Thursday, 6 November 2014

Thermomix Porcini Croquetas

Thermomix Porcini croquetas
Croquetas are a very typical Spanish dish. Delicious creamy béchamel bites breadcrumbed and fried. One of those seemingly simple but rather fiddly dishes that the Thermomix and a piping bag make a breeze. The mixture needs to rest in the fridge so it's best to prepare it the day before.

These are perfect tapas, perfect picnic fare, perfect with a salad for dinner, perfect for an office lunch… the possibilities are endless.

Thank you to Eva from Catalan Kilt for putting me on to the idea of using porcini and referring me to this Spanish recipe for inspiration.

Thermomix Porcini Croquetas
Makes approx. 30, depending on the size


For the mixture:

- 15 g dried porcini mushrooms

- 150 g unsalted butter, roughly cubed
- 30 g onion

- 200 g plain or spelt flour (I used spelt)

- 800 g whole milk, take out of the fridge about an hour earlier if chilled
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Black pepper, freshly milled
- Salt (I use Maldon sea salt), to taste but start with about a teaspoon or less

- A couple of disposable piping bags (or freezer bags)

For bread crumbing and frying:

- 2-3 eggs
- Breadcrumbs (if you ever have left over bread, always make breadcrumbs in your Thermomix and freeze them, you can use them from frozen)
- Olive oil (being Spanish this would be the traditional oil to use but you choose)

How to make the croqueta mixture:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Thermomix Lentejas, Spanish Lentil Stew

Thermomix Lentejas, Spanish Lentil StewThere are dishes that just take you back to your childhood, this is one of them, probably for any Spaniard. Lentejas are a classic of any Spanish household, it's a Spanish Lentil Stew with, of course, chorizo (you wouldn't expect any less from this blog, would you?).

Pronounced LEHN-TEH-HASS, you can totally make it vegetarian/vegan, just leave out the chorizo and you're done. Do add the paprika though as it will add to the flavour.

This is a humble dish, "un plato de cuchara" (a dish to be eaten with a spoon). Now that the Autumn has hit the UK this is perfect fare and, as you can see, it's not all that unhealthy!

Pardina lentils can be found in the UK, I noticed them in the Spanish shop La Plaza (Notting Hill) and if you do a quick search online you will find them too. But you can substitute with green lentils.

Find this recipe on The Thermomix Recipe Vault too, a fantastic collection of Thermomix recipes by bloggers from all over the world.

Lentejas / Spanish lentil stew with chorizo
Serves 4 (can be made bigger)


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review - Scarborough

September 2014 has quite literally been a pain: chickenpox, the start of school, the adaptation to said school, unexpected garden works and illness (mine, not pretty!) but it actually started really well, with a visit to Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for a review.

The place is rather photogenic so expect a photo-heavy post, ready?

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is located just outside Scarborough, in an idyllic spot in the North Yorkshire countryside. When the view from the hotel's car park looks like this:

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review - Scarborough's no surprise that, when you turn round you find a quintessentially British place like this one:

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review - Scarborough

In fact, I say quintessentially British but it really reminded me of the place where I spent my childhood, Galicia, and in fact a lot of an old house my family still has in a little village in that region of Spain. I digress, back to the Ox Pasture Hall review. This now 4* hotel used to be a farm house, Ox Pasture Farm, home to the Asquith family who farmed the land from April 1918-19 until it was sold in 1961. The hotel formed part of the Best Western hotel chain until a few years ago when the owner decided to run it his own way and I have to say that, after talking to the manager (Alan), about the investment and the fairness of the owner, it sounds to me like leaving Best Western was absolutely the right decision. I discovered during my chat with Alan that it was the owner himself who had been emailing me, talk about taking charge!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Ham two ways: Cranberry Ham and Cider Ham

Ham two ways: Cranberry Ham and Cider HamA little while ago Waitrose challenged me (the Spaniard, just in case you had forgotten) to come up with a Great British dish. So, of course, I asked husband (the Britishman): ham, egg and chips with proper ham!, he decided. Now, husband has been in charge of making ham for the last three Christmas and I am, well, Spanish so I had never cooked ham and, most definitely, I had never cooked ham the British way. If you give me a piece of gammon I will probably stick it in a huge pan with "grelos" (similar to kale), chorizo and potatoes. I am a Galician Spaniard after all! I am good at research though and I do have the huge advantage of running  a Thermomix Facebook group with over 500 members so, of course, I asked them all to fill me in with all their tips. A few minutes later two ways of cooking ham had caught my (and husband's) eye: Cranbery Ham and Cider Ham.

So, off I went to Waitrose yesterday (full of cold, on a Sunday). I did consider shopping online as per the brief but I actually do all my shopping online, always with a meal plan and I actually love going to Waitrose (we have four large supermarkets in town and Waitrose is the only one I like going to), so I asked if it would be ok to shop in-store and it was. Well, there is the free coffee, the free newspaper and the free Kitchen magazine... and on top of it the staff are always nice AND helpful. These days that is a huge treat for me, the freelancer who works too many hours and now does the school run (oh the school run, more on that soon!). It was actually really quiet and bearable in there too, you know what supermarket shopping can be like on a Sunday.

This time I didn't have the coffee or the magazine or the newspaper though as husband caught me at the checkout when he came to pick me up. The lovely checkout lady was used to loading gift cards but not so much redeeming them. She apologised profusely and then a lady called Jane came along and had it sorted in no time at all. By that time though husband just wanted to go, T was in the car with auntie L, T wanted ice cream. And, well you know what it's like...I didn't have time to ask her if they had any of the Kitchen magazines as I hadn't seen any and she didn't have time to ask me about newspapers. A coffee was, of course, out of the question.

