Friday, December 31, 2010

new year's eve 2010

this year, i let karlyn invite her friends. five friends, and of the five, there was a vegetarian, a gluten intolerant, one who didn't eat pork and another who didn't eat junk food...and karlyn didn't tell me what was happening until the day before. they were all invited up to rosie's in newcastle for NYE, and karlyn just went up for 2 days because she wanted to come back to spend NYE with me. she rings to say emma, the girl who drove her up, would drive her down on the 31st and could emma come along...sure... mum, emma doesn't eat pork...that's okay.
next phone call...can alex come, too? sure... btw, mum, alex is vegetarian, you remember, don't you, mum?....that's okay.
next phone call...can rosie and claire come, too? sure, but i thought rosie was the one having the NYE party...yes, mum, but they thought they'd like to come down and see in the new year with us...okay...btw, mum, rosie doesn't eat junk food ...fine, about hijacking parties...
another phone call...mum, lindsay can come now (i didn't know lindsay was at rosie's or that there was any suggestion of her at all)...that's nice....mum, you remember that lindsay is gluten free, don't you?....thanks for reminding me, karlyn, i almost forgot. (lost you yet?)
after all that, it was still fine, but i wouldn't mind just being the invitee for a change. we see the fireworks every year, so maybe missing one year might not be that bad...have to be invited first, though...

happy new year!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

a stick of celery and 4 tomatoes...

what does one do with 4 tomatoes and a stick of celery?

this is what i did...and it was yum.

1 stick celery, cut into chunks
4 small/medium tomatoes
1 litre water
2 tablespoons vegetable stock concentrate
300 grams ditali pasta

place the celery and tomatoes into the tm bowl and blend for 5 seconds on speed 7. add the water and concentrate. cook for 8 minutes on speed 2 at 100 degrees.

add the pasta and cook on reverse, speed 1 1/2 at 100 degrees until the pasta is al dente, usually about 10 minutes - this depends on your pasta. the pasta thickens the liquid as it cooks, making it quite hearty.

there's a lot of hype about cooking with just a few ingredients these days, and so often those ingredients are preprepared, processed or both. the only thing preprepared about this dish was the stock concentrate, and that was homemade from scratch. it was delicious, and you should have been there to smell it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

strawberry mousse...thermomixed!

need i say that this is so easy? the most fiddly thing about this is sprinkling the gelatine over the water...

1 1/2 teaspoons gelatine
1/3 cup water
100 grams sugar
250 grams strawberries
300 ml cream

place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the water. place the bowl over hot water to allow the gelatine to swell. stir to dissolve the gelatine and set aside.

place the sugar, strawberries and cream into the thermomix bowl and blend together on speed 8 for 15 seconds. add the gelatine mixture and mix for 5 seconds at speed 5.

pour the mixture into your favourite glasses, ramekins or bowls and refrigerate until set.

Monday, October 4, 2010

tomato and red lentil soup

i have always waxed lyrical about how quick and easy making soup in the thermomix is to all and sundry...and finally came the day i had to whip something up at someone's place. i've started putting a bag of pantry items in the boot of my car now, where ever i go so i can just whip up something to eat on arrival. so i arrive at this person's place and all the fresh vegetable she has is 2 tomatoes...

my bag to the rescue. i had a can of chickpeas, so it could have been tomato and chickpea soup, but i also found the red lentils, so it was tomato and red lentil soup. endless possiblities.

the soup appears quite thin prior to blending, but thickens up beautifully once blended.

2 tomatoes
100 grams red lentils
1 litre stock (or water with stock concentrate to taste)

core the tomatoes and put them in the thermomix bowl with the lentils and blitz on speed 7 for 4 seconds.
add the stock or water and concentrate.
cook at 100 degrees celcius for 10 minutes on speed 2 with the MC on.
blend for one minute on speed 9.
cook a further minute on 100 degrees on speed 4.
check for seasoning and serve.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

banana fritters

i couldn't resist buying a box of bananas, but i knew i couldn't make another banana cake or five, so i needed a way to use them up deliciously. banana fritters. my fritter batter of preference is self raising flour mixed with cornflour and soda water - it's crisp and light. i use about equal parts of each flour and enough soda to make a batter similar to cream in consistency. i don't bother flouring the bananas and just dunk them in the batter and gently lower them into hot rice bran oil to deep fry. i have my oil not too hot, but hot enough to make sure the bananas bubble away - about 180 degrees celcius. i like cooking my bananas slowly for a longer length of time so they are nice and soft; you do yours the way you like to have them. if you want a sugar hit, sprinkle with castor or icing sugar!

