mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: thermomix

Three Litres of Pizza Sauce

Owning a Thermomix, as I do, gives you delusions. Of course I can make that. Strawberry jam for about a thousand Devonshire teas at the school fundraiser? A mere bagatelle. Salted caramel icecream? Give me half an hour. A pair of tights with Middle Earth printed on them? Come on Kath, you know there must have been a Thermomix involved in there somewhere. So when the call goes out for three litres of pizza sauce for the school garden party one doesn’t even hesitate.

I only have the vaguest idea as to what they meant when they asked for three litres of pizza sauce. Clearly the volume is fairly straightforward. I’ve only ever put Leggo’s tomato paste on a pizza. I don’t much like the look of the Approved Thermomix recipe for tomato paste, surprise, surprise, so I thought I’d make something up.

Obviously tomatoes. For tomatoes, there is only one place to go, and that is to Frank. You can actually smell the tomatoes as you walk past his tiny unreconstructed shop. I don’t want the giant ridged ones that you slice and put on a sandwich, though they were a revelation the first time I tried them. They don’t turn your roll to slop. I got some little Romas he had packaged up as they were getting a bit soft and some small round ones that just smelled divine. Frank doesn’t seem to mind me sniffing his produce, or maybe he’s just too polite to say anything. But how can you tell if you don’t breathe them in first?

I thought some red onions might be nice too, sweeter than brown, and the garlic looked good, and some basil. To make a paste you have to get rid of much of the water in the tomatoes, and the suggested recipe involves just boiling them for ages. You know what’s better than boiled tomatoes? Almost anything. I thought I’d roast them instead. Aren’t they beautiful?

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Don’t roast the basil, and don’t bother peeling the garlic cloves. I used two garlic cloves and one onion per pan. I drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and the special olive oil I bought from Fernando in Montefioralle. I sprinkled them with salt and a Tuscan salt blend I’d bought from a madly striped macelleria. As it cooked I started to suspect that what was blended with the salt was a whole lot of MSG, mmmmmUmami.

They roasted on and off for about two hours at 140 degrees. Hard to tell, there was a train station pickup and a choir pickup in there too. I didn’t want it to dry out too much. This looked about perfect.

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I squeezed the garlic out of their skins, the first time I’ve ever successfully done this. I usually burn it. 140 degrees, give it plenty of time, that’s what I was doing wrong. The whole lot went into the Thermomix to blend, with a dainty covering of fresh basil.

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Telling you that it made almost exactly a litre isn’t terribly helpful if I can’t tell you what weight of tomatoes I started with. Maybe a kilo. I will concentrate when making my next two litres and may even remember to tell you.

The consistency was just right and tasted divine. I’m resisting the urge to add sugar and salt, that’s what Leggos would do. There’s something else they’d do, something I hadn’t realised until I made my own. Have a look at the finished product.

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It’s not the lighting. It isn’t bright red, it’s more a sunburn colour, sort of orangey brown. It tastes of sunshine and essence of tomato and I’m very proud of it. But no shelf appeal. Luckily it isn’t going on a shelf. And neither are its two friends that I’ll make just as soon as I get myself back up to Frank’s.

Lemongrass Iced Tea

Well at least I think it’s lemongrass. The leaves look right, and smell right. The flowers look about right. It’s the stalks that I’m not sure about. They’re segmented and kind of pulpy in the middle and also eight feet tall.

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A friend gave them to me, pulled them out of her garden which they were threatening to overtake. I was very pleased, I love home grown surplus. It wasn’t til I got home that I started wondering about them. I chopped up some of the leaves and ran a bath over them. No scent. There was some scent when you rubbed the leaves. And the stalks didn’t look right, they are more like bamboo. “You’d better identify them properly before you kill us all”, said my killjoy husband. No sense of adventure, that man. I thought I’d experiment on myself by making lemongrass tea.

I took some leaves and snipped them into the Thermomix, they’re pretty dry and I didn’t fancy chopping them by hand or pounding them with a mortar and pestle, equipment with which I’ve never had any success at all.

