French Provençal Fougasse

July 24th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Savoury fougasse flatbread is perfect for your picnics, with wines or with dinner

Savoury fougasse flatbread is perfect for your picnics, with salads, with wines or with dinner

Think dark, juicy, pungent olives, dripping with oil. Think cicadas chirping in the hot fields of lavender that stretch as far as the eye can see. Think a game of pétanque played by locals in the shade of a graceful plane tree. Think a glass of cool, crisp rosé wine sitting on the table of your favourite café, dappled with sunlight, sitting next to a platter of fougasse, a savoury French Provençal flatbread.

Have I got you there? Can you see it? Can you taste it? I certainly can, but then I really am sitting next to a platter of fougasse that I made in my trusty Thermomix. The only thing missing is the glass of rosé – and that’s only because it’s 8:30 in the morning. You just wait until this evening, and that bottle of rosé will be a delicious but fading memory…

Fougasse
This specialty bread from the south of France is delightful served with a glass of wine or cocktails, at a picnic, and as the bread to accompany a meal with Provençal or Italian flavours. The recipe itself is a tried and tested one from Thermomix France’s bread cookbook, “Mille et une pates… à pain.” I like it with a big plate of salad, antipasti, or crudités. It’s especially good dipped in the best EVOO you can find. This version calls for black and green olives and bacon lardons, but you can use almost anything that catches your fancy – or is lurking in the back of your refrigerator ;-) I had no lardons so I substituted some Parma ham. Pancetta would be lovely, as would sun-dried tomatoes, herbes de provence, small chunks of Parmesan, anchovies, onions, etc. Use your imagination and let Thermomix take you to new heights of cooking!

Ingredients
10 g fresh yeast
300 g semi-skimmed milk
100 g wholemeal flour
400 g plain flour (no need to use bread flour)
40 g olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
70 g pitted black olives
70 g pitted green olives
100 g bacon lardons or Pancetta cubes
1 tsp. olive oil, to glaze

1. Fougasse dough before rising, with bits of olive throughout   2. Dough after rising, having doubled in size   3. Freeform shapes about 1/2 inch thick   4. Cut slits with a knife   5. Stretch the slits to form larger openings   6. Two beautiful fougasse, shaped, glazed, slit and ready to bake

1. Fougasse dough before rising, with bits of olive throughout 2. Dough after rising, having doubled in size 3. Freeform shapes about 1/2 inch thick 4. Cut slits with a knife 5. Stretch the slits to form larger openings 6. Two beautiful fougasse, shaped, glazed, slit and ready to bake

Method

  1. Activate the yeast by putting it in the TM bowl with the milk and warming 2 minutes/37° C/Speed 2.
  2. Add both types of flour, the olive oil, salt, olives and lardons. Close and lock the lid and Knead 2 ½ minutes. Your dough should be stretchy and soft, a bit moister than a typical bread dough.
  3. Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, cover it with cling film and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (like in the oven at 50° C) for one hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Knock back the dough and using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten it into a freeform shape about 1.5 cm or a good ½ inch thick. [I did this directly on a lined baking tray, and I made two medium-sized fougasse (on two trays) rather than what would have been one huge one.] Glaze the shapes with olive oil and a pastry brush. Cut slits in the dough and stretch to create holes.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 230° C. Put a tray of water in the bottom to create steam which will help your bread rise a little more and bake with a beautiful crust. While the oven is heating, let your fougasse rise again at room temperature about 20 minutes.
  6. Bake at 230° C for 20 minutes or until the top and the insides of the holes are golden brown. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips:

  1. How old is your yeast? Has it been in the freezer? Check your yeast by giving the warmed milk mixture a quick burst of the Turbo button. If the yeast is fresh, you’ll have a lovely yeasty smell (imagine that!) and you’ll see bubbles on the surface. If you get no bubbles, you may need to add some new yeast to the milk and start again. If you don’t have any more yeast, you may wish to let your dough rise for quite a long time until it doubles in size, or even overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. A French tip for getting bread and pasta dough out of the bowl: tip the TM bowl over as usual, and before removing the base, give the black knob of the blade a couple of counter-clockwise/anti-clockwise turns with your fingers. You’ll feel the dough detach from the blade before falling out of the bowl and it will be even easier to remove the blade from the dough.
  3. If you’ve placed a tray of water in the oven to make steam, let it cool before you remove it so that you don’t scald yourself or anyone else in your kitchen.
Enjoy the texture, taste and soft crust of this savoury flat bread called Fougasse

