Monday, 15 September 2014

{san choy bao in hermie}

Oh no, I've been neglecting this blog for so long that guilt is creeping in. I have been inspired in the last few months by lots of different things but finding the time to write up my latest experiments in the kitchen has been lacking. But, now I think I have my mojo back. Why? Well, in case you haven't heard, here in Australia the launch of the new TM5 has occurred just over a week ago. Having Hermie 2.0 in the kitchen is very exciting as there are some great new features... but this is not what this post is about. That will be in a separate one in the near future.

Isn't this supposed  to be how to make san choy bao using Hermie? Yes it is and I think it fits in very well with all the different ways that people are eating these days. What I'm referring to is the latest diet craze or food allergy/intolerance. Although I have never been on any dieting bandwagon, I have experienced food intolerance and allergies myself and within my little family. These include lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, nut allergies, following the FAILSAFE diet and FODMAP. I think we've pretty much got all bases covered.

So, san choy bao is one of those dishes which is Asian flavour based (which is my favourite) and ticks lots of categories including:
- gluten free
- wheat free (check the sauces you're using)
- dairy free
- grain free
- carb free
- high protein
- and most importantly delicious.

It is easily made from the staple ingredients from an Asian Pantry as well as some fresh food items. A bonus is that it is very quick to make and the kids have fun 'making' their own little lettuce cups. Enjoy!

3-4 dried shitake mushrooms
15 grams ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small-medium carrot, peeled, roughly chopped 3-4cm
450-500 grams pork mince
20 grams vegetable oil (canola, rice bran, peanut etc)
12 baby cos lettuce leaves (your cups)
big handful of beansprouts (or to taste)
1-2 spring onions, chopped to 1cm lengths
20 grams Shao XsIng wine
10 gram light soy sauce
15 grams dark soy sauce
10 grams oyster sauce
40 grams hoisin sauce

1. Place mushrooms into bowl and pour over hot water to cover and soften mushrooms
2. Place ginger, garlic & carrot into TM bowl and chop 5secs/ speed5. Scrape down sides of bowl.
3. Add pork mince and oil to TM bowl and saute 6mins/ varoma (TM5=110C)/ speed1/ reverse
4. Meanwhile, drain water from mushrooms and dice (using a knife) into 0.5cm pieces and wash the 12 lettuce leaves and beansprouts and set aside for later.
5. Scrape down sides of bowl and with spatula, stir the bottom around.
6. Add wine, soy sauce, reserved mushrooms and spring onions into TM bowl and cook 4mins/ varoma (TM5=110C)/ stir speed/ reverse
7. Scrape down sides and add in dark soy, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. Cook 2mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
8. Once complete, pour into thermoserver and serve by scooping into reserved lettuce cups and topped with bean sprouts.

Bon Appetit xx

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite

Note: Great for finger food. Just need to use the tiny baby cos lettuce leaves and a teaspoon of filling.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

{soya bean drink in hermie ... asian style}

I was always the soya bean drink person and my sister was the opposite with her choice being a chrysanthemum tea or the like. This was of course when my mum did the weekly grocery shop at the Asian Grocer and we asked for a yeos 'fruit box' of choice for the ride home. When you're that young, try explaining the difference in the Asian style soya bean drink and commercial western soy milk to your friends! They are very different and one mistaking the other can lead to an accidental dislike for something that is so yummy.

So, at attempt #5, I am finally able to say that I think I have mastered the making of an Asian style soya bean drink. This leads to so many things. Not only can I determine the sweetness of the drink, but if minimal or no sugar is added, using a few extra steps, we can then make tofu and also tau foo fa (the sweet Asian dessert that is soo silky and smooth). These will be hopefully my next successes but first, I'm just enjoying the yummy drink that I hope to make over and over again. Enjoy!

