There are a few essential steps when making a true fudge. Firstly, you must stir constantly until the mixture reaches 100C. Thermal cookers are, of course, very good at constant stirring. Unfortunately most of them don’t cope with the rest of the steps needed to make a luscious fudge. Once the fudge has reached boiling point, you should continue to heat it until it reaches 114-118C but without stirring this time. Most of the thermal cookers can’t reach that temperature, and they can’t heat without stirring. Continue reading
I go through phases of making home-made pasta. It’s fairly simple to make gorgeous fettuccine or spaghetti (especially when you can throw the dough in the thermal cooker) and the taste is incomparable to the dried variety from the supermarket. Sauces tend to be super easy too – you want the flavour of the pasta to shine through, so stick to something simple like these recipes for the sauce. My pasta making phase usually ends when I attempt something like ravioli which always takes much much longer than I anticipate, and sucks all the enjoyment out of it. So if you are time-poor, stay away from ravioli.
I follow the basic 100g pasta flour to 1 egg recipe, which is easy to increase or decrease Continue reading
Exciting news – I’ve got my hands on a HotMixPRO for the next two weeks! So as well as the Bellini posts, there will be a few recipes featuring the HotMixPRO. One of the most popular posts on this blog is the thermal cookers comparison chart, so I’m guessing that lots of people have an interest in the different types of thermal cookers and their features. If not, and you are only here for the Bellini posts, the HotMixPRO is only here for a short time (sadly) so normal service will resume shortly.
Disclaimer: The machine has been loaned to me by the Australian distributor to trial the machine and blog about it (and make ridiculous quantities of fudge). They are not paid posts, and all opinions are my own.
For the uninitiated, the HotMixPRO is a type of thermal cooker – the main difference being that it was originally developed for the commercial market (restaurants, bars etc). Most of the cheaper thermal cookers on the market are based on an older Thermomix model, TM21. The HotMixPRO differs from these machines and from a Thermomix in several ways, so I’ve taken some pictures to illustrate. Continue reading
Dips are ridiculously easy to make in the Bellini or thermal cooker (utilizing the blender/ food processing capabilities of the machine). I’d previously made a simpler version of this dip, using tinned baby beets and Greek yogurt for the sour kick, but this time I wanted to take advantage of the lovely whole winter beetroots available in the markets.
The roasting of the beets for 90 minutes seems tedious but it’s just set-and-forget type cooking, and the peeling is very quick and easy. Continue reading
I’m not a fan of ordinary couscous, which was a nuisance as it’s nice to have another grain/ carb to add to the dinner roulette wheel of potato/ rice/ pasta*. It’s the small grains that put me off. I don’t like the mouth feel – for me, it’s reminiscent of beach sand in your picnic. But Israeli couscous is a favourite with larger grains and a lovely chewy texture. It’s a foodie item (here in Perth at least), available at extortionate prices at local delicatessens and food importers. So I was amused to discover that in Israel, it’s usually served to children – the Hebrew equivalent of Alphabetti Spaghetti.
I make the dish in the picture regularly as it’s easy and very satisfying. Serve it as a hot meal, a warm salad or a cold salad. Continue reading
There are tons of blogs, forums, and Facebook pages with recipes for thermal cookers. These sources (and the manual for your machine) are a great place for new users to start for step-by-step instructions to build your confidence. Using recipes that are specifically written for thermal cookers also helps you try out all the functions of the machine.
Soon though, you’ll probably want to branch out and start adapting other recipes. You might have a much-loved cookbook, an online recipe, or have a family favourite to adapt. Below are some recipe techniques that will work particularly well in the thermal cooker.
Using a food processor/ blender or finely chopped ingredients
All thermal cookers have the ability to blend or chop ingredients so this will work well. Note that you can only chop, you can’t grate or thinly slice. Continue reading
I am a total convert to making sauces in the Bellini after trying a cheese sauce. It’s great to be able to throw all the ingredients in and walk away. This recipe was inspired by my sensible friend Serena, who shared a great recipe for silverside in the slow cooker. I made the white sauce to go with it and the vegies, and followed her suggestions for flavouring the sauce (v v good).
I seem to be specialising in spectacularly ugly pics at the moment – a combination of taking them on the ipad, and not using natural light. It tastes better than it looks. Continue reading