Molecular Gastronomy… Chef’s Secrets!

Filo Chocolate Mousse Cigars with black sesame

This week Celebrity & Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala launches his new cookery school at his villa in Mijas, ready to teach some tricks of the trade to the public!

ONE of the first books I ever wrote was called Chef’s Secrets, back in the day.
(It’s still available on Amazon for about €1!). It is a great book filled with well-rehearsed recipes but when I look at it now 25 years on, food has reached new heights and how different Chef’s Secrets would look now! I have always had a cookery school lurking amidst my restaurants, teaching ‘cheffy’ techniques like homemade bread, stocks and sauces, presentation, basic skills like knife skills and on the trend latest recipes.

Food like everything evolves, and so, I thought it would be fun to teach the modern way we cook nowadays which we call Molecular Gastronomy, but I have adapted it for home use with new techniques that I have specially created for the cookery school. The result has the same effect but without the expense of machines like sou vide, dehydrators, commercial smokers, ice cream machines etc. Molecular cookery works for me because it combines, culinary art with science, technology, creativity, theatre and sustenance. To me, that is what a dining experience is all about. If you take away the creativity the theatre and the art, you end up with a plate of food and whilst that might be very tasty, it isn’t memorable, magical or any different to any other day in your life.

Cookery school regulars Kevin and Helen in Ready Steady Cook apron!

I often explain our restaurant as I would explain buying a car. You can buy a Nissan Micra that will do the job and get you about, it won’t cost much and all in all it is probably a pretty good car. But if you want an exciting driving experience with world-class technology that gives you to a tingling sensation, take out a Porsche 911 or a Porsche Panamera (even an old one). You walk away thinking… WOW! Now that is exactly how I want you to think when you eat at The Little Geranium. That alone gives me the inspiration to keep developing ideas and the reason that I came here to the south coast of Spain, to try and make a difference to the normal.

Some examples of molecular cookery techniques are smoking, sou vides, emulsions, liquid-nitrogen, dehydration, purees, powders, gels, foams, airs and snows. Once you know how to do some of these things and with a little help from stylish plate choices and a Michelin-trained chef, you could be serving your friends at home Michelin standard cuisine and it will literally blow them away! Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal have become world-famous for molecular gastronomy. You can’t get a table at Heston’s for about eight months and it will set you back about £300 per person. You don’t have to wait as long if you visit The Little Geranium!

We are opening on July 1 with new tasting menu concepts offering a variety of choices at a variety of prices to suit everyone. For example, a five-course tasting menu is only €42 per person. We always try to offer great value. Our Platinum tasting menu with nine courses, includes our Porsche Panamera to collect and return you and costs €85 (terms apply… see online) So what are you waiting for? Come and experience some world-class cuisine, I am here waiting to cook for you! You can email Michele (below )for more information about our tasting menus, the cookery school, or our vouchers for 2020 (which entitle you 10 per cent discount for 2020 when purchased now).

Filo Chocolate Mousse Cigars
Most molecular cookery is about unusual, imaginative presentation; food is art.mHeston became world-famous for his snail porridge and the electronic seashore sounds from the shell he serves with his seafood course. Here is a simpler way of creating a bit of wow factor, especially if you have a cigar enthusiast sitting at the table!

For the chocolate mousse (serves four)
6 gelatine leaves
6 egg yolks
80g of caster sugar
460ml of double cream
200ml of whole milk
1 orange, zested
80g of 70 per cent bitter chocolate
20g of 70 per cent cocoa powder

To make the mousse:
1. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
2. Mix the egg yolks and caster sugar together in a bowl, until pale
3. Bring 300ml of the double cream together with the milk and orange zest to a boil. Pour the mixture onto the egg yolks and sugar then return to the pant on a low heat and cook until the mix thickens (like making a custard)
4. Remove from the heat. Finely chop the chocolate evenly and stir in, along with the gelatine and cocoa powder.
5. Place the pan over a bowl of ice to cool. Meanwhile, semi-whip the remaining 160ml double cream
6. When the chocolate mix is at room temperature, fold in the cream until fully incorporated. Transfer to a dish or bowl and chill for a minimum of two hours in the fridge before serving

For the Filo Pastry Cigars
1 pack of Filo pastry
100g of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

How to make the cigars
1. Remove one sheet of filo and cover the rest with cling film to keep it moist.
2. Brush the melted butter over the layer but do not soak it
3. Remove another sheet of filo and put directly on top of the first one.
4. Repeat and brush with butter
5. Now cut the pastry into approx. 17cm long strips and roll it over the handle of a wooden spoon. You will need one spoon per cigar.
6. Place the wooden spoons on a baking mat on a baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C until golden all over, it will take only a few minutes.
7. Carefully remove the cigars and cool.
8. Repeat process

Note: Soak your wooden spoons in cold water for an hour or in order to avoid them burning in the oven! Finally, fill the cooled filo cigars carefully with the chocolate mousse from a piping bag and then dip one end into the black sesame to resemble the ash! (see photo).
Serve with a cigar paper around the end or more simply over a neat quenelle of ice cream

Follow Steven on Instagram… saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain… 2020 For bookings:[email protected]

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Steven Saunders

Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella