Monday, August 30, 2010

Slow cooker corned beef hash recipe

Comfort food rather than pretty food. But goooooood food.

Ingredients for 4:

650 g / 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, not peeled but cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped finely
5-6 large slices deli corned beef
200g / 1 cup mature cheddar, grated
1 tin baked beans (optional)


Layer the ingredients as follows: half the spuds, half the onion, half the corned beef, a third of the cheese. Repeat and top with all the rest of the cheese. You can add an optional layer of baked beans in the very middle. It's important that none of the potatoes are showing or they'll go a nasty grey colour.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.


This was perfect at 8 hours when my daughter had it. After 10 1/2 hours, it was pushing it; the edges were starting to get crunchy (actually the crunchy bits tasted great!)  and the potatoes were starting to lose their shape a bit. After a tough day though, we barely cared. It's real man food and is lovely with a poached egg on top, maybe as a cooked breakfast. We ate it with roasted veggies which you can see above. Try this if you like food that would play rugby rather than ballroom dance ;>)

Slow cooker macaroni cheese recipe

No, don't worry. You've not got a bad link. This great recipe is moments away, right here

I'm gradually transferring all my Blighty recipes to a new blog called The Errant Sock. As well as slow cooker recipes, you'll get lots of other conventional recipes with lots designed to avoid common allergens, plus crafts, reviews, parenting and home hacks, all with the same dash of realism and humour that you get here. So do take a look around and let me know what you think!

Hope to see you in a few seconds over on the Sock!

Slow cooker Lamb Biryani recipe

I loved the process of creating this recipe. I crossed the Spanish Rice recipe from Crockpot Lady's American blog "A Year of Slow Cooking" with Nigel Slater's quick chicken biryani from "The 30 Minute Cook", the book that taught me to cook. My husband always orders biryani in Indian restaurants and it's a dish with the meat mixed in with the rice. What you miss out on here is the side dish of sloppy, curried vegetables but you get the lamby rice with very little hassle once you've put the lid on. Authentic, no. Tasty? Oh yes, my friend.

I seem to have forgotten to photograph this in my enthusiasm for dinner. Er...whoops!

BTW, it looks like a lot of ingredients but it's actually quite quick if your spices are to hand.


1 lb /  500 g lamb mince / ground lamb
1 cup / 200g brown rice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger (I get mine in a jar)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds (or ground)
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup (150 ml) natural yoghurt, to add at end
3 tbsp raisins


Brown your mince and pop into your slow cooker. Drain the tomato juice into a measuring jug. Make up the tomato juice to 500 ml (2 cups) with cold water. Put the tomato flesh and the diluted tomato juice into the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients except the yoghurt, give it a good stir and cook on Low for 3 hours. Test to check it's done and stir in the yoghurt while you lay the table. We had this with fried courgettes and mango pickles.


This was tasty, tasty, tasty! It wasn't too spicy but gave us that Indian fix in an easy-going mid-week sort of a way. I think it would be good with some spinach and I'll try to find out how to make the vegetable side dish but this was a really acceptable meal in a single pot.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Greek-style slow-cooker meatloaf recipe

I don't know if the Greeks eat meatloaf. If they did, then it would probably taste like this.

Ingredients for 4:

1 lb/ 500g lamb mince / ground lamb
4 tbsp rice (I used brown)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg,
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp souvlaki herbs (use a mix of oregano, thyme and rosemary if you can't find this, or herbes de Provence is fine)
1 large egg


You may spot that I learnt  a lot during the making of this creation.

First, check the loaf tin you are going to use fits inside your slow-cooker. If you have a small slow-cooker, you can use an oven-proof casserole, or just mound the meat-loaf mixture in the bottom of your stoneware. The first will slow your recipe down slightly and the second will speed it up. I used a 6''by 4'' loaf tin in my big 6 L/ quart slow cooker. After a bit of trial and error.

Then tip your mince into a mixing bowl. It's worth double-checking that the amount of meat you are using fits into the loaf tin you have chosen, leaving a little space for other ingredients. Just in case, you know, your recipe needs adapting. This recipe's fine for a 6'' by 4''. Well it is now, after a little more trial and error.

If you're using frozen mince, it might be worth thawing it out a little in order to be able to really pack the meat down into the tin. Or your meat loaf can just be crumbly. That's tasty too.

Add all the rest of the ingredients, stirring in the spices well before adding the egg. Otherwise, some may get clustered in one patch of the meat loaf. Just conjecture, obviously.

Pack the whole mixture well into your loaf tin and place it in the slow cooker. Pour about 2 inches of water all around your loaf tin. This keeps it nice and moist. Add the lid to the slow cooker and cook the meat loaf for about 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High. We had a bit after 8 hours on low when my daughter had her tea and the rest after 10 1/2 and both were good, although 10 1/2 was pushing it.


If I wrote for magazines, I'd probably say something like "Just one bite of this and you'll think you're on holiday!" But I don't and, besides, maybe you go on holiday to Bognor. And that's OK too.

Lamb meatloaf is a great idea, I think, because it's a naturally moist meat. I loved the herbs and spices in this - they tasted a bit like kebab and a bit like moussaka - and it was very, very easy too so a winner all round. There's no photo because I can't make a crumbly meatloaf look pretty but next time I'll use fresh mince and all will be we

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Slow cooker red lentil dahl recipe

Dahl is one of those things you see in an Indian restaurant as a side order and never quite get around to ordering. But it's easy to make (in a pan as well as a slow cooker) so it's a useful vegetarian dish for week nights. Here's how I made mine:

Ingredients for 6 large portions:

250g / 1 1/4 cups red lentils - no need to soak
1 onion (I used red), finely chopped
2 tins (400g / 14 oz) chopped tomatos
2 tbsp curry paste of the hotness you require. I used Patak's Biryani which is tomato/coriander
1 pint / 500 ml water
fresh coriander leaf/ cilantro to add at the end


Dump and go. Cook it on low for 8-10 hours.


This ended up as a nice, spicy vegetarian lentil stew but it didn't taste like I expect dahl to taste. I won't cook it this way again. I think it's better made with yellow split peas (if you live in Cambridge, try the incomparable Al-Amin stores on Mill Road for these) and I'd rather come up with my own spice blend next time rather than use the curry paste. Maybe a different spice paste would have done the trick.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Slow cooker roast peppers recipe

This made a very easy lunch for us, plus the house smelt delicious. The photo was taken at great haste, balanced on top of the kitchen radio, already semi-chopped for my toddler. It's a tough life being a blogger!


As many peppers as you want to eat and that will fit in your slow cooker without being layered - halved.
(We used 2)
2 cherry tomatoes per pepper, halved
1 clove garlic per whole pepper, minced
Cheese (optional) of any type which takes your fancy
1/2 tbsp olive oil per pepper
1/2 tsp oregano per pepper
Salt and pepper


Lay the pepper halves, skin down, in your slow cooker. Fill with cherry tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle over the oregano. Cook on High for 2 hours (1 and a half hours is probably fine). Add cheese to the peppers for the final half hour if you feel like it. We used a bit of cheddar. Serve with bread or cous cous to soak up the yummy juices.


A keeper! And toddler approved. I also roasted some chopped aubergine with garlic and lemon juice alongside. Luscious.

German style slow cooker sauerkraut and pork recipe

This is a gentle introduction to sauerkraut if you haven't tried it before and results in quite a mild taste.

Ingredients for 4:

6 medium potatoes, quartered (I never bother peeling)
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2lb boneless pork joint of some sort or 6 pork chops or pork steaks
1 large jar (mine was a 2lb/1KG jar) sauerkraut
2 tsp caraway seeds


Lay the ingredients in your slow cooker in the order they come in the recipe. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Check spuds for doneness but they should be fine.


We've made this before with a pork roast and with pork steaks. This time we used belly pork strips to see what happened (and because that's what we had in the freezer). The sauerkraut still tasted wonderful and the house smelled really good but the pork itself was too obviously fatty cooked like this so I'd recommend not making that adaptation. The caraway makes this and the potatoes are great. Try it!

PS Asda do cheap jars of Polish sauerkraut which are called something like Saporska but I've recycled the jar. You can tell that's what it is. Otherwise, look in the pickled vegetables section.

