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!).

Monday, 2 October 2017

Tender mediterranean lamb smothered in pomegranate molasses

I've recently been introduced to pomegranate molasses, and have been thinking about ways to enjoy it.  This recipe uses the sticky, deep cherry-coloured glaze as a delicious marinade for slow cooked lamb ...

1.  Peel two potatoes and slice thickly.  Place in to the slow cooker pot, having lightly sprayed it with olive oil spray.  Season with salt and pepper.

2.  Slice two small zucchinis thickly and a red capsicum and place on the potatoes, reserving some to put on top of the lamb, later on.


3.  Next, make the marinade.  Pour about 4 tablespoons of sticky, sweet pomegranate molasses in to a bowl.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of a lemon.  Add some crushed garlic and a teaspoon each of dried coriander and cumin.  Stir well and set aside.

                 

4.  I used a lovely boneless piece of lamb.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper and rub some of the herbs directly on to the lamb before placing it in to the slow cooker, on top of the chopped vegetables.  I then surrounded the lamb with the reserved capsicum and zucchini.



5.  I then poured the marinade over the lamb, and topped up the pot with a little extra water to ensure it wouldn't dry out (about a cupful).


6. I had the slow cooker on high for about an hour initially, and then on low for another 6, while I was out and about.



7.  While you don't have to, I finished the lamb and vegetables in a moderate over for another 30 minutes crisp up the potatoes, which had soaked up all the beautiful flavours of the lamb and the marinade.




8.  I also used the remaining marinade in the slow cooker to favour some quinoa and pearl coucous, as a side dish (and to enjoy with some of the leftover lamb for a healthy weekday lunch).  I added some roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley and mint and the juice of a blood orange to the quinoa and couscous, and - to carry on the pomegranate theme - the beautiful red jewels of that lovely fruit!!

 




9.  I served the sliced lamb on a platter with the lovely colourful vegetables, sprinkled with parsley and with a lovely tzatziki and some pita on the side.  A lovely mediterranean feast!


Monday, 25 September 2017

Chicken and vegetables marinated in white wine and mustard

A while ago I posted a "Spring Chicken" recipe for a whole chicken to be cooked with vegetables in the slow-cooker, and then finished quickly in a hot oven to make it golden and crispy.  Well, I was reminded of this recipe recently, with Spring well and truly in the air and thought it was time to give chicken in the crock pot another whirl!

1.  Peel and cut in to generous chunks the vegetables you'd like to add to the slow cooker.  I used two large potatoes and three carrots.

2.  Spray the inside of the slow cooker with olive oil spray, and layer the sliced vegetables on the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with dried thyme and season with salt and pepper.



3.  The next step is to prepare the chook.  (I was able to buy a free-range organic chicken, with no added hormones, so it wasn't a large chicken, but I knew the flavour would be delicious.) Wash the chicken, including inside the cavity, and dry the bird off with some paper towel.  I gently pulled the skin of the chicken away from the meat and spread the inside with some Dijon mustard. I then put a handful of sage and half a lemon in the cavity and seasoned the skin with salt and pepper.

4.  Place the prepared chicken on top of the layer of vegetables.

5.  Pour boiled chicken stock over the chicken and vegetables, and a cup of dry white wine.



6.  Place the slow cooker on high and cook with the lid on for about 3 and a half hours, or 4, depending on the size of the chicken.



7.  To finish, place the chicken and vegetables in a roasting pan and drizzle with some olive oil, and put it in a hot oven until the chicken skin is brown and crispy.


This method results in a lovely juicy chicken and very flavoursome vegetables!


There will be some lovely juices left in the slow cooker, so you may wish to make a gravy.  Another option, which is what I chose to do, is to use the liquid to make some tasty chicken rice, with peas and corn.  The flavour it gives the rice is amazing!





Enjoy...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Sugar & Cinnamon Coated Almonds

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup white sugar
1 ½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon salt
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups almonds
¼ cup water

Mix together sugars, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it is a little frothy. Then add almonds making sure the almonds are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture. Add cinnamon mixture to the almondsand toss until coated.

