Mince Pies with Thermomix Puff Pastry and Homemade Mincemeat

December 14th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Homemade Mince Pies are a doddle to make when Thermomix helps you along the way :)

Homemade Mince Pies are a doddle to make when Thermomix helps you along the way :)

It’s about 10 days until Christmas and I’ve been a bit humbug this season. The tree and the decorations are in boxes in the guest house and and I won’t put them up until I finish emptying the moving boxes which is becoming a rather protracted chore. However, every year ThermoHubby John brings some sort of Christmas treat to his office and in a long-awaited burst of Christmas spirit I thought this year it would be nice for him to be able to bring some totally traditionally English Mince Pies to his French colleagues. There’s of course one hitch… we live in France and the nearest Marks and Spencer’s is about an hour and a half away so I’ll just have to call upon my trusty Thermomix to help me make some ;-)

Here's my Thermomix France puff pastry filled with homemade Thermomix mincemeat

Here’s my Thermomix France puff pastry filled with homemade Thermomix mincemeat

ThermoHubby John likes puff pastry mince pies, so I used the Thermomix France puff pastry recipe and its sensationally easy Snail Method. If you prefer a shortcrust pastry I recommend this one, also from Thermomix France.

The mincemeat recipe was developed by Adela Forestier-Walker, one of the UK’s longest-serving Thermomix Advisors, and tweaked by Thermomix UK Director Janie Turner. It’s a doddle to make, can stand up to the vaguaries of your larder and its contents, and produces a mincemeat with a really fresh, lemony flavour. I’ll never buy storebought again!

Mincemeat – Adela Forestier-Walker
Extremely easy to make in your Thermomix, this mincemeat is perfect for mince pies and tarts. It is a variation of Adela Forestier-Walker’s recipe. It can be used straight away but tastes better if you can wait at least 2 days for the flavours to mature. Janie Turner likes it best made with butter, and so does Madame Thermomix. Keeps up to 6 months. Makes about 600 g. Easily doubled or tripled.
Ingredients
50 g sugar
1 organic lemon, thinly peeled skin of ½ only plus juice of the whole lemon
100 g fresh suet cut in pieces or room temperature butter diced or bought prepared suet
100 g cooking apples, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp brandy
100 g currants
100 g sultanas
100 g raisins
Method
1. Grind sugar and lemon peelings from ½ the lemon 20 seconds/Speed 10.
2. Add fresh suet if using and chop at Speed 6 until evenly chopped.
3. Add apples, brandy, butter or prepared suet if using, and juice of the whole lemon. Chop at Speed 3 until evenly chopped. If doubling or tripling the recipe, you may need to stir with the TM spatula through the hole in the TM lid.
4. Add dried fruit and stir in at Speed 3/Reverse Blade Direction until mixed. (For a triple recipe, you’ll need to tip it all out into a large bowl and mix with a spatula.) Spoon into sterilised jars and cover with sterilised lids.
Janie Turner’s Tips
Variations: • Add 100 g blanched almonds at Step 2 and chop at Speed 6 for a few seconds. This is Adela’s favourite version.
• Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp mixed spice. See the Basic Recipes Tips and Hints chapter in “Fast and Easy Cooking” for how to grind cinnamon – freshly ground cinnamon will give wonderful extra flavour to this mincemeat and other recipes.
I cut out little star shapes from the offcuts of my Thermomix puff pastry and popped them in the freezer whilst filling my mini mince pies

I cut out little star shapes from the offcuts of my Thermomix puff pastry and popped them in the freezer whilst filling my mini mince pies

I was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Star-Topped Mince Pies and made bite-sized pies with cute little stars on top. Fantastic!

My homemade mince pies are ready to go into the oven

My homemade mince pies are ready to go into the oven

I baked my Thermomix mince pies at 220 degrees C for about 15 minutes. Ovens vary, so make sure to watch yours carefully!

I baked my Thermomix mince pies at 220 degrees C for about 15 minutes. Ovens vary, so make sure to watch yours carefully!

Merry Christmas from Madame Thermomix!

Merry Christmas from Madame Thermomix!

Bon appétit !

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Easy Asian-flavoured Prawn Bisque

December 10th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Madame Thermomix's Easy Asian-Flavoured Prawn Bisque recipe makes a delightful lunch for one!

Madame Thermomix’s Easy Asian-Flavoured Prawn Bisque recipe makes a delightful lunch for one!

Oh my word I just made the best, tastiest lunch with my Thermomix ever! How does an Asian-flavoured Prawn Bisque sound? And Thermomix’s superior blending power enables you to turn what could be considered “scraps” and things to throw away, into a deep and richly flavoured soup – zero waste!

Madame Thermomix’s Easy Asian-Flavoured Prawn Bisque
Turn your scraps and a few bits from the fridge into a fabulous lunch for one! If you’ve got some basil or coriander waiting to be eaten, use it for a tasty garnish and crank the flavours up a notch. And there’s no added fat in this recipe so it’s great if you’re watching your weight! Serves one.

