Bo Ssam (Slow Cooked Pork)

I’ve been keeping this one to myself.  Largely because there isn’t a huge need for Thermomix activity.  But it is so good, as I was reminded by cooking it today, that I need to rave about it for a bit.

I discovered the recipe when following the Momofuku opening in Sydney.  No, I have not been to the restaurant, but as with many other foodie obsessions (The Fat Duck, elBulli, even the geographically attainable – Movida, Rockpool, Quay) though denied the lived experience of eating at my place of worship, I stalk the food through online recipes, write ups, TV shows and cookbooks.

This appealed for many reasons.  Pork is a reason alone.  The simplicity of preparation, though requiring time, also hugely appealing.  Also, the temptation of attempting new things – kimchi and pickled watermelon rind.  And as a dinner party meal it can be expanded at the last minute to feed extras, while still being very impressive.

Momofuku suggests using a shoulder of pork – skin off.  If it comes with skin, cut away, leaving all the fat and use skin to make delicious crackling as a side or as a secret indulgence when you are finally alone again.  I love the pork I get at our market butcher – the Stockman’s Choice at Kelvin Grove Markets.  You get to bask in wonderful Scottish accents while buying the most flavoursome, succulent pork I have ever had.  The cut they have is a porterhouse.  Don’t assume I actually know about cuts of meat, but this works very well.

Choose a close fitting oven dish for your piece of pork.  A lot of liquid eventuates, so high sides is a good idea.  A dish that can go from oven to table will also save time and washing up.  A little olive oil (or whatever oil you are using for cooking) drizzled on the bottom of the dish.  Sit your pork fat side up in its new house and score the fat with a sharp knife in a criss cross fashion.  Sprinkle a thin layering of salt over the pork, then get a big bag of brown sugar and pack it on in a layer at least 2cm thick, don’t let any pork peek through.  Put a lid or plastic wrap over the top and put in the fridge for 24 hours or until you remember it again.  This can be done the morning of your bo ssam dinner, but I find it does work just a little better if the sugar and pork have spent more quality time together overnight.

4 hours before you Bo ssamwant to serve up place your pork dish in a slow oven, uncovered.  I usually have my oven at 140 degrees for the first 2 and a half hours then put it up to 150 for the last hour and a half.  Depends on your oven.  I have a slow cook setting on my oven that only cooks things if left in all day.  I am not usually that well prepared first thing in the morning, but at least I know I don’t have to buy a slow cooker.  You want the sugar nicely caramelising to a dark brown, but not burning and the pork able to melt apart with some soft poking with a fork.  To serve use tongs, fork, spoons and tear it apart so there are nice shreds of pork mixing with caramelly sauce.  Serve with lettuce leaves to wrap (the actual meaning of bo ssam is apparently wrapped up), rice (where your Thermomix comes in handy), spring onions and ginger in soy sauce, pickled vegetables – watermelon rind recipe coming up, kimchi, grated raw carrot.  You could make all kinds of sides to go with this and turn it from a Korean dish to any kind of cuisine you like, just emphasising different flavours.  A few spices in with the pork while it cooks will lift it from delicious to sublime (I like a bit of star anise and lime zest).

Try not to have too many people for dinner for this one.  It is divine on a sandwich the next day.

Custard Apple Teacake

We are very lucky to have some really good neighbours.  The family over the back fence are especially wonderful and share so many things.  Business advice, snake sighting updates, their chickens’s fresh laid eggs, recipes, jams and a lot of fresh produce.  They have a very productive mango tree and banana tree and we share a passionfruit vine that will not be tamed.  In return we have given over rights to our papayas (tried them on the children – not interested) and the children try to stop themselves throwing stuff in their rock pool.  I don’t think the neighbours are getting a fair deal.

