Monday, June 30, 2008

Rosti rework for Geoff

Following up on a report by Karen about the potato cakes (rösti style) in the “Everyday Cooking… for Every Family!” cookbook, I tried out the recipe yesterday.

I placed the ingredients into the bowl, as per the book, and blitzed it for 3 seconds at speed 6. Then I scraped down the sides and processed again for 2 more seconds at speed 6.

Normally, rösti is a grated potato dish, similar to hash browns, being fried in butter or oil to produce a crisp outside & smoother, soft inside (or that’s what Swiss people have told me!!).

After 5 seconds the mixture had reached a point where there was still enough texture, but no chunks. The recipes suggests 30 seconds at speed 6-7. This would produce a very smooth result. The flavour should be the same, but maybe not the mouthfeel.

My partner thought that they were yummy, and was disappointed to find that after she had eaten 2 from the photo shoot, the dogs scored the rest. They eat any human food voraciously and so their opinions don’t count.

It is a similar situation with the coleslaw recipe in the “Everyday Cooking… for Every Family!” cookbook. You need to blitz for short periods, scrape down the bowl and keep checking, otherwise you get raw cabbage slop.

Down be deterred Geoff, try it again with less time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thermomix Recipe for Bread

The Thermomix not only blends, grinds, mixes, whips and cooks, but it can knead dough and then steam a bread to produce a wonderful loaf without the need for an oven.

You may find it hard to believe, but I can assure you, having made the bread pictured in my own little machine, it is possible.

Gabriela Llamas , who conducts Thermomix classes at Alambique in Madrid, believes that the steaming feature is possibly the most under-utilized feature of the TMX. A new model of the steamer attachment, the Varoma, has been available in Spain since October 2007. It allows for larger quantities to be cooked and last Christmas Gabriela showed how to make a rolled turkey buffet with foie gras and truffles. That really sounds totally luxuriant and a dish worth trying to reproduce for special friends and family, not only at Christmas.

Back to my simple life and bread. The steamed bread is great for toasting and using for dips, which is the subject of many future posts.

Try the bread and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Varoma Bread


150 gr. water
1 tsp sugar
1 sachet dried yeast
250 gr. Bakers’ flour
1 teaspoon salt oil for greasing the dish
1,500 gr. water


1 . Place water (150 grams), sugar, yeast and 1 tbsp of the flour into the TM bowl. Program: 4 minutes, 37 ºC, speed 1.

2 . Add flour and salt. Then set 2 mins & 30 secs, speed Closed Lid and press Knead Dough button. Once finished remove the dough from the TM bowl.

3 . Form a ball with the dough, place it in a greased dish that fits inside the Varoma, such as a ceramic mixing bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place to allow the dough to prove for 1 hour ( in which time it should double in volume).

4 . After it has doubled, pour the 1500 gr water into the TM bowl. (I used boiling water). Place the dish with the dough inside the Varoma. Cover the Varoma and place it into position on the TM bowl. Program: 45 minutes, Varoma temperature, speed 1, to steam the bread.

5 . Let it cool and cut into slices. When steamed it appears quite moist but toasts very well and is good for dips or with jam.

Recipe based on a Spanish recipe.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Apple & Mushroom Soup - Thermomix Recipe

The recipe is based on one from an English chef, John Tovey, who was the proprietor at Miller Howe restaurant on the shores of Lake Windermere, in the English Lakes district. It appears in his Radio Times Step-by-step All-colour Cookbook and, as you can see from his costume on the cover, he had some unusual ideas.

The recipe converts very well to making in the Thermomix and blitzing at the end really reduces the need for straining.
Another benefit is the ability to rapidly convert ice cubes to a liquid. I use ice cube trays (the large rubbery ones) to freeze stock so that thawing is a breeze after blitzing in the Thermomix.

It is not the most appealling of colours, but add some truffles or truffle salsa and it really lifts it.

For a bit of variation add some walnuts after the soup has been blended and run the Thermomix for a few seconds at Speed 3 to break them up a little.

