Last Updated: 8 July 2016
Not once but twice, I have borrowed my neighbour’s Thermomix! (Disclaimer: this is obviously not a sponsored post as I had to borrow the popular appliance). I have also been to 3 demo’s and on holiday to Mudgee with one. So, why don’t I have one of my own yet? Well, let me paint you a picture – a $2000+ picture. I tested the Thermomix against 3 absolutely fundamental criteria (for me) – spontaneity in the cooking process, having my kids help and a stress-free meal.
The first time I borrowed the Thermomix, I thought I would have the recipes sorted, ingredients purchased and a full day’s creating planned. The truth was – I was so busy with “life” I didn’t get organised enough to do that at all. So, on the day, I ran outside grabbed a range of chillies & limes from our trees and thought I would quickly whip up a sweet chilli and lime sauce. I logged onto the net and read the first recipe that popped up – ingredient #1 – 1kg of sugar! ummm… ok no! I haven’t “quit sugar” but I have learnt enough in my time to know that I wasn’t comfortable with that amount of sugar. I kept looking and every recipe seemed to rub me the wrong way. Then I found one I was happy enough with but still had to do a couple of tweaks to suit what I had in the pantry that day. All the while in the back of my mind I could hear a little voice saying “when you are starting out on the Thermomix don’t stray from the recipe!” Ha! This little voice didn’t know me very well at all! So, of course my first time solo using a Thermomix and I admit to winging it. The result was pretty damn fine – if I do say so myself (find the recipe below). However, I will tell you that I was a bit nervous and uneasy – feelings that I hate being in my kitchen.
So, over the few times I have borrowed Mr TM5, I made and “graded” the following things against my own 3 criteria –
So why wasn’t the Thermomix scoring A+’s all round?
My first criterion was spontaneity. I am a cook that lives by a couple of golden rules and then I basically pick and mix from there. For example, to make a risotto I know I need a 2:1 ratio of stock (and optionally wine) to rice + flavours. For a pancake batter, I use a 1 cup of flour : 1 egg (or alternative) : 1 cup of milk (or alternative) and work from there with my flavours (eg. Zucchini Pancakes). So, when it comes to following recipes to the letter EVERY time – I am a failure. So, as hard as it was, I forced myself to follow 2 recipes to the letter on the Thermomix and guess what? I didn’t like them, my husband refused to eat them and therefore my kids didn’t. Total disasters – but maybe I picked dudd recipes to try. I had an inkling during both of these recipes that I would have added some different vegetables & herbs along the way. Both recipes were too potato and onion heavy for the way my family usually eats. Ultimately, the recipes where I winged it a little were nerve racking from a technique point-of-view but I was more sure on the final result being what I wanted. My confidence goes a LONG, LONG way when I present the food to my family. How about yours?
From the perspective of getting kids in the kitchen, many of the things that we do in the kitchen together would have to be rejigged. The Thermomix is safe enough for kids to use. I would just have to try and reassess how I could include my girls a bit better. I found myself ushering them out of the kitchen so I could concentrate! AHHH! So NOT like me! Usually, I like my girls to add things to bowls, help me grate vegetables, help stir and taste test the vegetables throughout the prep. As a tool for helping children learn how to cook, I did initially think it would appear to be a strange, magic box that made food. Yet, there are some great learning opportunities with the Thermomix like reading the scales, learning about speeds and temperatures. The health benefits are undeniable and I’m not going to talk about how good steaming is and using less saturated fats to make foods. However, I will mention that there are unnecessarily unhealthy Thermomix recipes floating around. By that I mean, recipes that are too sweet, fatty, salty etc without them actually needing to be. So, you would still have to use your gut when reading a recipe. I think there is a greater temptation to blindly follow a Thermomix recipe compared to a traditional one – but am so happy to hear if you think differently! I think you can only get that gut feeling for ingredient quantities by experience – measuring out volumes, looking at them and feeling them. It’s important kids learn these skills as it helps with their ability to approximate measures later on in life. So, ultimately with your children, I think the Thermomix would have to be used in balance. And also you would have to be mindful that your children get some other sensory engagement opportunities with food/cooking around the Thermomix steps. For some children that are sensitive to noise, the Thermomix may be an issue for them in the kitchen, so be mindful of your child’s auditory preferences.
With a new toy to play with, I scheduled in a brand new recipe every night. I totally forgot that learning something new is hard work. When I add too many new/ complicated recipes to my weekly meal plan, I get stressed and/or abandon the plan. The thought power that went into meal prep totally detracted from the actual ambiance I aim for at our family mealtimes. I got to the table a bit tired and flustered. This rubbed off instantly on my little girls and hubby. My golden rule of “preparing to eat” was smashed to pieces. However, this wouldn’t be the case once I got used to it.
So, I don’t want to make this seem like a doom and gloom picture, because actually the Thermomix excites me and I think it has potential. However, I don’t need one for the price at this point in time but can easily imagine a life with one sometime in the future. Do you have a Thermomix? Do you love it? What is your favourite thing to make in it? What points have I missed?
- 20g Deseeded Red Chillies (about 15 small ones)
- 165g Australian Grown Sultanas
- 1 Medium Brown Onion, Peeled and Cut in Half (140g)
- 2 Medium Limes, Zest & Juice (40g Juice)
- 5g Salt
- 140g White Vinegar
- 200g Raw Sugar
- 150g Water
- Put all ingredients into the Thermomix Bowl and mix on speed 8 for 20 seconds
- Cook for 10min on Varoma setting on speed 2
- Scrape down the sides
- Cook for a further 40min on 100oC on speed 3