Ingredients
6 large whole unpeeled prawns/shrimp
Shells and heads from 6 other prawns/shrimp
2 or 3 shallots, peeled
1 mushroom
2 cm/1 inch fresh ginger, cut in 2mm “coins” along the lines of the skin (no need to peel, the skin holds loads of extra vitamins!)
2 peeled tomatoes from a tin PLUS 3 tbsp of the juice – or – a couple of overripe tomatoes from your vegetable drawer ;-)
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
juice of one lime
500 g water
A small handful of green beans, fresh or frozen, topped and tailed and cut into thirds

Method

  1. Remove the shells and heads from 6 prawns. Drop the shells into the TM bowl and reserve the prawn bodies.
  2. Add shells and heads from 6 other prawns, shallots, mushroom and ginger to the TM bowl and chop 30 seconds/Speed 8. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula and repeat. Scrape down again and sauté 5 minutes/100 degrees C/Speed Spoon.
  3. Add tomatoes and juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and water. Cook 5 minutes/100 degrees C/Speed 1.
  4. Blend 2 minutes/Speed 10 and marvel at the superb safety feature which is Thermomix’s soft start when blending hot liquids.
  5. Add reserved peeled prawns and green beans and cook again 5 minutes/100 degrees C/Speed 1/Reverse Blade Function.

Pour into a hot soup bowl, garnish with coriander or basil if you have some, and enjoy.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips and Tricks

  1. This recipe was inspired by ThermoHubby John’s dinner last night which he made for himself after a long drive. He peeled his prawns for a quick risotto, took one look at the fragrant, flavourful pile of shells and heads and suggested that I use them to make a sauce or something. LOL they never made it into a sauce for him, just into this luscious soup for me ;-)
  2. If you have 12 prawns and use 6 bodies for your lunch you can save the other 6 bodies for shrimp cocktail or another delicious use – or –
  3. Use 12 whole prawns above and adjust other quantities slightly to make 2 servings ;-)

Bon appétit !

Madame Thermomix's Easy Asian-Flavoured Prawn Bisque recipe makes a delightful lunch for one!

Madame Thermomix’s Easy Asian-Flavoured Prawn Bisque recipe makes a delightful lunch for one!

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Thermomix Pea & Mint Soup

November 30th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Thermomix Pea & Mint Soup is fast, easy and delicious!

Thermomix Pea & Mint Soup is fast, easy and delicious!

Today is the first day that it has really felt like winter here in Maintenon. The dull gray sky found its match in the cold, damp air and it took a vigorous bike ride with ThermoHubby John, Billy and Harley to warm me up. Failing that, this simple and delicious recipe for Pea & Mint Soup should do the trick!

Thermomix Pea & Mint Soup
This is my go-to recipe for pea and mint soup. Fast, easy, delicious! Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter. Many thanks to Thermomix UK Executive Demonstrator Felicity Raines who inspired this recipe.

My peas are cooked and ready to be blended into a really smooth soup, thanks to my Thermomix

My peas are cooked and ready to be blended into a really smooth soup, thanks to my Thermomix

Ingredients
50 g butter or olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and halved
500 g frozen peas
500 g stock, or water with a stock cube (Thermomix stock paste is best!)
salt and pepper to taste
a large handful of mint leaves

 Method

  1. Put the onions and butter or oil in the TM bowl and chop 5 seconds/Speed 5.
  2. Soften for 5 minutes/100° C/Speed 1.
  3. Add the peas, stock and seasonings and cook 12 minutes/100° C/Speed 1. Check the peas for doneness and if required, cook another 3 minutes/100° C/Speed 1.
  4. Add the mint and puree for 2 minutes/Speed 8 or until smooth.
Serve your Thermomix Pea and Mint Soup with some homemade bread and butter for a real winter treat

Serve your Thermomix Pea and Mint Soup with some homemade bread and butter for a real winter treat

Serve in warmed bowls garnished with a sprig of mint and some homemade Thermomix bread and butter.

Bon appétit !

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All-in-one Stuffed Chicken Thigh Thermomix Varoma Meal with Curry Sauce

November 25th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

This All-in-One Varoma Meal features whole endive on the tray and Italian-style chicken with basil in the dish. Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless!

This All-in-One Varoma Meal features whole endive on the tray and Italian-style chicken with basil in the dish. Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless!

How do you use your Thermomix Varoma steamer?

To take full advantage of this under-utilised part of your best friend in the kitchen, why not make an all-in-one healthy steamed meal? You can cook your protein and some veg in the Varoma itself, some rice or potatoes in the internal steamer/simmering basket, and your sauce on the bottom.

Try this meal here, based on chicken, or look up some other all-in-one Varoma meals here on the blog.

