Thermomix pumpkin and cauliflower soup with a hint of spice

Thermomix pumpkin and cauliflower soup with spiceThis soup is awesome because it’s deliciously creamy thanks to the cauliflower and it’s a fantastic dose of nutrients.

Cauliflower and butternut pumpkin are full of cartenoids and so make a great cancer prevention/fighting duo. Cauliflower is also full of antioxidants, fiber and B vitamins, including folic acid. Butternut pumpkin is fantastic for digestion and provides a good dose of vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium.

The little bit of spice gives it a nice kick too. My toddler enjoyed this which made me happy as it gets his little taste buds acquainted with spicy flavours.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 20g of coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1.5 teaspoon of green curry paste (or any paste that you have handy)
  • 600g pumpkin, roughly chopped
  • 400g cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Thermomix Vegetable Stock Concentrate
  • 500g of water

Method:

  1. Place onion in Thermie bowl and chop 5sec/speed 7.
  2. Add coconut oil and curry paste. Cook 3min/Varoma/speed 1.
  3. Add vege stock and water. Cook 20min/100deg/speed 2.
  4. Blend for 1min/speed 9  (taking care to gradually increase speed).
  5. Serve with cracked pepper and dash of salt if desired.
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Thermomix immune defence juice

Thermomix juice ingredientsMy baby has caught a pesky cold and shared it with me, so this morning I made what I consider a delicious super immune system booster! It’s the first time Mr C has had this juice combination so it was funny to watch on as his little taste buds interpreted this new information!

This juice is fantastic for when your body is fighting a cold. The pineapple has a soothing effect on a sore throat as it digests foreign microbes and diseased cells in the bronchial tissues. Ginger eases congestion in the throat and lungs, relieving symptoms of cold and flu while the lemon adds to this with its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Carrots nourish every system in the body and kale is an iron-rich strengthening vegetable and a specific healer for the immune system. The interior white membrane of the orange is a superior source of bioflavonoids, which enhance the absorption of iron from plant foods – not to mention antioxidant properties and a good dosage of vitamin C for immune strength!

Just what the doctor ordered, huh?

Thermomix immune defence juiceIngredients

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 slices of fresh pinapple, roughly chopped
  • Bunch of kale (stems removed)
  • Handful of ice (really important as it assists the blades in breaking through the fibre of the pineapple and orange and prevents  frothiness)

Method

  1. I only used the juice from the carrots so chopped them for 30 sec/speed 9 and using the simmering basket, squeezed the juice from the pulp into a separate bowl. You could also use a nut bag for this.
  2. Add the ginger and kale to the Thermie bowl and chop for 10 sec/speed 9.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend 1min/speed 9.
  4. If you prefer it thinner, add a bit of water and blend further.

I sprinkled chia seeds and chopped, dried mango on top.

Hint:

You could use the carrot pulp in a carrot cake. No sense wasting if you can avoid it, but try to make the cake soon after juicing to maximise the nutrient content.

Sweet potato and lentil soup

Thermomix sweet potato and lentil soupI had coriander leaves left over after making green curry paste so I threw this together for lunch. It’s pretty tasty and bubs liked it too which is great as this soup is a powerhouse of fibre and nutrients!

Sweet potato is rich in vitamin B6 – which helps to keep our arteries and blood vessels flexible and healthy, and allowing blood to flow freely. It’s also rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), an important antioxidant that is not only useful in the prevention of several different types of cancer, but also helps to protect our skin from sun damage, plus it’s an excellent nutrient for eye health. Furthermore, the humble sweet potato is rich in vitamins C and E which play a huge role in the health and beauty of skin and hair.

Lentils are high in fibre which helps to reduce blood cholesterol and prevents our blood sugar levels from rising, whilst also providing slow-burning energy. Lentils are also packed full of iron and folate (great for pregnant or lactating ladies and growing children!)

Ingredients:

  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • 300g of sweet potato, roughly chopped (peeled)
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 100g dried lentils
  • 2 tbsp of TM vegetable stock
  • 1L of water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Place coriander and basil into Thermie and chop 5 seconds/speed 7.
  • Add sweet potato, carrot, lentils, stock, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.
  • Puree until smooth/speed 7 (about 40 seconds).
  • Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese (if desired).

Variation

Add 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin for some spice.

Homemade yoghurt

Thermomix YoghurtIf you go through a lot of yoghurt, then this has to be one of the surefire ways to save some coin with your Thermomix… make your own!

All you need is milk and a couple of tablespoons of some good quality yoghurt to get your culture started.

I made mine via the recipe found on Simone’s Thermomix Essentials website, which originated from ThermoFun:

Ingredients:
1 litre lite OR Full cream milk
50g Milk powder  (not essential – refer to Q&A on page 3 of this doc)
3 tbsp pot set Natural Yoghurt (this is your ‘starter’ – use a reputable brand of natural Greek Yoghurt for your first batch) eg: Jalna, Mundella, Farmers Union, Chris’s, Aldi/Woolies/Coles Greek yoghurt.

Method:
Pour milk and powdered milk into TM bowl and blend for 10 seconds on speed 7.

