Getting the most from your Tefal Cuisine Companion:
I’ve had the Tefal Cuisine Companion for a few months and I thought I would share with you my thoughts from the day I received it up to now…
And of course that all important question that seems to be foremost in many people’s minds is How does it compare to the Thermomix ? ! I have had many people asking me that particular question !
I’m in a pretty unique position in being able to answer that question because I owned a Thermomix for over 3 and half years and developed recipes for it…….For a little background on that…. check out my post from March this year Introducing the Tefal Cuisine Companion
The Tefal Cuisine Companion is an all in one Thermal Cooker much like the Thermomix or any of the other Thermal Cookers on the market…..but with its own unique features
A Thermal …. All in one cooker is a machine of some description that can perform a variety of tasks in the kitchen. The Cuisine Companion is a machine that can perform these tasks for you – chopping, whipping, mixing, kneading, cooking, steaming, blending, stirring, emulsifying, whisking, searing, crushing, milling and precise heating.
A Truly multi functional appliance that can replace so many kitchen appliances.
The Cuisine Companion has a number of automated programs and it can be used in manual mode.
I’ve been converting recipes to use for over three years for the Thermomix and now my challenge has been to not only convert recipes from the traditional ones to the Tefal Cuisine Companion but also my recipes from my Thermomix recipes that I created !
Most Thermal Cookers are very similar in functionality as in that they are a tool in your kitchen to help you achieve wonderful home cooking and in professional kitchens as a second pair of hands for a chef.
Different Thermal Cookers have different features like with any appliance of the same functionality, they can all have similar features but also different ones..
So that is why I would say to you can’t compare these machines in that way because each has its own unique features.
What I will give you is my experiences with the two machines and my thoughts and views regarding the two machines functionalities and how they compare. I am not going to tell you to buy the Cuisine Companion because I own it or because I love it !
I will tell you all the benefits of owning one and then its up to you decide what suits you the best . Just like people who buy a Nissan and those that buy a Toyota – both are vehicles that get you to where you need to go , and both brands have their own unique touches and selling points and both have different markets of people who like them !. It’s up to you as the reader to do your own research and decide what will suit you. All I can give you is my experiences and as I mentioned I am in a pretty unique situation as I am one of the few people to have owned both.
I’d also say to you that if you have owned a Thermomix using a Cuisine Companion will initially be challenging for you because they operate in different ways. They have different features and function differently in many ways. There really is not the ability to compare them because each of their functions works differently, they might appear the same but they do in fact differ.
That is why dear reader I have taken my time in doing this particular post 🙂 I’ve been recipe developing in the Cuisine Companion and I will admit there have been some challenges in this journey which I won’t go into here along with the complete difference between a Thermomix and a Cuisine Companion and getting my head around changing my thought processes with the methods !
So lets talk about receiving your machine … You have purchased your machine in store or line and its arrived – YAY Delivery day and its so exciting !
You open the box and YAY it’s even more exciting with more boxes to unpack !
Inside you will find a Large Tefal Box which has the Cuisine Companion Machine , Bowl , Blades , internal steamer, cleaning brush and if you ordered online a Welcome Pack which contains a digital kitchen scale, an apron and a fridge magnet with handy hints on how to best use your Cuisine Companion. If you purchased your Cuisine Companion in store you just need to redeem your Welcome Pack online at Tefal HERE
NB please note as of May 2017 there is not a seperate ” welcome pack ” You will receive your scales and handy hint quick guide with your machine. The bonus apron is discontinued . Some stores may still have the welcome pack . If you do not receive your scales please contact Tefal Customer Service
Once you have unpacked everything you will need to find a suitable place on your bench top near a power point ( preferably so that you are not continually moving your unit ) and start to set things up.
All pieces ( except the actual unit with motor ) will need to be washed . The bowl , lid , blades and spatula.
To separate the lid parts the best way to do this is by using the handle of your spatula.
To remove the Grey seal from the inner lid you just pull the seal out a little away from the clear plastic and it will then easily pull off.
To resemble the lid – Place the grey seal back on the inner clear lid and then click the inner lid onto the inside of the outer lid part on each side of the sides .
When placing your lid on your Bowl make sure that the < Arrow is pointing to the left side of the Bowl or you may break the inside of the lid. Don’t force your lid on ! It will easily glide on so long as it is in the correct position .
You will have the 4 attachments which can be stored elegantly in the storage box on your bench close to your machine. The ultra blade and Kneading Crushing knife are sharp so you really don’t want to have them stored anywhere else
The Inner Steam Basket can be kept inside the bowl and if you add to your Cuisine Companion with the Grater /Shredder attachment and external steamer these can all mostly be kept neatly in and on the Cuisine Companion.
With the Grater Shredder attachments these store neatly on a black stand that then sits inside the Internal basket. I keep the White Grater/Shredder Lid with the Pusher and spindle in a cupboard underneath . I store the spindle inside the pusher which sits inside the chute
With the External Steamer attachment – that sits neatly on top of the Cuisine Companion .
So now that you have everything set up you will want to use your machine. This can be daunting at first but like any new appliance purchase when you read the instruction guide and find out as much as possible before you commence using it you will find it a lot easier.
Start off with making something that is easy so that you can get the feel of the machine. You will receive a recipe book with your machine which has a few hundred recipes for Entrée/Starters , Mains and Desserts . There are also dedicated facebook Cuisine Companion groups Mine is HERE and pages that have recipes and of course you will find lots of awesome tried and true recipes right on this page – under the Cuisine Companion Category HERE
Try the Vegetable Stock Paste which is a base for many recipes and the Chicken Corn & Noodle Soup which is also easy to make. These Bread Rolls are easy and delicious to make as well.
