Testing recipes Thermomix cookbook (Australia) - "Everyday Cooking" - and converting and/or trying others - This is purely OUR PERSONAL opinion of the Thermomix and the recipes!
|Posted by Bee & John on May 28, 2014 at 12:15 AM|
Bliss Balls, Protein Balls, Treats, Truffles….. what are they?
Well, there are hundreds of recipes out there, and following are just a couple, but do you NEED to follow a recipe? Some of us, actually, most of us…. once you have made a few from recipes you have an idea what your family likes in them and what works…. and what doesn't! Then, you can easily just grab some ingredients together, just chuck it all in thermy and whammo, you have these little round things that you can call anything you like.
I remember in the 80's / 90's there was the NEW fad of Muffins!!! Wow… suddenly you could eat cake in the morning and if you called them Muffins, you didn't have to feel guilty!! Slowly reason reasserted itself and we started having them as the treat they are, not a substitute for a healthy meal. I feel that there is a similar move here - People call them protein balls, bliss balls etc and you can eat them without feeling any guilt whatsoever.
The truth is, of course, that EVERYTHING, even good for you foods, should be eaten in moderation. Dates may be a great natural sweetener but eat a kilo of them and you have a regular and personal appointment with your bathroom.
Does that mean that you sholdn't eat Protein/Bliss/Treat balls… of course not. Just a gentle warning that you CAN have too much of a good thing. Treat them AS treats, not Kilojoule and consequence free. Nuts and seeds have fat. Agave, dates, honey and Maple Syrup all have sugar, "natural" or not!
So, those were the bad things. IF I haven't scared you off them entirely, let me tell you the good! First and foremost, they are very easy to make, these little bundles of joy, they look great and are a fantastic way of getting (sneaking?) goodness into people without them knowing…. sorta like giving a dog a pill in a square of cheese - or you can take the Mary Poppins "spoon full of sugar" view.
The other great thing about them, is that you can make any sort you like. What's more….. You look like a MasterChef bringing them out on a plate and they are Quick! Quick quick quick!! Those of us with a Thermomix would up the ante and may even say bloody quick! Add to that, depending on the ingredients, they can last ages in the fridge and therefore can be made ahead in large batches.
Recently, I was thrilled to be given some home made HEALTHY fruit/nut balls. They were delicious! and I enjoyed them almost as much as the chocolate truffles I made the day before….. WHY oh why does real chocolate taste so good!! But, certainly there was no guilt when I ate the "healthy" ones.
I asked my friend Michelle for the recipe and started looking on line. I also made a quick call for recipes on my facebook page ….. SO many recipes. As mentioned, I WILL be putting some recipes down here, but - two things.
Before we go into the actual recipes, let me explain how you could make your own.
Have a try at some different recipes so you have an idea on what they look like, what textures/tastes your family likes (or not) and how many you would need to make. Use this as "trainiing" to start looking at making your own recipe/s up. You only have to look at a couple of recipes to see that they all use very similar ingredients.
Okay then! Now, some recipes.
These are the peanut butter ones I liked so much! Michelle sent me the recipe but although the recipe itself is clear, it doesn't indicate where she got it from. I fully acknowledge that someone else, another person/company wrote the recipe! Sorry I can't name you.
No Bake Energy Bites
grind the oats on speed 9 for 10-30 seconds depending on texture required
add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl
mix on speed 4-5 ntil all combined (30 - 60 seconds) Scrape down half way through if necessary
Roll the dough into 20 bit sized balls
refrigerate for 30 minutes
store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week
Honey Truffles - these are from the In The Mix (first one) cookbook. You can get the recipe for free by downloading the free In The Mix app from the Apple store or equivalent. USE THIS RECIPE to help convert NON Thermomix truffle recipes! My Hints Here
Peanut Butter Truffles - I used the Honey Truffle recipe exactly except... I omitted the honey and vanilla pod seeds, and added 90g of smooth peanut butter. Increase the speed a notch as it is thicker.
Oreo Balls - the wicked treat that is just fabulous. Seconds to make, lasts for months in the fridge... if you let them!
Paleo Chocolate Truffles (non TMX)
Special thanks to Michelle for starting me off and Tania who sent through the majority of these recipe links!
|Posted by Bee & John on May 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM|
Like mushrooms? I do! I never used to, but I have come to really apprecieate them over the past few years..
My only introduction to them as a child was canned champingons (little button mushrooms). But I started to actually enjoy them RIGHT after I tasted my first hot meal made in the thermomix... the Mushroom rissoto at the demo!
What are they really? Well, according to Wikipedia they are "gobbley gook....... 1000 words later..... More gobbley gook" WHO can understand all that!!
You might only be aware of the common ones that are available at the supermarket - and recently the supermarkets have started introducing slightly exotic "Swiss Brown" or "Portabella" mushrooms. Some are large, some tiny…. but there are, it seems, hundreds type of mushrooms out there. What's the deal? Do you peel them? Wash them? Keep them in the fridge?…
First of all, I am SO not going to tell you the health benefits (quite substantial according to research) or which mushroom is better for you than others. I am so NOT a nutritionist and I just don't have the training to give you any more than just a basic view of what you can do when you get your mushrooms home. What you do with them after that, which recipe you use, is absolutely up to you :-)) I have put some ideas at the bottom of this post.
