DESIGNER EASTER EGG

As an Easter promotion of my book Harrison Braves The Hill I decided to do an Easter Egg raffle at Chloe’s Espresso

I looked into buying a Thornton’s Easter Egg and having it personalised as the prize. But it would have been boring…. The illustrations in the book are colourful and somehow a commercialised egg wouldn’t cut it.

I say this quite often… I’m lazy. And I don’t like gooey, messy cooking. Not my thing. So chocolate was way down my list of things to make. But I just could not find an egg to fit the bill for the Draw.

So I took a deep breath and decided to try my hand at making one in the Thermomix. After all, if I failed, there were Easter Eggs galore in town! And I am so glad I gave it a go. It was SO easy!

The trick to good chocolate is tempering it after melting. I found a recipe on Cookidoo – I used the filter option and chose Australian recipes and found one for Easter Eggs there.

This recipe melts chocolate for 6 minutes at the lowest temperature of 37C and then again for two more minutes before you turn off the temperature and just mix the chocolate for a minute on a slow running blade. This is the tempering that can be the make or break of the egg being dull or glossy and slip out or stick in the mould!

Traditionally you’d pour the melted chocolate onto a marble top and sloosh it with a palette knife to temper it and then pour it back in the bowl. None of that with my Thermomix (and I know, purists will not approve but I’m more than happy with this no mess method). My egg was shiny and the chocolate had a healthy sounding “snap” when broken.

If you haven’t already done it, download the Cookidoo App. Bed is a good place to lie and absorb the logic of a recipe before heading down to follow the method on the Thermomix screen! by the way, the new TM6 comes on 17th June. Please do contact me as advisor if you want to know more!

So, no recipe being posted as you can download it yourself! I’m just going to post the photos I took whilst making the egg in 15 minutes!

450g chocolate melted in 6 minutes on speed 1 – no standing around stirring. No danger of water from a Bain Marie leaking in and ruining the chocolate either!

Then melt again at 2 minutes/37C/speed 1 and then temper at speed 1 for 1 minute with no heat.

Then scrape down and give it a stir. A silicone spatula is a must.

Pour some into the mould and gradually start tipping and swirling to coat right up to the rim. Turn mould upside down to drip.

It is messy but it does solidify and you can pick up the drips and reuse.

When semi solid, use a palette knife to neaten the top. Once completely set, slowly ease out of the mould. Be patient!

Heat a flat baking sheet at 50C in the oven. Press the raw edge of each egg down on the hot tray to melt and then join together. To seal. Use the melted chocolate on the tray to seal gaps. You can fill one half of the egg with goodies and just heat the other and seal in the treasure too. Whilst the egg was setting I ran off to Lakeland and bought edible glitter and sprinkles.

I used melted chocolate to stick on sprinkles and to write a message. All I did was stick the chocolate drips on the tray lined with grease proof paper in the 50C oven for a bit to soften it. Here’s an amazing trick I learnt for painting on chocolate. Looks like a delicate Faberge egg.

And why don’t you make a trip this weekend to the bridge in Primrose Hill and do the quiz at Chloe’s Espresso? Can’t get to Chloe’s for the Draw? The questions are on the sheet above. Email me with your answers by noon on Sunday 21st and I will enter them for you for a chance to win! And I’ll throw in a special offer of a book if you win and want a Thermomix demonstration! You can then find out what Harrison does!

#TM5 #thermomix #TM6 #eastereggmade inthermomix #eastertreat #easyeastereggrecipe #eggdecoration #whitechocolateeasteregg #white chocolateegg #egghunt #easteregghunt #primrosehill #eggscavengerhunt #easter2019 #easterweekend #londonnw1 #chloesespresso #NW3 #NW1 #kidsactivities

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GOOEY VEGAN MOZZARELLA!

I am an aspiring vegan. Only aspiring mind, because there are some textures and flavours I’ve grown accustomed to and am not sure I can give up.

Well, today I know I can give up mozzarella because I found a recipe that I adapted for my Thermomix and it is AMAZING!

Being lazy, without a Thermomix the recipe would have passed me by but because I can weigh, process, cook and and stir all in one in my wonderful TM5, I gave it a go and will do it again and again (except when my son is around as he is allergic to tree nuts and it uses cashews!).

I am wondering if I can omit the first part of the process which is to cook the cashews for 10 minutes. The author says she does it to make blending easier. I don’t see it being difficult to get it smooth if I blend it raw with the water at speed 10 for a minute or two.

But for now, here it is step by easier step! I halved the recipe when I made it so the quantity in the photos is not a guide!

