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.


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


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.


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


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 🙂

Chick pea and Cauliflower Curry

This is my vegan alternative to my Slow Cooked Lamb Curry. It is cheap and easy to prepare, deliciously filling and loaded with veg that will nourish your body.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp minced chilli
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 400g tins chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • butternut pumpkin, about 1kg, diced into roughly 2cm cubes
  • green beans, about 600g cut into roughly 3cm peices
  • spinach, about 3 large handfuls, roughly chopped
  • 800g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 200g coconut cream
  • Brown rice to serve.

Place the pumpkin, cauliflower and chick peas in the bottom of the slow cooker and turn on to low.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onion until it is slightly translucent. Add in the dry spices and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir until well combined with the spices. Add syrup and stir.

(For a Thermal Cooker: Chop the onion on speed 5 for about 10 seconds,scrape down sides and add oil. Cook on steam temp, speed 1 for 5 minutes. Add in dry spices and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add in Garlic, ginger and chilli and cook on steam temp, speed 1 for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir on speed 4 for 10 seconds, then cook on steam temp, speed 2 for 3 minutes)

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Pour the tomato and spice mix over the top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Return the lid to the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours.

Add in the green beans and cook for a further 2 hours.

Stir in the spinach and coconut cream (don’t shake the can, but use the thickest part at the top of the tin for a creamier sauce). Turn the cooker up to high  for the final half hour but leave the lid off the slow cooker to allow some of the liquid to evaporate, stirring occasionally.


Serve with brown rice.

This quantity of curry serves about 10-12.


Freezes and defrosts well.


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 🙂

Sticky BBQ Pulled Pork

I loved pulled roasts. So tasty and so easy in the slow cooker. And importantly they also hide my terrible carving skills 😉

  • 1 leg of pork
  • 2 tbsp GF BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 cups hot beef stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Place the leg in the slow cooker, and pour over the hot stock.

Drizzle the honey evenly over the meat, then pour over the sauces and sprinkle in the garlic.

This monster leg was so big that I had to squish it into my 6L slow cooker!

Place lid on and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove leg and trim off fat (See the notes below if you want to use it to make crackling). Allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

Use a fork to pull the meat off the bone and set aside.


Drain the liquid from the bottom of the cooker through a fine sieve.

Place the juices in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly. Allow to simmer until it reduces down to a sticky sauce – it took about 45 mins. (Speed 1, 100C until simmering, then reduce to 80C with the measuring cup off for about 45 minutes)


Pour the hot sticky sauce over the pulled pork and serve in your favourite toasted bun, or with roasted veg and apple sauce. Yum! You can find my recipe for spelt rolls here.


You’ll need a serviette handy!!

This makes far too much for 1 serving for our family so I freeze the remaining meat with the sauce already on it in the container – defrosts beautifully. Makes for a great pie filling too.

If you want to make crackling (I generally don’t because I am tempted to eat far too much of it!) then you need to make sure the fat you have removed is patted very dry. Slash the fat with a very sharp knife then rub in a generous handful of salt very well and brush with olive oil. Place in a preheated very hot oven – about 230 for 30 mins and then reduce to 180C until perfectly puffed and crispy, about another  30 mins.

Enjoy 🙂

Chicken Stroganoff

…. I’m not sure that there is anything very authentic about this recipe. But my Beef Stroganoff is very well received, so I thought I’d have a go at a chicken version. It is very mild and creamy – lovely comfort food!

  • 1 heaped tbsp GF flour
  • 2 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 800g chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 cups hot chicken stock (I use Massel if I don’t have my own made)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 large hand-fulls fresh asparagus, chopped (about 15-18 spears cut into 4s)
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream.
  • Pasta and steamed veg to serve.

Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry onion and garlic until transparent.

Turn off heat and deglaze the pan with then wine.

In a large zip lock bag, place the dry ingredients, then add the chicken  and shake well to coat – place in bottom of slow cooker, including any flour mix left in the bag.


And onion mix to the slow cooker.

Pour stock over the chicken, place on lid and set on low for 4 hours.


Add sliced mushrooms, stir well, return lid and cook on low for a further 2 hours.

Add asparagus and cook on low for a further 2 hours.

Just before serving, stir through the coconut cream.


We serve on top of GF pasta, with a side of steamed veg.



This makes enough for 2 dinners for our family (probably 6-7 adult serves), so we freeze half of the mix.

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.