I had to laugh on Tuesday, we were at the Adelaide Central Market and I thought I would ask the guy at the Mushroom Shop some questions. I asked if I could interview someone and everyone started scrambling for someone for me to talk to. I ended up speaking to Marco, the Manager (ownder?) of the Mushroom Shop for the low down and dirty (see what I did there) on Mushrooms - here are some of Marco's tips
DO YOU HAVE TO PEEL MUSHROOMS?
Did you harvest your Mushrooms yourself, from the paddock or back yard? Yes! Heaven only knows what they grew through!
Did you buy your mushrooms from a Supermarket, Fruit and Veggie shop, or from a specialist Mushroom stall like Marco's? Absolutely NOT! Marco said that the compost that commercial mushrooms grow in is now probably more sterile than the plates you are putting your meal on! Like most vegetables, most of the flavour and nutrients are JUST below the skin and if you peel them you are removing a good portion of the taste and the benefits from them.
(we're only talking about commercially available mushrooms from here on in this blog ok?)
SHOULD YOU WASH THEM?
All you ever need to do is wipe them with a damp cloth.
WHERE'S THE BEST PLACE TO KEEP THEM?
The fridge is best. Keep them in a paper, not plastic, bag and then they won't sweat
HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST?
From a good Mushroom guy like Marco? about 7 days for the closed Mushrooms to only about 5 days for the more open type of Mushroom. From a supermarket? MUCH less than that, best eaten in the next few days after purchasing.
WHICH MUSHROOM IS BEST FOR WHICH RECIPE?
According to Marco, That's like saying "how long is a piece of string". Different mushrooms give different flavour. Get a mushroom that you like the flavour of. Just a little bit of info from me here - I know that when I put "normal" mushrooms into a risotto I get a mild taste with little colour change. When I add Swiss Brown Mushrooms I only need to add a couple to get a lovely rich flavour and slightly darker colour change.
Because of the colour change, just be careful when you are cooking mushrooms in a cream sauce if you want it to still be creamy coloured as well as textured.
WHAT ABOUT DRIED MUSHROOMS - LIKE PORCINI?
I asked about Porcini's because I have heard a lot about the flavoursome Porcini and little gourmet touches like Porcini Dust really interested me (recipe below). He agreed that the flavour from the Porcini is fabulous and you only need a little to get a real mushroom "hit" in your meal. But, he cautioned that unless you had a Thermomix (yes he has one) grinding the Porcini fine enough is a difficult task. Ground Porcini MAY just leave a gritty texture in your food if it isn't fine enough.
CAN YOU EAT THEM RAW?
Marco said that you can eat ANY commercially purchased mushroom raw, it's just that not all of them taste good raw. When I foolishly asked if any were poisonous if they were raw - he very kindly assured me that it would be illegal to sell anything that would be poisonous. He was very nice, he didn't look at my blonde hair at all when he said that.
Generally it is the more common mushrooms which are best if you plan to eat Mushrooms raw, the more exotic ones need some advice before munching away on them. Most likely, the recipe you use will give you a good idea when it calls for the mushroom to be eaten raw or cooked. But if you are experimenting, the shop/market person is selling them would have the best information on it.
Back to me… so….. you have your mushrooms home, they are in their paper bag and resting comfortably in the fridge. Now what?
Before I send you on a mushroom recipe journey, here's a few recipes of my own…
I would suggest you grind at LEAST 100g of dried mushroom at once (no more than 250g) and grind on speed 9 for 1-2 minutes until VERY fine. Use 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per recipe to add a lovely flavour.
Grind 150g of ROCK salt with 1-2 dried Porcini Mushrooms on speed 9 for 1 minute. The salt crystals will help break down the mushrooms to a finer consistency than just the dust. You can use this to season roasts, steaks, omelettes eggs - try adding porcini salt to your butter when you make it and you'll get a lucious flavour when you use it. NOT the best type of butter for cakes obviously.
No real recipe... just imagine what a little dried Porcini would be like ground with your favourite herbs or even things like Taco Seasoning or curry powder?
Llinks to some of my recipes….
Here are some links to other recipes... just to get you started
Mushroom and chicken risotto (video)
|Posted by Bee & John on April 24, 2014 at 8:25 PM|
What the heck is Fesenjan? I thought the same..... initially. Now it is one of the most fabulous, special (easy) meals that I have made! A special shout out to Helen who suggested I try it - thank you SO much!!
It is not a meal for the pressed-of-time people. This will take at least 2-3 hours and best made the night before eating (we ended up eating it 2 days after cooking) to really bring out the flavours. But fabulous if you want to make something early for a day you know is going to be busy.
It is a Persian "stew" really, in the basic sense of the word. But only the way that a great curry is only a stew. Don't get me wrong, this is by NO means a curry!!! Not at ALL - this is NOT a spicy/hot meal But, it has (for me) the same hallmarks of a curry. It is surprisingly different to the flavours I grew up with, has a strong flavour, best eaten the next day after so the flavours intensify, and after you have finished it has a lingering burst of flavour in your mouth.
We sat down to the meal with only a small idea of what the meal would be like (we both had a little taste as it was cooking) and then we started eating.... and suddenly there was silence as we ate mouthful after mouthful slowly and with intense pleasure. When we finished the meal... John and I looked at each other and without a word of a lie... both said "WOW" at the same time.
This is not, as mentioned, a spicy meal. Don't worry about this being "hot" - it isn't, and it is full of flavours you will recognise - they're just in a different combination that you might have had before! After all, cinnamon, nutmeg, onion, garlic... pretty common... but slowly cooked with walnuts, chicken and Pomegranate Molassas... it is absolutely wonderful!!!
