Posts Tagged ‘Thermomix’

Fruit for Thought

What would you do if you have too much aubergine, bell pepper and tomato in your fridge? I had a bountiful of each waiting eagerly for me to consume them, as it had been almost a week since I bought the fruits. Yes, scientifically speaking aubergines, capsicums, courgettes and tomatoes are FRUITS and not vegetables, because they have seeds! I was planning to make a quick one-dish meal one weekend. First off, I was thinking of making ratatouille, but that would be too boring. Furthermore, I live with 3 carnivores and a no-meat dish would not entice them at all.

So I scurried to a nearby supermarket and bought 2 extra ingredients. Chicken and grated cheese.

I knew I would come up with a winning dish *wink

This!

Mmmm….does this not look tasty and festive at the same time?

A Frugal Regal Meal

I love the colours and more so, knowing how healthy the dish was, plus how economical I could put all the ingredients together for a top notch meal. Gosh, I may sound somewhat cocky, but I can’t help it, because it’s true *wink



I have adapted only some of the steps from the Thermomix BCB, while the rest are pure common sense, guestimation and creative thinking 😉

Ingredients A

  • Aubergines or egg plants, halved lengthwise 
  • Capsicums or bell peppers, halved

Ingredient B

  • 600 g water

Ingredients C

  • 550 g chicken breasts, diced

Ingredients D

  • 30 g shallots
  • 10 g garlic 

Ingredient E

  • 10 g EVOO

Ingredients F

  • 10 g fresh herbs (mint, basil, spring onion, etc)
  • 1 tsp dried herb (thyme)
  • 1 heap tsp homemade vegetable stock paste
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 150 g tomato, de-seeded 

Ingredient G

  • 100 g bread (grate in dry TM bowl at 7 sec/ sp 10)

Ingredient H

  • Grated cheese

Method


  1. Arrange A in Varoma dish and tray with cut-side down. Place B in TM bowl. Steam A as per instruction in the BCB. Remove water from the TM bowl. Using a tsp or Tbsp, scoop out the pulp of the aubergines. Chop roughly. Set aside.
  2. Add D in mixing bowl. Blend for 3 sec/ sp 5.5. Add E and sauté for 3 mins/ 100 C/ sp 2
  3. Place the chopped pulp of the aubergines, C, F and G. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ R/ spoon. Season to taste.
  4. Fill the shells with the cooked stuffing, cut-side up on a baking tray. Drizzle H liberally on each stuffed shell.
  5. Bake at pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 mins or until the cheese has melted and turned a lovely golden brown.


This dish goes very well with baked new potatoes or potato wedges. Makes one awesome complete meal 😀


My Verdict?

To be honest, my other half does not like to consume store-bought ground meat. He says there’s too much fat and other-god-knows-what things mixed in the meat. I agreed with him on that, so I made this healthier version of stuffed aubergines and bell peppers. He could not believe I home-ground the meat in my thermie 😉

By the way, this was not the first time I made this dish. I have used store-bought ground meat before and they tasted great, too. The fact that I used lean chicken breast meat and home-ground them, made the whole dish lighter and healthier. Hubby was euphoric over the dish. And my boys? They eat anything that aren’t sloppy looking and with meat. Lol!

The best thing about this dish is, you can use almost any fruit or vegetable that you can scoop out the flesh to make a cavity. Courgettes or zucchinis are great. So are squashes, but the steaming and baking time need to be adjusted.

Will I make this again? You bet! Over and over again. Anytime, because …. It’s cheap. It’s tasty. It’s colourful. It’s healthy. It’s easy!

Have a fruitful mid-week!
Cheers!

This recipe has gone viral a few months ago and shared several times within the Thermomix Community. I was curious, of course, and jumped on the bandwagon. The cake used the simple Quatre Quarts Cake (literally 4-fourths) recipe which was taught at Domestic Science classes. This cake is quite similar to a typical Victoria sponge and is referred to as Pound Cake.  

