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Messages - Andrealphus

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Well, the appearance of steak straight out of the water bath isn't that attractive (assuming it's medium rare, or not too far either side), it's the quick searing in/on a very hot pan which gives it the flavour and an attractive look - although by the sounds of it, if it seemed undercooked and was chewy etc., it was the steak that was bad! Hope you have better luck next time! :)

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Yvette, I'm interested to know how you kept your steaks at 56 degrees for 2 hours - did you use a water bath, or a thermomix, or some kind of gadget to modify a slow cooker? (If either of the two latter options, did you test the water temperature at any point to check it?). It's a bloody shame (pun intended!) to ruin good fillet steak!! :)

Did it look medium rare when it came out? Or look over-cooked?

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Main Dishes / Re: KFC Coating ...... revisited
« on: May 17, 2013, 09:05:40 pm »
I feel like some kind of freak saying I've never actually eaten KFC chicken!

Your recipe sounds quite nice though, and far more appealing to try your recipe than to try KFC chicken! :oO

 ???

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Main Dishes / Re: Easiest Ever Coconut Chicken Curry (with photo)
« on: May 17, 2013, 04:39:16 pm »
This looks like a nice one to try for the kids, will be giving it a go - just a thought: Chicken thigh meat often gives a more tender/moist result than breast in curries (it's far more forgiving) and it's also cheaper too!

Thanks for sharing the recipe  :)

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That sounds really interesting Bonsai, although I've never heard of one?

In the Sous Vide Supreme (Demi), there's no moving part within the actual water bath circulating the water, so I can imagine that works perfectly well.

I like it when you get gadgets to convert existing gadgets into new ones - innovative!! :)

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I'm not aware of anything decent at entry level (maybe because most people who have got to the point of cooking sous vide, can already cook, and sous-vide is more of a scientific way of just ensuring things are cooked to perfection as components of dishes, rather than something to cook whole dishes with, if that makes sense?) - the Douglas E. Baldwin I mentioned is a good introduction to temperatures and times for beginners, but I don't like his recipes (seperate to the times and temps). I've never considered doing broccoli, not least because it's suggested to blanch it first, and I don't see the point! I imagine it must look pretty squashed after being cooked in a vac pack too!!

Apparently Modernist Cuisine (not the home version) has plenty of sous-vide suggestions for vegetables etc, but I don't know of anyone who could afford it!

Worth looking at reputable chefs and restaurants recipes online to find ideas and recipes, e.g. http://www.veggiechef.co.uk/Blog/files/64C_Egg.html

Similar to TMX in a way, I guess, in that I've only found one decent cookbook for that too!!

Andrea :)


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Michelle, I've never tried leaving veg in it, and I still more often cook them in different ways than in the sous-vide, so  not sure on the effects of leaving it in - 95% of the ones I have timings for are for under 1 hour? Also fish has quite short times, but I must admit I usually cook white fish pan/pan-roasted, although salmon is to die for!

There is a book by Douglas E. Baldwin called 'sous vide for the home cook', which has a few pages of temperatures for different cuts of meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables etc., although strangely he only suggests one temperature and time for fish, which I don't personally agree with. He also gives lots of recipes (basically for sauces etc.) which I think are absolutely dreadful, like something out of an eighties economy price cookbook, and I'd never use ANY of them - but that's just my opinion! It's a very good book for a paper reference for temperatures (bar fish!), but you could find all the information online for free!

Heston Blumenthal has a section in his 'Heston at Home' book, which is a great book with loads of things to cook to perfection, but there are only half a dozen sous vide recipes

And Thomas Keller has a book 'Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide', which I think is pretty cheffy, but I haven't bought it yet! It's next on the list when I have some spare cash though :D

If anyone else has or buys any good books on it, would be great to hear recommendations :)

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Hi, loving how this seems to be inspiring people!

Michelle - I think your idea of doing the veggies first at 80, then adding steak at 60 is an interesting one, and worth a try (although if I just mis-remembered that and you said chicken, remember chicken needs a minimum of 2 hours at 60 to kill of pathogens, which I don't know how well your veg might survive? Still, at least veg are cheap - you could always take them out instead, then put them back in for a few minutes??).

