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Dani Valent - In The Mix with Summer Entertaining

A former travel guide writer for Lonely Planet, turned food writer for publications like The Sunday Age and cookbook author in her own right, Dani Valent’s eyes visibly sparkle at any chance to take people on an adventure, especially when there’s a Thermomix involved.

For her, teaching others how to get the most out of their Thermomix is another opportunity to do just that – encouraging them to go out of their comfort zone and try their hand at something beyond blitzing or whizzing.

Dani first heard of Thermomix seven years ago when she was writing a story for The Age about chefs and the gadget they all wanted next. They all said Thermomix! Dani didn’t even know what a Thermo-thingie was but she was intrigued enough to host a demo. That was where the obsession began When thinking about the menu for this special Happy 150th birthday Prahran Market! Demo, Dani’s watchwords were ‘easy’ and ‘summer’ – and of course Thermomix!

The Beef Stir-Fry is great for family meals and relaxed entertaining. Dani loves the way it uses the Varoma to feed a crowd. “This dish also showcases three amazing Thermo-techniques: steaming meat, layered cooking (we cook rice, meat and omelette at once!) and stir-frying vegies – who woulda thunk?”

The sorbet uses summer stonefruit to create a refreshing and easy dessert or snack. Dani sprinkles Chilli Lime Crumb over the sorbet to add spicy tingle to the peachy smoothness. She also serves the Chilli Lime Crumb with rockmelon cubes – “this is a great nibbles plate to add zing to a gathering,” she says.

The Trout Blini are wonderful for entertaining too, and all three elements (fish, pancakes and dill crème fraiche) can be made ahead of time and assembled at the last minute. Dani also chose this dish to showcase sous vide cooking in the Thermomix.

These recipes and many more are available in her cookbooks – In The Mix and In The Mix 2 – a collection of some of the world’s best chefs and cooks using the Thermomix for good not evil. Both can be picked up at Essential Ingredient.

If you’re yet to see a Thermomix in action, or have recently become the proud owner of a TM and want to see what it can do, look out for further Edible Adventures demos in the Blanco Kitchen in the new year. We look forward to welcoming Dani back in time for some Autumn Entertaining!

Thermomix Beef Stir-Fry

Recipe by Dani Valent, from In the Mix: Great Thermomix Recipes

I was sceptical about the ability of the Thermomix to stir-fry but, after plenty of experimenting, I’m won over. The Thermomix doesn’t replicate the fierce heat of a wok so its stir-fry is gentler, but persuasively delicious. In this dish, everything – rice, vegetables, steak and omelette – is made in the Thermomix.

Time: 45 minutes, plus at least 20 minutes steak marinating. Serves 4 (increase meat and vegetable quantities to serve more)

2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 spring onions, white part only
30 grams oyster sauce
50 grams soy sauce
50 grams sugar
10 grams sesame oil
300 grams rump or porterhouse steak, or more if you’re feeding more, whole not sliced
3 eggs
70 grams rice per person (up to 400 grams)
30 grams vegetable oil
10 grams ginger
chilli, fresh or paste, to taste
400 grams mixed vegetables, such as purple cabbage, carrots, broccoli, bok choi and beans, cut into bite-sized portions

  1. First, make the steak marinade. Put the garlic cloves and spring onions in the TM bowl and chop for 2 seconds/speed 7. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil to the TM bowl, and mix for 10 seconds/speed 3. Rub all the marinade into the steak leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes or more.
  2. Don’t clean the TM bowl. Put the TM basket in place, weigh in 70 grams of rice per person, then pour over 1 kilogram of water. Wash the rice by mixing for 10 seconds/speed 5. Place the marinated steak in the base of the Varoma and pour the steak marinating liquid over it. Put the Varoma tray in place, over the steak, then take a large sheet of baking paper, dampen with water, scrunch it up, then spread it over the Varoma tray. Crack 3 eggs into a bowl and whisk them. Tip the eggs onto the baking paper in the Varoma tray.
  3. Cook the rice, steak and omelette for 20 minutes/Varoma/speed 4.
  4. When the timer has finished, tip the rice into a Thermoserver or other heatproof bowl and rest the steak and omelette on top. Cover with the lid or foil.
  5. Wash and dry the TM bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in the TM bowl for 2 minutes/Varoma/speed 1. Add the ginger and fresh chillies or chilli paste to taste. Chop for 2 seconds/speed 7, then scrape down. Add the mixed vegetables and cook for 6 minutes/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1. To plate it up, mound the rice in a bowl. Slice the steak and omelette, and arrange the meat, vegetables and omelette on top.

Chilli Lime Crumb

Recipe by Sam Massari, from Dani Valent’s In the Mix: Great Thermomix Recipes

Use this flavoured salt to sprinkle over melon or sorbet for a spicy kick.