Enjoy the texture, taste and soft crust of this savoury flat bread called Fougasse

Want to know more?
According to Wikipedia, Cuisines et Vins de France and a website entirely dedicated to this unusual and versatile bit of baking, fougasse was originally the bread used to test the temperature of the baker’s oven. “Waste not, want not” has been around for centuries, so the bakers stuffed and topped this first batch with whatever delights they had to hand and served the fougasse to their apprentice bakers as a morning snack. And if the word sounds familiar to you, fougasse is to French bread what focaccia is to Italian bread. In Spain they call it fougassa. All from the Latin, meaning “flat bread cooked under the ashes of a fire.”

Bon appétit !

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Mini Choux with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse

July 20th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Mini Choux filled with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse are fast and easy to make in your Thermomix

Mini Choux filled with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse are fast and easy to make in your Thermomix

We are very lucky to have found a second home in the beautiful countryside near Sancerre, France. Best known for its delightful white wine, the area’s rolling hills are covered in lush green grapevines while flat fields are home to colza, wheat, barley and sunflowers. And occasionally, just occasionally, you can catch a glimpse of the goats for which the region is also known.

For some odd reason, the goat farms of Chavignol and Sancerre are mostly barns where goats live indoors year round. I would have thought that fresh clover, grass and meadow flowers would produce tastier milk than a diet of hay and straw. Luckily, goat raiser and cheese maker Céline of the Chèvrerie de la Ferrière thinks otherwise. Céline’s happy chappies – or rather lucky ladies because most of them are of course females who produce the milk – spend lots of time running around and eating outside in periods of clement weather and their milk makes cheese that tastes amazingly fresh. Céline uses unpasteurised milk and lets it mature naturally into the traditional crottin shape.

These cheeky goats can be seen indoors and out at Céline's La Chèvrerie de la Ferrière in Crézancy-en-Sancerre

These cheeky goats can be seen indoors and out at Céline’s La Chèvrerie de la Ferrière in Crézancy-en-Sancerre

I am spoiled and only buy my crottins de Chavignol from Céline, and eat them in various ways. Fresh ones spread on fresh bread, maybe a little jam on top for a sweet/savoury combination at breakfast – pardon me while I swoon - while medium mature ones split open and grilled to a golden brown then served on top of fragrant salad leaves make a wonderful quick lunch or savoury starter at dinner time.

Infusing your cream with fresh thyme

Infusing your cream with fresh thyme

And so is this recipe for mini choux buns filled with thyme-infused goats cheese mousse, made from the freshest soft goats cheese that you can buy. Soft goats cheese is available in the UK, the US and undoubtedly in Oz in little squarish containers. Some brands are imported from France and lately there is a UK goat farmer who makes quite a good product available in supermarkets. Have a look, the recipe is really worth it!

Mini Choux with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse
One batch of Thermomix choux pastry dough makes loads of mini choux that your cocktail party guests will gobble up in no time! The mousse can be used in many ways, such as in my shots of beetroot purée, so use your imagination!

Be sure to both sufficiently chill your thyme-infused cream and set your mousse before piping

Be sure to both sufficiently chill your thyme-infused cream and set your mousse before piping

Thermomix Choux Pastry
This is the basic choux pastry recipe from Fast and Easy Cooking by Janie Turner. You can use it to make both sweet and savoury choux, as per the instructions. Take care to use medium or large eggs but not jumbo, as too large eggs will make your dough too moist and your choux will be all flat :( It is sooooo easy to make choux pastry with your Thermomix, you’ll never make it any other way. And if you’re like me, you’ll find you’re making it way too often – at least as far as your diet is concerned! A delightful variation of this recipe is Gougères, where strong-flavoured cheese is added to the pastry to make savoury treats that are perfect with white wine.