130 grams soya beans
water for soaking beans
60-90 grams sugar
600 grams water
400-500 grams hot water
nut bag for straining

1. Place soya beans into TM bowl. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight if possible. If for 6 hours, I use hot water. Water must cover the beans.
2. Using the TM steaming basket, strain the excess water from the soaked beans.
3. Add 600 grams water into TM bowl. Blend 20secs/ speed 9. Scrape down sides and then add sugar (I use the whole 90 grams).
4. Cook 25mins/ varoma/ speed 3. You will find that the liquid bubbles up to the MC hole. When this occurs, decrease the temperature to 100C (by pressing the 100C button) for the remainder of the cooking time.
5. Add the remaining 400-500grams hot water and mix 3secs/ speed 3.
6. Using an extra bowl that is about 1.5L in capacity, place the nutbag over and then pour the soya bean liquid into the bag to strain. You can see after I have done this, my bag is just strung up over the bowl so it can continue to drip out.

7. If you are using a very fine material like a nutbag, feel free to squeeze out the liquid for maximum effectiveness. If your bag is not very fine, I don't recommend doing this as you will get the pulp pushed through which is not very nice to drink!
8. Taste for sweetness and adjust if required. 

Makes ~1-1.2L

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: the nutbag that I use has been so useful and easy to clean compared to a muslin cloth. A quick rinse and all the pulp is gone. I bought this one at a health food store.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

{everyday spaghetti bolognese in hermie}

There is not one person who I know that does not like spaghetti bolognese. Everyone has their own take on it but one thing that remains constant is that it is a regular in most households. It's a great combination of pasta, vegetables and meat. So, when serving it up to your family, you know they are eating a hearty, healthy, tasty meal especially when it comes to feeding the fussiest of toddlers!

It is also very versatile; the following recipe doubles as the sauce if you're going to make a lasagne (in Hermie) and when you make the full amount, there's enough for a family lasagne and a serve of bolognese as is. Who doesn't like 2 meals for the effort of 1? Enjoy xx

1 carrot (~120 grams), roughly chopped
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 brown onion, peeled & halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery stick, roughly chopped (optional)
50 grams olive oil
500 grams beef mince, slightly frozen in 4cm pieces
5 medium size mushrooms, sliced
3 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon TM vegetable stock concentrate (from the EDC)
salt to taste
50 grams tomato paste
800 grams chopped tomatoes (1 large tin)

1. Place carrot, zucchini, onion, garlic (& celery) into TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed5. I find this still provides texture and the vegetables are not too fine. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Add olive oil and cook 5mins/ varoma/ reverse/ speed1. Scrape down sides of bowl.
3. Add mince to TM bowl. Cook 5mins/ varoma/ reverse/ speed1. Scrape down sides.
4. If using mushrooms, add them to the TM bowl. Also add bay leaves, TM stock, salt, tomato paste, and tomatoes to TM bowl. This will bring the contents near the 'max' mark on the bowl. Give the sauce a quick manual stir with the spatula and cook 15mins/ 100C/ reverse/ stir speed.
5. Check the sauce and manually stir through again. Cook for a further 25mins/ 90C/ reverse/ stir speed.
6. Serve with pasta and grated parmesan cheese.

Makes ~1.6L of sauce

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: slightly frozen mince is used as it takes longer to break down and therefore, the bolognese sauce still has the texture to it when fully cooked.

Monday, 9 June 2014

{lemon tart or tart au citron in hermie}

Last week I was supposed to go to mum's for a family dinner with my sisters. When it's a big gathering I love to offer to make dessert because it's a chance to make something different. I was going to make a lemon tart. However, I fell sick with the flu and never made it past buying the ingredients.

That being said, we had some lovely friends over for dinner this weekend and because I had the ingredients on hand, I gave the lemon tart another chance. Also, it happens to be one of Mr S's favourites and in his words "it's satisfying with just one big piece and I don't have to keep having more". These are big words for someone who doesn't normally eat sweet treats!

This tart is tangy and refreshing. I love the fact it uses the lemon juice as well as the zest and it is actually very easy to make. When you go to a cafe or restaurant next time, you'll look at the lemon tart in a different way because you'll think how expensive a slice of dessert is when it is sooo easy to make with basic pantry ingredients. On that note, Enjoy!

