Friday, July 31, 2009

Thermomix Cauliflower and Almond Soup

Well, another cauliflower soup - just for a change. One that uses the Thermomix to firstly grind the almonds to speed up cooking and then cooks the soup and finally blitzs it to a smooth velvety finish.

Cauliflower and Almond Soup


few saffron threads
1/2 MC (50ml) water
100g almonds
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
500g cauliflower, cut into chunks
1000g stock, chicken or vegetable
freshly ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
100ml cream


Place saffron threads into the water and keep aside.

Place almonds into TM bowl and grind for 30 seconds on Speed 9. Remove and set aside.

Place onion into TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 5. Add oil and sauté for 4 minutes at 90°C on Speed 1.

Add cauliflower to TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 5.

Add stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper to TM bowl and cook for 15 minutes at 90°C on Speed 1. Add almonds and saffron in water to TM bowl and cook for 10 minutes at 90°C on Speed 2.

Make sure the MC is in place and slowly increase the Speed up to 9 for 30 seconds. Add the cream and blend for 20 seconds on Speed 4.

Transfer to a serving dish and decorate with more cream over the top.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thermomix Carrot & White Chocolate Custards

Well, following on from the cake, it seemed natural to try a custard cooked in the Varoma.

It has a delicious flavour and wonderful texture with the carrot and white chocolate.

Carrot and White Chocolate Custards


rind of half an orange
50g sugar
300g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 MC (50ml) orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
100g white chocolate, Melts or broken
roughly into chunks
3 eggs
6 greased dariole moulds
600g water


Place orange rind and sugar into TM bowl and chop for 30 seconds on Speed 7.

Add carrot to TM bowl and grate for 20 - 30 seconds on Speed 8. The pieces should be smaller than rice grains. Add orange juice and salt and cook for 15 - 20 minutes at 90°C on Speed 1 with the MC in place.

Add chocolate and blend for 10 seconds on Speed 5.

Add eggs and blend for 10 seconds on Speed 4.

Place mixture into greased dariole moulds and position in the Varoma. Place the 600g water into the TM bowl (no need to clean) and set for 20 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1.

Serve with whipped cream, cream mixed with melted white chocolate, ….

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thermomix Carrot and White Chocolate Cake

The idea for this recipe came from a dish that I ate in Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. It was a carrot and white chocolate sorbet, served as a palate cleanser.

I had seen a recipe for carrots and white chocolate in an American book, by Robert Lambert (1990) and decided to try making a cake with the combination.

It would be great served with white chocolate and cream cheese icing.

Carrot and White Chocolate Cake


300g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
200g white chocolate, Melts or broken
roughly into chunks
100g almonds
100g sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g Self-Raising flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced)

Place carrot in TM bowl and chop for 20 seconds on Speed 7. Remove and place in separate bowl.

Place chocolate in TM bowl and chop for 10 - 20 seconds on Speed 7. Remove and add to bowl with carrots.

Place almonds in TM bowl and chop for 10 - 20 seconds on Speed 7. Remove and add to bowl with carrots and chocolate.

Add sugar to TM bowl and grind for 5 seconds on Speed 9. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds on Speed 5.

Add carrot, chocolate and almond mix and blend for 30 seconds on Speed 5.

Add remaining ingredients (flour, bicarb and salt) and blend for 20 seconds on Speed 6.

Place mixture into greased cake tin and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, testing after 1 hour to see if skewer comes out clean.

Can be iced with white chocolate and cream cheese topping for an extra chocolate hit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thermomix ChocBeet Cream

This came from a week of developing recipes with beetroot and chocolate.

It not only looks delicious, tastes good and is full of healthy beetroot (and not so healthy chocolate and cream)

Simple, but yummy.

Thermomix ChocBeet Cream


400 g beetroot, cut into chunks
(don’t bother peeling,
just wash and remove top and root tip)
50 g orange juice
pinch salt
100 g milk or dark chocolate
200 ml cream (35%)


Place the beetroot in the TM bowl and chop for 20 seconds on speed 8.

Add orange juice and salt and cook for 25 minutes at 90°C on speed 1.

Add chocolate to TM bowl and blend for 15 seconds on speed 8.

Remove mixture to a bowl and allow to cool while cleaning TM bowl.

Make sure the bowl is clean and dry. Place Butterfly on blades and place cream into TM bowl. Whip for 30 - 40 seconds on Speed 4, until the cream is holding shape.

Add beetroot and chocolate mixture and whip for 10 -15 seconds on Speed 3 until mixed well.

Serve as is, or cool in fridge before serving.

Thermomix for "Poaching" Eggs

I first saw Tony Tan demonstrate this technique a few years ago, and then saw Dario Barrio, from Dassa Bassa restaurant in Madrid, demonstrate the same idea in his version of an English Breakfast at Alambique cooking school.

