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.