Ingredients
150 g water
80 g butter
1 tsp. salt
(1 Tbsp sugar for those times when you make sweet choux pastry)
120 g strong flour
3 medium eggs

Method

  1. Mix and heat the water, butter, salt (and sugar if using for a sweet recipe but not for this savoury treat!) 5 minutes/100° C/Speed 1.
  2. Add the flour and mix 1 ½ minutes/Speed 3.
  3. Take the TM bowl off the base and set aside to cool for 20 minutes. (Make yourself a cuppa and have a sit down!) Preheat your oven to 220° C/425° F/Gas Mark 7.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time through the hole in the TM lid onto the running blades at Speed 5, then continue to mix 30 seconds/Speed 5.
  5. Turn out; shape and bake as required for your recipe. Here we will scrape the luscious buttery dough into a piping bag and pipe out wee little choux buns, about 2 cm or ¾ inch in diameter, onto a greased or paper-lined flat baking tray. Bake 10 to 20 minutes according to your oven and your choux size (oh I love it, choux size/shoe size). I set my timer for 10 minutes, have a quick look to see how brown they are, and continue as required. The batch in these pictures was made in a tiny Tefal counter-top oven and is the best batch I’ve ever made, so size is not everything ;-)
  6. Remove from oven and let cool. Now make the mousse filling.
Here's Madame Thermomix piping firmly set thyme-infused goats' cheese mousse into her mini choux pastry

Here’s Madame Thermomix piping firmly set thyme-infused goats’ cheese mousse into her mini choux pastry

Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse
This delicately-flavoured mousse can be used in many savoury dishes to add depth and provide a creamy texture. I have used it many times to top shots of beetroot purée as the combination of tastes is gorgeous!

Ingredients
100 ml double cream
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
A pinch of salt
150 g French (or English!) mild goats’ cheese
Several turns of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Infuse double cream with thyme and salt 5 minutes/90° C/Speed 2; let stand in TM bowl for about 10 minutes then strain into a shallow dish to cool completely. Discard thyme. Chill in fridge at least 30 minutes. (Don’t skimp on this or your cream will be too warm to whip.)
  2. Mix the goats’ cheese with pepper 20 seconds/speed 5. Scrape sides of TM bowl and insert butterfly whisk. With blades running at Speed 4, pour infused cream through hole in lid and continue whisking about 2 minutes or until peaks start to form and just lightly hold.
  3. Put into piping bag and let set in fridge a good 15 minutes. Madame Thermomix’s Top Tip: Stand your piping bag upright in a tall glass to fill and place upright in the door of the fridge to chill.
Enjoy these Mini Choux filled with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse with a chilled glass of crisp, white Sancerre wine. Bon appétit !

Enjoy these Mini Choux filled with Thyme-Infused Goats Cheese Mousse with a chilled glass of crisp, white Sancerre wine. Bon appétit !

To fill your mini choux

  1. Using another nozzle from your piping bag, prick a small hole in the bottom of each mini choux. This saves time and keeps the nozzle from clogging when you pipe in the filling.
  2. When the mousse has set, remove from fridge and pipe a small amount into each choux bun. If making ahead or if it’s hot out, it’s best to keep the finished choux chilled until serving so the cheese and cream don’t spoil. I have never had to do this, though, as I make them just before the party and they are gone in a flash!

Serve with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc such as a French Sancerre by Gérard Boulay or a New Zealand Clos Henri by Domaine Henri Bourgeois.

Bon appétit !

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Happy, healthy goats enjoying fresh air at the Chèvrerie de la Ferrière in Crézancy-en-Sancerre, France

Happy, healthy goats enjoying fresh air at the Chèvrerie de la Ferrière in Crézancy-en-Sancerre, France

 

 

 

 

Yorkshire #TourdeFrance Cherry Clafoutis!

July 7th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Yorkshire #TourdeFrance Cherry Clafoutis is a lighter version of a French classic

Yorkshire #TourdeFrance Cherry Clafoutis is a lighter version of a French classic

ThermoHubby John and I were in the Champagne region of France on Saturday with some friends who not only introduced us to a new Champagne producer but also gave us a big bag of gorgeous, dark, ripe cherries they had picked from a nearby tree. And when at lunchtime I ordered a Cherry Clafoutis for dessert in the lovely Le Magny hotel-restaurant in Les Riceys, I decided that of course I was going to use the newly-acquired cherries to make another Cherry Clafoutis in my trusty Thermomix.

