Thermo mixing

This is a text I sent to my friend who is a TM consultant...
Hi Vanessa 
How are you? I'm pretty excited... 
IMG_0607[1]I just had lunch with my husband... I took him pasta fagioli. Since we had leftovers for dinner last night and he usually takes leftovers for lunch. Really I think I just wanted to see him a few hours earlier Lols. 
Wow nearly zero effort (I used the method you taught me) with cooking the pasta in the thermoserver, made his work mates in the office jealous and his co-worker happy as we shared some with him... (He's a celiac vegetarian) all in the space of an hour... He (Honey) even has lunch for tomorrow now. 
I've made this twice for the two guys the first time with just the one can of mashed kidney beans and rice macaroni from the Asian store. 
Today I made it with corn pasta and also added the second can of beans but used butter beans for the 2nd can (as I found that both boys are beans fans)...  IMG_0609[1]
We liked both but loved today's with the corn pasta. The rice pasta was cheaper though. Just thought this info might be useful for demos with GF clients. 
Now I'm off to make the pasta for carbonara tonight. I'll let you know how it goes too
You could make pasta fagioli (which means pasta with beans) said like this... its well worth the effort to say it properly as it sounds so much more delicious and complicated to make.
and you can make it like this the “hard” way... like this or even this...
But my friend showed me a few months back a super easy way to make it with a TM and I discovered to my delight that it works just as well with GF pasta as it does with the regular kind. This pasta does not seem to be available any more in Woolworths however the Gluten Free San Remo and Barilla pasta's are now a great substitute.

IMG_0602[1]I am pretty sure it would work as well in the Kogan however you will need a fake thermoserver. I have checked at the local Asian stores in Rocky and they did not have any in stock at the time the man from Flavourin Food World 157 Musgrave st said they get them in from time to time. He is beside the Indian Restaurant in the block just before the post-office heading from the bridge to shopping fair. I am never in town long enough to keep checking.

Pretty much the food-server keeps hot food hot, it is plastic on the outside (looks like Tupperware) and metal on the inside and is insulated. Apparently they also come with metal on the outside too- but I have only seen the plastic ones. They had them everywhere in the cheap stores in Cabramatta/ Fairfield area of Sydney.
Parmesan Cheese for serving (a squirt of lemon juice is also nice)
  • 1 small red chilli (I just give my Mexican Chilli bottle a good shake)
  • 1 clove garlic (I use 2)
  • ½ onion (I use a full one)
  • 50g Olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped inc leaves
  • 1 can Borlotti or Cannelini beans, drained (Optional- leave out if your family is bean-phobic)
  • 1 can Kidney beans, drained
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (I used ½ a can)
  • 2 tbs veg stock
  • 900g water (I include beans water in this amount)
  • 300g small pasta
Place Parmesan cheese into TM bowl grate 10s speed 9. Set aside
Place chilli, garlic and onion into TM bowl, chop 3s speed 7
Scrape from sides of bowl using spatula
Add oil sauté for 2 mins 100 degrees speed 1 (I usually give it 5 mins)
Add celery with leaves, kidney beans, tomatoes and stock and pulverise
Add water, 2nd can of beans (if using) cook on reverse speed soft 10 mins
Pop pasta into the thermoserver
When the timer goes off, pour the hot sauce mixture over the pasta and cover with TS lid.
Do something fun...
10 minutes later give the Pasta Fagioli a stir and cover again
continue with fun thing...
Stir the mixture again in 10 minutes the pasta should be soft...
Add parmesan cheese and or lemon juice and salt
The pulverised kidney beans make the PF look like there could be meat in it and they usually won't miss the meat. Cheap, easy healthy... awesome.

IMG_0611[1]Homemade GF pasta
Making pasta dough is dead easy in the Thermomix (and I assume the Kogan too).
For this recipe I grabbed my TM everyday cookery book and swapped the wheat flour for GF with a dash of xantham gum.
  • 300g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs olive oil
2 minutes on the kneed setting

I ended up using 400g of flour (My hand slipped, recipe just said to add 1 egg for each 100g flour). Also our chooks are quite young so they lay small eggs so I kept adding more till the mixture was right... it took 7 small eggs.
I left the dough to rest for ½ hour and researched ways to make flat pasta without a pasta maker. I found this one, and decided to make my pasta using smaller balls as I have a much smaller rolling pin.
IMG_0613[1]I kept some pasta flat for lasagne recipe here

