Friday, September 19, 2014

Why I Need The Thermomix Milling Function

I bake a lot and have two orders for cakes this weekend. Last night I ran out of caster sugar and icing sugar, so my husband popped into the local supermarket before going out, but the pure icing sugar was sold out. So today I needed to do another trip to the supermarket to get icing sugar. That’s annoying right – two trips to a supermarket just to get icing sugar?

If I had a Thermomix I could have just used standard white or raw sugar and made my own caster and icing sugar with the milling function. That means instead of keeping three items in my pantry, I’m only going to need to stock one - white or raw sugar. I love the space saving aspect, my pantry is so tiny that space is high value real estate. 

I am a bit of a stickler for prices and always check to see how much things are. Did you know that icing sugar is much more expensive than white or raw sugar, up to four times the price depending on what brand of sugar you buy.

Prices from Woolworths unless stated otherwise, at regular prices:
CSR White Sugar                           $2.18 1 kg       (.22 per 100g)
Aldi White Sugar                           $1.79 2kg        (.09 per 100g)
Raw Sugar Coles Smart Buy        $1.21 1 kg       (.12 per 100g)
CSR Caster Sugar                           $2.60 1kg        (.26 per 100g)
Aldi Caster Sugar                           $1.99 1 kg       (.20per 100g)
CSR Icing sugar pure                     $1.92 500g      (.38 per 100g)

There is no home branded pure icing sugar, so you have to pay premium for it. There is Icing Sugar Mixture but it contains a starch anti-caking agent and a lot of baking recipes require pure icing.

Who has sifted icing sugar before? It’s painful - right? It takes so long and it's like you will never actually finish sifting it all. Today while I was sifting 1kg of icing sugar I was fantasying about the Thermomix, because I won't need to sift my icing sugar anymore. In the Thermomix it comes out like a beautiful white powder with no clumps - hooray!

So the three benefits of making icing sugar in the Thermomix:
  • Space saving
  • Money saving
  • No sifting

How many more sleeps till my Thermomix arrives...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why I'm Excited About Custard

Making custard in my Thermomix is going to be one of the first things I make when I get it! Here’s the thing, you follow the step by step instructions on the touch screen. Press start. Voila. Fresh, homemade custard, ready in about six minutes. It’s so easy my kids are going to be able to make it.

So, other than being super easy, cooked from scratch and fresh, what are the other benefits of cooking custard with a Thermomix? I’ve worked out the financial and health cost benefits of Thermomix made custard versus a branded chilled custard from the supermarket.

Ingredients required to make custard in the Thermomix (prices from Coles at the regular price):
70g Coles Smart Buy Raw Sugar        $0.08 ($0.12 per 100g)            
30g Coles Cornflour                          $0.15 ($.50 per 100g)                                                     
2 Coles Free Range Eggs 600g           $0.82 ($4.90 for 12 600g)
500g full cream milk                        $0.50 ($1.00 per L)                
Total costs                                      $1.55 for 700g or $2.21 for 1kg

The cost of branded full cream custard is $4.19 for 1kg at Coles supermarket.

That’s more than a 40% saving. You can get the cost down by purchasing everything at Aldi and swapping to caged eggs, making it $1.70 for 1kg - that’s well under half price!

So, do you know what is in chilled custard? Something else to consider is the health benefit of making your own custard.

Branded chilled custard from the supermarket has milk, skim milk, milk solids, sugar, mineral salts and the following ingredients:

  • Thickener 1442 (from maize) - modified starch
  • Flavours – what is in flavours does not need to be disclosed  - um - scary!
  • 412 – Guar gum: can cause nausea, cramps, may reduce cholesterol levels
  • 415 - Xanthan gum – no known affects
  • 407 Carrageenan, thickener and vegetable gum – linked to asthma, cancer and ulcers
  • 410 Locust bean – may reduce cholesterol levels  
  • 160a - natural colour with a good safety record
I don’t know a lot about additives and everything I state above is from a quick google search that was supported by at least two different sources. But if you go by the rule of thumb when reading a food label “if you don’t know what it is, it can’t be good for you” then chilled custard has six items which I like to give the technical term - dodgy!

Furthermore, based on the recommended daily intake of store purchased custard, the sodium content is really good at 76mg per 100g. This is low in sodium according to the heart foundation. However, the Sugar is a bit high at 13.9 with the recommendation being under 10g per 100g. Or, if you are going by sugar guru Sarah Wilson, it’s really high, with her recommendation being 5g per 100g. Custard made with the Thermomix is also a bit high using Sarah Wilson’s guide, but you have the choice to reduce the sugar or swap it out for Stevia when you make it yourself.

I’m convinced, what about you? What are your thoughts?

Please note - I am definitely by no means an expert on food additives etc.
Please let me know if you believe anything to be incorrect so I can change it.

Further reading:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What is a Thermomix?

So you’ve heard all the hype but still have no idea what a Thermomix is and why on earth you would pay the best part of $2000 for one. Basically a Thermomix will replace a lot of the appliances you have in your kitchen and it will do a better and quicker job. Designed in Germany and made in France they are not just the latest fad and have been around for more than 40 years.

A Thermomix will chop, beat, mix, emulsify, mill, knead, blend, cook, stir, steam and weigh almost anything you can think of.

Plus hands free cooking: add all the ingredients turn it on and walk away.

“What about cleaning it?” I hear you ask, “I bet it’s a pain”. Well no, it’s not. You simply give it a quick rinse, add some water and a drop of dish washing liquid, and pulse on turbo for a few seconds. Then rinse it out again – ta da – clean. I’m not kidding.

There are three types of cooking you can do with your Thermomix:
1. Manual cooking - where you are in total control and adjust all the settings yourself
2. Guided cooking - with the onboard recipe chip, the new touch screen allows you to follow step by step instructions telling you exactly how to make all 180 recipes in the Basic Cook Book
3. Automated cooking (custard, yoghurt and rice) – the Thermomix will tell you exactly what ingredients to add, then you start it and walk away

So why do I want to buy one? I want to save money and be more healthy by cooking things from scratch. Also, I want to eat less takeaways, and I believe the Thermomix will make cooking meals less laborious and more exciting. I have heard others say that their children cook with it too - this excites me to get my kids involved with cooking. The first things on my list to cook when I get my Thermomix are bread, butter, custard, risotto, yoghurt and mashed potatoes (I’ve heard they are the best).

This really does sum it up, but I think you have to see it to believe it. So we will see. I’ve ordered mine…

For further reading check out these articles: