Welcome to My Kitchen

My personal blog and an account of my adventures in the kitchen. I am a stay at home mum of my two youngest kids, both teenagers. I have four adult children and four grandchildren with one on the way. We live in country NSW, Australia and we love our country life.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Breville Fast Slow Cooker

I've been in love with slow cooking for about seven years now since I bought my first slow cooker, a cheapie ceramic one which cooked unevenly but still managed to produce some pretty good meals.  After some research I bought my second SC, the wonderful Breville Flavour Maker.
This little beauty has a removable non stick bowl that can be put on the stove to brown meat and vegies, and can even be used in a conventional oven.  I've had it for four years or so and it's the most used appliance in my kitchen, I use it several times a week, more during the Winter months when it's produced curries, soups, stews, and our favourite pulled beef for Mexican fiestas.  It is starting to show signs of wear and knowing it won't last forever I've been thinking about getting another slow cooker.  I've had my eye on the Breville Fast/Slow Cooker for a while now, but finances had put that idea on the back burner.  Browsing my local Buy, Swap and Sell page on Facebook on Saturday I saw a second hand one on offer for just $50.  It's a slow cooker/pressure cooker, steamer and saute pan all in one.  In spite of our lack of funds right now we quickly came up with the $$ with some fancy juggling footwork and went around and picked it up.  I have never used a pressure cooker and have always been a bit scared of them, with memories of my mother's 60's version which used to explode for no apparent reason.  But intrigued with the idea of having the equivalent of a slow cooked meal in a fraction of the normal time we decided to try it out yesterday.  We got a cheap (marked down) piece of blade from IGA and made the pot roast recipe out of the instruction book.  It took us a while to figure out the workings of the PC, but soon it was pressuring away.  While that was happening, I heated up some duck fat in the oven, and put in some little potatoes, some sweet potato, baby beets and the little purple eggplants from the garden with a whole head of garlic.  We cooked a huge bunch of silverbeet, also from the garden and 45 minutes later we were eating lunch.  The meat was amazing, it fell apart as if it had been slow cooking for eight hours, and the sauce was wonderful.  Tonight we are going to do a whole chicken, which according to the recipe will only take 30 minutes once it has been browned.  The beauty of this machine is that meat can be browned in the bowl without having to put it on the stove, and stays at an even temperature on the saute setting, browning the meat and veg perfectly.  It also has a stay warm setting which my slow cooker doesn't, and a steamer basket.
As usual, it's turned suddenly cool now Autumn has arrived and I can see lots of soups and stews in our near future.  I am also going to try making stock with the pressure cooker as my research has told me that it gives an intensity of flavour that simmering on the stove can't produce.  Also it would be nice to just whack it all in there and let it do its thing without having it on the stove for hours and having to top up the liquid all the time.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Summer Ends

The first part of the year always rushes by, with the aftermath of Christmas, and New Year, then getting the kids settled into school, then Emily's birthday which was yesterday.  She wanted money to go shopping. Initially she wanted a PS4 but someone kindly sent her an X Box 1.  So she and I went into Wagga on our own, did her shopping and had lunch at Hogs Breath which was lovely.  I was pleased to find out you can order smaller meals, most restaurants put way too much food on the plate and the sight of it usually evaporates my appetite.  Yesterday I had a "light" rib steak with a baked potato and a small salad and it was perfect.  Em had garlic prawns which she raved about and we both had "mocktails" which were very good.  Then we decided she could have her nails done at a salon, something which either of us have ever done.  They look really pretty and she is very pleased with them.  We came home and I iced the white chocolate mud cupcakes, and later on Peter came over and we ordered pizza.

  I was so tired, I just can't shop like I used to, I was very glad to get home and had an early night and actually had a lovely dream for a change.  One of the side effects of the meds I am on are having odd, vivid dreams.

Phill is away till Thursday or Friday which is good, it's nice to relax and have things the way I want them in the house for a little while.

This afternoon I am having my hair cut quite short and am going to put blonde in it again, I am also having my second ear piercing re done.  I had it done years ago but kept getting recurring infections in them even though I never had with my first piercing so I let them grow over.  But I want to get some pretty studs, perhaps my birthstone pink tourmaline.  Should be ready to wear them in time for Mothers Day.

So today I am just going to potter, get the washing caught up, water the gardens.  It's time to pull out all the Summer plants, the tomato bush and the squash and watermelon and think about Winter crops.  And this week I have to make some more stock as soup weather approaches.  I actually used it all through Summer in various dishes so it isn't just a Winter thing.  I am right out of chicken and only have one or two lots of beef left.