You may have noticed me going on (and on) about my slow cooker cooking in my weekly Friday food links posts. Faced with an imminent return to work, and the prospect of squeezing dinner preparation for a one year old into a tiny gap between nursery pickup and bath-and-bedtime, I decided a slow cooker would solve all my problems. (Well, maybe not all of them.) Aware of how little spare counterspace I have, as well as the number of appliances in my cupboards, my hand paused over the ‘buy’ button a couple of times, but in the end I went for it. I thought I had best get a book to go with this new purchase, and the briefest of searches through Amazon reviews suggested that ‘Slow Cooked‘ by Miss South of the North/South Food blog was the one to get.
In this instance, Amazon reviewers were right on the money. This is a great book, and I haven’t stopped cooking from it since it arrived. It has only a handful of photos, in a section at the start, but Miss South writes such excellent head notes that I have scarcely missed them. The recipe titles and notes are enough to draw me in.
I had expected a book largely filled with stews of various sorts – and would have been content with this. But she goes well beyond standard slow cooker fare, with chapters on currys, pulses and grains, vegetables, as well as cakes and breads, and puddings.
So far I have made: meat ragu, stewed beef shin, white chili, chicken mole, pulled pork, aubergine ragout, tarka dal, dulce de leche (heating a can of condensed milk), caramelised onions (a big batch for the freezer), chicken stock and confit tomatoes. Everything has worked, and has tasted good. The chicken recipes benefit from a slightly shorter cooking time – although the white chili makes good use of this by breaking up the chicken into shreds with the beans. The dal took longer, but I suspect the age of the split peas was to blame there. The beans in the chili, cooked from dried without soaking, were beautifully creamy and intact, with none of the fuzziness that comes from boiling.
There are still a lot more recipes I’d like to try out, not least the cinnamon buns, so, thanks to this book, I think my slow cooker has earned a permanent place on my counter.