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Slow Cooked Pulled Pork – in Zero Sugar Fizzy Orange

I had no idea how this would turn out.  I wanted to try in coke, but couldn’t get any.  I couldn’t get irn bru either, so zero sugar fizzy orange was all I could buy.  I wanted a fruity flavour, but without the excess sweetness that can come from using actual fruit or full sugar drinks.

Even getting meat at the moment is difficult, with the way the shop shelves are, so I count myself lucky to have bagged this beautiful piece of meat that sat alone and forlorn on the shelf.  I tend not to buy many joints of meat, as the price tends to be more than I’m willing to often pay to feed us all, but in this time of shortages, whatever is there, is what ends up in the shopping basket.  My fridge currently looks decidedly bare, which is unusual for me, as I always tend to have lots of fruit and veg in there, but I think I must be shopping at the wrong times these days.  I really must make an effort to be more adventurous about the times I try to get shopping, and with no online deliveries in the supermarkets, I’ve had to resort to a butcher delivery for the next few weeks.  Needs must.

It worked out great.  I cooked it on the low slow cooker setting overnight, for around 8-9 hours, and let it rest for half an hour.  I usually sear the meat before adding to the slow cooker, but this time, I just wanted to throw all the ingredients in and go to bed, as I was absolutely whacked.

I used a fairly large joint of meat, and wouldn’t use the high setting for this type of cooking, as I suspect it would toughen the meat somewhat.

I did soften the onions for a few minutes in pan, with a little butter, and mixed with a vegetable stock cube for a bit of salty flavouring.

About half a litre of zero sugar orange fizzy drink, and a little top of up of water and this was on the way.

When I got up in the morning, I simply transferred to a chopping board to rest, then sliced it so the boys could have pulled pork sandwiches for brekkie.  They were so hungry, I didn’t get any pictures of their sandwiches, but the meat was fabulous, not to salty, not fruity, and definitely not boring.

What unusual combinations, but oh so tasty.


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Recipe: Slow Cooked Round Steak with Mixed Sweet Potatoes

For however it happens, sweet potatoes don’t send my blood sugar as high a regular potatoes.  It’s a real shame, as we grow potatoes on our plot and have some to use year round.  We do eat a lot of potatoes though, and many go into soups.  Sweet potatoes aren’t an easy grow, especially this far North of the border, where there isn’t much sunlight in a year, although I really do wish we could grow them.

Anyway, this is a nice and simple slow cooker recipe, although remember that my amounts are fairly large, and you might be better cutting them down for a smaller slow cooker or smaller family batches.

I’ve used round steak from my local butcher, the lean butcher in Chattan Place, Aberdeen.  He delivers across the UK, so it fits in well for me.  I dislike having to actually go shopping terribly often. I find the round steak is perfect for us, but slow cooking does well with tougher cuts of meat too.

Steak and Sweet Potato Slow Cooked

Slow Cooked Round Steak with Mixed Sweet Potatoes

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Slow Cooker
Cuisine Mains
Servings 8


  • 200 g Carrots chopped.
  • 2 Red Onions loosely chopped.
  • 1 kg Round Steak cubed or cut into chunks.
  • 500 g Mixed Sweet Potatoes. Mine are white and orange.
  • 2 Dessertspoons Cornflour.
  • Seasoning or Stock. I used chicken seasoning, and put in 3 teaspoons.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Water.


  • When you're vegetables are all chopped, add them to your slow cooker, with the meat. At times, I will lightly fry the meat and onions, but for slow cooking, the method of cooking seems to be more than enough for us to miss out this step at times.

  • Stir the cornflour into a little water in a cup, until it forms a smooth paste or is dissolved completely. It should look a little like milk. Add to the slow cooker.

  • Add seasoning and or stock cubes etc.

  • Stir the ingredients around well.

  • Add enough hot water to cover around half way up the ingredients. Be careful not to scald yourself.

  • Pop on the lid and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, for a high wattage slow cooker. Adjust the cooking time based on your knowledge of your own machine. The vegetables are likely to take the longest to cook, especially the carrots and white sweet potatoes.

