It seems like only yesterday when we were chomping on our stuffed turkey, gratin, lobsters, soups with lots of cream and all the sweets – OMG! – Christmas cakes, puddings, cookies and whatnots! A back-to-back bountiful banquets with sinful indulgences! *blush*

The first month of the new year is usually a ‘slow’ month with less activities and less eating spree :-). To be honest, it’s a rude shock to get back to the pace of reality, for me, at least. Back to work after the holiday mode and crippled with the crazy traffic jams, the icy cold weather and it gets dark ever so early! Really, leaving home in the morning when it’s still dark and coming home from work in the evening when it’s dark. It’s like living in the ‘Dark Side’ 24/7. LOL!

Tribute to my late MIL

When it’s dark and cold, our tummies seemed to rumble a bit more than normal. With not a lot of leisure time to do extravagant cooking or baking during weekdays, I opted for the easiest way out. I have been meaning to bake this ‘healthier’ version of sponge cake in a long time. By the way, this was a recipe from the Thermomix (TM5) recipe book. It not only looked great, but was a breeze to make.

  
   

My late MIL used to bake her lemon sponge cake using yoghurt instead of butter. As I have said earlier, I have been meaning to bake this cake but have not got round to doing so until now. And I’m glad I finally did it! Thanks to my late MIL for ‘introducing’ this cake to me more than a decade ago.

Ingredients –

  • 80g oil (I used corn oil), plus extra for greasing
  • Zest of 1 organic lemon (see my honest review “Verdict”)
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 200g flour
  • 120g Greek yoghurt
  • A pinch of salt
  • 15g baking powder
  • Some icing sugar for dusting (see my honest review “Verdict”)

  
 

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a bundt cake tin. Set aside
  2. Place lemon zest and sugar into mixing bowl and grind (For TM5 owners, grind for 10 sec @ speed 10. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula)
  3. Add eggs and mix with a hand or stand mixer (For TM5, mix for 30 sec @ speed 3)
  4. Add flour, baking powder, oil, yoghurt and salt and mix until all ingredients are combined (For TM5, mix for 1 min 15 sec @ speed 5)
  5. Place mixture into the greased bundt cake tin and bake for 30 minutes at 180 deg C. Allow to cool in cake tin for at least 10 minutes before tipping the cake from the mould to a serving plate. Leave to cool completely and then dust with icing sugar.

  

 
  
 

Verdict: The original recipe is called, simply, Yoghurt Cake. Seeing that lemon is used in the recipe, I wanted to intensify the lemony flavour of the cake, which was light and refreshing. In hindsight, I should have used the zest of two lemons instead of one and add a splash of cointreau and make a lemon icing glace instead of just dusting with icing sugar to elevate one of my favourite citrus fruits, lemon! And what better time to start baking again with the next festive season coming up. The Chinese New Year!

Cakes of all forms, shapes and sizes are omnipresent during ‘open houses’ at Festive occasions in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. With the playful and intelligent Monkey shooing the woolly Sheep away come 8th Feb, this cake will surely be a hit for kids from 1 to 92 😃

Without much ado, I’m linking this post to celebrate the auspicious occasion of prosperity at Cook and Celebrate: Chinese New Year 2016, hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids 

  
If you want to indulge in something sweet, but not overly sweet and yet tasty, zingy and not too boring at the same time, this healthier version of butter sponge cake will do justice on anyone’s palate anytime of the day. For, this, I’m linking this post to Simply Eggcellent #11 – start the year on an egg … hosted by Dom @ Belleau Kitchen

  
 

 

 

 

Stay warm if you are cold

Stay cool if you are warm

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

I was at an Asian store recently with my younger son, and was browsing the shelves in great detail, much to his chagrin.

C’mon, Mama! Don’t take too long. It’s so boring here. Let’s go…

Shhh!! I’m busy here…

 Pfff!

And then…. bingo! I was bewitched by one particular item on the shelf.

This!

  
I was beaming when I saw the familiar looking cookies and my son was delighted I finally found something after striding around for ages on end. Phew! While at the cash counter to pay for my items, the cashier looked up at me and smiled broadly 😃

He said, “You must be a Malaysian, right?”

Huh? How can you tell?” I asked

Because only Malaysians buy the pineapple jam cookies“, he replied with a huge smile on his face 😃

Store-bought vs Homemade

While home, I had a closer look at the plastic case and noticed the Malaysian flag on it. Ah…. that’s why!
 

