Posted in challenging, french

Gentlemen’s Relish

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Someone suggested I try Gentlemen’s Relish (“it’s an acquired taste”) so I went round to my Professional Chef Friend‘s (PCF) kitchen cos I knew she had some.

So, er, lets have a look at the contents!

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The first thing that I’m struck by is the smell: fishy and acrid. The second thing you notice is how there is a layer of crystalised salt on top. Hmmm…

But how does it taste?

It certainly is an acquired taste. But only in the same way that AIDS is an acquired disease. What I’m cryptically trying to say is that it is really disgusting; fishy, hella salty; like burnt kidney and/or cat food and/or fish food. I can tell you are drooling all over your keyboard right now.

So what am I going to cook with this highly challenging ingredient?

If I had my way, nothing. But my PCF suggests a souffle because it “goes well with eggs’.

Cheese souffle it is then!

I begin by consulting Gordon Ramsey’s Secrets cookery book:

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And realise that’s an awful faff so I fall back on the recipe I used for my Cock souffle and assemble the ingredients:

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40g butter, 60g cheddar, 3 eggs, 40g flour, 250mls semi-skimmed milk and Gentlemen’s Relish (GR)

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I begin by splitting the eggs and whisking the whites till they form soft peaks (no more or the souffle will be granular, no less and it won’t rise)

And I made a roux by adding the flour, milk, butter in a sauce pan and whisking till smooth (add milk S L O W L Y).

After leaving to cool, I add the egg yolks and then mix in the egg whites (PCF says mix the lighter ingredient to the heavier, not the other way round):

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And I transfer the mix to some ramekins, one of which has One Of The Most Hideously Inedible Things Ever (GR) as an extra ingredient:

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And I place these into a hot (200c) fan assisted oven for 12 minutes…

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At this point I didn’t think the souffles would work because a)I wasn’t sure if I had whisked the whites enough and b)I couldn’t be bothered waiting for the oven to heat up so I put them in at 170c…

…so I was all like super worried and stuff because soufflés are notorious to get right ;(

Are they hell, check out these babies!

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They rose so much in fact, that I decapitated one of them taking it out of the oven. I’ve also forgotten which one I put GR in so this really will be a blind taste test! PCF is also along for the ride…

The first two I try are nice; crispy top, soft cheesy filling and generally technically spot on. But does the addition of GR to the third work?

Don’t be silly. It is really weird and fishy and wrong and I very nearly spit it out. PCF doesn’t mind it so much but does point out that the strong anchovy/cat food/fishy/death’s finger taste cancels out the taste of the cheese. She also says this would work better with good quality anchovies because they would be more pleasant and easier to incorporate into the mixture. PCF also has a cold which I think has impaired her tasting credentials somewhat.

Ooh hang on, PCF has just added that GR is good fayre post hard night out on the beer “although you probably wouldn’t have the faculties to make a soufflé” she adds.

So, have you tried Gentlemen’s Relish? What did you think? Am I being overly critical? Either way, head over to the Facebook page and share everything!

I am also trying to get short listed for best (and I use that term loosely) british food blog 2014 and need votes. so if you found this post interesting enough, I would be super grateful if you voted.

I can also be seen on Twitter.

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I write dumb things about food

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