Monday, May 28, 2012

Non-vintage Lamb Curry and WIN a Slow Cooker

What are the ages of ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ items? I used to think that Antique was anything over 200 years old, Vintage was more than 100 years old, and anything less was just ‘second-hand’.

Then, Vintage got upgraded, you know, like when a lairy knit jumper from the Eighties is described as ‘vintage’ in those supercilious street-style photographs, as in “Darya wears a Yohji Yamamoto gilet, vintage sweater from a Paris flea market, Ksubi jeans, Chanel booties and her mother’s scarf”. Oh, how unbearably chic!

Well, in that case, my mother has a vintage slow cooker. I think it’s from the 1970s, and it’s hot orange in colour with a neat brown floral/leaf pattern around the base with ‘Crockpot’ written in a funky, hippy font. It is the coolest thing ever, although it used to be considered daggy. I suppose that’s when something becomes Vintage – when it turns the corner from eye-rollingly kitsch (but useful) to nostalgically coveted.

By the way, I have a NEW slow cooker and made this wonderful Lamb Curry in it. And you could have a NEW slow cooker, too. Just salivate over this recipe and enter the giveaway below.

Lamb Curry
serves 4

3 tblsp plain flour
500g diced lean lamb
2 tblsp oil
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 2cm chunks
1 brown onion, sliced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ cup Indian curry paste (Korma for mild, Madras for hot)
270ml reduced-fat coconut cream
1 tsp vegetable stock powder or paste
1 bay leaf 
chives or coriander, to serve

1. Put the lamb in a plastic bag and add the flour and some salt and pepper. Close the bag and shake until the lamb is coated with the flour.
2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frypan and add the lamb. Cook in batches until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer lamb to a 3.5 litre slow cooker.
3. Add sweet potato, onion, garlic, ginger and cumin to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, until onion is soft (the sweet potato will still be uncooked). Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
4. Add coconut milk, stock powder and ¾ cup of cold water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the slow cooker with the lamb. Add bay leaf.
5. Cook, covered on Low heat for 6 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving with a sprinkle of chives and rice or naan bread.

recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas

Ingredients, including ginger and garlic, Korma curry paste, onion, sweet potato, light coconut cream, bay leaf, cumin; coat the lamb pieces in seasoned flour and brown in a pan before adding the other ingredients.

After 6 hours, the lamb incredibly tender. Liquid does not evaporate from a lidded slow cooker like it does in a pan on the stove, so there is lots of sauce left in the pot.  You should also make sure that the slow cooker is filled half to three-quarters full for best results, with liquid covering most of the lamb and potato.

Serve the curry with naan bread and accompaniments like yoghurt and pappadums.

Fantastic Giveaway from Kitchenware Direct

Thanks to Brad from Kitchenware Direct for allowing me to review this Morphy Richards Accents Slow Cooker.

I was really excited about this product because I wanted to have hot, ready-prepared meals to come home to (and I am too cheap to get takeaway). This slow cooker does not disappoint. It is a compact size (3.5 litres) that is perfect for 2-4 people and it doesn’t take up too much bench space. The burgundy ceramic pot is removable for serving and easy cleaning, it works like a dream and the instruction manual is mercifully to-the-point with useful essential tips (I always read the manual before operating appliances, and you should, too).

And Kitchenware Direct are also offering one of these fantastic slow cookers to a lucky Ooh, Look… reader (sorry, Australian entrants only). Just leave a comment on this post with the magic words ‘Please, Miss, I want a slow cooker’. Terms and conditions and closing date are below. Good luck!

Conditions of Entry
1. Entry to this contest is by a comment on this post containing the words “Please, Miss, I want a slow cooker”. Alternatively, enter by sending an email to oohlookbel2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
2. Entries close at midnight 10 June 2012.
3. Winner will be randomly selected
4. The prize can only be delivered to Australian addresses. Prize will be supplied and delivered by Kitchenware Direct.
5. Please include an email address or your blog URL in your entry so I can contact you if you win.

------ UPDATE ------ 

Thanks to everyone who entered this competition.