After Helen mentioned the name of the dish in a commenthttps://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=628985410528419&id=134379433322355" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> facebook post after I had put a post regarding a marinade made with pomegranate molassas - I looked it up. I found this recipe which is what I based my conversion on. If you read the comments, there is quite the discussion whether garlic or saffron should or should not be included. As with ANY recipe... put in the things you like and leave out the things you don't! Don't sweat the small stuff guys. I did use garlic (yum) and I didn't use saffron.... because I didn't have any. :-)
Fesenjan. Serves 2-4
You'll notice it will only serve 2-4. That is two VERY hungry adults or 2 normal adults and 2 kids (normal or otherwise). The more "sides" you serve it with the more it'll serve. It made enough meat for both of us as well as a generous serve for John's lunch. I heated it up the next day in a small casserole dish (eith a lid) while I baked some potatoes in the oven. Cooking for another 30 minutes in the oven was just fine! If you are re-heating in the thermomix, cook on 80oC for 15 mintues, speed 1
I think you could multiply the recipe by half again (ie:1.5x the recipe) to make more without too much trouble. Just make sure you don't go past the 2 litre mark on your Thermomix!
To make HEAPS - I suggest you can triple the sauce recipe... but steam heaps of chicken over the top so you still get all the yummy chicken juices. That way also, you can use the "bone in" poultry pieces that the original recipe recommends. but PLEASE NOTE: to STEAM, you will need to cook on VAROMA temp rather than the 100oC I use here, so PUT IN EXTRA WATER to allow for the steaming, and keep and eye on the liquid situation so it doesn't turn into a gluggy mess.
|Posted by Bee & John on April 21, 2014 at 4:45 AM|
|Posted by Bee & John on April 18, 2014 at 8:55 PM|
If you don't know already (really? Why not?) my heritage is Dutch. We have some weird ideas. the Dutch.... Mayonaise with your hot chips (Devine!), Apple Sauce with every meal (fabulous) and pancakes, mini, flat, fat, sweet or savoury.
The First I do all the time. The second I can't convince John that it is worth trying. But the third is something I'veenjoyed making for ages... but not the savoury ones - until now!!
It's really very easy
First of all.... will your frypan FIT in the oven??
If yes, then....
|Posted by Bee & John on April 18, 2014 at 8:20 PM|
I was given a taste of some pomegranate Molassas once... ages ago.. SO long ago that I can't even remember when and where I had it! The lady had made it and wanted me to try some... OK... it was ok, a tangy sauce... so, I thought, what could I possibly do with that? And put it out of my mind.... or so I thought.
Over the years I have remembered the name of the sauce, and the excitement of the person who had made it and at the back of my mind has ALWAYS been the thought.... "there must be more to it"
Recently we were on a drive in our (my!!) new car (new to us that is, one which we've affectionately called "Big Blue") and we stopped at our favourite organic fruit and veggie place at Gumeracha. Frank and Rosemary had some local Pomegranates which looked just fabulous and although they were $3 each, I got two with making the Molassas in mind.
Two days later the Thermomix and I squared up together to make the molassas. First thing, the recipe. Super Kitchen Machine has a lovely, easy one and the Forum has another. The only difference I could see is the amount of lemon juice and the type of sweetner (mapyle syrup as apposed to sugar). I don't actually have a preference, but lemons are also expensive at the mo, so I took Helene's (Super Kitchen Machine)
You should have seen my face!!! One LITRE of pomegranate juice? My 2 pomegrantaes weren't going to supply anywhere NEAR a litre and it would cost me about $20 worth of pomegranates to get anywhere close! I think if you HAVE a Pomegranate tree, then this is an option with fresh fruit (STRAIN the pips after you juice the seeds!! Or you'll end up with more seed than Molassas)
But for me I had to go with the bought juice option. So, with my determination in full flight, I went to the local supermarket and yup - a litre of pomegranate juice was $6, the type that says "no added sugar" and "100% juice".
I came home, chucked it into my impatiently waiting thermomix - added the other two ingredients (lemon juice and maple syrup) and set it going. The recipe says two things. One, that you cook it on varoma for 60-70 mintues and it thickens up on standing. So, when, at 60 minutes, it was thinnish I didn't worry. I got my jars out of the oven where they were sterilising and put the molassas in. after 60 minutes I was left with about 320-350ml.
It didn't thicken up... I thought I needed to have reduced it to 250ml to get it thick, but I have been reliaby informed since, that the molassas part of the name is only just that... a name. Not meant to be an indication on how thick it is supposed to be. The stuff you get in Iran IS thinnish. Perhaps too sweet/sour if it was thicker?
But, I decided to use it anyway. I asked John to bring home some chicken wings - made a very basic marinade up (100g of thinnish molassas, 50g of Soy Sauce and 20g of sesame oil) and marinaded the chicken wings.
Now... I didn't expect much - there was a LOT of chicken wings (benefit of being married to a butcher!) - probably 1.5 kilo - and not much marinade really. I kept turning the bag and they sat in the fridge for 24 hours before we had them.
I was expecting it to be ok. In fact, I was expecting anything from barely able to taste it to quite nice.
I wasn't expecting it to be AMAZING!. Not super strongly flavoured but absolutely destinctly flavoured for sure!!! Lovely colour and a fabulous taste that was the mixture of sweet and salty but not not very sweet OR salty. After you had eaten a few, you realise that there was a really lovely tangy feel in your mouth, like lemon without any bitterness.
