Day 19: Kitchen time

To date I don’t think I’ve posted anything about my adventures in the kitchen at meal times. I’m certainly not known for my cooking…and hubby has definitely been on the receiving end of some attempts gone wrong (Spinach Pie disaster of 2002…the first time I tried to cook him a meal!), but this year without the stresses and time commitments of full-time work I have had the time to put into cooking and baking and I’m happy to say I’ve had some successes. So I thought today I would let you know about my first attempt at cooking something in my brand new slow cooker!

I love the idea of a slow cooker. Being able to throw all your ingredients in the one pot, leave it, and a few hours later your meal is cooked seems like something that would really work for me. I had a day that was fairly full including a 90 minute running clinic so I felt like dinner needed to be something easy. I flicked through the recipe booklet that came with my new slow cooker, and saw a recipe for Roast Lamb, and it said you could cook the veges in there too. Awesome, I thought!

So a quick trip to the supermarket for the meat and a couple of extra veg, and I was ready.  I worked out my timings for prep etc and planned the rest of the afternoon around that. When it came time to start the cooking I was quite excited.

The slow cooker I have has a searing pan that can be used on the stove top to brown the meat while allowing you to retain the juices in the same pan the rest of the meal will be cooked in. Anything that helps keep the flavour has to be good!

So, to start with I seared the lamb…

Searing my lamb

As the roast was <1kg I figured 1 hour would be suitable (just like in an oven right?), and decided to add all the starchy vegetables at the the same time, figuring they would all be done by then too.

The slow cooking begins

Well, an hour went by….yeah the vegetables weren’t anywhere near cooked, so I decided to leave it another 30 minutes as the recipe booklet had given the meat (twice the size as the piece I was cooking) 90minutes to be cooked to a medium state.

OMG…at the 90 minute mark the vegetables were still virtually rock hard! I decided to pull the plug on the vegetables, and whack them in a roasting pan in the oven. The meat continued to cook for the next 20-25minutes (I thought I was going to end up with meat that was as chewy as a tractor tyre). I also steamed some broccoli in the last 5 minutes for some greens.

Plated meal.

In the end dinner was quite tasty, just an hour later than expected. The meat was done to just the way I like it, but I’ve now accepted/learned that your potatoes and pumpkin for your roast dinner really should be cooked painlessly in the oven, not the slow cooker. I got a thumbs up from hubby, which is really all that matters. From now on I think I will stick to using the slow cooker for stews and casseroles!

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