Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Converting Recipes for the Thermomix

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As you may have seen on Masterchef and Iron Chef Australia lately, the Thermomix is invaluable for cutting down time of food preparation.  It's like having an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.  But some people worry that using a Thermomix takes away from traditional ways of cooking, and they'd rather do everything by hand.  Well, as a busy mum, I don't have time to make everything from scratch, the old fashioned way - although I do enjoy it!  There's nothing quite so satisfying as knowing you did it all yourself, the way it's been done for hundreds of years.  But let's be honest - if you had to do everything by hand (no Thermomix, or mix-master, or blender, or food processor, or grain grinder...) how much 'fun' cooking would you do?  And how much time would you have for anything else???

I really love my Thermomix, because it makes cooking for my family so much easier and less time-consuming than it used to be - I don't have to be in the kitchen all day for us to eat well!  Sometimes I'll do parts of a dish by hand, but I usually use the Thermomix for at least part of the preparation, if not the whole meal.  Even if you're a traditional type, there's got to be times when you need to hurry, or you want to do things that are a bit fancy - this is when the Thermomix really shines!  It's not just a machine for chefs - every day people like me are using it all over the world, and loving it!

Once you buy a Thermomix, the first step is to get used to using it by cooking recipes from the cookbooks over and over until using the Thermomix becomes second nature to you.  Some good ones to start with are the vegetable stock concentrate, custard, sorbet, bread, mashed potato, fried rice, risotto, stir fry veges, chicken & cashews with rice (or my revamped version with cashew satay sauce & coconut rice), pumpkin soup - just everyday recipes that are easy and quick.  Then you might get a bit more adventurous with recipes from the Indian cookbook, the Varoma cookbook, the Thermomix Recipe Community and the Thermomix Forum.  Having a Varoma demonstration will help a lot, and the more demos and cooking classes you go to, the more inspired you'll be.

The next step is to start converting some of your family's favourite recipes to the Thermomix.  Have a think about what recipes you like to make for your family... then look up similar recipes in the Thermomix cookbooks and on the forum, and check how it's done with a Thermomix.  Change the ingredients/seasonings/etc to suit your family's tastes, using the same kind of method, and 'voila' - you'll have a quicker, easier version of your old favourite!  It really won't take long to get the hang of converting recipes - just don't be scared to experiment.  



Here's a few basic rules to remember when converting recipes for the Thermomix:

*  Use your quick reference card (also on pages 7-8 of Everyday cookbook) to figure out chopping/grating times and speeds, how long to saute onions and garlic, how to melt chocolate, etc. Don't forget to stick to the suggested 'maximum quantities for processing' on page 3, so you don't overload your blades.

*  Use your guide to steaming times (pages 5-6 of Everyday cookbook) to figure out how long to steam different things.  Remember, the longer it needs to steam, the more water you'll need in the bowl - white rice takes 17-20 mins (depending how soft you like it) with 1000g of water, but brown rice needs 35 mins with 1200g water.

*  Probably the easiest recipes to begin with are soups (see page 69 of the Everyday cookbook for how to convert soups) and cake batters.  For most of my cake batters, I just throw all the ingredients in and mix it up on speed 5-6 until well mixed. (I like cutting out steps of recipes!) Or you can combine the wet ingredients on speed 6 until creamy (eggs, milk, oil/butter, vanilla, sweeteners), then add the dry ingredients, folding them in on reverse speed 3 until combined. Add any nuts/choc chips/sultanas at the end with the dry ingredients. If you're adding nuts that need chopping (eg. walnuts in a carrot cake), throw them in whole with the dry ingredients & mix on speed 5 for a few seconds, without using reverse. Be careful not to mix too long though if you want them chunky!

*  The first time you convert a recipe for the Thermomix, set the scales before measuring each ingredient in, and write down the weight, so next time you make it you won't have to use cups, you can just weigh everything straight into the machine.  (I keep a recipe notebook in the kitchen to write down my conversions and 'experiments' - or you can just make notes in the recipe book itself.) Or here's Helene's method for remembering tweaked and converted recipes - lol!!

*  Remember to check amounts: the Thermomix jug holds up to 2 litres - don't overfill it!  Add up the grams/litres of ingredients in the recipe, and adjust if necessary.

*  Sometimes you may need to work backwards, so read the whole recipe through before beginning.  Eg: if a recipe says to add lemon zest or grated parmesan or chopped nuts at the end, grate or chop that first while the bowl is clean, set it aside, then begin cooking.  If a thickener is needed for soups or custards (like rice flour), grind that first and set aside.  If you need to fold egg whites in at some point, whip them up first and set aside. (It's easy to forget to do this, so this is where a second bowl comes in VERY handy, so if you see a special deal on buying a second Thermomix bowl, snap it up!!)