A winner has been selected:

Congratulations to Reemski.  I will email you.
Hope you enjoy the slow cooker from

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kiddie carrot muffins

Before we get onto the advertised Carrot Muffins, let me tell you how they came about. It was because I went to a local school fête last week and it brought back nostalgic feelings of school days and homemade cakes and toffees, and raffles and stuff.

The Birchgrove Public School fête held in the school grounds with a sunny autumn day, cake stalls…

…second-hand books, rides and giant sharks and tombola prizes (lollies in a jar).

When I got home, the school-hall fug still in my nostrils, I looked up this recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Project. It’s meant for children to pull carrots and parsley fresh from the garden and to whip a delicious batch of simple muffins with the ingredients.

Well, I’m not quite a child anymore, but these muffins are indeed quick and easy to make, and they are full of moist goodness that bring back memories of home economics classes, play-lunch and chasings. Isn’t it wonderful what a school fête invokes?
Back to reality now: there’s no way I want to go back to school, thank you very much, so a spot of kids’ cooking is a far as I’m going. Hope you will also give these a try!

Carrot Muffins
makes 12

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tblsp chopped parsley
100g grated cheddar cheese
1 egg
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix in the carrot, cheese and parsley.
3. In a jug, whisk the egg, buttermilk and oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and pour in the liquid. Mix lightly to combine.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tray, filling each case two-thirds full.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks before serving.

Ingredients, including buttermilk, egg, grated carrot, cheese and flour + baking powder

Just bake until golden

Leftover muffins are also good if you reheat them in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Simply: chilled lemon delicious pudding

Going through some recent cooking magazines, I was struck by how inconveniently specific some of the recipe ingredients have become. From micro herbs, to jamon, to fresh burrata and Kashmiri chilli and ‘organic nasturtium petals’ (yes, really), they often offer no substitute ingredient, so if you can’t get your hands on some organic nasturtium petals – or even know what a substitute would be – then you’ve probably stuffed up the recipe already.

Apart from ‘special occasion’ dishes for parties and the like, I much prefer ordinary, just-find-it-in-a-shop ingredients in my everyday meals. It makes things so much easier when you feel like a rice pilaf and you can make it with items you already have in the pantry, instead of having to traipse across town to the specialist spice place that stocks Kashmiri chilli.

Of course, my definition of ‘simple’ may be different to yours; in fact, it probably is, because if it involves anything remotely complicated (like food that's hellishly deep-fried), then I’m a lost cause. I’ve also found that the simple dishes are usually the old-fashioned ones that originated in about 1950, that were made by a post-war frugal generation – well, at least anything that doesn’t involve dripping or lard is okay.

Here’s an old-fashioned favourite, Lemon Delicious Pudding, but chilled for make-ahead convenience.

Chilled Lemon Delicious Pudding
serves 6

40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
60g (2oz) self-raising flour, sifted
350ml (12oz) milk
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 1/3 cup lemon juice
Icing sugar, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 1.2l (5-cup) capacity ovenproof dish with a little of the butter.
2. Beat butter and caster sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each yolk is added.
3. Add a third of the flour, beat well, then add a third of the milk, beating again. Repeat until all the flour and milk has been added.
4. Add lemon zest and juice and mix until a smooth batter forms.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gradually fold the eggwhites into the batter until just combined.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared dish, then place the dish into deep roasting pan and fill with enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the pudding is golden.
7. Turn off the oven and allow the pudding to cool in the oven for 30 minutes (to stop it collapsing). Transfer pudding to the refrigerator to cool completely.
8. Serve with icing sugar dusted over.

recipe adapted from delicious (Nov 2011)

Various stages of preparation, including whipping the eggwhites before folding into the egg yolk, butter and sugar mixture.
The pudding is then covered and placed in a water bath before baking.

Like a typical lemon delicious pudding, a lemony sauce sinks to the base of the pudding, ready to be scooped out with the spongey top.

Make sure you get some sauce with the cake.

 A warm lemon delicious recipe is here.
Actually, I found that the cooling of the pudding made the sponge cake a bit dense, so I prefer the warm version. You can't beat the taste of either method, though. Very lemony and certainly delicious.