A few months ago I was one of just a handful of cooks from across Australia invited to preview the Tefal Cuisine Companion. At an exclusive launch held at the Sydney Seafood School, I received a big box containing my very own, complementary Cuisine Companion and was signed up as a Founding Member of the 'Cuisine Companion Club' (an online community for those who own a Cuisine Companion).
I'm not one to hide any details and if I'm to be perfectly honest, when the invitation arrived I did take my time thinking it over. My kitchen cupboards and storage drawers are already groaning under the weight of the numerous electrical appliances, cookware and cook's tools that I've accumulated over a lifetime.
The spin for the Cuisine Companion, among other things, includes the fact that it 'replaces ten appliances in the kitchen'. Hmmm, that one caught my attention! Could ONE machine do that? And is it really capable of chopping, whipping, mixing, kneading, cooking, steaming, blending, stirring, emulsifying, whisking, searing, crushing, milling and precise heating?!
At the launch event, attendees watched a demonstration showing the various functions of the Cuisine Companion, and then we were set loose in the cooking school to give the appliance a test run. Admittedly, it was impressive.
Back at home, Peter and I were so busy that it took me a few days to get around to unpacking the box, despite the fact that I was looking forward to trying out this shiny new toy in my kitchen. Somewhat reluctantly, I moved my stand mixer to the bench in my laundry/utility room and set up the Cuisine Companion in its spot. Accompanying the Cuisine Companion, I found a recipe book, an instruction manual, a handy fridge magnet that reminds me which blade to use for what purpose, an apron, a spatula, a stainless steel steaming basket, electronic kitchen scales, and a kit containing two blades and two stirring/mixing tools. Lots of things to 'play' with!
It's been just over a month now since I received the Cuisine Companion and in that time I've used it almost every day. While the recipe book is handy, I prefer to 'create' my own and am enjoying the learning process involved in working with the appliance. The instruction manual is reasonably comprehensive, but I have joined a Facebook group, as well as setting up my own 'Cooking with the Cuisine Companion' page, so that I can learn as much as possible from other users, as well as sharing my own recipes and experiences (as well as the experiences of others). My Healthy Cuisine Companion, headed up by Kristy from Southern in Law blog, is a friendly group where people are welcomed and encouraged to share.
I've been experimenting and have created a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes, including gluten-free raspberry friands (recipe coming soon), low-fat low-sugar gluten-free cheesecake (recipe coming soon), mushroom risotto, steamed vegetables, pizza dough (recipe appears below), bone broth, vegetable soup, and chicken stock. In all honesty, I can say that I've been happy with the results thus far. My old/new food processor has gone to my daughter and my well used rice cooker now needs a new home too. The Cuisine Companion also minces meat in seconds [read that... ] seconds, so the hand crank mincer I bought from Aldi last year may end up on eBay very soon!
In the fullness of time as I learn more about the Tefal Cuisine Companion, I'll share my recipes here (perhaps on a monthly basis) and I will include both traditional cooking methods as well as instructions geared specifically for the appliance.
On making pizza dough in the Cuisine Companion...
Pizza dough has been on my repertoire for decades and I had pretty much nailed the process, more recently using my Kenwood with a dough hook attached, as the strength in my 56 year old hands fades.
When I first read the pizza dough instructions in the 1 Million Menus recipe book from Tefal, I said to myself: "Around three minutes? That cannot possibly be right". But, to my surprise I learned that the appliance does indeed mix dough beautifully in a few short minutes. I've made it several times now and am happy with the results. More importantly, my taste testers, including Peter, my son Adam, and Thomas (Peter's 22 year old cousin who stayed with us recently from the UK) have all affirmed that the pizza base is very good.
So, here's my recipe adapted from the Tefal book, with revised instructions. Note: there is also a warming feature, but being an old fashioned cook with a north-facing kitchen, I like to rest my dough in a warm corner on the bench.
250ml warm water
8g dried yeast
400g breadmaking or pizza flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fit the kneading/crushing blade into the bowl. Pour the warm water into the bowl and sprinkle over the dried yeast. Pop the lid on and launch the P1 pastry program. Don't walk away... after 30 seconds, pause the program, then pour in the flour, the salt and the olive oil. Press start and let the program finish.
Remove the blade carefully from the bowl (trust me and my bandaid, it's very sharp!). Form the dough into a ball and pop it back into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and place in a warm corner of the kitchen for 30 minutes or so to allow it to rise. Once the dough has risen, cut it into four even portions. Roll each into a bowl, dust lightly with flour and you are ready to bake your pizza!
The dough can be wrapped in cling film and frozen for a week or two. Or, pop it into the fridge until later in the day when you are ready to use. Makes four medium pizzas.
Post script: If you'd like a recipe for pizza dough using a stand mixer and dough hook, there's a good one here.
Cooking with the Cuisine Companion instagrams...
Disclaimer: Good Things received a Tefal Cuisine Companion valued at $1699 RRP and was hosted at the official launch at the Seafood School in Sydney. Please note, while the appliance in my kitchen is 'sponsored', there is no payment for this post or any future posts featuring the Cuisine Companion.
If you are the owner of a Tefal Cuisine Companion, do please share your recipes and experiences here. You might also like to pop in visit my Cooking with the Tefal Cuisine Companion facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.