Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Announcing They Go Really Well Together #18 - Plum And Blue Cheese

I'm delighted to host round 18 of They Go Really Well Together, better known as TGRWT.

Launched in April 2007 by Martin of blog.khymos.org, TGRWT is all about unusual flavour pairings - combining culinary ingredients in ways that we aren't familiar with from classical cooking. The scientific hypothesis behind these experiments is that if two foods have one or more key odorants in common, they might go well together and perhaps even complement and enhance each other. With the advent of modern analysis tools and the establishment of the Volatile Compounds in Food Database, this research has become much easier to undertake. But, as they say, the proof of the pudding...
They Go Really Well Together
Plum and blue cheeseI wrote an article on this topic for the Word Of Mouth blog in March 2008, in which I discussed flavour combinations drawn from Martin's research, the work of Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal and my own humble experimentation. Examples include chocolate & salt, cocoa & garlic, strawberry & coriander, trout & peppermint, mango & pine, liver & jasmine, carrot & violet, banana & parsley, harissa & apricot and saffron & beetroot. Several of these have been investigated in earlier rounds of TGRWT - with varying degrees of success.

For this round of TGRWT, running through the month of August, I've chosen plum and blue cheese. Your plums could be anything from Victoria to Mirabelle (or even greengages) and the cheese could be anything from Gippsland Blue to Dolcelatte to Roquefort. It's entirely up to you.

So, what do you need to do to take part in TGRWT 18?
1.Prepare a dish combining plum with blue cheese (plus any other ingredients of your choosing). You can use an existing recipe (if you can find one), or come up with your own idea.
2.Take a picture of the dish and write an entry in your blog by September 1st with TGRWT #18 in the title and a link back to here. Readers will be particularly interested to discover how the flavour pairing worked out, so make an attempt at describing the taste and aroma and whether you liked it or not. Don't be shy if things didn't work out the way you'd hoped. Only from the experience of failures do triumphs eventually surface!
3.A round-up will be posted here in mid-September, with pictures and credits. Please email trig[dot]chef[at]gmail[dot]com with the following details: Your name, URL of your blog, URL of your TGRWT #18 post and a picture of your dish (in .png or .bmp format and at least 400px wide). If you don't have a blog, email me your name, location, recipe, photo and a brief description of how it worked out and I'll be glad to include you in the final round-up.
Lots of luck with your cooking - I'm looking forward to some creative and original submissions.

Something extra to round off the meal
As per the usual rules, you can produce either a sweet or a savoury dish to test this pairing and appear in the round-up. I've chosen ingredients that will allow either. But I'm a pastry chef, with a passion for balanced food that makes good use of the flavour spectrum. So I'm running a competition for the entrant who most impresses me with a plate that:
1.Is a dessert dish (you can push the envelope a long way, but venison & plum cheesecake would be too far even for me!).
2.Incorporates at least two flavours from the following options: salty, sour, bitter, umami, pungent, astringent. Being a dessert, your dish will probably also have a sweet dimension, but if you can pull off a successful dessert without the sweetness dominating, I'll be even more impressed.
Excite Mr Pastry with a dessert

Remember, you don't have to take part in this extra bit of fun, but if you are having a go then please make that clear in your email. The prize for the winning submission is that I'll develop a fine dining restaurant level version of your creation, with your name built into the title of the dish, and I'll try to have it incorporated into my menu at work. I can't promise to achieve this, but I'll do my very best.

26 comments:

James said...

Cheese and bisuits with sliced plums? If I ever find time, I'll have a go.

The wild strawberry and coriander sushi turned out nice btw.

neil said...

I've done one and ill post it when in the next few days. The results were mixed but interesting.

docsconz said...

I've tried a very simple approach and published it to my blog (http://docsconz.typepad.com/docsconz_the_blog/2009/07/tgrwt-18-a-basic-approach.html). It worked well there. If I have time, Imight try something more complex and adventurous, though clearly the pairing works, at least in a simplistic form.

Craig said...

No worries Trig. Give me a few days and ill do something. All over it mate!

Arfi Binsted said...

count me in, Trig!! will do the post sometime in August. Cheers!

Invader Xan said...

Intriguing combination. Out of interest, do you suppose it might work with more exotic plum-based ingredients like umeboshi?

Using blue cheese in a dessert though? Now that's a challenge...

Trig said...

James - be adventurous. Try plum and biscuits with sliced cheese. Or sliced plum on cheese biscuits. Or sliced biscuit...

Neil - loads of time to try again if your plums went pear-shaped.

