Cooking with Sunbeam

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration by Jill Cooney, Senior Home Economist with Sunbeam.  Sunbeam is an Australian company that started in 1880 when two enterprising young men began making equipment to shear sheep.  In order to maintain revenue during the off-season they developed and marketed small electrical appliances.  The electrical appliances were so popular they soon overtook the sheep shearing side of the business and in 1946 the company became a small electrical appliance company.

Jill Cooney, Home Economist

Jill Cooney, Home Economist

When I was asked to attend the demonstration I immediately made myself available because all my life I have had Sunbeam appliances in my home.  I think everyone from my generation would remember the fabulous kitchen mix-master.  Almost every bride was given one as a wedding gift and these machines were so well made they often out-lasted the marriages.  My friend’s mother had a light pink one and it had pride of place on the kitchen bench and saw plenty of action.  When I first saw it, it would have been around 20 years old and still going strong.  Sunbeam is still making these mix-masters today although of course, they have been modernised.

The food processor has a drawer for all the accessories

The food processor has a drawer for all the accessories

There was just me at the demonstration and I sat down and began to take out my notebook and pen when Jill advised it was a hands-on demonstration and I was given an apron and told to step into the action.

That's the fennel sliced!

That’s the fennel sliced!

The first appliance I used was the food processor.  Many of you would be aware that my old food processor (it wasn’t a Sunbeam) blew up last year in spectacular fashion.  And ever since I have been crushing biscuits in a plastic bag with a rolling pin like my mother used to in the 1970′s and making things like pesto with a stick blender.

About to give the honey and dill dressing a bit of a whiz

About to give the honey and dill dressing a bit of a whiz

Enough with the sad stories!  This Sunbeam Cafe Series Food Processor is extremely slick and stylish and one step down from a commercial processor giving you plenty of power without the hefty price tag.  There’s a drawer for all the blades giving every accessory its own place and avoids the common and recurring incident of sticking your hand in a cupboard only to have it sliced on a blade.

Plating the salad of fennel, zucchini, rocket, feta and pine nuts

Plating the salad of fennel, zucchini, rocket, feta and pine nuts

There are two bowl sizes, large and small and also two openings in the lid to pop your food into.  The larger opening is the biggest I have seen on a food processor, large enough to fit a massive potato without having to chop it first.  The blade is adjustable so if you were making something like a potato gratin, you could select the thickness of the slices in the same way you can using a mandolin.

Drizzling on some dressing

Drizzling on some dressing

First I made a fennel salad and I adjusted the blade to a suitable thickness then added the fennel through the larger opening.  I used the smaller opening to feed through a zucchini.  Then while the sliced fennel and zucchini were still in the larger bowl I whizzed the salad dressing in the smaller bowl then plated the salad.

The sous vide

The sous vide

Next it was over to the Sunbeam Sous Vide (pronounced sue-veed).  Now, I have not had any experience with this kind of cooking before and thought the method was limited to commercial kitchens only.  The first time I heard of it was around 15 years ago and Carl and I were photographing a wedding in the country town of Coonabarabran.  While we were photographing the happy couple in the old shearing sheds the bride mentioned the main course was steak cooked in a water bath.  I was intrigued.  I’d never heard of beef being cooked in water before and thought the steaks were actually thrown into a pot of simmering water and that didn’t sound in the least bit appetising.

Very simple and easy to use

Very simple and easy to use.  It’s also a slow cooker.

But it’s not cooked like that at all.  The meat (or fish or vegetables etc) is placed in a bag then the air is vacuumed out of it in the Food Saver before being sealed and then it’s placed in the Sous Vide.  I put steak, salmon and chicken into individual bags and added some herbs and seasonings.  The bags were then vacuum packed in the Food Saver before going into the Sous Vide that can hold up to 14 steaks at a time.  The temperature on the Sous Vide was set at 56C (133F) and for a medium rare steak you set the timer on 60 minutes.

Selecting what I'm going to cook

Selecting what I’m going to cook

When the meat comes out of the Sous Vide nothing more needs to happen however, sometimes it’s nice to have some caramelisation so I browned off the meat and fish in the Sunbeam Classic Banquet Frypan for about a minute on each side before plating it with my salad and sitting down for lunch.  Eye fillet is a very tender cut however this method of cooking will tenderise meat from any part of the animal.  Slicing through the steak was like slicing through butter and given the flavours are sealed in with the meat and can’t escape results in very flavoursome cooking.

