Don’t Believe Everything You Read



The internet is a truly marvelous door to a world far bigger than we could ever imagine. When it comes to cooking, you only need to type in the few ingredients you have left in your fridge and in return Google will find a recipe that combines them all. It’s such a handy tool when you are trying to reduce food wastage!

However, there is a big “but” to all of this. Often the faceless opinion of the internet brings its own set of problems, and the cooking world is not immune to it either!

The skill of discernment has never been more important than what it is today.  Whether we are reading the online news update or a blog spot hosted by a seemingly reputable business, we need to use our filtering glasses.

Anyone can place a recipe online.  This doesn’t mean it is tried, tested, and true.  In searching for new sous vide recipes we often see that technique and careful consideration of ingredients has been thrown out the window.  For instance, if you decide to sous vide a stew and throw all ingredients into a bag and try cooking it on 60 degrees for 48 hours, you will most likely end up with beautifully tender meat and hard uncooked vegetables.  Not a very satisfying result.  It would be the same for placing raw onion in a curry on a long slow cook –  beautiful soft meat with raw onion is not the desired outcome.  (Just so you know, 80-85 degrees is best for root vegetables depending on the desired tenderness.)

What we always need to remember is that time and temperature applies to each ingredient in a dish when cooking sous vide.  This is easy when you are preparing a meal with individual components.  But if you are casseroling or stewing, you may need to prepare a few ingredients first and then allow to cool before adding them to the vacuum bag with the protein.  Alternatively, you can cook each major ingredient separately and then combine them all at the end.

One of the beauty’s of sous vide is the ability to pre-cook items and refrigerate before bringing them up to serving temperature when needed.

So don’t be discouraged if you are new to sous vide and have found some recipes on the web that haven’t worked out.  It may be a matter of trial and error, or it may be that the recipe is just plain wrong and will never work.

If you are really looking to understand the basics and have a great foundation for your sous vide cooking, it isn’t a bad idea to purchase a book … yep, one of those paper things that you can carry and put on a bookshelf.  Better still, if they have a publisher associated with their release they will have been edited and the recipes put through the rigours of a test kitchen.

So, whilst the internet can be a really useful tool, make sure you are following a site where the writers have some credentials and hands-on experience with the sous vide technique.  You will then be sure to have a positive sous vide experience, wowing your friends with perfect results.