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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Active Cooking Evening

Active Cooking Evening Recipe 7830 R
Recipe for one of the dishes

One of the highlights of my trip to the Miele headquarters in Germany was the active cooking evening. Miele love to get their customers, reps and dealers involved in understanding every aspect of the appliances, including active demonstrations. For kitchen appliances, they have a number of impressive 'active cooking showrooms' where you can really test out the kitchens and latest equipment.

We arrived to see that the kitchen was already laid out with the ingredients and recipes, which were in German, but the chefs and assistants spoke excellent English.

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Dining table laid out

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If you prefer, you can sit and watch the cooking

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Nice large work top - it even has built-in weighing scales

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Fresh spinach

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Stir-fry waiting to be prepared - spot the chillies

Miele professional steam oven 7810 R
The professional pressure and steam oven used to steam the fish

We were all given a different course to make and I assigned myself to
dessert (!!!) along with Jack from Dustfluffgrit. We made an admirable pair - me wafting around with camera in hand, and Jack doing all the hard work (sorry Jack!) We (he) made a fabulous quark-mascarpone-soufflé (with cherries) and it was cooked in the combi-steam oven for 25 minutes. It was really easy to make, all the ingredients except the egg whites and the cherries were whisked together. Then the egg whites were whisked to the stiff peak stage and folded in with the cherries before cooking.
In the other areas of the kitchen, fish was steaming, steak marinating, chicken grilling and plenty of vegetables were baking and stir-frying. We were even treated to little appetizers while we whipped up our dinner!

nibble 7838 R
Fishy appetizer on rye bread

Miele cooking evening - carrot and ginger soup 7845 R
Carrot and ginger soup

Miele cooking evening goats cheese appetizer 7859 R
Baked goats cheese on toasted bread, with tangy apple and beetroot salad

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Mixing the ingredients for the soufflé

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Plenty of sugar in the ramekins to prevent the soufflés from sticking

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Cooking them in the combi steam oven

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Plating up the fish course

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Stir-frying the vegetables using the wonderful induction wok hob

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Cooking the chicken on a tepan hob

And here's the results - the dinner that everyone helped to cook:

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Steamed fish, spinach, rice and baked tomato starter

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Grilled chicken on a bed of stir-fried vegetables with duchess potatoes

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Our quark-mascarpone-soufflé dessert

The whole evening was most enjoyable and lots of fun, with all the food turning out beautifully, thanks to the Miele chefs and their lovely assistants.

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One of the last things we did before leaving Miele, was to have a presentation of the brand new combi steamer DGC XL, available from April 2010. This baby can steam, roast, bake and brown, cooks fabulous bread, meat, pastry, cakes, biscuits, pizzas and also convenience foods. It has a large cavity, 39L, and can cater for 10-12 people using full size oven racks/trays, or if you prefer, 2 smaller steaming trays. You can defrost, reheat, grill... plus it has non-stick 'PerfectClean' finish and a 'rinse care' programme, which makes cleaning a doddle.

This appliance actually has a brain! The timer tells you when to put the dishes in the oven, eg. potatoes first, then fish, followed by the vegetables. It uses controlled use of steam during the cooking process, no matter what amount/size of food you are cooking. It comes with a wireless probe to check the core temperature of the food, and has gourmet settings for professional chefs and hobbyists, as well as standard automatic settings.

Miele steam oven 7929 R
Ahhh, beautiful! The new Miele Combi Steamer DGC XL

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Disclosure - this trip was courtesy of Miele.

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Cherrapeño Visits Miele in Germany!

Food, machines and an insight into the Miele company.

Miele flags 7905 R

When you get an email asking if you would like to go to Germany, courtesy of Miele - the high quality domestic appliances and commercial equipment company, don't jump up & down and scream like a crazy person.... take a few deep breaths and calmly hit the send button with the words 'YES PLEASE'!! (Then you can scream with delight!)

air berlin plane 6832 R

So this is how I came to be on a flight early last week, spending 3 days in Germany with 2 people from Miele, 4 lovely ladies from the press and 2 other bloggers - Dustfluffgrit and Machines That Go Bing. We were flown to the Miele head office in Gütersloh, to visit the museum, showrooms and their state of the art factories; also included was a fabulous active cooking evening. In between, there was plenty of good food, wine and great conversation. We were accompanied by Jörg Huckenbeck from Miele, a very knowledgeable expert and an exceptional host.

