* Prices may differ from that shown
I have recently purchased the Breville slow cooker in an attempt to simplify my life and am thrilled to say that it has worked.
This model has a 3.5 litre capacity black ceramic crock pot which stands inside a stainless steel base. The temperature gage is very easy to use and the pot is easily cleaned with hot soapy water.
I chose the Breville slow cooker primarily due to the price as it was only £25 and whilst it did look very good to start with it has taken a few knocks as the stainless steel is really quite delicate and would there suggest that if you want to have a slow cooker on show that you opt for a ceramic outer casing.
I am a new mum and was struggling to prepare a hearty meal on an evening owing to feeds and bedtimes.
The slow cooker allows me to prepare a meal before the family wakes up or even the previous evening, placing the crock pot in the fridge overnight.
I have cooked beef, pork and chicken and all have been extremely tender.
I am by no means a good cook so the accompanying recipe book has been very helpful as have the slow cooker spice mixes available in the supermarkets.
I am told by friends that spices tend to lose their intensity during the slow cooking process but this is simply overcome by adding more spice to taste towards the end.
The best thing about having a slow cooker in your kitchen is the smell it is wonderful to come home to the aroma of something comforting cooking.
Why the Purchase? ~ 'Slow but Sure'
I needed a device that would cook a meal while I was out...a husband, a son, a daughter, a talented pooch? Well, they could become distracted! :D This slow cooker fits my needs perfectly. Additionally, using this apparatus is economical on utility cost too; one of the fundamental requirements I always consider before making a purchase.
The Product ~ 'Time Management'
The outer container that holds the 3.5 Litre black ceramic crock pot is made of beautiful polished steel. The prominent heat dial is situated on the front of this 225 watt cooker; 'Off', 'Low', 'High' and 'Auto' settings are clearly displayed in white against the black dial. Located next to a tiny temperature symbol is the 'On' light indicator that shines green when the apparatus is connected to a power source. I have included all other information of the product within my 'Usage Experience' to show how the features work well when put to the test!
Usage Experience ~ 'Food for Thought'
I began to use this device for when I would be out for long durations during the day, now it is a constant feature during winter months, whether I'll be at home or away during the daytimes! The 3.5 Litre size is just perfect for my personal needs; I have a co-tenant...my son! So, as this is my only child that still lives at home, the cooker provides an ample meal for us both and an extra meal to freeze! No matter which device I use to cook a meal, a food temperature probe is a practical tool to have! I use the probe to test the food temperature that I am preparing in the slow cooker.
Please forgive me for including information that you may already know; but for the interest of novice cooks (I still put myself in this category :D) whom may find this of assistance. Health professional guild-lines as noted in many good cookbooks comment that the temperature of 140 degrees F is the heat food needs to reach as fast as possible when cooking. When I prepare the food to be cooked in the slow cooker, I never leave until the cooker is at the stage of turning to 'Low'. I generally begin using the same trusted method; *plugging in the device, preparing The Breville Slow Cooker appropriate sauce for the chosen menu, pouring this into the crock pot, popping it on the high setting with the lid firmly in place.Then I continue on preparing the food ingredients that are to be added. By this method, the sauce has reached a suitable heat in time for the ingredients, helping the items to heat more rapidly. I will now give an example of one of our favourite meals to show how the practical features of this product provide excellent results...despite my cooking skills! :D
Simple Chicken Stew with Dumplings
I proceed to carry out my usual *method of heating the Slow cooker, and sauce, in this case, a chicken stock using 550ml of heated water. I fill the crock pot only to ½ to or a little more as the slow cooker doesn't lose fluid as conventional methods do. Added to this, foods just don't cook effectively and too quickly if the cooker is filled to the top, let alone bubbling over! While the Crock pot with the sauce in the dish, heats to the recommended 140 degrees F, I continue to prepare the vegetables.
I wash and medium slice the following:
2 onions, one red, one Spanish,
2 medium sized carrots
2 medium boiling potatoes
2 small courgettes
Half a leek
Half small turnip
Extra sauce ingredients:
1 can of butter beans
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 crushed garlic cloves
Soy sauce and herbs to taste
2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ tspn dried chilli flakes
Poultry: Two Tesco skinless and boneless chicken breast fillets weighing approximately 430g combined.