  

By the way, I did not buy the jam tart because of the flag. I was, infact, as blind as a bat when I reached for the cookies at the time. Now the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

First thing’s first, the tart was crumbly from the first bite. It sort of of melt-in-the-mouth, but there was an unpleasant flavour. It must be the E-number artificial food colouring. No wonder, the pastry was too yellow for my liking. The pineapple paste filling was the stingiest I have ever seen. I could not remember how it tasted like at all, because there was almost nothing filled inside the pastry to draw a taste test. I tasted only the crumbly artificially-buttered-and-coloured pastry, which was quite off-putting, if you ask me.  On the contrary, I must admit that the shape and linear pattern on the cookies were rather impressive. 

  

 
With a lot of effort, we finally finished the store-bought pineapple tarts for more than a week. Then I challenged myself to make my own pineapple tarts from scratch. BUT, I was pampered by a blogger friend, Miss B, when she came to my house last year to pass me a packet of 500g of Redman Pineapple Paste all the way from Singapore (thanks, Miss B). Honestly, that was the best pineapple paste I have tasted ala store-bought. It was not too sweet with natural pineapple flavour and perfect consistency for making pineapple tarts. By the way, I tweaked the paste by spicing it up with some cinnamon and clove powders. Not a lot but just enough to enhance the Nyonya-ness of the paste. LOL!

Here were the results of the store-bought vs homemade pineapple tarts.

I was definitely feeling Goliath-ish that day :-)

   
  

I have made pineapple tarts before and had always used the same recipe, however, this time, I used another recipe from a friend because I had half a kilogram of pineapple paste! I tweaked her recipe according to personal preference and availability of ingredients

Ingredients

  • 550g plain flour ( I reduced to 450g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 350g butter (I used 250g cold butter because that’s what I had left in the fridge!)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp castor sugar – fine (I reduced to 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence (I did not use)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp hot water (I did not use)
  • A few drops of yellow food colouring (I definitely did NOT use)
  • 500g Redman Pineapple paste (I added freshly ground cloves and a pinch of cinnamon powder and wore rubber gloves to knead the mixed spices into the paste)

Glazing/ Egg wash

  • Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbsp condensed milk

Method (how I usually prep and assemble my tarts without using any flashy tart moulds)
The night or day before: Make equal size pineapple balls using a measuring spoon of 1/2 Tbsp each. Place onto a clean flat plate/ dish and cover with a cling film once done, and let rest in the fridge overnight or until ready to be used
   

1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into mixing bowl

2. Knead cold rock solid butter into flour with finger tips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add in egg yolks and continue kneading until a pastry is formed. It does not take long at all

  
4. Rest the pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

5. Use a measuring spoon of 1 Tbsp to scoop the pastry and flatten it with the palm of your hand. Place the ball-shape pineapple paste in the centre of the flattened pastry. Close it up and form shapes to your preference. I shaped mine in a slightly rectangular form to represent the shape of a pineapple.

  

 6. Brush each tart top surface with the prepared glazing mixture

7. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 18 minutes and apply the egg wash for a second time. Continue baking for 5 minutes.

   
 8. Done!

   
    

Verdict: One thing’s for sure, store-bought pineapple tarts cannot beat homemade ones. The freshly baked cookies with the subtle aroma of the spiced up paste smelt amazing coming out from the oven. With the ‘new’ recipe I have used, it’s not as crumbly as the store-bought tarts. The baked pastry was mildly crispy on the outside but crumbly in the inside. BUT, the filling was top notch generous! In hindsight, I should have used the ingredients which I have used in my original recipe, with icing sugar, less egg yolks plus a bit of egg white and I noted that the percentage of butter to flour should be in the region of 60% or more. Only then I can shout out that I have made 99.9% melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tarts! For now, it’s 90% melt-in-the-mouth. But hey, who’s complaining? There are 4 pineapple cookie jar monsters in the house. The tarts gone in a jiffy!

  

  

Bonus

500g of pineapple paste was a LOT! There were 30 orphaned and naked pineapple balls left. Lol!

With no pastry left, the smart alec in me bought a roll of store-bought puff pastry and made 30 round-shape and 30 star-shape dough. I placed each pineapple paste on the round disc shape dough and topped it up with the star cap. They looked stunning, just like mini edible Terracotta Army . Ha ha ha..! I was so excited with my creative self.

  
 

Then I baked them in the oven….. BUT… I was in for a rude shock!!

Ring-a-ring o’ roses

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down…

  
 

The puff pastry really puffed up and toppled every pineapple ball.

The poor fallen warriors. Lol!

And then the determined me quickly put them back together, while they were still hot.

   
  

Now, don’t they look pretty together?

Verdict: With not enough pastry to encase the paste, the taste of the tart was chewier when baked because there was more pineapple paste to chew on. Guess what, I crazily LOVED the taste and texture, and so did my 3 guys. Not the real McCoy, but it was only a quick fix to make use of everything. Waste not, want not 😜

The pineapple tart is one of the many favourites of all cookies served during Festive occasions in Malaysia and Singapore. Its definitely one of my favourites. With Chinese New Year round the corner, I am linking this post to Cook and Celebrate: Chinese New Year 2016 hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids 

  
Have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers!
 
