Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cooking Class with Janice Wong 2am : dessertbar

Tonight was a great class at Savour School with Janice Wong from 2am : dessertbar in Singapore.

I am not much of a dessert fan, but this was really an interesting exercise. There were many fascinating techniques and ingredients used to effortlessly prepare a couple of exciting desserts.

Although I was excited about the dessert dinner next week, it is even more appealing now.

The first dessert had chilli chocolate coral impregnated with truffle balls filled with peanut butter sauce.

It is a most enjoyable combination of textures and flavours with the heat of the chilli giving warmth without overdoing it and the softer aerated texture of the coral being punctuated by the crunchy truffles with their soft gooey sauce centre. The chocolate brick is served on some chocolate soil and matched with fresh honeycomb and more of the peanut sauce and some dill, for colour and flavour. The dill, though only small really marries well with the chilli chocolate.

The second dessert has more components and more techniques to stimulate the mind as well as the palate. Firstly, a basil and white chocolate ganache prepared sous vide by being cooked at 60⁰C. Phillipa Sibley infused white chocolate with rose geranium at a Masterclass at Lake House on Sunday by infusing the cream. This method using sous vide certainly enabled the basil flavour to penetrate the final product. It was a surprisingly agreeable combination.

The next component was described as a passionfruit blanket, but it was more of a gossamer sheet using pectin powder and spreading the mixture very thinly on a silpat mat before dehydrating the sheet. The fruit leather was to be draped over the basil chocolate ganache.

Passionfruit fluff was prepared from passionfruit puree, egg white powder and gelatine and involved leaving the mixture to stand for 6 hours to develop its flavour before whipping for about 30 or 40 minutes. This meringue was then spread on silpat mats and dehydrated overnight to produce a result similar to the meringue that Andrew McConnell had in his dessert from Sunday’s Lake House class. Sorry Andrew, but this was better.

To accompany the basil chocolate ganache and crispy fluff Janice made a yuzu fruit pate.

The final component was a coconut sherbert which involved making a marshmallow with sugar, glucose and invert sugar, before mixing with coconut puree and pacotizing. The resulting sherbert was so intense in flavour with wonderful mouth-feel and reminded me of a Brent Savage coconut foam on steroids.
Janice was very ably assisted by her fellow chef Derrick and is sure to win many fans during her classes and dinners at Savour School over the next week.

For those needing egg white powder for the passionfruit fluff, it can be obtained from Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot as seen in the Raymond Capaldi range. Janice said that she had her first and possibly most memorable introduction to molecular gastronomy while working at Fenix with Raymond

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cooking Class with Attica's Ben Shewry

This is the only cooking class that Ben Shewry from Attica Restaurant in Ripponlea is giving in Australia this year. So I felt very privileged to be in a small class of 16 at Tony Tan's unlimited Cuisine Co last night.

Life has become very busy, firstly after being invited to Madridfusion at the beginning of the year; then after he was mobbed by overseas chefs during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival; and, finally, it has gone completely mad since his restaurant was ranked 73 in the San Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants awards.

This is the third class that Ben has given at Tony's and his enthusiasm and attention to detail continue to inspire. Plenty has been written about Ben, a successful import from New Zealand, and he deserves all the accolades.

The first dish that Ben demonstrated was the Osmanthus & chrysanthemum broth with abalone, cuttlefish and fried chicken.

The making of the stock for the broth shows a great care for his product and attention to detail. It is made in a Chinese or Thai style, with the carcasses being blanched and rinsed before being slowly simmered with copious skimming of scum and fat. There is never a drop of fat left after cooking and there is definitely no need to clarify with an egg white raft.

The stock has aromatics such as pandanus, galangal and coriander and the final broth has coconut, palm sugar and soy added to produce a delicate flavour. The broth is served with osmanthus flowers, chrysanthemum petals, abalone, cuttlefish, shitake mushrooms, deep fried chicken wing meat and a few other bits.