1) Although it isn't necessary, I like to seal/brown the chicken breast in a pan that has been sprayed with Spry Light olive oil. After 3-4 minutes, the poultry is ready to be placed in the pot. Before this, I stir the extra sauce ingredients into the heated sauce that is in the Crock. Once this has been combined using a long handled wooden spoon, I'm ready for the next step.
2) As vegetables do not cook as swiftly as poultry and meat, I place the vegetables in the bottom of the appliance, where they will cook effectively. Finally, I place the two chicken breast over the vegetables and scoop some of the sauce over the fillets. I pop the toughened glass lid onto the crock, and cook on the 'high' setting for around an hour. If I wish to move the slow cooker a little, I just carefully hold the 'stay cool' handles and lift.
3) After an hour, I carefully lift off the sturdy lid to test the ingredients have reached the temperature of 140 degrees F. (In actual fact, the probe displays a far higher temperature which is excellent as this is well above even the minimum safety level of 140 degrees F) If so, I then turn the setting onto 'low', and now free to leave for approximately five hours. Because I know the slow cooker has non-slip feet attached, I am safe in the knowledge it won't be jogged when I test the cooking status. There has been occasions when I've had unexpected visitors and offered them to stay for a late lunch; all I do, is set the cooker back to 'high' within 2-
3 hours, I have a meal ready without leaving my guest! Two hours set on 'low' is equal to one hour set on 'high'.That is the great thing about this amazing tool, it is so versatile. Although, whenever poultry and meat are involved, monitoring that the food is thoroughly cooked is paramount to safety. I don't even need to come back during the cooking time to top the dish up with liquid as fluids do not boil away in the Crock.
4) I generally like to prepare some dumplings to go in stews, which only take 5-6 minutes to make. Dumplings make a lovely tasty enhancement to the meal and co-incidentally, a thickener for the sauce! I pop the dumplings around the surface of the ingredients, ensuring they have room to expand without touching. I drizzle some of the sauce over the dumplings, and then replace the lid. I set the cooker back to 'high' and in half an hour, the meal is ready! The removable crock pot means I can serve the meal at the table. The very practical keep warm function means that if we are not quite ready to serve, late arrivals etc., the meal will not spoil. There are times I will replace the dumplings, and instead, just add a little corn flour at the same time I would normally have added them. If I've run out of corn flour, I've simply left the lid off and set the cooker on 'high' for the final half hour; thickens wonderfully! If I'm not including dumplings, I like to serve the stew with warm crusty buttered rolls or chunky bakery bread.
RESULTS: The vegetables have retained their shape and unique textures.The taste is as if steamed but with the extra plus of having been seasoned by the scrumptious sauce for near on six to seven hours. The chicken is so moist, and falls away when sliced. Due to being slow cooked and marinated, the succulent poultry is worthy of Gordon Ramsey's scrutiny! :D Yet, apart from a brief prep, the apparatus has done all the work! I can make the preparation even easier by using packet stew vegetables and packet sauces; the Schwartz Authentic mixes are low in fat and far tastier than most! Though, if I am using frozen vegetables, I pop them on the stove to heat through first so that the slow cooker can reach its high temperature as quickly as possible.
TIPS ~ "I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food."
I have found that I do not need to stick to recipes that are especially designed for the slow cooker. By simply reducing the liquid content by 1/3 or a little more, this versatile gadget will cook the food as efficiently. As the Crock is predominantly designed to be a 'slow' cooker, certain spices tend to lose their kick as it were; easily remedied by adding an hour or so before serving! If I'm cooking a curry, I only add the dairy products, such as Fromage Frais around half an hour before serving. I tend to add more tender foods like mushrooms just ½ to ¾ hour before serving, as they do overcook otherwise. I always brown off meat before adding to the crock pot, this enhances the flavour and is safety prep.
Allowing a good seven to eight hours ensures meat is wonderfully tenderised; leaner cuts furnish far better results and much healthier too! The slow cooker doesn't need occasional stirring once the initial combining has taken place. In fact, cooking on the 'low' setting and then lifting the lid every so often only allows the heat to escape, and results in needing to add time! The glass lid is perfect to check, I simply tap the lid gently to disperse the condensation and this allows me to see the food. The manual has some lovely recipe ideas included, though I 'googled' most of mine from reputable cookery sites.
