I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lemongrass and Soy Glazed Salmon with Vegetables

I know that there are several of my Dear Readers whose mouths instantly start salivating when they see the mention of Salmon in my postings.  I sort of now look upon this taste testing of salmon recipes as my community service to you Dear Readers.  It is a tough job I know, but I think I am more than up for the challenge!!

So in my ever increasing quest to find new and exciting flavours to team with salmon I tried this recipe that appears in the current edition of the MasterChef Magazine. You will find it in Curtis Stone's section on light cooking for spring.

Lemongrass and Soy Glazed Salmon with Vegetables

Serves 4

4 x tail pieces of salmon (these have no bones!!)
2tbs canola oil
1/4 tsp sesame oil
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
1 clove crushed garlic
1 large carrot, cut into julienne (matchsticks)
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1 tbs soy sauce

coriander springs and steamed rice to serve


2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbs grated ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped *
2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 lemon zested

To make the glaze, heat the canola and sesame oils in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the eschalot, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and jalapeno, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Add lemon juice and simmer for a further minute, or until reduced by half.  Add soy sauce and honey, and cook for 5 minutes, or until glaze has thickened slightly.  Stir in lemon zest, then remove from heat.

Preheat grill to high.  Season salmon with pepper.  Heat 1 tbs of canola oil in a large heavy based frypan over high heat and cook the salmon for 2 minutes each side.  Remove from the pan and place on a grill tray.  Spoon 1 tbs of glaze over each piece of salmon.  Reserve the remaining glaze.  Place the tray under the grill and cook the salmon for a further 2 minutes, or until the glaze caramelises and the salmon is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile to the frypan add the sesame oil and heat over high heat.  Halve the asparagus, then add to the pan, stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, carrot and cabbage and stir fry for a further 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted.  Add soy sauce, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Divide the stir fry among the plates, and top with the salmon.  Spoon over the remaining glaze.  Scatter with coriander, and serve with steamed rice.

So Dear Readers are your taste buds tingling?

What makes your mouth salivate?  Is it salmon, or is it something else - do tell.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I guess by now you have figured out that I am a food magazine junkie!!  Yes, I tend to buy most of them.  I justify it to myself that if I make at least one recipe from the magazine then it was worth buying it!!  I seem to be on a bit of a roll with this months Good Taste Magazine - this is the 3rd recipe I have made from it (well worth the investment I'd say!!)

The recipe I made last night was for Pastitsio.  Kind of the Greek relative of lasagne!!  Only not as time consuming to make!  This recipe was even better because they had replaced the bechamel sauce with greek yoghurt - so that makes it a little healthier!


Serves 6 -8

1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp allspice
1 kg lamb mince
1/2 cup red wine
670ml bottle tomato passata (tomato pasta sauce)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 dried bay leaves
300g dried macaroni pasta
1/4 cup chopped continental parsley
500g Greek style natural yoghurt
200g feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, lightly whisked
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Cook the onion, stirring for 4 minutes or until golden.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.  Add the allspice and stir to coat.  Increase the heat to high.  Add the mince and cook, stirring for 6-8 minutes, or until the mince has all changed colour.   Making sure to break up any lumps.  Add the wine and cook until the liquid reduced by half.  Add the passata, stock, cinnamon, oregano and bay leaves.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.  Drain well.

Add the cooked pasta and parsely  to the mince mixture.

Combine the yoghurt, feta, egg and nutmeg in a bowl.  Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Lightly grease a 3L (12 cup) capacity ovenproof dish.

Pour the mince mixture into the prepared pan.  Top with the yoghurt mixture.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly before serving - this makes it easier to serve!

So tell me Dear Readers do you have a regular purchase that you have to justify in some way to yourself?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Healthy Fish and Chips!

I am always looking for ways to reduce the fat intake in our meals - I like to try and bake instead of fry whenever it is possible.