Ben explained that he owed a lot to David Thompson for the thinking behind, and construction of this dish. It was a triumph and a great addition to his new menu.

The next new dish of Beef, Seagrass. White Cabbage again had a lot more stages than would be possible for anybody doing a Masterchef challenge. It shows what can be done with relatively inexpensive ingredients combined with a lot of thinking, heaps of time and careful handling of the product.

The beef chosen was bavette, which is a part of the flank. I vividly recall over 30 years ago during my university training, being shown by one of the Redlich family, how to butterfly and slice this cut of meat to make the most delectable breakfast steaks. So, part of my education was not wasted. The purpose of the demonstration was actually to show the importance of where vets stuck injections, but a handy hint all the same.

Ben took great care with the steak. Initially ensuring it was warmed before browning and then placed on racks to cook until the meat reached 56°C internal temperature. Every piece was tested and nothing under 55°C was removed. The meat was allowed to rest and then warmed/flash heated before slicing for service.

Other components to the dish included black potatoes that reminded us of a dish we had eaten at Mugaritz. The potatoes underwent four or so steps over a period of time, and not something knocked up just before service. The resulting texture was slightly rubbery, as Ben wanted, and not crisp, despite having been finished in the deep frier.

The other components to the dish included a smoked black sesame oil, a black pepper vinegar, the stalks from wombok, home-made prawn floss, miso dressing and seagrass.

The whole dish tasted delicious, but the tender beef and the smoked sesame oil were the stand out players.

Much of Ben's cooking has been inspired by memories from his times in New Zealand with family. But the final dish of the night had been inspired by his visit to relations on a farm in Canada. Ben shared part of the text from his upcoming book, being published by Murdoch Books, describing the flavours of agriculture, and how it resulted in this dish. He told of seeing the proper maple syrup production and eating toasted cheese smothered in divine maple syrup.

The dessert course was Canadian grilled cheese toasties with hay ice cream and Tasmanian black truffle. The milk had been infused with hay, and after much experimentation, a caramel and milk custard was constructed to be finished in the Pacojet.

The cheese toasties had maple syrup poured over them, and along with the ice cream it was smothered in shavings of Tasmanian bluck truffle for a little decadence.

This was yet another success and was a superb end to a fantastic evening with the very generous Ben Shewry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cooking Class with Nic Poelaert @ Tony Tan's

Last night I attended a fantastic class at Tony Tan's Unlimited Cuisine in Toorak with Nic Poelaert from Embrasse (not pronounced Embrace - but like this ) in Carlton.

I will fill in more details later, but just needed to post the photos before I lose them

It was wonderful to hear Nic's philosophy and to see him working calmly in the kitchen.

The need for fresh seasonal produce and the philosophy of foraging like Ben Shewry, Dan Hunter, George Biron, Alla Wolf-Tasker and Matt Wilkinson is appealing and heartening.

The other aspect of his cooking that really appeals is his use of the Thermomix. Each of the three dishes demonstrated had components that were produced in the Thermomix.

The dishes that Nic & Vanessa Mateus prepared were:

John Dory semi-fried/semi-steamed in squid ink on burnt carrot puree (done in the TMX), with baby beetroots and grapefruit.

Beef cheek on onion tart with black garlic emulsion, green lentil & spinach puree (in the TMX) and charcoal

Chocolate mushrooms on a forest floor with tuile twigs & leaves and sorrel & mint granita moss (done in the TMX)

Thanks to Nic, Vanessa, ........ (oops, sorry forgotten her name already) and Tony Tan for a memorable night.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Forumthermomix Crash

Oh dear - the world has ended - well nearly. The Forumthermomix site has had some problems and the owners of the site are hopefully sorting it out - it should be back up and running.

I was able to login earlier today and so know that it is all there - they just need to pay their bills and we'll be fine.

Managed to take a snapshot before it closed to me again as evidence that all is not lost:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thermomix Quince Paste

Quince paste is such a wonderful little accompaniment to cheese, and when somebody gives you a dozen quinces, it is just the thing to cook, especially if you have a Thermomix.

