Monthly Archives: July 2012

Spaghetti vongole (clams)

(Recipe developed at home!)

I’ve never cooked clams at home before. But this weekend I was at the South Melbourne markets, and the clams looked so fresh I had to get some. I had intended to cook this pasta dish on the stove, but then I thought hell, why not give it a shot in the Thermomix! Well, the sauce and the seafood, anyway.

Ingredients (serves 2)

500g clams

1 bulb garlic (feel free to use less, that’s just how we like it! Half a bulb for the people who like garlic but aren’t crazy like we are, and 3-4 cloves for those who just want a light hint.

A handful of parsley

80g butter, cubed

1 lemon, halved

170g white wine

Chilli flakes (I’d prefer fresh chilli but the man’s a wuss, so I add chilli flakes to my plate at the end).

Method

  • Wash and drain your clams, and then place them in the Varoma dish, taking care to leave some of the tiny holes in the dish uncovered so that the steam can come through. Side note, if you live in Melbourne, I can’t recommend Aptus Seafood at the South Melbourne markets enough. These clams were ridiculously fresh, and the flesh was oh-so-juicy and sweet!

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  • Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil, and then cook enough spaghetti for two. When your pasta is ready, drain it and leave the noodles in the pot so you can add the seafood and sauce in at the end. You can also make your pasta in the the TMX if you want, I just think making the components of the recipe at the same time means that your pasta isn’t sitting around for too long.
  • Pop your garlic and parsley into the TMX bowl and mince for 3 seconds/speed 7. Scrape down the sides and if necessary, mince for a further 1-2 seconds/speed 7.

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  • Add the butter and saute for 4 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.

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  • Add wine and the juice of half a lemon. I actually added a whole lemon’s worth of juice which was fine for our tastebuds as we like a bit of a kick, but half would probably be more balanced. You can always add in more lemon at the end if you feel like it.
  • Place the lid on the TMX bowl and the Varoma dish on top. Cook your sauce for 10-15 minutes/100 degrees, speed 1.
  • After five minutes (the cooking temperature should definitely have hit Varoma by then), check your clams, and pull out the ones that have already opened so you don’t overcook the flesh. Continue checking every 2.5 minutes.
  • The sauce only needs to cook for 10 minutes, so if your clams are all done by then, you can turn your TMX off.
  • Pour your sauce and clams on top of your cooked pasta and mix well. Enjoy.

 

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Berry Muffins

(Recipe from this blog)

Costco is a hellhole if you’re hungry and/or don’t have a strict shopping list and/or have a partner that is prone to impulse shopping. As a result of one or more of these factors *cough husband cough*, I ended up with a big bag of frozen berries that was meant to be used to make a berry sorbet in summer, and as the months flew by, was resigned to the back of the freezer.

So I googled “thermomix berries” and found this recipe. Gotta love the internet! I had made muffins before (here and here), but the fact that the lady called her version ‘Canadian’ piqued my interest!

Ingredients

120g frozen berries

1 tbsp plain flour

220g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

50g butter

110g sugar (I used 80g)

1 egg

170g milk

1tsp vanilla essence

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius and grease a muffin tin. I found out at the end of this recipe that the better was enough for 9 muffins rather than 12.
  • Place a bowl on the TMX lid, and set the scales to zero. Weigh out the berries, add the tablespoon of flour and mix gently so the berries are coated. Set aside.

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  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt, butter and sugar, then pulse on Turbo a couple of times until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg, milk and vanilla. Knead 3/4 times on the dough setting. The batter will still be lumpy.

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  • Add your batter to the berries and mix gently, then pop the mix into your muffin tin.

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  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Serve immediately with a generous lick of butter. Done!

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Donna Hay’s chocolate cake, thermomix style

(Recipe adapted from this blogpost)

When I saw the EDC chocolate cake recipe, I nearly had a coronary. What do you mean, no chocolate in the chocolate cake?! Cocoa powder on its own doesn’t count!!! Luckily, the Torta Caprese recipe in the same cookbook was absolutely divine, and that became my fall-back chocolate cake recipe.

When I stumbled across the Donna Hay recipe though, I thought I’d give it a crack to see what the difference in density and taste was. Final verdict, it’s a great base chocolate cake that you can add frosting/berries/cream to, whilst the Torta is more something you’d have on its own. I did end up having to process the mixture for a little bit longer than what it says in the original recipe, so just have a look at your cake mix and make a judgement call as to whether it needs to be processed a bit longer.

