Carrot, Almond & Chocolate Cake

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I was at a girlfriends house recently & I was browsing through her vast collection of cookbooks.  I noted that we both had Neil Perry’s cookbook ‘Good Food’.  My friend then told me about an amazing cake from his book.  It’s a carrot & almond cake & as I read the recipe, I noticed ingredients like ground nuts, ground biscuits & whipped egg whites.  Of course I had a light bulb moment & thought, hello, Thermomix!  I made the cake a week later & served it dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar.  It was lovely & of course very easy to make in my Thermomix.    As I was eating it though, I thought it would be even better with some chocolate, so here’s where I’ve tweaked the recipe, along with converting it to Thermomix method.  I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Ingredients:

180g almonds
100g walnuts
230g caster sugar
130g Savoiardi (sponge finger) biscuits
10g baking powder
5 eggs, separated
1 large carrot
15g Grand Marnier or Cointreau
zest of 1 orange, microplaned/grated
1 qty chocolate ganache – 100g dark chocolate & 80g full fat (whipping) cream

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (fan forced), lightly grease a round cake tin, then line base & sides with baking paper.
2) Place nuts, sugar, biscuits & baking paper in TM bowl, grind 10-15 seconds/speed 9. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
3) Without cleaning TM bowl, add carrot, chop 5 seconds/speed 6. Add Grand Marnier, egg yolks & grated zest, mix 10 seconds/speed 3. Add this to the crumb mixture in the mixing bowl & mix until all ingredients are moistened & well combined.
4) In a clean TM bowl, insert Butterfly into bowl & add egg whites. Whip for 3.5 minutes/speed 3.5

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5) Gently fold whipped egg whites into the cake mixture in 3 batches. Pour into prepared cake tin & bake for 1 hour. When it’s cooked, the top of the centre of the cake needs to feel quite firm to touch.
6) Allow the cake to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing & cooling on a wire rack. If time allows, let cake cool completely in the tin. You can even leave in the tin overnight covered with glad wrap.  To serve the cake, the top of the cake becomes the bottom, so the bottom of the cake is now the top & flat.

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7) To make the ganache, place chocolate pieces into TM bowl & grate 10 seconds/speed 8.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
8) Add cream, melt 3 minutes/50 degrees/speed 3.
9) Working quickly, pour ganache over the cake & gently smooth up to the edges of the cake.  Very gently give the ganache a push over the edge of the cake, so the chocolate drizzles down the sides.  This must be down quickly though, as the ganache will thicker as it cools.

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Notes:

I had no idea what Savoiardi biscuits were, but I found them in Coles with the sweet biscuits.

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It’s always best to line your tin with baking paper on the base & sides, even if your tin is non stick.  It will give you a much more professional looking cake once it’s cooked, cooled & removed from the tin.

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Lentil Spaghetti

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One of my favourite dishes to cook in my Thermomix is the Creamy Tomato & Salami Fettuccine from the Everyday Cookbook.  It’s such a tasty dish & very easy in that the fettuccine cooks in the sauce.  I now many of my customers love it too for the same reasons, so I’ve been on the look out for a similar recipe for my vegetarian friends.    I made this dish recently & it really is very good & a nice change from the regular spag bol.  I’d even challenge any fussy eaters to give it a try – I’m sure they won’t miss the meat!  I found this recipe on ThermOMG blog & have tweaked the recipe a little.

Ingredients:
1 onion
1 garlic clove
20g olive oil
400g tin diced tomatoes
50g tomato paste
30g vegetable stock concentrate
1 tin brown lentils, drained & rinsed
100g jarred roasted red pepper strips
800g water
30g balsamic vinegar
250-300g spaghetti
100g parmesan cheese
150g kalamata pitted olives

Method:
1) Place parmesan in TM bowl, grate 10 seconds/speed9.  Set aside.  No need to clean TM bowl, just wipe off excess cheese with piece of kitchen paper.
2) Add onion & garlic to TM bowl, chop 3 seconds/speed 5.  Add oil, cook 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 with MC off.
3) Add peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, stock concentrate, water, vinegar.  Cook 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.
4) Add lentils & put lid on TM bowl.  Zero scales & add spaghetti through the hole in the lid.  Cook 15 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/soft speed.  As the spaghetti cooks, it will soften & sink into the TM bowl, but you can use your spatula to help push it down.

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5) Pour into Thermo Server & allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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6) Garnish with mint or basil leaves & parmesan cheese.

Source: ThermOMG

Notes:

If not everyone is an olive fan, you can add them to the dish when each serve is garnished.

Don’t cook more than 300g spaghetti, otherwise the dish is just way too thick with spaghetti.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

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This is one of my favourite salads & my whole family make if on a regular basis.  I’ve made it at a few Thermomix demonstrations & I’m always asked if this is on my blog.  The flavours are lovely & personally I think the currants really make this dish.  Every time I take this salad to a BBQ, without fail, someone always asks me for the recipe.  Everyone always asks how I chopped the carrots so fine & of course that’s when I start raving on about my Thermomix!

