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Friday, 31 July 2020

Why rush when you can slow cook

Friday 31st July 2020
Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

Last day of July, 7 months gone in 2020 and it wasn't the year any of us expected at all was it!  I'll end that line of conversation there I think...

Dreams, mom, flushes and foxes were just a few of the things that disturbed my sleep last night but I'm not tired this morning so I must have had enough sleep so all is good in the Longsden household.  

In a virtual yesterday we got to talking about meal planning and the subject of the slow cooker came up, I know it's the middle of summer but you can still get the old slow cooker out, it's actually better than turning the oven on because it won't be as hot in the kitchen as a hot oven!  But what to cook in them?  One tip that I was given a while ago and it's so simple but I'd never thought about it, was to remove the lid 30-40 minutes before dishing up if the meal looks like there's too much juice, this'll help to dry it out a little.  Told you it was simple and maybe you were already doing it but sometimes the obvious things aren't done.  It's like putting a chicken in a slow cooker, so think you have to put water in but you don't because it cooks in it's own juices. 

You might think I don't want to be 'preparing' the ingredients in a morning, I've got enough to do!  Don't then do it the night before, you could put it in airtight tubs in fridge or hey put it in the slow cooker dish with the lid on and pop that in the fridge overnight, just take it out when you get up and leave it for 20 minutes before turning the slow cooker on, you can be getting ready for your day whilst the dish comes back to room temperature.

Slow cookers save money, they're really economical to use but also you can use cheaper cuts of meat.  It'll save on calories too as you don't need to add oil either as it won't stick to the pot.  Because the slow cooker has a tightly sealed like, liquid in there won't evaporate, so if you're adapting a standard recipe, it's best to reduce the liquid by about a third.  It should just cover the meat and veggies, don't overfill your slow cooker, half to two thirds is ideal.  

Another consideration is as the the liquid doesn't reduce, it also doesn't thicken. You can roll meat in a small amount of seasoned flour before adding it to the slow cooker or use a little cornflour at the end. If you want to do the latter, take a teaspoon or two of cornflour and mix it to a paste with a little cold water. Stir into your simmering slow cooker contents, then replace the lid. 

Try to use the low settings all the time, it's a slow cooker, not a medium cooker!  Low and slow, it'll bring out the flavours and leave it alone, don't be taking the lid off to check the contents, it's doing it's thing, it don't need interrupting, you'll only release some of the heat which will increase the cooking time.

Here's some cooking guidelines if you want to try one of your regular recipes in the slow cooker, If a dish usually takes: 

  • 15-30 mins, cook it for 1-2 hours on High or 4-6 hours on Low
  • 30 mins – 1 hour, cook it for 2-3 hours on High or 5-7 hours on Low
  • 1-2 hours, cook it for 3-4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low
  • 2-4 hours, cook it for 4-6 hours on High or 8-12 hours on Low
Root vegetables can take longer than meat and other vegetables so put these near the heat source, at the bottom of the pot.

I need some onions as I want to try a lentil curry in the slow cooker, but a really easy one to do is a jar of this 

poured over some chicken breasts, when cooked, shred the chicken with 2 forks and you can enjoy it on rice, a jacket, in WW wrap, if you have the time and you want to you could add peppers and onions, it's all a matter of time and inclination!  

Right I'm off to face the day, hopefully Alfie will want his walk early, oh and let's hope the respite carer turns up this week!  

Mwah, luv ya 

Love me xx

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