After a short flight (just over an hour) we headed to Gütersloh, stopping off enroute at Waldhaus an de Miälkwellen, a very nice restaurant with a delicious menu. As this is a food blog, I couldn't help but take some photos of the dishes that I had while I was there - but by the end of the trip, no one even batted an eyelid! Anyway, I chose what was the best thing I ate during the trip (although later you will see that there were many 'best things'). It was a pumpkin soup with an amazing chilli oil and cream - something I am going to try to recreate when pumpkin comes back into season. This was followed by baked salmon on a bed of creamed spinach, served with roasted potatoes, and although we were all too full to choose a dessert, some German cheesecake was bought to the table. Of course, I had to try it and can report that it was very nice.

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The restaurant

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Pumpkin soup with chilli oil and cream, served with pumpkin bread

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Baked salmon on a bed of creamed spinach

German cheesecake 7669 R

Now, on to the interesting part of the trip. You might not think that household appliances could really be that interesting - but when you see how they have evolved through the ages and how we have come to have the equipment that we use today, it is truly fascinating.
The Miele museum, whilst being very modern in design, has some wonderful old appliances that were developed over a hundred years ago. I loved the first butter churners, the wooden tub washing machines and the vintage vacuum cleaners. Everything is beautifully laid out, and you follow an illuminated red line, which means you don't miss anything. I discovered that Miele made bikes and even cars in the early days! The museum is open to everyone, so if you are ever in the area, be sure to visit.

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The company founders

Miele butter churner 7690 R
Hand-operated butter churner. A cog driven shaft beat the cream until it turned to butter. Made for use on smaller farms, it soon found it's way into domestic use

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Early washing machine - the tub was made from top quality seasoned oak, and the base from genuine pitch pine

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Cradle washing machine

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Early cooler for food

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Miele vacuum

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Washing machines in the museum - cute design!

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Miele made bikes...

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Even a few cars!

That evening we went to a delightful restaurant, Glück und Seligkeit, where we had some wonderful food. Unfortunately it was quite dark, I think the lights were lowered and we ate by candlelight, so I was unable to take photos - I was wishing for my tripod and macro lens!

Miele coach 7763 R

The following day, we were taken to the factory at Bielefeld. This is where the main production of the vacuum cleaners and dishwashers take place. I couldn't take photos here, but can tell you that it is an incredible sight, with state of the art machinery and equipment. The vacuum factory houses 83 yellow robots alone, they are almost human and quite mesmerising! We saw the minute detail that goes into the production and how every dishwasher is tested for perfection.

Lunch was at a very popular restaurant called Waterbör and the food was excellent. I had a magnificent platter of appetizers, including a large prawn that had been wrapped in a strip of potato and deep fried, lobster and smoked salmon. I then chose their 'famous' crispy duck, which came with fried potatoes and colourful red cabbage. Both of these two dishes were sublime and could become my new favourites, but then.... there was dessert. Another platter of fruit, fruit sorbets, nougatine ice cream and chocolate mousse. Heaven!

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The restaurant

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Appetizer plate

Famous crispy duck dish
Crispy duck

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Dessert platter

Trying to stay composed after all the food and wine we had devoured was quite difficult, a nap at this time would have been most welcome, but a visit to the Miele showroom and the Professional showroom awaited us. Here, there was much lusting over the household products and for me, it was the kitchen appliances!

The following photos are from the showroom, look how big it is!

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The Professional showroom

Miele steam engine 7914
There is even a steam engine (no. 1241) on display! It was in use until late 2000 for backup generation to cover peak demand

We were then treated to a very special presentation, something that was one of the highlights of the trip. It was the CAVE - a fantastic "Computer Aided Virtual Environment", that allows products that do not yet exist in reality to appear in a virtual world. With a cost of approximately 1.6 million Euros, the CAVE is a highly sophisticated system and you can read more about it in this press release as it's too technical for me to explain - I can say that it's a very weird sensation to be able to put your head inside a washing machine that isn't there!!

There were a couple of hours of free time and I explored the town of Gütersloh, buying some Easter eggs from a chocolate shop.

little Easter eggs 7998 R

Dinner was lots of fun - an active cooking event that we all participated in. I am going to do a separate post for this and will include a little on a new product - the combi steamer oven.

Our final day was spent visiting the Gütersloh factory, a huge tour including the pre-assembly, enamelling shop, electronics production, final assembly and the high bay distribution warehouse. There is even a train that comes into the plant to pick up the appliances for distribution. We saw the coffee machines being tested and went into an extremely cold testing room, followed by another room that tests products like fridges to see if they could survive in an extreme heat environment.

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Tiramisu for dessert

After lunch at the Miele guest restaurant, we had a presentation of the new combi steamer and were joined by one of the present owners, Dr. Miele! There was a closing discussion with Mrs Portmann from the PR department before departing for home.

Many thanks to the people from Miele for inviting me on the trip, to Zoe and Thom for looking after us, and to all at Miele headquarters for their time and hospitality. I had a wonderful time and will never look at a washing machine in the same way again!

M for Miele! 7678 R

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.