Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thermomix Christmas Salad

Well, yes, it is past Christmas, but I made this from a book that I received from Santa. The book is the latest from Armando Percuoco and David Dale called "Buon Ricordo, How to make your home a great restaurant." It is a great read with lots of new ideas and reworks of recipes from their previous book, "La Cucina Italiana". Armando has done a lot for Australian cuisine and some more information can be found here on Mietta's website.

It has lots of wonderful information, fantastic photos and great tips. The book is very much about sharing and getting back to the table as a community. As part of this there is also a chapter with recipes from other members of the restaurant and a recipe from Tetsuya Wakuda, who it is said "runs a pretty successful restaurant in Sydney." Tetsuya's recipe for Leatherjacket "Usuzukuri" was demonstrated at the Sydney Seafood School in November, and I can recommend it.

The recipe I have chosen is titled Insalata di Rinforzo and is based on a dish that the Percuoco family traditionally ate on Christmas eve.

The salad is like giardiniera or sotto aceti, with vegetables cooked in vinegar.

It is easily converted for the Thermomix by using the TM basket to hold the vegetables while cooking.

The vibrant colours are perfect for Christmas.

Insalata di rinforzo (Christmas Salad)


500g white vinegar
1000g ( plus extra) water
500g cauliflower, divided into florets
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 yellow capsicum, cut into 1 cm wide strips
1 red capsicum, cut into 1 cm wide strips
20 small cornichon gherkins, or sliced gherkins if larger
20 small pickled white onions
1 handful black olives, pitted
4 Tbsp extra virrgin olive oil
8 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped


Place the vinegar and 1000g water into the TM bowl. Set for 10 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Place the cauliflower into the TM basket. When the Thermomix has reached 100°C you can place the basket into the TM bowl and cook the florets for 15 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.

Remove the TM basket with the spatula and drain off the cauliflower, reatining the vinegar and water mixture. Place the cauliflower florets into a salad bowl and put in the fridge.

Place the carrot slices into the TM basket and cook them for 10 - 12 minutes (you want them to still have some crunch) at 100°C on speed 1. Drain and add to the cauliflower. You may need to top up the TM bowl with boiling water if the level is getting low.

Place the capsicums into the TM basket and cook them for 5 -8 minutes (again, you want them to still have some crunch) at 100°C on speed 1. Drain and add to the salad bowl and return it to the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Add the whole gherkins (or slices, pickled onions and olives to the bowl. Season with salt to taste and drizzle with the EVOO. Sprinkle with the anchovies.

Leave the salad to marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving.

Buon appetito e boun natale.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thermomix Grape Bavarois

So for this week's theme it is soft. What is in the fridge? Grapes. OK. What recipes might use grapes? Start with Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. So, Cauliflower Salad with Grapes and Walnuts, not very soft. Grape jelly, soft and possible. Grape Bavarian Cream - that's the one.

So who is Jane Grigson? There is some information on wikipedia here and on the pages of the Joan Grigson Trust here. Guess you could say that she is an English version of our Margaret Fulton or Beverley Sutherland-Smith. She has many wonderful books to her name and lots of useful information along the lines of Stephanie's Cooks' Companion and Maggie Beer's Harvest, Maggies' Farm etc.

The books have recipes sourced from all over the world and most would stand up well in today's kitchens.

I love bavarois, especially a blue cheese one that i have tried to reproduce, with mixed success.

This is a simple dish, but one that works well in the Thermomix and produces a light, soft texture.

Being in a hurry and lazy, I didn't peel the grapes, but the dish still tasted superb.

Grape Bavarian Cream


500g black or white grapes
125g sugar
15g gelatine powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water (or 3 titanium leaves soaked in cold water plus 1/2 cup water to add to the mixture)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sweet wine (optional)
300ml whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar


Peel, halve and pip a quarter of the grapes. Put the rest in TM bowl with the sugar. Cook for 10 minutes at 100°C on speed 2, until they soften and begin to burst. Blend for 20 seconds at speed 9.

