Thursday, 6 June 2013

Frugal Veggie Stock

Anyone who owns a Thermomix or who has been to a demo has heard about Thermomix Vegetable Stock Concentrate. It is generally suggested by consultants that it be one of the first things you make with your new machine. It serves as a base for soups and casseroles and a tablespoon here and there in savoury dishes really brings out great flavours. It can be used in place of meat stock in any recipe and one tablespoon of it is equivalent to one commercially bought stock cube. There is an official recipe in the Everyday Cookbook which is fantastic, but I would never bother buying those specific vegetables, particularly when some of them are only in season for a certain amount of time. Most consultants I've talked to say they just make it with any veggies they have to hand, particularly ones that are going soft or getting old. I take it a step further as you'll see below, as I've found that I rarely have vegetables left over to go soft and be used in stock! My method means all I pay for is the salt and oil used in making the stock. It's been a long long time since I bought stock cubes or liquid stock in a supermarket, but I'm willing to bet my way is a LOT cheaper and probably a bit healthier too.

This is probably the ugliest thing ever to make in a Thermomix, and yet it is the thing I took the most pictures of, go figure. 

While preparing a meal or preparing for a demo I carefully wash all the vegetables I am going to use, including their skins and tops. Then I chop them up and reserve anything that is edible but not palatable, such as the tops of carrots and zuchinnis as pictured here, the stalks of parsley, the leaves of celery, thin pumpkin skins and pumpkin seeds, the strings/tops/tails of beans, that sort of thing. Things like potato eyes and brown, bruised patches of vegetables still go in the compost bucket along with fruit scraps. I have a large plastic container which lives in the freezer and when I'm cleaning up from cooking I take these useable scraps of vegetable and put them in it.

This is my veggie scraps container, full to the brim of frozen offcuts. Luckily it is just the right size that it usually gets full right around the time I'm scraping out the bottom of the last jar of vegetable stock concentrate.

I put the frozen veggies in the Thermomix and add a bay leaf plus whatever other herbs I have to hand. If I have them fresh, great! If not I just use dried.

I basically follow the instructions for making Vegetable Stock Concentrate in the EDC now, except I chop the veggies on speed 6 for 15 seconds instead of 10 as they are starting out frozen.

Mmm, thawing finely chopped veggies, can't tell what they were now!

I add 150gms of sea salt and a splash of olive oil. I think the EDC recipe calls for rock salt, but I bought a 10kg bag of sea salt from Costco a few years ago for preserving so that is what I use. Meh, it's all NACL :-)

Cook it for 20 minutes on 100C speed 1. It looks disgusting but it smells so good! Don't taste it though, it is stock and does just taste like salt at this stage.

Puree for 1 minute on speed 9. Because I had so many zucchinis  celery leaves and parsley stalks this time around it came out a bright green. In the past I've had stocks that have come out anywhere from red to green to brown.

Last step, I pour the stock into a clean jar, scraping out as much as possible. I then put about 300ml of water into the Thermomix and hit Turbo a few times, then use the spatula to scrap any remaining stock off the sides and into the water. I pour this mixture into the old jar of concentrate and shake to combine it with the scrapings of stock still left in that jar. This creates a liquid stock which I use before using the concentrate. In any recipe calling for a stock cube or TM stock concentrate plus a certain amount of water I use half and half liquid stock and water to make up the weight. This means that there is really very little waste from this recipe!

The liquid stock will last in the fridge about two weeks, the concentrate will last six months. I also make a salt-reduced concentrate by following the above instructions but only using about 50gms salt, then pouring the resulting mixture into ice cube trays to freeze (as it does not keep long without the salt to preserve it) and then popping the cubes out and keeping them in a container in the freezer. These will also last about six months.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Recipe: Rhubarb and Apple Butter Muffins

These muffins came into being as I was trying to find a way to satisfy my idea of "Breakfast" with a single muffin. I figured they'd be great for mornings when my son was cranky or when my husband (currently working as a Casual Relief Teacher) got a call at 7:15 and had to leave the house by 7:30.

These muffins are not quite there yet, but they're close. Two of them will do me for breakfast, or one for a filling morning tea. Last night my husband combined them with the sauce for a sticky date pudding for a lovely autumn supper, so I can attest to the fact that they can be eaten at any time of day.

Most of these ingredients should be easy to find at a supermarket or health food store. If you cannot source quinoa flakes replace with bran or wheat flakes- though they won't be as filling. Rapidura is dehydrated cane syrup, you can substitute brown sugar if that is what you have. I get my buttermilk as a by-product of churning cream into butter in the Thermomix, but if you don't have any use a splash of vinegar in the same amount of regular milk to achieve a similar taste.


85 g sultanas
140g wheat
100 g flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
40 g quinoa flakes
1 egg
120 gm buttermilk
70 g apple butter
70 g rapidura
30 g coconut oil
60 g molasses
110 g rhubarb
20 g chia

Preheat oven to 180 C and grease a 12 cup muffin pan

Put sultanas in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water

Into Thermomix bowl place wheat and grind for 1 minute on speed 9

Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and quinoa flakes and mix for 7 seconds on  speed 3 to combine

Add egg, buttermilk, apple butter, rapidura, coconut oil and molasses and mix for 20 seconds on speed 4 

Run the blades on speed 2 and add the rhubarb, drained sultanas and chia seed in that order

Spoon mixture into muffin pan and bake for approx 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before running a butter knife around the edges and lifting onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold. Will last 4 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for 1 month.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Almost Vegetarian Laksa

If you've been following my Facebook page you'll know that over the past few days I've been trying to perfect a recipe for Laksa, one of my favourite soups. The idea first  popped into my head when a friend mentioned he was making it for dinner and like most cravings I've had in this pregnancy it refused to let go until I'd got it pretty much right. I started out with a recipe on the Thermomix Recipe Community which is a great resource once you own a Thermomix, but I think the end product is different enough that I'm happy calling it my own.

