6 Mar 2014

Baked Chicken with Lemon and Harissa

Are you entertaining this long weekend?  This is your dish!

It was well loved favourite of mine before Mr T arrived in my kitchen. Now that I've converted the recipe to the Thermomix, it's even better.

The quantities below make a double batch as it is a wonderful dish to freeze.  Having a serve in the freezer means that inviting friends over at the last minute is never a stress. It's also a prepare-ahead meal (the morning or day before) which gives it another tick on my list for entertaining.

Whilst the chicken is baking in the oven I usually steam some rice and green beans.  When served with the famous Thermomix beetroot salad or even my Winter Salad it makes a delicious, healthy dinner. 


Baked Chicken with Lemon and Harissa

Serves two meals for 6-8

Ingredients
4 tbs cumin seeds
4 tbs coriander seeds
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp cloves
3 lemons
2cm piece of fresh ginger - washed
2cm piece of fresh turmeric - washed (use 3tsp dried if unavailable)
6 garlic cloves - peeled
3 onions - peeled and quartered
200ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tbs harissa paste
2 tbs tomato paste
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
16 chicken thigh fillets/chicken pieces
Rresh, chopped coriander to garnish
Serve with beetroot salad, rocket leaves and feta, steamed rice and green beans, yoghurt and mint leaves
  • Place cumin, coriander, cloves and cinnamon stick into TM bowl.  Dry roast 4 mins, Varoma, Sp2. MC off.  Allow to cool, then grind Sp 8, 6 secs
  • Peel lemons with a peeler, add peel, ginger, turmeric, garlic to the bowl and chop Sp6, 10 secs.
  • Add onions and chop roughly Sp4, 5 secs
  • Remove pith from lemon and slice flesh into rounds.  Add to TM bowl with oil, sugar, paprika, harissa and tomato paste. Combine Reverse Sp2, 10 secs.
  • Divide the mixture into two large ziplock bags and place 8 chicken fillets into each bag.  Seal and massage the marinade into the chicken.  Place one bag in the fridge to marinate and the other in the freezer for another day.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190' and place chicken and marinade into a large baking dish with pieces nicely arranged.  Roast 40-45 minutes until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile prepare your sides: Steam rice in TM and add green beans to the Varoma tray in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Toss beans with olive oil, a sqeeze of lemon and two handfuls of slivered almonds (roasted on a tray in the oven).
  • To serve, place rice on a platter, arrange chicken pieces on top, pour remaining sauce over the top and garnish with coriander.
  • Beetroot salad can also be made ahead of time.  To serve, arrange on a rectangular platter with rocket leaves underneath.  Top with crumbled feta.
Some Notes: 
Chicken can be frozen into smaller serves. 
For an easy mid-week meal for one or two, steam single serves of chicken (cut into smaller slices with plenty of marinade) in Glad Bake 'nests' . Cook in Varoma dish with some vegetables in the tray whilst the rice is cooking.  Steaming will take around 16 minutes. 
If in a rush, use pre-ground spices and add with the with the oil and harissa.
You can make your harissa in the Thermomix.  You may want to add another tablespoon if you enjoy a bit of kick to your bite.




14 Jan 2014

Hot Nights :: Cold Chicken Dinner


Hot Melbourne nights call for quick and easy meals.  As the temperatures soar, it's hard to be inspired in the kitchen. A dinner that can be prepared in the morning is always popular and this dish ticks all the boxes. This simple meal is delivers on flavour.


Start with up to 650g chicken tenderloins.  Place them in the Varoma tray and bowl.  Fill the TM bowl with 900g water, that's just below the 1ltr mark on the bowl.  Place the rice basket in and pour in the right amount of rice for your gang.  Place the lid on top, the Varoma trays in place and cook 15 mins/Varoma/Sp 4. 

At the end of the 15 minutes your rice and chicken should be cooked.  Cut through a tenderloin to check.  Steaming tenderloins and some veges like this (you can pour a little soy sauce on top for flavour) is a perfect dinner for fussy kids who like their food plain.  But for this dish, we are going to shred our chicken.  Empty the water and place all the chicken into the TM bowl.  Shred chicken for about 10 sec/Reverse + Speed 4.  After this pop your rice and chicken into a covered bowl to refrigerate.  This dish is served cold with a hot sauce on top. 



Ten minutes before ready to serve make the sauce to pour on top of the chicken.  I cook this sauce in a frypan or wok as you really need the high temperature from the hotplate. Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in pan.  Meanwhile, pop a large knob of ginger and three of cloves of garlic into TM bowl and chop 5sec/Sp 7.  When the oil is almost smoking add the ginger and garlic and let it sizzle away until golden brown.  When it reaches that point pour in about 2 tbsp of soy sauce and then pour immediately onto cold chicken.  Top with fresh coriander and spring onions.


