A wonderfully moist Carrot Cake that is sure to become a favourite.

1/2 a cup of Oil
1/2 a cup of Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1 cup of Self Raising Flour
1/2 a cup of Plain Flour
1 teaspoon of Soda Bicarb
2 teaspoons of ground Cinnamon
2 medium Carrots grated
1/2 a cup of chopped Pecans
1 cup of Sultanas

Simmering time on the stove top: 30 to 40 minutes.

Thermal cooking time: 5 hours minimum

1. Beat the Eggs and add the Sugar and Oil and continue beating until very frothy.
2. Sift together the Flours, Soda bicarb and Cinnamon.
3. Add the Egg mixture to the Flour and then stir in the grated Carrot, Pecans and Sultanas
4. Put the mixture into a 16cm cake tin that has been lined with baking paper and cover with a round of baking paper.
5. Cover the cake tin with a suitable lid or a trimmed sheet of Alfoil and press this down the sides firmly to hold.
6. Pour enough hot water into the inner pot so that it would come halfway up the side of the cake tin.
7. Place a trivet or metal pastry ring in the base of the inner pot and rest the cake tin on it.
8. NOTE: if using the 3 litre inner pot the cake tin can sit on a folded pad of Alfoil
9. Bring the water to the boil, close the lid and turn down the heat to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
10. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the outer insulated container for a minimum of 5 hours.

NOTE: As cakes do not dry out you can cook these in the evening and leave them all night.


Hmm, delicious steak and kidney pudding – after 3 hours of cooking without fuel!

This steak and kidney pudding recipe is easy, but always a show stopper when I am demonstrating Mr D’s Thermal Cooker. This one we made at the weekend and is large enough for six servings.


For suet dough:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour (250 gm)
  • 1 cup shredded suet (125 gm)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup cold water (180 ml)

For steak and kidney filling:

  • 500 gm steak, cubed
  • 1 pig’s kidney (or 250 gm calf’s kidney if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp flour seasoned with ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce


Suet dough

  1. Put 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of suet and ½ teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl and mix together.
  2. Make a hollow in the middle of the mixture, pour ¼ cup of water into the hollow and spoon the dry ingredients into the water until it is absorbed. Repeat with two further ¼ cups of water. The mixture should now be bound into a ball of soft dough. If there is still some loose flour and suet, add a little more water to unite with the dough.
  3. Use 2/3 of the dough to line a 1 litre pudding basin, making sure there are no holes in the dough wall.
  4. Keep the remaining 1/3 of the suet dough for the pudding lid.
  5. Put a 30mm high trivet into the inner pot of Mr D’s Thermal Cooker and add enough water (cold or warm) to come 45 cm above the trivet. Put the inner pot on the hob and bring the water to the boil.
  6. Toss the cubed steak and kidney in the seasoned flour.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a cooking pan, add the meat and turn it to seal. Add half the quantity of meat at a time so that the pan keeps hot enough to seal the meat quickly. When sealed it will be light brown.
  8. Take the pan off the hob. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce. Stir so that the flour absorbs the water and Worcester sauce and mixes into a gravy.
  9. Put the meat and gravy into the dough-lined pudding basin.
  10. Shape the remaining 1/3 of suet dough to make a lid for the pudding, position it on top of the meat filling and press the dough edges together to form a seal.
  11. Place a circle of greaseproof or baking paper on top of the pudding.
  12. Place a piece of eco-friendly foil over the pudding and tie firmly in place with string. Remember to leave a loop of string to help pull the pudding basin out when cooked.
  13. Place the pudding basin into the inner pot to rest on the trivet. The boiling hot water should reach about ¾ up the side of the pudding bowl.
  14. Make sure the water is lightly boiling, put the lid on the inner pot and maintain on the hob at boiling point for 35 minutes.
  15. Put the inner pot into the vacuum-insulated outer Thermal pot, close the outer pot lid and leave to thermal cook without power for 2 ½ hours.
  16. If Mr D’s Thermal Cooker is left unopened you can serve this dish up to 6½ hours after starting the thermal cooking.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow:

For lunch today I adapted a Madhur Jaffrey recipe that I had noticed last week. It was easy to put together and I thermal cooked it for about three hours.