All-in-one Stuffed Chicken Thigh Thermomix Varoma Meal with Curry Sauce
This is more of a template than a recipe and you can vary it infinitely by using different protein, different types of bread, different herbs and spices, and different sauce ingredients. Just last night I used some beautiful fish fillets, French bread, shallot and tarragon for a gorgeous dinner. ThermoHubby John licked his lips throughout the meal! Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients
leftover bread: 2 or 3 slices from a loaf or about 1/3 of a baguette or 1/4 of a French stick
a handful of fresh herbs, whatever’s in the fridge or growing in your garden (parsley, tarragon, basil, coriander… use your imagination!)
6 chicken thighs, bone removed or purchased boneless
2 carrots
1 medium courgette/zucchini
1 tin coconut milk
1 tsp curry powder or to taste
1 chicken bouillon cube – or - 1 tsp Thermomix stock paste – or - liquid chicken stock to top up
300 g white rice (Basmati, Thai or your choice)
1 tsp sea salt – more or less as you prefer

You will also need:
about 12 toothpicks

Method
1. Make breadcrumb stuffing: add your leftover bread and herbs to the TM bowl and Turbo pulse once or twice briefly. Reserve.
2. Flatten your boneless chicken thighs and add a Tbsp or two of stuffing to one half. Fold over and close with toothpicks. Repeat for all six thighs. Place stuffed thighs on the bottom of the Varoma dish (the deep bottom part).
3. Make ribbons of courgette and carrot with a vegetable peeler and place on the Varoma tray (the top part). Set the tray on the dish, put the lid on and set aside.
4. Add coconut milk, curry powder and bouillon cube/stock paste if using. Add liquid stock or water to top up the TM bowl to the 1-litre mark. Place the internal steamer basket into the TM bowl and then press the weighing scales button. Weigh in 300 g of rice, pop the salt on top of the rice, put the lid and the MC on the TM and rinse your rice 10 seconds/Speed 7.
5. Remove the Measuring Cup, place the Varoma on the lid and cook 25 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed 3. Check the vegetable ribbons after about 15 minutes and remove the tray if already cooked through.
6. Remove the Varoma and set it on a plate with the lid still on. Return the tray of veg to the Varoma if required; this should heat your veg ribbons back up. Remove the internal steaming basket using the handy hook on the TM spatula, set aside and keep warm. Check the consistency of your sauce. If it’s as thick as you’d like, start plating up your meal. If you’d like your sauce thicker, reduce it on Varoma setting/5 minutes/Speed 3. Check consistency and repeat if necessary until you get it the way you like it.

Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks from your chicken thigh parcels before eating ;-) Serve chicken with rice and veg and top with sauce.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tricks and Tips:

  1. This is a totally versatile recipe because you can use any kind of herbs in your stuffing and any kind of sauce to cook it over. In the French TM demonstration you make soup in the bottom and rice, protein and veg in the other layers, serve some soup and turn the rest into a sauce by adding some crème fraîche/sour cream and some spices. It’s magic!
  2. Alternatively, reserve the Varoma tray and vegetable ribbons and *very carefully* add it to the Varoma after the first 15 minutes of cooking. This way all the elements of your meal will be cooked and hot at serving time.
  3. If you wish to use brown rice you’ll need to adjust the cooking times by starting your rice first and popping the Varoma on top after the first 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

What is your favourite all-in-one Varoma meal? Click here to leave a comment and share the Thermo love!

Bon appétit !

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Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake

November 11th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

This Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake is so fast and easy to make, it will be your guilty pleasure!

This Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake is so fast and easy to make, it will be your guilty pleasure!

This Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake made the rounds of the blogosphere several months back and it just came to mind again in the context of a discussion on the Thermomix Owners UK Facebook page about making cakes in the Thermomix. I make all my cakes in my Thermomix and there are several gorgeous cake recipes right here on this blog. This recipe is my guilty pleasure, a treat I make myself on gray afternoons like today or when ThermoHubby John is away on business. Kind of like Nigella Lawson in her bathrobe peeking into her refrigerator at midnight ;-) I guess I’ve been good lately as I haven’t made this Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake in quite a while. Today I’ve made up for it – in my biggest mug, no less – and I’m delighted to share it with you here.

The Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake "bakes" for about a minute in your microwave

The Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake “bakes” for about a minute in your microwave

Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake
Based on a classic sponge cake and the “quatre-quarts” (or four quarters) principle, this recipe revolves around one egg and its equivalent weight in flour, sugar and butter. Thermomix’s built-in weighing scales make it fast and easy to prepare the batter, and the microwave “bakes” it in just about a minute! Feel free to indulge your taste whims and add a few drops of vanilla or a tablespoon of cocoa powder, or add chopped apple, sultanas, berries, dessicated coconut or chocolate chips. With a recipe like this and a Thermomix, the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients
one egg
self-raising flour
sugar (any kind will do)
butter (I like to use lightly salted)
a good pinch of salt (not necessary if using salted butter)
a microwave-proof mug
a knob of butter or a few drops of oil to grease the mug

Enjoy your Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake with a cup of tea or coffee

