I bought a Thermomix and how to make dips and lavosh

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.

So it happened. I did something I thought I would never do. I bought a Thermomix.

Yes the Thermomix has been recently gained some negative press with multiple reports of safety incidents, but in the five or so months I’ve had my Thermie, I haven’t burnt myself and the lid hasn’t burst open – fingers crossed it stays that way! I am really enjoying my gadget and will even go to the extent of saying I think it’s worth the price tag of a return flight to London. It has actually been a fun journey with my electronic sous chef, like I’ve opened a new chapter to my cooking, learning “how to cook with gadgets”. And so today’s post is about cooking with the Thermomix.

I find the Thermomix is best used when there is a combination of chopping, cooking and mixing, so when it comes to making something like a risotto or a soup, it conveniently fast forwards the cooking process. This is very valuable to me on a weeknight after a long day at the office! I do however find the sweet spot for me is doing a combination of manual cooking with a little help from the Thermomix, just because I have a strange love of the manual process of cooking.

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One of the most common things we use the Thermomix for are dips with homemade lavosh. I’ve been amazed how the Thermomix makes seemingly challenging food to make from scratch, that much more achievable! But I’ll let you be the judge – enjoy the Lavosh and Tuscan Almond Pesto Thermomix recipes!

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P.S. You can find out more on my Thermomix experiments on a post I did on My Food Trail, where I made a Thermomix Dutch donut recipe and put it up against my father in-law’s family oliebollen recipe. It was so much fun!


Rosemary Lavosh
Adapted from Devil of a Cookbook by Fiona Hoskin

Chop, mix, knead, rest, cut and bake. It’s as simple as that!

Ingredients

  • A generous handful of rosemary leaves (or any herb)
  • 320g plan flour
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 150g cold water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp olive oil (sesame oil can be used too)

Method

1. Chop herbs 5 sec | speed 7. Repeat until desired texture – I do this about 3 times.


2. Add flour and salt. Mix 10 sec | speed 5
3. Add water and egg white. Mix 5 sec | speed 5
4. Knead for 30 sec | closed lid | Interval


5. Place dough onto a well-floured surface and cover. Rest in warm area for 15-30 min
6. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper

7. Divide dough into 5 balls, rolling each flat until paper thin. Cut and bake for 10-15 min until lightly golden, flipping lavosh over after approximately 8 minutes


Tuscan Almond Pesto / Tapenade
From Keeping it Simple by Tenina Holder

For someone that doesn’t really like olives, I absolutely loved this recipe! It was so delicious and well balanced, but the kicker was incredibly simple it was to make.

Ingredients

  • A small handful of rosemary leaves
  • 65g semi sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 75g kalamata olives, pitted
  • 60g whole almonds
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 15g balsamic vinegar
  • 80g extra virgin olive oil
    Pinch pink salt flakes to taste

1. Chop herbs 5 sec | speed 7. Repeat until desired texture
2. Add all other ingredients and press turbo 3-4 times until chunky texture is achieved


Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.

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Recipe: Home Cooking Breakfast – How To Make Pea Fritters (or any other vegetable)

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.

As much as I love to eat out and take advantage of the amazing Melbourne brunch scene, some weekends I just want to sleep in, wake up to a fully stocked fridge and cook up a storm, without having to pay an additional $4 for extra bacon on the side or waiting in line for 45 minutes.

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One of my favourite fritters in Melbourne – Indo Sweet Corn Fritters from Hendriks cafe

My breakfast moods come in phases (except for bacon ofcourse!). The eggs benny only phase, my on-again off-again relationship with fish for breakfast and the occasional sweet breakfast. Then there are fritters. The beauty of fritters is they come in all shapes, colours and sizes – bright yellow corn fritters, deep red beetroot fritters, deep fried spheres, golden brown pancake shaped zucchini fritters, the list is endless! And when they are good, they are just heavenly!

I love making my own the fritters for several reasons. Firstly, I can absolutely load up my fritters with whatever ingredient I’m using – fritters are meant to be generous in my opinion, where the vegetable is the star of the show. Secondly, I can add in chunks of bacon. It’s a simple trick, but the magic of bacon can turn a good fritter, into an extraordinary fritter! And finally, fritters are surprisingly easy to make and can usually be made on a whim, with most ingredients already in a standard kitchen pantry.

To prove my point – here is my simple but delicious, flexible pea fritter recipe! I’m a big fan of peas, and they create such a beautiful green colour. The great thing about this recipe is you can easily substitute out the peas for any other of your favourite vegetables – corn, beetroot, zucchini, broccoli, or all of the above. It can be made vegetarian or gluten-free with simple respective tweaks to the recipe. Have a play and enjoy!