Quince paste used to be such a chore and fraught with dangers as the hot sticky mixture spits up while you stir to stop it sticking to the base of the pan.

In Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish's latest cookbook "MoVida Rustica" there is a story about Frank's father making a membrillo machine with an industrial mixer and a gas jet. Well, the Thermomix is just like Frank's father's machine, being able to mix and cook at the same time.

The recipe in "Movida Rustica" does not use the core and peel, which is how I learned to cook it from Maggie Beer's "Maggie's Farm". I have seen recipes for quince paste using whole quinces in the Thermomix, but I find them too gritty. This is a little more time consuming, but the pectin from the peel and core once strained helps set the paste, without the gritty bits.

Please make sure that your Thermomix is not going to run off the bench. I used silicon mats that I received from an Electrolux demonstration under each foot on the Thermomix. They acted likey anti-slip mats.

Good luck and hope that you enjoy the results.



1500 g quinces
600 g water
about 800 g sugar


Wash, peel and core quinces. Place peel and cores in TM Bowl and chop for 20 seconds on speed 5, using spatula to push the peel down.

Cut quince flesh into chunks and place in Varoma tray.

Add water to the TM bowl and position Varoma and cook for 25 minutes at Varoma Temperature on speed 1.

Remove the Varoma tray and leave aside. Strain the peel and core mixture and collect the liquid in a separate bowl. Dispose of the pulp, clean the TM bowl and weigh in the liquid and pieces of quince into the TM bowl. Blend for 10 seconds on speed 5.

Add about three-quarters of the weight of pulp in sugar to the TM bowl. Mix for 15 seconds on speed 5.

Cook for 50 minutes at Varoma temperature on Speed 5 with the MC out and a Chux or similar over the opening and the steamer basket placed on top to reduce splatter.

NOTE that I placed silicon mats under the feet of the TMX to prevent it moving on the bench. Another alternative if you are not watching all the time is to place the whole machine into an empty kitchen sink to prevent it wandering off the bench.

Once cooked allow it to cool slightly (about 5 minutes) and pour into a tray greased with olive oil. Allow the tray to cool before covering and storing in the fridge.

Once set, it can be cut into pieces and wrapped in baking or greaseproof paper and then plastic wrap or foil.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Iced Pea Soup

OK, so this is soooooo late. I made it and took photos in January, but just never got around to posting it. A message from Tenina reminded me that I needed to get off my proverbial and get the blog active again.

Chilled Pea and Mint Soup.


500 g peas (frozen are OK)
1000g good chicken (or vegetable) stock, in the form of frozen ice cubes
1/4 cup mint leaves


Depending on whether the peas are fresh or frozen the method varies only slightly.

If using fresh peas, place about 150g of the iced stock into the TM bowl and heat for 4 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Add the peas and cook for 8 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.

If using frozen peas, place about 100g of the iced stock into the TM bowl and heat for 4 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.

Add the mint leaves and remaining cubes of frozen stock and blend for 2 minutes on speed 9.

That is all. Sorry that it took so long.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thermomix Strawberry Gazpacho with frozen yoghurt

This is another recipe from Jane Lawson’s book "Cocina Nueva". ( Now also in paperback).

It reminds me of a Charlie Trotter dessert with melon soup with mousse and fruit, but is much simpler to complete and the taste and appearance are superb.

It is a great combination of flavours and such a refreshing finish to a meal.

Certainly this one can be done in any food processor, but you can use yoghurt that you made in the Thermomix to further impress your guests.

Strawberry Gazpacho with frozen yoghurt

Frozen yoghurt
40 g sugar
375 g thick yoghurt (Greek or sheep’s milk)
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Strawberry purée
30 g sugar
750 g very ripe, sweet strawberries, hulled
1 tsp vinegar (preferably sherry or balsamic)
2 Tbsp olrosso sherry (optional)

Fruit such as kiwi fruit, melons, strawberries, grapes, peaches, cut into dice
1 Tbsp mint leaves, finely shredded


Frozen yoghurt
Line a 20 cm square shallow dish (or similar) with two sheets of plastic wrap long enough that they will be able to be folded over to cover the top of the mixture once filled.

