I’ll be the first to admit, I am a gadget junkie. This weekend I stepped inside the mall and stepped out with an electric groom tool and a soft serve ice cream maker. It really didn’t matter that even the salesman tried to dissuade me to get the groom tool or that I had previously bought two ice cream makers (which I had each used once). My desire to have a soft serve ice cream party during the summer (only six months away) was enough to cloud my normally better judgement. The truth is, most of the gadgets would be lucky to be used twice… Like my coconut grater, express pizza oven, and smoker (oh actually, that was only used once!).
Posts Tagged ‘thermomix’
“Are you trying to kill me?” My husband asked as I put a plate infront of him.
“Ha! Not yet.” I told him. “I have get some life insurance on you first!”
The reason for his outburst was because infront of him was this toast, slathered with a caramelized coconut custard and a considerable amount of sliced butter. I had been finding ways to use up my twenty egg yolks from my last macaron class and had started with making pasta with six egg yolks. Then I made some portuguese custard tarts (another four there) and used up six to make some ice cream. All this time my husband was the lucky recipient of all the egg yolk laden dishes.
So down to four egg yolks I decided to make some Coconut Custard (Kaya Jam). I learned about a recipe from Amy Beh which I had seen floating around the internet and was keen to try. I must confess that I used the thermomix to make this as I have no patience to continuously stir for more than an hour which is what the recipe requires. I used the first two egg yolks for the first test batch where I followed Amy’s recipe but thought the resulting custard wasn’t caramelized enough for my liking. The next batch I caramelized the sugar and poured hot coconut milk into the caramel creating a darker and richer base for the custard. The result was what I was hoping for – my husband enjoyed it and mentioned that it tasted like latik which is a highly addictive Filipino fried coconut milk curd.
I’ve been distracted and uninspired lately.
Distracted because my husband and I have been house hunting and where normally my weekends have been spent baking or cooking in my kitchen, we’re now spending them in other people’s kitchens during open inspections. Just the thought of moving has been both exciting and stressful at the same time.
The lack of inspiration always hits me when my Mom, the Blog Monster leaves. As many of you know, she is always a great source of recipes and an even greater source for blog stories! I usually find myself scrounging around for blog material a month or two after she’s gone.
During these times I find that going to a restaurant we’ve never been to or buying a new cookbook helps.
This weekend my husband and I finally made our way to Newtown, a suburb only 15 minutes away from our place, to a restaurant called Bloodwood. Run by chefs Claire van Vuuren, Mitchell Grady and Jo Ward who previously worked in fine-dining restaurant Claude’s, this restaurant offers a more down to earth but every bit as delicious plate-sharing menu. Wonderful food, great vibe, and excellent service, this place was a definite source of weekend inspiration! One stand out dish was their Bloodwood Trifle -(made with strawberries, pound cake, rose jelly, mascarpone and champagne anglaise) which served as the inspiration for my wanting to make this Berry Tiramisu.
Is it persistence or stubbornness? Maybe both?
When I have an idea in my head, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it (all within legal means of course!) and I never back down from a dare. Ever.
Every now and again these two traits can get me into trouble. Like the time I confidently told my sister that I could get ourselves into the Qantas First Class lounge only to be evicted twenty minutes later as we were about to take a sip of our coffees (she never has forgiven me for that).
But more often than not, I try to channel these traits more noble pursuits. Like finding a way to get a recipe for a dish I really enjoy, or getting a seat at a restaurant that is booked months in advance or experimenting with food or gadgets I’ve never used.
Introducing: Dare me…
This idea was born out of a conversation between me and my husband. We were having dinner at Tomislav Restaurant the other night and I was blown away with the Basmati Risotto with Yamba Prawns. ”I wish there was a way to get my hands on this recipe.” I told him.
“I dare you ask the chef for it.” He said. ”You seem to get your hands on many of the recipes you like.” he added. I wasn’t able to ask Chef Tomislav for the recipe that night (he had not yet arrived) but I managed to find the recipe anyway. I made this dish twice in two days. Yes, it was that good. The first time I made it over the stove top, adding the chicken stock gradually as you would a regular risotto. The next day I made the basmati risotto using the thermomix. I’m pleased to report both techniques work as well as each other.
So here’s the first of hopefully a series of posts called : Dare me.
