Monday, 13 October 2014

Feeding large families and groups with a Thermomix

One question I regularly get asked at demonstrations is "I have a large family, how many people would that feed?". I can give my own experience, with a family of 5 and times when we have cooked regularly for 4 adults, 3 children as well as cooking for extras when we entertain, and then the amount of food we can produce for a cooking class to give everyone a serve. Sometimes people still want to hear more...

Much has been written about this by different bloggers, but I wanted to share some of my customers' experiences with you to help you decide, as well as have this reference to pass to some of my demo guests to help them make an informed decision about Thermomix fitting into their family....

So I have interviewed a few customers, and here are their responses.

HAYLEY, family of 9 

My name is Hayley and I am a mummy of 7 beautiful kiddies, ranging from 12 years to 7 months. 
I've had the privilege of borrowing a Thermomix and I am in awe of just how amazing this machine is. I cannot get my head around how QUICK and EASY it is for me to use. Also following recipes, something I don't usually do! I cooked 6 different recipes on Thursday, most of which I had a teething 7 month baby on my hip, who was only happy to be 'attached'. 
I would never have been able to have made the dishes I made with an unsettled baby, if I hadn't have been using the Thermomix. I have had great joy making dough, scrolls, pizza, cinnamon scrolls, salads and risottos too. I've been surprised how far the portions go, with the usual vegetables, or salads made in the Thermomix.

I did wonder if there would be enough making only one risotto and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was enough to feed my entire family. I have to give the Thermomix back and will be counting down until I purchase one myself.

LAURA, uses her Thermomix to cook for crowds 

I have enjoyed using my Thermomix to drastically speed up the process of catering large events of about 100 people.  Although I'm not always able to use the Thermomix to COOK for that many people, the prep time alone that is saved by using the Thermomix makes it a worthwhile investment.  In the time it takes to chop one or two onions by hand, I'm able to chop 2 or 3 kilos in the Thermomix.  Using the Thermomix to make dips, curry pastes and sauces is much more cost effective than buying them commercially, and its ability to effortlessly chop and mix coleslaws, make sorbets and grate cheese, means a lot of food can be served in a short amount of time. The major benefits I've seen by using the Thermomix to assist with catering have been a reduced prep time and greater cost effectiveness.  For a large number of people, the Thermomix sometimes does need to be combined with more traditional cooking methods like stovetop, but the two can work harmoniously together to streamline the catering process, save you money and drastically reduce onion-tears!

AMANDA, family of 5 & cooks for 'family nights'

I’ve had my Thermomix for 2 years in November. I regularly cook for 4-7 people. I never thought the size of the Thermomix was a problem for feeding my family.  I do have 3 young children so most of the meals I cook feed them, me and my husband when using just the jug.  When using the Varoma there is always enough for 8-10 depending on the meal!

I mostly use it to cook main meals which are 4-6 serves.  Mostly meals consisting of a protein in a sauce that can be served with pasta or rice which are kid friendly!

Some dishes I have cooked in it that use a lot of meat are Penne with Meatballs, Meat Loaf, Butter Chicken (I increase to 1kg of chicken), Beef Stroganoff (again I increase to 1kg of beef) – I find most recipes you can increase the meat because there is always a generous amount of sauce. 

I find that when I am making meals for lots of people I tend to make a main meal and then some sides.  I love that with the Thermomix I can make all those things in the one machine. – an example is the Penne with meatballs.  I make the meatballs, then I make the sauce, I make side salad and some dough to make pizza bianca – this stretches the meal or gives you lots of left overs.  Also when I do make the very few things I still make on the stove  - I use it to chop my onions garlic and herbs.  I also use if for sauces or gravies with traditional roasts or BBQs and also for marinades.

I use the oven for baking bread to go with the main meal or to bake lasagne etc.  I rarely use my stove anymore as I use my Tupperware Rice Cooker and Tupperware Pasta Cooker while tandem cooking something in my Thermomix. I also use my Thermoservers as I can keep things warm while moving on to my next part of the meal.

Things I use my Thermomix for, other than evening meals are healthy snacks for school lunch boxes  using up fruit and veggies just about to go (stock, smoothies, fruit muffins), marinades, dough, cake mixes, custard, sauces, boiling eggs and most importantly DIPS!!

I must admit I do not use my Varoma as much as the jug of the Thermomix.  With the things that we cook the volume is ok just with the jug.  The few meals I do cook with the Varoma always serves 8-10 people so I imagine if I was cooking for that many I would use it more.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of steaming meat….fish and veggies yes, but not meat.

