Like a Simpson



Ferran Adria


 Having lived in London for so many years it was inevitable that I became familiar with Heston Blumenthal.

I am not, however, very taken with his cooking. It is too complicated and offy for me to like it. I much prefer Jamie’s uncomplicated, unmeasured food (he almost never uses proper quantities in his recipes) served on paper plates to Heston’s. I did buy one of his books just to see what the fuss was all about.

Now one thing I like is that he applies molecular gastronomy to his dishes.

That marvel which is the liquid nitrogen means that you can change the texture of any food without it losing flavour or smell. Which is f…great.

Ferran Adria is a different thing altogether. I have only heard of El Bulli but eating there would definitely be in my list of “Things to do before I die“.

The fact that Matt Groening personalises a cartoon and Simpsonises you, that is saying something, man. I admit that, on seeing the cover for his last book I stopped in my tracks and I though: “Hang on, this guy must be good.” I mean, if Adria has a Matt Groening personalized cartoon it probably is because he ate at his restaurant and was bowled over by the food. (Incidentally, it was one of the show’s producers who actually went there).

Adria is renowned the world over for creating foams or airs. He achieves this with a siphon bottle and N2O cartridges. In fact, his cooking wouldn’t be out of place in a Futurama episode.

The closest I got to this was an old siphon bottle (which has been around for longer than I have) which we keep in our flat in Miramar. My dad once explained that gas turned ordinary water into fizzy water and I used to watch him in wonder perform this miracle worthy of MacGyver with an open mouth. If I had only  known earlier what this liquid wonder was! But, as I said, chemistry and I were not the best of friends when I was at school. Had we been taught applied chemistry, had we been told and demonstrated how you can make fruit juice ice-cream but you can’t make caipirinha ice-cream (or lemoncello, or Tia Maria ice-cream) simply because alcohol doesn’t freeze in your ordinary freezer, I am 100% positive I would have remembered it to this day.  

As soon as the penny dropped (quite recently, I have to say) my eyes opened up in wonder at the sudden realisation of all the potential of “my” humble siphon bottle. (I am planning on calling possession of it as soon as I go to Argentina).  

Note: You do realise, do you not, that I can’t afford to eat at El Bulli. I haven’t checked their menu prices but I can only imagine how much they will charge you for serving a deconstructed tortilla de papas.

Ever wondered what a tortilla which underwent the siphon treatment would look like? Here it is:

 Tortilla de papas


Ferrán Adriá’s Deconstructed Tortilla Española

Ingredients x 4:


Air charges 1
Siphon bottle isi 1
Pasteurized egg yolk 380 g
Water 10 cl
Flour 10 g
Table salt 1 g

For the onion:

Peeled onions 250 g
Olive oil type 0.4 refined 1 g
Table salt 10 g

For the potato foam:

Air charges 1
Siphon bottle isi 1
New potatoes 250 gr
Reny Picot cream 125 cl
Water in which the potato was cooked 100 cl
Abasa oil 40 cl


Virgin olive oil 40 cl

How to make:

For the potato foam:

Peel and cut the potatoes in pieces. 
Place them covered with water on a pan and cook them. 
While still hot, drain them and place them in the blender with their own cooking water, the cream and the oil. 
Pass through the chinoise twice and put 400 g in the siphon bottle. 
Add one air charge. 

For the onion:

Peel and cut the onion in a fine julienne. Cut in half so that it is easier to eat. 
Saute in a pan with the olive oil until it is dark. 
Season with salt. 

For the zabaglione:

Mix all the ingredients, pass through a sieve and put inside the siphon bottle filled with one charge of gas. 
Heat in a bain Marie at around 60ºC.


Place the potato foam in the bain Marie at around 60ºC.
At the bottom of the glass, put the cooked onion and one tablespoon of zabaglione. 
Finish the presentation by placing the potato foam at the top and drizzle with a line of olive oil. 


Note: You will be able to freeze spirits and make delicious alcoholic ice-creams with some liquid nitrogen, if you can get hold of some.

Check out these links on how liquid nitrogen is used in cooking: 

h (in Spanish)





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