If there’s ever an opportunity to cook with friends, I’m all for it. I love the community of cooking and sharing a meal together, chatting and getting to know each other more. It’s why I loved my home Cook-A-Long days before we moved.
This month (NEXT WEEKEND!!) I’m heading to Auckland with some of the beautiful ladies in my Thermomix Branch to our annual ThermoFest. It was a challenge for us to qualify for the trip but we did it! So on the 1st of March we got together, made some wonderful food to celebrate our achievements.
Recently, Dani Valent (food blogger/journalist) teamed up with Thermomix to release her third Thermomix Cookbook – Entertaining with Dani Valent. It’s the most beautiful cookbook, the chapters being Menu’s of different themes – think Mexican, BBQ, Brunch, Indian to name a few – with each theme populated with many recipes to make your next event specular. I’ve made many dishes from it, using the Recipe Chip it comes with makes cooking them so easy, and have been looking forward to diving into this chapter the most – A Bit Cheffy.
Together we made 5 dishes and it was one of the best lunches I’ve had this year. It included:
- Pineapple and Rum Cocktail (which just may become a regular weekend drink in my house!)
- Potted Baby Vegetables
- Cheese Puffs
- Confit Salmon with creamy Cauliflower mash and Parmesan Gnocchi
- Strawberry Spheres with Mango Truffles.
The lunch was amazing. We each chose a dish to create and put it together there before eating. I loved the tahini dip that was hidden under the olive and rye ‘dirt’ of the potted vegetables. Unfortunately I didn’t have the cheese puffs (as they’re gluten based) but everyone raved about them.
I chose to make the Salmon dish. I’ve been curious at how the confit would go as it was cooking within the confit of olive oil, in the Varma. Next time I’ll cover the confit with a cling wrap to prevent any water from the steam dripping into it, and I’d ensure the tin I used didn’t leak oil everywhere as well (oops!). We are so fortunate to have an amazing chef with us who helped me with the crispy salmon skin technique. The parmesan gnocchi just melted in your mouth and was so easy to create but the winner of that dish would have to be the cauliflower cream. Definitely an element I’ll be recreating at home – possibly next time with a rich slow-cooked lamb or some spicy indian dish.
If you’re on Instagram be sure to follow me here and my friend Gabrielle’s beautiful blog @kitchenthyme.
The star of the day with the dessert. As I mentioned, Chef Gabrielle was able to source some of the more difficult ingredients for us and together we make the strawberry spheres (so interesting!!) while she’d prepared ahead the Mango Truffles and the other elements. (If you’re friends of mine on Facebook there’s a hilarious video of us making them!!)
If you get together and create one of Dani’s menu’s, remember to check out her website – she’s put together some great playlists of music to have in the background of your next Entertaining Event. Having studied music, I loved the combination of Cornelious, Nick Cave and The Avalanches. Pieces I haven’t heard in years! Thanks for the memories Dani!
If you’re looking for a new cookbook, I highly recommend it. Most of the recipes feed 8 people – so fantastic for larger families, and they’re surprisingly easy to throw together. Outside of this menu, my fav would have to be the Mexican night (the Blackened Chicken with Peanut sauce is so deviiiine!), and you can’t go past the Pea and Lettuce Soup from the Ladies Lunch. Yes, sounds odd. Tastes amazing.
You can purchase your copy through your Thermomix consultant or directly from the Thermomix Website.