The eggs take on an interesting shape and it makes for a very easy method of "poaching" by wrapping the eggs in plastic wrap before "poaching"

"Poached" Eggs in the Thermomix

6 eggs
dariole moulds or small cups
plastic wrap
oil to grease
rubber bands
500g water


The plastic wrap is placed inside a dariole mould or cup so that the egg can be broken into it. I find it easier to grease the wrap before placing the eggs into the wrap and the parcels are then tied using a rubber band to seal it without air.

The little packages are then placed into the Thermomix basket.

Place the water into the TM bowl and cook for 6 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1.

Place the basket with egg parcels into the TM bowl and "poach" for 4-6 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1.

Season with S & P and serve immediately with toast soldiers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thermomix Steamed Eggs

This is a simple way of "poaching" eggs in the Thermomix. You can simply place the egg poachers that are available commercially, or even a coddler in the Varoma, rather than the silicon paper.

With the new clear Varoma lid it is easy to keep a check on the eggs progress.

Steamed eggs in Varoma

600g water
4 eggs
salt & pepper to taste

Place wet and wrung out baking/silicon paper into the Varoma tray, pour water into TM bowl.

Place the empty Varoma into position and cook for 6 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1.

Place greased egg rings onto the paper in the Varoma tray and then place an egg into each mould in the Varoma, steam for 5-6 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1.

Season with S & P and serve immediately with toast soldiers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thermomix Cauliflower Soup in the style of Ducasse

Cauliflowers have been abundant and there have been lots of cauliflower recipes tried at home.

This on is based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse's tome "Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia"

It is a luscious, velvety soup that would also benefit from a touch of truffle.

The benefit of using the Thermomix is that you do not need to strain the mixture to obtain the velvety texture of the finished soup.

No chervil was to hand - so parsley for garnish.

Cauliflower soup in the style of Ducasse


1000ml water
1 cauliflower
100ml chicken stock
30g crème fraiche or cream
1/4 tsp curry powder
salt as needed

2 slices bread, 5mm
50g butter


Place the water in the TM bowl and heat for 5 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Cut the cauliflower into small florettes. Place the florettes into the TM bowl and cook for 3 minutes at 100°C on Reverse + speed 1. Drain the florettes and cool them in cold water to refresh.

Place the cauliflower florettes, chicken stock, cream and curry powder into the TM bowl and cook for 30 minutes at 90°C on speed 1. Allow to cool to 50°C then blend for 1 minute on Speed 9.

Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.

The soup may be served cool or warmed.


Trim the bread and cut into 5mm cubes. Lightly heat the butter in a frypan and toss the croutons until evenly browned. Drain and pat dry on paper towel.

To serve, place the soup in bowls and sprinkle the croutons and chervil over the surface.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chefs that I have met - 1. Alla Wolf Tasker – a Local girl

Chefs that I have met - 1. Alla Wolf Tasker – a Local girl.

Well, there are so many people who need to be thanked for contributing to all the wonderful times that I have enjoyed with food and wine.

I thought long and hard about how to go about the task and initially had decided to just put together a list. But, there are some people who really deserve more than just a line on a page to say “Thank You”.

There are numerous chefs and cooks, producers and teachers, providores and vignerons whose recipes have appeared or have inspired dishes on my blog. However, the first person who I wish to write about is somebody who has been an influence for most of my adult life.

I first heard about Alla Wolf-Tasker in an issue of Australian House & Garden Successful Entertaining from the Spring & Summer of 1981-2. It presented (a young) Alla and her Intimate Banquets cooking school and catering company. The article was subtitled “Fresh food is essential in my cooking”. Today, you just have to add the word “local” at the start and it is still so very true.

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to be a “guest” at the Lake House Winter Masterclass courtesy of a free ticket that Alla had donated to local radio station 3TripleR. It was a superb day with four chefs presenting a bevy of information and ideas to an enthralled crowd of enthusiastic “foodies”. The line up was Peter Gilmore, from Quay restaurant in Sydney; Anthony Musarra, from The Stokehouse in St Kilda; Teague Ezard, from Ezard at Adelphi and the Gingerboy restaurants; and, finally, Greg Malouf, from MoMo.

Lake House has been one of my favourite restaurants since first eating there in 1984. It was a fixed-price, set menu, Sunday lunch. “Sorry, cash or cheques only, no credit cards.” It is hard to imagine how the diners used to walk down past the kitchen and around to gaze over the lake, before entering through the front door, which was situated near what is now the door into the kitchen. The verandah, which was a suitable place to step out and have a stretch between courses has now become part of the extension with the banquette. From very small beginnings Lake House has grown to include accommodation in 1989 and later spa and then conference facilities. It is very difficult for a first-time guest to have any idea of the work and dedication that Allan and Alla have put into Lake House. Even reading Alla’s book, "Lake House, A culinary journey in country Australia" ,does not really explain the enormity of the tasks that they have undertaken.

Not only has there been work created for many of the locals working at the restaurant and then guest rooms and spa, but also for growers, farmers and providores. Alla has championed local produce and has supported, coaxed and educated many businesses from the surrounding countryside. She has also organised the annual Lake House Regional Producers’ Day where many of the local producers come to showcase their wonderful wares.

