Penultimate blog post (or so long, and thanks for all the fish).

Two weeks ago, my second BIKM gave up the ghost. For a variety of reasons, I decided not to replace it and have got a Thermomix instead. I really enjoyed using my Bellini as you can probably tell by this blog, and I’d recommend it to anyone as a great introduction to this style of cooking. I’m vaguely thinking of doing another thermal cooking blog at some point, so if/ when I do, I’ll add the link as a final post on this blog so you can come and have a look, if you fancy.

The blog will remain here permanently although I’ll close comments as some point so I don’t have to monitor spam. I’ve seen another Bellini blog recently (and author posts much more frequently than me :)) so check her out here. If you know of any other Bellini/ Kogan blogs, please add them in the comments.

It’s been lots of fun doing the blog. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to comment and offer encouragement or suggestions. It meant a lot to me. Happy cooking xx

Using the Bellini’s steamer

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The Bellini has a large steaming dish (similar to Thermomix’s Varoma) that sits on top of the jug and allows you steam chicken, vegetables, puddings – anything. Below are eight (hopefully useful) things I’ve learned about the steamer

1. To steam effectively, you must set the temperature to ST. Turn the temperature dial all the way to the top setting (it’s the one after 100). It looks a bit like SF to me, but it’s meant to be ST. Cooking on 100C won’t produce enough steam. So if you want to cook a soup and steam fish at the same time, you must cook your soup on ST, not 100.

2. ST temp is approximately 110C. Thermomix’s Varoma temp is 114. So you will need to allow a longer cooking time when using a Thermomix steamer recipe in your Bellini.

3. Also when using your steamer, please note that it’s a bit of a different design to the Thermomix Varoma (see here for more details if interested). Basically, the TMX steamer contents are exposed to more steam, so again, keep this in mind and increase your cooking times accordingly.

4. To make steaming in the Bellini more effectively, try draping a tea towel over some of the vents in the lid, or placing a piece of baking paper under the lid to keep more steam in (as in the pic above).

5. Always use speed 3 when steaming – this will get more steam to your food.

6. If you are placing food in the bottom of the steaming tray, arrange it around the outside and not in the middle over the hole in the lid or you’ll block all the steam (this took me AGES to learn).

7. Remember that you can also steam in the cooking basket (it’s smaller but much more effective for steaming).

8.[Gratuitous link to my recipe] Steamed puddings are particularly nice  – try this one or google Varoma puddings and add on a few minutes cooking time.

Baby food in the Bellini (puréed sweet potato)

Goodness me, all those old ladies in shopping centres were right. These years do fly past. Baby no 2 is now five months, and I’ve just started him on solid foods. I was going to wait till six months and do baby-led weaning like I did with child no 1. But on the weekend he wrestled a piece of cake from me, shoved in his mouth and started chewing. I’m also hopeful that he will sleep longer than 3 hours at night if I start solids (probably won’t work, but anything is worth a try at the moment). Blurry pics are due to the my shaky sleep-deprived hands.

The Bellini does a lovely job on baby purees. Chop the veg and/ or meat into pieces, add it to the cooking basket (boiling water below) and steam. Then drain the water, and blend the cooked veg in the jug.

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Playdough in the Bellini Kitchen Intelli Master

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I made these playdough icecream sundaes for my daughter’s third birthday party. It started with the thought, “hey, I could make a bit of playdough for the party bags”. Then I found the little icecream cups at the $2 shop, then I remembered seeing a recipe for chocolate playdough… I managed to stop myself before it got completely out of hand, and it’s actually quite easy and fun to put together.

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Make-ahead porridge in the Bellini

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This post is shamelessly inspired by this fantastic idea for freezing individual portions of porridge in the Bellini. I normally hate porridge, but made these for my lovely husband. As I tasted along the way, I found that home-made porridge with rolled oats and creamy milk is a world away from the slithery gloop that comes from a packet. So now he’s got some competition to eat these up.

I changed the porridge completely from the original recipe in the Kitchn .

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Cappuccino-crunch fudge in the Bellini

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As a committed sugar-phile, I wanted to  developing a fudge that would work well in the Bellini and other thermal cookers. The Bellini doesn’t get to the necessary temperature to make a true fudge so this is a cheat’s version, but it tastes pretty good, all the same.

You could chop and change the flavourings for this fudge – the white chocolate is bland so any stronger flavours will take precedence. Continue reading

Vialone Nano Risotto in the HotMixPRO

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When I borrowed the HotMixPRO, I knew that I wanted to try some things that wouldn’t be possible in the Bellini or the other thermal cookers. One was this fudge recipe, the other was… risotto.

Yes, yes, I know that risotto is the first thing that any Thermomix demonstrator worth their salt will show you. And it’s the first thing that I made in the Bellini. Cooking your first risotto in a thermal cooker makes you think, “damn it, this thing is good”. Instead of standing over a stove for 30 minutes at dinner time, you can play with your kids (or if it’s been a trying day, check Facebook while they watch TV).

But thermal cooker risotto does have its critics. Continue reading