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That is one mean, green fritter tower!

Brando The Pig’s Flexible Pea Fritters 

Ingredients (approx 3-4 serves)

  • 600g baby peas – fresh or frozen (if frozen, quickly blanch in boiling water for 1 min)
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 50g – 100g of good bacon, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a handful of coriander, chopped (including stems and leaves) – to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • butter and oil (for frying) – I roughly use a tablespoon of butter per teaspoon of rice bran oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 100°C
  2. In a food processor, add half the peas along with all remaining fritter ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl, and add the remaining peas. Stir to combine.
  4. In a large fry pan, heat the butter and oil over a medium heat.
  5. Using a tablespoon, add one or two generous dollops per fritter depending on size preference. Cook each side until golden (roughly 1-3 minutes).
  6. Dab cooked fritters with a paper towel and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Serve complete with your desired breakfast sides – today it was poached eggs with homemade hollandaise, crispy skin Atlantic salmon and roasted beetroot.

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Until next time, happy eating!

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.

 

Recipe: Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) using the Betty Bossi Vegetable Twister

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

The first time I heard someone say Zoodles, I thought they found a funny way of saying noodles. And in a way, they did. For the more informed foodie, Zoodles is short for Zucchini Noodles and is a healthy, low carb alternative to your standard noodles or pasta. It is also gluten free and is as fresh as your zucchini is.

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Along with the health benefits of eating zoodles, they are a minimalist’s dream as it’s incredibly simple to prepare and you can eat them raw or cooked.

The easiest recipe in the world

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I won’t lie. These are incredibly easy to make. It depends on what and how you’ll like to eat them but the basic version doesn’t take long at all.

Ingredients: 1 Zucchini

Step 1: Cut off ends of Zucchini

Step 2: Place Zucchini into Zoodle maker (see below)

Step 3: Add desired toppings

And you’re done! A healthy, home cooked meal in minutes.

 

The Zoodle Maker

There are a few popular ways to make Zoodles, the most popular being a Spiralizer or a vegetable scraper. Graters and food processors work too but have less of the noodle look and feel. My weapon of choice was my housemate’s Betty Bossi Vegetable Twister, which although not a spiralizer, does pretty much the same job.

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The Betty Bossi Vegetable twister retails for around $40 (you can pick it up cheaper online) and can be used for cutting a range of vegetables including carrots, beetroots and sweet potatoes. It has three components: the twister screw, spiral holder and spaghetti holder. This gives me the choice of making thin spiral zoodles or spaghetti zoodles. I decide to try both.

Spaghetti Zoodles

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The first thing I realise while using the Vegetable Twister is how easy it is to use. Twist, twist, done.

The second thing is how much they resemble spaghetti. I manage to get some very long strands that would give Rapunzel’s hair a run for her money and after a couple of minutes, my zoodles are ready.

I could eat them raw but I prefer to cook them and also add more ingredients to make it a little more interesting.

Being the minimalist I am and to save on washing, I twist the zoodles directly into the frying pan and add a small amount of water to help with the cooking (you could also use oil if you prefer).

What seems like a lot of zoodles in volume, actually shrinks in the cooking process.

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This is where you can get creative and add your favourite ingredients. I add some chilli flakes for spice and decide tuna and corn will be my best options for toppings in lieu of my empty fridge.

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The result:

Spicy Tuna & Corn Zoodles

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That’s how I would probably serve it if I was cooking for a guest but in actual fact, I mixed everything together and ate it like this (haha)

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Spiral Zoodles

This time I tried out the Spiral holder on the Vegetable Twister. This adapter simply slices the zucchini into thin, spiral noodles and they look and feel a lot less like noodles. Once again, directly into the frying pan.

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Instead of using water to cook the zoodles, I cook chicken skin on the pan and use the excess oil to fry the noodles. This little trick adds so much flavour to the noodles. I add some chicken and finish with truffle oil.

The result:

Chicken Zoodles with Truffle Oil

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Texture wise, I preferred the spaghetti zoodles. They resembled pasta or noodles and if I wasn’t paying attention, I wouldn’t realise I was eating a low carb vegetable. Toppings wise, the chicken and truffle oil worked amazingly so my next attempt will bring the best of both experiments, combining the spaghetti zoodles with the chicken and truffle oil.

I think I may just have found my newest easy, healthy meal to cook at home.

Zoodles benefits: Healthy, fresh, low carb, gluten free, easy to make, quick to prepare

The cheapest place I could find the Betty Bossi Vegetable Twister was at Kitchenware Direct for $26.95 (+ shipping).

Deep Frying in the Deep Fryer. Lessons & Favourites.

