Sunday, 27 July 2014

Coleslaw, Coffee, and Kedgeree

Made a very appetising coleslaw today.   I started by chopping the carrots before adding the rest of the vegetables this time.  I added a small garlic clove, some ready made mayo, some greek yoghurt and a bit of wine vinegar.

The pieces were very small, I let it blitz for too long.  Tasted lovely.

Later, I made an iced coffee, and I'll be making that again.

MH is using it to cook his dinner, Kedgeree.  I don't like Kedgeree, but he really does, and it's looking like the Thermomix is going to be good for this too.

I also made a sourdough loaf - but I didn't use Thermy for that.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Tomato and lentil soup

I went out to dinner. MH made tomato and lentil soup, using our home made passata. Success!


I wanted to make a 500g loaf, with some ground seeds, some wholemeal flour, and a bit of rye flour. I used the quantities from my bread machine book. Thermy mixed and then kneaded beautifully, but the dough eas too wet. I added a biy more flour and kneaded by hand. I then put it in a banneton, put the banneton in a plastic bag and left it on my windsowsill to rise. I forgot about it for hours, and when I remembered it hasd risen and collapsed a bit. I heated my oven using the bread setting and a stone. I poired the soggy dough onto the pizza stone and baked it. It turned out better than it looked. The lack of success was completely down to me.


I make butter in large quantities, usually converting 8 to 10 litres of double cream in one session.   For years I have used my KitchenAid(KA), and have worked out a production line to do it efficiently.

The downsides are that is a bit messy - when the butter forms, the buttermilk sloshes out of the bowl - and it's hard to get butter off the beaters.  We've partiallly solved the messiness, by adapting a Kitchen Aid bowl lid to fit on the machine whilst the beater is in use.

I'd heard that Thermy could be used for buttermaking.  I wasn't convinced.  Vitamix also make that claim and, yes, you can get butter - but it's hard to get it out of the container, and a lot of it gets stuck around the blade.

I decided to try a comparison test today.

It's not ideal conditions. It's very hot outside, and this always makes the process more difficult.  My measurements are also not scientific, I didn't clean the bowls completely in between times etc.

TEST1: Follow the the Thermy Recipe.

Maximum 1 litre (I put 1.5 litres in my KA normally, so even if this works it's going to mean 10 runs instead of 6).

The speed that the TM book said was quite fast. I'm already anticipating failure.  Butter making isn't about fast, you need the butterfat molecules to gently bang together and combine to make butter. Too fast and you end up with nothing more than whipped cream.

After some time, sorry didn't measure how long, I was stuck with whipped cream.

I scraped down and carried on.  Eventually, it turned into butter and buttermilk.  I poured off the buttermilk and put the butter back on again for a few secs (to spin more buttermilk out), drained, repeated.

The butter looked OK, good so far.  And it didn't splash everywhere.

Now,  the TM handbook also says you can wash the butter.  I normally do this in a colander and with a running cold water tap.   I followed the TM instructions. I measured in about 500ml of water, spun it, drained it. Repeated, until the water was clearish.

By this time my butter was rather runny.  This could be the heat,  or it could be the beating has whipped it full of air,  or it could be it incorporated water.   I didn't measure the waste water, so I can't tell.

Preliminary Results:
271ml Buttermilk
697g Butter, which is white and very soft

Initial Conclusion:
Not enough buttermilk extracted.  If I was using the butter immediately, it would be OK. But if I intend to keep it for a couple of days, it will go rancid very quickly 

Control Test - KA
One litre of milk, to match the others.  This also took quite some time to turn, more than normal,  so I guess the ambient temperature (it being a baking hot day) is a factor here.

Preliminary Results:
332ml Buttermilk
557g Butter, which is yellow and quite firm

Test 2: Use the whisk.
Expectation: This will fail.  I once tried to do this in my Magimix food processor (I swapped that for another brand last year).  I bent the egg whisk,  I could see this being similar.  However, the whisk is a bit more robust.

One litre of cream, speed 4.   This turned into butter very quickly.  I drained the buttermilk, and put it bac on for another spin.  The whisk couldn't move. (I'm not surprised).  I took the whisk out and carried on without.

Preliminary Results:
258ml Buttermilk
884g Butter, which is white and very thin.

