Monthly Archives: June 2014

Beat-the-bug congee

The husband and I were both struck down by a flu bug last week (thank goodness the little’un escaped with nothing more than a runny nose! She’s a bullet, that one!) Both of us were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves, and some comfort food was in order.

This time, I started with a pork and carrot base for flavour, and then went for the bug-fighters. Lots of ginger, garlic and spinach and some goji berries too.

Ingredients:

250g minced pork

3 tbsp light soy sauce

A few dashes of white pepper

200g rice (Any variety will do, I used long grain)

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled (I used a bit more than this, about 1.5 inches)

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 carrot, peeled and sliced into chunks

1200g water (you can use stock for a richer flavour too but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary)

Handful goji berries (you can buy these at health food stores but they’re much cheaper at the Asian grocers)

Handful spinach

White pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, fried garlic, fried shallots to taste (optional)

Method

– Marinate the minced pork with the soy and pepper. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. I normally do this the day or morning before.

– Pop the rice in the TMX bowl and mill for 5 secs/speed 9.This is a LOUDDDD process, so if you have any infants around, put them somewhere else or be prepared to deal with them freaking out like I did!

– Set rice aside.

– Pop ginger, carrot chunks and garlic into the bowl and chop for 7 secs/speed 5 until finely minced.

– Add rice back into bowl, pour your water in and add in the goji berries, and cook for 12mins/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1 (MC off)

Add in teaspoons of your mince, give the bowl a good stir, and cook for a further 12min/100/reverse/speed 1. Add your spinach in through the hole in the cover in the last 2 mins of cooking.

– Make sure your spinach is mixed in. The congee may appear a bit watery, but let it stand for a few minutes or so and it’ll thicken up.

Other variations I’ve tried:

– The original EDC cookbook version

– My normal congee

– Congee with an extra side

– What to do with your leftover meats!

 

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An all-in-one Thermomix meal: Larb Gai and rice

I adore Thai food, but don’t really prepare it at home due to the amount of preparation and different ingredients required. But the Thermomix does cut a lot of the prep time out with all the chopping it can do, and when I discovered some leftover lemongrass and chilli in the crisper from when my mother was in town and cooking up a storm, I started searching for some ideas and settled on larb gai (a Thai salad made with chicken mince). My version is a few steps short of an authentic larb gai, I skipped the roasted rice and forgot to buy mint leaves. But it’s a pretty yummy, healthy and easy meal all the same! The recipe yields enough for two people if this is all you’re having, or can serve four if you have other dishes as well.

Ingredients

Handful of coriander (leaves and shoots is fine. I’ve also included what to do if you decide to buy a whole bunch and don’t want to waste all the herbs)

2tbsp fish sauce

1tbsp sugar (I used raw sugar)

1 lime, juiced and zested

1 inch lemongrass (white section. Chop up the rest of your lemongrass into pieces and freeze for later use)

1 red chilli (type depends on how much heat you can take. Use 1-2 birds eye chillies if you can hack it!)

1/2 a medium red onion

20g peanut oil

500g chicken mince (I bought mine ready made to cut down on time, but of course you can make your own mince in the TMX if you prefer)

300g rice

Iceberg or cos lettuce to serve

Method

– Pop your coriander in the TMX bowl, add a splash of water and pulse a couple of times on turbo. Take out the extra coriander and freeze in single serve portions for later use. Leave about 2-3 tbsp in the bowl (I guesstimated).

– Add your fish sauce, sugar and lime juice to the bowl, and mix for 15 secs/speed 1. Set aside.

20140614-201836-73116698.jpg– Add lime zest and lemongrass into the bowl and chop for 20 secs/speed 9.

– Add the chilli and onion into the bowl, and chop for 2 secs/speed 7. Note: I would definitely recommend including the chilli here, but because the husband can’t take the spiciness, I added chopped fresh chilli at the end.

20140614-201837-73117345.jpg– Scrape down the sides. Add your peanut oil and cook for 3 mins/Varoma/reverse/speed 1.

– Add your mince in and cook for a further 10 mins/Varoma/reverse/speed soft. I stopped the Thermomix halfway to give the chicken a good stir and make sure it was incorporated with the other ingredients.

– Check that the mince is cooked through, then pour into your Thermoserver. Pour your fish sauce dressing and stir to combine. You could also do this in the TMX itself, but I reckon you waste a bit of the dressing that way. Cover the Thermoserver to keep the dish warm. As you can see, I added my fresh chilli on one side!

