Thermos Shuttle Chef
Viv Moon's OUTDOOR COOKBOOK & TRAVELLER'S COOKBOOK
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Thermos Shuttle Chef
Readers will know that I have used Thermal Cookers before and have found them very handy. There is another make now available for you to appraise when you are next wandering around the 4WD Shows, the Thermos Shuttle Chef (you’ll also see it in numerous retail outlets), so I suggest that you have a good look. Below is some info on this product and I know you’ll been impressed when you see it in action.
The name ‘Thermos’ has been around for many, many years, in fact over 100 years and is the only portable Thermal Cooker on the market that is vacuum insulated, and there wouldn’t be many people who haven’t at some stage used a ‘Thermos’ flask to keep their water piping hot for a cuppa. We’ve had a Thermos flask for nearly 30 years now, and it is a very battered and much well travelled piece of equipment that has served us well, and continues to do so.
So I was interested to see the Thermos Shuttle Chef in action during a recent trip to Tasmania, being used by our friends, Phil & Sandy Candy, of Candy Canvas, who love it and don’t leave home without it packed into the back of their Carry Me Camper unit. (They also produce a range of swags, seat covers, bags and slide-on campers, one of which, the Carry Me Camper sits on the back of our expedition patrol, (see link 'our candy camper')
Viv & Sandy with Sandy's Shuttle Chef in action.
Thermal Cookware is basically a slow cooker or crockpot that doesn’t need any electricity or the like and it has many advantages, especially for people who are camping, caravanning or four wheel driving. One big advantage is that you use a lot less gas, and with wood fires becoming harder and harder to use because of fire restrictions imposed by national parks, reserves or councils, campers find themselves cooking more and more on the gas stovetop. And it’s not always easy to just drop into the nearest gas refill store or garage and get the gas bottle topped up or exchanged. You won’t be doing that when you cross the Simpson Desert or travel along the Canning Stock Route, or even the Kimberley or Cape York is difficult. The same applies for those travelling in caravans who might frequent caravan parks more often, they will still save on gas, as well as making life easier in preparing meals ahead of time.
Another big advantage for campes and caravaneers, who may only may carry a 2-burner stove, this cookware enables you to prepare say your meat dish ahead of time, and then do some vegetables separately, without the main course going cold. If you use the Shuttle Chef two saucepan system you can prepare your main meal and vegetables at the same time, or soup and a main meal or even a desert and a main meal.
The Thermos Shuttle Chef Cookware range consists of one or two stainless steel cooking pots that fit inside an insulated outer pot. You prepre the food as per normal in the inner saucepans and bring it up to the boil on a stove top, BBQ or camp fire, then simmer for a few minutes to ensure that all the ingredients are at the same boiling temperature. Then you place the inner saucepans into the outer pot and put the lid on. The outer pot has vacuum-insulated double walls so the food keeps cooking slowly in its own retained heat.
The stainless steel inner pot saucepans are a multilayered construction with a special layer of carbon steel sandwiched into the base, which provides a very even heat distribution and maintains temperatures for a long time (this is the secret to successful Thermal Cooking). They are well made, heavy based pan and you won’t need to carry any other saucepans.
You can prepare your lunch or evening meal in the morning before you head off if need be, place it in the outer container and then store it in an upright position while travelling with complete safety.
It also works equally well to keep food cold and will keep chilled foods under the 5 degrees C necessary to prevent food poisoning bacteria from growing.
So, anything you would cook at home in your slow cooker, or crockpot will work with the Thermal Shuttle Chef - you can cook all your favourite casseroles, pot roasts, cakes, puddings, damper, bread, and the list goes on. Okay, you aren’t going to get the brown, crunchy top, but they still work and taste great.
For more information and a closer look at the range Thermal Cookers and Shuttle Chef Accessories available you can contact them at:
Thermal Cookware, P.O. Box 104, Lismore, 2480, NSW
Phone: 1 300 667 151
Fax: 02 66 221859
Or check out their web site at:
You can also read about what CHOICE magazine thought about this product in their review which appeared in the Feb 09 issue of Choice, by going to the following link:
or check out the copy of the review on the Thermal Cookware site at:
Below is a selection of recipes from the Thermal Cookware web site and one of my own just to give you some idea of the wide range of food you can cook in the Shuttle Chef.
• Buy your meat vacuum-packed (cryovac sealed) and already marinated, such as a whole piece of roast marinated in your's or your butcher's special marinade, and then drop that into boiling water in your inner pot, bring it to the boil, the put on the lid and simmer for about 25 mins to make sure the heat is all the way through the meat, and then put it into your outer pot and leave for about 4 to 5 hours (depending on the size of the meat). No mess and so moist!!
• Cook up your favourite casserole dish and freeze it in a square dish that can be put into a vacuum seal bag. When frozen, seal in the bag and put back int he freezer ready for a quick meal on the road.