Steak, chicken and salmon

Steak, chicken and salmon

It’s a very healthy, simple and highly effective method of cooking that produces evenly cooked, tender and succulent meals.

Seasonings

Seasonings

I was thinking this would be an extremely convenient appliance for me to have in my home because that Archie is on a diet (yes, I know, I’ve mentioned it before).  Every morning before leaving for uni he gets out my frypan and while I’m trying to empty the dishwasher and make Alfie’s breakfast and fill his lunch box and swallow my vitamins, Archie is at the stove cooking chicken breasts for his lunch.  He adds too much oil and has the heat up too high so it’s splattering all over the bench and the walls and the floors and then he throws in some garlic and lemon juice and seasoning and the smell and the mess and the commotion so early in the day is overwhelming.  If I had a sous vide, every Sunday night Archie could cook 14 chicken breasts with no mess and no splattering and no smell and have all his lunch prepared for the week instead of me trying to survive the current morning horror show.

Into the bag goes the meat and the seasonings

Into the bag go the meat and the seasonings

Sealing the bags in the Food Saver

Sealing the bags in the Food Saver

Removing all the air and sealing the bag.

Vacuum packed

Caramelising the steaks

Caramelising the steaks

A few must-have gadgets for the kitchen

A few must-have gadgets for the kitchen

Lunch time

Lunch time

Then Jill gave me a demonstration of the Electronic Pressure Cooker that is also a slow cooker and a rice cooker and it browns meat as well.    I have never owned a pressure cooker and it seems to be an appliance that skipped a generation and is now making a comeback in a hugely improved format.  Cooking under pressure greatly reduces cooking times and so lamb shanks that would normally take three hours can be ready in 40 minutes.  Sue made limoncello cheesecakes in glass jars covered in foil, then cooked in the pressure cooker.  The base of the cheesecake had been whizzed in the small bowl of the food processor while the filling was mixed in the larger bowl.  The texture of the cheesecake was like velvet.

The pressure cooker that's also a slow cooker and a rice cooker

The pressure cooker that’s also a slow cooker and a rice cooker

Limoncello cheesecakes cooked in the pressure cooker

Limoncello cheesecakes with chocolate topping cooked in the pressure cooker

A gift of fresh dates marinated in a syrup of port and vanilla beans

A gift of fresh dates marinated in a syrup of port and vanilla beans

And so I had a wonderful day being able to play with a food processor I’ve had my eye on for quite some time as well as being introduced to an intriguing and exciting new method of cooking that is gaining in popularity and transitioning from restaurant kitchens to a home cook’s kitchen bench.  I can’t wait for Archie to become an expert in this method of cooking.

For more information about Sunbeam appliances and their extensive range, check out their website here.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Oh my! What fun I could have with all that…I have a food saver thingy and a food processor already but the other stuff…hhhhmmm. I think I need to talk to my hubby. ;) Your lunch looks yummy!!

  2. Gee looks like a fantastic day out. My grandmother had an old sunbeam mix master and I am so sorry it was chucked out years ago. I’m sure it still worked, but mum had a later version so out it went. Boo Hoo

    Love those cheese cakes too.
    Carolyn

  3. I do like that drawer underneath the food processor, though…maybe it’s time to get a new one?!?!?! ;)

  4. A day at the toy store! I know about the sous vide and have seen them in Williams and Sonoma but there is a hefty price tag on them. I doubt I will be getting one any time soon. I need a new food processor, I too broke mine last year…though it didn’t blow up, but it’s so inconvenient not to have one. I am eyeing the gorgeous Breville one.
    It seems that you get the nicer Sunbeam stuff…all we see in the States are the ones that start at the low end of the price spectrum…like the $10 toasters.
    Looks like you had a fun day playing with kitchen toys. Did they give you any toys to take with you? Now that would have been a perfect ending to your day!
    Nazneen

    • Hi Nazneen, I think the Sunbeam company in the USA is a separate company and I don’t think our Sunbeam company exports to the USA. Yes! I was given a gift. I was given a hand mixer and I didn’t have one of those in my cupboards either so it is already much loved. I will photograph it and show it off in another post.

