I was originally going to subtitle this post “stuff I never use”, but in the last few days I’ve actually found that some of these bits are more useful than I first thought. But I’ll start with the most neglected one.
The butterfly tool clips on top of the blade (either mixing or chopping). The Bellini instruction manual states that it should only be used at Speed 3 or lower, and only for creamy or runny mixtures. I’ve heard of several people who have burned out their motors in the Bellini and other thermal cookers by using it for thick mixtures like risotto. It’s tempting to use it regularly as it seems that it will stir more efficiently than the blades alone. But if you look through the hole in your lid while the Bellini is processing
(without the butterfly), you’ll see that the mixture moves very quickly. If you add something to the top (e.g. sprinkle some nutmeg on a cake batter) and then start to process again, you can see the last ingredient is very quickly incorporated into the main batter. So I don’t use it at all. I’ve tried (and failed) at egg whites in the Bellini – next time I try, I will use the butterfly attachment and see if it helps.
Edit 14/6/2013: I’ve used the butterfly tool successfully to make meringue. I’ve also used it to make butter and mayonnaise. For these recipes, I have used it with thin mixtures at a faster speed than recommended (speed 4 rather than Speed 3) with no ill effects to date.
The chopping blade in the Bellini is crazy sharp. So, whatever you use to stir or scrape the jug, is going to suffer. The only way to avoid this is to stir clockwise only, so you don’t touch the sharp edge of the blade with the spatula. But really, it’s just an okay spatula anyway. I usually use a wooden spoon for stirring or a silicone spatula for scraping. Don’t use a good Tupperware one though, as it will also get nicks and cuts. Kmart cheapies are the way to go here and replace them when they get too battered. I’ve heard the spatulas melt quite easily too, which is another reason to leave it in the drawer for when you really need it…
… which is to lift the steamer insert basket out the machine. The spatula has a little hook near the blade, which fits into the basket so you can lift it out without burning yourself. I haven’t yet found another way to get the basket out, so keep your spatula for this reason alone.
I’ve only just started using this. Previously, I would throw all the ingredients in with the blade and see what happens. And what happened on the last two occasions is ruined food, so I’ve decided to make friends with the steamer basket. I used it for boiling/ steaming mandarins for the 1 hour and 30 second cake, with great success. And tonight I used it for keeping pumpkin and chickpeas safe from the blade, while cooking a version of Nigella’s pumpkin and chickpea hotpot. (The steamer basket did work well, but I mucked around with the quantities of the recipe and the end result was frankly terrible. So the less said about that one, the better). It’s also useful for keeping things like meatballs intact while still incorporating the flavour of the sauce. And I think I’ve tried it for cooking rice and it was fine, but I find it easier now just to cook the rice in the microwave while cooking the main dish in the Bellini.
Edit 14/6/2013: I regularly use it now as a useful and easy to clean mini-colander – for example, draining and rinsing a can of kidney beans.
The fourth and final part of the series is coming eventually- the steamer.