Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla Bean Paste
I  purchase vanilla beans from the ladies over at Sistermixin. If you are looking for a supplier of beans I highly recommend these ones, they are large and very plump and fresh. My order always arrives very quickly and the beans are priced very well.

I  like to make  vanilla bean paste to keep in the cupboard to have ready to spoon out to use. When I first made the paste I researched quite a few recipes on the internet but decided to use the one that the Sistermixin ladies have used themselves. I figured if they sell the beans then they must be a reliable source for a paste recipe :)

And I was not wrong – the recipe is very simple to make, and it keeps well with (so far) no sign of any crystallization. I only make one slight adjustment to the recipe; I use 10 beans instead of the 6-8 they suggest. Otherwise I follow the recipe exactly – you can find it here.
The recipe requires vanilla extract, which is easy to purchase, but you can also make this yourself. The Sistermixin ladies also provide a recipe for this (in their free Christmas e-book). Or there are several other recipes online, such as this one from Changing Habits, here

The paste has a variety of uses, I add it to all types of baking (cakes, muffins, slices). Wherever ‘vanilla’ or ‘vanilla essence’ is asked for I use paste instead. It is also lovely when used to flavour home made yoghurt, ice-cream, milkshakes, jam, puddings, sauces… it has so many uses. It is not a thick consistency, so don’t be surprised it if seems a lot runnier than the shop purchased paste. This is normal and the taste is just a potent.

Once you have tasted the difference you will be instantly converted. And, as with anything you make yourself, you know exactly what is in it when you make it from scratch.

Apricot Sauce

ApricotSauce copy
Another apricot inspired creation! This is ridiculously easy, but quite a versatile sweet sauce. And it used up a few more fruit from the bottomless bowl of apricots on my bench!
Use this as you would berry coulis; pour over yoghurt or ice-cream, eat on porridge or oats, drizzle on desserts or flavour smoothies. You can also use this  in cakes and baking. I created a delicious apricot slice by adding this to my crumble slice recipe instead of lemon curd (you can find the recipe here). This sauce has a much lower sugar to fruit ratio than jam so cannot be preserved. Best to make it and eat it within a week. Store  in a sealed container in the fridge.

Apricot Sauce
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 500g apricots
  • 70g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
Method
  1. De-seed and halve the apricots, add to the Tmx bowl with sugar and vanilla.
  2. Cook at 80 degrees, 5 minutes, speed 4.

 

Roasted Beetroot Hommus

RoastedBeetrootDip copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
One of the things I love most about my Thermomix is that I am encouraged to make so many more foods from scratch. Hommus for example – in all my years of owning a food processor I never made my own hommus, but with the Thermomix sitting on the bench I now make it quite often. I love my Thermo for lots of other reasons too! But being motivated to create pantry and fridge staples is a huge positive for me.

I often make plain hommus (using the recipe in the EDC) but at this time of year we have lots of beetroot ready in our garden. So this is a good way to use a few up, the bright red colour of the dip is also nice when entertaining. You can make this dip using raw beetroot but I like to roast it first with garlic to give it a slightly more caramalised flavour. If you have the oven on to cook a meal or roast some other vegetables just pop your tray of beetroot in there at the same time. If you don’t want to make the dip straight away you can put the cooked beetroot in the fridge to zap up later into the dip.

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Roasted Beetroot Hommus
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 300g beetroot peeled and cut into chunks about 5cm
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 30g tahini
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 400g can chick peas drained and rinsed
Method
  1. Lay the beetroot on a baking tray with garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Roast until soft and starting to caramilise. About 45 minutes.
  3. Add the beetroot mix to the Tmx bowl with drained chick peas, tahini and lemon juice.
  4. Process at speed 4-5 for 40 seconds, or until the consistency that you prefer is achieved.

 

Moroccan Carrot Dip

CarrotCuminDip copy

I first tasted this at my work Christmas party – and loved it. I asked around and searched the Internet for recipe hints and then created my own. The key ingredients are, of course, the carrot and cumin. The smell of the cumin as it roasts will make your kitchen smell divine.

