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.
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.
This is one for the people I disappointed with my Green Juice post last week. And anyone who likes chocolate. And nuts. And things only the Thermomix can make seem hilariously easy.
Hazelnut Chocolate Spread appears as a recipe in the Everyday Cookbook. I implore you to try it. It kicks Nutella right in the bottom. It is rich, but not overly sweet. You could pour it straight from the Thermomix bowl into a cooked pastry case, leave it to set in the fridge and have an extremely good chocolate tart. You could use it as a filling for biscuit sandwiches or macarons. Or you could pour it into some jars and have tablespoon ready chocolate fix sitting in your fridge. I have been spreading it on lightly toasted sourdough for an after school dropoff pick me up with my morning coffee. My eldest is choosing it as her dessert, spread on fresh bread, if she makes a good effort eating her dinner.
There are a few different recipes that vary from the Everday Cookbook version. As usual, I took them all into consideration and came up with my own. First I ground on Speed 9 for 10 seconds 60g raw sugar to icing sugar (for easy dissolving). Next throw in 150g chocolate (broken into small pieces) and 90g hazelnuts and grind at Speed 9 for 10 seconds. Check texture and grind again if not fine enough for you. I didn’t bother skinning or roasting the hazelnuts, but I’m sure if you did it would produce an even lovelier toasty flavour. I used Lindt 70% cocoa dessert chocolate. This is the one I usually have in the fridge for my chocolate cooking needs. I can buy it at Coles and it gives a nicer flavour than any of the other cooking chocolates I have tried from the supermarket. One day perhaps I will look into finding a source for some higher quality chocolate like the Callebaut Muttering Housewife swears by. One day. Vary sugar according to the chocolate you use, and your sweet palette. If it is a milk chocolate it will be much sweeter than dark. Most recipes suggest between 50-90g sugar.
I skipped the cocoa powder because I had added an extra 50g chocolate. Add either 70g butter or same of a flavourless oil such as grapeseed. A nut oil would add a nice flavour too. Or coconut oil if you have it around. Not olive oil. Too fruity for this. I used oil instead of butter as I was going to sell a couple of jars at my school fete jam stall, so trying to reduce degradable ingredients and also wanted it to be spreadable out of the fridge. Add 100g milk and heat at 50 degrees for 6 minutes on Speed 3. Check the consistency after it has finished, cook a couple of minutes more if you think it too runny. It does firm up once in the fridge. Pour into your sterilised jars, transfer to fridge and try to resist eating in one go. They make a fabulous present.
Just a word on bottling your own freshly made goods. I realise some are a bit worried about things going off when its homemade. There are no use by dates on your jar of lovingly prepared stuff. From a lot of Google research and many conversations to home jam makers in my preparation for jam stall convening I came across a few basics to help with this. Hot things should be poured into hot jars, so glass doesn’t crack. Don’t use plastic, it is harder to sterilise without compromising and different plastics behave in different ways. Stick to glass. Clean and collect jars from your current stock of bought goods. Sterilise your cleaned jars and lids (steam in the oven, boil on the stove, steam in the Varoma if the jars fit) while you are cooking your jams, etc. 10 minutes on full steam should do it. Drain on a clean tea towel, then turn over to pour stuff in. The tea towel helps in clean up too – I have taken some practice to get most of the goods in the jar. Don’t use screw top lids or stopper lids because they don’t seal properly. Use jars and lids that most jams come in, ie, that have metal lids that twist a little to open. Pickle or olive jars are good, but you have a hard time getting the pickle flavour out, so use them for savoury things like sauces or your own pickles. Leave as little surface area as possible so oxygen has a harder time getting in. This means fill right up to the neck and try to use smaller neck jars. Fasten the lid and turn upside down for 10 minutes or until you remember to turn them upright. This not only helps to show you whether your lid is fastened tight, but also helps with the seal. Or so I have been told. Once opened to use, always store in the fridge. Lastly, check it for mould when using each time. Also, as my father would say, suck it and see. A sniff and a tiny taste will tell you whether it has passed its prime. My father would probably still eat it anyway, but he has some hardy gut bacteria from a life of indifference to use by dates.
Its been an under the weather week in this house. I don’t know about you, but after spending too many days housebound with the dreaded lurgy I feel like burning all pajamas and bedding associated with the illness. I may have read too many plague books. Luckily that urge isn’t strong enough to act on, it just tends to lead to a lot of washing in hot water.
