Italian Adventures

It’s my last day in Italy & what an amazing holiday it has been. I’m on a train on my way to Rome from the east coast Ancona. The almost 4 hour train ride gives me a chance to stop & reflect as I watch the gorgeous scenery go by from the ocean to mountains, the rolling hills of the countryside with an abundance of farmhouses, grape vines, olive & fig trees. The rustic charm of pastel coloured Italian villages etched into the hillsides. Bay tree hedges, fresh herbs & vegetable gardens scattered everywhere.

I am just so grateful to have experienced such diversity in the 2 weeks I’ve been in Italy. The first 4 days was the Emerald Class trip organised by Thermomix in Australia.

Afterwards I travelled with my 2 friends Adriana & Susie best friends & Thermomix consultants from Sydney, I travelled with them last year after the Emerald Class trip to Las Vegas. Adriana is originally from Italy so it was good to be travelling with her as she can speak Italian & we got to meet & stay with her friends & family throughout our journey. It was such a good way to experience the authentic Italian life.

I only learnt a few words of Italian but just loved sitting at the dinner table listening to everyone speaking in Italian, laughing & enjoying good food & wine. You can really taste the love & generosity of an Italian shared meal & you are guaranteed to be completely full (& in a major food coma).

We caught a train from Lake Como to Milan for a few hours to meet one of Adriana’s cousins for lunch, walking past the awesome duomo on the way. We went to one of his favourite casual restaurants just opposite his apartment known for the authentic Puglia style food. We had a fried dough filled with mozzarella, mushroom, basil & tomato. It was great & I also had a chinotto. (Bitter Italian soft drink).

Then we caught the train to Padova to stay 3 nights with Adriana’s Aunty & Uncle.

We explored the city of Padova for the day. Did I mention Adriana & Susie are expert shoppers? They also love good quality food like me. So between site seeing the local churches of Padova, we explored the food markets, bought some fresh focaccia, mortadella & prosciutto to make a picnic brunch. We had our Italian breakfast at home, sweet biscuits, short black coffee (I had hot milk with mine) homemade jam & small toast style crackers.

We fell into the Italian routine & made it our own. After breakfast we would have another coffee. We would have a late lunch & apperitivo. Dinner is always late normally about 8.30pm. Plus I was on my gelato challenge so would have at least one gelato stop a day & 1 day I had 5 in one day!!

The Thermomix Cook-Key & Cookidoo Subscription

My Thermo Family: Thermbot, Paris Heston & Bimby with the Cook- Key attached.

 

As you know I do get rather excited about all things Thermomix & the Cook-Key is no exception. The Cook-Key attaches to your Model 5 Thermomix, where the recipe chip would normally sit. Then the first time you set it up you connect it up to your home wifi. It will automatically update to the latest updates available for the Thermomix Model 5, like sound options – you can turn the sound down or you can get it to chime for less time πŸ™‚ There is a Cook-Key website to answer all your questions too. The most exciting thing about the Cook-Key in my opinion is that you can now use any of the recipes on Cookidoo (all tested recipes) as a guided recipe on your Thermomix Model 5.

Simply log onto Cookidoo & activate your Cook-Key by putting in the code on your Cook-Key. Then choose any of the the recipes on Cookidoo from any of the Cookidoo sites (12 countries to choose from) & create your own recipe lists, add them to your favourite recipes, or your favourite collections or even add them to your weekly planner. Turn on your Thermomix with the Cook-key attached & sinc the recipes so they now appear on your Thermomix πŸ™‚ (If you are using another country’s Cookidoo & you don’t speak the language you can use use chrome translate so you can read the recipe in English (which can sometimes be amusing :-))

 

Plus special offers availableΒ – right now pre-order your Cook-Key for $189 plus $10 postage either through the Thermomix Shop selecting your consultant or contact your Thermomix Consultant directly & they can process your Cook-Key order including the option to put it on your zip money payment plan (12 months interest free) you will get 2 free mini Thermoservers – while stocks last πŸ™‚ Your Cook-key comes with a 6 month subscription to Cookidoo & then if you choose to continue the subscription it will be $49 a year. Otherwise you still have the option to purchase individual collections that you love.

30 Day Free Trial Cookidoo SubscriptionΒ – Simply log into Cookidoo or register if you haven’t already & under the browse dropdown box is the get subscription tab, once you select this is gives you the option of the free trial & this can be used by all Thermomix owners. What a great way to explore all the recipes before your Cook-key arrives.

I didn’t think it was possible, but Thermomixing is going to be even more fun!! HAPPY THERMOMIXING!!

Sylvia’s Almond Bocconcini

Thanks so much Sylvia for giving me this recipe to share, you can meet Sylvia at the Italian Pantry, which is where you can buy the cherries for this recipe.