Sweet Short Crust Pastry
340 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
150 grams unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
90 grams caster sugar (or icing sugar)
2 eggs

1. Place flour, salt & butter into TM bowl. Mix 5secs/ speed 5 until mixed together and it resembles a bread crumb like mixture.
2. Add sugar and mix 3secs/ speed 5.
3. Add eggs and mix 3secs/ speed 5. Then, knead 30sec/ closed lid position/ knead button.
4. 'Pour' mixture out onto baking paper or ThermoMat and bring together to form a ball. Wrap in glad wrap and put into the fridge for about 1hr to rest. Have a rest and a cup of tea :-)
5. Pre-heat oven to 190C and roll out pastry to line a 23cm round fluted tart tin. I find rolling the pastry out between 2 pieces of baking paper the easiest. Trim the edges and rest in the fridge for another 10mins.

Lemon Filling
Zest of 3 lemons
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
250 grams caster sugar
200 grams thick cream
200 grams lemon juice

1. Place lemon zest in TM bowl. Zest for 20secs/ speed 10. Scrape down sides of bowl and zest another 10 secs if required. Set aside for later.
2. Put eggs, egg yolks and sugar into TM bowl. Mix 5secs/ speed 5
3. Add cream, lemon juice and zest to TM bowl and mix a further 5secs/ speed 5.

Putting it together
1. Line the pastry shell with a piece of baking paper and blind bake using baking beads/rice/cous cous for 10 mins. Remove the beads and bake for a further 5 mins.
2. Reduce temperature to 150C and pour lemon filling into tart pan (there may be some left over) and bake for 35-40mins until filling is set.
3. Rest and cool before serving. Serve as is or with double thickened cream.

Serves 8-10

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: With the offcuts of pastry and extra lemon filling, I make a small extra tart just for Mr S :-)

Friday, 16 May 2014

{chorizo & chicken risotto in Hermie}

I have been doing Thermomix demonstrations for a number of months now and it has come that time in a Consultants life when your existing customers are sometimes coming back for more. What I mean, is that there might be a special offer for current owners so that they want to host another demonstration. And, although the demo menu is extensive, there is only so much Mushroom Risotto that people want to see. 

So, here is an alternative that I offer for such customers. It is a tweak on the Mushroom Risotto and has such a different flavour. Great for those that really enjoy a bit of meat in their meals and not a big dent in the weekly budget.

It is a real winner in my house and one of the dishes that Miss A (the fussy eater) approves of. She will eat it everytime I make it so I'm happy with that. Miss I loves it because she's not a fan of mushrooms and this has lots of flavour for her mature (4.5yr old) palette! Enjoy xx

100 grams parmesan cheese (block), cut into 2cm cubes
1 brown onion, peeled & halved
60 grams olive oil (or 30grams + 30grams butter)
1 chorizo sausage, skin removed, halved lengthways & sliced into small pieces
320 grams italian arborio rice
100 grams white wine
1 tablespoon TM vegetable stock concentrate
320-350 grams chicken thigh, cut into 3cm pieces (~ 4 small thighs)
720 grams water
100-200 grams baby spinach /rocket leaves

1. Place cheese into TM bowl and grate 20secs/ speed9. Set aside for later.
2. Rinse out bowl to ensure the cooking of the risotto does not burn later.
3. Place onion into TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of bowl.
4. Add oil and saute 3mins/ varoma/ reverse/ speed 1.
5. Meanwhile, prepare chorizo.
6. Scrape down sides of bowl and give the bottom of the TM bowl a stir to ensure no food is sticking to the bottom. Add chorizo to TM bowl and saute 2mins/ varoma/ reverse/ speed 1. Scrape down sides of bowl.
7. Add rice and manually stir through rest of the food. Saute 3mins/ varoma/ reverse/ speed 1. At the 1.5min mark, pour in wine (through the hole in the lid) and continue sautéing.
8. Add in stock concentrate, chicken & water. Note, you'll be very close to the 'max' mark in the TM bowl. Cook 15mins/ 100C/ reverse/ speed1.
9. While this is cooking, place spinach or rocket leaves into bottom of ThermoServer.
10. When risotto has finished cooking, pour into ThermoServer and sprinkle over some reserved parmesan. Rest for a further 5 mins.
11. Stir the risotto so that the leaves are throughout and serve piping hot with extra parmesan sprinkled on top.