Cook for 30 minutes at 90 degrees on speed THREE (if cooked on speed 1 you will get a burnt film of milk on the bottom of your bowl – which does comes off quite easily after soaking using the Thermomix spatula) – however if cooked on speed 3 there is nothing left on the bottom!

Then place TM bowl into fridge for approx 40 mins to drop the temp down to 37 degrees. (put a timer on so you don’t forget!)
Or somewhere cool but it will take a lot longer to cool down.

NB: this is also a great time to have a second TM bowl when the other is in the fridge with yoghurt cooling!… just saying!

When the 40 minutes is up – turn your Thermomix back on – place TM bowl on to unit and the temperature light should light up on the 37 or 50 degrees.  If it lights up on 50 degrees or higher – put bowl back in fridge for another 15 or so minutes.  Then take out and test again.

The 37 degree temp is crucial for the yoghurt to be a success.  You need to wait for the 37 light to go OUT so you know it is no hotter than 37.  The bowl will be warm to your hands, but not hot, as 37 is normal body temperature.  If you accidentally forget it in the fridge and it gets way below 37 – don’t worry just put it back on to heat up again for say 5 mins, 37 degrees speed 3.  Once you see the light come on at 37 degrees you can then stop it.  (I say 5 minutes (number just picked out of my head) as you need to have a time set in order for the temperature to work).  (Remember the rule of TIME, TEMPERATURE, SPEED).

Once at 37degrees add the 3 tbsp pot set natural yoghurt and mix for 4 seconds on speed 4.

Cook for 10 minutes at 37 degrees on speed THREE – (if cooked on speed 1 you will get a burnt film of milk on the bottom of your bowl).

At this time pre warm your Thermoserver with boiling water from the kettle.

When the 10 minutes of cooking is finished – drain your water filled Thermoserver – then pour the cooked milk from the TM bowl into your pre-warmed Thermoserver.

I then wrap my Thermoserver in a thick towel or blanket (baby blankets are great) to keep warm for a minimum of 6 hours (leave it somewhere in the house where it will be left undisturbed) – it can actually be left up to 24 hours!  (The longer you leave it the thicker it gets).

After the minimum of 6 hours I then take the lid off the Thermoserver and Voila I have yoghurt!  I can honestly say it still NEVER ceases to amaze me the chemical reaction of what cooking milk and leaving it does – it still does my head in every single time!  Amazing!

I then pour the yoghurt into a Tupperware container and also reserving 3 tablespoons into a smaller container to keep to use as my starter for my next batch.

Trust me – Your yoghurt WILL get thicker and creamier the more frequently you make it using your own starter from each batch.

I really do hope this helps those of you that have had trouble – to give it another go or if you have never made it….. once you have success you will never need to buy it ever again!

My yoghurt (pictured) has a layer of cream on top as I used unhomogenised milk bought from the farmers markets. Delish! I’m yet to make a fruit coulis to go with it. I’ve just eaten it either natural, with honey, or with a bit of the Quirky 8-minute strawberry jam mixed through.

Green smoothies

Green smoothie ingredientsGreen smoothies are a super easy way to get some greens into me and my little boy (with a helping hand from my Thermie!)

One of my favourite combinations at the moment is:

Berry creamy choc delight

  • Bunch of kale (stems removed)
  • Handful of lettuce leaves
  • 2 handfuls of frozen berries (e.g. blueberries or mixed berries – I buy the Omaha ones from Woolworths, or Frozberries from health shops)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder
  • Cup of coconut water (or more water if you like it thinner)

Blend on speed 9 for about a minute. Pour into glass and sprinkle with chia seeds. Creamy, chocolatey, berry goodness! So filling too.

Simply green smoothie

This is a really basic recipe but it’s very tasty! You could also use it as a base for experimentation.

  • Bunch of kale (stems removed) or spinach
  • 1 pear
  • 1 banana
  • 400-800ml of water

Blend on speed 9 for about a minute. Pour into glass and enjoy!

I will add more recipes as I get to them 🙂

Rainbow alphabet block cake

IMG_7762-2My son turned one the other day (eeeek! How time flies). I couldn’t wait to make his first birthday cake with my Thermomix! It was just a small family affair so no party theme, but I still wanted to make something cute… he loves playing with his wooden blocks so decided on an alphabet block cake.

I’m no cake decorator. Actually, this was my first cake decorating project. When it came down to the wire, I was wondering how on earth was I going to pull this off?! Stay positive – you got this, I told myself.

So I made the fondant first. Marshmallow fondant. I hunted for vegan, white marshmallows. No joy. I then hunted for plain white marshmallows. No joy. So in the end I had to buy the Pascalls mixed pink and white mallows.

Marshmallow fondant

I used Tenina’s recipe:

NEED:

500g marshmallows (not homemade, sorry folks!)

2 tbp water

500g icing sugar plus some extra

Vanilla or other flavoured essence to taste

2-3 tbsp cornflour

DO:

Place marshmallows and water into Thermomix bowl and cook for 6 min/70º/speed 2.

Add icing sugar, vanilla and cornflour and mix for 10 sec/speed 6.

Knead for 2 min/Interval.

