After the birth of our baby, we hardly go out for meals. In fact, the first 2 months were really a period of confinement. Physically I was recovered and ready for buffet. My confinement helper has a different take on that but anyways…I didn’t go out much and if I did, it was for casual strolls around my apartment.
I missed the pre-baby days. As one friend would candidly put it, “How I wish I can stuff the baby back into my tummy!”
My husband didn’t get it and to add to it, he wasn’t a foodie either. Thus, he is getting along fine munching on the same food day in day out.
As for me, I was going a bit crazy and thoughts of food keep dropping in. Just to set the record straight, I enjoy food but not someone who goes food-hunting. BUT TWO WHOLE MONTHS is just way too much. I feel like a prisoner of baby.
It is a challenge to go anywhere as baby has to be fed once in every 2 hours…3 hours is max interval and we tried not to test that limit too often. We drove but it doesn’t help. Just getting baby in and out and down to the nearest cafe/restaurant to and fro is already an hour plus. Furthermore, many restaurants which we used to frequent are popular and crowded. Long story short, not easy to find an eatery which caters to baby strollers…for better understanding, we were living in Hong Kong then.
The Secret Recipe from my brother…
I love cooking but for a family of two (now three), it was difficult to whip up something elaborate just for a meal. Thus, we often take our meals outside.
Then my brother shows me his secret recipe and cooking skills using a slow cooker and an auto spin halogen cooking pot.
The output is delicious lamb shank that tastes as good (if not better) than what’s sold at the restaurants. I dare say the recent meal we had easily rivals the best out there and probably for half the price…though there is quite a bit of washing up to do. My husband is good at washing, so…it’s not an issue 🙂
First, let me show the final product.
I have to give credit to my brother for showing us how he did it. He prepared it in one afternoon. Actual time is 90 mins for slow cooking and another 30 mins or so for the final touch using the auto spin halogen cooking pot.
I am going to walk you through the steps so that you can also prepare your home-cooked Michelin dishes. Suitable for everyone and especially so for the confined parents.
Step 1: Put the lamb shank (or other meat) into the vacuum zipped bags
For this recipe, we cooked lamb shank but you can experiment with other meats. The first step is to put the meat into the vacuum zipped bag.
I hear you asking. Why don’t you put it into the water?
Two reasons. First, the slow cooker can become really oily if you put it in the same container of water. Second and more importantly, if the lamb shank is slow cooked while it is immersed in water, it will lose part of its flavour to the water. The idea of the vacuum bag is to keep the taste and nutrients intact within the meat. (i.e. it is not lost to the water)
The zipped bags come with an air valve at the corner. The purpose is for you to vacuum out the air from within after putting in the meat. This helps to keep the meat in close contact with the heated water, allowing it to be cooked. Otherwise, it may be really slow…
Step 2: Slow cook for 90 mins
Depending on meat type, you want to slow cook it for around an hour at least. We did 90 mins for our lamb shank and it turned out…perfectly!
There is nothing you need to do while it is being slow-cooked. Just leave the zipped bag (with lamb shank) inside the pot and the precision (slow) cooker will do the trick.
Step 3: Bring on the Auto-spin Halogen Cooking Pot (Optional)
The purpose of the auto-spin halogen cooking pot (what a mouthful of words!) is to give the lamb shank a bit of crispyness to it. It creates the barbecue effect but in a healthy way as heat is evenly spread over the entire chunk of meat (wrapped in aluminimum foil). There is no charring on the meat, so you get your barbecue fix without causing greater burden to your health.
I listed this step as optional as you can still enjoy your lamb shank or other meat without it but imagine eating a bag of french fries without chilli or ketchup. Enjoyable but not epic, as they say. With the auto-spin halogen cooking pot, it provides the finishing Michelin touch.
Try it, I guarantee you will love it!
The above recipe works well for most kinds of meat. Lamb shank is our all-time favorite but you can experiment with different meats.
Oh, there’s one more thing. The sauce.
My brother concocted the sauce using a combination of herbs (basil), garlic and olive oil. Mix these ingredients together and cook them in a frying pan for a few minutes. After that, use this sauce to go over the meat before you put it into the vacuum bags. I am jumping around a bit but I forgot to mention that prior to applying this sauce, the meat should be marinated with Mustard. We use the Traditional Dijon Mustard which you can purchase conveniently from any super marts.
I think I covered everything for this simple to execute recipe. If my husband can do it, so can you. LOL
Let me know if you have any questions about the equipment or steps in my recipe. For quick reference, I am listing out the appliances, items mentioned in this article so that you can find them easily.
…I cannot communicate taste with words but the lamb shank really turned out very well. We attacked it with vigour and within minutes, the whole plate was gone. Our baby looks on from her crib…wondering when she can join in.
Happy Cooking, Happy Family Time minus all the headache of baby logistics!
Products mentioned in this article