I saw a recipe in this months Good Taste Magazine for fish - it was for Parmesan and Dill Crumbed Fish.  I looked over the ingredients, modified them slightly, and then decided to bake the fish rather than fry it as they had suggested.  The result - beautiful crispy, tasty fish!!!  So if you love your fish and chips, but always feel guilty after eating it why not give this a go??

I have used Basa as my fish of choice.  I like it because it is not overly fishy in smell or flavour, it has no bones, it is firm, but best of all it is very reasonably priced.  At around $14 per kilo you can easily feed a family of 4 for around $12!!  It is particularly good if you are trying to introduce your kids to fish, I started mine off with a teriyaki sauce with the basa - they loved it!

Parmesan and Dill Crumbed Fish

Serves 4

1 cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tbs milk
3 tbs chopped dill
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs*
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
800g white fish fillets
Galic Olive oil spray

With the fish cut in half horizontally, then cut each piece in half again to give you four "Fingers" of fish.

Place the flour into a plate, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the egg to a second plate, and whisk in the milk.

Combine the dill, panko breadcrumbs and parmesan on another plate.

Dip the fish into the flour mixture first, then the egg mixture, making sure that you wet all of the flour.  Shake off the excess egg mixture, then dip, and firmly press into the breadcrumb mixture.

Place the crumbed fish onto a tray that you have lined with foil.  Repeat with the remaining fish.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper - spray the tray with the garlic olive oil spray.  Place the crumbed fish on the baking tray and spray the fish with the garlic olive oil spray.

Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the underside is golden.  Turn the fish, spray again with the garlic spray and cook for another 5-10 minutes until golden.

Serve with oven fries and a salad and you have fish and chips without the guilt!!!

* Panko crumbs can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket, or from Asian grocery stores.  I am in love with panko crumbs - they make everything so lovely and crispy - give them a try next time instead of your usual crumbs!!

If you are cooking oven fries along with this I suggest you add them to the oven around 10 minutes before you add the fish, as they take slightly longer (depending on type) than the fish.

So Dear Readers do you have a favourite meal that you have given a healthy makeover.  If so what is it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spiced Chicken with Date and Almond Couscous

Are you looking for a really easy tasty meal?  Then this is the one for you!  I found this recipe in this month's Good Taste Magazine.  It actually calls for turkey, but I was unable to get any, so I used the next best thing - chicken!!!

I have made a few minor "tweaks" to the recipe, mainly to suit my tastes, but it is fairly similar to the one printed in the magazine.

Now at this point I think I need to come clean on something - one of my Dear Readers asked me recently if "the Darlings" are so fussy - do I actually make 2 meals each night?  Well the answer to that is yes, and no.  What I did with this meal is that I didn't put the spice mix on the chicken for "The Darlings, and I also didn't give then the couscous - I gave them plain boiled rice.  I told you they are hard to feed!!!  So even though I ostensibly made one meal - I modified it slightly for those less culinarily matured!

Spiced Chicken with Date and Almond Couscous

Serves 4

1 cup couscous
1 cup of boiling water
1 tbs concentrated vegetable stock *
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground cumin
2 double chicken breasts
3tbs olive oil
1/2 cup continental parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, halved, then thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried dates, finely chopped
1/3 cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tbs fresh orange juice
10g butter

Place couscous in a heatproof bowl.  Add the concentrated stock and boiling water.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.  use a fork to fluff the grains.

Combine the coriander and 2 tsp of the cumin in a bowl.  Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken.  Heat the olive oil in a large non stick frying pan over high heat.  Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through - this will depend on the thickness of the breast) - you may like to pound the breasts with a meat mallet to make them a uniform thickness to speed up cooking time).

Transfer to a plate.

To the oil that is left in the frypan add the butter, and then the onion slices.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened slightly.

Mix together the orange juice and 1 tbs of olive oil, with 1 tsp of cumin.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the parsley, onion, date and almond into the couscous.  Add the orange juice mixture.  Mix the couscous well to incorporate all ingredients.

Slice the chicken into thick slices.

Divide the couscous among the serving plates, top with chicken slices.

