Thermomix – the Preliminary Review
There’s a lot of Thermocurious people out there. Wanting to know how I’m using my Thermomix. Is it any good? What does it actually do? And what they’re really asking is, if I bought one, would I use it?
It’s a tough question, and there are no right answers. I will let you know what my experience over a bit over a week of using the thing.
Firstly there’s a bit of a learning curve. You have to be prepared to have a go at things and be surprised at the results. You have to look at some of the pedestrian recipes in the accompanying cookbook and try out bits of them. Fairly soon you’ll get to know how long to cook things for, what speed to chop things on and what things you’d really rather do in the frying pan. Everybody will use it differently, but here’s what I’ve been up to with it.
It is a much better blender than the one that is currently brushing the sand off its towel and returning to me under warranty from Kitchenware Direct. That blender will be relegated to the job of milk shakes and slushies and I’m sure it will last a lot longer than two months this time. The Thermomix jug has a flat bottom and a wide and vicious looking blade that sweeps the bottom of the jug. It will pulverise a single clove of garlic (don’t do it on the highest speed or it will just fling it out the hole in the lid if you’ve neglected to put the little cover on). It will also deal with being filled up to the lid even with hard (chopped) vegetables or frozen fruit. It will create a very fine nut meal. You can make flour with it out of whatever grain you like. It does a great job of chopping Parmesan cheese into sprinklable particles. I have continued making frozen fruit iceblocks for the kids as I was in my holidaying blender and the kids report a much finer texture, not that they were complaining in the first place. In its blender capacity I have made almond meal, icing sugar, hazelnut meal, rice flour, salmon patties, tomato salsa, bread crumbs. It doesn’t automatically reduce everything to dust, there are a range of speeds. I’ve also kneaded a spelt bread dough with it, it has an interval setting. You can just set it for two minutes and every couple of seconds the dough will get a beating. I’m going to have to play with making bread in it quite a bit more, I feel. I’m also planning to make mayonnaise in it for a coleslaw, two things I’ve never made before.
The heating bit takes a bit more getting used to. I’ve got the sautéing onion and garlic in it down pretty well, you only have to cut the onion in half which is a bonus. It’s ideal for something like refried beans which I’ve just made for dinner tonight. You chop and cook the onion for two minutes. Add garlic and spices for another minute. Add the beans and a third of a cup of juice you drained off the tomato salsa you prepared earlier and cook for another fifteen minutes. Turn up the blender speed and it’s done. All in the one jug, just by pressing a few buttons. I’ve tried cooking rice in it, and that’s a keeper, as is steaming fish, but I’ll be doing mashed potatoes and pasta the conventional way.
One of the big things for a lot of people, including me, is how easy is it to clean? Very easy indeed. Most of the time I just wash it quickly in the sink with a squirt of detergent, hot water and the scrubbing brush that came with it. Or the squirt of detergent, the hot water, and set it on the machine (with lid on) and give a few bursts of the blender. It’s stainless steel, so doesn’t retain smells. It disassembles very easily indeed and goes in the dishwasher too, just make sure the electrical bit at the bottom is dry before putting it back on the machine.
There seems to be a big market for the Thermomix in the allergy and food intolerance communities because it does make it very easy to make things from scratch. If you are someone who makes things from scratch a lot, and I am, you will use it every day, which I think would make it worth while. You do need to make sure you use it for everything you possibly can for the first couple of weeks to get over your learning curve, I’m only just starting to think “that’d be easy to make in the Thermomix” rather than “am I going to be able to do that in the Thermomix, or am I just going to make a big mess?”.
The best thing to do is to go to a party, better still to go to more than one, by different demonstrators. There isn’t hard sell at the parties, they realise it’s an expensive piece of kit and you’re unlikely to impulse buy one. From the amount of interest I’ve had, I’m thinking of having two parties next term. You get lunch and everything. Enough blathering from me for the moment. I will keep blogging about stuff I’ve made in the Thermomix a couple of times a week, then gradually the novelty will wear off as it gets fully incorporated into my cooking. I do love a gadget, so how could you go wrong with a thoughtfully built multipurpose one like this?