 

 

 

 

 

I was at a dentist recently ~ last year in December ~ to be precise. While waiting for my turn at the waiting room I was browsing one of several magazines on the mag rack called BodyTalk.  The mag talked about health issues and the human anatomy, etc.  I was intrigued. And I was equally intrigued with the second last page. A recipe corner with healthy ingredients! 

The one that tempted me most was this one!

  
I hope to replicate this tasty looking vegetarian carpaccio at home. 

The only manner to remember the ingredients of the recipe was to take a snapshot of the page ;-)

And that I did!

I made this carpaccio as starter for Sunday lunch and my three guys’ eyes twinkled with delight. 

Mmmm… Yummy!

Here’s my version

  

NOTE
: The recipe was in Dutch. I tried my best to translate the words to the best of my knowledge. And by the way, in the original recipe, spelt grain, rockett leaves and Legumaise Toscane were used. I replaced those ingredients with pine nuts, fresh basil leaves and Pesto Calabrese respectively. 

Ingredients

  • 2 plump tomatoes (more than enough for my family of 4 as a starter. Original recipe called for 8!)
  • Fennel 
  • 24 to 30 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 red onion 
  • 2 cups pine nuts (lightly dry roast in a pan)
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 4 heap tsp Pesto Calabrese
  • 8 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp each coarse sea salt and black peppercorns (ground with pestle & mortar)

   
   
Method

  • Wash /clean the fennel and using a mandoline, slice it thinly. Place the fennel in a clean bowl. Add 8Tbsp olive oil and juice of 1 lemon. Spice it up with 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt. Mix and let the fennel marinate in the fridge.
  • Wash the tomatoes and slice them thinly as well as the red onion
  • Ready to serve. Plate each serving plate with the pesto first and then assemble the carpaccio of tomatoes next. Then sprinkle some thinly sliced red onion. Distribute the marinated (pickled) fennel evenly over the spread. Grate some Parmesan cheese and add some fresh basil leaves, 6 to 7 leaves per plate. Sprinkle some  pine nuts and finally drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

   

Smakkelijk
  

The colours were just stunning. Incidentally they’re the colours of the Italian flag! The taste of Meditteranean also came alive, and despite the cold winter temperature outside, the cool and refreshing platter neutralises the acidity and heat of our body.

  
 

Verdict: My first vegetarian carpaccio and definitely not my last. This is a great dish for any season. Trust me! I would consider making this as a main dish during Summer, albeit a bigger plate. I will also make my own pesto Calabrese, and substituting the fresh basil with rockett leaves. 

Hasta la vista... I’ll be back!

I’m thrilled to link my first post of the New Year to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs January 2016: Herbs and Citrus Fruits

  

Happy Weekend all!

Cheers!

It is amazing how time has flown by with the wink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday when I reflected on 2014. Now, exactly a year ago, I started my reflections with this phrase… Every one receives a blank 365-page book each New Year. We are being “tested” for each single day. What and how we fill each page-day is totally up to us. Has it been a good day, bad and horrid day, memorable and magical? Sometimes people forget how much 365 days actually bring to their lives.

Reflections … 2015

My last 365 days were a mix of bullish and bearish emotions – among others – excitement, anxiety, worry, sadness, joy, happiness, disappointment, panic, hope, jubilation, relief, love, elation…There was one page or pages, rather, that were filled with endless trickles of excitement, joy, love and happiness. My family of 4 from Belgium met up with my family of 19 from Kuching, KL, Sibu and Edmonton. We converged where the VIP aka Mum lives. It was a blessing to meet everyone after 7 long years! There were abundance of catching ups AND lots of eating frenzy !!

  

  
    

Looking back at how much I have done and indulged in my favourite banquet with my loved ones in such a short span of time was a fairly tall order. I am glad I have filled my year book with moments I could cherish for a long time.

FAMILY, like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one (author unknown)

Just 10 short days of acquaintance!

Oh yes, I was glad to be introduced to a new friend of the family during my summer hols in August. He was my youngest sister’s best pal. His name was Nicky. He had the most lovely pair of brown eyes that could melt anyone’s heart.  He succeeded in melting mine, by the way.

Introducing Nicky …

    

For 10 days, I’ve seen Nicky lovingly purring at our feet under the table, in the living room and eating his meals at almost predictable hours. Then one morning, he never turned up for his breakfast, and neither for his lunch.  And then one of my sisters received a phone call. It was the saddest news ever. No words could describe how crushed my family were upon hearing the news. Nicky’s gone! 