Meals at Lake House have always been a treat, whether it be a long, leisurely lunch with the backdrop of the calm lake; a busy, festive Christmas lunch; or a serious, dinner with the full degustation and wonderful wines from their marvellous cellar. However, something that Alla has also been doing, selflessly, for years, is teaching and spreading the word about good food.

The first class I attended with Alla as a presenter was at the old Vital Ingredient Cooking School upstairs at their Clarendon Street premises. The evening entitled “Take One Trout” was amazing. Most of the chefs presented three, or maybe four dishes at these classes. Alla had brought one of her chefs and they presented a veritable array of dishes and techniques to feature her local fish, trout.

The dishes included roasted whole trout, how to fillet and bone whole trout, trout meuniere, trout escabeche with remoulade salad, stuffed trout baked in puff pastry, salad nicoise using trout, smoked trout frittata and, of course, the smoked trout sausage that inspired one of my first “experiments” with the Thermomix.

Another class that brings back memories was one of the earlier classes at Lake House, conducted in the upper dining room with a portable bench and burner to demonstrate charcuterie. Alla has always presented charcuterie on her menu, and said in her introduction to the class notes: “Charcuterie seems to have fallen out of favour. Perhaps this is because of the traditionally very high fat content in most products and the notion that there is not much more that can be done with them beyond the traditional, albeit sublime, presentation with fresh crusty bread and cornichons.”

That class demonstrated the use of jellied ham hock sausage and rabbit cooked in three ways; rillettes, ravioli and a winter bunny pie.

It is amazing how the times change. It is probably 10 years ago that this midweek afternoon class took place, but so much has happened since and now charcuterie and salumi are a very trendy part of restaurant menus. In the 1990s, Jonathon Gianfreda also tried to convince Australians to embrace the likes of jambon de Bayonne, cotechino and other smallgoods and charcuterie, but it seems to be that after the legalisation of jamon and prosciutto importation, that local smallgood producers started to really develop (with the exception of Angel Carduso), and charcuterie reappeared on menus. Now a local producer, Istra Smallgoods supplies many of the top restaurants with superb charcuterie.

The region now has a its own association to promote Daylesford and Macedon produce. Alla has again played a large part in this group and helped put the region fairly and squarely on the foodies’ map.

Her book “Lake House, A culinary journey in country Australia” is not only a coffee table book, but full of delicious recipes, some history and also philosophy of food in Australia. It is a wonderful book and a much treasured part of my collection.

I thank Alla for really having made such a difference not only to the Local food scene, but to my life. It is so much richer for having met her.

Thanks must also go to her husband Allan, the artist in residence for his part in my love affair with Lake House. From the early days as the builder and waiter, to the decorator of the property, and now, to his current role as the convivial host. His Startled Gulls and plates help brighten our home.

Please visit their website at Lake House even if you don;t think that you can visit the restaurant.

Lake House < >
King Street
Daylesford, 3460
Victoria, Australia

T: +61 (0) 3 53483329
F: + 61 (0) 3 53483995

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thermomix Beetroot Relish

This recipe is based on one from Alla Wolf-Tasker's book "Lake House, A culinary journey in country Australia"

Beetroot has always been a part of the food at Lake House and currently forms part of the smoked eel entree.

Alla's original recipe calls for the beetroot to be steamed, which is easily achieved in the Varoma section of the Thermomix, if you prefer.

Other flavours such as coriander go well with the beetroot, so experiment.

Thermomix Beetroot Relish


250g onions, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
500g beetroot, peeled and cut into eighths
200g sugar
1 MC (100ml) water
5 g grated horseradish, (I did a large amount in the Thermomix previously)
5 g brown mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
100ml red wine vinegar


Place onions into TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 5. Add oil and sauté for 5 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1.

Add beetroot to TM bowl and grate for 20 - 30 seconds on Speed 6, scrape down the sides every 10 seconds to incorporate all the beet and to check on size. The pieces should be similar in size to lentils. Add sugar, water, horseradish, mustard seeds and salt and cook for 30 - 40 minutes at 90°C on Speed 1 with the MC in place. The beetroot should be cooked, but not soft and mushy.

Add vinegar and blend for 10 seconds on Speed 3.

May be stored in the fridge for a week, or you can place in sterilised jars and seal to keep longer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thermomix Aloo Gobi

Aloo gobi has long been one of my favourite Indian dishes and this is based on a recipe fom Madhur Jaffrey's "Ultimate Curry Bible".

Normally the dish is fried and cooked in a frypan or larger pot, but this mock version cooks the sauce in the TM bowl frist and then the potato in the steamer basket while the cauliflower is steamed and the sauce kept warm in the Varoma.

The mixture of spices can easily be altered and varied to suit your palate.

Just another dish to show that it can be made in the Thermomix and that the Varoma is handy for keeping sauces warm while preparing other components of the meal.