The duck was so tender and although not too hot the dish was full of flavour and enjoyed by everyone.


  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp bright red paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp corn or peanut oil
  • 1 x 2.7kg duck, jointed or 4 duck breasts cut in half
  • 1/2 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 15 fresh curry leaves, if available
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into fine half-rings
  • 2 tbsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp
  • 1 tin tomatoes, chopped
  • 120ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  1. Mix together the turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and garam masala in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat a frying pan and then add the duck pieces skin down.
  3. Cook until the skin starts to brown the turn over and brown the other side.
  4. Remove the duck and place it into the thermal cookers inner pot.
  5. Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds duck fat that that has rendered out in the frying pan and cook them until they start to pop.
  6. Add the curry leaves and onions and stir fry until the start to brown.
  7. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute before stirring in the spice mixture.
  8. Cook for 1 minute before adding the tin of tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  9. Now add this mixture to the duck making sure that the duck is nicely coated,
  10. Add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar and bring to the boil with the lid on.
  11. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  13. Leave to cook for 3 to 4 hours.
  14. If you have a top pot half way through the cooking time add 2 cups of rice, 3 3/4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the top pot. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer.
  15. While the top pot is simmering remove the inner pot and bring back to the boil.
  16. Place the top pot in the inner pot and place the inner pot back into the out insulated container.
  17. Cook for a further 2 hours before serving.

This is a delicious dish and will be loved by both vegetarians and non vegetarians. On a hot summer day this will be the perfect accompaniment to a fresh green salad.

I have used a tin of ready cooked green lentils but you can use dried if you prefer. You will of course have to boil them and let them cool before adding them to the mixture.

To make this loaf you will need a loaf or pate tin that fits in the inner pot. The tin will need a cover of Eco friendly aluminium foil to stop the droplets of water from dripping on the surface of the roast. I used a Mr D’s bread tin, which has a lid and therefore is ideal.


  • oil or butter to coat the inside of the loaf tin
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs, toasted until they are golden colour
  • 225g tin green or red lentils, cooked and drained. If you are cooking your own they must be allowed to become cold before adding to the mixture.
  • 225g grated vegetarian cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 125g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper


  1. Grease the loaf tin well and coat with half the toasted breadcrumbs making sure that they stick to the sides.
  2. In a bowl mix together all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin. Smooth the surface and cover with a layer of the toasted breadcrumbs.
  4. Cover the tin either with Eco friendly aluminium foil or a lid.
  5. Put a trivet in the inner pot and place the loaf tin on it.
  6. Fill with hot water ¾ of the way up the side of the tin.
  7. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  8. Put on the lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  10. Shut the lid and thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 4 hours. It can be left longer.
  11. Serve hot with cooked vegetable or cold with salad.

Moroccan food appeals to all of your senses. The smell, colour and taste is so different to other cuisine.

A walk through the streets of Morocco will fill your nostrils with smells that will make you hungry.

Restaurants are decorated with mosaics and have richly woven carpets cover the floors. The table is laid with wonderful silver and copper ware that contrasts with the simple selection of mezze, which might include a bowl of olives or a selection of cooked vegetable salads dressed with olive oil, sprinkled with cumin and served a dip and flat bread.

This recipe which have the wonderful tastes of Morocco is very easy to make and should be served with couscous.


  • 450g lean leg of lamb, cut into cubes
  • 1½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 350g peeled pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2 preserved lemons, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • 50g couscous mixed with 65ml of boiling water per person


  1. coat the lamb with the black pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the meat in batches. Brown all over then put it in the inner pot.
  3. Cook the onions and garlic in the frying pan until they are soft. Add them to the inner pot.
  4. Add the tomatoes, harissa, chickpeas, pumpkin, preserved lemon, mint and coriander and bring to the boil.
  5. Put on the lid and turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer pot.
  7. Put on the lid and thermal cook for a minimum of 4 hours.
  8. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve add the couscous to boiling water. Give it a good stir and cover.
  9. Serve the lamb on a bed of couscous.