Enjoy your Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake with a cup of tea or coffee

Method

  1. Put the lid or a plate on your Thermomix bowl, press the weighing scales button, let it settle to 0 and place your egg on top. Note the weight. Crack your egg into the bowl, and then add the “egg weight” of flour, sugar and butter. (I.e., if your egg weighs 60 g, use 60 g each of the other three ingredients. If your egg weighs 55 g, use 55 g of the other ingredients, etc.) Add a pinch of salt if required. Mix 30 seconds/Speed 5. Scrape the sides of your TM bowl with the spatula and mix again 30 seconds/Speed 5.
  2. Scrape the batter into a greased, microwaveable mug that is big enough to allow for expansion of the batter (or you’ll have a sweet molten volcano on your hands!) and “bake” in the microwave 1 minute at 1000W / 1 minute 45 seconds on 750W or 800W or until the cake springs back when touched (be careful – it’s hot!). Actual bake time will depend on the weight of your egg (the amount of batter you make), the size and thickness of your mug and the power of your microwave so you’ll need to exercise a bit of happy cook’s judgement.

Enjoy with a mug of tea or a cup of coffee, anytime, day or night ;-)

Bon appétit !

Leave a comment at the bottom and share the Thermo love! Let me know what your favourite flavours turn out to be. For the moment, mine is cocoa but I’m still gleefully experimenting ;-) Ooooh, how about maple syrup? Yum!

You can flavour your Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake with cocoa, vanilla, dessicated coconut, chopped apple or berries. I know you'll make it often!

You can flavour your Magic Minute Microwave Mug Cake with cocoa, vanilla, dessicated coconut, chopped apple or berries. I know you’ll make it often!

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Tom Kerridge’s Chicken Kievs with Thermomix Garlic Butter and Faux Panko Breadcrumbs

November 7th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Tom Kerridge's Chicken Kievs are fast and easy to make with Thermomix garlic butter and faux panko breadcrumbs

Tom Kerridge’s Chicken Kievs are fast and easy to make with Thermomix garlic butter and faux panko breadcrumbs

The other day we watched Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes on BBC Two and, like many others I’m sure, we decided immediately that we just had to make Tom Kerridge’s Chicken Kievs for dinner. As I always do, I took a look at the original recipe to see how my Thermomix could make it faster and easier to produce. The obvious answers were the garlic butter and the breadcrumbs.

Start with Tom’s original recipe on the BBC Food website and work your ingredients as follows:

Thermomix Garlic Butter
Thermomix’s carefully controlled heating function enables you to make garlic butter using butter straight from the refrigerator! Add a drop of brandy and this becomes a classic for snails. Perfect for garlic bread, too. Spread on a large rectangle of Thermomix puff pastry, fold over and roll out several times and then cut into strips or squares for lovely garlicky appetizer treats and party food.

Thermomix’s carefully controlled heating function enables you to make garlic butter using butter straight from the refrigerator!

Thermomix’s carefully controlled heating function enables you to make garlic butter using butter straight from the refrigerator!

Ingredients (use these or Tom’s)
2 or 3 cloves garlic
a large handful of parsley leaves
1 tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper – or – 1 Tbsp. brandy or cognac– or – 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
100 g butter – straight from the refrigerator – diced or in chunks*

Method

  1. Peel the garlic 5 seconds/Speed 4 ½/Reverse Blade Function. Remove skins and discard, leaving the garlic in the TM bowl.
  2. Drop the parsley on the running blades at Speed 5 and turn off. Scrape down with the spatula.
  3. Add the salt, cayenne or brandy or black pepper and your chunks of butter. Mix and warm 10 seconds/37° C/Speed 1. Scrape down again and mix 10 seconds/Speed 3 (no heat this time). Transfer to a piping bag and reserve at room temperature.
  4. Follow Tom’s recipe to fill and chill the chicken breasts before browning, baking and enjoying, or use in any other recipe you choose.
Thermomix helps reduce waste and save money on expensive ingredients.

Thermomix helps reduce waste and save money on expensive ingredients.

Faux Panko Breadcrumbs
Living in France, I have a freezer full of baguette ends just waiting to be transformed into these crispy breadcrumbs. You probably have ends of your Thermomix bread in yours, too! Thermomix helps reduce waste and save money on expensive ingredients. Use for Tom Kerridge’s Chicken Kievs, for fish, chicken, vegetables, etc. Sprinkle on top of macaroni cheese or vegetable gratin for added crunch – the possibilities are endless, and you made them yourself!

Ingredients
150 g bread – fresh or dried or even frozen – in chunks*

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° C and put a baking tray out on the worktop. For fresh bread, add to TM bowl and Turbo pulse a few times until crumbed. For dried or frozen bread, process on Speed 10 for a few seconds until crumbed.
  2. Spread bread crumbs in an even layer on your baking tray and dry in the oven about 10 minutes or until dried and golden. Use for Tom Kerridge’s Chicken Kievs as per his recipe or invent one of your own ;-)

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips and Tricks:
*Do you know the Thermomix Rule of Thumb for maximum chunk size? Our friend the Thermomix can process pieces that could fit through the hole in the Thermomix lid ;-) You can drop your bread chunks on the running blades if you wish, just make sure to put the measuring cup on after each addition!

