In my first blog I suggested a ‘main’ dish for your friends coming over to watch the Wimbledon Finals and briefly mentioned IBM Chef Watson. Next I’d like to suggest a ‘dessert’ – for those of you with big appetites or those that just want to jump straight in to something sweet!
It’s a web application built using IBM’s cognitive cooking technology that has been trained on Bon Appetit’s database of 10,000 recipes, helping it learn about dishes and ingredient combinations, combined with an understanding of what tastes people prefer, and how the chemistry of different ingredients interact. It very cleverly generates millions of ideas out of the quintillions of possibilities (a very big number!), and then predicts which ones offer the most novelty and the best food pairing, allowing us to discover new recipes that have never been thought of before.
In contrast to a search engine that simply sifts through existing data to serve up a list of already published recipes, Chef Watson is not programmed to come up with a defined answer to a defined question – it understands, learns, and considers not just the data behind recipes and flavour compounds, but also human perceptions to inspire us with highly creative recipe ideas.
Anyway, enough of the technology for the moment, let’s turn our attention to a fruit that has become synonymous with Wimbledon – the strawberry.
2 Prunes, pitted (Tinned prunes in syrup is fine)
½ cup Apple juice
100g Granulated sugar (or golden caster)
2 punnets Fresh strawberries (use the smaller size of strawberries as the larger ones have less flavour)
2 tbsp Chives, chopped
1 tbsp Mint leaves (stalks removed)
½ tsp Caraway seeds
Frozen Thai birdseye chilli
- Add the sugar to a non-stick pan on a medium heat until it starts to dissolve.
- Add the apple juice and stir until completely dissolved and reduce the liquid slightly. You are after a light syrup.
- Turn off the heat, add the chives, caraway seeds and mint and let it all infuse for a few moments or until ready to use.
- Remove the stalks from the strawberries, cut off the tops and slice in half in the direction from the stalk to the tip. Continue until all the strawberries are sliced (use a sharp knife rather than a mandolin as they become too soft to handle quite quickly).
- Take a plate and arrange the strawberry diamonds symmetrically around the outer edge, then work inwards in an overlapping fashion towards the centre in ever decreasing movements. Reserve a space in the centre.
- Add the prunes to the space in the centre.
- Pour the syrup mixture gently all over the strawberries.
- Take the frozen Thai chilli and finely grate it over to give it a bit of a kick.
- Chill before serving.
Adapted from IBM Chef Watson Recipe for Dessert Anjou Pear Carpaccio.