The excitement is palpable, the stage set, a loud electronic dubstep beat is pulsing, syncopating; faster, and slow, faster again. Smoke engulfs the audience, hands rise up through the eerie mist, a crescendo builds, the haze clears revealing? Deep breath; no it's not Eurovision 2014 or the unveiling of the F-35, or even a new age church service. Is that a blender?
Well this is not your average blender, this is new Thermomix TM5! – drop that beat! - I made the mistake of calling this ``just a blender" on a social media platform and received death threats, well it seemed like that.
Like many, maybe I'm just seething the same ``outrage in the suburbs" as reported this week and dissed on my now outdated Thermomix TM31, sitting idly in the corner like a some ancient mortar and pestle. It's like when you buy a car and a month later they bring out a new model with just different lights on it, and all of a sudden you are cruising around in just an expensive ``older" car. Mind I have had the TM31 for a while so it's not like I just purchased the very last outdated machine. I wonder who that person was? I guess this has to happen at some stage, and middle Australia is ropeable. It's a little over the top, had to happen at some stage, it's not as though you just spent your career in the RAAF learning to fly the F-22 and then the presumably stealthier F-35 Lightning hits our shores.
The good news is, if you are thinking of joining this cult, there is an absolute flood of the old versions online getting cheaper by the day. You can get the TM5 which as far as I can see looks a little sleeker, has an interactive menu log and more accurate controls. Think of it like the cyborg assassin from Terminator as opposed the rather feminine "Terminatrix" in Terminator 3. They both still kick-ass majorly, one just looks better doing it.
Oh well, I apologise to my now rapidly depreciating little unit, don't worry I still love you, every day in every way you complete me. I don't mention it much but I do use this machine a lot, it's like having a helper around. Not quite like the volume of help Wang-wang and Funi are getting during their fleeting courtship, but help just the same. On that tangent, you have to wonder if a species, sure it's fodder for YouTube, but you have to wonder at their actual survival prospects if their mating season is so short and they are so bad at it. You can imagine – Leave it alone Bryan - there's that voice again - no this works - with a day and a half window, you'd be practicing like crazy beforehand.
I am a bit of a sucker for kitchen equipment as my over-flowing shelves and drawers attest. Some buys are better than others, like I love the smoking gun but the thermo-whip has had but one use as it took me three days to clean it. I'll start looking for new equipment with plenty of time before an event like birthdays and Christmas. Not being too subtle, that gets you nowhere.
My friend and food stylist, David Reist, who isn't lacking in un-necessary equipment, demonstrated his slow juicer, and I just had to have one. So I started a few weeks before Father's Day, the family would wake up to the house rattling to its core as I juiced beetroot in our old centrifuge juicer that takes up half the bench "Sorry, can't hear you, if only there was something quieter?" As I served up the aerated, blasted juice that had been fine for the last five years. I'd then continue "Wow, that must really affect the quality of the juice and to think there is a slow, quite, small juice press, you can see it there on ebay.."
I end up just ordering it myself so that it does arrive in time, no-one seems to query this behaviour. Now we have beautiful clear, stable juice. It is amazing how they work and seem to be able to get juice out of anything, like I'm talking kale. If this juicer can get a drop of moisture out of this questionable superfood, then I'm going to see if I can extract water out of a rock, because that's the next level of hydration below kale.
It's quite amazing what you can get juice from, I've played around with all sort of fruit and no surprises there but then tried onions and garlic, potato – well there's limited call for potato juice but as always I'm just trying to find those boundaries. You can make soy and almond milk from beans or nuts soaked overnight. You are only limited by your imagination and physics.
One of the many processes the Thermomix can do well is whip up a pretty decent sorbet in no time at all. You just slow press the juice - and I've been into the blood oranges this week, they are so good, this I believe is a superfood – add enough sugar to balance the acid, blitz quickly and then add heaps of ice plus an egg white. Rev the machine up, it's pretty wild and in 10 seconds you have this glossy, bright red sorbet. Only thing is you have to use it straight away and, given the amount of ice, tends to dilute the flavour a tad. A true ice cream machine will of course churn a sorbet. If you have one you'll know the technique so here's a list of some cracking sorbet blends to play around with. First make sugar syrup with 1 cup sugar per 600ml water, dissolve, reduce by a half and chill before use. Then add the other ingredients and churn. Always taste the concoction first to get this acid/sugar balance - it will taste sweeter when frozen - and lots of alcohol to calm your outrage.
500ml blood orange juice, 2 nips Campari, 100ml syrup
500g strawberries, puree and sieved, 15ml good balsamic vinegar, 200ml syrup
1 pineapple, peeled, sliced and char-grilled, juiced, 150ml white rum, 100ml syrup - awesome
2 dozen large passionfruit, pulp strained, 300ml syrup
4 ruby grapefruit, juiced, 100ml Lillet aperitif, 300ml syrup
If you are smugly making these in your brand new TM5, use powdered sugar, add an egg white and then 300g ice to blitz.