If you have owned another brand of a Thermo Cooker like a Thermomix you need to really throw out all preconceived ideas that they are going to be the same. Because they are completely different in the way they handle recipes .
For example – in the Thermomix when you want to put in Onions, Garlic and Oil/Butter you would throw in an onion chopped in half , a few garlic cloves and blitz on speed 5 for 3 seconds , then cook it in the Oil/Butter for 3 minutes at 100 degrees on Speed 1
With the Cuisine Companion you blitz the Onion and Garlic at speed 12 for 10 secs. I find you get a much better and more even chop here as well You then have to slow cook the onion & garlic with the Oil/Butter – this is at a higher heat and will actually sauté the food ! Something the Thermomix doesn’t do
When converting the recipes it’s not always a case of increasing the speed by 2 , or increasing the temp, it really depends on the recipe and the functionality involved. As mentioned above with regard to the sautéing .
My recommendation when looking at other Thermo Cooker Recipes is look at the recipe as a whole and break each step down. Work out what how the recipe might transfer to a traditional method of cooking and then translate it into your Cuisine Companion. It can be tricky to start off with but once you become comfortable with your CC machine and what each of the functions are you will be able to convert recipes in no time. However just let me say here please don’t be disheartened if that doesn’t happen easily for you because for some people they really are just more comfortable with following recipes and not trying to adapt other recipes to suit.. and that’s ok !
So here are some of the things that I love about the Cuisine Companion that I have found to be easier and more user-friendly than the Thermomix.
Above every point here is the Safety factor of the Tefal Cuisine Companion. With the 4 Point Safety Locking System you can feel confident in using your machine at at high speed and high temperatures.
- The Bowl – the bowls capacity of 2.5 litres is bigger than the TM31 which is the model that I had which was 2 litres. Its also marginally bigger than the newer TM5 bowl as well which is 2.2litres. The Cuisine Companion bowl isn’t a jug style its a bowl with two handles on either side making it easier to handle. If you are elderly or have any issues with your hands or wrists this is an awesome feature. I have read where people have asked how can you get the food out if you can’t pour it out. From my own personal experience with the Thermomix I didn’t pour the food out when it was full and hot anyway as it was too heavy ! With the Cuisine Companion if I have a hot dish I will use a spoon to spoon out a reasonable amount and then rest the base of the bowl on my body and scrape/scoop out the rest or pour depending on the food but whilst holding two handles.
If its cold food then I can just pour whilst holding the two handles
I find the bowl a lot more ergonomically user friendly The bowl base is wider and more like a pot style so the cooking is more even because the food is more evenly distributed.
- The Lid – The lid is clear and you can see through a lot of the time unless its steamed up
Its further away from the food so most of the time the lid doesn’t get covered with food and a quick wipe in-between from doing a number of the dishes on the trot is a time saver.
It also means that a lot of the time you don’t even need the stopper in place with cold foods so you can always see through the hole.
Because it’s a hard clear smooth plastic the lid doesn’t retain food odours.
- The Noise level – This is something that I just love ! the noise is so much quieter from the beeps to let you know that the program / cooking has finished to the actual noise when the machine is cooking . I have a number of videos through the blog showing you the quietness of the machine.
- The Scales – Whilst not inbuilt I have found them to be a godsend. They are in 1 g increments which means your food weights are so much more accurate. You can place the bowl on the scales and weigh in the food so it’s no different to if you were weighing it directly into the bowl on the machine except that you will have a more accurate weight which is extremely important in most recipes.
- Individual attachments – When using the Thermomix there was a built-in blade that you had to have in permanently whether you were cooking, steaming, whisking etc otherwise the liquid would just run through the hole ! and then attach a whisk attachment on top of the blade for whisking etc
With the Cuisine Companion it has a spindle that is kept in apart from when disassembling and washing that you attach the various attachments to. These can then be changed during various recipe stages as well. It’s simply a case of moving the food to one side and slipping off one attachment and placing another one on the spindle.
Having the spindle there means that you don’t need any particular attachment in when steaming ! one less thing to wash!
The Whisk attachment is heavier duty and really handles the whisking of food in a firm but gentle fashion.
- Newly released Attachments – The Grater/Shredder is amazing and will grate and shred food directly into the bowl and is super easy to use and clean.
The External Steamer – What an amazing piece of ingenuity this is with a drip tray ! The main section is also stainless steel which is fantastic to use and to clean. There are 3 levels of the External Steamer with the Black Drip tray that catches all the drips of the food in the steam trays and prevents cross contamination with any foods below in the bowl , and collects the juices for using in gravies , jus’s etc ! The Stainless Steel main Steamer level which is deep and the area is a fully functional tray size of the same area across the base – Ensuring a better fit. As mentioned its also stainless steel so fantastic for cleaning with your meats etc . Then a black Top level steamer tray which is fabulous for your light veges, cous cous and so on. Oh and of course the glass lid with 4 vent holes !
So in Summary I hope that helps with your decision on purchasing a Tefal Cuisine Companion. They are a fantastic machine and have a lot of fantastic features enabling the average person to become a home cook with the ability of getting out the family meal to creating a gourmet masterpiece.
If you have any questions regarding the Cuisine Companion I’d love to answer them for you .
Feel free to leave your question in the comments below.