Tag Archives: slow cooker

soup mix

A load of manky old veg – spuds, a soft pepper, a wrinkly courgette and some soft carrots. Oh, and some very sad celery. Only the leek was pristine and fresh.

Diced small by hand (because I felt like it – often I don’t), hurled in the slow cooker with some barley, seasoning, water and a secret ingredient … the bone from the lamb massaman I’d made the day before. Despite there being not one single shred of meat on that bone, it gave the soup a subtle heat.

I cooked the soup for about 18 hours, then whizzed it a bit with the stick blender to stop it being just veg in hot water. Fab, and just enough left now to be the starter for *next* week.

lamb massaman

We’re trying to clear out the freezer in the shed, so we can replace it with another, smaller one.  And there was a shoulder of lamb, so I thought I’d give this a go.

for the massaman sauce:
4 dried chillis, soaked in boiling water for about  20 minutes
1 tsp each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and 2 tsp black peppercorns, dry fried then ground
1 onion and about 12 cloves of garlic, chopped, and fried off (I used the remnant of the lamb frying oil, and a dollop of sesame oil to top it off)
a knob of fresh ginger
juice of a lime
some kaffir lime leaves
some bay leaves
half a cinnamon stick
some sea salt
a tin of coconut milk (except I discovered I didn’t have any, so used coconut powder).

other ingredients:
about 2lbs or so of lamb
1 aubergine, 2 sweet potatoes (peeled), 1 butternut squash (peeled and deseeded) all diced
fish sauce

The slow cooker recipes I found said 8-9 hours, which I didn’t have, so I cut some corners and pre-cooked some stuff, and cooked it for seven hours – it would have been ok at six hours, I think.

I started dicing the meat off the shoulder of lamb, but it was a tedious job, and I gave up part way through, figuring it would be much easier when it was cooked 🙂  The lamb was then browned in some groundnut oil, including the large bit with the bone in, then put in the slow cooker, which I turned on to keep the meat warm.

All the ingredients for the massaman went into the food processor and were comprehensively whizzed.  Then, as part of the speeding up process, I put the paste into the frying pan I’d used for lamb and onions, fried it off for a minute or so, and added the coconut milk.  Brought it up to the boil and put it in the slow cooker.

I simmered the aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash for about 8 minutes to get them started, and put them in.  Then a good squirt of honey, and some fish sauce into the pot.

We then had to put up with the smell all day, which wasn’t easy.  It was sublime.

I don’t know why some people say that slow cooking doesn’t give you the flavour – I’ve never made any sort of curry that flavoured the meat so well.  And there’s at least two tubs’ worth for the freezer too.

We ate it with brown basmati rice (which I still don’t really like but needs eating up) and some potatoes fried up with Indian spices).

the risotto that wasn't

using up: smoked trout, a bulb of  fennel

We like risotto; sometimes I make it in the oven, and sometimes I stand over the pot, ladling in stock.  Whatever, I know my 5oz of rice to 1 pint of liquid works.

Today, I thought I’d try the slow cooker.  I did a bit of Googling, and came up with a couple of ideas.

So, chopped the fennel and a red onion, put it in the slow cooker on high with a little olive oil, left it for an hour and stirred, left it for another hour and stirred again.  OK so far.

Added 5 oz of arborio, and 1 pint of veg stock (made with the ever wonderful Marigold bouillon).  Bit of seasoning, knob of butter.  Sorted.  Turned down to low, left for an hour, stirred it, all was well.

Came down half an hour later, zapped a piece of hot smoked trout with some butter in the microwave for 90 seconds, flaked it, opened the slow cooker and … overcooked.  Ho hum.

Still, not a disaster – added the fish, lobbed in some double cream before serving, and hey presto, fennel and smoked trout kedgeree 🙂

I don’t know whether I cooked it too long, or there was insufficient liquid, or whether I should have put the stock in cold (there was hot water in the kettle so I used it).  But it was still very nice, and the cats enjoyed the fish skin!

red cabbage and apple

We’re big fans of red cabbage – it goes so well with stews, and sausages, and cold meat, and roast goose, and and and.

I normally make it in a Le Creuset pot, and cook it in a very low oven, but I thought I’d give it a whirl in the slow cooker, and it was great!

Slice up one red cabbage  – I tend to do ours fairly fine, but you do as you like!  Peel, core and dice cooking apple(s) – how many will decided on how appley you want the cabbage, how big the cabbage is, and how big the cooking apple is (you should know my method of defining quantities by now :).

