Monthly Archives: February 2012

Butter Chicken

(Recipe taken from Everyday Cooking for Every Family)

So I’ll start off by saying that I thought I’d try to be a little bit smart here when I realised that I was 50g short of cashews. I couldn’t be bothered heading out to buy some more but I didn’t want the curry to be too watery, so I added 30g of flour.

Don’t do that.

When I make curries or stews in the Thermomix, I always leave it in the fridge for at least a day (sometimes 2) so that the flavours can develop. What I realised the following day was that the addition of flour had left me with a slightly claggy sauce, and while the taste was still fine, the gravy wasn’t as creamy as it should have been.

Oh well, live and learn.

Ingredients

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp fennel seeds

2 cloves garlic

2cm piece ginger, peeled

1 large onion, peeled & quartered

100g butter

20g olive oil

4 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped

150g raw cashew nuts

100g water

680g chicken breast, diced into 2cm cubes

200g cream

1 tsp garam masala (you can make this in the TMX, but I was too lazy to de-seed cardamom pods so I got my garam masala from the store)

1tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp salt to taste

Method

  • Place cumin and fennel into the bowl and dry roast for 2 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.
  • Mill spices for 2 minutes/speed 8. Set aside.
  • Place garlic, ginger and onion into bowl and chop for 5 seconds/speed 7.
  • Add butter and oil and cook for 3 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.
  • Add tomatoes, cashews and water into bowl, puree for 1 minute/speed 8.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except for 1 dessert spoon of the cumin and fennel mix.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/speed soft.
  • Add one extra cube of butter at the end of cooking plus the remaining cumin and fennel mix and some extra garam masala. Serve with naan bread, rice and/or pratha.

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Basil Pesto

(Recipe taken from Everyday Cooking for Every Family)

Basil’s in season at the moment, and when I saw a massive bunch at South Melbourne markets for $1.99 I couldn’t resist. This dip is very similar to the Wattle Valley chunky dips you can get at the supermarket, but oh-so-much-better because you MADE IT YOURSELF.

Ingredients

1 large clove garlic (because I was making this for a dinner party of 12 I thought I’d better not overdo it with the garlic and I actually managed to stick to the recommended amount. SHOCKING.)

40g fresh basil leaves (approx 1 big bunch)

Small handful fresh parsley (I don’t use parsley for anything else and didn’t want to waste a big bunch so I omitted this)

160g unsalted cashews (I had salted nuts at home and these were fine)

80g olive oil

2 tbsp white vinegar

4 tbsp Parmesan Chesse (grated first in the Thermomix)

Pre-Method

  • I cut my block of parmesan into cubes and popped it into the bowl, then grated the cheese for about 10 seconds on speed 8.

Method

  • Place everything into the bowl and set the dial to closed lid position.
  • Pulse with the turbo button a couple of times for 5-10 seconds each until the desired consistency is achieved (about 4 pulses)
  • Done-zo.

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Basic Cake from In The Mix

(Recipe taken from In The Mix)

I’m all for a great basic cake. And I LOVE making cake batter in the Thermomix, the fact that you don’t have seven measuring appliances getting flour and sugar all over your countertop. The book says that the cake batter can be in the oven within five minutes, and holy hell that’s not exaggerating. This recipe allows for fruit to be added, but I decided to just give the base cake a go and see how that went.

Ingredients

160g sugar

200g butter, roughly chopped

4 eggs

230g flour

2 tsps baking powder

A pinch of salt

20g shredded coconut, optional (I had this in the pantry)

5g orange blossom water, optional (I did NOT have this in the pantry)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius/Gas Mark 4 (whatever the latter means)
  • Grease and line a cake tin about 22cm diameter.
  • Place the sugar in the TMX bowl and blitz for 2 seconds/speed 10. Add the butter, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt, as well as the coconut and orange blossom water, if using.
  • Mix for 50 seconds/speed 5. Scrape down and mix for another 10 seconds/speed 5.
  • Tip the mixture into the cake tin. If using fruit, arrange on top.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

I thought it looked a bit unfinished, plus i still don’t know how to line a baking tray so the edges of my cake look neat, so I covered it with some chocolate icing to hide the bumpy bits. Done!

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Pork Congee (Porridge)

(Recipe adapted from the A Taste of Asia TMX cookbook).

Westerners might be thinking WHY, WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOULD YOU PUT PORK IN YOUR OATMEAL!!! If you are, calm down. Deep breaths.

Porridge or congee is one of the definitive Asian comfort foods. You start with your base of rice and stock, and then put whatever you feel like in it – dried scallops, fish, pork, chicken, salted egg, the list goes on. And, if you’re feeling under the weather, a plain congee with some Marmite/Vegemite stirred through is awesome. Trust me.

