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Neil Smith

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  1. Not particularly. You really don't need very much air going in to do the circulating. Water has a pretty go thermal conductivity already, so even without agitation the water temperature will be pretty even across the tank anyway.
  2. As Paul said, fish tank pumps won't do. Like him, I've melted a few while I was learning that lesson. You can get cheap high-temperature pumps on eBay (I use the a P-38B 12V DC Submersible Water Pump, but there are others). You might also consider using a fish tank bubbler, without airstone, to circulate the water.
  3. The other day, I served one of these to a friend who grew up in Hong Kong. As you suggested, he said it was nothing like traditional char sui, but it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!
  4. Any suggestions for cooking oxtail? There's a recipe at British Larder that suggests 82⁰C (180⁰F) for 14 hours, and one from mengwong that suggests 57⁰C (135⁰F) for 24 hours followed by 70⁰C (158⁰F) for 48 hours. The butcher I bought it from suggested "overnight" at 80⁰C. All of those seem a bit high for cooking even a tough cut of beef. I was thinking of 57⁰C for about 48 hours, and seeing what it's like. Any thoughts?
  5. I grabbed some from a local Morrisons the other week. 60⁰C for 60 hours, and they we great. I hadn't stumbled across the recipe linked upthread, so I just did them with some sage and pepper, with a red-wine-and-gravy-granules sauce made with a reduction of the juices (classy, I know).
  6. I've got one of them (I bought it direct from the Swiss factory. The price was about the same, but it came with a European plug). It works very well. I've had mine a few weeks and am very satisifed. The only slight drawback is that it seems to use a mechanical relay rather than an electronic one, so it might wear out after a few years of heavy use. There's this other thread about it. (Edited to add links)
  7. I tried a (conventionally) slow-cooked meal of pork cheeks in a London pub the other week, and it was great. When I found my local supermarket had them, I though I'd give them a go at home. The conventional pork cheeks were tender, though a little dry. The meat didn't seem to have much collagen in it, so I though I'd be able to get away with a low-ish temperature. I couldn't find any recipes online, so I had to make something up. I settled on 60⁰C for 36 hours, but scheduling issues meant they had to stay in the cooker for another day, ending up with 60 hours cooking. I put a bit of sage and ground black pepper on the meat before sealing. After cooking, I dried and shallow-fried the cheeks to brown them. I served them with a sauce made from the pork juices (plentiful), reduced slightly, with some gravy granules and red wine. They were fantastic. Beautifully tender, but still holding together. I was afraid that the meat would have essentially dissolved given the long cooking times. I might try them a couple of degrees lower next time as there was a slight stringyness to the meat. You wouldn't call them dry, but they weren't as smooth as some meats I've done.
  8. My Sous Vide Chef arrived a few days ago and is working fine. My opinion on the device is the same as @nickrey: it works well, the display shows rapid and random variation in temperature of ±0.2⁰C, and the heater seems to be controlled by a mechanical relay (at least, it clicks every time the heater switches). As best as I can judge, the water temperature is constant and even across the volume of the bath (I'm using a cool box/beer cooler). Food comes out lovely. I'd recommend it as a mid-range sous vide cooker. It's less hassle than the Sous Vide Magic, more capable than the SideKik, and cheaper than the PolyScience units. Even my wife will tolerate it in the kitchen!
  9. The unit still hasn't turned up. I phone the manufacturer on Friday to see where it was (after around four weeks). They said they'd had a problem with a part for the cooker so have had to source new ones. They're expecting to be able to dispatch new cookers this Friday.
  10. @nickrey, thanks very much for the review of this device. It looks to be as good as I'd hoped (though I'm a little surprised that they use a mechanical relay, as solid state relays are pretty cheap). I've now ordered one to replace my now-defunct homebrew one. The family are happy that we'll have confit duck legs again soon!
  11. I just looked again at the manufacturer's website, and they claim the temperature stability of their device is ±0.2⁰C. It looks like Pep's friend's unit is working as intended.
  12. A tolerance of ±0.2⁰C is a lot better than the ±1⁰C I get from my homebrew rig. As I don't cook near dangerously low temperatures anyway, that tolerance sounds acceptable to me. Not ideal, but acceptable. But yes, more reports are always good. Thanks, everyone.
  13. I've tried a few for my DIY kit, but not had a good experience. Most of the pumps aren't rated for sous vide temperatures and have a habit of failing after just a few hours. Those that can cope with the temperature aren't submersible or self-priming, so you'd have to faff around with filling the pumps with water before you can turn them on. I've settled on a P-38B 12V DC Submersible Water Pump, available from China via eBay. It requires an additional 12V supply; I use a cheap TV/Monitor one as it can provide more than enough power.
  14. Thanks! I'll await with interest. ...which is a good thing for us Europeans.
  15. I'm also interested in this device: my home-brew cooker is a little more temperamental than I'd like. However, the price is still above the 'frivolous spend' level.
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