* I used the concentrated vegetable stock that I made the other day with the Thermomix.  You can substitute a stock cube, or you could replace the boiling water with liquid stock.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Capsicum and Sundried Tomato Dip and Macadamia and Rocket Dip

This is going to be a very quick little post today giving you two really simple dips that I made last week with the Thermomix.

Capsicum and Sundried Tomato Dip 

30g parmesan cheese, cubed
1 clove garlic
100g sundried tomatoes, drained
1/2 large red capsicum
100g toasted cashews
20g white wine vinegar
20g extra virgin olive oil

Place the parmesan in the Thermomix (TM bowl) and mill for 8 seconds on speed 9.

Add all remaining ingredients and dial set to closed lid position, press Turbo button for 1-2 seconds until you have achieved a rough blend.

Remove the dip from the TM bowl, leaving a small amount in the bowl.

Salad Dressing

juice 1 lemon
50g olive oil

To the remaining dip in the TM bowl add the lemon juice and olive oil.  Blend 5 seconds on speed 6.

Macadamia and Rocket Dip

60g rocket
1 cup macadamias, roasted, salted
1 cup flat leaf parsely
100g parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic

Place the parmesan in the TM bowl and mill for 8 seconds on speed 9.

Add all remaining ingredients and dial set to closed lid position, press Turbo button for 1-2 seconds until you have achieved a rough blend.

You can make a salad dressing the same as above if you wish.

How's that for a short post?  If you had a Thermomix you probably would have been able to prepare all this in less than the time than it took to read this post!

Don't despair if you don't have a Thermomix (I don't have one - although I am hoping that Santa has been reading my posts and is putting one away for me for Christmas!!).  You can make these dips using a food processor - they just may take a little longer!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Asian Style Guinness Baby Back Ribs

Wandering around the many food blogs that are out there, you often stumble across little culinary gems that you just have to try.  We love our ribs in this house, so when I found this recipe on Ellie's blog Almost Bourdain I knew I just had to try it!!!

What can I say - they were delicious - and really quite easy so don't be put off by the 2 stages.  The only thing I pondered was what to serve with them?  To us ribs are not complete without corn on the cob and a baked potato - so I tried something a little different with the corn.

Asian Style Guinness Baby Back Ribs

Serves 4


725ml Guinness
1 large onion, sliced
125ml salt reduced soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
60ml sesame oil
3 tbs minced garlic


250ml honey
60ml salt reduced soy sauce
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander
1 tbs minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 red chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced *


To prepare the marinade in a large bowl whisk together the Guinness, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and minced garlic.  Place the ribs in a glass baking dish (or a large ziploc bag!)  Pour in the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the glaze whisk together in medium bowl the honey, soy sauce, coriander, garlic, pepper and chilli.

Now here is what I did - if you want to see the grill option visit Ellie's blog.

* Ellie didn't add the chilli - but the photo that she showed had flecks of red in it - so I took the liberty of adding the chilli.

I used a large disposable baking dish - placed a rack in it, then sprayed the rack with non stick oil.

Preheat oven to 160C.

Drain the ribs.  Place in a single layer on the rack.  Make sure you add the onions from the marinade!!!  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark, brush the ribs liberally with the glaze.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes, glaze again.  Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes - just to cook on the additional glaze!

Corn on the Cob

Onto a rectangle of foil place the corn.  Pour over approximately 1 tsp sesame oil,  small amount of garlic, then pour over a small amount of ketchap manis.  Top with a small knob of butter, wrap tightly and cook in the oven for an hour.

You can also wrap a scrubbed potato in foil and bake alongside the corn - that way you can sit back and relax and just wait for it all to be cooked!  How easy is that!!!

Thanks Ellie for another dinner winner!

So Dear Readers what little gems have you discovered reading other people's food blogs?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nutella using the Thermomix and Nutella Fudge Brownies

Do you have 10 minutes?

Do you have any Nutella on hand?

Well if the answer to to both of the above questions is yes - then you are well on the way to making this yummy little treat for yourself.

