Slow Cooker Sunday – Chinese Food (Beef and Greens)

Since we’ve started using our Slow Cooker regularly we find that we are having way less Take Aways than we used to. Back in the day, by the time I got home from work, collected my daughter from childcare, bathed her and got her into bed.  It was getting late and I couldn’t be bothered starting to cook, so we’d find ourselves whipping around the corner to McDonald’s or ordering in.

Last week I was inspired by Cabinet Stew to have a go at making Chinese Food in the Slow Cooker.  It was a lovely change to the MSG filled ones that we were getting delivered and no more waking up in the middle of the night dying of thirst.


Slow Cooker Sunday – Chinese Food (Beef and Greens)
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4

  • 500g Stewing Beef
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP of Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 cm grated ginger
  • 80 ml reduced salt soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of orange zest and the juice of the orange
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 160 ml of beef stock
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP of Corn Flour dissolved into 2 TBSP of water
  • one small head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tin (225g) of Bamboo Shoots and Water Chestnuts, drained.

  1. Place the beef and the onions in the bottom of the slower cooker season with pepper. In a mixing jug, combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, ginger, soy sauce, orange zest, orange juice, spice and beef stock. Mix well and pour over the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. An hour before serving stir in the cornflour, this should help it thicken and place the water chestnuts/shoots and broccoli on top. Replace the lid and cook for another hour. Gently mix before serving and serve on a bed of rice or noodles.

Don’t forget Slow Cooker Sunday is all about sharing recipes and being inspired.  Please add your favourite recipes by using the Linky below.  They can be old or new and don’t have to be your own.  As long as you have a web address they can be added. Alternatively, you can always add them in the comments section.
For more recipe inspiration check out our Pinterest Board, with over a hundred slow cooker recipes or join our Google + Community ‘All Things Slow Cooking’


And if you subscribe to my blog, using the form in the sidebar you can get a free copy of my first ever eBook ‘There’s More to Slow Cooking than Stews – 10 Recipes to get you going’.

Disclosure:  The meat was Courtesy of;  a one stop gourmet shop selling food and produce sourced from over 75 of the UK’s leading farms and producers. All the best quality, most popular and rarest cuts of award-winning meats, cheeses and greengrocer goods are all selected for their superior taste can all be delivered directly to the door of the home cook. 

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

Finally, some help in the kitchen!

Aunt Bessie'sI’m no Super Ninja Mum, I do like to cook from fresh but on occasion I need a bit of a break and am always up for a bit of a cheat sometimes.   I want to let you in on a secret; I’ve got someone helping me in the kitchen and she’s come to my rescue on a few occasions recently.

I don’t know how many times I have tried to make Roast Potatoes, I’ve tried goose fat, par boiling, knocking them about in the colander etc and they never turn out brilliantly.  Recently, I’ve discovered Aunt Bessie’s Frozen Roast Potatoes.  Some of you may be grimacing but honestly they are quite good and I can’t be bothered with all the effort of pealing and working out the timings and temperatures.

This weekend after a couple of wines in the pub I thought it was a good idea to invite friends over for an impromptu roast as I’d left one in the oven.   Luckily, my freezer was stocked full of Aunt Bessie’s stuff:  Homestyle Gravy, which is much nicer than the granule stuff, Roast Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding and Apple Pie.  No one complained and I almost looked domesticated!  :-)

And another discovery I’ve made, Aunt Bessie’s Casseroles are suitable for slow cooking with instructions on the pack.  All you have to do is put 300ml of water in and your set to go!  As I said, I like to cook from fresh normally but they are great for a mid week meal and were surprisingly nice.  Another bonus is that they have less than 5 Weight Watcher Proplus points so I can have dumplings as well!

I’ve been having a chat with the people at Aunt Bessie’s and they’ve kindly offered 3 prizes so you can try them for yourself.  £10 may not seem like a lot but you could probably buy all the accompaniments for a roast with them.   Simply enter by using the Rafflecopter form below.  Competition Closes on the 27th of October at midnight (EST).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I received a selection of products complimentary.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

A taste of home!