Despite quite a large lunch, on Saturday night I made Toad in the Hole using the Yorkshire Pudding recipe from Fast and Easy Cooking. As usual, it was fantastic. I even made onion gravy in my Thermomix to go with it, yum yum yum. Now, I have always felt that traditional clafoutis batter baked up rather a bit… dare I say rubbery?? So when we were eating – nay, devouring – the Toad in the Hole I couldn’t help but make the comparison between the two batters and thinking that the Yorkshire Pudding batter was much lighter.

On went my thinking cap.

Clafoutis batter = 6 eggs, 100 g flour, 300 g milk = rubber!

Yorkshire Pudding batter = 2 eggs, 150 g flour, 400 g milk = lighter!

All of those eggs must have been reacting to the gorgeous juice from the cherries to make a rubbery batter, don’t you think? I daresay it didn’t take me long to decide to add the same amount of sugar and vanilla as in the clafoutis batter to the Yorkshire Pudding batter and see how it turned out. And I daresay it turned out just the way I wanted it to, much lighter and just as lovely tasting. Success!

So here, in honour of the Tour de France passing through Yorkshire this year, is my Yorkshire #TourdeFrance Cherry Clafoutis recipe.

Yorkshire #TourdeFrance Cherry Clafoutis
A lighter variation on a classic theme, devised in honour of the Tour de France’s passage through Yorkshire in July, 2014. Serves 8 to 12.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp butter (for the dish)
500 g cherries, pitted or not, as you wish

2 large eggs
150 g plain flour
60 g sugar
400 g milk
a good pinch of salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract/essence (yep, a big bloomin’ tablespoon really gives good flavour to the cherries)
2 Tbsp Kirsch or brandy (optional but really good!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220° C/210° C fan/425° F. Generously butter a 20 cm/9 inch heavy baking dish. Weigh or add all ingredients into the TM bowl and mix 20 seconds/Speed 4.
  2. Pour batter into dish and scatter cherries on top. Bake 30 minutes or until batter is golden brown and puffy. Serve warm with pouring cream or custard.

Bon appétit !

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Wicked Good Tuna Salad

July 2nd, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Tuna Salad takes 2 just seconds in your Thermomix!

Tuna Salad takes just 2 seconds in your Thermomix!

It’s noon, the sun is shining, I’m too hot to paint another garden chair, and I’m hungry. This calls for some ingenuity – and my Thermomix, of course!

The larder cupboard yields a tin of tuna and the fridge offers up 2 carrots, a small white onion, a short stalk of celery and some garlic and chilli mayonnaise.

Everything goes into the Thermomix (just cut the celery and carrots into 3 or 4 pieces and peel the carrots if they’re not organic) and gets a quick blitz: just 2 seconds/Speed 5 and voilà, Wicked Good Tuna Salad!

Bon appétit !

Thermomix Pasta Dough

June 29th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Thermomix makes making fresh pasta dough so fast and easy

Thermomix makes making fresh pasta dough so fast and easy

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve just come back from a lovely walk in the Forêt de Saint-Germain outside of Paris. I spy a bag of “00” durum wheat flour in the cupboard and decide to make some fresh pasta for dinner. ThermoHubby John heartily approves so I reach for my well-used, dog-eared (and dog-chewed!) copy of Fast and Easy Cooking and turn to the recipe for pasta dough. Ah. One slight problem, the recipe calls for 3 eggs and I only have two. This is France and supermarkets and most other stores are rarely open on Sunday, plus we’ve just gotten back and I really don’t fancy going out just for one measly egg. What to do?

Enter Google (as usual). I googled “how much flour per egg for pasta” and came up with 1 egg per 100 g of “00” flour, which is exactly the proportions used in the F&E recipe. Even Jamie Oliver’s larger-quantity recipe calls for 6 eggs and 600 g flour, so I figure I can’t go wrong with 2 eggs and 200 g of flour.

From here on it continues to be straight sailing, and in much less than 5 minutes I had a lovely, golden, soft disc of fresh pasta dough resting in my refrigerator. With Thermomix at the wheel, it’s so very fast and easy to make pasta dough, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often. Well, yes I do. It’s my hips that keep me from making pasta too often, as it goes straight to them when I do ;-)

Just three steps to making perfect pasta dough in your Thermomix

Click on this photo to see a larger, more detailed version

Thermomix Pasta Dough
Recipe from Fast and Easy Cooking, the 300-recipe cookbook included with every Thermomix TM31 purchased from Thermomix UK. Director Janie Turner says, “This excellent home-made pasta dough is one of the reasons that the Thermomix (known as the Bimby in Italy and Portugal) is so popular in Italy. Think of using Thermomix for perfect kneading – all bread doughs, pastry, shortbread, kebab mixtures, etc.”

