Roo and root veg pie

We have reduced our consumption of meat significantly in the last year. For numerous reasons; the cost, the environmental impact and the health benefits.

But recently we were kindly given a couple of kilos of Kangaroo tails. Kangaroos have far less of an impact on the enviroment than does farmed meat, it is much, much lower in saturated fats than other red meat, but is higher in iron and B12 and well, as a gift … the cost aspect was quite appealing!

It is something I have eaten before and enjoyed but not cooked myself. We have had a stew with them, and added them to veggie burger patties and for our last lot I thought we’d have a pie. Since we have an abundance of beetroot, sweet potato and fresh herbs in our garden at the moment, we made good use of those too.

Peter went back for seconds, Will gave me 5 gold stars, George licked his bowl clean and Harry went back for seconds and thirds …. even Ellie tasted it. Winner!!

Of course if you don’t have access to Kangaroo, or it doesn’t appeal to you, you can always use beef or lamb bones for this pie – just reduce the cooking time in the slow cooker to 7-8 hours on low.

For the meat and gravy part of the pie:

  • Approx 1kg kangaroo tail pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp vegemite or miso paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh rose and thyme
  • 1tsp onion flakes
  • 1/3 tsp garlic flakes
  • 3 cups hot beef stock (I used Massel)

Place the tail pieces in the slow cooker and turn it on low. Sprinkle over it the pepper, onion, garlic and herbs. Mix together the stock, wine, tomato paste, aminos and vegemite and pour over the lamb.

Place the lid and the slow cooker and leave for 9-10 hours.

For the remainder of filling of the pie, after the meat is cooked:

  • 400g sweet potato
  • 250g beetroot
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • meat from the slow cooker
  • 3/4 liquid from the slow cooker.

Grate the veggies finely, use a food processor, or Speed 6 in your thermal cooker.

Add in the kidney beans and cooking liquid process until the beans are well broken down (Speed 5, 10 seconds).

Transfer the veggie mix to a large pan – even better if it can go directly from stove to oven. Place on a medium heat.

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Use a fork to pull the meat from the bones and finely chop it.

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Add the meat to the veggie mix.

Drain and strain the remaining liquid from the slow cooker and add another 3/4 cup of it to the meat and veg. Mix well and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and veg are simmering, make the scone dough for the top of the pie:

  • 1.5 cups spelt flour (I do half wholemeal) OR 1.25 cups GF flour mix and 3/4 tsp psyllium
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt flakes
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 50g vegan butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients except the water and butter in your processor and process to combine (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

Add in the butter and pulse until you get a sand like consistency.

Whilst the processor is running (Speed 4), add in the water through the top chute. Start with 1/3 cup and gradually add more if needed to bring together to a dough.

Tip out the dough and roll into shape of your pie dish.

Lay the dough on top of the pie filling, cut a few steam vents and place into a preheated 180C oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then cut and serve.

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Makes enough for 5-6 adult serves.

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Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken

At the moment our lives are so very busy and although I hate to admit it, I am really stretched beyond my capacity … so there is not a lot of room in my head for thinking about complicated food.

Today I am thankful indeed for meals like this – itΒ is one of those filling and satisfying meals that comes with very little actual effort! Everything dumped in the slow cooker and dinner is pretty well ready at 5.30am. Phew! It’s not fancy, but it is nutritious, yummy, filling, allergy friendly and budget friendly ….Β  everything we need it to be!

  • 4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1kg pumpkin
  • 1 400g tin chick peas, drained
  • 500g tomato passata*
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken stock
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 heaped tbsp Moroccan Seasoning (I make this one)
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • Optional: 4 medjool dates, diced
  • rice or corn cous cous to serve.

*If you don’t have passata, you can replace it here with a 425g tin diced tomatoes and 2 tbsp tomato paste.

Dice the pumpkin and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker, then drain and rinse the chick peas and place them on top of the pumpkin.

Place the chicken on top of the veggies and sprinkle over the seasoning.

Cover with the passata, hot stock and garlic and place on the lid.

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Cook on high for 4 hours.

