Slow cooking for the soul

Posted on: May 27, 2008

It’s cold and rainy in Melbourne. I don’t know about you, but it makes me just want to hide under my doona. It certainly doesn’t make me want to hang out downstairs in our cold tiled kitchen, cooking a meal. So I’ve taken out the slow cooker we received as a housewarming gift last year and it’s the perfect solution. It’s crazy, you bung all this stuff in there in the morning – and then you come home from a day at work and the whole house smells like a hearty stew! Incredible.

I have found slow cooking books a little hit and miss though. I borrowed some from the library – some are fantastic and full of inspiration and great recipes, others are a collection of just ingredients to throw in a pot that will give you some tasty, or not tasty, but pretty unappetising looking mush. Hm. Convenience is one thing, but we are talking food, and seeing I grew up in a restaurant I do have standards!

This is my favourite book of the moment. I’ve ordered a copy of it too because I’ve decided I need it longer than the library is going to lend it to me

Secrets of Slow Cooking ‘Creating Extraordinary Food With Your Slow Cooker’
by Liana Krissoff, photographs by Kirsten Stricker

Creating Extraordinary Food with Your Slow Cooker

I love it because

– it has great photos

– the author has great spunk in her writing and really makes me laugh and seems to have had similar experiences in reading slow cooking books

– there are some excellent tips in the introduction including info on things like how to choose a slow cooker and tips and techniques

– it’s not all just meat stews! it’s divided up into the following sections:

* appetisers and party foods

* vegetables, sides and sauves

* lighter fare

* hearty stews

* main dishes with meat, poultry and seafood

* desserts and other sweets (who would have thought of making fudge brownies in a slow cooker?! AND what a brilliant idea to make old-fashioned oatmeal in a slow cooker!)

Hopefully they don’t mind me sharing a recipe I tried out today/ tonight and it was TASTY!

EGGPLANT TIAN (kinda like the picture above… but different)

Serves 4 people

1 large onion

4 cloves garlic

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large sprigs fresh basil, stemmed (about 1/2 cup leaves) – I am out of fresh from the garden so I defrosted some of my basil pesto I made from thsi summer’s massive harvest

4 roasted red capsicum, peeled, seeded, and stemmed

1 and a half large eggplants

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

(Abbreviated instructions here)

– slice onion into 1cm slivers and put in bottom of slow cooker pot

– smash garlic and sprinkle over onion

– sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper

– arrange basil in a layer to completely over the onion

– put down a layer using half of the roasted capsicum

– peel eggplant and cut into 1cm thick round slices. put down a single layer of eggplant pieces (this should use up about half of the eggplant)

– another layer of remaining roasted capsicum

– final layer of eggplant
pieces as before

– season with salt and pepper, and drizzle oil over all

– cook on low setting covered, for 6-8 hours until layers have sunk and top layer of eggplant is all soft and barely hols its shape. don’t stir!

– put on your griller. keeping the vegetables in layers with onion on bottom, use a large spoon to transfer them with a bit of their juices into a baking dish

– sprinkle with cheese and eggplants. drizzle a bit of the juice on top

– stick under the griller, about 12 cm from the heat for 3 mins til the bread crumbs brown up and serve!

YUMMMMMY! And so healthy mmmmm.

On Thursday we’re having friends around for dinner and I’m going to make ‘Beef & Sweet Potato Stew With Ground Toasted Rice’. It is also from the same book and described as ‘a hybrid of the classic Filipno stew kari-kari, which is thickened with ground toasted rice and a West African beef-and-yarm dish with peanuts’. I’ll let you know how it goes!


4 Responses to "Slow cooking for the soul"

You’re a legend! I have a slowcooker and I love it but I only have one old Margaret Fulton cookbook for it from the 70’s. Thanks for sharing the Eggplant recipe, I may try it :o)

Just rediscovered slow cookers. Wrote a blog entry you may like about using one on a tourbus! Really works well.

Thanks for sharing that, will definitely check your post out! It’s slow cooking weather again for sure

[…] back, everyone looks as pale as me, and watching a leg of lamb slow-cook for 10 hours (see Moo I Made It for a further breakdown of the glories of slow cooking in wintry Melbourne) is most certainly a respectable way to spend a Sunday […]

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