Thanks to Liss from www.frillsinthehills I jumped on the Nutella bandwagon last week.  Liss shared a recipe that she had for home made Nutella - and when I had the Thermomix here last week I gave it a go.  If you want the regular Nutella recipe you will find it on her blog.  I will give you the Thermomix version here.

Homemade Nutella

120g whole hazelnuts
380g raw sugar
60g cocoa powder
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the hazlenuts on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for approximately 7 minutes, move the hazlenuts around and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Place the hazlenuts on a tea towel, cover, and roll the hazlenuts between hour hands to remove the skins.  You don't have to get all of the skins off - just do the best you can.

In the Thermomix bowl (TM) place the raw sugar - process for 20 seconds on speed 9 - this will give you icing sugar.

Place the hazlenuts in the TM bowl blend for 10 seconds on speed 8.  This will turn the hazlenuts into hazlenut meal, and the oil will begin to emerge.

Add the cocoa and icing sugar, process for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Add the oil and process for 3 minutes on speed 3.

The nutella will last up to a month in the fridge.

After we had made the nutella we attempted to make home made Ferrero Rocher - but they were not a huge success - I know where we went wrong now, and I will attempt the recipe again and share it with you.

However, now I had a stash of nutella, and when I stumbled across this little beauty of a recipe I was ready to rock and roll!!!

Nutella Fudge Brownies

Makes 12 mini muffin size brownies

1/2 cup nutella
1 large egg
5 tbs plain flour

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line a 12 cup mini muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the nutella and the egg until smooth.  Add the flour and whisk until combined.

Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with a few gooey crumbs attached.  Remember - they are brownies - so gooey is good!

Put the muffin pan onto a rack to cool for a few minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to cool completely.

Dust with icing sugar.

These WILL NOT LAST LONG - make a double batch!!!!

What a wonderful little treat to whip up!!

Can you believe only 3 ingredients!!  And they take only 10 minutes!!!

So Dear Readers do you have a quick little treat that you like to whip up, and if so what is it?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mozzarella with Fresh Tomato Pesto and Angel Hair Pasta with Prawns, Tomatoes and Basil

Urged on by the reappearance of Spring yesterday I decided to make a couple of dishes that showcased tomatoes and basil.  What says springtime more than these two ingredients?  I know that we can now get these ingredients all year round, but I think they taste so much better in springtime!

My first dish was to be Mozzarella with Fresh Tomato Pesto - I have had some Kumatos sitting on the bench ripening to perfection so I decided time was of the essence for this dish. Have you tried Kumatos?  They are a strange colour, but have a lovely tomato flavour - and they are best served at room temperature - so this fresh pesto was a perfect dish for them.

If you haven't given these little beauties a try yet, given them a go!

Mozzarella with Fresh Tomato Pesto

Serves 4

4 tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 clove crushed garlic (add more if you like)
2-3 tbs shredded basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch sugar
4 fresh mozzarella balls
1 tbs toasted pine nuts
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese

Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds and juice, then dice the flesh into small pieces.

Combine the diced tomato with the olive oil, garlic, basil and seasonings.

Drain the mozzarella balls, tear apart into "rustic pieces", season well with salt and pepper.  Place in the centre of a plate.

Spoon the tomato pesto around the mozzarella, scatter with pine nuts and parmesan.

I served the pesto with some Turkish bread that I had sprayed with garlic olive oil spray, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked in the oven to 5 minutes to make it lovely and crispy.

This dish makes a lovely fresh entree, or a light main meal for two!

As I had all this lovely fresh basil I thought why not a prawn, tomato, and basil pasta.  This recipe was featured in the October MasterChef magazine as the mystery box challenge.  I have only "tweaked" it slightly.

Angel Hair Pasta with Prawns, Tomatoes and Basil

Serves 4

600g green prawns (peeled weight with tail on only)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
275g cherry truss tomatoes, halved (I used 2 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes)
1 cup basil leaves, roughly shredded
1 long red chilli, seeded finely sliced
1 lemon, zested, juiced
slug of white wine
400g angel hair pasta

Heat oil in large frying pan over high heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the onion has softened.  Add the celery, tomatoes, basil, chilli, lemon zest, cook stirring for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften.  Add the prawns, wine, and lemon juice, cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the prawns are just cooked.  Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the pan.