John - the combo certainly works OK and I see Martin has unearthed the chemical basis for the relationship. I'd like to see something more adventurous if you can find time.

Craig - you should have no trouble with this challenge!

Arfi - with your cultural background I expect nothing short of brilliance from you and a really great wine pairing as well!

Invader Xan - there has to be a limit here and the challenge doesn't extend to the entire genus prunus. I'm intrigued by the prospect of a dish containing umeboshi, though. Am I right in my suspicion that you are focusing on my competition, addressing the salty and sour flavour dimensions with your choice of fruit and tempering with honey after cooking? I'd have to rule out the ume as I think it's an apricot... unless you can convince me otherwise.

neil said...

http://www.thewaroncookbooks.com/the_war_on_cookbooks/2009/08/tgrwt-18-plum-and-blue-cheese.html

I'm sure I posted the link last night, maybe not.

Making recipe said...

i tried it yesterday evening Came out so good...thanks for the recipe mate

Dennis said...

Nice challenge, will give this one a try :)

peter said...

I was thinking about doing a Roquefort ice cream and slivovitz sauce, but since something close has been done I have 2 other ideas. All I need now is the time...

...and ume is an apricot. It would be wicked with the cheese, though.

Trig said...

Neil - got it and it looks just fine.
Making recipe - have you got any spare of that stuff you've been smoking?
Dennis - looking forward to it.
Peter - nothing wrong with another cheese ice cream and I quite like the idea of incorporating plums in the form of slivovitz.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I saw this on khymos a while back...very cool that you're involved. I hate blue cheese, but respect the idea, at least. Kind of how I feel about small dogs (okay, I get it. They're cute and small. But they're so worthless compared to large dogs. And blue cheese seems so comparatively worthless to cheddar, gouda, parmaggiano, etc.)

docsconz said...

Round Two - slightly more adventurous - Veal chops marinated in a smoked blue cheese and Japanese plum combo, CVap'ed to 130ºF then grilled and sauced with Smoked blue cheese, plums and veal juices - see here: http://docsconz.typepad.com/docsconz_the_blog/2009/08/tgrwt-18-grilled-veal-chop-with-blue-cheeseplum-sauce.html

Ms Alex said...

I hate blue cheese but I'd be willing to try it if it was sufficiently hidden by another contrasting flavour...

I'll have a think and I'll definitely try this pairing, it's made me curious. I'll post to my blog and link back in the next couple of weeks. :)

Trig said...

Spiteful Chef - I'm surprised you don't like blue cheese, coming from the state of Colorado which produces prize-winning blue goat's cheeses such as Haystack Mountain and soft cow's cheeses such as MouCo Blü. G'wan - give 'em a go!

John - much better. I quite fancy some of that. Maybe I'll come round next time you organise a BBQ.

Ms. Alex - remove the word "hidden" and insert the word "balanced" and you've cracked it. This is all about turning 1 + 1 into 3 or more (or maybe even -1 +1 into something positive). Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Olga said...

Thanks for inviting me to participate in this!!! I've just emailed you my info for the plum/blue cheese pizza :)

http://mangotomato.blogspot.com/2008/07/pizza-plums-onions-gorgonzola-pine-nuts.html

Alessandro said...

This is great! I tried to make something and it worked really well! Thanks Trig!
Here the link of my blog in which you have recipe and pictures:
http://independentchemist.blogspot.com/

Alessandro said...

Plums and gorgonzola chip cookies in a sandwich shape

This is the link directly to my blog post!

Trig said...

Olga, Alessandro - thanks for your great contributions. I've emailed you both directly with comments. See you both in the round-up.

Alessandro said...

Trig, I didnt get your email....

Brianemone said...

Here's my contribution.

http://www.foodology.co.nz/2009/08/blue-cheese-and-plum-for-dessert-tgrwt-18/

Tri2Cook said...

I have my dish (a dessert that I was hoping to put up for the competition) done and the text part posted on my blog but I'm not sure I'll get home early enough to plate it and get a picture added tonight. So I guess I'm not going to be eligible for the competition... but I'm still going to submit it tomorrow for the roundup if that's ok.

Tri2Cook said...

P.S. You can read about it at...
http://tri-2-cook.blogspot.com/2009/08/tgrwt-18-plum-and-blue-cheese.html

Trig said...

I think I've got everyone's entries now and have written back to you all individually. If anyone is still wondering why they haven't heard from me, please email me to let me know. The round-up will be published on or around 15th September.

Julie said...

Hi,
Thanks for great idea. I visited my parents in their garden house recently, they have lots of plums in there, so I have surprised them with nice and special starter. We really enjoyed the meal.


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