Don't wash the bowl out,  just place some capsicum, cabbage, carrot and coriander into TM with some Asian dressings; sesame oil, lime juice, fish sauce and white vinegar and chop speed 4 until desired consistency.  Dinner is done!  A great cold dinner that took only about 15 mins of prep work in the kitchen.



P.S. I often cook a little more chicken and keep it for lunches.  Another post for what to do with that!

Enjoy your weekend!

31 Oct 2013

Handmade Moisturiser in the Thermomix

Summer is coming and along with it nice skirts, shorts and a little more bare skin. Who wants smooth, soft skin?  I usually find that once my family hits the beach we find ourselves using copious quantities of moisturiser all round.  When it's lathered on all the family I really like to know that what I am putting on their skin is all natural.  Given we use so much of it, it's great to make sure it's affordable.

Imagine if you could make your own hand cream and moisturisers.  With a Thermomix it is easy!

It is amazing to think that with a Thermomix in your kitchen you can whip up a couple of pots of luxurious moisturiser in about ten minutes. Since what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, it's nice to know exactly what is going into it.

When you start to make your own moisturiser it becomes obvious just how much water it contains. When you buy an expensive moisturiser from the shops, most of what you are buying is water!

Before you make your moisturiser you need to purchase a few ingredients.  Most of them you will be able to buy from a health food shop but two you will have to source specifically; Vegetable Glycerin and Emulsfying Wax.  These are both available from speciality stores such as Auroma, New Directions and Aussie Soap Supplies.  You can also purchase the other ingredients from them, in bulk quantities and at cheaper prices than you would from a health food store.

To give you an overview of how a lotion is made and why the Thermomix is so suitable I will briefly explain the steps.  A lotion is an emulsion between an oil phase and a water phase.  A successful emulsions requires both phases to be heated to 70'.  The water phase is then added to the oil phase with significant agitation (think of making mayonnaise). It is both the blending function and the precise temperature control that make the Thermomix so ideal.

There is a lot of flexibility with quantities and ingredients and so the recipe below is more of a guide than hard and fast instructions.  Experiment with different oils, different ratios and see what you like. One thing I would always recommend is that you keep a little notebook with each variation you make and the date.  There is nothing more frustrating that finally finding the right mix and not remembering the recipe!

HANDMADE MOISTURISER IN THE THERMOMIX

Ingredients - this recipe can easily be doubled
Water Phase - around 70%
- 130ml filtered water
- 10ml vegetable glycerin

Oil Phase - around 30%
- 50ml oil of your choice; almond, olive, jojoba, coconut are all great
- 15g emulsifying wax
- 1/4tsp citrus (any kind) seed extract - a natural preservative

Essential oils of your choice

Method
To start you want a very clean Thermomix so that there is no contamination. I wash my Thermomix bowl with 100ml of vinegar and 500ml of water and heat on Varoma, 5mins, Sp 4.  Empty.
Also, fill your Thermoserver with hot water to heat briefly.  Tip out before use.
Now, place the filtered water and glycerin in the TM bowl.  Heat to 70', 2 minutes, Sp 3  Pour into empty Thermoserver to keep warm.
Add oil phase ingredients to TM bowl making sure the wax pellets aren't sitting on the blades (or they won't melt). Heat to 70' 2 minutes, Sp 3.
Insert butterfly and place lid on top with MC inverted.  Start your Thermomix at 5mins, 70', Sp 4.  Slowly pour the water phase onto the top of the lid.  When you are adding the water, add it slowly to start with and then you can speed it up, just like a mayonnaise.  You want it all to mix for another couple of minutes after you have incorporated all of the water.

When it is finished it is very runny, nothing like a cream.  Don't fear!  Pour it into your sterilised containers and let it set with the lid off.  Make sure you wash your bowl, lid, MC and butterfly in hot soapy water immediately. When I make moisturiser I actually pop these all (minus the blades) in the dishwasher.

You can add some essential oils into the oil phase if you like but I don't.  I add mine after. I often make a batch, or a double batch, pour and let it set. Then I doctor up each little jar to suit the end purpose or recipient.  For example, I make several small jars for my children simply to use as a carrier for their essential oil blends.  I have one for sleeping, one for mosquito bites, one for studying etc.  They each have a little first aid kit in their bedrooms.  Then I make up a cream for my husband, it is scented with more masculine oils.  Into my own I love to add some of the more nourishing oils like rosehip and camellia with some essential oils like lavender, orange and rosemary.