  5. I must admit I have quite a few sunbeam appliances, only because I find them so reliable. You must’ve felt like a kid in a toy store with all those toys to play with ;) And you’ev got a gorgeous smile!! xx

  6. What a lovely day out and you got to eat too! My mum being English had a Kenwood Chef which my sister has inherited. Do like the look of that Sous Vide and the Food Saver, they do take a bit of storage space though – and not too sure about the plastic in the hot water with all the talk about leeching of plastics into food? Ahh the old pressure cooker, my mother-in-law still has hers might have to ask her if she still uses it as that cheesecake looks irresitable.

  7. I’m not sure how to reply to this post as I work for Breville . . . . Awkward Charlie :P hehe Looks like you had an amazing day!

  8. Now I want that food sealer!

  9. Hi Charlie, look like you had a great time playing with new toys. The sous vide machine is something I’ve been eying to get one. Look like there is no end buying all this kitchen gadgets cos they keep coming out with new things to tempt us. LOL

    Have a nice week ahead.

  10. Wow! Those are very cool appliances ;)

  11. You look great in the pics Charlie! The sous vide machines seem quite expensive. I think the Breville one was about $800! Is theirs more reasonable? And I had no idea that that was how they started!

    • Lorraine, the Sous Vide is less than $200! (I’m pretty sure). You don’t need to spend more than that. And of course, thanks for your kind words – you should get to know my photographer!

  12. what a great day! now I just need to get those gadgets! (and a kitchen big enough to house them!)

  13. What a fun demonstration! I have never even heard of a sous vide (I’m sure that’s a terrible confession) but can see it would make a big difference in your household. I love the thought of an accessory drawer for the food processor too. Mind just live all messy in a kitchen drawer, and that takes up valuable space and isn’t very streamlined!

  14. Looks like a great way to spend a day. I can’t make up my mind about Sous Vide – is it just a fad? It’s quite expensive to buy the kit in the UK, perhaps that’s why its still mainly in restaurants. I’ve been hankering after a good pressure cooker and this one sound fab. Now I just have to find it here, or one that will compare. Bench mark is high. GG

    • Hi GG, I think this one has been specifically marketed to the home cook so it’s just a few hundred dollars. I certainly can’t see it as being a fad as I can see it being so useful in my own kitchen.

  15. You are the perfect person for the demo! Cheers to your effort … gotta love fennel salad … but did the demo lead say Sunbeam is an Australian company?

  16. Might I just say that your dress is gorgeous?

    Have been hearing so much about pressure cookers lately, but I don’t believe even my grandmother used one back in the day. But then again, I come from an anti-all-but-the-absolute-necessities- kitchen appliance family. Mix master, food processor, toaster. That’s it!

  17. I am so jealous that you got to eat that wonderful meal. From start to finish, my mouth was watering wishing I could have been there :).

  18. Sounds like a wonderful day!! That food processor sounds so awesome and I love the drawer with the accessories underneath – I have never seen anything like that before!

  19. That’s a fun event! I’ve been wanting to get the vacuum food savor thing. I just don’t know where to store it, but I think it’ll be helpful. And such a great idea to store blades for the food processor!! That’s one smart design. I wish mine does that.

  20. Ooo, what a fun day out. I have had a couple of Sunbeam appliances through the years too.
    Have a wonderful weekend Charlie.
    :-) Mandy xo

  21. I remember Sunbeams very well, my Mom had one, and it lasted for a long time, though thankfully this time it is their marriage that outlasted the mixer. I had a lot of fun reading it this post. Have a lovely weekend!! XOXO

  22. I love kitchen appliances and gadgets Charlie and I bet you had an awesome day out indeed. I must have a sous vide machine, MUST HAVE….. It’s only a matter of time! :) x

  23. I SO want a sous vide. I use my Thermomix that way and it works but it doesn’t hold much. I’m jealous you went to this. :)

  24. I never knew you could cook something like a steak in that thing. I wonderf if you could make DIY version on the stove?
    Looks like you had a good time Charlie!

    • Hi Claire, I think you probably could do this on the stove but the difficulty would be in keeping the water bath at the exact temperature. For a few hundred dollars I would rather ‘set and forget’ and because it’s also a slow cooker, I think it would prove its value in no time.

  25. What a wonderful day! That food processor with the drawer is very special. I never know where to put the accessories. My mini food processor is my best friend but the big one is a pain – the blade doesn’t reach close enough to the bottom or the sides and that causes problems. Maybe I need to change it.

  26. What fun! I have never cooked sous vide, and was never really interested before I read your account. Sounds rather practical and healthy as well. Gadgets can be fun–though I have bought a few that are just never used, which is a shame!