Initial Conclusions:
Not enough buttermilk extracted,.  If I was using the butter immediately, it would be OK. But if I intend to keep it for a couple of days, it will go rancil very quickly  

This looked much better after the first spin than the "Test 1" version. If the whisk had been stronger (more like a beater) then this probably would have been more successful

Test 3 - Follow TM recipe, but wash manually

Preliminary Results:
180ml Buttermilk
750g Butter

This result - the worst of all so far - was possibly accidentally sabotaged by me trying to use the spatula to help churn.

Test 4 - Use TM, no whisk, but mix only at speed 4.  For washing, use reverse blade at low speed
This initially looked really promising. The butter was slower to churn than using the whisk, but it was the same golden colour intially.

This time I measured the water that I put in for washing, and the water I drained off.

Preliminary Results:
295ml Buttermilk
680g Butter

1550ml water used to wash butter, 1432ml recovered.

This is the most promising version.  My water recovery was OK for the first and second spins, it went wrong in the third spin.

I need to work on this option some more. Good job I have 10 litres of cream. 

Test 4 - Use TM, no whisk,  mix only at speed 4, wash by hand

Preliminary Results:
290ml Buttermilk
736g Butter

Butter is still pale, but much firmer than previous attempts

Test 5 - Use TM, no whisk,  mix only at speed 4, drain, mix again on reverse at low speed to eject more buttermilk, then wash by machine using reverse blade at low speed

Preliminary Results:
320ml Buttermilk
675g Butter

Annoyingly I managed to spill the measured water everywhere so I have no idea how effective it was. However, I can see from the final weight that a good amount of water had been ejected.

Butter after the extraction was a good colour and relatively firm.  It was softer and paler after washing.

Test 6 - Repeat test 5, but then wash by hand
679g butter

Test 7 - TM, no whisk, speed 4, drain, a second, drain, second, drain, wash by hand
This was going well, but I couldn't resist putting in a fast flick - this resulted in the expelled buttermilk being re-absobed.
Preliminary Results:
280 ml Buttermilk
690g Butter

 Test 8 - lower speed
Hopeless. After 4 minutes I didn't even have whipped cream.  I had to rescue it.

Test 9, TM, no whisk, speed 4, drain,  quick flick at 4, drain, quick flick at 4, drain,  wash at low speed on reverse

Test 10, TM, no whisk, speed 4, drain,  quick flick at 4, drain, quick flick at 4, drain,  wash by hand

Tests 9 and 10 worked well, sadly I threw away the bit of paper with the measurements on.  One of them expelled 330ml of buttermilk. Test 10 also expelled almost all of the washing water.

Salting the Butter

I tried using Thermy to salt the butter.  I had mixed success - in fact, I won't know whether some of the attempts worked until  I try the butter.

What I've learned is:
  • It works best with no more than 500g of butter in. Anymore and it has trouble blending it properly
  • Mix on about 4 for a bit, then a quick final spin at a fast speed

Garlic Butter
I peeled some Garlic in the thermy, then chopped garlic, thyme and a bit of sage together, then mixed in some unsalted butter.  I put iy into a silicone ice cube mould to freeze

With all the faffing about, measuring, weighing etc, it took forever.  I also made more mess than I've ever made before making butter.

I will try the Thermy again next time, and I'll stick to:
  • 1 litre
  • Speed 4
  • Drain, 2 sec speed 4, drain, 2 sec speed 4, drain, etc
  • Not sure whether I'll use Thermy to wash or wash by hand.
A production line might be more efficient where I use the KA to salt the butter.  I can easily put 1 to 1.5 kg in yje KA bowl, so I could be salting and potting while Thermy continued to churn.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

And a last minute thing

I chopped the ends of a couple of cucumbers in the Thermy, for my house chook.

Shes been out all day (in the shade of a Pampas) but hasn't drun much - certainly not enough. She came in very late, about 9pm. Cucumber is a good way of getting water into her crop, fairly quickly.

I fred up Thermy and dropped the ends of the Cucumber in, then switched it straight off.  Small pieces (too small for people), and she was a happy bunny,

Quick rinse, and it's clean.

First full meal

We chose to steam some fish.

So.. We chopped ginger and garlic in Thermy, scraped or into a bowl and added the remaining marinade ingredients (oil,  soy sauce, sugar) to that.

