A Thermomix dinner party? Don't mind if we do, thanks. Food writer and Good Food reviewer, Dani Valent's latest cookbook Entertaining with Dani Valent, features themed Thermomix menus that you can whip up with less stress. Start with a vibing cocktail, move onto mains and finish up with a chocolate pudding to rival any restaurant's.
A classic mimosa combines champagne and orange juice. This version turns the orange element into frozen sherbet baubles which bob cheekily in the bubbles. The first sips of sparkling are reasonably unadulterated, then there's a delicious seepage of zesty orange flavours as time and conversation proceed.
3 oranges, juice and zest, finely grated
½ tsp citric acid*
½ tsp tartaric acid*
1 bottle sparkling wine (750g)
1. Place zest and sugar into mixing bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 10.
2. Add orange juice, citric acid and tartaric acid and cook for 5 minutes at 100C on speed 1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain liquid into a jug. Transfer liquid into ice cube trays or a shallow freezable container and place into freezer for a minimum of four hours or overnight to set. Clean and dry mixing bowl.
3. Place frozen orange mixture into the mixing bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 5.
4. Insert butterfly whisk. Mix for 5 seconds on speed 3. Remove butterfly whisk. Place mixture into a freezable container and place into freezer for a further two hours or until solid.
5. Place small scoops of sorbet into champagne glasses and top with sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
*Citric acid and tartaric acid can be found in most major supermarkets.
After freezing mixture, sorbet can be formed into frozen balls (using hands or spoons) and returned to freezer, ready to add to sparkling wine.
I always feel like I'm cheating when I serve this dip because it's so delicious but so incredibly simple. Three smoked elements ensure a triple whammy of flavour: smoked almonds are the key ingredient, backed by smoky paprika and the softer smokiness of the capsicums – roast your own if you can.
150g smoked almonds
500g roasted red capsicum (see tips)
50g sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt, to taste (optional)
1. Place almonds into mixing bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 7.
2. Add capsicum, vinegar and paprika and mix for 10 seconds on speed 5.
3. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula. Season to taste, then mix for 5 seconds on speed 4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Roasted red capsicum can be purchased in jars at the supermarket or from delicatessens. To make your own at home, roast capsicum over a gas flame, turning with tongs until blackened all over. Place into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes or until cooled. Peel and discard skin and deseed before using.
This dip also makes a great relish for grilled meats or toasted sandwiches, and can be added to risotto or soup as a flavoursome condiment.
You can store this dip in the refrigerator for up to three days
Inside-out chicken parmigiana
I've taken the classic pub parmigiana elements – chicken breast, breadcrumbs, cheese, ham and tomato passata – and turned them into an elegant main course that's easy to prepare ahead.
80g day-old sourdough bread, torn into pieces
1 lemon, zest only, no white pith
90g pitted green olives
2 garlic cloves
40g unsalted butter
400g liquid chicken stock
400g tomato passata, plus extra if needed
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 to 6 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 350g each)
4 to 6 slices prosciutto
4 to 6 stalks fresh silverbeet, stalks removed and leaves torn into strips
160g mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
pinch salt, to taste
pinch ground black pepper, to taste
1. Line a 30cm x 40 cm baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
2. Place bread, lemon zest, olives and one of the garlic cloves into mixing bowl and chop for 6 seconds on speed 7, or until a rough crumb consistency. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
3. Place eschalots and remaining garlic clove into mixing bowl and chop for 2 seconds on speed 5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
4. Add butter and cook for 3 minutes at 100C on speed 1.
5. Add chicken stock and passata. Place Varoma into position, weigh potatoes into dish and onto tray, secure Varoma lid and cook for 20 minutes on Varoma setting, speed 2.Transfer steamed potatoes onto prepared baking tray, toss with olive oil and set aside. Keep contents in mixing bowl.
6. Preheat oven to 190C.
7. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten each chicken breast into large pieces (1cm to 1.5 cm thick).
8. Place sheets of aluminium foil, slightly larger than each chicken breast, onto work surface, then line aluminium foil pieces with baking paper.
9. Place one chicken breast onto centre of each piece of baking paper. Distribute breadcrumb mixture evenly along length of each fillet, top with a slice of prosciutto, a piece of silverbeet and thin slices of mozzarella.
10. Using baking paper to assist, tightly roll chicken lengthways in the baking paper and foil to enclose filling, twisting ends to form a firm sausage shape.
11. Bake steamed potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes (190C), or until golden and crisp. Meanwhile, continue with recipe.
12. Check liquid level in mixing bowl and top up with extra passata to cover the blades, if required. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place two to three chicken breasts into Varoma dish and two to three onto Varoma tray, ensuring steam can circulate freely. Secure Varoma lid and cook for 20 to 25 minutes on Varoma setting, speed 2, or until chicken is cooked through (see tips). Set Varoma aside. Insert measuring cup. Blend for 30 seconds on speed 4 to 7, increasing speed gradually from speed 4 to speed 7.
13. Unwrap chicken and cut each roll into 2cm to 3cm scrolls. Place passata sauce onto plate, top with chicken and serve with potatoes.
Potatoes, passata sauce and chicken rolls can be prepared ahead of time and placed into the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
To check if chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre – if the juice runs clear, the chicken is cooked.
Steam extra vegetables or carrots in the Varoma with the chicken to add to your meal.
If your chicken breasts have the tenderloin attached, remove tenderloin and use it to create smaller rolls, perfect for younger children.
Chocolate lava spills from the volcano. Photo: Greg Elms
So called because they spill with "chocolate lava" these "volcanos" are based on a French recipe which Michel Bras tried to patent in 1981. It's been copied and developed by countless famous chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten (who also claims it as his own), Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay. This recipe borrows from the classic, with a little Nigella inspiration too.
150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp cocoa powder
350g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150g brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g plain flour
400g pouring cream
150g fresh raspberries, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease 8 ramekins or dariole moulds (125ml) with a little melted butter. Divide cocoa powder between each ramekin (½ teaspoon each) and rotate to coat bottom and sides evenly. Set ramekins aside.
2. Place chocolate into mixing bowl and grate for 5 seconds on speed 8. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
3. Add butter, sugar and salt and melt for 4 minutes at 60C on speed 2.
4. Mix for 2 minutes on speed 4, slowly adding eggs and egg yolks through hole in mixing bowl lid one at a time until combined.
5. Add vanilla bean paste and flour and mix for 20 seconds on speed 3.5, or until batter is a smooth consistency.
6. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and mix for 5 seconds on speed 4. Divide mixture between prepared ramekins, leaving a 5mm space at the top. Place into refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes. Clean and dry mixing bowl.
7. Place ramekins onto a 30cm x 40cm baking tray and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until top is smooth and crusty and springs back when pressed gently. Allow volcanos to cool for a few minutes.
8. Meanwhile, whip cream. Insert butterfly whisk. Place cream into mixing bowl and whip for 45 seconds on speed 3, or until soft peaks form, watching carefully through hole in mixing bowl lid to avoid over whipping. Remove butterfly whisk.
9. Turn out volcanos onto serving plates and serve with whipped cream and raspberries.
Filled, uncooked ramekins can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to two days or even frozen for up to two weeks. Place into the refrigerator to defrost and bake as per recipe.
This is an edited extract from Entertaining with Dani Valent by Dani Valent, RRP $60.00, published by Thermomix Australia, thermomix.com.au