Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thermomix - Week 2 1/2

Wow, life just happens doesn't it?  Before I knew it, it's been well over a week since my last post.  This past week has seen me continue to use my Thermomix (I'm thinking of calling her Alice...) for as many tasks as I can think up for her.  I'd forgotten how many things I'd made until I finally got around to plugging in my camera and downloading the photos.  So, a rough estimate of the things Alice got up to during the week:
  • More butter (when I see pure cream at half price in the supermarket, how can I go past it???)
  • More bread (I find I am making a loaf of bread every 3 days or so, depending on what meals we're eating)
  • Red curry paste (EDC)
  • Thai Red Curry (EDC - using above mentioned red curry paste :-) )
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise (EDC)
  • Baf's Award Winning Creamy Chicken & Veggies (forum)
  • Stewed apples
  • Stewed rhubarb
  • Custard (lots :-) )
  • Pureed apples and carrot
  • Sweet Chilli dip
  • Banana Bread (see my earlier post from today)
  • Traditional Creamy Vanilla Icecream (EDC) 
  • Frozen Mango Bars aka Weiss Bars (forum/Best Recipes)
  • Strawberry Jam (EDC)
  • Playdough (EDC - what a hit this has been this week, need a messy mat for my floor though...)
There is now more red curry paste in my fridge than I can possibly hope to use in the next couple of months.  It was absolutely unbelievably delicious though, so we will be having more of it and I'll just have to freeze the rest in appropriately sized amounts.
The mango bars (which I froze in silicon muffin trays) are delicious.  Next time though, I'll churn the creamy part so that it sets more like icecream.  As it is, it's really solid and needs to partially thaw before you can get a spoon through it!  (Hence why it's probably better to do these as bars and eat them like you would an icecream on a stick!)  I did modify the recipe slightly to use coconut milk and macadamia nuts as well in the creamy half.
One of the loaves of bread I did this week was Buttermilk Bread (from the EDC).  Given that I'd made so much butter, I had to find something to do with all the buttermilk.  I decided to try this bread, and I'm extremely glad I did.  A beautiful, soft loaf that was very popular in this house (finally...some white bread!!!).
One of the other loaves I made was using the recipe for Isi's Easy Portugese Rolls (mentioned previously in this post).   This time though, I subbed in some wholemeal flour and made a single loaf.   I was so happy with how it turned out.  It is fabulous (and even better with homemade butter and strawberry jam!).
I mentioned last week that I'd made some tortillas.  I finally have some pics to show you.  They were really, really good.  I must make some more this week.
Forgive the poor rolling skills...nah, wait a minute, I'm just being patriotic!
Bubble, bubble, boil and trouble!
Mmmm, tortilla goodness!
The other exciting thing that happened this week, was the arrival of my much anticipated Mason Ball jars from The Redback Trading Company.  This arrival has signified the start of my Christmas jam, relish, spread and paste making efforts and I think it will all look fabulous in these jars.  How cute are they?
Happy, happy days!

Cafe Banana Bread with Coconut

A couple of weeks ago, I bought myself a lovely deep loaf pan at one of my favourite shops, The General Trader.  I just love it when companies give you a recipe when you buy their product.  Often, they're quite good.  Last night, may I say, late, last night, I embarked on making Baker's Secret Cafe Banana Bread with Coconut.  I was filled with trepidation at the start of this because the last time I'd made banana bread, I took some into work and was promptly told that it was dry.  Dry, I tell you!  Well toast it and slather it in butter I say!  It didn't have the gallon of oil that you generally get in your banana bread at the local coffee shop, so yes, it's gonna be drier.
Anyway, back to now.  I was very nervous when I read the phrase "Bake at 200ºC for 50 minutes".  50 minutes????  Dry banana bread...it haunts me...
I did what I was told.  I got quite anxious when I saw the top of the loaf go such a dark brown it nearly looked black.  (On a side note, it was 10pm at this stage, so I was quite possibly not looking straight).  I left it to cool under a tea towel until this morning when I had the grand unveiling.
Yes, a little dark...still nervous...
But it's worth it!  Look at that crust.  Toasted, slathered in butter...bliss!  And for the record, the inside is still beautifully moist.  It certainly wouldn't require toasting, but I just love it that way...

Ingredients

  • 2 cups SR Flour, (300g)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed (160g)
  • ½ cup coconut, (40g)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 100 grams butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, gently whisked

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Brush deep loaf pan with melted butter to lightly grease.
2. THERMOMIX: Melt butter for 50 seconds at 60ºC on speed 4. Add the eggs, milk and banana in chunks and mix for 5 seconds on speed 7. Add the flour, sugar, coconut and bicarb and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4 + reverse. Use the spatula to make sure all the flour is incorporated from the top edges.
3. OR: Place the flour, sugar, coconut and bicarb in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Using a mixing spoon, combine the banana, milk, butter and eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the deep loaf pan and smooth the surface for even baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thermomix - Week 1

