Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thermofestive Mystery Stew and flourless chocolate cake

A couple of weekends ago, I tried out the Thermofestive Mystery stew from  Yum!  There were a lot of ingredients, but it was really easy to make.

I got to learn about some new ingredients including smoked paprika (what a wonderful smell!), and safron.  I had no idea that safron was so expensive!  And it really does come in threads.

Just to make things more interesting, I   decided to record a podcast of cooking with the TM whilst making the stew.  I had to keep pausing the recording whilst measuring out ingredients, and got my recorder covered in something (I'm not sure what), but it was good fun.  Now I just have to work out how to post the podcast on  This is a website containing podcasts about all sorts of things ranging from a review of the latest iphone ap for the blind, to an audio tour of one of the space shuttles!

I also tried out the flourless chocolate cake from the EDC.  What a great cake recipe.  It was so easy.  No horrible creaming of butter and sugar!  The other good thing about it was that the batter was runny, so I just poured it into the tin, and didn't have to worry about smoothing it out.  Definitely my kind of cake.

I've been wanting to make this cake since I went to a thermomix class where it was served.  It was absolutely delicious, and so was mine!  It took an hour to cook, and the smell nearly drove me crazy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter baking

This Easter, I had the pleasure of visiting Raymond Island, in the Victorian Gipsland Lakes area.  I had planned to make hot cross buns over the weekend, and so was initially really disappointed that I wouldn't be at home.  Then I remembered my TM carry bag, and decided to take my trusty TM down to Victoria, along with all the ingredients for the buns.

What a wonderfully easy way to make hot cross buns!  It was so convenient being able to heat the milk for the yeast.  I had previously measured all the dried ingredients (except the yeast) into a single container, so just tipped it all in at the appropriate time. 

The only thing that didn't go right was the incorporation of the dried fruit into the kneaded dough.  I followed the recipe in the EDC and added the sultanas after kneading.  The TM made a funny squeaking noise, but I figured that was what it was supposed to do.  When I tipped the dough out of the bowl, a lot of the sultanas fell out separately.  My friend who I was staying with decided to knead the sultanas in by hand which worked well.

The buns tasted so good, I might just have to make some more for my family (who didn't get any of the first batch) and pretend it's still easter!

I wanted to give my hosts a gift, so the night before going to Victoria, I decided to bake the 30 second cookies from the EDC.  What a wonderfully easy way to make biscuits!  I have horible memories of high school home economics classes, trying to cream the butter and sugar, and remembered it taking for ever!

I wasn't really sure whether the dough was mixed properly after the prescribed kneading time, as there was still some flour left in the bowl, and the dough was really crumbly.  I gave it a few more seconds, and everything seemed fine.

The hardest thing was making the little balls for the biscuits, as the dough was crumbly.  My attempts to rol the dough into balls was unsuccessful, so I sort of squashed it together, and it worked.  They were delicious too, and were very well received by my hosts.  The other good thing was that I discovered that I could preheat my convection microwave which I used to cook the biscuits.

While I was in Victoria, I went to a boot sale, and bought something called a Princess Cookie Maker, which seems to be some sort of cookie press with little disks at the bottom for the dough to go through. Maybe I'll try this next time, rather than trying to squash little balls.

The end of the porridge saga

I've at last found the perfect porridge.  I admit, I didnt' make it in the TM, but there's no reason it couldn't be made that way for a larger amount.  All I did was soak half a cup of rolled oats in 3.4 cup boiling water overnight.  This results in an almost solid porridge.  Then I add 100 g of low fat ricotta and microwave for about one and a half minutes until hot.  This thins the porridge slightly which makes it easier to mix through the melted cheese.  Then I top with a spoonful of brown sugar - delicious!

You might think that I'm strange having cheese in my porridge.  Well, it's not as strange as it sounds.  The cheese has very little flavour, and makes the porridge quite creamy.  It's a really good filling breakfast which keeps me full for hours!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Porridge saga

I had read in the EDC that the TM made great porridge.  As the Canberra mornings are getting colder, I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm supposed to be on a high protein,  low carb diet, so my porridge (which I usually make in the microwave, with varying results) usually has some sort of protein in it, such as protein powder.