You know the feeling when you’ve been away from home for a while and you start craving things from home, like your own bed and some of your favourite foods.  As a Canadian living in the UK I’ve had this feeling many times over the last 10 years.  In addition, now that I tend to use the internet more and more for recipes I often come across North American recipes that have ingredients that I can’t find here.

Last week I came across American Soda, thanks to a tip-off from a twitter mate, who stock American products and deliver nationwide.  I was like a kid in a candy shop! I didn’t know where to start.  They have everything from Ding Dongs to Hamburger Helper! Sadly, I couldn’t find any Cheese Whizz which is one step away from Styrofoam.

The service was excellent and the prices/shipping are reasonable.  I wouldn’t do my weekly shop there but I now have a stash of a few of my favourites in the cupboard for those homesick moments.

I’ll definitely be shopping there again.  If you have any North American friends it would be a great place to buy them a slightly unique gift

Even if you don’t fancy shopping there it is worth a look at some of the weird and wonderful things we eat.  No wonder obesity is an issue!

Disclosure:  I received £20 worth of products in return for this review

It’s Official! I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Woman!

I won’t be 40 for a bit but I’ve found myself complaining more and more lately.  This is something I’ve never been good at.  Some joke that I have been in the UK too long and have lost the ability to complain but, honestly, it’s a skill I never really had.  If I do complain I tend to be incredibly polite and get nowhere.

In the last week I’ve complained at least 3 times.  On Mother’s Day we went to Loch Fyne at 5pm, the restaurant was completely empty but we were told that they did not have any room.  I do appreciate that it was probably fully booked from 7pm but we had a toddler with us so would have been in and out very quickly.  We didn’t complain and skulked out.

A couple of weeks later we decided to give it another chance.  The service was excellent but the food was inedible.  We were sitting by the pass and saw our food sitting for ages and when the waitress passed me my plate I burnt my hand on it.  She didn’t even apologize.  Again we didn’t complain, we just paid and quietly decided that we would never return.

On Tuesday night, my hubby wanted a Chinese Take-away, he quickly ordered without consulting me so I had no idea of what we were having.  I was really hoping for Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls.  So when the food arrived without the balls, I assumed it was my husbands fault.  We tucked into our meals and when we were about half way through we received a phone call from the delivery guy saying he had delivered the wrong meals.  We explained that we had already started.  I decided that that wasn’t acceptable and rang to complain. As I said earlier, I’m rubbish at complaining, my husband was lying on the sofa listening and cringing and in the end all I ended up with was a free portion of rice next time!

After that I was fuelled and decided to write to Loch Fyne about our shoddy meals.  I have received an email response promising they will speak to the Senior Manager and get back to me.  Not sure why I bothered though as I really don’t want to go back!

Photo Credit

And finally, yesterday, I came home to find that our neighbours had cut down all of the trees at the bottom of their garden.  The problem with this is that we back onto a Train line and Sainsbury’s.  Now can see and hear the train and the back of Sainsbury’s is covered in graffiti.  It now looks like I live in the hood!  I can’t complain to the neighbours as it’s their garden and they can do what they like. So, I rang Sainsbury’s instead and got straight through to Senior Management who has promised me that they will get a contractor in within a month to sort it out.  I’m not holding my breath but will ring back in a month’s time if nothing is done about it.

I’m slowly getting better at this and by the time I hit 40 look out!

I would love any hints and tips on how to successfully complain .

Update: I have received a response from Loch Fyne

I can also only apologise that the quality of the food that you and the members of your party received was not to the standard you expect from us at Loch Fyne. I have spoken at length to both my Head Chef and the company Executive Chef about this and we are currently looking into the issues you raised. The fact that you burnt your hand on the dish is also unacceptable and I have spoken to our front of house staff about this, to ensure it does not occur again.

I would like to invite you back to the restaurant as my guests, for a meal to the value of £100.00 so that we can try to rebuild your confidence in us. When you would like to take us up on this offer, if you call and make a reservation and print this out and bring it with you, we would be grateful.

Yours truly,

Gary Meharg

General Manager