baking

Mixadventures in bread, potato cakes and apple crumble

Potato cakes

The next thing I made in my Thermomix were the potato cakes from the Basic Cookbook. I’d had my eye on these for a while as a potato rosti/hash brown kind of thing for breakfast. I figured I would cook a up a batch, eat a couple and freeze the rest.

The recipe essentially involves throwing everything into the Thermomix (potatoes, onion, egg, other stuff…), blitzing then shallow frying in a pan. I found I didn’t need to use too much oil, and I cooked them kind of like mini pancakes. I suppose it took about half an hour to cook them all, but the whole thing was extremely easy.

I made 12 in total and they froze extremely well. I’ve found the best means of re-heating is to grill them from frozen. They go great with eggs and my beetroot relish.

There are only two left in my freezer, so I’ll need to make another batch soon. Might try a variation with different vegetables (maybe some carrot? sweet potato? Broccoli?). Yum!

Bread!

Others in my family have been baking bread for ages, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve never been particularly enthused about getting my hands dirty, so the whole Thermomix-doing-the-kneading thing was fairly attractive.

I like grainy bread, so I headed straight for the five-seeds loaf from the Basic Cookbook. (The basic cookbook is rather comprehensive!) I already had linseeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds in the pantry, so I headed out to buy pepitas (pumpkin seeds), poppy seeds and… yeast.

Oh, the excitement! The Thermomix kneaded for a whole two minutes (as per the recipe), then I transferred the dough into the tin, sprinkled seeds on top (as directed) and waited for it to rise… (I should mention I set aside an entire Sunday afternoon for my bread-making venture.)

When I couldn’t wait any longer, I threw it in the oven to bake. It could maybe have risen more, but I was still fairly ecstatic with how it turned out.

I mean… LOOK!

This is pretty much what the picture in the book looked like. Not bad for my first attempt. Right?!

As far as the eating goes, it was maybe a little sweet, most likely due to the inclusion of honey. It was also very dense and crumbly. To the point that pulling it out of the toaster can cause it to break. Not sure how to counteract that.

Because I don’t really eat all that much bread at home, I sliced it the next day and froze it in my reusable bread bag. This works for me, since I always eat it as toast. (It’s way too dense for sandwiches, anyway.) I still have a couple of slices left, and then (maybe even this weekend) I’ll make another loaf of bread — not sure which recipe I’ll use next time.

Baking bread is ticking two of my current boxes: 1) making food from scratch and 2) eliminating single-use soft plastic (although once I get into the act of buying bulk foods, this will be even better). Onwards!

Apple crumble

Last weekend I was doing some vegan catering. I had some apples I needed to cook up, so I decided to make apple crumble.

For this recipe, I hit the recipe community and picked one that 1) was vegan (or could be made vegan) and 2) could be made from ingredients residing in my pantry already. The one I ended up making was this ‘healthy apple crumble‘.

Usually, I cook up apple in the microwave, but this time I cooked it in the Thermomix (10 minutes), and I blitzed it briefly once cooked to chop it up a bit. (The ability to do this might have converted me.)

The crumble recipe contains walnuts, almonds, coconut, oats and honey. I wasn’t sure whether honey was OK for vegans, so I substituted brown sugar instead. Once again, it’s a case of blitzing all these together and sprinkling on top of the cooked apple, before shoving in the oven.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any photos, but it tasted yummy, and got the thumbs up from my vegan friend. She, alas, did not get to eat it with cream… but I did and it was good. (And there were leftovers.)

I can see me making this apple crumble for myself, because it is actually really healthy. Especially if I add yogurt rather than cream. Heh.

Then again, we’re coming into custard season…

A year of Mixadventures

It’s almost a year now since I got a Thermomix. (I know!) And I can say with confidence that I have made things I would never have previously attempted. (Cue beetroot relish, capsicum and sundried tomato dip, fruit and nut muesli, creme brûlée, chocolate ganache… even vegetable stock!)

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Beetroot relish – second batch!

Moreover, on the whole, I am cooking more frequently. There’s a lot more planning ahead to make things, whether it’s a meal for the week or something to take to my next social gathering. (Sometimes there’s a lot more planning than doing, but I’m getting there.) My D&D friends get experimented on frequently.

