Do the preparations and then sit back and relax to wait for the delicious results.

There is nothing more satisfying than slow cooking. A little effort earlier in the day as you prepare your dish - and it's always wonderfully simple - then you are free to get on with other things, like relaxing, safe in the knowledge that a warm meal for your loved ones is on its way.

The first recipe is for soup. Vary classic pea and ham a little by using lentils instead of split peas then blending up a chilli herb paste called harissa, to drizzle on each serving as seasoning.

Of course you don't need to add the harissa but you will need to season accordingly.

Make sure you find good quality smoked ham hocks; check out your local butcher who most likely will have smoked them on the premises. When the soup is ready, the meat will fall off the bones.


Rabbit is a favourite meat of mine. Although lean, it is tender and very tasty, plus rabbit cooks well over a long period. I have cooked this dish in a casserole but you could try it in a slow cooker.

I love the flavours of bacon and currants or prunes with rabbit. Plenty of herbs, orange zest and a slug of sherry make for a deliciously flavoursome dish, which is perfect with some garlicky mash and a steamed green vegetable.

Steamed puddings are very easy to prepare then steam slowly. They can be forgotten about for 1 hours. The great thing about steaming is that the pudding doesn't dry out. I have used persimmons because I love their flavour and colour, plus they are abundant at the moment. Soften them first before putting in the bottom of the basin then when the pudding is turned out you will have glorious persimmons on top. Serve hot with a generous amount of coconut custard.

Chef's tip
* Rabbits can be ordered from butchers but are available whole and frozen from some supermarkets.

* I have a steamed pudding basin with a screw-on lid. Alternatively, cover a pudding bowl with greased baking paper and secure well.

* You can substitute pears or feijoas for the persimmons if you prefer.