Ingredients:

120 g raw cashew nuts

240 g water

55 g tapioca flour

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp Apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method.

1. Weigh in cashew nuts and pour enough water to cover. Cook 10 mins/100C/Reverse/Speed 2.

2. Pour out excess cooking water. Add 240 g water to the cooked cashews. Blend 1 min/Speed 10 and scrape down the bowl.

3. Add all other ingredients. Cook 10 mins/100C/speed 2. When the temperature reaches 100C you could reduce it to 95C. I did this because the recipe called for it to be cooked on a stove top at medium/high heat. It was perfect. If you find it is still watery then just cook for a minute more.

Pour into a dish and serve hot or you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge till required. I haven’t done anything with it yet but apparent it is great in lasagne, on pizza, on toast…… for now I am trying to stop myself from eating all of it straight up!

#vegan #mozzarella #vegan #vegetarian cheese #alternative cheese #cheese substitute #dairy free #gluten free

Pure Olive Oil Inspiration!

Conjuring tricks in minutes. Olive Oil and Melon Sorbet with Prosciutto. Worthy of being on any Michelin Star menu at a fraction of the price!

In 2015 we went to Seville. Whilst there I discovered, quite by accident a little delicatessen called Flores Gourmet.

On the menu was olive oil sorbet with jambon. I got very excited and then hugely disappointed; we were there in March and it was only being served from April. Something to do with the weather at that time of year not being conducive to the icy offering.

I never forgot the concept though. There are recipes for olive oil sorbet online. Many of them. All using lots of sugar. I wanted to enjoy a healthy version.

A frozen fruit sorbet is one of the dishes that as an advisor I demonstrate in a free Cooking Experience – a no obligation showcase in your home or mine where you have the hands on chance to decide to invest in a TM5 or now pre-order a TM6 for June 2019 to bring to your home this truly inspirational cooking powerhouse!

But I digress…. the reason I bring up frozen fruit sorbet is that I make frozen melon sorbet all the time with nothing but melon. No need for sugar. The combination of melon and Parma ham is one of true umami. So, I thought, why not add the amazingly good olive oil from Angelina Wines & Olive Oil to melon and do away with the need for added sugar?

Another digression: one of the perks of being an advisor is I meet amazing people. A few years ago I was introduced by a Head Office lead to a lovely Italian banker GC who lives locally in NW London.

GC and I are on the same wavelength of good ingredients, creative flavours and delicious food. He is on another planet (which I am light years behind) when it comes to baking – particularly his desserts to die for! We have remained in touch.

I told him about my melon and olive oil sorbet and asked if he’d like to try experimenting with it at mine and could he recommend good prosciutto that might work. This busy man (who incidentally has just co-produced the winning movie Poised), found time from his busy schedule to pop by this weekend with some delicious Parma ham from Panzer’s and together we created the yummiest dish!

Now GC as an discerning Italian connoisseur says he will serve it as a superb starter. Me? I’ll have it as a starter OR with a selection of fruit (including a side of my poached kumquats) as a very different dessert! In fact, this summer I am stocking up on ripe melon in the freezer and will have it for breakfast lunch and dinner!

The trick is in crisping the prosciutto to perfection. In our experiment the melon was not as sweet as I’d have liked so I added the semi-frozen syrup from the poached kumquats I’d saved for GC to try and that lifted it. You could add sugar (making icing sugar following the frozen fruit sorbet recipe on Cookidoo).

Try it and please let me know what you think! I am not getting a cut for this: I love supporting small businesses and that of Valentina Buscicchio’s in Primrose Hill is one I totally endorse; their olive oil from their home in Basilicata is superb for this sorbet and you can find her in the farmer’s market on Saturdays in Primrose Hill

For a vegan alternative, try baked basil leaves.

RECIPE (serves 4)

Ingredients:

500g frozen (for at least 7 hours), very ripe, sweet melon of choice

20g extra virgin olive oil (Angelina’s!)

6-8 slices (very thin) prosciutto or jambon iberico

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 190C. Place the ham on a shallow tray lined with grease roof paper. Roast in middle shelf for 15-20 minutes till nicely browned but not burnt. It should be crispy and break into shards when cooled.

2. Place melon in TM bowl. Put the TM spatula in and blitz the melon 40 seconds/speed 10, churning with the spatula to ensure the melon is worked off the sides of the bowl so it is evenly blitzed.