Bon Appetit xx

Tip: I like to skin the chorizo sausage as I find it does not 'catch' on the blades. It is not 100% necessary but I think it makes for a better result.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

{banana cake in hermie}

This morning when I looked over at our fruit bowl, it looked a little sad with two nearly black bananas and a half de-zested lemon. I'm not one to waste food and thought that I should either freeze the bananas in portions for later, or make a cake. I love cake for afternoon tea and snacks so definitely chose the latter.

The recipe I have chosen to convert and tweak for the Thermomix (aka Hermie) is not an old family recipe but one from Donna Hay. I can't actually find the one that my mum used to make when we were children and ever since losing it, have been trying to find one that is just as moist, easy and tasty to make. Looking in "Off the Shelf" by Donna Hay, I think I have found it. The official taste test by Miss I and Mr S have passed so I think this one is here to stay.

P.S. bananas are a very versatile ingredient. You can freeze them to make 'ice-cream', they are a great addition to a morning smoothie, great as fritters and they make a tasty, moist cake. Enjoy!

210 grams raw sugar
60 grams brown sugar
200 grams bananas (about 2 large ones), peeled, broken into pieces
125 grams butter, cut into 1.5cm cubes (can be straight from the fridge)
3 eggs
150 grams sour cream (or yoghurt or cream)
270 grams wholemeal self raising flour (you can use normal if you prefer)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line a 22cm square cake tin with baking paper.
2. Place raw sugar in TM bowl and mill 20secs/ speed10. Scrape down sides.
3. Add brown sugar, bananas, butter, eggs and sour cream into TM bowl. Mix 5secs/ speed6.
4. Add flour and mix 3secs/ speed5. Pour into prepared cake tin & bake 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Serve as is with a warm cup of tea. If you want icing, a beautiful cream cheese or simple vanilla buttercream would work well.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: If you want to make it a bit naughty, then add some chocolate chips at step 4; about 150-200grams will do. This cake also freezes well so an easy snack for school/work lunches. Slice and freeze in portions to save time in the morning.

Monday, 10 March 2014

{indonesian spicy roast chicken with hermie}

There are many ways to roast a chicken but for some reason I seem to find ones with Asian flavour combinations appeal to me more. It's probably because growing up in a Chinese Malaysian household, spices and herbs like ginger, spring onion, coriander, turmeric and chilli were a weekly staple, bought and used in everyday dishes. My palate is less familiar with 'western' herbs such as tarragon, sage and rosemary. Having said that, one of the unexpected benefits of having Hermie is that I am being more creative and my family is eating a larger variety of food. I'm getting better at cooking western meals and am slowly discovering new flavour combinations.

Having said that, there are times that I just crave rice and a meat and a vegetable dish. The recipe below is really handy and fits into this category. It comes from an 'essential' asian cookbook that has sat on my bookshelf for a while and I've finally had time to peruse it and mark out all the recipes I want to try. First off the list is this Indonesian Spicy Roast Chicken recipe. It's great to use the whole chicken if you're entertaining friends and family, however, if you want to keep it simple, just use some chicken pieces like drumsticks instead. Enjoy!

1.5-1.6kg whole chicken
1 red chilli
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons peppercorns
5 grams brown sugar
40 grams soy sauce
2 teaspoons turmeric
20 grams lime juice
drizzle of vegetable oil (can use butter)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Butterfly whole chicken and place on a roasting rack in a baking tray. Roast for 30mins.

3. Meanwhile, prepare marinade. Place chilli, garlic, peppercorns & brown sugar into TM bowl. Chop 5secs/ speed7. Scrape down sides of bowl.
4. Add in soy sauce, turmeric & lime juice (tip: squeeze lime directly onto lid with MC in to prevent pips going into bowl) and mix 3secs/ speed 4.
5. Take chicken out of oven after 30mins and pour marinade over the top. Using a basting brush, make sure it is spread out all over chicken. Drizzle over some vegetable oil over the chicken and roast for another 30-40mins until juices run clear.
6. Cut Asian style and serve with steamed rice and green vegetables (my favourite is to serve with Kang Kong stir fried with blachan, garlic and chilli).

