The Slow Cooker Challenge
I've always like the idea of a slow cooker - you just throw everything in, switch it on and come back several hours later to a wonderful aroma in the house and a delicious meal waiting. Well, that was the idea. But we often found that some veggie casseroles were too watery, some meat stews were too bland or the veggies were taking forever to cook.
But I did a bit of reading up and although there's not a lot of preparation involved, there are certain things to consider which make all the difference, such as browning some ingredients first, cooking time variables, last minute additions, how far up to fill the cooker and timing factors. Its not complicated, but a little knowledge makes all the difference.
So enough of going off piste and throwing it all in and hoping for the best, I've decided to follow the recipes in the 3 recipe books that we have at home so that I can learn as I go along.
Not only that, I'm intending to try a recipe every week throughout the winter as part of my slow cooker challenge to myself - there are plenty of recipes to choose from (one of the books alone has 200 recipes so between them I could probably find something different every day for a year or more!).
All of my recipes will be vegetarian (sometimes vegan) and usually gluten free. Mr Cocopopia does eat meat, but I'm bringing him around to my way of eating and, unlike a few years ago, he is happy to eat meat free meals as long as they are tasty and filling.
Yes, its not just about stews and casseroles - I'm looking forward to trying other dishes such as lasagna, fajitas, stuffed vegetables, lemon curd, apple cake, poached pears, chai spiced breakfast bread, spiced cider and Mexican hot chocolate to name but a few ...