Back to the recipe - my molassas ended up being a bit on the thin side. Thicker than juice most definately, but sort like dark soy sauce consistency. Is that a bad thing??? On reflection, I don't think so. It might be convention to have a thicker sauce, but it is easier to use when thinner... spreads further in a marinade and easier to get a subtle flavour to what you add it to. So if you have thin molasses... dont worry! Just use it!
Where else can you use it? There are lots of suggestions on the two pages I added the links to above, but to give you an idea...
|Posted by Bee & John on April 8, 2014 at 5:15 AM|
I sat at the computer this evening to check my emails... and read the BEST email I have ever received from a friend! (Client first, now friend!)
I reprint it here word for word... except the names.... Enjoy!! I know I did, I'm still smiling and had replied that I have never been so happy to get the blame for something in my life!!
last year and beginning of this year , i went to see a doctor to run some tests as i lost weight and couldn't figure it out.. people started to comment so i got worried, and all these thoughts go through your mind......but, all the tests came back ok, i was fit and healthy !!!!!???
Lately they commented on (HUBBY) too...and because i live with him and am around him all the time, you don't really see a difference as such......
now with colder weather coming , we start to get the longer pants out again...they are falling down on me and walter..... so when another person commented on (HUBBY) yesterday...that got me thinking...... i am not sick, we eat all the time................there is only on solution :
ITS THE THERMOMIX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
so at dinnertime last night i brought that up and it makes sense...then (SON) said, you know mum, i think thats true,,,,, i don't have any more rolls around my stomach ( he is not fat anyway....just a bit stored around his belly..:) but that has gone !!!!
the healthy fresh cooking, no preservatives and all that other nasty stuff keeps us fuller for longer, so we don't go and snack on junk which fills us up for the moment but also has all that undesired side effects of putting on weight at the wrong places...
(SON) has his on the go breakfast muesli ( 300ml milk, 10 almonds, 4 dates, 55gr muesli and 1 banana ) every morning in the thermomix and it keeps him full till almost lunchtime... much better than that up and go stuff he used to drink before... most mornings i make 1 1/2 batches and have a smaller glass as well...really delicious !!!!
Now, because of that we need to go and buy new clothes......!!!! and i blame you for that !!!!! in a good way..
i really couldn't be happier with my machine, and tell that to everyone...but i think they all get sick of me saying that over and over again..... i don't care !!!
have a great day and enjoy the rain....i know our garden does !!
|Posted by Bee & John on March 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM|
I couldn't believe it! Not until I saw it, did it, tasted it and used it! YES, you CAN make your own Brown Sugar,
It is is SO easy it's a shocker that they charge you for it!!!
|Posted by Bee & John on March 28, 2014 at 7:05 PM|
In The Mix 2... Who (ifyou already HAD In the Mix 1) didn't rush right out and get it!!??
Who (and be honest) didn't look at the recipes and think two things.... 1- WOW and 2- Too fancy for me.
I've learnt (amazing how this old dog CAN be taught) that the cookbook is a new format for cookbooks... yes there are elaborate, fancy pants, recipes - but really it is a HUGE collection of recipes grouped not only into their subgroups (mains, soups, deserts etc) but also within small pockets of complimentary recipes. THAT is why those recipes have up to 6 steps... You can do it all if you want, but really, Dani Valent is show you 6 INDIVIDUAL recipes that can be USED TOGETHER.
Once I had that epiphany (almost as much fun to spell as say) I started looking at the recipes again!
One recipe I REALLY wanted to try, but didn't have the time to be doing all those steps... is Anzac Crack. Now for non Australian and New Zealanders - we (Aus and NZ) have a real affinity with not only our ANZAC legends, but also the asociated biscuit (basically, flour, oats, golden syrup, coconut) - so playing around with the Anzac Bikkie is like Johnny Depp playing around with the Lone Ranger.
Did Dani get it right? Well, I have to say yes. I didn't do all the steps - some were unnecessary (as I'll explain in a minny) and some were just a fancy add on that I just didn't want to do. That IS what the cookbook is all about after all! Butt he resulting cake was a huge hit and I'll do it again!! Let me walk you through it.
First of all the base - how delicious does that sound? Macadamias in an Anzac cookie mix! 2 things with that..... 1- Macadamias are expensive! and (more imporantly) 2- I'm allergic to them! I know right?! weird... just happened about 10 years ago - they were my favourite nut before that.... but all of a sudden my tongue started swelling when I ate them and I lost my taste for a while. Don't know which one was worse!!
anyway, I used Hazelnuts... gave a DELICIOUS flavour to the base. You could use ANY nuts, or even miss them out. DON"T miss out the toasting of the coconut tho, that gives a real depth of flavour. If (like me) your nuts were already roasted, or you are missing out on them entirely, then you can toast the coconut in a clean, dry frypan - med/high heat. KEEP stirring, and switch off the heat when the coconut starts browning. KEEP stirring tho, for a few more minutes as the heat of the pan will continue to cook the coconut.
Mix the base as per the recipe.
Then you have to "chill and cut out a circle" - REALLY? Forget that! Just pour it into a lined tin and press down with a potato masher (gotta use it for something) or the back of a spoon!
DO NOT clean your bowl... no need.
Make the filling as per instructions and pour onto the base and then cook, again as per the recipe.
STOP here. This is an abolutely AMAZING desert jsut as it is!!! It is easy to make to this point and is quite big - it would feed 10 people EASILY. The filling is a cross between a cake and a custard. Just delicious!!
