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Tag: should I buy a Thermomix

The Thermomix – Three Months On

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.

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?