Regarding Sunbeam - 5.5litres doesn't sound like much, and that's pretty cheap? You can also buy sous-vide circulators (if you don't want to buy a water bath), which you can clip onto the side of a container (i.e. stock pot, large tank), which do the same job, and have minimal storage, if that suits you better! Probably more expensive than a Sunbeam, but a lot more versatile?

As cooking in a water bath relies on the water being an even heat (mmm, is convection the word I'm looking for?), ideally the vac-packed goodies need to be seperated by a rack, and standing upright (like toast in a toast rack, rather than sitting on top of each other, or touching each other) so that the heat can circulate evenly.

Whereas with steaks, you might get some a little underdone, if you squeezed too many in (I'm thinking 7 might be difficult, depending on size and shape, although maybe possible), I'd be very cautious if cooking chicken or pork etc., because of the potential food poisoning if it isn't cooked at the correct temperature for the minimum recommended times.

Still, fascinating stuff, and thanks Michelle for your updates with how it's working in the TMX! :)

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 09, 2013, 10:50:07 pm »
Hoooorrraayyyy!!!

So glad the chicken turned out well for you! If I'd seen your post about cooking the carrots at the same time, would have replied more promptly, but that's the trouble with UK/Oz time differences!!

Plus this might be useful for the veggie too, as it's great for cooking veg! Unlike boiled/steamed/microwaved veg which lose nutrients through cooking (as the cell walls are damaged and water and nutrients leach out), cooking them sous vide retains almost all of their nutritive value.

BUT, you do have to cook them at a higher temperature (generally 80-90 degrees C)

So carrots, for example need to go into an 85 degree water bath for 30-50 minutes.

You could try the following recipe: 8oz carrots, 2tbsp unsalted butter, 1tbsp honey, seasoning and a very small amount of herb/spice of choice if desired (i.e. 1/4 teaspoon cumin, or small sprig tarragon etc.). Wash, peel and slice carrots, then vacuum seal with all the other ingredients in a large pouch so that they're in a single layer and cook.

Fruit is also very good cooked sous-vide, and you can also cook pulses etc. - happy to share any information I can if anyone wants any temperatures or timings for anything and can't find them on the web, I have a LOT of cookbooks!!! :)

Andrea :)

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:12:55 pm »
McMich, fascinating to hear about your experiments, but really sorry to hear you were disappointed with your steak - although if it was chewy, that would be more likely to be down to the quality of meat (a good way of verifying the difference between sous vide and pan-cooked or grilled, would have been to cook 2 steaks from the same piece to see the difference) and maybe being medium, rather than m/r? Meat is best if hung for 28 days or a little longer, and from a reputable butcher (not supermarket stuff) and a good breed of cow (OK, I'm not suggesting go for Kobe beef, but you know what I mean!) - dark red, with a nice marbling.

Cooking your 'normal' steak (i.e. fillet/rump/sirloin etc. etc.), which you'd usually cook from 1-3 hours, purely to get it cooked exactly the same all the way through is going to give you a uniform state of cooked-ness all the way through (rather than over-cooked for the outside third etc. if you're exposing it to high heat and turning). I have to say, it is much more juicy and tender cooked medium-rare than medium (which is why I saved for the sous-vide first!), and I think this guy gives some useful information re. steak cooking temperatures:~

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/03/how-to-sous-vide-steak.html

Regarding medium texture, he says "Solid rosy pink, and quite firm to the touch. With over 6% moisture loss, it is still moist, but verging on dry. Prolonged chewing results in the familiar "sawdust" texture of overcooked meat. Fat is fully rendered at this stage, delivering plenty of beefy flavor. This was the second most popular choice."

On the other hand, it is the cheaper cuts of beef cooked for longer that will really give you results - i.e. a (good) chuck roast for 24 hour at 55-60degrees means that the connective tissue (collagen) breaks down, and gives you (once seared) a roast with a deep beefy flavour which is pink from edge to edge and is as tender as a prime rib roast!

I hope you're not dissuaded from further experiments, would love to hear what you try next - and I hope you're more impressed next time!