My youngest sister’s best pal was gone… Forever! She was there when Nicky was born. She was there when Nicky grew up. In that 10 days I was in Kuching, I sensed a huge bond between my sister and Nicky. It was the saddest moment in my year book to feel the pain and sadness my sister went through. To seal the pain, she made a collage of her pal, capturing the times she had with her true furry friend. He was too young to die. He was only an 8-month old kitten (equivalent to 15 human years) 

May he rest in peace! 

  

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

It was strange but true; Nicky’s mum was pregnant! She was a stray cat when my family took her in while she was carrying Nicky and looking for a shelter to deliver her only kitten then. Now she’s a part of the family. With Nicky’s death, the vacuum was almost immediately filled with triple joy! 

The house is full again😄

 

New and Absurdly Different

Last year I learnt a new way of ‘baking’ cakes in my no-fancy 20-year old 2-button rice cooker. I went through a learning curve improving my bakes from one use to another in my most absurd rice cooker! Now, late 2015, I was challenged with a totally new cooking technique, ie, cooking in the Thermomix! I bought the latest model, TM5, with the coolest built-in recipe chip, which I hardly used!  Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Cooking in my new thermie meant learning a new way of cooking, and complying to an electro language. To give you an idea, “Cook for 20 minutes, at 100 deg Celcius or Varoma, reverse dial at speed spoon to 1” 

Was I happy with my new “toy”? Well, the final results tell all. 

Here were some of them 😃  

 

As you can see, in just a month’s usage, my cooking became more versatile and my presentation skill has also improved by leaps and bounds. Anyway, I told my friends that it’s a sin not to use my thermie considering the fact that the “little kitchen” costs me a fortune. And no, I will not discard my conventional way of cooking. I still love the long hours of braising stewed meats in my slow cooker, AND, the traditional rice cooker is just priceless 😊 

Old habits certainly die hard and call me old-fashioned …sometimes😄

My Peaceful Moments

Honestly, I don’t have many peaceful moments. I used to read when I wanted to be in my own world, but I have not been reading a lot lately, which is a shame, therefore, I filled that gap with a paper, a pencil or pen and some colours with my right hand. I have recently relived my childish hobby… sketching, drawing and colouring! 

 

I hope to have more time to doodle my way through my new 365-day year book😜

My Wish …

I have a very simple wish. PEACE and LOVE in both micro and macro levels. Without these 2 components, fear exists. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. 

Remember the words of Master Yoda

Fear is the path to the dark side

For those I may have wronged, I ask for forgiveness. For those whom I have helped, I wish I could have done more. For those I could not help, I ask for your understanding. And for those who have helped me, I am grateful for all you did. 

So, out with the old and in with the new. As we all know, with every new year comes greater challenges and obstacles, I wish you lots of courage filled with hope and faith to overcome all of the hurdles you may face. May you have a great year and a wonderful time ahead. 

And remember, tomorrow is the start of your first blank page. You are the master of that page. Take a pen in your hand and write a beautiful story for yourself.

  
See you next year! 😜

Cheers!

F is my TM Advisor. I attended a half-day TM demo at her house and a month after the demo, I owned a TM5. If you have just landed on this post, please read my previous posts on this subject. I did not make the decision to buy the TM on the spur of the moment. There’s a credo attached to it. Do not jump the gun! 

F owns the TM5 for 4 months now. She has cooked a million and one things with lots of ease and confidence in the smallest and smartest kitchen, while I’m still at a toddler’s stage id est being inquisitive…what if I changed a little bit here and a little bit there, what would the result be?

It’s definitely not always a success, if you have read my last post about my disastrous fried rice!

So last week, F forwarded me her flan caramel recipe. It looked extremely easy, with only 3 ingredients for the flan and another 3 ingredients for the caramel. I followed her scribbled recipe to a T. While F had already made her flan caramel a day before and had also made a video on the prep, I started making my flan with exactly the same ingredients and recipe.

BUT, how come F‘s flan turned out like this?

  
 

While mine ended up looking like a giant melting popsicle or a blob! OMG!!

    

What went wrong??!!

We exchanged notes and I told her I followed her recipe to the dot. Mind you, the recipe says to steam the flan caramel in 6 ramekin dishes for 20 minutes, however, my flan did not set at that timing at all. I added another 10 minutes, still they were not set. I told F about my runny flan, and she said I should not over-steam! But how? They were as runny as any runny nose toddler on this planet! Yikes! At that point, I guess F was a bit nervous for me. She sent me the step-by-step video she made about making the flan caramel, which she has not finished editing. I watched the video twice and told her the only difference I noticed was that she had covered every single ramekin with aluminium foil, while I only covered the Varoma tray layer with cling film. F said that was not the issue. Covering the ramekin with the foil prevents condensation falling back to the flan. Okay…. but they were still runny!! F did not have a clue either, hence, I followed my own judgement and adjusted the dial to another 10 minutes. Can you believe this? They were still not set, although I noticed one or two flans (by the way, I used 4 coffee cups and 2 small ramekins) turning yellower than the rest.