Monday, August 9, 2010

sorrell from the garden and bread from the oven

just lately, i've been eating a fair bit of sorrell, which i have growing in a trough on the balcony. it's been going for about a year now and it's nice to have something salady at hand.

the sandwich of the moment for me is prawns, mayonnaise, sorrel and continental parsley with my homemade bread rolls. i buy just a few big prawns (easier to peel) which are already cooked, spread on the mayo, shred the sorrell and parsley roughly and grind on some pepper. very easy and fresh, and a lovely gourmet treat. i never find a bought prawn sandwich as satisying because there tends to be a lack of prawn flavour.

Friday, August 6, 2010

szechuan noodles

this is a favourite from ina garten, the barefoot contessa. i started making this way back in 2000 and found the sauce very versatile. it makes a generous quantity which i keep in the fridge for cold cuts and as a salad and vegetable dressing.

converted for the thermomix from the barefoot contessa cookbook

6 garlic cloves,
60 grams fresh ginger, peeled
70 grams extra virgin olive oil
100 grams sesame paste (from asian grocery stores)
100 grams smooth peanut butter
100 soy sauce
60 grams dry sherry
60 grams sherry vinegar
60 grams honey
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
500 grams spaghetti
1 red capsicum, julienned
1 yellow capsicum, julienned
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally

place the garlic and ginger in the thermomix bowl and chop on speed 9 for 10 seconds. add the vegetable oil, sesame paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, sherry vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, and ground peppers. mix for 20 seconds on speed 4.

cook the spaghetti al dente in boiling salted water. drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. whilst still warm, toss with some of the sauce. add the red and yellow capsicums and spring onions; toss well. serve warm or at room temperature. the remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.

keep any leftover sauce in the fridge for later use.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

cauliflower au gratin

this is one of my favourite versions of cauliflower cheese. i think it's the addition of horseradish, shallot and garlic - it makes it just that little bit exciting.

this is all perfectly do-able without a thermomix, but when i was converting it to a thermomix friendly recipe, i decided i didn't want to make this without a thermomix anymore - the thermomix makes it all too easy...such is my dependence...oh, woe is me (not really)...i'm a junkie...

1 cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
250 grams water
1 teaspoon stock concentrate
250 grams cream
1 to 2 tablespoons horseradish, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
60 grams gruyere cheese

preheat the oven to 220°C. cut the cauliflower into small florets. reserve the stems. place the florets in varoma and set aside.

place the reserved cauliflower stems, shallot, and garlic into the thermomix bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 5. add the butter and saute for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. pour in the water and stock concentrate. set the cauliflower filled varoma on the thermomix bowl. cook on varoma temperature for 10 minutes on speed 4. most of the liquid will have evaporated.

remove the varoma and set aside.

add the cream, horseradish, salt, and pepper to the thermomix bowl, and puree the contents on speed 8 for 15 seconds.

gently coat the cauliflower florets with the cream mixture in an ovenproof terrine or casserole.

place the cheese into the cleaned thermomix bowl and grate on speed 8 for 10 seconds.

top the cauliflower with the cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, August 2, 2010

pink lemonade...naturally...

a few weeks ago, tenina came to sydney to promote the thermomix in sydney with cyndi o'meara. we were treated to a lovely pink lemonade as part of the healthy repertoire. essentially, it is the lemonade recipe from the thermomix everyday cookbook with a tamarillo in it.

i made mine this morning a bit differently.

