I recently got a slow cooker and realised I didn't have a clue what to cook in it, so I set up the Slow Cooking Challenge. It was a little bit special, because I had two amazing prizes to give away. A 4.5 Litre Flavour Savour Slow Cooker courtesy of Morphy Richards and a copy of Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson, courtesy of me.
I had high hopes of a great roundup of recipes, but my challenge didn't inspire many of you, however the fabulous few it did inspire came up with some pretty darn tasty recipes.
I should have decided on the winners last weekend, but there were two dishes in particular I couldn't decide between, so I needed some time to think about it. They were both very different and I loved them both, but I managed to decide on my winners in the end.
1. Slow Cooked Lentil Curry
Rose (Now & Then Delicious)
I was very impressed by Rose. As well as coming up with a really delicious recipe, she also give the recipe instructions for cooking the curry in both a pot and a slow cooker. This is one dedicated blogger.
Rose chopped tomatoes, spring onion and coriander and popped them in the fridge until she needed them, then she slow cooked the lentils with spices, wine, stock, tomatoes, vinegar and lime juice. She finished of the curry with a stirring of yoghurt before mixing in her tomatoes, spring onions and coriander. I thought it was a great idea, to have softly cooked ingredients alongside some crunchy fresh ones.
2. Chickpea Squash Stew
Michelle (Food, Football & a Baby)
Michelle's dish is inspired by a similar dish her friend DS used to make. She said it was always perfectly cooked and beautifully spiced. When she couldn't find the recipe, Michelle decided to come up with her own version.
Butternut squash, potatoes, chickpeas & spinach, flavoured with garlic, ginger and chilli, spiced with madras curry powder and finished off with some coconut milk. What's not to love?
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Harini (Sugar 'n' Spice)
I will quote Harini, as I have never come across a dessert quite like this one. I was very intrigued to read the recipe. "Rasagulla's are spongy paneer balls soaked in sugar syrup. It is a popular sweet in Northern India."
Milk, lemon juice, water, sugar, sugar candy (or boiled sweeties for those of us in the uk)- one for each rasagulla and cardamom powder.
This is why I love challenges so much. You always meet some great new bloggers and get some great ideas.
4. Slow Cooked Tamarind Vegetable Pot with Cumin Dumplings
Mangocheeks (Allotment 2 Kitchen)
Mangocheeks based her dish on the South Asian dish Gol Guppay, which is a puffy crisp pastry shell filled with tamarind flavoured chickpeas and potatoes. Instead of making her dish in a pastry shell, she turned it inside out and cooked the ingredients as a stew and topped it with cumin speckled dumplings.
Potatoes, carrots, onion, peas and chickpeas, spiced and flavoured with coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, red chillies, fresh ginger, turmeric and vegetable stock. Mmmmmmmmm :P followed by *drool*. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
West of Scotland
5. Slow Cooker Vegetable & Halloumi Stew
Jacqueline (Tinned Tomatoes)
This was my first attempt at using a slow cooker and I was suitably impressed, although I was disappointed I didn't get that second day taste, on the day of cooking. Unfortunately, you still have to wait until the next day to appreciate the full flavour of the dish. I am pleased to tell you that day two it was brilliant. There is only one change I would make. Next time, I would cook the halloumi separate and add it in the end. It went very soft in the slow cooker and I wasn't keen on the texture.
Slow Cooker Vegetable & Halloumi Stew
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds (toasted and crushed)
1 tsp coriander seeds (toasted and crushed)
4 carrots cut into 2 cm chunks
1 courgette, sliced lengthways and cut into chunky half moons
1 aubergine, cut into chunks
1 cup vegetable stock (2 stock cubes)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes & a pinch of sugar
6 Anya potatoes cut in thirds
½ cup red wine
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 x 400g tin green lentils
1 x 250g halloumi
I used my slow cooker's short browning cycle to saute the onion and garlic in the oil and spices, before adding the other vegetables and sauteed them until the end of the cycle.
Next I add the tinned tomatoes and stock. Then I added in the wine, chickpeas, lentils and halloumi. (I added the to the stew to cook, but next time will cook it separately and add it at the end).
I then set my slow cooker to cook gently for 6 hours.
I served this stew at the request of my husband, with mashed potato, but it would be good with rice too.
And now onto my winners.
My first winner is Michelle from Food, Football & a Baby with her Chickpea Squash Stew. This stew just sounded so warm, spicy and comforting. I just loved it straight away and Michelle used ingredients that are some of my favourites. Michelle wins the Market Vegetarian Cookbook. I just hope she enjoys it as much as I do. I would really love to give Michelle a slow cooker, but unfortunately she now lives in Canada, so it is impossible.
My second winner and winner of the Flavour Savour Slow Cooker is Mangocheeks who blogs over at Allotment 2 Kitchen. I loved that Mangocheeks thought to add dumplings to her wonderful Slow Cooked Tamarind Vegetable Pot, near the end of cooking time and flavouring them with cumin was a neat idea.
So congratulations to my winner and a huge thank you and round of applause to Rose and Harini whose dishes were also wonderful. It was such a hard decision to make, I just wish I had a prize for each of you.
You can find out more about the Flavour Savour at Home of the House Proud and for more food challenges, giveaways and competitions you need look no further than The Food Blog Diary.