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I zapped that lot to get something that looked like it had been scraped from the underbelly of a lawnmower. Undeterred, I added two tablespoons of gunpowder green tea, that black stuff that looks like rat droppings.

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It was very fragrant, no denying that. A bit reminiscent of lemon scented Jif, as I always find with lemongrass. I added a litre of water and set the Thermomix going at speed three on reverse at one hundred degrees for ten minutes. The result was full of stuff that I wasn’t confident my usual sieve would catch. So in a stroke of sheer genius I rummaged around in the back of the cupboard to find the coffee percolator we’d got as a wedding present that my brother-in-law actually broke on our wedding day. Couldn’t throw it out, sentimental reasons and all that. But look!

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The filter fit exactly over my tea jug and did a marvellous job of removing all the very unappetising looking sediment. I added four tablespoons of honey to the hot tea and tasted. It tasted like slightly bitter green tea. I slung in a bit more honey, added a litre of cold water and stuck it in the fridge, hoping for the best.

I was called in to work the next day and my magic teaching tonsil tonic is iced tea, so I took some of my latest concoction. Much to my surprise it tasted completely different cold. Too much honey, for a start. Otherwise, light, fragrant, with a definite lemongrass aftertaste. Either that or some dishwasher powder residue. It’s good enough to make again, if I can ignore the clamouring for a return to the popular favourite of strawberry iced black tea.

Terribly Healthy Bar

You know I don’t usually do this kind of thing. The whole giving up stuff, I don’t get it myself. Can’t you just have bit less coffee, wine, sugar, white bread, self loathing? Why do you have to give it up entirely? Moderation in all things, I always say, but for many people it doesn’t appear to work. Me, if my trousers are getting a bit tight, I lay off the cake and get a bit more exercise. I don’t go out and buy a bigger size. And I don’t pick something to flagellate myself with. Don’t we all know what food is sometimes food? But I’m surrounded by people who seem to feel better if they give up something entirely, if only for a month.

I have a relative who has given up sugar, and it has been a really big thing for him, a real struggle and he has managed to lose a lot of weight this way. I’m very proud of him, because I know how much he loves the sweet stuff. I have watched him eat a large amount of biscuits at a sitting, so I guess moderation isn’t the best option for him, it’s all or nothing. So I wanted to make him something tasty that he could have with a cup of tea that wouldn’t have him falling off the wagon.

There’s a few variations of this on the webz, and I didn’t think it would hold together. You take a couple of large bananas that have seen better days. You mush them up. You mix these with two cups of oats, or in this case, five grain mix which is even better. You add in about half a cup of chopped other tasty bits and pieces, I chose dried apricots, dates, almonds and shaved coconut.

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Chopped in the Thermomix, naturally. Flavours of your choice, in this case a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla and the zest of an orange. I think the orange may have been overdoing it, but heigh ho. Press the lot into a lined square cake tin and bake for about half an hour.

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Pickle me grandmother, it does actually hold together. I’d wait until it was cold before cutting it up. It was pretty good in a very hemp lined tree hugging way. Sweeter than I would have expected, that would be all the fruit. But I believe sugar from fruit doesn’t count, it’s one of those regimes with fairly arbitrary rules, based, as they always are, on the work of an American guru. I don’t think you could eat too much of it anyway, your jaw would wear out.

But the main thing was that it tasted good with a cup of tea. Mission accomplished.

Strawberry Jam

You know I love a challenge. A bunch of radical feminists I’m involved with are planning various bits of a fair at the boys school, prior to taking over the world. Baby steps. We’re going to do a cake stall, to which I plan to contribute at least a large amount of biscotti, but also Devonshire teas. “How much cream would you need for twenty dozen scones?” asked our fearless leader. “You know the IGA has cream in two litre jugs? That ought to do it” was the reply. “What about jam?”

What indeed. Once you’ve got a Thermomix it seems that anything is possible. I’ve made marmalade. Strawberry jam shouldn’t be too hard. Frank has strawberries for ten dollars a kilo at the moment, nice ones too, so the time is right to experiment.