100g sugar
1 lemon (i plucked mine off the tree just moments before making)
1 tamarillo
1 tray ice cubes
1000g still or sparkling water

place the sugar and quartered fruit into the thermomix bowl and blitz for 10 seconds on speed 10.

add the ice cubes and blitz for 5 seconds on speed 10.

pour into serving jug and dilute with water.

if you don't like the bits in your lemonade, pour the water into the thermomix bowl and strain before pouring the lemonade into the jug, but think of the fibre you're missing out on.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

one pot rice cooker meal

tonight, when miss c called, i suggested another easy meal option. this is something easy to make if you have a rice cooker.

measure the rice and water into the rice pot as usual. season some chicken or pork (or your preferred meat...or no meat at all) with salt and pepper (and whatever other seasonings you fancy - herbs...or you can use asian seasonings - sesame oil, xiao xing wine, ginger...) and place this on top of the rice. top this with some vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, peas, asian greens) and set the rice cooker to cook the rice.

there you go - an easy pot pot rice cooker meal. if you have leftovers, make a soup with the leftovers by adding some stock or water to the pot the next day. the rice will thicken the liquid, and if you want the soup to be more substantial, add an egg (or some eggs) to poach in the soup.

Monday, May 17, 2010

what to do with care package 1: southern fried chicken

southern fried chicken is easy with seasoned flour.

dredge chicken with the flour and shallow fry the chicken until done. try and have the pan over a medium low heat so the coating becomes golden evenly. this will also ensure the chicken cooks through.

if you have time, soak the chicken in buttermilk for an hour before dredging to tenderise the meat.

after frying the chicken, the flour at the bottom of the pan can be used to make gravy. drain off any excess oil and add stock or milk to the pan stirring the whole time until the consistency of the gravy is to your liking. this has no nutritional value whatsoever, but my brother in law, the golden one, loves it.

by the way, if chicken fried steak takes your fancy, replace the chicken with beef schitzel steaks....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

care package 1: seasoned flour

miss c, having finished school, has left home and is now living in canberra. and while i miss her, i know she has to leave home at some stage. miss c never learnt how to cook before she went on her merry way, but now, a few months down the track, is bulding up a respectable repertoire, and quite a healthy one at that. to junky things up, on one trip back to canberra, i gave her a bag of my homemade seasoned flour so she could have southern fried chicken or chicken fried steak (shock horror)! i figured if she felt like something junky, it would be better homemade.

1 cup plain flour
1 cup maize cornflour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt (yes...seasoned salt)

mix this throughly and store in an airtight jar until needed.

i'll give instructions on what to do with this in my next post.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

thermomix focaccia

last night i made the focaccia from the thermomix everyday cookbook, and it ain't half bad. the dough has a higher proportion of water compared to the basic bread recipe, so the dough is stickier, but it makes for a lighter bread. the outside is crisp, and the inside is light and fluffy. the next day, it's chewier, but still good (i quite like some of my breads chewy).

my tip when making this dough would be to make sure the thermomix bread mat is floured before tipping the dough onto it, and a little more flour sprinkled over the dough so as to prevent it from sticking. after proving, just tip the dough onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. you'll find the dough very easy to press out to cover the baking sheet. once that's done, scatter the salt and herbs over the top and drizzle with olive oil. if you chose to bake the focaccia immediately, the bread will be denser, and to my taste, more traditional italian in texture. left for a longer prove, lighter and fluffier!

i can see this dough would make lovely, light grissini and bacon and cheese rolls not unlike those from bakers' delight.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

inspiration from masterchef

this season's masterchef seems to be using the sous vide technique a bit more than the last's meatloaf burger, peter gilmore's poached chicken and truffles...while the thermomix hasn't got the capacity of a commercial immersion water bath (it is a domestic machine after all), one can enjoy restaurant quality sous vide with a bit of imagination. i figured that i'm going to try george's meatloaf burger, but mine will be more like scotch eggs, and i'll make peter's chicken much the same way - they'll be chicken balls. there's a definite plus there - the chicken skin won't have to be so big because my parcels will be smaller.
i remember when i got my thermomix, i really wanted it because it could cook and stir. little did i know i was going to get so many bonus appliances.....and that i would use it so many times a day....much better to get bonuses rather than be dissappointed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

vegetable medley

one of my favourite ways of cooking vegetables is to "steam" them in the pot. rather then boil them in a large pot of water, i prepare the vegetables, place them in a saucepan, add half a cup of salted water and a knob of butter. let the vegetables half poach and half steam on full boil.

to serve, add some freshly chopped herbs. use any combination of vegetables you like - i like carrots, zuchinni, squash, asparagus, beans, brocolli, cauliflower.....and a knob of butter, if you like!

