Thursday, 14 August 2014

Slow Cooked Sausage and Bean Casserole

This recipe has vegetarian sausages, but if you really need meat in every meal then you can simply substitute pork sausages in their place.

Ingredients:

  • 12 vegetarian sausages
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 aubergines, ends removed and cut into half inch (1.5 cm) pieces
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 400g tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 150ml water
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp Henderson's Relish (or Worcestershire sauce if you really can't get Henderson's)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Put the sausages and oil into a large frying pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the sausages so that another side of them can be browned and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Once again turn the sausages but this time add the onion and mix well before frying for a further 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a lid for your frying pan then use it to speed up the cooking time.
  4. When the onion is soft transfer everything to your slow cooker.
  5. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir it all about halfway through to make sure the aubergine is evenly cooked.
  7. Serve with slices of crusty white bread to dip.

Serves 4 to 5.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Slow Cooked Chicken Carnitas

This shredded meat goes really well as the filling for a tortilla when combined with salsa, guacamole, chopped coriander and finely diced red onion.

Ingredients:

  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 50ml lime juice
  • 100ml chicken stock or hot water with a generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 large chicken breasts (650g)

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker, taking care that they don't fall apart too much, and place on a baking tray with sides.
  4. Preheat a grill on medium-high.
  5. Use two forks to shred the chicken breasts into thin strips.
  6. Pour 80ml of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker over the chicken and mix well.
  7. Put under the grill for 5 or 6 minutes, or until it starts to look well browned in parts.
  8. Add another 80ml of the cooking fluid and stir the meat around on the baking tray, trying to get all the non-browned pieces to be on top.
  9. Grill for a further 5 or 6 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a bowl from the baking tray and serve.

Serves 3 or 4, depending on what else you serve with the meat.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

The recipe for these is a family recipe based on a cookbook got from the Centre for Alternative Technology which dates back to the year I was born. They are a nice change from your usual day-to-day biscuits.

Ingredients:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g margarine or butter (margarine is better, but make sure it's about 60% fat)
  • 100g crunchy peanut butter (smooth works, but I prefer the texture from crunchy)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • about 50g of granulated light brown sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (180 degrees if it's a fan oven).
  2. Put a greased baking sheet on a large baking tray.
  3. Mix all the ingredients apart from the light brown sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon until a consistent dough forms.
  5. Take walnut-sized balls of the dough, roll them in the light brown sugar before placing on the baking sheet.
  6. Use a fork to gently press the cookies down to a flatter shape. Be sure to leave a centimetre or two between them.
  7. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until they go slightly darker.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Makes 12 to 14 cookies.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sautéed Potatoes

The mix of crispness of the golden edges of the potatoes combines nicely with the soft centre and the flavours of caramelised onions.

  • 850g of potatoes, such as Maris Piper or Desiree
  • 3 tablespoons beef dripping or
    2 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put a pan of water on to boil.
  2. Boil the potatoes whole in the pan and boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and fill the pan with cold water to cool them enough to handle.
  4. Chop the potatoes into pieces about 1 to 2cm cubed.
  5. Put the beef dripping or olive oil in a sauté pan and heat it on a medium-high heat.
  6. When the dripping is liquid add the onions and potatoes.
  7. Stir well and season with the salt and pepper.
  8. Cook with the lid off for 30 minutes, stirring well every 5 minutes to make sure the edges get reasonably evenly cooked.
  9. If using olive oil and butter add the butter a few minutes before the end and mix well once melted.
Serves 4 as a side dish.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Slow Cooker Cheese Fondue

I've recently got a slow cooker and realised that it would be a very easy way to make a cheese fondue, so I came up with this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 600g Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
  • 600g strong cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour (aka. cornstarch)
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 450ml dry white wine

Method:

  1. Switch the slow cooker onto low.
  2. Add the cheese, garlic, cornflour, nutmeg and powder into the slow cooker and mix around well.
  3. Add the wine and stir again.
  4. Leave for a 2 hours on low, stirring every 30 minutes.
  5. Once it is all melted and smooth turn the slow cooker down to warm and serve with vegetables and bread. Feel free to choose your own things to dip but here are some ideas:
    • crusty bread
    • croutons (bake cubes of bread in an oven at 120 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes).
    • carrot sticks
    • celery sticks
    • chunks of raw broccoli
    • chunks of raw cauliflower
Serves 6 people. Goes especially well with a cheese galleon:

Friday, 18 April 2014

Millionaires Shortbread

This recipe has a softer caramel than most millionaires shortbread. These quantities are for a large roasting tin, if you use a smaller dish then you can easily half the quantities.
 

Ingredients:

  • 450g plain flour
  • 350g of butter at room temperature, in cubes (for the shortbread)
  • 150g white caster sugar
  • 300g of butter (for the caramel)
  • 2 cans of condensed milk, which should each be 379g
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 400g dark chocolate, broken into individual squares

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Grease a 26 cm by 20 cm roasting tin or similar sized dish which has at least 3 cm of depth.
  3. Combine the flour and 350g of butter in a large bowl and rub together with the tips of your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the sugar to the mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour the sugar and flour mixture into the roasting tin and shake it around to distribute evenly. Press down firmly with your knuckles so that it is well packed.
  6. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until it has started to turn to a golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  8. Put the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup into a saucepan and put over a low heat until the butter has all melted.
  9. When it is all melted turn the heat up to medium and bring it to the boil.
  10. Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until it has turned darker. Test that it is done by dropping a small drop off a teaspoon into a glass of cold water. The cooled blob should be a soft but firm consistency.
  11. Take the saucepan off the hob and put aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
  12. Pour the slightly cooled caramel mixture over the cool shortbread and spread out evenly across the pan.
  13. Leave to cool completely for at least a few hours.
  14. When the caramel is cool, heat some water in a saucepan and put the chocolate in a bowl that rests in the saucepan. You don't want the water to be touching the bottom of the bowl.
  15. Leave the chocolate to melt. It's less likely to separate if you only stir it when it has really started to melt, so resist the temptation.
  16. When it is fully melted and smooth, remove from the heat and pour over the caramel, spreading it out evenly with the back of a spoon.
  17. Leave to cool for another few hours and cut into squares with a sharp knife before serving.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Date Slice

This is a cross between a flapjack and a fruit crumble. It's a good alternative to cake, especially if you like dates.

Ingredients:

  • 375g ready-to-eat dates, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 175g porridge oats
  • 360g plain flour
  • 120g dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 240g butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Put the dates and orange juice into a saucepan and put on a low heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
  3. While the dates are simmering, mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure there are no lumps or uneven bits.
  4. Carefully melt the butter and pour it into the bowl with the large ingredients.
  5. Mix well until it's got a nice crumbly texture.
  6. Put half the crumble mixture into a 23x27cm tin. Press it down with your finger tips so it is in an even layer.
  7. Put the date and orange mixture over the top of the crumble mixture in the tin and make sure it is evenly spread. It can be a little tricky to spread without pulling up a few crumbs of the mixture, so don't worry if you do.
  8. Top with the remaining crumble mixture and press down firmly with your finger tips.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once it is entirely cool use a sharp knife to cut into squares and carefully lift out of the tin.
Makes about 24 pieces.