Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb "Tajine"

On Sunday I had been super organised for once and had planned what we were going to be having for Monday night dinner after work. I wanted to use the slow cooker but there was a fair bit of preparation before putting it in the slow cooker, so I prepared all I could on Sunday so it was ready to go the next morning. I peeled and chopped all the veg, chopped the meat and made up the stock and put it all in the fridge. The next morning I browned the lamb in a frying pan (although this isn't needed) and put it all in the slow cooker and put it on low.

The following is not a typical tajine recipe and this is not least, because the food has not been cooked in an tajine! Also, I followed a basic recipe but used what I had available in the fridge and cupboards. It worked pretty well, it was a little on the hot side for my delicate and let's be honest, wussy, palette however the other half (Neil) enjoyed it and said he would have it again! 

Served up with couscous made according to packet instructions and with finely chopped spring onions mixed through

Serves 4


1 pack of lamb neck fillets (I pick up a pack that looks enough to do about 4 meals!)
4/5 medium potatos, peeled and halved
1 large onion, sliced
2 peppers (any colours) seeds removed, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
30g dried sultanas
35g dried apricots
250ml stock (I made veg stock)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp gound black pepper
A good shake of dried ground chillies (optional)
Salt to season
Sliced almonds to serve

1. Brown meat if desired in frying pan with a little olive oil
2. Put meat in slow cooker
3. Add potatoes, carrots, onion.
4. Add dried fruit
5. Whisk together the stock, tomato puree, lemon juice, flour, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and dried chillies if using
6. Add to slow cooker
7. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours
8. At the end of cooking time, stir through the peppers (I like them crunchy)
9. Serve with couscous and garnished with sliced almonds

Bon Voyage...

I didn't end up cooking anything last night as a good friend of mine jetted off to live/work/travel in Oz for a year, so I went to the airport to see her off. An emotional evening all round. So I ended up grabbing a late greasy KFC on the way home and man, did I regret that decision at approximately 2 a.m. this morning. After becoming closely acquainted with the toilet I took myself off to "sleep" on the sofa so was fairly sleepy all today at work.

Monday, 7 November 2011

American Pumpkin Pie

Being a lover of most things American (especially the food!), I have this beautiful pumpkin pie recipe which I like to make each year around this time, when pumpkins are readily available in the shops. Try to get one of the culinary pumpkins as opposed to the ones for carving!

This tastes gorgeous warm or chilled and on this occasion I have served it with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 sweet pastry or biscuit base for a (23cm / 9 in) pie
1kg pumpkin, cooked and mashed
1  tin condensed sweetened milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas mark 7.
2. In a large bowl, combine mashed pumpkin, milk and eggs. Season with cinnamon, ginger, all spice and salt. Mix together with a wire whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour filling into pie dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180 C / Gas mark 4 and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

** can be made with fresh or tinned pumpkin - for fresh peel and chop your pumpkin, discarding the seeds. Put in a saucepan with a little water and put on a medium-low heat and cover. Cook for about 20 mins until the pumpkin has softened. Mash the pumpkin or blitz in the food processor**

Home Made Gravy

This is delicious gravy using the giblets that come in your duck/goose/chicken/turkey etc! This gravy is truly tasty and lovely and far superior to the shop bought gravy granules which give you gungey lumps!

1. Take your giblets and chop them into chunks. Put them in a small sauce pan
2. Cover with water
3. Put on a medium heat so that the water starts to simmer, but not boil
4. Once the giblets are cooked, fish them out with a slotted spoon and discard
5. Crumble two stock cubes into the giblet water - I usually use 1 x veg and 1 x chicken
6. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornflour with a little fresh water and mix until dissolved.
7. Pour into the stock mix to thicken the grave
8. Heat gently until the gravy thickens and is ready to serve

First Foodie Post! - Slow Cooker Roast Duck

I have always shied away from using a slow cooker until recently - as in about 4 weeks ago! But with a recent change of job that sometimes sees me working later than I would like - often unexpectedly - the thought of putting the ingredients on to cook in the morning and coming home to a ready dinner really started to appeal! I started scouring the net for slow cooker recipes I thought I might like (I have never been a fan of stews/casseroles and I thought that was all you could do with them!) and once I found a selection of ones I felt comfortable to try out,I gave it a whirl.Since then, I have managed to use my slow cooker (which I picked up from Freecycle!) at least once a week, often more! The slow cooker is not always relegated to week night duties and I used it yesterday to do the Sunday roast - which was a whole duck.

I think perhaps a whole duck is a little unusual for a slow cooker recipe however I often like to give things a try at least once!

This is just a rough recipe


1 whole duck, rinsed and patted dry
Salt & ground black pepper
Potatoes halved
1 carrot chopped into chunks
1 medium white onion halved.


1. Place the veg in the bottom of the slow cooker
2. Brown the duck if wished
3. Lay the duck on top, breast up
4. Season duck skin liberally with salt and black pepper (less salt if you are watching your sodium intake!)
5. Put slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours or medium for 6-7 hours.
6. Once cooked, place in a hot oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up the skin

There is no need for any liquid to be added as the duck fat and juices will help keep it moist as it cooks. The meat was not melt in the mouth or falling off the bone, however it was still tasty and a good way of keeping the oven clear so the roasties and dessert could be cooked happily.

This recipe can be used for any joint of meat or poultry as long as it fits in your slow cooker. The juices collected at the bottom can be used to make gravy

Hello and Welcome

To my first ever stab at blogging. I am still learning the site and everything so please bear with me.This blog is primarily going to be about my culinary adventures, talking about things beauty related and other random stuff as I see fit!

With regards to my cooking, I use a mix of following recipes from books and from the net - I especially love and and I also use my own initiative and whatever is in the fridge/cupboards to put a meal together. I am more than happy to take short cuts in order to save time but I will only do this where the tastiness won't be impaired. Current favourite chefs of the moment(maybe predictably) are Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Lorraine Pascale. Also love a bit of The Hairy Bikers.

I hope that you will enjoy this blog.