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

A few months ago, I was excited by my new air fryer so I thought it was only fitting to do a post on deep frying. A friend bought a deep fryer and to commemorate the event, we decided to have a deep fried party where we came up with a list of as many things as we could deep fry. The day arrived and our list stood at 17 items ranging from chips to onion rings to the famous battered Mars bars.

With a couple of litres of oil preheated in the deep fryer, here’s some of the things we cooked and some of the lessons we learnt along the way.

The Fry Up – The Easy Stuff

We knew if we wanted to get through our list of 17 deep fried foods, pacing ourselves would be key. So our strategy was to cook simple pre made or frozen foods to start and integrate rest periods where we would prepare more labour intensive dishes to cook. So this is how our journey began, with some pre made mini scotch eggs.

Quick to cook and surprisingly hot to taste, I made the rookie mistake of getting too excited and nearly burning my mouth with a freshly deep fried scotch egg. I learnt my lesson and we continued the fry up.

Potato croquettes, Potato wedges and the unpictured (poorly shot) items of onion rings and steak cut chips took our Deep Fried count to 5 and we were loving it. The textures were so crunchy, it put the junk in junk food and made it taste indulgently better.

Crumbed Fish Fillets and Crumbed Chicken took our count to 6 and 7 respectively and this is where trouble hit. We started to feel the effects of the oil and started feeling full.

Favourites – Parmesan and truffle oil fries

Years ago when Charlie & Co opened up in Sydney, I fell in love with the parmesan truffle fries so I absolutely had to recreate them.

This involved deep frying shoe string fries, adding truffle oil and parmesan cheese and presto! Delicious fries taking the Deep Fried count to 8.

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Lessons

1. Scotch eggs are easy to make but difficult to perfect

For those not familiar with a scotch egg, it originates from the UK and essentially is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and battered in bread crumbs.

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The real challenge comes in not over cooking the eggs while ensuring the sausage meat is cooked through. To ensure this, we had to hard boil the eggs to the minimum time so that it would hold it’s shape while the shell is being removed. We went through half a dozen soft boiled eggs before we finally got it right.

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The final result was tasty but unfortunately, not the ideal runny yolk we were going for. Next time! Deep Fried count 9.

For the Jamie Oliver recipe, click here.

2. Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips involve a labour intensive process but are absolutely worth it

Incredibly crunchy and flavoursome, these are the best home made chips I’ve ever had!

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As the name suggests, these chips are cooked three times. Boiled, deep fried then deep fried again. The key is to remove the moisture out of them as much as possible after each step. This is done by cooling them on cooling rack, then placing them in the freezer for at least an hour before moving to the next phase of cooking. Heston also has three secrets:

“The first secret is cooking the chips until they are almost falling apart as the cracks are what makes them so crispy. The second secret is allowing the chips to steam dry then sit in the freezer for an hour to get rid of as much moisture as possible. The final secret is to cook the chips in very hot oil for a crispy, glass-like crust.”

For the full recipe, click here. Deep Fried count 10.

3. Making home made Fried Ice cream is so easy and rewarding

Ordering Fried Ice Cream from Chinese restaurants has been an indulgent treat but little did I know how simple it was to create the same dish at home. See Brando’s fried ice cream recipe for some tips.

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Step 1 to 3 – Roll, Freeze, Crumb. Crumb again. Prepare the oil and crumb one last time before frying.

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Step 4 – Fry Away!

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Step 5 – Bon Appetite. Deep Fried Count 11.

4. And my final lesson. Don’t be greedy!

At 11 items, we were all done. Hours of eating had finally taken their toll and our stomachs were bursting at the seams. I really wanted to get to the deep fried Mars Bar stage but we just couldn’t go on after the ice cream. To be fair, we had a great time frying our day away and felt like we gave the 2 litres of oil a good run for our money.

Since I’ve covered the positives and negatives of Air Frying, it’s only fair I do the same for deep frying.

The positives: Unlike the Air Fryer, health benefits do not feature as a positive. However, what this method lacks in health benefits, it makes up for in unrivaled crispy, battered exteriors. And let’s be honest, this is why we’re all using a deep fat fryer for. Other positives are fast and even cooking.

The negatives: I don’t want to dwell on this because we’re all aware that excess oil is not good for you. So to be brief, deep frying has a high oil absorption rate in food, high quantity of oil requirement (which has limited usage and is inconvenient to dispose of), it’s difficult to clean, messy and dangerous (splattering oil hurts and is flammable). And did I mention it uses a lot of oil?

All in all, deep frying is a fun and delicious way of cooking food. Ignoring the negative health benefits, it really can elevate a dish with better crispier textures. If you decide to get a deep fryer, be prepared to make some potentially unwise decisions that your taste buds will thank you for. Your waistline? Not so much.