REBEL CHEF UK
Who We Are
Hello! My name is Sharon, and I try to ‘home make’ my family food as much as possible. I'm not a natural cook I'm far too slap dash and impatient, but I think everyone who knows me will say I love to experiment….and I am improving (Hooray)!
In the summer we would visit our family in the West of Ireland. My grandmother, Sarah, loved being a farmers wife. She used to cook on a turf fed range on the farm and would regularly make her own bread. Her culinary skills were limited as I can only recall she made mainly soda bread, consome lamb stew and jam. I don’t think Irish farmers wives, at that time, had the exposure to the fabulous range of cooking courses that have now exploded over Ireland, and Irish produce – apart from the beef – was not really as celebrated as it should have been. However, she was great at growing fresh produce in her garden by the side of the kitchen, and she did kill and cure some of the meat on the farm, and we could drink milk unpasturised fresh from their herd of cows.
In the 70s my mother discovered the delights of Marks and Spencer’s. Their food was all the rage as with their cutting-edge meals that came out of a packet. M&S are known for their quality but my parents didn’t have dinner parties (but we did have a heating trolly which I used to keep my record player in).
Home economics weren’t taught my school and to be honest, I quite despised the idea of having to do any cooking at all, I thought I would get a handsome prince to pay for servants and I would live in a castle!
Fast forward and I’ve been very fortunate that my husband is a patient man and far better than cooking than me. He spent the early years of our married life showing me how to turn down the hob and oven so things didn’t burn and we might cut food bills because I wouldn’t have to throw so many inedible creations away! However, it was I had children, that it actually forced me to rethink my cooking out of concern for giving them a healthy start in life,
Through weaning we prepared foods to be pureed and were introduced to new foods like pumpkin and sweet potato and found we rather liked this baby food. I really started cooking and experimenting when my children went to school because there were more opportunities to see and share food and ideas. I started cooking for the school cake sales and fairs which gave me the outlet to experiment. With more information about food out there, and great TV programs, I gained confidence to home cook.
Then some Portuguese friends showed me a machine that they had bought that they said was legendary in Portugal and they decided to use it because she was going back to full time work I needed to save time preparing food. I thought they were stark raving bonkers mad (get the idea?) when they told me it was over 1000 pounds! Fast forward a few months, when an Italian friend got one and explained to me how her husband and son were really excited with this machine and had taken over the cooking, so on hearing what they were now cooking and how they were doing it, really intrigued me to look again.
Friends said to me I should promote this because it combines my interest in food and getting out and about meeting people. I admit, I instantly turned from deep scepticism to completely in love with this machine (I literally ate my words). The pleasure and happiness this funny machine has brought to me and my family is really enduring as we use it morning, noon and night, and I have to say that my Thermomix has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I cook with it at least once a day, if not more, and it gives me great pleasure to also see my ‘men’ using it.
It’s like having an extra helper in the kitchen but this pair of hands is a real professional appliance, used in top restaurants or in the background in many TV cooking programs. The reason is so popular is because you cook in a different way but it is so versatile and simple.
A Day WITH THERMOMIX
I love porridge and I used to put the oats and water in a saucepan and then need to keep an eye stirring it regularly which took about 10 minutes standing at the stove. Now I start my day with a far tastier porridge, that is sweetened naturally and, as it is constantly stirred, has a far better consistency. I start my day with a recipe that I adore, takes 5 mins to prepare and while cooking I am getting washed and dressed.
One of my favorite recipes is Apple, sultana and cinnamon porridge which has a wonderful creamy texture but is really nutritious.
Ingredients for Porridge
- 1 red apple, cored and quartered (approx. 150 g)
- 80 g rolled oats
- 200 g milk
- 250 g water
- 20 g sultanas
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 15 g flaked almonds, for serving
- 2 tsp honey, for serving
Time to prepare: 5 mins Cooking time: 10 mins
Fresh bread is lovely, so I can prepare my bread and knead it in my machine. Then I let it rise, so I can have a fresh loaf for lunch time.
Ingredients for sandwich bread
- 30 g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 240 g water
- 1 tsp dried instant yeast (4 g) or 10 g fresh yeast
- 30 g brown sugar
- 500 g bread flour
Prep. Time 15 mins.
For dinner, I have taught my son how to make his own cauliflower cheese in 10 mins, he prepares the cheese sauce in the Thermomix in 10 minutes and this is a useful recipe mid-week and as a side dish with a roast.
Ingredients for Cauliflower Cheese
- 200 g Gruyère cheese, cut in pieces
or 200 g Cheddar cheese, cut in pieces
- 500 g water
- 1 cauliflower (approx. 1000 g), cut in florets
- 50 g flour
- 40 g butter
- 500 g milk
- ½ tsp salt, plus extra to taste
- 2 pinches ground white pepper, plus extra to taste
- 1 – 2 pinches ground nutmeg (optional)
Prep time 5 mins
- 80 – 100 g onions, cut in halves
- 1 garlic clove
- 20 g olive oil
- 1 – 2 carrots
- 1 courgette
- 400 g water, plus extra for soup
- 2 tsp salt
- 450 g mixed vegetables (e.g. potato, courgette, carrot, leek), cut in pieces
- 500 g chicken breast fillets, skinless, cut in strips (5 cm x 2 cm)
- 20 g butter (optional)
Prep time: 20 mins
For dessert, I have made some fabulous custard, but fruit sorbet and ice cream are a great family favorite because you know exactly what is going into your food and can control sugar content. Here is Mango Kulfi for a change, which is a lovely end to the week, when I have to cook a ‘fake away’ now lock-down has made going out difficult.
- 40 g granulated sugar
- 20 g pistachio nuts, unsalted, shelled, plus extra for decoration
- 20 g blanched almonds
- 600 g ripe mango, peeled, cut in pieces
- 250 g Greek yoghurt
Prep time 20 mins
This is just a small sample of the range and variety of cooking I achieve with my Thermomix, and you can see why it is such a popular kitchen appliance.
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