Monday, April 26, 2010

morrocan carrot way....revisited....

bb invited me over for dinner a few nights ago and asked me to make a few things; one was salad. after some thought, i decided to refine it - i'm not mad about the one i posted earlier. to me, it was a bit boring and i wanted something with more ooomph. so this is my new version.

the leaves of half a bunch of parsley
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 spanish onion, peeled and quartered
1 red apple, quartered and cored
1 green apple, quartered and cored
1 rib celery, cut into 5cm lengths
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
a few drops orange flower water
a good few sploshes of extra virgin olive oil
the juice of a lemon
3 tablespoons hommus (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons currants
toasted slivered almonds

place everything except the currants into the thermomix bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 5. add the currants and almonds and reverse stir the salad on speed 3 for 10 seconds.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

thank you for anzacs

i'd like to say thank you for the anzacs; without them, where would we be today?

a big, heartfelt thank you.

we will remeber them today with our favourite anzac biscuits.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

almond chews

miss k was needing something to take to school for her tutor group's morning tea, and i decided that i wanted to try a new recipe. if it worked, well and good, and if it didn't, it was going to be cut into little pieces and i doubt any of the girls would knock it back, so it would at least get eaten. miss k oroginally wanted to do the mini cupcake thing but got lazy, hence my opportunity to make this, if you must know....i seize opportunities as they present themselves.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups (310g) sugar
1/4 cup (45g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g butter, softened
250g self raising flour
150g white chocolate bits
200g flaked almonds

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

line a 20cm x 30cm shallow baking tin with baking paper, leaving the papr hanging over the sides to assist in lifting the cooked slice out of the tin.

whisk the eggs, sugars and vanilla until thick. add the butter and beat until well combined. fold in the flour, white chocolate and 75g the almonds.

sprinkle 35g of the almonds over the base of the tin and spoon the mixture into the tin. sprinkle the remaining almonds over the top of the batter and press gently to spread the batter out evenly.

bake for 30 minutes or until golden. the slice, whilst cooked, will be soft and chewy in the centre.

allow the slice to cool in the tin. lift out of the tin and cut as desired.

Monday, April 12, 2010

hokey pokey

the first time i ever had hokey pokey icecream was when i went to new zealand....north island....pokono....i think that's how it's spelt. this was quite a long time ago. a tiny little place, but famous (well, it was back when i was there) for their icecream. their icecream was the same as everyone elses', but it was the way they scooped it. they were big scoops of icecream which supported other big scoops of icecream. from memory, the double cone had 2 scoops of icecream, one in each cavity, then another scoop on top.

today, i sit here chomping on my cornetto hokey poke cone. typical cornetto size and should be greatful it doesn't contain the calories a pokono icecream cone has, but still reminiscing about the pokono icecream.......

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

minty things

let me tell you how anal i was when i was in primary school (that was in the seventies)...remember perkin's paste (you really have to be my vintage to appreciate this)? in the magenta coloured container? the paste was all nice and smooth on top, and when i used it, i never disturbed the nice smoothness, and would just carefully use the paste next to the paddle thing so as not to mess it up.....i'm the only person i know who kept their paste like was so traumatic when someone borrowed it and messed it up, and you know what? it still is. i lent my copy of bridget jones' diary to someone once and it came back so battered (it was like new - the spine didn't even have a crease....)....sad...i know....i really have to lighten up...i am much better these days.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

morrocan carrot way

this is the thermomix morrocan carrot salad (a taste of vegetarian, page 56), but done my way. instead of three process steps in the themomix, i've chosen to condense it to two, partly because i'm a lazy sorta girl, and partly because i like how it looks - the herbs are less pastey looking, and look like they're more part of the salad when it's done my way. naturally, if anyone is allergic to almonds or pistachios, omit them, but they add such a nice crunch to the salad.

italian parsley
3 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
a few drops orange flower water
30 grams extra virgin olive oil
the juice of one lemon
salt, pepper, sugar to taste
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds or pistachios

place the herbs, carrots, spices, orange flower water, oil, juice and seasonings into the thermomix bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 5. add the currants and nuts and combine on reverse speed 3 for 5 seconds.