Leek and white wine risotto recipe - the slow-cooker way!

I'm very proud of this recipe because I made it up all on my own, using other recipes as a base for quantities etc. It's not exactly dump and go but it's worth the 15 minutes of work and still leaves you hands free if you're having friends over. I'll definitely be making other risottos in the slow-cooker. It so works!

The lovely Alex, possibly the fussiest eater I know,
eating up my risotto. Result!
Ingredients for 4:

Dab of butter
2tbsp olive oil
3 medium size leeks, washed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100ml white wine
400g arborio rice
1300 ml mushroom or chicken stock, made with 2 cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig tarragon


Fry the leeks in the olive oil and the dab of butter for about 5 minutes till starting to become translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the rice to the frying pan and stir in well. Tip in the white wine and then the stock and allow the rice to absorb the liquid. Tip everything into the slow cooker pot and add the rest of the seasonings and the tarragon.  Cook on High for 2 hours, checking for doneness towards the end.


Make it! I cooked this for a special vegetarian friend who came to dinner and she loved it. She's lived in Italy and said it was slightly mushier than a proper stirred risotto but so worth it for the convenience and lack of arm ache.

Yummy Apricot Chicken - the slow cooker way

Oh my! We are going to be cooking this again VERY soon and it was super easy! Unfortunately, I have no photo because it looked and smelled so darn good, I completely forgot to get my camera out. Don't let the lack of photo stop you cooking this. It would be a sorely lacking life if you never tried this.

My husband teased me when I put it together and said it was basically chicken and jam. Turns out he likes chicken and jam quite a lot!

This is an anglicised version of the Apricot chicken on Crockpot Lady's wonderful Blog "A Year of Slow-cooking"

Ingredients for 4:

250g of apricot preserve (I think that's just a posh name for jam but feel free to correct me on that - I bought apricot conserve obediently)
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken thighs, 3 leg portions or similar quantities of body parts


Pop the chicken in your slow cooker. Mix everything else in a bowl and tip onto the chicken, Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. (Then, if you're me, put it on low while you remember to cook rice). Check for doneness. It  may need another half hour.

Serve with rice and fried courgettes and swoon with the yumminess of it all.


Just after I'd finished my portion our lodger who was eating with me left the room for a moment. While she was gone, I licked my bowl clean. 'Nuff said!

Slow cooker lamb tagine with apricots recipe

Tagine is a Moroccan style stew, often made with lamb. Here's my version, adapted from several tagine recipes I saw. It's not as quick to put together as some but, if you're OK with getting up 10 minutes early, a good post-work meal for friends,

Be warned - it makes tons and only just fitted in my 6L/quart slow cooker with only 1 lb of lamb, You may need to halve it,

Ingredients for 6 generous portions:

6 medium potatoes, quartered
1-2lbs boneless lambm ideally cut into chunks
300g/1 cup rice
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large courgette/zuchinni, chopped
2 tins tomatos
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin chick peas /garbanzo beans
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch saffron
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon, cut into 1/8 ths and relieved of its pips
100ml/ 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp honey
250g / 1cup ready-soaked dried apricots
2 chicken stock cubes


Crumble the chicken stock cubes over the bottom of the slow cooker. Tip over the tomatos. Add all the other ingredients and stir. Make sure the potatoes are fairly buried. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.Serve with a cous cous but don'tovercater as you already have spuds and rice in the meal.


I have a confession to make - I didn't make it like this. I doubled the spices just to see what would happen (having made exactly this recipe before). This made the flavours too punchy. Tagines can be spicy but should still be subtle and the extra spice killed the tastes of the vegetables and fruit which was a shame. The timing was right though and we enjoyed it, as did my toddler (yes, she's fine with spicy food). The lemons were particularly nice and just turned to litle mushy, not particularly tart slices of lemon peel. I think it could have had more apricots too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Slow-cooker Bolognese sauce recipe

Bolognese is the kind of thing the slow-cooker is designed for. Obviously, it's great with spaghetti but it's also a good way of managing to get a lasagna in the oven after work as the meat sauce part is already done when you get in.