It is best to keep your cream away from sunlight and only use clean hands to dip into it.  If not using straight away, keep refrigerated.

Enjoy.

28 Jun 2013

Rich Steak Pie

It's winter time, perfect weather for a good ol' steak pie.  This recipe is so wonderful in so many ways...but mostly it's the filling.  From the depth of flavour and the tenderness of the meat, you would have thought that hours of stove stirring had been devoted to this dish. But instead, just ten minutes in the kitchen and let the Thermomix do the other 40 minutes work for you.  Even a tough cut of stewing steak is tenderised to a delicious shred-able meat. I think that is seriously good.  A cheap cut, cooked in only 40 minutes and the perfect steak pie filling. 
 
Even better is that the recipe cooks a kilo of meat, so there is enough for another meal, or a large family.  You can either reinvent it the next night with a quick mash and steamed vegetables or freeze it for a ready-made pie filling some other night.
 
The pastry is a new recipe for me.  It uses ice instead of cold water and the result is super flaky.  Taking only a few minutes to pull together and made from only a few ingredients, it will make you think twice about pulling the packet of puff pastry out of the freezer.
 
Make the pastry beforehand and let it rest whilst the beef is cooking.  Ten minutes before the beef is finished, pull it from the fridge and roll into shape.  This time I lined the individual pie tins but often I will either make one large pie with only a top or place individual serves in my ovenproof breakfast bowls (Country Road make great little ones) and top with pastry.  Whilst my family loved the delicious pastry, using a little less of it is certainly a healthier option.
 
Because I am obsessed with including as many vegetables as possible, I also steamed sweet potato in the Varoma and added that to my filling.  I have provided that option in the recipe below.
 
RICH STEAK PIE
Ingredients  
Pastry
Makes four pie bases and tops. Reduce quantities to the amount in brackets if only doing pie tops
180g flour (140g)
160g butter - cubed (120g)
60g ice (40g)
1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp)
 
Filling
1 onion - peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic - peeled
1 handful parsley
10ml olive oil
140g celery
2 carrots - chopped into pieces
1 kg diced stewing steak
4 mushrooms - sliced
10ml worstershire sauce
10ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. TM stock concentrate
100ml wine
15g cornflour
bay leaf
200g frozen peas
Optional: 1 large sweet potato
 
Method
Pastry
Place ice and butter into mixing bowl and chop 15 secs/ Sp 10. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add flour and salt and mix 5secs/Sp5. Scrape down sides of bowl and knead 2mins/locked lid/interval button.
Turn onto floured mat or ball and bring together to form a ball.  Flatten into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 mins.
Preheat oven to 200'. When ready roll out pastry on a floured surface and cut circles large enough to line 4 small pie dishes with, having some pastry hanging over the edges.  Re-roll pastry and cut four tops.
Fill with pie filling, heaping nice and high and then place lids on top.  Seal edges with a fork, trim excess and prick the tops to allow steam to escape.
Bake pie for 30mins at 200'C
 
Filling
Place onion, garlic and parsley in TM bowl and chop 5secs/Sp5.
Add celery and carrots and chop 5secs/Sp 4
Scrape down sides of bowl and add olive oil to sauté 4 mins/Varoma/Sp2.
Add diced beef and sauté 5mins/Varoma/Reverse/Sp1.  Leave MC off.
Add other ingredients, except peas, and cook 40mins/100'/Reverse/soft stir (or speed 1 if your Themomix is squeaking too much)
Shred the beef by hitting the Reverse button and slowly turning the blades up toward Speed 4 whilst peeping in the top of the TM lid.  Shred as much, or as little as you like.
Stir in frozen peas to the hot filling .
Optional: Steam some diced sweet potato in the Varoma dish at the same time. Cook on Varoma temp. Stir in with the peas at the end of cooking.






24 Apr 2013

Nutella Brioche Muffin Scrolls

Don't they sound amazing! 

Nutella....brioche...all wrappped up and mooshed together a little into a scroll and served as individual muffins.  And to think you have both of the recipes you need for these delicious morsels in your Everyday Cookbook!

Nutella. It's a weakness of mine, along with Lemon Butter. I simply cannot stop at just one mouthful (eaten from the jar, of course).  My children didn't know it existed until last year and I am quite proud that I  managed to keep that one from them. So, even though the Thermomix version is so much healthier.  I'm better not to have it in the house.

