Don't get me wrong I absolutely adore my Thermomix, and I can't imagine cooking without one. I am a hardcore convert. There were are a few things I wish I had known before I started using my Thermomix.
When my mum first told me about this magical machine I thought she was on about another one of her hippy food things… ok, she's not really a hippy (but she is a huge advocate for sugar-free eating, organic food and does a lot of research into connection with how food affects moods. We do agree on a lot of things like seasonal eating, I just like a little more salt on things than she does.)
I reluctantly went to the demo and was blown away. I nearly puked when I found out how much the thing was… they’re a cool $2k.
I was like a child the night before Christmas going to pick up my Thermomix… it was pathetic how ridiculously excited I was. I then spent the next three nights up late cooking everything I could think of. I made scones, butter, risotto, and basically everything I could with what I had in my pantry.
1. It completely changes that way you think about timing, temperature and measuring ingredients.
Being taught to cook from a young age with the philosophy that a recipe is a guide and you intuitively adjust as you go, I found this enclosed bowl concept really hard to get my head around. To get the Thermomix to heat you have to choose a heat setting and set the timer. I spent the first little while going what the?! Particularly when I started to convert my favourite recipes to the thermy. In some ways I felt like I was going back to basics… once I got over need to do everything the hard way, I hit the forums and used their recipes until I got used to thinking in terms of grams and translating ‘simmer for until it looks like this’ to place on setting 2, on temperature 37 degrees for 5 minutes. If you’re converting a recipe and you’re not sure (check here) the Thermomix Forums are a wealth of knowledge and troubleshooting.
2. It's a hell of a lot more powerful and quicker than you could possibly think.
When we first got our thermomix, mum went to chop some frozen bacon for dinner. Not realising how quick and easily it would chop it, she pretty much powered it in less than 10 seconds. There is a pulse button like there is on blenders. Hit that once and you're probably good to go (unless you want powdered bacon. Molecular Gastronomy is very fashionable at the moment.)
3. It changes the way you shop.
I remember the consultant saying this at the demo and went yeah I can see that if you use a lot of packet mixes but I cook most things from scratch so it won’t make any difference to me.
4. The things gets really bloody hot and you should treat it with the same respect as a pressure cooker.
I don’t mean it works like a pressure cooker but it gets really hot. That little measuring cup that sit neatly in the lid captures the steam and can be very hot and burny when you removed it. I’ve had to learn it’s ok to let things cool a little bit before you go plunging into the next step (either that or use a tea towel!).
5. It takes the labour out of gourmet mid-week meals.
We regularly have risotto for dinner during the week. Life before thermy, I could hardly be bothered to make risotto when I had time on the weekends. You can make fabulous “one pot” pasta dishes and tonnes of other quick and easy “one pot” meals with 5-10 minutes prep time. What makes life even better is my boyfriend will often make risotto for me and he is starting to experiment with other things away from the grill, slow cooker and BBQ.
6. It makes you a more adventurous cook.
There’s not much I haven’t attempted to make, even before I got my Thermomix. A lot of things I’ve got yeah that’s too bloody hard or takes so much time and would have to be really in the mood to bother making it. Since the thermy takes so much of the labour out of things, I make all sorts of things like sweet and savoury sauces, stock pastes, various breads, fudges and I do it weekly. I’ve read some blogs where people say using a Thermomix is cheating. My feeling is if you’re a brilliant cook, it opens up your imagination to try new things. For me it was like rediscovering cooking and I love to cook. If you’re a crappy cook the Thermomix will get you over the line provided you follow the recipe. It takes out a lot of the burning and poor knife skills. If you can’t season and have no pallet when you cook, this machine isn’t going to save you.
7. Don’t use really, really fresh cream and expect to get whipped cream because you get butter.
This was actually very funny… we had a dinner party and went to quickly whip some cream for dessert. We had bought amazingly fresh Malaney Dairy Cream and popped it into the thermomix with the butterfly to whip. All three of us tried separately to whip the cream into well whipped cream and not butter. We ended up doing it by hand in about three whips of the whisk, it was just that fresh.
8. Get a second bowl for your Thermomix. Don’t wait, just do it.
You will thank me later.
Have you got any other tips that you wish you knew before you started? Post them below.