If you’re looking for a recipe that you really love – then dare me to find it for you. Just drop me an email or a comment at the end of this post and I’ll turn your craving into a fun challenge and get you that coveted recipe!
Tomislav’s Basmati Risotto with Prawns
- 250 grams good quality Basmati Rice
- 1000 to 1500 ml good quality hot chicken stock (homemade is best)
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 10 ml soy sauce
- 40 grams acidulated butter (see below)
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone
- Lemon Juice
- Chopped Nori roll (1 sheet)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 200 grams prawns, chopped
- Place the butter in a wide surfaced pan and melt. Add the rice and toast for around 3 minutes until the butter is slightly browned and nutty. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken stock (I only used 1000 ml but the recipe calls for 1500 ml) a little at a time and stir continuously for around 15 minutes. The rice will still have a little bite and remember that the dish will not be as creamy as a risotto using regular risotto rice.
- Once the rice is cooked, finish the dish by stirring in the soy sauce, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, chopped nori roll and chives. Season with more salt and pepper if needed
- Grill the prawns and top the risotto with grilled prawns and grated lemon zest.
Using the Thermomix
FYI: I halved the recipe on the Thermomix
- Heat the butter at 100c on speed 3 for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and heat for 5 minutes using the butterfly attachment on reverse and speed soft.
- Add the stock (I added 500 ml for 125 grams rice but feel free to add more stock if necessary towards the end of the cooking time) and continue to cook (butterfly attachment, reverse, speed soft) for 15 minutes.
- Add the soy, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, nori and chives and give it another stir for 5 or so seconds on reverse, speed soft.
- Top with grilled prawns and lemon zest and serve immediately.
- 100 grams unsalted butter
- 50 grams basmati rice
In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice and cook until nutty brown flavour is released. Pass this through a sieve. Set aside.
- 90 ml white wine
- 90 ml white wine vinegar
- 1/2 finely chopped onion
- 100 grams butter
Combine the onion, white wine and white wine vinegar and heat in a pan and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Take this off the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is emulsified. Pass through a sieve.
Mix both butters and leave to set in the fridge for around 8 hours. You will have enough for several batches and this lasts a few days in the fridge.
A few weeks ago our washing machine broke. After 5 years the old fella decided to call it a day. My husband and I went shopping for a new one on a Sunday and were informed that someone would call on Monday to let us know when the delivery could be arranged. Monday came and we were dealt with the news that it would take six weeks to receive a new one. The prospect of wearing dirty clothes for the next six weeks was frightening and we promptly cancelled the order and ordered the washing machine elsewhere and got it three days later.
It was surprising that a few days ago I got not one, but three different calls from a company trying to arrange a time for me to receive that cancelled washing machine. Despite my telling them that I had cancelled the order the calls still kept coming. On the last call, I admit, I thought (for a second) that maybe I should just take the delivery. I could maybe sell it on ebay or place an ad on our community bulletin board. But common sense prevailed and told them for the final time the machine wasn’t mine.
Because that would be cheating.
For the longest time I resisted getting a thermomix. Making things like mayonnaise, custards and tempering chocolate becomes a breeze with this machine. I thought a true test of one’s skill was to be able to make this all from scratch. I wondered, was using the thermomix cheating?
My philosophy is simple, using the thermomix is just another way to cook. If I wanted to whip some egg whites I could place it in a bowl and beat like crazy using a wire whisk. I could use my kitchen aid, or any of the four hand held beaters I have (yes, I have four… don’t ask why)… or I could use the butterfly attachment on the thermomix on speed 3 or 4.
If I wanted to poach an egg I could drop some eggs in a pot of simmering water or try this recipe here. More recently, I’ve discovered that the thermomix is one of the best ways to slow poach eggs. The eggs are cooked in their shells for around 40 minutes at a very low heat, similar to the technique that Momofuku uses, but because the thermomix can regulate temperature, there is no need to watch the pot for the duration of the cooking.
I could stand infront of a stove over a bain marie to make a velvety smooth hollandaise , or I could drizzle some warm butter into a running blender that has some egg yolks to create this sauce – or I could chuck everything into the thermomix and eight minutes later I’m done.
The point is, to each his own.