Well, what a week!  The first week with my Thermomix is drawing to a close so I thought I'd remind myself of all the fabulous things it's helped me make.
  • mashed potato (EDC)
  • lime butter (EDC)
  • lemon, lime & orange sorbet (EDC)
  • tomato relish
  • brownie milk (chocolate sauce for milk drinks)
  • Isi's Easy Portugese Rolls (x2)
  • wholemeal bread (EDC)
  • tortillas
  • mushroom risotto (EDC)
  • tzatziki dip (EDC)
  • lavosh crackers (x2)
  • coleslaw (EDC)
  • potato & boiled egg salad
  • mayonnaise (EDC)
  • greek lamb marinade (a modified version of this recipe)
  • homemade lemonade (EDC)
  • homemade 'orange-ade' (modified from EDC)
  • french dressing (EDC)
  • breakfast smoothies (x4)
  • apricot sour cream cake
  • lemon meringue pie (EDC)
  • shortcrust pastry (EDC)
  • mango sorbet (EDC)
  • baked beans
  • butter (EDC)
  • KFC chicken (coating spice mix + buttermilk for marinade)
  • tomato and lentil dahl (EDC)
  • pizza bases (EDC)
  • tomato pasta sauce (EDC)
  • chocolate milkshake
  • custard (EDC)
We did have some great friends over for lunch yesterday, so our little family didn't eat all of this on our own!  It is a lot of food, and certainly wouldn't have been remotely achievable without my new kitchen slave, the Thermomix.

Happy days!

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Thermomix cooking marathon!

    Since receiving my Thermomix on Monday, I've gone slightly mad with cooking (as if I wasn't already anyway!).  On Tuesday, I tackled Sally's Yummy Relish, thanks to Full Little Tummies for posting the recipe.
    I ended up having to finish reducing it on the stovetop because it was taking longer than expected and I needed to get dinner on.  Can't have hungry boys in my house that's for sure!

    Dinner was the Mushroom Risotto from the Everyday Cookbook (EDC).  It made the most enormous amount of risotto, but it was absolutely delicious.  I still have leftovers in the fridge so I've decided I'm going to make balls and crumb them and put them in the freezer for another day!

    Yesterday I made quite a few things.  Firstly I made Lavosh "bread".  This recipe came from the Tick of Yum blog.  The dough itself is really easy - just throw everything in.  The more challenging part of this recipe is to get the thickness of the dough right when you roll it out.  I found the dough to be quite sticky, so I rolled it between 2 sheets of baking paper.  Worked a treat!




    When the right thickness is achieved, which I think is 2-3mm (paper thin is just too thin), remove the top sheet of baking paper and slide the bottom sheet (with the dough obviously!) onto a baking tray.



    Ideally, you don't want it hanging over the edges, I was just too ambitious!  Bake until crisp.




    I also made Isi's Portugese Rolls which have been extremely popular on the Thermomix Forum.




    I enjoyed one toasted for brunch today smothered in the Lime Butter which I made on Monday.
    Dinner last night was the Tomato and Lentil Dahl from the EDC which our family really enjoyed.  We had it with Naan Bread, a recipe provided by Chook Woman.  Absolutely yummy naan, and so easy to make in the Thermomix.



    For dessert, I made a citrus sorbet using a lemon, a lime and an orange (recipe from the EDC).  Absolutely sublime.
    I also made Tenina's Brownie Milk which makes a deliciously rich chocolate milk drink.  Again, yummo.



    Today I made pizza bases in the Thermomix, and just made a simple bacon and pineapple topping on bought BBQ sauce.  I've now got a couple of bottles I can make some sauce in, so that will be a project for me in the coming days.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Apricot Sour Cream Cake - Thermomix style

    My Thermomix finally turned up yesterday.  So last night I used it to make the smoothest, creamiest mashed potato I've ever made.  Should have taken a photo, it was worth it!  I also made homemade lemonade and some Lime Butter.  It's all just too easy.
    This morning I made my favourite cake, the Apricot Sour Cream Cake.  I have now converted it to Thermomix.  It's the easiest cake to make anyway, but the Thermomix has made it a smoother, more velvety cake to eat.
    What a success!

    Apricot Sour Cream Cake
    80g dried apricots
    125g butter
    220g apricot nectar
    125g sour cream
    2 eggs
    250g SR flour
    30g shredded coconut
    200g castor sugar

    1.  Place dried apricots in TM bowl and process on speed 8 for 3 seconds (less if you like them chunkier) and set aside.
    2.  Place butter in TM bowl and melt for 40 seconds at 50C on speed 4.
    3.  Add nectar, sour cream and eggs and mix for 20 seconds on speed 5.
    4.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 20 seconds, reverse speed 3.
    5.  Pour into a greased and lined tin (ring tin ideally, but I have successfully made this in square tin and loaf tin) in a preheated 180C oven for 40 minutes.
    6.  Ice with a tangy lemon icing.