To prepare, simple place the bag into an inner pot of boiling water and bring to the boil, them put on the lid and bring back to a simmer for about 10 mins then remove and place in the out pot and leave for about an hour or so. You aren't actually cooking the dish, just heating it up. Again, no mess, no fuss!!
Curries and Casseroles area ideal, and this is one of Viv’s favourites
Lamb Shanks in BBQ Sauce
4 to 6 lamb shanks (or quantity to suit your needs)
small quantity of seasoned plain flour - about 1/2 a cup
2 tblspns or more of Oil/margarine
1 onion - finely chopped
1 cup water
2 tblspns Worcestershire sauce
2 tblspns brown sugar
1 cup tomato sauce (or use a mix of tomato sauce/spicy tomato sauce and a little sweet chilli sauce)
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tspns dry mustard salt & pepper
While you would cook this in you camp oven, you can easily adjust it to cook in the Shuttle Chef.
Place the flour in a plastic bag, add the shanks and shake well, giving each shank a good coating of flour.
Heat the oil/margarine in the pot and add the shanks, browning on all sides.
Remove and add the onions and saute until soft.
Replace the shanks in the pot.
Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the shanks.
Mix through and bring to the boil, then put on the lid, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes to get the heat right through the shanks.
Turn off the heat and transfer the pot into the outer insulated container and close the lid.
Leave for a minimum of 4 to 5 hours. To get the meat to fall off the bone a good 6 hours plus is required. It will be well cooked in a shorter time, but is really impressive the longer you can leave it.
You may need to thicken the sauce before serving, depending on the amount of flour used to coat the shanks. If so, make up a smooth paste of plain flour and water, or use cornflour, and add until you get the thickness you want.
You can always thicken any soup, stew or casserole by adding a handful of Barley to the mix initially and this will soak up those lovely flavoursome juices.
Serve with mashed potato or rice.
NOTE: If you are using the double pot Thermal Cooker you can be cooking the potatoes at the same time in the second pot.
Camp Oven method:
Brown the shanks / onions in your camp oven and continue as above. Cover and cook gently over coals or on your stove top for approx 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.
Curries – Any curry will work well, like this:
Thai Green Chicken Curry
A delightful mild curry chicken that has so much flavour.
Recipe from Thermal Cookware
1 tablespoon of Oil
500 grams of sliced Chicken Fillets
3 tablespoons of Green Curry Paste
NOTE: You can increase or decrease the amount of curry paste to suit your own requirements.
400 ml tin of Coconut Cream
2 tablespoons of Fish Sauce
2 teaspoons of Sugar
1 cup of chopped Pumpkin
1 cup of Green Beans (you can use dried or frozen also)
1 cup of fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves or 1 cup of freshly chopped Coriander
Fragrant Rice to serve.
NOTE: The supermarkets have excellent Basil and Coriander pastes that can be substituted if required.
Simmering time on the stove top: 5 minumtes
Thermal cooking time: 30 minutes minimum
1. Stir fry the curry paste in the oil over a low heat, until fragrant.
2. Add the chicken and pumpkin then stir fry over a medium heat for a few minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, lower the heat and slowly bring it to the boil.
4. Put the lid on and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and transfer the pot into the outer insulated container and close the lid.
6. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes.
7. Serve on a bed of fragrant steamed rice.
NOTE: If you are using the double pot Thermal Cooker you can be cooking the rice at the same time in the second pot.
Hint: If using a harder vegetable such as pumpkin, it needs to cook a few minutes longer before adding vegetables such as beans.
Works really well for cooking rice!!
Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Risotto is a tasty and visually appealing Risotto
Viv - What an easy way to make Risotto!!
Recipe from Thermal Cookware
3 cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 cup of risotto (arborio) rice
1/4 of a cup of dry white wine (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of grated parmesam cheese
2 cups of Jap pumpkin, finely chopped
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 a cup of toasted pine nuts.
Simmering time on the stove top: 1 minute
Thermal cooking time: 1 hour minimum
1. Heat the oil over a low heat and add the onions, garlic and celery, frying slowly for a few minutes.
2. When softened add the rice and toss through for a minute.
3. Add the wine and stir through for a minute allowing some evaporation.
4. Add the stock and pumpkin and bring the mixture to the boil.
5. Simmer for 1 minute with the lid on.
6. Turn off the heat and transfer the inner saucepan into the vacuum insulated outer container and close the lid.
7. Leave for a minimum of 1 hour.
8. Stir in the butter, baby spinach leaves and parmesan cheese.
9. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. 10. Sprinkle each helping with the toasted pine nuts.
You can't go past a good, hearty, hot soup for a warming, winter meal. And the long, slow cooking in the Shuttle Chef is ideal.
Garden Vegetable Soup
Try this great, zesty Garden Vegetable soup - great for any time of year!
Recipe from Thermal Cookware
6 cups of water
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 large Onions, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 stalk of Celery, chopped into large pieces
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup of fresh or frozen green Beans
1 can of Kidney Beans, well rinsed
4 Roma Tomatoes diced
1 tablespoon of Basil chopped finely
Pepper and Salt to taste
125 gm of uncooked Pasta Noodles
Cooking time on the stove: 10 minutes.