  27. Wow you’re so lucky Charlie to get the chance to attend this class! How fun and Ive had quite a few Sunbeam appliances at home too and find that they tend to last longer than some of the other brands :) so much fun! xox

  28. Well there you go, I didn’t know Sunbeam was Australian and had no idea they made a domestic sous video thinggy. Very interesting, what a treat for you, and very interesting for us readers. My Mum had a Kenwood Chef when we were young and she has another one now. I must have made a million Victoria sponges in the old one. Sigh!

  29. Oh my , I would be like a kid in a candy store. However, I do have my sites on that food processor, my evil beastly mandolin really does need to be put to rest.

  30. What a fun hands-on demonstration.. how wonderful to experience cooking in new ways. I’ve always thought the sous-vide machines were quite expensive.. I expect they are, but wouldn’t that be a dream? I’d be delighted with one of those food processors, mine’s quite old and close to blowing up as well:D

  31. Oh wow! Have had a bit of a day and am late on, but so glad I came! First things first: I STILL have a Sunbeam Mixmaster [we won't go into the age thing] and since it works perfectly well after ‘x’ years no more need be said. I have watched sous-vide demonstrations ad infinitum ad nauseum and not been particularly interested, BUT if OUR Sunbeam now has a sous-vide apparatus for the price you mention, I have to do some very serious homework! That looks fabulous!!!! Thank you, Charlie :) !

  32. I love cooking sous-vide! It is worth it too! That food processor look amazing too! What a great & fun way to spend your day! I would have loved to come over too! :)

    You look very cool, woman! x

  33. That looks like such a fun day! I especially like the sound of limoncello cheesecake. What appliance can you not live without? (p.s.

  34. I’m typically anti-appliances but these look fun annnd very useful…love it!

  35. What an incredible experience, I really love multi-purpose appliances and it looks like Sunbeam is a really good quality brand. I have a rice cooker, but it’s all it does, such a waste of space because we hardly eat rice!
    Such a cute photo of you at the plate, you look just marvelous!
    What a lovely gift too, loving the sound of the dates in port, you should figure them out and post about it, I’d love the recipe!

  36. What a great day! I could use a few pieces but would need to build an addition to my kitchen to find places for them. I’ve called a halt to all small appliance purchases. If I buy one, something has to go. I’ve not bought one in quite some time! :)

  37. I wonder if we have sunbeam in the US! Sounds like a great brand!

  38. Did you feel like a kid in a candy store? Know about sous vide but never had the opportunity to play with one.
    Love the drawers for all the accessories, that’s a great idea. I owned a sunbeam mixer at one stage of my life but it did not last long.

  39. What a fun day Charlie…I love kitchen gadgets…
    Have a great weekend :)

  40. My nan who is 96 has a sunbeam mix master, it is the heaviest thing I have ever lifted in the kitchen but a learned to cook with it and it is still going strong… just like nan!
    Lol about the food processer drawer saving blade cut incidents, I thought I was the only one who had that problem. You have sold me on the sous vide, I can imagine doing wagyu in there… it would be amazing!!!

  41. Sunbeam was the small electric name from my childhood, too! What a marvelous experience (I certainly need a tutorial how to use my food processor!). I’d love to experiment with sous vide…lucky you :)

  42. I love the idea of being able to do two things at once in the processor – very innovative! Also quite impressed with the price of the sou vide machine – I thought they were horribly expensive.

  43. What a great opportunity to try out some very nice appliances. I’m afraid I assumed Sunbeam was an American corporation, but only because Sunbeam appliances have been such a staple in every home my whole life. I have a sunbeam hand-mixer that is at least 40 years old. When I was a child and we still had bonnet hairdryers, mine was a Sunbeam, and so forth. I would love to have that pressure cooker! That’s something I grew up using. I’d love to have a new one with all the current bells and whistles! I may consider it! :-)

  44. How could it not have been a great day getting to play with all of the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets and getting to eat the results as well. Lucky you! Looks like fun!

  45. It looks like you had some fun! :D

  46. Fascinating to learn the background of Sunbeam…I had no idea. And those limoncello cheesecakes look ridiculous Charlie!

  47. Charlie, I had no idea Sunbeam originated with sheep shearers! Neat story and a fun way to “play,” testing out new appliances. Their products are so reliable — my first handheld mixer lasted over 30 years!

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