Test tube dinners to replace traditional Christmas meals


A SCOTTISH department store is offering customers a new way of cooking Christmas dinner- in a test tube.

Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh is selling a molecular cuisine kit, which allows people to experiment with unusual dishes you would normally see done by TV chef Heston Blumenthal.

The £29.99 kit includes pipettes, tubing, silicone moulds and instructions on how to use syringes and ice baths to complete the experimental dishes.

The traditional Christmas dinner could soon be replaced by test tube meals if the new cuisine kit proves a hit


Recipes in the kit include foie gras, muscat and dark chocolate lollipops for a starter, pulled duck confit, white wine and orange spaghetti for a main course and frosty mint and chocolate marshmallows for desert.

There is also a spherical chorizo and cider side, a deconstructed tiramisu Christmas pudding, gelled pina colada, chocolate-balsamic macaroon, spherical tzatziki and apple and bear tea.

A spokesman for Harvey Nichols said: “It’s giving people the opportunity to create the sort of dishes they’ve seen on television or heard about at home.

“It’s something that’s a bit different, it allows you to create a meal that looks spectacular and tastes quite exciting. If you’re having a dinner party around the festive season you can really play about with it and surprise your guests because it’s not going to be something they’re going to have anywhere else.

The kit also includes recipes for sauces made of foam and spherification-  a technique where flavoured gel liquids form the shape of a sphere when plunged into an ice bath.

Roy Brett, head chef and proprietor at Ondine at the Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh, said: “It’s a bit of fun at the end of the day.

“You’ve got to take it for what it is- some people will enjoy cooking like that, but if anyone asks me round for Christmas lunch and it’s a test tube turkey roast, I’m not going.”

Molecular cooking has become increasing popular thanks to Heston Blumenthal who is known for his artistic creations in his restaurant the Fat Duck in Berkshire.

He also has his own television shows such as Heston’s Feasts where he  creates dishes such as snail porridge, meat fruit and bacon and egg ice-cream.

This new cooking technique, molecular cooking, was founded in 1992 by French chemist Herve This and Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti.

They made creations such as meringue in a vacuum chamber and cooked sausages across car batteries.

Mr Kurti said: “I think it is a sad reflection on our civilisation that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus we do not know what goes on inside our souffles.”

However, Fiona Burrell, who runs the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, is not convinced by the idea.

She said: “In the 1980s you had people bringing in nouvelle cuisine and some did it very well but the more it expands into the world the more it gets diluted, and it went further away from the original concept it started to get itself a bad name and moved on.

“I suspect with chefs in kitchen the more that happens with molecular cooking the more they will just move on to the next new thing.

She added: “Some people can handle that type of cooking very well, but there are very few professional market who can.

“There have been lots of attempts at what Heston and El Bulli do and they’ve not done particularly well, but in the right hands it can be really good.”


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