Saturday, February 5, 2011

Preparing for the unexpected

I stole the idea from a great post on the Forum Thermomix:

What is your morning tea for unexpected guests?Muffins. I have a small recipe book for muffins and my favourite is the spiced mandarin ones. I rarely have tinned mandarins though, so I use whatever fruit I have around.
Spiced fruit muffins
250g wholemeal plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1T garam masala
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
1stp ground cinnamon
1tsp cardamom
1/2tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
1/2C raw sugar
1/2C yoghurt, milk, light vegetable oil
1C roughly chopped drained fruit

Preheat the oven to 190C. Prepare a 12- muffin tray by either lightly greasing it, or lining it with cute gorgeous cupcake liners. Put the eggs, sugar, spices and yoghurt/milk/oil (use what you have to hand - sour cream also works well!) into the Thermomix bowl and mix at speed 5 for 5 seconds. Add the flour and baking powder, and pulse 3 times at Turbo, to just incorporate. Add the fruit, lock the lid and use the kneading function, on reverse for 5 seconds. Spoon into the patty cases and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Adapted from The Pocket Muffin Book by Syd Pemberton. 

What is your quick "slap-up" thermomix tea for your family?Risotto! So easy to make, I have things for it to hand all the time - at least vegetables, vegetable stock, cheese, onion, garlic. Maybe some meat or fish to spice it up.

What do you keep frozen in the freezer for busy times?
Pastry. It's a good thing to keep on hand because it's a pain to make from scratch when I'm also making a filling. But to make a meal all I really need is leftovers and some pastry. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wow long time no chat

Somehow I've misplaced the past month. I'm not sure where? But I can post to say that I am using Thelma every day. I'll post about some adventures we had recently with each other, 9 other women, 14 children, 3 other Thermomixes and a lot of butterbeans.

For now, let me assure you that I've done what I thought would happen, to a certain extent. I have fallen into the trap of doing the same things over and over again.

Vegetable stock to use up veges.
To make more risotto.
Or ragout.
LOTS of chai.

And so on. I've also made apricot nectar, to make chicken apricot risotto, and cherry jam (fail - more of a sauce but that's ok!) and ginger beer and orange cordial and a few other things but for the most part, I've used it for the same things over and over again.

So with a month passing between posting, I thought I'd recommit to posting more recipes and less navel gazing instead!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the day of the Solstice (and a full moon! and a lunar eclipse!)

I made gingerbread trees for our table. I love making  gingerbread and trees are fabulous for an edible centrepiece. I make mine with spelt for an extra special nutty texture and flavour.
Spelt gingerbread
185g butter at room temperature
1 egg

450g plain spelt flour
170g brown sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp garam masala
190g golden syrup

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl and mix together for 15 seconds on speed 4. Close the lid locked and knead for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and knead for another 30 seconds. Tip the dough out onto a silicone mat and knead together into a ball. Wrap in the mat and rest for half an hour. Roll out (I use a wooden rolling pin but you can use two pieces of baking paper if you like. I go for about half a cm (5mm) in thickness. Cut out 3 stars in 5 different sizes, place on the baking mat and bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes. Place on the cooling rack to cool.

To assemble a tree - melt 100g of chocolate (I use white but you can use milk or dark). Put the three largest stars together on the bottom, askew from each other, using the chocolate to cement them. Let it dry for a few minutes, then do the same thing with the next 3 sized stars and onwards upwards. Decorate with drizzled chocolate leftovers, or cashous, or icing sugar.

Monday, December 20, 2010

On the day before Solstice my Thelma gave to me (eleventh)...

So it's day 11 today and Solstice is tomorrow. I've been asked a lot recently about my plans for Christmas which is funny because it is a day of rest in the Thermocauldron household! We volunteer in the morning and then have an open house in the afternoon for waifs and orphans who would like to be somewhere other than alone, at home, or with relatives. We watch Colin Firth - it's the highlight of my year.

I say that our celebration happens a little earlier than Saturday, and that we have a big dinner with lots of seasonal stuff, and presents, and so forth. Amid cries of "You'll deprive Thermochild of Things! And Stuff!!" I explain that no, she's little and won't get it, and no she's not deprived either - her present pile this year is the biggest. Plus seriously - people enjoy our before-Christmas Solstice event because it's before Christmas.

