Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bright and Breezy, it's Cheesy à la Zizi

Fanny clearly feels that her own creations may not be entirely eccentric enough, so introduces us to the creator of 'à la Zizi' for our next lesson in 'making it jell'. Fanny says we can learn a great deal from the whimsicality of Alexis Soyer, who was a one time chef at London's great Reform Club. Some say he was the very first celebrity chef. For Fanny to recognise outlandishness in someone else must've meant he was REALLY out there, which no doubt sealed his celebrity. He was seemingly obsessed with everything being 'at the slant' - Fanny notes that his ties, waistcoats and hats were all 'à la Zizi', either slanting in pattern or cut or being worn at an angle. Food presentation was not immune. Fanny says his lesson to us is to create 'charming and unusual vari-coloured sweet or savoury moulds' to match his diagonal obsession, so let's get our slant on!


Fanny recommends this treatment for any and all jellies or aspics, be they sweet or savoury, but notes that the effect is especially charming in creamy creations. She suggests savoury creamed mousses filled with chicken, salmon, cod or shrimp. Not for me. Her own pic-strip and example is a savoury cheese tower in pastel shades of pink, orange and green surrounded by Scottish Oatcakes. It feels only right for me to recreate it just as is, no tweaks, no tiddling, just as Fanny intended. No slant on the original ;-)


The base of the savoury mousse is a custard of egg yolks and milk. I use Almond Milk for mine, I'm really not a fan of large amounts of cows milk in anything, and I imagine it will give an even more savoury, nutty flavour to the finished dish. Fanny whisks the eggs, milk and seasoning together over a double boiler before adding the grated cheese. Fanny waits until the mix is thick to add her gelatine, but as I'm using Agar Agar it goes in while the mixture is cold and heats up and dissolves with everything else. The final additions are single cream (Fanny says you can use coffee cream if you can't get single, but that's not something I've ever seen) and whipped up egg whites. The cheesy mix is really thick and quite stringy to mix, but tastes great - ok I'd admit it I dipped my fingers in. Fanny does recommend tasting for seasoning though at this stage, so I'm only doing as I'm told. 


Fannys trick to present the moulded mousse 'at the slant' is to rest the mould, in my case (following Fanny) a simple wetted - I'm learning - Pyrex bowl, on a wooden spoon while pouring in the first slanted layer. Fannys first layer is pink, therefore so is mine. Once set, the bowl is slanted in the other direction and a green layer added, followed by a purple one and finally an orange one. The cheesy mousse takes the colour well - I use Wilton Gels and only a very small dot is required. Fanny doesn't give any tips for doing this successfully to allow each layer to set without the rest of the mix also setting meantime. The benefit of using Agar is that the mixture can be reheated and liquified when required, poured on and left to set again, but this wouldn't be possible with gelatine. When the mousse is unmoulded it's very firm - probably due to the Agar Agar which seems to turn everything the same solid structure - but tastes good. It's hard to see past the slants of colour and rubbery feel that trick your brain into thinking it's sweet. (Slanted) hats off to Chef Soyer though, it most definitely an eccentric presentation for cheese. It's very savoury, certainly 'à la Zizi', but if I'm honest leaves me feeling a little queasy. 

22 comments:

  1. Gosh. That's all I can say really. Gosh.

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    1. I can send you some over if you like - lots left!

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  2. Once again, this confirms that Fanny, god bless her, permanently tripping her tits off! Day brightened once more xx

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    1. Totally tripping! Glad I've made you smile ;-) x

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  3. I'm guessing Fanny was a fan of flower power going by that colour scheme? Although I'm a fan of lots of food colouring, I can see why you found the cheesey queasy :(

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    1. Unusual colours for cheese kind ;-) My Dad always said to me 'you wouldn't see green cheese but you'd want it'... Well, Fanny did!

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  4. That's one crazy recipe, I never knew Fanny was so surreal.

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  5. Love the colours & the trick of getting them a zizi !

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    1. It's certainly bright, I think next time I try a la Zizi it'll be sweet though! Thanks...

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I have no doubt she knew... That has really made me smile so much, thank you! :-)

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    2. Sorry I wanted to change the wording of my reply slightly and ended up deleting it! Reposted below.

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  7. Fanny really 'slipped up' with her French here. 'Zizi' is French for 'willy' :) She was forever telling people she was half french, which suggests to me that it was no error and she knew. Love her even more :)

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  8. How much Agar Agar did you use?

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    1. I don't remember the exact amount, it was a spoon or two of the powder as per the instructions on the tub - a certain amount for the total fluid amount. Sorry not to be more specific!

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    2. I made it quite solid so it didn't collapse, a bit like a wobbly Edam? You could use gelatine leaves if you are not fussy about it being vegetarian? Let me know how it goes! Use a little extra whichever you choose just in case!

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  9. Did Fanny dust hers with a bit of icing sugar?

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    1. Not this savoury one, no... But if you made a sweet one instead she probably would, a thick dusting!

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