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Despite all my experience with the Thermomix everyday cookbook, I decide to start with their recipe. Not with a great deal of hope. I have 750 grams of strawberries because some kind of got eaten. I adjust the amounts in the recipe accordingly and put in the zest of one and half lemons, one and a half peeled and quartered lemons, 375 grams of jam setting sugar because I’m nervous and the strawberries. Cook for 35 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1. And if you do that, you’ll get strawberry sauce.

I cooked and cooked it, probably another thirty minutes at 100 degrees. Then I thought bugger it, and turned the heat up to Varoma temperature. Twenty minutes on that temperature finally gave me something that looked like it might set, given some encouragement in the fridge. But because of all the lemon it had a noticeable tart lemon flavour. And because it was Thermomixed for such a long time it was very smooth.

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It is recognisably jam, though if I heat it up and sieve it it would be jelly. Not bad for a first attempt, but I wouldn’t be ladling it onto scones for the local plebeians. I think it will ultimately end up in jam slice, that needs a tart jam.

Today it’s round two. It did stop raining for about twenty minutes, which enabled me to duck out for some chicken to schnitzel for tonight’s complicated evening, some fresh pasta for tomorrow nights complicated evening and another kilo of strawberries. Also a much needed coffee from Rino, you should try it. My research of last night, done while the strawberry sauce was cooking, suggested the jam might be helped along by some green apple.

I put half a green apple, minus core, into the jug and zapped it. Then added half a peeled lemon, the zest of half a lemon, five hundred grams of strawberries (saving some for afternoon tea), one hundred and twenty grams of jam setter sugar because that’s all I had left, and a hundred and thirty grams of caster sugar.

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Cooked it at one hundred degrees for thirty five minutes, this time on reverse speed one to see if I could salvage some bits of strawberry. Not with much hope, they’re too soft not to be utterly mangled even by the blades in reverse. Once again, strawberry sauce, but not as tart as yesterday’s. Breathing deeply, put it on for a further fifteen minutes. Lost patience and put it up to Varoma temperature for fifteen minutes. That did it.

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You ladle a bit out onto a saucer and see if it’s starting to firm up. If it spreads out in all directions, you keep going. Not a lot of strawberry bits survived, but more than in part A. I do seem to have quite a few lemon pips in there too, I should fish them out before plating up. I bit into one during initial tasting and they’re quite unpleasant.

So I’ll stick with iteration the second, especially if I can figure out how to separate out the lemon pips. I think they need to be in the cooking bit for the setting to occur. Maybe a really large holed sieve. I’m going to fossick around for a bit for a tiny jar so I can send our fearless leader a sample. I can’t be part of an organisation that serves Aldi jam.

Better Corn Fritters

I’ve made some Thermomix inspired improvements to the humble corn fritters that form about a monthly addition to the diet of my children. The original recipe that I seem to recall blogging about some time ago is basically a savoury pikelet with some corn added. See how far we’ve come.

I start off with buckwheat.

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My source for this is The Source in Balmain, now that I’m getting less scared of parking in that fashionable suburb. You can buy buckwheat flour if you don’t have the means of grinding it, or The Source will actually grind it for you. I put a cup in the Thermomix and zap at high speed for about a minute. Add a four hundred and ten gram tin of corn (that’s an odd weight, doesn’t it sound converted from a pound? Close, but no cigar). And an egg.

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I also put in a container of cheese that I’d Thermomixed for pizza, a mix of cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan. I’m really going to have to do some kind of analysis on how much cheaper is it to do your own processing of things like pizza cheese, or making yoghurt. I’m getting the feeling I’m saving quite a few bucks. And those of you out there trying to justify buying one might appreciate it.

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Also four teaspoons of baking powder. Then enough buttermilk to make a thick batter. You mix it in the Thermomix on reverse speed two and pour the buttermilk through the lid, peeking to see what consistency you’re up to. Leave it for a bit while you go and compose a riveting email to your husband about superannuation.

