Eight weeks ago I didn’t know very much about sous-vide cooking. Most of us have only seen the technique on shows like Masterchef. The fancy Michelin star restaurant chefs have been doing it for years. Because of the size and high cost of equipment, sous vide has been out of reach for mainstream home cooks, but not anymore!  If you follow us on Instagram you may have seen all the sous-vide dinners I have been posting online. I have been cooking up a storm with a quirky little gadget called a Codlo.   

Sous-vide in French means under vacuum. Food cooks vacuum sealed in a plastic pouch immersed in a temperature controlled water environment. It isn't necessary to own a vacuum sealer, sous-vide will also work with BPA free zip lock bags using water to disperse the air. Some foods can even be cooked in a heat resistant jar.

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

The Codlo is a gadget that transforms an existing analogue cooking device into a sous-vide machine. The most common devices used are slow cookers or rice cookers. This makes it a great space saver! Codlo is a bit like a electric thermostat with a timer. When attached to a water filled cooking device it will allow that device to reach and maintain a desired cooking temperature. 

 Codlo sous-vide   Codlo sous-vide

Sous-vide cooking temperatures are low and slow, usually between 50-85 degrees celsius. The exact temperature and timing depends on what you’re cooking. If desired, food can be finished off very quickly in hot pan to  give it some colour. The result you get from cooking this way is wonderful succulence as food cooks evenly from edge to edge. Steak is so tender you can cut it with a butter knife, lamb is pink and moist, and chicken breast is incredibly tender. You can cook almost anything sous-vide including vegetables, legumes and seafood. It sounds a bit chef-y for home cooking, but it is actually quite simple.  

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

Codlo is easy to use. Your water-filled device plugs into the Codlo which then plugs into a powerpoint. The temperature sensor is placed into the water. Temperature and time are set by pressing on the soft touch pad surrounding the LCD display screen. After you turn on your device and press start, the water will heat. When it reaches the set temperature the Codlo will beep to remind you to put in your food. The cooking temperature will be maintained for the cooking time and the Codlo will beep when its finished. That's it!

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

codlo sous vide egg guide

To get into the swing of cooking I downloaded the free Ultimate Guide to Sous-Vide written by Codlo's creator Grace Lee. The guide resolved all the mystery around sous-vide providing cooking temperatures and times for different cuts of meat, vegetables and legumes.  Grace's instructions are easy to follow, I have even developed new skills like pasteurisation and quick chilling food for storage. The 36 inspiring recipes got me up to speed and cooking confidently. This is a great guide for anyone looking to get into sous-vide cooking. To get myself started I chose something really simple, the 63 degree egg!

 Codlo sous-vide 63 degree egg  Codlo sous-vide

Eggs are poached in their shell for one hour at 63 or 64 degrees. When the hour is up just crack them straight onto a slice of toast. The family watched on in amazement the first time I did this. I felt like Heston when they gave me a big round of applause. While 63 degrees is a popular cooking temperature for eggs, I like mine at 64 degrees as the white is a little more set. The texture of sous-vide eggs is just amazing.   

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

It didn’t take long before I was serving up tender veal and chicken breast. I have even cooked beetroot, pumpkin and chickpeas with the Codlo for salad dishes. The family have also been impressed by sous-vide duck breast and kangaroo fillet. They even gave me a standing ovation for an incredibly tender piece of good quality rump steak as I was previously a lousy steak cook. Most recently I used the Codlo to make some perfectly poached pears for dessert in some vintage fowlers jars.

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

I trialled Codlo with both my existing slow cooker and rice cooker. The rice cooker was by far the better performer. It heated the water relatively fast and retained correct cooking temperature on point.

  Codlo sous-vide 20 C codlocord Codlo

Overall Codlo has been a simple gadget to use. The only minor issue I found has been the alarm volume. It’s a little low and can be hard to hear over any background noise. This has been noted by the creator as something to work on in future builds. Codlo stores neatly with the temperature sensor wrapping around the unit and clipping in place. It is manufactured in the UK but you can order a model to fit Australian and other international power points.

 Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide  Codlo sous-vide

Codlo would suit enthusiastic home cooks. The way Codlo works using a temperature sensor makes me think it may have some extra potential. It may be useful when making ricotta or yoghurt. You could possibly even use it to keep food warm at a safe temperature for serving. These are a few options I am yet to explore.

The biggest bonus I have noticed with sous-vide cooking, aside from the succulent food, has been the reduced amount of hands on cooking time in the kitchen. Cooking times are longer than traditional methods but much less laborious. I also feel the method has steered me towards healthier cooking as its possible to cook leaner cuts of meat tenderly without overcooking. The unexpected surprise has been how easy it is to cook sous-vide, so watch this space for some upcoming sous-vide recipes!  

Codlo retails for around $260AU plus shipping. Visit the Codlo website for more information.

Disclaimer: The codlo sous vide gadget was provided to us free of charge, opinions expressed are our own. The Western Sydney Food Blog has joined the Codlo affiliate program.

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