Cleaning and Maintenance ~ 'The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot'
Cleaning this apparatus is so easy. I wash the crock pot and tempered glass lid as I would a Pyrex dish, with hot soapy water and non abrasive sponge. Any ingrained marks are removed by soaking the dish with hot soapy water using a concentrated washing up liquid. By the time I've cleared the dining table, washed up the crockery, the basin is ready to wash without effort. As for the polished stainless steel container that holds the croc, I simply wipe with a warm moistened cloth and buff up a shine using a soft kitchen towel. The Slow cooker comes up gleaming and as new in appearance.
Would I Recommend? ~ 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race'!
Yes I certainly would! This is a very cost effective device. I would compare this apparatus to a microwave in its low energy usage; but better than a microwave, as the food comes out so much more delicious. This ergonomically designed tool furnishes an effortless food preparation, and provides more free time that a conventional oven doesn't! The crock pot is attractive to serve food from at the table. The internal 'wrap around' heating element guarantees even slow cooking. I have the option to speed up the cooking process if I so desire. The 'low' setting allows me to leave a meal on all day whilst I'm out or busy with other things...like reading, rating and writing reviews! :D
The Breville Slow Cooker is available at Argos, I purchased my Slow cooker for £24.99.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review xXx
I never really got into slow cookers until sampling a stew at a friend's house. The beef was so tender and delicious; it won me over with every mouthful. I enjoy cooking but the constraints of leading a hectic life have depleted my kitchen time and have led to my need to create quicker meals. I can throw in my ingredients in a matter of minutes, turn it on while I'm at work and then come home to a hot delectable dish. The recession has hit every home and with the cost of food sky-rocketing, it is important to be able to do something with the things you would usually throw away such as soft vegetables. Combining these with a cheaper cut of meat makes a perfect hearty stew pot.
I didn't want to spend too much money on the slow cooker so set myself a budget of £25.00. I picked this one up at £22.99 and I have been suitably impressed with it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a slow cooker with this sort of budget to spend.
The Breville VTP112 is an attractive looking piece of equipment; made from stainless steel it looks fantastic and very contemporary. Due to a lack of work top space, I have to keep lugging mine onto the surface and stowing it away after use. It weighs 3.5kg so is a little on the heavy size. The weight is mainly from the ceramic bowl inside the cooker where you place your ingredients. Using ceramic cooks the food more evenly throughout and retains the heat after being turned off from the power supply. It is extremely easy to clean due tro it's shiny finished surface and looks great when brought out and placed on a dinner table.
The bowl has a capacity for 3.5 L making it perfect for larger dishes but it is not too big and cumbersome. It measures 36 cm in height x 24 cm height x 26 cm width. The cooker comes with a glass lid so you can peer in at your food making sure there is enough water in there without having to take the lid off; thus retaining the heat. The handles are easy to grip but do get quite hot and make taking the ceramic bowl out easier; albeit with an oven glove.
The machine works on low, high and auto cook. Low cooks the food in about eight hours whereas high takes around 4 hours. Auto cook cooks food on high for an hour then drops to low. I've not found a goods use for this feature yet and usually just use the low setting while I go out to work for an 8-9 hour shift. The cooker is pretty noiseless which is fantastic but it does have a red light so you know when it is turned on.
The cooker comes with a year guarantee which is great but hopefully will last a lot longer that. The low setting cooks at around 200 F and high is around 300 F.
This review may also appear on ciao.
I've always really wanted a slow cooker, but just neveractually got round to buying one. Various friends have raved about the fantastic tasting and warming dishes they have made using their slow cookers and I have always loved the whole idea of them. This year however as the days started getting shorter and it started getting much colder, I decided that this was the year and I was finally going to invest in this long overdue purchase.
I consulted my trust Argos catalogue and was chuffed to see that slow cookers cost considerably less than I had expected them to and even better than that, some of them were currently reduced. I opted for this Breville VTP112 3.5 litre slow cooker which was reduced down to a very reasonable £15.99. I decided upon this one as Breville is a brand I am familiar with and trust and is was also the size I was after. I wanted one that was big enough to feed the whole family yet no too big as I have very limited storage in my kitchen.
