mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: thermomix

Mandarin Syrup

I haven’t done a syrup for a while, have I? At least, that’s what the kids tell me. I like to make syrup out of any fruit that’s cheap and plentiful, and at the moment that’s mandarins.

It’s a pretty simple one. I was inspired to try it because the a Thermomix recipe book had a recipe for Mandarinade. I made it. It was just awful. I tossed it in the compost. Don’t bother trying it. Here’s what you do instead.

Boil up two cups of caster sugar with a cup of water. You can do this in the Thermomix, put it on 100 degrees, speed two for about seven minutes. Then take six mandarins and two limes and skin them.

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I put them in the blender and zapped them good. Put the steamer basket in the Thermomix jug and tip the citrus pulp in. Squash it down with a teaspoon to get all the juice out. Or just strain it into a bowl if you’re doing it the old fashioned way. You should get about 250 grams of juice. Zap it on speed four for a few seconds to mix it in. Now you should taste it, because there’s a fair bit of variability in the tartness of the fruit. Mine was a bit sweet, so I stirred in a teaspoon of citrus acid.

I then strained it into a jug, I like my syrup clear. You don’t really have to.

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You add it to soda water, don’t drink it straight unless you’re trying to mess with your blood sugar. The German billet liked it better than bought lemonade. So there.

Passionfruit Icecream in the Thermomix

I have to go pick up the German billet in half an hour, and instead of trying to disguise the fact that the house looks like it’s been violently burgled I’m telling you about passionfruit ice cream. At least I’ve made her some Anzac biscuits, I’m pretty sure that’s what any German billet would expect upon arrival. Followed closely by a Vegemite sandwich and a ride on a kangaroo.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me to attempt to make ice cream Before the Thermomix. I couldn’t find a passionfruit ice cream recipe that removed my socks either so, as I’m a veteran of one ice cream production, I thought I’d make it up.

I didn’t want one with seeds in it, and I find the act of sieving passionfruit frustrating and disappointing. So I did something I’d worked out when making syrups, you boil the pulp with a bit of water and sugar. I find I extract more passionfruity goodness that way.

Take quite a lot of passionfruit. I had a net full, but then we ate some, so it ended up being eleven. Scrape the pulp into a small saucepan. Add one hundred grams of water and three hundred grams of sugar. After tasting the custard I thought that might be too sweet, but in the finished product it’s fine. You could probably get away with 250 grams.

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Put it over a small burner and bring to the boil, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. This took me about five minutes. Take it off the heat when it looks like it’s trying to escape.

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Insert the steamer basket into the Thermomix jug and tip in the syrup. Squash down the pulp with a teaspoon, you only want seeds left. Discard the pulp. Add to the jug three hundred grams of cream and two hundred grams of full cream milk. You could go all cream if you want it very rich. I also added a pinch of salt. Zap it on speed five for thirty seconds to mix. Reduce the speed to four and crack four eggs through the hole in the lid. A tip here: if you do get a little cocky and manage to drop half an eggshell through the hole too, you can stop the machine and retrieve the unbroken shell if you’re quick. Replace the measuring cup in the lid, set the temperature to ninety degrees and continue on speed four for five minutes. Pour the custard into a metal bowl and shove it in the freezer.

All the recipes I see suggest three to four hours in the freezer will do the trick, but not my freezer. More like overnight. Anyway, once it is frozen, and this could be days later, scoop it out of the bowl and back into the Thermomix. You can see why you need this step if you look carefully at this photo.

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See there’s a creamy lay on top and an icy layer underneath? That needs breaking up.

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General Thermomix icecream instructions now tell you to mix on speed nine for twenty seconds, then speed four for ten. You are going to need to poke it about with the spatula, it’s pretty stiff. I think just zap and poke and zap and poke until it looks entirely broken up. It will be about disgusting McDonalds icecream consistency at this point, so pour it back into the bowl and back it goes into the freezer.

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Should be ready for dessert. I’m going to be serving our billet for dinner that Australian classic, spag bol. Passionfruit ice cream should go nicely with it. I hope the kookaburras are back in the morning, that’s the kind of thing she would have signed up for.

Raisin Bread in the Thermomix

I know you were all dying to hear about how the Verdi went. I’m feeling a bit conflicted about it. On one hand the orchestra and choir were superb, apart from that bit where my friend and I came in two beats early. Hopefully only the tenors in front of us noticed, but they’ve assured us they’ll never let us forget it. On the other hand the tenor soloist may need surgery. So I’m going to tell you about raisin bread instead.