Most recently we were gifted a box of custard apples from over the back fence.  They ripen pretty quickly, so I had to think quick.  They are delicious, but a bit fiddly to work with.  They have a strange texture for a fruit and a delicate, sweet flavour that can conflict with or be overpowered with other fruits.  You need to remember the custard part of its name and match it with things you might match with custard.  Cake, pastry, berries, lemon but not orange, chocolate, vanilla and so on.  They make a sweet, thick smoothie as a substitute for bananas, mixed with berries, nuts, milk of your choice.  And they really shine in a teacake.  I went straight to the source and converted a recipe from Custard Apples Australia.  Well, I thought they should know what they’re doing.Custard Apples

Prepare your cake tin.  I used a bundt tin, because I have a thing for uniced cakes in bundt shape.  Also it takes less time to cook and if buttered well enough you won’t leave half the cake in the tin.  But butter away at whatever tin takes your fancy.  The original recipe suggested a loaf tin, which brings to mind that this is a possible banana bread substitute.  Like banana bread, the more fruit you use the moister the cake.  If you are not sure of your tin, line with baking paper as well.

Add 120g raw/rapadura sugar to Thermomix bowl and a quarter of a vanilla pod.  Chop/grind Speed 9 for 10 seconds.  Leave it in for the next step, it will be okay with a bit of a warming.  Take your butter (home made I hope!) out of the fridge and measure 125g into the bowl.  Soften it up a bit on 50 degrees for 40 seconds on Speed 4.  If you don’t have vanilla pods, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract at this point.  Insert butterfly with a flick of the wrist and pull gently to make sure its locked on to the blades.  Mix on Speed 4 for 15 seconds, then add 2 eggs, one at a time through the hole in the lid while still on Speed 4.  Once all is well combined turn the dial off and move on to the custard apples.  Try to make sure you don’t mix for too long, 20-30 seconds all up should be more than enough.

Cut your custard apples down the centre.  To remove the innards you can use a spoon, but I found it more efficient to just separate the flesh from the seeds with my hands.  Do this close to the Thermomix so you can just throw the seedless, skinless flesh into your cake mix.  Use about 3-4 custard apples, depending on size and amount you snack on while removing the seeds.  Once you are done, wash your hands and add 200g flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  Mix again, Speed 4 for 10 seconds.  Check if all has combined.  If need be, get the spatula involved and scrape flour off the sides and mix again for 5 seconds.  Pour into prepared tin.

Bake at 160 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  My oven seems to be fast, hussy of a thing.  So it was 45 minutes.  Stick a skewer in at around 40 minutes and check how its going.  Its done when the skewer comes out clean.  Let it cool for a bit in its tin, before turning out. While it is still warm sprinkle with some sugar and a little ground cinnamon.

Custard Apple Teacake

 

 

Caramel Cake

There was a birthday in the household this week.  Miss now 6 has decided caramel is her favourite flavour.  So a caramel Cakecake was requested.  Never made one before.  She also requested that it be decorated to look like a white bird with pink eyes.  I am glad she has a lot of confidence in my cake making abilities.  But I managed to get out of failing at making a cake look like a bird by suggesting the girls decorate the cake themselves.  Better than I could do it myself!

The cake is even more delightful to eat than it is to look at (impossible!).  I based it on this recipe that I discovered through googling Caramel Cake Thermomix.  Who knew what would result?  A beautifully flavoured, not too sweet, soft cake that would be perfect for any occasion.  Add a little more salt to the mix and you have the flavour of the last few years – salted caramel.  It would be beautiful with some sliced fruit baked on top (or bottom if you want to call it an upside down cake).  It would also be delicious with some vanilla ice cream.

Take some sugar, about 200g.  The recipe says brown, I used rapadura, as I had some on hand and I find it does have a lovely toasty caramelly flavour.  You could use raw sugar if you don’t have the others.  Into the Thermomix bowl and grind to fine powder on Speed 9 for 15 seconds.  Add 125g softened butter.  If you forgot to get it out of the fridge in time, simply put the sugar out of the bowl, add the roughly chopped butter and soften on 50 degrees, for 40 seconds, Speed 4.  Scrape the butter from the top of the blades and insert butterfly with a flick of the wrist.  Return the sugar (if you have removed it), add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and cream together for 30-40 seconds.  While you have the butter on hand, grease and line a smallish cake tin (I used an 18cm) and turn on the oven at 160 degrees.

