Review of Cook Expert (Magimix)
I love beautiful kitchen tools: from garlic crushers , knives to machines of all kinds, lucky for me collecting them comes with my job! When I spotted an advertising in one of my cooking magazines I subscribe to, I was very excited to see a machine that does both the cooking (like a Thermomix) and cutting mandoline slices and shredding veggies (like Magimix).
To give you an idea, I already own two Magimix 5200 Cuisine Systems and a 30 year old Magimix Grande Cuisine 2800 which I use to make my sauerkrauts, red krauts, and various lacto fermented veggies. I also own a very much loved Thermomix TM31, another Swedish dough machine, Ankarsrum and a commercial Kitchen Aid, but I will not list anymore or you will turn green 😉
Do I need another machine? That is an irrelevant question, as whatever machines I do have I actually use on a frequent basis. And as much as I love one particular new kid (machine!) on the block, I have not yet let go of my other machines. My answer is always, each machine has its own pluses and minuses and generally they are built for a particular purpose. So if you have the space and use for it, that in my opinion, it is a justified purpose for any domestic god and goddesses.
The Magimix Cook Expert (CE) pretty much satisfies my needs of both a food processor and a cooking machine in one. I really love the fact that with one electrical (motor) base you have two machines, the brilliant food processor (same size as Magimix 5200 ) which shreds, grates, slices and blends. The food processor part comes with three different sized plastic bowls and two blades and 2 different sizes of each slicing and shredding attachment. The all stainless steel cooking part consists of a huge and beautifully shaped 3.5 litre bowl (i.e. it is a bowl shaped like rice cooker rather than a tall blender & usable to 2.5 lt), a two tiered stainless steel steamer and a whisk attachment. What’s not to love???
The best part for me as a sourdough bread making teacher and author, is the fact that it handles all types of dough beautifully, both stiff sourdough as well sticky artisan sourdough. Rather than chopping the dough as it kneads like similar machines, it actually magically forms a ball of dough on top of blades. This is no short of a miracle for this type machine, which tends to cut the dough (hence the gluten) as it mixes or kneads the dough. With my torn shoulder and elbow tendons, I am now undeterred to make any of my favourite, difficult to knead and incredibly wet artisan sourdough loaves. Yippee…photos attached as proofs!
One of the great things about this machine is the fact the base is heavy preventing the machine from walking off your kitchen bench. Instead of changing between two machine bases, ie. my Thermomix and my Magimix, I now have this machine on my kitchen bench permanently as it has the versatile chopping and shredding food processor part as well the cooking part. The food processor part comes with three sized bowls, the small one is pretty handy for chopping parsley, ginger or lemon zest as well as making small amount of curry paste… I love the large one for making pastry and scones as well as making nut butters.
To eat with my sourdough bread, I make the incredibly easy all in one bowl rustic soup, clear broth soup with veggies and using the pre-programmed function it cooks the soup beautifully because it has the ability to cook without stirring until the veggies are cooked then it intermittently ‘chops’ and ‘stirs’ the veggies. The recipe is in the comprehensive cooking book that comes in the huge box.
Another plus, is the fact that its heating temperature range goes from 30C to a 140C, this means you can caramelise food (eg. sugar, curry paste, tempering aromatics) and make smooth ghee by caramelising the milk sugar (lactose) and cooking the protein (casein). Therefore, you can make real caramel fudge from scratch or caramel or dulche de leche (dairy or coconut) for your flan or crème caramel. You can even roast large dense nuts like hazelnuts, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts… it will chop some but it is better than burning a whole batch of nuts in the oven. Making nut butter from roasted nut is therefore pretty easy!
One of the things I love, is the fact that it is not a high pitched noisy machine, so I am quite happy to be in the same room as it works. The intermittent stirring in the pre-programmed functions (1A and 2A) are incredibly useful if you want something stirred but not blended to a mush and of course it will not make any noise during its stationary phase.
Cleaning is easy as it has a pre-programmed cleaning function, as long as you run this program after use, then minimal cleaning is required. It even is safe to put in the dishwasher, which I do from time to time if I am cooking food with a strong aroma or prior to whisking egg whites in it. The whisk is large, making whisking egg whites relatively easy.
The negatives, the bowl is heavy being double walled stainless steel if you need to pick it up and move it elsewhere. It does not have built-in scales, which can be a tad cumbersome if you need to add several other ingredients after the initial mixing, however, you can just measure the added ingredients using the sleek accurate scales that come with the machine. Despite this, its pluses more than outweigh its minuses and did I mention it is priced so well for two machines in one, chopping slicing/mandoline food processor and a cooking machine… and it is French designed, with a 30 year warranty on its motors.