Slow Cooker Stock

Continuing with the theme of slow cooker love, I made some stock using a left over chicken carcass. This might just be my favourite use for a slow cooker because it was such a simple and easy way to make stock without using up a hob and having to keep checking up on it. There is something very satisfying when a recipe calls for 1 cup of stock and you’ve made your own.

Slow Cooker Stock

I also like how resourceful making your own stock is, it makes a use of discarded bits and bobs. You can throw anything into a stock, peelings, bones and Parmesan rinds; I keep my Parmesan rinds in a bag in the freezer ready for making stock. I also like to keep any left over fresh herbs I have in the freezer to use from frozen. Some people even keep a large Tuppaware box in the freezer of peelings, bones and Parmesan rinds until they have enough to make a big pot of stock. Homemade stocks, particularly stocks that use bones, are full of nutrition too! I fail to see a downside.

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Cidered Gammon Hotpot (A Slow Cooker Recipe)

I recently became the proud owner of my pops’ slow cooker. It was hidden in the garage until my mum found it, the very same month James and I said we’d actually, really, buy a slow cooker this coming pay day (relationship goals..ha!). Obviously we did not need to buy one due to this good fortune and I’ve been slow cooking up a storm ever since.

My favourite slow cooker moment was 8 km into a 10 km run at about 6:30 pm when I realised how hungry I was, only to remember that dinner was in the slow cooker and ready at 7 pm. Thank goodness for slow cookers. This was the dish that was cooking but prepare for an onslaught of slow cooker recipes.

Cidered Gammon Hotpot

This recipe came from a lovely (and cheap) little book titled ‘200 Light slow cooker recipes‘. I can only apologise for the shoddy photography lately; I mean, it has never been great but time seems to escape me at the moment and I quickly grab a snap before serving dinner. I also really need some plates that aren’t red.

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Spiced Winter Vegetable Cous Cous

I mentioned a little while back about cooking a birthday dinner for my friend Jenny, when I shared the dessert recipe ‘Chocolate Heartache Cake‘. Well here is part of the mains, we had grilled meat (steak or chicken) with this spiced winter vegetable cous cous, an Ottolenghi recipe (bound to be delicious) shared by one of my favourite blogs, Orangette. It was so good that I also made it as a side dish to accompany the rhubarb and ginger roast belly pork that I cooked for mother’s day; which I promise to share soon, it would be criminal not to (it was to die for). Don’t be put off by all the ingredients and stages in this recipe, once you’ve cooked it once, you’ll have it down. It isn’t complicated at all, there is just a few spices involved; it is worth it though, trust me.

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Punjab Curry with Yellow Sticky Rice

This summer, James and I went of a cookery course in London. It was a Christmas gift from my family, what a great idea! The location was stunning, St Katherine’s Dock, and the lesson courtesy of The Smart School of Cookery, run by ex Master Chef contestant Ann Hood. We had a great afternoon; we learnt a great way to finely chop onions and that you can keep ginger, lemon grass, chillies and fruit in the freezer to grate or zest from frozen. Other tips we learnt were to use rape seed oil to fry, as it burns at a much higher temperature than olive oil (a whole 60°C higher!) and that when buying oils, always go for cold pressed and good quality. We cooked three curries; Padang, Vietnamese and Punjab. They were all so tasty but my favourite was the Punjab, probably because it has nectarines in it.

Punjab curry and yellow sticky rice

One thing I found really interesting was that  all the curries used the same base, to which curry specific additions were added later. You can make large quantities of the base and freeze it in ice cube trays, to add a cube or two to a curry from frozen. A great time saving tip.

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Simple Roast Chicken

It is no secret that I am not the world’s biggest lover of roast dinners. Whilst I don’t mind them every now and then, and despite my mother making a pretty delicious roast, I often just don’t get what all the fuss is about. That is until we are talking about a roast gammon dinner, and that my friends, is a big game changer. My mum makes the world’s best roast gammon; that being said I realised I have never actually made a roast chicken and secretly, what I really wanted was to make a nice big pot of stock. I’ve been saving bones out of ribs and chicken thighs and popping them in the freezer but what I really needed was the bones of a roast chicken. Roast chicken is also especially useful between the two of us because it leaves enough meat to have on my salads at lunch, when I’m at work.

The decision maker on the roast chicken debate was seeing this recipe in Russ Crandall’s ‘The Ancestral Table’. I especially liked the idea of using citrus peel inside the bird during roasting because I could then chuck that in my stock pot too! Scrumptious! The Ancestral Table is a book I will never tire of using for inspiration, Russ’ Blog is fantastic too.

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