Slowly Does It... (2015)

Illustration

Carrot & Coriander Soup

Beetroot Soup

French Onion Soup

Leek & Potato Soup

Mexican Bean Soup

Scotch Broth

Split Pea & Ham Soup

Braised Chicory in White Wine

Spiced Bean & Vegetable Stew

Mushroom & Bean Hotpot

Lentils with Red Pepper

Ratatouille

Braised Red Cabbage

Easy Chicken Casserole

Spanish Chicken

Chicken Tagine with Apricots & Almonds

Chicken with Chorizo & Beans

Fruity Guinea Fowl

Mexican Chilli Con Carne

Beef Goulash

Beef & Guinness Stew

Pheasant Casserole with Cider & Apples

Curried Lamb with Lentils

Fruity Rice Pudding

Winter Fruit Compote

Carrot & Coriander Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 15 minutes in pan, then about 4 hours on High, plus cooling • Serves 6 • Per Serving 140 calories, 11g fat (of which 7g saturates), 10g carbohydrate, 0.2g salt • Easy

40g (1½oz) butter

175g (6oz) leeks, trimmed and sliced

450g (1lb) carrots, sliced

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp plain flour

1 litre (1¾ pints) hot vegetable stock

150ml (¼ pint) single cream

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh coriander leaves, roughly torn, to serve

1. Melt the butter in a large pan. Stir in the leeks and carrots, then cover the pan and cook gently for 7–10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften but not colour.

2. Stir in the ground coriander and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

3. Add the hot stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Season with salt and ground black pepper, then transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 3–4 hours until the vegetables are tender.

4. Leave the soup to cool a little, then whiz in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a clean pan and stir in the cream. Adjust the seasoning and reheat gently on the hob – do not boil. Ladle into warmed bowls, scatter with torn coriander leaves and serve.

Beetroot Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 15 minutes in pan, then about 4 hours on High • Serves 8 • Per Serving 290 calories, 25g fat (of which 4g saturates), 15g carbohydrate, 0.2g salt • Easy

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

750g (1lb 11oz) raw beetroot, peeled and cut into 1cm (½in) cubes

275g (10oz) potatoes, roughly chopped

1.5 litres (2½ pints) hot vegetable stock

juice of 1 lemon

salt and freshly ground black pepper

TO SERVE

125ml (4fl oz) soured cream

25g (1oz) mixed root vegetable crisps (optional)

2 tbsp snipped fresh chives

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the beetroot and potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the hot stock and the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Season with salt and ground black pepper, then transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 3–4 hours until the beetroot is tender.

3. Leave the soup to cool a little, then whiz in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a clean pan and reheat gently on the hob – do not boil. Ladle into warmed bowls. Swirl 1 tbsp soured cream on each portion, scatter with a few vegetable crisps, if you like, and sprinkle with snipped chives to serve.

FREEZING TIP

To freeze Complete the recipe to the end of step 2, then cool half or all the soup, pack and freeze for up to three months.

To use Thaw the soup overnight and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.

French Onion Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 30 minutes • Cooking Time 40 minutes in pan, then about 4 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 438 calories, 21g fat (of which 13g saturates), 45g carbohydrate, 1.3g salt • Easy

75g (3oz) butter

700g (1½lb) onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp plain flour

200ml (7fl oz) dry white wine

1 litre (1¾ pints) hot vegetable stock

bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, a few fresh thyme and parsley sprigs)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

TO SERVE

1 small baguette, cut into slices 1cm (½in) thick

50g (2oz) Gruyère cheese or Cheddar, grated

1. Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onions and cook slowly over a very low heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown – this should take at least 30 minutes. Add the garlic and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Pour in the wine and let bubble until reduced by half. Add the hot stock, the bouquet garni and seasoning and bring to the boil. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 3–4 hours until the onions are meltingly tender.

3. When ready to serve, preheat the grill. Lightly toast the slices of baguette on both sides. Reheat the soup and adjust the seasoning. Discard the bouquet garni.

4. Divide the soup among four ovenproof soup bowls. Float two or three slices of toast on each portion and sprinkle thickly with the grated cheese. Stand the bowls under the hot grill until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown. Serve at once.

Leek & Potato Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 30 minutes in pan, then about 4 hours on Low, plus cooling • Serves 4 • Per Serving 117 calories, 6g fat (of which 4g saturates), 13g carbohydrate, 0.1g salt • Easy

25g (1oz) butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

550g (1¼lb) leeks, trimmed and chopped

200g (7oz) floury potatoes, sliced

1.1 litres (2 pints) hot vegetable stock

crème fraîche and chopped chives to garnish

1. Melt the butter in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and cook for 10–15 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook for 5–10 minutes until softened. Add the potatoes and toss together with the leeks.

2. Pour in the hot stock and bring to the boil. Transfer the soup to the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 3–4 hours until the potatoes are tender.

3. Leave the soup to cool a little, then whiz in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.

4. Pour the soup into a clean pan and reheat gently on the hob – do not boil. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with crème fraîche and chives and serve.

Mexican Bean Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 2–3 hours on High • Serves 6 • Per Serving without lime butter 184 calories, 8g fat (of which 1g saturates), 21g carbohydrate, 1.3g salt • Vegetarian • Dairy Free • Easy

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

a pinch of crushed red chillies

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cinnamon

600ml (1 pint) hot vegetable stock

300ml (½ pint) tomato juice

1–2 tsp chilli sauce

2 × 400g cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

salt and ground black pepper

coriander leaves, roughly torn, to garnish

lime butter to serve (optional, Cook’s Tip)

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, chillies and spices and fry gently for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.

2. Add the hot stock, the tomato juice, chilli sauce and beans and bring to the boil, then transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 2–3 hours.

3. Leave the soup to cool a little, then whiz in batches in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Pour the soup into a pan, stir in the chopped coriander and heat through, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each portion with a few slices of lime butter, if you like, and scatter with torn coriander leaves.

COOK’S TIP

Lime Butter

Beat the grated zest and juice of ½ lime into 50g (2oz) softened butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Shape into a log, wrap in clingfilm and chill until needed. To serve, unwrap and slice thinly.

Scotch Broth

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 8–10 hours on Low • Serves 8 • Per Serving 173 calories, 2g fat (of which trace saturates), 35g carbohydrate, 2.3g salt • Dairy Free • Easy

1.4kg (3lb) piece beef skirt (ask your butcher for this)

300g (11oz) broth mix (to include pearl barley, red lentils, split peas and green peas), soaked according to the pack instructions

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 parsnip, finely chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

¼ white cabbage, finely chopped

1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped

1 piece marrow bone, about 350g (12oz)

½ tbsp salt

ground black pepper

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley to serve

1. Put the beef into a large pan and cover with water. Slowly bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, using a slotted spoon to remove any scum that comes to the surface. Drain.

2. Put the broth mix and all the vegetables into the slow cooker, then place the beef and marrow bone on top. Add 1.5 litres (2½ pints) boiling water – there should be enough to just cover the meat. Cover and cook on Low for 8–10 hours until the meat is tender.

3. Remove the marrow bone and beef from the broth. Add a few shreds of beef to the broth, if you like. Season the broth well with the salt and some pepper, stir in the chopped parsley and serve hot.

COOK’S TIP

This can be two meals in one: a starter and a main course. The beef flavours the stock and is removed before serving. You can then divide up the meat and serve it with mashed potatoes, swedes or turnips.

Split Pea & Ham Soup

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking • Cooking Time 20 minutes in pan, then about 4 hours on High, plus cooling • Serves 6 • Per Serving 400 calories, 10g fat (of which 5g saturates), 53g carbohydrate, 1.5g salt • Easy

500g pack of dried yellow split peas, soaked overnight (Cook’s Tip)

25g (1oz) butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

125g (4oz) rindless smoked streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1.7 litres (3 pints) well-flavoured ham or vegetable stock

1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, a few fresh parsley and thyme sprigs)

1 tsp dried oregano

125g (4oz) chopped cooked ham

salt and freshly ground black pepper

cracked black pepper to serve

1. Drain the soaked split peas. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion, bacon and garlic and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft.

2. Add the split peas to the pan with the stock. Bring to the boil and use a slotted spoon to remove any scum that comes to the surface. Add the bouquet garni and oregano, then season with salt and ground black pepper. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 3–4 hours until the peas are very soft.

3. Leave the soup to cool a little, then whiz half the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour all the soup into a clean pan and reheat gently on the hob – do not boil. Add the ham and check the seasoning. Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with cracked black pepper to serve.

COOK’S TIP

Dried peas form the base of this comforting soup and are much cheaper than canned peas. First, you need to soak them overnight in about 1 litre (1¾ pints) cold water. If you forget, put them straight into a pan with the water, bring to the boil and cook for 1–2 minutes, then leave to stand for 2 hours before using.

