Hello Dear Reader,
I'm getting home shattered almost every night. It's my own fault, I'm 'giving it stick' in the gym every night and making sure I don't eat between meals so I'm famished when I get in. If I didn't have something quick and ready to eat when I got in, I could happily eat the door mat! By the time Dearly Beloved has lit the wood stove and got the kettle on, I've got supper on the table. I use my slow cooker a lot at this time of year.
Here are some of my ideas.
Vegetable soup: peel four carrots, four potatoes, peel and chop one large onion, half a head of celery, a chopped quarter of a savoy cabbage - mix together with a litre of stock (I use chicken) - switch on for the day, go to work and come home to thick and hot soup.
Veggie and chickpea spicy stew with dumplings: peel carrots, onions, butternut squash and parsnips, add a tin of chickpeas a heaped tablespoon of smoked paprika and cover with stock. When you get in from work, you can use an instant dumpling mix or half the weight of suet to SR flour and enough water to form into dough balls. Float on top of the veggie stew and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve with some buttery veg such as savoy cabbage.
Bolognaise sauce mix - this is always best when it's cooked slowly and for hours. There's a multitude of recipes but here's mine. I chop everything in the food processor and add it to the slow cooker: two onions, three carrots, half a head of celery and 400g of minced beef - season with garlic, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. I add a large tin of tomato puree and top up with water to the consistency you like; we like ours to be thick and meaty. You can replace the minced beef with any minced meat or soya or quorn mince. When you get in from work, all you'll need to do is cook some pasta as this is full of vegetables.
Roast Chicken, or a lamb, pork or beef joint. I will cook a whole piece of meat in my slow cooker and come home to a joint you could carve with a spoon. I use cheap cuts such a boned and rolled breast of lamb, brisket of beef, shoulder of pork or a whole chicken. I roughly chop carrots and onions and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker along with the meat, some stock or water and arrange the rest of the veggies such as potatoes, swede, parsnips or whole carrots around the meat joint. The weight of the glass lid keeps the steam and the flavour in and although you won't have a joint with a crispy top, you will have a succulent piece of meat with very little shrinkage.
Slow cooked oriental belly pork or ribs. You will need one large slice each or more if you are not watching your weight. For the sauce: 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp clear honey, 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce, half tsp five-spice powder, juice of a line and a pinch of dried chilli flakes. Mix the marinade together and cover the belly pork. Cook for eight hours. Serve with a salad.
I make all our stews, casseroles, soups and braised suppers in my slow cooker. A few minutes work in the morning means I have a meal waiting for me when I get home. As I said, it's cold and I'm tired and really hungry and I also think it helps with weight loss and I'm not tempted to eat a snack because supper isn't ready. It also uses a fraction of the energy of a cooker and means we eat simple, cheap home cooked food within minutes of getting through the door.
Over to you Dear Reader, what do you cook in your slow cooker? Do you have one? Does anyone have any recipes or ideas they can share?
I'm off to bed and I look forward to some recipes and ideas.
Love Froogs xxx