A Termomix might seem an odd present for someone who hates to cook.
But self-confessed ‘packet and jar’ cook Leonie Cavill not only embraced the appliance, she dedicated her life to it.
The Sydney mother-of-two now runs the food blog ThermoFun, and told Daily Mail Australia every recipe she creates uses the Thermomix.
New-found passion: Leonie Cavill, 49, used to hate cooking and used packet and jar mixes regularly
Inspired: She received a Thermomix and developed a passion for cooking that saw her start her own blog: ThermoFun
‘I rarely cooked, I hated cooking, I had no idea how to cook,’ Mrs Cavill, 49, said.
Her brother had a Thermomix, and after reading about it online, she decided it was what she needed to make a change in the kitchen.
‘My husband was still anti it, he said “you hate cooking, why would you want a machine like that?” But I had a gut feeling it would give me the confidence to cook.’
Her gut feeling paid off, and today Mrs Cavill’s blog has more than 58,000 followers on Facebook, a club membership with more than 1,200 paying members and a website that gets 15,000 visitors per week.
Making a change: ‘I had a gut feeling it would give me the confidence to cook,’ she said
Online following: Mrs Cavill started a Facebook page in 2012 which has received more than 58,000 followers
The website and accompanying social media pages have become a full-time job for Mrs Cavill as she creates new recipes and works with her followers to convert old family favourites to be compatible with the Thermomix.
In December 2012, not long after she got her Thermomix, her husband was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.
Mrs Cavill said she focused her energy on building her blog as a way to distract herself.
‘It sort of came from left field and was a big shock, because of that I literally threw myself in to ThermoFun,’ she said.
‘For me it was a safe haven and a great escape.’
Versatile: Every recipe on her blog uses her Thermomix, and she said the only thing she does not use it for is baking
Dedicated: Her food blog has become a full-time job as she creates new recipes and converts old family favourites to be compatible with the Thermomix
Financial benefits: Making things like yoghurt and dips in the Thermomix from scratch is cheaper than buying pre-packaged products
She said she can make everything in the machine from cooking a whole chicken and vegetables to making yoghurt, cocktails, risotto and even rocky road.
‘If you said to me four years ago in the future you will be a full-time blogger I think I would have laughed at you,’ she said.
As well as making it easier in the kitchen, Mrs Cavill said her Thermomix allowed her to eat healthier and make things for cheaper.
Because she no longer uses ‘packet and jar’ mixes she has cut out any additives and preservatives in the family’s diet.
She also said things like yoghurt and dips, which she makes in the Thermomix, were cheaper.
LEONIE CAVILL’S MOROCCAN STYLE ROAST CHICKEN RECIPE
185g hot water
20g vegetable stock
2 Tbsp olive oil + 10g extra
40g pistachio nuts
120g dried pitted dates
1 onion peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves peeled
2 tsp ThermoFun Moroccan Spice
1 chook (up to 2kg)
1 cinnamon stick
1700g hot water
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ThermoFun Moroccan Spice (extra)
Vegetables of your choice peeled and chopped
Delicious: Steaming the chicken keeps it moist
In a separate bowl on top of TM lid, weigh the couscous, 185g hot water and stock. Stir to combine. Stir in 1 Tbsp olive oil.
Chop nuts in TM bowl 5 sec / speed 5.
Place pitted dates in TM bowl and chop 8 sec / speed 6.
Place onion, garlic and 10g olive oil in TM bowl and chop 3 sec / speed 5. Scrape down.
Sauté onion and garlic, 5 mins / Varoma / speed 2 / Reverse”. MC off.
Add 2 tsp ThermoFun Moroccan Spice, dates and nuts and cook 2 mins / Varoma / speed 2 / Reverse.
Add onion and date mixture to the couscous and stir to combine with a spoon.
Rinse the chicken cavity and then pat dry.
Spoon couscous mixture and cinnamon stick into chicken cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string.
Fill TM bowl with 1700g water (I use boiling water from the kettle to save time).
In a small bowl, make the marinade by combining the honey, ground cinnamon, 2 tsp Moroccan Spice, 1 Tbsp olive oil.
