Category Archives: Vegetables

Hey Dahl! A Recipe and Book Review

I made Dahl today. A piece of pumpkin was looking at me and my new Thermomix cookbook was just asking me to roadtest something, so with little more than a wave of my magic wand I made Red Lentil, Pumpkin and Coconut Dahl in the Thermomix in about 20 minutes.

Don’t you just love a new cookbook? Although I always suffer from too many things to cook and not enough hours in the day (and not enough freezer space to hold it all!)

Louise Fulton Keats, granddaughter of aussie cooking legend Margaret Fulton, has brought out a Thermomix Cookbook, “Thermomix Cooking for your Baby and Toddler”. If the mention of ‘baby’ and ‘toddler’ is causing you to lose interest at this point, hang in there! This book is full of fantastic, simple and delicious family meals.


Louise has produced not only a cookbook, but also a comprehensive guide to feeding your baby and toddler, easing through the the puree stage to finger food and beyond. It is jam packed with sensible ideas, nutrient guides, cooking to preserve nutrients, allergy information, sample meal planners and tips for fussy eaters. Combine that with fabulous recipes and glorious foodie pictures, I declare it a must for all new parents.

Not only new parents will benefit from this book. It is also very good for the aged who need modified diets and the majority of recipes are based on delicious family meals, such as Chicken and Pumpkin Cous Cous, Parmesan Crusted Lamb Cutlets, Roast Capsicum and Tomato Soup, Apple and Cinnamon Porridge, as well as pizza, ice cream, felafel, dips, meatballs, stews, muffins and even playdough. It has a very wide appeal. Great for anyone really!

So today, I made the Red Lentil, Pumpkin and Coconut Dahl. It was very easy, mild for the kids, creamy, full of pumpkin and cauliflower and made enough to feed an army. I made some rice to go with it and packaged it up for weekday lunches with some coriander on top. Ideal to freeze and pull out when a quick meal is needed. A lovely nutrient-dense dish which contains protein and fibre. I added a little more spice than stated in the recipe and also felt it needed some salt.

Here is the Recipe:

Red Lentil, Pumpkin and Coconut Dahl

1 brown onion, peeled and quartered

1-2cm cube fresh ginger, peeled

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tblsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

250g red lentils

270g coconut milk

450g water

350g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes

200g cauliflower, broken into small pieces

150g fresh or frozen peas

2 tblsps lemon juice

1-2 tblsps fresh coriander, chopped

cooked rice to serve


Place onion, ginger and carrot into mixing bowl and chop 5 secs, sp 5. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add oil and cook 3 min/100C/Reverse/sp 2

Add cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook 1 min/100C/sp1

Add lentils, coconut milk, water, pumpkin and cauliflower and cook 20 mins/100C/Reverse/sp1, or until lentils and vegetables are tender.

Add peas and cook 2 mins/100C/Reverse/sp1

Add lemon juice and coriander and mix 5-10 secs/Reverse/sp1.

Serve with rice

The book is available from the Thermomix website

Here is Louise Fulton Keats website


Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup

I love this meal. It’s delicious and hearty and fabulous in winter. I’m starting early. I can’t wait any longer for the cooler autumn weather, and besides, I needed something quick and easy tonight.

I happened across another foodie blog, foodfilanderer and found the perfect solution to my dinner dilemma.

Barley and Autumn Vegetable Soup


Now, I have a recipe from The Biggest Loser website called Lamb and Barley Hotpot which I really love and Son 1 loves it with gusto too. He was harping for it tonight so despite having no lamb I set about doing my best. (I always find that I’m just scrounging to make something out of what little is in my fridge or cupboard – the life of a working mum, what can I say!)

I haven’t cooked barley in my Thermomix before so looked for a recipe which involved cooking barley and up came the recipe from the ‘foodfilanderer’ blog.  What an easy one it was!

I made my own tweaks and chopped vegies on speed 5 for a couple of seconds – potato, sweet potato, celery, carrots and 4 cloves of garlic, added 3/4 cup of barley to the bowl, chopped scotch fillet, a tablespoon of Vegetable Stock Concentrate from the EDC cookbook, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and water to the maximum mark on the TM bowl. Cooked it for 45 minutes at 100 degrees on Reverse Speed 1. It was perfect! If using lamb, I would add a few leaves of rosemary too. You could also throw in other chopped vegies like green beans towards the end of the cooking process. It’s one of those recipes that you can use up what you have and it will always turn out tasting great.

I didn’t get around to the fresh bread to go with it. My Supermum cape was in the wash today.

This is the Biggest Loser Lamb and Barley Hotpot



Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

The kids are on school holidays at the moment and I am enjoying a slightly more relaxed approach to daily meals, which makes a nice change. Normally I am a bit more time pressed and manic. It’s a good opportunity to try out some new recipes and in this case make one of my favourite dishes, which the kids hadn’t tried before.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are simple to make and are fresh, tasty and healthy. It’s a fantastic dish to make in summer and saves you slaving over a hot stove. Just arm yourself with the freshest ingredients and off you go. The kids can join in to help make them as well!


The rice paper is cheap and can be bought at the supermarket or an Asian Grocer. You must soak each sheet in warm water to soften it and then they are ready to be filled with whatever filling you desire.

I used shredded BBQ chicken to save cooking and added capsicum, carrot, bean sprouts, coriander and mint from my garden.

You could also use cucumber, prawns, vermicelli noodles, wombok cabbage or snow peas.

