Karen Wright: Why I’m always quick to use tried and tested slow cooker
I think everyone I know has a slow cooker stashed away somewhere. Cooking fads and gadgets come and go but the slow cooker has endured for centuries.
The tagine is a North African dish named after the pot in which it is cooked. With its circular base that is flat and low sided and a large cone, like a chimney, it is a beautiful thing, I keep one on display as an ornament.
The cover is designed to return all the condensation to the bottom to keep the ingredients moist as it cooks long and slow.
My gran Westwood was very old when I was born, and she cooked on one of those black cast iron stoves.
There was always a pot of something simmering away for hours on end, I think probably cheap cuts of meat which would become tender with slow cooking.
My slow cooker has made its debut this Autumn already. As soon as the reality of the current energy crisis started to bite, I realised that the slow cooker would most certainly save me some money.
I think lots of people tend to make the same repertoire of recipes in the slow cooker and it can become very monotonous.
Going forward I will be trying out more unusual things and reporting back on my social media how they worked out.
Follow me on Instagram on karenwrightbakes to see my progress!
First, I cooked a focaccia bread in the slow cooker, it worked out well!
Then I put a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, sliced red peppers, red chillies, garlic, a little onion in the pot.
To season I added salt, smoked paprika and chilli flakes. I made meatballs using equal parts pork and beef mince, breadcrumbs and seasoning. I browned them in a frying pan and then added to the pot.
This cooked for a couple of hours and then the dried pasta went into the mix, about forty minutes later it was ready to serve.
I recommend the slow cooker, it does save time, money and the washing up. Did you know you can cook jacket potatoes in the slow cooker? Not a crispy skin but very fluffy and tender.
You can cook a batch and freeze them individually in foil. Then defrost in the fridge and a quick ping in the microwave and it is ready to serve.