Ingredients:
Small handful mint leaves
Small handful parsley
3 Large carrots, roughly chopped
1 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn cumin powder
2 tbsp currants
30g Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1) Place mint & parsley into TM bowl & chop for 5 seconds on speed 7.
2) Add carrots & dry spices & chop for 3 seconds on speed 5.
3) Check the size of the carrots & chop for another 1-2 seconds on speed 5. Be careful not to over chop.
4) Add remaining ingredients & mix 5 seconds/reverse/speed 3.

Notes:

The key with this salad is not to over chop.  If you chop on any speed over 5, you will literally end up with carrot juice.  It’s best to only chop for a few seconds & then chop for a second or two more if necessary.

Source: A Taste of Vegetarian – Thermomix

Sticky Ginger Chicken & Broccolini

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One of the things I love about my Thermomix, is that I can make tasty & impressive dishes in very little time.  This is one of those dishes.  A little chopping & then everything is weighed into the Thermomix & it cooks in 20 minutes.   It is also seriously very yummy!  If I didn’t have my Thermomix, I can imagine making this is a wok & tossing it continuously while it cooked.  I used a bunch of broccolini & a head of broccoli to make mine, but you could use any vegetables in this, whatever suits your family.  I might add some julienne carrots & capsicum next time, even some cashews would work well too.  I didn’t have dark soy sauce, so I used all regular soy sauce.  If you used dark soy as per the recipe, the sauce will be a lot darker than mine.

If serving with rice, it’s a good idea to cook the rice first & keep hot in your ThermoServer.  Otherwise, if you cooked them the other way around, the broccolini will overcook if rested for too long while the rice is cooking.

This recipe is from ThermOMG, a fantastic blog, like mine, sharing Thermomix recipes & tips.  

Ingredients:
30g fresh ginger (approx 5cm piece)
2-3 cloves garlic
2 spring onions (chopped into 3cm pieces)
10g sesame oil
20g olive oil
6 chicken thigh fillets, sliced
2 bunches broccolini
40g soy sauce
80g dark soy sauce
50g shaoxing rice wine (I used dry sherry)
20g corn flour
40g brown sugar
25g vegetable stock concentrate
20g sweet chilli sauce (optional)

Method:
1) Place ginger & garlic in TM bowl, chop 3 seconds/speed 7.
2) Add spring onion & oils, cook 5 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1 with MC off.
3) Add remaining ingredients (put broccolini in last). Cook 15 minutes/Varoma temperature/reverse/speed 1. Remove MC & place rice basket on top of lid.
4) Serve immediately with rice.

Notes:

When cooking with broccolini, use the florets & the stems.  I cut the stems lengthwise into thin strips, so it adds another texture to my dish & there’s less wastage.

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If the sauce appears too watery after cooking, remove chicken & vegetables, add extra cornflour & cook sauce for a further 3 minutes/Varoma temperature/speed 2 with MC out.

For a healthier version, replace both the soy sauces with Tamari & replace the sugar with Rapadura.

For a gluten free version, replace both the soy sauces with Tamari & ensure the cornflour used is gluten free.

You may find the bottom of your bowl is a bit sticky after making this dish, which is normal.   I soaked my bowl in warm soapy water while I ate dinner, then removed the blades & gave the base a good clean.

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Maple, Almond & Cranberry Granola

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Before I moved Bayside, one of my favourite cafe’s to have brunch was ‘Replete Providore’ in Barkers Road Hawthorn.   They had the most delicious, crunchy granola on the menu, which they served in a parfait glass, layered with berries & natural yoghurt.  I’ve never had Granola as good as theirs until I made this last week.  The recipe is from ‘For Food’s Sake’ by Tenina Holder.  Sometimes I tweak recipes here & there, but this one I haven’t touched – it really is amazing!

Ingredients:
150g unsalted butter, cubed
150ml maple syrup
Good pinch of sea salt
40g vanilla bean paste
300g almonds, whole
60g sunflower seeds
400-500g rolled oats
100g dried cranberries (craisins)
50g shredded coconut

Method:
1) Place butter, syrup, salt & vanilla into TM bowl, cook 4 minutes/60 degrees/speed 2. Remove from TM bowl & set aside.
2) Meanwhile, spread nuts & seeds onto a large flat tray & place in a cold oven. Turn oven onto 200 degrees celsius & roast for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
3) Spread oats onto another tray lined with baking baler & pour butter mixture over the top. Using your hands (& I can recommend disposable food handling gloves too) mix the butter mixture through the oasis until evenly distributed.
4) Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees & cook oats for 25-30 minutes. Stir the mixture a few times, to ensure the edges don’t burn.

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5) Placed cooled nuts into a clean TM bowl, chop 3 seconds/speed 6. Place into a large mixing bowl.
6) Add cranberries & coconut to mixing bowl & add cooked oats once slightly cooled.
7) Thoroughly mix together & once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

Serve with fresh fruit or berries & home made yoghurt.

Notes:

Add any dried fruits or nuts to this recipe for a variation – toasted pecans, dried cherries, goji berries, seeds or even chic chips