I made the fondant a couple days before and kept it in a container on the bench. I chose to use a marshmallow fondant because I don’t really like the taste of ordinary fondant.

Rainbow cake

I used ThermoVixen’s recipe:

CAKE: 

INGREDIENTS:

130G Butter (Room temp)

80g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

250g Caster Sugar (You can use raw sugar and break it down to caster sugar as step 1.)

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

2 Whole Eggs

3 Egg Yolks

250g Self Raising Flour (I used cake flour)

130g Butter Milk

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

METHOD: 

  1. Add the Butterfly to the TM bowl. Add butter, sugar, olive oil and vanilla paste to the bowl. Begin mixing on speed 4 until the mixture becomes a light, fluffy consistency.
  2. When you are happy with the look of the batter (usually between 1 minute and 1.5 minutes) reduce speed to speed 3. Whilst still mixing add the eggs through the hole. Add each egg separately give it about 15 seconds each time to thoroughly mix. Add each of the Yolks the same way. This should take about 3 minutes for the whole process. (step 1 and 2)
  3. Stop the mix and scrape edges. If you are happy that it is all combined add HALF of the flour, baking powder and butter milk to the bowl. Mix on speed 3 for 30 Seconds.
  4. Again scrape the edges of the bowl and add the remaining flour, baking powder and butter milk. Mix on speed 3 for 30 seconds. You can give it a further 10 seconds on speed 4 to ensure it is all mixed through thoroughly.

From here, I split the mix between two bowls. I then stirred in some colour: Hopper’s Natural Colours (bought from Loose Produce in Como). The colours are derived from fruit, veggies and plants. You can find Queens branded “natural” food colourings in Coles/Woolworths, but if you read the label, some of the colours contain cochineal extract. This just grosses me out as it’s actually crushed insects.

I did have a go at making my own dye but I ran out of colours! (I juiced some beetroot in the Thermie which was fantastic and did the same with spinach and carrot, but the carrot went a bit brown after a while so wasn’t sure if it would work too well).

5. Mix some colour into your batters and then pour into square baking tins.

6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 180 degrees. You will need to test the cake and make sure that the skewer comes out clean. It should move away from the edges slightly.

Repeat twice to get your 6 layers.

I wrapped each layer in cling wrap and put them in the freezer.

Buttercream icing

I followed the buttercream icing recipe found in the Everyday Cookbook (EDC). This was used to prevent the filling from seeping out and to cover each side of the block. I used about 4 batches.

Filling

I alternated the layers with strawberry jam and whipped cream.

Strawberry jam

I used Quirky Cooking’s 8-minute jam recipe (but used raw sugar instead of rapadura as hubby didn’t like the rapadura version)

1.  Before you begin, place a saucer into the freezer for testing the jam on.  Wash out your jam jars thoroughly with warm soapy water and rinse well.  Set aside.

2.  Place fruit in Thermomix bowl and chop roughly on speed 4 for 3-5 seconds, depending how chunky you want it:
– 500g strawberries (or other fruit)

3.  Add and cook 8 minutes, 100 degrees, reverse, speed 2:
– 150g Rapadura (or other sweetener)
– 1 level teaspoon agar-agar powder
(If you prefer your jam smooth and un-chunky, cook without the reverse, and puree on speed 8 when you’re done.)

4.  Test if the jam is set by placing 1/2 tsp of jam onto the cold saucer.  When it is cool, push it with your finger.  If the jam wrinkles, it’s ready.  If not, add a pinch more agar-agar, cook for another 2 minutes, then re-test.

5.  When jam is set, pour into 2 hot rinsed jars with twist-off lids and close immediately.  Turn jars upside down for 10 minutes.  Your jam will keep in the fridge for up to one month.

Assembling the cake

1. Divide the fondant by the number of colours you’ll be using for the letters. You’ll need to heat each ball of fondant for about 25-20 seconds in the microwave  just to soften it first. Knead in your colour and then roll each ball with a rolling pin (2-3mm thick). I oiled the pin with some coconut oil to prevent the fondant from sticking. (My wonderful husband helped me with the fondant and assembly – team effort!)

2. Grab your cake layers from the freezer and stack them up so you can determine how long your strips need to be for each edge of the block face. Cut them using a sharp knife (about 2cm wide).

3. Figure out what letters you’d like to use and cut those out too. We used C-A-L-E-B to spell out our boy’s name.

4. Next, fill a piping bag with buttercream icing and pipe around the edge of the first cake layer. It need not be too thick, just enough to hold the filling in. Spread strawberry jam on the rest of the cake layer.

5. Pop the next cake layer on top of your base layer and repeat the buttercream piping. This time, spread whipped cream on the layer. (Follow recipe in EDC – I didn’t add any sweetener as the cake is sweet enough). Alternate between jam and cream until you’ve done all layers (except the top layer of course as this will have buttercream only).

6. Using an icing spatula, spread buttercream onto each side of the block. Try to get it as smooth as possible.

7. Position the fondant strips around each side of the block. Cut each end at a 45 degree angle, ensuring the edges that meet sit snug.

8. Lastly, position the letters on each side of the block.

And then you’re done!