  
 

After steaming for 50 minutes, I gave up. I let the flans to cool down before refrigerating them and praying hard that all 6 flans would set nicely the following day.

By the way, out of the 6 flans, only one came out a winner!

  
 

Did the 5/6 failure deter me in making more flans? Nope! That was only the beginning. Infact I’m more challenged to make them right the next time

Great minds think alike

When F told me she was making Beef Rendang in her thermie on Saturday, I gulped! How could she read my mine??!! That was certainly a thermie MasterChef challenge of the Beef Rendang dish between us, only that F was not aware I was cooking my rendang that day! Yeah, great minds think alike 👍🏼

I was drooling at F‘s Beef Rendang.

  
 

F‘s rendang was redder than mine because she used only fresh chillies, while I used only dried chillies. My recipe is adapted from here to the TM way of cooking.

Here’s the result of my Beef Rendang cooked in 90 minutes / Varoma/ Reverse at the lowest possible speed

  

    
  

Marriage made in Heaven!

Without a doubt, the Beef Rendang goes very well with Nasi Lemak, so I just had to make Nasi Lemak! As simple as that…

  
My kitchen has never smelt so heavenly! Mmmmmm…..

   

  
  

F, thanks for posting the video of the sambal nasi lemak on Facebook and reminding me about it! It was just a sin not to make it! I did not follow the recipe 100% but adapted it to my own taste. 20 dried chillies? Too lame. I used perhaps 40 (I did not count, but you can see that in the collaged photo above) plus 4 fresh red chillies. It’s nice to be dragons for a change, blowing fiery breaths during this cold winter period. LOL!

Erm…sorry, F, if I’ve annoyed you with my silly questions, because I was only following JL‘s instruction… don’t forget to ask F for any help! She has the patience and knowledge of a guardian angel! 

I rest my case!

Happy Mid-Week everyone!

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I had lunch with G and AO on 4/12, G inquired whether I had made up my mind to buy the Thermomix. Little did G and AO know that I had my thermie for slighltly more than a week already (then)! Sorry girls, my post was not published yet at the time. Mum’s the word 😜

By the way, AO owns the 1996 version, the TM21. I asked her what she had cooked in her thermie. She said lots! She named all the yummy stuffs, which I could only drool… BUT why in heavens did AO stop cooking with her thermie???!!! She said it’s a mundane task having to clean the separate parts of the thermie after each use and the little robot was on the loud side! It jiggled and groaned on her kitchen work top! Ha ha …

Now, if you, look at the evolution of the Thermomix, from 1961 to the latest TM5 model, you can tell the VKM5 (1961), TM3300 (1982) and TM31 (2003) have lived through a decade or more before a newer version took to the market. 

  
In my post here, I wrote about the couple who immediately placed an order for the TM5 after the demo at F‘s place. If you are wondering if the couple had jumped the gun without even using their heads, not at all! They were the brainiacs! They have owned the 1982 version, the TM3300 for 30 years!!! It’s as brand new looking as ever! The wife’s an Italian and the thermie is fondly called Bimby in Italy and Portugal. This is due to the fact that the name “Thermomix” was already in use by another home appliance in both countries and therefore could not be registered by Vorwerk.

Here’s their 30-year old Bimby. F was at their place to give a demo of the TM5 for their daughter.

  
 

Personal launching of my TM5

My TM5 was delivered to me on Wed 25/11. I did not use it until Friday evening on 27/11. I must confess that I don’t usually cook dinner on weekdays. It’s such a hassle and furthermore, hubby does NOT eat warm in the evening.

But not THAT evening! Could it be the kitchen robot that made him say ‘yes’ to dinner all of a sudden?

Oh by the way, if someone were to ask me what was the first recipe I have cooked in my thermie. Well, it’s got to be something simple, fast and easy.

This mixed lime/orange/lemon-ade became the inaugural ice-breaker! Done in 2 seconds! Yes, you read it right the first time. 2 seconds flat! The simmering basket was used to strain the citrus juice leaving the chopped peels, piths and seeds in the TM mixing bowl.

  

After removing the residue, I rinsed the bowl and continued with preparing tagliatelle all’arrabbiata. This was the recipe I had at the demo at F‘s. She used penne, hence, the choice of pasta is endless, and I added a bit more chillies to the dish to spice it up even more😊

   
  

Remember this photo from my previous post?

  
 

Well, I made a BIG mistake in pre-supposing everything said and written by some websites that we have to use only that spatula and nothing else. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I was so down when I inadvertently sliced off a part of my virgin spatula on my first try-out cooking a main course in my thermie, by scooping the pasta out from the bowl with that spatula *sob*. I told F about my misfortune and she said any type of spatula or wooden spoon can be used to scrap foods off the blades.