I was stoked to find out that the Thermomix makes the best porridge! The texture was just as I liked, starchy, thick and – with the recipe I followed – super tasty. Best of all, you can leave it to cook while you go off and get other things done, rather than having to stand at the stove stirring, stirring and stirring some more. I realised after we’d walloped the porridge that I didn’t take a good enough photo of the end product, which is a shame. But I’d highly recommend giving this recipe a go so you can see (and taste) for yourself.

Ingredients

200g rice

1.4l water (I put approx 1200g into the TMX bowl, I was too lazy to find a measuring cup)

2 tbsp Dry Stock (you can make your own from this recipe book, but I just used powdered chicken stock)

300g chicken, sliced (I used pork, marinated overnight with sesame oil, soy and white pepper)

1/4 tsp cornflour

1 tsp soy sauce

Salt, sesame oil, white pepper and sugar to taste

Chopped spring onions/shallots, julienned ginger and fried crispy shallots to garnish (all these condiments are fantastic with porridge, as well as fried garlic. I didn’t have any of this though this time)

To up the veggie content, I cut one carrot into chunks, and also had a 2cm piece of ginger that I had left over.

Method

  • Place rice into TM bowl and mill for 5 seconds/speed 8-9. Set aside.
  • Because I wanted some veggies in my porridge, I popped the carrot chunks and ginger into the TMX bowl and chopped the veggies up for about 8 seconds/speed 6. Basically until it looks like this.
  • Add milled rice back in, along with the water and stock powder, and cook for 12 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1.
  • If you haven’t seasoned your meat, do so now. But I recommend leaving the meat to marinate for at least a couple of hours (overnight is best), it does wonders to the flavour of the porridge.
  • Add seasoned meat and cook for a further 12 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/speed soft.
  • If the porridge is too thin, let it stand for two minutes. I find that by the time you ladle the porridge into your bowls, it’s pretty much at the perfect consistency (although I know it doesn’t really look like it here)
  • Season with whatever you fancy – salt, pepper, Vegemite, sesame oil, go nuts. Done.
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Pizza topping – minced lamb with harissa and feta

(Recipe adapted from In The Mix)

After my very first attempt at making pizza dough, I decided to extend my streak and mince meat in the Thermomix for the first time. And yay, it was easy, and more importantly, quick!

Ingredients 

500g lamb, cubed (I ended up buying a small lamb roast and cutting it up myself, which was cheaper than the other cuts)

Handful parsley (I didn’t bother)

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 onion (I had a red one on hand so I used that)

Chilli, to taste, optional (I used harissa)

A handful of rocket

125ml Greek yoghurt (I actually forgot to buy the yoghurt, but it’s lovely together so I’d definitely recommend it)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon (I had limes on hand, and I used 1 lime per pizza to make up for the lack of yoghurt)

Some cubes of feta (this isn’t part of the recipe, but you can’t go wrong with lamb, feta and lemon!)

Method

  • Place the cubed lamb in the freezer for 20 minutes (you can do this just before starting to prep your pizza dough, and take it out once the dough is left on its own to rise)
  • Place the parsley, garlic, onion and chilli (for some reason, I’d decided to stir in the harissa at the end, rather than just popping it in now and letting the Thermomix do the job for me! Common sense – window – out.)
  • Chop for 2 seconds/speed 6.
  • Add the cubed and slightly frozen lamb. Mince for 10 seconds/reverse/speed 6.
I rubbed a bit of garlic-infused olive oil and ended up making mini lamb mince balls to place on top with the feta cubes.
Popped it into a 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes, topped with rocket and lemon, and chowed down.
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Pizza Dough

(Recipe taken from the Everyday Cooking for Every Family cookbook)

I’ve never baked bread, or used yeast in my cooking before, so I was in equal parts terrified and excited to make my first yeast-based product – pizza dough! On Dani Valent’s recommendation, I also made the lamb topping found in her In The Mix cookbook, and stirred through the harissa I’d made for added flavour. I’ll show you the recipe for the topping in a separate post.

