“ Brand: Crock Pot / Type: Slow Cooker „
I bought this Union Jack design Crock-Pot or slow cooker about 6 months ago. I'd never previously owned a slow cooker, and I have to say that I'd also not eaten a meal prepared in a slow cooker either. A few of my friends have slow cookers and rave about them; how easy they are to use, how tender they make cheap cuts of meat, dinner ready when you get home from work etc. And so after finding quite a lot of US recipes on Pinterest that I fancied trying, where they use a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, I decided to take the plunge and buy one.
I bought my Union Jack Crock-Pot from Amazon. I paid £24.99 for it around 6 months ago, however I've just checked the current price on Amazon and they're now £29.99. It was (and it still is) advertised as a Limited Edition design. I guess that they decided to cash in on the patriotic summer that we had last year by using the Union Jack finish. It's definitely a quirky and fun design anyway, and the Union Jack finish is on both the front and the back of the slow cooker. It does however clash with all of the cream kitchen products that I have, this doesn't bother me though as I didn't buy it with the intention of leaving it on the worktop all the time, when I've used it and finished with it I just put it away in one of my deep kitchen drawers until the next time that I come to use it. It isn't actually all that heavy so it's not a problem to keep putting it away and getting it back out again.
The slow cooker consists of the outer metallic 'cooker' or 'base' part I guess, this has the dial on the front to operate the slow cooker - the dial has four settings; off, low, high and keep warm. It doesn't have an LED light to tell you that it's on, but the metallic outer does start to heat up pretty quickly so you can just touch the outer casing to check that it's working and that it's heating up. It has two handles on the sides which stay cool to the touch even when the slow cooker has been on all day and so enable you to pick it up and move it easily if needs be. The lead comes from the back of the slow cooker and I have to say is extremely short, I have to have this near a plug socket to be able to use it, or else use an extension lead. The base has four little rubber feet to stabilise the slow cooker and they do keep it secure and safe on the work top and it doesn't move or slide around when in use at all. The metallic outer does get extremely hot when in use, especially if the slow cooker is on high, I'm not sure if that's the same with all slow cookers because as I said this is the first one I've owned.
The slow cooker comes with a removeable stoneware pot, which is dishwasher safe. The stoneware pot does mark easily though if you stir the contents with a metal spoon, I've got quite a few scratches on the inside of my pot from using metal spoons. I've also found that over time food gets burnt on or baked on and won't come off, I've got stains on the inside of my pot that won't come off even on a 70 degree wash in the dishwasher. In fact I find that I have to wash the stoneware pot on a 70 degree wash every single time otherwise it just doesn't come clean. This has a 3.5 litre capacity, and it states that it's for 3 to 4 people. There's only the 2 of us, but I figured that if it held enough for 4 people than I could make a dinner for 2 nights in it. Depending what you cook in it then I would say that it doesn't hold enough for 4 people, maybe for 2 adults and 2 children, but definitely not for 4 adults. If I make a stew with potatoes, veg and meat then it will only hold enough for 3 adults. However if I'm just preparing meat in it then it will easily hold enough for 4 adults, and probably even 6 adults.
The final part of the slow cooker is the tempered glass lid, which again is dishwasher safe. This has a handle on the top which again stays cool to the touch to enable you to lift the lid off and stir the contents. The lid is clear glass allowing you to see through into the slow cooker to check on your dinner. My lid doesn't seem to fit flush inside the rim of the stoneware pot, it moves or wobbles slightly, again I'm not sure if this is the same with all slow cookers. My Crock-Pot came with a 2 year guarantee so maybe I should have sent it back as the lid doesn't fit quite flush, but it seems to work fine so I've not bothered.
I have to say that I'm a bit 'meh' about most of the meals that I've cooked in my Crock-Pot. I can't say that overall I'm raving about them. Beef especially certainly doesn't seem to go as tender as I'd hoped it would, I'd imagined beef that fell apart on the plate and melted in my mouth, and it just doesn't. I've tried beef stews, and shredded beef for tacos, both of which I was distinctly underwhelmed with. Lamb I find is not too bad in the slow cooker, however I can slow cook lamb in the oven and get it to be much more tender than the lamb I've done in my slow cooker. Chicken is fine, and I cook the chicken for chicken fajitas in the slow cooker quite a lot. I also do a Beer BBQ chicken in the slow cooker which is delicious. My favourite by far though is pulled pork in the slow cooker; cook the pork in a can of root beer on low for 8 hours, drain the root beer off and then shred the pork, put the shredded pork back in the slow cooker and stir in some BBQ sauce, 30 more minutes on low for the BBQ sauce to warm through. Try this you'll thank me!!
I don't think that the slow cooker has been all that I expected it to be, or maybe it's just me and maybe I'm being a bit too fussy. I don't love the meals that it produces, and my husband doesn't either (and he'll normally eat anything!). My particular Crock-Pot seems to have a few flaws, or maybe that's how they all are? Anyway I'm not too sure that I'd buy another one if and when this one blows up, or if you read my review from yesterday if my mother-in-law decides to drop my Crock-Pot onto my stone flagged kitchen floor and break it!
Short name: Crock Pot SCV400UJ