  • If your gravy looks too thin close to the end of cooking, mix up a little more cornflour and water, and add to the slow cooker, stirring the ingredients, and let cook for a further half hour.

  • Serve with buttered bread to mop up the gravy.

  • I often freeze some of this for another day.


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Traditional Scottish Stovies with Oatcakes and Beetroot – Slow Cooked & with the Kids Baked Beans to serve.

What better cold weather fare could there be.   Stovies used to be made in generations gone by in our ancestors family when it was washing day, or when the nets had to be hauled down to the boats and the women didn’t have time to make a big meal for the family.

They stayed close to home on stovie days as they had to carry their men onto the fishing boats to keep them dry.  We’re talking little women carrying huge strapping 6 + footers from the side of the piers right into their boats.  With their skirts and feet soaking and cold in the North Sea, it was a hard, miserable and tough life.

Often battling against misery and exhaustion, they would come back to their stovies simmering on the pot, and ready to fill empty bellies.

Unable to stray far from the home while they were cooking, this was a method of slow cooking that needed regular stirring couldn’t be made on market days when the women would have to carry the catch in a creel on their backs for miles to sell it at market.

Most people who make stovies today, are really only  making a type of hash with boiled potatoes and meat mixed in.  For real stovies, the potatoes need to be stoved.  They are dry and not waxy, and they break apart in the mouth when you eat them.

I’ve only ever made them in a thick bottomed pan before, so this method is a new (and easier) way of doing it for me.

The quantities mentioned in this recipe are for guidance only.  This would generally have been Monday’s meal, after the Sunday roast, and using up the leftovers of meat, potatoes and sometimes other vegetables would be added in a sort of bubble and squeak effect.

My stovies are wickedly tasty ones, made with the meat and gravy from nice large chunks of a fillet steak joint that I got from Andrew Gordon  Butchery in Aberdeen.  I am always spoiled for choice when I go in there and good meat really makes a difference to the taste of a finished dish.

Slow Cooked Traditional Scottish Stovies with Oatcakes and Beetroot (and the kids beans)

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Mains
Servings 6


  • 3 KG Potatoes Maris Pipers, King Edwards or Roosters - Peeled and Chopped
  • 1 - 2 Onions Chopped
  • 100 Grams Dripping Beef Dripping, Goose Fat or Vegetable Dripping
  • 1 KG Meat Usually Pork or Beef - Already Cooked
  • 200 Grams Gravy From the Pork or Beef
  • Salt & Pepper For cooking.


  • In a saucepan, melt approximately 100g of your lard. This will be quicker than you expect.

  • Add the onions to the pan and lightly fry.

  • Make sure that the onions are still white and are not cooked long enough to begin turning brown.

  • Add the onions, lard and your potatoes to the slow cooker and stir until all the potatoes are coated in lard. If you have to add some more, add it a teaspoon at a time, as it is easy to use too much lard.

  • Add a few spoons of the gravy from your meat, a couple of tablespoons of water, and a couple of pinches of salt.

  • Cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

  • You will need to check the pot every hour and if you need to add a little extra water, do it a teaspoon at a time. You only want just enough to stop the potatoes from burning into the pot.

  • Don't mash the potatoes as when they are ready, they will break down with the stirring.

  • Add in your meat with a few more spoonfuls of gravy.

  • Cook until the meat is thoroughly heated.

  • Normally, you would shred your meat or cut it really small, but my boys like their meat in hunky chunks so my pictures are not the effect you would get if you shredded your meat before adding it.

  • Serve with oatcakes and beetroot with a glass of milk for the traditional fare, or add beans like the Scottish Mum Kids.

If you want to make your own oatcakes, try Traditional Scottish Oatcakes.


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Slow Cooked Steak & Potato Hotpot

For the steak and potato hotpot recipe, I’ve used Diced Steak (Round Steak) from Aberdeen Angus cattle.  We really like the rich meaty taste of the Aberdeen Angus, so I knew this was going to be a great meal before I started out.

Steak Hotpot

I didn’t add any fancy herbs, spices or taste altering ingredients.  I decided just to go with the flavour of the meat itself, with only some salt and pepper to help the vegetables along.  The result was a fabulously rich and healthy warming hotpot that I know I am going to make several variations of in future.

