Alyce Alexandra is Australia’s thermo cooking queen and the author of seven bestselling thermo cookbooks. Her latest, Everyday Thermo Cooking, has just been published by Penguin Random House. She shares her top tips on getting the most from your thermo cooker.
Without a doubt, thermo cookers make life in the kitchen quicker, easier, and much more enjoyable. However, like so many new technologies, without the know-how, your thermo cooker may end up being nothing more than a glorified dust-catcher. If you aren’t using your thermo cooker at least once a day, you need to rethink your strategy — not only is this a financial waste but a wasted opportunity.
These are my top tips for getting the most out of your thermo cooker.
It doesn’t do everything, but it can help with everything
Many users fail by trying to do everything in the Thermomix, inadvertently making life more difficult. While it is a truly amazing machine, sometimes doing things the old-fashioned way is actually quicker; you don’t need to worry about lining steaming trays with baking paper to steam your scrambled eggs, just get out the frying pan.
Conversely, people massively underrate the thermo cooker’s ability to help with everything — like a second set of hands in the kitchen. You might be making a traditional slow-cooked curry, but how about using the thermo cooker to chop your onions, garlic cloves, chilli, and ginger? The thermo cooker will have it done in five seconds flat, saving you a whole lot of time — and tears.
And if you need to crush spices and nuts, you’ll really love your thermo cooker’s help. Just because you aren’t using it to cook the whole dish, doesn’t mean it can’t make the process a lot easier. That mortar and pestle can go straight to the charity shop!
Cook like your grandma… with a fancy new gadget
We’ve left all those “old-fashioned” techniques like preserving and bread-making to the experts, but they are actually very easy with a thermo cooker. When it comes to jams, chutneys, and relishes, the thermo cooker holds the temperature steady and lovingly stirs, while you have a shower, clean the house, enjoy a glass of wine — you get the picture.
The messiest and most labour-intensive part of bread-making is the kneading, and the thermo cooker will have this done in two minutes flat. Not only will cooking more from scratch save you money, it gives you greater control over what you’re eating (and it’ll probably taste a whole lot better, too). Now that you’re thermo cooking, don’t be afraid to get back to basics.
Look at your pantry differently — it just got a whole lot bigger
There are so many ingredients you already have in the pantry that can be transformed by your thermo cooker — take a closer look before heading to the supermarket.
You'll be amazed at just what your thermo cooker can do – check out this recipe for vegan chocolate cakes
Got white sugar? In five seconds, you can have caster sugar — and in about a minute, you’ll have icing sugar. Got almonds? You’ve got almond meal. Rock salt? There’s your fine salt. A well-stocked pantry is essential for quick and easy home cooking, but you’ll find you don’t need to stock as many different ingredients, as you can easily whip them up on demand.
Get the right recipes, and let the experts make the mistakes
You likely already have a repertoire of favourite family recipes, but you’ll need to start from scratch when you’re thermo cooking. Until you’re confident enough to begin adapting your old collection, it’s best to use recipes developed specifically for a thermo cooker and let someone else (like me!) do the trialling and testing.
Thermo cooking methods often require less liquid than conventional cooking and can operate using backwards steps. The blades are also deceivingly powerful — I once watched my dad make cucumber soup instead of cucumber salad!
In the kitchen, there’s nothing more disheartening than a disaster dish, so stick to trusted sources when it comes to recipes, and build up your confidence and skills.
Everyday Thermo Cooking by Alyce Alexandra, published by Penguin Random House, is available now for RRP $39.99.
Do you have any tips for using a thermo cooker? Share them below!