A great stew made with venison and pork loves the long slow cooking of Mr D’s Thermal Cooker. The meat will be so tender if you leave it for at least 4 hours.

If you want a slightly thicker gravy you can add a little flour and water making sure that it is well mixed to avoid lumps.

This stew is easy to make and will be enjoyed by everyone.


  • 500g pork, cut into cubes
  • 500g venison, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 3 stick celery, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 300g butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 225g mushrooms, cut into slices


  1. Dust the meat with the ground pepper.
  2. Put the olive oil to a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meat and brown in batches. When brown put the meat in the inner pot.
  3. Add the onions to the frying pan and cook until soft.
  4. Put the onions in the inner pot.
  5. Add the tomatoes, red wine, celery, carrots to the meat and onions and bring to the boil.
  6. Add the butternut squash and the mushrooms. Stir well and bring back to the boil.
  7. Put on the lid and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Put the inner pot into the insulated outer container and shut the lid.
  9. Leave to thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 4 hours.
  10. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  11. Serve with new potatoes or crusty bread.

I have for some time followed and admired the blog CookSister. It has wonderful photographs and great recipes. Cooksister (named after a South African plaited, deep-fried syrup-dipped pastry) is written by Jeanne Horak-Druiff and when she published the recipe for Bunny Chow (a dish I had first seen at the Christchurch Food Festival) I asked her if she would allow me to use it.
I have included part of the description of the dish and the only changes I made was to use bread rolls as the bread bow and add a little more liquid. The main reason for the bread rolls was that I made a large pot of it for a party of 50 people so rolls were more convenient.

BUNNY CHOW- by Jeanne Horak-Druiff
copyright CookSister

**DISCLAIMER** – no fluffy bunnies were harmed in the making of this dish!!

There is some discussion as to the origin of this street food which broadly consists of curry ladled into a scooped-out loaf of bread. One theory is that it originated at a restaurant in Durban’s Grey Street when, in the early 1900s, caddies from the Royal Durban Golf Club were unable to get enough time off over lunch to dash to predominantly Indian Grey Street to pick up a curry for lunch. The caddies would ask their friends to bring back curries for them and because there were no polystyrene containers back then, the shopkeepers sent the curry in hollowed out loaves of bread. There was also no disposable cutlery, so the bread was useful as a tool to dip into the curry and use instead of a fork. This theory might also explain the rather unusual name: the shopkeepers on Grey Street were called banias (an Indian caste of merchants), and “bunny” could be a corruption of this. Another similar theory is that bunny chows originated as a means for the (mostly Indian) labourers to take lunch onto the sugar cane plantations of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the days before disposable containers.

The curry used in a bunny chow varies according to taste – chicken, lamb, beef or vegetable are all popular, and the level of heat varies (beware – Durbanites like theirs HOT!). The bread component of a bunny chow may be a whole, half or quarter white loaf, and the scooped out centre is replaced on top of the curry before serving. The scooped out bread is then dipped into the gravy before and eaten as an appetiser, and it is considered very bad form indeed to take somebody’s this bread without asking. As the level of the curry drops, you can rip off bits of the bread bowl to use instead of cutlery – so all in all it’s a fun but potentially messy meal and not suitable for first dates or important business lunches!

The recipe below is a great basic lamb curry and could also be served on rice. If you are making bunny chows though, be sure there is enough liquid for plenty of gravy: you want the gravy to soak properly into the bread “bowl”. I was lucky enough that my lovely friend Simla brought back a packet of Osmans Taj Mahal roasted Durban madras curry powder for me last time she went home, which I use in my curry – but you could use any ready-mixed curry powder that you like (Rajah madras curry powder would work well if you like it hot). You can also add chopped chillies at the end to spice up individual portions if some diners like it hotter than others. And as always, if you have time try to make the curry a day in advance because the flavours always improve on the second day.