3. Add 20g olive oil. Churn again 20 seconds / speed 10.

4. Insert butterfly whisk. It may take a bit of thawing before the whisk is able to move. Whisk 1 min/ speed 4.

5. Serve immediately topped with shards of cooled prosciutto.

#sorbet #extravirginoliveoil #melon #proscuitto #jambon #floresgourmet #thermomix #tm5 #tm6 #cookidoo #ilovemythermomix #oliveoil #panzer’s #angelinawineandoliveoil #italianstarters #ham #melonandparmaham #spreadfarmersmarket #primrosehill #bestoliveoil #bestparmaham #veganalternative #crispybasil #crispyproscuitto

KUMQUAT MAY….

Kumquats are in season. I know it’s not May yet but I like the play on words for the title and am too excited to wait till the right month to share this recipe!

I’ve adapted an Epicurus recipe for kumquats poached in lime juice and vanilla syrup and teamed it with steamed Conference pears.

I used to poach pears in the simmering basket of my Thermomix but discovered many recipes on Cookidoo where pears are steamed instead with the same result so use this technique as you can do many more pears – good for a dinner party!

It’s an exquisite dessert served with ice cream or sorbet. I like it with a sorbet of nothing but frozen very ripe pears with stem ginger and/or a little Aleppo Chilli blended at speed 10 for a minute and then whipped up with the Thermomix butterfly whisk at speed 4 for a minute.

With yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds, a very posh breakfast it would make too.

The poached kumquats on their own would make a great topping for ice cream or maybe in a cocktail. Or one or two kumquat halves dropped into a Roku G&T with the mandatory sliced ginger! In fact, add a splash of this Japanese gin to the poaching liquid for a boozy dessert.

Endless ideas!

I used coconut sugar to try and keep things low on the GI index. You could also do it with honey or maple syrup or refined sugar if you will. Just adjust cooking time of the liquid till you reach the desired syrupy consistency. To be super healthy, don’t use sugar but poach the kumquats in 120g satsuma juice (I think orange juice would over power it). As ever, I use my Thermomix as my trusted cooker to adapt anything and everything!

The love just keeps growing! A quick note to the uninitiated who speak negatively of the Thermomix undermining culinary creativity and skill: think again.

Where did the idea come to me? Lying in bed in the morning browsing the net and my Cookidoo App, with the kumquats and pears lying dormant in the kitchen fridge downstairs. Less than half an hour later I’d created a gourmet dessert I’d never have bothered trying pre-Thetmomix! I never hesitate letting people know I am lazy. Really, really lazy. If I had to put immense effort into experimenting I would not bother. So thank you again my wonderful Thermomix for taking care of temperature control and time to minimise mistakes I make from being distracted or memory loss!

It has enhanced my culinary journey without a shadow of a doubt. And now the plug BECAUSE YOU REALLY NEED TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT… Get in touch with me for an inspirational, no obligation demonstration of the TM5 and learn more about the TM6 coming in June with its 160C, still blade cooking, sous vide and integrated recipe platform…..

INGREDIENTS

20 kumquats, halved crosswise & deseeded.

6 firm Conference pears, peeled, halved, seeds scooped out.

Juice of 1 satsuma/clementine

3 limes

1/2 a vanilla pod (slit & seeds scraped out)

500g water (for poaching pears and then reserve 120g of this liquid for the syrup)

120g sugar of choice

Pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Prepare the pears and kumquats.

2. Add zest of one lime to the pears. Squeeze the juice of half a lime and the orange/satsuma over the pears and toss.

3. Place pears in the Varoma tray (use both levels if your pears are large). Reserve the satsuma juice.

4. Add 500g water to TM bowl. Place Varoma on the lid and steam pears 20 mins/VAROMA/speed 2.

5. Squeeze the juice of the remaining two and a half limes in with the satsuma juice. Add the vanilla seeds and pinch if salt and mix.

6. Discard all but 120g of the water the pears were poached in. Note: if using just satsuma juice and no sugar to poach, then discard all the water. Add the lime juice mix with the split vanilla pod and the sugar to the TM bowl with the hot 120g of water. Cook 3 mins/100C/REVERSE/Speed 1. As soon as the temperature reaches 100C and the sugar has melted, add the kumquats.

7. Cook 3 mins/100C/REVERSE/Speed:Stir.

8. Place pears in a heat proof dish. Scoop kumquats out of the TM bowl and place on the pears along with the split vanilla pod. If you are happy with the consistency of the syrup pour this over the pears now. If you’d like a thicker syrup, return the TM bowl to cook at 100C for longer at speed 2. Then pour the syrup over the pears and chill for atleast two hours. Serve as you will and enjoy!