By the way, I have made a very similar cake which I have posted in my blog in 2015. I had wanted to use poppy seeds then but I chose the healthier chia seeds instead. You can find out the reason why in this post, Lemon Chia Seeds Sponge Cake.

I had bought a packet of poppy seeds some months back and it had been sitting in my kitchen pantry, untouched, hence this was THE perfect moment for me to make good use of the seeds… Finally!

The Challenge 

The owner of this recipe promised this cake would turn out soft and moist. That’s what fascinated me, especially so when we know that a Quatre Quarts Cake uses 4 ingredients of equal amount (butter, sugar, flour and eggs). The recipe calls for 250 g per ingredient. First off, it sounded heavy, too heavy in fact,  and I was quite hesitant to bake this cake because I usually skip a cake recipe using the entire block of butter and a quarter kilogram of sugar!  Yikes! But I was tempted to proceed because I LOVE oranges and I’m sure nothing would go wrong with a pound cake with orange and poppy seeds!  Ha ha ..

To be very honest, the biggest challenge is beating and blending the ingredients at the right consistency to achieve that moist and fluffy effect. 

Is that attainable with a Thermomix? 

Let’s find out, shall we?

The original recipe was posted by Ellin Chong as per below –


I tried to follow the recipe exactly but ended up modifying some of the steps to my liking and logic. Well, that’s just me 😉

The recipe indicated 30 mins baking time. I thought that was way too short. Was my judgement right?

Here are my modification to some of the steps 

  • I added another cycle of pulverization in (1)  i.e. 2 times MC/ 10 sec/ sp 10 to get the visual consistency I wanted.

  • I increased the time in (2) from 2 mins to 2 mins 45 sec as I thought that would give me ample time to crack the eggs one at a time to mix through the lid hole.

  • I added 15 g of London Dry Gin to give the cake a slightly boozy effect 🙂

  • I sifted the APF with 10 g of baking powder and increased the mixing time from 10 sec to 20 sec.

  • 30 minutes of baking time in my pre-heated oven was definitely too short. The cake was under cooked, i.e. still wet and the crust was too pale for my liking.  

  • I increased the time to another 16 minutes, making the total baking time of 46 minutes in my pre-heated oven at 180 deg C. That was a lot better.



So, was the cake moist and fluffy as promised?

Seeing is Believing!


    My Verdict?

    When I first saw the recipe, I saw the baking time of 30 minutes was too short for a cake as ‘dense’ as a Pound cake. Well, my initial judgment was correct. Perhaps it’s just my oven. If it worked well for the owner of the recipe then it was tested based on the type of oven she owns.

    When I increased the baking time to a total of 46 minutes, the cake turned out visually PERFECT ! I loved the citrusy smell whiffing past my nostrils and my kitchen smelt heavenly. 

    And I definitely prefer a tanned (not charred) cake to a pale looking one. Again, it’s just me.


    Was the cake moist and fluffy? 

    Yes, when it was fresh out of the oven and when still quite warm, like most cakes. When the cake was left to cool completely, I thought it was very lightweight but less moist than when it was warmer. Definitely not dry, but with a pleasant texture. It’s not bouncy either like chiffon cakes, but, hey I LOVED it!

    Some changes I would like to make are (1) reduce the quantity of sugar, as the cake became too sweet the following day(s), (2) increase a little of the poppy seeds, as I like the crunch and the subtle nutty flavour and (3) increase slightly the gin, as I was still trying to trace the aroma … ha ha ha …

    Oh yes, I should have left the cake to cool in the bundt pan and not got it out too soon when it was still hot. That’s why the surface of the cake was not smooth 😦

    Just compare the cakes I have baked using the same cake mould below …


    Nevertheless, this recipe is definitely a keeper but I will not be in a hurry to bake another one in a jiffy. 1 kg of sugar, flour, eggs and butter combined was a humongous amount to consume too often.

    Have a great week!

    Cheers!