I knew a Thermomix would save me time and I would be able to cook much more in a shorter amount of time.  I knew it would save me money cooking much more from scratch and I would cook a larger range of things I normally wouldn’t have attempted (butter, yogurt, bread dough, meringue)

I LOVE MY THERMOMIX!  I think regardless of how large or small your family is you will not regret the purchase.  I do think having a Thermoserver or two for larger families or for entertaining guests is a must!

WENDY, family of 8 

I've had my Thermomix just over a year. I have 6 kids, so cook for 8 most days, sometimes more. I thought it would be big enough, especially as I'd cook pasta etc separately.

Some of the mains we make are (serves 8)Quirky Fried Rice (we have left overs), Butter Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Lamb Curry, Quiche (finish in oven). I cook veggies for the quirky fried rice, & the bacon, and love the way you can cook the 'fried rice' in the top. I have made pumpkin scones & cooked pumpkin in the Varoma.

I make banana cake, biscuits, other cakes. I am doing FODMAP at the moment which is gluten free, lactose free, no onion, garlic & lots of other things... Thermi makes life so much easier cooking with substitutions.

As a tool, the Thermomix helps me with grating cheese, mincing onion & garlic (when I can have it!) herbs, preparing sauces for bolognaise (I tend to fry it in pan, & prepare sauce in thermi) cake mixes & biscuit mixes. I also use my slow cooker, boil pasta on cook top, cook quiche in oven, garlic bread in oven, baked potatoes in oven and veggies boiled on cook top (when not steamed in the varoma)

For parties it is great, making cakes & biscuits, large quantities of white sauce & bolognaise sauce for lasagne. My 14 yr old even made the marble cake the other day by herself :-)

We thought about it for over a year, but just the convenience & the ease of using it, enabling us to cook with more fresh ingredients and now especially with food intolerances it's wonderful. And the best thing?! My hubby will now cook dinner as it's so easy :-) 

AVA, family of 7 (and sometimes up to 9 or 11!) 

I've had my thermomix for 3 years and it regularly cooks for 7 people but on many occasions it works up to 9 or 11 people.

To be honest when I first saw the Thermomix I was most sceptical about the capacity of bowl. To this day there are still times when I mutter "Huh ! Who'd of thought it!" when I end up with left overs to pack for hubby 's lunch the next day!

The single most used recipe which we use a lot for our bulky meals is the bechamel sauce. I experiment with different cheeses, herbs, mustard, addition of similar creamy substances such as sour cream, cream , etc . I'm a terrible person when it comes to following a recipe! I will do everything but! Steaming my peas and corn in the varoma whilst the sauce is coming together and then turning that into an 'anything goes' bake. Some our common ones : tuna bake, ham and corn, bacon and broccoli, cherry tomatoes and grated zucchini, etc.
Fried rice is another common one in our house with the veggies on the varoma and omelette on top tray cooking. In the Asian cook book there is a 'Drunk Chicken' recipe which I use and then shred the chicken and turn into San Choy Bow.

We do the madras curry which I use around 700 g of cubed meat. Our spaghetti sauce uses 1 kilo of mince and that's the limit for my jug as by the time I mix the 1 kg of steamed mince with the 1 kilo of sauce from the jug , I'm over by about 1 ladle of food and a very grateful German shepherd! This mixture gives me exactly 2 meals for 7 people. Spaghetti the first night and pasta bake the next!

Although I can cook rice in my Thermomix, my rice cooker definitely allows more meat to be cooked in the Thermomix. Cooking lamb shanks or curry in the slow cooker all day let's me have the thermi available for mash and veggies in winter. I have one TM jug and 2 thermoservers, one of which is always filled with yogurt. But it is still manageable for me to cook for 7 or more people with a little pre-planning. I do have "oh damn!" moments though where I've forgotten to chop something up before I occupy the thermie for the next 30 minutes!

Other things I use my Thermomix for are stacks of play dough, but more recently making batches of pizza dough and delivering them to friends for later proofing.
I like fancy foods but with the numbers in our house its just not viable as frequently as I like it so I rely on chutneys and little treats to make the meals seem more special. For example make a jar of Cassundi to keep in fridge and serve on the side of the curry or deprive the dog of that extra ladle of spaghetti and turn into a samosa or a spring roll!
And if you've read aaall the way down here and you'd still like to read some more, here are some brilliant articles which I read prior to deciding on the Thermomix too.


Has that helped you decide? Get in touch with Thermomix in Australia to put you in contact with a consultant in your area.

Note: this post is the opinion of myself and my customers who have contributed. I am an Independent Thermomix consultant in Perth WA, and have written this post to help my prospective customers decide for themselves if the Thermomix is right for their family. I have not been asked or sponsored to write this post and the views are entirely my and my customers' own and not those of Thermomix in Australia or Vorwerk.

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