Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Slow cooker

Recipe Shed – Slow cooker

As I had a hand in Keith choosing slow cooker meals as the prompt for this weeks recipe shed I thought I’d better write a good post for it. I even remembered to take some photo’s before it was half eaten, clear progress!

At this time of year there is nothing better than sitting down at the weekend and eating a hearty plate or bowl of food to warm you up. As soon as the clocks change our weekly meal plan changes from salads and fish to stews and casseroles. It probably also helps that a lot of this food is easy to prepare and that precise cooking times aren’t very important, perfect for lazy Sunday’s where you don’t leave the house.  I also really enjoy trying out new and unusual cuts of meat, with the added advantage that they are often cheaper as well.

Last weekend was most definitely such a weekend, one where you feel like hibernating. In the freezer we had a short rib of beef that we’d be meaning to eat for a while. It had been part of a bigger rib of beef we’d roasted a month or so ago, so we’d chopped it off and kept it for another day (the rib was already massive for 2 people). Being a cheaper, fattier cut It really lends itself to slow cooking so I created this recipe specially. The beauty of this sort of recipe is you can really put in whatever vegetables you happen to have in the fridge and whatever fresh herbs you have to hand, it’s very easily adaptable.


Short rib of beef, 1-2 ribs per person, cut into individual ribs

2 carrots

A leek

2 onions

Can of Guinness (or some red wine if you prefer)

Beef stock

Couple of bay leaves

Few sprigs of Thyme


  1. Heat some oil in a large saucepan, once hot brown the beef on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and cover with some foil to keep hot.
  2. Slice the onion and leek thinly, chop up the carrot into small cubes. Add all the vegetables to the pan used for the beef and soften gently. Worth adding a bit of butter at this stage also.
  3. Put the beef back into the pan with the rib at the bottom, add the Guinness and enough beef stock to cover the meat. Throw in the bay leaves and Thyme and some salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat and gently simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours
  4. After a simmering the meat should be starting to fall off the bone, as long as the meat is covered with the stock it shouldn’t dry out so the timing isn’t critical. Carefully remove the meat from the pan without it breaking up and cover with foil.
  5. Skim any fat off the top of the remaining stock and vegetables and turn the heat up to full. Let the stock reduce down for a few minutes, if you want you can add a little cornflour to thicken it.
  6. Serve the beef with some mashed potato and green veg with some of the gravy from the pan on top. We also kept the left over stock for a future meal.

P.S. you may have noticed that no slow cooker is used here, well that was just me being lazy and using just one pan. But the dish would lend itself very well to being cooked in a slow cooker. You’d get lovely soft meat from that gentle simmering.

Recipe shed – roasts

So the theme this week for the Recipe Shed is roasts, before telling you about my favourite roast I must apologise for the lack of photo’s; thought I had one saved on my phone but alas not.

Anyway although I love all roasts one of my particular favourites is Gammon and I’m not talking about those poor excuses for a gammon steak that you generally find in a pub. I’m talking about a whole joint cooked so that it almost falls apart and has beautifully soft fat. This is also a great recipe for the festive time of the year with the spices that the meat is cooked in . You may notice that this recipe doesn’t involve just roasting, but allow me this little bit of artistic license.

Serves 6-8

4kg joint of gammon with a good layer of fat on one side

1 carton orange juice

1 carton cranberry juice

A couple of whole Star anise

small handful of whole black peppercorns

Cinnamon stick

Whole cloves

Runny honey


  1. Place the gammon in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling take off the heat and drain the pan. This gets rid of some of the salt.
  2. Place the joint either back in the pan or in a slow cooker (my preferred method), poor in the fruit juice and top up with some vegetable stock to cover the joint. If you don’t cover it then it’ll dry out.
  3. Add the star anise, black peppercorns and the cinnamon stick. Cover, bring to the boil then turn down to a fast simmer.
  4. Now leave it simmering for about 1 hour per kilo (can easily be more in a slow cooker at a low heat).
  5. 30 mins before you want to eat, take the joint out and place in a roasting tin with the fat side up. Use a knife to take the rind off leaving the white fat underneath. Push some whole cloves into the fat and then drizzle on a little honey over the fat.
  6. Roast in a hot oven (about 200 degrees) for 20-30 mins until the fat starts to crisp up.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve with veg of your choice.