Slow Cooked Steak & Potato Hotpot with Diced Steak from a great butcher.

Lesley S Smith
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Course Lunch
Servings 8


  • 1.8 kg Diced Steak Round Steak from Andrew Gordon Butchery and Fine Foods
  • 2 Onions Finely Chopped
  • 1 Leek Finely Chopped
  • 2 Carrots Chopped
  • 1 Stock Pot Use Fresh or Concentrated Stock
  • 3 Potatoes Sliced
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste


  • Switch on the slow cooker. Add half a litre of boiled water, and leave it to heat while you prepare the ingredients.

  • In a frying pan, lightly brown the steak, which should only take a few minutes to do, then put the steak into the slow cooker.

  • Lightly fry the onions and leek in a frying pan. I add the carrots for about 30 seconds.

  • Add the vegetables to the slow cooker, along with the sliced potatoes, and another half litre of water.

  • Leave to simmer for 8 hours on slow.

  • Thicken gravy if necessary using bisto or cornflour.


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Slow Cooked Haggis in a Baked Potato & served with Coleslaw

We catch the wee beasties that are the haggis family, on the heathery hills in the highlands of Scotland, where we pluck them mercilessly from their lovely life of gay abandon.

Are you buying this?

Ok, haggis is a lovely, and slightly spicy delicacy that is often said to the national dish of Scotland.

I do frequently get asked the best way to cook haggis.  That could be because I often blog about food, and, being Scottish, there is probably an assumption that we all eat haggis quite often.  A bit like the rumour mill about the deep fried mars bar that only the tourists ever try.

We  normally experience haggis as part of Burns night celebrations, to celebrate the poet Rabbie Burns, so in our family it has usually been restricted to being supplied by other people.  On Burns night, people would traditionally have haggis neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes).

Macsween sent us one of their haggises to slow cook as a few of us had been talking about it on Twitter.  I did go out and buy another one to go with it, as I thought the 3/4 person haggis was a tad too small for us all as there are 6 of us.   In the end, I think one haggis for about 4 – 5 people would be perfect for us.

On to slow cooking the haggis.

I probably would try cooking it in the slow cooker, but inside some tinfoil next time, but the slow cooked way did work nicely and made the haggis not as dry as skirlie, which is my past experiences of it.  I have to admit, I do struggle with the contents, and as I don’t eat lamb, it’s not for me, but the man, 2 kids and grannie wolfed it down.

Here’s a nice slow cooker haggis recipe for using with a store-bought haggis that has already been cooked.  I’ve added the coleslaw recipe under the haggis one.

Slow Cooked Haggis with Butternut Squash and Baked Potatoes

Lesley S Smith
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Lunch
Servings 3 - 4


  • 1 Medium Macsween Haggis For 3 – 4 people
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash or a turnip (Chopped)
  • 1 Medium Onion Finely chopped
  • 1 pint Boiled Water
  • 50 g Coleslaw To serve



  • Take off the outer skin of the haggis and the metal clip.

  • Cut the haggis into slices or chunks.

  • Put the haggis, squash, onion and water into a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours.

Baked Potatoes

  • Put baked potatoes in tinfoil and cook in oven at 180c


  • Serve as filling for the baked potatoes.

  • Garnish with coleslaw on the top.


Your haggis will come already cooked, so the goal is to thoroughly reheat it, while cooking the vegetables.


Coleslaw Salad

Lesley S Smith
Perfect as a side dish with most main meals, or to use in a salad.
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 6


  • 200 g Carrot Grated
  • 150 g Cabbage Shredded into strips.
  • 150 g Onion Shredded into strips.
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons Mayonnaise or Thousand Island Dressing


  • Simply shred the cabbage, onion and carrot.

  • Mix with mayonnaise or thousand island dressing.

  • Serve.


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Slow Cooked Beef Stew with New Potatoes

Beef and New Potato Stew

Beef and New Potato Stew

Being the fan of slow cookers that I am, mine has seen something of  a slacking off period this last few weeks.   Now back and determined to get back to using it more often, we’ve just sat down to a lush slow cooker beef recipe that includes new potatoes.  As always I am cooking for a large family (usually 6 + at any one time to feed).   Reduce the side of the portion to suit your own family size.