Heat some fat in a frying pan, I’m using some chicken fat I saved from our last chicken roast. Gosh I’m getting frugal. Put soup spoons of batter in the pan, turning when some bubbles start appearing
on the surface. You want them all golden.

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They’ve got a richer, nuttier flavour than the pikelet version. It doesn’t taste wholemeal at all. The baking powder and buttermilk makes it fluffy. Don’t tell the Moose it has cheese in it, he thinks he doesn’t like melted cheese. Rubbish, of course, everyone likes melted cheese.

Lemon Meringue Fail

One problem with conducting a blog in which you occasionally mention food preparation is that people form certain expectations about your abilities. So when you’re invited for dinner and you offer to bring dessert, it might be a wise idea to bring something you’ve actually made before.

Well, I have actually made lemon meringue pie before, but I wasn’t happy with it. This time, I was definitely pretty happy with the crust, though it was a little over cooked. I had a lot on on Saturday, I stopped concentrating. Anyway, it was three tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of crystallised ginger, zapped in the Thermomix. You don’t have to use ginger, but I really like it with lemon. Add 150 grams of cold butter, two cups of plain flour and three tablespoons of cold water. Zap that in the Thermomix. It will turn to a crumb like substance first, but should start becoming more dough like after ten seconds or so. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of water. Don’t go nuts with the water, a wet dough will make somewhat tougher pastry. You just want it to hold together. Squash it into a ball, wrap in Gladwrap, then put it in the fridge for half an hour or so while you melt the chocolate for the topping of the choc mint slice you’re making as a backup.

Roll out the pastry, then gently lift it into a pie dish. I dust the pie dish with a bit of flour, but as I use a glass pie dish I’ve not had a shortcrust stick to it. I had a few off cuts left, so I also made some mini tart cases. Cover it with baking paper, load it up with some barley you found in the back of the pantry that’s past its use by date and is looking a bit dubious and bake it at 180 degrees for about ten minutes. Wade out into the back swamp and dump the barley in the compost, remove the baking paper (once you’ve made it back to the kitchen), then bake for another ten minutes. You just want it golden. I really must get myself some pie weights.

I don’t think I’ll trouble you with the filling recipe. There seem to be a few schools of thought on the filling, and I foolishly went with the corn flour and water version. You whisk together cornflour, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar over heat (or in a Thermomix) until it boils, then whisk in three egg yolks. You pour that into a bowl and refrigerate it. It thickens up quite satisfactorily, at which point you spoon it into the pie case. Then you do the meringue, which is whisk three egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Pour into the KitchenAid while it’s still going a third of a cup of caster sugar and you’ll see the meringue go all glossy. Spoon it over the cold pie, then back into the oven until the top of the meringue just starts to brown.

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Shall I cut a long story short? After an excellent meal and much nagging by the Horror I cut into the pie to discover it was more of a meringue pie with lemon sauce. The lemon filling had completely liquefied. I probably should have put it in the fridge. Oh, it got eaten.

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It was delicious.

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But, embarrassing! Especially as my hostess had been calling me Nigella all evening.

So I’ve been thinking about trialling different filling recipes to put into the leftover tart cases. But the kids have sneaked them all and eaten them unfilled. They’re just going to have to put up with eating different lemon meringue pies for dessert this week. How I make them suffer.

A New Green

When you see the nonnas shoving each other out of the way down at the IGA, you know something’s going on. They could be offering free slices of sorpresa, there could be only one cash register open. Today it was that Mr Lamonica had just got back from the markets with something they really really wanted.

Rapé. It’s an Italian green, possibly related to broccoli, but looks like something that you’d find growing by the railway tracks. The nonnas weren’t even waiting for it to be unpacked, they were grabbing armfuls of it out of the boxes as they came in. Buying it by the trolley full.

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I don’t generally buy my vegetables from Mr Lamonica, he goes for cheap over quality. I go to Frank. I bumped into a few friends at Frank’s who emboldened me to ask what’s the big deal with rapé? “Oh, it’s delicious!” said Frank’s daughter at the cash register. “We cook it with a little oil and chilli, and lots of garlic”. Well, anything tastes good cooked that way, but my friends convinced me to buy a bunch, cook it and blog about it, so here we are.