*  If you need to steam something in the Varoma, think about whether something else can be done in the bowl at the same time.  Just remember that you must use the Varoma temperature to steam, and whatever's in the bowl needs to be wet enough to make steam.  Eg: a tomato sauce cooking in the bowl with fish and veges steaming on top; or a coconut milk sauce and rice cooking in the bowl with chicken and veges on top; or even soup on the bottom, with bread rolls or sweet puddings on top.  (The steam doesn't carry flavour, so it's okay to have soup cooking in the bowl with sweets on top.)

*  If you're whipping with the butterfly, remember not to go over speed 4, or you'll be sooorrrry! (Those blades are very tough, and the butterfly won't stand a chance if it tangles with them!)

*  When you're chopping onions or other vegetables, don't go above speed 5 for 3 seconds or you'll have mush!  This is especially important with salads - to be on the safe side, you can chop on speed 4, keeping on eye on it through the hole in the lid, and helping it along with the spatula if needed. I always make coleslaw on speed 4. Especially since my first coleslaw ended up as cabbage soup. :)

If you need help converting a recipe, ask your consultant, or ask on the forum on the Thermomix Recipe Community, or the Thermomix Facebook Page, or my Quirky Cooking Facebook Page or Twitter.

Have fun!! :)

P.S. Here's a great post at Super Kitchen Machine about what to do when you get a new Thermomix - tips & tricks, first recipes to try, etc: New to Thermomix? (Help for Bimby Beginners)  And I recently found this helpful thread on the Thermomix forum: Tips for Converting Recipes - there's some ideas there I haven't mentioned, so have a look!

19 comments:

Belinda Letchford said...

Thanks Jo, this was very helpful. A few ahahhh moments here for me. I'll pass this onto my girls as they are learning how to use it along side of me.

Jo Whitton said...

Oh, that's great - so glad it was helpful! If I think of any more tips I'll add them on... and if anyone else has any of your own tips, let me know!

Bernadine Keough said...

That's really helpful! Thank you so much. I'll put a link on my website I think :-)

Jo Whitton said...

Thanks Bernadine :)

kristy said...

Hi Jo,
just asking for some advice, do you have a recipe that makes good rice milk? i've tried the recipe in the family book and have tried tweaking it as im not at all satisfied with the recipe, can you suggest adding anything or do you have some tips on how to make a more tastier rice milk? thanks would really appreciate any ideas, Kristy

Kelly said...

Thank you Jo. I am slowly learning how to convert recipes and this will help greatly! Here goes another Go Getters Step! Thank you again, I will share the link on my page too :)

fran said...

Hi Jo. Thanks very much for your willingness to share your recipes. I don't even have my MR T until next week but I'm feeling so much better about it since finding you and your site, a definite answer to prayer. Seems we have a lot in common.
Thanks again

Jo Whitton said...

Thanks Kelly & Fran - somehow missed answering your comments, sorry! Hope you're going well with your Thermomixing, and having lots of fun :) Jo xx

Helene Dsouza said...

Jo, thank you for introducing this wonder object to us! I ll try to figuere out if it exists in my surrounding.

random> by the way I read your last name "whitton"some days ago in my book. hihi ( I can amuse myself so easily)

Jo Whitton said...

You're welcome, Helene! :D I'm pretty sure you can buy them in India - look, a demo in Delhi: http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2010/12/food-events-a-french-pastry-festival-with-le-cordon-bleu-thermomix-in-india.html/thermomix-demo-india

Re names: my daughter's name is India - so there you go! ;)

Sannah said...

I've visited your site before, but when I googled you today, this page came up - it is fantastic! I have figured most of it out myself over the last few months, but wish I had come across it when I was new to thermomix!

Jo Whitton said...

Thank you Sannah! :)

Thermomix Recipes said...

Thank you for recommendation of the Thermomix Forum. We have so many recipes and tip for all. BTW, we over at the forum, also love this blog. So much help and knowledge!

karen said...

Thanks for these tips Jo. You're always a wealth of information.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I am swatting up before my Thermomix arrives!
Helen.

Kate Condon said...

Hi Jo, you might be interested in an ebook that I have written. It compares store bought foods to those that you can make in the Thermomix. It shows how Thermomix meals can be healthier and often cheaper and at least as fast to make, if not faster than using packet mixes. It is available on ibooks, sony and amazon. I would love you to have a read and let me know what you think. Great for those who are thinking of buying a Thermomix but aren't sure.
https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/fast-healthy-thermomix-advantage/id714781920?mt=11
https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kate-condon/fast-and-healthy-the-thermomix-advantage/_/R-400000000000001123009

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Angel Martin said...

Kuchyňské potřebyThis is very essential blog; it helped me a lot whatever you have provided.

Thermomix recipes said...

Thanks for this tips. If you want to convert bulk in weight, i make a converter there: http://www.othermomix.com/en/convert.html

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