Monday, July 28, 2008

Sorry: This week's post is unavoidably delayed!

Apologies to those who are looking forward to this week's post. It's coming soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cashew Nut and Vegetable Stir Fry

Neil Perry says that "the art of stir frying is the art of organisation". Yep that would be right and there's my problem. Why do so many things in life have to revolve around being organised? I think I would be much happier if the art of mild to moderate chaos and disorder was more highly valued in society. Sure I can be organised, I just need a little more time than ordinary people to get things that way. So the fast art of stir frying demands something from me that I can find difficult to give. Thermomix to the rescue!
It's one of those things that seems unlikely-the Thermomix stir fries vegetables?  This isn't 'authentic' stir frying, the action isn't frenetic, the oil isn't overheated, there is no smoke, you can't taste the sizzling Wok in the finished product and for some people this might be a disappointment. However if you want to taste the vibrant flavour of vegetables simply cooked without overheating and to stir fry without being the master of organisation then this is for you. 
With this dish you need to chop the vegetables by hand, rather than by Thermomix, so that you get nice textures and shapes that encourage the vegetables to cook at a similar rate
Wombok however can vary in texture, from fine and lacy at the top, to more solid and chunky as you reach the base of the cabbage. The finely textured tips of the leaves require less cooking and so I add them to the Thermomix in the last two minutes of stirfrying. 
The choice of vegetables nuts and sauce are up to you, use this recipe as a starting point and move on from there. If I am feeling like meat, I marinate chicken breast in honey, soy and oil then cook in a pan while  the vegetables are stir frying.

Cashew Nut and Vegetable Stir Fry
30g Macadamia oil (olive oil will do if that's all you have)
1 Garlic clove
2 pieces of ginger the size of a 20 cent piece
50g Red capsicum cut into batons
200g Broccoli cut into florets
15 Snow peas sliced on the diagonal into thirds
250g Wombok (chinese cabbage) shredded
1 Dessertspoonful of Oyster sauce (Housewife brand)
Raw cashews
Basmati or jasmine rice

Set some rice cooking on the stove or cook it in the thermomix and keep separately in the Thermoserver until ready to serve.

Start with a clean, dry Thermomix bowl. Add garlic and ginger to the Thermomix bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with your spatula so that the chopped garlic and ginger are all down the bottom on the cooking surface of the Thermomix
Add your oil and saute on varoma temperature for 3 minutes
Then add all of your vegetables except the wombok and cook for 6 minutes at 100 degrees, reverse and speed soft(that's the spoon symbol) 
You may not believe that the vegetables are going to circulate down to the cooking surface and up again, but they will. Try not to spend all of your time gazing into the Thermomix
After 6 minutes, add the Wombok cabbage and oyster sauce, cook for another 2 minutes at 100 degrees reverse and speed soft (spoon symbol). 
Watch the Brocolli to see when it has become the vibrant green that signals perfectly cooked. You may have to stop early or add another couple of minutes to the cooking time to get it right.
Aim for slightly under, rather than over cooked, remember the vegies will continue to cook slightly as you serve them up. 
When you are happy, pour the stir fry over a bowl of steamed rice and sprinkle liberally with raw cashews.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cinnamon, Apple and Oat Porridge

Tired of plain old porridge?
We loved our breakfast so much this morning I had to post this so that everyone could have some mid winter joy first thing. No fancy ingredients, hearty and sustaining. Just what you need to get you going on these cold mornings. You spend a small amount of time preparing the ingredients and let the Thermomix look after the cooking while you have a shower or get the kids ready. This is when you really appreciate the time-saving capability of the Thermomix.

Cinnamon, Apple and Rolled Oat Porridge
2cm cinnamon stick
15 grams brown sugar
2 apples quartered remove the seeds
80 grams rolled oats
625 grams water

Throw cinnamon and sugar in the Thermomix bowl (make sure the bowl is dry)
Process on speed 9 for 20 seconds or until cinnamon is powdered
Add the apples and grate for 3 seconds on speed 5
Add oats and water, cook at 100 degrees for 10 minutes on speed 1
Go and have a shower, come back in ten minutes and pour out 3 large bowls of porridge.
Serve with yoghurt, milk of your choice or just as is.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sticky Black Rice

There's a book called the Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet where the author Gabriel Cousens says that you should try to eat all the colors of the rainbow every day. Activate your base chakra with red food, the solar plexus with yellow, some other one with green, the next with pink, some other ones in between and then the crown chakra with purple food. I love this way of looking at nutrition, but not all purple foods can be equally spiritual. I just can't see myself walking into heaven with an eggplant in my hand. However, I am totally willing to believe that I can eat my way to Nirvana with a big batch of sticky black rice. Well maybe two or three batches. Because it's not really black is it, I'm sure it's purple, in that burgundy kind of way. So put the purple cabbage aside for a moment and accelerate your spiritual growth the Indonesian way.

Get your glutinous rice, pandanus leaves and palm sugar from the Asian supermarket. Despite its name glutinous black rice contains no gluten, I am absolutely sure. Pandanus is a strappy leaf, the Asian equivalent of vanilla, that imparts a pleasantly sweet fragrance to the rice, you can leave this out if you like, but it is worth chasing up in the freezer or fresh at the market. Palm sugar is sold in compressed cylinder shaped blocks, you can substitute dark brown sugar if you like. 
Are you worried about the fat in coconut milk? Well the fats in coconut aren't as unhealthy as we have been led to believe in the past, just don't overdo it.  There are some nasty coconut milks out there that are worth avoiding, I use Ayam brand,  certainly don't go with light coconut milk, it contains things that are unhealthy despite the light label, always check the ingredients. 
For me a cinnamon stick is preferable to ground cinnamon, not only because the flavour is better, but also because you can fish it out at the end and suck it clean, YUM. Is that disgusting? Sorry, I love cinnamon.

Sticky Black Rice with Coconut Cream
280 g  Glutinous black rice 
110 grams palm sugar 
750 g water
2 pandanus leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 slices of fresh ginger size of 50 cent piece
270 ml can coconut cream

Remove the measuring cup (MC) 
Place a medium sized bowl on top of the Thermomix and set your scales to zero
Weigh 280g of glutinous black rice into the bowl,  cover with water a leave to soak overnight.
The next morning discard the soaking water, it will be a spectacular bergundy. 
Bash your palm sugar with a rolling pin or something heavy to break it up and weigh 100g into the Thermomix bowl.
Pulverise the sugar on speed 9 for 5 seconds
Add the soaked black rice, cinnamon, ginger and pandanus leaves (knot the leaves into a ball so that you can get them out easily after the cooking is done)
Add 750g of water
Cook in reverse at 90 degrees for 60 minutes, speed 1.5
At the end of the hour the mixture should be thick and soupy, transfer to the thermoserver and stir in the coconut cream. 
Fish out the pandanus, cinnamon and ginger replace the Thermoserver lid and allow the rice to cool.
Or pour yourself a big bowl and enjoy warm 
Transfer the leftovers to the fridge where it will set. 
Serve with sliced banana, mango or papaya.
Serves 4