NOTE: I did the kumquats again and this time did not use the fruit from Spain that I bought at Costco but got some from my local greengrocer. They were smaller and much more tart than the Spanish ones so when I did them in just juice, they were not as good! I ended up adding a tin of lychees to the kumquats and pears. And I can’t say I liked the orange syrup as much …. should perhaps have used cinnamon or five spice powder instead of vanilla with the juice – vanilla and orange was reminiscent of cough muxture!

#thermomix #cookidoo #kumquat #pears #poached #poachedpears #dessert #glutenfree #cooking #healthydesserts #gin #roku #LowGi #icecreamtopping #lime #vanilla #limejuice #poachingliquid #seasonal recipes #kumquats #whattodowithkumquats #howtocookkumquats #icecream #sorbet #dessertswithkumquats #poachedfruit #poachedkumquats #pearpudding #seasonaldessert #fruitdesserts #noaddedsugaroptions

MOTHERING SUNDAY PEPPER CHICKEN

A tribute to my mother Lalitha. She was a doctor who worked full time. Whilst she did not cook very often because we always had a live-in cook in Singapore, when she did, the flavours were simple but unforgettably delicious.

I only wish she was still alive as I know she would have really enjoyed roasting her own spice mixes for South Indian dishes like rasam and sambar in my Thermomix rather than the three stage process, doing them in a pan, leaving them to cool and then using the mortar and pestle or the little coffee grinder.

Anyway, one thing I did do was make a little recipe book I called Curry Base in which I preserved some of her recipes. I share a video from my ebook for her pepper chicken here – a truly warming stew.

When I wrote the recipe I did not know of the existence of Thermomix (I’m still astounded by that given that it has been around since 1971!). Watching the video 12 years on, I realise how much easier cooking is now!

The aim of this post is to illustrate how any recipe can be adapted for the Thermomix and take flavours to another dimension!

My own Mother’s Day wish is that one day my children (one of whom already owns a Thermomix) will dig out this post and make their “Ammama’s pepper chicken” themselves and also pass the recipe on to their off spring keeping the memory of this wonderful woman alive!

Watch the video. If you don’t have a Thermomix you can follow the video. If you have a Thermomix, these are the simple steps to remember (I am not going to copy the whole recipe here so you will have to watch the video for quantities or email me (address in contacts) and I will send it to you).

1) do all the “dry” things first. With MC on, roast the cumin and black pepper for 8 minutes on 120C at speed 2. Then grind it for 1 minute/speed10. Then transfer to a small bowl.

2) next chop the ginger and garlic by dropping them through the hole in the lid onto the blade running at speed 8. It takes 3 or 4 seconds. Scrape down the sides and then with MC on, mince again for 3 secs/speed 5. Transfer to a small bowl.

3) now add 30g of oil in the TM bowl. Put the cinnamon bark in. With MC on, cook 3 minutes/100C/REVERSE/speed 2.

4) With tongs, take out the cinnamon.

5) Add halved onions in the TM bowl. Chop 5 seconds/speed 5. Put the cinnamon back in. With MC on, cook 5 minutes/100C/REVERSE/Speed 1.

6) Add the ginger garlic mixture. Cook 1 minute/100C/REVERSE/Speed 1.

6) Add the pepper and cumin powder and a teaspoon of turmeric and salt. Cook 1 min/100C/REVERSE/Speed 1. Scrape the bottom of the TM bowl with the spatula to ensure the masala doesn’t stick.

7) Now add the chicken thighs and tomatoes. Use the spatula to stir the chicken round to coat the meat in the spice mix. With MC on, cook for 25 minutes/100C/REVERSE/speed stir.

8) Add coriander leaves as garnish before serving with rice.

Notes: if I am cooking large amounts I use the Thermomix as my sous chef to chop and cook the initial curry base and then transfer the mixture with the chicken into a casserole dish and cook it on the stove whilst I make my rice in the Thermomix and also chop salads in it so the whole thing is ready in one go!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

GORMEH SUBZI SO PERFECT IN THE THERMOMIX!

Elli Bakhtiar-Gharbi (amazing banker turned founder of Grip Pilates was the first of my friends to invest in a Thermomix.

I am so grateful to Elli for introducing me to the staple Iranian stew Gormeh Subzi. It was only quite recently when I was helping Elli to adapt her Iranian dishes for the Thermomix that I discovered the “green” was not spinach at all.

It is large bunches of parsley, coriander, mint, fenugreek and dill that give the stew the deep verdant hue. That explains why Persian, Middle Eastern produce stores like MiladGreen Valley and Phoenicia always have an abundant supply of said herbs on offer. Just think of all the amazing beneficial properties you are putting in your body when you eat this delicious dish!

