Stop and savour the flavour

Central and North Burnett Times - - EASY EATING -

AS THE weather cools down, slow cook­ers are the per­fect cook­ing method for the time poor and fam­i­lies big and small. Au­thor Sally Wise of­fers 100 new recipes in her lat­est cook­book, Ul­ti­mate Slow Cooker, help­ing you make de­li­cious, healthy, low-cost meals with min­i­mal ef­fort. She shares three with Week­end.

The tangy Mediter­ranean flavours of sumac spice pre­dom­i­nate in this first recipe. Th­ese are en­hanced by citrus and honey to make a spec­tac­u­lar and un­usual pot roast-style dish. I have found that the nicest ac­com­pa­ni­ment to this dish, al­beit a lit­tle cross-cul­tural, is cous­cous.

Sumac pork with citrus sauce

For a 3.5-4.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 1.2-1.4kg boned pork shoul­der, vis­i­ble ex­ter­nal fat re­moved ◗ 3 tsp corn­flour mixed to a paste with 1½ tbs cold wa­ter ◗ pre­pared cous­cous, to serve ◗ green salad, to serve

FOR THE CITRUS SAUCE: ◗ 3 tsp ground sumac ◗ 1 tbs pa­prika ◗ ½ tsp onion pow­der ◗ ½ tsp gar­lic pow­der ◗ 1 tsp ground co­rian­der ◗ 1 tsp ground cumin ◗ ½ tsp ground car­damom ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lime ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lemon ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange ◗ 2 tsp sugar ◗ 2 tsp maple syrup or mild-flavoured honey ◗ 2 tsp red­cur­rant jelly ◗ ½ tsp salt ◗ 1 tbs to­mato sauce

METHOD: To make the citrus sauce, mix all the in­gre­di­ents to­gether.

Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour over the sauce. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours or un­til the pork is ten­der.

Re­move from cooker and keep warm. If nec­es­sary, re­move the lid and turn the cooker to high for 10 min­utes, then stir in some or all of the corn­flour paste. Cook, un­cov­ered, for 5 min­utes more, adding salt and pep­per to taste. Skim off any fat from the sur­face.

Serve the pork sliced with cous­cous and a green salad.

THE rich, earthy tones of beet­root are matched with lovely light cream cheese dumplings in this de­li­cious and colour­ful soup.

Beet­root, beef and ba­con soup with cream cheese dumplings

For a 3.5-4.5-litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: For the soup – ◗ 1.2kg fresh beet­root, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes ◗ 250g lean stew­ing beef (such as blade, top­side or chuck), cut into 8mm cubes ◗ 1 onion, finely diced ◗ 2 cloves gar­lic, crushed ◗ 100g rind­less ba­con, diced ◗ 400g tin diced toma­toes ◗ 500ml chicken or veg­etable stock, or wa­ter ◗ 1⁄ tsp salt ◗ 2 tsp quince or 2 red­cur­rant jelly

For the dumplings – ◗ 1 tbs cream cheese ◗ 1⁄ cup 2 self-rais­ing flour ◗ 1⁄ tsp salt ◗ 1 spring onion, finely chopped 4 ◗ 60g rind­less ba­con, diced ◗ 1⁄ cup milk, ap­prox­i­mately. 4

METHOD: To make the soup, place all the in­gre­di­ents in the slow cooker and stir to com­bine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours or un­til the beef and beet­root are ten­der. Add salt and pep­per to taste.

If on low, turn the cooker to high 30 min­utes be­fore the end of the cook­ing time.

To make the dumplings, rub the cream cheese into the flour and salt with the fin­ger­tips or in a food pro­ces­sor un­til the mix­ture re­sem­bles bread­crumbs. Mix in the spring onion and ba­con and then enough milk to make a soft dough.

Place small tea­spoon­fuls of the dough on top of the sim­mer­ing soup, re­place the lid and cook for 20 to 30 min­utes or un­til the dumplings are puffed and cooked through.

Re­move the dumplings with a slot­ted spoon. La­dle the soup into bowls and top each serve with sev­eral of the dumplings.

THE del­i­cate fresh­ness of ri­cotta pro­vides a light and lovely al­ter­na­tive to cream cheese in th­ese de­light­ful lit­tle cheese­cakes. A pleas­ing touch of ginger adds an­other level of in­ter­est to th­ese de­li­cious desserts, which are baked bain-marie-style in the slow cooker.

Baked lemon ri­cotta and ginger cheese­cakes

For a 4.5-6.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 6

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 250g fresh ri­cotta ◗ ¾ cup sugar ◗ 1 tbs Greek yo­gurt ◗ 3 tsp finely grated lemon rind ◗ 4 eggs ◗ ½ cup lemon juice ◗ 5 tsp corn­flour ◗ 120g glace ginger, chopped ◗ 6 gin­ger­nut-style bis­cuits ◗ ½ cup sweet­ened whipped cream, to serve ◗ ½ cup flaked al­monds, to serve ◗ 6 small sprigs mint, to serve

METHOD: Grease six 180ml-ca­pac­ity metal dar­i­ole moulds and line the base of each with a cir­cle of bak­ing paper. Grease again. Fit a small rack in the base of the slow cooker and pour in warm wa­ter to a depth of 1.25cm. Turn on to high.

Place the ri­cotta, sugar, yo­gurt, lemon rind, eggs, lemon juice and 3 tea­spoons of the corn­flour in the bowl of a food pro­ces­sor and process un­til smooth. Pour evenly into the pre­pared moulds. Toss half of the ginger in the re­main­ing corn­flour.

Shake off any ex­cess corn­flour and gen­tly place the ginger on top of the pud­dings (don’t worry if it sinks).

Place the pud­dings in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or un­til the pud­dings are set.

Place a ginger bis­cuit on top of each pud­ding. Cover and cook for an­other 10 min­utes.

Re­move the cheese­cakes from the cooker and re­frig­er­ate for at least 2 hours un­til very cold.

Un­mould on to serv­ing plates. Top with a lit­tle whipped cream, the re­main­ing ginger, a sprin­kling of al­mond flakes and a small sprig of mint.

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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