Ingredients
3 large eggs or 6 egg yolks from large eggs
300 g pasta flour – gluten level “00″
1 tsp. olive oil

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in the TM bowl. Mix 30 seconds/Speed 6.
  2. If it still looks like small very dry crumbs (common with organic flours), add water 1 tsp. at a time while mixing at Speed 6 until it begins to form larger crumbs (about 2mm size).
  3. Knead 1 ½ minutes/Dough Setting. Press together and wrap the dough in cling film in a flat disc about the width of your pasta machine. Leave to rest 15 to 30 minutes in the fridge before rolling out.

Delicious served with Madame Thermomix’s basil pesto, rocket pesto or wild garlic pesto.

Madame Thermomix made lovely, soft fresh tagliatelle with her Thermomix pasta dough

Madame Thermomix made lovely, soft fresh tagliatelle with her Thermomix pasta dough

Buon appetito !

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Thermomix Strawberry Jam

June 27th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Beautiful seasonal strawberries make fantastic jam in no time in your Thermoimx

Beautiful seasonal strawberries make fantastic jam in no time in your Thermomix

It’s June, it’s been delightfully hot and sunny after long periods of rain and the tiny wild strawberries in my garden are just making it into my mouth before the slugs and the birds get them. Supermarket and market stalls are overflowing with deep red polka-dotted orbs that demand to be eaten, much to my delight.

We had family visiting this weekend and there were 120 grams of strawberries left over after making a fabulous fresh strawberry tart. I was up before everyone and popped these little red babes into my Thermomix with the same amount of sugar and a squeeze of lemon and hey presto – 15 minutes later I had a jar of strawberry jam and the appreciative moans of my guests. You can’t beat Thermomix for a quick strawberry fix!

Thermomix Strawberry Jam
Recipe from “Fast and Easy Cooking,” the 300-recipe cookbook included with every Thermomix purchased from UK Thermomix. Janie Turner’s incredibly simple recipe is full of flavour and works with any soft fruit such as peaches, apricots, etc. Trust Janie, your jam will set best in these quantities. It’s so fast and easy to make, you can batch it if you have larger quantities. Makes 500 g or 2 jars. Can easily be halved.

Ingredients
250 g strawberries
250 g sugar
juice of half a lemon

Don't forget to sterilise your lids!

Don’t forget to sterilise your lids!

Method

  1. Put all ingredients in your Thermomix bowl. You now have two options: Leave the berries whole OR if you wish have a smooth jam, Turbo pulse for three 1-second bursts. (I blended mine for longer to get a smooth sauce, perfect for pouring over Thermomix ice cream!)
  2. Scrape down the sides and lid of the Thermomix bowl with the spatula. Cook 100° C/12 minutes/Speed 1.
  3. An alternative setting test consists of dropping a spoonful on a cold plate to see if it congeals
  4. An alternative setting test consists of dropping a spoonful on a cold plate to see if it congeals
  5. Test to see if setting point has been reached by tilting the Thermomix bowl and checking that the jam at the top is starting to gel. If not yet at setting point, continue cooking for 2 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed 1, stopping every 2 minutes to remove the TM bowl from the Thermomix while you check. Pour into sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids.
The handy gap in the Thermomix lid lets you add lemon juice but not the pips ;-)

The handy gap in the Thermomix lid lets you add lemon juice but not the pips ;-)

Enjoy your Thermomix strawberry jam!

Enjoy your Thermomix strawberry jam!

Bon appétit !

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Thermomix Colombo Spice Powder

June 24th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Madame Thermomix's Colombo Spice Powsder starts with fresh, whole, fragrant spices

Madame Thermomix’s Colombo Spice Powsder starts with fresh, whole, fragrant spices

ThermoHubby John grew up in England where historically people eat lots of curry. Very often our Friday Feast is centred on dishes made with any number of Indian curry powder spice blends. Here in France there are closer ties to the French West Indies, a Caribbean island group which includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts). I find I can now more easily find West Indian curry spices than the more traditional British-style Indian curries I have grown used to. One of my favourite West Indian curry powders is called Colombo Spice Powder. According to Hector Rodriguez in about.com, Colombo powder contains an unusual ingredient which not only imparts a nutty flavour to the mix, it also serves as a thickener to give you a beautifully lush sauce or a nicely thickened soup or stew. I have here adapted Hector’s recipe for the Thermomix where we can fast and easily toast and grind the spices and the unusual addition of rice in our handy Thermomix bowl.

