A Michelin Experience

As an avid foodie, I am always constantly looking for new places and new experiences wherever I go. A few days ago, I came across a website depicting Michelin restaurants and I discovered there are in fact currently four such restaurants here in Edinburgh: Number One, 21212, The Kitchin and Martin Wishart. (To be honest, I am a bit embarrassed that I never heard of any of them until now despite having spent years here lol. Apparently there are quite well known.😂😂) I had a few experiences dining in Michelin restaurants in Hong Kong and London years ago, but never elsewhere. (N.B. I just found out that Yauatcha in Soho which my friend and I visited a couple weeks ago also has a Michelin star! Link👉 https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/08/02/dim-sum-and-desserts/) So, my mum and I decided to pay one of those restaurants for a visit during lunch hours (which put Number One out of question since they don’t appear to do lunch hours.) I first phoned up the Kitchin, but was taken back in that they are fully booked for the whole of August and are placing people in waiting list for September!😱😱 So I was glad when I called Martin Wishart next, they have spaces available for the next day.😀

The restaurant is located by a river in Leith, and the beautiful interior certainly made a bold statement from the minute I stepped in. The service was absolutely outstanding as one may come to expect. (In fact, I felt I was slightly taken a back by how attentive they were. Awks. 😂😂) The minute we sat down (and before we were provided the menus), food already came rolling in the form of canapés and complementary appetisers.

Complementary appetisers: two canapés of basil macarons with tomato gazpacho and cumin crackers with curried cabbage slaw (top); sourdough served with seaweed butter, smashed olives and tomato sauce (bottom left); pea soup & croquettes (bottom right).

Right out from the gate, the canapés already impressed, especially the savoury macarons (which my mum was still going on about afterwards! ❤️😂) This unique take on macarons had a very delicate texture that instantly melted in the mouth, and I loved how they presented the classic combo of basil and tomato in such an innovate way. Definitely very inspiring!👍 The crackers were also very delicious (and kind of reminded me of coronation chicken lol!) I also loved the croquettes and the pea soup (though my mum were slightly more impartial as she felt the croquettes were slightly too salty and the earthy taste of the soup a bit too strong😅). I was really intrigued by the condiments that were served with the sourdough, especially the seaweed butter, though we couldn’t really taste the seaweed in it. (My mum preferred the tomato sauce, though I was more of a fan of the savoury olives.)

Starters: crab and tuna tartare with avocado, apple and kombu vinaigrette (top) & croutons of braised pigs’ trotters with mushroom vinaigrette (bottom)

We went for their three-courses lunch menu which we felt were very reasonable priced (£35) given the quality of the food and the service plus the complementary appetisers. Since there were only two choices in each course, we decided to simply order them all so we could both have a taste of everything. For starters, I absolutely loved the pigs’ trotters dish as the trotters were tender and rich combined with the flavourful mushroom vinaigrette. 🤤🤤 The crab and tuna tartare was also refreshing and appetising. (My mum loved the presentation.)

Mains: steamed fillet of sea bream with glazed vegetables and tarragon vinaigrette (top) & roasted saddle of rabbit with baby leeks and mushroom risotto (bottom)

For the mains, here came something that neither of us ate properly before and that was the rabbit. I was very intrigued by how it would taste (as I have heard that it tastes like chicken), and it turned out for me to be the best dish of the day!👍👍👍 The rabbit was almost like a very tender chicken, but also quite gamey and flavourful at the same time. The mushroom risotto was a perfect compliment!❤️❤️ As for the fish course, I found it overall to be nice (I must confess personally I am not a huge fan of steamed fish) but the star of the show for me were the delicious glazed vegetables, and the dish was absolutely stunning to look at.

Desserts: white chocolate mousse with passion fruits crémeux, mango sorbet, lime and ginger (top) & strawberry millefeuille with crème légère and strawberry sorbet (bottom)

And finally, of course, it was dessert time! 😋 The white chocolate mousse was absolutely a no-brainer choice for us given its classic combo of passion fruits and mango, and it tasted like just as we expected, tang and exotic. We weren’t sure how the white chocolate mousse would turned out to be like, but it was not overly sweet at all and its subtle sweetness paired very well with the other acidic components.👍 The millefeuille for me was good with its crispy puff pastry and delicious strawberry sorbet, but the flavour profile just wasn’t as exciting as the other dessert.

After dinner chocolates – white chocolate fudge & dark chocolate truffles with salted caramel

After a very satisfying meal, there was one final delight with the after dinner chocolates. For someone who is not a fan of fudge and salted caramel, I actually quite enjoyed these chocolates. Moreover, I loved how they served these chocolates over a salt mixture (I was not 100% sure what it is lol) to counteract the sweetness of these chocolates, which for me was ingenious.