Pat and massage the marinade into the skin of chicken. Place the chicken breast side up in varoma.
Place varoma on top of TM bowl lid and cook chicken 50 mins / Varoma / speed 2.
After 50 mins of cooking, depending on the size of your chook – you can add potatoes, pumpkin and carrots (or vegetables of your choice) around the sides of the chook in the varoma to be steamed or in your simmering basket for 20 mins / Varoma / speed 2.
OR you can take the chook out of the varoma and place in a baking dish and continue cooking it in the oven for approximately 10 mins. You will then have plenty of room to put potatoes and carrots etc in the varoma.
In the last 8 mins, in varoma tray, add vegetables that only require approximately 8 mins of steaming time for example: snow peas, beans etc. 8 mins / Varoma / speed 2.
Healthy option: Because she no longer uses ‘packet and jar’ mixes she has cut out any additives and preservatives
Making it easy: She makes pork dumplings using the steam setting on the Thermomix
‘I make two litres of yoghurt every week and it costs $2, you’re effectively paying for the cost of milk,’ she said.
‘Jam would be a $1, if that.’
Some of her popular recipes are her Baileys Irish Cream, Bacon Jam, Thai Red Curry Prawn Risotto and Clinker Rocky Road.
LEONIE CAVILL: RED CURRY PRAWN RISOTTO RECIPE
1 onion peeled and halved
2 spring onions quartered
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 red chilli
handful fresh coriander leaves
handful parsley leaves (fresh no stalks)
1 Tbsp red curry paste
20g olive oil
100g carrot quartered
1 red capsicum quartered
400g coconut milk
1Tbsp TM vege stock
300g arborio rice
pepper to taste
400g raw prawns (with tails on), I have used 500g
Place onion, spring onions, garlic, chilli, coriander & parsley into TM bowl. Chop 5 sec / speed 5.
Scrape down and add oil and red curry paste. Sauté 5 mins / Varoma / speed 1 / MC off.
Add in capsicum and carrot and chop 3 sec / speed 7.
Scrape down TM bowl and add 100g of the coconut milk (reserve rest in the can). Cook for 2 mins / 100° / speed 1 / Reverse.
Add in remaining coconut milk, arborio rice, water, vegetable stock and pepper to taste. Mix 2 sec / speed 3 / Reverse.
Continue cooking 16 mins / 100° / speed 1 / Reverse. Cook with the MC cap out and place the simmering basket on top of lid.
Add prawns (poke prawns down into mixture with spatula) and cook 2 mins / 100° / Reverse / speed 1.
Place in ThermoServer and let stand for 5 minutes.
Favourite: The prawn risotto is one of Mrs Cavill’s most popular recipes, you simply put in the ingredients and let them cook
Cost effective: Each week she uses the Thermomix to make two litres of yoghurt, which costs about $2
Sweet tooth: She uses the machine to melt chocolate for a number of different recipes
LEONIE CAVILL’S THERMOMIX CLINKER ROCKY ROAD
500g milk chocolate melts (or dark)
20g coconut oil
300g Pascall Clinkers – cut in half
100g Baby marshmallows (leave 3 aside)
190g Raspberry lollies – cut in half
Her Clinker Rocky Road recipe is a favourite
Place chocolate melts and coconut oil in TM bowl 10 sec / speed 9.
Melt chocolate and coconut oil in TM bowl for 5 mins / 50° / speed 1.
Scrape down edges and melt for a further 4 mins / 50° / speed 1.
With two minutes to go, change to Reverse mode and add Clinkers, Raspberries and baby marshmallows.
Ensure all ingredients are combined with use of spatula, then place into a lined rectangle tin and cool in fridge before cutting into squares.
‘I’ve been known to sell out shops in December, people were looking for Clinkers and they couldn’t find them,’ she said.
‘I promoted it on Facebook and everyone went off buying Clinkers.’
She said the only other appliance she used in the kitchen was the oven.
‘The only thing it doesn’t do is bake a cake, you can still mix the cake ingredients, but you still need the oven to bake.’