Bon appétit !

How do you make your breadcrumbs? Leave a comment at the bottom and share the Thermo love!

Thermomix makes it easy to create celebrity chef dishes at home. Use your Thermomix Garlic Butter and Faux Panko Breadcrumbs and invent your own recipes :)

Thermomix makes it easy to create celebrity chef dishes at home. Use your Thermomix Garlic Butter and Faux Panko Breadcrumbs and invent your own recipes :)

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@ThermOMG’s “Free” Brownies: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo. Simply delicious!

October 30th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Free Brownies are about as close as you can get to good for you in a delicious treat!

Free Brownies are about as close as you can get to good for you in a delicious treat!

I first saw this sugar-free, grain-free and nut-free brownie recipe mentioned in a Tweet by @ThermoDad who linked to it from ThermOMG, a blog written by four mums in Australia. It’s dead easy to make and about the closest you’ll get to good for you in the delicious treats department. Much to my waistline’s dismay I just made my second batch of “Free Brownies” in less than a week and ThermoHubby John and I devoured half of it after a full meal and a bottle of wine. Which reminds me, they go superbly well with a nice glass of red wine ;-) I have tweaked their recipe ever so slightly by adding an optional pinch of salt and indicating an amount of vanilla to use. Otherwise, the ThermOMG ladies did a fab job adapting the original recipe to be made in our Best Friend in the Kitchen!

Your "Free" Brownies batter should be thick, dark and very hard to resist!

Your “Free” Brownies batter should be thick, dark and very hard to resist!

@ThermOMG’s “Free” Brownies: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sugar Free, Nut Free, Paleo
Easy to make and about as close to good for you as you’re likely to get in a delicious chocolate treat. Sweetened with dates and bound with eggs and the good fats in coconut oil. Original recipe by American wellness expert and gluten-free guru Elana Amsterdam, found on Jamie Oliver’s blog. Interestingly enough, ThermOMG reduced the original cooking time by half and you can see the difference between Elana’s photos and mine. My brownies are gorgeously moist and moreish :) Makes one 10-inch square tin of 16 brownies and up to 16 happy campers!

Ingredients
200 g dark chocolate, broken into squares
½ tsp baking powder
200 g pitted dates
55 g coconut oil
3 eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract – or – the seeds of one vanilla bean
a good pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° C and line a 10-inch square pan with baking parchment or a silicone sheet. Add chocolate and baking powder to TM bowl and chop 5 seconds/Speed 8.
  2. Weigh in dates and chop 5 seconds/Speed 6.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and coconut oil and mix 20 seconds/Speed 7. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, check consistency and mix a few more seconds if necessary. You should have a thick dark mixture with very small chunks of chocolate and dates in it – very hard to resist licking the spatula!
  4. Pour into pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is glossy and the inside is just holding together. Do not overcook or your brownies will go dry. I cooked both batches for 18 minutes and this average time worked well in my oven so be sure to adjust the timing to yours. Cool in pan for 30 minutes to an hour, cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.

Bon appétit !

These "Free" Brownies are absolutely gorgeous with a nice glass of red wine ;-)

These “Free” Brownies are absolutely gorgeous with a nice glass of red wine ;-)

 

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And what is your favourite brownie recipe? Leave a comment at the bottom and share the Thermo love!

 

 

 

 

Courgette (Zucchini) Nut Bread

October 19th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Madame Thermomix's Zucchini/Courgette Nut Bread is delicious with a cuppa and makes a great foodie gift

Madame Thermomix’s Zucchini/Courgette Nut Bread is delicious with a cuppa and makes a great foodie gift

When I was a child in Scituate, Massachusetts, my Mom had a vegetable garden and I was often given the task of weeding it. I didn’t enjoy weeding as much as I enjoyed harvesting the different vegetables that very soon after appeared on my plate. Some vegetables grew slowly and yielded little, such as my favourite white sweet corn, while others seemed to double in size and ripen overnight, yielding vast crops of such things as zucchini or courgettes. Faced year after year with gluts of gorgeous green squash, Mom consulted her cookbooks and came up with various recipes now forgotten and one that sticks in my mind for being a real keeper. That keeper of a recipe is for zucchini nut bread, from our old standard Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. “What, a bread made from courgettes?” I hear you say. Yes, just as we make a cake from carrots, Zucchini or Courgette Nut Bread is a delicious loaf cake flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg, a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, glass of milk or cup of coffee. Transform your glut of courgettes or zucchini into this delicious loaf and pop it into the freezer to make ahead and enjoy all year long. And how about making muffins or mini loaves as brilliant Christmas and holiday gifts? Sounds to me like a great way to avoid waste!