Slow Cooked Beef Stew with New Potatoes 

  • 6 – 8 servings.
  • Preparation, 15 – 20 minutes + cooking time.
  • Nutritional, rich source of vegetables and meat.


  •  1.2 kg stewing steak, diced.
  • 500g mixed vegetables.  I used celery, leek, carrot and turnip.
  • 1 large or 2 small onions.
  • 1kg baby new potatoes.
  • 2 x beef stockpots.
  • salt, pepper and / or spice to taste.


  • Brown the stewing steak and add to slow cooker.
  • Brown onions and mixed vegetables and add to slow cooker.
  • Add stockpots.
  • Wash new potatoes and mix with meat and vegetables in the slow cooker.
  • Cover with enough boiling water to skim the top of your ingredients.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Put on lid and cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high for large wattage slow cookers.  Adjust heat and time depending on the size of your element.
  • Thicken, season to taste and simply serve.

Serving Suggestion

Serve with bread or rice cakes.

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Making Stock Recipes for Slow Cookers Begins With Experimenting

How we make our stock is the difference between good and ok food from our slow cooker recipes.

It doesn’t matter if we are making soups or casseroles, the basis of good stock makes our meals perfect.  Cooking with a slow cooker is easy, but not satisfied with the results I was cajoled and encouraged by my mother on many occasions for the use of stock cubes in my recipes.  I still do use them for some recipes, for where speed is needed, or I haven’t got time to make or buy stock.

Using stock cubes works out where we are using herbs and spices to flavour meals, as they can often disguise the lack of real stock, but this post is to show you how to make stock that can also be frozen for the future.


All stock has to be meat based.

Types of Stock

The world is your oyster.  We can make stock out of almost anything ingredient wise.  When we are making slow cooker stock, we can put our ingredients in, and then just forget about them.

Bones, meat, poultry, vegetables and even fruits can be used to make our stocks with.

The key to good stock is to allow it to simmer slowly and absorb the aromas and flavours.   Don’t allow your stock to boil, or it will change colour.


If you want lovely white stock, place bones, vegetables or fruits into slow cooker, add water to cover your ingredients and simply put on the lid and simmer on low for 8 hours.  Leave the stock alone to simmer, no stirring.

If you want brown stock, roast your ingredients first, or add some colouring.

Using Stock in Meals

Skim off the fat when it’s cool.  I put mine into the freezer for half an hour so that the fat rises to the top and is easy to skim off.  You could use a muslin or cheesecloth to strain it if you don’t have a handly sieve, or at a push, wait until the fat hardens into white lumps and just lift it out using a spoon.  You’ll find a way that works for you.

Freezing Stock

  • Remove as much of the fat as you can.
  • We don’t have to reduce the stock to freeze it, but if space is an issue, you might have to.
  • The best way to reduce stock is simply to put it onto the cooker, and let it boil away most of the water, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.


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Caravan Cooking with Scotty Brand Kestrel Potatoes – Slow Cooked Meatball Casserole


We received our package of potatoes from Scotty Brand just before we headed up to the top of Scotland with our caravan.  Sending a pack by way of my brother and his wife, I took 3 bags of their lovely potatoes with us.  We had a couple of baked potato meals, that I didn’t manage to get pictures of before my 3 strapping lads tucked into them.

On the days I made slow cooked soup and meatball casserole, I was much quicker off the mark.  For casseroles and soups, I rarely measure out ingredients unless it is to add spices and strong flavours.  At home, my slow cooker is a huge 6.5L pot, and there is always some left over to freeze for another day, but the pot for caravan cooking is 3L and makes just enough to feed the family for one meal.

For slow cooked meatball casserole done where space is limited.


  • 2kg potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • couple of carrots, sliced
  • onion, chopped
  • teaspoon of ginger paste
  • garlic clove
  • few cumin seeds
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • meatballs
  • 2 x stock cubes
  • thickener


I would usually pan fry the meatballs and onions, but being short of space in the van, I just threw them in the pot with the potatoes, carrots, ginger paste, cumin seeds and clove of garlic.   Sprinkle in the stock cubes with a dash of salt and pepper.