So what are you waiting for? Try these for yourself and experience the authentic taste of South African street food!

BUNNY CHOW (serves 4)


  • 1 kg lamb, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1.5 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1.5 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 tsp Durban masala (or substitute shop-bought curry powder,as hot or mild as you like)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4 potatoes, cubed
  • Salt
  • 4 – 8 crusty rolls hollowed out. Keep the hollowed out bread and serve to mop up any the curry that gets on the plate
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Cube the meat and slice the onion.
  2. Heat the oil in the inner pot and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, onion and curry leaves. Fry until the onion is light golden brown in colour.
  3. Add the masala mix (or curry powder), turmeric, ginger, garlic and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mix resembles a puree.
  4. Add the meat and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and 400ml of water.
  5. Bring back to the boil, put on the lid and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  7. Shut the lid and thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 2 hours.
  8. 10 minutes before serving remove the inner pot from the outer container. Add the garam masala mixture. Test for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  9. Simmer for a further 10 minutes on a low heat.
  10. Serve in hollowed out crusty rolls and garnish with the coriander leaves.


Tonights dish is a simple to prepare Japanese meal.

Nikujaga is a home-cooked dish, of meat potatoes and onion stew cooked in sweetened soy sauce. It is served with a bowl of rice and miso soup. It was invented by chefs of the Imperial Japanese Navyin the late 19th Century. The story that Tōgō Heihachirō ordered naval cooks to create a version of the beef stews served in the British Royal Navy was devised as part of an ongoing campaign beginning in 1895 to promote the city of Maizuru, Kyoto, as the birthplace of nikujaga.

The meat used in Japan for this dish varies from region to region. Beef is usually used in western Japan, while pork tends to be more popular in the east. You can use which ever meat you prefer but avoid meat that is too lean. When using lean meat, slice to a medium thickness or cut into cubes.

I have incorporated the miso soup into the main dish using it instead of dashi. Dashi forms the base of miso soup.


  • 250g sirloin beef, cut into thin strips
  • 750ml of miso soup
  • 100ml Japanese soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 400g small new potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges and separated
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 15mm thick pieces


  1. Add everything except the beef to the inner pot.
  2. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add the beef and bring back to the boil and skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
  4. Turn off the heat and put the inner pot, with its lid on, into the insulated outer container.
  5. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook without power for 2-3 hours.
  6. Serve with rice cooked in the top pot if you have one. If you don’t have a top pot cook the rice separately.

Using Coca Cola is an interesting way of cooking gammon and it is certainly worth a try.

I have done this a number of times and it has been always very well received.

The idea of using Coca Cola for cooking gammon has been published by a number of cooks and chefs including Nigella Lawson.

The only difference with my version is using a thermal cooker which I find the ideal way of cooking a gammon joint.


  • Gammon joint, to fit snugly in your thermal cooker
  • 2 litre bottle Coca Cola (real not diet)
  • 1 onion, sliced in half


  1. Wash the gammon and then place it into the bottom of the inner pot.
  2. Add the onion the cover the ham and onion with the Coca Cola.
  3. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  6. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook with out power for a minimum of 5 hours.
  7. Remove the gammon and either serve immediately with new potatoes and vegetables of your choice or leave to cool and serve cold with salad.

Liver I know is not enjoyed by everyone but it is really good for you as it is rich in iron and vitamin A. You can choose whichever type of liver you like for this recipe.

I have used ox liver but lambs or pigs liver will work just as well.

To make this dish will take no time at all.


  • 350g ox liver, cut into strips
  • 3 tbls plain flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned and chopped
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 400g can haricot beans, drained
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Dust the liver with seasoned flour.
  2. Melt the butter and olive oil in the inner pot.
  3. Add the liver, onion and mushrooms quickly until brown.
  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  5. Turn down the heat, put on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  7. Leave to thermal slow cook without power for 2 hours.
  8. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  9. Serve with rice.