When I look at my original goal of eliminating shop-bought/processed stock, pesto, dips, relishes, cakes/slices… I’ve made excellent progress. In many cases this also aligns with my additional goal of reducing consumption of single-use plastic, so it’s win-win.

Having said that, I’m not sure that replacing store-bought cakes and biscuits with the home-cooked variety is very good for my waistline. Hmmm. (There’s been a bit of a sweet theme during January-February.)

Anyway, I’ve attempted several new recipes in the past couple of months. Here are the latest mixadventures.

Raspberry and coconut muffins

A few days after Christmas, we had a family working bee in my “garden” to get it under control. It was a short, sharp attack, over and done with in a few hours. Needless to say, when one is gifted with free labour, one needs to provide refreshments. But what to do when the cupboard is bare?!

I scrounged around my supplies and trawled through the Thermomix Recipe Community to find a muffin recipe I could whip up in the morning, before they arrived. And this recipe for raspberry and coconut muffins was the one I found (and adapted).

Frozen raspberries – check! Coconut – check! Egg – check! (I only had one egg.)

Because the raspberries were frozen into a chunk and I was in a rush, I blitzed them in the Thermomix instead of folding them through. (You could only really do this with a Thermomix.) And I used at least double the quantity. The muffins came out pink (of course) but I really liked the raspberry flavour infused through the whole muffin.

These were definitely a hit and very easy to make (my MO). I have since made the recipe again, this time cooking in a loaf tin instead of muffin cases. It certainly works very well as a cake too.

Rice salad from Basic Cookbook

We played D&D on a scorching hot day in January, so I made the Basic Cookbook rice salad for us to have as a light meal. You could make this easily without a Thermomix, but I’ve found I rather like cooking rice in the Thermomix so it works for me. (I previously didn’t tend to cook rice often, not having a rice cooker.)

While the rice cooks, you steam the vegetables and the eggs in their shells. I added a can of corn and more than doubled the eggs. The combined salad keeps really well, and easily did six of us for a light meal with leftovers. I have since made it again using half the amount of rice (minus the corn) and it lasted me for three meals.

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Yogurt Cake from Basic Cookbook

Remember what I said up the way about eliminating shop-bought cakes and biscuits? This is a direct result of that… That is, I talked myself out of buying biscuits in the supermarket in lieu of baking myself a cake. (Naughty.)

This cake is simple and tasty, if a bit too light for my personal tastes. After I ate the whole cake (don’t judge me) I was pretty bored of it. But it would be a good afternoon tea cake, I think.

(I’d take the raspberry coconut cake over this one…)

Tiramisu

My D&D friends copped my average first attempt at tiramisu. I absolutely adore eating tiramisu, and decided I needed to try making it… But, being a tiramisu lover, I also have high expectations. Expectations that I failed to meet. Ugh.

Firstly, who knew there were so many ways to make tiramisu? I started off looking at the Basic Cookbook recipe… then cross-checked it with the recipes on the marscapone cheese and sponge fingers. Then, perplexed, I hit google. The major variations in tiramisu recipes are:

  • Raw eggs whipped through marscapone OR eggs/egg yolks beaten and cooked in the sugar to make a saboyon before folding the marscapone through
  • Eggs used whole OR separated using the yolks in the marscapone mix, with the egg whites sometimes whipped up separately and folded through
  • Whipped cream folded through OR no cream
  • Many different ratios of “custard” to sponge fingers soaked in coffee with/without alcoholic infusions

A little reading suggested that the traditional recipe is the whole raw egg version with no cream. Which corresponds to the Basic Cookbook recipe… so that’s the one I ended up making, after all.

My attempt was… OK. I don’t think I soaked the biscuits enough, and I think I beat the “custard” too much so the eggs began to separate a little. It just wasn’t quite… right.

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You can see there’s disproportionately more custard on the top. And that’s a large quantity of grated chocolate you can see in the layers… Grating chocolate is one thing the Thermomix is extremely good for!

But it was edible, and after most of my friends politely ate a piece I took the rest home and gorged on it until it was gone. I’m not entirely sure I’ll make it again, or if I do I might try a few adaptations. We’ll see.

So that’s my last two months in the kitchen. I’m currently eating my way through yet another batch of soup, based on sweet potato and carrot, into which I tossed some red lentils as well as some other vegetables. The soups are always pretty yummy.