I’ve just got the third loaf of raisin bread this week out of the oven. My kids have only started eating my bread since I’ve been making it in the Thermomix. I think it does a much better job of kneading, as I get bored very quickly, which means that it rises properly. I’ve also invested fourteen bucks in a high sided loaf pan as it sometimes droops over the sides of the smaller one, giving a slice that doesn’t quite fit in the toaster.

I’m weighing the yeast on a conventional scale because I don’t really trust the Thermomix scale for twenty grams. It’s a bit blasé down that end. So weigh out twenty grams of fresh yeast and bung it in the jug. Add a quarter of a cup of sugar, half a cup (or 130 grams) of buttermilk (my new favourite bread making ingredient) and a cup (or 250 grams) of water. I like to give it a five second zap at this point to mix all that together. Add two teaspoons of mixed spice and six hundred grams of flour. Zap it for about thirty seconds on speed four or until it looks like it’s trying to escape through the lid. Then you put it on closed lid position and press the interval setting and have it go for three minutes.

Pull it out of the jug and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and stick it in the oven with the light on. When it’s doubled in size, knead in half a cup of currants and half a cup of sultanas. Place the dough in a lined loaf tin.

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I’m actually using golden raisins until I can get back to Honest to Goodness and get some of their delicious sultanas. Poke those suckers in, they try to escape. Put it back in the oven with the light on until you can see the loaf rising over the top of the tin.

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Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for ten minutes at 220 degrees, then turn the oven down to 180 degrees for another thirty minutes or until it’s all brown and delicious looking.

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That’s breakfast sorted.

Neil Perry’s Prawn Wontons in the Thermomix

Just so you don’t roll your eyes, this one can also be done in a blender. No matter what you think of his ghastly hairdo, Neil Perry can certainly give you a fair indication of what should go into a wonton wrapper and he shared a tasty looking recipe in this week’s Good Living which I immediately sucked into my recipe app. I don’t really have my Asian palate going yet, so I’m still taking fairly careful direction on ingredients.

First you collect your ingredients. I put the following in the Thermomix, two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a centimetre of sliced ginger root, an ice cube of coriander chopped, a green onion chopped, about ten centimetres off the end of a stale bread roll and a pinch of salt. I zapped it to form a paste. Then it was suggested I add a one hundred gram tin of water chestnuts. I had a two hundred and thirty gram tin (which I actually had to open with a can opener!), but when I weighed the chestnuts they came to about a hundred and twenty grams, so put all of that in. Also put in three hundred grams of frozen green prawns, I really must thank Daniela for making me buy a kilo bag of frozen prawns, it has been so handy. The Thermomix made short work of that, but unless you’d like your blender to take a short holiday back to the land of warranty you may wish to defrost the prawns first. I only put it on speed five for about twenty seconds, I didn’t want a mush.

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I happened to have a packet of Double Merino wonton wrappers in the fridge. I wonder what they mean by double merino? Twice the sheep? Anyway, despite the packet saying contains forty wrappers, only thirty two transpired, meaning either I’m not very good at peeling them off, or they’re selling them by weight. Thirty two was the perfect amount for a heaped teaspoon of filling each.

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Neil Perry suggests moistening the edges of the wrappers with egg whites before pressing them together. I think this means that he has a kitchen full of slaveys, so I just went with fingers dipped in water. I got a kind of technique going in the end.

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It only took about twenty minutes to fill them all, maybe less, I had a phone call from my in laws in the middle of my production line. Now the question is how to cook them?
I’ve only got two options open to me at the moment, as I’ve run out of spray olive oil. I tried frying them first in peanut oil. I generally don’t do this because I never know what to do with the excess oil afterwards. I shall try pouring it on the annoying weeds that infest the side of the house.

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They kept their shape and were cooked through and pleasingly crunchy. I thought that the filling was a little delicate for this kind of treatment, so I had a go at boiling them.

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They’re not terribly visually appealing this way, but I like them better. I think the best way would be to spray them with oil and bake them, so I’m storing most of them in ziplock bags for another time. I feel like it could have done with a little more prawn, so next time I might increase it to five hundred grams (and make sure I have enough wrappers), or reduce everything else. The biggest surprise was that they didn’t fall apart with either method of cooking, they really make those wrappers tough and are clearly made for people who don’t have kitchens full of slaveys, but can only dream about it.

Thermomix Caramel Icecream

“You know,” I said to the Horror from Outer Space as we sat companionably at our local, The Hungry Grasshopper. “I can make ice cream in the Thermomix”. “You should make caramel,” he said, looking up from his caramel milkshake. “Not long ago you could only get strawberry, vanilla and chocolate milk shakes. Caramel is making a comeback”.