20140614-201838-73118455.jpg– Don’t worry about washing your bowl. Add rice to your steamer basket, following these instructions to cook.

– Serve rice, mince plus lettuce, and enjoy!

Some other all-in-one Varoma recipes I’ve tried:

Chicken, potatoes and veggies

Salmon, mash and veggies

Beef and veggies with napolitana sauce

Chicken, cashews and veggies with rice

 

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An all-in-one Varoma meal: chicken and vegetables

With the little miss around, dinners are now what I can prepare in 10 minutes or less. I tend to do a cook-up in Sundays when the husband can entertain the bub (stews, pasta sauces etc), otherwise it’s steak/sausages/pies/fish and veggies. If it can’t be thrown onto a frying pan/grill or chucked in the oven with minimal washing up after, forget it.

Now that we’ve hit month three of The New Life though, I really want to get back into the kitchen and start creating meals again rather than just cooking for survival! So I busted out the Varoma a few nights ago to see what I could do.

I love this recipe because you can use it as a base, and then go nuts with your flavours. I was originally going to use fish but the options at my local supermarket weren’t doing it for me. So I used chicken thigh cutlets instead. This recipe makes a big meal for two. There’s also a bit of trial and error here, I popped the veggies on to steam at the same time as my protein which was a touch too long, so I’ve amended this in the method below. And it may seem as though this dish takes a long time to prepare, so I’ve included some things you might be able to do whilst the Thermomix is a-cookin’.

Finally, I didn’t want to risk undercooked potatoes, hence why I parboiled them at the start. But you might be able to just cut the potatoes into smaller pieces, forgo the parboiling, and pop them on at the same time as your protein to steam. I’ll give it a shot next time and let you know how I go!

Ingredients

1000g water

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths

Chicken for two (I used four thigh cutlets, you’d probably be safe with 600g of chicken breasts/boneless thighs/tenderloins).

Salt and pepper, and/or seasoning of choice to taste (I added some lemon powder)

Choice of dried herbs (I used thyme this time) to taste

Medium bunch of broccoli, cut into florets (or any other vegetable you choose)

1 capsicum (or any vegetable you choose)

4 cloves garlic

40g olive oil

200g white wine

200g stock of choice (I had vegetable stock in the pantry)

Additional salt and pepper/seasoning to taste

1tbsp cornflour

Method
– Fill TMX bowl with the water you’ve set aside.

– Pop potatoes in your steamer basket, place into the TMX bowl and parboil for 10 mins/Varoma/speed 4.

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– Whilst the potatoes are cooking, soak a piece of baking paper and line the bottom layer of the Varoma dish. Use a knife to stab a few holes in the paper so it’s easier for the steam to come through.

– Add your preferred seasoning and dried herbs to your chicken, then place the pieces in the Varoma dish.

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– Your potatoes should be just about done by now (efficient, no?) Once ready, take the potatoes out and pop it on the Varoma tray. Discard the water from the TMX bowl. Add your other veggies onto the dish.

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– Chop the garlic for 5 secs/speed 7.

– Add oil, and saute for 3 mins/100 degrees/speed 1.

– Add all other ingredients except the cornflour into your TMX bowl. This will serve as both the steaming liquid as well as the sauce for the dish.

– Cover the Varoma dish and tray, and pop it on top of the TMX bowl. Cook for 25 mins/Varoma/speed 1.

– A few things you can do in the 25 minutes so you don’t have to do them after eating: Have a shower, do the dishes, do the laundry, walk the dog, read part of a book, have a nap, surf the web, vacuum your floors, mop your floors, bathe your baby. Hope this helps 🙂

– As I mentioned, I overdid my broccoli and capsicum a bit. So here I’d suggest just having the potatoes on with the protein, then popping your other veggies on when there’s 10-15 minutes left to go.

– Check that your protein and veggies are cooked to your liking. If so, remove the Varoma layers from your TMX.

– Add the cornflour to the liquid in the TMX bowl. Cook for a further 3 mins/90 degrees/speed 4.

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– Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies, and enjoy!

The sauce is actually from this recipe that I made ages ago. Some other all-in-one variations that come to mind:

– Use some yummy, fresh fish, prawns, or calamari. Just reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes first and check your seafood to make sure you don’t overcook it.

– Use sweet potatoes, pumpkin or carrots. Cook these veggies the same way you’d do the potatoes.

– Use leeks, green/yellow capsicum, beans, asparagus, squash, whatever you have in your pantry or looks good at the supermarket.

– Season with paprika garlic powder, and/or herb salt.

– Chop up some shallots/onions along with the garlic.