Spray the slow cooker with oil. Add the mixture of almonds and sugars to the slow cooker andturn it to low.

Cook with the lid on for 3-4 hours stirring every 20 minutes. In the last hour add the ¼ cup water and stir well. Continue to cook the nuts for another 45 minutes to anhour. This ensures a crunchy coating. Stir really well, especially as it getslater in the cooking process.

Line two largebaking trays with grease proof paper and spread the almonds flat to cool. Thealmonds will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large mounds.

Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!



Christmas: Lemon Meringue Pudding


1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons extra
1/3 cup cornflour
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
4 egg yolks
1 egg
30g butter
Meringue
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour

Grease the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray or butter.
Mix together the breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons of sugar and sprinkle over the base and 5cm up the sides of the cooker.
Mix the cornflour with 1/2  cup cold water to a smooth paste & setaside. Place lemon juice, lemon rind and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan andbring to the boil. Add the cornflour paste, stirring constantly until thickened, then cook about a minute, still stirring. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, egg, then the butter. Spoon this mixture over the breadcrumb base in the cooker. Turn the setting to Low.
To make the meringue, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add the sugar and cornflour and beat until stiff peaks form once more.  Spoon over the lemon filling and spread out evenly, making sure it reaches right out tothe sides and slightly lower in the centre. Place lid on cook for 2 hours onlow.

Source: The complete slow cooker by Sally Wise, published by ABC books

Christmas: Rich Fruit Pudding


125g butter
375g mixed driedfruit
juice and rind of½ orange
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon groundcinnamon
½ teaspoon groundnutmeg
2 teaspoonsmarmalade
1 teaspoonbicarbonate of soda
½ cup sherry (orpineapple juice)
½ cup water
1 apple, coredand coarsely grated
30g darkchocolate, chopped
2 eggs, lightlywhisked
1 cup plain flour
1 cupself-raising flour

Spray in side theslow cooker with cooking oil or grease well.

Place butter, dried fruit, orange juice and rind, sugar, spices, marmalade, bicarbonate of soda, sherry, water and apple in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often.  Simmer for 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Quickly mix in eggs andflour until well combined, then pour into the cooker.
Place the lid on the cooker and cook for 4-5 hours on Low until the centre of the pudding is firm to touch.

Serve with custard.

Source: Thecomplete slow cooker by Sally Wise, published by ABC books




Christmas: Caramelised Onion Tartlets


Makes 25

1 batch shortcrust pastry or 3 sheets pre made shortcrust pastry.
500gmsdiced onions
1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1tablespoon brown sugar
1block feta cheese
Salt& pepper

Onion mixture
Spray your slow cooker & place the setting on low.
Dice the onions & place in cooker. Add the balsamic vinegar & brown sugar.Stir mixture, add a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Place the lid on the cooker& cook for 8 hours on low. If, towards the end of cooking, the mixture istoo watery, switch the setting to high for the final hour.
Pastry base
Grease or spray small muffin tins with cooking spray. Cut pastry sheets into small rounds. Line the muffin tins with pastry. Bake the pastry bases on 180°c for 15 minutes. Fill the case with onion mixture, top with crumbled feta & placein the oven for a further 15mins.


Christmas Chutney


500ml white vinegar
500g sugar
1kg Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and choppedinto 2cm pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 1/3 cups dried cranberries,
2  cups dates, chopped into 2cm pieces
1/2 teaspoonground cloves,
1 teaspoonground ginger,
1 ½ teaspoonsground cinnamon
¼ teaspooncayenne pepper

Add the vinegar and sugar to the slow-cooker basin and switch on toHIGH. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the chopped apple and onion.
Add the dried food and stir well.
Add the spices and stir again.
Put the lid on tightly and cook on HIGH for 5–6 hours or until thechutney is a thick consistency.