Serves 4-6 in a shared meal.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: To turn this into an all-in-one meal, after step 5, do not rinse the TM bowl out. Fill with 1500grams water and steam (300-400grams) rice in Hermie. This will produce a flavourful rice to go with your chicken. Cook for about 15-20mins/ varoma/ speed2. In the last 5 minutes, add some green veg, oyster sauce and sesame oil to the varoma and there you have it!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

{apricot jam in hermie}

I'm not one of those people who are lucky enough to have a large backyard to grow my own fruit and vegetables so for the whole of summer, I've been on the lookout for cheap, nearly overripe apricots. Why? Because Apricot Jam is Mr S's most favourite jam flavour and I can see why. He has grown up with amazing Auntie's that have made jam for most of his childhood and having tasted it myself, it's super tasty. It has a beautiful chunky texture (so you know there are real apricots in there) and the orange colour is vibrant and natural.

I don't have their recipe but I'm trying to do Apricot Jam justice. This is best served on a chunky piece of toast with a dollop of thick cream in the middle. Or, if you're more adventurous, make some homemade rough puff pastry and fill with jam for an Apricot Danish. Delish!

650-700 grams apricot, quartered and de-stoned
1 green apple, quartered and de-seeded
30 grams lemon juice
450grams raw sugar
150grams water (1.5 MC's)

1. Add apple to TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
2. Add apricot, lemon juice and sugar to bowl. Cook 80mins/ 100C/ speed2 with MC on it's side (or the TM basket on the top).
3. Pour into sterilised jars. I find using my old baby bottle steriliser the easiest way to sterilise jars. If you don't have one of these lying around, sterilise the old fashioned way either boiling or putting them in the oven (Disclaimer: make sure you read up how to do this properly!)

Bon Appetit!

Makes about 2x 400ml jars

Tip: If you want a smooth jam, wait until it has cooled for about 15mins and then blend 1min/ speed9.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

{green papaya and crab salad with hermie}

This is a traditionally a vietnamese salad and is based on Luke Nguyen's salad that can be found here. It's so easy to make with the help of the Thermomix because you can put all the dressing ingredients in Hermie to cook and then get on with the task of julienning the green papaya (or mango) and removing the crab meat from the shells. Today, we're celebrating Valentine's day and this will be served as the entree for our dinner. Enjoy!

salad Ingredients:
5 perilla leaves
5 mint leaves
5 Vietnamese mint
5 Asian basil leaves
1 green papaya (paw paw), peeled and julienned
2 blue swimmer crabs, cooked and meat removed
1 long red chilli, stem removed
1 tablespoon fried red Asian shallots
1 tablespoon fried garlic chips
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts (optional)

nouc mam cham dipping fish sauce:
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bird’s eye chilli, stem removed
60 grams fish sauce
60 grams rice vinegar
40 grams sugar
125 grams water
40 grams lime juice

1. Place perlilla, mints and basil leaves into TM bowl. Chop 3 secs/ speed5. Set aside for later. Rinse the bowl out for step 2 (no need to dry).
2. We now proceed to the dipping sauce. Place the garlic and chilli into TM bowl and chop 3 secs/ speed6. Set aside in a bowl that you will later use to mix the rest of the dressing in. Scrape down the sides.
3. Add the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water to the bowl and cook 6mins/ 90C/ speed1
4. Meanwhile, julienne the papaya and place in bowl with the reserved herbs from step 1. 
5. Squeeze lime juice onto lid of TM bowl (so the pips don't fall in and mix 2secs/ speed 2.
6. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
7. Slice red chilli and add this and crab to bowl with papaya and herbs.
8. When ready to serve, drizzle over sauce, mix and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit xx

Serves 2

Tips: If you julienne the papaya or mango before hand, you can keep them crisp by storing them in a bowl and covered with ice water.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

{review: "Charlotte Vanilla Chocolate" cake}

I wanted to make something a bit different for Chinese New Year and had a look through my recipe books. I found on my shelf the "I 'heart' Chocolate, I love Thermomix' cookbook. I bought this recipe book as I just love reading new ones and gaining ideas and inspiration but there was no special occasion yet to try and make a chocolate creation. I love baking and making desserts and the rest of my family had delegated such task to me for our annual feast.

