Sous Vide Cooking

Sous Vide Cooking Book from Joan Roca & Salvador Brugues

by on Jun.06, 2010, under Books

When I started cooking sous vide, one year ago, I searched information about cooking times and temperatures on internet. Nothing was available at this time except Douglas Baldwin Practical Guide to Sous Vide. Therefore I purchased some books that were rated good or excellent on some online shops such as “Under Pressure – Cooking Sous Vide” of Thomas Keller and “Sous-Vide: Garen im Vakuum” of Viktor Stampfer. These books were nice with beautiful pictures…but not really containing relevant technical information. Above all, sous vide recipes of these books couldn’t be reproduced without a penetration probe. Then I realized that Douglas Baldwin’s Guide was the best source of information.

At the same time I heard about a book from Spanish cooks called Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués. But this book was available in Spanish only. This book is now available in English and French. The price of this book is crazy! I saw some online shop proposing it at USD 200! I bought mine in French language at EUR 110 incl. shipping.

The book is nice and full of technical information (100 pages of tech. information to be compared with 50 pages of recipes). I didn’t have time so far to read it completely but one think already disappointed me, you cannot find cooking tables such as Baldwin ones. If you want to cook with Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués cooking book then you need to purchase some turbigomme and a penetration probe…again. Anyway this book seems very interested and I’ll give you my feed back soon about it.

Jean-François

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Anthology of compressed fruits (under vacuum)

by on May.22, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

Today I had time to experiment “compression” with my vacuum chamber sealer. To put a juicy fruit under vacuum is an issue with clamp vacuum machines as liquids can get inside the machine and break it. Vacuum chamber sealer machines are designed in a way that liquids can be put under vacuum. The vacuum is also much stronger with a vacuum chamber sealer compared to a clamp machine.
Compressing fruits such as watermelon is often described on cooking books or on some blogs. I was very curious to see the result on the texture of the fruit and also on the flavor.

Fo my first try I took a green apple I have cut in thin slices. I added a bit of gin inside the pouch, set the vacuum chamber machine at the maximum and here is the result. A fantastics translucent apple slice. I have also particularly appreciated the combination apple/gin.

My other tries were watermelon, melon and banana with rhum ans sugar cane. As you will se bellow, colors of watermelon and melon are getting very intense. The visual effect is fantastic!

On these picture you will realize how different is the color of compressed melon and watermelon compared to uncompressed ones. The texture is also very different, especially for the melon.

Then, what about the flavor? In my opinion watermelon compression doesn’t improve the flavor. I have added in the pouch some watermelon juice as I though this would raise the flavor…but it didn’t work.

Melon was in my opinion more interesting. The texture was getting more compact than with watermelon and the color became incredibly orange. In the mouth the compressed melon was unfamiliar. I can’t say it was better than the uncompressed one but this was an interesting feeling.

Jean-François

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First try with rhubarb cooked sous vide at 61°C during 45 minutes

by on May.08, 2010, under Recipes


Rhubarb is the vegetable of my childhood, my mum was often preparing jam out of fresh rhubarb coming directly from our garden.
I found the post from The British Larder’s blog about rhubarb cooked sous vide interesting. Therefore I have decided to reproduce the recipe and try to obtain a delicious rhubarb tart.
Madalene recipe is easy:

  • 140g rhubarb
  • 30g sugar
  • 30g water
  • 1 vanilla pod

Madalena recommends a hard vacuum for this recipe. I was happy to test my MiniVac (a very compact vacuum chamber sealer) at this occasion. I am almost sure you can obtain a similar final result with a good clamp vacuum sealer.


With a storng vacuum, color of fruits and vegetables appear more intense as usual. It is also amazing to observe the sudden transparency of the food stuff.
Contrary to what was recommended by The British Larder (61°C during 20 minutes) I cooked the rhubarb 61°C during 45 minutes with my immersion circulator. I had the strange intuition that rhubarb can’t be cooked at 61°C during 20 minutes.



The result was excellent, not too soft, not too hard. The vanilla syrup was very tasty. The texture of the rhubarb was also surprising. As you will see on the picture bellow the rhubarb cooked sous vide at 61°C is not becoming mushy at all. The rhubarb remains in one piece.

Here is the final result, a rhubarb tart I let probably a little bit too long in the oven. Anyway, it was delicious.

Jean-François

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Hey Mr Manager! Do you call this medium rare?

by on Apr.24, 2010, under General Topics

Some days ago I visited a friend of mine in Switzerland who proposed during my stay to go to a thermal bath. This place was great with a beautiful exterior bath, whirlpools, slides…and a steam-bath announced to be at 55°C.

Fifty five degrees, this number rang a bell in my obsessed sous vide cooking freak mind.
Would a piece of beef filet be cooked properly with a medium-rare doneness if stored sous vide in this 55°C steam-bath?
In theory yes! So why not trying it? My friend was very embarrassed and was not enthusiast bringing a cut of meat in a public area where hygiene is taken very seriously (Swiss people take very much care of hygiene, especially in a pool).
The day after we put under vacuum a very thin slice of beef filet (2 cm) and went back to the thermal bath.

We have hidden the pouch behind a post so that nobody finds it during 2:35  hours cooking time. According to Douglas Baldwin tables, a 20 mm cut of beef, should reach 55°C core temperature in 1:37.

Therefore we had to cool our pouch before bringing it back home to sear it and eat it. Kneipp therapy circuit help us for that purpose. Kiepp therapy consists of treatment with cold and warm water. One of the pool shown on the above picture is very cold (approx. 6°C).

Then we immersed our beef filet in this 6°C bath during 20 minutes…this was kind of funny because our pouch swam several times in the bath due to the water steam caused by the poeple walking inside. It was very difficult for me to fix it behind this pipe…and very embarrassing for my friend who was hiding himself in the whirlpool.

As you can see we planned everything, especially the insulated bag where to place the pouch on the way back home.

Unfortunately our beef filet did not reach our expectations. The meat was too raw and far from a medium-rare doneness. Nevertheless you’ll notice the meat is evenly cooked which is a good point. We have decided, for safety reasons, not to eat the meat.

Anyway we came to the conclusion that this steam-bath bath couldn’t be at 55°C.

Then, what is the next step? Making a complaint against the thermal bath? Asking for the manager and show him the proof that he cheats  on the temperature of the steam-bath? Hey Mr. Manager, do you call this medium rare?

Funny day.

Jean-François

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Sousvide Supreme now available in Europe (Netherlands) at € 600

by on Apr.12, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

I was very surprised to see that the Sousvide Supreme was today available in Europe (Kookpunt.nl – Netherlands) at € 599 (incl. shipping?).
No star Chef, no Heston Blumenthal for the introductory in Europe of the so called  “water oven”?
So strange that the Sousvidesupreme (USD 449 in the US) is now almost as expensive as a Grant SV100 immersion circulator and 30% more expensive than a swid! Please keep in mind that, contrary to what was said in several articles on internet,  the Sousvidesupreme is not an immersion circulator but a non stirred water bath (PID controlled).

JF

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