Culinary delights are often associated with Haute Cuisine or special dishes for special occasions. However, the discerning stay at home cook or the aspiring cooking debutant may be pleasantly surprised by the practical, time saving and wonderful slow cooker. First of all let me briefly explain the slow cooking process and exactly what is a slow cooker.
A slow cooker gently cooks food over a long period of time thus infusing the succulent juices of its ingredients. Cooking at a low temperature, usually in a stainless steel or ceramic pot, conveys heat uniformly through its contents thus enhancing the cooking process. Many Authors have designed and created some wonderful slower cooker recipe books ranging from the exotic through to vegetarian. Moreover, the thought of getting practical, tasty food prepared efficiently and without fuss serves as a real benefit to those cooks which use this cooking process.
My own experiences have been very pertinent in this area. I can recall when living alone, pre-marriage days, the whole issue of preparing food certainly caused much concern. Admittedly, I enjoyed eating the end result of my labours, often marvelling at my efforts, yet scoffed at the thought of having to cook. It wasn’t until a friend of mine introduced me to this refreshing concept, a way of preparing food, which I could learn so easily and enjoy so immensely.
In principle, I was able to decide one day before eating or very early the same day for an evening meal, a series of ingredients placed in to a metal basket, lid going on top, electric button being switched on and away to go. It is that simple and so enjoyable. So what sort of dishes can be prepared? A great tip is to use the cuts of meat which tend to be a little tougher, the process it self acts as softener thus resulting in more tender results. Stews, curry’s, hot pots to name but a few dishes certainly lend themselves to the winter season. Equally mouth watering is sauces such as Bolognese, coq au vin to name but a few. In addition to savoury dishes the slow cooker can be used for items such as apple stews, fruit baskets and breakfasts as well.
Ultimately, the choice is a personal one and I can emphasise how pleasing the results have been. Since becoming a convert I have read many of the authors relating to this area, such as Judith Finlayson and Natalie Haughton, who through their works have provided some exceedingly tasty and delightful food. The slow cooker recipe book of Catherine Atkinson certainly reminds me of my childhood and the food preparation my mother did during the colder winter months.
The whole experience has been an enjoyable one and I always welcome this very basic and effective cooking process to be a style of eating which ticks many of the boxes, time saving, efficient, succulent and of course pleasing.