This can easily be done without the help of a Thermomix or Thermal cooker, but it does make it easier if you have one. It is really nice served straight away while still warm. But it is still very tasty eaten cold if you want to make in advance and store in the fridge. Part of the appeal for me, other than the taste, is the way the dip is presented with a layer of natural yoghurt on the top. It looks lovely once dipped into revealing the bright orange carrot layer below.

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Moroccan Carrot Dip
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 300g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ cup natural Greek style yoghurt
Method
  1. Chop the carrots, garlic and and onion, at speed 5 for 3 seconds.
  2. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and sprinkle the cumin and paprika over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes. Don't let it get too crispy.
  3. Pour the mixture back to the Tmx bowl and add tahini and lemon juice. Blend speed 6-7 for 15-20 seconds until your desired consistency is reached.
  4. To serve smooth into serving bowl and top with a layer of natural Greek style yoghurt. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.

Onion & Red Wine Jam

OnionJam copy
Onion jam can be used in many ways. We had some with home made burgers this week; we spread it on like relish and it added a lovely flavour. I also served a small bowl of the jam with a plate of chicken and corn sausage rolls  at a shared supper – yum!

It is a great accompaniment to eat with any meat dish, and can also be used as a base in tarts or quiches. It is also wonderful to serve in a ploughman’s style platter with cheese, crackers and cold meats.

I have made some to give as gifts this Christmas this year. Store the jam in sterlised jars in the fridge, it will keep for up to three months. If you don’t have a thermal cooker you can adapt this recipe to the stove top. Slice the onions by hand and cook stirring over a medium to low head until reduced and caramalised. I would suggest using a heavy based pan.

The batch in the photo was made with brown onions (which is what I had on hand at the time), but you could use red onions as an alternative for a slightly sweeter flavour.

Onion & Red Wine Jam
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 2 x 250ml jars
Ingredients
  • 5 large onions (red or brown) peeled and quartered
  • 20g olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 70g red wine
  • 40g balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt, pepper to taste
Method
  1. Place onions, garlic, salt, pepper and oil in the Tmx bowl and chop 4 seconds, speed 5. Be careful not to overchop and turn it to mush!
  2. Cook at Varoma temp for 8 minutes, reverse speed 1.
  3. Add sugar, wine and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 20 minutes at 100 degrees, reverse speed soft, with the measuring cup off.
  4. Store in sterlised jars

Lemon Curd

LemonButter copy
You can use any citrus to flavour this buttery treat, lemon is of course perfect, but I have also used lime juice or a mix of lemon and lime. You could try orange also, which I am sure would be lovely, but I prefer the sharp tang that lemons (and limes) offer.

I have been making this since I was a teenager, because I like to eat it (!!) and also because it makes a sweet gift.
The curd can be used as a topping for desserts such as ice-cream, a filling for cakes, stirred through yoghurt, spread on sweet pastries (such as croissant or brioche), as a tart filling, or simply spread on toast! I like it very tart, but you can adjust the citrus content to suit your own taste.

I used to make this on the stove top (stirring it in a basin over a saucepan of boiling water) but the Thermomix makes this an absolute breeze to create. It almost seems ridiculous that this is made in just 9 minutes with no fuss or stirring by hand, and the results are consistently excellent.

At the end of the cooking time check the curd, if it coats the back of a spoon it is ready. If not, extend the cooking time by a minute or two. Pour into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge.

 

Lemon Curd
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 4 medium jars
Ingredients
  • Juice of 2 lemons or 4 limes
  • Rind of 1 lemon or 2 limes
  • 220g sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 4 eggs
Method
  1. Cut the rind from the lemon (or limes) I use a potato peeler to do this.
  2. Place rind and sugar in Tmx and blitz speed 9, 20 seconds until finely milled.
  3. Scrape sides of the bowl down.
  4. Place butterfly into the Tmx and add all other ingredients.
  5. Cook for 9 minutes, 80 degrees, speed 2.
  6. Pour into sterilised jars. It will thicken as it chills.
Notes
To sterilise jars I suggest one of these four methods:
1. Wash jars and then heat both jars and lids in a 120 degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove and fill immediately with filling (use tongs to handle them!)
2. Wash and rinse jars and pour a small amount of water in each (1-2cm) place jars in microwave and heat until boiling (1-2 minutes). Remove, empty water, let air dry then fill. To sterilise lids pour boiling water over them.
3. Place jars and lids into the dishwasher, wash on the hottest setting, remove and let air dry then use.
4. Place jars and lids into a saucepan of cool water. Fully submerge jars and bring to the boil on the stove top. Boil for ten minutes. Remove carefully with tongs and air dry.