Try this Colombo powder in your next curry. I’m sure you’ll love its warm, fragrant flavours.

A pastry brush helps get all the fragrant ground spices out of your Thermomix bowl

A pastry brush helps get all the fragrant ground spices out of your Thermomix bowl

Madame Thermomix’s Colombo Spice Powder
The unusual addition of toasted rice give this spice mix a nutty flavour while also thickening your curries, soups and stews. Makes about a cup of seasoning, or enough to fill a jam jar.

Ingredients
50 g uncooked white rice
25 g whole cumin seeds
15 g whole coriander seeds
5 g black mustard seeds (or yellow or brown)
5 g black peppercorns
10 g fenugreek seeds
1 tsp whole cloves

30 g ground turmeric

Method

  1. Toast the first group of rice and spice ingredients 5 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed Spoon/Reverse Blade Setting/Measuring Cup OFF. Tip onto a plate to cool for 5 minutes or so. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee ;-)
  2. Grind the cooled rice and spices 30 seconds/Speed 10. Weigh in the turmeric and stir 5 seconds/Speed 3.
Madame Thermomix's Top Tip: Use a funnel or a jam funnel and a pastry brush to brush your spice mix into storage containers.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tip: Use a funnel or a jam funnel and a pastry brush to brush your spice mix into storage containers.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips:

  • This recipe makes about a cup of deliciously fragrant seasoning. Your Colombo powder will keep for several months in a sterilised airtight jar, container, or zip-sealed plastic bag. You could re-use a couple of empty spice jars you may have saved for just such an occasion.
  • Use a pastry brush to get the last of your ground spices out of your TM bowl.
  • Use a funnel or a jam funnel to direct the spice into your jar.

Bon appétit !
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Thermomix Ratatouille

June 12th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Thermomix Ratatouille Soft, yielding aubergines/eggplants. Firm and fragrant courgettes/zucchini. Juicy tomatoes, zesty herbs and the crunch of just-cooked onion. Oh, and a hint of garlic to bind it all together. To me, ratatouille is the symbol of summer, the epitome of freshness and flavour. In her tome “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” legendary French Chef Julia Child advises cooking each vegetable separately before combining at the last minute. There’s got to be an easier way to make this iconic dish.

As a hard-core, intensive Thermomix user and demonstrator, I am the first to tell anyone who wants to listen that my Best Friend in the Kitchen can do virtually anything. But even I was sceptical about ratatouille. Even at the gentle 40 rpm of Speed Spoon on Reverse Blade Function, how could you possibly keep from creating mush? Ratatouille is a standard offering for Thermomix Recipe Dates in France, where we demonstrators make a follow-up visit to a demo host or guest to make just one recipe of their choice. It’s in the basic cookbook that’s delivered with every Thermomix purchased from Vorwerk Thermomix France. My Consultant Demonstrator raves about it. How could they possibly be wrong? I had to try it to see for myself.

Fresh, seasonal vegetables and your trusty Thermomix make for a delightful ratatouille

Fresh, seasonal vegetables and your trusty Thermomix make for a delightful ratatouille

And I’m so glad I did. Thermomix ratatouille is great! It really works! The secret is to cut your vegetables in very large pieces and not to cook it too long. Less is more in this case, and you can always cook a bit more if you really think it needs it. And Thermomix’s clever Reverse Blade Function ensures that even the tenderest veg retain their shape. So now that summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere, go ahead, use some of those fabulous seasonal vegetables and make some glorious ratatouille.

Thermomix Ratatouille
Translated from A Table avec Thermomix, this recipe uses just the right amounts of veg to fill your TM bowl to the top and leave room for everything to turn and cook properly. Don’t be tempted to use much more or you won’t close the lid ;-) Weigh the veg, cut off the extra and save it for the next batch. Don’t forget the Reverse Blade Function! This smells so gorgeous while it’s cooking – and it’s so darn easy to make – that you’ll be having Thermomix Ratatouille very often! Serves 6.

