Moroccan Black Bean Chicken on Seared Eggplant

This is such a simple meal – quick to throw into the slow cooker in the morning and then a few extra minutes to finish in the evening when you get home from work. But it is delicious and filling – I guess ‘hearty’ is a good way to describe it!!

It makes a large batch too which is great for big families and for the freezer 🙂

5 out of 6 thumbs up at my place (number 6 is waaay over tired and went to bed so I’m not sure that I’m counting his vote this time 😉 )

  • 8 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless (approx 1.2kg)
  • 2 tbsp Moroccan spice blend (I make this one)
  • 2 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 800g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken stock (Massel for store bought)
  • 1 rounded tbsp tomato paste
  • Eggplant (aubergine) slices, Approx 200g per person
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt flakes
  • Grated cheese of choice to top

Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker, sprinkle the seasoning over the top.

Add in the black beans and tomatoes.

Stir together the tomato paste and stock before pouring it over the contents of the slow cooker.


Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Lift lid and use a couple of forks to shred the chicken.

Slice eggplants long ways (I cut a medium one into 4 slices) then pat dry of any water.

Spray with a little olive oil and place into a hot frying pan. Cook each side for a couple of minutes until soft and golden.


Sprinkle eggplant with a little salt, then transfer to a lined baking tray.


Top the eggplant with the slow cooked chicken mix and a little grated cheese (dairy or plant based). Put under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.



Serve immediately.

SO very full after dinner!

This quantity of chicken mix makes about 12 adult serves. If you’re not serving 6 like me, a half batch cooks exactly the same.

We portion out and freeze the left-overs ready for another easy family meal – just need to cook the fresh eggplant each time.

Full disclosure ….. 3 of my 4 kids cried on being told that they were having eggplant  – they had theirs on a little GF pasta instead!!!

P.S. I have been asked about the macros of this recipe – so if you need them: The serve as pictured above is 1/12 of the mix, roughly 1 ladle, with 2 x 100g slices of eggplant and 15g total of Tasty cheese. It is 282 calories, 10g fat, 30g protein and 20g carbs.

P.P.S I haven’t made a vegan version yet, but next time I intend to give it a go and I’ll update. I think I’ll use 2 cans of cannellini beans to replace the chicken and use stock paste or powder for the flavour, but not use the water.

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 – it 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 ….  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.


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.


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


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


Enjoy 🙂


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!


  • 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)


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.


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

Enjoy 🙂

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.


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!)


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.


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.


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


Enjoy 🙂

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.


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.



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


Balsamic Beef

This is my twist on this recipe from Add A Pinch. It’s so quick and simple to  prepare and has such a delicious, flavour. And since it is in the slow cooker – the ‘roast dinner mess’ is very minimal – hooray!!!!

  • Beef Roast, Approx 2kg (brisket works well)
  • 1/2 cup hot beef stock (homemade, or Massel)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp mince chilli
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6 cloves

Place beef in slow cooker.

Drizzle honey over the top.

Mix together the stock, vinegar, aminos, garlic and chilli and pour over the top of the beef.

Place cloves on top of the beef and return lid to the slow cooker. Set on low for 7 hours.


Remove beef from slow cooker and slice before placing in serving dish.



Strain and reserve the juices from the slow cooker. Then I use them in my gravy recipe. However, I want a much lighter gravy, so I use only 1 tbsp fat and 1 tbsp of flour to the 3 cups of liquid.

Pour the gravy over the meat and serve with your favourite sides.

Tonight we had it with roast veg and a beautiful summer salad.


Enjoy 🙂


Chicken Enchiladas

Every time I ask my kids for dinner ideas when I’m writing the monthly menu ‘enchiladas!!’ is the first thing Harry shouts at me 🙂 I honestly can’t keep up with how many he wants to eat!

Everyone else agrees with him, so they are a regular feature on our menu.

As with most of our Mexican inspired food, these are not very authentic…But they are very yummy  so I hope your family enjoys them as much as ours.

Please see below the recipe for our vegan alternative

  • About 1kg chicken thighs (or you can use a whole chicken)
  • 2 tbsp Mexican seasoning
  • 2 heaped cups Salsa
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Tortillas of choice (check out our masa ones here)
  • Cheese, that fits your diet (we do dairy and bio cheese), grated.
  • OPTIONAL: 1 large carrot, 1 large zucchini and 1 tin kidney beans.

Place chicken into the  slow cooker, sprinkle over seasoning and half of the salsa.

Finely grate the veg if you are using them and then blend together with the drained and rinsed kidney beans. Add to the slow cooker and stir though well.

Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 4.5 hours, or 8 hours on low.

Remove and discard the skin of the chicken (if using a whole chicken) then shred the meat.


To the juices, veggies and salsa in the cooker, add in the paste and whisk to combine. Remove about 1/3 of this sauce and keep aside (for topping the tortillas later).


Then return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and fold through the remaining sauce.


Place spoons of the chicken  in the tortillas, then roll.

These ones have the added veggies and are made with seeded whole grain wraps.


Fill your baking tray with the filled and rolled tortillas, then cover with the rest of the salsa and veggie mix and sprinkle with cheese.


These are plain white tortillas without the added veggies …. They were added as a Mexican bean side salad instead!

Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden.


If you’re a fan of the shredded chicken and the flavour of the meal, but would prefer a lighter option without the cheese and tortillas, then it is delicious and refreshing served with my Mexican Bean Salad.


And, if like my husband, you are a fan, go ahead and add a dollop of either dairy or soy based sour cream (it’s not my thing so I always forget it – much to his disappointment!)

To make our vegan version of these enchiladas we leave out the chicken and instead add in a large can of mixed beans and another can of kidney beans. The dish then needs to be cooked for only 3 hours on high or about 5 on low. Top with your favourite vegan cheese. I’m looking forward to experimenting with jackfruit here as another alternative too and will update the recipe when I do!

