Posted by: Rachael | February 28, 2008


We’ve been having a great deal of fun and experimentation with our cooking bag.
But not everything has been a roaring success. We tried sultana bread. Once.
We’ll have to try again – and the kids won’t mind coz they really enjoyed eating it for breakfast the next day plastered in custard!
The worst thing about the bread episode was that I burnt three blankets – yes scorched them black. Obviously, the towel I had put in on previous occasions had been a good idea…and I’ll continue to use one forevermore! In fact I might even make the internal bag out of a couple of layers of towelling.
But now for the things that HAVE worked.
First of all there was rice.

Abundant Garden Bake
Kumara, thinly sliced (or potato or turnip or parsnip or swede or pumpkin or a mixture)
Onions, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Other vegetables, thinly sliced (cabbage, zucchini, peppers, carrots, eggplant, beans, celery or whatever you have)
Tomato puree (or leftover meat sauce)
Cheese, grated (optional, but tasty!)
Either plonk everything in the pot or layer it neatly. Bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes to make sure it has heated right through. Pop in the cooking bag for a couple of hours or longer.

Spaghetti Sauce
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2T olive oil
Saute until tender
750g mince
Add and cook until brown
225g tomato paste
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2C (real homemade!!!) beef stock
1/2C parsley, chopped (or other herbs)
Add and bring to the boil – boil for a couple of minutes before putting into the cooking bag. We have left ours in the bag for anything from 1-6 hours. Often we use lentils too in addition to a smaller quantity of meat or instead of the meat.

Saucy Beans
2 1/2 C dry beans, soaked overnight
3 1/2 C tomatoes
1/2 C tomato paste
4 T molasses
2 T olive oil
1 T sea salt
2 T honey
1 t dried basil or a handful of fresh
1 large onion, chopped finely
Bring to the boil and boil for 35 minutes. Finish off in cooking pot for…how long? We have put them in just after lunch and they are ready in time for dinner. I’m not sure how “short” a time you could get away with (I read somewhere that beans need 3 hours in the cooking bag/basket/box)

Stewed Apple
Chop up apples and bring to the boil in a pot. Transfer to the cooking bag and they’ll be done in less than half an hour. I promise they will not stick to the bottom of the pot!

Bean Bonanza
3C beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1C beef stock (optional)
Chorizo sausages or salami, sliced
Bring to the boil and boil for 35 minutes. Put in your cooking basket and leave for at least 3 hours.

Chickpea Spaghetti
1 large onion garlic
2 stalks celery a couple of chillies
1T olive oil or coconut oil or butter or a mixture
a handful of mushrooms
1 capsicum
4 large tomatoes (or more if you have a glut of them!)
2 cups tomato puree lots of parsley
lots of fresh basil
1 t marjoram
1 t oregano
1/2 t paprika
salt and pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
4C chickpeas, soaked overnight
Add and bring to the boil. Boil for 35 minutes and put in cooking basket for an additional 3 hours.
350g spaghetti noodles
Cook. Spoon sauce over a bed of spag and garnish with parmesan cheese if liked.

Chicken Stew
You can adapt any of your usual recipes to this method of cooking. Fry up your chicken pieces first, and then add any other ingredients you might like (chicken stock, garlic, onion, ginger, chillies, apricots or pineapple, carrots, potato….whatever you like….but not quite as much liquid as you would usually need) and cook for a further 15 minutes. The pot will then need an hour in your insulated cooking contraption.

Cream of Chicken Soup
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Choice of vegetables: potato and leek * squash and sundried tomato * carrot * mushroom * winter root veg * fresh pea OR split pea * tomato-dill * garlic * curried parsnip and apple * pumpkin *
Seasoning to match vegetables
Chicken stock
2C cream or coconut cream
Bring to the boil and put into cooking bag.

We tried the Njahi on the cooking in a basket blog. It made me realise that even our “simple” meals here are actually quite complex. We ate this, thinking “it’s nice…..but not as the main dish….it needs a little curry on top and a salad on the side”!!!!



  1. […] flavourings and food enhancers and stabilisers (get the message?) I promise you can. You could try these recipes, for […]

  2. […] here – for lasagne, just don’t cut the sheets up! Then you make a meat sauce. Recipe is here. Or you make a sauce without the meat, using red lentils instead, and maybe some mashed pumpkin. […]

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