Push the puree through a sieve, into a measuring jug. There should be about 220-250 ml.

Dissolve the gelatine powder in the hot water and add to the warm grape puree (or add the softened leaf gelatine and water). Stir in lemon juice and wine, if used. Add more sugar if the grapes were on the tart side. You should now have about 375 g - if not, add a little water. Leave in the refrigerator until thick, with an egg white consistency, but not set.

When the grape puree is ready, place the cream and sugar into the TM bowl with butterfly in place whisk for 30 – 40 seconds on speed 4 until thick and light. Fold it into the grape jelly.

Setting aside a few of the remaining grape halves for decoration, stir the rest carefully into the bavaroise.

Turn into an elegant dish, or into glasses or custard cups. Decorate with the remaining grapes when set.

Serve with almond biscuits or langues de chat.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thermomix Steamed Christmas Puddings - Cookbook Challenge

Well with the Cookbook Challenge in mind I decided to go through a few cookbooks and look at Christmas Pudding recipes.

The book that I found some most interesting information in was "Complete Book of Desserts", published by the International Culinary Society (Random House) in 1990 and edited by Barbara Croxford.

One of the interesting traditions that is part of Christmas is known as Stir-Up Sunday. This is something that I ahd not been aware of before reading this American book. It is the Sunday before Advent and all members of the family get to help stir the pudding. The Thermomix may help kill another tradition. Sorry. You can read more about Stir-Up Sunday here.

The book also gave explanations of how to make adjustments for making your pudding in the microwave. Because there is a high percentage of sugar, dried fruit, alcohol and sometimes fat (if using suet), then these attract microwave energy and high temperatures are quickly reached. I had noticed with reheating Christmas puds that they didn't take long to get hot and now I know why.

You need to reduce the amount of alcohol and increase the amount of moisture to compensate for the fact that it doesn't need to be cooked as long, but is prone to drying out.

There is also information on how best to reheat the puddings by cutting into individual portions and then reheating with a bowl of water in the centre of the microwave and a bowl over the whole to allow it to steam, then carefully push the slices back together into the pudding bowl or serving dish.

Individual slices can be reheated uncovered on a plate for a minute or so on high.

The following is actually an amalgam of a few recipes and converted to cook in the steamer attachment, Varoma, in individual moulds for ease of service.

I made something similar last year for the staff at Lake House restaurant for a treat on Christmas morning, and then had little individual puddings served to us for Christmas lunch.

There is a quick and easy version posted here: Cheats' Christmas Puddings

Thermomix Individual Steamed Christmas Puddings


90g Pedro Ximinez Sherry, orange juice or water (more if the fruit is very dry)
250g Dried mixed fruit
125g Raisins
125g Sultanas
125g Currants

100g fresh bread, in rough chunks

125g Prunes, pitted

100g Butter
100g Dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Powdered Cloves (optional)
1 tsp Bi carb soda

1 Egg
100g Plain flour


If the dried fruits are not moist and fresh, then place them in a ceramic, glass or plastic bowl and macerate with the sherry, orange juice or water overnight. Otherwise just an hour will be enough.

Place bread into TM bowl and grate into breadcrumbs for 20 seconds on speed 7. Remove and set aside.

Place the prunes into the TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 6. Add the macerated fruits, butter, sugar, molasses, spices and bicarb and cook for 25 minutes at 100°C on Reverse + speed 1.5

Allow it to cool in the bowl for half an hour or so. Then add the egg, flour and reserved breadcrumbs and mix for 2 minutes on Reverse + speed 4. You may need to use the spatula through the opening in the lid to help with mixing.

Place into greased dariole moulds and cover with some absorbent paper and then some foil.

Place dishes into the Varoma dish add 1000g water to TM bowl and cook for 50 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.