Ingredients
120 g onion, peeled and quartered (that’s one large or maybe 2 medium)
1 shallot, peeled
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled
20 g olive oil

200 g courgettes/zucchini (about 1 smallish)
300 g aubergine/eggplant (1 medium)
300 g ripe tomatoes (I used 2 ½ toms)
100 g red pepper/capsicum (1 medium)
A handful of fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano and rosemary, or about 1 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add onion, shallot, garlic and oil to TM bowl and chop 5 seconds/Speed 5. Scrape sides of bowl with TM spatula.
  2. Sauté 5 minutes/100° C/Speed Spoon. Use this time when you don’t have to stir to cut the courgettes into 1-inch slices and the other vegetables into 2-inch chunks.
  3. Add the vegetable chunks to the bowl, add the herbs and seasoning and cook 25 minutes/100° C/Speed Spoon/Reverse Blade Function.
Here's my Thermomix Ratatouille at the end of 30 minutes cooking time. I recommend cooking for just 25 minutes to retain a little more firmness

Here’s my Thermomix Ratatouille at the end of 30 minutes cooking time. I recommend cooking for just 25 minutes to retain a little more firmness

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips:

  • Use the quantities indicated so you can close the lid.
  • Remember the Reverse Blade Function!
  • I wasn’t sure that with a really full bowl full of large chunks of vegetables the blade would be able to turn properly but I worried in vain. After one little hesitant gulp my Thermomix began chugging away ever so gently, with the chunks rotating and mixing around in a very homogeneous fashion if I have to say so myself. I was delighted!
  • The smell from this particular mixture of seasonal vegetables is heavenly. I can’t say why but it is much nicer than the smell of a stove-top ratatouille.
  • The original recipe in A Table avec Thermomix indicates a 30-minute cooking time. My vegetables remained whole and discernable after 30 minutes but I would have preferred them a tad firmer so I am recommending only 25 minutes cooking. As I said above, less is more and you can always cook your ratatouille a bit more if you really think it needs it.
  • Leftovers? Chances are there won’t be any but if there are, your ratatouille will make a super sauce for pasta, rice or other grains. I love ratatouille with polenta, made in the Thermomix of course!

 

Bon appétit with Why Is There Air and Thermomix Ratatouille!

Bon appétit with Why Is There Air and Thermomix Ratatouille!

Bon appétit !

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Cherry Clafoutis

May 30th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Like a sweet Yorkshire pudding laden with fruit, this Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis is a delicious springtime treat

Like a sweet Yorkshire pudding laden with fruit, this Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis is a delicious springtime treat

Kind of like a sweet Yorkshire pudding filled with flavoursome cherries, Cherry Clafoutis is a traditional springtime dessert in France. Great controversy arises over the stones: to pip or not to pip? As with bones left in your chicken stew, the cherry pips are said to infuse greater flavour into the batter but of course they make for a more difficult eating experience. And then you have the pipping process, which leaves your hands looking very Goth to say the least!

Oops! A bit of lemon juice should take away the cherry juice stains ;-)

Oops! A bit of lemon juice should take away the cherry juice stains ;-)

ThermoHubby John loves Cherry Clafoutis but doesn’t love the pips, so we opt for the pip-less version – and the terrible-looking fingernails ;-) If you can find frozen pitted cherries these work really well. Just be sure to thaw them before baking and reduce the amount of liquid in the batter.

Start your Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis with some sweet pitted cherries

Start your Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis with some sweet pitted cherries

Cherry Clafoutis (cherry batter pudding cake)
Just as with the Thermomix Yorkshire Pudding recipe (see page 184 of Fast and Easy Cooking), Thermomix makes short work of a somewhat fiddly recipe. Just add all the batter ingredients into your bowl, woosh it up for 20 seconds and voilà! Do enjoy this recipe and the luscious dessert it produces.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp butter (for the dish)
500 g cherries, pitted or not, as you wish

For the batter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract/essence
6 medium eggs
60 g sugar
300 g milk
100 g plain flour
2 Tbsp Kirsch or brandy (optional but really good!)
Pinch of salt

Here's our Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis in the dish, ready to bake

Here’s our Thermomix Cherry Clafoutis in the dish, ready to bake

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220° C/210° C fan/425° F. Generously butter a 20 cm/9 inch heavy baking dish. Weigh or add all ingredients into the TM bowl and mix 20 seconds/Speed 4.
  2. Pour batter into dish and scatter cherries on top. Bake 30 minutes or until batter is golden brown and puffy. Serve warm with pouring cream or custard.