We then put water on the Thermy bowl, and added coconut milk.  Weighed rice ( should have done this first), rinsed it, and put it on to steam. Veggies were also steaming in the  aroma

Whilst that was cooking, we spread the marinade over the fish.

After a few minus, we put the fish on, for 15 minutes.

Very easy. Will do again.
Veg was a smidgen overdone, I like mine crunchy.
Rice smidgeon overdone, but very acceptable.  Couldn't taste coconut.
Fish,  barramundi, was fine.

Testing continues

After the surprise success of the carrot salad (which I can see me eating, with variations, until I'm sick of it), I thought I'd try coleslaw.

Recipes for Thermy Coleslaw abound,  all I really wanted was a rough idea of the proportions, and what speed to use.

In the end I made it up, as  MH doesn't eat this sort of thing and I only wanted a small amount.    I just used some white cabbage, carrot, onion, some of the garlic from earlier, and  some celery.  I chopped it briefly, then scraped down and added the wet ingredients.  I put in some white wine vinegar (too much),  some Hellman's mayonnaise,  some Greek Yoghurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice.   I then mixed it on reverse. Another scrape down, another mix. And there I had it.

It was, of course, small chopped pieces. When I make it by hand, it's more..sliced.  However, it tasted very fresh and pleasant.  I had used too much white wine vinegar, so the mayo was too runny. However, it was very edible.  I'm sure this is something I will keep tweaking.

Vegetable Puree
I then wanted to make pea puree.  I put a small amount of water on to boil, and looked for my frozen petits pois.  I couldn't find them.    By the time I had checked, and checked again, and asked MH, and checked again,  the water was boiling. In the end I steamed some broccoli.

When it was cooked, I threw away the water (which I never do, I usually freeze it for gravies).  I then blitzed the broccoli, ending up with - blitzed broccoli. Not a puree at all.  I then realised that I should probably have blitzed it with some of the water.   I possibly also should have swapped bowls, as my bowl was still hot.  That wouldn't have mattered if I'd left some water in.  Overall, that was a fail. I'm sorry to say I scraped the bowl into the bin.   I like broccoli, but not like this.

Next, I made a smoothie.  I used my typical smoothie ingredients which I used  to make in the Vitamix, and then started using my food processor when I sold the VM.   Some greek yoghurt, some Kefir, a frozen small banana, some frozen fruit, some flaxseed.  Blitz on high.    This was good, but I didn't leave it blitzing for long enough.  It usually takes about 4 minutes in my food processor to get really smooth and creamy.  I blitzed it for maybe 30 seconds, which blended it but left a lot of bittiness.   I'll try it for longer next time. 

It's here...initial tests

Well, it arrived.  Unpacked, washed it, and then waited for MH to come home so we could try a few things.

Peeling Garlic
We started by trying the "peel garlic" trick. Half a dozen cloves, reverse blades, a few seconds on speed 4.
Mixed results. Not a failure, but not perfectly clean.

Retest: cur the root ends off cloves first.  Much better.

Mincing Garlic
We followed the instructions in the book and achieved chopped garlic.  We didnt manage to get a garlic paste, probably need more garlic or more ingredients to achieve that.

Chopping Vegetables
Chopped carrot - very happy.

Of course Thermy isn't really designed for prepping individual ingredients.  It's designed to do multiple things at once.  My next attempt was a simple vegetable salad.

Vegetable Salad
I chose carrots and white cabbage (didn't want to do too many things at once and these were nearest at hand. I found a recipe to use as a guideline as I wasn't sure what proportions to use. I halved the recipe.  I added the required amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and parsley, and blended for a few seconds. The original recipe called for baby carrots but I only had big carrots. I peeled and chopped them a bit.

Result!  The salad was properly mixed. The carrot was a bit large, so I put it on for another couple of seconds.  It was perfect.  I ate the whole bowlful.

When I make casseroles or bolognese I always start with chopped onion, garlic, carrot and - if i have any - celery.    I tried this in Thermy. One half (by weight) was onion, a quarter eacy of onion and carrot, and a bit of garlic (Actually I just used the garlic I had minced earlier).

Speed 7, a few seconds. Perfect.  This makes me VERY happy.. 

I'm going to try coleslaw next. Or pureed peas. Or muchroom pate.  Or should I make some dough? Or a sauce?  Or a sorbet?