Remove lid and use forks to shred the chicken. Stir through the dates, if using, and beans, the return the lid and look on low for a further 45mins.

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Stir through the lemon juice and serve with rice or cous cous.

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Makes about 8 adult serves and the left overs freeze and defrost well.

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Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

Pomegranate Poached Pears

My gorgeous sister in law recently gave me some beautiful fat, juicy pomegranates (thanks Mish!) and I was dreaming up ways to use them, when I noticed the pears that I had bought the previous week sitting, a bit past their best, in the bottom of the fridge. And there next to it was the pomegranate juice I’d used in another recipe …. I like to be creative with what I’ve got on hand and avoid waste …. so we had a very delicious, and very easy, dessert!

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  • 500ml Pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • peel of 1 lemon, sliced
  • 6 medium pears
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Optional: toasted slivered almonds

Place juice and sugar in bottom of slow cooker, whisk together and cook on high for 10 minutes.

Whisk in spices and add lemon peel.

Core and slice pears into quarters. Peeling is optional (I tend to leave it on for more fibre)

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Place pears into the slow cooker juice mixture, place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. Add in the seeds and cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid off.

Remove lemon slices, and serve warm, sprinkled with the almonds (if using), with a cream, ice cream, yoghurt or custard that suits your diet. Alternatively, serve cold on top of breakfast porridge, or granola, use as the fruit base in dessert crumbles or blitz in your processor until smooth and use as a fruit puree.

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I love it with my crunchy granola and natural yoghurt for dessert!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Lemon Lamb with Winter veg mash

Slow cooked, tender and fragrant Lamb – serious comfort food!

The slow cooker makes it super easy – to cook and clean up! I mostly do our accompanying veg separate so that we get them crispy. Some days though, there is just not enough time for evening meal prep past the 10 minutes first thing in the morning to get the slow cooker on …. and on those days we do our veg in the slow cooker and turn them into a veg mash instead – easy and delicious!

  • Boneless lab joint (2-2.25kg). Pick one that fits your slow cooker!
  • approx 1.2kg veg (I use a mix of butternut pumpkin, sweet potato and cauliflower)
  • 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup warm vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp pink flaked salt
  • 1 tsp pepper corns
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsbp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • zest of 1 lemon (slice it off finely so you don’t get in too much of the white pith)

To make the paste for flavouring the lamb you’ll need either a bullet type blender, a small blender or a mortar and pestle. If you use a mortar and pestle, grind the dry/hard ingredients and then mix in the aminos and oil at the end.

Blitz together the rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, aminos and oil until you get a chunky paste.

Chop the veg and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker – make them roughly even pieces. Add in the butter beans.

The pour the wine and stock over the top of them.

Place the joint of lamb on top of the vegetables and rub the paste into it.

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Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to low for 5 hours.

Remove the lamb and pull apart with a fork (or carve if you are so inclined!)

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Drain off (but reserve) the liquid from the slow cooker and set aside, then use a potato masher or a fork to roughly crush the veg into a chunky mash.

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If you’d like a gravy to drizzle over the meat, use the liquid that you have strained and reserved and follow my gravy method.

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Serve with steamed greens – I love broccoli or green beans.

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Enjoy πŸ™‚

P.S. This amount of meat is enough for about 3 dinners for our family. So I freeze the extras in 2 meal size portions, together with the gravy and it defrosts beautifully later on for a very quick meal with some steamed veg.

Thai beef rice paper rolls

I’m always encouraging my kids to try new things or test again for the things they think they don’t like …. so I thought it was time I took my own advice!

I have never thought I liked cold rice paper rolls – but if I’m honest, I can’t actually remember the last time I tried them. So, since my kids like any thing wrapped and choosing their own food, this seemed like a perfect dinner option. So I tried – and I really loved them …. and so did everyone else! 2 of the 4 kids asked for them in their lunchboxes and I had a particularly happy husband!

The trick is to get everything ready before you soak and fill the wraps, then it just works as a little production line. These are best fresh, but keep in an airtight container in the fridge they’ll last 24 hours.