You should be able to get 10 puddings into the varoma tray - click on the photo for a link to how to do it.
Varoma 3

Allow the puddings to stand for 5 minutes before unmoulding carefully onto a serving plate and dress with cream or custard.

Thermomix Eggnog Syllabub - Cookbook Challenge

When I saw that the theme for this week's challenge was Christmas I immediately went for books devoted to Christmas. I am not sure how I came by "Nigella Christmas" by the kitchen goddess (and published in 2008 by Random House), but it does have some great recipes and ideas for Christmas entertaining.

Something that appealed was an eggnog syllabub on page 27. One problem was that there is raw egg in the recipe, which is a no-no for many people. The simple solution was to make a sabayon first and then to add cream to it and whip them together.

The Thermomix is wonderful for making sabayons and zabagliones - just set and forget.

Eggnog Syllabub from Nigella Christmas


60g sugar
2 eggs
50g bourbon
50g dark rum
50g brandy
600ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Good grating of nutmeg


Place the sugar in the TM bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9.

Insert Butterfly over blades in Thermomix and add eggs. Cream eggs and sugar for 4 minutes on speed 4.

With the Butterfly still in place, add the bourbon, rum and brandy and cook for 6 minutes at 70°C on speed 4. Keep the Measuring cup out of the lid.

Allow the mixture to cool. Even put it in the fridge to really chill it before adding the cream.

With the Butterfly still in place, add the remaining ingredients and whip for 3 minutes (more or less – keep a check) on speed 3 until it holds soft peaks.

Place into bowls and grate over a little more nutmeg.

Thermomix Panettone Pudding - Cookbook Challenge

This is from a book titled "Chez Panisse Cooking" by Paul Bertolli with Alice Waters published in 1988 by Random House.

The Chez Panisse Restaurant was established in 1971 by Alice Waters and some friends. Some more of the history can be found on this Wiki page.

Alice Waters is also an International Vice-President of Slowfood International and has long supported the ideals of the Slowfood movement.

She has long been involved in promoting cooking based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. It is sobering to think that while kitchen gardens are being promoted for restaurants; and books like "Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion" and "Jamie at Home" encourage us to follow a similar mission at home, Alice Waters has been doing this for nearly forty years. There are some in Australia who have been doing the same for many years, such as George Biron at Sunnybrae Restaurant and Cooking School.

I wanted to make a panettone pudding in the style of a bread and butter pudding with leftover panettone from Christmas. I had been thinking that this was a modern interpretation of the classic dessert until I was browsing through "Chez Panisse Cooking", where I saw a recipe for panettone and then panettone bread pudding on page 309. The recipe was for 12 people. The Thermomix conversion is for 6 serves.

The recipe uses the steaming attachment - Varoma - to cook the pudding, so that you don't need to turn on the oven. But you can cook it in a bain-marie, especially if you double the recipe. I used a 1.5 litre bowl to fit into the Varoma.

Panettone Bread Pudding


500g panettone cut into thin slices
50 g butter
100 g sugar
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
Sugar to sprinkle over top (optional)


Place butter into TM bowl and warm for 4 minutes at 60°C on speed 1. Place in a bowl and keep aside.

Without cleaning the TM bowl, add the sugar and mill for 20 seconds on speed 8, scraping down the sides after 10 seconds.

Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, milk and cream and cook for 8 minutes at 80°C on speed 3.

While the custard is cooking, spread the panettone with the melted butter and cut into triangles. Place bread in a buttered baking dish that will fit inside the Varoma tray.

Place the dish into the Varoma tray and pour the custard mixture carefully over the buttered bread and allow to settle for a minute or two.

Put 700ml water into the TM bowl and put lid on and position the Varoma. Set the TM to steam for 35 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1. When ready the custard should be set and the pudding fluffy. You may need to cook it for a little longer.

If you wish you can sprinkle sugar over the top and place under a hot grill to give a crunchy top.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thermomix Wild Weed Pie - Cookbook Chanllenge

Well, when I first started this blog I had great intentions of making a recipe from each of the cookbooks that I own. My plans were to convert a recipe from each book to suit the Thermomix.

