Last week I used the slow cooker to make baked apples. This is another one where there are several advantages. One is I can put it on and at dinner time, evening, I have way less to do. The other is slow cooking and fruit are a match made in heaven. Apples turn pink when cooked slowly for a longer time. When the girls were little pink apples were a favourite.
In the case of baked apples the humble apple becomes intensified, caramelised, delicious, making it a wintery thing and a hearty warming desert. Also apples are on special :)
This is all I did... place half a cup of water in the crock pot. Take the cores out of the apples and pack that space with sultanas, walnuts and brown sugar.
I did six. That meant one each for dinner. One each the next night. Warm baked apples for me for two breakfasts! (this was lovely).
Sit the apples in the crock pot and sprinkle over extra brown sugar. This is personal taste. I say add a little bit extra as your water is going to become caramel sauce.
I cooked on low about 4 hours. This you don't need to be too fussy about, more or less would have done. At this point the sultanas have become plump and juicy and the nuts have become soft and chewy. They are delicious. You could use dates, raisins, cranberries or anything else you think.
When you serve scoop a spoonful of the sauce off the bottom of the crock pot and drizzle over the top. I served with cream.
This was so good!
Now while I am talking about fruit in the crock pot think of stewing, poaching pears, adding dried fruit in with other fruits and cook until thick and rich. Cook up apples or pears or both and puree with a stick blender and you have baby food. Or apples for apple sauce. Add more water to the baked apples and do sago as well. The kids loved this, we called them little hailstones.
Dried fruits cooked up with fresh or tinned fruit will give a rich delicious hot desert which could be served topped with a crumble topping or cream, custard or ice cream. Kept in the fridge this becomes breakfast on it's own or with porridge or other cereals. Yum!
So many options!
Next I made Corned Beef. Andy loves this. Traditionally it is served with mashed potato, vegies and a cheesy sauce. It also gives you cold meat. I did the cold meat option as I don't love it, I think it's a man thing as Andy is mad over it and so is Dad.
You 3/4 fill the crock pot with water. Add a splash of vinegar, bay leaves and about a tablespoon of peppercorns.
Add your corned beef and then enough water to cover it just.
Let this go on high all day. Or overnight. I think 8 hours is good but more or less is ok.
It comes out pink and moist and once cold slices very nicely and you have a ton of cold meat for making up lunches or a cold platter. That is if you don't eat it as a hot meal!
This is much cheaper than buying sliced meat from the deli. Once you have this the other option is to roll it in thick cracked pepper. Once you have that crust on it you bake it for an hour on low. Then you have pastrami. Woolies pastrami is about $25 a kilo! I can do that for about $8. This slices thinly and is fabulous as the flavor is strong and rich. Either are a big hit made up into rolls or eaten as they are around here. I made up a heap of rolls for a fishing trip with corned beef and mustard. This pretty much equals guaranteed popularity!
Perhaps the best combination is to have a hot dinner and have left over cold meats for the next day. It is just useful!
I wanted to do casseroles and pies this week as well but it will be too long. That is a huge subject! So that's coming up!
Let your handmaidens work hard. No slacking off in the kitchen lol. Put on that bread maker and made bread, pizza dough, scrolls etc. and make it work hard for you. A tray of sweet or savoury scrolls is so handy and so easy if you have dough already made up for you. Let your crock pot be quietly making soup or desert or your favourite curry or something for dinner while you are busy with other things. It just lightens your load so much. Cook plenty. I didn't need 6 apples but I am not going to cook 2! It was lovely having two mornings with apples for breakfasts (I warmed them in the microwave) and the desert was so nice a second night was welcomed with nothing to do. I would never think of cooking every night. You don't ever need to if you have cooked extra and made a pie or cook something that becomes something else the next night. I will do a post just on that. A lot of people say they can't serve the same thing twice. You can alter things or freeze a portion and a month later it is dinner. Or cook something like I cook pot roast lamb and serve with vegetables and mint jelly. In the next day or two that left over lamb is served in wraps with Tatziki dip and salad. This is so nice and is so different from the first meal. Or a pot roast chicken and another night a chicken pizza or cold chicken and salad. One is cooking the other is assembling only. I love assembling only meals as that is really like a night off.
This week I will cook pears as they are on a big special at the moment. And stock and pumpkin soup as this seems to be my most popular soup. And a curry as the weather is pretty cold. Once night we will have it with rice. Another night it will re appear with naan bread a little salad and raita. It gives me two nights anyway and a little change and it seems different! The girls gave me beautiful indian serving bowls to serve things in. They make it look so nice!
Have a wonderful week! We have some rain which we need!