With the Thermomix still spinning at Speed 4 crack 2 eggs over the lid and pour contents through the hole.  Add a tablespoon of golden syrup (or treacle, as that is what I had to hand) while its all still whipping away.  Try not to have it all going for much longer than 2 minutes during this process.  Open the lid and weigh in 225g plain flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Add 125g milk. Close the lid and mix it all together (with butterfly still in place) until you can see the flour has blended through completely (about 15 seconds).  Pour into prepared cake tin and bake until a wooden skewer comes out clean.  My oven took about 45 minutes.

Let it cool completely in the tin and then ice according to taste.  I just did a vanilla royal icing as white icing was requested.  Yes, the vanilla turns it brown at first but you can add extra egg white and it will come back to white colouring.  There is a caramel icing listed on the site where this recipe came from.  Or choose any of the icings from the Everyday Cookbook – cream cheese, buttercream and of course, colour accordingly.  The flavour is so light and delicious that it could perform very well as a teacake – no icing at all, perhaps a sprinkling of cinnamon.Caramel Cake

Don’t ask what kind of cake I am doing for the actual party.  I usually don’t publish photos of those, lest they be reposted under the heading  Nailed It.  Presentation ain’t my strong suit.

 

 

Fried Rice – in the Thermomix!

fried riceSeriously.  Okay, it took me a while to try the Chinese-style stir fry vegetables in the Everyday Cookbook.  I didn’t believe it would work.  Or it would be a very poor version.  A chopped up mushy horrible interpretation of a stir fry.  I really only tried it because my lovely area manager told me to.  Its part of my job as a Thermomix consultant to try the seemingly impossible and see if it is actually impossible.  Because not all the recipes are for everyone.  You’ll never guess what happened.  Lo, tasty, al dente vegetables in their julienned forms emerged.  I have now made it as a side for many meals.  The next step was imminent.

Fried rice.  That combination (as I know it) of left over roast meat, vegetables, rice and your choice of the sauce on hand – soy, fish, oyster.  Maybe an egg on top either omelette form or fried, so you can squish the viscous centre through the rice as its own unctuous sauce.  I do like to add some tabasco  through my cooked rice dishes too.  It might be sacrilege but I put it on risotto sometimes too.  You don’t have to.

Quirky Jo had a fried rice recipe.  I have come to trust this woman knows what she is talking about with her recipes.  She can cook tasty things.  As always, though, I have my own tweaks.  My leftover roast meat is a slow cooked pork (no skin, just a nice covering of fat, scored), that was marinated in a little salt and a lot of brown sugar for 24 hours, then cooked slow for 4 or 5 hours until it is soft and you can shred it into a molassesy deliciousness.  It is beautiful in its first incarnation served with iceberg lettuce as a wrap, filled with rice, shreds of pork, chopped spring onion mixed with ginger and soy, and some kind of pickle – my favourite being watermelon rind pickle – all a version of a momofuku dish, taken from various blogs on this fantastic combination of flavours, e.g., the bitten word.  As the meat in a fried rice it is almost as divine.  Paired with some fried bacon its particularly awesome.  I try to limit pork consumption to once or twice a month.  When I have it I like to make it worthwhile.

So, here is what I did.  Pour a 400ml can of coconut milk (or cream, as it is what I had in the cupboard) in the bowl.  Pour another 500g water in as well.  Insert steamer basket and weigh in 400g basmati or jasmine rice.  Close the lid, put the MC on and swish the water around for 20 seconds on Speed 7 or 8.  You want all the rice wet so it steams through.  Heat on Varoma for 20 minutes, Speed 4.  As it heats up, chop some veggies to add to the Varoma basket – chopped carrot, broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, bok choy, spring onions, whatever you have on hand and you can convince yourself have some Asian affiliation.  Put them in the basket as you chop – harder veg like carrot first – replacing the lid each time so the steam can do its cooking.  Quirky Jo steamed some chicken or prawns or bacon underneath the veg at this point.  I draw the line at steaming bacon.  I want it crispy.  And I want my leftover slow cooked pork crispy.  So in the fry pan they went, helped with some rendered fat from bacon rinds I like to turn into pre dinner crisps.  Crunchy, salty with the sweetness of the melted sugar.  Mix with rice and vegetables when each are done.

