What's with slow cooker snobbery?

The rain has scarcely stopped all day. It rained most of the weekend, but the weekend seems like it was full of tropical sunshine by comparison with today. The bokashi buckets are full and the punnets of vegetables, flowers and lavender are still in the porch, hopefully protected there from the winds. Even when it stops raining, which it didn't today, it's too wet to turn the soil.

To replace the real gardening I would like to be doing, I grab a pile of books from the library this afternoon. They have A Green Granny's Garden by Fionna Hill. I've just read the first half of the book and it's 'nice'. I'd put it in the same publishing wave as Wendyl Nissen's A Home Companion: My Year of Living like my Grandmother, but it's not as well written as Nissen's book. Flitting through another book, I now speculate that the problem with my sad little celery (in contrast to the gorgeous and huge celery I grew in my first year here) is lack of calcium. No point running off to the gardening shop for gypsum right now, as it could be days or into next week before I get to do anything in the garden.

My knitting is almost as long as the keyboard now. If I apply myself sufficiently, then Brighid will be wearing it on the league sideline next month. My school reports had a bit to say about my rate and speed of applying myself through to completing projects. The comments remain valid.

The sewing machine is still away being fixed and the children have found a new use for the ironing board which seems to live in the lounge. An excellent hot wheels ramp.

It's true, you don't see lounges like this very often in blogville. It's neither neat, tidy nor artistic. It's not even at its messiest. Like fat people, I think a little (actually a lot) of mess should enter our public domain. I have decided that the only thing I like about Paula Bennett is that she is a larger woman in the public domain. I have become a little obsessed with how rarely we see anyone who is not super skinny in photographs in any media.

Kale. What kind of a letter from wetville blogpost neglects kale? I cooked two leaves' worth in tonight's pumpkin soup. I'm sure you can add it successfully to any pumpkin soup, but just so I can feel cookish, here is what I did:
Peel and chop quite a lot of pumpkin into chunks of about 2 x 3cm. Put aside. Finely chop one leek and 3 cloves of garlic and a 2cm piece of ginger. Put aside. Pull out a bag of chicken stock from the freezer. Go into town with children and forget to buy red lentils but remember to buy coriander and cumin seeds and to go to the library. Come back home and briefly dry fry the coriander and cumin then take off heat and grind in mortar and pestle. Melt quite a bit of butter and add the leek/ginger/garlic mixture, then the ground spices, then the pumpkin, then the chicken stock plus enough hot water to cover the pumpkin. Cook for a while, probably 10 minutes. Then add a few handfuls of quinoa. Then after 5 minutes add the two stalks of kale, washed, deribbed and sliced. Cook for ten more minutes then remove from the heat and whizz with your whizzy stick. I forgot to season mine with salt and pepper, but that was easily remedied at the table. Eat with toast. You wouldn't have to have toast with it except if you lived with toast fiends like I do.

The latest Cuisine magazine includes instructions for making kale bruschetta. Later this week. It also includes instructions for making something divine with mushrooms which involves gelatine leaves. Not sure if you can buy such flash stuff here in Wetville, but I guess the packet of gelatine powder would work if I bought that. Naturally, being Cuisine magazine (Meridian gifted me the subscription), it has recipes for zillions of gorgeous things, but so many of them are out of my budget reach.

On the subject of food writing, what is with slow cooker snobbery? Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall refuses to have a go with one and in yesterday's Sunday Star Times, Ray McVinnie wrote some nice looking recipes and commentary with lamb chops and then he wrote this:
I'm constantly asked if such recipes will work in a slow cooker. I don't have one but I don't see why not. All cooks experiment, so try it - just don't do so for the first time when success is crucial, such as when you have guests. They want a good meal, not apologies.
I don't know what McVinnie is paid for his column, but I'm betting it's a good whack above the minimum wage. Would it really kill you, Mr McVinnie, to ask your Mum/partner/kids for a slow cooker for your birthday and have a go? Up and down the country, busy people who have to work during the day and have to feed people every night, not just on let's-get-flashed-up-for-guests night, depend on their slow cookers. I'd like you to bother to try out your recipes in a slow cooker and include your thoughts in your column.


Megan said…
Yay for the slow cooker! been feeling very fond of mine since the weather has turned to poo. I believe you are responsible for last nights kale dream.
Sharonnz said…
I guess if you have a gorgeous Aga oven and a monstrous pile of Le Creuset cookware you don't NEED a slow cooker. However, it is essential at our place...and indeed I've been coveting an upgrade to a combo slow/pressure cooker!
Heather said…
IIRC, one sheet of gelatine is equal to one tsp of powder. I had the opposite problem when I lived in Switzerland: all I could find was sheet gelatine, and I don't think I'd even heard of such a thing previously :-)

Also, we use powdered egg shells for calcium in the soil. It seems to work well enough. Although maybe your chooks need all your egg shells, in which case that wouldn't work. We don't have chooks.

And we love both our pressure cooker and our slow cooker! Jim Mora was making disparaging comments about pressure cookers on Afternoons on National Radio recently..

--Heather :-)
Muerk said…
And today here has been glorious! Hurrah for a sunny Wednesday, although it's going to take ages for the ground to dry out.

And you're right, Jackie at the sewing shop is wonderful. Yesterday she helped me buy the right stuff so that I can make my own bias binding.
Sandra said…
Grrr. Blogger just lost my long comment responding to everyone :(

Kale dreams Megan, are better than naked teaching nightmares.

I had no idea such a thing existed Sharon. I bought a pressure cooker in the UK and when a part broke here in NZ, the price of a new part was so high that I just use the pot for ordinary cooking now.

Thanks for the gelatine tip Heather. My eggshells are shared between the chooks and the compost bin. Still not enough of either.

Hello Muerk. Today was wonderful. Heather (I think that is her name, the one who takes the sewing night classes) has offered to show me how to make my own bias binding.
Muerk said…
If Heather doesn't get around to it, I'm happy to show you, we live between Grey Main and Grey High, so I'm pretty central.


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