Ingredients

120g almonds

375g dark chocolate, chopped (I used the Nestle dark buttons in the red packet)

125g butter, chopped

175g sugar (I used 150g)

35g plain flour

30g milk

5 eggs

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius and line a cake tin with baking paper.
  • Pop the almonds in your Thermomix bowl and mill for 10 seconds/speed 10. Set aside.

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  • Add your chocolate into the TMX bowl and chop for 10 seconds/speed 8. Add the butter and heat for 3 minutes/50 degrees, speed 3. When I checked the mixture, my chocolate hadn’t quite melted enough so I heated it for another 1 minute/60 degrees/speed 3.
  • Add the sugar, flour, almond meal and milk back into the melted chocolate, and mix for a further 10 seconds/speed 3.
  • With the blades still running, add the eggs one at a time, mixing it for an additional 5 seconds per egg.

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  • Pour the mix into your cake tin and cover with foil. Pop in the oven for 60 minutes, then remove the foil to check whether the cake is cooked. When I checked mine, the middle was still wobbly so I baked it for another 20 minutes at the same temperature with the foil off. After that I inserted a knife into the middle and it was fine.
  • Place the cake on a rack to cool, and resist cutting off slices to munch on. At least for a little bit. Mine doesn’t look that pretty on the top, if I were serving it to guests I’d probably dust a little cocoa powder on the top. But man, it’s a good cake.

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Spaghetti Bolognese – I think I cracked it!

I don’t think there will ever be a universal ‘best’ bolognese sauce recipe! This sauce is such a core home-cooking staple. I’d nailed my ideal bolognese stovetop recipe a while back, but given the Thermomix’s ability to chop and cook everything in one hit, I have been hellbent on finding my perfect bolognese TMX recipe. I tried Dani Valent’s version and found the combination of orange rind and star anise a bit too exotic for my liking, and the EDC recipe which, although better suited to my tastes, was a little bit…blah.

So I decided to give Dani’s recipe another go, but with the following tweaks. I didn’t take a photo of the final product since, let’s face it, bolognese sauce looks pretty generic. But, holy Moses, I think I cracked my Holy Grail of sauces! I basically followed the In The Mix recipe to the T but with more garlic, and a combination of minced pork, chorizo and minced beef. Meat porn shot below…

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I think the other thing everyone should try when making their bolognese is to leave the sauce in the fridge overnight so the flavors can develop. Oh, and a couple shots of Tabasco sauce never hurts! What are your bolognese secrets?

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Pork congee with fried dace and black beans

(Previous posts here and here)

I’ll say it again, the Thermomix is a congee genius. I’m trying my best to go with different TMX recipes each time, but this one’s definitely a household staple especially during winter!

Didn’t pop any spinach in this time. The dace and black beans can be bought at most Asian groceries, and provide a nice textural change along with a whack of salt. I also added deep-fried shallots for a bit of crunch.

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Chorizo, chickpea and potato soup

(Recipe adapted from Tenina’s blog)

I hadn’t had much luck with Thermomix soup this past couple of weeks, with a fairly disastrous minestrone, as well as a bacon and corn chowder which I didn’t bother popping a post up, that’s how disappointed I was with the result. But since I’d already bought all the ingredients for the recipe, I thought I’d soldier on.

This was originally a chorizo, potato and cabbage soup, but I left the cabbage out. Just couldn’t be bothered, really. Also I didn’t have Tenina’s umami paste so I just substituted it with some vegetable stock concentrate.

Ingredients

2 spanish chorizos

1 red onion, peeled and halved

2 cloves garlic

1 red capsicum

700g water

2 tbsp chicken stock powder

1 tbsp vegetable stock concentrate (or umami paste if you have it)

1 tbsp ground paprika

500g potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces

400g tin chickpeas

Method

  • Place chorizo, garlic, onion and capsicum into the TMX bowl and chop for 3 seconds/speed 6.

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  • Saute for 5 minutes/Varoma/speed 1.
  • Add all other ingredients apart from cabbage. Cook for 15 minutes/Varoma/Reverse/Speed 1.
  • Add chickpeas and cook for 2 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/Speed 1.

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The soup definitely doesn’t photograph well, but it was the tastiest of the three recipes I’d tried. Because the chorizo effectively becomes a mince in the soup, you could ladle this over rice or small pasta shapes for a twist on minestrone. Good winter choice for sure!

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