Whisk 4-5 eggs with some garlic chives or parsley (if you happen to have them growing in the garden as I do) or just some salt and pepper.  Wet a sheet of baking paper, screw it up and wring out extra water, then line Varoma tray with it, place on top of vegetables and pour in egg mixture.  I was supervising bath time at the same time, so the eggs went on a little late.  I removed rice and veg and mixed together in the Thermoserver, added some more water to the bowl and put the eggs back on to steam until it sets.  Chop roughly and mix through rice, pork, bacon and vegetables.  Serve with or without tabasco.  Throw your wok away.

Mango Cheesecake

At this time of year Queensland really shows off.  Not with sweaty, but even temperatures, while the southern states suffer bipolar weather conditions.  Not with the sudden, yet inevitable thunder storms every other day.  Certainly not with the threat of cyclones in the far north, although I suppose that is a bit of extravert behaviour.  No, the turn of January into February brings the most abundant and wonderful fruit to woo all your senses.  The stone fruits in every market and every fruit shop call to you with fabulous sweet scents and parading of plump flesh and sumptuous colours.  The figs, my god, the figs!  All the sought after, rare fruits that appear briefly and expensively in Sydney are being offered by the trayful for weeks.  Mangoes are being sold at ridiculously low prices, possibly because there are mango trees everywhere in suburban streets, heavy with fruit, dropping produce on the pavement.  It is times of abundance such as these that call for creativity to use it all up.

mango cheesecake

I am toying with a few mango chutney recipes but not quite happy with them yet.  In the meantime I have always wanted to try the steamed cheesecake in the Everyday Cookbook.  I made the base out of crumble mix I had left over from a previous dessert making enterprise.  And I made enough mango coulis for cheesecake topping as well as several days of my daughter’s current favourite breakfast combination of mango and yoghurt.

For the base, add the following to the Thermomix bowl.  100g rolled oats, 100g plain flour (you can use any kind of flour you like really), 80g brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 100g butter (not too soft).  If you wanted lemony rather than gingery/cinnamonny first grate the zest of half a lemon, then add flour, oats, sugar and butter.  Mix 5-10 seconds Speed 5 on Reverse.  Check consistency.  Butter should have mixed evenly through so it all looks a bit bread crumby.  Grease and line a springform tin.  If you want to steam this in the Varoma you need a 15cm tin.  Or you could do it in individual portion tins.  I grabbed the first one I saw, which was 23cm.  This is why my cheesecake in the picture isn’t very high and why I steamed it in the oven instead.  Press crumble base mixture into the bottom of the chosen tin until it is mostly even and reaches the edges all around.  Bake in 160 degree oven for 10 minutes or until slightly browned and biscuit like.  Set aside to cool.

Rinse out and dry the bowl then move onto making the mango coulis.  Add 30g raw sugar and zest of 2 limes to the bowl and blitz on Speed 9 for 10 seconds.  Add flesh of mangoes that are starting to get black spots or really need using up.  I used 3 medium sized one.  If using more or less adapt other ingredients accordingly.  Ripe mangoes don’t need a lot of added sweetness, so you could skip the sugar altogether, but be sure not to add much more even with more mangoes.   You don’t want cloying.  You can be a bit more free wheeling with the sugar if the mangoes are greener or firmer.   Add juice of two limes (the ones you zested earlier perhaps), 50g water and cook 4 minutes, 90 degrees, Speed 3.5.  Set aside to cool, then transfer to the fridge.