Good but, in the words of U2, I still haven't found what I'm looking for...
Ingredients for 6:

500g/1 lb beef mince
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
250ml/1 cup red wine
2 beef stock cubes
4 tins (14 oz/400g) chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
bay leaf


Make sure your stock cubes are well crumbled and just hurl everything into your slow-cooker to blob away on High for 6-8 hours. If you will be out for longer than that, I suggest you add another can of tomatoes and increase the sugar slightly. Serve with the usual pasta and salad or proceed to make lasagna with the sauce.


I liked this but I think I've made better Bolognese without a recipe. I thought it had too much wine in it which gave an odd taste. I like wine in recipes but this was probably too much. It may just be that everyone has their idea of what Bolognese should taste like (including every cook in Bologna) and this didn't taste like MY Bolognese. I wanted it to taste meatier. Maybe skipping the browning was a mistake. I suggest if you have a favourite Bolognese that you adapt the proportions in this one to the ingredients in yours. The search for the perfect Bolognese continues...

Slow cooker French Bistro style Chicken with Tarragon sauce recipe

Oh, this was good. So very, very good! But I had to doctor it at the end, so do read the verdict for how to avoid my mistakes and get it right first time!

If you work whole days away from home, then I would suggest not tackling chicken recipes on work days. I know there are many recipes out there that say "the chicken just fell off the bone" but what you get with an 8 hour chicken recipe tends to be very woolly meat which is a bit like eating chicken-flavoured shredded wheat. Bleuch!

This recipe however will work really well on these timings and would work well for a classy Sunday lunch or elegant but hands-free Saturday evening dinner with friends.

Ingredients for 4:

2 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken quarters or 8 thighs, with skin and bone
500g/1lb 2oz new potatoes, washed and quartered
1 large onion  chopped finely
150 ml / 2/3 cup dry cider
2 large fresh sprigs tarragon
4 tbsp creme fraiche


Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a frying pan. Make sure the chicken is as golden on the outside as you would like it to be on your plate, even though it won't be cooked inside until later.

Put the potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pop the chicken on top.

Fry the onion for 3-4 minutes in the same frying pan in the chikeny juices. Add the cider, which will bubble furiously, and allow about a third of the cider to boil off. Scrape the bottom of the pan as this happens to make sure all the chickeny goodness ends up in your final dish.Add half the tarragon, chopped - just snip it with the kitchen scissors over your pan.

Tip the cider and onion mixture over your chicken and cook on high for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until the potatoes are done and the chicken juices run clear.

Remove the chicken and potatoes to a hot plate and add the creme fraiche and the rest of the tarragon to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve spooned over the chicken.


The sauce was soooo good and the chicken was beautifully cooked. I recommend a dry cider for finesse but it will be good with sweet as well. I executed this quite poorly though which is avoidable. Do make sure your potato pieces are quite small - 2 cm or 3/4 inch pieces are about as big as will cook in this time. I also didn't like how pale my chicken was when it came out so re-browned it in the frying pan. I could have just browned it properly at the beginning. All  in all though, very, very good food.

Good basic slow cooker chilli recipe

Everyone needs a good basic chili recipe up their sleeve and this might just be it. I didn't even brown the meat so it took all of 5 minutes to put together.

This is adapted from the "Firehouse" chili in the Friends cook book, the one piece of TV merchandising I probably own and, surprisingly, one of my most useful cook books ever (I should know - my collection has hit well over 100 at various times!)

Ingredients for 5-6 servings:

4 medium onions, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds/750g beef mince (I used frozen)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
500 ml/1 pint beef stock, made with 2 cubes
3 tbsp chili powder of your preferred brand and heat
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
1 splash Worcestershire sauce
1 tin (400 g/14 oz) kidney beans


Brown the beef if you like or have time.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-12.
Serve with rice or cornbread.


Finally, I have found my basic chili recipe. This had a good, deep flavour, even without browning the beef and we really enjoyed it. I'd love to fancy-schmancy it up with sour cream, cheddar and all the trimmings, but it was great just straight with tortillas, which is what we happened to have. I'll definitely use this for crowds.