Thermy Day is here

In anticipation of Thermy's arrival, I had a few extras delivered with my shopping.  Actually, I booked a delivery so I could have a range of things to try out in the Thermy.  I needed quite a few other domestic bits, so I would probably have booked a delivery sometime in the next week anyway, and it  might as well have been today.  Which translates to "Although the Thermy caused me to place an order, most of my delivery was non-Thermy related".

I haven't gone to Costco yet to get the cream for butter.  It's so hot, I think the cream might not churn well, even in my KitchenAid, so I'll maybe go later in the week.

Ive finally received my courier notification telling me what time to he (by "he" I mean the courier, not Thermy) is due to be here.

I'm feeling a mixture of subtle excitement (is that a contradiction in terms?),  plus some nervousness (Will I like it? Will it be worth the money? Will I use it?), and a huge dose of sheepishness (that I am feeling anything at the prospective arrival of a household blender. ). Perhaps that's a double dose of sheepishness (that I am writing a blog about it).

I'll update later.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Definitely Wednesday

I received my order confirmation yesterday, and my Thermy will definitely be here on Wednesday.

It's too hot to make butter, so that'll have to wait.

I'm wondering whether to buy some stuff (whatver "stuff" means) to try it out with.

No. I'll wait until I get the books that go with it, have a look through, and then decide what to get to try.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Can't eat until Wednesday!

I need to make butter this week, we're down to our lost pat.   I'm "waiting until Wednesday so I can see if it works in the Thermomix".

I wanted Pizza yesterday, but thought we might have it after Wednesday.

Discussing dinner tonight, MH opted for meatballs in a tomato sauce with pasta.   We defrosted beef mince, pork mince and lardons.  When I came to make it, I realised that this would also be a good test for the Thermy - how well it would combine the ingredients, without turning them to mush.

I mentioned it to MH, and he laughed and said that he had thought the same thing but speculated that whilst the Thermy was obviously good at mixing while it chopped,   we didn't know how good it's mixing functionality would be on stuff already chopped.  (The fact that he had thought about any of this  was quite a surprise,and shows he obviously is looking forward to trying the new thing out. 

We agreed that we probably shouldn't eat anything until Wednesday!

As I made the meatballs, I also realised that I could have used the Thermy to chop the parsley,  and I could have put some ground lentils in either the meatballs or  the sauce.  I suspect the blade on reverse (so it doesn't chop) would probably mix reasonably well.

In fact, I could have heated the passata in the Thermy, and tried steaming the meatballs over the top.


I always cook in bulk and now, in addition to tonight's dinner, I have two  x 2 person meals worth of meatballsfor the freezer.

It'll be a while before we put this to the test.

The Demo

Firstly, Natarsha showed us how the Thermomix can be used to mill things like rice (to make rice flour), lentils, or anything.   This is something the Vitamix (VM) is excellent at doing, although with the VM you need to use the dry container.

We milled red lentils.  I was intrerested in seeing how the milling process worked, because I have quite a few wholefoods in my cupboards. I wasn't particularly interested in red lentils as I don't eat them. I like puy lentils, but not the red ones.

Natarsha said about using the milled red lentils as a thickener in soups and stews. She later added these to the soup, and it worked really well.  I'll definitely be using this moving forward.
Next, she milled some of the mixed seeds I'd put out to use in the bread.  As well as using whole seeds to make seeded rolls, she used some of the ground seeds to enrich the bread flour

Mill seeds to enrich bread flour
Mill other things (like the lentils) to enrich the bread flour
Bread Dough
This was really fast, much faster than I expected, and it looked like it had worked really well.  I'll be interested to see how well the machine works with other dough types (like sourdough,  foccaccia, etc). 
After proving,  we baked the rolls in the oven and had them with the soup.
Once the dough has been tipped out, put the bowl back and give it a quick buzz, This will flick the remaining dough off the blades.  That's really great!

Bread Crumbs
Next, two slices of fresh bread, a peeled clove of garlic,  some parmesan (including the rind) and some parsley were whizzed up.    It was remarkably quick (<15 seconds) and the results were much better than I expected.  The crumbs smelt fantastic, and I could see us using this type of thing for coating fish, or with pasta, or whatever  .
Freeze extra and use from frozen,

You can even use the parmesan rind
Fruit Sorbet
Some Ice, some fruit, some sugar. There was also a little bit of manual work required to churn the sorbet while the machine worked.     Result - a very acceptable sorbet,
Further blending and we had a very creamy one,
This worked much better than the VM, no need to get that vortex. But some manual effort was required.