Cook the pasta according to packet directions.  Drain well, reserving 2 tbs cooking water.

Add the pasta to the prawn mixture and place over medium high heat.  Add the reserved cooking water and cook tossing for 3 minutes, or until warmed through and well combined.

Divide pasta among warmed bowls.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese (though there are the purists that say parmesan doesn't go with seafood - but I love it!!)

So Dear Readers what ingredients do you love to cook with in Spring?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Broad Bean, Bacon and Mint Risotto - using the Thermomix

I found this recipe in the latest edition of Australian Good Food and decided that this would be a good recipe to try using the Thermomix.  What I will do is give you the recipe as it appears in the magazine, then will give you the Thermomix version so you can see the difference.

Broad Bean, Bacon and Mint Risotto
Serves 4

6 cups chicken stock
2 cups broad beans, shelled
40g butter
1 tbs olive oil
3 rashers bacon, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 mint, sliced
40g butter, extra
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Heat 6 cups chicken stock in a pan on low.  Cook 2 cups of podded broad beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain.  Allow to cool, then peel.

Heat 40g butter and 1 tbs olive oil in a pan on medium.  Cook the bacon, onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until soft, but not brown.

Add the rice.  Stir for 1 minute, to coat the grains.  Add the warm stock, one ladle at a time, allowing liquid to absorb between additions, stirring for 18 minutes, or until the rice is creamy and cooked - but firm to the bite.  Stir in the broad beans, mint, extra butter and parmesan cheese.

Top with extra grated parmesan.

Here is the version we made using the Thermomix

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
250g bacon
40g butter
1 tbs olive oil
75g white wine
350g arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock*
1 1/2 cups water
500g broad beans, shelled
50g parmesan cheese

Place the broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Drain, allow to cool, then peel.  (Sorry there is no easier way to do that!!)

Place the onion, garlic and bacon in the TM bowl, blend on speed 7 for 5 seconds.

Add the butter and olive oil, cook for 2 minutes at 100C on speed 1.

Add the butterfly attachment.  Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes at 100C on reverse speed 1, to coat the rice

Add the wine, and stock.  Cook for 17 minutes at 100C on reverse speed 1.

Add the broad beans, mint and parmesan.  Cook for 1 minute at 100C on Reverse speed 1, to combine the ingredients.

Remove the risotto from the TM bowl and place in the thermoserver.

* Instead of using the liquid chicken stock that we made you can substitute 1 1/2 tbs of the concentrated vegetable stock, and 750g of water.

Now our thoughts on this risotto were that instead of having the bacon in the risotto the next time we would substitute 200g of pancetta.  Use 100g in place of the bacon in the actual risotto, and crispen the remaining 100g and use it to sprinkle on top with additional parmesan cheese.

Can you see how easy the TM made things?  The chopping took 5 seconds!  We also eliminated the need to ladle in the stock until it had absorbed, and more importantly the TM removed the constant stirring that is required when making risotto.  Giving you an additional 17 minutes to do something else while dinner is being cooked!!

Now after you have removed the risotto from the TM bowl, and it is sitting in the Thermoserver (this keeps it lovely and warm - as it is an insulated serving dish) why not make dessert?  How about a custard?

Custard/Creme Patissere

zest of 1 lemon, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
60-100g sugar (to taste)
2 eggs
500g full cream milk
40g cornflour

Place the lemon (or vanilla) and sugar into the TM bowl and pulverise for 20 seconds on speed 9.  Scrape down the lemon rind and icing sugar from the sides of the bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients, cook for 7 minutes at 90C on speed 4.

Once the custard has cooked to your desired consistency, immediately transfer to a serving bowl.

