Friday, 1 April 2011

Moving too fast? Slow down

The Last Five Years is one of the first more modern musicals that I grew to love. Jason Robert Brown's music caught my attention immediately, and having not seen it onstage until a few years back, had to ask my friend Claire to put the songs into narrative order for me. Whilst not the prompt for this post, I've embedded Colleen Ballinger singing Summer in Ohio below, just because it's one of my favourite songs and never fails to raise a smile, no matter how miserable the day.

Now where was I? Slowing down. The sheer length of this year's winter. Has it seriously not been the longest ever winter in the history of the world? The sheer length of this year's winter has meant that I feel like I've been eating casseroles for ever. Although at least twice a week I have a tendency to have to skip dinner as I just can't eat after Guides and Brownies - it's too late and I'm too shattered to start cooking. Certainly anything nutritous. I'm quite good at marmite on toast.

Just after Christmas, fuelled by decongestants and paracetamol I bought a slow cooker as my boyfriend wasn't having any of this toast and marmite for dinner business. What we took to doing was putting a casserole or similar in the cooker the night before and then switching it on low as we went out of the door in the morning.

I just thought I'd post about something simple and cheap I've been cooking at least every couple of weeks as Mark likes it, it's dead simple and the flavour improves if you eat it the next day.

Slow cooker Spag Bol

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4 carrots
350g lean minced beef
1 tin tomatoes
Red wine (fill the tin of tomatoes up with wine)
Tomato puree
250g mushrooms (I say this as a quantity but only because I use half a packet of mushrooms when I cook it)
a bay leaf

Parmesan cheese

Now I have to own up, I might be able to do the chef style onion chopping, but for this and the casseroles I've been cooking, I throw that, the garlic, the peeled carrots and mushrooms in the food processor and blitz them until they're all finely chopped. This all goes straight into the slow cooker. As do the tinned tomatoes, wine, a big blob (such a technical term!) of tomato puree, and of course the mince. I then give everything a stir and switch it on in the morning.

When I get in from Brownies or Guides all we do is cook the pasta in salted boiling water and grate some parmesan (some, when in conjunction with cheese, means lots in my book). Serve in a bowl in front of that week's episode of Glee cwtched up.

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