After saying all that, these muffin/scrolls were for a special occasion. And special occasions call for special treats.  They were on the menu of my gorgeous girlfriend's birthday brunch...and a perfect brunch pastry they were.

Nutella Brioche Muffin Scrolls


Nutella
See pg 34 EDC

Brioche
See pg 35 EDC

Preheat oven at 180'C and oil muffin tins.  Make Nutella and Brioche components, as per instructions.  Once the Brioche has risen, knock it down and roll it out into a large square.  Spread half of the nutella down the middle third of the square and fold the inner thirds into the centre, as you do when making puff pastry.  Then fold the long rectangle into thirds again.  By now you should have a small, fat square.  Roll out the square into a large square again and then spread with  the remaining Nutella.  Roll the square into a log to make a long scroll.

Slice pieces of the scroll off and place into each muffin hole. 

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked.  Don't over cook them, they are better a little gooey inside.

17 Apr 2013

It's a great month to buy a Thermomix!

April is a great month to buy a Thermomix. 

Receive a bonus Thermomat with all Thermomix orders placed this month.  The Thermomat is a large silicone mat.  A must for all bakers.  It's perfect for proving dough, rolling out pastries and can even be used a non stick baking mat in the oven.


We use it for all manner of dishes, our gnocchi, potato and silverbeet torte, scones and biscuits, to name a few.

Plus, to make your Thermomix even more affordable, this month we are offering 12 months interest free.  Contact your consultant for more details.

16 Apr 2013

Silverbeet and Potato Torte

I've mentioned before how handy it is to have silverbeet growing in the garden.  It has such a long season, it's easy to grow and is so versatile, particularly with a Thermomix to chop it up finely and hide in all manner of dishes.  I seem to love it most at those times when I think I have nothing in the fridge for dinner.  It certainly saves the day when I can combine it with some fridge fragments and rustle up a meal.

Although I usually chop silverbeet up nice and fine to hide it, in this torte, it's a feature.  And, the kids still love it. The recipe is from Stephanie Alexander and she makes it with the children at her Collingwood College kitchen.


One of my favourite parts about this recipe is the pastry; it's dairy free and not too rich.   The olive oil makes it so pliable and easy to roll out into a thin base and top.  This pastry recipe has become my standard for all savoury pies and whenever I need a pastry for Edward (my dairy intolerant son).

Potato and Silverbeet Torte

Ingredients
Pastry
200 g plain flour (I use wholemeal spelt)
½ teaspoon salt
30g extra virgin olive oil
125 cup cold water

Filling
150 g young silverbeet or rainbow chard - washed, stems and leaves separated
salt
300g potatoes - cut into cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
handful of parsley
150 g mozzarella/cheddar (either pre-grated or cut into pieces)
slice of feta
Freshly ground pepper
1 large egg - lightly whisked

Method
Pastry
  • Weigh all of the ingredients into the TM bowl and mix for 5secs, sp6. 
  • Set dial to closed lid position and knead 10-20 secs on Interval speed to form dough.
  • Turn mixture onto Thermomat or lightly floured board and knead lightly to bring together. 
  • Wrap in plastic and place in fridge..
Filling
  • Add 500ml of water to TM bowl and place potatoes in rice basket to steam 12mins, Varoma temp, Sp 4 or until tender.  Pull basket out and empty water.
  • Place cheese into TM bowl and grate 5-10secs, Sp8.  Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 200'
  • Place onion, stems, parsley into TM bowl and chop Sp5, 5secs.  
  • Add a splash of oil and saute 2mins, 100', Sp 2
  • Add silverbeet and chop 5secs, sp4 - use the spatula to stir so that all of the silverbeet gets chopped.
  • Add potatoes, crumbled feta, cheese and whisked egg into bowl and stir 5secs, Reverse Sp2.
  • Whilst filling is sauteing, roll out 2/3 of pastry into a circle larger than the pan you will cook in on (I use my pizza stone covered with Gladbake)
  • Place the pastry on the pan and pile the potato mixture onto pastry, leaving a border around the pastry.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry in a circle to fit on top.  Fold extra pastry from base to seal edges and press together.
  • Pierce top with a fork.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.


 I have adjusted the recipe slightly by adding a little more potato and some feta, it's perfect with all of that lovely silverbeet.  This is a delicious torte for a picnic but I serve it the most with roast chicken and a salad. The onion and silverbeet can be substituted for a couple of leeks and more parsley.  For Edward's dairy free option I make him his own little pie without the cheese.  If you wish to eliminate the cheese from the whole pie you can add an extra egg to make it creamier.  Oh, and left overs the next day are also delicious!