I have, dear reader, in my possession, one of the original slow cookers or crockpots. It isn’t a thing of beauty and the pot doesn’t come apart to put in the dishwasher. It’s a large capacity brown lump that has been used hundreds of times over the past 25 years.
So what is the appeal of this mode of cooking? Well, in my case it’s not the desire to have a classy looking kitchen gadget on display – my slow cooker, as I have said, is not. It’s all about flavour and convenience. You can safely cook overnight or through the day with no fear of welding your meal to the casserole.
Gina Steer has penned a cookbook which offers a wide range of recipes to suit every taste. It’s not only meat dishes that are well represented. There are recipes that are suitable for vegetarians and although I must admit that I have never made dessert in a slow cooker, there is an interesting selection here.
My favourite slow cooker recipes take advantage of cheaper cuts of meat and in particular sausages. Gina offers Black Beans with Sausage. The sausage in question is Toulouse which is made more flavourful by the addition of spices such as cumin and mustard with a bit of heat from chilli. The same sausage puts in a second appearance in Pork Cassoulet.
Beans of any kind are ideal in a slow cooker. No problems with beans boiling dry. The cooking times sound lengthy but remember that you can sleep or work while the slow cooker cooks. Barbecued Beans only has 15 minutes preparation time. Start the beans in the morning and they will be finished by the time you get back from the office.
The dessert chapter has some delicious surprises. Maple Syrup Pudding is great old-fashioned comfort food. The pudding recipe will become a standard that you can change. Use golden syrup to make traditional treacle pudding or use your favourite jam. What could be nicer to come home to on a cold winter’s night?
The Slow Cooker Cookbook is a great introduction to, in my opinion, an indispensible kitchen aid. The new crockpots save time and effort, and also money: you’ll make tasty meals from humble ingredients.
The Slow Cooker Cookbook
Author: Gina Steer
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018