Spicy Cauliflower and Potato (Mock Aloo Gobi)


1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
1 garlic clove
2 cm fresh ginger
1 large onion, cut into eighths
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
200g peeled tomatoes, canned are OK
500g potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 small cauliflower, cut into florettes, you can also use the stems, peeled and diced
700g water
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying (optional)


Place cumin, coriander and mustards seeds into TM bowl and dry roast for 8 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1. Remove and allow to cool.

Place garlic and ginger into TM bowl and mince for 15 seconds on Speed 7. Scrape down sides as needed to ensure the mix is even. Add onion and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 5. Add turmeric, pepper, salt, oil and spice mix to onions and cook for 8 minutes at 90°C on Speed 1. Add the tomato and cook out for another 5 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1. If using canned, then place on Reverse and Speed 1, to reduce pulverising them too much.

Remove the mixture from the TM bowl and place into a bowl that will fit into the Varoma. Place the cauliflower florettes into the Varoma and the potato cubes into the TM basket.

Without washing out the bowl, add 700g water with the second teaspoon of salt. Place the basket into the TM bowl, position the lid and then the Varoma and cook the potato and cauliflower for 25 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 2.

Check the potato and cauliflower after about 20 minutes, you want it to be al dente, with some texture to it and not soft.

When the potato and cauliflower are ready, remove to a large bowl and gently fold in the sauce mixture.

Serve warm.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thermomix Cauliflower & Chickpea Patties

Well cauliflowers are getting a bit of a go in the house while I am trying to recreate Ferran Adria's cauliflower cous cous or risotto.

This time, the resulting puree was made into fritters with chickpea flour based on a recipe from Stephanie Alexander's Cooks' Companion.

The Thermomix is able to produce the chickpea flour from dried chickpeas in seconds.

Again, the recipe can be modified to suit your own palate, but the basic idea is how to use cauliflower in interesting ways, and in a fried form that may interest children.

The mixture can be made into little balls and fried as per Stephanie's original recipe, or as I did, and make it into larger patties.

Middle Eastern Cauliflower Fritters


120 g dried chickpeas
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cm fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 large cauliflower, cut roughly into chunks
1 egg
Vegetable oil for frying


Place chickpeas into TM bowl and mill for 40 seconds on speed 9. Remove and set aside.

Place cumin and coriander seeds into TM bowl and dry roast for 8 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1. Add salt and mill for 10 seconds on Speed 9. Add ginger, turmeric and pepper and blend for 20 seconds on Speed 7. Scrape down sides after 10 seconds.

Remove the mixture from the bowl and keep aside. Place 200g of the cauliflower into the TM bowl and grate for 5 seconds on Speed 5. The cauliflower should be coarsely grated, not mush. Remove the cauliflower and add batches of cauliflower until it is all grated.

When the last batch of cauliflower has been grated, add the spice mixture and the egg to the cauliflower in the TM bowl. Mix for 10 seconds on Reverse and Speed 5 to mix, and then add this to the bowl with the remaining grated cauliflower and mix all together.

The mixture can then be made into walnut-sized balls and fried in 1 cm of hot oil, or made into patties and grilled in a small amount of oil.

Serve with a chutney, pickle or sauce of your liking.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alain Passard - Arpege Restaurant, Paris

Tonight on Masterchef Australia, George will be preparing a tomato dessert. For many people that will be a revelation, but for those fortunate enough to have eaten at Arpege Restaurant in Paris over the past 25 years, it may not seem so strange.

Alain Passard has been presenting his tomate confit farcie aux douze saveurs for over 25 years. An article in the American Express Centurion Magazine from January gives a little more insight into the chef and shows his tomato dessert.

The first time that I was fortunate enough to try the dessert was May 1988. It was an amazing finale to a superb lunch that began with another Masterchef favourite, the chaud-froid eggs that the contestants enjoyed, and then tried to recreate, when they were treated to lunch at Mark Best's Surry Hills restaurant Marque.

Arpege is a three star Michelin restaurant in the Invalides district of Paris near the Rodin Museum. In 1988 when I visited it was still only a two star restaurant, but Passard was winning praise and attracting much attention. Christine Manfield and partner margie visited in July 1989 to celebrate Margie's birthday and had a memorable meal, as recounted in Christine's book "Fire".

The restaurant attracted Mark Best, who worked there in 1998. It seems from the report in Australian Gourmet Traveller from August 1999, that it was a tough time and M. Passard was not of much assistance during his stay. Despite the apparent lack of interaction with M. Passard, Mark brought back two recipes in particular that have stood the test of time and appeared on his menus. The chaud-froid egg and the tomato dessert.

The tomato dessert became legendary and versions have appeared in many restaurants. At the Melbourne Food and Wine Masterclass in 1998, Alain Verzeroli, who had worked with M.Passard, presented his version of the dish, Confit of Tomato stuffed with dried and fresh fruit flavoured with star anise and vanilla, served with an orange syrup.

