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I bought a slow cooker a long time ago and until recently it spent most of its time at the back of a cupboard. It is only recently I have come to get full use of this wonderful piece of kitchen equipment. I must confess however, I know that my slow cooker will inevitably be constrained to the winter and colder months as I find it best suited to braised dishes and that is usually not the sort of food I want to eat in the warmer months. But whilst the weather is cold, I am getting full use of my slow cooker I nearly always cook in large batches when using it when time and energy are in short supply. When I know I’m going to be busy and not have the opportunity to eat I go ahead and stick something in so I know when I get home, I will have a hot comforting meal ready. Most of the time it is only two of us eating so I like to come up with recipes such as my slow cooker ham that do provide several dinners but, the several other new dinners over the next few days come from these. From the leftovers of my slow cooked ham I make ham & Pea potato cake, my egg fried rice with ham or even just some simple stir-fried greens with a hefty slice of ham that is topped with a fried egg, runny yolk a must.

slow cooker sticky toffee pudding
sticky date pudding

I have recently been adapting some of my dessert recipes for the slow cooker, which I will explain. The reason this idea came to meet was recently when at a friend’s house for dinner there was a little bit of a crisis due to the oven being in use with dinner itself and temperatures, which inevitably shouldn’t have been a concern, I would just pop pudding into the oven after take out dinner as I enjoy a little break between courses. This, however, got me thinking of ways of cooking hot pudding or desserts without having to use the oven. What other pieces of equipment are found in most kitchens I thought. Then it hit the ‘slow cooker’, I knew as soon as I had decided on the cooking appliance that it had to be a pudding and I came up with a few but my top favourites were easy and delicious. One my slow cooker STP (Sticky Toffee Pudd) and the other my chocolate pudding. What makes these both great is that they are super easy to make combine wet and dry ingredients and cook it in its own sauce in the slow cooker giving your pudding an incredible sponge much like that of a steamed sponge pudding. I share below my recipe for slow cooker STP.

Check back over the coming weeks for many more slow cooker recipes.

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A bit late with this but, Happy New Year! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed the festive period. I am jubilant to be back fully in the kitchen recipe testing, filming, editing & writing. I have a few exciting new projects in the pipe line for 2020. Details on which will be coming shortly. We are firmly back to reality with what is for most the month of restraint and diet. Although, I do myself eat a little better in January this is mostly not a conscience decision rather it just seems to come natural after all the over indulgence of December. Below I have listed some of my favourite go to recipes when in this mood, that may aid you through January as well as some of my favourite vegan recipes for anyone opting to do Veganuary.

I firmly believe that the key to success in any diet is balance and avoiding bad foods. In my opinion there is only one food type that falls into this category of bad food and that is processed foods that lack in nutrients and usually in flavour too. Living with a strict diet that completely restrains you from eating foods that you desire would be an unbearable existence. A balance diet must always have room for cake. The recipe below is one of my favourites that I make so often.

What are you favourite January or Veganuary recipes?

Don’t forget to check out RadioX Life Hakx Sunday Evenings, were I will regularly be contributing with recipes and foodie life hakx. You can also catch up with previous episodes by checking out the podcast here.

Daniel Diver Christmas

A quick post to keep you up to date with the latest. There is now a new seasonal section in the recipes section appropriately and not very original called Christmas. Check it out here

In this section you will find my favourite seasonal eats. The focus this year will not be the big day itself but the lead up and the aftermath. By this I mean I will be sharing the sort of food that I, and everyone I know likes to eat at this time of year. Such as cosy bowl food to be eat with from a cosy spot on the couch with nothing but a spoon required and some good seasonal programming,. Suppers that are relaxed, easy and great for feeding a crowd whether it be family, friends or a combination of both. Stress-free party food that is simple to make, relying on all the shortcuts to make throwing a party a simple pleasure that makes you want to throw a party and look forward to doing so. Of course, there will also be plenty of sweet recipes, who could celebrate Christmas without the sweet cakes and bakes? Or perhaps I should say who would want to?

Finally, there will be those all-important recipes to make sure that there’s no wastage. That all those leftovers can be reused to make new and exciting feast. Christmas leftover truly are glorious and one of my favourite parts of Christmas. I love to open the fridge and see it crammed with cold cuts and other delicious items, the excitement of creating something new and wonderful from what’s left from previous feast.

There will be several new seasonal recipes added to both here and my You Tube channel. Please subscribe above or to my You Tube channel so that you don’t miss a thing.

Watch below for a few of my shortcut party favourites.

cranberry & white chocolate cheesecake

Christmas Cheesecake (Cranberry & White Chocolate) Perfect for using up the leftover cranberry sauce.

Check out Recipe here

Happy Thanksgiving

I would like to wish all my readers celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow a very joyful day. Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in Ireland making me incredibly envious of the celebratory feast that occur, and I miss out on. However, I would like to say how thankful I am for the continued support from readers across the globe and I hope that you may be able to alleviate some of the kitchen stresses this year with some of my shortcuts and hacks.

