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.
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
Apologies for the gap between posts. I thought I’d be all effortless and cool with my second newborn and keep up with the blog and all other normal life stuff. However, I have found to my disappointment that: a) it’s still bloody hard work the second time around, and b) waking up to find a missing teddy for a toddler, doesn’t prepare you for the mind-altering sleep deprivation of night feeding.
Anyway, a thermal cooker really does make a big difference when life gets busy. I didn’t do as much pre-newborn meal preparation as I should, but it’s still pretty easy to get a Bellini meal together quickly even when jiggling and shushing a baby.
Last week, I finally had a break through with soup in the Bellini. I’d read cautionary tales of burned hands and orange walls when blending soup in a thermal cooker. Continue reading
In a long-ago life as a primary teaching prac student, one of my classmates decided to run a butter making lesson for the Year 3s. She handed out glass jars filled with cream, salt and glass marbles (can you guess where this is going?) and encouraged the children to shake them as hard as they could…
It did end in tears, but luckily the prac student was the only one crying as the children somehow escaped injury after one of the jars shattered.
This butter-making technique is less likely to end in injury or a stern ticking off, and you’ll have some beautiful fresh butter at the end of it. If you buy cream that is near the use-by date, then it’s significantly cheaper than buying butter. Continue reading
These three kitchen accessories from IKEA seem to go particularly well with thermal cookers. The first two are a cheaper version of popular accessories for the ThermoMix. I bought the third to make it even easier to make and eat steamed puddings easier (obviously not restricted to thermal cooking, but I have become sadly addicted since getting my Bellini).
1. Baking mat
I bought this after seeing a thermomix consultant wrap the ThermoMat around some pasta dough before leaving it to rest. Continue reading
Like the peeling garlic tip that I posted previously, this is a ThermoMix trick that I tested in the Bellini. I know it’s probably not life changing to separate the odd egg or two, but it’s still a pretty cool trick and would be handy if you were doing multiple eggs for a pavlova or meringues.
1. Put the measuring cup in your lid. If you turn the cup clockwise as far as it will go, it will ‘lock’ – you don’t want to lock it, so loosen it a little if it is locked in. Continue reading
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. Continue reading