Added an egg white (I'm always looking for used for egg white), switch to the butterfly whisk, and a very light and creamy result.

I wonder if it can make custard based ice cream?

Cheese Sauce 
Cheese sauce is very easy to make on the hob, but this was even you don't have to stand and stir/whisk it.   The smell was heavenly.

Carrot and Coriander soup
This was amazing.  The soup was really good (although it didn't taste particularly carrotty). The texture was like velvet.  I hadn't expected to be particularly interested in the soup,  but it was really lovely.  MH ate all of his and really liked it.   He didn't like soups made in the VM because, although they were very smooth, they always tasted like hot raw vegetables

Steamed Veg
While the soup was cooking, we steamed vegetables on the top.  These were going to be used in a gratin along with the cheese sauce (and the crumb). 

Oh, this was delicious.

During the demo, Natarsha also talked about other things the Thermie could do.    We were impressed by it's ability to mix as well as chop, and she mentioned making mixed salads.  This is definitely on my "to do" list.

At some point during the demo, I was sold.  I don't know when it happened, I thnk it was early on,

I could really see both myself and MH using it.  I decided that I'd take the plunge.  If another model was released in September, well,  I'd deal with that then. I emailed Natarsha the next day to place my order.  

Everyone at the demo was seriously impressed with it.  One of them might even place an order as well. 

I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to try... and that's when I decided to start a blog.

Hopefully my machine will be here soon, and I can get started!


Sunday, 20 July 2014

D-Day - and before

 I cleaned my oven. I knew we'd been making bread, so the oven was required. My oven was an embarrassement.  I clean it, completely, with OvenMate probably 4 times a year, but it needs doing every month.   I think its made worse by the way I cook my sourdough bread - I put a tray underneath when the oven is heating up, and then I put cold water into it when the bread goes in, to create steam.  The steam loosens the gunk so it tends to spread as the oven cools. 

I washed the kitchen floor. I cleaned my worktops.  I put stuff away. I made sure my bathroom and downstairs toilet were clean.

D-Day morning:
I laid out the dry ingredients from Natarsha's list, in order listed on her sheet (which turned out not to be helpful).

I peeled carrots. I zested a lemon. I separated an egg.

I moved the frozen fruit to an accessible parto fthe freezer. I moved the chilled ingredients to an accessible part of the fridge.

I got out the specified number of bowls and spoons, a gratin dish, a tray for baking bread rools. 

Natarsha arrived, and we chatted as she set up.

My brother phoned to say he'd had a bit of a problem at home, and he would be 15 minutes late.

My next door neighbour arrived.

No sign of my Aunt, which was most unusual.    I checked the bus times, and was a little worried as the bus should have arrived about ten minutes ago and is less than 5 mins walk from our house.   I looked down the road and couldn't see her.     I phoned her, and she sounded out of breath. It was a hot day, and she was walking from the bus stop. I could see her coming down the road.

Introductions, cold drinks all round, and we decided to get started, without my brother.

This was it.

D-Day minus 3. Could we cancel?

A few days before the demo,  out of the blue, we joined an airgun club. 

What has this got to do with my Thermomix story?

We had borrowed guns from the people at the Clun to try out. We couldn't expect them to keep letting us use their weapons, so we wanted to at least get one gun between is, something fairly inexpensive and secondhand.   We learned that one of the best game fairs in the country was taking place at Blenheim the  weekend of the Demo, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Lots of gun sellers, a fantastic opportunity to try lots of guns and find what suited.

Except MH was away at the weekend.  And on Friday evening we had Monty Python.  And on Friday morning, we had that bloody Thermomix demo.     

Never mind.  MH couldn't change his weekend commitment. And there would be other game fairs.  I checked. There weren't.

We looked at each other.  We could get to Blenheim and back on the Friday in time for Monty Python, but only if I cancelled the demo.  After all, It wasn't as if I was going to buy a Thermomix yet.
I couldn't do it. I couldn't cancet.   It was too short notice, and I couldn't mess Natarsha around - or all the people who had kindly agreed to come along.    Maybe if I hadn't had all the earlier messing about with dates, I might have done it...but I just couldn't do it. 

Bloody Thermomix. 