Depending on your attitude to rinsing the bowl between things, either clean and dry bowl or be okay with a little mango/lime flavour in the cheesecake filling.  Definitely not a bad thing.  Just the layers aren’t as separated flavour wise this way.  Blitz 50g sugar and half a vanilla bean (or add a teaspoon of vanilla essence with the cream cheese) for 10 seconds (little more if the bowl is wet or still has residual mango coulis), then add 500g roughly chopped cream cheese and blend for 40 seconds speed 5.  Scrape down bowl.  Turn to Speed 4 and add 4 eggs one at a time through the hole in the lid until all combined.  Once eggs are in, blend 30 seconds on Speed 9 until smooth consistency.  Pour cheesecake filling onto cooled crumb biscuit base.

If steaming in the oven, cover cheesecake tin bottom and sides with foil so it is waterproof, then place in a roasting tin and pour water into roasting tin till 1/3 up to sides of cheesecake tin.  Loosely place tin foil over top of cheesecake to allow steaming, but avoid burning.  Place in oven on 150 degrees for 40-60 minutes.  It is cooked when its solid in the centre.  Not sure a skewer will come out clean but it shouldn’t be too wobbly or liquidy when gently wobbled.

If steaming in the Varoma, place 1L water into cleaned mixing bowl.  Place cheesecake into Varoma dish on top and put on the lid.  Steam on Varoma temperature, 50-60 minutes, Speed 2.  If individual portion sizes it will be shorter cooking time.  Check after 20 minutes.  Again check its doneness with a gentle wobble.

Set aside to cool, then once cooled to room temperature, pour mango coulis on top then place in fridge to set for 3 hours or overnight.  Coulis should be thick enough not to dribble down the sides.  If it is a bit thin you can wait till you serve the cheesecake before you pour on the coulis.  And if you have left over mango coulis pour it on everything you eat from now on till used up.  It goes with everything!

Gazpacho

Hot summery nights call for cooling dinners.  Or lunches, or brunches, because where I am it is pretty much the same temperature all day and night.  This dish cools you down, is packed with fresh vegetables AND can cope very well with adding vodka or sherry to it for a Spanish Bloody Mary.  Hey, a lot of people are still on holidays!

The beauty of making this recipe with a Thermomix is it takes away the need for the fiddly process of removing skins and seeds as blending it in the final step crushes everything into a smooth, smooth rosy liquid.  You can adjust the flavours as necessary.  Add more or less garlic.  Boost the vinegar.  I find many gazpacho recipes too heavy on the vinegar which makes the fresh flavours of the vegetables disappear under a face contorting tang.  The gazpachos we had in Spain (did I mention I’ve travelled?) were fresh and zingy with just a hint of vinegary sharpness.  Its all about balance.

This recipe is a conversion of the gazpacho andaluz in Movida, a beautiful cookbook from the Melbourne chef (and now Australia wide restauranteur) Frank Camorra.  I’ve never eaten at Movida, but I just heard that there is a new one at Sydney airport, so it could be something to cross off for 2014 next time I’m visiting family.  Thanks Kay for the heads up on that one!

Roughly chop (halves or quarters) 1kg tomatoes, throw into Thermomix bowl and puree on Speed 7 for 20 seconds.  Deseed one red and one green capsicum and quarter.  Roughly chop 2 lebanese cucumbers and a red onion.  Peel a garlic clove.  Throw them all in the bowl with the blended tomato.  Chop it all up on Speed 7 for 20 seconds then blend on 9 for 1 minute.  Add 100 ml olive oil and 10-20g vinegar.  The recipe says 60ml vinegar and to use aged sherry vinegar.  I prefer less vinegar.  I added apple cider vinegar because I don’t have aged sherry vinegar and because I have the apple cider vinegar with the mother and am still on the idea that it might have added health benefits.  If you want a clearer, crisper taste I would recommend adding just a nice dry sherry.  Whichever you add, taste as you go so you don’t wreck the flavour with too much sharpness outweighing the fresh flavours.  Add a teaspoon of salt and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper.  Blend again on Speed 5 for 10 seconds.

