slow cooked

Slow Cooker Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

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We love slow cooker curry in our house and easily eat one every week. I love being able to chuck something on first thing in the morning and know that all I need to do for dinner that night is cook some rice (I often do that in advance and freeze it too, saving even more time!).

This slow cooker chickpea and pumpkin curry is slightly sweet, creamy and very mild and a huge hit with my kids, especially my 2.5 year old who will ask for curry for days after we've had this one. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of fibre and magnesium, two nutrients most of us need extra of! The spices are great for settling tummies and reducing inflammation and the veggies are generally the cheapest you can get, making this a very cheap (and nutritious!) family meal.

It freezes well (minus the potatoes) and tastes even better when kept in the fridge for a few days before eating. I hope you enjoy my favourite slow cooker curry! x

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Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 mins in a hurry; 6 hours slow cooked

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (OPTIONAL but delicious)
  • 1 medium potato, washed and cubed
  • roughly two cups butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 tin diced tomato (salt reduced)
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or 300 g pre-soaked and cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • few cracks of pepper to taste
  • 1 ½-2 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp stock paste
  • couple handfuls of chopped greens like kale or silverbeet
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METHOD

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sauté on a medium heat until the onion is translucent (approx. 5 minutes). This step intensifies the flavour, but can be totally skipped if your in a hurry.
  2. Set up your slow cooker*. Chuck in the cooked onion mix, and the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.
  3. Cook for 6 hours on low heat (stir occasionally to prevent the sides drying out). Chuck in the chopped greens in the last 10 minutes or so and mix through. Serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. A dollop of natural yogurt goes very well with this too!

*If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can easily be slowed cooked in the oven at 180 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours, just chuck it in a casserole dish or dutch oven (you will need to stir occasionally). It can also make a pretty quick meal by cooking on the stove top in a large pot. Follow step one, then add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. It’ll be tasty but the flavours won’t be as rich.

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Osso Bucco

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Spring may be around the corner but the weather is still chilly here in Melbourne's inner west - and that means I'm still cooking lots of hearty one pot meals! I can't go past Osso Bucco in winter, it's rich in favour, simple to prepare and easy on the family's shopping budget. 

For biodynamic beef we like to shop at Hagen's Organics - although they're located outside the inner west we're happy to travel high quality organic and biodynamic meat. The result is always a better tasting meal with less toxin exposure and better impact on the environment when compared to conventional farming practices. 

We like to prioritise our "organic dollar" and this means that we prefer to pay for organic meat and animal products over some fruits and vegetables (think the dirty dozen, clean fifteen). This is because animals, like us humans, store toxins in our body's fat deposits. When you eat some beef, you are also eating a portion of the cow's stored toxins including the pesticides and medications they were exposed to. When you eat biodynamic meat your exposure to these toxins reduces due to the strict farming practices of biodynamic farmers which prohibits the use of artificial chemicals.  

This is my mother's recipe and will always remind me of cosy Sunday night dinners, with the fireplace roaring and our family all together. 

Ingredients

  • 1kg beef osso bucco (about 4 shanks cut into 3 pieces each)
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of ground pepper
  • 2 x 400g cans of tinned tomatoes or 8 chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of red wine - I like Shiraz
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp mixed Italian dried herbs 
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1 tbs stock paste/powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175C fan forced.
  2. Heat oil in a large casserole pot. Add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender.
  3. Remove the vegetable mixture from the pot.
  4. Over a high heat sear the osso bucco in batches using the same pot. Add oil sparingly if required. Once the meat is seared place on a plate to the side.
  5. Return the vegetable mixture to the pan and add the tomatoes, wine, stock and herbs. Bring liquid to the boil, stirring occasionally and then remove from heat. 
  6. Add the osso bucco to the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Put casserole pot into the oven with the lid on. Cook for 1 + 1/2  hours.
  8.  Serve with brown rice or mashed potato and gremolata (below).

Serves 6

Gremolata

  • 1 bunch of parsely, leaves removed from stems, chopped.
  • Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced

Simply combine the gremolata ingredients and sprinkle over the meat before serving.