Others, I rolled the into scrolls and chopped them with a knife at about 1cm intervals. They unrolled nicely into fettuccine.
I later cooked them in boiling water and added cabonara sauce (made in the thermomix)

 Seafood Cabonara
  • 1 onion chopped speed 7
  • sauté in 25g butter 3 mins varoma temperature
  • Add some bacon sauté for a further 5 minutes
  • add 50g flour, 25g butter 500g milk and mushrooms
  • cook 90 degrees, 7 mins speed 4.
  • At 5 minutes to go add a handful of green prawn meat (optional)
  • At 1 minute to go add 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

IMG_0612[1]I didn't have much luck with milk sauces in the Kogan, however it probably just needed some tweaking. People with a thermochef were great at blogging advice for the Kogan.
The pasta was a little thick but we really enjoyed having the fresh stuff. I may yet invest in a pasta roller but apparently they are a pain to clean... I am looking forward to ravioli and cannelloni which I have not had in ages.
  The next day I made Lasagne with the pasta, and used the TM to make perfect cheese sauce. With rolled pasta, you can have your lasagne any shape you wish.


Homemade Shampoo 2

I tweaked my regime and am happy with the results.

Tweek 1: wash hair in the morning so that it can air dry really well. One-3 tiny drops of coconut oil may be applied to the ends while hair is still damp.

2: Only apply coconut oil to the tips at the beginning of the day, applying at night does not give the oil time to sink into the hair before I go to sleep, consequently I woke up continuously with “Professor Snape hair- The book Snape who always had oily hair not the handsome guy played by Alan Rickman”... I have asked Honey to grow his hair like that and been refused...

3: Make good use of dry shampoo... the best recipe I have found is from and uses cocoa, bicarb soda and corn flour.

I usually wash my hair on day 4 now.


Washing Powder update

The Castile soap has arrived!!! So excited. Then I looked at the ingredients, the bar soap is nothing like the “Make-your-own” variety. I don't recognise (not that I know many of the bad guys) any of the chemicals as being “Bad” except it has palm oil in it which is bad for our orangutan friends. I do not know how this compares to the Dr Bronner brand of Castile soap however I will say this, the Knights shower gel is not to be confused with the liquid castile soap... I was horrified to find that it has Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth sulphate in it which is are pretty well known “bad guys”...

I will use up what we have but will not be buying any more of either product. If they lifted their game a bit; the bar soap especially would be very handy as its pH neutral and is actually quite nice and not drying as a soap and does not leave a waxy residue. I also read (and decided to test) that it was good for washing pots and pans... It certainly did the job and left my hands and nails feeling much nicer after washing up than the liquid counterparts do.

So still on the hunt for soap alternatives.

Washing Up

I have had to do a lot of washing up this month as our dishwasher is on strike, my husband is negotiating conditions and I am cleaning up the mess from the slackers. I have found a very satisfactory substitute for dish-washing detergent in bicarb soda. I flick about a tbs or less into my smaller tub with very hot water (I really just give it a fair shake of the soda box). Plates get clean and my hands stay nice not dry and my nails don't break. Better for the environment and we are happy all around.

I had tried and liked the fake liquid castile soap (before I read the ingredients) as a shampoo with a few drops of coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner. Shower time was so much faster without having to wait for conditioner to “set”.

I decided to look around for natural alternatives to soap in the shower... how hard could be it be... we use milk in the bath right? I came across this site...


I was too late for the official challenge but not too late lo say goodbye to the Sodium L Sulphates...

So I am giving it a go and am about half way through the challenge... I notice no real difference in my skin, positive or negative. I have been informed by Honey that I don't smell (I checked)... and I decided to go one step beyond the challenge which allows you to use shampoo (without cheating)... I am giving the “no poo” a go this week too.

My cousin's family uses this method and their hair always looks great. But it took a while for me to come around... after the wedding I reasoned if it stuffs my hair I won't be in the spotlight... after my shampoo runs out (ooops bought some more it just jumped into my shopping cart... actually no we had to get some on our honey moon as my sponge bag was mixed up with some other stuff that my matron of honour kept safe for me till we returned) wait till it's used up? No now is the time.

Ok I actually colour my hair as my roots are grey and my brown streaks blonde which is annoying. ACV may lighten my hair and I am not prepared to take that “risk” so I am switching my ACV with red wine vinegar.

Wash one: I mixed it with cold water and I have a very hot shower. I didn't scream quite as loudly as when I see a toad, but it was a shock.