Next time I might as well shop at Waitrose online! You know, if they really really like this post and want to work with me again ;)

Thank you so much to everyone at the Thermomix Owners UK group for the ideas and especially to Aveen and Clare for their cider and cranberry tips! I was amazed at the results and, courtesy of the lovely start to Autumn, I have to say that, after a lovely ham, egg and chips dinner last night, today this gave me the perfect opportunity to sit outside in the sun (which is actually rather warm for this time of September). I suggest a ham sandwich and coffee party when you cook these and, if you do, come back to tell me all about it!

Keep reading for the recipes and visit Waitrose's Great British Garden Party page for brilliant ideas to make the most of the early Autumn sun in your garden is still intact after the summer, if like mine it has unexpectedly been taken apart and it has turned into a mud pit... throw the party at someone else's garden. From Waitrose to décor Waitrose is not ready to let go of this wonderful summer we have had (hooray!). I also may or may not have spotted some gorgeous mugs while in there.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Thermomix Coriander and chilli steamed salmon

Thermomix Coriander and chilli steamed salmonI wrote this recipe ages ago (in fact winter 2013, no comment) but it was so delicious that my greedy blog ate it. Here goes my second attempt. Ready? Right, here we go: Thermomix Coriander and chilli steamed salmon.

It all started with this recipe by the lovely A guy, a girl, fur kids and food. I kept making it and every time I changed it. One of the first times I made it with noodles and it made dinner for the husband and me, lunch for LittleT and me the next day and a further lunch for me a couple of days later.

I sometimes make it with rice and it makes enough for dinner for 2 adults, with plenty left for lunch the following day.

I have also served it on one occasion with a salad of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and mixed leaves (all drizzled with good Spanish extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, of course).

My favourite part? In about half an hour you have a fantastic meal on the table without much fuss and much washing-up. I do love Thermie all-in-one meals using the Varoma.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

How to buy a Thermomix TM5 in the UK and what happens to the TM31

How to buy a Thermomix TM5 in the UK and what happens to the TM31
Photo courtesy of Helene at SuperKitchenMachine
There is a new Thermomix in town and it looks sleek!! The rumour mill had been turning endlessly for a few months and finally on the night of September 5th 2014 the announcement was made: the TM5 was a reality. Here I tell you how to buy the new Thermomix in the UK and what happens to the TM31. By the way, if you come from Portugal or Italy, you will know it as Bimby, here in the UK it's a Thermomix (like in Spain).

Just like its predecessor, the TM31 blends, mixes, steams, weighs, emulsifies, grinds, stirs, whisks, chops, allows controlled heating, cooks and kneads.

What this means is that, just like with the TM31, you can make fantastic bread and let it rise while you cook cake for dessert and then stick the bread in the oven while Thermie makes a mean risotto for you.

There are a few new features in the TM5 and of course there is the matter of the price which, this time, Thermomix UK hasn't been cagey about. Here is how it is looking, don't forget that in the UK you can buy through Thermomix's network of demonstrators, see website here or call 01344 622 344:

- Price: £925 for 1 bowl, £1084 for the package. The package is comprised of an extra bowl set: bowl, base, blade, lid, seal, MC, internal simmering basket and whisk but NOT an extra spatula (*Note: package not currently available, 1st December 2014*).

- Divided payments and financing are available. For example you, could pay an initial deposit of £466 followed by 6 payments of £79, this means you pay an admin fee of £15. Or you could pay a deposit of £467 followed by two instalments of £229 (totalling £925, no admin fee).

- There is also a finance option.

- Delivery times from ordering seem to be 2 days at the moment. 

- Trade-in/upgrade programme for new clients? From Monday Thermomix Demonstrators will be contacting all their customers who recently ordered and are still waiting for delivery.

- Availability: right away, demonstrators being trained the day after the announcement.

- Bowl size: 2.2 l (200 ml bigger than the TM31's).

Saturday, 23 August 2014

#mugappreciationsociety: the how, the who and the why

#mugappreciationsociety: the how, the who and the why
Lucy's culprit mug! Pretty, isn't it?
As many of you already know I am a huge Instagram fan, what's not to like? Thermomix hashtag: check! Crafts: check! Cross-stitch: check! Sewing: check! Cake: check! Mugs: check! And it's the mugs that got the #mugappreciationsociety started. Let me tell you the how, the who and the why:

Three days ago, Wednesday 20th August 2014 I was at the Method Creative offices in Cambridge with fellow freelancer and blogger Lucy from The Smallest Smallholding. Lucy and I have been working together on a Method project for a year and a half and, with our common love for blogging and social media (and a passion for proper grammar), it doesn't even matter that she is a vegan and I am, well, a chorizo fanatic! I pass her Busy B weekly planners to keep her organised in a pretty manner and she gives me all manner of gardening and homegrowing tips before I beg her to just come round and show me properly soon as I am not exactly green fingered.

I have been going on to Lucy to use Instagram more for a while now. Always full of helpful hints and tips me, on Wednesday I "made" her instagram the gorgeous flowery mug that she had on her desk. She took a photo, instagrammed it and, as I was giving her my usual mug hashtags, we decided we needed a hashtag of our own (well, just look at my feed, it's full of mugs!). So, after a few seconds of hashtag brainstorming and checking whether they were available, we settled on #mugappreciationsociety. I am pretty sure it was Lucy who mentioned that one and I am also pretty sure I said it's too long at first but then checked availability and said, yes that might just be the one! The whole process took two minutes flat.

Lucy did indeed share her mug, I tagged it for her. The next morning I posted my usual morning mug photo, added #mugappreciationsociety and tagged a few people including Lucy to show us their mugs! I don't think either of us were ready for what happened next. So many people joined the #mugappreciationsociety straight away.

So, from now on: Tag your mugs!

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