Slow Cooking to beat the evening ERP
To ease the evening traffic congestion, the Little Red Dot's bureaucrats have recently imposed electronic road pricing (ERP) for use of the CTE during the hours from 6pm to 8pm, hoping to divert part of the north-bound traffic (i.e. drivers who baulk at paying more road charges) to other non-ERP roads. Hubby and I thus have 3 choices, (i) contribute to the government's coffers, (ii) join other drivers in congesting the non-ERP roads or (iii) stay longer in the office and leave at 8pm after the ERP hours.
Options (ii) and (iii) will no doubt result in us returning home even later than usual, which leads me to this evening's post on the benefits of a slow cooker. Just imagine... you've arrived home late, hungry but too tired to even lift a pan, and as you enter your home, the welcoming aromas of a delicious homecooked meal waft in from the kitchen, courtesy of your slow cooker. One of my favourite slow-cooked one pot dishes is beef stew in rich tomato sauce.
Putting aside 20 minutes of prep time in the morning, quarter 4 tomatoes, peel and quarter 4 to 6 medium-sized potatoes, 1 big onion and 2 carrots and place all inside the slow cooker. In fact, the potatoes, onions and carrots can be prepped the night before and packed separately into bags and kept in the fridge for use in the morning.
The beef is cut into equal size chunks, which I normally saute for a few minutes in olive oil to brown the meat before I add to the slow cooker. Add a can of pureed tomatoes, 1 to 2 dried bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, one and a half cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir mixture in slow cooker and cover. Switch on slow cooker and leave on low heat.
Many, many hours later when you return home, the beef stew is ready to be scooped out and eaten with a crusty loaf. If you prefer a thicker sauce, stir a tablespoon of cornflour into 4 tablespoons of water and add to the beef stew and cook on the slow cooker's high heat setting for about 10 minutes or so. Me, I'm usually too hungry to even bother with this step...hunger makes me a very impatient person!