount used. We decided to go with ½ the recommended quantity, but as we’d find out Kita’s recommendation of ¼ would have been much more sensible.
A lot of heat and a vicious amount of stick blending comes next. This Modernist Cuisine technique ensures the agar is evenly distributed through the sauce.
Finally, chuck in two types of mustard, some herbs and give it a stir. Congratulations, your Heston Blumenthal Essential Flourless Mustard Sauce recipe is ready.
Here’s the finished sauce, livening up some pork. So far so good, you might think. And, yes, the sauce has a thick, creamy mouthfeel and the balance of flavour is just right. I’m becoming a big fan of tarragon. I will have to work out which of those dying pots in the garden it is.
However, by the time we’d finished eating something mightily peculiar had happened. Take a look:
Yes, those are flakes of sauce.
You see, unlike gelatine, your agar will happily set at room temperature. The set gel is also stable at temperatures up to 85°C, so you practically have to boil it if you want it to melt back into liquid form. This means that, before we had even finished eating it, the “sauce” had set into a solid gel on our plates.
Here’s the leftover sauce in the pan. You can see the clear indentation where I’d left the ladle sitting.
Heston says use of a stick blender can blitz this into a form of “fluid gel”, which you can then reheat into a smooth sauce. We gave that a go, and put the reheated sauce into a tumbler to see if it would stay liquid or re-set again.
Here’s what we had just an hour later: 100% voodoo.
Kita is probably onto something with her point about the type of agar. The recipe calls for agar “flakes”, where we used a powder. Naturally flakes would have more gaps in between -so a powder would have a higher density of active ingredient in each tablespoon.
In any case, Kita makes absolutely the right call suggesting lowering the agar concentration. This sauce used just half of what Heston recommends, and it was still far too much. The mouthfeel was smooth and indulgent, but there’s nothing practical about a sauce that sets to a solid jelly in less than ten minutes.
If we were going to make this sauce again (which seems likely as I think it’s a component of Heston’s Chicken and Ham pie recipe) we would definitely be reducing the concentration of agar to ¼ as Kita recommends, perhaps even less.
Xanthan Gum (from the gluten free shelf in your supermarket) also looks like it’d be worth trying for sauce thickening, as recommended by Modernist Cuisine.
Would you try this mustard sauce recipe, or have you got a recipe for mustard sauce of your own that you think we should try out? Or maybe you know how I can watch Heston Week on Masterchef Australia online without a VPN? Please have your say in the comments section.