    I have not been baking for a while. It’s at the back of my mind for weeks on end. If there was a ~ quick and scrummy ~ cake I’d bake, then it has got to be that almost effortless and idiot-proof Banana Loaf Cake. Ha ha ha …

    I’m glad my boys share the same sentiment as I do.

    3 weeks ago (or probably longer..) I bought a nice-looking bunch of Chiquita bananas in the hope of ripening some of them for my Banana Loaf Cake. I needed only 3 bananas, so we ate the rest of the bananas. 


     

    While the 3 bananas were dangling on the banana hook to be ripened, my poor guys tried to brush their temptation away. With the cold weather outside, it’s warm inside the house with the heating on. And the result? 3 completely blackened and over-riped bananas with some mouldy white spots after more than 2 weeks of ‘crucifixion’. OH * MY * GOD!!


      

    “What are you going to do with those bananas? To ‘hatch’ more black bananas?“My hubby asked (with a hint of sarcasm)

    LOL!

    There go the bananas … in the bin“, he said, pointing to the dustbin.

    I replied with a classic feedback cheekily, “I’ll make Banana Cake*grinning with guilt big time*

    Erm… by the way, did I use the ultra black, over-riped and limpy and almost fermented bananas in my cake? 

    Uh-uh! Don’t think so … I needed ripe bananas but they were way, way too ripe! So I bought a new batch of bananas and made sure they ripened within a visually correct duration of time. Ha ha …

    Here were the bananas that went in my Banana Loaf Cake I baked last night.


    Not Once But Many A Time … And The FIRST Time, Though!

    The first tutorial I’ve watched on YouTube in making a Banana Bread was the demo by Stephanie Jaworski of JoyOfBaking.com and I have baked Banana Bread or Cake as well as muffins many times since. It’s the easiest cake to bake. And I have done several tweaks and modifications to suit my family’s palates and they usually turned out great, me thinks …

    Last night, however, was the first time I baked the Cake with the help of the Thermomix.

    Here’s how I did it, by combining recipes of a cake and a muffin.

    Sorry for the bad photos as the only lighting I had was my kitchen tungsten halogen lamps. No natural (sun)light. I did say I baked the cake last night, didn’t I? *wink*

    Banana Bread or Banana Cake? It looked like Bread but it tasted like Cake, so I called it Banana Loaf Cake! It was super yummy and moist. I kid you not…


    Ingredient A

    •  240 g ripe bananas

    Ingredients B

    • 125 g butter
    • 110 g cassonade light brown sugar
    • 1 tsp Vahiné natural vanilla powder

    Ingredient C

    • ca 120 g eggs

    Ingredient D

    • 60 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup

    Ingredients E (dry ingredients)

    • 255 g APF
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
    • A pinch of sea salt

    Steps 

    • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
    • Place A in TM bowl and blitz the bananas for 40 sec/ sp 5 until they form a creamy consistency. Set the mashed bananas aside in a separate bowl.

    • Add B and mix for 3 mins/ sp 5. Scrape down the sides of the inner bowl and continue mixing for another minute to form a light and creamy consistency. 
    • Add C one at a time. Beat for 10 sec/ sp 5 per egg. 
    • Add A and D to combine for 45 sec/ sp 5


    • Add E by weighing the dry ingredients, then tip the mixture into a clean bowl.  Fold in manually with a spatula until the mixture is combined.

    • Scoop the mixture into a greased loaf tin/ pan. Bake for 55 mins in a pre-heated oven. The cake is baked through if a skewer pricked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.



    My Verdict?