Ingredients

280g water or milk (I used water)

30g fresh yeast or 1 sachet dry yeast (I used a sachet)

20g oil

2 tsp salt

500g bakers flour (I used plain flour)

Method

  • Place the water/milk, yeast, oil and salt into the TMX bowl, and mix for 5 seconds/speed 3.
  • Add the flour. Continue mixing for 6 seconds/speed 8 to combine.
  • Set the dial to the closed lid position. Knead the dough for 2 minutes/interval speed.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured bowl and let it rise to double the quantity (approx. 30 minutes)
  • Break dough into 4 balls, and let rest again for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 200-220 degrees. Form your pizzas and add your favourite topping. Yes, those are the hands of yours truly!
  • Bake until cooked. Cooking time varies depending on the toppings used. I’ll pop a picture of the finished product in the next post!
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Chicken and Cashews

(Recipe taken from the Everyday Cooking for Every Family cookbook)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love a meal that can be made entirely in the TMX. When I first met my consultant, she did say that the Chicken and Cashews recipe was one of her favourites, so I thought I’d better give it a crack!

Side note: I was a little concerned that the ingredients didn’t seem to have a real flavour kick, so to be safe I marinated my chicken cubes overnight with some soy and white pepper.

Another note for the rice purists – the gravy is made with the same liquid used to cook your rice. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps chicken stock might be a good replacement?

Ingredients

900g water

200g-400g Basmati rice, rinsed in the basket until the water clears (I used 400g so we’d have leftovers for lunch)

200g chicken, cut into 2cm cubes

300g broccoli, broken into florets (I had cauliflower so I used that instead)

1 carrot, thinly sliced (didn’t use this)

3 celery sticks, cut into 4cm lengths

6 shallots or spring onions, cut into 4cm lengths (I used spring onion)

1/2 a capsicum (I don’t like not using everything so I used 1 whole green capsicum)

1 small can of bamboo shoots, drained (I didn’t bother)

1 tbsp sesame seeds (didn’t bother)

1-2 handfuls of unsalted cashews (I used salted, didn’t seem to be a problem)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sauce ingredients

40g cornflour

100g dry sherry (I didn’t have any so I used Chinese cooking wine which turned out fine)

Soy sauce to taste

300g cooking liquid, retained from steaming (or chicken stock)

Method

  • Place water into the TMX bowl. Insert basket with rice.
  • Place the chicken into the bottom of the Varoma dish and cook for 13-15 minutes/Varoma temperature/speed 4.(Timing depends on amount of rice used, I went for the full 15)

  • Remove rice once cooked and place in the ThermoServer or other warming dish (in case you were wondering, the TMX does a pretty damn good white rice!)
  • Loosely place veggies on top of the chicken (or on the Varoma tray). Sprinkle with sesame seeds, cashew nuts and the sesame oil. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes/Varoma temperature/speed 4 or until the veggies are cooked to your liking.

  • Keep chicken and veggies warm (I removed the Thermoserver lid and let the Varoma dish sit on top of the rice)
  • Place the cornflour, dry sherry and soy sauce into the TMX bowl with the cooking liquid/chicken stock. If you don’t have much cooking liquid left, just top it up with some warm water/stock.
  • Cook for 3 minutes/100 degree/speed 5. 
  • Dish out rice, chicken and veggies, ladle sauce over. Dunzo.

I’d definitely recommend marinating the chicken prior to cooking this dish, playing around with the flavouring of the ingredients. You could chop up some onions/garlic/chilli and add it to the marinade for more flavour. But apart from that, it’s a great one-stop meal for a weeknight!

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Beef Stir Fry

(Recipe taken from Dani Valent’s In The Mix cookbook).

One of the best things about the Thermomix is the ability to make a meal with multiple elements in one hit, like the Trout di Josie,  the Veal Pizzaiola,  and rice with chicken and cashews (post to come!). This is pretty much another example, save for having to wash the bowl once in the middle of the recipe. I actually made the marinade and poured it over the steaks the night before so that the flavours could develop.

I must warn the cooks who are accustomed to the traditional way of cooking rice though, that the marinade from the meat seeps into the rice cooking underneath during the process. I don’t have a problem with this at all, but I do know of some people that wouldn’t actually be comfortable with their white rice being tarnished by other ingredients!

Also, I left the omelette on the tray while cooking the vegetables instead of popping it on top of the steak and rice, and as a result the baking paper stuck to the bottom of the egg. Not the smartest idea in the world.

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, peeled (4 for me!)

