Seriously. 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.
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.
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!