Day 1 – The Cuisine Companion arrives and I make Risotto
So its been a week since the Tefal Cuisine Companion arrived in my kitchen. The kids and I were very excited to open the huge box and start cooking with it. It arrives with some a lot of accessories:
- 2.5l Bowl,
- Ultrablade – chops, mixes and blends,
- Kneading/Crushing Blade – kneads dough and chops tough ingredients,
- Beater – for emulsifying, whipping and beating egg whites,
- Stirrer – to stir and homogenize cooked dishes,
- Steam Basket – for gentle steam cooking,
- Recipe Book and separate manual,
- Digital Kitchen scale,
- Apron, and
- Quick guide kitchen magnet.
The Cuisine Companion was easy to get set up, and I quickly read through the instruction manual, which has a lot of info (I might have skipped a bit). I had decided earlier on to do a simple risotto – something I hate making normally, as it takes a long time and needs my attention. I have frequently burnt and dried out previous risottos, and have for a while avoided making one. Which is a shame as it is one meal that everyone in my family actually eat (I may have mentioned in other posts that I have a fussy family!).
There are a few things to get familiar with, the 6 automatic functions, soups, sauces, slow cook, steam, pastry and dessert, you can manually adjust the speed of the blades, the temperature (20C to 130C), and the time.
Probably my favourite aspect of the CC is that I can just peel and quarter an onion and throw it in the CC quickly, rather than finely chopping the onion by hand, while I have tears running down my face (I have sever reaction to onions). The CC chops the onion, finely or coarsely depending on the blade speed and set time. It also chops up garlic, ginger, lemon grass etc….
One of the features of the CC that differs from the Thermomix or Bellini is that it can sauté and caramelise onions due to it having a max temp of 130C. The recipe books says to sauté onions and garlic for 3 mins, but I like my garlic and onions cooked longer so I have found adding an extra 2-4mins sauté them just right. I should probably mention here that you do have to change blades, the chopping blade (called Ultrablade) is substituted for a plastic stirring blade. This is very easy to do and the advantage of the stirring bald is you can add veg and meat to the bowl and it will not be cut up by the stirring blade. Once the onions are sauté to my taste, its just a matter of adding the rice for 3 mins and then the other ingredients, setting one of the Slow Cook program for 20min at 95C, and walking away. I did find that the risotto was a bit watery for us so I added an extra 10mins to the slow cooking time and then it was cook perfectly.
Once we had eaten the delicious risotto, it came to the dreaded cleaning, would there be burnt rice on the bottom of the bowl? I had already joined a Facebook Group which did off lots of hints and suggestions, one of which is to fill the bowl with some water with a bit of washing up liquid, put on the lid and stopper, and run the Cuisine Companion at speed 6 for a few mins, you can set some heat but I found I only need to do this for 2 mins and the bowl was easy to clean with a cloth. You can put all the parts in a dishwasher (except for the spindle – see instruction manual), but I have found it easy to clean by hand and have yet to put it in the dishwasher.
I was a bit confused with what to do with the stopper, but over the week I have tried keeping it in, not having it in at all and having it just on its side over the hole and all work well. The only exception was when I was blending a pasta sauce and the stopper was not in properly. Well you can imagine happened!
So I would say overall my risotto was a success, everyone thought it was very tasty and better than my usual attempts and for me, it was much easier to cook in the Cuisine Companion than in a pan by hand. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of my risotto, so you will have to make do with the one form the Tefal website!