Just when I thought Winter would never come, we are suddenly blessed with cold nights! Can I just say my 5 in 1 slow cooker is working overtime! (See photo)
So what do I love about Winter, surely you could guess by now……comfort food. Warm soulful food cooked with love and possibly served with wine (Australian of course). Now my definition of comfort food may not be the same as yours but I think it is a term that can be open to interpretation. So let me present a few of my favourite comfort foods in the form of a menu. I might even share a recipe too.
Porridge with honey or brown sugar
Poached eggs on toast maybe with some baked beans
French toast with fruit and sweet ricotta or yoghurt (okay I have friends who’ll dob me in here-I eat this anytime of the year)
Leftovers heated up
Toasted sandwiches with way too much cheese
Slow cooked proteins-I sweat some onion and garlic, brown diced and floured meat, add 3-4 different chopped vegies, about 500ml liquid-stocks, herbs, mustard, tinned whole tomato-whatever takes my fancy. Depending on the protein I will then slow cook for 4-8 hours
Curries-again something I prepare in the slow cooker, always serve with rice and sometimes pappadums
Soups (usually vegetarian)
Roast (recently did a rather large slow cook lamb shoulder- 4 hours in the oven and the meat was melt in the mouth- I made the fatal error of placing the pulled meat in the middle of the table-suffice to say there was no meat for leftovers)
Self saucing puddings
Sticky Date pudding
Really good quality dark chocolate
Now although I have a plethora of cookbooks, I often resort to sourcing a recipe on line. I usually spend some time on a weekend planning out meals, scouring recipes or sometimes, more often than not, I do the weekly shop and come home with something from the butchers that I couldn’t resist and then find a suitable recipe. Slow cooked meals that are quick to prepare can be in the slow cooker by 3:30pm (after work and school pick up) set for 4 hours and ready for a 7:30pm dinner. Soups in my house almost cook themselves with the help from my multicooker. Roasts are so easy with very little prep time and 1-2 hours in the oven. Then of course meals can be cooked on weekends and heated up during the week. For those who find themselves time poor during the week, quick meals can still be comforting. Nothing wrong with a toasted sandwich or wrap for dinner or eggs- how many different ways can you cook eggs?
I am completely ok about paying $5 for a cauliflower. Some people would seriously baulk at this. This recipe is a meal fit for 4-5 people if accompanied with bread. This meal is quicker than deciding on a pizza or driving down to the local fast food joint, it is cheaper and far more healthier! This meal is perfect for meat free Monday!! Now please remember I don’t measure most ingredients when I cook dinner-I pretty much freestyle so bear with me.
1-2 onions sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic crushed or thinly sliced
1 whole cauliflower roughly cut-leaves are fine to eat too
1-2 potatoes peeled and chopped
About 2 cups of stock (I use vegetable or chicken)
Your choice of herbs
1. Heat a lug of oil, add onion and soften. Add garlic for the last minute or so.
2. Add cauliflower, potato, stock and herbs
3. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until vegies are soft
4. Use a stick blender and blend to your liking
5. Serve with your favourite bread, sour cream and parmesan if you wish.
TIPS: You may need to add more stock. I use a multicooker and just set it to ‘soup’ so I don’t even need to monitor the simmer process. Don’t overdo it with potato, it really takes away from the hero of the dish.