I don’t know about you, but coming up with inspiration for meals every night can be difficult. Dave insists that I should just have a fortnightly rotation of simple dishes but I’m not entirely convinced. After all, cooking for me is part necessity/part creativity and to be limited to the same fourteen dishes night after night is not my idea of fun.
And yet ‘crazy hour’ is called that for a reason. Apart from saving up the kids’ shows for dinner time, I haven’t come across any magical solutions to keep them occupied while I’m throwing dinner together. Enter the slow cooker.
The slow cooker is my most treasured appliance in the kitchen. I use it to make soups, stews, curries, sauces, shredded meats, roasts and jacket potatoes. I love the generous size of it, and that I can place the insert on the stove to sear the meat before I leave it all day to work its magic. What is even better is that come crazy hour, dinner is actually either almost done or mostly complete and I just have to throw together a side or two to finish.
So, if you are inspired to dig out your slow cooker, check out some of the recipes below that we have been enjoying lately:
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
We have some close friends that we have a standing dinner date with every fortnight. It works like clockwork – they bring dessert and the wine and I do the main. I always become inspired when I have people to try new recipes (*cough* experiment *cough*) on and I tried this recipe a few weeks ago. I had to leave out a couple of the ingredients (like the pandan and curry leaves) but it was a rich and flavourful dish that even the kids loved. I served it with this beetroot curry recipe, using our homegrown beets. The colour mix was explosive.
I remember trying an Ethiopian curry a long time ago at a church gathering. It was one of the best things I had ever tasted – the rich meaty gravy with a slight hint of dusky spice, meat that fell apart when you touched it with your fork. It wasn’t until a year ago that I began experimenting with Ethiopian curries in my own kitchen, and I was surprised how easy they were to put together. This beef curry is pretty much just meat, onions, tomato paste, stock and spices but there is something magical about it when it simmers for hours, wafting the deep fragrant scent of curry through the house. Eli declared this his favourite meal the other day, but I think it was more to do with the bread he used to scoop up the sauce in.
Nothing says Spring like this melt in your mouth lamb that tempts you to open the slow cooker lid countless times throughout the day. I seared the lamb before squeezing in the juice of 1 lemon, a 1/2 cup of wine (red or white), a sliced clove of garlic and sprigs of rosemary. We enjoyed it as a salad, with this yoghurt sauce and loads of feta and olives, with some toasted Persian bread on the side.
Baba’s Goulash recipe is delicious and maddeningly easy. I’ve written about this one before, but it has become a staple in our kitchen, particularly because it goes so well with spaghetti. All you need is some gravy beef, leeks, onions, capsicums, vegetable stock and paprika.
I’ve salivated over brisket recipes many a time, but have never really known where to get the meat from. This week it popped up in the specials section at my local supermarket and I snapped it up. For my first experience I decided on a BBQ version – with a spice rub and homemade barbeque sauce. I accidentally read the recipe wrong and cooked it just with the spice rub instead of the sauce, but thankfully it was very forgiving and turned out great anyway. We enjoyed it with a warm potato salad, charred sweet potato fries and a carrot & apple slaw.
Ok so my obsession with my slow cooker is out in the open now, do you have any favourite recipes to share? I’d love to hear about them! Oh, and I realise this may sound like a sponsored post, but it really isn’t – I’m just a little passionate about cooking 😉