In 1999, while on a cheese tour of Italy and France, I returned to Arpege with a chef from Sydney. We had a fantastic meal that included a fondant of Perigord truffles and reggiano parmigiano. It was a memorable meal and of course finished with the tomate confit, finished at the table au geuridon. After the lunch, M.Passard took my partner on a guided tour of the small kitchen and explained their philosophy on food.

Earlier this year I returned for my sixth visit, and unfortunately, due to it being spring time, tomatoes were not on the menu. Still, we had the chaud-froid eggs and a superb meal, with the vegetables grown on M.Passard's three farms. The first asparagus of the season had just arrived and it was served simply with some olive oil and shavings of parmesan. Simple, but delicious. The meal was full of fresh, light vegetable combinations. With all the talk of restaurant kitchen gardens, M'Passard has really taken it to a higher level, with three potagers (farms).

The apple tart (Tarte aux pommes Bouquet de Roses©)
--> has been made with long strips of apple that have been rolled up to give the appearance of a bouquet of roses. It is of work of art.

Cheeses were of course good, including a 4 year old Salers.

It was a memorable meal and M.Passard spent 10 minutes with us discussing his food and farms. A true gentleman and a quiet achiever.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thermomix Cauliflower Pilaf

Well, back in 2001 at Tasting Australia in Adelaide, Juan-Mari Arzak and Ferran Adria were invited to give a presentation for chefs and media on the Sunday morning. Being neither a chef nor in the media I should not really have been there, but some friends said that nobody would notice and so I sat through an interesting couple of hours. The air was redolent with orange essence to make you think that you were in an orange grove near Seville.

That was the start of foam mania in Australia, and many chefs who I heard laugh and condemn on that day, have since adorned dishes with a variety of foams.

Something that did not go down well at all, was the idea of using a microplane to produce shavings of cauliflower that were then presented to the diner as "cauliflower risotto". I have since seen a number of negative reviews from people being presented with such cauliflower risottos in other restaurants.

Well, I had a cauliflower in the fridge, and decided to see how it would go in the Thermomix.

Using the Reverse setting and putting just the tops of the florettes into the bowl resulted in the following product, which I then steamed in the Varoma and made a "cauliflower pilaf"

It may be something that used with milk to cook the cauliflower for just a minute or two could be used to encourage children to eat their vegetables.

There are probably a myriad of other dishes that people can make with the cauliflower "rice". I roughly chopped the remaining cauliflower stalks and put them into the Thermomix bowl and made cauliflower soup while the "pilaf" was steaming.

Cauliflower Pilaf


1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsps coriander seeds
2cm piece fresh ginger
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 Tbsp cashews
2 Tbsp currants
1 medium cauliflower


Place the cumin and coriander seeds into the TM bowl and dry roast for 8 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1. Set aside and put the ginger into the TM bowl, grate for 5 seconds on Speed 7. Add onion and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 5. Add the oil and saute for 7 minutes at 100°C on Speed 1.

Add the turmeric, cashews and currants and mix for 15 seconds on Reverse and Speed 5. Place the mixture into a bowl that fits into the upper Varoma tray.

Cut the tops off the florettes of the cauliflower off and place batches of about 150 grams in the TM bowl. Blitz each batch for 3 seconds on Reverse and Speed 5. Place each batch into the base of the Varoma dish. When finished, place tray into the Varoma and place lid on Varoma.

Place 600ml water into the TM bowl, position the Varoma and steam for 10 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1. You may need to carefully turn the cauliflower "rice" over during cooking to ensure even cooking.

Once the "rice" has steamed, carefully remove the tray and cauliflower and mix together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pork (or Chicken) Balls with Minted Peanut Sauce

Well, I cannot believe that I do not have a photo of these balls, but they were wonderful.

It was based on a recipe from the Murdoch book "Steam It".

You can, of course, grill the balls, but they are delicious simply steamed if you only have a Thermomix.

This recipe is equally delicious made with chicken breast meat.

Both the pork balls and the sauce can be made ahead of time. Set the balls aside on a tray until you are ready to cook them if cooking on the BBQ.

Pork (or Chicken) Balls with Minted Peanut Sauce


400g pork, trimmed and diced
2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or medium-dry sherry
1 tbsp soy
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of white pepper
1 egg white

1 Iceberg lettuce, to serve

For the sauce

90 g roasted peanuts (or 4 tbsp smooth peanut butter)
400 ml coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli, seeded
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)


To make the pork balls, place the ginger and garlic in TM bowl and grate for 15 seconds on speed 7.
Add the diced pork, sesame oil, sherry, soy sauce and sugar, salt and white pepper and blend for 40 seconds on speed 6 . Add the egg white and mix through for 15 seconds on Reverse and speed 4.

Using wet hands, shape the pork mixture into thumb-size balls for steaming, or into larger patties for barbecuing.

