Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Five reasons I love my Cuisine Companion - plus healthy brownies recipe!

This is a S3 post - I received a Cuisine Companion for review purposes
For full details please see my disclosure policy

I've been playing with Tefal's new Cuisine Companion non stop since I got my paws on one last month. It's been an interesting ride, seeing what it can do, checking out new recipes and adapting old ones. Mostly I've made one meal at a time, but I did do a bit of bulk cooking, whipping up some freezer meals for a friend who is about to welcome twins in to her family, and some yummy "I can't believe they're healthy" brownies for her older kids lunchboxes.

I've been trying to think of the five things I love about it the most, and narrowing it down to five is actually bloody hard. Akin to choosing your favourite child, if your child was a kitchen wonder machine. But I'm being ruthless and capping it, otherwise I'd be here all weekend, sounding like I was writing a brochure.

1. Clear Lid
You know how little kids sit and stare at the washing machine? Well, I stand and stare at Cosette. Oh, you don't name your appliances? This is awkward. French machine, French name, a nod to Les Mis, it had to be. But I digress. The clear lid is just so freakin' handy! If you're cooking and the condensation stops you seeing in, the centre does pop out so you can have a peek through. The lid comes apart for easy cleaning if needed - but I've only needed to do that if I've been milling my own flour or crushing up nuts and the teeny particles get everywhere.

2. Big Bowl
A whopping 2.5L capacity bowl means making large batches a breeze. But it's not just big, the mouth and base are wide enough to get in to with your spatula without turning yourself in to a contortionist.

3. Easy Blade Swap
Slide blade in. Mix things. Slide blade out. Pick up new blade, slide in. Repeat. There is no locking and mucking about, it goes in and stays in. When it's time to pour out the mixture, slide out the blade and away you go. It makes it sooooo easy to get every last drop of soup or sorbet out when you don't have to be dodging blades. Although you may want to leave a few traces of cake batter for bowl licking purposes. Let's not ruin childhoods, OK?

4. High Display
My eyes are not the best, even with contacts, so I have been known to bend down close to appliances to find out what the remaining time is, what setting I've got it set to, or even if it's turned on. Not any more. Hurrah! It seems so simple to have the display higher and angled up. Clever.

5. One Touch
A heap of the recipes in the Million Meals book are one touch recipes. Chuck in the ingredients and select the pre-set function and off you go. So say you're cooking a soup, it goes slowly at first, stirring it all together, then when it's all cooked through, it changes speed and temperature by itself to whizz it all up in to a creamy deliciousness. It even changes temperature again to keep it warm when it's finished, so you don't have to worry about it either burning or going cold.

Grating cheese, finely dicing garlic, blending chickpeas to hummus,
cooking bolognaise, perfecting "cauli rice", and mixing cakes and loafs
I could have mentioned so many other things (it's quiet, the temperature increments are great, the adjustable steam vent, the stay cool handle on the steam basket, and heaps more), but I'm trying to restrain myself.

I've had a few questions thrown my way from readers about what I don't like about it, and so far I can't find anything - I was originally saying I didn't like that the lid didn't come apart for cleaning, but then I realized it does and I was just a bit daft. Others have asked if the fact that it doesn't have in built scales is annoying, and for me, it isn't an issue - I rarely used the inbuilt scale in my competitor product because my pouring skills suck. Instead of gradually adding 30g of flour I would add 5g, 10g, 15g, 20g, 80g. SHIT. Then the next five minutes are spent trying to fish out excess flour or whatever or adding more liquid and OMG TOO HARD!

So let's get to the best bit:

Healthy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Because I can never just leave something be, this recipe has come about from experiments with a few different recipes and is most heavily influenced by a Get Commando Fit brownie that has been all over the internet for a while now. I have to play  with recipes until it suits me, my budget and my taste buds! And duuuuuude, these are gooooood.

You'll need:
250g sweet potato, peeled & roughly cut in to large cubes
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup of evoo
1/2 cup of rice malt syrup (use honey if you want it to be sweeter and don't mind adding sugar)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
2 tablespoons of protein powder (if you don't have this, you can use flour but it won't be as high in protein obviously)
1 cup of cocoa
2 tablespoons of plain flour

Grab Cosette, or your own Cuisine Companion then:
  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Place sweet potato in to Cuisine Companion bowl, using the Ultrablade*, set to pulse for 30 seconds (the machine automatically selects speed 12 for pulse)
  • Add in your eggs, vanilla, evoo and rice malt syrup** and mix on speed 6 for 10 seconds then scrape down the sides
  • Add protein powder if using, cocoa and flour and mix on speed 6 for 20 seconds, scrape down the sides and mix again for 10 seconds if necessary
  • Pour in to a lined lamington tray and bake for 20-22 minutes DO NOT OVER COOK!
  • Allow to cool slightly before cutting - I usually get 20 brownies from this
These are so rich, moist and utterly delish! You won't feel bad for eating one (two? three?) because they're full of the good stuff.

To serve in lunchboxes, cut them in to your desired size and freeze in an airtight container with a layer of baking paper or similar between so they don't stick together. Grab one out, wrap it in an eco wrapper and put it straight in to the lunchbox frozen and they'll thaw by recess.

*HOT TIP: If your sweet potato is super hard, maybe use the Crushing blade for the first step.

**HOT TIP: Measure your evoo first, pour it in, then use the same measuring cup without washing it to measure the rice malt syrup - the oil coating will mean the syrup comes out easily and you don't waste any.

If you have any specific questions about the Cuisine Companion or a recipe you'd like me to make in it, please let me know in a comment below as I'll be doing a full twelve month review.

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