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Chop chop! Thermomix: the quickest food processor on the planet
With so many upsides, the only down might be the price. It's not cheap, at £799
July 10, 2013 | By:
It's the new must-have ppliance with bells on. It weighs, chops, blends, grinds, grates, cooks and steams. In a post adapted from her own blog, Elaine Lemm puts the multi-tasker through its paces
Thermomix review_chopped peppers-620x349 Corbis

Souped up: the Thermomix will take your cooking endeavours up a notch in next to no time. Photo by Corbis

Thermomix is a gadget, though that term over-simplifies a kitchen machine that is not only a processor of food, but one that weighs, cooks, chops, crushes, emulsifies, whips, mixes, steams, blends, kneads, grinds, simmers, grates and mills it.

Its German engineering (it’s designed and manufactured by Vorwerk) has produced a machine that is solid, sturdy and built to last. Despite its extensive repertoire, it is actually quite neat and will sit comfortably on any countertop without demanding too much space.

Other advantages to this culinary workhorse? Well, it replaces virtually every other gadget in the kitchen – so you can throw out the food processor, bread machine, coffee grinder, grater, electric whisk, steamer, juicer, slow-cooker et al.

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But it also saves an inordinate amount of time in both the preparation and cooking of food. A carrot cake mixture takes 30 seconds; a lemon curd six minutes; a creme brulée, which would normally take 80 minutes to prepare and cook, takes a mere 15 from start to finish; and that trickiest of sauces, Hollandaise, only four.

There are savings, too. The serious home cook will benefit most from Thermomixs claim to save more than £1,000 a year on food costs (based on UK food prices at January 2009). Occasional use won’t achieve the same level, but since time saved is energy saved, there would nevertheless be some impact.

So how does it work? The Thermomix looks not unlike a kitchen blender with a sturdy stainless steel jug. Within the jug sits a sword-sharp, two-pronged blade that can be set to gently stir a mixture or, at terrifyingly high speeds, chop through ice and rock-hard Parmesan cheese in seconds.

Set in the base are various touch controls that turn the machine into scales, so ingredients can be weighed as they are added.

There are heat settings from 0° to 100°C, so with the timer, the food can be cooked while you busy yourself elsewhere.

And then there’s the steaming basket, which sits atop the machine, so while one food cooks (a soup or sauce) another can be gently steamed above it.

With so many upsides, the only down might be the price. A machine of this quality is not cheap, at £885. And since the Thermomix comes with only one jug, which you will need to wash frequently, you should probably budget for one or two more, at about £225 each. (The ‘chef’s package’ includes two jugs and all the rest for £1084.)

As for functionality, I spent a mere three hours on a Thermomix under supervision and, despite never having used it before, made homemade lemonade, a tray of multi-grain bread rolls, a pineapple sorbet, red pepper soup, steamed vegetables, a vegetable gratin with a cheese sauce and grated Parmesan, chopped nuts, milled lentil flour and crumbed fresh breadcrumbs from fresh bread for the gratin.

Though the machine at first seemed daunting, with all those buttons, timers and speed settings, it took very little time to become familiar with it, and I was soon whizzing through the instructions.

For me, the most daunting aspect was the turbo-speed for chopping ice. It is extremely loud! The machine also needs to be held firmly to prevent it skipping across the counter. However, as it takes only ten seconds, the ordeal was thankfully short. And with more practice, I’m sure would get used to the terrifying noise.

As a chef and someone who cooks every day, I fell in love with the Thermomix, and the saving on my time and energy was apparent to me almost instantly.

For the casual cook, the benefits might be less apparent. But you can still console yourself that you have the coolest piece of kit in any kitchen.

Review adapted from Elaine’s about.com blog