No. I won't be getting a Thermie.

I'd booked he date, we'd be finished and still have time to get to the 02 for Monty Python.

I contacted my potential attendees.

First, I asked my Vitamix-loving brother if he'd like to come.  I'd be interested in hearing what he thought of it, as he uses his VM for everything.

I asked my Auntie Joy, who had kindly agreed to trog over to Chiswick with me.

I asked my lovely DIL (Daughter in Law), but i knew she would probably have to decline. She was going to Monty Python (in fact, we were going as their guests), and I realised that she would have childcare issues on this day.  However, she was the one person I could see who might find a Thermie a cost-effective addition, so I asked her anyway.  Sadly, she wasn't able to come.

I asked my next door neigbour.  I was a bit embarrassed, as I didn't want her to think it was the sort of product party where you had to buy something.    When I asked her if she would be interested in coming for a demo for a kitchen product she mentioned immediately "Is it a Thermomix?". Her friend has one and rates it highly, and she'd love to come.

So, everything was booked. 

I got my list of required ingredients. We had most things, I just needed to get fresh vegetables for the gratin, and to buy some parsley and coriander. We have both herbs in the garden, but they had become too stressed in heat and weren't looking very edible. 

Whilst this was happening, I started to question what I was doing spending all this money on a souped up blender.   I wasn't actually missing my Vitamix.  Without it, I was using my food processor more, and that was doing a splendid job of everything that I had used my Vitamix for. (I used it for chopping vegetables, onions, garlic; I used it for fantastic smoothies; I used  it to make the most amazing hot chocolate. Hardly anything that it was designed for.)

And then I decided I wasn't  going to buy a Thermomix.  

I'd wait until September (which was the speculated launch date) . If the new model didn't come out, then I'd get one.  It would do me good to wait, and to see if I really wanted it after all.

Part of me now felt that I was getting Natarsha here under false pretences.  When I started the booking process with her, I was 100% sure I was a done deal, I had the money ready and everything.  Now, I was sure I wouldn't be buying one.   I talked to MH about it, and explained my reasons .    I know that he only really had a passing interest in whether or not I bought one, and that he probably wasn't planning on using it if I di.  I suspect that  he was only coming to the demo (a) out of mild curiousity, (b) because it was happening in his kitchen, and (c) because I'd asked him to. 

It was too late now, I couldn't cancel. Not after all the farting about.


About a week before the Demo, the Demonstratorcontacted me to say that currently I was the only person booked on that date.  She would only run it with a minimum of 2 people – did I have anyone else who would come along?

I didn’t want to ask MH (my husband) to trog over to Chiswick to see this machine. Actually I didn’t want him to seeit at all until I had it straight in my mind.

I could have asked my brother, who is a Vitamix devotee,  but I wanted to keep him in reserve for when I had a Thermomix demo at home. 

So, I asked my aunt Joy if she would come along with me. To my delight, she agreed.  She has a Vitamix too, so would probably enjoy the demo.

A couple of days before the Demo, I discovered I had chicken pox.

I had to cancel the demo (and cancel lots of other things, but that’s not part of this Blog).   I told Natarsha (the Demonstrator) that I would re-book later.

The chicken pox took nearly 3 weeks.  I had kept my eye on the Demonstrator dates page on the Thermomix website, but there weren’t many dates offered.  I wondered what was going on.    I wondered whether it was to do with the possible imminent arrival of a new model?   I emailed them to ask.  Turns out they weren’t updating the page anymore, and should have removed it.

Natarsha kept her own website and Facebook page, and I watched the dates on there.  I wanted a weekday daytime session.    There weren’t any.  At least, not for public demos. She offered lots of public demos at weekends, at evenings…; lots of demonstrator open days, and training days….

Time passed.

No convenient dates appeared.  I wondered whether maybe I should just have a demo at my house, and forget the idea of me going to one first?

I looked at our diaries. I emailed Natarsha to ask if she could switch a specific  one of her daytime public demos (if it didn’t have any attendees of course) to a private demo at my house. I promised to invite other people as well.    That wasn’t possible, as the date for the public demo was widely publicised.   As an alternative, Natarsha asked if maybe MH and I could go to her public demo, and then have a separate demo at my house later?  Not possible on this particular date as I had a commitment later in the day and wouldn’t be able to get back in time.

Maybe it was fate, and I should put the money I had saved up to better use.