Luscious slow-cooker salmon and potato bake recipe

If you are bleary-eyed in the mornings and are looking for a dish which you can dump together in 3 minutes before work, then I'm afraid this isn't it. If however, you have about 10-15 minutes and don't mind slicing potatoes, this is a lovely dish to try and is a bit healthier than the recipe I adapted it from which involved double cream (not that it wouldn't be fabulous with double cream!)

My lovely husband made sure he took a photo before eating the meal I had left him!
Ingredients for 5-6:

1.5 KG/ 3 lbs waxy potatoes
250 g (8 oz) smoked-salmon trimmings
300 ml/ 1 and 1/3 cups reduced fat creme-fraiche
300ml/ 1 and 1/3 cups semi-skimmed milk
2 sprigs tarragon
grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper


Chop the potatoes into slices about the thickness of a pound coin or 1/4 inch. Lay a third into your slow-cooker. Lay over half the smoked salmon. Top with lemon zest and one of the sprigs of tarragon, chopped (just use the leaves). Repeat these two layers and finish with a layer of potato.

Mix the creme-fraiche and the milk in a large jug, add salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste and pour slowly over the potatoes, trying to soak the entire top layer.

Cook on High for 3-4 hours or low for about 8-10.


I only had this reheated later but both my husband who had it fresh and I both agreed it was excellent - elegant comfort food. I liked the mix of flavours which was subtle and balanced, despite using Asda value smoked salmon! I wish I'd had more tarragon - I love tarragon - but I would have killed the plant had I taken any more sprigs and I'm trying to train myself not to over-season everything! This is one dish where you may need to tweak the timings a little bit. My daughter had it at the time when I thought it should be ready but I had to microwave it to finish of her spuds. It won't be a great hardship playing with it though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best slow cooker tomato sauce recipe

Cooking pasta sauce in the slow cooker is a great idea. You get that wonderful, deep, long-simmered taste without hours of standing at the hob and steaming up the kitchen. So unless you have a handy Italian Mama living in your house with time on her hands, read on!

Ingredients for 4:

2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
100ml red wine
40 ml olive oil

To serve:

grated Parmesan
fresh basil


You've guessed it - dump and go! Cook on low for 6-8 hours. N.B. If your slow cooker is bigger than 4L (or 4 quarts) then you either need to double the quantities or reduce the cooking time. My sauce was ready bang on 6 hours and would have dried out if left. This sauce will freeze well so is worth cooking in a big batch anyway. To serve, tear the basil leaves and stir them over the top, then grate over some Parmesan. We actually mixed in a can of tuna to add some protein to the meal and it was wonderful!


A great classic sauce with a rich, mellow flavour, even using very basic tomatoes. So good, in fact, that we ate it before I remembered to take a photo! You know what pasta sauce looks like, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Slow cooker plaice with spinach

Yes, you can cook fish in the slow-cooker. It works really well as it is a gentle method of cooking BUT I have yet to find an 8-hour recipe for fish that would mean you could come home to a fish supper after a day out at work (except the fish chowder I posted last week). So this might be a weekend thing. However, the recipe below would make for a great weekend. Considering I just made it up as I went along, it was truly awesome!


3-400g/1lb fish fillets - I used plaice and left the skin on
400g/3 cups or more frozen spinach
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 generous sprigs each fresh flat-leaf parsley and lemon balm


Blast the spinach in the microwave for 4 minutes on high to get most of the defrosting out of the way. Tip out some of the resulting water but don't try and drain it. Place it in the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and half the salt.

Place the fish on top of the spinach, ideally not touching the sides, sprinkle over the herbs and douse with the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle over the rest of the salt.

Cook on low for 2-2 1/2 hours.


Sophisticated eating from your slow cooker. Who'd have thunk it? This was awesome. The fish was perfect and the seasoning in the spinach was spot on. It was almost a shame we didn't have guests although we were way too tired to be good company. What was an even greater shame was the absence of a bottle of chilled Chablis on the table but you can't have it all.

Slow Cooker fish chowder

Apparently this is a West Coast chowder (that's San Francisco West coast, not Weston-Super-Mere West coast!) as it is tomato-free. Either way, it's very easy and a lovely meal.


