An Oldie and a Goldie
Peas and ham are the ultimate food partners, most particularly when the peas are split, long cooked and mushy, and the ham has been pulled off the bone, after the bone has given its all to the stock. The mushy peas are also part of that strange South Australian icon, the pea floater, a concept that, remarkably, has made its way into revered status in that quirky state, with a stamp from the SA National Trust.
The pie floater is nothing more than a meat pie, floating in mushy peas, and topped with tomato sauce. It may well be called a floater, but those of us of an undisciplined nature will know it better as a drunk’s salvation.
I love the guesswork involved in the birth of the pie floater. The SA Trust suggests that the ‘dish’ was possibly born in Port Pirie, when a bloke called Ern Bradley may have “inadvertently dropped a pie into a bowl of soup”. That fits with my thinking about the floater being more a drunk’s salvation than gourmet’s delight.
The pie floater came to life a long time before the Thermomix, maybe 150 years ago, but there may not be any better ways to concoct the mushy peas than in the Thermomix. Just twiddle a few knobs, or press a future buttons, and the job is done for you.
I was thinking of lost nights outside the Adelaide railway station, years ago, when the Thermomix was churning out the pea mush that makes up the base for a stylish pea and ham soup. In this case, strong drink wasn’t involved and nor was a meat pie: it was all about making the most of the Thermomix’s charms to create a classic pea and ham soup.
Pea & Ham soup
(or how to create the floater)
- 500 grams split peas (green)
- 1400 grams water
- 1 ham hock, skinned with excess fat removed
- Enough water to cover the hock, perhaps two litres.
- 3 onions, (200 grams) peeled and chopped into quarters
- 2 carrots (170 grams), chopped finely
- 1 celery stick (115 grams) chopped finely
- 1/4 leek (80 grams) chopped finely
- Two garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
- Three bay leaves
- 1 chilli, sliced
- Salt, black pepper
- A handful of fresh podded peas (or frozen) for each portion, cooked quickly.
- This is not a quickie. Like most slow-cooked dishes, it’s best to make the stock a day before to allow any fat to rise to the surface, so the excess fat can easily be removed.
- Cook the peas and make the stock at the same time. Add the split peas to the Thermomix bowl, (1) with 1400 grams of water, and cook 40 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1. The peas are done when they are soft and mushy (2). Drain any excess water. (At this stage, you’ve got the floater, by adding 50 grams of butter, squeeze of a lemon, and season well with salt and pepper.) Set aside in the fridge
- Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaves to the hock, and cover with water in a heavy-based pan (3). Bring to a simmer, and cook gently for at least an hour, or until the ham comes easily from the bone. Drain and place in the fridge for several hours, until any fat has risen to the surface. This stock is the key middle flavour of the ultimate soup. You should have around a litre of stock after draining. Retain, and when cooled, remove the fat. Remove the meat from the bone (4). Find a disgruntled dog, and give the dog a bone.
- Add the mushy peas (which should be around 1000 grams) to the Thermomix bowl, and add 500 grams of the ham stock, and blend 20 seconds/speed 5. If you prefer a thicker soup go easier on the stock. Heat through 3 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1. Taste for seasoning.
- In each bowl, add a handful of the warmed through cooked peas, and a similar amount of the shredded ham (5). Pour over the soup, and serve with best bread.
Typos happen in all forms of publishing. It’s just when they happen with ingredients in recipes that editors and publishers feel like taking cold showers, then jumping into ice baths.
Our latest edition (Winter/Spring) has just hit letterboxes and newsstands, and includes a marvelous recipe for the stalwart of Turkey, the gozleme (stalwart of most of Melbourne’s markets as well).
Unfortunately, the recipe suggests 50 grams of flour to get the dough happening. The correct amount is 450 grams. I guess this will be obvious on first use, but our apologies for those who have tried and failed.
You can find the correct recipe here
We’re delighted to add a new member to our team, Alyce Alexandra, who made her first contribution to the magazine’s Winter/Edition with three very individual recipes, one featuring kale, one sticky rice, and sugar and spice cookies. Alyce has been a passionate user of the Thermomix since she was a teenager, and has turned that passion into the creation of Melbourne’s leading cooking school for Thermomix users; add to that six best-selling cookbooks, and you’ve got the complete package.
Alyce will be providing recipes for each edition of TMix+, providing another view of how to get the most from your Thermomix. I particularly liked her view of making the most of the machine, in her introductory essay. She wrote: “Despite my passion for this machine, I’m the first to admit it isn’t a complete cooking solution…While the Thermomix may not be able to do everything, it can certainly help with everything. I worked with the Thermomix as a second set of hands in the kitchen—a highly skilled, multi-tasking partner.”
You can see Alyce’s world here (alycealexandra.com) and follow her on Facebook (quickfixinthethermomix) and Instagram (alycealexandracookbooks)
This week in Spain the world truly went mad, and has been doing so in the Valencian town of Bunol since 1945. This is when the world’s ultimate food fight takes place, an event which draws tens of thousands of tourists to drown each other in tomatoes. I can understand the event in 1945, as a crazy celebration of the end of the mad war, but ever since?
160 tonnes of tomatoes are delivered to the town, and from there it’s every man, woman and child for himself. We shouldn’t be surprised at anything that happens in Spain: this is, after all, the country that has the running of the bulls each year, in Pamplona in the north. Words really can’t describe the tomato show—called La Tomatina—but pictures can, and this gallery in The Guardian does it beautifully.
Best of TMix+
Last week we announced a pre-order offer for advance copies of our first collection of recipes. Great Recipes for the Thermomix (RRP $34.95) will be in bookstores from October 3, but pre-orders will gain a 20 per cent discount on the cover price (plus $5 postage and handling), and will receive books before the book goes to the shops. I did point out that this book is a collection of recipes that have been published in issues of TMix+, but there was some confusion. So, to clarify, the book does contain recipes from issues 1, 2 and 3, but produced in book form.
The contents of the book are illustrated below.