* To make chocolate custard add 20g of cocoa powder to the mixture in place of the lemon rind or vanilla.  To make a thicker consistency, use 4 eggs and 50g cornflour.  This consistency can be used to fill profiteroles.

This recipe makes a delightfully smooth custard that you can either enjoy warm, or allow to cool - resulting in a firm custard (that the kids just love!!).  I'm sorry I forgot to take a photo of this custard - too busy enjoying it!!

Did you notice that you didn't have to stand there stirring the custard?

So Dear Readers what would you do with all your additional time that the TM would give you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Basics using a Thermomix

As promised I am going to start and show you how easy it is to use a Thermomix.

I am going to break down the recipes that we made the other day into several posts (simply because there is too much for one!!).  Today I am going to start with the basics.

For all of you that use stock on a regular basis, probably for ease of use, you buy the stuff (and I do say stuff) in the tetra pack from the supermarket.  Now don't feel guilty - I do the same thing! If like me you buy it, you will be well aware of the cost of it.  With the Thermomix the other day we made two basic stocks - one was a concentrated vegetable stock, the other was a liquid chicken stock.

Before I start with the recipe there is probably something I need to explain.  Thermomix recipes are slightly different from regular recipes in that they give measurements in a weight format.  This is because the Thermomix has an in built weighing function.  It can be "zeroed" after the addition of every ingredient - no more weighing and measuring before you start - you can do it as you go!!

Vegetable Stock Concentrate

200g celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly cut
1 tomato, halved
1 zucchini, roughly cut
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
few leaves of basil, sage and rosemary (or herbs you have available)
1 bunch of parsley
150g rock salt
1 tbs olive oil

Place all the vegetables into the Thermomix (TM) bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 6.

Add the rock salt and oil and then cook for 20 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.

Mix by slowly turning the speed dial to speed 6 then pulverising for 1 minute on speed 9.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator.  Use tablespoon quantities instead of stock cubes.  ie 1 tablespoon of concentrate is equal to 1 stock cube or around 500ml of liquid stock.

See - how easy that was!!!  20 minutes!!  This stock concentrate will last for 6 months in the fridge.  This mixture made the equivalent of many, many litres of liquid stock, and it is all stored in one small container!  As you can see from the photo I have stored it in a take away container!

We then went on to make a liquid stock.  This can be varied to either meat/chicken or fish, we opted to make chicken.  This was the first time that my friend had made this recipe, so I will share with you our thoughts on this recipe.  Feel free to make comments if you have made this recipe yourself.

Liquid Stock (Chicken)

200-300 chicken bones, roughly cut (you can also use beef bones, or fish heads)
2 small carrots
1 small parsnip, roughly chopped
1 small sweet potato, roughly chopped (optional)
1 small onion, cut into quarters
2cm piece celeraic, or 2 small stalks of celery
3 bay leaves
5 peppercorns
3 pimento (optional)
1cm piece seaweed vegetable ie kombu (optional) we used nori
1000g water

Place all ingredients except the water into the basket.  Pour the water into the TM bowl.

Cook for 30-40 minutes at 100C on speed 4

Remove the basket with the aid of the spatula.  Pour the stock into a dish and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now here is where we add "our" thoughts on this recipe.  For one, the stock was a little insipid - and we thought it lacked flavour.  The first thing we did was puree all the vegetables that we had used to make the stock (we thought why waste all those lovely vegetables?).  The second thing we did was add salt, based on the amount of salt that we had added to the concentrated stock we added 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt.  This was a little too much - it was then too salty.  When we used this stock to make the risotto we reduced the quantities of stock and added a little water.  For the 2/3 of a cup showing above, we made the remainder up with water.

We were not overly happy with the result of this stock - but saying that I used it later that night with outstanding results!!  I was roasting a chicken for dinner.  I had the usual sporting commitments which meant I had to turn the oven on and leave it for 1 1/2 hours.  What I did was place the chicken (plus 2 x 1/2 chickens into a foil disposable roasting pan.  I placed 1/2 an onion in the cavity of the chicken, then 1/4 under each of the half pieces.  I liberally sprinkled with garlic, then poured over the stock that we had made earlier in the day.  The chicken was sitting in a lovely stock bath!!