Lesson learnt: Always read between the lines and think out of the box. 

Hint: The 4 blades are extremely sharp! Use your head! 😬

Obssession

After getting the hang of using my thermie, I was starting to show signs of obssession. OMG!!😱😱

I was looking up TM recipes and trying to adapt my own recipes to TM instructions.

You see, Saturday lunches which used to be simple one-dish meals, became experimental gastronomic meals. Thanks (or no thanks) to my new kitchen ‘slave’. LOL!

Here’re our first 6-course Saturday lunch of healthy broccoli salad with pine nuts, followed by creamy mushroom soup, chicken with creamy vegetable sauce, tropical fruit sorbet, grapefuit juice and hot chocolate!

  

 

And by the way, my older son made the hot chocolate! Easy peasy, he said … with some whole hazelnuts in the cuppa😳

   

My itch for cooking in my new thermie did not stop. I wanted to expriment with more TM recipes for Sunday lunch, but alas, I had an appointment elsewhere on 29/11, hence I told my guys that I would cook a curry lunch for them in advance in my thermie. I showed my guys the recipe book and let them choose one of the 2 curry recipes in the TM Cookbook. Hubby wanted Chicken Garam Masala while my older boy wanted the Thai Chicken Curry. In order to arbitrate the 2 choices, I created a mix of both the garam masala and Thai curries, and here’s the result, using freshly ground garam masala with fresh coriander and garlic!

  

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched!

After a few bouts of my inquisitive experiments the last 2 days, I adapted some of my own recipes to the TM way of cooking. Boy, was that a BiiiG mistake!!! There’s a local saying that goes “we should not run when we only started to walk“. The price I had to pay was unpleasantly hefty. I imagined a scrumptious plate of fried rice but I ended up making an extremely sticky risotto-like mass and furthermore, I burnt my TM bowl base!! 😱😱😱

  

   
 

No matter how I have used the self-clean function, nope, the stain remained. I then used a kitchen cloth with some detergent, nope, did not work. Soft sponge? Nope! Brush? Nope! Those were some of the actions I read on the internet on how to clean your TM bowl. I was really frustrated to the point of wanting to claim a new thermomix. Afterall, my order is still under warranty, right? I whatsApp’d my ‘guardian angel’, F to ask her if my TM bowl could be replaced. She answered with a firm, No!  

Ooo la la… Don’t play-play with sifu ah.. He he

She said, “Use CIF with steel wool“. I had neither, so I ended up finding my own way to clean my TM Bowl.

How I cleaned the stains: Use white vinegar, some detergent and a soft sponge! 

Et voilà!

  
 

Never ever again in the evening in Winter!

It was Tuesday, 2/12. I got home after work and I was itching to use the chicken breasts in my fridge to make homemade chicken stock paste in my thermie. It was 9pm. Another BIG mistake!

Hint: It’s winter season. The windows, doors and shutters are down/ closed, so you can imagine the smell of leek, onion, garlic, celery lingering in our kitchen, living room and garage! Hubby was disgusted the next morning smelling leek in his car!! Yuck!

While F was sending me photos of what she was cooking in her thermie daily, I was actually guilty for not using mine. I told her I have to compensate my cookings in my thermie on weekends. Well, now you know the reason why I don’t cook in the evenings on weekdays 😝

Weekend Batteries Charged with my Creative and Smallest Kitchen!

Here we go again… the weekend has arrived!

Our Saturday lunch on 5/12 of Brussels sprouts, granny smith and carrot salad with walnuts, followed by courgette soup, steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried snowpea and carrot, steamed tofu with squid, prawn and shiitake stir-fry. Incredibly appetizing, I must say.

  
  
 

If you’re wondering …. did I cook all those in my TM5? Yup!! And I’m NOT kidding!

Oh, yes, hubby said I have been cooking up a storm and way too much eating lately. He said we would end up being roly-polys in no time at all. Having said that, he was falling in love with my Sunday lunch on Saint Nicholas’ Day on 6/12. I made pumpkin soup, cauliflower cheese bake, pork tenderloin with mustard and porto sauce, steamed/ boiled potatoes and the grand finale was the most scrumptious Tiramisu with rum! Yum Yum!

  
 

Transformation

Remember the failed fried rice I cooked on 2/12 which turned out a sticky mass? I was about to thrash the entire thing, but hey, “Eureka!” I know my boys eat with their eyes as much as the taste of the foods, hence, by transforming the supposedly fried rice into a mashed potato-like portion, worked immensely well.

  
 

Waste not, want not. The failed fried rice was a silent winner after all *wink*

What have I learnt and what needs to be known (Note all comments in this post are solely mine based on my personal findings and experiences)

  1. Never cook in the evening during the winter season when all your windows, doors and shutters are down, unless you have a huge separate kitchen from the rest of the building, OR if no one minds the smell lingering in the room, HOWEVER, there appears to be no issues where baking is concerned 😊
  2. Patience is key. The TM bowl functions as a cooking pot or pan. You need to wash your bowl if you are cooking a completely different category of recipes. For example, if you are making sambal or savoury and pungent stir-fries in your TM, wash and dry the bowl before cooking your dessert. You won’t want your tiramisu to smell like sambal belachan. LOL!
  3. Only wash the TM parts thorougly at the end of your cooking. It is infact not necessary to wash the bowl with detergent after every use in between cooking different dishes if you are in the middle of a marathon of cooking. Make sure the category of recipes do not in any way jeopardize the taste and flavour. You decide.
  4. Any stubborn stains in your TM bowl need to be scrubbed and removed thoroughly when you’re completely done with cooking for the day, in order not to undermine your equipment and subsequent cookings. 
  5. The maximum capacity of the TM5 bowl is 2.2L. That means most of the recipes are meant for 2 big eaters or 4 medium eaters or 6 small eaters. This TM5 is brilliant for my family of 4, with no leftovers to spare, though…

Buzz the Buy Knob if …

  • you like to cook
  • you like to experiment with a different kind of cooking technique
  • you don’t mind cleaning the equipment (inside and out) at the end of the cooking
  • you like having a clean work area (most of the time with very limited utensils)
  • you can afford (I think of it as a long term investment)
  • you want to have a relaxed moment and yet want to eat tasty and healthy dishes (this is done while you’re doing something else while waiting for the audio signal from your thermie 😜)
  • you have a family of max 4 to 6 (small to medium eaters)
  • you don’t mind a quick “slow-cooked” dish (hint: stewed meat will be cooked in 90 minutes or even less than an hour!)
  • you like fresh ingredients in your meals

Do Not Buy if …

  • you only want to keep appearances because so and so has one
  • you can’t cook or won’t cook or simply, do not like cooking
  • you have an army of a family or big adult eaters (note: the simmering basket is really quite small. Steaming rice in there is probably enough for 3 to 4 people)
  • you are using TM for the sole purpose of having big parties or guests over (okay for the dips, perhaps breads and cakes, but definitely not the mains or soups in one sitting)
  • you are too lazy to clean your thermie and the work area
  • you do not have time for cooking
  • you prefer to eat out
  • you prefer grilled and deep-fried foods (although you can prepare the marinade in the thermie and marinate your meats prior to grilling/ deep-frying or baking)
  • you can’t afford the Thermomix 
  • you cannot/ will not want to get away from the traditional cooking method of constantly stirring your foods 
  • you have all the time in the world to wait for your stewed meats to cook in 3 to 6 hours 
  • you won’t mind chopping, slicing, kneading and mixing with your hands
  • you prefer ready-made and microwaveable meals
  • you are a hardcore “canned” eater, ie if you prefer canned curries to freshly made ones. Get the point?

One for the Road

This was how my work area looked like when I used my TM5 last weekend. While waiting for a dish to be cooked, I found the time to clear all clutters and washed the dishes. My kitchen top has never been that spic and span. 

   
  

I am a happy bunny, yes…. because I have fulfilled all 9 bullet points in the “Buzz the Buy Knob if …

If you have not, please do NOT jump the gun. Check and identify if you fall within the second category “Do Not Buy if …

Did you know?

The concept of Thermomix began when a mother in Germany wanted to make her own baby food but was unable to find an appliance capable of grinding food into small enough pieces with the ability to cook at the same time.

And the rest is history!!

Remember: Don’t jump the gun
Happy days!

Cheers!

Un-veiling my TM5 (#thermomix)

Posted: December 13, 2015 in Thermomix
Tags: , ,

It was 17:07 on Tuesday, 24th Nov. My GSM rang.

A female voice from the other end of the line : Good evening, Madam. We received your order for the Thermomix last Thursday and I’m glad to inform you that your TM5 will be delivered to your preferred address tomorrow morning between 08:30 to 11:30. Will you be there to receive your package?

Me (heart thumping) : Yes, I will be around tomorrow. 

Lady : Great

Me : Thanks and see you tomorrow.

Lady : Til tomorrow. Bye..

Me : Bye

Wednesday, 25th Nov arrived. I had a day off. Incidentally, I had something else on my mind that day, as Wednesday’s a half school day for my younger son. I was craving for laksa, or specifically, Kuching Laksa

  
As the preparation of the laksa gravy and the condiments and garnishes took a huge proportion of my time, I spent most of my morning hours in the kitchen slogging away with the aromatically delectable and mouth-watering dish. My target was to get the laksa done before my younger son came home from school, at 12:20.

