It has a permanent place on my kitchen bench and the two questions people always ask me are “what do you make with it?” and “should I buy one?”. So I’ll start off with what it doesn’t do, so if you’re trying to talk yourself out of it you can push off and make dinner without having to grind through more than the next paragraph.
What doesn’t it do? I wouldn’t make stock in it, the jug is too small. If you want to grind small quantities of spices, I’d get out the trusty old coffee grinder. It does a terrible job of creaming butter. You can’t cook more than two litres of anything in the jug, though you can add things in the steamer to cook above them, so I don’t know if I’d regularly prepare the whole family dinner in it.
Did that put you off? You know, I’d probably use it between once and four times a day. Every week I make yoghurt (I’ve sorted that out now, I’m putting a capsule of Inner Health Plus in with the yoghurt, sets like a jelly, thanks Amalia for that tip!), several times a week I make bread because it does such a fine job of kneading and I’d make butter in it whenever Harris Farm is carrying its Jersey Cream, but not today, must be Devonshire Tea week in the Inner West. I also make Nepalese Porridge in it a couple of times a week. It’s my rice cooker, it’ll do two cups of rice in the steamer basket no problems. Last week I also made an orange cake, made breadcrumbs, ground almonds, ground a block of Parmesan cheese, made pizza dough, made apple sauce, made pine lime coconut iceblocks, made banana smoothies (with homemade yoghurt), caramelised onions, made buckwheat flour which went into pancakes, and steamed vegetables. I usually make myself a vegetable soup a couple of times a week, but didn’t manage it last week. See, you don’t need to make a six litre vat of soup to freeze because you can whip yourself up something delicious in fifteen minutes, do it as you go. I love the mashed potato it makes, but my husband says I can save that for when he’s lost all his teeth. Philistine.
I don’t know what you’d make in it. It’s perfect for curries, but my family haven’t quite advanced that far in adventurous eating. People always carry on about the risotto you can make in it, once again, not in this house. Dips, it’s good for dips. It does a very fine salad. Why don’t you hang out with a friend who has one? Or follow the blog of someone who uses one regularly?
Yes, it’s a lot of money. But if you want to make your family’s food fresh, from scratch, it’s very hard to go past it. It makes everything so easy. I never would have attempted curry pastes without it, there’s no way I’d stand over a saucepan for an hour to properly caramelise onions. I wouldn’t make bread every second day. And I’m not buying yoghurt or butter (except for Pepe Saya) any more. You could also buy one if you’re awash with cash and need something high tech on the kitchen bench. It isn’t for everyone, if you only cook occasionally, or really love the slicing and grating and drawn out food prep, then walk on by. But I couldn’t do without it.