Add enough boiling water to read almost up to the top of your ingredients, turn the slow cooker on, 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on slow.

I had no cornflour with me, so some gravy granules it had to be for a thickener, a little more salt and pepper to taste, and then it was simply served up to hungry children.

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Slow Cooked Sausage & Onion Hotpot

Another slow cooker recipe.

Is it showing just how often that I actually use my slow cooker?  The food rarely looks pretty on the plate, unless it is a curry, risotto or a piece of meat for carving, but hotpot style food just never looks right although it tastes fantastic.

Saturdays are manic here with football matches and club sessions, so making a proper meal on a Saturday is a rare occurrence.  I had a pack of sausages in the fridge with a bag of potatoes in the cupboard and that makes for a perfect slow cooker meal.


12 Sausages
2 Onions
2 Tablespoons Caramelised Onions
500 Mixed Veg (I ran out of fresh, so the standby frozen had to do)
1 kg Baby Potatoes (any potatoes would do for this)
1 x Beef Stock Pot or 2 Stock Cubes
Pinch Salt


As usual, my slow cooking is just all thrown in.  I wanted to give the sausages the taste and aroma of the onions so I took the frying pan out and first let the chopped onions cook for a few minutes on low heat.

Turn up the heat a little and fry the onions until they are mixed in with the caramelised ones.

Add the sausages to the pot.

Lightly cook sausages in the pan with the onions.

Then put the sausages and onions into the slow cooker, along with the vegetables and fill with enough boiling water to cover the ingredients.  Add the stock pot or stock cubes and salt.

Place the sliced potatoes on the top of the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Don’t put any more water in the pot.

Put on the lid and cook for 8 hours on low setting, or 4 hours on high setting.  Thicken before serving with cornflour and hey presto.

I really, really wish I could get slow cooked pots of food to look prettier on the plate for photographing, but I don’t seem to be able to.  My sausages crumbled when my mother in her eagerness to help, had decided to take off the lid when I was out, and give the mix a good old brisk stir.

There was enough food in the pot to feed 6 of us.

That was a meal on a budget and a half.


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Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Two things got made in the Scottish Mum household today and they were complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  I made apple muffins and a hodgepodge of rubbish and odds and sods that were lying around the fridge for supper.

The apple muffins are a pretty standard recipe so I won’t do them.  I did the muffin type recipe that I just substitute different fruit for.  I learned how to make nice muffins when I did the post for Prince’s fruit.

Onto the Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Now this is not the Scottish way, and it is probably not anybody’s way of making mince and potatoes, but if we don’t try different ways now and again, we never find out newer and quicker ways to feed our families without slaving over a hot stove.

I do a lot of cooking, but I really dislike it with an enormous passion.   My dislike for cooking is probably the reason I love my slow cooker so much.

So rather than proper mince and tatties, this is more of a  Hodgepodge 

Here we go.

1kg of Mince, browned in a pan with 2 smallish onions.

With the kettle boiled for the slow cooker, I decided that I was going to be lazy today and throw it in the pot for later.

I rustled up about 1 kg of different vegetables and 2 kg of baby potatoes which I cut into halves and some into slices.

Along with a couple of stock cubes, about 25 ml of lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt, I threw it all in the pot and added water – and then proceeded to ignore it for the next 4 hours while it cooked.

When we were ready to eat, some cornflour to thicken and bobs your uncle.

Part of me was slightly worried about how this would turn out, but I have learned that the only thing that ingredients in food have to be precise for is actually everything to do with baking and pastry.  With anything else, pretty much anything goes with trial and error.

Sundays big meal cost me less than £10 with masses of food for everyone and enough left over for tomorrow, so that will be two big meals for £5 each.

Ok, slow cooked mince and tatties doesn’t look fabulous on the plate, but it tasted amazing and no slaving over a hot stove.   There is just something delicious about potatoes cooked hot pot style.

I had forgotten to make a loaf so we used apple muffins to soak up the gravy.  What a combination..