Tag Archives: slow cooker

slow cooked spuds and onions

This was by way of an experiment, and I didn’t photograph it. It was as cheap as, well, chips. and really nice. I made it to accompany some roast venison, a piece of which I found lurking in the bottom of the freezer. It did two days – one with red cabbage, and one with green.

Put a slug of olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker – I did this to stop it sticking.

Thinly slice potatoes and onions, and layer them up in the slow cooker – I think I did three and a half layers, starting and ending with potato. Season each potato layer as you go with salt and black pepper. I hurled some chopped garlic in part way through as well. Pour in some gravy (i used about half a mugful of Bisto granules*, which was about right for a small slow cooker).

Switch it on, walk away. It had about five hours, I think. Next time I’ll add carrot, I think, and possibly swede. Lovely with roasted meat, or sausages.

*Lets not pretend we don’t always use them from time to time, eh?

indian black-eyed peas

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this ūüôā

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so Р30p max)
‚Öď big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about ¬£0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max. ¬† I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

chicken and coconut curry

I had a yen for a chicken curry at the weekend; we make (and eat) a lot of chicken and coriander, but I wanted something¬†different, dammit. So I trundled up to the Jacksons at the top of t’rerd, and came home with two packs of mixed thighs and drumsticks for a fiver, which Pete manfully deskinned for me; it’s a horrible job, and my arthriticy fingers really don’t enjoy it. We put them on a roasting tray, seasoned, drizzled with a little olive oil, and bunged them in the oven while the pizza was cooking. (Well, browning chicken is a boring task, and the oven was on ‚Ķ)

So, there was lots of skinned and part cooked chicken on Sunday morning. Looking at us. I skimmed through various books, but nothing quite appealed, so we winged it, pretty much.

Into the big slow cooker went, variously:

two tablespoons each of  ground almonds and dessicated coconut,

two onions fried in some groundnut oil until they were just starting to catch

a paste of garlic and ginger, and a little water, fried off, then spices added: cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, black pepper, and a little salt. All fried down into a paste

a can of coconut milk, and about a third? a half? can of water

a bunch of coriander

And then we just left it alone for about 7 hours. It was really, really nice, except it lacked ‚Ķ something. Not sure what. We’re going to have some more tonight, with some saag aloo, to see if that helps.

That fiver’s worth of chicken made 10 portions, by the way. Plus ¬£0.80 for the coriander, and ¬£1.25 for coconut milk, and maybe another couple of quid’s worth of ingredients. Well under ¬£1 per portion.

p.s. we always cook chicken pieces on the bone – the flavour is better, and the meat falls off when it’s cooked anyway.

 

meatballs and tomato sauce

The mystery butcher’s bag in the freezer turned out to contain about 150g of sausagemeat, clearly bought for sossidge rolls for the festering season. Hmm ‚Ķ what to do?

I added some chopped mix herbs to the meat, and mixed it all together. Into the slow cooker went onions, garlic, a diced courgette and some mushrooms, and I formed the sausagemeat into eight small balls, and laid them on the top. The last of the tomato paste had a slosh of red wine, and some water, added and went on top. Into the slow cooker for six hours, and very nice indeed.

There’s a fair bit of the sauce left, which we shall have tonight with the addition of some Matessons* sausage (no, not gourmet, I know, but dead handy as a standby!).

* or Aldi equivalent

turkey and moooose pie

Well, not really, but …

We went to my daughter’s house for Christmas, and it was lovely. But the downside of being away is you get no leftovers; thankfully, she offered us the turkey carcass to take home, and so we did, despite her protestations that there would be no meat left on it. As soon as we got home, I lobbed it in the big slow cooker with some water, and left it alone for about six hours.

The next morning, I surveyed the vegetable drawers. They contained sundry carrots, three courgettes on the edge of disaster, two fairly dried up leeks, four sweet potatoes in need of eating, and a rather soft swede.

I small-diced the courgettes (half of one of which I had to throw away – how I hate that), the leeks, and half the carrots, and put them in the medium slow cooker with a little olive oil to cook down. Then I peeled and larger-diced the rest of the carrots, the swede and the sweet potatoes, and put them in a big pot to cook for root mash later.

Then I turned to the turkey carcass Рreaders, there was loads of meat on it, so I picked it clean like a vulture. Then I foraged in the freezer for some puff pastry (yes, ready made Рwho makes puff pastry?).

Took a pack of bacon lardons from the fridge and set them to cook off slowly in their own fat. When they were crispy, I added about a tablespoon of flour and cooked it in, a good splash of white wine from a bottle that was going over a bit in the fridge, and then some milk, until I had a nice creamy constituency. Added some chopped garden herbs, most of the turkey meat. and enough of the slow cooked veg to make the mixture fill a pie dish. Then Pete obligingly dealt with the pastry side of stuff (he’s much better than me at the rolling out side of things), and made these charming pastry moosen with a cutter that friends brought us back from Norway.

We ate it with the root mash, and sprouts – there was enough of everything to repeat the performance the next day, which was fine by us.

The rest of the veg went into the soup pot, with the remaining turkey meat, the stock and some barley.

Not bad for “no meat”, eh?

And here’s a picture of my ¬†Christmas cake, just because. As I said a few weeks ago, I made it in a ring mould, and covered it the weekend before Christmas with orange slices caramelised in water, sugar and a hefty glug of Cointreau. Rude not to, really. One of the eight or nine smaller cakes went in the middle, and I added fresh holly on Christmas Eve.

