This mutant mixer can weigh, cook, blend, chop, crush, emulsify, whip, mix, steam, blend, knead, grind, simmer, grate, and even mill. But is it any good, asks PAT PILCHER.
As a kid, I spent time in restaurant kitchens and developed a love of good food. Whipping up Hainanese chicken rice, aloo gobi curry, pasta or risotto is something I love to do. The trouble is that after a trying day at the Witchdoctor towers, I’m too frazzled to cook something splendiferous. For the sake of budget and health, takeaways are not an option more than once a week.
What to do?
Enter stage left, the mighty Thermomix. This mutant mixer does it all. I’m not kidding: It can weigh, cook, blend, chop, crush, emulsify, whip, mix, steam, blend, knead, grind, simmer, grate, and even mill. It can also do the work of a kettle, slow cooker, bread maker, rice cooker and sous-vide. Best of all, it has a pre-clean mode, so most of the clean-up work is done for you.
Sheer functionality aside, the Thermomix is also internet-connected, which enables access to subscription-based recipe service Cookidoo. Using the Cookidoo app on a phone or PC, I could hunt down recipes that appealed, and there’s literally thousands of those. From there I could add them to the Thermomix’s memory, where they’re accessible via its touch screen.
Using Cookidoo recipes makes whipping up a meal a complete doddle. The built-in touch screen guides you through each step of the recipe. Because the Thermomix weighs the ingredients as you add them, it’s also hard to mess things up.
My first meal in this Thermomix review involved making pizza dough. It’s a simple recipe I use a lot at home, but the kneading is time-consuming and making pizza dough is messy. Not with the Thermomix. I had the pizza dough mixed, kneaded and rising in around 15 minutes. Total dishes were two plates, a bowl, the Thermomix jug (which was already pre-cleaned) and a pizza stone.
In short, the Thermomix made cooking from scratch a near-effortless undertaking. All told, it’s been a kitchen gamechanger.
The Thermomix looks like the love child of R2D2 and a Breville kitchen appliance. It’s reasonably sized, which makes finding it a home in my kitchen a bit of a mission. This is something those for whom benchtop or kitchen cupboard space is at a premium may also want to think about.
Here’s Looking At You …
Size aside, the Thermomix is an attractive unit and is done out in a wipeable white plastic with a stainless-steel jug. On its front is a 6.8-inch colour IPS touchscreen, and it comes with a variety of attachments such as a butterfly whisk for fast meringues and whipping cream. There’s a splash guard for cooking sauces and what Thermomix calls the Varoma – a steaming basket that fits onto the Thermomix’s lid. On the top is a snap-in measuring cup.
Using the Thermomix to whip up a Jalfrezi curry, I was impressed at just how quickly and effortless cooking with it was. The sheer speed and efficiency were staggering. The recipe I’d chosen via Chad had a 5-star rating and was a match for the ingredients I’d told Cookidoo were in my fridge. It’s also a curry that I often cook, so I had a sound basis for comparison.
Being guided through each step of the cooking process saw me coarsely chopping and adding veggies and spices and so on. At the base of the stainless-steel is a four-pronged blade which can mix, blend, purée, knead or stir. In this case, blend chop and stir. The finished product tasted great, even if the chicken was a bit too finely chopped for my liking.
The degree with which the Thermomix can cut, blend, stir and kneed is determined by a dial and the touch screen. Crank the dial up to 10, and you get a high-speed blender that’ll crush frozen fruit (which with the addition of castor sugar and lemon, makes for a delightful sorbet/granita).
This can also blast rice grains or dried chickpeas into flour. Tapping a symbol on the touchscreen reverses the blade, and its non-sharp edge will stir instead of cutting. Switching down from fast to medium allowed me to blend roasted onion/garlic/kumara into a tasty smelling pulp. Adding veggie stock and then having the Thermomix stir it as it cooked created a satisfying soup in just five minutes.
The sheer functionality of the Thermomix is astonishing. There isn’t much it can’t do. Bakers and dessert makers will love its ability to whisk, caramelize and bake. For those frazzled after a hard day at the office, it’ll brown, chop, steam, sauté, blend, boil, knead, emulsify, mill, grind, grate, and knead. All of which can be the difference between a nasty takeaway and a home-cooked meal.
I particularly loved that I could knock out dishes that I’d never put effort into on a weekday. In just five minutes, I whipped up two bowls of berry sorbet, while other Thermomix users say they’re knocking out crème brulées in 15 minutes flat.
This model of the Thermomix, the TM6, comes with a bunch more features than earlier models. These include kettle, sous-vide, and fermentation functions.
Giving the Thermomix a proper scrub out is dead easy too, as its jug/blade, lids, steaming basket and measuring cup are all dishwasher safe. The jug and blades also come apart, making for an effortless hand wash.
So, what did I like, during this Thermomix review? Using Thermomix means I don’t need half a dozen other kitchen gadgets. Another biggie is that when using Cookidoo recipes, the Thermomix is pretty much a set-and-forget experience, so there’s no burnt/undercooked food at dinnertime. Parents will also love how the Thermomix can blitz carrots, celery, broccoli (and other kid unfriendly veggies) into pasta sauces, risottos, etc.
This handily allows parents to hide them from even the fussiest eaters. As much as I love to cook, I’m no baker, yet in the Thermomix review, I’m baking from scratch. And so far, everything has worked brilliantly. If you’ve got to leave the cooking to a kitchen novice, Cookidoo guided recipes mean that anyone can follow simple step-by-step instructions to produce impressive dishes.
If that’s what is good, what about the not-so-good? The Thermomix is incredibly versatile. Still, it can’t quite deliver the same subtle complexity of flavour that you’d get with stove. There’s a learning curve. While the first meal from your Thermomix won’t be brilliant, subsequent dishes will steadily improve as you learn how to get the best out of the machine.
Who is the Thermomix aimed at? If you are an old school cook who loves to roll up their sleeves and do everything from scratch, then the Thermomix mightn’t for you. For the rest of us living chaotic lives, the Thermomix is part kitchen workhorse and mostly a saviour that’ll give you back some much needed “me” time.
Thermomix Review – Summary
So, is the Thermomix the answer to your foodie prayers? For anyone with a taste for good food and a lack of time to cook, the Thermomix can be a real game-changer. High-quality recipes and fiddly dishes become doable. Best of all, cooking times are shortened, and it’ll even email a shopping list to you based on what recipes you’ve planned to cook that week.
While there’s a hell of a lot to like, there is one minor gotcha I discovered during my Thermomix review. The Thermomix isn’t cheap. At around $2469, it’s a considerable investment. This might sound steep, but it all but eliminates the need for many other kitchen appliances. Doing the maths, I worked out I could avoid buying a slow cooker, a blender, an electric kettle and bread maker.
Most importantly, the Thermomix allows time-challenged people to eat well. These factors make it a compelling option, even if you are culinarily challenged in the kitchen. Because of this, justifying the steep price of the Thermomix is easy. For intending home cooks looking for a set of helping hands in the kitchen, the Thermomix will literally pay for itself, which is why it has earned a coveted Witchdoctor 10 out of 10 rating from my Thermomix review.