Braised Chicory in White Wine

Illustration

Preparation Time 5 minutes • Cooking Time about 3 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 80 calories, 7g fat (of which 5g saturates), 3g carbohydrate, 0.1g salt • Easy

50g (2oz) butter, softened

6 chicory heads, trimmed

juice of ½ lemon

100ml (3½fl oz) white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

snipped fresh chives to serve

1. Grease the slow cooker dish with 15g (½oz) of the butter. Toss the chicory in the lemon juice and arrange in the bottom of the dish.

2. Season to taste, add the wine and dot the remaining butter over the top. Cover and cook on Low for 2–3 hours until soft. Scatter with chives to serve.

Spiced Bean & Vegetable Stew

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 2–3 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 262 calories, 7g fat (of which 1g saturates), 44g carbohydrate, 1.3g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

3 tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1 small dried red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

700g (1½lb) sweet potatoes, cubed

700g (1½lb) pumpkin, cut into chunks

125g (4oz) okra, trimmed

500g jar passata

400g can haricot or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

450ml (¾ pint) hot vegetable stock

salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a very gentle heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the paprika and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, okra, passata, beans and hot stock. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

3. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 2–3 hours until the vegetables are tender.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Instead of paprika, use 1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.

Mushroom & Bean Hotpot

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 2–3 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 280 calories, 10g fat (of which 1g saturates), 34g carbohydrate, 1.3g salt • Vegetarian • Dairy Free • Easy

3 tbsp olive oil

700g (1½lb) chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp mild curry paste

150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste

2 × 400g cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp mango chutney

3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander and mint

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat and fry the mushrooms and onion until the onion is soft and dark golden. Then stir in the flour and curry paste and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste and beans.

2. Bring to the boil, then transfer to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 2–3 hours.

3. Stir in the chutney and herbs and serve.

Lentils with Red Pepper

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 3–4 hours on High • Serves 4 • Per Serving 296 calories, 5g fat (of which 1g saturates), 47g carbohydrate, 0.1g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 bay leaves, torn

300g (11oz) Puy lentils

600ml (1 pint) hot vegetable stock

1 marinated red pepper, drained and chopped

2 tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley, plus extra to garnish

ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes or until soft. Add the celery, carrots and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the lentils with the hot stock and stir everything together. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 3–4 hours.

3. Stir in the red pepper and parsley and season with pepper. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then garnish with extra parsley and serve as an accompaniment.

Ratatouille

Illustration

Preparation Time 20 minutes • Cooking Time 3–4 hours on High • Serves 6 • Per Serving 150 calories, 9g fat (of which 1g saturates), 15g carbohydrate, 0.1g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, crushed

350g (12oz) small aubergines, thinly sliced

450g (1lb) small courgettes, thinly sliced

450g (1lb) tomatoes, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped

1 green and 1 red pepper, each cored, seeded and sliced

1 tbsp chopped basil

2 tsp freshly chopped thyme

2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leafed parsley

2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste

salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and garlic and fry gently for 10 minutes or until softened and golden.

2. Add the aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, sliced peppers, herbs, tomato paste and seasoning. Fry, stirring, for 2–3 minutes.

3. Transfer to the slow cooker and cover. Cook on High for 3–4 hours until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the ratatouille hot or at room temperature.

Braised Red Cabbage

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 2–3 hours on Low • Serves 8 • Per Serving 50 calories, trace fat, 11g carbohydrate, 0g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

½ medium red cabbage, about 500g (1lb 2oz), shredded

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped

25g (1oz) light muscovado sugar

1 cinnamon stick

a pinch of ground cloves

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 tbsp each red wine vinegar and red wine

juice of 1 orange

salt and ground black pepper

1. Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on Low for 2–3 hours.

2. When the cabbage is tender, remove the pan from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve at once, or cool, put into a bowl, cover and chill the cabbage overnight.

3. To reheat, put the cabbage into a pan, add 2 tbsp cold water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Easy Chicken Casserole

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 5–6 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 323 calories, 18g fat (of which 5g saturates), 17g carbohydrate, 0.9g salt • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 small chicken, about 1.4kg (3lb)

1 fresh rosemary sprig

2 bay leaves

1 red onion, cut into wedges

2 carrots, cut into chunks

2 leeks, trimmed and cut into chunks

2 celery sticks, cut into chunks

12 baby new potatoes, halved if large

900ml (1½ pints) hot chicken stock

200g (7oz) green beans, trimmed

salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry until browned all over. Put the chicken into the slow cooker, along with the herbs and all the vegetables except the green beans. Season well.

