Slow-cooked meals a real treat

Kapi-Mana News - - FOOD -

It’s a treat in cold weather to come home in the evening to the de­li­cious aroma of a crock­pot meal you put on that morn­ing.

Cook­ing per­son­al­i­ties Si­mon and Dame Ali­son Holst ad­mit that they didn’t even own a slow cooker un­til eight years ago, but now they’d never be with­out one.

They re­cently pub­lished their third col­lec­tion of recipes for the handy kitchen gad­get – All-New De­li­cious Slow Cooker Recipes – with the first two, pub­lished in 2005 and 2007 re­spec­tively, sell­ing 360,000 copies to date. ‘‘That’s tes­ta­ment to the fact there are plenty of other slow cooker devo­tees out there,’’ Dame Ali­son says.

As is stan­dard for the 29 recipe books the pair have worked on to­gether, there are plenty of handy cook­ing hints at the front.

A bonus for fam­ily bud­gets is that cheaper cuts of meat, when cooked in a slow cooker, are of­ten more flavour­ful and ten­der than more ex­pen­sive cuts. The Holsts say they use the cheaper shoul­der cuts of lamb, pork and beef with great suc­cess. Corned beef and brisket are ex­cel­lent, too.

Some of the recipes in the book call for all-day cook­ing. Oth­ers are in­tended for start­ing just af­ter lunch, just be­fore the chil­dren get home from school or be­fore par­ents get caught up in the end of the daily tod­dler rou­tine.

It’s easy to pre­pare the food the night be­fore, then re­frig­er­ate it in plas­tic bags or cov­ered con­tain­ers. Put it in the slow cooker in the morn­ing and turn it on.

‘‘This saves re­frig­er­a­tor space and means that the slow cooker bowl is at room tem­per­a­ture – not chilled – when you start cook­ing.’’

Here are some ex­am­ples of the more than 50 recipes in the new

slow cooker guide:

The com­bi­na­tion of soy and sweet chilli sauce gives the chicken legs a mild but dis­tinc­tive Asian flavour that should be a hit with the whole fam­ily. For 4 serv­ings 2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce 1 Tbsp sesame oil

cup Kikko­man soy sauce Juice of large or 1 small le­mon 3 Tbsp brown su­gar 4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drum­stick) 2 Tbsp corn­flour 2 Tbsp sherry (or water) Method Coat the in­side of the bowl of a medium slow cooker with non-stick spray and turn to high. Mea­sure the first five ingredients into the cooker, then mix well with a non-stick stir­rer. Trim any ex­tra fat off the chicken thighs, and turn each thigh in the sauce so all sur­faces are coated. Have the outer sides (the side with more skin) of each leg on the bot­tom. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Mix to­gether the corn­flour and sherry and stir into the sauce to thicken. Turn each leg in the sauce and serve with rice and a salad or cooked veg­eta­bles. To­tal cook­ing time: High for 4 hours

Si­mon’s kids love spaghetti and meat­balls, but some­times shap­ing meat­balls can be a bit of a pain. He started won­der­ing if there might be an eas­ier way. What would hap­pen, he asked him­self, if you just cut sausages into shorter lengths and added them to a sauce? We’re very pleased with the re­sults, and it is def­i­nitely quicker and eas­ier than mak­ing con­ven­tional meat­balls. Although our recipe calls for Ital­ian-style sausages, you can use any kind.

Slowly does it: Soy-glazed chicken legs, from a recipe in Si­mon and Ali­son Holst’s book All-New De­li­cious Slow Cooker Recipes.

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