Place the sugar in the TM bowl and grind for 15 seconds on speed 9. Add the other ingredients and mix for 10 seconds on speed 3. Pour into the lined tray, smooth out and then cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 4 hours or until set.

Strawberry purée
Place the sugar in the TM bowl and grind for 15 seconds on speed 9. Add the other ingredients and mix for 30 seconds on speed 9. Strain through a fine sieve and chill for 2 – 3 hours.

Divide the strawberry purée between 4 shallow bowls. Place fruit garnish onto purée and cut the frozen yoghurt into 1.5cm cubes or diamond shapes and place around fruit. Sprinkle mint over the top.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thermomix Coeur à la crème – Crémet d’Angers

Once I had made junket the next simple step was to make fromage frais by gently cutting the junket into chunks and allowing it to drain through muslin.

In 1996 I was fortunate to be at a class at Sunnybrae Restaurant given by Richard Thomas on cheese. Richard put on an amazing array of cheeses to try and demonstrated making fresh curd cheeses. At that time he was at Yarra Valley Dairies and had created the now popular Persian Fetta. More recently he is down the road at De Bortoli producing butter and maturing and selling cheese.

He has held offal dinners at the grand view Hotel in Brunswick West with Alain Kerambrun over the last year and the dessert at one of those dinners was Coeur à la crème.

The idea was to make a Coeur à la crème as I had seen Gabriel Gaté do on Taste of the Tour. It is a traditional dish from his native region, but not in those cookbooks of his that I own, so a bit of searching. There was an article and recipe in Australian Gourmet Traveller, and the reference to Elizabeth David’s book, “French Provincial Cooking” led me to why I had been having troubles sourcing a recipe in my French books. The dessert is often referred to as crémet d’Angers.

I found a recipe in Jane Grigson’s “Good Things” where she buys into the pasteurised milk for cheese debate... “And it’s no good making your own in a muslin drip bag, from our pasteurised milk; the result is rubbery. If you can buy unpasteurised milk, it’s another matter.” Grigson goes on to say that the white ceramic hearts used to make the dessert can be purchased from Elizabeth David’s shop and make a good summer birthday present.

Coeur à la crème

2 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
90 g caster sugar
300 ml whipping cream
200g fromage frais
200g strawberries
1 Tbsp kirsch

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a very clean TM bowl fitted with the butterfly. Beat for 3 minutes at 50°C on speed 4 until stiff. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Remove the butterfly.

Place the sugar into the TM bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9. Scrape down the sides after 10 seconds. Replace the butterfly and add the cream. Whip for 40 seconds on speed 3.

Add the fromage frais and mix for 10 seconds on speed 3. Finally add the whipped egg whites and mix again for 20 seconds on speed 3.

Line the moulds with muslin or similar (new pieces of Chux) and fill with the cheese mixture, smoothing out the top. Leave on a tray overnight in the fridge to drain.

To make the sauce, place the strawberries and kirsch into the TM bowl and blend for 30 seconds on speed 9.

To serve, unmould the cheeses onto plates and surround with the strawberry sauce and offer more cream and sugar.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thermomix Junket and Blueberries

OK, so it is not mind shattering and it is not really a berry recipe as such but I was looking through recipes and saw a Tivoli aux fraises recipe. It has Kirsch jelly, Bavarian cream, strawberry purée, strawberries, kirsch, maraschino and Chantilly cream. A ring mould is lined with the kirsch jelly and filled with Bavarian cream with strawberry purée before being allowed to set and served with strawberries soaked in kirsch and maraschino and some Chantilly cream. Sounded interesting, but then I saw Junket directly below.

Strange, here is a book written by one of the greatest chefs that the world has known, with a recipe for junket.