Monday, March 29, 2010

another reason why i like my thermomix...

not only is it fast, but flour doesn't fly all over the place when i use the thermomix when i make cake. this is actually a big plus for me when i make cake.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

nutty pumpkin salad

i love this salad. the original came from the austalian womens' weekly's great barbeque cookbook, but as with so many things, i can't leave them well enough alone.

1 kilogram pumpkin, cubed (i like jap/kent pumpkins best)
2 bacon rashers, chopped
3/4 cup pepitas
1 apple, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teasoopn ground nutmeg

microwave the pumpkin until just tender. cool.
cook bacon until crisp. drain and cool.
gently combine the pumpkin, apple, celery, mayonnaise, sour cream and nutmeg together. place in serving bowl and sprinkle the pepitas and bacon over before serving.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

to thermomix or not to thermomix

tomi expressed to me that all the recipes i've posted requiring the thermomix don't apply to her...well....yes and no. most of them can be made without a thermomix except for the sous vide cooking. the thermomix just makes things easy - one doesn't have to cook the stock concentrate in a saucepan, then blend it with a food processor or blender and have all the washing up to do. the same applies for making soup...then it comes into its own where sauces and risottos are concerned.

then, there was someone i met whose friend bought one. the friend said she had to use it everyday to justify having purchased it, so is always wondering what to make with it. i simply said i don't do things with that mind set - i was more of a person who thinks about what i want to make and then thinking the thermomix can do it. the thermomix has to fit in with me, and not the other way round....and so far it has.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

poached chicken revisited

miss c went to canberra earlier this year and off she went not knowing how to cook. i had no reservations about her going, after all, i knew she wouldn't starve - in this day and age, there are so many places to procure food - take away joints, supermarkets have preprepared meals i knew she wouldn't starve. however, whether she would be eating well would be up to her. enter the odd recipe here and there, and this is one of them. tomi drew my attention to the fact that i hadn't posted this ...and she came here just to try and find it (she must have found other things).

1 whole chicken breast
vegetable stock concentrate

get yourself a saucepan which your chicken breast will fit in comfortably. fill it half way with water and set it on the stove and bring the water to the boil. you should aim to have sufficient water in your saucepan to cover your chicken once you place it into the pot.

while you are waiting for the water to boil, give your piece of chicken a rinse. place a spoonful or two of stock concentrate into the water, and once the liquid boils, gently place (you don't want the liquid to splash) the chicken into the liquid and simmer gently for 5 minutes*. switch off the heat and leave the chicken in the liquid to finish cooking. once the liquid has cooled, your chicken should be cooked through and nice and moist. now you have some chicken to add to sandwiches, salads, pie fillings...and you also have a well flavoured stock with which you can make soup.

*if you have an electric stove which takes time for the element to cool, switch the power off after adding the chicken as there will be plenty of stored heat in the element - you don't want to overcook your chicken - overcooking chicken breast dries the meat out and makes it less palatable.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

irony number 3974

i'm overweight, but not fat enough for liposuction....

Friday, March 19, 2010

call me lazy....

i find that i am always making stock concentrate whenever i can just so i have it on i made some today. not one to waste anything, i usually make a soup in the thermomix bowl after bottling the concentrate. it serves a dual purpose - the little bit of concentrate in the bowl isn't wasted, and the bowl gets a washed out with soup.

today, i changed things a little and made bread/pizza dough. it's slightly pale green, but i'm sure it's going to be flavoursome. because the dough is kneaded so well in the thermomix, the bowl is virtually cleaned of concentrate so i can clean as usual. i do it my favourite way and heat about a litre of water up in the thermomix and let it clean itself on full speed when the water is hot. nothing could be simpler.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

eggs...cooked sous vide...sort of....

a couple of weeks ago, wenty took me sean's kitchen to have tapas. the most delicious dish was the simplest..sort was called eggs and chips. the chips were slices of parcooked potatoes fried, and the eggs were "cooked at 60 degrees celcius for an hour". i asked the waitress about it and she said the eggs were cooked very soft and formed the sauce for the chips. i ventured further to ask if the eggs had been cooked in the thermomix....she said they were cooked in a thermo something.....