Well, it is one of my favourite flavours too. I like to do my research first, and there seems to be a canonical caramel ice cream recipe for the Thermomix, the Salted Caramel Maple Syrup ice cream recipe. I had a big lurk in the forums, and there were opinions on the saltiness, the sweetness, the richness of this recipe. I took all of these into consideration and came up with the following.

First, you make the caramel. Put 250 grams of brown sugar into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The recipe actually said raw sugar, but I didn’t have any. The forums also suggested rapadura, but I don’t know what the hell that is, but filed it away with aged rice as something to investigate for the future. Add 50 grams of maple syrup, 50 grams of unsalted sweet butter and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. I checked back to very original recipe and it said two teaspoons of vanilla bean paste, which is a bit more intense and I did happen to have it, so that went in. Put the Thermomix on Varoma temperature, whatever that is, and cook it on speed 1 for fifteen minutes.

Then you add either two teaspoons of sea salt if you do actually want it salty, or a couple of grinds of the salt grinder if you don’t really, or you don’t have an over salted palate. Have a guess which way I went. The recipe also suggests 500 grams of cream and 100 grams of milk. Looking at the number of forum comments suggesting it was a very rich recipe, and looking at the vanilla ice cream recipe in the included recipe book, I went 210 grams of cream and the rest full cream milk (ie 390 grams). Beat on speed five for thirty seconds.

With the beater still going, reduce it to speed four, then crack into the hole in the lid four eggs, one at a time. Once again taking the advice of the forums, cook at speed four at ninety degrees for six minutes. That’s your custard, pour it into a metal bowl and bung it into the freezer.

Apparently after about four hours it should be firming up. Mine is just going frosty about the outside, but once it’s relatively firm you spoon it back into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The idea is to break up any ice crystals that are forming, a smooth mouth feel is caused by very tiny ice cream particles. I think you could probably repeat this step until you get a desirable consistency, but from what I can see once should be enough. Everyone has had a taste and it does seem that it may all be gone by breakfast time. The complexity of the flavour can be demonstrated by the husband’s question which was “does it have coffee in it?”. It doesn’t taste burnt, but the flavours have blended so that you can’t pick one out. I wouldn’t have picked that it had quite a bit of vanilla in it.

I am somewhat tempted to spoon it into the iceblock moulds while it’s still sludgy, but for this experimental run I may desist. It is taking longer to freeze than suggested, but the numerous tastes that have been taken have reduced the volume somewhat so that should speed it up. I like the adjustments I’ve made to the canonical recipe, my family’s palates aren’t ready for the extra salt and I think the full complement of cream would have been too rich. I am rather excited by the plethora of possibilities opening up now that I can make ice cream. Not that I eat ice cream, oh no.

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Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake in the Thermomix

I don’t usually make cakes, they don’t survive lunch boxes and inevitably require the use of a napkin. But a special birthday requires a special cake and so it was that yesterday I found the perfect cake recipe for a brother in law who is refusing to turn fifty and it seemed like a recipe written specifically for a Thermomix.

It’s a recipe from Nigella’s How to Eat and I first made it back when my sister was editing a minor newsletter for one of those tiny companies that seem to splinter off fund managers from time to time and it had a recipe section. She would source the recipe and I would make it and photograph it for the newsletter and in this case take the finished product in to the kids’ school’s staffroom where it was gratefully demolished.

To make it in a Thermomix, you bung in the jug 250 grams of dark chocolate, 250 grams of sweet butter, one hundred grams of caster sugar, ninety grams of muscovado sugar (or some sugar that isn’t white), two tablespoons of framboise liqueur (shout yourself, you can always put it in champagne at a later date when you want to feel fancy), and 350 ml of water into which two teaspoons of instant coffee have been dissolved. Nigella suggested 370ml, which is a cup and a half, but I did that last time and found the resulting cake a bit too wet. It is supposed to be puddingy, but I don’t want it falling apart. I may have actually used 340 ml, I just took about half a centimetre off the top of the cup and half cup measures. It was much better. I also used 70% cocoa chocolate this time as opposed to the supermarket variety 55%, and it could have stood a touch more sugar. It was rich and authoritative however, and I’d probably leave it alone. Have it with ice cream if you want more sweetness.