Then I looked in the Introduction and was reminded that “Ma Cuisine is not just an aide-mémoire for the experienced cook but a kitchen book of recipes which are put as clearly as possible, so as to make them practical. Although the book is intended for everyday cooking, it is none the less valuable to the restaurateur, the head waiter and the chef. The ordinary housewife will find here delicious recipes within the limits of her purse. One must not forget that good sound cooking, even the very simplest, makes a contented home”

So wrote Auguste Escoffier. Sound advice. So I decide to make junket. I still had some tablets from experiments with making cheese and thought that I would see if they were still OK. Junket powder is available in Australia through Simply Junket and can be purchased in many delis and grocers throughout the land. If you contact them here, then they will happily respond.

The Thermomix has the ability to heat the milk to 37°C without having to worry about it overheating and denaturing the rennet. It really is very simple.

The milk may be flavoured with various essences or flavourings after warming the milk and before adding the junket powder. You can top the junket with fruits or muesli or whatever takes your fancy.

Remember, you can use junket powder to make cottage cheese, which is what I intend to do for another recipe.

Thermomix Junket


1/8 teaspoon of Simply Junket powder
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
500mls Milk


Place sugar into TM bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 9
Add milk and heat for 3 minutes at 37°C on speed 2.
Dissolve Simply Junket powder in a teaspoon of water and add to TM bowl.
Mix for 5 seconds on speed 4 and then pour into serving bowls or glasses.
Allow the junket to set at room temperature for 10 – 15 mins and then place in the fridge
to chill until ready to serve.

Toppings may be added just prior to serving.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thermomix Strawberry Tiramisu

This recipe comes from the book “A Passion for Fruit” by Lorzenza de’Medici. Similar to Lynne Mullins’ book “produce”, it has chapters on each fruit with an introduction and then some recipes.

There are many recipes for various berries, but one that caught my eye was Strawberry Tiramisu.

The book has suggestions for making the tiramisu as one large dish or individual dishes using trifle sponges cut into circles. I decided to make individual tiramisu with the usual savoiardi biscuits.

The flavour was obviously good enough as they all went very quickly.

Strawberry Tiramisu


50 g sugar
300 g whipping cream
200 g mascarpone cheese
180 g sponge fingers
200 ml sweet white wine (or 1 cup water with ½ teaspoon of rosewater)
300 g strawberries, hulled
Icing sugar to dust.


Place the sugar in the TM bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 9. Place the butterfly over the blades and add the cream and beat for 1 minute on speed 3.

Remove the butterfly, scrape down the cream, add the mascarpone and beat for 20 seconds on speed 5.

Place quarter of this mixture onto the base of a serving bowl. Dip the sponge fingers briefly into the wine (or water mixture) and arrange them over the mascarpone. Place another quarter of the mascarpone mixture on the biscuits and then top with half of the strawberries. Cover this with another quarter of the mascarpone mix and then repeat the procedure with the sponge fingers and remaining mascarpone mixture.

Leave this covered in the fridge for 2 hours before placing remaining strawberries on top and sprinkling with icing sugar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thermomix Sabayon with Blueberries.

So, with berries as the theme and blueberries in the fridge, I turned to Lynne Mullins’ book “produce” to see what ideas she had for blueberries.

The book is a fantastic source of ideas with wonderful photos of fruit and vegetables at various markets and places around the world. There are photographs contributed by about 40 people and they just make you want to either go to the local market or get on a plane. When you see the market at Campo dei Fiori in Rome, or the markets of Paris and Seville, it is hard not to start planning a trip. My local green grocer has a copy in his store to help customers with their purchases and cooking.

I have met Lynne Mullins on a few occasions and we have one thing in common. Her husband and I share the same occupation. Other than that, she is attractive, has a wonderful knowledge of food, writes well and makes money out of her writings, so there are large differences. You will have seen some of her contributions in various papers and magazines including The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue and Australian Gourmet Traveller. You may recall “Three things with ...” in the Sunday Life magazine?