Bon appétit !

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Traditional French Cherry Clafoutis is a delicious springtime dessert to make in your Thermomix

Traditional French Cherry Clafoutis is a delicious springtime dessert to make in your Thermomix

 

 

Thermomix Mayonnaise!

May 22nd, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

This perfect mayonnaise was made from the Garlic and Chilli mayonnaise recipe but without the garlic and chilli. It works both ways!

This perfect mayonnaise was made from the Garlic and Chilli mayonnaise recipe but without the garlic and chilli. It works both ways!

I’ve recently met quite a few people who love to make mayonnaise by hand. They adore it, they make it often, and they have the biceps to prove it ;-) I on the other hand, could never be bothered to go to all the trouble and effort and bought ready-made mayo whilst complaining to myself about the price. Enter Thermomix. Five years on and I haven’t bought a jar of wishy-washy, additive-laden gloop again.

Now I have to admit that not all of my attempts at making mayonnaise have been successful on the first try. I often have to add another egg yolk and re-emulsify the whole deal, as per Janie Turner’s rescue tip on page 52 of Fast and Easy Cooking. My musings as to reasons for my failures range from egg temperature (straight from the fridge or room temperature?) to acidity level (vinegar or lemon juice?), passing via when to add the acid element (before emulsifying or after the mayonnaise has set?). I have used the regular, egg-yolk-based recipe and I actually now prefer the whole egg mayonnaise for its lighter taste. I find that using a mixture of oils produces a balanced, good-tasting mayonnaise whereas using one type of oil gives either too much flavour for most uses (as in olive oil) or an almost insipid flavour that needs a boost (as in sunflower oil).

Place a just on top of your Thermomix and weigh in the oil.

Place a just on top of your Thermomix and weigh in the oil.

When I became a Consultant Demonstrator with UK Thermomix I was responsible for organising and presenting cooking classes for Thermomix owners. Several of the recipes from the class have become well-loved and well-used favourites, including and especially Executive Demonstrator Felicity Raines’ recipe for Garlic and Chilli Mayonnaise. Contrary to my numerous failures with the basic mayo recipe from Fast and Easy Cooking, this mayonnaise comes out perfectly first time, every time. The proportions are somewhat different and I believe this ensures its success. Felicity’s recipe calls for much less lemon juice and more oil. For me, these are key elements as now that I think about it, the amount of lemon juice has been the problem with the F&E mayonnaise recipe. This new recipe even works when you omit the garlic and chilli and make a plain mayonnaise. Go on, give this one a try and let me know how you do!

Slowly pour the oil over the upturned measuring cup so that it runs into the bowl at the perfect speed to emulsify it

Slowly pour the oil over the upturned measuring cup so that it runs into the bowl at the perfect speed to emulsify it

Felicity Raines’ Garlic and chilli mayonnaise
This is a simple, stalwart recipe that works as well as it brings a zing of flavour to whatever it accompanies. Serve with crudités, hard-boiled eggs or steamed fish. Give a real zing to your tuna salad. Wake up leftover roast leg of lamb. DON’T WASH THE BOWL once you’ve made it and then make an instant salad with some crispy vegetables, leaving some mayonnaise in the bowl to dress your salad automatically. Thanks, Felicity!

Ingredients
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
2 egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
300 g sunflower oil

Method

  1. Drop the garlic and chilli onto the blades running at Speed 8 and scrape down with the spatula.
  2. Add the yolks, mustard, and lemon juice, salt and pepper and insert the butterfly whisk.
  3. Place a jug on the TM lid and measure in the sunflower oil.
  4. Switch the TM to Speed 4, put in the measuring cup upside down and slowly pour the oil over the measuring cup. Voilà, that’s all!

Bon appétit !

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Beautifully emulsified mayonnaise, thanks to my best friend in the kitchen, my Thermomix!

Beautifully emulsified mayonnaise, thanks to my best friend in the kitchen, my Thermomix!

 


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