Having put all of this gluttony in the jug, put it on 50 degrees for eight minutes on speed two. I’ve tried melting chocolate at higher speeds but it just chucks it up the walls of the jug. That should get everything melted together. If you’re groaning under the absence of a Thermomix you can melt it all together in a heavy based saucepan or a double boiler, and you’ll even have to stir it yourself. When it’s melted put in the butterfly attachment and beat in two eggs for one minute on speed three. Add thirty grams of cocoa powder, one hundred and eighty grams of plain flour (a cup and a half) and three teaspoons of baking powder. Beat again for one minute at speed three. Take off the lid and have a poke around with the spatula to make sure there aren’t any lumps. It should be a runny mixture looking, as the Moose commented, like melted chocolate. Are you sure you’re making a cake, Mum, not just a giant chocolate?

Grease a 22cm round springform cake tin. I usually line things with baking paper, but this one you want greased. I do it by rubbing it over with a cold stick of butter, get right into the edges. Or as you please. Pour half the mix into the cake tin, making sure you’ve got the spring bit closed and the bottom sitting snugly. Sprinkle over 250 grams of raspberries, you’d be mad not to use frozen ones from Serbia. If you want to use fresh ones, use them as decoration on top where they’ll be appreciated. Pour over the rest of the mix, making sure no cheeky raspberries are poking out. Bake at 180 degrees for about forty five minutes. The top should stay flat and develop cracks when it’s cooked, thus:

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It looks rather nice sprinkled with icing sugar. It is very rich, so I served it with whipped cream. Having only ever made whipped cream with a bowl and a whisk and plenty of wrist action I was very surprised to see how quickly cream thickens in the Thermomix. Honestly, don’t let it go more than about twenty seconds, you’ll get butter, which will be entertaining, but of no use to you as an accompaniment.

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I’ve still got three pieces left. I do wonder whether I should find out if gets better with age as some chocolate cakes do, or just have them for lunch?

Thermomix Vegetable Patties

I think I overdid it this time. Note to self, just because you have Thermomix doesn’t mean you have to pulverise everything. Here’s how it happened.

I was having coffee with a neighbour and some friends and we were solving all of the admittedly very first world problems of the high school our sons attend. Talk turned to the oversupply of the school cookbook, and my Thermophile friend made the excellent suggestion that she and I should start converting the really excellent and diverse recipes in it to The Thermomix Way. By the time we’d wrapped up I was starving, so after I’d dragged myself across the road home I was looking for a quick and hearty lunch. No bread. No leftovers. Not even frozen leftovers. So I opened the school cookbook and came across a recipe that was a cinch for the Thermomix and I even had all the ingredients, vegetable patties.

I put a medium sized onion into the machine and it made a rather startled sound when I tried to zap it, another note to self – cut them in half first. Added in a slice of butter and sautéed the onion at 100 degrees for three minutes on speed two. I then added in a chopped large carrot, a zucchini and a half and an extremely dried up bread roll I had left over from last weekend’

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And zapped them too. Then I added a tin of rinsed chickpeas, a teaspoon of Moroccan spice mix and an egg and gave it a gentle mix on speed two for a couple of seconds. Then I cooked it at 100 degrees for five minutes on speed three, and that’s where I went wrong. I should have had it on speed two or one and put in in reverse (the blunt sides of blades then do the stirring) meaning the chickpeas wouldn’t have been mashed in too. It could do with some texture.

The idea then is that you refrigerate it and it solidifies quite a bit, then you form them into balls and pan fry them in butter. I was really hungry, so I just ate the stuff with a spoon. It was delicious and satisfying. I’ve just had some more for lunch today and it even improves with age. I am eating a lot of vegetables this way, but I’m worried I’m losing the ability to chew. This stuff is also not terribly visually appealing in this form, but would be better as patties.

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I won’t tell you what the Moose said it looked like, but I’m sure you can guess. The photo in the school cookbook was worse because the patties had bits of corn through them which for those of us who have had offspring leads to a very unappetising train of thought. Maybe presentation is something to which I should give more consideration.

Mayonnaise and Coleslaw in the Thermomix

I grew up in a fairly condiment free household, so I never felt a burning urge to make my own mayonnaise. Despite this, I have had two attempts at it, mainly to prove that I could, and it turned out that I couldn’t. Once with a whisk and once with a blender. Both times it was looking very promising, then irretrievably split into a watery, curdy mess. Of course, it’s really easy in a Thermomix. Having a had a good hard look at myself, you could even say it was foolproof.

What you do is put in the Thermomix the yolk of an egg and a tablespoon of vinegar. You can also add flavourings, I put in two teaspoons of hot English mustard and, because the only mayonnaise I’ve regularly encountered is Praise which is really sweet, a teaspoon of honey. You could also add a clove of garlic. It says salt and pepper to taste, but as if you’re going to have a taste of that mess, so I just put in a twist of the grinder of each. I also weighed out 250 grams of olive oil into a jug for pouring purposes. It suggests a neutral tasting oil, and despite using a light flavoured olive oil, you could definitely taste it, but I like it, so there.