Remember to fill hot jars with hot liquid, and cooled jars with cooled liquid.
DON'T pour hot liquid into cool jars or cool liquid into hot jars, the glass could shatter.

 

Salted Caramel Sauce

SaltedCaramelSauce copy
This is another super simple but ultra delicious and easy recipe that makes a great gift.

Use a nice jar and some ribbon or twine, and hey presto, a lovely gift that tastes amazing too. I use this sauce as a topping for ice-cream, to pour over puddings or cakes, in tarts, to flavour milkshakes, to top or stir through cheesecakes, or to flavour muffins or cake mixtures.
Or…you could just eat it from the jar…so I’m told anyhow 😉

Store this in sterilised jars and heat before serving (as it will set and thicken when cool)

The four ingredients in this recipe are sugar, cream, butter and salt; so it is no wonder it tastes amazing! But enjoy in moderation.
Personally I really love the salt against sweet flavour combination, so if making this for myself I sometimes bump up the salt to a full teaspoon. But if gifting, keep it at half a teaspoon.

This is the same sauce that I use in my salted caramel brownie recipe that you can find here. It makes enough to fill two small to medium sized jars.
The jar in the photograph has a rubber seal, so I used the boiling method to sterilise these.

Salted Caramel Sauce
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: 2 medium jars
Ingredients
  • 110g brown sugar
  • 75g cream
  • 75g butter (salted preferably)
  • ½ tsp rock salt
Method
  1. Place all ingredients into the Tmx bowl and cook 8 minutes, Varoma temperature, speed 2.
  2. Pour into sterilised jars and let cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge to store.
Notes
To sterilise jars I suggest one of these four methods:
1. Wash jars and then heat both jars and lids in a 120 degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove and fill immediately with filling (use tongs to handle them!)
2. Wash and rinse jars and pour a small amount of water in each (1-2cm) place jars in microwave and heat until boiling (1-2 minutes). Remove, empty water, let air dry then fill. To sterilise lids pour boiling water over them.
3. Place jars and lids into the dishwasher, wash on the hottest setting, remove and let air dry then use.
4. Place jars and lids into a saucepan of cool water. Fully submerge jars and bring to the boil on the stove top. Boil for ten minutes. Remove carefully with tongs and air dry.

Remember to fill hot jars with hot liquid, and cooled jars with cooled liquid.
DON'T pour hot liquid into cool jars or cool liquid into hot jars, the glass could shatter.

 

Fruit Mince

FruitMince copy

Home made fruit mince will make your fruit mince pies taste amazing. I make a batch of this every year and keep it in the fridge, then when I feel like pies I just make some pastry and the filling is ready to go. It freezes really well too, either before baking it or after (once it is in pie form!).
This also makes a really nice gift packaged up in a jar with a nice label. Nothing says Christmas more than fruit mince!
I normally make my fruit mince the same weekend that I make my fruit cake, as quite a few of the ingredients are the same and I can use the leftovers from one for the other.

My mum makes this same recipe every year too, she doesn’t have a Thermomix so she chops the ingredients by hand (and uses her food processor for the nuts). She also leaves the mixed peel out as Dad is not a fan 😉 You can also exchange the brandy for apple juice if you prefer.

