Friday, 1 February 2013

Kitchen Gadget of the week - my Slow Cooker!

I asked Twitter whether I should get a slow-cooker, especially now the girls are a uni and we are on our own. The response was an overwhelming 'yes' and I was pretty impressed that I could get one for under £25 that takes 3.5 litres and has 3 settings (low, high and warm). I opted for the Crock-Pot Slow-cooker from John Lewis which is a very affordable £22.95.

Excited I went down to the butcher department of Morrisons. We sadly don't have a butchers within walking distance but Morrisons does have their own and their meat is just as varied and it's the next best thing in comparison with all the other super markets. I was told to use cheap cuts - the slow cook turns even the toughest pieces into something that simply falls apart when you eat it. So I went a bit mad and bought shoulder of lamb (not the cheapest but not the most expensive either), lamb mince, beef shin and chicken thighs.

Another recommendation from my Twitter friends was to get my hands on the BBC Good Food slow cooker favourites which contains 101 recipes - I must admit it didn't occur to me that you can make fantastic desserts in a slow-cooker as well so I will definitely be giving that a go!

My first meal is a lamb stew which I created based on a recipe I found in the book. I don't usually buy much lamb as it is just too expensive but the joy of this is I could buy the cheaper cuts and therefore it becomes more affordable.

Here is my recipe...

1 garlic clove, 1 handful Rosemary from the garden, olive oil to brown meat before cooking, 1kilo lamb shoulder (though you could use a cheaper cut), 1 chopped onion, 1 large carrot, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 teaspoon Marmite, 200ml lamb stock, ground pepper. This should feed four people nicely.

I browned the meat then put it in the slow-cooker with all the other ingredients. I then cooked it on low for 7 hours. It really is as simple as that and was completely delicious. The Marmite added a bit of richness to the stew and I served it with jacket potatoes.

Slow-cooked lamb stew for four
Slow-cooked lamb stew for four.

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