It’s that time of year again in Australia….the days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning and the creeping chill of the overcast days can’t quite be managed by wearing a jumper (by jumper, I mean sweater ;)). This is the time of year when the wonderful fragrant and warming meals from the slow cooker really come into their own!
I have written about my love affair with our slow cooker before and how I credit it as having a big role in my recent weight loss….
…Since it’s time to bring out the slow cooker again I though I'd share some great ideas for making the meals even more delicious.
I just love these recipes because they remind me of my Grandmas cooking. She passed away when I was only 5 years old, but I remember loving her more than anything. I remember the wonderful smells of her kitchen and I remember just loving Grandmas special dumplings. I know these recipes are a little old-fashioned now but my family just loves them. I think it’s time to bring them back into fashion!
- Herb and cheese dumplings in the oven
These are by far my favorite slow cooker topping. You need to transfer the your cooked casserole into a oven proof dish….but baking the dumplings in the oven creates a gorgeous brown crust. The soft scone like dumplings soak up the slow cooked juices….. And just transports you to that happy place…..
2 cups self-raising flour
60g chilled butter, chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh chives
2 tbs chopped fresh continental parsley
¾ cup grated cheese
½ cup milk
1 egg lightly whisked
Place flour in a bowl and use your fingertips to rub the bitter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the chives, parsley ½ cup cheese. Pour in the egg and milk and use a knife with a chopping motion until the mixture is evenly incorporated and holds together. Transfer your slow cooked meal into a large casserole dish. Roll the dough into golf ball sized dumplings and arrange around the top of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the dumplings with the left over cheese and cook at 200degreed Celsius for 25 minutes
- Dumplings straight in the cooker
These dumplings are much softer than the oven dumplings and are really easy to add just to the top of the slow cooker.
85 g self-raising flour
Fresh herbs e.g. chopped flat leaved parsley, chives or rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into balls (about the size of golf balls) with floured fingers. Arrange on the top of your slow cooker stew. Cook for 40mim/hr on high until dumplings are cooked through.
- Sponge topping
This recipe is from Grumpy Daddy’s mum. The kids grandma makes slow cooker meals extra special by topping them with this delicious light topping….and any recipe that asks for a ‘well’ in the center makes me feel all nostalgic and must be good…right?!
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs (separated)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Sift flour and salt into large bowl and make a well in the center
Beat the yolks with the milk and pour into the flour
Add the melted butter and stir until smooth
Beat the eggs whites until stiff and fold into the mixture
Add to the slow cooker and cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours on high with the lit tilted just a little.
- Puff pastry pies
My kids just love the concept of a ‘pie’ They will ravenously devour chicken hot pot or a beef or lamb stew presented this way
Transfer slow cooked stew to one large casserole dish or smaller individual ramekins. Top with a piece of shop bought puff pastry. Cut a cross in the middle and fold back the pastry a little to let the air escape. Brush the puff pastry lightly with milk. Bake at 180 degrees until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.
You can use these topping with your favorite slow cooked meals….this is one of my favorites….or you can try some of my others in the slow cooker tab on my blog header.
The perfect fragrant slow cooked cinnamon beef
500g gravy beef cut into 3cm cubes
2 brown onions chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 can tomatoes
½ cup red wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
1 sweet potato chopped into 3 cm pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup frozen peas
Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours, stir in frozen peas ½ hour before required