A couple of notes; I say "a small" type-of-vegetable because I used half of one so I can use the other half in something else later in the week. Don't knock yourself out trying to find miniscule produce.  Also I had a lot of the ingredients for this soup in my pantry already because I love Thai and Malaysian cooking- you can find pretty much everything at the IGA in Castlemaine or Castlemaine Fresh in Mostyn st. If you don't have any of the ingredients the first time you make this soup will be a bit expensive, but hopefully you'll like it enough to make it again and again and maybe try other dishes using similar things, so it'll be worth the initial outlay. Finally, the soup takes about 50 minutes from getting ingredients together to plating up, though there is a lot of "set and forget" time in there, so this is strictly a weekend dish at our house.

Paste Ingredients
20 g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion , quartered
3 cloves garlic 
1 tbs fresh coriander, leaves & stalks
12 cashew nuts
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp shrimp paste 
50 g Thai red curry paste from Everyday Cookbook, or from a jar
50 g coconut cream 

5 g Rice Bran Oil (or other oil)

Sauce Ingredients

750 g coconut cream (i.e. rest of can you used for paste plus another can)
1 tsp Vegetable Stock Concentrate (from Everyday Cookbook or use a stock cube) plus 200 g water
1 "cube" palm sugar or 2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp kaffir lime leaves from jar, or 8 fresh ones split
Splash of fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
Small eggplant, halved vertically, horizontally then sliced into approx 1 cm thick strips
Small capsicum, prepared as eggplant
300 g firm tofu- cubed into bite-sized chunks
Handful snowpeas  

Fresh Noodles

440 g Hokkien 
440 g Udon


Coriander leaves
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Lime wedges
Sliced red chilli

Place all paste ingredients into TM bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 7, scrape down bowl and repeat, scrape down again, including lid.

Add oil and cook for 8 minutes at 100°C on speed 1

Add all the sauce ingredients except the vegetables and tofu. Cook for 15 minutes at 100°C on speed 1

Add eggplant and capsicum and cook for 5 minutes at 100°C on Reverse on speed soft.

Place noodles in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water. 

Add tofu and snowpeas to TM bowl and cook for 4 minutes at 100°C on Reverse on speed soft

Drain noodles and divide into individual soup bowls. Ladle laksa over the top and garnish with coriander leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, lime wedges and slices of chilli.

Serves 4-6

Leftovers will keep for a day in the fridge.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Chris, I live in Central Victoria in a town between Castlemaine and Daylesford and at the time of writing I am the only Thermomix consultant in the whole area. Actually that is not quite true, I only started training last week so in two weeks I will be the only consultant, right now there are none.

In this blog I plan to focus on Thermomix tips, tricks and recipes as well as keeping you informed of any local classes or events being offered. To start with I may need to stretch the definition of "local" to Macedon or Bendigo but I hope as more people in the area become interested we can offer classes in the Mt Alexander and Hepburn shires.

So what is a Thermomix? It is simply the smallest, smartest kitchen you could have. It is one machine which does the work of ten kitchen appliances. In no particular order I use it to: grind wheat, knead dough, mash potatoes, crush ice, churn butter, make sorbets, make jam, preserve fruits and vegetables, steam fish, make liquid stock and stock concentrate, chop salads and make dumplings from scratch (all the way from mixing the dough to cooking the stuffing and steaming the dumplings.) I can prepare a risotto in less than 5 minutes, press a few buttons and just walk away for the 20 minutes it takes to cook as the machine stirs itself. I've heard of other people using it to make their own bath and beauty products and cleaners, but so far I've not ventured out of the kitchen with mine. It's also great for those on a raw food diet as on it's lowest heat setting it will not exceed 37 degrees, or it can be used with no heat at all to make yummy salads and dips.

As well as keeping you updated on Thermomix events in the local area I plan to focus on recipes to help you cook in-season food from scratch and save money while not sacrificing taste or health. "Budget" is my watch word. I am currently a stay at home mum with one small child and another on the way. I love my life and lifestyle, but in order to make it work we need to watch our food spending. I also love having a bit of money left over at the end of the month to splurge at the Farmer's Market in Castlemaine. The Thermomix means that, for example, instead of spending $12 on two loaves of bread for the week I can make them for roughly 0.85c each using really nice flour, oil and seeds and have the extra $10.30 to spend on goats' cheese or something else indulgent.

If you would like to see the Thermomix in action I would love to bring mine around to your place and give you a demo. No pressure to buy, you simply need to have at least two friends from different households present (the ideal number of people including you is 4-6) and provide a few basic ingredients you probably already have in your fridge or could easily get from the supermarket for less than $15, I will do the rest! You can see for yourself what the machine does while tasting the results and having a nice afternoon with friends.

I will be qualified to hold demonstrations from the beginning of May and would love to get started straight away! If you would like more information or feel a demo is for you please contact me at castlemainedaylesfordthermomix(AT)gmail(DOT)com