well, today, i tried cooking my eggs like that, and they were the best soft boiled eggs i have ever had. the egg white was all opaque, but soft, runny soft. i then tried cooking the eggs a bit more at 70. these were also very good. i set the thermomix on for an hour and left it to go and ice some cupcakes. i think this is really the way to go if you want to do lots of reliable soft boiled eggs, and i don't think i'd mind doing them this way in future - by the time i finished mucking around doing things in the morning, the eggs would be done to my liking.

Monday, March 15, 2010

fruit and nut pretend truffles

last week at jan's, we decided to go through her cupboard and use up all the scraps of dried fruit, nuts and seeds...we even used up all the honey making these.

300 grams nut and seeds (we used a combination of brazils, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)
150 grams dried fruit (we used cranberries, apricots and pears)
100 grams honey
extra sesame seeds to roll the truffles in

pop everything into the thermomix bowl and blitz on speed 7 until the desired consistency is acheived.

form into balls, roll in the extra sesame seeds and refrigerate until firm before serving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

chef laurent vancam's cooking tips

last night, i went to chef laurent vancam's cooking class, and these were a few words of wisdom:

mayonnaise lasts 3-6 months...did you know that? i always would only keep my mayonnaise a week, max. laurent used the thermomix to make the mayonnaise, and it was really thick.

pesto should be made with half basil and half parsley - that way it stays nice and green; if it's made with just basil, it goes black.

if you whip cream in the thermomix and it starts to turn to butter, throw in an ice cube to return it to cream

when making mousse, don't whip the cream stiff, just a light whip is good - it stops the mousse from becoming grainy - mixing the cream with the egg and chocolate mixture whips the cream more and gives it a grainy texture if the cream was whipped too stiff before folding through.

the healthiest way to prepare chicken is to poach it and have it when it is just done - the worst thing to do is to overcook it. he even said that chicken could be cooked at 80 degrees in the thermomix! he said people tended to overcook chicken, which dries it out - the trick is to stop cooking once it is done.

when using herbs, use the asparagus test - if the herb stalk snaps easily, you can use it; stalks contain lots of flavour, and if the final product is pureed (eg, pesto), it will be fine.

despite what all the books and experts tell us, it isn't necessary to brown meat when cooking a casserole. chef laurent said he did a side by side taste test with his cheffy pals and they couldn't tell the difference.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

whisks' chicken and sweetcorn soup

since there was sweetcorn and chicken in the fridge i thought it might be nice to have some chicken and sweetcorn soup made from scratch. obvious choice, eh?

the potatoes thicken the soup nicely and whilst the soup looks and tastes nice and creamy, there isn't any cream. very comforting.

3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cobs sweetcorn, shucked
vegetable stock concentrate to taste
1 litre water
1 double breat of chicken, cut in small cubes

place the potatoes and sweetcorn kernels in the thermomix bowl and blitz on speed 10 for 10 seconds. add the stock concentrate and water and cook the soup on speed 3 at 100 degrees for 17 minutes. add the chicken and continue cooking for another 2 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 3.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

vegetable stock concentrate revisited.

i feel like i've been making this by the bucketload. everyone wants it even though i give them the recipe. it's all a matter of proportions. i use a kilo of aromatic vegetables and herbs. the combination is endless. vegetables i like using are onions, garlic, celery, swedes, parsnips, leeks. the herbs i use are whatever i can get from the garden: parsley, rosemary, basil, sage, tarragon, marjoram, thyme and bay leaves. to this, i add 200 grams of sea salt and a really generous amount of oil. i whack it all into the thermomix and blitz until chopped. cook it for 20-30 minutes at 100 degrees celcius on speed 3, blitz until smooth and pour into clean containers. this keeps in the fridge for 6 months as the salt acts as a preservative (this is what i've been told, but i wouldn't know because mine gets all used up before i get to the expiry date).

it's so much better than a stock cube because you know what goes into it and there isn't any msg, but mind you, it give such a kick to the things you cook you'd think it was.