If you cook chicken breasts at 60degrees for two (maximum three) hours, you pasteurize it, and can either unpack, season (I love cajun, on a lazy day!) and quickly sear, or you can quickly cool in it's vac pack, and freeze for up to a year (still packed) - it then takes 45 minutes to re-heat in the sous vide. I've never had a chicken breast turn out tough, they're amazingly tender, so maybe that's worth a try if you give it another go?? :) x

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 08, 2013, 01:06:21 am »
Obbie, I bought mine second hand barely used from Ebay for 190 ($288), and it's 250 ($379) new (from Lakeland)... my TMX 31 on the other hand cost 885 ($1,341)!!! There could be other outlets, or maybe worth sourcing from another country if the postage isn't too high??

Not sure I could choose between them, having fish, poultry and meat so perfectly cooked every time has revolutionised our expectations of food! Ask me in a month?

The sous vide is now one of those gadgets I never want to live without, mind (although for a few years, we just used a huge stock pot, and a sugar thermometer, with meat in sandwich bags and vacuums created by water displacement, and temperature regulated by turning the gas on every 15-20 minutes or so!). So you don't even need a TMX to cook sous-vide, although I wouldn't recommend trying anything other than steak in a stock pot - one hour is enough of checking and fiddling! :)

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:46:30 am »
Oh, also - I know this is probably TOTALLY obvious, but just in case.... I'm talking about (almost) filling the bowl with water, before you put your vac-packed food in, and bring it up to temperature, not putting it into a dry bowl!!! Well, better safe than sorry!  :-\

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:43:13 am »
Sorry correction - still not that familiar with my TMX and all the numbers yet! You *can* do rare (50 degrees), just not medium rare (but you can do medium at 60 degrees!). Forgot the 50 degrees setting while I was posting my last post!  :-))

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Chit Chat / Re: Heston Blumenthal 'Down Under'?
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:40:22 am »
McMich - regarding cuts of steak: I'm not sure whether the names of the cuts are the same in Oz, but you could go for any of the steaks you'd usually have medium-cooked (i.e. fillet, sirloin, rump, rib-eye, t-bone) and do for an hour, assuming they're not of an immense size (bear in mind, I've never tried this in the thermo, only in the sous-vide!). Do NOT season with salt, or marinade in alcohol before vac-packing (alcohol gives it an unpleasant taste in sous vide). *Do leave on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours, if you want to mature it a little more for flavour. You can add a small amount of oil to the vac pack if you want to (best frozen in an ice cube tray, so it doesn't leach out) although oil not necessary. Herbs will add a stronger than usual flavour, so use sparingly if you want to use them.

Once cooked, heat a decent thick non-stick pan up to a very high temp, drain your meat (add juices to your sauce, if you're having one), brush/smear with oil (e.g. sunflower, or similar subtle flavoured that will not burn at a high heat - so no extra virgin olive oil), add salt and pepper, and sear for a few seconds on each side until brown (like a bark effect), for full flavour.

The beauty of using a proper sous vide machine, is that you can then use very cheap cuts of meat, or 'tough cuts', and cook them for between 4 and 72 hours (depending on the cut and meat) for meltingly tender results, whether medium rare or whatever... (So beef skirt, featherblade, and all sorts of braising cuts can be done). And you can cook your steak rare/med-rare/medium or whatever for 1-12 hours, so it will sit in there quite happily until you're ready to sear it while you do everything else.

Also pork and chicken can be done at 60 degrees, or pork done to medium etc. to be moist and tender beyond belief - and after 2 hours the pathogens are killed, salmon can be done to a tenderness like a set custard, fruit and veg to perfection, sauces, scrambled eggs, shellfish, pate, terrines, eggs, foie gras... and that is why they cost a few pennies (but only 1/4 to 1/3 the price of the TMX), because you will never taste food cooked to such perfection and succulence, for any doubters! And if you brine the pork or chicken first, be prepared to be amazed like never before!

And that is why a sous vide machine is worth the money!

Hope this helps, and I hope it works in the TMX - when I saw some women demonstrating at the BBC Good Food show last year, they assured me that you could cook sous vide in it (obviously not rare or medium rare!), so will be interested to hear of anyone's results!

If it works, happy to give a few timings for things that I've done and enjoyed - you just won't be able to leave anything in a TMX for less than medium for more than a set time :)

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Chit Chat / Re: Our pets with photos
« on: May 07, 2013, 12:19:24 am »
Oooh, will have to look that one up!!! :D

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