Thermal cooking time: A minimum of 2 hours.
1. Bring the water to the boil in the pot on medium heat.
2. Heat the Olive Oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
3. Stir fry the Onions and Celery for a minute then add the other vegetables one at a time.
4. Sprinkle with Basil, Pepper and Salt and stir fry well for about 3 minutes.
5. Stir the cooked vegetables into the pot and bring the water back to the boil.
6. Turn off the heat and transfer the pot into the Thermal Cooker for a minimum of 2 hours.
7. When the meal is ready to eat cook the Pasta separately and stir it into the soup on serving.
Bread and Butter Pudding
Everyone has half a loaf of bread left over and what better to with it than concoct a traditional Bread and Butter Pudding.
Recipe from Thermal Cookware
1 tin of Evaporated Milk
3/4 of a cup of Milk
3 eggs 3 tablespoons of Castor Sugar
5 slices of Buttered Bread cubed (with the crusts removed)
2 tablespoons of Sultanas 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
NOTE: You can thinly cover the buttered bread with a jam of your choice before cutting them into small cubes .
Simmering time on the stove top: 20 minutes.
Thermal Cooking time: 3 to 4 hours minimum.
1. Arrange the bread and sultanas in a suitable buttered pyrex or stainless steel baking dish that fits into your Shuttle Chef inner saucepans.
2. In a separate container sprinkle the Grand Marnier over the sultanas and leave for at least an hour.
3. Make the custard by heating the milk in a saucepan until it is hot without boiling.
4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl, then slowly pour over the hot milk, whisking all the time.
5. Pour the custard over the bread and sultanas and sprinkle with nutmeg.
6. Cover with a suitable lid or Alfoil.
7. Place a suitable trivet in the 4.5 litre inner saucepan or a fold of Alfoil in one of the 3 litre inner saucepans.
8. Add enough boiling water to the inner saucepan, so that the water will come 2/3rds the way up the sides of the baking dish.
9. Carefully place the baking dish into the boiling water, using a folded strip of Alfoil to assist with lifting in and out of the inner saucepan (to prevent burning your fingers)
10. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.
11. Simmer for 20 minutes.
12. Turn off the heat and place the inner saucepan into the vacuum insulated outer container.
13. Leave for 3 to 4 hours.
Boiled Fruit Cake
The Shuttle Chef is excellent for cooking moist cake mixtures, especially boiled fruit cake. Put on night before you go to bed and take out in the morning.
Recipe from Thermal Cookware
375gm of mixed dried fruit
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tspn mixed spice
grated rind of an orange
1/2 cup water or orange juice
1/4 cup port or brandy (or other liquor)
125gm butter 3 eggs - lightly beaten
1 cup sr flour
1 cup pl flour
1/2 tspn bi-carb soda
Optional: replace the water, liquor and sugar with 1 x 450gm tin of unsweetened crushed pineapple.
Place the mixed dried fruit into a bowl with the brown sugar, mixed spice, orange rind, water, liquor and butter.
Mix these ingredients together and place them all into a saucepan.
Bring this mixture to the boil and then simmer uncovered for 5 mins.
Allow this mixture to cool.
When cool add in the lightly beaten eggs.
Stir in the flour and bi-carb soda.
Using the Shuttle Chef 16cm steamed pudding tin (or a suitable pyrex bowl or cake tin), line the container with butter and place a prepared circle of baking paper in the base to help release the cake on completion.
Spoon the cake mix into the prepared pan and top with some almonds and glazed cherries.
Place a prepared circle of baking paper on top of the cake mixture.
Clip the lid into place securely.
If you are using another container without a lid cover the top with alfoil and hold into place with a rubber band to stop moisture from entering.
If you are using the 4.5 litre or the large 6 litre inner saucepan you will need to place a suitable sized trivet in the base to bring the cake tin higher up in the saucepan.
If you are using the 3 litre inner saucepan the cake tin will fit without requiring a trivet.
Pour in enough water so that the level comes approx 2/3rds the way up the side of the cake tin.
Lower the cake/pudding tin into the shuttle chef, making sure that the water level is approx 2/3rd of the way up the side of the cake tin.
Bring the water to the boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer.
Place the lid on the inner pot/saucepan and simmer for 35 to 40 mins.
Remove from the heat and place the inner saucepan into the vacuum insulated outer container and close the lid and lock down.
Leave for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours. You can also leave it overnight.
Note: As most cakes and breads do not like to be disturbed during the 'rising process', it is advisable to cook these while you are stationary. You can pop on a cake in the evening after dinner and leave it to cook all night. When you take it out of the pot in the morning, place it on a rack to cool. The cake will not 'overcook' or 'dry out' even if it is left all night.
View Campfire Cooking Products Links - click here Viv's guide to Camping & Cooking Essentials
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