If you're thinking about buying a Crock pot / Slow Cooker, there are a few things to know before you part with your hard earned cash.
What price should I pay for a good one?
- They start from under 10 pounds, which will give you a perfectly good product.
- This price will buy you a 2.0 liter capacity Crock-pot / Slow Cooker, so a perfect size for one or two people, and easy to store in a cupboard.
- You can find them on line at this price but not always available in the major supermarkets.
- Example: Argos.co.uk do a good one, Argos Value Slow Cooker. It's round and only comes in white white, 90 watts, toughened glass lid, cool touch casing, removable crock-pot, dishwasher safe, it has the basic high or low setting, but it does have a keep warm setting. It also comes with a recipe book.
- 20 pounds will buy you the 3.5 liter capacity and 170-watt power consumption, usually presented in an oval shape, with a removable crock-pot that's dishwasher safe, and the same three settings as the cheaper one, but you are more likely to get a two-year warranty with this one.
What functions are you looking for?
- If you want a more "singing dancing" crock-pot, and one that has an international brand name, then check out the Tefal 4 in 1 range.
- You can pick one up on line for just over 50 pounds. It's multi functional and comes in a two-tone black and stainless steel housing. It has a capacity of 3.2 liters, so big enough for a medium to large family.
- It has a rice cooking function, and graduated markings inside the pot to help you set the correct amount of rice to water, and it sorts out its own cooking time automatically!
- It can make about 600grams of porridge in four minutes, but does not have keep warm function for this.
- It also has a steam basket and the timing on this can be set from 1 minute to an hour.
- The down side is that there is no viewing window.
- The lid is integrated into the appliance with a hinged locking device; this prevents any cooking smells leaking out, which is ideal if you cook overnight and do not want to wake up first thing in the morning to the aroma of a stew.
- It comes with a measuring spoon and recipe book.
Whichever Crockpot you buy will be a good investment; and very economic, easy to use and a fabulous time saver that produces great results. Even the cheaper cuts of meat are slow cooked to perfection. The recipe books that are provided with some models are a good starter for a new crock-pot owner, but thankfully, with the invention of the Internet we now have thousands of Crock-pot recipes at our fingertips.
Tryout this classic recipe.
Ragu / Bolognaise sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan
- Add the chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes
- Pour in the Passata and stir
- Simmer for 5 minutes
- Stir in the caramelised angles and simmer for a further 5 minutes
- Add the treated Thyme plus the fresh sprig, parsley, oregano and bay leaf
- Add the sherry vinegar, brown sugar salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir
- Simmer for 5 minutes
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, splash of Tabasco, tomato puree and red wine
- Simmer for another 5 minutes
- Add all the Soffrito
- Meanwhile, brown the minced pork and beef
- Whilst the meat is browning, turn the Crockpot / slow cooker on high
- Assemble all the ingredients together in a Crockpot / slow cooker and turn it down to low
- Cook for 8 hours
- Serve with Tagliatelle or spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese