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Review: Thermomix for Happy Mealtimes?

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 –

 

Review of the Thermomix by Simone Emery | Play with Food

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.

#Thermomix Chilli and Lime Sauce by Simone Emery | Play with Food

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?

Chilli and Lime Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Using some home grown chillies and limes made this sauce feel extra special to me. It was divine with some grilled chicken, baby spinach and rocket on a crusty roll. We also enjoyed some with some baked sweet potato and potato wedges (as shown).
Author:
Recipe type: Thermomix
Serves: 750g
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into the Thermomix Bowl and mix on speed 8 for 20 seconds
  2. Cook for 10min on Varoma setting on speed 2
  3. Scrape down the sides
  4. Cook for a further 40min on 100oC on speed 3

Chili and Lime Sauce | Play with Food

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Shannon @ Oh Creative Day
    September 2, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    What a super lovely neighbour to trust you with this pricey machine! I’m yet to experience the wonder of a Thermie- so enjoyed living vicariously through you. I agree on the spontaneity criteria and I am also RUBBISH at following a recipe to the letter- I think it’s my rebellious streak?!

    • Reply
      Simone Emery
      September 2, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      Absolutely – We totally have lucked out with our neighbours!! Glad you enjoyed the article Shannon. Thanks,

    • Reply
      Simone Emery
      September 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Yep, I totally lucked out with my neighbour. 🙂 You rebel you!

  • Reply
    Vicki @ BoiledEggsandSoldiers
    September 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    I have one and love it I also stray from the recipes and make up my own. I use it several times a day (probably to justify the price) and now that I’ve had it for a while I do find that it makes my life in the kitchen easier and probably more spontaneous. It’s just a different way of doing things

    • Reply
      Simone Emery
      September 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      That’s so great to hear. I have to admit the uneasy feelings while I was cooking kinda rattled my confidence. It’s good to know that those feelings go away after a little bit of time. What are your favourite things to cook on a whim with the Thermomix? I can say… that because it sat on the bench all week – that did help me use it more – there is something about getting my food processor down from the cupboard that makes it “too hard” :p or maybe I am too lazy! Thanks for the comment!

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    September 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    You sure have a lovely neighbour! No matter how I cook (thermomix or not) I never follow a recipe to the letter, I just can’t seem to do it! I think it does take a few weeks of regular use to get a feel for cooking with it and I agree with Vicki it actually encourages me to be more spontaneous (not that I really needed much of an excuse!) in the kitchen. Thanks for linking up with us for Fabulous Foodie Fridays, I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

    • Reply
      Simone Emery
      September 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      My neighbour is the bomb!
      Do you keep yours out all the time Lauren? I think that would help me use it more too. My food processor lives in a cupboard and it’s a good day when I am ambitious enough to get it out. I would love to have an amazing butler’s pantry so that I could leave out all of the kitchen gadgets without seeing the mess. Congrats on your eBook coming out today!

      • Reply
        Lauren @ Create Bake Make
        September 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        It is, it has pride of place on my kitchen bench next to my stand mixer. You are right, when things are already set up it makes it so much more appealing to actually use them!

  • Reply
    Shari from GoodFoodWeek
    September 5, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I haven’t tried the thermomix – everyone raves about it, but I’m with you – that price point is CRAZY! I have a Breville Kitchen Whiz that I keep out on my counter and use all the time. I don’t know if I would want another appliance to be out on the counter. Oh and I’m not a recipe follower either 🙂

  • Reply
    goldcoastpost
    November 11, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I love this post as I’ve been weighing up saving and buying for one! So many recipes these days are Thermo based and I’m always annoyed as I don’t have one but you’ve given me some food for thought as I’ve been hesitant as well! I don’t like the idea of a bulky appliance sitting out on the bench either.

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