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hints & tips

1.   HOW TO MAKE THICK NATURAL YOGHURT

For the very best results buy UHT Organic whole milk, MOO make a good one. You can alternatively scald regular full fat milk and let it cool. But believe me go for the UHT. The great thing about UHT milk is you can store it in a cupboard and will always have it at hand when you need to make yoghurt late at night for the next morning, and it is already at room temperature which is important. If you use regular milk you must let it come to room temp first. Get in some Nido dried milk (Nestle) too.    The third thing is DANONE ACTIVIA natural yoghurt as your starter. You will only need it the first time, then you just save a bit (120g) from each batch and start the next.                                                                             Go to Automated recipes on your Menu and choose yoghurt, I have started adding a couple of good spoonfuls of Creme Fraiche, it seems to make it richer and tangy-er. If anything it seems to get thicker each time I make it.

For those of you who have read this section in the past, I apologise. I have gone off the Total yoghurt that I used to recommend. I find the Danone version not so viscous and I like its tartness. But keep trying different natural yoghurts, they all produce slightly different results. You will find just the right one for you.

2.  AM I TOO OLD TO CHANGE MY HABITS, I LOVE THE IDEA OF THERMOMIX BUT IT SEEMS SO DIFFERENT?

Check out this link on the Great British Chefs website http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/housewife-chefs-parmigiano-reggiano-country  Silvana Ghillani is WELL OVER 70, this was her interview

From the window of her kitchen you can see the tiny house her late husband was born in, across a garden filled with all manner of delicious edibles, just waiting to be harvested. She collects her drinking water from her own forest well and bakes all her own bread. Not only to feed herself, but for the legions of loved ones and acquaintances that surround her. She told me: ‘I have two Thermomixes – I couldn’t live without them!’ When her husband was alive, she said, gardening was one of his great passions and she would process the results: ‘One year that meant over 1500 portions of minestrone – we had to buy three extra freezers!’ Her three most important kitchen appliances – a Thermomix, Parmesan grater and espresso machine – tell you a lot about Silvana and her cooking.
3. SOUS VIDE POACHED EGGS

Unbelievable, cooked in the shell in your steamer basket. You have to try it. I have put a video on youtube , link coming. Get in touch and I will share the recipe.

 

4.  I LOVE HOLLANDAISE, WILL I REALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE IT RELIABLY AND EASILY?

The recipe in the basic cookbook is great, every one of you will be knocking up perfect hollandaise like a pro. Note for the recipe,  When you add the melted butter stop when you get as far as the white liquid at the bottom.   When it is done you could put it into a wide mouthed vacuum flask so your machine is ready for the next job and the Hollandaise stays perfectly warm.  Try adding Nduja for a really exciting bold Hollandaise.

http://www.souschef.co.uk/bureau-of-taste/eggs-benedict-with-nduja-hollandaise/  And sous vide your eggs  for your Benedict for the ultimate astonishing poached egg. (See my blog for how).

5.  HOW DO I MAKE MY COOKING EVEN FASTER?

Come to one of my Pressure Cooking classes and discover the fastest cooking known to man.  It’s like magic.  The most cost effective and brilliant piece of equipment ever, and for those who have memories of your mother’s old pressure cooker exploding all over the kitchen, rest assured: they don’t do that any more. If I have failed to advertise one just get in touch, I will make a date. Imagine potatoes ready to mash in 6 minutes, rice cooked in less than 5, Beetroot in 10, even the toughest meat tender in 25, and pulses reduced from hours to minutes.

6.  HOW DO I GET ALL THE MIXTURE OUT THAT IS STUCK ON THE BLADES/BUTTERFLY WHISK

Scrape out as much as you can using a soft spatula, then put the bowl back on the machine and turn the speed dial to 6 for a nano second. The remains will be flung to the edge  and you just remove the blades and scrape out what’s left. By the way did you know that when you put the butterfly whisk in there is an optimum place. Have the highest blade at 12 o’clock and put the butterfly in at 11. That is the most secure spot.

7. MY TOMATOES ARE RIPE BUT DON’T HAVE MUCH TASTE

Did you know that the enzyme which gives the wonderful flavour of a sun ripened tomato is destroyed by chilling. So don’t keep them in the fridge at all.

You can restore the flavour by chopping up one really good un-chilled delicious tomato and mixing them together for 30 minutes.

8.  THE BEST WAY TO MELT CHOCOLATE, NO MORE MESSING ABOUT WITH A BAIN MARIE 

First chop the chocolate finely on speed 9. Then set for 5(?) minutes at 55° on speed 1 and stop when it has all melted evenly. It is necessary to put a time into the machine to use the heat function but you just keep checking and stop when it is melted, my 5 minutes is a guess.

9.  HOW TO CLEAN THE BLADE

Buy a tiny bottle brush, it really makes scrubbing under the blades so much easier.

10.  ALWAYS HAVE FRESH GINGER AND LIME LEAVES ON HAND

Both of these can be kept in your freezer, peel the ginger first and then grate from frozen just using what you need.

11. MY FAVOURITE SHOPS AROUND NOTTING HILL GATE
  • PROVENANCE, BUTCHERS. (Kensington Park Road ) Wonderful meat from their own farms, try their duck confit, mmmmm. Make Bacon dust with their unbelievable bacon. They will vacuum pack your steaks for Sous Vide too, just ask them to add a little salt and pepper and olive oil, I recommend Rib Eye.
  • KITCHEN IDEAS.  (Westbourne Grove) An Aladdin’s den of kitchen equipment, the only kitchen shop you will ever need. Owners Bob and Az are local hero’s.
  • BOOKS FOR COOKS. (Kensington Park Road)The best cookery book shop in town
  • BEN’S GREENGROCERS. (Westbourne Grove)Sells everything, even Japanese Shiso Leaves
  • MICHANICOU’S (Holland Park) Extraordinary Greengrocer
  • THE SPICE SHOP (Portobello Road) Sells every spice you could ever need
  • CERAMICA BLUE (Elgin Crescent) lovely pottery
  • PLANET ORGANIC (Westbourne Grove) for all your organic needs
  • TAVOLA (Westbourne Grove) for when you can’t cook anymore, let the wonderful Alistair Little do it for you. He is a great Thermomix fan too.
  • LIDGATES BUTCHER, (Holland Park Avenue)
12. DO YOU LOVE REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE

Have you heard of COCOA RUNNERS, it is a Chocolate delivery club, sourcing unusual and carefully chosen chocolate from small suppliers. Well worth investigating.

13. I CAN’T FIND MY RECIPE ON THE CHIP BUT I KNOW IT IS THERE SOMEWHERE

Some of the recipes on the chip are to be found under fairly quirky listings. If you can’t find one look in the book and see what the first letter of the first word is.

  • Pesto for example is under B for Basil Pesto.
  • Sorbet is under F for Fresh Fruit Sorbet
  • Bolognese Sauce is under L for Lasagne
  • Pancakes are under either C for Crepes or A for American Pancakes