Our friend Dave, who is an engineer at Microsoft in Seattle, paid us a visit last week. Reports had been circulating that he had assembled his own Sous Vide; a device that enables highly-accurate temperature control for cooking, in the manner of Heston Blumenthal.
By first vacuuming the food into sealed bags, then immersing it a water bath, it is possible to cook meats and other food stuffs in a way that prevents over-cooking, and because you can cook over more sustained periods of time, it can extract better results from cheaper cuts of meat.
Buying ready-made, commercial Sous-Vides is still very expensive, so Dave lead the way in bringing a temperature controller and the major components over from the USA. All that was left was to fashion an enclosure, and assemble it all together. After heading to the tool district, we found a cornucopia of electronics component shops, and had immense fun selecting the most clicky, over-the-top switches and widgets for the control box.
Results? Melt-in-mouth good, but without disintegrating. I wonder, in fact, if some of the more famous steak houses cook their steaks in this way; we had a relatively good value cut, but it would be interesting to see the results with even better meat.
Next project are eggs; apparently it’s possible to cook poached eggs in the shell that, once opened, are more like custard.