In 1960 commercial food processors were introduced and it took almost 12 years before food processors were created for domestic use. I am sure there were also a few raised eyebrows and unbelievers when they were first released but today, it’s hard to find a household without a food processor or stick blender. I am sure in time, people will also come to embrace how easy it is to use the thermomix. I’m not going to go into all the great things you can do with this machine, you can read all about it over the internet, but some resources can be found here, here and here.
But I do think the fact that it can make a perfect poached egg and hollandaise alone is worth it. Because I never buy bottled hollandaise.
Now, that would be cheating.
Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce on the Thermomix
For the Poached Eggs
You will need four eggs. Fill the thermomix bowl just below the 2 litre mark. Place four eggs (in their shell) into the steam basket and add more water until the 2 litre mark is reached. Cover the thermomix with the lid. Heat at 60c for 43 minutes on speed 3. Remove from the thermomix and gently crack the tops and tip the eggs into a small saucer. Serve immediately.
For the Hollandaise Sauce
- 4 egg yolks
- 130 grams cold butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredient in the thermomix bowl. Using the butterfly attachment, cook the mixture at 90c for 8 minutes on speed 3
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but growing up, I certainly enjoyed the many perks of my family owning a Spanish restaurant. Probably top of the list was being able to order anything I wanted from the menu. With each visit I’d try to order a different dish for my main course but dessert would always stay the same.
I’d always have the Natilla. I loved the look burnt sugar topping provoking me to give it a good hard crack and then my spoon surrendering to the velvety custard and sponge finger mix beneath.
With my Mom (the Blog Monster) around, many leftovers have come back to life. Just the other day I was complaining that I didn’t have any space for the chicken stock I had made (as I’ve said before, fridge space is the most coveted real estate in my house) and so I ransacked the freezer looking for space for the 3 liters I had just made. In the process, I found, frozen and forgotten for many months, three containers of ham and pea soup, three large bags of home made dumplings, morcon (a Filipino chicken roll stuffed with vegetables and sausages), and filling for some chicken pot pie.
In a fit of frustration I told my Mom I was going to get rid of them. They’d been in the freezer for months and if they hadn’t been eaten by now, then maybe they weren’t worth eating. “They’ll taste bad! I’m going to get rid of it” I told her.
“No… don’t. I can make something out of these.” She insisted.
With a sigh, I gave in but being a refrigerator tyrant that I am, I gave her a deadline of five days to do what she wanted with the leftovers and then I’d toss everything out.
Of course, a few days later, not only did I find myself eating my words, I also found myself eating all the leftovers!
Day 1 – Mom sauteed some chorizo and added this to the ham and pea soup.
Day 2 – Mom made some pancit molo with the bags of dumplings and the chicken pot pie filling went to my brother who had them on a sandwich.
Day 3 – The Chicken Morcon was pan fried with a lovely tomato based sauce and served for dinner.
I did my best to snub the “made over” dishes but the oohs and aahhs and yumms of my family made me cave in.
Anyway, these Almond Croissants are filled with an almond cream made with some creme patissiere, topped with more of the almond cream and sliced almonds and then baked until golden. To serve, they are dusted with some icing sugar. When reading about these gorgeous pastries, I discovered that they were originally invented as a way to use up old croissants.
So you can imagine that I immediately thought of my Mom - who manages to make even the old look and taste better than brand new…
Croissants aux Amandes
- 10 grams ground almonds
- 100 grams creme patissiere (see below)
- 70 grams caster sugar
- 60 grams butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 40 grams flour
- 70 grams sliced almonds, for topping
- 5 croissants
- Icing sugar to dust the croissants
- Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream the almonds, creme patissiere, sugar, butter, egg yolks and flour. This will take around 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl once in a while. Beat until light and fluffy
- Slice the croissants horizontally and spread around 3 heaping spoonfuls of the almond mixture. Cover with the top of the croissant and spread another 3 heaping spoonfuls of the almond mixture.
- Top the croissants with the sliced almonds and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190c for around 10 minutes.
- To serve, dust with icing sugar.
On the Thermomix
Place the ground almonds, creme patissiere, sugar, butter, egg yolks and flour in the thermomix bowl. Mix on speed 6 for 10 seconds until light and fluffy. Follow from number 2 above.
- 250 ml milk
- 50 grams sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
- Heat the 200 ml of the milk with the vanilla beans (and pod) and bring to a boil in a sauce pan.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, egg and 50 ml milk.
