We don't know about you, but we love a kitchen gadget. Anything that promises to make our lives easier is well worth investigating. That's why we've taken the popular Thermomix TM6 for a spin to see what all the fuss is about. We have tried it so you can find out whether or not it's worth the hefty price tag.
What is the Thermomix TM6?
It's actually pretty hard to define but this impressive kitchen appliance replaces over 20 appliances in one compact unit. It can blend, steam, emulsify, stir, chop, mix, weigh, grind, whip, heat, knead, slow cook and much more, all with just one blade.
This year, Thermomix turns 50 years old. Released back in 1971 by Swiss-born Hansjörg Gerber. Gerber created the original model, the VM2000.
• Smart, connected appliance with WiFi connectivity built in.
• Step-by-step guided cooking on 15.2cm x 20.3cm touchscreen.
Heating System: 1,000 W max power consumption. Protected against overheating.
Maximum power consumption: 1300 W
Maximum Capacity: 2.2 litres (9.3 cups).
Mixing Bowl: Stainless steel, with heating system and temperature sensor integrated.
Thermomix® TM6 comes complete with:
Varoma: 3.3l capacity for steaming
Butterfly: Stirring attachment
Lid: Bowl lid with measuring cup insert
Measuring Cup: Improved measuring cup for easier usage
Spatula: Improved Spatula with softer, easier to use material
Basket: Improved simmering basket
Simple Ideas Cookbook
Using the Thermomix TM6
I'll be honest, when I first got the Thermomix out of the box, it felt really intimidating. It is a real statement kitchen appliance with its fancy large touchscreen display. I didn't know where to start but as I soon learnt, you really do just need to get stuck in.
It was easy to set up the machine and before long, I had downloaded the Cookidoo (Thermomix's official digital recipe portal) app onto my phone.
I like Cookidoo. In fact, I actually find it a bit addictive. There are over 50,000 recipes to choose from via the search and filter features, meaning you can find the recipe that's right for you. You can then organise, bookmark and create collections. One of my favourites is my 'desserts' collection - for obvious reasons!
In an increasingly tech-driven world, I find it really useful that I can use my laptop to browse recipes. Then I can add them to my collections. I can use the app on my phone to check what ingredients I need when I'm in the supermarket. Lastly, I can use the recipe on the machine itself.
To kick things off, we decided to make the 'Classic Flapjacks'. Using the built-in scales (and feeling a bit like wizards making a potion in a cauldron) we threw in butter, sugar, salt and golden syrup into the mixing bowl before Thermomix melted and combined it all together. Next in went the oats before more mixing. Then all that was left to do was to pour out the mixture into our prepared tin and bake. It took us five minutes tops to prep and the results were delicious - the perfect flapjacks. Even my sceptical other half was impressed, especially when I revealed the Thermomix also had a 'Pre-clean' function.
Simply place around 1000 g water and a drop of washing up liquid in the mixing bowl, then start. You can even specify what you've used the Thermomix for and it will clean it accordingly; heating it for longer if say a caramel recipe has been made. While the mixing bowl will still need a scrub on most occasions, it certainly makes the job easier.
Following the flapjacks, the next day we whipped up a loaf of crusty Sandwich Bread as well as a silky Leek and Potato soup. I like my soup lump free and peering into the Thermomix's mixing bowl afterwards. I was impressed how quickly the leeks and potatoes had been blended to create our creamy soup.
Aside from the proving of the dough, both the soup and bread were quick and easy to do. I felt particularly smug come dinner time about how effortless the process had been.
As well as meals, I love using it for baking tasty treats like cupcakes and Millionaire's Shortbread. I have always struggled with making my own caramel but with the Thermomix, it's a doddle, producing thick, sweet caramel that would give any professional chef a run for their money.
As well as offering lots of ideas for family mealtimes including lots of baby food recipes if you're weaning, the safety features make the Thermomix especially great for those of us with children - indicating when the machine is preparing hot dishes by turning red as soon as the mixing bowl has reached a temperature of 55 °C – 60 °C.
I am constantly wowed by what the Thermomix can do and its wide range of capabilities from kneading dough to fermenting yoghurt. It really has elevated my cooking and I feel I'm a much more adventurous cook as a result, buying less common ingredients I've never used before because I'm so keen to make use of the Thermomix.
A lot of the time you can just let it do its thing and go away and get on with something else. Once the Thermomix is finished it will alert with a happy tune.
The only area I'm still trying to get to grips with is using the Thermomix for our own recipes. When using recipes via Cookidoo, the steps are automatically programmed. Like most people, we have our 'family favourites' and I hope to become confident enough to be able to work out what settings I need to use for each step. I've done this a few times now and while it's certainly a bit slower than Cookidoo telling you what to do, I expect it's something that will become quicker with time.
This is just one of the reasons that make the Thermomix so great for all different kinds of people. If you need a bit of assistance, Cookidoo is great to lean on, but you certainly don't need to use it, especially if you've already got tried and tested recipes you love. You can control heat, time and the blade speed manually via the touchscreen and single dial.
Just get to know the functions and how they work and you'll soon be adapting your own recipes - just quicker and easier.
Watch the Thermomix in action
What are the downsides?
Although not necessarily a downside, the Thermomix is quite tall, which is something to bear in mind if you have kitchen cupboards on your walls.
While I absolutely love Cookidoo, it is an extra £30 a year and for what you are paying for the machine, I personally think it should be included in the price.
You also don't get a blade cover that is designed to sit on top of the mixing knife, covering the sharp blades and preventing them from coming into contact with ingredients. Although Thermomix might argue this isn't a necessity, it is useful when slow cooking and sous-vide dishes and is definitely something you'll want in your kit. You can pick one up for £19 directly from Thermomix.
I think my biggest frustration with the machine (and it's a pretty small one, really), is that you can't adjust the recipe quantities. The majority of the recipes are to serve four or more people and there's no way to adjust the quantity for just two people or even increase it if you wish. This means that you are constantly having to remember to reduce or increase an ingredient measure, regardless of what the Thermomix tells you to add on the screen.
This machine is so incredibly clever that this feels like a really simple thing it should be capable of doing. Sure, with a recipe book you just mentally calculate the measurements in your head, but this is a smart appliance that I believe should easily be customised to suit the cook's needs.
Is it worth the money?
Ah, the big question, one friends and family have all asked me since I've had the Thermomix.
To which I have to answer - yes, definitely. Having kindly received the Thermomix for review purposes, I wouldn't hesitate to use my own money to buy it.
Sure, it's in no way a necessity and you can obviously get by without one, but when you consider just how much you can do with it as well as how long it will last (years!), it's easy to justify the cost.
Would you recommend the Thermomix TM6?
I really, really do. While I won't be throwing out my kitchen scales or kettle just yet, the Thermomix has definitely replaced several kitchen appliances in our home including our blender, slow cooker and mixer. Having used it for a couple of months now, I truly can't imagine not having it.
Because of the speed and efficiency, it's easy to see how useful the Thermomix will be when it comes to the likes of batch cooking - making it ideal for time-strapped individuals. It will also most definitely save on washing up as you simply won't be using as many chopping boards, knives, bowls etc. For many recipes, all you need is the Thermomix.
If you don't get excited by kitchen gadgets and think the Thermomix might not be for you. However I'd recommend anyone even a little curious to book a virtual demo to take a closer look.
The Thermomix is definitely an investment, but in my eyes, it's certainly a worthy one.