To make the sauce, put the chilli and garlic into the TM bowl. Mince for 15 seconds on speed 7. If using peanuts, add these now and blend for 30 seconds on speed 7. (If using peanut butter add now).

Add the remaining ingredients to the mixture in the TM bowl, blend for 30 seconds gradually increasing to speed 6 for 20 seconds. Remove to a serving bowl and set aside. Roughly clean the TM bowl.

If steaming the balls, place the pork balls onto silicon paper in the Varoma. Add 600 g water to the TM bowl and position the Varoma. Steam for 10 -12 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2.

If grilling, place the pork (or chicken) balls between the layers of a greased metal grill and place over a charcoal burner and cook until golden brown.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large serving platter. Place the pork balls on the leaves and serve with the dipping sauce in small bowls for guests to help themselves.

Thermomix Pea and Ham Soup

A simple homely soup - made much easier by the fact the the Thermomix can blitz the split peas into a fine powder to speed up the cooking time. Then, once the soup has been cooked it can be blitzed again to make it very smooth and velvety.

Winter is a great time for a rustic, hearty soup and the Thermomix can help speed up the pleasure.

The basket is great to hold the pieces of hock so that it doesn't get mushed up with the blades.

The split peas can be soaked the night before and drained before blitzing, but may be made successfully with dried peas when the Thermomix can blitz them so finely.

Pea and Ham Soup


150g split peas (green or yellow)
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 clove garlic
30g oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, cut into 2cm lengths
1200ml water
1 smoked ham hock, cut into pieces
that will fit into the TMX basket
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Parsley and olive oil to garnish


Place split peas into TM bowl and mill for 1 minute on speed 9. Set aside.

Place garlic and onions into TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7. Add oil and sauté for 5 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.

Add carrots and celery, chop for 5 seconds on speed 6. Add water to the bowl.

Place pieces of ham hock and bay leaves in basket and position basket in TM bowl.

Cook for 40 minutes at 90°C on speed soft with the MC out of lid.

Remove basket, discard bay leaves and allow meat to cool.

Add milled peas to the TM bowl and cook 15 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.

Meanwhile, remove meat from the hocks and roughly chop. Put the meat in a bowl and place the bowl into the Varoma. You can place the bones and skin back into the basket and into the TM bowl while the soup is still cooking to impart extra flavour. Position the Varoma on the TMX lid to keep the meat warm.

Test the soup to see if the peas are cooked sufficiently and adjust seasonings. Remove the basket, if you returned it to the TM bowl, and slowly turn the dial up to speed 9 and blend for about 40 seconds.

Serve the soup into bowls or tureen, add the pieces of ham and garnish with chopped parsley and drizzle with olive oil.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pork Buns in the Varoma

Pork buns are a sweet delight that is always a welcome part of yum cha / dim sum.

It is fascinating to watch experienced chefs whip them up effortlessly, as if second nature. It is such an ordeal for me, but generally worth it. The preparation of the dough alone is a challenge, but the Thermomis helps speed up and simplify the process.

I have outlined a traditional method below adapted for the Thermomix, but in Melbourne, you can get a packet mix for the buns from Vietnamese grocers which is much easier:

Mix the flour mixture in the package with 1 cup of fresh milk and 1/2 cup of sugar. Knead dough well for 3 minutes and then add 1 tbsp of cooking oil. Continue to knead again for 1 minute. Leave aside for 30 minutes.

Pork Buns in the Varoma

Number of Buns: 12


250 ml water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
310 g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
250 g Chinese barbecued pork, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce


To make the dough, place water into TM bowl and add the sugar, 1 Tbsp of the flour and yeast. Stir for 10 minutes at 37°C on speed 1 to dissolve the sugar and activate the yeast. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining flour and vegetable oil into TM bowl and mix for 20 seconds on speed 6. Then set to closed lid and knead for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, or until smooth and elastic. Brush a large bowl with the sesame oil and put the dough in the bowl, turning it around in the bowl to coat it all with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for at least 3 hours.

Lift the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch the dough down and flatten into a large round. Sprinkle the baking powder in the centre of the circle, bringing the edges up towards the centre. Firmly press the edges together, then place the dough back into the TM bowl and knead the dough for a further 2 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.

Clean the TM bowl and place the pork chunks into the bowl. Chop for 2 seconds on speed 7, add the oil and cook for 3 minutes
at 100°C on speed 1. Add the oyster sauce, sugar, rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce and cook for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.

Take each ball of dough and press it onto a lightly floured surface to form a circle 12 cm in diameter. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each dough circle, then bring the edges up to the centre. Press the edges firmly together. Sit each bun on a 5 cm square piece of baking paper.
Place pork buns on each layer of Varoma and cover with lid.

Add 600 ml water and 2 tbsp vinegar (to help keep the buns white) to the TM bowl and position Varoma on lid and steam for 25 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2. After 20 minutes take the lid off the Varoma and continue to steam.

Serve buns warm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

La Lot - Grilled Beef wrapped in wild betel leaves.

