Saturday, 16 December 2017

Perfect pickled pork!!

Pickled pork is a lean and tender cut of the loin of pork, which has been brined by the butcher, and which simply needs to be slow-cooked at home!  It is incredibly simple and delicious, and affordable too!  This cold cut of meat is a great family favourite to have on hand in the fridge to serve with cheese, relishes and crusty bread during the holiday season.  Here's what to do ...

1.  Place your piece of pork in the slow cooke, leaving the butcher's netting in order to hold the meat together as it cooks (because it becomes so mouth-wateringly tender!).

2.  Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the slow cooker.

3.  Drop in 4 or 5 bay leaves.

4.  Add a teaspoon of peppercorns.

5.  Top up the slow cooker basin with water to the point where it just covers the meat.

6.  Pop on the lid to cook on high for 6 hours.

7.  Next, you can choose to let the pork cool down in the brine, or you can carefully remove it and let it cool on the bench. Do not remove the netting until the pork has cooled down completely.



Sliced and ready to serve!

Then you're all set to slice your pickled pork and serve with with your favourite mustards, pickles, chutneys, cheeses and breads.  Enjoy!


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Homemade steak pie (made with love)


My mum makes the best homemade meat pie, with a delicious slow-cooked steak filling, in her beautiful signature short crust pastry.  I was recently fortunate enough for her to visit with me, and, sure enough, mum made me this fabulous dish as one of my favourites.  It's a simple enough recipe, but it's the good quality ingredients and hearty nature of this meal that make it such a winner ... and it's even better when made with love ๐Ÿ’—

1.  You'll need a kilo of diced steak for this recipe.  You can use top side or chuck steak.


2.  Toss the steak in about half a cup of plain flour.



3.  Spray the pot of the slow cooker with olive oil spray or Pure and Simple, and then add in the floured steak to the pot.




4.  Add a pack of french onion soup to the slow cooker and one large chopped onion.  Stir through evenly.



5.  Cover the meat with about an inch of water (you can add boiled water from the kettle).  As an alternative, you can add a cup of white wine and top up the rest with water.

6.  Season with pepper and salt, and put the slow cooker on high.

7.  Cook the meat for about 5-6 hours on high (and, if you can stir it mid-way through cooking, then you can check that it's mixed well).

8.  At the end of the cooking time, thicken the stewed meat with some gravy powder.




9.  Using either store-bought savoury short crust pastry, or homemade pastry, use the slow-cooked beef as the filling for a large family-sized pie, and serve it with creamy mashed potatoes, and your favourite steamed or boiled vegetables.



This will definitely become one of your favourites!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Rose and Ragu!



How does a nice cold glass of gorgeous pink rose and a bowl of steaming hot pasta with homemade ragu sound?  Delicious!

A dear friend gave me her recipe for this wonderful, rich slow cook ragu pasta sauce, and it is a real winner.

Here's what you'll need to get started ...
  • 500 grams of organic beef, diced into cubes
  • One large onion.
  • Two cups of passata (tomato puree)
  • One cup of good red wine๐Ÿท 
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil ๐ŸŒฟ 
  • Half a bulb of garlic cloves - peeled 
  • Salt to taste 

Here's her wonderful recipe ...


1. Fry the diced onion in olive oil till golden, then add it to the slow cooker.


2.  Lightly coat the beef in some flour and brown the meat in the same pan.





3.  Add all the other ingredients in to the slow cooker, and cook on low for 16 hrs (as may friend said, this may sound overkill but it results in a delicious, rich sauce - and she's right!!!).








4. Serve with egg papperdelle, freshly grated parmesan and a lovely glass of rose!




Cheers and buon appetito!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Soy-Braised Pork

I love recipe books but my collection is becoming over the top.  In bookshops I try to avoid the temptation of buying more by not to even entering the recipe book section. However, I was recently in Big W (love their book selection) and I came across the newest Women’s Weekly slow cooker book - how could I resist. Not only do all the recipes look delicious but they are also triple tested.

I highly recommend this Soy-Braised Pork. It was super easy and so fragrant. When my guests arrived they could smell dinner from down the street! 



I substituted the Chinese cooking wine for a dry sherry, as this is gluten free. I also wasn’t able to find micro coriander so I just used regular coriander, which worked well.





I will definitely be trying another recipe from this book.