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For the Thai beef part you’ll need;

  • 800g gravy beef/casserole beef
  • 125ml coconut cream
  • 1 heaped tbsp red thai curry paste (I like the Aayam bran)
  • 1/2 cup beef stock (I like Massel for a store bought brand)

Place the beef into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Mix together the cream, paste and stock and pour over the beef. Place on the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.

Use a fork to shred the meat and then allow to cool before placing in fridge (or use it hot in the wraps if you’d prefer). This quantity of beef did 12 rolls for us.

You need a packet of rice paper wraps – they are usually in the ‘international food’ aisle of the supermarket. They are hard and brittle, but you dunk them in warm water to soften them (follow the instructions of the back of the pack).

We filled them with cooked brown rice, avocado, the Thai beef and your choice of crunchy salad or veggie fillings. The kids added cheese to theirs as well.

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Fill, roll and enjoy – A great transportable food for picnics and lunchboxes too!

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Slow cooked pork and pears

I love a good roast, something so comforting about the simplicity! I don’t love getting my oven dirty though and I don’t enjoy heating up the house with my oven for hours on end in summer. So mostly I either use the bbq outside, or the slow cooker.

Today was a crazy busy day so I love that with the slow cooker I could have my veg all in together with my meat and have it cooking, with very little effort, by 7am.

This is a really simple (read: kid friendly!) and tasty way to eat pork. Very little fuss and even though the boneless joint cost around $20, it makes multiple meals for our whole family, so it is fairly inexpensive.

  • Pork shoulder, boneless (2-2.5kg)
  • 3 pears, cored and quartered
  • 2 large beetroot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 medium butternut pumpkin, sliced
  • 2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (Massel for an instant variety)

Place pears, beetroot and pumpkin (cut into roughly same sized pieces) into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Place pork onto the veggies in the slow cooker.

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Sprinkle other ingredients evenly over the top of the pork.

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Place the lid on and set to low for 6 hours.

Remove the vegetables and set aside, return the meat into the juices, cover and set for another hour.

 

Remove the meat, cover and allow to rest. Remove and discard the fat.

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Place the vegetables into a very hot, preheated oven (220C) for about 20 minutes to crisp slightly.

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While the veggies are baking, drain and strain the juices and use them to make a gravy with a simple roux. Here’s my recipe.

Carve or pull the pork, top with the gravy and serve with veggies and some extra steamed greens.

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This quantity of meat and gravy makes enough for 3 dinners for our family so we divide the meat into freezer-safe containers, pour the gravy over them and freeze for another meal, where I just need to make the veggies, or use it as the filling of a pie.

Beetroot and pumpkin are growing in large quantities in our garden at the moment, but feel free to add in whichever veg you like with the pears – carrots, sweet potato or even onions would also be yummy!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Beef and broccoli

Perth had had such a mild start to summer this year …. But in the last 3 days summer has really hit. Today it is 42C. Yuck. I have to confess that I’m a little grumpy and short on patience in this weather.

So there’s no chance of me turning on my oven or standing in front of the stove. We are out for most of the day but still want to come home to a nourishing dinner that doesn’t bust our budget …. Slower cooker to the rescue!

I actually timed myself, just out of interest, and it took me 6 minutes to get this dinner on, and it’ll take another 5 mins about an hour before I serve. Nice!

  • 800g-1kg gravy beef
  • 1.5 cups beef stock
  • 400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced chilli
  • 4 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • good pinch salt
  • 1.5 heads of broccoli, broken into florets

Chop carrots and place them into the bottom of the slow cooker with the chic peas.

Place the beef on top of the vegetables.

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Mix together all other ingredients (except the broccoli) and pour over the top of the beef.

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Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to low for 6 hours.

Remove the lid and use a fork to pull apart the beef, then stir in the broccoli.

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Return the lid and cook for a further 2 hours before serving with brown rice.

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On days when I am going to be out and won’t be around to add in the broccoli 2 hours before the end, I simply steam the broccoli and stir it through before serving.

Serves about 8.

Enjoy πŸ™‚