Mixadventures with chicken cacciatore and creme brulee

Ohmygoodness I’ve turned into a food blogger. Except not really, because this isn’t about the recipes and it’s definitely not about the food styling. It’s basically about the Thermomix exploits of someone who doesn’t usually cook. You’ve been warned.

week 3 – Chicken Cacciatore

After a most impressive opening fortnight with my Thermomix, I was on a roll, and when the next weekend arrived I perused the Basic Cookbook with gusto. World. Oyster. All that…

But the thing is, some of those recipes, albeit simple, use a helluva lot of ingredients. (Der, that’s what happens when you cook things from scratch.) All those herbs and spices. What are they exactly? Where do you even get them?

I decided to work up to all the herbs and spices and selected Chicken Cacciatore for my second Thermomix meal. It looked manageable in terms of both ingredients and procedure: chop, saute, a few stages of cooking… All done in about half an hour.

And it came out really well, even if I messed with the recipe again. (It called for white wine, but I have dozens of cases of red. Which turned out to be more than fine.) It made enough for four generous meals, so I was eating it all week. Not that I was complaining.

I ate it initially with a microwaved potato and fresh leaves — yum. But then a few nights later I was ready to put the Thermomix into action again to make… RICE.

week 3 – Boiled rice

I don’t eat a lot of rice, mainly because I can’t be bothered cooking it. That could be about to change.

The ‘recipe’ called for 350g of rice in the ‘simmering basket’. However, I cooked half a cup (105g), which typically does me for two meals, and the reduced amount worked fine. It took 20 minutes and came out fluffy and fairly perfect.

I did freak out during the cooking, when the goopy water burbled out the top, but the lid is clearly designed to deal with this type of behaviour, because there was no overflowing.

week 4 – Torta caprese

It was only a matter of time before I got into the cake section of the cookbook. And since I’m a chocoholic from way back, it was a no brainer to try out this flourless almond chocolate cake. The excuse was a family dinner. (Much as I would have loved to make it just for meee.)

The fun thing about this was I got to grind almonds into almond meal! In six seconds. The recipe called for the chocolate to be ground up as well (10 seconds), then everything got mixed together before baking in the oven.

Stage two was making a chocolate ganache icing, which I had never made before. It involved grinding more chocolate and then melting it into cream at 50C for three minutes.

To my mind, this type of thing is where the Thermomix really shines. The ganache was quick as anything to make, and took no time at all. I like the fact the Thermomix controls everything and there’s no chance of stuffing it up!

week 6 – vegetable soup

Oh no, I missed a week! But I have an excuse: I went away for Easter. Which brings me to my sixth week of mixadventures. On Friday night I made vegetable soup for me and a couple of friends who came over for Gin Night (that’s another story entirely).

Since I don’t make a habit of cooking for other people, this was kind of a big deal… but not really because it was very casual and, well, I was cooking soup. It’s hardly cordon bleu. And since Thermomix soup is one thing I can see me making rather frequently, I was keen to give it a go.

Once again, it was extremely quick and easy. I even had a kitchen helper to peel and chop the vegetables, so all I had to do was chuck them into the Thermomix and press the right buttons: dice (onion and garlic) and saute to start, followed by cooking/stirring for some 25 minutes, then blend for 1 minute. Voila! Soup! All while hanging out with friends.

It tasted pretty good too. Not to mention I went ‘manual’ for the first time — that is, I didn’t rely solely on the pre-programmed recipe chip to tell me what to do. The cookbook gave optional instructions for chopping and sauteing the onion/garlic before adding the rest of the vegetables… Negotiated successfully! (Again, hardly rocket science…)

week 6 – creme brulee

I mentioned in the previous mixadventures post that I am rather partial to custard. Which is something of an understatement. More to the point, I became a huge fan of creme brulee (crema catalana) when I was in Spain several years ago. Yum yum yum.

But I’ve never actually made creme brulee before. It’s not like I’m going to make it for myself, right? Right? I mean, what would I do with six serves of creme brulee sitting in my fridge. Eat them ALL?

Ahem. I had a pint of cream I needed to use before it expired. That’s my excuse. (Ohmygod, how embarrassing.)

The worst/best of it is that it was so ridiculously easy that I will now need to control myself of there will be more. (Add cream, eggs, sugar –> cook for 15 minutes at a controlled temperature.) Once again, there was no chance of it going wrong. And it didn’t. I ended up with several ramekins filled with delicious yum.

Of course, the key thing with creme brulee is the torching and caramelising of the sugar on top. Needless to say, I do not have a blow torch of any kind, so I attempted the ‘under the grill’ method — which took far too long and with limited success. I did it once (see photo), but I think I’ll just eat the rest as they are!


You may note I ended the last post intending to make a risotto. This hasn’t actually happened yet. Maybe next month?

Right now, I’m off to eat soup and creme brulee – heh.

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