So, I flicked through the book and shortlisted a number of recipes. These included: The Swiss Forest Gateau, The Origine and the Chocolate & Coffee Cake. In the end, the "Charlotte, Vanilla Chocolate Cake" won out as it didn't look too difficult, didn't look like it took too much time and didn't have coffee or liquor in it for the little ones. I would have been correct on all these assumptions if only I read the recipe not once, not twice but three times! So, below, I have compiled a bit of a tips and tricks guide for this particular recipe and if anyone feels inclined to make it, then hopefully it will help them too. Having said that, I always have fun baking and can usually save my creations to make something presentable. As you will see from the pictures, my version definitely does not look as elegant but still tasted yummy.

Firstly, when I initially read the recipe, I thought it would take about an hour to make and assemble. Maybe I was tired from doing a Thermomix Demo that day, but in reality it took 3 hours to make (including fixing my mistakes).

Secondly, reading through the ingredients list, it seems quite straight forward. However, it does state a total of 180grams of egg yolks for the Chocolate Sponge and Vanilla Mousse. Do you know how many eggs that requires? I did not and happened to have 13 eggs in my fridge. This was not quite enough. I would buy 2 dozen to make sure there are enough in case you have any mistakes. You will also have quite a lot of egg whites left over so either freeze them or offer to make 2 desserts for your function and make a pavlova too :-) Also, for the caster sugar, I would use the commercial pre-made caster sugar instead of milling raw sugar. I find that the commercial stuff is dryer and less granular especially when you're making something quite fiddly and delicate. GELATINE. What can I say? I used Gelatine leaves for this recipe and it is probably the first and last time I will ever use this ingredient. I'm used to using the powder form and forgot that there are different strengths to the leaves. In the recipe, it states 2.5 leaves. They forget to mention that it needs to be of the strongest strength (titanium)! I happened to use to complete opposite and already added it into the Mousse before realising. To fix, I had to dissolve 8 more sheets and then re-mix therefore converting the Mousse into a jelly. It still tasted good but did not have the correct fluffiness that a Mousse should have. Last tip for the ingredients would be the amount of cream to be whipped. Altogether, the recipe needs 750grams of whipping cream. When you go to the shops, it will all be in mL. I recommend buying 1kg of cream to make sure you have enough.

Thirdly, although the method is written for each component, I found 'intertwining' the methods a bit more efficient. For example, while the chocolate sponge is cooking (step 5), start on the Vanilla Mousse. When you have completed step 5 of the Mousse, go back to the Chocolate Sponge (step 6) and assemble in the ring or cake tin. Something to note for the Chocolate Sponge as well is the use of a 'large lined oven tray' in step 6 to bake to Sponge on. Nowhere can I find the dimensions of the oven tray. I basically used the largest one that could fit in my oven. This however, was not large enough to create the "4cm strip of cake to line the inside (sides)" in one strip. Instead, I had to cut an extra square so that my cake did not look as good. So that you do have one complete strip of cake, I've done the calculations and require a oven tray that is at least 63cm wide for a 20cm ring/cake tin. That's all well and good if you've got an oven to match (which I don't have). Because of this, my Chocolate Sponge also ended up a bit 'thick' and therefore not as dainty. However, it was easier to cut the pieces required and lift off the tray. Having said that, I ended up with a puzzle of sponge pieces for the bottom of the cake and a nice circle of sponge for the top. No one could notice but I knew it was there.