John said that the tangy passionfruit/ginger jelly would have been a nice counterpoint for the sweetness, but really, unless you had the time and/or the ingredients - don't need to worry about it.
The recipe said that it should be served with a chocolate mousse. I didn't DO the mousse as per the recipe (I didn't have that many eggs AND it sounded a bit rich for me) so I did an EASY mousse (300g of cream, 100-150g of chocolate - heated until 100oC on speed 2 and then continue stirring until all the heat indicator lights are off. Then chill for a few hours. Then whip.... yummy [fairly rich] egg free mousse)
Then I spread that over the Anzac Crack.
In hindsight... the Chocolate Mousse was NOT the right counterpoint for the cake. It went OK with it, but I didn't think it added anything. I would leave it out. Ice cream! Now Ice Cream would be delicious!!! (yum! I might have to do it again so I can try Icecream with it!)
Even though I didn't like the chocolate flavour WITH the Anzac Crack flavours personally, it did go nicely. I wouldn't go with it in the future tho. I'd miss that step and therefore the base and filling would be a quick and easy fancy desert!!
BASE and Filling? Tick of Yum!!
|Posted by Bee & John on March 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM|
Well... it comes to some people late. SOME people take forever to get information filtered through their brain! NOT saying that'd be me.... of course not! Never! Maybe :-(
I again eat humble pie. NOT a very tasty meal at the best of times, but as my darling John will be proud (yeah right!!) to tell you, I'm NEVER wrong. So.... don't tell him.... ok?
I waited with baited breath for the In the Mix 2 cookbook. Looks GORGEOUS! Then I started looking through the recipes. AMAZING.... but too fancy. I wouldn't do them. Really? 6 step dessert? Not this black bunny!
I was lucky enough to be one of only 3 SA consultants to be invited to Australia's Thermofest, the conference for top consultants (slight boast... but why the heck not!) to South AFRICA! Despite the fun we all had, there was a good portion of WORK involved! Oh yeah! One of them was a talk by Dani Valent - the fabulous authour of In the Mix 2. Quite apart from just being a lovely person, she is really a great orator.
I've been looking at the book ALL WRONG!! No no no no.... do NOT do the 6 step layered cake (unless you want to) you look at the steps and see if it is anything you'd like to do!!
It is just a completely different way of putting together a HEAP of recipes! Not "here's a heap of recipes in a boring list", but "here's a heap of recipes grouped together into OTHER recipes that complement it!!
DON'T look at the recipes in a whole, but at their different components!! Major Head Slap!!
Eg?? Don't like Carrot Cake?... make the Liquid Cheesecake!!! WHAT an amazing thought... a cooked cheesecake cooked IN THE THERMOMIX!! Yum!
Now... here's your homework. go and have another look at the INDIVIDUAL recipes and see if you can't find at least 6 you'd like to try!!
I have quite a few cookbooks now... and I rate it by the number of recipes I would regularly use within it. One good recipe, it has 1 star, 5 good recipes, then 5 star rating etc. In the Mix started out as that "fancy pants cookbook" and now has 7 stars. How will you rate the SECOND book?
|Posted by Bee & John on March 17, 2014 at 7:40 PM|
Anne Wood, from Waikerie, was another happy consultant at our recent Thermomix conference in South Africa. Lucky for me, she was also my room mate. Even luckier, we got on very well, with similar tastes in food (and the amount of it LOL), shopping, music etc.
We were chatting about our favourite recipes, and she mentioned she had put her family's favourite, Crunchy Cheese Topped Tuna Bake, on the recipe community. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure Tuna Bakes have their place in the world, but I wasn't brought up on them, and out of the 3 I've eaten since I left home.... I only liked one! So, I just nodded and filed away the information for interest's sake.
However, coming up to one of our family dinners I mentioned to John's daughter about the Tuna Bake. Her eyes lit up and she waxed lyrical about the joys of Tuna Bake. So, I decided to make it, after all, I'm still on my "getting thinner" kick so if I didn't eat much of it, all the better. OMG! It was delicious! I even went for seconds myself!!
What struck me about the recipe, was that Anne uses rice - I thought pasta was a must and hadn't thought past the point for gluten intollerant people except that they would use gluten free pasta. Rice is SO much easier, and it just makes sense! I actually made some rice for it, but it doesn't use much, and we often have about that left over after a meal... Tick!
The recipe was very easy - although I couldnt resist making some small tweeks. The only suggestion I would make to the recipe, is... DON'T do the bread and the cheese separately, chuck them both in together and grate! I used a tasty chedder cut into cubes, the 5 slices of bread torn up a bit, and then "grated" on speed 7 for 5-6 seconds. It grated beautifully, and all mixed up.
The other tweek, is that I boiled some eggs when I cooked the rice, fried a little bacon (affectionately termed... the Duct Tape of the food world.... at our house)
I was a little worried that there wouldn't be bit enough... I was feeding 5 adults after all. It was actually a generous size and I think that there would have been MORE than enough for a family of 6, with 4 of them being kids - and there was even enough for 4 of us to have a little bit of seconds...... However..... it is SO delicious there were a couple of our group - both with heavy physical jobs - that wouldn't have turned back a larger serve.
LESSON: As I said, the recipe makes more than large enough for a family of 2 adults and 2-4 kids... but for my hungry 5 adult dinners, next time I make it (and trust me... they are ALREADY asking when am I making it again!) I will add a salad, or some fresh bread, or have a dip or something beforehand. I might even make two lots. That way there'll be plenty for the dinner and both John and George can have lunches the next day.