Enjoy 🙂

Moroccan Lamb Soup

This morning it actually felt a little cool in Perth – hooray!! Cooler weather in my book means soup! Out comes the slow cooker!

We are getting to the last 2 weeks of our 3 months of meat bulk buy so I am starting to need to get a bit creative with the cuts left and my pantry staples. Thankfully I have had an abundance of pumpkins in my garden so that has helped.

This delicious, hearty soup got rave reviews from my husband, the small one and the 2 big boys (both gave it 9/10) …. miss fussypants refused to even try – but that’s not unusual!

Such a great way to use a really cheap ‘left over’ cut of meat so about $4 of meat makes enough for our family of 6 twice over – hello easy freezer meals!

  • 1 medium butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 1 large gold sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 400g tins chic peas, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups very hot chicken stock (I used Massel)
  • 800g lamb soup bones
  • 2 tsp Moroccan seasoning ( I make this one)

Place the pumpkin, potato and chic peas in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Add in the tomatoes, stock and seasoning. Mix well.

Add the bones to the mix and press them down so that they are covered with liquid.


Place on the lid, and set on low. Leave for 8 hours.

Remove the bones from the soup and use a fork to pull off the meat.


Return the meat to the pot.

Use a stick mixer to blend until smooth (or a blender/processor/thermal mixer in smaller batches – please be VERY careful blending hot liquid inside a confined space!!). Season with salt and pepper to taste – I didn’t need to add any tonight.


Serve immediately – it’s particularly yummy with warm garlic bread damper (see recipe below)



Enjoy 🙂

For the garlic damper process (Speed 5, 15-20 seconds) together 3 cups spelt flour (I did wholemeal and white), 3tsp GF baking powder, 1 tbsp Nuttelex/Vegan butter, 1 cup milk of choice and 1 tsp garlic salt. Bring together to a rough disc, press on to a lined baking tray, use your hands to rub 1 tsp of garlic olive oil over the top and sprinkle with flaked salt, slash the top and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 25 minutes or until golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped.



Beef Burritos

So, it’s already established that we are a Mexican food loving family, this is another great simple meal that we’ve added to our Mexican list. I’m not sure how authentic they are but they are definitely yummy and well received by all in our house – and even our guest tonight.

For the tortillas, you can buy those that you enjoy in store, but we use my Masa Tortillas 

  • 700-800g gravy beef
  • 2 tbsp Mexican Seasoning (also my husbands wants it spicier so I’ll use 3 next time!)
  • Salsa (I make this recipe and use 1/3 of it for this meal)
  • 2 x 400g tin corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin re-fried beans
  • 400g tin black beans

Place the beef in the  bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle over the seasoning.


Add the salsa to the top and ensure even coverage, then place lid on and cook on low for 4 hours.


Remove lid and add corn and beans. Stir well so that the re-fried beans are evenly distributed. Return lid and cook on low for another 3-4 hours.


Remove lid and using a fork, gently pull apart the beef so that the meat is now shredded. Mix well and allow to cook for a further half hour on low.

Make or warm your tortillas.

To serve we use a couple of chopped ripe avocados seasoned with pink salt, ground black pepper, a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh chopped coriander. Add grated cheese of choice too if you wish (We use Bio Cheese for Ellie).


Place spoonfulls of meat in the middle of the tortilla, add avocado mix and cheese to the top then fold into a burrito and eat immediately.

This quantity of meat makes enough for our family of 6 for 2 dinners plus a couple of lunches. It freezes well.

For a lighter option I also use a large lettuce leaf in place of a tortilla … Delish and so fresh and crunchy!


Enjoy 🙂

Apricot Chicken

In the 1970’s in Australia, Apricot Chicken was all the rage. And consequently, a lot of kids who grew up in the 80’s (like me) were raised on it as a family dinner standard.

There does seem to be 2 camps of people – those who love it and those who really dislike it – I have always loved it, and was disappointed when it had to be scrapped from our menu because of the allergens in the dried soup mix that is standard for the meal. But since I’ve been making my own French Onion Soup Dry Mix, it is back on the menu! Yay!

Please see below the recipe for a few additional recipe variations.

  • 2kg chicken drumsticks
  • 400ml apricot nectar
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock (I use Massel)
  • 2 x 400g tins chic peas (drained and rinsed)
  • 200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain GF flour
  • 2 tbsp Fench Onion Soup Mix
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos

Place half of the chicken into a double layer plastic bag.

Add to the bag half of the flour and half of the soup mix.

Shake the bag well to coat the chicken.

Place in the bottom of the slow cooker, and repeat with the remaining chicken and dry ingredients.

Add in the chic peas and apricots to the top of the chicken.

Pour in the nectar, stock and aminos then return the lid and set on high for 5 hours.

It will initially look like there isn’t enough water, but the chicken produces liquid and after a few hours there will be plenty.

Initially …
… and 3 hours later

After 3 hours, stir the mix and ensure that the chicken is covered with liquid, them return lid.

Serve with brown rice and steamed greens.

This makes a large quantity – about 8 adult serves. Freezes and thaws well.


A few notes:

You could also use chicken thighs if you don’t like the messiness of the drumsticks, about 1.2-1.4kg.

If you are like my husband and prefer a sweeter meal, swap out some of the chicken stock for equal quantities more of apricot nectar.

Depending on what I have on hand, I sometimes do half chick peas and half brown lentils.

If you want a less sweet meal (or need to avoid the sulphites in the dried fruit), I also swap out the nectar and the dried apricot for about 600g of tinned apricots in natural juice.


Enjoy 🙂