Lastly, other tips for assembling the cake. In step 3 of the Vanilla Mousse, you 'leave the custard to cool to body temperature'. I would recommend placing cling wrap on the top to stop a skin forming and actually placing it in the fridge while you progress with the rest of the recipe. In step 6 of the Vanilla Mousse, after adding the Mousse to the top of the assembled Chocolate Sponge sides and base, I would pop the tin into the fridge for a good 30minutes to start the Mousse setting. After it is a bit more solidified, I would then add the top Chocolate Sponge circle. I learnt the hard way and mine started sinking into the Mousse and my panic rose just that bit more... After completing step 2 in the Chocolate Mousse layer, I would put the Mousse into a piping bag and cool in the fridge while the cake is solidifying a bit more. After about 30 mins, I would then pipe the Chocolate Mousse over the top layer of the Chocolate Sponge. Any earlier and it feels too wobbly. Even better, leave the cake overnight in the fridge and pipe over in the morning. Finally, in the meantime, make some chocolate decorations to go on the top if you aren't sick of chocolate yet!

I hope these tips help you out to make this cake. Mine didn't look perfect however, it still tasted lovely. I've definitely learnt from my mistakes will read any future recipe from this cookbook 10 times! (maybe just 5 haha..)

Bon Appetit xx 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

{CNY: chicken & jellyfish in hermie}

Chinese New Year is one of those celebrations that is always celebrated in my household. We may not be the most 'Chinese' of families however, I like to think that we keep a couple of the most important traditions to the celebration; the reunion dinner (a feast!) and the giving of 'hong pau' or 'red envelopes'. The reunion dinner is celebrated on the eve of Chinese New Year and we either go to a chinese restaurant or someone's house. With our families ever growing and little ones about, in recent years we have done less of the restaurant and more 'pot luck' where everyone brings 1 (or 2) traditional dishes. This year being the first year that I've got Hermie (or the Thermomix) I'm interested in seeing what I can cook in it to make this time of year easier.

The first dish that I'm trying is a Chicken and Jellyfish dish. Jellyfish you say? It sounds weird to non-Chinese people but in fact, it does not taste like much but instead provides texture to this dish. It can be found in Asian Grocers as is (usually near the green vegetables) or pre-prepared in packets sometimes with assorted flavourings. I buy the 'as is' variety as often the pre-prepared packets have MSG which I stay clear of.

When you have a look at this recipe, there's a bit of cooking and lots of mixing. However, I have found that using Hermie makes a big difference. You see, the most tedious part of this dish is the cooking and shredding of the chicken. I'm impatient and always want to shred the chicken apart as soon as it leaves the hot water and end up burning my hands. However, with Hermie, once the chicken is poached, you can literally shred the chicken in a few seconds. Time Saved! I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you try it.

1 good size handful of bunch coriander
1 chicken breast (about 350 grams)
330-350 gram uncooked jellyfish
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2/3 tablepoon sesame oil (preferably Ghee Hiang brand)
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha chilli sauce (or to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1. Rinse off salt from jellyfish and soak in cold water for 2 hours. Change the water about every 30mins to reduce the amount of saltiness.
2. Meanwhile, place coriander into TM bowl and chop 2-3secs/ speed 6. Set aside in a bowl to be used for serving.
3. Place 1000 grams of water and chicken into TM bowl. Poach for 14mins/ 100C/ speed1/ reverse.
4. While the chicken is cooking, boil a kettle full of water. When done, empty the water soaking the jellyfish and give the jellyfish a final rinse. Place back in bowl and pour over hot boiled water. Once it 'shrivels' up (about 1-2minutes), drain from the water and slice thinly. Place into the serving bowl with the coriander.

Jellyfish soaking
After hot water
sliced thinly
5. When chicken has finished, drain off the water and shred 3secs/ speed 4/ reverse. We want a rough, coarse shred, one that is not too fine so be careful as 1 second can make a big difference.
6. Place chicken into serving bowl with the rest of the sauces and mix through. Put in the fridge until cool and serve as part of a banquet style meal.