I baked my Zucchini/Courgette Nut Bread in a silicone mini loaf pan and reduced the cooking time to about 18 minutes. Perfect for gifting!

I baked my Zucchini/Courgette Nut Bread in a silicone mini loaf pan and reduced the cooking time to about 18 minutes. Perfect for gifting!

Courgette (Zucchini) Nut Bread
The grated lemon peel in this recipe really livens up the flavour and makes this a super recipe for using up gluts of courgettes, zucchini or marrow. Whatever you call it, it’s good! See Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips for other ways to bake and serve this delicious loaf. I love it at breakfast ;-) The nuts are optional, it’s just as good without. Perfect for Christmas and other gifts. Make ahead and freeze for parties, gifts and year-round delights. Recipe adapted by Madame Thermomix from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Makes one standard loaf, one 20 cm/8 inch deep-sided round cake, 24 muffins or 8 mini loaf cakes. Prep time 2 minutes (thank you Thermomix!); bake/Varoma steam time 60 minutes; 10 minutes cooling time.

Ingredients
60 g walnuts or pecans (optional)

2.5 cm/1-inch piece of lemon peel
200 g sugar

200 g plain flour
a 2.5 cm/1-inch piece of cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon)
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda (bicarbonate)
¼ tsp. baking powder

200 g unpeeled courgette/zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 egg
110 g sunflower oil

Don't forget that you can steam your sweet and savoury cakes in Thermomix's amazing Varoma Steamer

Don’t forget that you can steam your sweet and savoury cakes in Thermomix’s amazing Varoma Steamer

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C/350° F. If using, chop nuts 1 second/Speed 5; tip out and reserve. Grind sugar and lemon peel 20 seconds/Speed 10.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix 10 to 20 seconds/Speed 5 until you have a smooth cake batter.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the TM bowl and mix in the reserved nuts with the spatula.
  4. Pour the batter into a loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
  5. Cool in tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and let cool thoroughly on a cooling rack. Wrap loaf in clingfilm and store overnight before slicing – if you can wait that long!

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips:

  1. Make mini-loaves or muffins in silicone or metal tins; bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a pick near the centre comes out clean. Eat some and freeze some; perfect for gifting, too!
  2. Pour batter into a deep-sided 20 cm/8 inch cake tin and steam in your Varoma for 55 to 60 minutes or until a pick near the centre comes out clean. It should be the moistest cake you’ve ever made!
This Zucchini or Courgette Nut Bread is delicious with coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. Serve it just about any time of the day for a nice treat. Makes a great gift, too!

This Zucchini or Courgette Nut Bread is delicious with coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. Serve it just about any time of the day for a nice treat. Makes a great gift, too!

Bon appétit ! 

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Sabu’s Goan Pork Vin d’Alho (Vindaloo)

October 14th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Sabu's authentic Goan Pork Vin d'Alho is fast and easy to make in your Thermomix

Sabu’s authentic Goan Pork Vin d’Alho is fast and easy to make in your Thermomix

Back in 2011 I sold a Thermomix TM31 chef’s package to an enterprising young Goan chef in North London. Sabu asked me to check over his authentic recipe for Vin d’Alho to make sure he was using his Thermomix to the best of its abilities. During our demonstration Sabu not only shared his recipe with me but also the origins of the dish, which is made with vinegar (Vin) and garlic (Alho). Transformations over the years onto Indian restaurant menus have mutated the dish into Vindaloo and the misconception that it includes potatoes (aloo). (For more information, read this interesting rendering of the history behind True Vindaloo.) I am delighted to share with you this delicious, authentic Goan Pork Vin d’Alho recipe that is simple to make in the Thermomix and superbly tasty. If you’d like to make it ahead for a party or a family gathering, I also include instructions for the superb Vin d’Alho sauce or marinade to serve with already-cooked pork. It’s just another way that Thermomix helps you cater for a crowd!

The gorgeous ingredients for Sabu's authentic Goan Pork Vindaloo include pork shoulder, ginger, onions, dried chillies and spices

The gorgeous ingredients for Sabu’s authentic Goan Pork Vindaloo include pork shoulder, ginger, onions, dried chillies and spices

Sabu’s Goan Pork Vin d’Alho (Vindaloo)
An authentic version of a well-known curry that has bags of flavour without being overly sour or hot. Serves 4 to 6. Prep time 10 minutes; cook time 60 minutes. See below for a method to make just the sauce, which can be used as a marinade as well. Many thanks to chef Sabu Samarnath for the original recipe!

Ingredients
16-18 cloves garlic (about 2 heads – yes, this much!)