They are fantastic with a chilli dipping sauce. Although the dipping sauce in the recipe is wonderful, I didn’t follow the recipe this time, but instead just used sweet chilli sauce with a dash of oyster sauce mixed in. It does the job when you are in a hurry. The only hurry I was in was a hurry to start eating them!

Here is the recipe I based mine on. Its from the Women’s Weekly ” New Finger Food” book, which I have had for a while so probably not so new anymore. The page is splattered with sauce…a good sign of a well used recipe!

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls


1 tblsp peanut oil

2 chicken breast fillets

24 rice paper sheets

1 small red capsicum, sliced thinly

1 1/4 cups bean sprouts

1 cup firmly packed mint leaves

1 cup firmly packed coriander leaves

Dipping Sauce:

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tblps fish sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup finely grated palm sugar

2 thai red chillies, seeded and finely chopped


Heat oil in small frying pan. Cook chicken until browned all over and cooked through. Stand 10 mins, slice thinly into 24 pieces.

Place one sheet of rice paper in medium bowl of warm water until just softened, carefully lift from water. Place on board and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place filling ingredients in the middle, fold in ends of rice paper and roll up to enclose filling. Serve cold with dipping sauce.


Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until cold.


The Best Mushroom Risotto

I’ve been a bit like a multi-tasking mad woman this afternoon.

I’m baking a cheesecake for a birthday at work tomorrow, but it was nearing dinner time so decided to do my favourite mushroom risotto at the same time. The kids poo-poo anything with mushrooms, so I prepared fish and chips for them as well (That was out of a packet. Don’t tell anyone! They did have steamed veg with it).

I’ve come up for air now and have a moment to write. The kids are fed and bathed, I am fed and the cheesecake is in the oven…for two hours. Then another two hours in the oven with the heat turned off. I launched in and didn’t read the whole recipe first. It’s going to be a long night.

So, back to the topic at hand, my favourite Mushroom Risotto.

There will be something for everyone today. I’ll share the original Bill Granger recipe with you, which I have also converted to suit the Thermomix.

This recipe uses dried porcini mushrooms. It is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta and risotto. The porcini mushroom really holds its flavour when dried and then reconstituted. It is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.It is sold commercially but it is difficult to cultivate. It is mainly available fresh in the Northern Hemisphere but is distributed dried worldwide. You can find dried porcini mushrooms in most good fruit and vegetable shops and I am pleased to say that Woolworths is now stocking them in 20g packets, which is enough for 2-3 meals. You should look for large porcini with a predominantly creamy colour and avoid packets with small, dark crumbly pieces of mushroom. If they are gritty, just rinse them under cold water before you soak them. You can also filter the soaking water if there is dirt in the bottom of the bowl, by pouring through a sieve lined with muslin or paper towel.

I have usually made risotto the ‘proper’ way, by standing at the pot and stirring for 20-30 minutes, ladling in my hot stock spoon by spoon and making sure it is absorbed before the next spoonful. Now I say ‘proper’ with tongue in cheek because Bill Granger’s recipe, “Cheat’s Porcini Mushroom Risotto” from his ‘Simply Bill’ cookbook as shown me that this laborious process is not necessary. Praise the Lord! For those of you who own a Thermomix, you will know even more so that risotto can be the simplest, and yummiest meal ever!

I’ll share Bill’s recipe at the end, but for now, I will step you through the Thermomix one. It is based largely on the Everyday Cookbook Mushroom Risotto recipe on page 85, but with a few differences.

Start by soaking 10g of dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of luke warm water for about 15 minutes.

While they are soaking, follow the first couple of steps from the EDC Mushroom Risotto recipe. I omitted the garlic this time but that is totally up to you. So, I whizz up my parmesan and get my onion sauteing as the recipe states.

Keep following the recipe by adding the rice and wine and cooking for 2 mins as usual.

Once your porcini has rehydrated, take them out of the water (keep the soaking water – it’s needed!), chop them up smaller if you like depending on the size of the pieces.

Instead of the Vegie Stock Paste, I add 380g (2 cups) of the porcini soaking water to the Thermomix Bowl, along with 720g chicken stock. This liquid equates to the 1100g water in the EDC recipe. Throw in your porcini mushrooms and 200g regular sliced button mushrooms as the recipe states. and proceed with the normal method from there.

Once the cooking has finished, add parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.

The porcini give it a really hearty mushroom flavour. It is one of my favourite comfort foods.

Here are the recipes. Please note that BIll Granger’s recipe is for a smaller amount of risotto than the Thermomix Recipe. Feel free to adjust accordingly.

Bill Granger’s Cheat’s Porcini Risotto – click here for the recipe

Thermomix Version of Bill Granger’s Porcini Risotto

50 g parmesan cheese, cubed

1/2 medium onion

Handful of parsley (optional)

50g olive oil

400g arborio rice

100g white wine

200g fresh mushrooms, sliced

380g (2 cups) porcini soaking water

720g chicken stock

20g butter optional


Place the parmesan cheese into the TM bowl and pulverise for 10 secs on speed 9. Set aside.

Place onion and parsley if using (or chop your parsley and sprinkle on at the end) and chop 2-3 secs on speed 6-7.

Add oil and suate for 2 mins at 100C on speed 1 with MC off.

Insert Butterfly. Add rice and wine into TM bowl and saute for 2 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

Add porcini soaking water, chicken stock and mushrooms and cook for 16-17 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

(Check you risotto after this. If it is really liquid, put it on again for another few minutes. Check the consistency of your rice. It will thicken up more once it has been standing for a few minutes as well)

Season with salt and papper to taste. Pour into Thermoserver and stir through parmesan cheese and butter if using. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy my favourite risotto. What’s your favourite kind?





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