So the Lorne Outdoor Retreat Weekend (for the girls) was all about getting outdoors, hiking, trail running, mountain biking and kite flying right?? Well not entirely.....
There was also a ton of hot-tubbing, adventure DVD-ing, posh tea shop visiting, drinking and, last but not least, eating! Ill let Lyndal tell you all about it in her role as guest blogger in the next week or so, but in the meantime, let me tell you a little about the food!
Food and cooking has always been a passion of mine. In fact my dream house is mostly made up of one massive kitchen! So when I began organising the Outdoor Retreat Weekends, I wanted to make the food a significant part of it. But I had the dilemma that I wanted to share in the adventures of the weekend, rather than be chained to the kitchen while everyone else has all the fun.
The solution - Mr Slow Cooker! With a little preparation I was able to create most meals for the 9 women on the weekend in my trusty slow cooker. And if the lack of leftovers was anything to go by, they were all a roaring success.
So based on many requests from the girls on the weekend, I thought Id share some of the recipes.....and in doing so, you will quickly realise I'm no chef, I just know how to Slow Cook! Enjoy!!!
1/2 (about 800g) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbs olive oil
1 leek, pale section only, washed, dried, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 (about 500g) single chicken breast fillets, coarsely chopped
330g (1 1/2 cups) arborio rice
1L (4 cups) Gravox Real Chicken Stock
1/2 cup finely shredded fresh basil
70g (1 cup) shredded parmesan
Finely shredded fresh basil, extra, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange the pumpkin on the tray and drizzle with half the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven, on the top shelf, for 20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat half the remaining oil in a flameproof ovenproof dish over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned slightly. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the pumpkin and the semi dried tomatoes to the rice, Cover the dish and place in oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the risotto from the oven. Add the basil, and ¾ cup of the parmesan to the risotto, and stir to combine. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and extra basil. Serve immediately.
Slow Cooker Apple Layer Porridge
This is such a quick and simple way to prepare a yummy breaky the night before. It seriously takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and you wake up to the aroma of freshly stewed apples..mmmm....
Many thanks to Pintrest for this recipe!
2-3 apples, roughly chopped (skin on is fine)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp brown sugar (to taste)
1 cup rolled oats (use regular oats, not quick oats)
2 cups water
Throw apples in bottom of slow cooker.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the apples
Pour the oats evenly over the apples (do NOT stir)
Pour the water evenly over the porridge, again do NOT stir
Cook in slow cooker on LOW for approx. 8hrs. Serve hot first thing in the morning!
Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken (for tacos)
Theres a pattern here - this one take no time to prepare either! It takes about 5 mins to open packets and pour them into the slow cooker!
Many thanks to Bindy for this recipe!
2-3 chicken breasts
2 x 300g jar salsa (or the equivalent homemade salsa) – you could also replace 1 jar with 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 sachet taco seasoning
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained
1 x 200g tin corn kernels
½ bunch fresh coriander
Place the chicken breasts in the base of your slow cooker. Pour salsa and taco seasoning over the chicken, and stir until seasoning combined. Make sure that the chicken breasts are covered bottom and top by the salsa. If your breasts are thick, you may need to use a rolling pin or a mallet to flatten them slightly so they are covered
Cook in slow cooker on low for approx. 8hrs.
15 mins before serving, using a fork, shred the chicken, it should easily fall apart. Then add the kidney beans, corn, coriander and continue cooking on Low for 15 mins.
Serve with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and fresh greens
Mini Breakfast Egg Muffins (gluten free)
These little guys are great for baking a batch of, then reheating for the next couple of mornings. Great for those wishing to avoid carbs of a morning, or seeking a high protein snack. You can put anything at all you like in them, they are that flexible, but heres what I used on the weekend
Lightly grease 12 muffin tray
10 medium eggs
salt/pepper to taste
Few shakes of mixed herbs
100g cooked bacon bits
4 button mushrooms, chopped and cooked
50g chopped semi-dried tomatoes
12 olives, chopped
50g grated cheese
Beat eggs together with salt and pepper and mixed herbs and put aside
Distribute all other ingredients (except cheese) evenly through muffin pan.
Pour even amount of egg mixture into each pan, to cover all other ingredients. Do not overfill, as these will raise slightly.
Sprinkle cheese on top of each muffin
Place in oven at 180 degrees for 10-15 mins, until cooked. They are cooked if you cant see any runny egg. Do not overcook, as they will become rubbery.