Confession: I have not been to the hairdresser in almost a year. Usually I go just before I dye but I was busy/broke or both and it was overlooked. So my ends are rather dry (but not split-very thankful for that). I have continued to use 3 drops of coconut oil in my tips (every few days) which usually makes my roots oily and they are still dry like days later. Also rain usually gives me oily roots too, in this case; my hair is starting to look oily about ¼ of the way down to about ¼ from the end (so in other words the middle half of my hair looks oilyish) but I love the way it looks in the morning with just a finger-comb on day 2. Day one it was a little dry and strawish.


Last night it was time to do the nasty... clean the oven. I used bicarb soda and water and then about an hour later I washed it off with my shark. It was very handy. The oven looks pretty good, it was a rush job as I realised after I started making my apple crumble that the Bicarb was not cleaned off the oven yet... It took about 10 minutes and I popped the dessert into the oven and cooked dinner... when the apple crumble was finished... there was a fine film of powder on the bottom of the stove. If I had used a commercial cleaner it would have been a disaster... leaching chemicals into our food and nasty smells into the house. When the oven was cool, I sprayed it it with our "new" spray and wipe which is a blend of vinegar and water. Residue gone...


Working with Sourdough... My Not-so-Gluten-Free sourdough experience

I found to my amazement this week that there are a whole heap of recipes on the internet for Gluten-Free sourdough. MMMMmmmm.
Why sourdough? Initially I would have said that it was yummy... which it is. However I found that you don't need to keep buying yeast so that ticks another box self-sufficiency and lastly its a more healthy option for bread, it's cultured so more easily digested by your body. I'm excited.

I went with the starter from this website. Its funny somewhere in my initial reading, it said... never use brown rice flour to make your starter, and the bread recipe I ended up using this recipe called for a brown rice starter, it caught my eye as it is an artisan style bread and I wanted to compare it to my “Quirky cooking” recipe.
Too late I had already started the sorghum starter (actually I was a little lazy that day I didn't want to grind up all my rice just for a bread that might not work), so I made a few alterations. I swapped the sorghum flour in the bread dough with brown rice flour. Found a HUGE bag of brown rice at Coles so next time I have no excuse not to try the rice flour starter. I also read that you need to keep feeding your starter the same kind of flour. With rice being this available, a more sustainable starter is (possibly) with the rice flour.

Pancakes and pikelets
So does it make good bread? My loaf is proving as we speak. With this recipe I found it made a whole lot of starter. Don't worry said another website use your spare starter to make pancakes. Add some flour (any flour) and water and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I used my least favourite flour that I have heaps of which is a GF bread flour that you add water to. It also does pizza bases, pancakes and more. The flour is a little salty and I prefer my quirky bread now, so it was just sitting in the pantry taking up space. I used one bag, added some water to keep the consistency of the starter and popped it in the fridge.
Due to my crazy work schedule it was in there over a day before I was able to test the pancakes. They were quite sour plain, however were quite nice when I added butter and honey. Next day I tested them on Honey and took them as “pikelets” with jam and cream to my staff meeting. I had positive feedback from my “guinea-pigs”, and found that the sour flavour of the cold ones was slightly more pronounced than the hot ones. Also they were a little more dry, I had popped them on a plate with a tea-towel covering, perhaps next time, I would use an airtight container. But they were quite nice with a cup of tea.

Pizza base
I made my pizza in the “usual way”... roll out an orange sized blob between 2 sheets of lightly oiled baking paper. When its about plate-size I pop it in our cast-iron frying pan and pop the lid on for a few minutes on high. I then pop on the topping and put it into an oven at about 200 degrees Celsius. Cook for about ½ hour and slice and eat. If I am making some for Honey's lunch I stack about 3 slices together and wrap in the baking paper it cooked in. Pop it in the fridge and he enjoys it later.
Honey like it, I thought the base was slightly thinner than the usual and not quite as crispy. This could be due to other factors such as less oily toppings, slightly different “standing” times or cooking times.
If the bread is a flop I know that the dough will not be wasted. We will just have more pizza. Ok all this talk of pizza has made me hungry... see you in a bit.
The result was slightly disappointing; as toast in the morning, it did not brown (what's new with GF bread) but the quirky recipe had spoiled me though I tried 4 toppings I really could not find one that I “loved”. I would have made it into breadcrumbs and frozen them for the next time Honey decides to make his Mum's famous rissoles. There was one slight problem... my body reacted to oats the way it reacts to gluten. Apparently one in five gluten-frees cannot tolerate oats... and I am one of them.

So I am looking for a whole new recipe... Hmmm a few years later - still looking


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