(the three at the back were giving the recipe the thumbs up for the photo, and converstaion turned to the Keough bodgy backward bending thumbs - the rest of us mere mortals only gave a straight thumbs up)
|Posted by Bee & John on February 16, 2014 at 7:10 PM|
Monday..... its Monday! No, I don't have Monday-itis.... but now that I live my very happy thermomix consultant life, it is the ONE day where I am always booked out. During the daytime I do my house cleaning (or pretending to do it while getting distracted with... um... anything I can find!) and in the evening, either a meeting or I cook a meal for the Keough family and bring it to my father-in-law's place to share with everyone.
Today it is a bit different as I am cooking something AND going to a meeting. Tonight, in anticipation of my trip to South Africa (in 13 days, 20 hours, 15 minutes and 27 seconds... but who is counting) with Thermomix, I have been asked to do a cooking segment... something "African"
Now, that isn't as easy as it seems. YES, there are heaps of recipes for Milktart and other yummy sounding things... but remember I have to actually SHOW it cooking. After a bit of searching I came up with this recipe on Food.com in their African section of recipes. I was intending to make it earlier, but while i DID have a couple fo boxes of Cous Cous hanging around up to a couple of weeks ago.... I must have thrown them out as I certainly can't find them now! Danielle to the rescue (trumpet fanfare) and I made it today as a practice so I actually look like I know what I am doing tonight.
I thought it would be interesting. I DIDN"T expect it to be quite that delicious!!! This was quick! Easy and just fabulous. The vinegar and oil bit seemed to be a weird addition but even this "no vinegar for me please" person could see that it just seemed to GO with it!
I have done the conversion below, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (well.... the little spoon of it I tried.... the rest is going to the meeting tonight to show what it is like cold)
Cranerry Couscous Salad
NOTE: I used the "dutch" style cinnamon as I felt the Cassia Cinamon to be too strong - btw - by "Dutch style cinnamon" I mean the crumbly paper-bark version of cinnamon rather than Cassia's HARD bark
|Posted by Bee & John on February 6, 2014 at 3:15 AM|
Just before Christmas, I did a delivery to a fabulous cook, and she got straight into the thermomix and made Oreo balls! I just HAD to have the recipe!!!!
EASY PEASY Oreo Balls!!!
Thank you Vanessa, you are my hero!
|Posted by Bee & John on February 6, 2014 at 2:20 AM|
Well... it had to happen, a brand new cookbook going "use me". "use me"... so I did.
How can you tell if you hav a good cookbook? Well... to me, it is making something that you LOVE to order at restaurants. If it is BETTER than what you would normally get from that restaurant? It's a great cookbook.... well maybe it's only a good recipe, but work with me here LOL
With that little test in mind, I decided to try the Satay Chicken and the Peanut Sauce from Nico's Cooking Passions cookbook. Why... welllllll.... my parents were Dutch.
I can almost SEE that look of complete puzzlement on your face!!! Yup, the Dutch are KNOWN for their satay. Why? The Dutch were great travellers and some of the recipes came back to holland from many parts of the world... in particular Indonesian recipes. My mum used to make a mean Nasi Goreng, Gado Gado AND Satay. Mind you, her satay sauce was jsut a mixture of chicken stock, curry powder, peanut butter and Maggi seasoning... delicious but basic (nice and quick tho)... so it isn't just my favourite dish, but a familiar favourite from my childhood too.
I pulled up my proverbial sleeves (it WAS 40oC!) and dug right in. First of all... it was EASIER than I thought it would be, much easier and REALY delicious!!!
Remember, a true satay chicken is mearly a FLAVOURED chicken... not spicy... and the peanuts are in the sauce, not in the chicken marinade.
I must admit to NEVER doing the skewer thing before with chicken... slimy little pieces!! Raw chicken doesn't worry me actually, but if you don't like the touch of chicken bits, a) get your Butcher to chop your thighs into bits (not YOUR thighs you understand.. the chicken thighs) and b) stir fry the meat, don't worry about the skewer part.
Verdict? Delicious!!! Easy to actually do and not squillions of ingredients.
|Posted by Bee & John on January 29, 2014 at 7:20 PM|
Last night I helped out at a very special cooking class - It was with Nico Moretti, a fabulous chef from Western Australia....well.... he's actually from Canada (and of course as I spend the first 6 months of my life in Canada that makes him even more special!) and he has an Italian Heritage and just LOVES asian food... so just THINK about what sort of recipes he cooks up!!
I had heard about Nico from other consultants who had met him before (he last came nearly 4 years ago... just before I started)... and they all said he was lovely! Now I thought they meant he was good looking... now don't get me wrong, he's a hunk, but what they meant is he was just LOVELY! What a wonderful person! Rather than the arrogant, self important, chef type that I was used to by now, after helping at several specialist classes, NOTHING was further than the truth! No problem was too much for him... he would answer and WELCOME any questions from us all as we rushed around getting everything ready for him.... and what's more, at the end of the evening he went around to EVERY single "helper" and thanked them with a smile and a kiss on the cheek. for that alone he got 10 out of 10 from me! What people didn't realise, but the quiet, lovely and friendly lady at the table selling Nico's cookbooks, was his wife and JUST as friendly!!!