The section on berries has a photo with blueberries, strawberries and melons at Positano on the Amalfi coast and a recipe opposite for blueberries with sabayon sauce.

Now sabayon was the dish that George Calombaris made in the Thermomix during the Masterchef series last year. What he failed to do was explain just how much harder it is to make without the Thermomix. The other thing that was interesting was that nobody had told him to put the butterfly in the TMX, so many people trying to replicate his dish may be a little disappointed.

The following is similar in some respects to a dish with champagne and berries topped with sabayon sauce. The recipe from Lynne Mullins had marsala, along the lines of zabaglione, but I used crème de cassis and white wine.

Fresh Blueberries with sabayon sauce.


110 g sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tbsp crème de cassis
1/2 cup white wine
2 punnets blueberries


Place the sugar in the TM bowl and grind for 20 seconds on speed 9. Place the butterfly over the blades and add the egg yolks beat for 4 minutes at 50°C on speed 3.

Add the other ingredients and beat for 5 minutes at 80°C on speed 3. Check the consistency of the sabayon and cook for a little longer if necessary.

Divide the blueberries evenly between 4 serving dishes and then pour over the sabayon sauce.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thermomix Blueberry Sorbet

Well with berries as the theme for the week I decided to check out the dessert section of the bookshelf and spotted a book that came with marriage. I cannot recall seeing it before and it is called Donvier Ice Cream by Irena Chalmers. It came with a hand- churned ice cream machine from the 1980s and had the subtitle “Homemade Ice Cream in 20 Minutes !” Well the Thermomix can do it in a couple of minutes.

The book has a surprisingly interesting collection of flavour combinations and ideas, including a macadamia nut ice cream à la Simca (an adaptation of a recipe from Simone Beck, who co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child). There’s a gin and juniper berry sorbet, a pear & red wine sorbet, lychee sherbet and orange & campari sherbet. There are also frozen drinks suggested such as frozen margaritas and bellinis, and for the health conscious, there are lots of Lite suggestions.

So, this is a quick simple recipe more for those who do not use the Thermomix to see how easy making sorbets can be and for those with a Thermomix just to remind them that making sorbets helps keep the blades sharp.

It is a quick impressive dessert that can be whipped up in a few minutes when unexpected guests arrive. You can use various fruits and can substitute fruit juice or water for the liqueur.

Thermomix Blueberry Sorbet


60 g sugar
500 g frozen blueberries
200 g ice cubes
1/2 lemon, skin, pith and seeds removed
2 Tbsp crème de cassis
1 egg white


Place sugar in TM bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 10

Add berries, ice cubes, lemon and liqueur and blend at for 30 seconds on speed 9, using the spatula through the lid to help mix.

Add egg white and blend for another 30 seconds on speed 9.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thermomix Zucchini Cake

So, the last of “sweet” week. I was presented with two large zucchini that had escaped the attention of one of my colleague’s mothers in her zucchini patch.

I remembered having made zucchini cake many years ago and hunted down the recipe. It was in my 1981 copy of “A Wizz in the Kitchen”, written to promote the Breville Super Wizz.

It is amazing how many of these old recipes are still very popular 30 years on. It also shows how useful the slicing and shredding discs are, and why I will not part with my Magimix (Cuisinart) of 30 years.

The recipe originally asked for 4 – 5 small zucchini, but I just used the larger zucchini and discarded the soft seeded centre and used the harder outer section, including the skin. Once it is all chopped up and mixed with sugar and spice then nobody will know.

Thermomix Zucchini Cake


3 eggs
400 g sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g oil
100 g walnuts
600 g zucchini, roughly chopped
375 g Self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease two 21cm x 11cm loaf tins very well with oil.

Place eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil into TM bowl and beat for 2 minutes on speed 5.

Add walnuts and zucchini and blend for 15 - 20 seconds on speed 5, until the zucchini is shredded.

Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix for 20 seconds on Reverse and speed 4.

Place mixture into loaf tins and bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Leave in tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve sliced and well buttered.