You put the butterfly fitting over the blades. My demonstrator told me there was some secret wrist action that would secure it onto the blades, but I haven’t been able to reproduce it, and everything I’ve read suggest you can just perch it on the blades and she’ll be right. So that’s what I did. And it was. Mix it for one minute on speed 4.

Then comes the bit I’ve always failed at. You pour the oil in a thin steady stream onto the lid, with the little plastic lid on, because the lid slopes down to the middle and there’s a small gap under the lid. You do this on speed 4. It is suggested that you take about five minutes to do this. Or you could pour a steady stream for one minute, then realise the biscotti are about to burn, rescue those, blop in some more oil, decide to take a photo because it looks pretty in the sunlight, and I’ll tell you it’s really hard to take a photo of yourself pouring oil into a Thermomix with an iPad while standing on one leg. But I did it, because I wanted to share:

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Anyway, my even with interruptions my very unsteady stream took about three and a half minutes, but look!

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I made mayonnaise! It’s the colour and consistency of soft butter, which is probably a bit thick for mayonnaise, but eminently spreadable. It’s rich and delicious.

Then you don’t even have to wash out the bowl to make coleslaw. There are an infinite number of coleslaw recipes, but let’s go with a basic one first. Put in the bowl two tablespoons of your terrific home made mayonnaise, a cored and quartered green apple (I can’t help but notice that a lot of the salad recipes in the Thermomix book contain a green apple), a hundred grams of carrot (which is one large one, very roughly chopped) and about two hundred grams of cabbage. I also put in two green onion stems which were a bit harsh the first day, but had mellowed in by the second day. I may replace them with celery the next time. Then zap for about ten seconds. I like to start off at a low speed, increase over a couple of seconds to a medium speed, then check. The machine does shudder quite a bit at first, but apparently that’s normal. This treatment got the coleslaw to what I think of as Kentucky Fried consistency.

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It was an excellent, slightly dry coleslaw, but better the next day. It made two breakfast bowls full, and I ate one bowl for dinner last night. I think you could add whatever hard vegetables you had to hand, I’ll have to let you know how that goes. It could possibly stand a little more mayonnaise too.

So all of a sudden I can make salads. It changes my whole perception of myself. I’m going to have to make some sweets to restore my equinamity.

Chilli Garlic Prawns – Kind of in the Thermomix

The joy of having a good friend and neighbour take you shopping because you’re on crutches is that you see products you’ve never considered before. I knew that the prawns you see at the fishmongers are all defrosted because the little so and sos are frozen as soon as they’re caught. I’m not sure if they’re also peeled at that point, but I’ll try not to think about it too hard. So it makes sense to buy a kilo bag of frozen prawns and have them on hand whenever you feel like making chilli prawns.

I don’t know about you, but I often burn the garlic. Not any more! With a Thermomix you put your flavours in the jug, so

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In this case four cloves of garlic, three chillies from the garden, a couple of bunches of tired coriander and a slice of butter. I’m still experimenting with chop first, cook later or contrariwise. I tried cook first, chop later and I don’t think it’s quite right. I cooked it for two minutes at 100 degrees on speed three, then chopped it and got a lovely decoration of the jug walls.

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The kit comes with a very well designed spatula, so I scraped down the walls and chopped a couple more times, and it all seemed OK. I added six of Frank’s locally grown tomatoes and cooked at 100 degrees on speed two for ten minutes, then added a pinch of salt and chopped to make a very fragrant sauce.

What you can then do is tip the sauce out, half fill the jug with water and cook the rice in the steam basket while cooking the prawns and bok choy on the Varona above the rice, then assemble at the end. I’m not going to do this. I have my prawns defrosting in the wok and have tipped the sauce over them.

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The hungry husband isn’t due home from the Jedi’s soccer training until about ten minutes after seven thirty. So at about seven twenty five I will half fill the still saucy jug with water and cook the rice in the steamer basket for fourteen minutes. Meanwhile I will be stir frying the prawns in the sauce with chopped bok choy just for a couple of minutes and the sauce will reduce down a bit and flavour the prawns. Sometimes I stir the rice in so it absorbs the sauce, but it looks better served on top of the rice, so that’s what I’ll do tonight.

I might add another chilli. Of course, that will require it to be served with a cheeky Chardonnay, but it can’t be helped.

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?