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Gillian's Kitchen: Garlic and ginger

Garlic, onions, ginger, sherry and a soupçon of cinnamon - the air is redolent with these scents and the underlying base of lamb.  This casserole has been simmmering for ten hours in the slow cooker and I inhale deeply as I enter  my apartment. The scented air envelops me like a warm blanket and I feel the tensions of the day slipping out the door behind me. This is comfort food indeed.

When I moved into my apartment, downsizing as they say,  I got rid of many of the small appliances I had accumulated over the years. I was determined to manage life simply and not re-accumulate "stuff."   Toaster - trying to eat low carb so who needs a toaster or a pannini machine?  No baking so out went the mix master. Eat fruits not juices - out went the juicer.  You can envisage the rest. My pantry area looked great - lots of empty shelves - very tidy.  But of course this did not last long.

A couple of months into the year, my brother and sister in law were coming for a visit. They were not on low carb diets! I acquired a toaster. Later as  winter approached, daylight  got shorter and the work day seemed longer. That's when I bought the Rival Slow- cooker.

On Sunday I would do the prep work and put the ingredients back in the fridge overnight. Early Monday morning I would assemble the casserole and get ready for work. Just before leaving the apartment  and driving to work in the dark, I would  turn the cooker on to the 10 hour cycle.  And later that afternoon when I returned from work,  again in the dark, my apartment  would welcome me home - garlic, onions, ginger, sherry and lamb - or chicken or beef. I was an equal opportunity carnivore.

Now most of the year my slow -cooker sits in the pantry. But last weeked, rain, the smells of fall, and the distinct chill in the air prompted me to haul it out again. This time for a chicken casserole. Leeks added a different flavour and diced pieces of russet potato and  yam thickened  the liquid into a rich velvety sauce.  Mmmmm.