Thermomix Demo – your mileage may vary

Have you heard of the thermomix? I had, on and off, but hadn’t quite worked out its use in life. Apparently the 2013 edition of Australian Masterchef television show had used it, but since I stopped watching that a few years ago… well.

Mark Best, chef at Marque Restaurant stated in a good living interview that he “uses his thermomix as a high speed food processor.”

Hmm.

The Australian Consumers Association (Choice) said:“The thermomix is undoubtedly the best kitchen machine that we’ve tested to date, which is why we score it above the others. Whether it’s $1500 or so better than the Bellini depends on how much you value clears instructions and a fiddle free life.”

The Heavenly Ingredients blog ended up selling her Thermomix, because she felt too removed from the cooking process – you couldn’t taste, touch or see the brew at work.

I was just curious.

The person hosting the demo gets to choose the dishes that you see demonstrated on the night. It was a little artificial, because a lot of the preparation had been done already and had arrived ‘pre-cut’ in a box with the demonstrator.

We had.. berry sorbet:

Thermomix sorbet

if you omit the egg white you get a granita, and it doesn’t look as ‘white’ in colour. This was more ice than berry or sugar and was quite refreshing. As much as I love my gelato and sorbets, I do find the stuff I buy in the shop very very sweet. This one used just the chopping function and timer function.

Raw beetroot salad:

Thermomix salad

I think perhaps this had too much beetroot or coriander for me. It tasted very intense and almost chemical like. This one used just the chopping function and timer function. It gave little bits of dice.

Mushroom risotto:

Thermomix Risotto

This was surprisingly not-stodge. I usually avoid making risotto with the aborio rice because it turns into a big heavy brick in the pan and in my stomach, and I also find it ends up tasting “samey” throughout. If I make it at all, it’ll be a combo of long grain rice + a handful of aborio, or pearl barley + a handful of aborio.

This was made by first grating the parmesan using the sharp part of the blades, and putting this aside. You then used the machine to chop the onion and garlic and start cooking using the heating element in the bottom. Add water, wine, rice, “homemade veggie stock paste”, and reverse the direction of the blades so that it is more of a stirring motion than chopping. Leave for about 15 minutes, and pop into what was called the “thermo server” (an insulated stainless steel looking bowl with a plastic non-insulated lid), along with same baby spinach leaves. This one used the chopping, timer, heating and stirring (reverse chopping) function.

Custard:

Thermomix Custard

I got to “help” make this. I have to admit that although I have made custard in the past, my current method is to add the custard powder and cornflour to milk, and stir it on the stove. Sorry. I don’t have a ready supply of chickens and their eggs to hand, and real free range eggs being $9 per dozen, depending on who you get them from – ouch. So the thermomix way was to finely grind the sugar, add milk, eggs, a little cornflour and some pre-prepared lemon peel. This got ‘cooked’ in the bowl for about 7 minutes. I found the result was ‘gloop’. Very similar to ‘stodge’. This one used the chopping, timer, heating and stirring (reverse chopping) function.

We also made bread rolls, but I forgot to take a picture of that. They had to be cooked in the oven. I found they were a bit undercooked – no fault of the thermomix, but also I was horrified when the demonstrator added oil to the dough mixture. The flour was part ground from raw wheat kernels, and part store bought flour.

For me the pros are:
1) being able to whip egg whites
2) the non stodge risotto.
3) the sorbet/ice cream option. Mmmm.. homemade guava icecream

and the cons:
5) the noise, oh the noise. When the blades took off chopping the beetroot, grating the parmesan or the wheat kernels: I had to plug my ears. It was just too noisy for my tastes. Considering that I need to yell out “fire in the hold” before I start up the stick blender, and that I am now limited to using the mortar and pestle OUTSIDE, it is too noisy for my household. And yes, I admit, I am hard of hearing because of too much of my youthful attendance at concerts, and I really am trying to preserve what I have left. If the bowl was an insulated sound-deadening bowl…. maybe that would improve things. I should have brought in the sound meter in from work to test it – do you know that exposure to constant sound levels of more than 85dB can lead to permanent hearing loss?

6) the space required – I just don’t have that space in my kitchen
7) the small size of the ‘bowl’ – 2 litres.
8) the 2 year warranty. For something that is four times the price of a homewares store food processor, wouldn’t you have a warranty that is also four times that?

I can *technically* whisk egg whites using the stick blender which has a whisk attachment. But you’re not supposed to run these for a long period of time or there is a burning smell of motor. I actually have had more success with beating a small quantity of egg whites (1-2) with a fork than I do with the stick blender.

On the other hand, the thermomix is $2k.

That’s a lot of whisk, branded food processors, sorbet, and free range biodynamic eggs. And I just don’t eat or make risotto anyway.

I might attend a cooking ‘class’ ($10 a pop) sometime in the future, just to see what else the machine is capable of.

But I really think that I would have the same experience as Heavenly Ingredients – part of the joy I find with cooking is the meditative state you get into when kneading dough, or mixing up a cake: tasting it, and adjusting the flavours. The machine is quite compact compared to a stand mixer, and I also can’t quite justify getting one of these for myself.

My new years resolution: I don’t need one of these!

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One response to this post.

  1. […] salad I’ve had before, but until I went to the thermonix demo, I’d never had it raw. I liked it then, but wanted it less […]

    Reply

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