Monthly Archives: May, 2013

Cauliflower Soup

E62B6CEDCA3741A7Sure.  It doesn’t sound like the most exciting soup.  Or vegetable.  But whiz it up with some potato to thicken, perhaps some truffle oil if you are being fancy (I just happen to have some in the pantry at all times), sprinkle with cracked black pepper, fresh parsley and some crisped pancetta chips (bacon will do) and you have yourself a high end meal.  Even for those ‘soup is not a meal’ folk out there, pair this soup with some gruyere on toast melted in the grill and it will be hard to argue that all the food groups are not getting fair representation.

Having a Thermomix has made me enjoy making soup in a way I have never before.  I have dabbled with soups in the past.  They have never met my standards.  The cooking of the vegetables then transferring to a food processor was the kind of hassle that loses that therapeutic feeling most cooking gives me.  Or the draining of a giant stockpot into a colander over a bowl in the sink.  I’m not very coordinated so many times hot liquid was splashed about causing not only interesting shaped burns but also a mess that made me regret embarking on the whole process in the first place.  Also I have a talent for always choosing a container that is too small for whatever I am trying to pour into it.  I don’t know why.  But I do it every time.

However, forgive my bias, the Thermomix has changed things.  Soups are a breeze, a joy.  Just chop onion and garlic in the bowl.  Add around 20g oil and saute on 100 degrees for 2-3 minutes on speed 1.  Fill the basket with your vegetables of choice (in this case mostly cauliflower, plus about 2 peeled potatoes cut in half).  Pour 1 litre of water plus 3 tablespoons of your concentrated vegetable stock (or if you want to keep the soup a whiter colour use 1 litre of chicken stock, which you have of course made previously in the Thermomix) into the bowl.  Place the vegetable laden basket inside the bowl and cook for 15 minutes at 100 degrees on Speed 1.  Test that the veggies are soft.  If not, cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add a good splash of truffle oil at this stage, maybe some cumin if you feel like another layer of flavour.  Then blend it to a smooth puree (with the MC on) on Speed 9 for 1 minute.  Decorate as described above for maximum wow.

The Everyday Cookbook has another version.  Recipe Community has a Neil Perry conversion as well which sounds extremely tasty.  Of course it has more cream and such.  Thermomix recipes are there for the experimenting.  Its so easy to do.  You’ve just got to try it.

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Baked Eggs in Pancetta With Hollandaise Sauce

I find breakfast tricky.  I’m not a morning person.  Decision making is not at its best for me when I first drag myself out of bed.  I find most cereals too sweet or boringly repetitive.  Eggs would be a favourite choice but it is not in me most mornings to bother to cook myself a breakfast.

ImageThese little beauties, however, are very easy and very delicious.  Maybe not an everyday breakfast but certainly something to look forward on the weekend or any lazy morning at home.

Line a ramekin with some pancetta.  Crack an egg or two into the pancetta lining.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and shove into the oven at around 180 degrees or whatever temperature you can be bother to set the dial to at that time of the morning.  While they are cooking use your trusty Thermomix to make some hollandaise sauce.  The recipe in the Everyday Cookbook is ridiculously easy and comes out perfectly.  No need for any tweaks there.  Toss some bread in the toaster and by the time its done your eggs should be perfectly set (runny yolks, opaque whites, crispy line of pancetta around the top).  Pour hollandaise sauce into the ramekins, slice buttered toast into soldiers (or not, if you don’t like breakfast to be fun), receive coffee from barista/husband and decide the world is not so bad.

Crunchy Fish

Dinner is a subject on my mind most of my waking hours.  It is my favourite meal of the day, so from the morning of a world of opportunities to the afternoon of waning energy resources to the evening practicalities of what is on hand, it is the main concern of my day.  Sure, others are curing cancer and taking care of the disadvantaged.  I am trying to create the perfect meal.

Image A popular one in our house is crunchy fish.  I’ve never really liked fish fingers or any precrumbed thing you might find at the shops.  They never live up to their potential.  I had a lovely relationship with the mother of my first boyfriend and she was a brilliant cook.  Her chicken schnitzel was beyond compare and I think I have been chasing its magnificence ever since.

In my mind there is only one way to crumb.  You must make your own breadcrumbs.  Its dead easy and it uses up stale bread.  I toast some stale bread, chuck it in a food processor, toss in some parmesan, parsley and peppercorns if I’m feeling fancy and Bob is your great uncle (even though his real name is Joseph).  If you are doing fish I recommend using orange roughy.  I don’t know if it has other names.  I have asked my fishmonger his recommendations for a good frying fish.  He said cod.  WRONG!!  Ignore anyone saying it is cod.  It is not.  Orange roughy produces a lovely succulent flakiness even after the harsh treatment of being coated in corn flour then egg then breadcrumbs and tossed into a frying pan of hot oil.

Its popular with children and adults alike. And as far from a fish finger as you can imagine.

Quince Paste

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I was very happy to see a big box of quinces at a reasonable per kilo price at our local market recently.  It meant I had an excuse to try out making quince paste!

They are a less than appealing looking fruit and the preparation methods you generally find for them don’t help their cause.  But if Maggie Beer can do it so can I.  For I have the added super power of a super kitchen tool.

I followed the best bits of a few recipes and hints I found from Thermomixer,  Tick of Yum and Recipe Community, which were variations of recipes from the beautiful (but not yet mine) Thermomix recipe books In the Mix and Devil of a Cookbook.  Keeping the peel and core in the process, but separating them from the flesh while cooking made it really easy to follow and the paste set beautifully.  So much so that I allowed it to cool a little too long and then had a lovely set jelly in the processing bowl which I then had to lever out and squish in to molds.  Just over a kilo of quinces makes a shed load of quince paste.  I am now in search of a gigantic wheel of stinky cheese to eat with it.

CAA4656095C2480F This is just a small part of the quince paste produced in my inaugural batch.  You will note that the result is not quite as neat as Maggie’s.  Next time I won’t get distracted once I’ve finished cooking it.  Apparently it keeps for an age as long as you take the least precautions against the extreme wildlife or weather that are an everyday part of living in Queensland.  As with everything I am making for the first time the use by dates are an experiment in mould identification and the sniff it and see test.

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