Tuesday, 18 November 2008
First of all, I'd like to say - I have a bit of a problem with Sunday dinners..please tell me it's not just me?
We love our traditional Sunday roasts with all the trimmings, but, let's face it, it's not exactly a meal that can be put in the oven and forgotten about is it? I mean there's all the peeling of vegetables, gravy making, spud peeling, yorkie making......all lovely, but definitely labour intensive!
And what happens when you don't want to spend your whole Sunday in the kitchen? My husband works really long hours and Sundays are really the only day we can go out together as a family. I think I've found the answer........
Yes, you've guessed it.
The slow cooker again.
Now, this isn't your conventional Sunday dinner, I'll admit that. But it's very, very tasty. And the best thing is that after putting it in the slow cooker in the morning, and also putting the rice cooker on at the same time, we got to spend most of Sunday out and about enjoying our day, but also get to come home to a hot cooked meal, including rice!
This is my:
Chineseish Pork chops with water chestnuts in a fruity barbeque sauce
4-6 pork chops
1 cup tomato ketchup
1 cup of apricot jam
one third cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 chopped onion
1 small tin water chestnuts
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen edamame (any favourite frozen vegetables would be fine)
First of all I simmered the ketchup, jam, soy, mirin, vinegar and 5-spice in a small saucepan just to amalgamate them.
I then placed the chopped onion, frozen veg and drained water chestnuts in the base of the slow cooker, put the pork chops on top and then pour the sauce on top of the chops.
Cook in the slow cooker for about 4-5 hours on high.
Or I would guess about 8 hours on low (This dish really can't spoil, it's so forgiving)
It makes a lot of sauce even though there is no added stock or water, so it's ideal served over basmati rice.
An unconventional, but delicious, Sunday dinner.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
What better use for the rosemary that Lorraine sent to me but to make the rosemary remembrance cake from 'Feast' in honour of her.
I think it was Maria from the Goddess's kitchen that had the good idea for Pistachio's friends to cook something in remembrance of her.
Me being me though, I had to find an extra shortcut in the recipe and also for ways of lightening the recipe up. Something stops me nowadays from using almost a whole packet of butter in 1 cake! I'm sorry.
So here's the lightened up/lazy persons way of making this cake, still unbelievably tasty and extraordinarily moist:
250g (2 small jars) apple puree baby food or 'American applesauce' if you're in the USA.
1 third of a cup of flavourless oil (I used rapeseed oil which is labelled as vegetable oil in the supermarket)
300g plain flour (I used 100g wholemeal flour & 200g white flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder.
So, instead of going the long route and peeling, chopping and coring the apple and then simmering it in a pan until soft, I took the lazy route and used ready made apple puree instead.
Everything is mixed in with the apple in the processor, then placed into a lined loaf tin 170 deg. C for approximately 50 mins.
The cake was only very subtly rosemary infused which I was really pleased about. I'm glad I didn't simmer the apple with a sprig of rosemary, I think that would have sent it over the top into rosemariness!
Here's to you Pi.
I never dreamt for a second that you'd be the reason I'd be making this cake.
As the weather has gotten colder, soups and stews seem to be what we all want, what we all crave - and what better than assembling a few ingredients in the slow cooker, switching it on, then going about your business, work, shopping, whatever and returning home to a wonderful smell emanating from the slow cooker - by this time the flavours have melded wonderfully, the colours muted but also more intense, and nothing else to do to get the family fed? Wonderful!
I love using my slow cooker, and it doesn't even need much washing after a friend sent me some slow cooker liners from the States!
I've been reading a great blog, which has inspired me no end, do check it out:
A Year of Crockpotting
Losing a friend is never easy, but they are always there, in the background and remembering them comes at the strangest of times.
Whilst clearing out a kitchen cupboard yesterday I came across a little bundle wrapped in brown paper, I'd forgotten it was even there...and wrapped in it were a few sprigs of Spanish rosemary from Pistachio's garden, that she had slipped into a corner of a parcel that she had sent.
The smell is still there, and I imagine Lorraine picking it from her garden to post to me.
Rosemary for rememberance. How apt.