Friday, January 29, 2010

su-lynn's lime cheesecakes

this is a great recipe of su-lynn's. you can make them ahead, in fact, you have to, and the are make nice, neat servings.

su-lynn's lime cheesecakes

500 grams cream cheese
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup cream
rind and juice of 1 1/2 limes
butternut cookies

place the butternut cookies at the base of the serving 12 cups.
beat the sugar and lime rind together. this releases the lime oil.
add the cream cheese and beat to combine.
add the cream and beat until smooth.
add the lime juice and beat again.
spoon into the mixture over the butternut cookies.
refrigerate for several hours. this softens the cookies.

Friday, January 8, 2010

goat milk soap with honey

since i started making soap, i've been on a quest to find an easy, fail proof method way of making it. to date, my favourite way is to make room temperature cold process soap. it is cold process soap without all the temperature checking and can be done in stages. there are 2 types of room temperature cold process methods. i've tried both and like both; each has their own application. one method uses the heat of lye mixture to melt the solid oils and the other needs the solids to be melted on the stove. the one i find more reliable is the one where the solid oils are melted independantly of the lye, especially when i use something like palm kernel oil.

i've received recipe requests for this soap, and have decided to post it here for everyone.

before soaping, prepare your work surface and protect it with newspaper. wear suitable protective clothing, including goggles and rubber gloves. lye (sodium hydroxide is highly caustic and can cause damage to work surfaces, and serious burns to skin and other bodily parts).

100 grams purified water
2 tablespoons honey
132 grams sodium hydroxide (caustic soda)
280 grams goat milk
250 grams coconut oil
750 grams olive oil

get your moulds ready. you can use empty milk containers, plastic containers, lined cardboard boxes....just don't use anything aluminium or of an unknown metal. lye doesn't react well with any metal other than stainless steel.

place the water in a heatproof glass or stainless steel container. add the honey and dissolve completely. add the sodium hydroxide very slowly to the honey water and stir to dissolve. this mixture will be very hot. set aside to cool. add the goat milk (straight from the fridge is fine) to the cold lye mixture slowly.

melt the coconut oil gently in a stainless steel stockpot, remove from the heat, and add the olive oil.

when both mixtures are no longer warm, pour the lye into the oil and stir to combine. i have an old handheld mixer i use solely for soapmaking to do this. i stop the mixer every so often and use it to stir the mixture around while switched off. the mixture will thicken and once it does so, your soap is nearly ready to pour. i tend to like to pour at what they call light trace. trace is the stage where the oils and lye are combining and thickening and if you lift the beaters from the batter, it will leave a trail behind.

pour the soap into the prepared containers once you have reached trace and set aside to solidify. because this soap contains honey and goat milk, it is best to set it aside somewhere cool and not to wrap the soap to insulate. you may find the soap might generate some heat on its own and it's best not to let it overheat.

leave the soap a day or two and cut it with a sharp knife or wire, if necessary, once it has set. place your soap pieces on a rack or box lined with some paper towel and leave to cure for 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

all in the soap pot

having not made any soap for nearly 2 months, i got back into it a few days ago and made 2 batches. in the 2 months break, i didn't stop reading about soaping, and didn't stop getting things for soap making either.

a very nice person in victoria sent me some clay to try in the soap (supposed to give it better "slip", a creamy lather and act as a fragrance fixative) and another lovely person in queensland sent me some silk to use (to lend the soap a silky texture). in addition to the silk and clay, i had read that salt and sugar are supposed to have value in soaping as i added all 4 new things to my soap. i know i should do a batch of soap to test each variable, but i didn't know which one i wanted to try first, so threw it all in. i can't help myself.

i then fragranced them. both batches smell so nice, and if i didn't know better, i'd say they were the best fragrances i've used thus far. i swirled lilac ultramarine and a plain base for the red currant, and used green clay and a plain base for the vera wang signature frangrance. the green also had imbedding, and rather than a swirl, i just blobbed it all in. what is really nice is that both fragrances are not overpowering, but just strong enough. i'm hoping they don't morph into something unpleasant. at the moment, i really like the way they look and smell, but only time will tell whether they are good soaps. i hope they are.