That chicken was soooo tender and beautiful!  The skin was delicious - "Precious" commented that that skin was so good it would put Charcoal Charlie out of business!

So there you have it - sometimes from failure you end up with success!!

Feel free Dear Readers to give me your comments on this liquid stock if you have made it.

In a matter of 1 hour we had made two different stocks, for next to nothing, the chicken bones cost less than $2 and we used ingredients that are usually found lurking around in the bottom of everyone's vegetable drawer - so really, litres of stock for just a couple of dollars!!

Another basic we made was Mayonnaise.  This was incredibly easy to make, and literally only took 2 minutes to make.


1 egg, at room temperature, separated
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs white wine vinegar
250ml grapeseed oil

Into the TM bowl, with the butterfly attachment on, put the egg yolk, mustard, salt and pepper and vinegar.

Blend for 1 minute on speed 4.

Using the top of the TM as a reservoir, slowly add the grapeseed oil, scrape down the oil as needed, until all the oil has been incorporated.  (We had the spatula balanced there to make sure that too much air was not "burped" into the bowl.)

Continue on at speed 4 for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture has emulsified.

To have a lighter textured mayonnaise you can add the egg white.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg white then at mix on speed 4 for 10 seconds.

Now why would you buy commercial mayonnaise if you could make it that easily??  Imagine the permutations you can make with this basic recipe - garlic aioli, citrus (lime/lemon) mayonnaise, perinnaise (chilli).......

So are you starting to get impressed yet?  There are so many things you can make easily and cheaply using the Thermomix.  If you are very conscious of what you eat, then this machine lets you have complete control over your food.  You can make so many of the basics, as and when you need them, such as flour, powdered sugar, mayonnaise, peanut butter, nutella, stock - the list goes on, and the good thing is that you know exactly what is in there and you know that there are no additives added!!!

As I told you yesterday, we ground raw sugar for a matter of seconds and turned it into icing sugar (pure icing sugar - ie no caking agents).  You can also mill your own flour, again pure flour, no additives.  It is a little know fact that besan flour has a very short shelf life.  It will actually only last 2 weeks before it begins to go rancid.  So unless you know that the shop where you buy besan flour from has a very high turn over you can almost guarantee that the besan flour you just bought is already starting to go rancid.  The answer of course is to mill your own - a very simple thing to do with the Thermomix.

It took only 8 seconds to grate a 250g block of parmesan cheese! 8 seconds!!!  How long would that take by hand?

So Dear Readers what do you think?

Is this little machine something that you think would make your life easier?  What would you like to make with a Thermomix if you had one?

PS  Dear Readers I have to tell you something - one of my Dear Readers is quite concerned when I don't post for a few days.  She is in fear that I am starving my children!!  So I must set the record straight - if I don't post with a recipe it means that I have either made something that I refer to as a "crap" dinner - be it  anything from some convenience food from the freezer (I know gosh horror!!) or it's burritos, or a grill OR something that I have already blogged about - such was the case last night.  For dinner last night I had a special request - Chinese Spag Bol (that is the new favourite).  So rest assured Dear Readers, if I do not post, it merely means that I have made a meal that I feel is not blog worthy!!!  "The Darlings" are not starving!! - no need to report me to the the authorities (just yet!).

Last Night's dinner - Chinese Spag Bol!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A day of fun with the Thermomix

Did you all catch Iron Chef Australia last night?

Did you see them using the Thermomix?  What was it they said - something like Thermomix is new to Australia, but not new to Chefs!!  Well look out all you chefs out there - the secret is out, and we home cooks will soon be turning out food as good as you!!!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day using a Thermomix - my kitchen literally turned into a test kitchen for the day!  What fun we had too!

Today's posting is going to be a tempter of things to come - there is no way I can share all the recipes with you in one posting, but I will tease you with the things that we made in just a few short hours!!

