Slow Cookers, Fun, Safety, Cleaning & Many Cooking Tips……
Health – the gentle cooking action and motion of slow cooking retains more of the nutrients, vitamins and flavours.
Low, slow cooking will tenderise the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat and slow cookers today use a quarter of the power compared to a conventional hob or oven.
Preparation of ingredients the night before, chilling overnight in the fridge, placing them in the slow cooker crockpot in the morning and you have a healthy, delicious meal and an aroma filled kitchen waiting for you when you get home and maybe a queue outside your door.
Most of the recipes in our series, “Flying the nest” will call for most meats and some vegetables to be sautéed off in a separate pan before adding to the pot, do not be tempted to use the crock pot for this, here are a few top tips to get the most from your slow cooker.
Pre heat the crockpot for 20 minutes on a heat resistant surface, warming it up before adding ingredients.
Thaw all frozen food completely before adding to the crockpot.
Soak dried beans, peas or pulses overnight before adding to the crockpot.
Don’t place the crockpot in the fridge to store leftovers, don’t immerse or soak the exterior of the crock pot base in water, it is porous and cracking may occur during cooking, wash the crock pot after use in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly .
Root veg, potato, carrot, swede, parsnip, onions take longer to cook than meat using a slow cooker, a great tip is to cut them smaller, 5mm slices, sticks or dice.
When cooking rice, use 150ml liquid to 100g of rice, easy cook rice gives great results, pasta goes soft and mushy if cooked for a long period, its best added 30-40 minutes before the end of the recipe cooking time.
Slow cooker sauces have a tendency to retain more of the juices than normal cooking methods, this tends to increase the cooking liquid and give a thin sauce or gravy. To allow for this make sauces thicker and anything that is sautéed before can be tossed in seasoned flour, helping to thicken the sauce or gravy during crockpot slow cooking
Last and not least have epic fun, using this simple slow method of cooking your favourite meals and experiment, tempting your tasty buds with hearty soups, slow cooked stews, main meals, sharing with friends a great fondue, savoury treats, sweet delights, delicious puddings even a warming punch for a great party. Give it a go, simple, fun and totally delicious……
My early memories of food stem from visits to my Grampy's allotment, six years old, digging, weeding and planting these tiny seeds and tender plants...Wow what an intro…taking this bounty back to Gran, who would make the most delicious meals for us to share…..most of the stuff I had no idea what it was called……but it smelt and tasted delicious….so the journey began…..cooking by aged eight, anything I could get my hands on….trained at catering college, a complete waste of time as I already knew all these techniques. Then came girls, a change of career, my wife and children….but I still cooked, learning, watching, practicing my hobby…..never really following a recipe!!! just trusting my hands …. the feel, the aromas, the look and, of course, the taste….re-trained at the tender age of 49 as a Heart IQ Coach…and this is it! Bosh!….got passionate about my passion in life, totally off the richter scale…..inspired by food….all of it….so, 2013 Heart Kitchen is born to share with the world …….sourcing, honouring, preparing, sharing and connecting …..I love it!!!! - Simon