First Impressions of the Optimum Thermocook Multicooker:
As an occasional cook and even more occasional baker, I’m not generally a kitchen gadget enthusiast. But, last summer I went to Brantes and cooked with Les Aventurieres du Gout, a group of vegetarian and vegan foragers. While I was there I got to try their Thermomix. It made creating a delicious vegetarian tapenade really easy, but I also watched them using it to cook polenta, one of those Italian dishes that needs constant stirring over a low heat and historically would have relied on a lovely Nonna watching over the pot and stirring for half an hour or so. The Thermomix (and now the Thermocook) took over and created the perfect polenta, hands free. That’s my kind of cooking! So when I was asked to review the Optimum Thermocook I jumped at the chance. The Thermomix is VERY expensive and although I started looking at second hand units, I simply couldn’t afford to buy one. The Optimum Thermocook Multicooker does much the same, but at a far more reasonable price.
I’ve had it now for just under a week and it is clearly still the honeymoon stage for me. I’m not great at following recipes or instructions so I’ve probably made more mistakes than I should have done. But, I’m VERY impressed with the Thermocook Multicooker so far.
I’ve used it to make soup a couple of times – it’s ultra simple – just pop your dry ingredients into the machine and pulse to chop if necessary, use the saute function if you want to pre-cook things like onions and then add in stock or water. You can set the machine to one of the presets if you like (there are twenty including two soup settings). Or, you can simply set up a programme that mimics what you might have done if you were making the same dish on the hob. Pick the ‘stir’ level, the time, the temperature and the heating power. The Thermocook set at stir level 1 with what is called the ‘kneading attachment’ but is actually a stirring paddle, is adequate for most soups. If you use a high temperature with a lower than normal heat power it will help stop smaller quantities of food sticking – I have no idea how it works, but if I am making soup for one, then I have found dropping the heat power down two levels works brilliantly.
I’ve used the Thermocook Multicooker to chop and saute onions and to make the mirepoix for a casserole – it’s easy by pressing the pulse button for just a second or two, although the chop function is so powerful, you may prefer to dice ingredients if you want larger chunks
I’ve made a basic bechamel sauce by chopping the butter in the Thermocook, adding all the dry ingredients and pulsing a couple of times, then adding in the milk and setting the mixture at stir level 2, heat 80c, heat level 5 for 10 minutes.
And I’m currently testing the Thermocook as a slow cooker, making a casserole for dinner. Unlike the Thermomix, the machine will run for up to twelve hours. So, for now I have it set to stew for 3 hours at 75c. I’m experimenting with the DIY settings too because that way I could, for example, stew for an hour, then stir for a minute, then stew for another hour and so on. Which takes it one stage on from a conventional slow cooker
The machine has a range of accessories so that you really can cook a full meal with it.
- There’s a little basket that sits inside the jug to allow you to cook delicate items in liquid without the paddle or chopping blades coming close. You could make a spicy tomato sauce in the jug and use it to cook meatballs for example. Or add dumplings to your stew.
- There are a couple of steamer pans and lid which sits on top of the main cooking jug. If you’ve made a casserole or stew, these are perfect to steam your vegetables.
- There’s a mixer attachment for whipping egg whites or cream.
- And, there’s a set of digital scales.
Most of the machine accessories can be put in the dishwasher, though the jug can’t as it has an electrical socket. It’s easy enough to remove the blades and clean thoroughly though.
I strongly suspect that I will be looking for a second jug, simply because if you want to chop and then go on to saute or stew, you need to change the blades. Luckily for me I have a measuring jug from OXO that is exactly the right size to turn the content of the Thermocook jug into and release the blades to change them. But, that is the only process I’ve found so far which isn’t ultra tidy and efficient.
So for me, in a small London household so far the benefits are:
- The Thermocook replaces a food processor and blender. It will chop and blend beautifully
- The Thermocook replaces a bread maker – it will kneed dough and set it at the right temperature to rise, though you do need to bake in the oven
- The Thermocook replaces a stand mixer – it will beat cake mix, egg whites and cream and can be used to make pastry
- The Thermocook works as a slow cooker for stews and casseroles. I suspect I will be able to use it to sous vide too, following the method suggested by some of the Thermomix users.
- The Thermocook will stir when I am trying to work, so I don’t have to remember to do so.
It’s a useful enough machine to warrant sitting on my worktop. And, it looks pretty smart too! Since I really like cooking from scratch, the Thermocook Multicooker is a godsend, because it takes the place of several other gadgets that I simply don’t have space for in my London kitchen. So it does seem likely that this will become my must have kitchen gadget for 2016
If you’d like one in time for Christmas the Thermocook is currently on special offer, for today and tomorrow at £549.00 reduced from the RRP of £895.00. After Cyber Monday, there’s still a discount until Christmas – a massive £300 off meaning the Optimum ThermoCook could be in your kitchen for just £595.
The UK distributors are so sure that you will love the Optimum ThermoCook that they are also offering a 30 day Money Back Guarantee; so you really can’t go wrong.
As I get used to using my Thermocook I will be posting recipes here and sharing some of the delicious ideas from other Thermocook ambassadors in the UK. I just want to make sure that what I am sharing will work for YOU when you get your Thermocook by testing everything thoroughly before posting.
Disclosure: Froothie UK sent me the Optimum ThermoCook to use and review at home. I have not been paid for this post and was not required to give the ThermoCook a positive write up. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post so that if you buy the Optimum Thermocook I will get a small commission.