Yayy! I have so many other things pending to be written about, like my stories of Hong Kong so far or my stories of in-laws here for a fortnight (that should trump :p) or my food and coffee adventures (or the lack of it), but this triumphs!
I’m so excited I got the Magimix Cook Expert! Buying this was a big deal and it’s come across, swimming and flying oceans and what not.
Being in Amreeka, all I knew of was the Instant Pot, which has a cult following there. And it certainly was great in the whole ‘walking away without having to worry about food burning’ or ‘not having to come back to turn the knob off’ and that stuff.
I know a slow cooker has been around for ages doing the same thing, but pressure cooker – people who don’t own one don’t know what they’re missing. Being an Indian, and a vegetarian whose diet includes lots of pulses and legumes, the pressure cooker hastens the cooking process. The Instant Pot or the IP as they call it, took it to a different level with the programming and not having to babysit. That was the point I was sold on, on it.
Cut to Hong Kong, where I was naively looking to buy a UK version of the instapot; on a Facebook group, I came across Thermomix and I was wondering if I was living under a rock, not having heard of this machine and the likes, that have been around for decades in other parts of the world.
A quick question later, I was able to get a demo arranged for the Thermomix. In the meantime, I did some reading and researching it. That led me to some websites, comparisons and whatnot, and eventually this blog post – I chose MAGIMIX Cook Expert ⋆ The Flo Show.com. And I was almost sold.
But I wanted to see the Thermie (as they call it), in action before. The Thermie is available in Hong Kong, the CE (Cook Expert, get used to these abbreviations ‘they’ use :p) not. It’s available in plenty of Europe and Australia but not all vendors ship to here. Apparently, plenty of people in HK have the Thermomix. If you plan to get one here, I recommend reaching out to Tracey, she’s a fellow mom in Hong Kong and a Thermomix consultant, one of the first people I met here, very friendly and was the one who did the Thermomix demo for me.
After looking up on amazon.co.uk, and having no luck finding vendors that delivered to here, I started emailing them.
With one Italian merchant, I had luck – Casaburi in that they agreed to ship it to Hong Kong. The voltage being the same, all I needed to do was get a plug adaptor. Eventually figured, that they were very nice and friendly to work with and I recommend them. And I did get some reassurances from another fellow HK mom who probably ended up finding these guys the same way I did.
A few back and forths on the price, shipping, making sure I was getting a decent-ish price, I agreed to go ahead with them. And then, PayPal chose to put a dampener on my excitement with it refusing to accept the payment for the vendor. Reasons ranging from it’s a big payment to you haven’t used PayPal in a while and all that.
I was pretty stumped that they didn’t know the exact reason of why the system was declining the payment and that they didn’t have a workaround for that. I tried everything from logging on to a VPN and forcing it appear as though I was logged in from my US location (since my PayPal was originally set up in US) to using the bank for payment instead of credit card to paying through the invoice to paying it directly, to verifying and re-verifying all my details on PayPal again. Nothing!
I even set up another account based in Hong Kong for PayPal but even that failed. And it was a bit annoying that PayPal wouldn’t let you link the same credit card to more than one account. Even that didn’t work – the local Hong Kong account.
And the merchant was skeptical about accepting a direct credit card payment (which should’ve been my worry really). Bank Of America said it would charge me USD 45 for the transaction. I was starting to worry and explore other options.
I wrote to some other shops in Australia and France to see if they would be willing to ship to HK. Most of them declined, a few offered quotes that were pricier than Casaburi’s. So I was doing the math. I was keen on a credit card transaction, should something go wrong, I’d have some insurance on the card. But, that didn’t work.
Some more questions later, a friend suggested TransferWise which offered a competitive FX rate and only 1% fees, meaning it would be cheaper for me to use this to transfer funds than Bank of America.
And that’s what I ended up using. Then, I got a response from PayPal Honk customer support saying the internet/network connection might be one of the possible reasons it might be declining. I was using the service apartment’s network. Anyway, didn’t get to try if it would’ve worked with had we been connected through say an office network or something.
And then, by the time the payment went through, the merchant was on a four day holiday. So, it was an even longer wait. But once back, he shipped it right away and I got my new kitchen toy within a week. Cook Expert.
I had to open it the same day; because sometimes I’m silly about some things and that day was a “good” day, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. Yeah, go ahead and roll your eyes :p
So after the inaugural opening on Monday and trying out a little something yesterday, I used it this morning to cook for the toddler’s lunch for school.
Cutting up a big beetroot into big big chunks and a clove of garlic, I put it on Expert Mode for 30 seconds, 15 speed. That chopped it up fine. Then added some bulgur (like cracked wheat), salt and water and put it on Expert Mode again, 30 minutes, 2A, 100 degrees.
And it was done. Easy. Fresh. Healthy. And as I’m writing this post, I realized I forgot to add any fat to it. I would’ve done ghee or olive oil.
I’d eyeballed the proportions, so it was a little porridge-like. Lesser water would’ve meant fluffier.