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More Slow Cooker recipes is a book that I purchased after being impressed by the initial Hamlyn all colour cookbook. Mine cost around £3.49 from Amazon, however I have spotted it in Tesco stores as well for a similar price. The RRP is 4.99.
The book itself contains 200 recipes. The book whilst thick is quite small in height and width. It is paperback. The inner pages are glossy. However, it being a bit of a cheap book, the binding does not stand for much pulling about so you are best to rest it on a cookbook stand.
There is a detailed introduction which talks you through choosing a slow cooker, working out timings, caring for your slow cooker and how to use your own recipes within. To give you a good impression of what the book is like I will give you some example recipes from each section. Each recipe details its preparation time, slow cooker setting/temperature, anticipated cooking time and a number of them also contain ideas and methods for slight variations and serving suggestions. The main recipes also have photographs of the finished dish alongside them.
Soups: vegetable broth with dumplings, mulligatawny soup, pea and ham soup, haddock and bacon chowder, Thai coconut and pumpkin soup, carrot and cumin soup, leek, potato and stilton soup.
Light bites; red pepper and chorizo tortilla, baked eggs on toast, warm lentil and feta salad, chilled sweetcorn , Moroccan meatballs, chicken & sage hotpot, turkey and sausage stew, Indian spiced cottage pie.
Shortcut suppers: chicken and sweet potato balti, balsamic braised pork chops/cider braised pork, honey glazed gammon, hot Spanish beans, fragrant spiced chicken with chilli, and smoked cod with bean mash.
Vegetarian: vegetable goulash, tomato and squash curry, pepperonata, barley risotto with blue cheese, cauliflower and spinach balti, tarka dhal,
Food for friends: salmon-wrapped cod with leeks, creamy chicken korma, chillied beef with chocolate, New Orleans chicken gumbo, tamarind beef with ginger beer (a favourite), and fish pie
Puddings: mini banana and date pudding, jam roly-poly pudding, chocolate croissant pudding, rhubarb and raspberry oaty pudding.
Drinks and preserves: apple thyme and rosemary jelly, orange marmalade, passion fruit and lime curd, hot spiced berry punch, cider toddy, skiers hot chocolate.
It is finished off by an index ordered alphabetically by the principal components of the dish.
I am largely quite impressed with Hamlyn cookbooks and have quite a number of them. I find that they are accessible for many different levels of cookery and seem to have recipes geared to fast paced modern lives which still want good homecooked food to be in reach. They are also incredibly reasonably priced. In fact, one of the primary reasons for buying this book is that I was particularly impressed by its predecessor which has been one of my most used books on slow cooking.
This 'sequel' did not disappoint. I happen to think that these books have a lot more imagination than a lot of other slow cooker books which only seem to want to recycle the same stew, curry and suet pudding recipes. I now use this one at least as often as I did its predecessor.
It also has a couple of touches that I really like. Firstly, it is made very clear on the recipe how long the dish needs to be cooked in the slow cooker for . I personally hate having to root through a recipe to work out the time needed overall. This is particularly important with slow cooking as some of the time I need to know quite easily whether it is feasible to leave cooking within the time scales whether that be whilst I am at work, or just out for the afternoon. Also, I really like the detail in the introductory section which is clear, really good for anyone who is a beginner to slow cooking and the recipe adaptation information is really useful even if you're a bit more proficient.
There are a lot of recipes here which I would never have thought that I could do in a slow cooker - particularly the preserves and the tortilla ones, so this book has helped me to widen my scope and increase the versatility of the use of my slow cooker. I also like the fact that it has encouraged me to experiment a bit more with flavours e.g. the tamarind beef but never uses ridiculously hard to source or expensive ingredients (often it encourages the uses of cheaper meats which benefit particularly from slow cooking.) . Although I wouldn't have said that many of the recipes are particularly fancy when it comes to entertaining, and you do need one of the larger slow cookers for some of the chunkier whole meat recipes, I have frequently impressed people when I have told them the type of recipes that I have expanded my slow cooker use with.
The presentation is clear but functional which is fine because you don't expect anything too fancy or elaborate in a book at this price. I would say that it is not just looking at the recipe title at the top of the page but also consider the variations at the bottom as sometimes these are better than the main recipe and also encourage a bit more experimentation.
Let's face it, the slow cooker cookbook market is quite oversaturated with the numbers of titles you can buy; I reckon that myself I have coming up to close to 10 myself - which I know is excessive! As such there are always going to be some that I reach for more than others and I can confirm that this book and its predecessor are my favourites. I think that more than most, it really does try and show you just how versatile your slow cooker can be and does not have to just be relied on for casseroles and curries and making things overcooked, which I have personally found to be a misconception amongst my friends. However, this only goes to enable you to really surprise your guests with just what you can produce. I have a soft spot for books like this that can do that.
All in all, I would highly recommend this book for anybody with a slow cooker that wants to expand their use slightly but does not want to go over the top with the fanciness.
