I am no stranger to gadgets. My dad used to say “un’altro gadget” (another gadget) but, although I made mistakes early on, everything I buy I pretty much use and enjoy: it earns its place and keep in our kitchen.
For instance, some years ago, I looked at sous vide cooking but, back then, the domestic sous vide machines were pretty big and I just knew that the space they took up, I’d rather put an ice cream maker in, given my heritage.
But a few weeks ago, we had friends Natalie and Micah round for lunch and Micah mentioned they had a sous vide and how things had changed; that they were now little bigger than stick blenders and you stuck them in a pan that you already had. And how they cooked the most amazing meat [and fish and other things].
So I looked and I bought.
Although the Anova is pretty popular (Martha Stewart’s chef uses one), it didn’t work that well for me – I couldn’t get it to work with the app and I am such a technophile that this mattered to me. (It doesn’t have to work with an app, you can just use the machine.) So I returned it bought a Joule instead which ONLY works via an app, which may annoy you but I love it. The app has all sorts of pre-set timings and temperatures and it’s soo easy. The Joule is also more powerful than the Anova (all but the Anova Pro which is much more expensive).
If you are thinking, WTF is she on about, then you can read all about sous vide here. But it is, essentially, cooking food at a very precise temperature in a water bath.
I cooked a chicken breast in it and it was amazing, so moist and let’s not even get started on the steaks it cooks. It doesn’t brown but you can finish meat off in a frying pan for a final sear. The beauty of sous vide, other than it cooks to perfection, is that you can prep food and leave it, which really suits the way I cook.
You can also use sous vide to cook little cheese cakes and chocolate puddings. You can adapt this one below by adding fruit compote at the end or a biscuit base. We made them with Oreo cookies (use the double filled ones, one per portion – so if using the recipe below you would use six – blitzed in a blender and distributed amongst the jars and pressed down, then you put the cheesecake batter on top – you can use any extra crumbs to put on top of the cheesecakes just before you eat them) but you could use digestive biscuits with a bit of melted butter to bring them all together if you fancy a more traditional cheesecake base.
You need six 135ml mason-style jars. I use these ones. They are perfect for these mini desserts and many others you can make sous vide. You can also use Weck jars (use the seal and the clips and I guess, regular jam jars but I haven’t yet.
Sorry about the Amazon link for the jars but Lakeland will start selling them come the autumn.
Ingredients for six people
(Six double fill Oreos if using)
225g cream cheese
110g of caster sugar
110g creme fraiche
Grated zest of a lemon (I always use organic when I use the zest of citrus fruits)
You can do this in a food processor but it’s not difficult to mix it up by hand. Mix together the cream cheese and the caster sugar, then add the creme fraiche, the lemon zest and the three eggs one at a time. Make sure everything is really well combined.
If you are using a biscuit base you will already have pressed it in the jars.
Distribute evenly amongst the six jars up to the ‘thread’, seal until they are finger tip tight (ie you can unscrew using just your finger tips), set your sous vide to 80C and 90 mins, and when up to temperature, submerge the jars (I use a jar tong, be careful of your fingers).
When done take out, cool then refrigerate for a couple of hours.
I know this recipe isn’t relevant to those of you without a sous vide but you know…if you like kit I’ve given you lots of reasons to buy some.