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!)


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.


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…)


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.


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.

Mixadventures with banana coconut loaf and risotto

I found an awesome cake recipe in the Thermomix recipe community a couple of weeks ago when I needed to use up some skanky bananas (as you do).

I’ve been telling everyone about this gluten-free banana, raspberry and coconut loaf (below left), because it was so easy and delicious and almost healthy. Basically, it’s made from almond meal, coconut, banana, eggs and berries. And, er, sugar. But next time I’m going to try it with half the sugar, and from now on this will undoubtedly be my go-to banana cake.

I made it for an occasion, but since it half fell apart when I removed it from the tin, I was forced to eat the whole thing myself. Not that I was complaining. (Next time there’ll be baking paper involved.)

Then… I finally got around to making my first Thermomix risotto, in this case a half quantity of the mushroom risotto (above right) from the Thermomix Basic Cookbook.

I used fewer mushrooms (because I didn’t have enough on hand), but included red capsicum (which I had left over) and also tossed through spinach and beetroot leaves. There would have been plenty of room in the bowl for more vegetables using the half quantity of rice — usually I like to bulk out a risotto with vegetables to make it more healthy. The half quantity made two meals, but with extra vegetables it should do three.

The Thermomix has a reputation for being fabulous for risottos, since it does all the heating and stirring. It was certainly easy and convenient — plus I found it seemed to cook more quickly than on top of the stove. Pretty sure I’m sold. This was also the first time I used the butterfly whisk attachment, which was easier than it looked.

Very delighted to have added these two recipes to my Thermomix repertoire!

A good SIGN for a hungry traveller

I was flicking through a bunch of travel photos just last week and came across a pic of this fabulous sign, and made a mental note to drag it out if/when the WordPress weekly photo challenge called for a sign.

Surprise! I didn’t have to wait very long — the blog gods clearly heard me, and that’s the theme for this week (The sign says)!

Found in Ronda, Spain

Found in Ronda, Spain

I found this sign while walking along the streets of Ronda in Spain. It probably doesn’t need much explanation as to why it appeals to me…

For those who haven’t been there, Ronda is a really cool little town in Andalusia. It’s located on top of a high precipice, split by an awe-inspiring canyon, and features a rather spectacular bridge. It has strong Moorish and Christian influences in its architecture and archaeology. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about it (Ronda proves a revelation) when I visited in 2010.

So… if you saw this sign as a weary and dusty traveller, what would you do?


And now for some blog joy

A few days ago I was talking about writing with joy — but now it seems blogging with joy can be good too.

I was thrilled a couple of days ago to be tagged by The Hyperteller for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award. Perhaps I’m a little more excited than is warranted, but it’s so nice to have people read, comment, and now acknowledge my blog. Since I diversified content at the start of this year, I’ve been trying to figure out which types of posts are of most interest to readers, but to be honest it’s quite hard to tell!

Anyway, thanks Hyperteller for the vote of confidence.

And now I’m supposed to share seven things about me. Before I start (and right now I have no idea what I’m going to write) I’ll let you know I already came up with seven things in January, when the Versatile Blogger recognition was bestowed upon me. (Actually, Mike Schulenberg nominated me again about six weeks ago, and I never thanked him — oops. Thanks, Mike!) So if you’re really interested, and would in fact like to know 14 things about me in total, you could check out this post as well.

But now, seven new things:

1. I think Farscape is just about the best TV series ever. Who ever would’ve thought a science fiction series with muppets would work? But it did and it was awesome. The ensemble of disparate (and desperate) characters, each with their own agenda, coupled with the sheer creative brilliance and humour of the writers, made for a wonderful series that tackled deep issues but didn’t take itself too seriously. I recently re-watched all four seasons, and felt tempted to go straight back to the beginning again. If you haven’t already, check it out!

2. My favourite scene in the iconic BBC production of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) isn’t that scene, but the one that comes after it. Most women will know what I mean by that scene, but for the uninitiated, it’s the one where Mr Darcy strips off his outer garments and dives into the lake. Anyway, while this is truly a piece of art, I absolutely love the following scene, when Elizabeth is strolling through the grounds of Pemberleigh and comes across Darcy returning to the house (somewhat deshabille). Her embarrassment and mortification at being sprung checking out his magnificent abode, so soon after rejecting his suit, are so exactly how I imagine that scene in the book. Brilliance.

3. My boots are my current favourite item of ‘clothing’. I honestly don’t know why it’s taken so many years to buy a pair of long black boots; but now I have them I’m totally hooked. I’ve changed my entire mode of dressing to accommodate them. Once you wouldn’t have seen me dead in a dress; now I put one on every other day. This has of course necessitated more shopping to acquire said dresses. And leggings. And skinny jeans to wear under the boots. I’m obsessed, I tell you!

4. I have a decided fondness for cake. This may not come as a total surprise, given my post about a vanilla slices a while back, but you may not appreciate the extent of the devotion with which I worship at the temple of cake. Favourites include tira misu, baked cheesecake, chocolate mud cake (and any variation that involves caramel or mars bars or toblerone…), citrus tart, anything involving custard, anything involving almond (I’ve just devoured two WeightWatchers cherry Bakewell tarts), flourless orange cake… Show me an old-fashioned English high tea and I’m there — the most famous I’ve sampled are those at the Pump House in Bath, England… and at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Check out this photo of the Hopetoun Tearooms in Melbourne (vanilla slices bottom right):

5. My favourite Mr Man is Mr Tickle. Enough said.

6. Part of me would love to live in a cute English cottage with a thatched roof, uneven timber floors, and low ceilings. This cottage would have brilliant insulation, an open fire, and state-of-the art electrical wiring to accommodate my broadband internet, home entertainment system and computer setup. Said cottage would be located in a quaint village — or it could be positioned on the edge of a cliff or halfway up a secluded mountainside. And that would be my writing cave.

7. My favourite travel destinations are those where I can soak up history and culture. It’s possible my all-time highlight is still Delphi in Greece, which was one of the first overseas places I ever visited almost 20 years ago. It’s such a magical site, with its Temple of Apollo and ancient theatre, and that magnificent view down the valley. No matter where I go in the world, I gravitate towards the ancient monuments, the old castles and forts, the traditional marketplaces. A walking tour is always first on the agenda. I like to do things when I travel. I’m not one for a beach holiday. Here’s a photo I took on my last trip. It’s the magnificent Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

And now for the part where I tag seven other friendly bloggers for the next round. This bit is really hard, because when I count them up, I’m reading and enjoying way more than seven blogs… Arrrgh! But I do have to leave some for others to tag, I guess… Without further ado, here are the seven. I’ll leave it to them whether they want to play or not, but check out their blogs!

  1. Tami Clayton
  2. Liv Rancourt
  3. Sara Walpert Foster
  4. Mike Schulenberg
  5. Nikki McCormack
  6. Kim Griffin
  7. Elaine Smothers

That’s it from me, for now! Let me know what you think.