Arcimboldo’s Summer

Arcimboldo’s Summer
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was the master of these pre-surrealist paintings of figures formed of grouped objects (not always food).

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Heston's Chocolate Christmas Cake

Appealingly packaged, this cake looks like it’s going to deliver a mind blowing (and waistline bursting) blast of pure chocolate. In fact, it’s a fruit cake covered with a layer of chocolate icing. 

The chocolate icing is perfectly okay, though nothing to write home about, while the fruit cake is boring. It has some unusual spicy notes, which are neither pleasant nor unpleasant — and which don’t save the fruit cake from dullness. Altogether, this festive dessert is ho-hum rather than ho-ho-ho, especially given its enticing packaging. 

I bought this as a post-Christmas markdown, for a quarter of its original price, and I was very disappointed. If I’d paid the full price (£15) I would have been seething, and indeed would probably have demanded a refund. Given that this is the "Improved Recipe" gawd knows what the original was like.

Once again, Heston at Waitrose proves hit and miss.

(Image credits: The pack shot is from Ocado. The shot outside the pack is also from there.)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Heston's Prawn Cocktail

Aha. Another offering from the mad scientist of the gourmet kitchen. An old fashioned prawn cocktail made using Canadian cold water Pandalus borealis prawns. 

Well, it tastes like a prawn cocktail all right. And it really is old fashioned — in the best sense — and honest. Very traditional. Notably sweet, but it’s a fresh creamy sweetness and not cloying. A nice residual tang of spice. I’m increasingly impressed. But then I did get it for 79p instead of £3.99...

I guess the main thing I'd say about it is that it doesn't have that nasty downturn in taste which you get from something made with artificial ingredients, like a synthetic sweetener.

It is like a good home made prawn cocktail. Which leads us to the inevitable question. It costs four quid, so why not make it yourself? (Assuming you have the time.) You can even use Heston's own recipe, which is available here

Incidentally, the prawns are caught using what is called a Demersal otter trawl. There are certain environmental problems with this kind of fishing, which you can read about here.

On the whole, from now on I don't think I'll be buying prawns caught in this way, if I can avoid it. Sorry, Heston.

(Image credit: the pack shot is, of course, from Waitrose's website.)