Most of my new friends would be surprised to hear that a few years ago the extent of my skills in the kitchen was (badly) frying an egg, toasting some bread and heating some beans. The thought of me cooking anything more sophisticated than that seemed as likely as me playing professional football or going on X-Factor! As well as being an expert at navigating the Ready Meals aisle of the supermarket I was on first name terms with the staff at my local fish and chip shop, kebaby and Indian restaurant. I wasn’t obese but as I got older the scales were no longer as kind to me as they once were. Ready Meals and eating out isn’t cheap either and as my weight got heavier my pockets got lighter.
So how did I become a kitchen ninja? Well it all happened rather slowly but the first step on my journey to knowing the difference between a potato ricer and a mouli was getting a slow cooker. I was given one as a gift one Christmas from a relative that was obviously struggling to buy a present for me or was perhaps looking to re-gift a slow cooker that had previously been given to them. Whatever the reason they gave it to me I am now very pleased they did. Admittedly when I first opened the present my initial thoughts were “Great, a slow cooker”. If think you can detect more than a hint of sarcasm there you are not mistaken! The gift I had been given was the Morphy Richards 48715 Slow Cooker which although is a very good model it didn’t look that amazing to my untrained eye and due to this lived at the back of a kitchen cupboard for the first few months of my owner ship.
So what inspired me to finally use my slow cooker? Well I’d love to say I woke up one day and decided I would be healthier and master my kitchen but that’s not how it happened. I was clearing through my kitchen cupboards and stumbled upon the still in its box slow cooker. I took it out of the cupboard and put it in the pile of stuff I was going to give to the local charity shop before I remembered you can’t give them electrical items anymore due to health and safety regulations. Realising this I opened the box, more as a welcome distraction from my spring cleaning rather than with any intention to actually use the slow cooker. Once I started flicking through the instruction manual I soon discovered what a slow cooker actually was and what it was capable of. Essentially you just add some liquid and some food and leave it for a few hours and hey presto, you have a meal! Could it really be that simple? Seeing as I was cleaning out my cupboard and fridge I had a fair amount of food that was not going to be used so I decided to give the slow cooker a spin and see if it should stay or go. The first meal I cooked in my slow cooker was a watery chicken broth but the amount of effort required was minuscule and I at once saw the potential. My next dish was a beef casserole and from there I expanded my repertoire to include curries, stews, soups and even slow cooked ribs. The convenience of being able to add the ingredients to the slow cooker and then leave it to cook during the day or overnight and then come home to a delicious home cooked meal that didn’t break the bank opened my eyes to the possibility of home cooking. Although the list of things you can cook in a slow cooker is almost endless I soon started learning other meals I could cook in a saucepan or an oven and today I am more often than not found in my kitchen rather down my local takeaway.
If you want to start saving money, eating more healthily or just get a few dishes under your belt for when you have friends over, in my opinion, there is no better kitchen appliance than a slow cooker.