Please let me know if you have any other variations you love!

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A Minestrone Win!

Back in 2012 I tried the EDC minestrone recipe. I still don’t know what went wrong but suffice to say it was not a good end product!

I do love minestrone though so I decided to tweak the original recipe. I added some meat and added the pasta in last. What I like about this recipe is that you can adapt it any way you like. Add whatever veggies you want (great way to clean out the crisper!), or be lazy efficient like me and buy a packet of pre-chopped vegetables. I used beef ravioli this time, but you can use plain short pasta. Or omit the meat and use a cheese tortellini for a filling veggie option. I didn’t add the beans to my attempt here as I forgot to buy some, but have left it in the ingredient list so that the recipe is as close to an authentic minestrone as possible. 

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and quartered
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 chorizo sausages, cut into chunks
400g veggies of choice
Handful herbs of choice (there was some parsley in the mix veg so I didn’t bother with any extra)
400g tin diced/crushed tomatoes
50g tomato paste (I used a 50g sachet, but don’t imagine there would be any issue adding a bit more if you wanted)
Between 700g- 100g stock of choice, depending on how much ingredients you’ve added. I used veggie stock, and approx 800g took me to just under the ‘max’ line in the TMX bowl.
1 x 400g tin of preferred beans, drained
Pasta of choice
Parmesan to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

– Chop the onion, garlic and chorizo for 3 secs/speed 6.
– Sauté the mixture for 8 mins/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1.

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– Add everything else except for beans, pasta, parmesan and s&p, and cook for 23 mins/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1.

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– Add your beans in the last five minutes of cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
– Boil your pasta separately according to the packet instructions. Pop into a soup bowl and ladle the minestrone on top.
– Serve with lots of parmesan, and some crusty bread if you need to double up on the carbs.

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Hard boiled eggs

Just a quick one today, I haven’t tried soft boiled eggs in the Thermomix yet but this post has the method if you need it.

Ingredients

Eggs
500g water

Method

– Fill the TMX bowl with the water.
– Pop your eggs in the TMX steamer basket (I popped mine in straight from the fridge)
– Cook for 17 mins/Varoma/speed 1.

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– Try not to burn your fingers peeling off the shells.

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Bacon jam

Oh, I can’t tell you how good it was to break out the Thermomix after more than three months! I know it’s meant to simplify cooking at home but with bub around, meals have certainly taken a backseat and the poor machine has been languishing on a shelf since March.

Anyway, I finally gathered the strength to have some friends over for lunch this long weekend. I didn’t want to over-extend myself so I decided on some nice bread, cheeses, greens and roast beef so everyone could make their own sandwiches. I bought the usual suspects – horseradish and mustard – as condiments but decided to make something extra since the husband was around to take care of bubs.

I came across this post and let’s be honest, there ain’t no condiment that’s better than one with bacon. And as soon as I saw the second version (COFFEE! CHOCOLATE! WITH BACON?!!!) I knew that this was the right post-hiatus recipe to try! Might as well go all out, right?

It’s all about cutting corners for me nowadays, so instead of cutting up the bacon as per the original recipe, I just fried up the strips and whizzed it up in the Thermomix. Quite proud of that little shortcut, I gotta say 🙂 I also added another tablespoon of worcestershire sauce after the 60-minute mark as I felt it needed a bit of an extra kick. Finally the amount of chilli used barely registers on the heat scale but I thought I’d play it safe. If you’re after a spicy relish, double or triple the amount of chilli.

Ingredients

500g bacon
200g red onion, peeled and quartered
30g garlic cloves, peeled
230g brewed coffee (I used instant coffee)
30g balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
60g brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 tsp chili flakes

Method

– Fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

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– Chop the onion and garlic for 3 secs/speed 5.
– Add your bacon into the TMX bowl and chop for 2 secs/speed 5.

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– Sauté the mixture for 12 mins/90 degrees/reverse/speed soft, with the measuring cap off.
– Add all other ingredients and cook for 60 mins/100 degrees/reverse/speed soft, with the measuring cap off so that the mixture can thicken.
– Scrape the sides of the bowl down, and cook for another 30 mins/100 degrees/reverse/speed soft.
– Pop into a jar or two, allow to cool then refrigerate the jam. The flavours will develop overnight and the mix will solidify so it will be perfect for lunch the next day and beyond.

I made an easy minestrone too and will post that up soon! It’s much better than my EDC cookbook attempt back in 2012. Plus it won’t be long before my Thermomix becomes a baby food-making machine so I’m excited about the great recipes I get to try!

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