2 cinnamon sticks, roughly broken
salt flakes, such as Murray River salt, to taste (I didn’t use any at the market)
10 grams Szechuan peppercorns
15 grams coriander seeds
6 star anise
10 grams chilli flakes, or dried chillies
6 cardamom pods
zest of 6 limes
20 Kaffir lime leaves

  1. Place all ingredients in the TM bowl and toast for 7 minutes/100 degrees/speed 2 until fragrant. Blitz for 1 minute/speed 10 until the spices become a fine powder.
  2. The flavoured salt is an incredibly versatile condiment. Turn cantaloupe or honeydew melon wedges from a kids’ snack to a thrilling grown-up nibble: arrange cut melon on a platter and sprinkle with the salt.
  3. The salt can also be tossed with nuts and a drizzle of olive oil, then roasted in the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the nuts are toasted.
  4. It is also great tossed with popcorn and roast vegetables, such as sweet potato wedges, or you can stir roughly 10 grams of the salt through mayonnaise for an added kick.

Confit Ocean Trout Blini

Recipe by Dani Valent from In the Mix 2: More Great Thermomix Recipes

Blini are mini pancakes made with yeasted batter and earthy buckwheat flour. The trout is cooked ‘sous vide’ style—that is, placed in a sealed bag and poached at a low temperature. Locking the trout in the bag with olive oil—that is, cooking the protein in fat—is what makes it ‘confit’. The fish absorbs the flavours of the poaching liquor while staying moist and plump. The result is an elegant and delicious canapé. The blini and the trout can be made a day ahead and assembled just before serving. For an even simpler snack, top blini with smoked salmon.

Time: 1 hour 45 minutes. Makes about 70

Blini
320 grams milk
20 grams honey
60 grams butter
40 grams Greek yoghurt
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
100 grams buckwheat flour
100 grams plain flour
1 sachet / 2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
large pinch of salt flakes
vegetable oil, for frying

  1. Place milk, honey and butter in the TM bowl. Melt for 3 minutes/60 degrees/speed 2. Add the Greek yoghurt and egg yolks. Mix for 10 seconds/speed 4.
  2. Add the buckwheat flour, plain flour, yeast and salt flakes to the TM bowl. Mix for 10 seconds/speed 5. Transfer the batter to a large bowl, and leave it to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. (If you have two TM bowls, let the batter rise in the bowl with the lid on.) While the batter is rising, prepare the ocean trout.
  3. Once the batter has risen, insert Butterfly into a clean, dry TM bowl. Place egg whites into TM bowl and whisk for 1 minute/speed 4. Reduce to speed 2 and slowly pour blini batter in, while blades are rotating. Scrape down, if necessary, and continue for a few more seconds on speed 2.
  4. Lightly oil a frypan and gently heat. Add a tablespoon of batter to make the first blini, cooking for a couple of minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip when light golden on the base. As they cook, remove blinis from pan. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as required.

Confit Ocean Trout

2 ocean trout fillets, about 130 grams each, skinned
60 grams olive oil
few sprigs of dill
3 strips orange or mandarin zest

  1. While the batter is rising, prepare the ocean trout. Place the trout fillets in a ziplock bag keeping the fillets side by side if possible (some overlap is fine). Add the olive oil, dill and orange or mandarin zest. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag and seal it. Place bag in the TM basket and set basket aside while the water is heating.
  2. Pour 1.5 litres cold water in the TM bowl. Heat for 6 minutes/70 degrees/speed 2, or until the temperature reaches 70 degrees. Place TM basket containing the ocean trout in the TM bowl. Cook for 8 minutes/70
  3. Remove the TM basket and set ocean trout aside to cool a little. Remove trout from the bag and gently pull apart into small pieces, discarding any stray bones. Cool to room temperature if assembling blini straight away. Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

To Serve

3 sprigs of dill, finely chopped
200 grams crème fraîche or sour cream
caviar (optional)

  1. Stir dill through the crème fraîche or sour cream and spoon a little on to each blini. Top with the confit trout. Add caviar, if using, then arrange on a platter to serve.

Peach and Coconut Sorbet

Recipe by Dani Valent

600 grams peaches
80 grams raw sugar
50 grams coconut milk
1 egg white

  1. Place 500 grams water in TM bowl. Place TM basket in TM bowl. Slit skin of peaches and place in TM basket. You may need to cut some up to fit them in. Steam peaches for 10 minutes/Varoma/speed 1. Remove basket, and when peaches are cool enough to touch, slip skin from peaches.
  2. Cut peach flesh from stones and place in a shallow container in the freezer. When peach flesh is frozen, make your sorbet.
  3. Follow Fruity Dream instructions on TM5, or proceed as follows.
  4. Place raw sugar in dry TM bowl. Blitz for 10 seconds/speed 9. Add peach and coconut milk. Chop for 10 seconds/speed 8. Scrape down mixture and loosen from base of bowl. Add egg white. Place Butterfly in TM bowl. Mix for 30 seconds/speed 3, or until fluffy and smooth. Serve immediately or place in freezer for later use.
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