    I LURVE the smell of freshly-baked cakes and pastries, although I am not a sweet-tooth person. The smell that floated in my kitchen last night was heavenly. My boys were upstairs when I baked the Banana Loaf Cake and they could immediately smell baked bananas when they walked in the kitchen 🙂

    While leaving the cake to cool on a wire rack, I just had to cut a generous slice of the cake (while still a bit warm). It was too tempting for me to let it sit until it’s cooled completely. And by the way, I’m a crust person, so the slice with the crusted end was mine! It may have appeared to look like it’s on the hard side but, surprisingly, tasting is believing and seeing is deceiving; it was actually quite soft and moist (crust et al).   I’m glad I added Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You could add Maple Syrup or Honey. The syrup gave the cake a nice tan colour and made it moistier and ‘stickier’ with a caramelised flavour. I left the Cake on the kitchen table overnight and had a slice for breakfast this morning. The softness and moistness of the cake remained.  Before I left for work, I placed the cake in the fridge. When I got home, I thought the cake would harden while being refrigerated, but no, it remained as soft and fresh. You know what?  This is by far, my favourite Banana Loaf Cake recipe sans nuts.  The next time, I will add some walnuts from my garden!
    Have a great week!

    Cheers!

    You know I could be a Hakka in a past life for the simple reason that I kinda drawn to Hakka‘s cuisine. Although my paternal grandmother was of Hakka origin, I have never tasted her cooking. Infact, I have never seen her in the kitchen at all. Erm… could it be that lost yearning that’s dwelling in me screaming to get out?

    Hakka and not Haka

    It has nothing to do with the traditional ancestral war cry, dance, or challenge from the Māori people or All Blacks rugby union team of New Zealand. Hakka, by the way, is one of the major groups of varieties of Chinese people who migrated from North to Central to Southern China. There’s no wonder Hakka is literally translated to mean “guest families” or “guest people”, due to their “normadic” origin. Interestingly enough, the Hakkas can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the globe. Try searching for Hakka dishes on YouTube and you will end up watching several channels of Hakka Noodles prepared by chefs from India, Suriname and several parts of Latin America, Africa and North America! 

    Hakka people are said to be very thrifty and hard-working. One of my Mum’s sisters is married to a Hakka. I remembered seeing my Aunt giving my Mum bags full of bamboo shoots at several intervals until she became suspicious of her sister’s “gift”. My Aunt said, “blame it on my MIL!”. My Aunt’s MIL was the ‘culprit’ who singlehandedly harvested the bamboo shoots from her garden and she was in her 70’s then! A very humble, hardworking and generous Hakka woman, as I remembered her. I noticed my Aunt has embraced the Hakka-ish lifestyle from years of marrying into a Hakka family. She speaks Hakka fluently. She cooks Hakka dishes and we’re always looking forward to my Aunt’s festive invitation. The dishes she prepares are pragmatic, simple and above all, superbly generous and yummy. We’re often stuffed to the brim from her cooking. Thanks, Aunty 🙂

    These are the few of my favourite…

    Among the few of my favourite Hakka dishes are chai kueh (vegetable dumpling), the unique Lui Cha Fon (Hakka Pounded Tea Rice), the succulent rice wine chicken, the noteworthy suan pan ji (yam abacus beads) dish, the simple and tasty Hakka salted steamed or baked chicken and the most resourceful-and-waste-nothing dish called Ngiong Tew Foo or popularly called today in the Cantonese equivalent, Yong Tau Foo.


    The story was told that Hakkas who migrated from Central China, tried to improvise making meat dumplings. Instead of using wheat flour pastry which was scarce in Southern China, the Hakkas invented meat dumplings using tofu! Today, Yong Tau Foo (stuffed tofu) can be ordered easily in most Chinese restaurants throughout the world.


    Yong Tau Foo is eaten in numerous ways, either dry drizzled with black bean or fermented bean sauce or served as a soup dish, deep fried, shallow fried, steamed or braised. The tofu is stuffed with either ground meat mixture or fish paste. Variations include using various vegetables and proteins with the more common ones being aubergines, shiitake, okra, chillies and bitter gourd stuffed with the same meat or fish paste. 

    Umamily Colourful 

    My version of YTF is based on simplicity and reliving the flavours of a simple Hakka kitchen.  No expensive fish or prawn pastes, but minced meat ( I used the readily available ground veal) with some salted fish to enhance that umami flavour. For the broth, I used soy beans, anchovies, white peppercorns, ginger and garlic.

