As the colder weather sets in this winter, we’re all turning to hearty warming food. And to meet the demand from home cooks who want to make stews, casseroles, soups and tajines, a whole host of new recipe books are being released.
Good Housekeeping is bringing out Slow Cook: Delicious Triple Tested Recipes That Work First Time, Every Time. The Cooking Light series is publishing a book of 140 weeknight recipes, celebrity chef James Martin has come up with Slow Cooking: Mouthwatering Recipes with Minimum Effort and Pierre Lewis is offering Yummy Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes for Lazy and Busy Cooks.
And that’s the beauty of slow cooking. No matter how hectic life gets, you can always make something delicious. Devotees of slow cookers cite three reasons for their love affair with the technique – it makes the cheapest cuts of meat taste amazing, it’s a simply way of cooking, and using a slow cooker means your dinner can be waiting for you when you come in from work.
Dieticians also rate them because they can help you to eat more healthily. Pam Stuppy, who has nutrition counselling offices in York, Maine, and Portsmouth, said: “Despite the ease of preparing slow-cooked meals, they can give you that home-cooked feeling without the effort. When you walk in the door after a long day, the aroma of a delicious meal just minutes away is a welcome treat.”
Convinced? Well, here’s our rundown of some of the best slow cookers on the market.
With a 3.5 litre capacity, this one is big enough for family meals and small enough for cooking up a feast for two. It comes with a toughened glass lid so you can check out how your dish is doing without opening the device and letting heat escape. Costing around £22, it’s also dishwasher proof, so you can simply remove the ceramic pot and pop it in your machine to wash.
One for bigger families, or if you want to cook up a huge batch of stew or soup to freeze, this oven was recently featured on the hit TV show Come Dine With Me. It’s easy to operate – you just need to push down the handle to start and lift it to stop. It also comes with a 128-page recipe book, written by Norma Miller, to give you some tips to get started. Amazon currently have this one on sale for £40.
Suitable to knock up a meal for up to five people, Crock Pot’s stainless steel gizmo costs around £65. There’s a countdown timer which lets you program cooking times from 30 minutes up to 20 hours. It also features a handy keep warm function if members of your household are likely to want second helpings. With a removable dishwasher safe stoneware pot, this one has won rave reviews from consumers. “It’s a perfect size,” said one, “not so big that it’s impossible to cook for just two, but still big enough to cook a whole chicken, and comfortably cook for four adults, and still have left overs.”
Yum, it almost makes us look forward to winter.