The first time that I recall having this dish was at a briefing session for Tony Tan's first Gourmet Tour of Vietnam in 1998.

I had eaten a lot of Vietnamese food in Footscray and Richmond, but never seen these tasty little morsels. The restaurants possibly only served them to their special clients.

The little parcels should be wrapped in wild betel leaves, which can be sourced from Asian grocers, but with a little effort. The traders in Victoria Street in Richmond, in Springavle and in Footscray certainly have sold them to me over the years, but they are generally not obvious and not always available. Some planning may be necessary.

If you want to try the dish, but can't find wild betel leaves then there are alternatives such as perilla (shiso/beefsteak plant), vine leaves, or even large spinach leaves will work.

The taste is enhanced when they are cooked over charcoal as they are in Vietnam, but even when cooked in a frypan, the fat melting and mixing with the leaves and becoming charred gives a superb flavour.

They are worth the effort.

La Lot – Grilled Beef Wrapped in Wild Betel Leaves


1/4 cup red shallots, (or red onion) roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 small red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
2cm piece lemongrass
500g beef, preferably rump, cut into chunks and partly frozen
100g pork back fat, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

30 large “la lot (pepper leaves) or red perilla or grape leaves
Wooden skewers soaked in cold water


Place the shallots, garlic, chilli and lemongrass into the TM bowl and mince for 20 seconds on Speed 8. You may need to scrape down the sides during this process.

Add 300g of the beef and mince by placing the speed control to Closed Lid and hitting Turbo 3 or 4 times. It needs to be a little pasty, not like ground beef.

Remove the mixture and add the remaining beef and pork fat. Again mince by hitting Turbo 3 or 4 times.

Add the oil, fish sauce, sugar and salt to the TM bowl with the remaining beef mixture and blend for 20 seconds on Reverse and Speed 4. You may need to use the spatula through the top to help combine the mix.

Place the betel leaves dark side down on a work surface and place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the leaf and roll up into a tiny cylinder, making sure that the meat is all covered by the leaf. Thread onto a skewer so that about 6 – 8 cylinders are lined up, side-by side.
Place the skewers in rows along side each other onto greased metal griddles, as shown, if cooking on a charcoal burner.

If you prefer, just cook on a metal plate or even in a frypan.

During cooking, to reduce the likelihood of burning, turn the parcels twice, until cooked through, about 8 – 10 minutes. Watch carefully as they tend to char if the heat is too high.

Serve with greens, rice paper rolls and dipping sauce.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce


1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
pinch salt


Place garlic clove and chilli into TM bowl with sugar and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 8 until fine. Add remaining ingredients and mix all together for 5 seconds on Speed 3.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thermomix Rice Porridge

This recipe came about following a class on Indian food at Tony Tan's cooking school.

He had used poha, a beaten or rolled rice flake, that looks like rolled oats, to some extent. The dish that we ate was like a rice pudding made in the oven.

Although I have no food allergies or intolerances, that I am aware of, the thought crossed my mind that it should be easy enough to substitute the rolled oats for these poha flakes in my porridge, since there were still some sitting there.

The idea of using rice flakes is probably second nature to those individuals with gluten intolerance, but I decided to post the recipe anyway.

It is basically porridge with whatever you desire to add to it to suit your taste.

You can change the milk to skim milk, or just use water.

I used kithul treacle because it was there in the pantry.

Thermomix Rice Porridge


80 grams rolled rice flakes (Poha)
200 grams coconut milk
200 grams water
1/2 tsp salt
sweetener - sugar, brown sugar, kithul treacle as desired
spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon powder as desired
fruit and nuts - raisins, sultanas, currants, cashews, slivered almonds as desired.


Place the first four ingredients into the TM bowl with whatever combination of other ingredients you desire.

Cook for 10 minutes at 90°C on reverse and speed 1.

Serve with cream, yoghurt, milk, sugar, kithul treacle, sprinkle of your favourite spices - as desired.

Equally desirable at the start or finish of the day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prawn Oil in the Thermomix

Well, to make the sugar cane prawns, I had to peel a heap of green prawns, and I hate to waste anything that can be used. So just a simple prawn oil.

There are recipes that use onions, carrots, tomato etc. and I have made prawn oil that way. It is great, but this time, it was just as easy to:

Prawn shells into the Thermomix bowl. Chop them for 20 seconds on speed 5 and then add enough rice bran oil to cover them.

Cook for 10 minutes at 100°C on speed soft, then lower the temperature to 90°C and continue for another 20 minutes on speed soft.

Leave the oil mixture to cool for half an hour or so before straining through a fine chinois or muslin.

The resulting oil is delicious and can be used to add extra depth of flavour to fish dishes or mixed through seafood pasta or even just used to cook up some peeled prawns in the wok.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thermomix Chicken Croquettes from Varoma

This is based on a recipe from Kate McGhie's book "Cook"

I am not into fried foods, but somebody is, and so I decided to try making up a batch in a form that could easily be frozen and then small quantities be thawed for a meal/snack.