I have now had my slow cooker for about a month and I really can't get over how much I have been using it. It has completely revolutionised my time in the kitchen. I am eating tastier food and enjoying preparing it more. I have three children and I am constantly on the go with their busy social lives. Most days I have lost all enthusiasm to cook when I get home from a busy day and they have worked up an appetite and don't want to wait long for their food. I tend to have more energy to cook in the mornings and this slow cooker means that I can chuck everything in first thing in the morning, switch it on and let the slow cooker do it's magic. When I return after a day out with the little monkeys I just love opening the door to be greeted with the smell of scrummy food cooking away.
I'm certainly not amazing in the kitchen but honestly everything I chuck in this ends up tasting amazing. I have cooked pasta sauces, veggie stews, beef and ale hot pots and it all tastes gorgeous. The slow cooker has three settings - high, low and keep warm. I was slightly worried it wouldn't be big enough to feed us all but it has proved to be the perfect size. I honestly don't know how I managed without it.
I had been looking at purchasing a slow cooker for quite a few months but I always had the worry of leaving an appliance on whilst I was out. After a bit of research on them I decided to look for the best deal. I was browsing the 'Money Saving Expert' forum online when I came across this slow cooker on offer and decided I'd chose this one.
It is currently on offer for £15.99 so if you are looking for a bargain, grab it quick!
In our house there are three of us that work all day. A lot of the time we are tired when returning from work and cooking is more of a chore than a pleasure. As I was worried about leaving the slow cooker on whilst I was out, the first time I used it I made sure I was home all day. The first dish I cooked was a beef stew and it was really easy, the beef went in first to brown off in the stock followed by all the vegetables a couple of hours later. We included leeks, carrots, onions, parsnips etc and they all came out lovely. I was worried that chucking all the ingredients in together would mean that it just turned into a sloppy mush but the meat and veg held together just nicely.
I have to say I was very surprised how little effort could create such a lovely meal for the family. In the morning you just put the ingredients in, turn it on and let it cook throughout the day. When you return home there is such a lovely aroma of the food cooking and the feeling of coming home to dinner already made is a relief! We let the stew cook for 8-9 hours on a low heat and it was perfect. The great thing is that you can add the ingredients to your taste.
This slow cooker has 3 settings, low, high and keep warm. The low setting is if you want to cook something slowly over a long period of time, for example our stew at 8-9 hours. High is for 3-4 hours of cooking and once it's finished cooking, to stop it over-doing just swap the setting to keep warm.
The good thing about every ingredient being in the same cooking pot is that all the flavours mix and blend together nicely.
The Breville slow cooker has a stainless steel body with two black handles on the side. The one shown in the picture is a shiny steel whereas mine is a brushed steel and therefore doesn't show up finger marks. The ceramic bowl inside is lifted out easily to be cleaned after each use and really couldn't be simpler in design. You can even serve the dish directly from the pot and take it to the dining table. The lid is glass and transparent so you can keep an eye on your food without having to keep taking the lid off and letting the heat escape. It has a long enough cable so that you can have it at a suitable place on your kitchen work top.
There's so much you can cook in a slow cooker from stews, soups, curries, chilli's and casseroles so it really is something you'd use again and again.
This one is quite small, compared to some on the market, with it only being a 3.5L but it is big enough for us three adults and sometimes we have leftovers!
Winter months are well and truely here now so this slow cooker is ideal to have those comfort foods ready for you after a long day at work. It's also an ideal appliance to have if you are going out for a while in the day, you can have your dinner done for when you return after a long day of Christmas shopping!
It looks quite smart on the worktop and not out of place against my other chrome and black kitchen appliances. This is one purchase that won't be shoved at the back of the cupboard!
Thank you for reading.
I was sat flicking through the TV channels the other day when I came across Price Drop TV and on there they were selling slow cookers, after watching it for a while I decided that I wanted a slow cooker! I didn't get the one from the shopping channel, I bought the Breville slow cooker from Argos.
It is currently on offer for £15.99 and I am sure it said better than half price, so not bad.
I usually cook broths and stews in two saucepans on the hob, but having this means I can cook a larger batch in just one dish.
The thing I really love about this slow cooker is that it's so simple to cook a nice warming meal without hardly any effort. That's my kind of cooking!!
So far I have boiled up a gammon joint with a few veggies and some stock and that came out delicious, the meat was very tender and was just falling apart yumm!
I have also had a chicken casserole cooking today and it smells delicious. The way it just cooks everything up together is brilliant, the flavours all stay in the food and it's a nice hearty meal.