2. Pour in the hot stock, cover and cook on Low for 5–6 hours until the chicken is cooked through. Add the beans for the last hour or cook separately in lightly salted boiling water and stir into the casserole once it’s cooked. To test the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg with a knife: the juices should run clear.

3. Remove the chicken and spoon the vegetables into six bowls. Carve the chicken and divide among the bowls, then ladle the cooking liquid over.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Omit the baby new potatoes and serve with mashed potatoes.

Spanish Chicken

Illustration

Preparation Time 25 minutes, plus infusing • Cooking Time 1–2 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 671 calories, 28g fat (of which 5g saturates), 70g carbohydrate, 0.8g salt • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

1 tsp ground turmeric

1.1 litres (2 pints) hot chicken stock

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, roughly diced

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and sliced

50g (2oz) chorizo sausage, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

300g (11oz) long-grain rice

125g (4oz) frozen peas

salt and ground black pepper

3 tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley to garnish

crusty bread to serve

1. Add the turmeric to the hot stock and leave to infuse for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry for 10 minutes or until golden, then transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the onion to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the red pepper and chorizo and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the rice and mix well. Pour in the stock and peas and season, then transfer to the slow cooker and stir together. Cover and cook on Low for 1–2 hours until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

4. Check the seasoning and garnish with the parsley. Serve with some crusty bread.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots & Almonds

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 4–5 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 376 calories, 22g fat (of which 4g saturates), 19g carbohydrate, 0.5g salt • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

2 tbsp olive oil

4 chicken thighs

1 onion, chopped

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp runny honey

150g (5oz) dried apricots

75g (3oz) blanched almonds

125ml (4fl oz) hot chicken stock

salt and ground black pepper

flaked almonds to garnish

couscous to serve

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes or until brown, then transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the onion to the pan with the remaining oil and fry for 10 minutes or until softened.

3. Add the cinnamon, honey, apricots, almonds and hot stock to the onion and season well. Bring to the boil, then transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 4–5 hours until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Garnish with the flaked almonds and serve hot with couscous.

Chicken with Chorizo & Beans

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 4–5 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 690 calories, 41g fat (of which 12g saturates), 33g carbohydrate, 2.6g salt • Dairy Free • Easy

1 tbsp olive oil

12 chicken pieces (6 drumsticks and 6 thighs)

175g (6oz) chorizo sausage, cubed

1 onion, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp mild chilli powder

3 red peppers, seeded and roughly chopped

400g (14oz) passata

2 tbsp tomato purée

150ml (¼ pint) hot chicken stock

2 × 400g cans butter beans, drained and rinsed

200g (7oz) new potatoes, quartered

1 small bunch of thyme

1 bay leaf

200g (7oz) baby leaf spinach

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry until browned all over, then transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the chorizo to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes until its oil starts to run. Add the onion, garlic and chilli powder and fry over a low heat for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

3. Add the red peppers and cook for 2–3 minutes until soft. Stir in the passata, tomato purée, hot stock, butter beans, potatoes, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then add to the chicken. Cover and cook on Low for 4–5 hours until the chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the thyme and bay leaf, then stir in the spinach until it wilts. Serve immediately.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Use mixed beans instead of the butter beans.

Fruity Guinea Fowl

Illustration

Preparation Time 40 minutes, plus marinating • Cooking Time about 25 minutes in pan, then about 6 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 620 calories, 21g fat (of which 6g saturates), 24g carbohydrate, 1.7g salt • Easy

225g (8oz) onion, roughly chopped

125g (4oz) carrot, chopped

125g (4oz) celery, chopped

6–8 guinea fowl joints, total weight 2kg (4½lb)

750ml (1¼ pints) red wine

1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme

2 bay leaves

175g (6oz) ready-to-eat dried prunes

3 tbsp vegetable oil

225g (8oz) streaky bacon rashers, cut into strips

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp harissa paste

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 tbsp plain flour

300ml (½ pint) chicken stock

2 apples

salt and freshly ground black pepper

mashed potatoes to serve

1. Put the onion, carrot, celery, guinea fowl, 600ml (1 pint) of the wine, the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves into a large bowl. Cover, chill and leave to marinate for at least 3–4 hours. Soak the prunes in the remaining wine for 3–4 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven) mark 3. Drain and dry the joints (put the vegetables and wine to one side). Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pan. Brown the joints in batches, over a medium heat, then transfer to the slow cooker.

3. Add the marinated vegetables and the bacon to the pan (keep the marinade to one side) and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, harissa and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the reserved marinade and stock and bring to the boil, stirring, then pour into the slow cooker and season well. Cover and cook on Low for 4–6 hours until the guinea fowl is cooked through.

4. Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Core and slice the apples, then cook for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden. Put to one side.

5. Remove the joints from the slow cooker. Strain the sauce and put back into the slow cooker with the joints. Add the prunes and any juices and the apple. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Mexican Chilli Con Carne

Illustration

Preparation Time 5 minutes • Cooking Time 4–5 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 408 calories, 19g fat (of which 7g saturates), 28g carbohydrate, 1.1g salt • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

2 tbsp olive oil

450g (1lb) minced beef

1 large onion, finely chopped

½–1 tsp each hot chilli powder and ground cumin

3 tbsp tomato purée

150ml (¼ pint) hot beef stock

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic (Cook’s Tips)

25g (1oz) dark chocolate

400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 × 20g packs coriander, chopped

salt and ground black pepper

guacamole, salsa, soured cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips and pickled chillies to serve

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and fry the beef for 10 minutes or until well browned, stirring to break up any lumps. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then fry the onion, stirring, for 10 minutes or until soft and golden.

3. Add the spices and fry for 1 minute, then add the tomato purée, hot stock and the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then stir into the mince in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 4–5 hours.

4. Stir in the chocolate, kidney beans and coriander and season with salt and pepper, then leave to stand for 10 minutes.

5. Serve with guacamole, salsa, soured cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips and pickled chillies.

COOK’S TIPS

Instead of a can of tomatoes with garlic, use a can of chopped tomatoes and 1 crushed garlic clove.

Adding a little dark chocolate to chilli con carne brings out the flavours of this tasty dish.

Beef Goulash

Illustration

Preparation Time 30 minutes • Cooking Time 8–10 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 726 calories, 44g fat (of which 16g saturates), 21g carbohydrate, 1.6g salt • Easy

1kg (2½lb) stewing steak

2 tbsp seasoned plain flour

3 tbsp vegetable oil

700g (1½lb) onions, chopped

225g (8oz) pancetta cubes or bacon lardons

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tbsp paprika

2 tsp dried mixed herbs

400g can peeled plum tomatoes

150ml (¼ pint) hot beef stock

150ml (¼ pint) soured cream

salt and ground black pepper

chopped parsley, to garnish

noodles to serve

1. Cut the beef into 3cm (1¼in) cubes, then toss the cubes in the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and quickly fry the meat in small batches until browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.

3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onions and fry gently for 5–7 minutes until starting to soften and turn golden. Add the pancetta or lardons and fry over a high heat until crispy. Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add the herbs, tomatoes and hot stock and bring to the boil. Stir into the beef in the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 8–10 hours until tender.

5. Check the seasoning, then stir in the soured cream. Garnish with parsley and serve with noodles.

Beef & Guinness Stew

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes • Cooking Time 8–10 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 526 calories, 29g fat (of which 10g saturates), 10g carbohydrate, 0.4g salt • Dairy Free • Easy

1.4kg (3lb) shin of beef or braising steak, cut into 3cm (1¼in) cubes

2 tbsp seasoned plain flour

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, sliced

4 medium carrots, cut into chunks

225ml (8fl oz) Guinness

300ml (½ pint) hot beef stock

2 bay leaves

700g (1½lb) baby potatoes, halved if large

2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leafed parsley

salt and ground black pepper

1. Toss the beef in the flour to coat and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Add a handful of beef and cook until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to the slow cooker and repeat until all the meat is browned.

2. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook for 10 minutes or until browned. Add the Guinness, scraping the base to loosen the goodness, then stir in the hot stock. Add the bay leaves and potatoes and bring to the boil. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 8–10 hours until the meat is tender.

3. Stir in the parsley, season to taste and serve.

Pheasant Casserole with Cider & Apples

Illustration

Preparation Time 50 minutes • Cooking Time 6–7 hours on Low • Serves 8 • Per Serving 478 calories, 28g fat (of which 16g saturates), 12g carbohydrate, 0.7g salt • Easy

2 large, oven-ready pheasants

2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra to dust

50g (2oz) butter

4 rindless streaky bacon rashers, halved

2 onions, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 tbsp dried juniper berries, lightly crushed

2.5cm (1in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

150ml (¼ pint) hot pheasant or chicken stock

350ml (12fl oz) dry cider

150ml (¼ pint) double cream

4 crisp eating apples, such as Granny Smith

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and ground black pepper

1. Cut each pheasant into four portions, season with salt and pepper and dust with flour.

2. Melt three-quarters of the butter in a large pan and brown the pheasant portions, in batches, over a high heat until deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.

3. Add the bacon to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes until golden. Add the onions, celery, juniper and ginger and cook for 8–10 minutes.

4. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add the hot stock and the cider and bring to the boil, stirring. Pour into the slow cooker and season well, then cover and cook on Low for 6–7 hours or until the pheasant is tender.

5. Lift out the pheasant and put into a warmed dish and keep it warm. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a pan. Stir in the cream, bring to the boil and bubble for 10 minutes or until syrupy.

6. Quarter, core and cut the apples into wedges, then toss in the lemon juice. Melt the remaining butter in a small pan and fry the apple wedges for 2–3 minutes until golden. Return the pheasant to the sauce, along with the apples, and check the seasoning before serving.

Curried Lamb with Lentils

Illustration

Preparation Time 15 minutes, plus marinating • Cooking Time 5–6 hours on Low • Serves 4 • Per Serving 478 calories, 22g fat (of which 7g saturates), 36g carbohydrate, 0.3g salt • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

500g (1lb 2oz) lean stewing lamb on the bone, cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher to do this), trimmed of fat

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium red chilli, seeded and chopped

2.5cm (1in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp vinegar

175g (6oz) red lentils, rinsed

salt and ground black pepper

coriander sprigs to garnish

rocket salad to serve

1. Put the lamb into a shallow sealable container and add the spices, garlic, chilli, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix, then cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the lamb and cook for 10 minutes, turning regularly, or until the meat is evenly browned.

3. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, lentils and 225ml (8fl oz) boiling water and bring to the boil. Season well. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on Low for 5–6 hours until the lamb is tender.

4. Serve hot, garnished with coriander, with a rocket salad.

Fruity Rice Pudding

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes, plus cooling and chilling (optional) • Cooking Time 2–3 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 323 calories, 17g fat (of which 10g saturates), 36g carbohydrate, 0.2g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Easy

125g (4oz) pudding rice

1.1 litres (2 pints) full-fat milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

3–4 tbsp caster sugar

200ml (7fl oz) whipping cream

6 tbsp wild lingonberry sauce

1. Put the rice into the slow cooker with the milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Cover and cook on Low for 2–3 hours. You can enjoy the pudding hot now or leave to cool and continue the recipe.

2. Lightly whip the cream and fold through the pudding. Chill for 1 hour.

3. Divide the rice mixture among six glass dishes and top with 1 tbsp lingonberry sauce.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Although wild lingonberry sauce is used here, a spoonful of any fruit sauce or compote, such as strawberry or blueberry, will taste delicious.

For an alternative presentation, serve in tumblers, layering the rice pudding with the fruit sauce; you will need to use double the amount of fruit sauce.

Winter Fruit Compote

Illustration

Preparation Time 10 minutes • Cooking Time 3–4 hours on Low • Serves 6 • Per Serving 139 calories, trace fat, 26g carbohydrate, 0.1g salt • Vegetarian • Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Easy

75g (3oz) ready-to-eat dried pears

75g (3oz) ready-to-eat dried figs

75g (3oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots

75g (3oz) ready-to-eat prunes

1 star anise

½ cinnamon stick

300ml (½ pint) apple juice

300ml (½ pint) dry white wine

light muscovado sugar, to taste

crème fraîche or thick Greek-style yogurt to serve

1. Put the dried fruits into the slow cooker with the star anise and cinnamon stick.

2. Put the apple juice and wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the fruit, cover and cook on Low for 3–4 hours until plump and tender.

3. Turn the compote into a bowl. Taste the cooking liquid for sweetness, adding a little sugar if necessary. Leave to cool to room temperature.

4. Serve the compote with crème fraîche or thick Greek-style yogurt.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Replace the figs with dried apple rings and the pears with raisins.