I don't claim to be an expert cook. Or a fancy cook. In fact, I never used to really enjoy cooking. So this is mostly about low fuss, filling and tasty meals, and really just anything I have a go at and decide to share along the way!! My top priority is avoiding additives and preservatives wherever possible closely followed by using whole/less processed/healthier ingredients. But for those who would like conventional options that are quick tasty and cost effective, I would like to share tips on all of these as well!!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

It's Almost Christmas - Here is your Thermomix Gift Giving Guide!

It has been a VERY busy few months in the world of Thermomix!!! Over 17,000 Model 5 Thermomixes sold in Australia in October, this is AMAZING!!  If you are waiting for your Thermomix to arrive, be assured you are waiting for a very exciting addition to your life and it will be worth the wait!

Has anyone noticed it is NOVEMBER?!  I just cannot comprehend how fast this year has gone.  For us, we have purchased our dream property, are in the process of building a new house, have moved house, the baby has had her big 1st birthday recently, had one child start school, and another starting next year.  We also sadly lost my Father in Law, and as I said, the massive changes in the land of Thermomix has brought exciting changes, but also challenges!

So it's getting close to Christmas, and I thought I would do a little "Gift Guide" for family or friends who own a Thermomix, or things you might ask for if you are an owner, or close to being an owner!  I hope you find it helpful!  I am not being paid or gifted any of these items by making these suggestions, nor is Thermomix Australia necessarily endorsing these products, just things I have and think are helpful!  Of course all of these things are equally as useful without a Thermomix as well!

1.  Chocolate Moulds

Whether you would like to make your own Dairy Free Raw Chocolate, as pictured (check out www.quirkycooking.blogspot.com for her chocolate recipe) or you simply want to be creative by melting pre-made chocolate and creating your own flavour combinations or Peanut Butter Cups, you may want to find a chocolate mould.  There are lots of shapes to choose from!

2.  Smoothie / Juice / Frappe / Drink Tumbler

These are everywhere!  You can find cheap ones at Kmart or pay a little more (this one was at Robin's Kitchen on special for $4) for your colour or style.  I could have pictured with a healthy fruit juice or smoothie, but how can I go past my favourite Chocolate Frappe which takes just 20 seconds in the Thermomix??  I convince myself it's "healthy" by using Cacao and rapadura sugar, preferred milk (can do any dairy free alternative) and ice!  Cost is about 50c or so depending on ingredients, which is impressive seeing as you would pay a minimum of $3.95 or $4.95 just for a small/regular if you are out.  So think ahead and quickly make your own to take with you!

3.  Storage Containers/Jars

With a Thermomix, you will notice you quickly go back to having bulk "ingredients" in you pantry rather than processed packaged and jar foods.  So you can invest in some more fancy jars like pictured (from Myer) or just go to the cheap shops for a variety of jar shapes and sizes!  Tupperware is another option if you don't mind plastic storage.

4.  Ice Cream / Gelato / Sorbet Tubs

You may never have experienced true homemade ice cream before.... But I STRONGLY urge you to try it!!  Ice cream always has an additive in it that I try to avoid, so making your own is the only way!!  Use the basic Ice Cream recipe in the Basic Cookbook (or old Everyday Cookbook) and store your delights in these retro tubs.  Around $10 for a 1 litre tub.  You can make all flavours, starting at 5 minutes for a true, cooked ice cream mixture.  Try blending fresh strawberries with your basic vanilla ice cream when you whip the partially frozen mixture - divine!!!

5.  Fruit Tree

There is nothing like freshly picked lemons in your 2 second homemade lemonade recipe in the new basic cookbook!  Or 7 minute lemon butter anyone?  If your recipient has no land, consider a variety that does well in a pot! Even on a balcony!  Also for those that love Thai cooking, consider a Kaffir Lime tree for those made from scratch curries with fresh Kaffir Lime leaves - nothing beats the freshness!

6.  Loaf tin

You may find yourself delving into the world of high top loaves, gluten free bread, wholegrain rustic bread, or even a yummy banana bread.  All of these require a good loaf tin!  If you are unsure about non-stick coated tins, find a stainless steel alternative, or ceramic ones are fairly common at the moment too!

7.  Herb Garden

You can set someone up with a half wine barrel, or mini plant pots and plant some basic essentials - Rosemary, Parsley, Basil and Coriander.  It is much much cheaper to grow these than buy large bunches and only use a little bit per recipe!

8.  Silicone "Spoon Spatula"

We all know not to use anything except the Thermomix spatula when operating the machine through the lid.  But if you like to do cake batters, custards, or sticky mixtures, you may want to find one of these.  They are narrow at the bottom to scrape the bottom of bowl, yet long and tapered on the edge to really get the most out you possibly can!  And doesn't get as knocked around if you happen to have a left-hander in the house ;)

9.  Glass Drink Dispenser

If you want to make dairy free milks, or homemade lemonade, or yummy cordials without the chemicals, then a glass bottle with lid is a good option.  This one is great because the neck is wider than normal which is easier to pour into.

10.  Cookbook stand

Finally, if you are delving back into cooking because you now have (or are getting) a Thermomix, it's very handy to have a cookbook stand to sit your book or iPad on!

Well I hope this has provided some inspiration for either yourself or a loved one this Christmas!  There are lots of ways to package nice items and make something fairly basic look fantastic!  Of course if you want to buy your loved one a Thermomix, remember there is a fairly long lead time at the moment, so you might want to order ASAP!  But in the meantime, you could build the excitement with some of these options!

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