Get the machines to do the work (cause I’m guessing you’re pretty busy)

The MACHINES will do my work!

Have you noticed a bit less Vegie Smugglers chatter lately? I’ve been a bit scarce, having just started back into magazine land, working on a 6 month, part-time contract. A two-day a week job doesn’t come along every day, and I would have been an idiot to say no. I should be able to do it and keep VS running as well, with no discernable difference to you guys (maybe a few more spelling miztakes).

Heading back into the traditional workforce means that my CV gets updated, there’s enough cash to get the gutters fixed, the kids finally get to join their friends at after-school care and I’m plonked back into the time-poor, stressed, parenting cycle.

I used to work three days a week, so two should be easy, right? Sigh. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of it, but getting everyone out of the house by 7am is stinging a little.

At least the kids are a bit older now and night-times aren’t the disaster zones that they used to be. There’s nothing quite as harrowing as picking up toddlers at 6pm (lets not even discuss how bad the guilt levels are when your child is the last one to be collected), getting them home (singing songs the whole way, so they don’t fall asleep in the car), washed (mid-tantrum) and somehow fed (banana, anyone?). These days I have a bit more time before their behaviour turns rancid, but without a hot, daycare-supplied lunch, I’m more on the hook for providing a decent dinner each night.

So I’m turning to my fabulous kitchen machines to help me out. I’ve just bought a slow-cooker (I never had the space to store one before I moved to a house) and so far I’ve made beef stew, Italian casserole, pulled pork, chicken mole and poached pears! I need to tweak these recipes, but will try to post one or two of the best soon. And I’ve had my rice cooker working overtime. With my love of rice, I’ve always found this gadget to be extremely worthwhile. I’ve got a slightly fancy one with a sauté function. If you do too, then HOORAY, this recipe is especially for you (although you can still make it without)…

vegie smugglers cauliflower and cashew pilaf

Pilaf. Fun to say and good to eat.

Cauliflower and cashew pilaf

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, finely chopped into tiny bits
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods (give them a smash with the back of a knife)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1/3 cup sultanas
2/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped

Heat oil in the rice cooker (on the sauté function, if it has one). Add the onion, stir then cover for two minutes. Add the cauliflower and spices; stir then cover for another two minutes.

Add in the rinsed, drained rice and the stock. Stir well, cover and leave the cooker to do its thing on the regular cook setting.

Once done, add in the carrot, sultanas and cashews, mix and leave on the warm setting for 5-10 minutes.

Cook this the day before work (cool quickly and refrigerate), and then you can reheat it (topped with frozen peas) and fry up a couple of cutlets to pop on top. Delish!

*NO RICE COOKER? Cook everything in a saucepan, as described. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid & is tender.

I'mnotslow

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10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Stace Good said,

    Oh yum! That sounds delish. Can’t wait to try that one. The pulled pork one sounds interesting too. Hope your transition gets easier. You do an amazing job!

  2. 2

    emma said,

    Whats your rice cooker, i have a very basic one and would love one that sautés.

    • 3

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Emma – I have this one… http://www.productreview.com.au/p/breville-emporia-rice-risotto-maker.html – i like it more than the lady reviewing it here does. I do find it cooks everything more than it needs (and sometimes I get a slight crust on the bottom). Usually though, I’m hovering about in the kitchen and it’s no problem to just pop it over to ‘warm’ once I see the tunnels down through the rice. It does risotto really well though and I use the saute function quite a bit too. Especially good for feeding large groups!

  3. 4

    Sarah said,

    Can’t wait to see the slow cooker recipes. I’m loving mine at the moment. I tried your apricot chicken recipe in it and it worked great!

    • 5

      wendyblume said,

      nice! have you got a favourite basic stew recipe?

      • 6

        Sarah said,

        I like to use Jamie Olivers stew bases from ministry of food cookbook. Sometimes I just throw together whatever vegies I’ve got with tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, beef stock, red wine, worcestershire sauce, herbs with chuck steak/gravy beef.

  4. 7

    Katie said,

    I’m curious about cooking brown and basmati rice at the same time – doesn’t the basmati turn to mush by the time the brown is cooked, or is there some miracle performed in rice cookers? I don’t have one so have no idea how they work

    • 8

      wendyblume said,

      You put in more water for the brown rice and somehow it works out ok! The white rice is softer but the brown keeps a nice texture for the whole dish. Worth trying.

  5. 9

    Laura said,

    I’m still loving this recipe as it is so easy, so versatile, quick, and budget friendly.
    Following your recipe above it is a nice mild dish that hides the onion and cauliflower so well. In our house I halve the rice & liquid but keep all the vegies and spices at full quantities as we like the extra flavour and vegie goodness (and my rice cooker is tiny so can’t do the full amount of rice). I also like to add a cup of peas and often leave out the sultanas and nuts so I can serve it with sausages instead.
    After bragging to my friend about how easy it was she then had to have a go and says she had great success with broccoli since she didn’t have cauliflower. She also halved the rice & liquid for the spice boost.

    Next time I’m thinking of adding cannellini beans in the place of the nuts & sultanas….then maybe I can play with the spices and see what other flavours I can come up with. 🙂


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