Sunday: Cuando una puerta se cierra, ciento se abren.

Spanish: When one door closes, a hundred open.

To wind up my look at how we revive each day, so we might try again with the being a good person and making a happy life, I thought I’d share my three part take on slow cooking.  There is something for all moods, whether it’s to go with contemplative cooking moments that seem to roll round on Sunday, a tasty morsel to make in stages as part of relaxing and recruiting your strength for the week ahead, or just a plate of heartiness ready when you want breakfast after an early service, an extended bike ride/walk/swim, or the massive sleep in that some favour at the start of a new week.

  Cooking slowly: roasted tomatoes  salty pretzels*   olive focaccia  fruit pies**  

   Slow starters: corned beef hash    Slow cooking: baked beans & rice

Whichever way gets you in the zone to see new doors opening, I hope you enjoy some of these!  See below for a bit more explanation.  *Sorry, these both need flour and my experience is that they don’t respond well to gluten free flour – in fact, the focaccia calls for high-protein bread flour. **Yippee! These are made with arrowroot (ground tapioca) – so gluten free, even if not guilt-free!  Everything else is flourless.

Cooking slowly: This is where getting the dish together just can’t be hurried.  With some it is heat – might not sound like much of a difference, but cooking delicious oven-roasted tomatoes takes at least an hour below 160°C; there is no point hurrying because at 180°C they disassemble into sauce that might be delicious but not what you’re looking for.  Enough said.  With others, each step needs time and there are multiple steps – like making anything involving yeast (which just needs time to do its magic, and you mess with that at your peril), or pastry items (which are usually complex, with multiple steps – but great fun, for example, if you are cooking down fresh fruit for a pie filling).

Slow starters: This is sort of a cupboard cooking approach – where if you have some parts already cooked, it won’t take long to have something on the table, but its not so easy to gather if you are starting from an empty bench.  Otherwise known to our friends as ‘advanced leftovers’ because many such dishes use up what is lurking from earlier meals.  Leftover spaghetti sauce can turn into topping for wrap pizzas for example – you probably wouldn’t cook the sauce just to make those pizzas, but … you get the idea.

Slow cooking: This is where all you need is lots of time, not because there is much to do but because you let a slow cooking oven or bench top slow cooker do the work.  The crucial thing to know is the temperature at which your appliance cooks, as most are a fixed setting.  My slow cooking oven, for example, works at 100°C, while most bench top slow cookers work at 115-120°C: as well as impacting cooking time, it will affect how much time it takes for consommé looking stuff to go first to a thicker soup and then to a full on sauce with properly cooked bits in it; also you need to factor in how much water is needed when you leave it go for a long time, like overnight.