The Thermomix chops the herbs in a matter of seconds making this rather labour intensive dish so simple. The best way is to drop the herbs, stalks, leaves and all through the hole in the lid onto the running blade at speed 8. This a also a neat way of chopping garlic, ginger and lemongrass!

Traditionally the herbs are cooked for quite awhile (some recipes talk of frying herbs till almost browned) and (often made with red meat) the dish is then stewed on the stove or in the oven for 2- 4 hours. My version, made with chicken thighs and tinned or pre-cooked black eyed peas is only cooked for 20-25 minutes. And again, traditionally leeks are used instead of onions… So forgive me in advance – I love it this way; it tastes as fresh and vibrant as it looks as it is perfectly temperature controlled.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS

A

600g onions peeled & halved/quartered

300g water

1/2 tsp salt

B

4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper, ground

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp tumeric powder

5g extra virgin olive oil

C

1 large bunch each:

parsley, coriander, dill, fenugreek, mint

15g extra virgin

D

400g cooked kidney, cannellini or black eyed beans

E

Seasoning:

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp garam masala

1 or 2 * dried limes pricked all over

1/2 to 1 tsp salt

Black pepper

1. Place ingredients A in TM bowl. Cook 30mins, 100C, speed 2.

2. Whilst the onion cooks, mix Ingredients B together. Heat a frying pan and when hot, flash fry the chicken till nicely browned. Set aside.

NOTE: when the TM6 arrives on 17th June 2019, you can brown meat in the Thermomix as the new model reaches a much higher temperature: 160C (the highest in the TM5 is 120C).

3. When the onion if done, blend it for 1 minute, Speed 5 gradually increasing to speed 10. Pour into a container and set aside.

4. Without washing TM bowl, without the measuring cup, set the blade running at speed 8 and push large handfuls of herbs (see ingredients C) through the hole in the lid. Use the spatula to scrape herbs from sides of the bowl whilst the blade is running (see video above).

5. Scrape down sides of TM bowl. Weigh in 15g of oil. Cook the herbs 3 minutes, 100C, speed 2.

6. Add the reserved onion “stock”. Add Ingredients E. Cook 10 mins, 100C, speed 2.

7. Add the browned chicken and Ingredient E (beans) to the TM bowl.

and cook a further 10 minutes, 100C, speed 2 on REVERSE.

8. Optional: Whilst the stew is cooking, I often wash, dry and season with salt, pepper and paprika and lightly toss in olive oil. Without washing the pan the chicken was fried in, i flash fry the okra.

9. Optional: transfer the stew to a serving bowl and keep warm.

Rinse TM bowl. On Cookidoo find and cook the Taste of India Cumin Rice – it is the perfect side!

*dried limes are a traditional condiment and add a lively depth of flavour. I have often made this stew without the lime (which my children prefer) and it is still absolutely delicious.

ONE ARM CAN COOK

It has been a long long time since I wrote a post but I have a good excuse!

Long story short, I had surgery to remove a myxoid cyst at the end of May and what should have taken 6 weeks to heal has taken far longer (such a long story not worth going into but plastic surgeon has a lot to answer for!).

Anyway, I have had to be careful about using my hand. Typing was an issue for some time but because I have a Thermomix, cooking wasn’t!

You may think that this means I was still doing all the cooking as a good wife and mother would …. well, I wish I was so dedicated but will put my (bandaged) hand up and confess: I’m not that person!

The best thing was this: with the Thermomix I could and did cook but a lot of the time I sat back and the rest of the family (most of whom generally couldn’t be bothered to cook) pitched in and with the Cook Key had access to 22,000+ recipes and cooked incredibly delicious meals guided on screen step by step so mistakes didn’t happen! And everything in the kitchen remained neat and tidy (mostly!).

And the other amazing thing: they really got into it and now don’t think twice about volunteering to cook!

And one more amazing thing. I was the butt of many a “Thermomix fanatic” joke bandied about largely by my 22 year old son.

Well, look who’s talking now; he has just moved into his own flat and what do you think he has asked for? Exactly! “I will use it because it is quick and easy and I won’t have any money to eat out now that I am paying rent.” So, along with his collection of electric bass guitars (that cost twice as much as the Thermomix), being the good mother I can be, I have packed him off with a TM5 in the full knowledge that this is the kitchen of the future and he won’t be relying on expensive, unhealthy junk food!

This post is a short one to say I am now back on track with typing and cooking (a bit more experimental than full fledged) as the wound has finally started to settle down (just) and I have come up with some amazing dishes using the Thermomix to simplify things and will be posting again so do stay on board please!