Following the EDC, but only making half a batch, I added 80 g rolled oats, 325 g water and 2 scoops of protein powder to the TM.  I didn't mill the oats first, as I like mine whole.  I cooked this on 90 degrees for 8 minutes. 

I like my porridge really thik, so I can almost stand my spoon up in it.  I really don't like runny porridge.  So, I was really disappointed to find that, at the end of the cooking, the porridge was really runny when I poured it into a container.  I was even more disapointed to find, when I thought I had got all the porridge out, that I had a thick layer of congealed oats and protein powder firmly stuck to the bottom of the TM!  It was sunday, and I was running late for church, so I drank some of the runny stuff, threw the rest down the sink, and left the congealed mess soaking in the bottom of the TM bowl with hot water.  Disaster!

The next day, I decided to give it another go.  I followed the same instructions, making a full batch this time, but didn't add the protein powder with the oats, as I decided to add it into each serve of porridge when I heated it up each day.  Again, I got a runny result, with congealed oats at the bottom.  I didn't throw this lot away though, but ate it over the next 4 days.  I mixed protein powder through 2 serves, and blended them up to drink as smoothies.  I mixed cottage cheese and brown sugar through the other 2 serves, which tasted really good.  However, the cottage cheese was lumpy, and didn't do much to thicken the runny porridge.

I did some research on the forums, and discovered that some people were making thicker porridge using 100 g of oats and 350 g of water, cooked at 100 degrees on reverse speed 4 for 9 minutes.  I tried this this morning, and the result was perfect!  Nice thick creamy porridge!

It's a real pain to get out of the TM though, as my scraping skills still aren't very good.  I got most of it out though, and while there is still some in the bottom of the bowl under the blades, it isn't a congealed mess like before.

Perhaps I'll make a double quantity next time, on the weekend, and let it cool before scraping it out.  At least then I can remove the blades , and really get in there with my fingers to get it all out.  I also think I'll truy ricotta as a protein source instead of cottage cheese, as it will be smoother.

Fettuccine with chicken and sundried tomatoes

Again, it has been a long time between posts, as I've had illness in my family.  However, this doesn't mean I've stopped cooking!

When I did the creamy salami and tomato fettuccine, CJ said that I should try cooking it with sundried tomatoes and chicken.  So, I decided to give it a go.

I followed the EDC recipe for the salami fettuccine, but used basil instead of parsly, and addedd 500 g of cubed chicken along with the cream, water, stock and roma tomatoes.  I cooked this all for 17 minutes, and did not add the fettuccine, as I cooked this separately.  About 5 minutes before the 17 minutes were up, I added a tub of sundried tomatoes instead of the salami.  When this was all cooked, I put the sauce into a thermoserver, and cooked the fettuccine as given in the EDC.

The result turned out to be reasonably good, but I felt that there were too many tomatoes in the pasta, and the sundried tomato flavour didn't really come through to my satisfaction.  After some research into recipes, I think I'll leave out the roma tomatoes, and add the sundried tomatoes just before serving.  After 5 minutes cooking (just to warm them through) the sundried tomatoes had sat in the pasta in the thermoserver for about 15 minutes.  By then, they had plumped up a bit which I didn't want.

Even though things didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped, it reall was a pretty good result for my first recipe experiment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Red Curry Chicken Risotto

I found this recipe on the internet before getting my TM, and have wanted to cook it ever since the TM arrived. The link to the recipe is:

This was another lesson in preparing all the ingredients first, so that they could easily be added at the required times.  I didn't do so well with this, as I was a bit distracted, and had to keep referring to the recipe.  SJ and my cousin EM came around to try muy cooking this time, as CJ was doing something else.  SJ saved the day by going to buy some arborio rice, as Mum had got basmati rice by mistake.