Spices:
1 Tbsp. dried red chillies (this makes a pretty hot curry so use more or less to taste)
1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds or 1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2.5 cm/1 inch cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves

5 cm/2 inch piece ginger, cut into 3 mm “coins” along the lines on the skin
4 medium onions or 8 small onions, peeled and halved

15 g oil (Sabu uses rapeseed oil; I used sunflower oil)

150 g malt or cider vinegar
250 g chicken stock
500 g pork shoulder or belly, cut into 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes

Here's how I peeled 18 cloves of garlic in my Thermomix, in no time at all and without getting my hands smelly! Top left: After just 5 seconds, my garlic is peeled. Top right: ere I've flooded the bowl with water and you can see that all the skins have floated to the top. Bottom right: I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the skins. Bottom left: Among the many uses of the handy Thermomix simmering basket is as a reverse strainer. I popped it into the bowl and gently pushed it down, then held it in with my thumb and strained out the gorgeous, flavourful garlic water to use in soup, stock or even bread. Centre: Here's my peeled and roughly chopped garlic, ready for my curry!

Here’s how I peeled 18 cloves of garlic in my Thermomix, in no time at all and without getting my hands smelly! Top left: After just 5 seconds, my garlic is peeled. Top right: ere I’ve flooded the bowl with water and you can see that all the skins have floated to the top. Bottom right: I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the skins. Bottom left: Among the many uses of the handy Thermomix simmering basket is as a reverse strainer. I popped it into the bowl and gently pushed it down, then held it in with my thumb and strained out the gorgeous, flavourful garlic water to use in soup, stock or even bread. Centre: Here’s my peeled and roughly chopped garlic, ready for my curry!

Method

  1. Peel garlic 5 seconds/Speed 4/Reverse Blade Function. To remove skins, flood the bowl with water to the half-litre mark (or enough to cover all the garlic) and watch the skins float to the top. Scoop out the skins with a slotted spoon. Insert the simmering basket, hold it down with your thumb or your TM spatula and pour the gorgeous garlic water into a jug and save for another use. Tip out and reserve the peeled garlic (or leave it and switch to your second Thermomix bowl).
  2. Clean and dry your TM bowl. (Optional: toast spices 5 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed 1.) Grind spices 1 minute/Speed 10. Use a pastry brush to wipe ground spices from the lid and sides of TM bowl.
  3. Turn the blades to Speed 8 and drop ginger “coins,” peeled garlic and onions onto running blades; turn off. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Add oil and blend 1 minute/Speed 10. Scrape down.
  4. Add vinegar, stock and cubed pork. Cook 60 minutes/100° C/Speed 1/Reverse Blade Function or until pork is tender and sauce has thickened and reduced. Taste pork for tenderness and sauce for consistency, use your judgement and decide if you’d like to cook it some more.

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tips:

  1. For a lovely thick sauce, cook 40 minutes on Varoma setting, then 20 minutes at 100° C.
  2. Harness your Thermomix’s power and steam some vegetables in the Varoma steamer during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking.
  3. Transfer your cooked Vin d’Alho (and Varoma-steamed vegetables) to a Thermoserver or oven-proof dish and keep warm while you steam some rice in the internal steamer basket.
  4. Don’t skimp on the garlic, it’s what gives this dish its fabulous flavour ;-)
  5. Use your Thermomix’s Reverse Blade Function to peel all those garlic cloves. I’ve made you a picture collage showing all the steps.
  6. And use the gorgeous garlic-flavoured water in soup, stock, bread or even to steam rice!
  7. A pastry brush is really helpful for wiping ground spices (and icing sugar) from the lid and sides of the TM bowl. It gets nicely around the blade and around the sealing ring and you don’t lose any of your freshly ground spice or sugar.
  8. Try this with chicken or beef and adjust the cooking times accordingly: less for chicken, more for beef. I use chicken thighs for added moistness and better texture. Ooh, and nice and tender beef chuck or neck would be gorgeous!
Sabu Samarnath's authentic Goan Pork Vin d'Alho, made in the Thermomix, of course!

Sabu Samarnath’s authentic Goan Pork Vin d’Alho, made in the Thermomix, of course!

Catering for a Crowd with Thermomix

Sabu bought his Thermomix for his London takeaway curry outlet. For 30 servings of Vin d’Alho, Sabu pre-cooks the pork in the oven (115g cooked meat per person) and uses his Thermomix to make the sauce. Thermomix really is an extra pair of hands in the kitchen! While the meat is in the oven you can batch the sauce to make enough for your family gathering or other foodie event.

Here is Madame Thermomix’s method for making Sabu’s delicious Vin d’Alho sauce. I estimate that one batch would make enough for 8 to 10 servings and that you could double the proportions and not overfill the bowl. Please note that I haven’t made a double batch yet and I’d love to hear your experience with this. Please give it a try and leave a comment!

Sabu’s delicious Vin d’Alho sauce or marinade
Prep/cook time under 30 minutes per batch. Each batch makes enough sauce for 8 to 10 servings. If doubled, increase cooking time in Step 4 to 10 minutes and in Step 6 to about 15 minutes. As you would if cooking on a stove or hob, use your judgement as to when this sauce has reached the consistency you’re looking for.

