The Spouse and I are devoted to Masterchef: we watch it religiously and this 2014 series is the best yet. The spouse is a keen cook, you see, and so he’s always looking for beaut new ideas that are do-able at home. But until recently, there was one method of cooking that couldn’t be replicated at home, and that was sous vide, i.e. cooking in a low temperature water bath. It’s a fabulous way of cooking that results in perfectly tender, evenly-cooked meat and fish, with delicious flavour and texture.
So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover that Sunbeam have brought out a sous vide cooker for domestic kitchens, and DJ’s had parcelled it – on special – with the vacuum food sealer machine as well.
But then it was time to try something a bit more ambitious. So now we have The Cookbook – and already we have had some delicious dinners using its recipes.
Dale Prentice is the director of Sous Vide Australia, and is also an experienced chef, working with the likes of Greg Malouf and George Calombaris. At Home with Sous Vide, however, begins with the basics and – while there are some advanced restaurant dishes made with hard-to-source ingredients – most of it is not too difficult for keen home cooks.
There’s an introductory chapter covering the principles of sous vide: planning ahead, buying wisely, preparing the food, sealing it in a vacuum bag, and cooking safely. After that comes a list of the top 10 ingredients, which – as well as the ones you’d expect (pork belly, confit duck, salmon) – contains some surprises. Who knew that you could cook custard or rhubarb in a sous vide machine?
There are then five sections: eggs, poultry & game, meat, fish, and fruit & vegetables, again with some surprises. A Baileys Irish Cream Cheesecake with hazelnuts, and scrambled eggs! We haven’t tried those yet, but (as our Facebook friends know) we have tried Anthony Fullerton’s chicken Ballotine – and then a variation of it created by the ever inventive Spouse. Tonight, it was a simple weekday salmon dish again, but the flavour is brilliant when it’s cooked sous vide and there are no worries about whether the thick end is cooked right through.
There are some other lovely recipes to try. I like the look of Barbecued Chicken with Moroccan spices, the Chicken and Pistachio Terrine, the Spicy Syrian Eggplant with Labneh and Ryan Clift’s Pork Belly with Milk, Truffle Puree and Salsify (but I think we’ll need a trip to The Vital Ingredient to pick up some Sosa black powder and the xanthan gum for the puree). Christine Manfield’s Snapper with Toasted Walnut Crumble and Yoghurt Relish sounds divine, but I think we’ll probably skip Shannon Bennett’s Pademelon, Pumpkin and Smoked Bone Marrow. (Two days to brine the bone marrow? And where do we get a pademelon from? Would we want to eat a cute little pademelon?)
The book is generously illustrated to provide ideas for plating, and there’s a step-by-step sequence at the beginning of the book too.
Author: Dale Prentice
Title: At Home with Sous Vide
Publisher: Sous Vide Australia, 2013
ISBN: 9780987526328 (hbk, 223 pages)
Source: Our personal recipe book collection, purchased from Sous Vide Australia
Direct from Sous Vide Australia (and they delivered it within 48 hours!)