At one point, when I was measuring out the coconut milk (I wanted to weigh it on my talking scales to see whether 400 g was equal to 400 ml), I accidentally tipped some of the milk into the TM jug instead of the jug on the scales.  I pannicked a bit, but EM assured me that I had not ruined everything, and tipped the milk back into the jug for me.  Everything seemed to take me ages to do, and we ate about 45 minutes later than I had planned.  I think I'm just going to have to get all the ingredients prepared before my friends come over, rather than when they arrive.

I wasn't sure whether I had to use a particular type of curry paste, so just bought some red thai curry paste.  3 tablespoons sounded like a lot, but i followed the recipe exactly.  I think I might use a touch less curry paste next time though, as it was really rather hot!  I'm glad I didn't add the extra chilli as the recipe suggested. 

I let the risotto sit in my thermoserver while I made more lemon custard.  EM hadn't tried it yet.  It amazed me just as much this time as it did in the demo, just how much difference the resting of the risotto made.  It was quite liquidy when I took it out of the TM, but after resting, it was perfect!

Apart from being a bit hotter than I expected (not too hot though), the risotto was absolutely delicious!  The texture and flavour were perfect.  This is definitely a recipe I'll make again.

Dip and Pizza

I had a great cooking week last week. 

I was rostered on for morning tea, so decided to make the Capsicum and Sundried Tomato Dip from the EDC.  It was really quite straightforward.

I was worried about how much to bring, as some people bring heaps of food to morning tea, and sometimes there is quite a large turnout.  So, I made a double quantity.  Quite a lot of dip!

It was a success, and quite a lot of the dip was eaten.  Everyone said nice things about it (probably because I was a bit overenthusiastic about it, and sat in front of the bowl, inviting everyone to try the dip saying "I made it myself!").  It did taste really good though.

I wasn't sure what to do with the leftovers, as I knew I probably wouldn't heat it, and didn't want it to go bad in the fridge.  Then, I remembered the leftover pizza dough that was still in my freezer from the Varoma demo.

After some thought, and a couple of phone calls to Mum to ask her opinion on some things, I decided to make a pizza with the dough and the dip.

I invited SJ and CJ over to try it out, and give me some encouragement while I made it.  These were the same friends who had tried the fettuccini the previous week.  They said that it wasn't fare that E was the only one who was named in my blog, so I've named them!

I had asked Mum to drop over and get the pizza dough out of the freezer, and it was nicely thawed by the time I got home.  It smelled just the same as it had when E made it - lovely and yeasty.  I had frozen it in Tupperware, so it had retained all its moisture and was slightly sticky.

after some deliberation, I decided to cook the dough on my only pizza tray, even though it was smaller than the one that E had used.  I don't have a thermo mat yet, so put some baking paper on the tray, and placed the dough in the middle.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to flatten it out into a perfect circle.  After much flattening and stretching the dough covered all but a small bit of the tray, and CJ reminded me that it didn't have to be perfect.

Then I spread the dip over the base, and covered this with 100 g of salami I found in the fridge.  CJ wanted cheese, so I put some Cheddar slices over the salami.  It was quite fun arranging the salami and the slices so they were all overlapping, and all the dip was covered.

I wasn't sure how long to cook it, and CJ suggested that I should try 20 minutes at 200 degrees.  Of course, we couldn't remember how long E had cooked the pizza for during the demo.  It came out perfectly!  the base all rose up, and the topping was a really delicious combination.  The lovely pizza smell went all through the house!

The only problem was that when I picked up a slice to eat it (I always eat pizza in my fingers), the topping fell off.  CJ and SJ explained that what I needed was pizza cheese under and over the rest of the filling to bind everything together.  I'll have to try that next time.

CJ said that she wanted lemon custard instead of chocolate to finish the meal.  I decided that this would be a good challenge for me, as I had never used a peeler to peel the rind from a lemon before.  I'm not entirely sure whether I included any pith in the custard, but it tasted really good, so I assume I didn't.  It was easy to feel when I had peeled too deeply, as some juice would come through onto my finger.  I just love the smell of the lemon and sugar mixture after it is ground up!  It reminded me of E's first demo in my pre-thermomix life.