What an experience ❤️❤️❤️, and it certainly opened my eyes. But, more importantly, the passion and the love of food were undeniable in these dishes.😊

Away We Go

Finally, my summer holiday has officially begun! And as if my holiday hasn’t come quick enough, I am already packing for my trip to Paris tomorrow. 😉 I have always been very excited to visit the city again since the last time I was there when I was 4 years old, and now at last it’s happening! Hopefully, I will have plenty to share with you guys about it. 😊

One of the things I am most looking forward to now is to see all the amazing pâtissière in Paris, and I am hoping I will learn something more about them while I am there. So, meanwhile, here is a quick throw back to an entremet I did a while ago.

This entremet is composed of a raspberry mousse with a layer of vanilla sponge, sandwiching two layers of jellies, one blackcurrant and one clear strawberry. The entremet is topped with a tempered chocolate flower. For those of you who may have seen the recipe of my mango mousse cake, the recipes for the individual components follow almost the same method. (Here is the link 👉 https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/06/29/its-a-long-hot-summer/) To make the raspberry mousse, replace the mango purée in the recipe with a raspberry purée. The vanilla sponge is the same recipe without the desiccated coconut, and the blackcurrant jelly is made using blackcurrant juice. The glaze is made from raspberry purée. This entremet is also moulded using a silicone mould. Also a quick tip– when demoulding, dip the mould quickly in warm water to loosen the mouse up, then you should be able to get a clean finish when removing the entremet from the mould. 😉

Do you have any travel plans in the summer? Let’s share in the comments section! 👍

Facing My Macaron-er Fear

Everyone has a fear. Sounds like something from a horror movie, right? (Not that I would know ’cause I refuse to watch horror movies most times haha.) But, to my fellow cooks and bakers out there, is there a dish that no matter how many times you tried and tried to perfect, it still seems to remain the bane of your life? Your ultimate culinary nemesis? The Nightmare on Elm Street that keeps waking you up? Well, for me, that thing is macaron.

I had my fair share of failures when it comes to this little, adorable French dessert. Cracked top, footless, underbaked, and even macarons as flat as pancakes. For a period of time, I even tried to avoid making them altogether as I can’t stand the thought of it! However, yesterday I decided to face my fear of macarons once again. The result? Three trays of macarons that have almost all cracked! 😭 (I think it’s to do with my oven temperature being too hot. Though because I don’t have a conventional oven at home, it’s hard to adjust accordingly… More on that later.)

Luckily, I still managed to salvage a few. The filling is a dark chocolate ganache with a strawberry jam centre.

They are not perfect, but nonetheless, they are still miles better than the ones I used to make years ago. The recipe I used is by Cupcake Jemma. And quite honestly, having tried quite a few recipes, it’s by far the best one I discovered. I would really recommend it to those of you who are interested in making macarons. See the link of her YouTube video here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uWSOJMcvDec

Here are a few tips I have picked up that I would suggest to pay close attention to:

1. ALWAYS sieve the ground almond and icing sugar to avoid a lumpy surface.

2. This recipe uses an Italian meringue, which I think it’s much better than recipes using French meringue. Supposedly, it gives the macarons more stability. Regardless with the science behind it, I can tell you I have had much higher success rate with this method.

3. Take great care when you fold the meringue into the ground almond mixture. Over-mixing and under-mixing can become big problems for your macarons.

4. Make sure you leave enough rooms when you are piping your macaron batter. Reason see below.

5. Tap your baking tray on the surface to let out air bubbles. Because the macarons are likely to spread a bit as you tap the tray, it’s important you leave rooms when piping. I particularly like Jemma’s idea of using a cocktail stick to pop any air bubbles lurking inside the macarons. It ensures a smooth surface.

6. Make sure you leave the macarons to dry so a skin is formed on top. (Test it by the finger method mentioned in the video.) This ensures the distinctive feet of the macarons will be formed during baking. As they mentioned, it does depend on the environment you are in. In UK, it’s really quick because we have a very dry climate. When I was visiting Hong Kong, it sometimes took over an hour even with air conditioning!

7. The oven temperature is very important (as I have painfully learned). Oven too hot will result in cracked and browned tops, whereas oven too cold will result in footless macarons.

I have a small oven at home, so adjusting the temperature has proven to be difficult. I have tried to bake the macarons at the bottom of the oven and placed another tray on the rack above to block out heat coming from the top, but neither seems to result in much changes, so would love to hear any suggestions or advices on that.

Do you have any tips of making macarons? What is your biggest cooking/baking fear? Let me know in the comments!