Fruit Mince
 
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Recipe type: Baking
Serves: Approx 600g
Ingredients
  • 1 green apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 120g sultanas
  • 120g raisins
  • 60g mixed peel
  • 65g cherries
  • 130g blanched almonds
  • 95g currants
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp orange rind
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 90g butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brandy
Method
  1. Place apple, dried fruits, almonds, sugar, butter, rind and orange juice into the Tmx bowl. Chop speed 5-6 for 10 seconds.
  2. Add the spices and brandy and heat for 3 minutes, 100 degrees, reverse speed 2.
  3. Store in the fridge for at at least a week before using.
Notes
If making this for myself I keep it in a container in the fridge - it keeps well for about 6 weeks. You can also freeze this.
If giving away as gifts store in sterilised jars. It will keep for up to 6 months this way (kept in the fridge)
To sterilise jars I suggest one of these four methods:
1. Wash jars and then heat both jars and lids in a 120 degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove and fill immediately with filling (use tongs to handle them!)
2. Wash and rinse jars and pour a small amount of water in each (1-2cm) place jars in microwave and heat until boiling (1-2 minutes). Remove, empty water, let air dry then fill. To sterilise lids pour boiling water over them.
3. Place jars and lids into the dishwasher, wash on the hottest setting, remove and let air dry then use.
4. Place jars and lids into a saucepan of cool water. Fully submerge jars and bring to the boil on the stove top. Boil for ten minutes. Remove carefully with tongs and air dry.

Remember to fill hot jars with hot liquid, and cooled jars with cooled liquid.
DON'T pour hot liquid into cool jars or cool liquid into hot jars, the glass could shatter.

Dukkah

Dukkah
Dukkah is an Egyptian mix of nuts, seeds and spices that is roasted and ground. The blend of ingredients can be varied to suit you own tastes, this recipe is a combination that I like to make. But you can vary to suit you own tastes. You could add hazelnuts instead of the nut mix I have suggested. Chilli (flakes), fennel or coriander seeds are other spices and seeds you might like to try. Experiment to see what you like.
We most often eat this as a dipping mixture – dunk crusty bread into olive oil and then into the dukkah (then into your mouth!). But there are many other options for how to use this tasty mix; use as a crunchy topping sprinkled on salads, roasted vegetables or as a rub for fish or meat. Try coating chicken strips and then pan fry – crunchy tasty chicken tenders in no time at all!

I  store the dukkah in a sealed container in the fridge. Particularly as this mixture has macadamias in it. Stored this way the dukkah will last several weeks.
It also makes a lovely gift, great for Christmas time.
This recipe makes a large quantity – enough to make 5 small gift sized jars to give away and still have some left over for yourself.

 

Dukkah
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: Lots!
Ingredients
  • 150g roasted almonds
  • 50g pistachio nuts
  • 50g macadamia nuts
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 10g chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp rock salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
Method
  1. Place almonds, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom seeds into Tmx bowl and dry roast 100 degrees, 9 minutes, speed 1.
  2. Remove the lid from the bowl and carefully spread the roasted mixture onto a tray or large plate to cool down.
  3. Once cooled, add back to the bowl with the remaining ingredients lock the lid and turbo pulse 3-4 times until a large breadcrumb consistency is achieved. I like to leave a few larger chunks of nuts in my mix, as it looks nice. Be careful not to over-blitz, use the pulse button in short bursts and check in between.
  4. Store the dukkah in airtight containers in the fridge. It will keep for several weeks.

 

Guacomole

Guacamole copyWe have two avocado trees in our yard, and this year we had quite a large crop. Yum! We made this recipe quite often to use up slightly overripe fruit. Guacamole is great for dipping, dolloping (nachos) and even spreading in sandwiches. This is the version that we make, it is easy to tweak to suit your own tastes by varying the amount of chilli.

Guacomole
 
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Recipe type: Dips & Condiments
Serves: Large bowl
Ingredients
  • 2 large ripe avocados (keep one seed)
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ of a medium sized red onion
  • 1 fresh chilli (with or without seeds depending on how hot you like it!)
  • Juice of 1 lime (or you can use a small lemon if you don't have lime)
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves and stems
  • Salt to season
Method
  1. Place all ingredients into the Tmx bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds until combined to your preferred texture. Easy! We like it quite smooth so I mix for closer to 10 seconds.
  2. Pour into serving bowl with extra coriander leaves chopped or torn on top and the reserved seed placed in it. This helps to retain the colour (and looks good too).