Untitled

onion gravy

onions
image courtesy of Lena Ljungar / Flickr

 

We love onion gravy, but it’s really best when you have time to cook the onions¬†slowly, and I never think about it in time. But this time, I did!

I cut three onions in half, and sliced them as thinly as I could, then put them in the baby slow cooker. Also added a good glug of very dry sherry, about a dessertspoon of olive oil, and a teaspoon? of brown sugar. After about six hours they had reduced their volume by about two thirds,  and next time I shall cook them for even longer for more intense onionyness.

Then I decanted them into a pan, added a slosh of red wine (as there’s the end of a bottle hanging about in the kitchen looking dejected) and some gravy granules (I know, sorry, but I was in a hurry). Then I bubbled it down so there wasn’t too much liquid, and poured it over pork chops and mashed root veg.

That made enough for four greedy folk, so I have put the remainder in the freezer – there were only two greedy folk here ūüôā

chickpeas for lunch

I soaked and boiled some chickpeas on Wednesday, in preparation for a vegetable tagine. But then I didn’t fancy the tagine, and our schedule for the next few days doesn’t really accommodate it, and anyway, we had no soup left for lunch. Shocking, I know.

So into the medium slow cooker this morning went some chorizo, red onion and a bit of olive oil. An hour later, I added the cooked chickpeas, a little boiling water, some lemon juice, and some chicken Bisto granules. And some sea salt and black pepper. And then some Ras el Hanout, because it seemed to be lacking something. Left it another couple of hours, added some of the enormous bunch of parsley, chopped, and consumed it with a mini naan bread. And there’s enough for a second round tomorrow.

Tonight, I shall be experimenting with a Philips Airfryer; not sure it’s my sort of thing, but I’ve been given it to review, so it would be rude not to.

a piece of brisket

Another siren call from T L Norman’s chill cabinet, this small piece of brisket (maybe 1.25kg or so – I didn’t weigh it) went straight into the freezer when I bought it. I fetched it out on Saturday, and slow cookered it thus on Sunday:

I seared the brisket (all in one piece) in a little olive oil, then set it aside. In this house, this means putting it in one of the ovens, for fear one, or many, of The Tribe will minister to it. Then into the oil went a large onion, diced, and a few carrots, cut into batons. I added black peppercorns, juniper berries, fresh thyme, a good slosh of red wine, a smaller one of balsamic vinegar, and a good sprinkling of gravy granules. Oh, and a few cloves of garlic, crushed. And salt.

Everything went into the slow cooker for about eight hours. Sadly, I came down with some dreaded lurgy during the afternoon, and couldn’t face food, but Pete manfully tackled it, with a slice or two of sourdough bread. Which meant that there was plenty left for Monday. It stayed in the slow cooker and was cooked again for about four hours, and this time we had it with broccoli and Yorkshire puds.

Today, I have once again fished out the remaining brisket. Sliced three spuds thinly, and fried them gently in the fat left over from the lunchtime bacon butties (it’s¬†cold, OK?). Set them in the slow cooker, added the rather splendid gravy and remaining veg, and they can sit and mull to themselves till suppertime, and which point they will accompany some cold brisket.

And there looks to be plenty to eat for lunch tomorrow as well.

barley and butternut squash risotto

barley

image from Real Foods

 

I’ve been meaning to try this for ages, so here you go.

1 cup barley (you should strictly speaking, use pearl, but I used what was in the cupboard, and it was fine)
1 butternut squash, peeled (ugh) and diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 cups water
1 chicken stock cube (or use stock, if you have it handy)
1 shallot, finely sliced
some thyme, fresh or dried
about ¬Ĺ small glass white wine (or cider would work, or vermouth)
some feta cheese (optional)
seasoning

Soften the shallot and garlic in a little oil or butter, add the thyme, (or sage, in our case, as Pete had a mad moment and picked the wrong herb from the garden),  and then the barley. Cook  until the grains are toasted.

Put that in a slow cooker on high, add the squash and the water/stock cube, bit of salt and black pepper. ¬†Leave well alone for 4-5 hours. ¬†At that point, I thought it looked a bit dry, which is when I added the wine, and ‚Öď of a block of feta cut into cubes, and left it for another hour or so.

Feel free to garnish with flat leaf parsley; having sallied up the road to buy a huge bunch (because the Indian and Continental don’t sell small ones), I completely forgot, so will have to think of something else to use it up.

Very nice indeed., and a great alternative to a rice risotto for those of us who aren’t supposed to eat many carbs. Um.

This was supposed to feed three; it fed two greedy folk, with a bit left over, which went into the soup pot.

 

courgette and pasta bake

courgettes

We make this recipe (or a variation on it) fairly often, and it involves far too long standing over the cooker in a cold kitchen (the hole in the wall is being mended tomorrow – hurrah!). So in the interests of experimentation, I thought I’d have a bash at doing the sauce in the little slow cooker.

I diced onion, crushed garlic and chopped courgettes, and put them in the slow cooker with a glug of olive oil, and another of red wine. Left them on low for a couple of hours, then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes, then left it for another couple of hours And it was really nice,  but I should have turned it up to high for the last hour, I think, just to get the last of the slightly raw tomato taste to it (I cannot abide raw tomatoes).

Did the pasta on the hob as usual, then dumped the lot in the small Remoska, and dotted it with mozzarella and basil leaves.

Worth mentioning that courgettes are lovely veg Рdice them up small and include in soup or casseroles, cut them into strips for a nice stir fry, bung them in roast veg …