Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today's adventures in Thermiland

There wasn't much opportunity for cooking yesterday.  A morning of playing with databases, afternoon with plumber and hot tub repairer, choir practice in the evening so no dinner.

But I did make porridge for breakfast.  A cold rainy morning seems to call for oatmeal!  So I did my usual careful measuring.  Hold the container under the tap and count fairly slowly to four.  Then add four heaping dessertspoons of rolled oats.  Uncle Toby's, of course.  Then I turned it onto Heat 100, Reverse stir on 2 (I think) for 7 minutes.  Delicious, hot, creamy.  Did that again this morning, only for two.  Count to eight slowly, then 8 soupspoons of oats.  Strict quantities are not my thing!

Today was shopping day so I shopped with Thermie in mind.  When we got home, I went to work.

First was a carrot and celery smoothie.  One carrot, some celery stalks, a handful of ice cubes, and a small chunk of ginger.  It needed a bit of diluting as it was quite thick, but awfully good.  There was quite a bit left after I had my fill, so I moved on to a tomato passata.  I thought I might have time to make this before I went off to my singing lesson, and I was right.  In went an onion and a garlic clove.  Chop chop.  Then in went all the tomatoes, which had been chopped into about three pieces each.   Some basil leaves.  A spoonful of the veggie stock my consultant had made as a demo.  Chop chop for a few seconds.  I added the remainder of the carrot/celery juice, and cooked for 30 minutes on Speed 1 at 100 degrees.

Looks pretty good, huh?  It will form the basis of a bolognaise sauce soon.

Off to singing, then to visit Mum.  Got home around 5, and thought I might have time to make a couple of things.  I had half a packet of frozen cherries and a punnet of strawberries so thought they would make a good sorbet.  I didn't have a kilo of ice cubes but I didn't think that would matter.  I had two ice-cube trays, about 400 grams.  In went the sugar, and I turned that into icing sugar.  In went the strawberries and the cherries, and an egg white.  Whip whip on 10 for a minute or so, and the sorbet is utterly delicious.   I had to have several spoonfuls to test whether it really is good enough.  It is.   It has gone into the freezer, and will be dessert.  Might blitz and re-freeze, because that's what the books suggest to keep it soft and sorbet-like. Did I put in a cube of frozen passionfruit pulp?  I think I did.

I am partial to herring, so I bought a jar of Bismarck herrings and a tub of crème fraiche.  There was half a red onion in the fridge, and half a red capsicum.  The onion, capsicum and fresh dill went in first to get the chop.  Then I roughly chopped in three of the herring fillets.  Finally in went the tub of crème fraiche and I stirred that in reverse for a few seconds.  Oh yum.  A bit runny, perhaps cream cheese would be a good addition next time, but it will probably firm up in the fridge.  If it lasts that long.

Then I washed up!  Only one chopping board and knife, plus thermie.  For all that preparation!  It is marvellous.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thermomix Day 1

It arrived today.  Krissy brought it over at 1.30 and plugged it in, showed me how it worked. She also brought some veggies with which to make the veggie stock paste. Carrots, celery, parsley, onion and more went in, along with salt.  Blitz blitz, cook cook, and I have a jar full of delicious-looking stock paste.

Michael came home and so this was my opportunity to try out something for us. Watermelon chunks, pineapple chunks, a little chunk of ginger, and a tray of ice cubes. (Maybe I am going to wish I had a fridge that makes a lot of ice.). All in together, blitz blitz for a minute and a half, and it was delicious. Yum yum!  

Then time to try out bread. This was more problematic. I happened to have whole wheat grains. I like to soak these and cook them in the slow cooker as porridge for breakfast. It reminds me of growing up when we had 44 gallon drums full of wheat to feed the chickens - Dad loved his chooks!  Mum used to soak the wheat and cook it overnight on the slow-combustion stove.   We used to love running our hands through the dry grains. So there you have my life story as explanation of why I have whole wheat grains in the cupboard. 

They all went in, and were milled into flour, and set aside. So far so good, I am impressed with the milling.   Next went in a sachet of dry yeast and some water. Stir and heat to 37 degrees. No trouble. Then weigh the extra flour - 400-450 grams of bread flour. I had some, but not that much. I added some ordinary white flour - still not enough by weight, so in went a little rice flour. Then the milled whole wheat. All on top of the water and yeast. It looked alarmingly full. Did I weigh correctly? It didn't look right at all, but I got the lid on, and blitzed for 6 seconds on 6, then kneaded for two minutes.  I did add the olive oil,  but forgot the salt.  I had to really push it all down and I mixed and kneaded again as it really wasn't mixed enough, it didn't look like bread dough at all yet.  I felt it was too full to mix properly,  so  I tipped it into my trusty Kitchen Aid with the dough hook and let it knead for a while longer, until it did look like bread dough. 

Covered it and let it rise. Punched it down again with the dough hook (and added some belated salt) on the Kitchen Aid, and divided it into two tins. It was way too much for one loaf. I suspect I did something wrong in the weighing, but pressed on regardless. Let it rise again, then baked it. 

Here are the results.  Two loaves of crusty bread, delicious.  They have risen unevenly as you can see, and are maybe a little doughy, but not bad at all.  I shall try other recipes. I shall probably do the same thing tipping it into the Kitchen Aid for longer kneading. I shall weigh and weigh again, perhaps with my own scales as well as the Thermomix scales. I shall eat the bread!  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Knit tat pug thermomix

Yes, I have joined the Thermomix clan.  One of my Facebook friends posted a while ago that his 20 year old food processor had finally died.  "Buy a Thermomix!" shouted many more friends.  I wondered what a Thermomix was.  I'd thought about a Vitamix for the making of smoothies and more, and was confused about why I would buy one rather than the other.  I posted the question on my own Facebook page.  "Thermomix or Vitamix?"  There were comments, pros and cons, and I spent quite a bit of time researching websites and asking friends.

What sold me on the Thermie was that it not only whizzed things up, it also stirred them, and cooked them.  It also weighed them.

Another FB friend had been thinking about having a Thermie party - rather like a Tupperware party.  I immediately put up my hand and asked if I could come.  Thank you Rachel!

The day came.  In fact, I rang up the Thermie lady the day before and ordered one, so on the day I was looking forward to seeing whether I had made the right decision.

The first dish prepared was a strawberry lime sorbet.  How easy and how delicious!  I could do that!  Then the bread was prepared and put into the oven.  Again, how easy.  A coleslaw with Thermie mayonnaise.  Yum.  A dish of steamed chicken with potato and leek soup underneath, and ribbons of steamed veggies.  Pretty darned good.  Finally, a lemon custard.  A little too much cornflour perhaps, but pretty delicious.   My decision was a good one.

Once I had started thinking about how I would use it for stirring and cooking, as well as milling and whizzing, I thought about all the things I would make.  Porridge for breakfast.  Hominy grits.  Polenta.  Risotto.  Gumbo.  Ice cream.  Custard.  Hot chocolate.   The list went on.  I can see I am getting into this.

I can hardly wait for it to be delivered.  As we cook in our pathetic Thermie-less fashion I can see how many ways it could be used.  This blog will chart our adventures in Thermie-land.   I will post my recipes, and I will also see whether it really does replace any of our existing kitchen gizmos.  Do I really need a juicer?  A food processor?  A Kitchen Aid? (yes).  What about a saucepan?

We shall wait and see.