A couple of weeks ago I was offered a chance to 'test drive' a unique kitchen appliance called a Thermomix. I was intrigued, because in the course of my copy editing work for the Pastry in Europe books I have read a great number of recipes calling for the use of a Thermomix.
Also known as a Bimby in Europe, where the machine is very popular, the Thermomix promises to take the place of your blender, food processor, grinder and mixer. It even has a heating element that can cook food in its metal bowl.
Needless to say, I was intrigued, and I've agreed to put the machine through its paces for the next few weeks. I'm not being paid by the company to write about it and I'm not being given the machine, it's just on loan. It's not cheap. They retail for about $1600. But for people who are serious about cooking and prepare a lot of food, and who have a cluttered kitchen counter, the 'Bimby' could be quite useful.
So, from time to time over the next few weeks I'll post some details of what I've been doing with it.
The motor and blades are very powerful. I followed one of the recipes in the cookbook that came with the Thermomix and made a reasonable facsimile of Nutella, the chocolate-hazelnut spread I love. The blades made quick work of the hazelnuts, turning them into paste within seconds. The recipe used butter instead of palm oil, so the bowl gently heated the butter and chocolate and milk and stirred it into the hazelnuts.
In addition to standard chopping, I was very impressed when part of a recipe called for two whole lemons to be cut into eighths, then blended with chopped ginger. I left the ginger in large chunks, but the Thermomix reduced the lemons and ginger to a smooth paste in about five seconds.
Today I decided to almost totally adapt a canning recipe for salsa verde to the Thermomix. I chopped the garlic in the machine, and the onions, and the hot peppers. I put the tomatillos into the bowl whole, and the blades chopped them with ease. After adding the lime juice and reconstituted dried chipotle peppers, I switched on the heat and the slowest stirring mode and brought the mixture to a brisk simmer.
Perfect! The best part was being able to pour the hot salsa into my prepared hot jars directly from the bowl with its convenient spout. Yes, I still used a funnel, but being able to pour instead of using a ladle was a great time saver and managed to keep the kitchen counter quite a bit cleaner than usual.
After a week of use, it's so far, so good. Cleaning of the bowl is easy, but you can put the bowl, the blade, and the lid into the dishwasher. More to come…really want to try making things like: butter, hollandaise sauce, creme anglaise, and so on. Oh, apparently you can even grind wheat to make flour for bread dough in it!