I think you can cook it in a very similar way to whole bok choy, but I want mine in smaller pieces. So I stripped off the smaller stalks, leaves and flowers, only leaving the large stalks at the bottom, into the Thermomix jug.

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A very quick zap got them into more manageable sized pieces.

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I tipped them out of the jug and into a bowl. I put in the jug a couple of cloves of garlic, three chillies, a slug of olive oil and a couple of local tomatoes I’d also picked up. Zapped those into a purée and cooked them at 100 degrees for four minutes on reverse speed two. I put in the rapé and a sprinkle of salt and cooked it for four minutes on a hundred degrees, also reverse speed two. I could have even got away with three minutes I think. It’s not much to look at.

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It cooks down quite a lot. I think I like it. The stalks are very reminiscent of asparagus. I think the description for the leaves is bitter. It has that aftertaste you get from an expensive beer. Lucky I do like it, it comes in enormous bunches. I might cook it all up and put it in a selection from my new jar collection. I wonder if you could lightly pickle it? I’m a bit scared to Google it. I can tell you this, it’s a whole lot better than kale, that stuff tasted like horse blankets.

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.

Meat Pie

Now don’t go reading this as a recipe. I did make a meat pie. It was very good. But it wasn’t what I’d hoped and dreamed it would be.

I’ve been asked by a member of the audience about making pastry in the Thermomix. I haven’t had so much a rocky relationship with pastry as a uniformly rotten one. I suck at making pastry. So when my parents in law were coming for dinner yesterday I thought I’d make a meat pie to try out two different types of pastry in the Thermomix. I’m sorry, Christina, it was far and away the best best pastry I’ve ever made. My problem was with the insides.

First the pastry. I like a shortcrust on the bottom of a meat pie and a puff on top. To make the shortcrust you place in the Thermomix jug one hundred grams of cold butter cut into pieces with two hundred grams of plain flour and a pinch of salt. This is an ideal situation in which to use Pepe Saya butter. Zap it on speed six for ten seconds. Add fifty to sixty grams of cold water and knead on interval speed for ten to twenty seconds. Peek in through the lid, stop it when it has formed a dough mass. Haul it out and put it on your cold, floured Caesarstone bench top and gently squash it into a disk shape. I then put it in the pie dish and stuck it in the fridge for twenty minutes. And this is where my experience deviated significantly from every other time I’ve made pastry. I put the pastry back on the bench top and rolled it out and it looked like pastry! It usually cracks and breaks and is generally a pain in the neck. But this lot stayed in circle shape and even held together as I gingerly transferred it back into the by now greased and floured pie dish.

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That got baked for twenty minutes, and even though I didn’t bother blind baking it held its shape.

Then I made the meat filling and wasn’t that learning experience. Normally I’d brown the meat in a saucepan and stew it in some chicken stock with two tablespoons of corn flour mixed into it. This is because my dear children don’t like their meat too flavoursome and they certainly don’t like bits of onion or carrot in it. The Horror goes so far as to say that he doesn’t like gravy either, and why can’t I just make an empty pie and stick some bits of roasted meat in there? We’ve got a long way to go with him. But now I can chop up the flavoursome vegetables into microscopic bits! So I put I the Thermomix jug a halved onion, a clove of garlic, a thick slice of fennel root, a roughly chopped stick of celery and a roughly chopped carrot. I zapped that lot, then cooked it at a hundred degrees for seven minutes with a slice of butter. I then put in five hundred grams of diced chuck beef, half a cup of chicken stock and two tablespoons of corn flour. What I should have done was brown the meat first. And possibly used red wine instead of stock. I cooked that at ninety degrees on speed slow with the blades in reverse for fifty minutes. The result was delicious but extremely visually unappealing. Also way too much gravy. I drained off most of the gravy and have it in the fridge until I can work out what to do with it. Just look at that colour.

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No good at all. The specks on it aren’t mould, it’s leftover flour, really it is.

