Meal Planning Monday – 29th April 2013

Meal Planning Monday

I do find meal planning a bit of a slog.  I usually sit down on a Sunday with my Slow Cooker Books and start trawling for recipes and making my shopping list.  Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who had a set menu every week but always keen to try new recipes.

But one thing that helps a bit is that I have a couple ‘themes’ to help me focus.  On a Monday it’s always #meatfreemonday and on Fridays we try to have fish.  So this just leaves 3 weekdays to sort out.

However, I do find that planning each week saves us time and money.  A couple of weeks ago I tried online shopping again and found I could do my shop for around £50.  However, on the weekend I went to Morrison’s, it’s usually cheap but found myself spending twice as much.  Think I will do it online again next week, it stops me from impulse buying.

This week my Slow Cooker will be busy cooking:

Monday – Aubergine Massamman Curry

TuesdayTomato, Lentil and Chorizo Soup

WednesdayAmerican Diner Style Chili

Thursday – Lamb Tagine

Friday – Smoked Cod with Bean Mash

Roll on Bank Holiday Weekend!

Meal Planning Monday – 15 April 2013

Meal Planning Slow Cooking

My daughter has now been off school for 18 days!  18 WHOLE DAYS!  I’m gagging for her to get back to school tomorrow and a semblance of a routine restored.  Her school had an inset today (just what we needed after two weeks off),  but  she was still supposed to go to child-care but threw a wobbly and as I was home, I decided to spare the childminder the pain and keep her home with me.

However, I did explain I had work to do and I’ve already planned the meals for the week so she’s going to have to eat Cannellini Risotto.  It’s not going to happen is it???  And for the record, I’ve got very little done.

Anyhow, all of the recipes this week are new so I don’t have any links to the recipes but if they turn out okay, you will eventually find them on The Slow Cooker Queen.

Have a great week and I hope you enjoyed a bit of sunshine.

Meal Planning Monday

Meal Planning Monday – 25th March 2013

This week’s meals have been inspired by the weather.  I can’t believe the difference between now and this time last year!

What happened to spring?

As always, I will predominantly be using my Slow Cooker and am looking forward to trying some new recipes.  I’m not convinced about the Marmalade Oxtail but always willing to have a go.  I just need to remember to marinate it the night before, which is not my strong point.

I’ve never eaten Quinoa and I’ve had a bag in the cupboard for ages, so looking forward to trying the Aubergine and Baked Egg.  Pushing the boat out on Friday and making a Thai Fish Curry, fingers crossed the little one will eat it.  She loves Fish and Prawns but she’s not a huge fan of spices.

Meal Planning Monday

Have a great week and stay warm!

Meal Planning Monday

Slow Cooker Sunday: Special Edition – Food Styling with Ren Behan

I find it very difficult to make brown gloop look appetizing!  The lovely Ren Behan, a friend and local food blogger, kindly invited me around her house for a session on Food Styling.  I had no idea there was actually such a thing.  Apparently, there are people who do this for a living!  They travel around to different food shoots with a van full of props.  I’ve still got a long way to go but I learned a few things.

Tips for Food Bloggers

  1. Get a decent camera!  Everyone had digital SLRs and there was me with my iPhone.  I got a bit lost when they started talking decimal points and aperture.  However, after the session I came home and found a couple of apps that can help make your photos look like they were taken with an SLR camera.  The first which I’ve been using for awhile is Camera Plus and the new one I down loaded is called Afterfocus.  It allows you to choose the area you would like to focus on then blur the background also known as Bokeh.
  2. Natural light is a must.  This is difficult as we often eat late and it being winter in the UK there isn’t a lot of natural light.  The trick is to set aside a portion and take a photo in the morning.
  3. When presenting food, apparently, less is more.  I’ve had a bad habit of taking photos of it in the slow cooker, which didn’t result in appetizing photos.
  4. Props!  Don’t go out and buy 6 full dinner sets but buy the odd plate, bowls, and cutlery.  Charity shops and places like Matalan are brilliant for this.  Also, start collecting pieces of fabric that you can use to add interest/colour to your photos.
  5. Get a collection of wooden boards.  Look for offcuts at your local DIY store.
  6. When presenting food use odd numbers.  (E.g.  1, 3, 5, 7)

I’ve only been applying these tricks for a week but I’ve already seen a big improvement in the quality of my photos.

Thanks Ren

Now it’s your turn to share your Slow Cooker recipes using the Linky below.  We’re also on Pinterest if you want to see the recipes from past weeks.  The hashtag for Instagram and Twitter is #scsunday

Slow Cooker Coconut Beef Madras

For a number of reasons; holidays and a technology meltdown, Slow Cooker Sunday had a break for a couple of weeks, but we’re back.  Feel free to share your own recipes by either linking to an old or new recipe on your own blog, a recipe on the net that you love or you can also leave your recipe in the comments section.

Unfortunately, my hubby has deleted the photos of this recipe.  However, we all really rated it and it was incredibly easy to make.  One of the things I like most about slow cooking is that it allows you to use cheaper cuts of meat, and we’re always looking for ways to pinch the pennies, as it cooks slowly all day even the toughest cuts of meat melt in your mouth.

Serves 4

Slow Cooker Setting: Low

Cooking time: 6-8 hours


  • 2 TBSP of vegetable oil
  • 500g of stewing beef or similar, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp of Lazy Garlic or 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 4 TBSP Madras Curry Paste
  • 400 ml of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Large cinnamon stick broken in two
  • Salt, season to taste


Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the beef until it’s sealed on all sides.  Transfer to slow cooker with slotted spoon.

Put the Onion, Garlic, Ginger and chillies into a food processor, and chop finely.  Squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to frying pan, sauté for a few minutes until onions start to soften.  Add the Madras paste, mix well and fry for a further minutes, until it’s fragrant.  Add the Coconut Milk and Cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil.  Season to taste with salt.  Pour over the beef in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the cinnamon sticks; serve with Basmati rice, yoghurt and Naans.

Do check out everyone elses recipes and like and comment.

Click here for more Slow Cooker Inspiration