I bought agar last week so I could make a vegetarian fondant icing for the upcoming birthday cakes. It’s the first time I’ve thought far enough in advance to have the time to search out agar, and it’s a technique I’ve wanted to try for a long time. Besides, Lia did a school project on seaweed last term, so it was only fitting that we use seaweed in her cake. Once I had the agar in the house, I began to wonder about using it for other things. When I mentioned to the kids that it might be able to be used for marshmallows, their eyes lit up. Sure enough, we found a recipe for vegetarian marshmallows using agar in place of the gelatine, and this morning we tried it out. After an inordinate amount of beating, we finally poured the marshmallow foam into a tray to set. We licked the beaters.
“Tastes like seaweed.”
“That’s completely inedible.”
“Throw it out.”
Looks like seaweed, smells like seaweed, I suppose we should have known it would taste like seaweed. I’m just glad we tried making marshmallows today, rather than discovering (when it was too late) that I’d wrapped the kids’ birthday cakes in the flavour equivalent of sugared sushi.
We’ve discovered some great foods by trying weird things. It’s not often something fails so miserably, but it’s always a risk trying something new. You win some, you lose some. Have you had a memorable kitchen disaster using a new ingredient or trying a new recipe?