I don't enjoy crumbing sloppy balls of croquettes, so thought that I would try par-cooking them first.

The logs of chicken mix can be steamed before they are sliced for the croquettes, but please don't overcook them, because they will be partly cooked again with the frying.

It is similar to the way my mum used to make logs of biscuits and freeze them, then cut off bits as needed. But this time, I cooked the chicken and then sliced it and froze the slices on trays before wrapping between pieces of foil for storage.

For a crunchier texture, use the Japanese Panko breadcrumbs rather than making your own and mix in the parmesan before coating.

You only need to shallow fry the croquettes, but I probably would not try to cook them in the oven, as they would harden up too much. I have coated and fried them, cooled them and then reheated them later in a slow oven for 10 minutes, and that works.

Have a play around and see if it appeals.

Chicken Croquettes


100 g Parmesan cheese in pieces
200 g bread, crusts removed and
cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
500 g chicken thighs cut into
2cm chunks and partially frozen
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Another egg, beaten (for crumbing croquettes)

Place the cheese in the TM bowl and chop for 15 seconds on speed 8. Add bread and chop for another 10 seconds on speed 7. Remove crumb mix to a bowl and set aside.

Place garlic in the TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 7, scrape down the sides as needed. Add 250 g of the chicken to TM bowl. Chop the chicken by hitting Turbo 4 or 5 times. It should still have some texture and not look like a paste. Remove and place in a bowl. Place remaining chicken in TM bowl and chop the chicken by hitting Turbo 4 or 5 times.

Place the chicken and garlic; half the breadcrumb mix; and, one of the eggs and seasoning into the TM bowl. Mix for 30 seconds on Reverse + speed 5, using the spatula through the lid if needed to push the mixture down.

Place some of the mixture onto greased aluminium foil and roll up into sausage shapes, about 3cm diameter, of lengths that will fit into the Varoma.

Place 1000 m l water in the TM bowl and set the TM for 30 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2. Place the Varoma on top and steam the “sausages”.

After the sausages have cooked, remove the Varoma and leave aside to allow the sausages to cool. Once cooled, slice into 1 cm slices, dip in the beaten egg and reserved crumbs. Shallow fry.

You can make up larger amounts, cook the sausages; cut into discs; and then freeze with silicon paper between, thaw and crumb as needed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One year of blogging - Sugar Cane Prawns from the Thermomix

Well, thanks to Ed over at Tomato,
I suddenly realised that this blog has been going a year. A little haphazardly, but still, it has helped those poor Thermomix users who have needed some inspiration at times.

Ed's blog is having its fourth birthday and has a request for BBQ recipes, so here is a Vietnamese recipe that is perfect in the Thermomix and can be finished on those little Vietnamese charcoal braziers for a tasty finish.

You can just eat them after they have been steamed, but the charcoal finish helps give them a lift.

Sugar Cane Prawns


1 stem sugar cane, peeled
3 garlic cloves
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1/2 small bunch coriander, including roots and stalks, washed and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
30g palm sugar
60g pork back fat, chilled and chopped into 1cm cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
500g peeled, deveined green prawns
1 egg white
10g cornflour
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Dipping sauce:

1 clove garlic (from above)
1/2 teaspoon chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
pinch salt


Cut sugar cane into 10 cm lengths, and then cut into sixths lengthways. Place in water to soak while preparing mixture.

Place garlic cloves into TM bowl and then peel the cloves for 5 seconds on Reverse + Speed 4. Remove the papery coating from the bowl and remove one clove and keep aside for the dipping sauce. Add the ginger and chilli and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 7 (remember to take it off Reverse). Next add the palm sugar, pork fat and salt to the TM bowl and process for 15 – 20 seconds on Speed 6, until nearly smooth.

Finally, add the prawns, egg white, cornflour, fish sauce and pepper and mix for 30 seconds on Speed 6. The mixture should be sticky.

Remove sugar cane sticks from the water and dry well. They must be very dry on the outside to hold the mixture. With oiled hands, wrap mix around sugar cane.

For ease of eating outdoors, place the mixture at one end of the stick. If you are going to remove the prawn mixture and wrap in lettuce leaves or roll in rice paper, then place midways along the sticks.

Place some oiled baking paper with holes cut in, to allow better steam penetration, into the Varoma tray. Place the prawn skewers into the tray. Put 600ml water into the TM bowl and position the Varoma tray on top. Set the TM to cook for 10 - 12 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 1, until the prawn mixture has changed to be opaque and firm to the touch.

They may be served as they are in rice paper or lettuce leaves (remove from the sugar cane before wrapping!) , or for a more authentic flavour, place between Vietnamese metal grill and grill over charcoal until charred on the outside.

Serve the sugar cane prawns surrounding a small bowl with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
Place garlic clove and chilli into TM bowl with sugar and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 7. Add remaining ingredients and mix all together for 5 seconds on Speed 4.