I looked for other dates at her house from myself and MH, thinking I’d have a private demo as well in  August/September.    I found a date at the end of July, and emailed to book two places.
Booking confirmed…but just in case I was thinking of buying a Thermomix, there was an offer on which ended on 25th July.  A whole bundle of cookbooks (value £107) were being included,  and there hadn’t been such an offer ever.  I looked back over previous offers, and Natarsha was right.

Instead of thinking “Wow, must do this”, it had the opposite effect. My suspicions were raised.  Was this Thermomix clearing the decks of old stock in anticipation of a new model being released?   There was even more speculation about this online, with someone or other presenting evidence of Thermomix visiting the Australian HQ in August, and all Aussie Demonstrator training cancelled in August.  Thermomix is huge in Australia, so it would be one of their launch markets.

Well, I wasn’t going to buy a Thermie now, was I?  I’d rather wait until September and get the speculated new model.  There didn’t seem any point in changing the demo. 

But then…what if I saw it and wanted to buy it, I’d kick myself for missing the offer.

OK, perhaps the best thing would be to book a date before the offer expired, and then at least I’d have the choice.

I emailed Natarsha again, and we agreed a date earlier in July.   I needed a couple of extra people there, and  if I could get 3 separate households new to Thermie (excluding us) then I’d get a host gift.   I wasn’t too fussed about that, I’d read about the cheap tea towels etc that were offered and I didn’t need anything like that.

So, we had a date, and I just needed to invite some other people.  If I still worked in an office, I’d have had lots of people to invite. But I didn’t, and I didn’t know that many people who would be free on a weekday day and might be interested in seeing the demo.  The people I could invite probably wouldn’t be interested in a Thermomix (and would probably think I was off my head for contemplating spending all that money on a glorified blender).

And then I realised I’d booked the demo for the same day that we were meant to be going to see Monty Python.  

Crap timing.

In the Beginning

I've been considering a Thermomix (or Thermie/Thermy) for 18 months or so now.

I can't remember where I first saw it... I think it may have noticed them sitting (unused) on the benches on Professional Masterchef and then tried to find out what they were.

The search resulted in me discovering a whole new world. The Thermimix community is enormous, especially in Australia.  Owners tend to evangalise about their machines, with people claiming that their lives have been changed.  Only a few voices said they'd bought one and regretted it.

I was surprised at the price, especially given the guarantee was only 2 years.   It was £880 or thereabouts in the UK.   I had thought my Vitamix (at £400) was quite a lot of money to spend on a blender.  Still, it wouldn't be the only expensive kitchen machine I had bought and I never buy expensive household equipment without being reasonably confident I'll get good use out of it. I've had relatively few failures (my Remoska was one) and quite a few that have been fantastic and I''d wished I'd bought them sooner.

I was already a Vitamix owner, although I didn't make that much use of it.   In terms of my successes/failures, I  would put the Vitamix in the "success" category, but only just. It It was enough of a success that I didn't regret buying it, it was excellent at the things I used it for.   I more regretted that I just couldn't get myself to do al the wonderful things that it could do.

My husband (MH) didn't really like the soups from it. They were smooth, which he liked, but they always still tasted like they were uncooked.  That's fine if you like raw veg, but not so great if you don't.   In the year we had the Vitamix, MH did not use it once. Mind you, at that stage I don't think he'd ever used the food processor or the KitchenAid either, but they probably didn't add anything to his style of cooking whereas the Vitamix might have done.

As soon as I read up about it, I started to save for a Thermomix.  it wasn't that I couldn't have found the money to buy one then and there, it was just that I was concerned I'd buy it and then not get value out of it. In these cases, I find it helpful to walk away and leave it for a while, and see how I feel after a break.    

Saving up for it would take some time and, if I could fund most of it from pin-money, I wouldn't mind so much if it turned out to be a white elephant and had to be sold.  Little pockets of money were squirrelled away:  Quidco cashback,  voucher spend (wherever I used, say, vouchers earned on my credit card or Boots Advantage Points for things I would be buying anyway,   I put the money I "saved" into my Thermy pot.   I added in Ebay sales whenever I had a clear out, and so on.

Meanwhile,I asked my friends - both real life and friends on a forum I frequent -  whether they had ever heard of it.  None had.