Approx 500g/1lb firm white fish, e.g. pollock
750ml/3 cups chicken stock (I used a cube)
9-10 small potatoes
200g/1 cup frozen or tinned sweetcorn
1/2 an onion, sliced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
salt, to taste
200g/1 cup frozen prawns/shrimp
250 ml/1 cup double/heavy cream


Chop up the fish. It's fine if it's still frozen.  Out all the ingredients up to the salt in the slow-cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Use a stick blender to smooth out your soup, switch the slow-cooker to High and add the cream and prawns. Cook for a further half hour and serve.


Simple, good food with maybe a little more elegance than your usual slow-cooker meal. We had it with some lovely crusty bread and it was much more filling than most soups because of the potatoes. I'll make this again, and would happily make it if I had friends over for a meal.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lahore-style lamb with split peas

This is a lovley spicy-interesting rather than spicy-blow-your-head-off kind of thing and well worth a try. I forgot to take a photo until my ravenous husband and I had both half-finished our bowls of food. Sorry!


1 bay leaf
4 black peppercorns
1 onion, sliced
450g/1lb lean lamb,boned and cubed or whatever you found on the reduced shelf - I used 2 lamb chops, or a half shoulder would also work fine)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground coriander or crushed coriander seeds
2-4 '' piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
1.25/ 5 cups water
150 g/1 cup yellow split peas

2 tomatos, finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies, chopped (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro

Put everything up to the split peas in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Add the final 3 ingredients about half an hour before the end or stir in just before serving. We didn't use the chillies but they were in the recipe I'd adapted so you may enjoy them if you like things hot.

Well, I don't know if it's authentic but it's really, really good! The split peas went all silky and the tastes were complex, unlike the cooking method which was simplicity itself. I liked that the heat came mainly from the cinnamon rather than the cayenne. We had it with rice and added a splodge of natural yoghurt and it would have been fantastic with a couple of peshwari naan breads. Yum!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Home-cooked refried beans, 5-minute salsa and the Best Burrito Bake ever

Refried beans in the slow cooker are almost as easy as opening a can and are much healthier. This is a great recipe and we eat this about once a month in various guises.

Ingredients for refried beans to serve 4-6

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups/500g pack of dried pinto beans (unsoaked)
4-5 rings of pickled Jalapeno chillies from a jar, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Schwartz's Fajita seasoning*
7 cups/1.75 l water

* I use this a lot but, if you can't get hold of it, try 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp mustard seed, 1 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp each ground coriander, ground nutmeg and 1/2 tsp oregano.

See? They look awful! UG-ly food! But delicious!

Lob it all in the pot. Cook on High for 8 hours. Drain the beans but retain the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher and, if needed, add a little of the cooking liquid back in. At this stage, your beans will look horrendous but will taste great.
Serve with salsa, sour cream and grated cheddar plus any other favourite Tex-Mex side dishes. Or make....

Burrito Bake


3/4 of refried beans (above)
1 portion salsa (below)
300 g (1 cup) sour cream or half-fat crème fraiche
200 g (1 cup) grated cheddar
4 wheat tortillas


This is my first step-by-step, so be nice people!

Place a stripe of beans down the middle of your tortilla.

Fold the sides in over the beans and then fold in the top and bottom of your tortilla. Flip the tortilla over as you place it in a casserole so that the seam is downwards and nothing can unfold and repeat this with another 3 tortillas.

You should have something looking like this in your casserole dish.
Cover the tortillas with a layer of salsa, then a layer of sour cream (this can be blotched on rather than spread over the entire thing) and finish with your grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling. It will then look like....

...this! And it tastes amazing!
5-minute salsa

1 tin (14 oz/400g) chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped (ideally red)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime (I get it bottled and use about 3 tbsp)
1 1/2 tbsp chopped leaf coriander (cilantro), again, I get this jarred.
5-6 rings of pickled jalapeno chilli, chopped


Mix. In a bowl. It's that complicated! Adjust seasonings until it fits your idea of salsa. It won't taste like the stuff in jars as it is uncooked but it's fabulous with most Tex Mex dishes.