2 spring onions, white part only

30g oyster sauce

50g soy sauce

50g sugar

10g sesame oil

300g rump or porterhouse steak (I used 2 scotch fillets)

3 eggs

70g rice per person (up to 400g)

30g vegetable oil

10g ginger

Chilli, fresh or paste, to taste (I used Lee Kum Kee’s chilli garlic sauce, but would definitely recommend fresh chillies or a homemade paste in the future)

400g mixed vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces (I used carrot, leeks, broccolini stalks and beanshoots)

Method

  • First, make the marinade.  Pop the garlic and spring onion into the TMX bowl and chop for 2 seconds/speed7.
  • Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil into the TMX bowl and mix for 10 seconds/speed 3.
  • Rub the marinade into the steak, and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes or more (as mentioned, I did this the night before. If you’re completing the recipe in one hit, you don’t have to wash out the TMX bowl after you’re done with the marinade, it’s all going to be mixed together with the rice anyway).
  • Pop the TMX basket into place, add your rice and pour over 1kg of water. Wash the rice by mixing it for 10 seconds/speed 5.
  • Place the steaks on the base of the Varoma dish, and pour the steak marinading liquid over it.
  • Place the Varoma tray over the steak, then take a large sheet of baking paper, dampen with water, scrunch it up and spread it over the tray. Crack three eggs into a bowl and whisk them (I added some soy and pepper here), then tip the egg mixture onto the baking paper-lined tray.
  • Cook the rice, steak and omelette for 20 minutes/Varoma/speed 3. 
  • When the timer has finished, tip the rice into the Thermoserver (or another heatproof bowl, pop the steak and the omelette over it and cover to keep warm.
  • Wash and dry the TMX bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in the TMX bowl for 2 minutes/Varoma/speed 1. 
  • Add the ginger and fresh chilli paste to taste  (I was good with the ginger, but forgot to add the chilli paste until a bit later) Chop for 2 seconds/speed 7, then scrape down.
  • Add the mixed vegetables and cook for 6 minutes/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1.
  • To plate up, mound the rice in a bowl. Slice the steak and omelette, and arrange the meat, veggies and omelette on top. Now my plating skills are hardly up to scratch so I didn’t bother taking a photo of the finished product, but I can tell you that we mixed everything up to a flavoursome mess within 3 seconds anyway!

I wanted to note quickly that I thought my dish was really tasty, but I’m not sure I could have achieved the same result with only 20 minutes of marinating time. I highly recommend letting your meat soak up the flavours of the marinade the night before (which also reduces your workload before the meal itself!).

 

 

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Orange and Dark Chocolate Muffins

(I tweaked the ‘Muffin’ recipe in the Everyday Cooking for Every Family cookbook)

Knowing that kids are (hopefully) coming into the picture in the next 5 years, I realise I’m starting to look out for recipes that taste awesome but are still good for you. The basic muffin recipe in this cookbook, for example, uses a mixture of self-raising and wholemeal flour, rather than plain. Must be healthier.

Right?

Ingredients

160g self-raising flour

150g wholemeal flour

180g milk (or, if you’re making orange flavoured muffins like I am, then you can use the equivalent in fresh orange juice and keep the rind of one orange)

150g raw sugar (I went with 90g)

2 eggs

70g light olive oil (I used normal olive oil which tasted fine)

1/4 tsp baking powder (optional, so I didn’t bother)

200g chocolate chips

Method

Before I start, I wanted to note that for plain muffins, disregard the chocolate chips and orange (juice and rind). I ended up only having about 100g or orange juice, so I topped it up with water and left the sugar content a bit higher than I normally would have.

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  • I dumped the rind into the TMX bowl and blitzed it for about 5 seconds/speed 9.
  • Place all ingredients in the TM bowl and mix for 40 seconds/speed 5.
  • Add fruit/choc bits at this stage and mix for 10-15 seconds/speed 1, using your spatula to incorporate the mixture.
  • Spoon into a greased muffin tray, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Done.

Freshly baked muffins always tend to taste amazing.

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Cucumber Soup

(Recipe taken from the Everyday Cooking for Every Family TMX cookbook)

Let me preface this post by saying that while I love cucumber and I love cream cheese, unfortunately, I REALLY wasn’t a fan of this soup. So much so, that I wasn’t even going to bother putting this up. But two things made me write this anyway. Firstly, because there is a change that people out there will like it, and secondly, because I took a pretty nice shot of the cucumbers.

Ingredients

Dill to taste (optional, I didn’t have any lying around so didn’t bother)

500g Lebanese Cucumbers, roughly chopped

2 tbsp TM Vegetable Stock Concentrate

2 tbsp Rice Flour or Cream Cheese (I had some leftover cream cheese)

1000g water

S&P to taste

Method

  • If using, place dill into the TMX bowl and chop for 5 seconds/speed 7.
  • Add cucumber to bowl and chop for 10 seconds/speed 7.
  • Add remaining ingredients, and cook for 10 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.
  • Blend for 10 seconds by slowly going from speed 1 to speed 10.
I wasn’t sure if it was the fact that the cucumber soup was warm, or that the soup had a really milky aftertaste because of the cream cheese. Whatever the case, it’s definitely not a recipe that I’ll have another crack at. I suppose at the end of the day, it’s good for you. I think.

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