- When the milk has come to a boil, pour a little of the hot milk into the sugar/cornstarch mixture and then whisk this thoroughly, then pour the rest of the hot milk into the bowl (remove the vanilla pod).
- Now pour the milk mixture back into the sauce pan and heat, constantly whisking until the mixture thickens, around 5 minutes. Make sure to whisk at the bottom of the bowl so that the mixture does not catch and burn.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Put all the ingredients into the thermomix bowl and cook at 90c for 6 minutes on speed 4. Remove the vanilla pod and allow to cool.
In the realm of shameless – this possibly sits in the top 10 for me.
This is not a story of how my husband proposed marriage . But this is a story of how I faked a proposal to get into one of Neil Perry’s restaurants.
A few weeks after his famed Spice Temple opened a work mate mentioned this restaurant and how difficult it was to get a booking. Apparently, all weekends were booked for the next three months.
“I bet you I can get a booking.” I said.
“Unless you know Neil Perry personally I don’t think you stand a chance.” he said.
So I called the restaurant.
“Hi, I’d like to make a booking for this Friday please.” I said.
“I’m sorry but we are fully booked.” said the receptionist.
“Yes but is there anyway you can make an exception? This is for a really important occasion.” I pleaded.
“No, I’d really like to accommodate you but we are full for Friday. If you’d like, I can put you on our wait list but there are 5 ahead of you.” she replied.
“But you don’t understand, my boyfriend asked me to make a booking at the restaurant of my choice. I think he is going to propose to me. I’m DESPERATE” I said.
“We get people asking for exceptions ALL the time.” she said, obviously unimpressed with my reasoning as to why I should get special treatment.
“No, no… you don’t understand.” I told her, “I am 35 years old. I am DESPERATE.” I repeated.
“Wait a minute.” She put me on hold. ”Alright – we’ve got a table at 7 pm but we need it back by 9 pm.”
Can you imagine me trying to get my husband to agree to re-propose? Of course, there was NO WAY he’d say yes. The waitstaff of Spice Temple looked disappointed when we were being seated, I flashed my “engagement ring” and whispered that he had “surprised me by proposing” the night before.
Anyway, what was supposed to be a memorable night, then was doomed to become “just another dinner”, eventually became unforgettable because of this – fresh watermelon granita laced with a ginger syrup. It was a perfect ending to a delicious and very spicy meal (think Hot and Numbing Wagyu Beef or Stir Fried Prawns with Salted Eggs and Four Chillies).
I’ve never been able to bring myself to go back to Spice Temple after the “engagement episode” for fear they’d caught on to my shameless actions…
But I’ll always have their watermelon granita…
Watermelon Granita with Ginger Syrup
From Neil Perry’s Spice Temple
- 750 grams coarsely chopped fresh watermelon
- 60 grams white sugar
- 200 grams finely diced watermelon, to serve
- 100 grams white sugar
- 20 grams ginger, chopped
- Macerate the watermelon by combining the first lot of watermelon with the sugar and allow to stand for around 45 minutes. Process this in a food processor and then strain. Transfer to a 20 cm x 30 cm shallow metal tray and freeze, scraping occasionally with a fork until crystals form and the granita is frozen. This usually takes around 4 to 5 hours.
- For the ginger syrup, combine the sugar, ginger and 60 ml of water in a saucepan. Bring this to a boil and then remove it from the heat and allow to cool. Strain out the ginger.
- To serve, place some granita in a chilled class, add the diced watermelon and pour some ginger syrup over it.
Watermelon and Ginger Sorbet On the Thermomix
- Combine the ginger, 100 grams white sugar and 60 ml water in the thermomix. Heat at 100c for 5 minutes on speed 3. Remove from heat, strain the ginger and allow to stand until cool.
- Combine the watermelon and the sugar in the thermomix and process on speed 8 for 10 seconds. Pour the ginger syrup on to the watermelon. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
- When the watermelon cubes are frozen, process once more on the thermomix on speed 10 for around 20 seconds. Use the spatula to assist in the mixing of the sorbet. Top with the finely diced watermelon. Hint: If you want, use a fork to scrape on the sorbet until you get the granita like texture.