photo

At this point your Thermomix is going to be pretty full.  The last step is easier done in two batches.  Its a bit of a pain, but it does save cleaning up a lot of soup running all over the place if you don’t split it up.  Do this step just before serving so the soup is icy cold.  Pour half out and set aside.  Add two handfuls of ice cubes and blend on Speed 9 (go up slowly so as not to frighten your MC to halfway across the room) for 1 minute.  Do the same with the second half.  Check consistency and thin if necessary by stirring in some chilled water.  

Serve with some fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (mint, basil, chives, parsley – depends on your mood and international flavour profile).   If you are in a party frame of mind mix with vodka and serve in shot glasses.  Or go hipster with jar glasses and silver straws (thanks Miriam for mine!).  Or go 70s Bloody Mary style with a big celery swizzel stick.  Anyhow you have it – enjoy!

Cauliflower Salad (More Delightful Than It Sounds)

Christmas cooking is over for another year.  I realise it is a stressful experience for some people, but I had a great time being able to cook for visiting family.  We had a roast goose (turned out very well for a first time experience), plum sauce (I have blogged this recipe before), potatoes roasted in goose fat and assorted other roast veggies.  It was all very delicious, but the stand out was a surprising number.  It was cauliflower cous cous (named for the cauliflower pretending to be a wheat based thing), from Recipe Community.  Its another Matt Stone recipe, like the almond milk rice pudding, so no wonder it worked so well.  I chose it because of the Christmassy colours, but really had no idea how it would taste.

IMG_7463

Cauliflower is the tofu of the paleo circuit.  It is used to stand in for other grains, such as rice or cous cous dishes.  It also features in a lot of raw recipes.  Thermomix makes the required transitioning of large vegetable into tiny grains very easy.  You chop the stalky bits on 6 for a 10 seconds, checking they are evenly chopped (if not, another few seconds after scraping down the sides) then put in the florets on reverse, Speed 5 for 2-3 seconds.  You don’t want to make a puree, but rice sized pieces, so keep an eye on it while chopping.  Once you have a big bowl full of cauliflower ‘grains’ put them into a large salad bowl and get to work on the rest.  No need to rinse the bowl in between all these steps.  It all ends up in the same salad.

Shell a bowl full of pistachios.  You want to end up with around 100-150g of shelled nuts.  Put them in the Thermomix bowl and chop 2-3 seconds Speed 5.  Add to cauliflower in salad bowl.  Tear up a big handful of parsley and another of coriander.  Throw into Thermomix bowl and chop 2 seconds on Speed 6.  If you don’t have coriander just double the parsley.  Thats what I did.  Add  to salad bowl.

Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salad.  I used almost a whole pomegranate’s worth of seeds, but its up to you and your relationship with pomegranates.  I love the sharp and sweet taste with a little crunch.  There is a YouTube video of how to deseed a pomegranate in a Thermomix if you are interested, along with quite a number of handy Thermomix how to videos.  I just did it by hand with a few splatters to add to the Christmas outfit.

The dressing calls for pomegranate molasses, which you can of course make in a Thermomix, but I didn’t have any on me on the day, so I mixed a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, 80g olive oil, the juice of two lemons, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a liberal grinding of pepper and a sprinkling of salt.  I was mixing it in the Thermomix, so thought why not throw in a handful of pomegranate seeds that I was about to add to the salad.  Mix it all up, Speed 6 for 10 seconds and you have a tangy dressing with a little sweetness that just melds the whole thing together.  Drizzle on dressing and toss salad thoroughly so all components are nicely mixed.  You will have people asking for the recipe.

Peach Jam with a Twist of Lime

Christmas present making is underway and I am determined to actually make all teacher, neighbour, postman, market providore gifts this year.  The postman has been delivering a few more Thermomixes to my door in the last couple of months and he deserves something for having to put up with me answering the door in pjs and bed hair.   The apple man at Kelvin Grove Markets regularly gives me a bag of slightly scarred fruit for free, so it is only fair he gets a jar of that produce back in return.