    For the vegetables, I went for the colours. PURPLE aubergines, GREEN courgettes, BLACK shiitakes, RED sweet pointed peppers and WHITE tofu. Seriously, the choice is endless!

    I was inspired to make this dish after watching Shiokoholics’ video on YouTube. The recipe she posted was adapted from Mr Rontree Chan, winner of SG50 Hong Kah North Masterchef Cooking Competition. 

    Note: I wanted a soupy YTF and I wanted the broth to taste as authentically Hakka as possible. I’m glad Rontree Chan’s recipe summed up perfectly.

    And by the way, I used Thermomix (TM5) to brew (slow-cook) the broth. If you don’t own a Thermomix, by all means use the slow cooker or a pressure cooker or a soup (crock) pot or a multi cooker. You will definitely get the same result; only the timing or duration of cooking may differ. 


    Ingredients A

    • 10 g garlic
    • 30 g shallots

    Ingredient B

    • 10 g cooking oil

    Ingredients C

      

    • 75 g soy beans, rinsed
    • 20 g whole white peppercorns 
    • 30 g fresh ginger slices 
    • 40 g garlic cloves, skin on, bruised
    • 30 g anchovies 
    • Inner flesh of 1 courgette 

    Ingredient D

    • 1,500 g water

    Ingredient E

    • 250 g water

    Ingredients F

    • 750 g minced veal
    • 1 small fried salted fish, deboned 
    • 1 Tbsp cornflour 
    • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
    • Dash of white pepper, to taste
    • Sesame oil, to taste
    • Light soy sauce, to taste
    • Mushroom oyster sauce, to taste
    • Scooped tofu from G

    Ingredients G

      

    • 250 g block organic tofu, cut in 3 equal rectangular pieces. Scoop part of the tofu to create a cavity. Transfer scooped tofu to F
    • 2 red sweet pointed peppers, cut in rings, seeds removed 
    • 1 aubergine, cut on the bias
    • 4 shiitakes, soaked in hot water until plump. Remove stems
    • 1 courgette, cut in equal parts/ rings. Scoop the flesh in the centre and transfer to C

    Ingredients H

    • 1 Tbsp mushroom oyster sauce
    • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
    • 3/4 Tbsp sesame oil
    • Coarse sea salt, to taste

    How to prepare 

       

     

    1. Place A in TM bowl. Blend 5 sec/ sp 5.  Scrape the sides of the inner bowl.
    2. Add B. Sauté for 5 mins/ 120 C/ sp 2
    3. Place C in the simmering basket and attach it in the TM bowl. Add D. Slow cook for 45 mins/ 120 C/ sp 2
    4. Pour E in TM bowl. Stir C. Cook further for 10 mins/ 120 C/ sp 2 
    5. Meanwhile, combine F in a clean bowl
    6. Discard C and rinse the simmering basket 
    7. Stuff F in the cavities of G
    8. Pan-fry stuffed veg and tofu until golden brown
    9. Prior to serving, place stuffed G in the simmering basket. Add H and cook for 10 mins/ 120 C/ sp 2
    10. Done!

      

    Et voilà!

    My one-dish meal. Super scrumptious!

    Honestly, I could have this everyday…


    I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare : May 3-9 hosted by Snap Happy Bakes

    With the colourful array of vegetables in this dish, I’m also linking this post to Tea Time Treats Linky Party for May 2016, hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage

    Another beautiful woman once said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child“. ~ Sophia Loren ~

    Thank you for thinking twice a zillion times for me. Happy Mother’s Day, Mum and to all mothers everywhere.

    Blessed Sunday!

    Cheers!

    I must confess since owning the Thermomix, I have became somewhat analytical in the way I cook, and even trying to challenge why we can’t fry rice in the thermie the normal way? 