I’ll admit, I am a creature of habit. I can go for weeks having the same chicken schnitzel wrap for lunch (to a point where I am walking towards the sandwich shop and they will start preparing the wrap for me). Probably, my most un-blogger like behaviour is my ability to go to the same restaurant and order the same dish over and over again.
When traveling however, I’m totally different. I have no inclination to go to the same restaurant and have never ordered the same dish twice.
That is until I tried Locanda Verde’s zucchini bread which was pretty amazing. Think a rich tea cake speckled with grated zucchini and a cinnamon undertones. Think a generous dose of toasted pine nuts and a crumbly sugary topping… freshly baked or toasted – with a dollop of butter – no wonder this warranted a second visit!
Now, I wasn’t able to get my hands on Locanda Verde’s recipe but was lucky enough to stumble on Manggy’s blog where he recreates Tartine’s Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake. I substituted pine nuts for the walnuts that was called for in the original recipe and here you have it – a replica of the absolutely habit forming zucchini bread I once tasted from Locanda Verde.
Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cakes with Pine Nuts
Adapted from Tartine Cookbook
- 270 grams flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 155 ml vegetable oil
- 150 grams sugar
- 115 grams orange marmalade
- 285 grams zucchini, grated (if not using thermomix)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 115 grams toasted pine nuts
- 30 grams brown sugar for topping
- Pre heat oven to 170c. Lightly oil and flour the bottom and sides of a 23cm by 13cm loaf pan
- In one bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and marmalade until combined. Now, incorporate the zucchini. Add the flour mixture to this and mix until combined. Incorporate the nuts into the mixture (leaving some for the topping).
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and a handful of pine nuts.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, and let cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the loaf pan and invert onto the rack. Turn this right side up and let cool completely.
Using the Thermomix
- Place the zucchini into the TM bowl and set to speed 6 for 4 seconds.
- Add the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and orange marmalade. Using the butterfly attachment (from steps 2 to 4), mix on speed 4 for 15 seconds.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix on speed 4 for another 15 seconds.
- Add the toasted pine nuts (leaving some to top the loaf) and mix on speed 4 for 10 seconds.
- Pour the batter into the pan and follow baking instructions above.
I saw it…
I wanted it…
I got it…
Now… I know it sounds bratty… and it sounds like I had a major tantrum to get my latest (and promise, my very very last) kitchen appliance/luxury but, friends, when you want something, you gotta pull out all the stops for it… and this time… it was oohhh soooo worth it!
My husband and I first saw the Thermomix up close during a lunch at Sergi Arola’s Gastro restaurant in Madrid. I’d heard of it before but only thought it was a super powered food processor. During our tour of the kitchen, Sergi’s wife mentioned that the thermomix was one of their most indispensable appliances. I was needless to say, intrigued. A bit of research on the internet and I found out it could weigh, grate, mill, puree, grind, blend, cook, steam, crush, whisk, emulsify and knead… I was ready to get one and I told my husband I would get one in New York and take it home to Australia. He said there was no way we were going to take something that heavy back home.
Enter the tantrum… I begged, pleaded, cried, whined, and begged some more and said I really really REALLY needed one. But he stood firm. But the truth is, none of this mattered because no matter which store I asked - I went to Dean and Deluca, Sur la Table and a few other kitchen stores and was surprised to find out no one stocked it.
It seemed like no one even knew what a Thermomix was… until we had dinner at Momofuku’s Ko restaurant.
“Do you have a Thermomix?” I asked one of the chef’s while he was preparing our dinner.
“Nope. “ He said.
“Why not?” I asked. “I would have thought every kitchen would want one.”
“They are not available in the U.S.” he said. “If you are going to buy one, can you get me one too?” he added.
“Get two, one for him and one for me.” Chimed another chef who was listening to our conversation.
On our way home my husband said “I think you should definitely get a thermomix when we get home. If the chef’s in Momofuko want one then it’s probably worth it.”
And that… my friends… is how I got my Thermomix!
- 150 grams sugar
- 300 grams lychees (canned or fresh)
- 1 egg white
- 2 x 350 grams ice cubes
- Place the sugar into the TM bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9
- Add the lychee followed by the 350 grams of ice and egg white. Slowly turn the speed dial to speed 10.
- Add the remaining ice after 20 seconds. Use the spatula to assist in the incorporation of the lychee with the ice.