I have posted a winter fruit jam – perfectly timed for school fetes – with Pear and Ginger Jam.  Now for your summer fruit jam recipe.  Peaches are a great fruit to jam with because they are often found squishy in your fruit bowl or at least a few battered ones at the bottom of the bag when you get home from the store/market.  Nothing better to do with squishy fruit than turn it into jam.  This jam also makes your house smell wonderful while cooking it.  And if you steam the fruit first as per instructions below to make removing the skin easy you end up with a rosy coloured water that is perfect for making Turkish delight without having to use food colouring.  See further posts once I perfect my jelly setting techniques for this one.

2013-12-07 15.51.31 2013-12-04 10.19.38Take a kilo of peaches.  Any kind you like.  If you have a lovely fruit providore relieve them of peaches that have scars or are slightly bruised and won’t sell.  You are likely to get these either free or much cheaper than your perfectly formed, photogenic fruit.  Cut a cross in the bottom of each peach and fit into the steamer basket and Varoma.   Pour water to 1Litre mark (halfway up) in Thermomix bowl.  Insert steamer basket, lid and put Varoma in place.  Select Varoma heat, 20 minutes, speed 2.  Check peaches to see if skins can be easily peeled off.  If peaches still too firm cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

Allow the peaches to cool a little so you can peel them without burning your fingertips.  Pour out the water from the bowl – keeping it if you plan to make jelly with the peach hued liquid.  Peel peaches and remove the stones.  Set peach flesh aside.  Peel the zest from two limes.  Quarter a granny smith apple, leaving core in.  Place zest and apple in Thermomix and blitz for 10 seconds on Speed 9.  Scrape down sides and check if its all chopped finely enough.  If not, blitz again.

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Press scales button and weigh in peach flesh.  Juice zested limes and add juice to Thermomix bowl.  Match the total weight of peaches and juice with raw sugar.  I ended up with around 600g peach flesh and lime juice and so added 600g raw sugar to the bowl.  Put the lid on and select Varoma heat, 25 minutes, speed 2.  Put as many jars as can fit in Varoma and put on top.  This way you can sterilise and heat your jars while you make your jam.  Put a saucer in the fridge so you can test the setting of your jam.

Cooking time will depend on how much water is in the fruit, which varies from fruit to fruit.  Once the timer finishes, open the lid and spoon a little onto the cold saucer to see if it sets or runs around.  This is a good opportunity to taste test as well.  For my last batch I needed to put it back on to cook for a further 10 minutes until it was at a setting stage.  This gives you extra time to steam some more jars.  Once it is setting on the cold saucer decant the jam into your sterilised, warm jars.  I find doing this over a tea towel helps with cleanup.

Just a note – if you find the jam is too chunky, resist the urge to blend it after cooking.  This will cloud your jam.  It will still taste the same, just won’t look as nice.  I speak from experience.  Now, just to see who the cloudy jam will go to.  Might be a good test to see which members of my family read my blog.

 

 

 

Bakey Beans

I continue to explore new breakfast options and this one not only makes a great breakfast, but is my husband’s favourite at any time of day with eggs, or sausages or just some buttery toast.  You will never go back to tinned baked beans again after you have tried Thermomix baked beans.

I’ve tried a couple of baked beans recipes for the Thermomix and they all work really well, its just a matter of adjusting for taste and texture.  If you like a hot and spicy number add some fresh chilli at the beginning or tabasco sauce.  If you like it with a tangier taste splash some vinegar in.  If you want your beans mushy soft add a few more minutes to the cooking time.

This one is mainly based on Quirky Jo’s recipe, but also takes a little from a Recipe Community contribution because that is the first baked bean recipe I tried.  Quirky Jo’s version has a delectable sweetness, the recipe community one has a fresh taste because of the herbs.