In the coming weeks there will be many more holiday inspired recipes for quick stress-free party foods, cosy bowl foods, seasonal cocktails, heart-warming comfort food that will aid you through the hustle and bustle on the lead up to Christmas, seasonal cakes & bakes and recipe for making the most of the Christmas feast leftovers.

Below is my recipe for salted caramel & apple Bundt cake which I wouldn’t want to celebrate any holiday without.

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Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake
Rocky Road Ice Cream

A simple meal with delicious and cosy flavours. This one pan recipe is a great kitchen de-stresser, it just requires a little work at the beginning then pop it into the oven to do the rest. The rice is easily fluffed up with a fork and the peas and leaks give a mellow sweet flavour. Cooking the chicken on top of the rice allows the steam given off the ability to create a succulent and moist chicken packed with flavour. It is also as important to remove the lid halfway through cooking so that the chicken skin can crisp up, after all who wants damp soggy chicken skin?

If you like to watch recipes, check out my You tube channel and subscribe. Give any recipes you like a thumbs up. Link below recipe.

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I came up with this recipe for a vegan friend, I love the cake so much that it replaced the regular version of it I used to make. I think its always good to a few recipes that are universally appealing gluten free, dairy free or vegan. I like to serve everyone the same thing regardless of dietary needs. People can be so sceptical of vegan meals or bakes, automatically thinking they are inferior simply because they are vegan, when this is not the case. I have found that all the vegan cakes I have come up with have had a fantastic light crumb.  Everyone loves this cake whether vegan or not.

The cake is light, fluffy and moist and so tender. The frosting is a doddle to make and is very easy to work with it makes icing a cake almost easy. One important thing to note is that the coconut cream or coconut milk must be kept in the fridge until required this will help it separate and the liquid part to sink to the bottom and the firm part stay at the top. I prefer to use coconut cream as you get more solid mass to liquid but either will work. Sometime depending on how much coconut solids I get I may need to add a teaspoon or two of the liquid to make the frosting more spreadable and get that glossy smooth texture.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

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Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats

Toad in the hole is among one of my favourite cosy and comforting meals. It’s easy and quick. The oven does most of the work, it is a dish I do when I need cosyness and it is for this reason I came up with the easy simplified onion gravy. When I need the comforting, this dish instils I do not want to be standing over the stove for 20 – 30 minutes making an onion gravy, so since the oven is on anyways I put it to use a caramelise my onions in a pan with beef stock and vermouth meaning that I only have to thicken the gravy on the hob for a few minutes and slip off the onion skin and roughly but finely chop the sweet caramelised onions.

You can of course use red wine in place of the vermouth but, I always have a bottle of vermouth in the kitchen it prevents me needing to open a bottle of wine every time I need some.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for the ultimate comforting experience.

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Croissant Breakfast Bake

I do like something with a bit of sweetness to it for a late breakfast on the weekends and this is one I love. I use stale croissants that I steep in a sweet vanilla eggy mixture and what you get after 35 minutes in the oven is a kitchen full of sweet bready aroma and a croissant bake that has a donut like flavour studded with tart berries and crunchy flaked almonds on top. I also love the bits of croissant that stick out they crisp up in the oven.

This is also a fab make ahead breakfast for a large crowd double or triple the recipe. The night before, make it up and stick in the fridge, next morning pop it into the oven for a no stress breakfast. The only downside I have when it comes to this is when I make it the night before it often ends up a midnight snack. Willpower fails me and I almost always give in. I hope you enjoy.

Croissant Breakfast Bake
Buttermilk Pancakes with maple syrup

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I do love breakfast, especially on those mornings where I can take my time not that you will need much time to make this breakfast.

It consists of soft oozy poached egg on a bed of creamy smashed avocado with a confetti of warm chorizo sprinkled over and drizzled with a chilli butter sauce.

There are a few things to keep in mind when poaching eggs. Make sure you use the freshest eggs you can, or they will have lots of stringy fluffy bits (not that, that is the end of the world). Use a fridge cold egg and use either lemon juice or vinegar in the water to help the whites set. It is also a good idea to swirl the water before you slip in the egg which will make the egg while swirl around the yolk giving you a rounder poached egg. Make sure the water doesn’t boil as this can break the egg up and will cook the yolk very quickly and make it hard and, in my opinion, make it a disappointment. Finally, if you are after a perfect poached egg it is worth cracking your egg into a tea strainer and allowing the water part to drip through the strainer. It is this watery part that goes stringy and fluffy.

What are your favourite breakfast recipes? Comment below and let me know.

You may also like to try this recipe.

Sausage and sweet potato hash
Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash

This is the sort of meal I want after a good gym session. Easy & Quick. It is loosely based on a pesto but contains no fat, instead using the starchy water the pasta has cooked in to combine and blitz into a sauce. I do often sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or flaked almonds on top but have found that the combination of whole-wheat fusilli and the caramelization from the stir-fried broccoli add a nutty flavour to the dish.

By the time the pasta has cooked the chicken and broccoli should have cooked through so its only a matter of making the sauce which takes no time at all.