What I do love about Solstice this year is that I get to do my cooking in 2 days, rather than 2 weeks. This is the menu and how Thelma is going to be working hard:
  • peach/champagne cocktails
  • fruit punch
  • tuna dip
  • hommus
  • avocado dip
  • dukka
  • crackers
  • raw veges for dipping (ok that's not Thelma-assisted)
  • baked veges (the seasoning is Thelma-made)
  • rum balls
  • chocolate cake piled with whipped cream, cherries, flaked chocolate and strawberry sauce
  • fruit sorbet (pina colada aka pineapple/coconut with rum to make it not set as hard)
  • chai
  • trifle (cake, custard, jelly)
  • shortbread tree
Mains are on the bbq as brought by guests, as are salads - but of cours a beetroot one will be in there ;). I don't have any allergies in the guests coming so it means I can make things in rapid succession too with minimal cleaning. 

So today I'll:
  • make the trifle cake and put it out to dry a little before soaking it tonight
  • make the dips
  • make the rumballs
  • and the chocolate cake
  • and the strawberry sauce
  • and the flaked chocolate
  • make the spices mix for the veges (as it's also a present)
which won't take me long at all! I think shopping for ingredients, picking the best strawberries and cherries and avocadoes, will take longer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the tenth day of Solstice, my Thelma gave to me

Well actually Lori at My Kitchen Robot gave me this idea. At her house on Friday she had a tea that had been gifted to her - a lovely coconut chai. It was delicious and I was inspired to make my next one coconut flavoured! Here's the recipe:
Coconut chai for 2
1/2 quill of cinnamon
0.5cm piece of ginger (or a small amount of ginger in a jar)
2 cardamom pods
3 cloves
A few gratings of nutmeg
3 peppercorns
2tsp black tea leaves
1T coconut shards or pieces or similar (not dessicated)
1tsp raw sugar
300g water
200g milk

Put the spices (not the nutmeg) and sugar, and half of the coconut into the bowl and process for 10-15 seconds at speed 8. Add the water and milk into the bowl. Insert the bowl and put the tea and the coconut into the bowl. Cook for 8 minutes on speed 4 at 80C only. Taste and adjust the sweetness with honey if you like, before serving!

On the tenth day of Solstice my Thelma gave to me

A listing on a great website! Lookit! Super Kitchen Machine has listed this here blog on the list of Best Bimby blogs and Thermomic sites! With a teeny "new" label and everything! But not as many exclaimation marks as here!

Thankyou to MKR at My Kitchen Robot for the heads up about this - a text messag while I was at work in retail the week before Christmas really cheered me up! It's very exciting to be "noticed" by other people but it also means I need to get my finger out and blog here more consistently and more often.

Perhaps some photos as well?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On the ninth day of Solstice, my Thelma gave to me

10 great gift ideas! This was inspired by a post I saw on a blog where the suggestions seemed a little bit off my radar - truffle oil? Why would I want that? I use it to drizzle on eggs or add it as an extra to a dressing or dipping oil, rather than an ingredient in things. Maybe I'm using it wrong?

This was actually inspired by a post over at My Kitchen Robot, not the one that I originally linked to but as Helene has commented about this post not the other one, I've just crossed out of what I wrote. Capiche? I'm confused, I don't know about you.

I've made a few of these as well ;). Here are 10 things that you could make with a Thermomix:
  1. Raw truffles, truffles, rumballs, apricot balls, etc etc. So many options so you can find something that suits people who are gluten intolerant, nut allergic, dairy reluctant, low fat, high chocolate.
  2. Vanilla sugar. There is a recipe in the EDC but mine was to use 3 vanilla beans and 600g of raw sugar, processed at speed 8 until it resembled sand. Bottle, label, share, use.
  3. Lemon butter. Again, there is a recipe in the EDC and I did post about it when I made a lot of it.
  4. Spice mixes - so many options to try! Sweet (cinnamon and cloves and sugar), spicy (chilli and pepper and cardamom), warm (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), lemon salt rub, garam masala style, Moroccan.
  5. Spicy tea mix - chai perhaps?
  6. Anything that would freeze well, and fill someone's freezer with goodness. It could be sorbet, or some stroganoff, or something else yummy and your signature dish!
  7. Vegetable stock concentrate is often requested and I can usually trade a jar for a dozen eggs, or a small favour.
  8. Dukkah! I love it and the EDC recipe makes a lot but I use it as a rub for vegetables and meat as well.
  9. Spinach pesto - use the last of the spinach in the garden to make, instead of basil, to bottle some
  10. Jam or sauce with whatever fruit is around. Citrus, berries, stonefruit are all in season and so suited for bottling! You can also preserve it under a sugar syrup, if you want to use the Thermomix but want to use the lovely fruit whole.