alyce's thermomix journey - a lasting love affair
This article was first published in Issue 4 of TMix+ magazine. Find out more about the magazine here.
My love affair with the Thermomix started in 2003, at only 15 years of age. Back then it was the TM21, a nineties contraption completely foreign to culinary professionals and home cooks alike. My mum brought one of the first machines sold in Victoria and from the minute it landed on the bench, I was hooked. Eggs benedict was my favourite breakfast at the time, and the fact that in mere minutes I could whip up a hollandaise sauce better than most restaurants sealed the deal.
Over the next six years I cooked anything and everything in my Thermomix, yet was frustrated at the lack Thermomix recipes available – back then it was a vastly different landscape to the plethora of online resources and cookbooks now available. I truly believed that people wanted delicious Thermomix recipes written simply with beautiful photos to inspire, but no one was doing it. So, despite being part-way through a Law/Commerce degree, I decided to write my own Thermomix cookbook, Quick Fix in the Thermomix, which I self-published in 2011 with my sister Loryn managing the photography and design. It only became apparent what a mammoth undertaking this was when 2,000 of our freshly printed cookbooks were delivered to our Dad’s garage. Up until that point 2,000 was just a number, but now we were surrounded by hundreds of boxes, wondering what on earth we were going to do with all these books. Luckily, the Thermomix community embraced my recipes with open arms and it wasn’t too long before Dad could see his floor again.
Fast-forward to 2016 and I’ve now written and published six bestselling Thermomix cookbooks, opened a dedicated Thermomix cooking school in Melbourne and launched my own range of Thermomix accessories – to say I’m a devoted Thermomixer is an understatement. The Thermomix makes life in the kitchen exponentially quicker, easier and vastly more enjoyable. In turn people cook more often, and that’s really what it’s all about. I passionately believe home cooking has vast benefit to individuals, families, community, environment and animal welfare, but in today’s busy society it is often the first thing we outsource. While some may argue this makes economic sense, the cost and benefit of doing so cannot be measured in dollars alone.
Home cooking does not need to be a finicky work of art, but rather a harmony of quality ingredients cooked simply. Anyone with a Thermomix, regardless of skill level or time constraint, can cook a delicious meal they are proud of. Serve in the middle of the table, get the whole family sitting around, eat and enjoy. Simple yet satisfying is my motto, and in today’s world simple is often exactly what we need. I have never aspired to be the greatest cook, but rather the greatest at inspiring others to cook. I believe the best way to do that is to make cooking approachable to all - with unpretentious recipes and delicious results, people are hooked. I hope my cookbooks are the ones covered in chocolate fingerprints with oil splatters and crinkled pages. The ones that never make it onto the bookshelf in the living room as they are tucked safely in the kitchen.
Despite my passion for this machine, I’m the first to admit it isn’t a complete cooking solution. A failure of many users is trying to do everything in the Thermomix, inadvertently making things harder and diminishing the end result. There are a number of classic techniques that still hold their own. Whilst the Thermomix may not be able to do everything, it can certainly help with everything. I work with the Thermomix as a second set of hands in the kitchen – a highly skilled, multi-tasking partner. In the case of the aforementioned hollandaise sauce the Thermomix proudly assumes the role of head chef, whereas for a slow cooked beef brisket the Thermomix dutifully chops the onion and garlic – a humble task, yet one which I am eternally grateful to evade. Sometimes it is the little things, like having your garlic and onion chopped, that is the difference between a nourishing home cooked meal and takeaway.