Put the cabbage and apple in the slow cooker with a sloosh of red wine vinegar, a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic, some ground nutmeg and cloves, and dot the top with a little butter.  Most recipes add sugar at this point, but I don’t.

I cooked this for about 10 hours overnight, which was about right, I think.  Worked really well.

vegetable and flageolet bean soup

About five carrots, two sticks of celery, and a leek, chopped up small.  About a mugful of flageolet beans, soaked in boiling water and left for about six hours.  The remains of last week’s soup – about half a pint of tomato and lentil.

All hurled in the slow cooker, topped up with cold water, seasoned, and switched on at about 11 p.m.  We had lunch at about 1 p.m . the following day, and while the flavour was gorgeous, the vegatables weren’t by any means soft.  But no problem – soup improves with age anyway 🙂

Last night we tried porridge – it was a disaster.  We could have used the result to lay bricks!

moroccan meatballs with sweet pepper sauce

sweet peppers and onions

using up: peppers, mince

As I said in the spag bol post, I had about a pound of mince left over.  In fact, when we weighed it, it was 1lb 7oz!

Pete set to making the meatballs; he ground cumin, coriander, allspice, fennel seeds and cinnamon, finely chopped a shallot and some garlic, and mashed it all together.  It made 18 walnut-sized meatballs.  He left out salt, but we realised before it was too late.

In the meantime, I took two yellow and one orange pepper, all of which desperately needed using up.  I cut them in half longways, took out the seeds, and then sliced them very thinly, and then cut an onion in half, peeled it, and sliced that thinly too. Decanted them into a frying pan with some olive oil and started cooking them down.

I felt the needed … something, so I took the lids off lots of spice pots, but nothing seemed to work.  In the end, I went for five spice, just a few good pinches, and that was good.  I also added a gloop of balsamic vinegar towards the end.

The meatballs were popped in the slow cooker, and the onion/pepper mixture on the top. We didn’t fry them first, and I did wonder, but it didn’t seem to matter.  Cooked them for about 7 hours, and then turned it off, as it looked as though it might be drying out.

We ate ten of the meatballs for supper between us, with some fusilli – all a bit fusion, this, really.  They were utterly gorgeous.

And there are eight left, which I think may go in a wrap with some grilled halloumi.

spag bol

Pretty much everyone (apart from vegetarians, I guess) loves spag bol, and most people have their own tried and tested recipes.  We had a load of mince in the freezer, and a slow cooker needing to be experimented with, so what could be better?

We took 4lbs of best Dexter mince from the freezer, and when it had thawed, I put 1lb in the fridge to make meatballs.  The rest was browned up and set aside.

I diced three carrots, two sticks of celery and a a courgette, chopped up a big onion and 5 cloves of garlic, and sweated them down in some olive oil.

Then into the slow cooker went the mince, vegetables, a tin of chopped tomatoes, oregano, seasoning, a bouquet garni, and good sloosh of red wine.  Mindful of the imprecations about things not thickening up in there, I left it at that, fluid wise.  Also mindful of the warnings about slow cookered food not having a depth of flavour (which I find a bit baffling, but still ..), I added a teaspoon of Bovril, and a gloop of tomato ketchup.

I made this while our supper was cooking, and it was cold when we switched it on low at about 10 p.m., before we went to bed.  I went down and inspected it at 7 a.m., and it was gorgeous.  I’d say it didn’t need the Bovril at all, but Pete disagreed.

I think I’m in love with this gadget!

I haz slow cooker!

slow cooker

Bought on eBay for almost exactly the sum I sold some Russell & Bromley loafers!  Been thinking about one for a while, and thought it was worth a go.

I shall be posting recipes for it (if they work!).  At the moment, we are testing it with some Indian dhal thus:

18 fl oz green lentils and 32 fl oz water bunged into pot.  One onion, and the top of last night’s leek finely sliced, fried up with chopped garlic and ginger, and spices (tumeric, coriander, cumin, cardamon seed, ajwain, allspice, black pepper, and asfetida all ground up).

Poured this spicy mixture on top of the lentils, and put the pot on Auto at about 3.45 this afternoon.  Hoping it will be ready around 7.30, and if not – well, I’ll put it in a pot on the stove.  You gotta start somewhere 🙂