Emboldened by my success at the shortcrust pastry I made half a recipe of rough puff pastry. I put in 125 grams of plain flour and zapped it with the turbo button a couple of times to aerate it. I added in 90 grams of cold chopped Pepe Saya butter, a pinch of salt, fifty grams of cold water and a good squeeze of lemon juice. The recipe suggests using half lard, but I don’t happen to have any. I wonder if there are different grades of lard, like there are for butter? From the stuff scraped off the abattoir floor all the way up to the results of Kim Cowdashian’s latest liposuction? Something to investigate. Anyway, set the dial to the closed lid position and knead for ten to twenty seconds on Interval speed, once again peeking to see when it forms a dough.

Extract the dough and slap it onto the floured bench top. Pat it into a rectangle shape. Possibly refrigerate it for twenty minutes at this point, but I didn’t. Roll it out until it’s about 40 by 12 cm. That does seem a bit specific, doesn’t it, so maybe just long and thin. Fold the bottom third into the middle and the top third over that. Rotate it through ninety degrees and roll it out again. Repeat the folding and rolling three more times. Refrigerate it again before rolling it out into circle shape. I didn’t, as it was still fairly cold and I had a pie to get in the oven. I spooned the gravy less beef into the shortcrust base and lifted the rough puff circle onto the top where it settled nicely. I poked some holes in it and baked it for about twenty five minutes.

I forgot to photograph it in the excitement of grandparents, but here’s the last scraps of the Muffet’s bit if you’d like to see how great the pastry looked.

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There was none left at the end of dinner, so it can’t have been too bad. Definitely needs work, but. That pastry needs an amazing filling to do it justice.

Nutella in the Thermomix

I foolishly asked the boys if the was anything they fancied that I could buy or make for them as I had a fairly free dance card today. After much discussion, they decided they’d like me to make a vanilla cupcake with caramel swirls that you could stick a sparkler in, light, then it would explode. I don’t know why they bothered deciding on a flavour. The German billet piped up from the back seat “Have you in Australia … Nutella?”

Well how did she know that was on my long list of things to try in the Thermomix? It’s actually horrifyingly easy, and almost as easy with a blender and a saucepan. First place ninety grams of sugar in the Thermomix and zap it into icing sugar. You can vary this with the sweetness of your chocolate. Then add one hundred grams each of chocolate pieces and hazelnuts.

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Did you know you can get skinned hazelnuts at the health food shop? Usually when a recipe suggests skinning the hazelnuts, I fetch a small sigh and decide to see how the recipe copes with skins. I don’t think you could do that to Nutella. I’m using 70% cocoa Callebaut chips, which I’m finding a little strong for some uses. This may be one of them, the finished product tastes like a limited edition extra dark Nutella. Jumping ahead of myself. The instructions suggest zapping it for ten seconds, which gives you a powdery substance.

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I taste it and while it’s undeniably delicious, it’s pretty gritty. I decide to zap it five more times for thirty seconds each time, scraping down the sides in between zaps. This turns the hazelnut into a butter rather than a powder.

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Add seventy grams of butter, one hundred grams of milk and fifty grams of cocoa. Cook at fifty degrees for six minutes on speed three (this is the bit you could do in a saucepan if you were using a blender). This gave me a very smooth, shiny mix, which I had to find a container to contain it with. That’s one problem with making everything from scratch, at some point you run out of recycled honey jars.

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After refrigerating it for a couple of hours it stiffened up, but was still easily spreadable. Lucky, because by then the Muffet and the German billet were home and were very pleased to be tasters.

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Not a health food, but I did use Callebaut chocolate, Callebaut cocoa powder, organic milk and organic butter. The hazelnuts weren’t organic, but they were from a health food shop, does that count? So it’s as good as it can get. It made about half a litre, if you’re planning to do it yourself, and I would recommend it, and want to be organised with containers. And if you’re wondering how it went down with the German billet, all I could get out of her was “Mmmmm, mmm, mhmmmhhmm!” Plus a request to have some for lunch tomorrow on a roll.