I watched a lot of YouTube demos. I thought about what I would use it for.  I was realistic about what (if any) of my kitchen appliances it would really replace.

Vitamix?  Expectation: Yes, I can see it replacing my Vitamix.   My expectation is that it will do what my Vitamix does (maybe differently), and more.

Food Processor? Expectation: No.  It doesn't slice, nor does it properly grate - it chops.  I learned with the Vitamix (VM) that cheese grating etc is a lie, the VM just chops the cheese into smallish pieces. , I'm also not sure that the Thermie  can make very small quantities of hollandaise sauce (I love Eggs Benedict).

KitchenAid? Expectation: No.  I can see that the Thermie can make batter type cakes, butI dont believe it'll make decent sponge cakes.      I also use my KitchenAId to make butter (I convert 8-10litres of cream in one mammoth buttermaking session every few months).  The VM was meant to be able to make butter.   Well, yes, kind of, in small quantities, but you can't get it out of the damned jug.

Bamix/Hand Blender Hmm, maybe. Although a stick blender is a handy thing to have. I guess I could sell the Bamix and buy a cheap hand blender instead.
I have more kitchen appliances, maybe I'll talk about those later.

The other reason for my hesitation in jumping in was that  I was very aware that the current model had been launched back in 2004. I was concerned that that I'd buy the machine and then Vorwerk would bring out a new improved model. The second hand market would be flooded with used  TM31s and I'd be regretting not wiating for the new improved machine. There were lots of things which supported this speculation: a new factory had been built, there was a lot of chatter on the various Thermomix websites and blogs.

Over the next few weeks (maybe months, it's hard to remember), I kept going back to look into it,  I just couldn't make up my mind.  In the end, I decided I'd go to a public demo, onmy own, to see whether it actually lived up to the hype.  If it did, I would tell MH about it, and arrange a demo at home.
We live fairly close to Thermomix UK head office, and I wanted to go to a public demo there. They had demos fairly frequently, I just needed to find one which was happening at a time when MH wasn't around so that I didn't have to explain about it.

It proved difficult to attend a demo "in secret".  Eventually, I told MH that I was thinking of getting spending a small fortune on a piece of kitchen equipment which was kind of like an advanced Vitamix.   Of course he pointed out that I didn't use the VM for much beyond chopping vegetables, making gravy, making hot chocolate and smoothies.  I know him well enough to know that he was just trying to understand, so I sent him the links and told him that honestly I didn't know if it would be any good but I'd like to look.

There weren't any Thermomix demos scheduled at head office, so I got on with other things, and checked back every so often to see whether dates had been added.   Demonstrator demos were listed, but there weren't any Demonstrators near me.

Then one of my forum friends, who had investigated Thermomix after my questions,  mentioned that she had been to a demo and was so impressed that she had bought one.  When it arrived, she was so enthusiastic about it, and it re-awoke my interest.

There were still no demos at Head Office. I re-read up on Thermies, and decided to sell my Vitamix (VM) while it had plenty of guarantee left.  If I bought a Thermie, I wouldn't need the VM.  This also gave me the final amount of money I needed so that I could buy one anyway.

After a long time, I emailed Head Office to ask when they would start scheduling demos again.

They were no longer doing demos. I had to go through a Demonstrator.

That was a bit of a setback.  I didn't want to go and see a Demonstrator, not until I was in the buying groove.  I searched through the list to find the locations of my nearest Demonstrators, and they were all more than 45 minutes drive away.  Not a huge amount, but it was a bit of a nail in the coffin.

Out of the blue, MH asked me when I would be getting a Thermomix.  I was a bit surprised, as I know his tactic for dealing with my flights of fancy are usually to leave me to raise the subject. That way,  they will either  die a natural death because they were really only a passing whim, or they would turn into reality.  This spurred me into action ('m not sure that's what he intended),

I googled the three closest Demonstrators.  One of them didn't really seem to have any info, two did.  Hmm.   Of the two, one had blts of info about Thermomix, she was obvously into it in a big way.  She was based in Chiswick.  That put me off a bit.   I don't have anything against Chiswick, but it's a moneyed area, and I imagined that the demo would be full of yummy mummies and I'd just wouldn't fit in.
In the end, the choice came down to the dates that were being offered. 

I bit the bullet. I picked a date. I emailed the Demonstrator to book a place.

And that's when things started to go a bit wrong.