    Last days pre-Thermomix

    We have had some dreadful home network issues over the past few days so I haven't had a chance to get on here.  I think I was also suffering some depression because my Thermomix didn't make it to me on Friday.  As a quick pick-me-up, I baked some Double Choc-Chip Cookies and some bagels.  I had never made bagels and was surprised to learn that the cooking process is started a pot of boiling water before being drained, thrown on a tray and slid into an oven.  I used this recipe from Brazen but made the dough in my bread machine.  I will certainly be making these again once I get my TMX.
    I also made a super easy and semi-healthy fruit slice, but I'll post this recipe once I've converted it to TMX speak.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Spinach, Bacon & Parmesan Quiche

    I made a loaf of "fake" sourdough bread today.  Fake, because I didn't use a starter - something I fully intend to do one day.  I LOVE sourdough.  There is a recipe in my breadmaker for Sourdough, but it is essentially just flavoured white bread.  It uses yoghurt and lemon juice for the "sour" and the rest is fairly standard white bread.  Despite it's fakeness, it is still pretty yummy.
      
    Dinner was a yummy and easy quiche.  Recipe came from the Taste web site (it's one of my favourites!). 

    Ingredients

    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 100 g rindless bacon, in short, thin strips
    • 100 g baby spinach leaves
    • 4 eggs
    • ¾ cup (185ml) cream
    • ½ cup (125ml) milk
    • cup (30g) shredded parmesan
    • Pastry
      • Pinch salt
      • 2 cups (300g) Ogran gluten-free plain flour
      • 150 g butter, chilled, cubed
      • 1 egg

    Directions

    1. For pastry, mix flour, butter and salt in a food processor until mixture forms crumbs. Process with egg and 1-2 tbs cold water. Knead until smooth. Refrigerate covered for 10 minutes.
    2. Roll pastry out between 2 sheets of lightly floured non-stick baking paper and place in 25cm (base), 3cm deep fluted loose-bottomed flan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    3. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook 8-10 minutes or until soft. Drain on a paper towel. Microwave spinach on high for 1 minute or until wilts. Cool for 5 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Chop.
    4. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place a tray in the oven. Line pastry with baking paper. Cover base with rice. Bake on the hot tray for 10 minutes. Remove paper and rice. Spread over spinach, bacon and onion. Whisk eggs, cream and milk together. Pour over the filling. Sprinkle over the parmesan. Bake 30 minutes and serve with salad.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Apricot Sour Cream Cake

    Today I made my new favourite cake.  My friend Kate gave me this recipe which I have modified slightly.  It is super easy to make, so moist, and in a way quite subtle, with a hit of lemon icing on the the top, it is definitely a keeper.
    The batter is quite runny so ideally it should be cooked in a ring or bundt tin to prevent the edges becoming overcooked waiting for the middle to finish.  At this point in time I don't have either of those tins, so I just made it in my square cake tin.  It still turned out ok.  I also forgot to put in the dried apricots today so I just sprinkled them over the top before I put the cake in the oven.  It certainly wouldn't win any prizes at the local show, but that is of no matter to me, as long as it tastes delicious!!  Normally, the apricots should be mixed with the dry ingredients so they get a coating of flour.  This helps in preventing them from sinking straight to the bottom of the tin.

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cup SR Flour
    • ½ cup coconut
    • ½ cup diced dried apricots
    • 125 grams butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 cup castor sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup apricot nectar
    • ½ cup sour cream

    Directions

    1. Place flour, coconut, sugar and apricots in a large bowl and mix well.
    2. Mix the nectar, eggs and sour cream together.  Add to the dry ingredients and begin to combine.  Add the butter and mix well to form a batter.  It will have a similar consistency to pancake batter. 
    3. Pour batter into a ring tin and bake at 180C for 40 minutes.
    4. Once cake has cooled, ice with a tangy lemon icing.

    The lemon icing I made is just 1-2 teaspoons of melted butter, the juice of half a lemon and enough icing sugar to make a reasonably stiff mixture.
    I also made one of my all time favourite desserts today, rhubarb and apple crumble.  This one I made to put in the freezer for another day, but I also made a plain apple crumble for dinner tonight and it was sensational.  I used the last of my leftover roasted hazelnuts for a twist and it has been declared a winner.
    PS My Thermomix has made it to Sydney!  Not long to wait now...woohoo!!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Wholemeal Bread

    Today's baking effort was wholemeal bread.  I just used the recipe in my breadmaker's manual, but I used the dough cycle and baked it in a loaf tin.  This is the first time I've made a "proper" loaf of bread.
    The dough went into the loaf tin and then into the small side of my sink into which I had put an inch of hot water and an upturned plate.
    I placed a tea towel over the top like so:




    And left it there for about 30-45 minutes.  It ended up like this:



    Woohoo!  But I think the tea towel flattened out the dough a bit.  Next time I might use less water and a plate with smaller sides so the loaf has more room to rise.  Anyhoo...into the oven it went and 30 minutes later it looked like this:

    Altogether a fairly successful experiment.

    On a Thermomix note, I spoke to my Sydney consultant today.  She's lovely.  Hopefully we shall see some action and a delivery this week.  All my fingers and toes are crossed!