Back to the cooking class... (rather than the buzz of getting a smile and a kiss on the cheek by a celebrity!).... I am sure that there are 7 very unhappy people this morning who paid for the class and DIDN"T TURN UP to this sell out class! Sorry guys... but you missed a GREAT night.
Nico not only did heaps of fabulous recipes, bouncing from Thermomix to Thermomix, stirring this, cooking that, mixing another, steaming too...... but he was SO full of hints and tips!! Just for those tips alone it was worth the $60 price tag for the class! I must admit I was scribbling down notes inbetween dishing up and wiping benches!! (lucky me... I wasn't on dish duty this time!)
Seriously... speak to your consultant or joinhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Tick-of-Yum/134379433322355" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> facebook pages like mine, we will tell you when these specialist cooking classes are being held because they sell out FAST! VERY fast!!
Why the hefty $60 fee? Well, it is actually LESS THAN HALF his normal Cooking class cost! Consider yourself lucky!! We (the consultants) volunteer our time, if you take into consideration the cost of the ingredients, the food made before the event and AT the event (enough to fee 40 people) and the cost of bringing Nico out and (MOST importantly) the fact we keep our classes small (no more than 40) - you get more than your money's worth!! If we don't provide samples and increase the size to 100... how much more less like a personal event than a "show". My advice is to pay the money, it's worth it!
We have a couple more specialist cooking classes planned for this year.... https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tick-of-Yum/134379433322355">DON"T MISS OUT! And yes, this isn't just for SA, if a Specialist Chef come here, they'll be going everywhere in Australia.
Nico said he must have been one of the VERY first people in Australia to get a Thermomix... it was only a month or two after it came to Australia! wow! And Thermomix methods have always been a factor in his cookbooks.
Now I've had his first cookbook 3 times already! I had 2 copies of the first issue, I gave one away and I lent the other out.... permanently by the looks of it! (curses upon this person... not that I can remember who you are) The shame is, not only that it has great recipes, but with as one of the best vietnamese soup recipes ever and I MISSED it... so I got another one last night. I also bought his new one. These are signed (sigh, big smile!)
I have been burnt recently, buying a second book because the first was so good... and twice now have been dissapointed.... but NOT with Nico's new book "cooking passions". I was up until 2am reading and re-reading some of the recipes... yum!!!! I think it is even BETTER than the first one!! I had a little note for John for when he woke this morning ... "John darling, please bring me some chickent thighs (crossed out) beef strips (crossed out) pork mince (crossed out) smoked and raw salmon (crossed out) chicken breasts home tomorrow? Ah... the joys of being married to a butcher who (In the new shop) not only has meat but also seafood now, AND smokes their own salmon, trout and chickens!!! (tiny plug for Palmdale Meats in North Adelaide!)
Verdict... worth going to! Mind you... you'd be lucky if you got a ticket at this stage. Don't miss out on his classes ever again! Maybe you can console yourselves with one of his cookbooks?
PS - the highlight of this class? AFTER the class itself of course, was the amount of people who saw my name tag and came forward to let me know how much they enjoy my website/facebook. AW..... Thank you so much!!!!!
|Posted by Bee & John on January 29, 2014 at 6:35 PM|
You might have heard that I met enough happy new Thermomix owners last year that I earned a trip to South Africa!!!! Well.... that pleasure isn't going to go unpunished. My lovely manager, Michelle, has asked me to do a cooking segment in our next meeting... and to cook something South African. Well.... what the heck is something "South African"??
I turned to a very useful search engine and there were some lovely sounding recipes all for the taking. I have decided to do a cranberry, cous cous salad for the meeting... but couldn't resist trying (Immediately!!!) this recipe for Picnic Bread, which sounded just LOVELY - and let me tell you... it sure is!! I had a piece last night at our coking class for my "dinner" (I was helping, not participating... so no taste testing for me!) and it was enough! Although... I admit to having TWO pieces for brekky this morning! Couldn't resist
When I wanted to find the recipe again for this post I was surprised to see it repeated, almost exactly, on about 15 websites... all attributing it as a favourite South African delicacy.. I think it'll be a favourite South AUSTRALIAN delicacy from here on... at least at this house!
I halved the original recipe as I converted it. It is easy to make, although not cheap! But, because you don't need much of this to fill you up, it works out reasonably economical. This would be a suffieicient meal for a family of 4 or 5 depending on appetites! As for low fat... nope! Not even close... but I did work out the calories (I am on a diet at the moment and squeezing every pleasure into my 1500 daily calorie count) and if you cut the bread into 10 slices it is 190 calories per slice. That's not bad!
I like the texture of this bread, it is heavier than a bread but isn't stodgy or dry, it has a lovely flavour and the sweet chilli gives it a lovely colour without any zing. The comment on the original website was correct, you won't need butter (although HOW much more heavenly would it be with it!! oh well... after my diet finishes in 31 days (when I leave for South Africa) 24 hours after baking, it was still the lovely same texture... didn't dry out at all.
HINT: Don't cut this (or ANY bread or cake) until quite cold unless you are going to eat the lot (you'll release all the steam that is trapped in the bread/cake... making it dry). I would store this in the fridge after it has cooled.
So enought waffle? Would you like the recipe?
|Posted by Bee & John on January 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM|
I was "talking" to Sue from the https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thelma-and-Souise/255867974437307" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Thelma and Souise facebook page - inverted comments because it was via messages lol - and she mentioned Mango Chutney. Now I love Mangos, but John, in one of his very few incomprehensible negatives, doesn't. But... He DOES love his chutneys.... which I don't. So, after Sue's comment I thought that Mango Chutney would be JUST the thing to suit both of us!
