AS THE weather cools down, slow cookers are the perfect cooking method for the time poor and families big and small.
Author Sally Wise offers 100 new recipes in her latest cookbook, Ultimate Slow Cooker, helping you make delicious, healthy, low-cost meals with minimal effort.
She shares three with Weekend (keep scrolling to see them), plus a small insight into some of her favourite moments in her cooking career.
Let us know what you think of the recipes at facebook.com/readweekend or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ultimate Slow Cooker by Sally Wise, RRP $29.99, is out now through ABC Books.
What is your first memory of food?
My Nan's kitchen. At age 7, she used to let me cook with her every Saturday morning, pikelets and lovely light sponge cakes filled with a raspberry jam flavoured whipped cream. She introduced me to coffee (putrid I thought), which she drank black, sweet and strong.
What is your favourite dish? Why?
From the family favourite perspective - paprika chicken. It is a recipe I developed decades ago - simple but scrumptious. It entails merely a simple rub of paprika, sugar, salt, pepper and dried oregano. It can be used on a whole chicken or (skin on) portions. While baking, the rub combines with the chicken juices to provide the making for the most delicious gravy or jus, while at the same time crisping the skin marvellously.
Why? It has wonderful memories of cooking alongside our six children in the kitchen when they were small. The dish was a favourite with everyone, and the chicken is even delicious served cold.
Name a career highlight in food.
The regular, ongoing segment on ABC radio Tasmania - the Jams and Preserves talkback. It is such fun with its inherent interaction with listeners and has provided a springboard for others things.
It has, for instance, led to the opportunity for me to write 15 cookbooks, which allows me to each day indulge my passion for cooking with the best of seasonal produce. This in turn has expanded further into my opening the Sally Wise Cooking School here in the Derwent Valley in Tasmania, a life-long dream realised.
The tangy Mediterranean flavours of sumac spice predominate in this first recipe. These are enhanced by citrus and honey to make a spectacular and unusual pot roast-style dish. I have found that the nicest accompaniment to this dish, albeit a little cross-cultural, is couscous.
Sumac pork with citrus sauce
For a 3.5-4.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6
1.2-1.4kg boned pork shoulder, visible external fat removed
3 tsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 1½ tbs cold water
prepared couscous, to serve
green salad, to serve
FOR THE CITRUS SAUCE: 3 tsp ground sumac
1 tbs paprika
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cardamom
finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lime
finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lemon
finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp maple syrup or mild-flavoured honey
2 tsp redcurrant jelly
½ tsp salt
1 tbs tomato sauce
METHOD: To make the citrus sauce, mix all the ingredients together.
Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour over the sauce.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours or until the pork is tender.
Remove from cooker and keep warm. If necessary, remove the lid and turn the cooker to high for 10 minutes, then stir in some or all of the cornflour paste.
Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes more, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Skim off any fat from the surface.
Serve the pork sliced with couscous and a green salad.
NOTE: Any leftover pork makes a delicious sandwich filling, combined with other salad ingredients or a tasty condiment such as peach chutney.
THE rich, earthy tones of beetroot are matched with lovely light cream cheese dumplings in this delicious and colourful soup.
Beetroot, beef and bacon soup with cream cheese dumplings
For a 3.5-4.5-litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6
For the soup - 1.2kg fresh beetroot, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes
250g lean stewing beef (such as blade, topside or chuck), cut into 8mm cubes
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g rindless bacon, diced
400g tin diced tomatoes
500ml chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp quince or redcurrant jelly
For the dumplings - 1 tbs cream cheese
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 spring onion, finely chopped
60g rindless bacon, diced
1/4 cup milk, approximately.
METHOD: To make the soup, place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours or until the beef and beetroot are tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
If on low, turn the cooker to high 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
To make the dumplings, rub the cream cheese into the flour and salt with the fingertips or in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the spring onion and bacon and then enough milk to make a soft dough.
Place small teaspoonfuls of the dough on top of the simmering soup, replace the lid and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through.
Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serve with several of the dumplings.
Baked lemon ricotta and ginger cheesecakes
For a 4.5-6.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 6
INGREDIENTS: 250g fresh ricotta
¾ cup sugar
1 tbs Greek yogurt
3 tsp finely grated lemon rind
½ cup lemon juice
5 tsp cornflour
120g glace ginger, chopped
6 gingernut-style biscuits
½ cup sweetened whipped cream, to serve
½ cup flaked almonds, to serve
6 small sprigs mint, to serve
METHOD: Grease six 180ml-capacity metal dariole moulds and line the base of each with a circle of baking paper.
Fit a small rack in the base of the slow cooker and pour in warm water to a depth of 1.25cm.
Turn on to high.
Place the ricotta, sugar, yogurt, lemon rind, eggs, lemon juice and 3 teaspoons of the cornflour in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
Pour evenly into the prepared moulds. Toss half of the ginger in the remaining cornflour.
Shake off any excess cornflour and gently place the ginger on top of the puddings (don't worry if it sinks).
Place the puddings in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the puddings are set.
Place a ginger biscuit on top of each pudding. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the cheesecakes from the cooker and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until very cold.
Unmould on to serving plates.
Top with a little whipped cream, the remaining ginger, a sprinkling of almond flakes and a small sprig of mint.
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