Friday 30 December 2016

Longleat Slow Cooker Pork and Bacon

After spending a chilly winters day in Longleat Safari Park and Festival of Light, the thought of returning to the cosy van with a slow cooker stew waiting to be dished up was simply divine. No cooking needed to be done as this stew has enough veggies, proteins and carbs in it so it was just a case of fill up a bowl and tuck in.


750g Stewing pork
4x Rashers smoked back bacon, chopped
150g Baby button mushrooms
1x Onion, diced
1x Red pepper, chopped
1x green pepper, chopped
1x garlic clove, crushed
6x Shallots, peeled
300g Mini carrots, peeled
600g Potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal sizes
1x Parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/2 Celeriac, peeled and chopped
300g Broth mix (pearl barley, lentils, etc)
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1tsp Caraway seeds
1tsp Smoked paprika
1x Bay leaf
2L Stock, hot
2x Slices of bread


1. Season the meat with salt and pepper then brown in batches in a frying pan and add to the slow cooker.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and cover with the hot stock (you might not need it all). Top with the slices of bread and cook on low for 10 hours.
3. Stir well and dish up!

Adding slices of bread to the top of a casserole works as a thickening agent. the bread slowly melts into the stew and thickens it. I learned about this tip from the Belgium recipe of Stoofvlees.

Thursday 29 December 2016

Gammon, Egg and Chip-Henge

I have mentioned before how the temperature difference between the top and bottom shelf in a caravan oven can be frustratingly far apart. Usually it is a nuisance but occasionally it can work in your favour when you have two dishes that need to be cooked at different temperatures. In this case I had chips that need a hot oven on the top shelf with the gammon at the lower temperature on the bottom. We were going to visit Stonehenge today but plans changed so I recreated it with chips. If you are going to do anything like this you need to make sure you have some square cut ends so at least some of your uprights will stand up. Food should not only be tasty but good fun too!


1kg Gammon
Potatoes, peeled and chipped


1. Put the oven on gas mark 6. Cover the gammon loosely with foil and put on the top shelf for half an hour.
2. Turn the oven up to gas mark 8 and move the gammon to the bottom shelf. Heat some oil in a roasting dish on the top shelf.
3. Pop your chips into the hot fat and turn regularly until done (about an hour or so).
4. Remove the gammon from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Fry eggs.
6. Slice the gammon and plate up!

Thursday 1 December 2016

Black Country Beef Stew - Groaty Pudding

Groaty pudding is a traditional Black Country dish made from beef and oats and is slow cooked either in the oven or on the hob. Locally and affectionately it is known as Groaty Dick and I doubt I'm not the only one who finds that just a little bit funny. Childishness aside it is a very tasty, easy and warming stew and is perfect served up with chunks of oat bread and butter. As we are visiting the wonderful Black Country Living Museum this fresh and bracing autumnal weekend (hunting for Santa) it is the perfect comfort meal inviting us back to the snug and cosy van.


500g Stewing steak
2tbsp Oatmeal
2tbsp Parched peas (soaked overnight / optional)
3tbsp Pearl barley
1x Large onion, diced
1x Carrot, peeled and sliced
1x Garlic clove, crushed
1x Leek, sliced
2x Celery sticks, sliced
500ml Beef stock
1x Tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml Water
1tsp Mace
1tsp Smoked paprika
1tsp Turmeric (I am trying use more turmeric as it is good for you)
1tsp Balsamic vinegar
2x Cloves
1tsp Marmite
2x Bay leaves
1tbsp Chopped rosemary leaves
1tsp Thyme leaves
Spring onion for garnish


1. Season the beef then in a frying pan brown it in batches then transfer to a big casserole dish.
2. In the same fry pan sweat off the onions for 5 minutes then pour in the stock, tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Pour into the casserole dish.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the casserole dish and cook in the oven on gas mark 3 for about 3 hours.
4. Plate up with some nice bread and butter, garnish with a bit of sliced spring onion if you have some and tuck in!