Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica), traditionally a famine food for Nordic peoples. Largely indigestible, some populations eat lichen from inside the digestive tract of freshly slaughtered reindeer: it’s easier for the human body to assimilate them thanks to the hidrolyzing work by the reindeer’s digestive enzymes
Bitterness is a very intriguing taste. Humans are born with an aversion to bitter tastes and through life we learn to appreciate bitterness, many adults actively searching the taste in their food. Bitter tasting molecules are hugely diverse, with little or no chemical characteristics grouping them together as a unit. Bitterness is thought to be a survival mechanism for recognizing toxins in our environment, most poisons are very bitter.
Felling a birch tree to burn
Smoked Atlantic Salmon, Scotland
Alkali solutions (particularly of limestone) are used in south-east Asian tradition to crisp up both fruits and vegetables. The crisping of fruits and vegetables occurs by binding free pectin, so works best with pectin rich fruits, especially, citrus, pumpkin and berries. By heating water and ash followed by subsequent straining a saturated solution of potash is obtained, that will have the effect of hardening fruits and vegetables so that they keep their shape during cooking. Other uses for alkali in the kitchen include giving the specific flavour and texture to pretzels, ramen, black olives, hundred year old eggs and the Mesoamerican technique of nixtamalization*. Literature review at NFL led to the discovery of numerous accounts of using NaOH as a debittering agent for yeast extracts. We wanted to use natural occurring products and so we experimented with debittering the yeast extract using wood ash for alkalinity, this proved successful.
Moss and Cep: reindeer moss with porcini mushroom powder. Served with a crème fraîche dip, it’s one of the most renowned dishes at Noma in Copenhagen
The most interesting experiments held in the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen, housed, since 2009, in a boat moored in front of René Redezpi’s Noma
Born in Edinburgh, head of culinary research and development at the Nordic Food Lab, he spends his time navigating the world through his nose and mouth