We started off making a Capsicum and Sun Dried Tomato Dip

Then, rather than washing out the bowl we added a few more ingredients and made a salad dressing from the last remnants in the bowl.

We then proceeded to make 2 kinds of stock - a concentrated vegetable stock (that will last for 6 months in the fridge!!) and also a chicken stock.

We turned a block of parmesan cheese into grated parmesan in a matter of seconds!

                               We made mayonnaise......

Then we made home made nutella, which we then turned into home made Ferrero Rocher Chocolates!!

For lunch we made ourselves a risotto

Another dip was on the menu - this time Rocket and Macadamia Nut

We turned raw sugar into icing sugar in a couple of seconds

Then to finish off we made a vanilla custard - but I forgot to take a picture!!!!!!

Can you believe that we did all that in a few hours!!!

The Thermomix is truly an impressive little machine - but don't be fooled by its size - it is a mighty little workhorse - and the bowl will hold enough to make a risotto that will feed 6!

As I said this is a just a little teaser.  I need to sit down now and fully compile the recipes that we tried out yesterday.  Some were experiments (that maybe didn't work as well as we had hoped they would) - but they just need a little fine tuning and they will be perfect!

I urge you to take a look at the Thermomix if you are a serious cook - they make life so much easier.  This is only a tiny sample of what you can do with one.

If you are interested in finding out more please contact me and I can put you in touch with a consultant who will come to your home and give you a demonstration (and sample) of what the mighty Thermomix can do!!!

And no - we did not consume all this food ourselves in one sitting!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet Chilli Coconut Skewers

You simply MUST make this dish!!!

The flavours are great - it is really simple - and would be great for entertaining.  What more can I say?

This recipe is featured on the cover of this month's Super Food Ideas - it looks lovely, and tastes even better, and you will never believe it - "The Darlings" ate it without even turning up their noses!  Well they did have the simplified version - didn't have the sauce, or the salad - but I was expecting the tomato sauce to come out and it to be slathered all over the skewers!  In fact they went looking for more skewers - but alas - we all liked them - and there was none going to food shelters or the dog tonight!!

Now you know me, I did make a few alterations along the way - simply because that was all I had in the pantry - so follow the * to find out what I did differently from the recipe.

Sweet Chilli Coconut Skewers

Serves 4

Presoaked bamboo skewers

165ml coconut milk *
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp fish sauce
800g beef rumps steak, trimmed, cut into 2cm cubes **

Combine coconut milk, sugar, sweet chilli sauce, cinnamon, cardamon, garlic and fish sauce in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the beef, toss to combine.  Cover.  Refrigerate for 3 hours, if time permits.

Coconut Chilli Sauce

1 tbs roughly chopped roasted unsalted peanuts ***
1 tbs shredded coconut, toasted
1 tbs freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbs sweet chilli sauce


Make coconut chilli sauce.  Combine peanuts, coconut, coriander, chilli, sweet chilli sauce, and 3 tsp cold water in a bowl ****


250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lebanese cucumber, diced
1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs rice wine vinegar

Toss all salad ingredients together in a smal bowl.

Heat a greased barbeque plate of chargrill on medium high heat.

Thread beef onto the presoaked skewers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 3-5 minutes each side, or until browned and cooked through.

Drizzle the skewers with the coconut chilli sauce.  Serve with rice and salad.

* I doubled the ingredients for the marinade, with the extra marinade I basted the skewers twice while I was cooking them - giving them an extra coating of flavour!!

** I used approximately 1.2kg of steak - this served 5

*** I used cashews that were roasted and salted - this was all I had.  You may like to double the quantities for this sauce, as it is so nice you will want more!!

**** I simply forgot this step - and I personally don't think you need the water.

This was a great meal.  I also think the flavours would work really well with prawns, or chicken.  Do tell me Dear Readers if you try either of these options before I get a chance to try them - let me know how they go.

I have spent the day in the kitchen using the Thermomix today - we have cooked so many things - you simply will not believe what we have made in such a short time!!!  I can't wait to assemble all our recipes, and start telling you about what we made today