When I first took receivership of a can of 'Cooking Mist' from Lurpak, I'll be honest here and say that I was slightly perplexed. After all, what is cooking mist exactly? How does one apply mist in the process of cooking? Does the can contain a dense fog or does 'mist' allude to a powerful steam? Or does it produce a nebulous vapour, a phantasmagorical fire, hazed in green, bewitching, beguiling and magical? Seriously, what the hell is cooking mist?
Well, plainly put (and I discovered this after reading the nifty little pamphlet that came with it) cooking mist is a sprayable blend of Lurpak butter and vegetable oil, apparently giving fantastic results when glazing and basting, offering a burnished gold finish to any dish. Now a simple explanation of 'sprayable butter' would have caught my imagination straight away ("Wahey darlin'! I just got me some some liquid buttah! Just think of the fun we can have with this!") but I am guessing that the marketing department was pushing more for the ethereal and mysterious so that Daphne could impress her dinner guests.
"Daphne.....Daphne, how did you get these potatoes so crisp? They are simply marvellous! What is your secret?"
"I know. They are fabulous aren't they. I've been using this farntarstic new product from Lurpak called 'Cooking Mist.' It's changed my life."
"Cooking mist Daphne? Cooking mist? Are you sure that you're not pissed Daphne?"
As you might have figured out, I am still a bit flaky with the whole branding concept for this new whizzy product but when Lurpak approached me to test it out and embark on a new #foodadventure (yes, everything must be hashtag-able these days) I was more than happy to do so. In for a penny, in for a pound and all that.
With anything like this, I do normally have a tendency to take the Flash Harry approach and a thought went through my mind to see if this cooking mist would work like mini blowtorch to bubble up the top of a creme brulee. But that would have been juvenile and immature and plus I wouldn't be setting a good example to the kids if I showed them how to makes flamethrowers with aerosols. So I began to wonder if this cooking mist could help me beat an old foe. Or rather, a simple task that I haven't quite cracked yet. That is to make a decent crackling from a joint of pork.
Straight away people are going to be up in arms about this, tutting and sighing at the admission that I have mixed success with this perfunctory skill. But there you go, I've said it. I don't aways get my crackling right. Which is a crying shame because I love crackling. My whole family loves crackling. There have been fights; big, proper, serious fights at the dinner table before over who gets the last piece of crackling. So really I should have nailed it by now but for every success, there has been a rubber offering of despair, a burnt hairy hide of pain. No succulent crunch, just pity and withering looks. Could this new fangled cooking mist help me out?
Well I gave it a whirl last Sunday, after procurring a large joint of pork loin from the local butchers, C Johnson and Son. I wouldn't mind but I only went in for some steak but the proprietor sweet talks me everytime. After carving it in two and placing one piece in the freezer, I decided that I would keep things simple and roast the remaining hunk of pig. I then decided to stuff the thing with some wild garlic (always looking to use up the wild garlic) and then spent a good half hour re-tying the damn thing (meat tying, that's another skill I could do with mastering). With a sharp knife, I then made some incisions across the skin and rubbed in a handsome amount of salt. The joint was then left in the fridge overnight, uncovered, so that the skin could dry out some more.
At this point you might be screaming "Dan, that's all you ever have to do to get decent crackling, you numpty!" But believe me when I tell you, this tried and tested route doesn't always work.
Sunday, roasting day, was the day that I then put the Lurpak *double-fingers* cooking mist *double-fingers* to the test and the first thing that surprised me was how fast the sprayable butter came out, so be careful with the sheets if you do try to use it in the bedroom. A liberal dose was applied and bang, into the scalding hot oven it went. I always go for the blast first and then I turn the oven down, it makes no sense to do it the other way around. Or should that be the way? If you have any tips on crackling, do let me know.
Even after half an hour, the skin looked like it was on it's way to crackling nirvana. After an hour, it seemed like the mission could almost be complete but obviously I had to let the meat cook through properly so I gave it another hefty spray of mist, just for good measure. The loin was roasted for two hours all told and when I hoisted it out, the skin gave a satisfying tap when I poked at it with my chef's knife. The crackling was a success
Is that the advertorial complete then? Does Lurpak 'Cooking Mist' guarantee you hard piggy nuggets and chewy shards of joy everytime? Well, I would have to use it again for another pork roast to pass full judgement on that one and plus I should admit that I cut the crackling off and put it back in the oven for five more minutes at full blast (I got nervous). However, after this first foray with the magical fog, the results do look promising.
Who knows, in the not so distant future, we could all be using 'Cooking Mist' without the merest sniff of intrigue or disparagement. But for the present, I can forsee plenty of cocked heads as people stare at Lurpak's new cooking range on the shelves. Which incidently includes clarified butter, butter especially blended for baking and 'cooking liquid'. No not water, stock or wine. Cooking liquid. I am sure we will soon get over ourselves though.
And then the real food adventures can begin.
|Wild garlic and pork stuffed with wild garlic (before tying, of course)|
|Tied, sprayed, crackling on its way|
|Boootiful............whoops, wrong animal|
|Gratuitous crackling shot|
|Curled cracking, with pork, bubble and squeak, leeks and carrots|