Unfortunately my plans went very much astray, mainly due to the complete lack of planning. So, when I saw that Rilsta had started a 52 week planned theme Cookbook Challenege I decided that it was time to get back into the kitchen library and start cooking.

By coincidence I had made a broad bean dish on the week that Rilsta's theme was beans, but only decided to commit this week. So, Greek.

Where to start? I have a few Greek cookbooks and mediterranean books with lots of Greek recipes. On the top shelf I spotted "Wogfood" by John Newton, a collection of stories and recipes from people of mediterranean origin, who have helped develop the food culture in Australia.

There were 3 Greeks and all mentioned wild weeds, horta. In fact, Peter Conistis (Cosmos, Eleni's, Omega and now Civic dining room) said "If I had to choose one ingredient, i;d say that wild greens are the essence of Greek food." So, I decided to make a wild weed pie.

"Wild Weed Pie" just happens to be the name of a cookbook that I have in my collection. It is by Janni Kyritsis, who worked at Stephanie's, Berowra Waters, Bennelong and MG Garage.

The recipe appears on page 47 of Wild Weed Pie, but was also included in Stepahnie Alexander's "A Shared Table" on page 194.

Basically the pie is made of filo pastry encasing a filling of ricotta and greens. It is easy enough to make and you could cheat and buy prepared filo, but it is not that difficult to make the pastry, especially if you have a pasta roller.

Due to computer problems the recipe will appear tomorrow

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thermomix Christmas Pudding

Well, a post from me has arrived before Christmas !!! It looked like Christmas might get here first.

There has been lots of activity on the Forum Thermomix site though and so I don't feel quite so bad about neglecting this blog.

This recipe appears on the Thermomix Monthly Mouthful Competition for December, but there were no pictures there, so some pictures here to show what it should be like. Sort of!

The idea came from a friend who is making it for Christmas for her family. She probably won't be making it in the Thermomix, even though her sister is a consultant.

Basically there is no cooking. You make a meringue, whip some cream, coat some glacé fruit in some chocolate, mix them together and freeze it. Vanessa's recipe also had slivered almonds, but I forgot! It is best to allow the mixture to freeze a bit before adding the fruit, but you can just tip it in and it should work OK.

Hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

Thermomix Iced Chocolate Glacé Fruit Pudding


130 g sugar
4 eggs, separated
400 g cream (35%)
2 Tbsp liqueur of your choice (Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Frangelico, etc)
150 g mixed candied peel or glace fruit(cherries, apricots, pineapple, …)
90 g chocolate, dark. Milk or white (your choice), roughly chopped
Optional – 60 g honeycomb or a Violet Crumble bar, roughly chopped

You will need a 1.5 litre pudding basin


Place the sugar into a dry, clean TM bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9. Set aside in a cup or bowl, and roughly wipe out with a dry spatula. You can leave some sugar in the bowl.

Next, place the egg whites into the TM bowl with the butterfly and whip for 3 minutes at 37°C on speed 4. Set the machine to 3 minutes at 37°C on speed 4, and add the sugar gradually through the hole in the lid. The result should be a firm meringue mixture. Remove this and place into a large mixing bowl. No need to clean the bowl.

Place the cream, egg yolks and liqueur into the TM bowl with the butterfly and whip for about 30 - 40 seconds on speed 4, until it is thickened. Add this to the meringue mixture and gently fold through. No need to clean the bowl.

Place the chocolate in the TM bowl and melt for 3 minutes at 50°C on speed 1.

Add the fruits to the TM bowl and mix for 20 seconds on Reverse + speed 2. Pour onto some silicon paper or a plate and allow to cool before adding to the cream and meringue mixture. If you want to add some honeycomb then do so now.

Pour mixture into the pudding basin. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer.

To serve, dip the bowl briefly in hot water, then slide a knife around the edge. Turn upside down onto a serving plate.