When I bought a slow cooker recently, I decided I needed a recipe book to get me started. This is the 2nd in the Hamlyn slow cooker series and I chose this instead of the first one because I thought the recipe selection was more to my tastes. I don't see any reason why you need to start with the first volume, as the introductory section to this book provides all the information a beginner could possibly need.
When I bought my slow cooker I didn't really know what to expect, so I wanted a book that was easy to follow and offered me friendly, inspiring advice. I appreciate recipe books that are practical rather than ostentatious, geared towards the needs of busy, working people who have families to feed and don't have time to make 'fancy' dishes.
The introductory section put me at ease straightaway. I am often daunted by a new kitchen appliance, but this book opened my eyes to the difference my slow cooker could make to my routine, how it could help me organise my day more efficiently, as well as saving me time and money. All my initial questions as a slow cooker novice were answered comprehensively from how to work out timings to safety tips.
I love the layout of this book. All the recipes in this book contain a modest number of ingredients. (I find long lists of ingredients off-putting) and the ingredients are all easy to track down in local shops, with nothing too exotic and elusive. I find it helpful that the ingredients are listed in bold type as I can quickly spot anything I need when compiling a shopping list. The measurements are given in both ounces and grams, which is so much handier than having to keep referring to a conversion chart. The clear, colour photographs accompanying the recipes are excellent and certainly helped to whet my appetite.
Although the title refers to 200 recipes, it is a little misleading. The 200 is made up of suggested variations on other recipes. For example, on the same page as the recipe for Vegetable Goulash, there is an alternative recipe for Pork Goulash. This doesn't worry me too much, however. I don't need to count the recipes in this book to know that there are a lot of very appealing ideas here. Whether you want to call them proper recipes or adaptations of existing recipes, the end result is the same - inspiration!
I find the system of alternative recipe ideas very useful. For example, the recipe for Cauliflower and Spinach Balti looks wonderful apart from one small problem, the fact that nobody in our family likes cauliflower. It was therefore very handy to know that you could tweak the recipe, making the sauce exactly the same way but replacing the cauliflower with mushrooms and sweet potato.
I like the fact that this book provides a good balance between traditional old favourites - Irish Stew, Chicken Korma, etc. and exciting new combinations such as Beetroot and Mascarpone Risotto and Tomato Braised Squid with Chorizo. The range of recipes are drawn from different culinary traditions and suited to different moods. If you're feeling adventurous and a bit avant garde you may be inclined to have a go at Spiced Date and Chickpea Pilaf. When you need comforting, nursery food, you might be more tempted by good old Fish Pie.
Many recipes make use of shop bought sauces and other convenience foods. For example, the Chicken and Sweet Potato Balti uses a jar of Balti curry sauce. I suppose some might consider that cheating, but frankly I find this quite a refreshing touch. I hate culinary snobbery and I would never dream of being a kitchen martyr who has to make everything from scratch. The point about this book is that it aims to provide workable solutions for busy people. It shows how you can legitimately use a few short cuts but still produce tasty, nutritious meals.
This recipe book has made me realise that there is far more to slow cookers than endless casseroles. Pates, terrines and warm salads are things I would never have considered using my slow cooker for. I certainly would never have thought pasta dishes would be suitable for slow cooker adaptation, but have been pleasantly surprised by a delicious recipe for Mushroom and Tomato Rigatoni. Admittedly, the pasta is a little softer than it would be if cooked conventionally, but the flavour of the dish is good.
Desserts have been another revelation for me. Along with some seriously calorific offerings such as Jam Roly Poly or Chocolate and Coffee Custard Creams, some healthier puds are also presented. A delicious Berry Compote made from blueberries and strawberries cooked for 2 hours until beautifully tender is meant to be served with naughty but nice Syllabub Cream but I have found it works very well with low fat yoghurt. Raspberry and Rhubarb Oaty Crumble and Cider Poached Apples with Granola also offer healthier alternatives for those with a sweet tooth.
Although I have sampled many of the recipes contained in this book, there are some that don't appeal as they seem to be a lot more complicated than the conventional version of the recipe. For example, Venison Puff Pie involves cooking the filling in the slow cooker but baking the puff pastry topping in a conventional oven. (There I was, getting all excited about a pie being cooked in a slow cooker!) I was even more disappointed when I saw the recipe for Toffee Apple Pancakes and realised that no, you can't toss pancakes in a slow cooker and that shop-bought pancakes are required to accompany the slow cooked filling.
I am glad I tried out the Mulled Wine recipe over Christmas because not only did the 3 hour cooking time intensity the flavour, but it also filled my home with a gorgeous, seasonal aroma. There is even a recipe for Hot Chocolate. (A big vat of this was most welcome when we were snowed in last week!) This might also be a popular offering for children's sleepover parties.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get the best out of their slow cooker. There are plenty of everyday meals as well as some more indulgent offerings. I love the user-friendly, down to earth style and I find that the included recipes often trigger my own creativity and lead me to come up with an idea of my own. This is good, as I don't always just want to follow recipes to the letter but want to be sufficiently inspired to improvise and explore.
This book can be purchased new from sellers at Amazon from £1.16 plus post and packaging.