It probably isn’t much of a surprise to those of you who saw the pictures I shared of my new apartment, or those who saw pictures of my last, that I am an avid reader, which my groaning book shelves can attest to. In all truth, that isn’t even the half of it, as I have said before, I now read most of my books on my Kindle. While quite a few of the books I read are thriller (anything by Gillian Flynn) or comical shorts (Sloane Crosley and Mindy Kaling) I have a special place for those who write about food. They capture my attention, inspire to be more adventurous with my cooking and make me wish I could be a better food writer.
When Alma books offered to send me a food fiction book, I instantly said yes, and it rocketed straight to the top of my summer reading pile. Vanilla Salt (hey that’s the type of marshmallow in this post!) by Ada Parellada is the story of a the failing restaurant of a stubborn, stuck in his ways chef brought back to life by the new, beautiful, vivacious foreign kitchen help. Whilst the over arching plot is the typical generic romance that you want when lounging around in hot weather, what really makes the book special is the love affair between the author and the food she writes about. As a chef herself she brings a life and magic to the scenes in the kitchen that make you feel as though you, yourself are standing over the pans stirring them. Like the movie Chef, I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, this book shows the importance of social media in the food industry, and how it has changed how people discover and share their experiences of food.
As soon of I read the title I imagined up sugary pillows of vanilla-y marshmallow capped with a savoury twist of maldon sea salt. There is nothing quite like a homemade marshmallow, it is so much smoother and moist than it’s shop bought counterpart. With the help of a candy thermometer they are relatively simple to make, and you get to experience my favourite bit of kitchen magic. The moment when, as you slowly trickle hot sugar syrup into the bowl, the egg white goes from an unattractive foam to puffing up into something luxurious and thick.
Slight side note to this post. I finally found graham crackers in the UK (At Loon Fung in Chinatown)! Which meant I finally tried my first ever s’more and it was amazing!
Previously on BAKE
One Year Ago- Sticky Chicken
Two Years Ago- Moules à la Marinière
Social Media Links
makes 16 large mallows recipe by Jennifer Brown
1 egg white
½ tsp lemon juice
5 gelatin leaves
1 ½ tsp glycerin syrup
Seeds of one vanilla pod
5 tbsp cornflour
maldon sea salt
- Leave the gelatin leaves to soak in a bowl of cold water.
- Wipe the inside of the bowl and mixer beaters with a piece of kitchen tissue dipped in lemon juice. This removes any trace of fat from the equipment which would stop the egg whites from holding any air and puffing up.
- In a heavy bottomed pan mix together the sugar, water and glycerin. Put on the stove over a medium high heat, and using the candy thermometer boil until it reaches 120C.
- When the sugar has reached 105-10C start to whisk your egg white until it forms stiff peaks.
- When the sugar has reached 120C turn the beater down to medium-low, gently pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl, making sure not to hit the beater (this will cause the sugar to fly out of the bowl which is both dangerous and messy).
- Squeeze the water from the gelatin leaves and add with the vanilla to the marshmallow mix.
- Turn the whisk up to medium high and beat until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature.
- Whilst the marshmallow is whisking generously coat the inside of your plastic tub with oil.
- Pour the marshmallow into the tub, cover lightly with clingfilm and leave to set for an hour.
- Using an oiled knife cut the marshmallows into squares and then coat them in the cornflour mix.
- To add the salt to the marshmallow, using either a paint brush or the tip of your finger dab a tiny amount of water in the middle of the marshmallow (this will help the salt stick). Press a few flakes of maldon sea salt to the marshmallow.
- Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
specialist equipment: candy thermometer stand mixer or electric whisk plastic tubs