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Mark Harrison

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  1. A UK pet peeve. The way that Tesco (UK's leading supermarket chain) sell "Carr's water biscuits". Carrs are wrapped in plastic to keep them fresh. No problem with that. The plastic is then put in a cardboard pack with the product information on it. No problem with that. This is how they used to be packaged.... In TESCO ONLY The cardboard pack is now packed in a shrink-wrap plastic case! Why? Is one layer of plastic not good enough? Do we feel that double the waste is a good thing? Othe retailers don't require the second plastic layer.
  2. My favourite haunt is the "British Heart Foundation" furniture / electrical shop in Crawley (which, for the unaware, is the town near London Gatwick Airport.) The UK government have strict rules about second-hand sales of electrical equipment, but the BHF clearly have tame electricians who is able to certify kit as "safe", and therefore able to accept donations of electrical goods in a way that most charities can't There are four nice things in the kitchen at the moment which have come from there over the past year: - A 2kW induction hob for £20. ($32) - A pair of huge Dartington Crystal brandy glasses for £2 each. (When I say, huge, I mean "just fit in my hand, and I have huge hands - like I play a 10th on a piano, not just an octave!) - A Welsh dresser for £80. - A huge, and rather nice, bookcase, which was apparently donated by a local country club(!) for £100
  3. Drew, I was talking about the Sous Vide Supreme - ie the sous vide cooker, not the vacuum sealer. I don't use their vacuum sealer, so can't comment on it (though I've read elsewhere that it's overpriced.) Alex, Where did you buy your SVS from? There is a reason I bought mine from John Lewis, though, on what you describe - sending "them" (whoever "they" are an email, getting a call in return, and a replacement couriered out doesn't sound like anything other than "good" service!) I agree that this is worrying, but I looked at various immersion circulators before buying the SVS, and in three months of scouring the Internet for everything about Sous Vide wasn't able to come up with a single instance of one failing from any customer! I wonder, therefore, whether something is "odd" about the UK (230v) machines, compared to the US (110v) ones that SVS, being an American company, presumably sell in far higher numbers. Dougal, Firstly - thank you for the link - I shall call them in the morning and see whether their bags would fit my vacuum sealer. Secondly, good point about the "secondary thermostat solution" - my first sous vide machine used a Tesco Rice Cooker, which has the same characteristics :-) Mark
  4. I was in John Lewis Bluewater today, and saw two things that surprised me: - Sous Vide Supreme on display (also their re-branded vacuum sealer) - At £349 rather than the the £429 at which others seem to sell it. After about 20 minutes discussion with SWMBO while visiting other shops, we went back and bought one - and sure enough, the price was £349! I've just checked, and it's on their website as well. We had a "quick" (two hour) steak this evening, which it did very well, and it's now running a 48-hour lamb which I'll find out about on Friday :-) My initial reaction is that it's very good: - The thermal stability is much better than the DIY sous-vide machine I built at the end of last year (based on a CD101 PID and a Tesco slow cooker.) - The internal volume is much bigger than that of the home-made solution. - The user interface, once it's switched on, is very intuitive. The hard part, for which I did need to go to the manual, is switching it on - you have to hold the on button for three seconds. DISCLAIMER: I have no connection with John Lewis other than as an intermittent customer. I hope, based on the £2.99 lobster thread, that this kind of post is acceptable on egullet's UK forum, but please accept my apologies if it's against protocol..
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