My illness was in the throat, so I was off my tucker for a bit. Horrifying I know. Instead of thinking of all the tasty creations I could make for dinner I turned my thoughts to what my giant tonsils would let pass them with the least amount of pain.
I tried soup. No. Heat = pain. Also, my lovely husband, who was learning how to make soup in the Thermomix while looking after a sick wife and children, thought it was a good idea to throw in a chilli. In normal circumstances that would be fine with me. In this case, no. Heat two ways = lots of pain.
Next I tried sorbet. Yes. Ice worked much better. An added bonus was using up some fruit from our ever abundant fruit bowl. I did pink grapefruit. Some vitamin C there. I ate some shortly after I made it, then put the rest in icicle containers so I could access some icy soothing as many times as I needed.
As I often do when faced with unfamiliar things I turned to Quirky Jo. She has some very good green juice recipes. I tried the Shrek Juice for the kids (cup of ice, peeled orange x 3, handful of spinach leaves). They actually like it! Look!
For a grown up version, I went with Jo’s Favourite Green Smoothie, which is a frozen banana or two, snapped into thirds and thrown in, 2 apples in quarters (I did core, though Jo suggested you don’t need to), 1 peeled lime, 2 cups of ice (or a few more cubes – I wanted it icy cold to numb the tonsils), 300g water and a torn up smallish bunch of washed kale. You could use spinach, or even lettuce instead. I had bought some kale and wasn’t sure what to do with it. Muttering Housewife hadn’t said nice things about it, in fact, compared its taste to horse blankets, so I was a bit scared. It had started looking a bit sad and soggy in the fridge so I thought I should chuck it into this juice mix before it went too far. Mix all this up on Speed 10 for 2 minutes for a completely smooth texture. It makes a good amount, enough for 4 serves.
I managed to finish a schooner of it and I couldn’t taste any horse blankets. It wasn’t too sweet, but flavoursome. More a fruit juice taste than a vegetable juice taste. The banana gave it a creamy texture, so I suppose smoothie could be used to describe it. I still prefer to call it juice. And I will call it that when I make it every time I have any greens on hand. It is a great breakfast option as it has a great nutrition boost and good for iron absorption with leafy greens and vitamin C. Also quite a good afternoon pick me up.
I realise there may be friends who knew me in my 20s who may wonder what has happened to me.
School holidays are here (in Queensland at least), which means I try to fill up our time with lots of playdates. My aim is to minimise long stretches of time at home and maximise both tiring activities for the children and adult company for me. Both visits to other homes and receiving guests means a need for morning or afternoon tea. Having been in a mothers group for five years (a lovely group of people who are the very best of what other parents can be – non judgmental) I have found there is such a thing as cake overload. However, you still need to cater for the varying states of parenthood:
1. Pregnant. Eating cake is mostly guilt free (making exceptions for those with gestational diabetes, where you just have to say ‘I realise there is hardly anything here you can eat and I am really sorry for that. Have a cracker.’). When you are pregnant these days it is often necessary to feel guilty eating almost anything but cake once you have been handed that listeria pamphlet by your well meaning doctor. Any food prepared by others, especially your healthy choices of salads and sandwiches, are possibly harbouring this horrifying bacteria. And under no circumstances eat chicken, deli meats, soft cheeses or anything else that might allow you an enjoyable life.
2. Breastfeeding. Need cake even more than pregnant. Operating on very little sleep, possibly forgetting meals in the constant fog of calculating times between feeds for the wee one and requiring a larger calorie intake than usual due to having all nutrients sucked out every two to four hours.
3. Trying to lose weight. Once breastfeeding stops that larger calorie intake needs to be curtailed quicksmart or the continued lack of sleep and irregular meals seems to start working against your body and weight gain happens while you are worrying if the house is child proofed enough for the junior Houdini who recently emerged from babyhood. Which means cake playdates can be very hard to do.
4. Maintaining sanity. The rest of the parenting experience. Sleep is either still being caught up or just a new level of deprived. Children’s needs continue to outweigh parents’ needs by everything to none. Cake is appreciated but when playdates are more than once a week it is useful to have another choice.
Which brings us to muffins. Sure, they are cake like. But I find a bit more room to move in the healthier options department. And nutritional value. For example, you can stick either fruit or vegetables in there and children won’t necessarily run from them. Also, because muffins are supposed to be only barely mixed together they are very quick to make.