Ingredients:

1 kg piece pork scotch fillet (neck)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1/2 cup (125ml) salt-reduced soy sauce
1/2 cup (125ml) Chinese cooking wine (Shao Hsing)
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brown sugar
30g piece fresh ginger, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, bruised
1 medium red onion (170g), cut into wedges
2 teaspoons sesame, toasted
1/4 cup loosed packed fresh micro coriander (cilantro) leaves

1.     Place all ingredients, except sesame seeds and coriander, in a 4.5 litre slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 8 hours.
2.     Remove pork from cooker; cover to keep warm. Increase heat to reduce setting on high; simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until cooking liquid thickened slightly.

3.     Serve sliced pork with a little of the cooking liquid; sprinkled with sesame seeds and coriander.

Serves 4


Source: The Australian Women’s Weekly, ‘Slow-cooker Comfort food’








Monday, 23 October 2017

Comforting beef stroganoff


Beef stroganoff is a great dish to make in the slow cooker, as the flavours really develop nicely with the longer cooking time.  It's easy to prepare, and can feed a crowd.  Also, it does not only have to be a winter recipe, but you can enjoy it at any time of year with some crusty bread and a lovely glass of wine.

Here's how we made our version of the classic ...




1.  Traditionally, the meat is cut in to thin strips, but this time I chose to dice 1kg of topside steak and I tossed it in seasoned flour before browning it in a hot pan with a little oil.




2.  Add a diced onion to the pan and some crushed garlic, and brown for a few minutes before adding a generous handful of sliced button mushrooms.  Cook for a few more minutes, and then add the meat and vegetable mixture in to the crockpot.



3.  Next, add some diced carrots and celery.

4.  Then add some paprika (about a teaspoon), a beef stockcube, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.


5.  Add about a cup of water to the pot, and stir to combine.

6.  Put on the lid and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

7.  Just as your beef stroganoff is close to being finished, prepare some rice and green vegetables to make this a complete and appetising meal to enjoy!


8.  Finally, just before serving, add 2/3 cup of sour cream to the beef stroganoff, and stir to combine.

Some other goods tips are to add a dash of white vinegar during the cooking, and a handful of finely chopped parsley to add a little colour just before cooking is completed.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Organic, wholemeal granola goodness!





Who knew you could make granola at home, in the convenience of your slow cooker?!  Well, it seems you can.

We came up with a delicious mix of nuts, spices and fruit, but you can tweak this recipe to include your very own favourites, and the make the most of what you have in your pantry.

1.  Heat the slow cooker up on the high setting, and spray the pot with cooking spray.



2.  Pour in your oats - we used about 4 generous cups of wholegrain organic oats to make this an even healthier breakfast treat.



3.  Next, stir in the rest of your dry ingredients (but leaving out the dried fruit - that goes in after the cooking time).  We used slivered blanched almonds, a mixture of sunflower seeds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds), shredded coconut, and a generous amount of cinnamon.



4.  Now in go the wet ingredients, and we used about half a cup of macadamia oil (but you can use olive oil or sunflower oil) and about half a cup of honey.  Stir the honey and oil thoroughly through the dry ingredients.

5. The next step is to pop the lid on the slow cooker, but leave it ajar, so that the granola does not become soggy and the moisture can escape during the cooking time.  Leave the granola in the slow cooker for between 2 to 2.5 hours, stirring the mixture every half hour.


6.  After the cooking time, stir in your dried fruit of choice (think dried figs, raisins, or chopped apricots).  We used plump sultanas and juicy, organic cranberries.




7.  To help give the granola its famous crunch, spread the mixture out on a large lined baking tray to cool.  Once completely cool, store your granola goodness in an air-tight jar and enjoy!



Monday, 9 October 2017

Brilliant breakfast compote


This week I had a few extra pears and apples lying around that weren't getting eaten as quickly as they should have been (while the bananas and mandarins have been racing out of the fruit-bowl!), so I thought I would make a quick and easy breakfast compote to enjoy in the week ahead.  Here's what I did:

1.  I peeled and sliced into chunks four apples and two pears, and placed them in the slow cooker.



2.  I roughly chopped a few dried figs and dates, and added them to the mix.


3.  Next, I added a generous handful of dried apricots too.



4.  In went a cinnamon quill, and two cloves.


5.  I then sprinkled the mixture with some raw sugar (about a tablespoon, but you can added more or less to your taste), and poured in about a cup and a half of water.  I didn't want to add too much liquid, but it just depends on how much fruit you are going to use.


6.  I left the slow cooker on low overnight, and woke up to a delicious compote to add to my muesli and yoghurt!  Yum!  I think it will also be delicious served warm over ice-cream ...






Enjoy! (P.S. I also woke up to a pretty amazing morning sky - beautiful!).