Tips: This is best made the night before or morning of the dinner as the flavours develop further and should be served cold.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

{3-ingredient coconut ice-cream in hermie}

There are so many ice-cream flavours around that I can't even imagine some of them when I hear what a friend has recently tried. Having said that, one of my favourite ice-cream flavours is coconut. However, this is a flavour that is rarely sold in the shops in Australia and I'm sure that if it was, it would be full of additives and numbers that I don't want to be putting into my body. I have found it once in an Asian Grocer, however it was very watery and a granita-like consistency that was very hard to scoop when frozen solid.

So, when I received Adam Liaw's latest recipe book for Christmas, "Asian After Work", I was pleasantly surprised to find the simplest coconut ice-cream recipe in there. I had to give it a go and took it to a friend BBQ for dessert. It was a great hit! Here it is "Thermomix" converted. Enjoy xx

100 grams raw sugar
420 grams coconut milk (1 400ml can)
300 grams thickened cream (about 1 300ml carton)

1. Place sugar into dry TM bowl and mill 10secs/ speed 10.
2. Add coconut milk and cream to bowl and cook 6mins/ 90C/ speed 2 until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warmed through.
3. Pour into a freezer proof container and chill in the freezer for about 5 hours.
4. After 5 hours, pour mixture back into TM bowl and churn 10secs/ speed 6. Then, 2-3 times/ 2 secs/ closed lid position. Re-freeze for about another 5 hours or even better overnight.
5. Serve as is, with a banana fritter or with some sweet tropical fruits like Rambutan & Pineapple (as above).

Makes about 700ml.

Tips: If you don't have thickened cream, you can use pouring cream. However, you may need to repeat step 4 again (which will add time to the freezing length).

Monday, 6 January 2014

{chicken nuggets in hermie}

I was looking around the internet and social media trying to gain a little inspiration for something new Miss A could try eating. Everywhere you see, children love eating with their hands to feel what a new food is like and nuggets fit perfectly into this category. The trouble is, is that nearly every recipe I have found, contains a bit of parmesan cheese and uses an egg wash before crumbing. These are 2 things that Miss A cannot eat. 

Therefore, the below recipe is my take on the classic Chicken Nugget albeit a bit healthier and full of those ‘hidden’ vegetables that all parents like to sneak in. I find by adding a good amount of veggies means that the chicken breast does not dry out too much and the nuggets are still moist to eat. Enjoy xx

6 weet-bix
500-600 grams chicken breast, cut into ~4cm chunks
drizzle of garlic oil
1 small zucchini
1 leek, white part only, cut into 2 
300 grams sweet potato, cut into ~1 cm slices
5 turns of the ”Chef’s Choice” Sicilian style seafood seasoning or to taste (optional) - See note

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
2. Place weet-bix into TM bowl and crush 3secs/ speed 6. Set 2/3’s aside in a small shallow bowl. Place the rest of the weet-bix in a large bowl that will be used to combine all ingredients.
3. Place chicken into TM bowl. Mince 2-3 times/ 1-2secs/ closed lid position/ turbo. Set aside in the large bowl. 
4. Place zucchini, leek & sweet potato into TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed6. Add garlic oil over the chicken. You don’t have to add the garlic infused oil however, I find it adds another layer of flavour to the nuggets. Saute 3mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Add to chicken in bowl & add seasoning or salt if using.
5. Mix with your hands and form either nugget style shapes or balls. Coat in the reserved weet-bix crumb and place on a lined oven tray. (This mixture is quite wet but works well if you use one gloved hand to make the nugget and one ‘naked’ hand to crumb the nugget.)
6. Once all nuggets/balls are complete, give them a quick spray of olive oil over the top.
7. Place in a pre-heated oven for 15minutes. Take the nuggets out and flip them over. Increase the temperature of the oven to 220C and bake another 10 minutes or until golden.
8. Take out of the oven when done and cool slightly before serving with your favourite tomato sauce.

Makes 40-45 nuggets.

Tips: These can be cooked in a frypan instead of oven baked however, they might end up a bit oilier. Also, I have used weet-bix to absorb a bit of the moisture in the mix however, a good batch of bread crumbs thrown in would do the trick too. Finally, I like to use a white zucchini because my Miss A loves to scrutinize her food before eating and it does not stand out as much in the mixture as the more common green zucchini.

Note: This seasoning looks like this: