Slow Cooker Mexican Beef

You don’t need a slow cooker to slow cook, so simmer this on the hob or in the oven if you have a lidded casserole-dish (or tin-foil to cover). I ususally put this on at lunch time when I’m working from home.

You can serve this with mexican rice, or of course, with corn tortillas and the usual mexican fayre. Your guests can help themselves and it’s a social one to serve when you’ve got mates piling in.

This freezes well so any leftovers just portion up into plastic take-away pots (with leftover rice). In the past I have done this and eaten just one portion for myself and portioned this up to take to work. I grab it out the freezer as I leave in the morning and by kunchtime it just needa a few minutes on high in the office microwave.

Mouths: feeds 3-4

Time to make: 3 hr (oven) / 6-8 hrs slow-cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 500g pack of mince beef / stewing steak
  • 1 x medium onion
  • 4 x garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 x tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 x tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 x chicken stock cube
  • 6 tbsp lime juice

Other stuff:

  • You can slow cook this on the hob in an hour and a half on a low heat but it’s not the same.

Method:

  1. Take your beef out the fridge and turn your slow cooker on slow (or turn your oven to 140°C)
  2. Peel and dice the onion and throw it in the pan.
  3. Take the garlic, crush it under your knife and (if you’re not using frozen garlic) dice it up a little. Add it to the onion.
  4. Throw in your beef. If your’re using mince beef separate it as you add it .
  5. Add your herbs, the stock cube and the lime juice.
  6. Stir it up and leave it to cook on low. Stir well halfway through and leave till it’s ready.
  7. If you’ve used steak chunks use two forks to shred it.

Forever Garlic

If you’re wondering how to freeze garlic – or even if you can – then yes, you can. Once I learnt this trick I honestly never run out of garlic. Garlic that’s frozen is much easier to cook with. A clove of frozen garlic on the corner of your chopping bnoard while you’re preparing other ingredients will literally melt like butter under a knife after it’s defrosted for five minutes. It also melts into the food when you add it.

Time to make: 5 minutes
Mouths: feeds as many as you like

Ingredients:

  • As much garlic as you can like. I usually do three bulbs at a time.

Other stuff:

  • A good sharp knife
  • A chopping board
  • A decent freezer bag – you want something that will last

Method:

  1. Take a whole bulb of garlic and over the bin gently remove the outer onion skins from it. You want it to stay together. Just remove those outer layers. Don’t force the last layer or two. Bring it back to the chopping board.
  2. Lay the whole bulb of garlic on its side on the chopping board and then use the sharop knife to remove the root. Don’t rush. Just carefully and cleanly cut right through and take that root off.
  3. With the root gone separate all the cloves and remove those onion skins; it’ll all fall aprt in your hands. Leave the each clove’s skin intact. These will cocoon them for the deep-freeze they’re going into.
  4. Place the cleaned up cloves into your freezer bag, clean down the chopping board and repeat the process with the next bulb of garlic.
  5. Place in the freezer and use whenever your recipe asks for garlic.

Egg Fried Rice

Chinese Style Egg Fried Rice

This is a Chinese egg fried rice. It’s absurdly easy. Nuff said.

Time to make: 5 minutes

Mouths: feeds 1 (double the amounts if you’re having a guest)

Ingredients:

  • 1 x packet of ready-made rice
  • 1 x egg
  • 1 x glug of oil (vegetable or coconut oil)
  • 1 x tsp glug of sesame oil
  • 2 x tsp soy sauce
  • 1 x good pinch or salt

Optional:

  • 1 x small handful of frozen peas
  • 1 x teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Change the rice for brown basmati if you prefer

Other stuff:

  • A large non-stick saucepan
  • Wooden spoon/spatula
  • Before you open the rice packet smush it on the counter top under the heel of your hand a bit to loosen up the rice; you don’t want to drop a rice block into your pan, you want separate rice grans

Method:

  1. Put the pan on a medium high heat. Add the oil/cocunut oil first and then add the sesema oil to that.
  2. While that’s heating up, whisk the egg in a small bowl with a good pinch of salt
  3. Add the soy sauce to the pan and then add the contents of the rice packet, stirring well. You want your rice coated in oil and soy sauce.
  4. Move the rice to the edges of the pan to make a clearing in the centre. Now, add a small splash of your egg mixture and stir it up as it cooks so that it begins to break up. As it does, bring some rice in and incorporate it, stirring the whole time. Do this one egg-spash at a time, cooking the egg into portions and bringing the rice in to help break it up.
  5. Bring the whole thing together and cook for further further few minutes. Both the rice and eggs should now be cooked.
  6. Add the frozen peas if you’re using them. Stir them in well and then turn of the heat. The peas will gently defrostinfg and warm through.
  7. Serve.

Corned Beef Stew

corned beef hot potThis true classic – sometimes called a corned beef hot pot – is mega easy and I roll it out every time autumn rolls around. My ma used to make this once a week in the winter and it was a life-saver. I make this in my slow cooker but of course you can make it on your hob in a regular saucepan. I always make this to eat the following day as it’s only then the the full rich flavours come out of this beautiful rich stew. Chop the carrots and potatoes as roughly as you like but remember to chop the mushrooms up super-fine so they melt into a supreme umima taste-explosion. It’s BETTER eaten the following day.

 

Time to make: 2hrs  (hob) / 6-8 hrs slow-cooker

Mouths: feeds 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 x tin of corned beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • handful of mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 x stock cube (beef, preferably, but any will do)
  • A generous glug of oil

Optional:

  • 2 x bay leaves
  • 1 x small bunch of fresh thyme /large pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 x fried egg per person

Other stuff:

  • A large heavy saucepan for huge vat of stew
  • A peeler is handy
  • A boiled kettle to pour over at the end will give your stew a head-start

Method:

  1. Peel and dice the onion put it in your stew-pit with a glug of oil and a low heat. Give them a good 5 minutes to soften. Don’t let them brown.
  2. Clean off (or peel) your carrots. Cut them lengthways once (or twice) and slice along the length to get diced pieces. Throw in the pan with onions. Let them start to soften with the onions.
  3. Don’t bother peeling the potatoes. Just square them off (discarding the off-cuts) and chop into small pieces. Throw in the pan. Stir it all in together.
  4. Put the lid on and let them sweat while you turn to the mushrooms.
  5. Slice up your mushrooms and draw them together on the chopping board. Now chop into them; first one way and then the other. Draw them back together and chop across them again. Keep going until they start to resemble breadcrumbs. Scrape all of this goodness into the pan and stir in. Drop the lid onto the pan and let these ingredients make friends.
  6. Fill your kettle and switch it on.
  7. Now add the corned beef too and let that sweat while the kettle is boiling.
  8. Pour water into the stew-pot till it sits just above all the ingredients. Push the corned beef down as it’ll be sat there in one stubborn lump. It’ll break up, don’t worry.
  9. Cover and leave to cook low-and-slow.
  10. Serve with a fried egg and eat at a table with a loaf and butter.

Pickled Eggs


Pickled eggs are amazing. When you’re hungry and looking for a post workout snack at night these eggs WILL stop you reaching for the the naughty treats. Trust me. They’re easy and they taste great.

Serve these with a few lumps of cheese and a few bags of snacks when you and your mates stumble home after a night out and you’ll be a hero. If you make these every few weeks you’ll always have them to hand. Make them when you’re bored at home on a Saturday morning.


Time to make: 20 mins

Mouths: feeds 4+

Ingredients:

  • 4 hard boiled eggs (this depends on the size of the jar you use. You may want to gently drop some eggs into your jar to see how many fit.)
  • Malt vinegar (this depends on the size jar so aim to use around 250ml)
  • A bay leaf (optional)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper
  • A pinch of sugar

Other stuff:

  • You need a large clean jar wigh its lid. I use an old jar which came with gherkin pickles in it from Lidl (it was a 670g net weight). I ran the jar though my dishwasher and rinsed the lid out in hot soapy water.
  • (Optional) greaseproof/baking sheet to keep the inner lid fresh
  • A chopping board next to the sink
  • A small saucepan for the eggs

Method:

  1. Boil your eggs. You want them good and hard-boiled so start them off in cold water and bring to the boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Take your clean jar and throw in the the dry ingredients.
  3. When the eggs are done bring the saucepan over to the sink and start to slowly add cold water from the tap. Let it overflow for a few minutes. Leave the eggs to sit in the cold water like that for a little while.
  4. Take out each egg and gently tap-tap-tap the eggs onto the chopping board to crack them. Once cracked gently give them a little roll on the chopping board to crack those shells. Now peel each egg. If it gets messy just swill the egg under the cold tap and the shells will rinse away. Place each egg one by one into your waiting jar.
  5. With all of your eggs in the jar take the vinegar and fill the jar to halfway.
  6. Top up the jar with cold water from the tap and screw the lid on. Give it a very gently shake).
  7. (Optional) Before you screw on that lid, fold a sheet of the greaseproof paper into a square and place this onto the top of your jar and screw the lid down over it.
  8. Refrigerate for 1 week (if you can wait that long)

Easy Chocolate Brownies with Salty Pretzels ?

Okay, the pretzels are optional here but I do love to mix sweet and salt. I went a step further and threw in some vanilla fudge because I just can’t stop myself. You can add white choc chips, nuts and dried fruit or some ginger biscuits or mint Oreos. The real joy here is that you can throw in any tasty yummies you like or just choose to make plain old brownies. Either way, you’ve got an easy-to-make and easy-to-clean-up sweet-treat recipe right here.

Time to make: 35 mins overall

Mouths: feeds 4-6

Ingredients:

  • large block dark chocolate (about 110g so just a bit less than a large block)
  • 110g butter
  • 340g of icing sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 344g cup of plain four
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Something to throw in. I added fudge chunks and salted pretzels but you can use white choc chips or some nuts or dried fruit or something. Whatever you use make sure you break it up into bite-size bits. For the pretzels I just crushed them in my hand and dropped them in. Try to use up what you already have without buying more stuff.

Other stuff:

  • A mixing bowl or something of that size
  • A saucepan for the mixing bowl to sit in and do the initial melting
  • An 8×8 baking tray. Line it with baking paper otherwise you’ll need to heavily grease it with your butter.
  • A wooden spoon or spatula; anything large like that to do the mixing

Method:

First turn the oven to 175° C.

Next, break up all of the chocolate and throw it into the mixing bowl with the butter. Now, melt them down together. I did this by just boiling the kettle and sitting the mixing bowl in a saucepan of the boiled water and leaving it for five minutes. If the chocolate hasn’t melted just boil the kettle again and change the hot water in the saucepan and give it another 5 minutes. Once you have a melted goo add the sugar and vanilla and stir it in. Next, beat in the two eggs and when that’s incorporated stir in the flour. Add a pinch of salt and then your fillings.

Pour the mixture into the baking tray and cook for 25 minutes and not a second more otherwise they’ll be dry.

Five minute stir fry rice

Well. This isn’t really a fried rice – you won’t need to touch the frying pan –  but it’s such an easy thing to throw together on a Monday night after the gym when you just can’t be bothered to ‘cook’. Five minutes! This is a handy way to use leftover rice from last night’s takeaway. Double the quantity if you have a hungry friend who’s dropped by. If you want to save on the dishes just eat this straight out of the bowl you use to mix it up with.

 

Time to make: 5 minutes

Mouths: feeds 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 2506 packet of brown basmati rice (white rice is okay but the wholegrain has a great nutty taste)
  • 6 x seafood sticks
  • A handful of spring onions / scallions (or fresh chives)
  • A glug of chilli oil
  • (Optional) 1 x teaspoon Sesame oil (if you want a Chinese flavour use this)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper

Other stuff:

  • A mixing bowl or something of that size (like a saucepan)
  • A chopping board
  • A sharp knife
  • a large spoon
  • Pasta bowl or just a plate

Method:

  1. Take your rice pouch and tear a little opening in the corner. Put it into the microwave on high as suggested by the packet (2 mins normally)
  2. Take your seafood sticks out of their little wrapping and line them all up on your chopping board. Slice them all down so you have little cubes. Drop these into you mixing bowl.
  3. Take hold of those spring onions at their white end and carefully cut small strips off the green end. You need a handful. Throw these into the mixing bowl.
  4. Your rice should be ready now. Carefully take it out and pour the rice on top of the other ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  5. Add a drizzle of you oil/s, a pinch of salt and pepper and now stir well with a large spoon.
  6. (Optional) Slice up a pickled egg and layer on top for a vinegary zing! Here’s our pickled egg recipe link.

Lazy tip:

Top this with a sliced pickled egg. We have a recipe on the site which shows how to make pickled eggs.