It was drizzling that Wednesday. While I was engrossed in the kitchen,  the door bell rang. A guy stood at the doorway with a package in his hands. It was not even 10 am when MY Thermie arrived! Perfect time estimation from the lady 👍

I told the guy to place the package in our hallway. 

  
I immediately whatsApp’d my TM Advisor, F, and told her my TM‘s arrived! She was the one who had arranged to submit my order. She was very excited for me. She said I was lucky to receive my TM at a decent hour. She received hers at the most ridiculous hour. Her door bell rang at 6.30 am!😳

By the way, I did not unbox my Thermomix immediately until in the evening. My sons were the excited lots, actually. The one object that caught their eyes was the recipe chip! Ah well… What do you expect? Boys and toys. Wait until they see the digital touchscreen… LOL!

Un-boxing… Finally!

Yup, I was curious. I just had to peek😜

The new TM5 came with a recipe chip, a cook book, a manual in several languages and a free gift for the month of Nov. It was the transport bag, although I had silently  hoped for a second  TM bowl. Wishful thinking …😬

  

Like most German products or inventions, the TM looks pretty uncomplicated, no-nonsense and  very straightforward.  That was my first impression. There’s the TM bowl (also works as a cooking pot and pan), the internal steaming basket (or multi-purpose use for steaming rice, potatoes, meat, vegetables as well as works as a sieve or strainer), the varoma dish and tray for steaming almost anything, a special designed spatula, a butterfly whisk and a measuring cup. That’s about all, and I was wondering if it was actually worth paying so much for so few accessories? Hmmmm…😏

Like my sons, I was drawn by the cool recipe chip. Every single recipe on the chip is found in the cookbook. The chip is essentially a digital cookbook with step-by-step onscreen instructions. How cool is that!

A permanent home

Before hubby got home that evening, I had to hurrily find a permanent home for my thermie. I had a spot in mind, next to the stove top. Perfect with the exhaust hood nearby.

  

But, Oh dearie me, the Varoma dish and tray could not fit on top of the TM bowl. Either the cupboard’s too low or the thermie’s too tall! Arghhh! What a shame!

Anyway, where you have decided to place your TM, that spot should ideally be the permanent home of your thermie. It’s madness having to move your thermie from one location to another. It’s not terribly light, for a start. Most importantly, the permanent spot should be in close proximity to a power socket with clean and dry surface or work area 24/7.

Hey that sounds like an area in my basement *wink*

  

Nah, that’s not my basement you see there, but another corner of my kitchen top, next to my oven. Phew! I managed to squeeze some space. It has been a long time since I have given a permanent home to another kitchen gadget😊

Now, what prompted me to place the order? 

In my previous posts, I mentioned my head ruled my heart. I dug the facts, read a few blogs, however, one particular email really hit the nail on the head ~ a reply from JL

JL is an Australian who’s married to a Malaysian. She used to host cooking shows back in Australia and she currently gives cooking lessons in Belgium.

Our email exchanges as following –

Nov 16, 2015, at 12:37

Hi JL,

How are you? I know it has been a while.. I hope you still remember me??

I was at F‘s during one of her English demo’s for TM5. I was quite impressed with the ‘machine’, but had to think a wee bit longer because (1) it’s not cheap and (2) shortage of storage space

I understood you bought the Thermomix without even attending a demo? What prompted you to press the “buy button” so confidently, may I ask? Ha ha…

By the way, have you been using TM5 constantly in your kitchen. I just hope that if I ordered TM5, it will not stand idle in my kitchen. I noticed TM5 is selling well in Australia.

16 November 2015 18:11

Hi IH

Nice to hear from you !

I heard about TM5 in Australia and when I saw one at F‘s house I ordered one immediately and have been using it almost daily! It has almost replaced my food processor and my KitchenAid and definitely my blenders for hard core Indian masalas!

If you can afford it, yes please buy it from F because she will be very supportive and will share all her expertise with you! You won’t regret it. If you like to cook and experiment!

Yesterday, I made a chestnut soup in it, rinsed it and made a cauliflower cheese, rinsed it and then used it to mix dough for rotis and lastly made a chocolate cakenothing to wash, no saucepans to clean! it does everything but bake! It chops, stirs, cooks and steams. So I do recommend it but on condition that you will use it and that you have a comfortable place in your kitchen where it will remain as a permanent fixture!

On the other hand, a friend in Australia bought one but because she does not like to cook has put it away and never uses it!

Your choice ..

Choice

Yup, choice made, and what now? Will I be using my thermie daily? 

Hint: I did use it, but lo and behold, calamities arose.  I could only wail!!! Arghhh…. Why me?!!!

   
 
 

   
If you’re wondering what happened to my thermie, stay tuned to my next post for the answers 😱

Stay warm!

Cheers!