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The perfect recipe book for slow cooking
The Slow Cooker Recipe Book - Catherine Atkinson
Member Name: alyson29
The Slow Cooker Recipe Book - Catherine Atkinson
Date: 16/06/12, updated on 24/12/12 (78 review reads)
Advantages: Easy and delicious recipes that are created with ease
Disadvantages: None for me
It was the colourful mouth watering image on the cover, which displays a comforting beef dish that enticed me into making my purchase. In addition to the delicious looking food, it was the marketing on the front of the book that was a real selling point for me. I quote "Over 220 no fuss delicious one pot recipes for relaxed preparation and tasty eating". The words "no fuss" and "relaxed preparation" were two of the reasons why I had initially purchased my slow cooker, so it seemed that this book would be a real winner for me.
The hard covered book is slightly larger than A5 size therefore making it extremely easy to handle. There are 256 high quality glossy pages consisting of full colour images of each of the dishes, which is a definite must for me when choosing cook books, as these inspire me when trying out new recipes. I have to admit that whilst I consider myself to be an organised person, I am extremely untidy when it comes to cooking and seem to splash food everywhere much to my husband's dismay. Consequently, the easily wiped down pages are a huge benefit as far as I'm concerned.
The book offers an easy to read text and we begin on the single page contents list, which provides a breakdown of the main ingredients used throughout and I find this extremely helpful as I know that all of the beef recipes are contained within a specific range of pages. As my knowledge of slow cooking was absolutely zero prior to purchasing my cooker I found the section that discusses the story of slow cooking extremely interesting. The book provides considerable information in relation to purchasing a slow cooker, how best to use, adapting recipes, tips for success and how to care for your appliance. As a complete novice at that time, I found the information of great value and as a result, was more than prepared to start creating my own masterpieces.
We are taken through the various equipment that is required for some of the recipes, such as cakes, soufflés and pates although I must admit that my use of the cooker is generally for meat dishes as I prefer to cook cakes in the oven. An extremely handy section is where we are advised of the different cuts of meats and the dishes they suit best. This was very helpful to me, particularly as I was used to purchasing prime cuts and I was looking to use cheaper cuts, which could be tenderised in the cooker. A concern I initially had was that vegetables would turn into a mush, as whilst I'm not that keen on barely cooked vegetables, I did not want them pulped. We are taken through a small selection of the more commonly used vegetables; some of which need to be par cooked prior to being placed into the cooker. Consequently, vegetables are cooked to perfection without resembling baby food.
There are several pages spanning over the preparation of various fruits, grains, pastas and beans although I cannot admit that I have used any of these ingredients in my cooker. The main dishes I cook are stews and casseroles and we are provided with extensive information on how to prepare raw meat and poultry in readiness for cooking. When I first purchased this book it opened up a new world in cooking for me, as I was totally unaware that the appliance could be used for making so many dishes such as preserves, sauces or puddings. We are then taken into the recipe chapters where we begin with soups and whilst I favour making my own I have not yet tried to create them in my slow cooker. Each of the recipes are well laid out where we are advised how many people they will feed together with concise and easy to follow instructions together with high quality coloured images of different stages during the cooking process. There is a huge choice of soup dishes from which to choose although the majority are for vegetarians such as French onion with cheese croutes, tomato and fresh basil or wild mushroom. Unfortunately, none of the meat soups appeal to me as the few that are provided consist of duck, prawns and spices.
A recipe I have followed on many occasions is the Provencal beef stew, pork and potato hot pot and the lamb and carrot casserole. Very little preparation is needed for each of these dishes; all of which use ingredients that tend to be in the majority of kitchen cupboards and cook for a period of between 4 - 6 hours. The meals I have created have been absolutely delicious and the cheapest of meat cuts have been tenderised to perfection. As a consequence, I have created some mouth watering dishes at a fraction of the price in comparison with cooking them on the hob, so my slow cooker has more than paid for itself over the years. A huge bonus with slow cooking is that there are very little dishes to wash up, which is definitely good news for me.
The beauty of slow cooking is that following the initial preparation and a quick stir of the ingredients, after a short period of time the food can be left alone whilst I leave my home and opening the door on my return is the best part, as the gorgeous smell of home cooking greets me. An essential point is that on the lower side of each of the recipes is a list of the nutritional values, which is extremely handy in the case of my husband who is type 1 diabetic and as a result, he injects insulin dependent upon the amount of carbohydrates that he consumes. There is a comprehensive index at the end of the book, which details each of the recipes included with my favourites having yellow post-its sticking out at the top of the pages.
I generally tend to use my slow cooker during the wet and miserable winter months, but due to the abysmal British weather, I removed it from the cupboard a few weeks ago and have created some warming and comforting dishes. There are many recipes in this book that I have yet to try and perhaps one day, I will get through them all. For anyone who is interested in slow cooking I was say that this is probably the only cook book that you are likely to need, particularly as it caters for a wide variety of needs. Consequently, it receives 5 stars from me together with my recommendation.
At the time of writing you can purchase The Slow Cooker Cook Book from Amazon from 1p for a used copy and £16.61 for brand new. Please note that postage and packing charges need to be added to these prices.
ISBN - 13: 978-1 84681-596-6
ISBN - 10: 1-84681-596-7
Written by Catherine Atkins
Published by Anness Publishing Ltd, London 2004, 2010
Summary: The perfect recipe book for slow cooking
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