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First, choose your bean.  Cannellini beans work very nicely, but you can mix it up with some kidney beans or your four bean selection.  3x 400g cans of beans, drained, will make a good amount for 4-6 or for enough leftovers for breakfasts during the week.  If you are using dried beans you need to plan ahead.  Soak them for a day beforehand and then cook them in the steamer basket for 45 minutes (as per the recipe community baked beans recipe – see tip) prior to commencing this recipe.  

Next, put a peeled, halved onion into the bowl with 2 peeled cloves of garlic and a long red chilli, halved and chop 3 seconds on Speed 5.  Scrape down the sides then add 20ml oil and sauté for 2 minutes on 100 degrees.  Insert the butterfly.

Add the drained beans, 400g fresh or canned tomatoes, a tablespoon of veg stock concentrate, 70g tomato paste, 100ml of water (MCful), big handful of fresh parsley or basil or a mix of both, 40g sugar (you can use around this amount of any sweetener, e.g., golden syrup, honey – I used 20g raw sugar and 20g treacle because that is what I had in the cupboard), salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 20 minutes on 100 degrees at Speed 1 with MC off.  There isn’t much splatter so the steamer basket probably won’t be needed on top, but you can put it there just in case.  Test seasoning and texture of beans.  If beans still a little too al dente cook for a further 3-4 minutes (this may be the case with the dried beans).  Cooking a few more minutes will also reduce the sauce further, so do this if you feel its not thick enough.  Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley.

Blue Cheese Souffle

This is a recipe I have been making for a while pre Thermomix.  A friend suggested it as a solution to my soft cheese craving during pregnancy.  I was awash with guilt if I stepped off the listeria no go list that helpful doctors have to give you when pregnancy is first confirmed.  The list contains most foods, so is not particularly helpful in any way, except to give you a horrible case of anxiety that you will be poisoning your foetus if you eat soft cheese, salads (might be unwashed!), chicken of any kind and cured meats. Kind of felt like fast food was the only option, which works brilliantly with a first child, but makes you share said salty crap if you already have a toddler attached to your every waking hour.

Anyhoo, back to the soufflé.  It goes wonderfully well with steak.  The juice from the meat combined with the fluffy, blue cheese flavoured souffle is fabulous.  And, of course, the Thermomix makes it so easy to do.

First, insert the butterfly into your clean, dry bowl.  Separate four eggs (over the bowl if you are feeling lucky), adding the egg whites to the bowl and the yolks aside for the next step.  Add a pinch of cream of tartar or salt and start whipping on speed 3.5.  I don’t know why the pinch, but the Everyday Cookbook says to and it worked (I used cream of tartar – its in the Thermomix playdough so I have it on hand), so I’m all for it.  Watch through the lid for it forming soft peaks.  It takes about a minute and a half.  Remove from the bowl and set aside.

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Throw some chunks of blue cheese into the bowl, about 60-70g.  Chop at Speed 5 for 3-4 seconds.  Set aside.  It will be a little paste like.  Feel free to add other kinds of cheese, parmesan, gruyere, they all work well.

Next, add the reserved egg yolks, 60g corn flour, 300g full cream milk, 50g butter, some ground black pepper and a little salt to the bowl and cook for 3-5 minutes Speed 3 on 90 degrees.  Make sure its reached 90 degrees and check if the mixture is thickening.  Add the reserved cheese and, if the mixture is still thin, cook at 90 for a further 2 minutes.  If thickened, just mix at Speed 5 for 5 seconds.

Add a little of the reserved whipped egg whites and incorporate with the rest of the mixture.  Add the rest and softly fold in so the fluffy egg whites don’t break down too much.

Butter or oil spray a soufflé dish or several individual ramekins or something with high sides and line with grated parmesan cheese.  Pour the souffle mixture in to three quarters full.  Bake in a 180 degree oven until risen, browned on top and not wobbly when gently shaken.  My oven took about 15 minutes.  Small ramekins will take around 10, bigger dishes may take more.

Eat with gusto.  And red meat.

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