    There are thermomix fried rice recipes on the net. Honestly ~ in my opinion ~ they should not be called “Fried Rice” (rather misleading, if you asked me …) but more appropriately, “Mixed Rice”, simply because cooked rice cannot be fried in the TM

    Against all odds, the stubborn me decided to cook fried rice in the Thermomix, my TM5.  It was a DISASTER!  I ended up with a sticky and clumpy mass and felt like a downright despondent nincompoop …

    By the way, the taste was great but there was absolutely no way I could fix it. I could transform that into a yucky looking porridge but that defeated the entire purpose. I wanted Fried Rice. Period !

       

    Conclusion: Thermomix cannot fry (cooked) rice.

    Thermomix , Noodles and Pastas 

    To err is human.  I have learnt the grievous mistake in frying cooked rice in my Thermomix. That was my first and the last time I attempted such a stunt. 

    Don’t get me wrong, though, the Thermomix cooks awesome rice and porridge, which my family has enjoyed immensely.

    Here’s the verdict of awesome fluffy rice cooked in my thermie. I kept my rice warm by covering the simmering basket with an aluminium foil. 

      

    And then came the question of whether we could fry noodles in the Thermomix…

    That’s when my inquisitive mind became inquisitiver. Lol!

    Here’s the result of cooking tagliatelle in my thermie. The pasta came out to perfection, ie with the right ‘al dente‘ texture.
     

    Question: If we can cook pasta in the TM, why can’t we cook Asian-style noodles in there? 

    Answer: Yes, we can!

    Hint: Follow the logic of cooking the pasta (found in TM5 recipe book or chip) and you will end up with a foolproof Asian-style fried rice noodles cooked in your thermie. 

    Here’s my first attempt and I LOVED it! My family loved it. 

      

    Here’s how I cooked my foolproof Char Bee Hoon (Fried Rice Noodle/ Vermicelli). Note, you need to use thicker strands of vermicelli, not the fine ones to xerox my result.

    By the way, the choice of ingredients and taste is up to you. These, you need not have to xerox mine at all.

    Ingredients A

    • 30 g shallots
    • 15 g garlic

    Ingredient B

    • 20 g cooking oil

    Ingredients C

    • 355 g water
    • 2 Tbsp mushroom oyster sauce
    • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • A dash of ground white pepper

    Ingredients D

    • 250 g ‘Go Tan‘ Rice noodles (Bee Hoon) – rinsed briefly with cold running water; do not soak 
    • 60 g white celery (stalk)
    • 60 g carrot
    • 60 g green bell pepper
    • 60 g red bell pepper
    • 60 g yellow bell pepper 
    • 1 stalk spring onion
    • 200 g fish cake, sliced 

       

      

    How to prepare?

    1. Place A in TM bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 5. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl
    2. Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/ V/ R/ sp 2
    3. Add C and cook for 4 min 30 sec/ V/ R/ spoon
    4. Add D. Cook further for 5 mins/ V/ R/ spoon. Leave the noodles in the TM bowl for 5 mins before serving. Note this last step is not necessary if you are using fine vermicelli sticks.

       

      

     

    Verdict: With the right choice and type of rice noodle/ vermicelli, the texture and the amalgamation of flavours were accurately absorbed in the noodles without getting clumpy or sticky or cut-up. I kid you not. 

    I wish I could have 2nd or 3rd helping but that was not meant to be. A 250g-packet of  Go Tan rice noodles was the right quantity to serve 4 people as a main meal. 

    Using Finer Vermicelli Sticks

    On the other hand ~ to give you an idea ~ using finer strands of vermicelli may result in the noodles getting cut-up whilst the blades were spinning, even at reverse/ spoon speed.

    Here’s one I made earlier 😜

      
     

    Verdict: As you can see, the strands of noodles were shorter, but definitely not a clustered clumpy mass. And hey, I wasn’t complaining. My guys were not complaining, either, so all’s well that ends well😋

    Have a great week!

    Cheers!