So I went in search of a recipe. I found one tha I liked the sound of and (importantly) I had all the ingredients, so I tried it. I have the converted recipe below. It is really lovely - surprisingly chunks considering the soft nature of Mangoes. We're having some with our Australia Day BBQ on Monday, that's for sure! This recipe is easy, although the chilling aspect means it'll take a while before you have it to eat, it is worth it. And yes, John does love it!
The original recipe is from here.... http://www.food.com/recipe/moms-mango-chutney-92982
The amount it calls for is too much for our Thermomix bowls and halving it means you are cooking only a small amount at once. I have cut it down by 3/4's so it is suitable. Double the recipe with no problems if you don't mind cooking two lots in succession.
|Posted by Bee & John on January 19, 2014 at 10:30 PM|
Yumm!! Home made tomato sauce!!!
I grabbed a box of tomatoes yesterday, quite cheap! and proceeded to make the next 12 months quota of tomato sauce.
Is it cost effective? Well, here's the breakdown.
3/4 box of tomatoes. $8 for the box so that's $6
1.5k of plums, off our tree so free. I would imagine that this time of year you'd pay $4
1 litre of vinegar, $4
2 kilos of sugar, $3
salt and spices, negligble but lets say $2
So... all up, $19... it made 24 x 250ml bottles of sauce = $0.79c a bottle for high quality tomato sauce!! Yup, I reckon it's worth it.
Bottles? I know you will be hit with the cost of bottles, but I didn't include them as we reuse ours so it'd be like trying to include the cost of the thermomix in the sauce cost or the petrol going to GET the sauce... afterall.... I'd use the petrol getting sauce from the supermarket, and the thermomix is SO low in power!!! I use smaller bottles because there are two of us. If I had a family or we used a LOT of sauce... I'd get/use bigger bottles or jars
Time? I took about 40 minutes per load which made 750ml of finished sauce. 24 bottles took me just over 5 hours. The first 40 mintues involved me chopping and preparring the the rest of the batches then it was just a matter of going back every 40 mintues and puring one lot out and getting the next lot going. I got to swim, shop, read, watch movies, make dinner (sadly, not in the thermomix LOL). Although it TOOK 5 hours, I only put about 1 hour's of work in. That's cost efective too!!
First of all some hints for cooking in bulk, ie: multiple cooking in the same bowl. Some are essential so read them through.
|Posted by Bee & John on December 22, 2013 at 1:20 AM|
I was making a batch of fruit mince tarts - mini ones so that we can eat OTHER things too at Christmas LOL - anyway... I was thinking about the method I use to make my own Patty Pans.
I thought you might like to use this as we head into a busy baking time :-)
Why ? They're quick... they're easy and.... they're quick! Hope you find them useful!
FIRST: get a piece of baking paper (the non-stick sort... otherwise... what's the point?). Make sure it is LONGER than the patty pan/muffin pan length. Start to fold it. If it is a 6, 12, 24 hole pan - then fold it into 6, 12, 24 :-))
Make sure the resulting "square" is larger than the circle you want to cut
SECOND: cut a circle out of the folded paper. Make sure you cut within the square or you'll have the circles stick together at the endges
THIRD: holding all the circles together, snip down toward the centre, about 1/2 of the way in
a) If you are using pastry, put the cut piece of pastry onto the paper and THEN push into the pan "hole"
b) if you are going to make muffins etc - make the muffin tin slightly wet... even if you just wet the bottom of the pan with your fingers. Then push the paper in. The water will make it stick better. Not too wet, you don't want to water down your muffin :-))
Bake and enjoy!!
|Posted by Bee & John on December 21, 2013 at 3:25 AM|
Everything works well until you add the flour and the cocoa.. the Thermomix REALLY struggles! The mixture is THICK and you can just hear the thermomix struggling!! I have tried stirring with the spatula and halving the mixture and doing it 1/2 at a time.... Forget actually adding the last lot of choc chips and stirring them in!I even tried adding an extra egg at the egg stage... I have tried warming the glucose syrup until it is more runny (which did work better).... but basically there is a problem with the recipe having just toooooo much dry mix to mix into the wet one.I would recommend you cut down the cocoa from the 160g to 100g, or cut 60g out of the flour. THEN it works ok. Cut even more of the cocoa out (I used 60g) and it workes even better! STILL thick, but not "about to break your thermomix" thick. 160g is a LOT of cocoa and really... I don't think it needs THAT much! Mind you... I am NOT a chef!!!!
I have (just) tried adding peanut butter instead of glucose syrup. My peanut butter is quite soft as I add a bit of oil to make it soft (gotta make it how john likes it so he eats it!!).I swapped gram for gram (100g) and it added a very light peanutty flavour to the bikkies. Perhaps in the next batch I might replace the first lot of chocolate AND the glucose syrup with the peanut butter. OBVIOUSLY don't feed to people who are allergic to nuts!!The texture is stilghtly different... not quite as fudgy as the original recipe with the glucose syrup.
For the love of your blades... do NOT scoop your bikkies out of the TM bowl with a metal spoon!!!! I always tip bikkie or chocolate mixtures into another bowl (NOT a TM one) and scoop out from there. The best thing I have ever bought (after the thermomix) was a little mini ice-cream scoop. Using that is easy and I get equally shaped bikkies and chocolates. Using the mini ice-cream scoop (and not skimping in the scoop) I got 68 bikkies!!!