The Vitamix Experiments #5: Coconut Butter


When I read this post on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to give this a try. And it’s true: making your own coconut butter in a Vitamix is super easy. It only took the S 30 about 8 minutes, and while the result isn’t exactly making me squee, I guess this too can be modified with various flavours, and I think it’s another great feature of a high speed blender I wouldn’t have thought of by myself. Besides, I haven’t used coconut butter in baking yet, and I love baking with coconut milk, so I’ll have to give this a try soon.

All in all, the little S 30 seems to be a keeper so far. I’ll experiment some more with hummus and pasta sauces and salad dressings and smoothies, and if I come across something surprising and marvellous, I’ll let you know. And if the S 30 doesn’t suddenly and unexpectedly act up, it can stay (and will probably be named after something from a Jack Vance novel, since it comes from the future and makes nice food).


The Vitamix Experiments #4: Strawberry Sorbet


Of course I had to try it! Unfortunately, I can’t freeze bananas right now, since the unpredictable Fridge from Hell might find random ways of destroying them if I tried. But I can get frozen berries from the supermarket. So I threw a packet of frozen strawberries in the S 30 and turned them into sorbet. Just like that!

The motor got a little hot (I could smell it – but nothing alarming), but it didn’t switch itself off or do anything weird, and then I had strawberry sorbet.

It’s nice, and/but having tried it, I can easily see how you could modify it by adding yogurt, coconut milk etc. to make it into even better ice cream. And the Vitamix might prefer that too.



The Vitamix Experiments #3: Ice and Greens


Ha! I made two big ice cubes! Not slush, not containers frozen into a big block of ice that fills what doesn’t even resemble a regular freezer compartment in the silly Fridge from Hell. And yes, I used American pill boxes, which a kind internet person once sent me because I mentioned I like how they look. (Probably just a case of TV-and-cinema-induced exoticism.) Anyway. The S 30 eats ice cubes for breakfast.

Also spinach leaves, pre-soaked chia seeds and a whole cardamom pod (which may be a little too much cardamom for one big smoothie, but I’m not complaining). Blended with a banana and soymilk, plus some cinnamon.



The Vitamix Experiments #2: Chicky Tuna Salad


The second test recipe I chose for the little S 30 was the Chicky Tuna Salad from my favourite cookbook ever: Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I’ve missed being able to make this in a food processor or blender, so now it’s back to being a staple recipe in my kitchen. The “tuna” factor in this vegan dish comes from two sources: chickpeas for the texture and seaweed for the flavour. And with some extra crunchiness from chopped-up carrots and sunflower seeds, it’s just about perfect, whether with some extra veggies on the side or all of it wrapped up in a wholegrain tortilla.

This time I had to be very careful not to accidentally overmix the vegetables. This little blender packs some serious power!

Chopping onions without tears (but with the carrots thrown in):



First casualty: the tip of my new spatula. (Memo to myself: 1. Make sure you’re fully awake. 2. If needed, find more coffee or tea. 3. Use the tamper when the motor is ON; only use the spatula when the motor is OFF.)


The Vitamix Experiments #1: Carrot Caek Smoothie


Remember how this blog started as a (mostly) food blog, so I could share recipes with friends? Well, it’s time for a brief return to that. And here’s why.

Since my moving plans have recently become a lot less international (thanks for nothing, Brexit!), I won’t have to move the cats across borders, which means a lot less stress for them and a lot less expenses for me (including microchips and rabies shots). But I’ve already saved up for this, so suddenly I have some extra money to spend! And here things get really exciting. I always get myself a birthday and Xmas present (just in case somebody forgets, and besides I know exactly what I like), and I’ve been dreaming of a Vitamix for years… So why not combine the birthday and Xmas and buy myself one? But now I had a different sort of (very first world) problem: which model do I get?

There’s the relatively new little S 30, which is a “personal blender” for the smoothie people, and it has noticeably less power than, say, the TNC 5200 (which I could get for 50€ more). But it’s small, it comes with a smaller container plus two to-go smoothie cups, and it’s available in eight colours, including a pretty green. I’m not planning on grinding coffee or grains, so should I give it a go? On the other hand, each container for the (bigger and stronger) TNC 5200 comes with its own set of blades, so it’s practivally invincible. What to do?

Luckily, my local seller offers a 30-day trial period with free returns. So I’ve decided to give the S 30 a try and see what it can do. If I’m not perfectly happy, I can always exchange it for the larger superhero model. But I’m hoping to be perfectly happy with it.

Today it arrived, and a wonderful surprise arrived with it: I got a free “smoothie starter set”, containing dried mangoes, dried pineapple, raw chashews, dates, and barley grass powder (which I had to google). Awesome!


Also note the four sharp blades of the Vitamix S 30 (for comparison: my old immersion blender has two small, blunt, bent-looking ones):


Okay. Here’s what I first made with it: a Carrot Caek Smoothie (yes, that’s how you spell it), modified from two different recipes I found online:

3/4 c soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)

1/4 c Greek yogurt (you can use the coconut-based version)

1 t sweetener of your choice (I recommend maple syrup)

1 c carrot chunks

1 T cashew nuts (I didn’t even soak them)

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1 banana (use frozen if you can)

Even though I can’t freeze stuff or make ice cubes at the moment thanks to the Fridge from Hell (I’ll have to come up with a workaround for future experiments), this turned out lovely! I’ve never made such a smooth smoothie before. For now I’m a fan of the little S 30. Pics before and after blending:



Nalo Hopkinson Special on Strange Horizons!


Awesome! Strange Horizons are doing a special issue focusing on Nalo Hopkinson’s writing. Her short-story collection Falling in Love with Hominids was among my favourite reads of 2015, so I was super pleased to be asked to contribute a review.

As a fan of Weird fiction, which is a genre that has long been dominated by Old White Men, I can only recommend this book. I picked it up as soon as I saw the cover—an illustration of a dreaming young black woman with awesome hair and also fully dressed, which is still not something you automatically get with your generic SFF anthology or short story collection. I was so smitten with the stories contained therein that I changed the reading list for my upcoming course on Weird short fiction to incorporate “The Easthound” (the first story in the book), which offers a fascinating twist on zombie tropes, a children’s commune, solidarity, oral storytelling games, and world-building based on mondegreens. Like Angela Carter (but more radically so in my view), Hopkinson picks up old myths and fairy tales—in her case mostly Caribbean ones—and revives them using contemporary topics and characters with transcultural, postcolonial, feminist, and/or LGBT backgrounds. Her stories are very much about finding one’s place in the world, about battling hierarchies and systems of oppression, and about empowerment. Female readers need voices like hers, LGBT readers need voices like hers, and so does the genre of Weird fiction. (read more)