Ingredients
16-18 cloves garlic (about 2 heads)

Spices:
1 Tbsp. dried red chillies
1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds or 1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2.5 cm/1 inch cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves

5 cm/2 inch piece ginger, cut into 3 mm “coins” along the lines on the skin
4 medium onions or 8 small onions, peeled and halved

15 g rapeseed or sunflower oil

150 g malt or cider vinegar
250 g chicken stock

Method

  1. Peel garlic 5 seconds/Speed 4/Reverse Blade Function. To remove skins, flood the bowl with water to the half-litre mark and watch the skins float to the top. Scoop out the skins with a slotted spoon. Insert the simmering basket, hold it down with your thumb and pour the gorgeous garlic water into a jug and save for another use. Tip out and reserve the peeled garlic (or leave it and switch to your second Thermomix bowl).
  2. Clean and dry your Thermomix bowl. (Optional: toast spices 5 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed 1.) Grind spices 1 minute/Speed 10. Use a pastry brush to get all the ground spices from the lid and sides back into the TM bowl.
  3. Turn the blades to Speed 8 and drop ginger “coins,” peeled garlic and onions onto running blades; turn off. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Add oil and blend 1 minute/Speed 10. Scrape down.
  4. Cook 7 minutes/Varoma setting/Speed 1 or until the oil separates from the spice (you’ll see it shimmering on the top).
  5. Add vinegar. Blend 20 seconds/Speed 10.
  6. Add chicken stock and cook 100° C/10 minutes/Speed 2.

Transfer cooked pork, chicken or beef to a large pot or casserole and mix in the sauce. I would make this a day or two ahead, let the flavours meld and develop, and reheat on party day. Think chafing dish on a lovely buffet table and serve warm with rice and your choice of steamed vegetables.

Bon appétit !

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Steam Cooking with Miele at Alain Ducasse School of Cooking in Paris

October 8th, 2014

by Madame Thermomix

Chef William of Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse is photographed by the Regal magazine crew as he takes our lunch out of the Miele steam oven

Chef William of Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse is photographed by the Regal magazine crew as he takes our lunch out of the Miele steam oven

Whenever I’m asked what equipment makes a good kitchen, I always reply that all you need is a Thermomix, a good knife and a really good oven. Madame Thermomix was lucky enough to participate in a steam cooking class organised by the French cooking magazine Régal and Miele kitchen appliances at the Alain Ducasse School of Cooking in Paris. It was a wonderful day filled with recipes, techniques and new friendships. Plus of course, the chance to discover the range of Miele steam ovens, designed to give 20 years of reliable high performance and trouble-free operation.

The classroom kitchen at Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse is equipped not only with a bank of Miele steam ovens but also with a Thermomix!

The classroom kitchen at Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse is equipped not only with a bank of Miele steam ovens but also with a Thermomix!

As I see every day with my Thermomix and its brilliant Varoma steamer, steam cooking is very healthy, very tasty, and very easy. It can be fat free. You can add gobs of flavour with herbs and spices. You can steam meat, fish, poultry and vegetables. With a Miele steam oven you can roast and steam at the same time, so for instance your roast chicken will be über moist on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside. Your breads and pastries will take on new meaning as the steam enhances their rising and baking, too. I know that I will do my best to include a steam oven in my teaching kitchen here in France where I’ll be running cooking retreats, so do you hear that, Miele ?  ;-)

Behind the scenes of a Régal Magazine photo shoot

Behind the scenes of a Régal Magazine photo shoot

Many thanks to Régal magazine, to the Alain Ducasse School of Cooking and to Miele France for this wonderful opportunity to discover new friends, new techniques and new products for my new cooking retreats kitchen!

Bon appétit !

Madame Thermomix’s Top Tip: Click on any of the photos below to see them full size and without any overlay of text.

Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse in ParIs offers cooking classes in French and in English

Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse in ParIs offers cooking classes in French and in English

Madame Thermomix helps Chef William make pesto

Madame Thermomix helps Chef William make pesto

Gamberoni, a type of prawn, were the star of our lunch and steamed beautifully in th Miele steam ovens

Gamberoni, a type of prawn, were the star of our lunch and steamed beautifully in th Miele steam ovens

Chef William of ECAD shows us how to prepare the gamberoni

Chef William of ECAD shows us how to prepare the gamberoni

Students of our cooking class preparing pak choi

Students of our cooking class preparing pak choi

Getting ready to plate up

Getting ready to plate up our first course

Plating up our steamed gamberoni

Plating up our steamed gamberoni

Preparing dim sum

Preparing dim sum

Chef William checks the bank of Miele steam ovens

Chef William checks the bank of Miele steam ovens

Don't forget to take notes!

Don’t forget to take notes!

Bon appétit !

Bon appétit !

If you read French, Régal magazine shares the latest and the best in French cooking trends, complete with loads of yummy recipes

If you read French, Régal magazine shares the latest and the best in French cooking trends, complete with loads of yummy recipes. Bon appétit !

 

 

 


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