Apple & Mushroom Soup


200g onions, peeled & quartered
100g butter or oil
400g apples, cut into large chunks (there is no need to peel or core them)
400g mushrooms, chopped if large
100ml dry sherry
800ml stock, (beef is good or vegetable for vegetarians)
Salt & Pepper
Fresh cream and herbs to garnish

Place onions in bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7, scraping down and chopping more if needed. Add the butter or oil and sauté for 4 minutes at 100ºC on speed 1.

Insert apples into TM bowl and process for 7 seconds at speed 7 to break up apple into small pieces. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes at 90°C on speed 2 until skins are very soft. Add mushrooms and blend for 7 – 10 seconds at speed 7 to break up mushrooms a little. Use the spatula through the lid to push mushrooms down if needed. Once the mushrooms are in smallish pieces add the sherry and cook for 15 - 20 minutes at 90°C on speed 2.

Blend for 30 seconds by slowing going from speed 1 to speed 9. Make sure the measuring cup is firmly in place when doing this step.

Add the stock and cook for another 3 minutes at 90°C on speed 2.

Check for seasoning before placing in bowls.

Garnish with cream and herbs and serve with a glass of sherry.

The soup can be made more luxuriant by adding cream to the mix or truffle salsa.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why start another Blog about Thermomix ?

Well, that's a good question.

Everybody seems to be filling cyberspace with blogggg, so “Why not?”

No, I am not a salesperson or consultant for Thermomix. I am simply and avid fan(atic).

It was on a trip to Spain in 2003 with Tony Tan, of The Unlimited Cuisine Company, that I first saw a Thermomix. The machine was not part of the demonstration, but a meal was to be served after the class. Gabriela Llamas, who was presenting the class, decided to make some fideus, a type of Spanish noodle dish. She filled two Thermomix bowls, which looked a bit like blenders with blades in the base, with water and started the machines. Later she added the fried/toasted noodles and then set the machine to cook for a certain amount of time. The Thermomix was left to do its own thing while Gabriela continued demonstrating other dishes.

After a while the machines beeped to let her know that they were finished. At that time I imagined a couple of pots full of mush. But, to my amazement the noodles had cooked perfectly, without any supervision.

Gabriela explained that the machine was being used by many chefs in Spain due to the ability to cook at specific constant temperatures. So hollandaise sauce, crème anglaise and other dishes that did not respond well to overheating were child’s play in the Thermomix. It also chops & blends with great efficiency making instant sorbets and other wonderful dishes. She told us that it was an indispensable part of her kitchen.

Gabriela went on to produce a cookbook (in Spanish, sorry) “Cocinar con Thermomix” illustrated by her niece, Ximena Maier, of Lobstersquad, (who incidentally did Neil Murray’s illustration on At My Table). The book, as outlined on 25.10.06 by Ximena, has a mix of Spanish and exotic (Asian, Middle Eastern, French, Italian –exotic for Spain) dishes. Hopefully, Gabriela or Ximena will translate it one day.

On returning to Oz I could not find any cookware/department stores selling them here and so I forgot all about them. It was not until revisiting Gabriela’s cooking classes in 2005 that I remembered about these magic machines, but then visiting a little fishing village near Ancona really sealed my passion for the Thermomix. We had a meal with numerous courses of fish and seafood in soup, risotto, pasta, fritto misto and then just grilled, before we were served the most sublime green apple sorbet. The chef explained that it was just green apples (probably frozen in pieces) blitzed in his Bimby (Italian for Thermomix). It was so silky smooth and refreshing. Then I was really keen to get one.

The Thermomix is not available in stores, so after searching the internet I managed to find out that we needed to attend or hold a demonstration (a la Tupperware, lingerie parties, etc) to get one. It was November 2007 before my partner finally ordered one for my birthday. It is the best present I have ever received and now I want to share my enthusiasm.

Hopefully something in the following days, week, months, years of blogging along will appeal to somebody out there.

Time to get back in the kitchen and rattle the Thermomix.