Sylvia's Almond Bocconcini
Author: 
Recipe type: Baking
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 40
 
Thanks to Sylvia for letting me share her delicious & easy recipe.
Ingredients
  • 500g Blanched Almonds into almond meal
  • 500g caster sugar into icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • Amarena cherries in syrup 250g
  • Almond flakes or pistachios to roll into the biscuits
Instructions
  1. Mix the almond meal, icing sugar & egg whites in the Thermomix to form a marzipan like consistency low and slow. (I did it at speed 4 for about 30 secs.)
  2. Form the biscuits into balls and put a cherry in the centre. Roll in almond flakes and let them sit for 4-6 hours the longer the better, at room temperature.
  3. Cook until golden on 160 degrees.
Notes
Sylvia normally makes a half batch.
You can make your own almond meal & icing sugar in the Thermomix on speed 10 for about 10 secs.

Helen’s Massaman Curry – Thermomix Version

I used sweet potato instead of potato for this version.

Click here for Helen’s Massaman Curry Paste RecipeΒ -Thanks so much Helen for letting me post your delicious recipe, it’s a regular in our house now & a family favourite πŸ™‚

Helen's Massaman Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
I have made this recipe in the Thermomix too you just need to make sure you don't go above the max line so you may need to adjust the quantities. Also cook on 90 degrees on speed soft & keep checking it to see if it is tender, the time will depend on the type of meat you have used & how large you have chopped it up - don't forget to use reverse.
Ingredients
  • 1 kg meat (*see note below)
  • ½ kg potatoes (approx)
  • 1 onion, medium sized
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 star anise
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind block/paste
  • 25 ml fish sauce
  • 25 ml palm sugar
  • 1 can coconut milk (might need extra)
  • 1 small can Maesri (114 gm) massaman paste or ⅓ cup of massaman paste (see previous post)
  • HINT Buy palm sugar in the round blocks, then break up into lumps with pestle and chopper, and keep in an airtight glass jar
  • HINT Buy the 1 ltr cartons of coconut milk. The oil separates much better in carton coconut milk.
  • *Can be chicken, beef, lamb….whatever you want it to be. On the bone is best, chicken marylands can be halved. Chicken thighs are fine, halved too, or chuck steak or leg of lamb with the lamb cut off.
  • Slurry Mix
  • For 1 kg of meat, use a ratio of the ingredients below to make a slurry mix (to be added to the massaman at the start of the cook):
  • 25 ml fish sauce
  • 25 g palm sugar
  • 25 g tamarind block
  • Dry Spice Mix
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 candlenuts
Instructions
  1. NOTE This recipe may seem complex. It’s not. But there are a series of separate different things that need to be done to ultimately lead to the finished product.
  2. Slurry Mix - Blend with enough water to make a slurry, then set aside
  3. Dry Spice Mix - After dry roasting the ingredients for about 5 mins, add all except the cinnamon sticks into muslin or a chux wipe, tie up with kitchen string, and set aside, so then that little muslin bag too can be added to the massaman at cooking time.
  4. Chop up dutch cream potatoes (approx 1 kg) into large chunks
  5. Chop meat into large chunks
  6. Quarter a medium sized onion
  7. Pour approx ½ cup coconut milk into your large saucepan.
  8. Add massaman paste, and stir fry mix till the oil in the coconut milk separates (approx 10 mins)
  9. Then add to the saucepan: the tamarind slurry, chicken pieces (or beef, or whatever meat you’re using) the muslin bag containing the dry roasted spices, the cinnamon sticks, the quartered onion & approx half cup water.
  10. Let the onion cook for approx 5 mins in this mixture, then add the chopped potatoes, ½ cup coconut milk (can add more if required later too)
  11. Cook on a low heat for approx 45 mins. (For a beef massaman, if using a cheaper cut of beef, like chuck steak, you'll need to cook longer till it reaches the pull apart, fork tender stage). Obviously, the cooking time is also dictated by the size you have cut your meat pieces.
  12. You want the onion and meat to be slow cooked, and for the sweetness of the onion flavour to come out into the massaman.

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Helen’s Massaman Curry Paste – Thermomix Version

Massaman Curry Paste

Use this delicious paste to make Helen’s Massaman Curry Recipe

Helen's Massaman Curry Paste
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 jars
 
I have Thermofied Helen's by making the paste in the Thermomix pureeing the paste ingredients on speed 10 for 10 secs.
Ingredients
  • 10g dried red chillies, soaked in boiling hot water for 30 mins.
  • 2 cardamom pods, roasted
  • 1¼ teaspoons cumin seeds, roasted
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, roasted
  • 1½ teaspoons shrimp paste,
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon galangal, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Roast the shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted in 200C oven for 15 mins
  2. Roast dry spices as noted above (except for dried chillies and shrimp paste), in dry pan stirring constantly, till pungent, then put aside.
  3. Combine roasted dry spices, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon into the Thermomix Bowl for 1 min/ speed 10.
  4. Remove chillies from water (keep the water) and chop finely & add to the dry spices.
  5. Add all remaining paste ingredients and process 30 secs to a min on speed 9 to a form a paste, using some of the chilli soaking water if the paste needs to be moistened during this process.
  6. Makes approx 1 cup of paste. Paste can be kept frozen in an ice cube container, or will keep in the fridge for approx 2 weeks.

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