Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry – slow cooker

I love my slow cooker, particularly so I can go out and let my appliances do the cooking for me.  I often ‘fire up’ the slow cooker when I am going out to the football for the day, smug in the knowledge that while I am enjoying the game, dinner is cooking at home, and all I have to do when I get home is tweak it, and it is ready to serve.

This is not quite as bad as it could be, as I used light evaporated milk with some dessicated coconut for flavouring, rather than coconut milk.  I also love this as there is very little preparation to do, no cutting or browning of meat, so it is very quick to assemble.  You don’t need to brown the chicken as it will pick up a lot of colour from the curry paste.  See what you think.

Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry

Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry

This should serve four people, accompanied with rice or whatever you fancy.

 

4 chicken thigh fillets (no bones)

Half a cauliflower, cut into florets

1/2 cup massaman curry paste

395g tin light evaporated milk

3 tbsp dessicated coconut

2 cinnamon quills

2 star anise

2 cardamon pods, bruised (do this by putting them on your cutting board, and pushing down with the flat of the knife until they are just squashed open)

1 bay leaf

1/2 fresh lime, to juice

1 tsp sugar

3 tsp gluten free cornflour

 

Place the chicken and cauliflower into the crock of the slow cooker.  In a jug, mix the curry paste and evaporated milk, pour over the chicken and cauliflower in the crock.  Sprinkle over the coconut, add the cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and bay leaf and stir well to combine.  Cover, and cook on low for 6 & 1/2 hours.

Squeeze the lime into a small bowl, add the sugar and stir through the cornflour until the paste is smooth.

Remove the lid and take out the cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and bay leaf.  Stir in the lime & cornflour paste, cover.  Turn the slow cooker up to high for 10-15 minutes, give it a final stir, and serve, sprinkled with a little parsley or even coriander.  The chicken should be so tender you can cut into it with your fork, no knives required!

 

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

We have been having a hot spell in Australia, so frozen desserts are very appealing, and with St Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought that something green would be a good theme.  So for all my Irish cousins out there – enjoy!  I made this with light cream cheese and light condensed milk, so while it is still high in sugar, it is lower in fat than it could have been.  That was my excuse for eating it anyway, and I am sticking to it!

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

250g light cream cheese

395g tin light sweetened condensed milk

3 tbs creme de menthe

 

Beat together the cream cheese and condensed milk until well blended and smooth, slowly add the creme de menthe.  If you want something violently green, you could add food colouring, but I didn’t and the result is a light green colour.

Freeze for two hours just to thicken (the cream de menthe will stop the mixture setting properly if you don’t freeze it).

 

Be wary – the alcohol isn’t cooked, so is still active.  If you need to have zero blood alcohol, don’t eat this the same day!

 

Mediterranean Rice Salad

This is nice when the rice is still a little warm, although it is also good eaten cold too (especially on a warm day).  As all the flavour comes from the herbs, I haven’t dressed it with any fatty, sugary dressings, so it is very low in all those nasties.

Mediterranean rice salad

Mediterranean rice salad

1 cup of rice, cooked (it will bulk up to approximately 3 cups once cooked)

Pinch of salt

200g small tomatoes (I used a mixture of the cherry tomatoes and the yellow “snacking” ones), halved

3 sprigs of fresh basil (about a handful), chopped

4 sprigs of lemon thyme, picked

1 radish, halved and sliced finely

4 spring onions, sliced finely

1/2 red capsicum, chopped finely

1 lettuce leaf, chopped finely

1 stick of celery, sliced very finely

 

Cook the rice with the salt (I prefer the absorption method)*.  While it is cooking, prepare the salad vegetables and place in a bowl.  When the rice is ready (drain if appropriate) mix with the vegetables.

 

*I find the easiest way to cook rice is to use a 3 to 1 water to rice ratio (3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice).  I put the rice, water and salt in a microwave safe container, and microwave on high (covered) for 10 minutes.  I then stir the rice, take off the cover and put back in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes – depending on the strength of the microwave.  When the rice is ready, all the water should be absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly before using.  This is also a good method to cook rice for fried rice – if you spread it out on a tray and let it dry before using it you will get a better end product – if the rice is still sticky it won’t fry up properly.