The Breville slow cooker has a stainless steel body with two black handles on the side, on the front you will find the control knob, this model has three settings ~
You choose low for cooking over longer periods, high for less time and the keep warm is basically what it says!
The average length of time on a low setting it takes to cook a meal is approx 6-8 hours, and the high cut's the time by 2 maybe 3 hours.
The inside crock pot is a large black ceramic dish which is removable making washing up easy and it's great to put on the table as a serving dish.
It has a tempered glass lid which is see through for easy viewing of the food, rather than lifting off the lid and loosing all heat.
It has a decent length electric flex with the normal plug.
So far it has been an ideal item for my kitchen and to be honest I don't know why I didn't get one sooner.
There's so much you can cook in a slow cooker from stews and curries to soups etc.
It's great to put the food on to cook in the morning and just leave it untill the evening for a delicious meal.
This one is quite small with it only being a 3.5L but it is big enough for us, if you don't have fussy children like mine I would recommend getting a larger one but if it's just the one or two of you then this is fine.
My kids won't eat stews, well my youngest will and so we cook for 3 of us in this pot and there's plenty.
I can't wait to cook up more food in this and with the winter months creeping in this will be used more than likely, on a daily basis.
It looks quite smart on the worktop with it being chrome and black and it sits neatly on the worktop not taking up much space.
***This is the silver model that I am reviewing - it is the same appliance but has a different reference code which is VTP 112***
I'm a big fan of slow cookers. Chuck all the ingredients in, turn it on, go to work, come home and voila - dinner is served! My old one was looking a bit tired though, so my friend came up trumps with this Breville 3.5 litre slow cooker as a birthday gift for me.
It's sleek and stylish - the polished stainless steel finish fits in perfectly with my kitchen. The ceramic crock pot inside is black. The lid is made from toughened tempered glass which is dishwasher safe. The handles are quick cool so you can literally pick up the crock pot and take it to the table without any need to turn off the heat first. The plug takes 13A fuses and the electric cable is just over a metre long.
There are three settings on this particular model; Low, High and Keep warm. At 225 watts it works out a lot cheaper for me to use the slow cooker than to turn on my oven, even if I leave it on all day when I'm at work. The wraparound heating element ensures that food is cooked evenly without any need for stirring.
I tend to cook a lot of chillis, soups and curries then freeze them but I like to experiment, particularly with cuts of meat that I wouldn't cook in a conventional oven because they are cheaper, and therefore tend to be less tender than premium cuts. The slow, moist cooking process of a slow cooker is perfect for breaking down more fibrous cuts of meat and making them incredibly soft.
To save me time in the mornings (I'm not one of these folk who gets up, showers, watches morning telly for an hour then has a leisurely breakfast before leaving for work) I simply put all the ingredients in the crock pot the night before and leave it in the fridge. Then, the next morning I just pop the crock pot into the base unit and turn it on before I leave the house. When I get home in the evenings and my meal is cooked, I just turn the setting to 'Keep Warm' until I'm ready to eat. Of course it's not really economical to use it for a single meal - I generally cook up a big batch of my meal of choice and then freeze it in individual portions.
The 3.5 litre capacity is more than enough to feed four people. I cooked braised beef in red wine at the weekend for three adults and one child and the cooker was perfect for the job. I simply removed the crock pot and placed it straight onto the dining table so people could help themselves. There was enough food for everyone to enjoy a large helping with plenty to spare. The dish took about five hours to cook; I started it off on the low setting for around three hours then turned it up to high for the remainder of the cooking time. The beef was so soft it just fell apart when a fork went into it - perfect!
A word of caution - there is virtually no liquid evaporation with a slow cooker. I had a couple of minor hiccups when I first started using a slow cooker, resulting in lots of liquid bubbling over the top and down the sides of the cooker - so you do have to be aware of that and account for it. If you're unsure about how much liquid to put in a particular dish then I am in no doubt you could find out the exact requirements from a quick search on Google!
The only downside to this product, as far as I can see, is that it doesn't have a timer. It's not too much of a problem for me, as I have used one for long enough to pretty much be able to 'guesstimate' how long a particular dish will take to cook, but for anyone who is new to the world of slow cookers it could pose a problem.
I don't know where my friend bought this particular slow cooker from so I can't tell you how much it cost, but it's currently £24.99 at Argos.
Short name: Breville VTP112