I have loosely followed a recipe from a blog I googled while looking for a way to make use of an excess of bananas – Cat Can Cook. It seemed to be a fairly robust, simple recipe that could be adjusted easily to fit in whatever you have in the fruit bowl or in the vegetable drawer. Firstly I did banana and sultana muffins.
Peel 3 or 4 bananas and break them into pieces as you put them in the Thermomix bowl. Add half a cup of sugar (I used rapadura sugar for these as I had it and am finding it gives a lovely caramelly flavour to things), a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of bicarb soda (while you have the teaspoon out), 1 egg, a pinch of salt, 60-70 grams melted butter (or oil – depending on your tastes and what is in your stocks) and 220 grams (or one and a half cups) of plain flour. Mix on Speed 5 for 10 seconds. Check on it, maybe spatula the sides and if need be mix for another 5 seconds. Add a handful or so of sultanas and mix again, but on Reverse this time, for 5 seconds. Decant to muffin tray with patty pans if you can’t be bothered greasing the little indents. Bake in oven on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Everyone’s ovens are different so keep an eye on them and don’t do what I did and forget until they are quite brown on top and you can smell them through the house. Or do if that is how you appreciate time.
I have also tried apple and blueberry muffins, where you make an apple sauce first (there is one in the Everyday Cookbook – add some cinnamon if you wish) then follow as above, substituting blueberries for sultanas. Adjust sweetness depending on the fruit by tasting the batter. If it tastes as if you could keep eating it without bothering with the oven you should have it about right.
As for savoury, I have found if you substitute, say, grated zuchinni and/or carrot (blitzed from roughly chopped to itty bitty pieces prior in Thermomix) for the fruit and grated cheese for the sugar the flavour is about right. You may need to add some salt depending on the saltiness of your cheese. Depending on your child’s tastes you could throw in some spring onion during the grating process to add a zing to the flavour.
And there you have your basic muffin. Breakfast substitute for the perpetually foggy minded. Nutrition for the kidlets. Close enough for the cake deprived.
Ooh Aah 1 and cousin QPat’s Ooh Aah admiring how warm the Thermoserver keeps pancakes
While in Sydney there was a request from host niece for buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Buckwheat has a pronounced savoury flavour, so I found her request refreshing. She has previously been known to be a little particular with food and wary of trying new things. The fact that she prefers buckwheat over regular white flour pancakes as well as a love of lemon tarts (no chocolate or meringue please Aunty!) might just mean she is of a discerning palate rather than just a fussy eater. I have found this with several fussy eaters. It often ends up being a textural or flavour preference as they grow out of the food/control resistance they might put up as toddlers.
Anyhoo, my sister and I set to work to make breakfast for the various children tumbling about in the next room. We were after a more crepey result than the American style fat stodgy pancakes that look more impressive but make you regret eating them halfway through the second one. How anyone eats a stack of them I don’t know.
I toyed with a couple of recipes, the one in the Everyday Cookbook and one on Forum Thermomix. I doubled the latter recipe and added some plain flour to take away a little of the strong buckwheaty flavour. So with a bit more tweaking I came to the following recipe.
First take 100g of your wholegrain buckwheat, grind to a flour as the Thermomix so satisfyingly does for 30 seconds at Speed 9. Now add 100g of plain flour (or if you are preferring a gluten free option, use 100g gluten free cornflour), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon of sugar (or not, especially if you are going to drown them in honey or maple syrup), 2 eggs, 40g oil or butter and 500g milk. Mix for 10 seconds on Speed 5, scrape down sides, fire up crepe pan with a smudge of butter melting in the middle. Or just your regular frying pan if you aren’t Niles from Frasier.
Pour straight from the Thermomix jug into appropriate sized circles on the heated pan and wait for bubbles. When bubbly on top and not too runny flip over for not very much time. Check underside has browned a little then toss into Thermoserver to keep warm. All pancake making means first one is a bit weird, which usually means the chef gets to eat it. This recipe makes around 15 mid sized thin pancakes which was enough to feed our 5 tiny people and a couple of wandering husbands snacking on them while our backs were turned.
Serve with maple syrup, honey, lemon and sugar, blueberries, strawberries, banana, basically whatever is at hand and will get eaten by the little munchkins. You can always get fancy and puree some blueberries and add to the pancake mix. Just add a little more flour to make up for the extra liquid. Blue pancakes are usually received quite well. I did read a recipe that suggested pureed beetroot. I’m sure they tasted lovely but they looked like congealed blood clots in the accompanying photo. Maybe one to save for Halloween.
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.
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.