It’s funny how days seem to have a life of their own. Like today, we got up, had a quick breakfast and went to the farmers market. On the way home, John asked if I minded if we stopped at Harvey Norman to get a computer bit or bob. I usually don’t ask what it is because I’m not the techo around here, I just nod. For my American friends, Harvey Norman is our equivalent to Best Buy with computer gear, fridges, stoves, phones, cameras, kitchen toys and more.
I’ll bet when you go into stores like this, you let the other half go to the geek department and you head straight for the kitchen gear? Surely I’m not alone.
As I was walking down one aisle and then another, this lovely man named Josh rolled over to me and asked if I needed any assistance. Josh works in the stove department and I asked, “What free standing stove has the biggest oven?”
He asked if I was interested in gas or electric, induction – all those questions you’d expect someone to ask. I said I wanted a gas top and electric oven. It’s what I had in the home we designed and I’d like to have that again.
I have a Blanco cooktop that I bought at Harvey Norman a year or so ago and a 60cm wall oven that is too small for any food lover. John and I (mostly I) have been talking about getting a freestanding gas stove with an electric oven every time I bake something that needs two racks and holds a normal size cookie sheet. Yes, I have trouble with a normal cookie sheet and can only use it if I can squeeze the ends between the side rails. For a food blogger, it’s just not good enough.
Josh said, “I have a Blanco 90cm freestanding gas stove that you’d love and it has the widest oven in the store with three racks,” and off I went following him. I did fall in love and then John arrived and said, “Can we afford it?” The jury is still out on that but this is the one I want. What do you think? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Blanco people said they thought I needed one to test? As if. 🙂
We said goodbye to Josh and as we were walking out, there were two sales people giving a demonstration on Harvey Norman’s Tefal Cuisine Companion kitchen machine. It’s the one Liz Posmyk from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things has been raving about since she got hers a few months ago.
The ladies were chopping carrots when I got there and I asked how loud it was and she said, “I’m chopping now.” Compared to a ThermoChef or Thermomix, the Cuisine Companion is much quieter.
Next they added an onion and asked this little boy if he would like to handle the settings. No fear whatsoever, he reached up and in a second or two the machine was chopping. It holds 2.5 litres which is half a litre larger capacity than a Thermomix.
It also costs $1,699 which is $300 less than the Thermomix, plus you can buy it at a store and not have to go through the hoo ha of an in-home demonstration just to get the extra bits. The machine comes with a spatula, cleaning tool, kitchen scale, apron, and a cookbook with 300 recipes.
The programs are sauce, soup, slow cook, steam, pastry, dessert or manual. What more would you want? Oh, a chopping blade, knead and crush blade, beater, stirrer and steam basket? Yes, those are included too. The Tefal Cuisine Companion is only sold at Harvey Norman in Australia with stores everywhere.
When Liz got hers, I remember this wonderful Gluten free white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake she made. One look and I wanted one right there and then. Doesn’t it look good? She made this in her Cuisine Companion fancy machine.
I did the next best thing because by the time I got home I didn’t have time to bake a cheesecake after running all the errands we had to do today. I made white chocolate cheesecake desserts – no bake. I had just enough graham crackers from my stash to make the base and this recipe makes 6 small servings. It received thumbs up from us and our neighbour.
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (or any plain biscuit/cookie crumbs - omit sugar if the cookies are sweet)
- 50 grams melted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 250 gram block of cream cheese, softened
- ⅜ cup of caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon gelatine powder dissolved in ⅛ cup boiling water and cooled.
- 100 grams (half a block) white chocolate, melted
- ½ cup cream, lightly whipped (measure before whipping)
- Whisk the sugar into the crumbs and add the melted butter and stir to combine.
- Add to the bottom of 6 small dessert dishes and press into the bottom of the dish, saving a few crumbs for garnish. Set aside.
- Cut the cream cheese into chunks and put in the bowl of a mixer along with the sugar. Beat on medium speed until the cream cheese and sugar are smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the gelatine and mix to combine.
- Remove from mixer, scrape the bowl and stir in the white chocolate with a spatula and then fold in the whipped cream.
- Divide the filling into the 6 bowls and garnish lightly with crumbs and top with fresh berries.