Tag Archives: dani valent

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…


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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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.


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)


  • 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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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.


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)


  • 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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Harissa from In The Mix

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

As amazing as In The Mix is, most of the recipes are fairly involved. Not having the time to make a dish with multiple elements cooked separately on a regular basis, I decided to give parts of the different recipes a go, starting with the harissa paste from Cath Claringbold’s Chicken Tagine recipe.


2 red capsicums

25g birdseye chillies (I’d picked three from the herb garden and the husband’s fairly averse to chilli, so my quantity was more around the 10g mark)

30g cumin seeds

15g coriander seeds

2 garlic cloves (I used 3)

Salt, to taste


  • Roast the capsicums in a hot oven or over an open gas flame until the skins are black. Cover with clingwrap or place in a plastic bag and allow to cook, then peel off the skins and remove the seeds.

  • Remove and discard the seeds from half the chillies (since I was using so little anyway, I didn’t bother with this step)
  • Place the cumin and coriander seeds into the TMX bowl and roast for 3 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1. Allow to cool for a few minutes before milling the spices for 30 seconds/speed 10.
  • Add the roast capsicum flesh, chillies and garlic into the TMX bowl and blend for 30 seconds/speed 6.
  • Scrape down the sides and repeat if you like a smoother harissa. I like it chunky so I left it as is.

I’m sure it will be awesome paired with the chicken tagine and couscous, but in the meantime it was damn good slathered on a rare porterhouse!


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