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After looking for a slow cooker for a while and resisting the temptation to buy the standard supermarket option I stumbled upon the crock pot. How glad I was I chose the crock pot.
Being a busy working mum this is ideal for when I don't have the time to cook, I simply prepare the food before I go to work and it is cooked to perfection when I arrive home .
It has the capacity to feed 6 however I only usually cook for 3. It has 2 settings low and high and a bonus warm setting which is great for times when my partner arrives home late. There is a removing dish which could be used as a serving dish if you wished .
Simple and easy to clean. You just need to give a quick wipe.
Ideal for snow days, I love to make beef stew and let it cook away while I play in the snow with my son. You can cook anything from soups, curries to joints of meat and pulled pork.
Great value for money
We were first given a slow cooker as a present at our wedding in 1990. It was a boots own brand one and matched the crockery we had. The slow cooker got used maybe a couple of times a month so when it finally stopped working last year (2012) we knew we had to find a replacement.
I had some tesco clubcard vouchers and noticed that Tesco were doing one of their double up deals on certain departments. I went on Money Saving Expert and found out that yes indeed they were doing it for the kitchen and small electricals section! Oh what joy!! I could replace my trusty slow cooker with another and it wouldn't cost me a penny! The Crock Pot slow cooker jumped off the shelf at me as it had simple controls like my old one and looked just the right size for our family of four. My old one was round but this one was oval. At £40 it was dearer than some others but looked good quality.
The one in the picture is brushed steel but mine is black which gives it a nice sleek look. It has a transparent lid with a handle and a lip on each side of the actual inner crock pot to lift it out. It has sturdy feet and a simple control knob on the front with warm, high, low and off settings. Can't quite remember how he managed it but not long after we bought this, my husband somehow managed to break the handle on the lid. He managed to find a round silver knob in the shed which fitted perfectly though gets hot when it's been on for some time. Not a problem as long as we remember to use a cloth to remove lid. It also has a very generous 6.5 L capacity.
As we had had use of a slow cooker before we just carried as we used our old one. It should always be pre-heated for ten minutes to make sure it is at the right temperature. Now someone may want to correct me here but in the books we got for our first slow cooker, we were told to always make sure everything was piping hot before leaving to slow cook. For instance...if we were doing a joint of beef, we would initially sear the beef in a frying pan on all sides and then place in the slow cooker or if we were making something with a sauce, we would do it to the point of the liquid simmering on the stove and then remove to the slow cooker for the required time. This is how we have always done it and it works for us. My mother bought me a Marks and Spencer slow cook book a few years ago and that says to just put all the ingredients in cold and leave for the required time. I have never tried this as it doesn't seem right to me but if anyone does and it works for them I would be interested.
Over the years I have tried lots of things in the slow cooker with some things working better than others. Some people say that everything tastes the same but I disagree. It is a matter of trial and error. We always do our roast beef in it. Makes beautiful gravy! Today we have had braising steak in red wine with mushrooms and the smell that hits you if you have been out and come back in again is wonderful! I have made soup in it and if you use your chicken bones to make stock, it is so easy in the slow cooker over night. I would say it lends itself better to stews and cheaper cuts of meat.
~~What do I think?~~
Well I wouldn't be without it! It's great that you can put things in it in the morning and just forget about it. There is a lot of give and take with the timings so nothing really spoils and it's great walking in after a busy day knowing that your main part of meal is sorted. It's also great for entertaining as you don't have to be stood over a hot stove, watching your food whilst you have guests to entertain. It's also really economical. I think I read somewhere that the electric it uses is no more than an electric light bulb.
This is my favourite recipe that I cook in it and we have this for tea maybe once a fortnight but have also served it for guests, jazzing it up with some nice potato accompaniments and lovely vegetables.
~~Chicken Veronique: ~~
1 oz butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 skinned chicken breasts
1 chopped onion
Half pint chicken stock
Half pint white wine
4 oz sliced mushrooms
Salt and Pepper
8 oz seedless green grapes halved
4 tablespoons double cream
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and fry chicken joints on all sides for about 2 mins. Transfer to pre heated slow cooker. Replace lid. Add onion to remaining fat in frying pan and fry until transparent. Add the flour bit by bit and the stock bit by bit, stirring all the time. Add mushrooms and bayleaf and season. Bring to the boil and pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook on high for two and a half to four and a half hours or Low for four to eight hours. Just before serving, stir in grapes and cream and remove Bay leaf.
This is so tasty and one of my favourite meals!
This is a kitchen gadget I personally wouldn't be without. If you are on a budget and need to use cheaper cuts of meat and save a bit of fuel into the process then its invaluable. There are lots of slow cook books out there to experiment with as well. This particular slow cooker lived up to my expectations, is very easy to clean and doesn't take up too much room in the cupboard. I highly recommend it!
Like many people I don't always have a lot of time to devote to cooking. I had resisted the idea of a slow cooker for a long time however, as I always believed that while ideal for the busy individual in theory, they tend to leach all the goodness (and flavour) out of food. I decided to buy a budget crockpot because I was unconvinced, and did not want to fork out too much in case I was proved correct.
The Crockpot SCV655 has a 6.5 litre capacity, so according to the instruction manual is sufficient to feed up to six people. I have only ever used it to feed a maximum of three however, and have found that in terms of reliability it more than delivers. There are two heat settings, and an additional function for keeping food warm without having it cook further. You simply turn the dial to your preferred setting and the pot works at the appropriate temperature. The heat travels through the stone pot however, and on the highest setting it becomes dangerously warm so that you must use oven gloves to handle it. This may present a concern if children are in the vicinity. Fortunately it does have handles either side, so you will not burn yourself when transporting it while it is hot.
This is a very basic model, which in many respects is welcome as it means there is less to get wrong. Those wishing to experiment with slow cooking will appreciate this, but others may find the model's lack of features frustrating. It does not, for example, include a display screen or timer, which would be very useful if you wished to go out and set the cooker to finish at a certain time. There is no indicator light either.
In terms of cleaning the Crockpot SCV655 is excellent. The pot is dishwasher (and ovenproof) safe, and non stick too. Its smooth interior makes it unproblematic to clean by hand, and often a couple of wipes with a cloth will suffice.
Priced at around £30 this is a nice addition to your kitchen, and you can experiment with a variety of meals, from soups and stews to roasts and even puddings. Unfortunately for me I discovered slow cooking to be pretty much as I had imagined it - many ingredients are sapped of flavour and left lifeless by the experience. Many people swear by the process, but I do not find it to my taste. Perhaps I have not given it enough of a chance, but if I do decide to venture down the slow road again, I would not hesitate to use this model.
This Crockpot SCV655-IUK Slow Cooker is a handy slow cooker that comes in a stylish Brushed Chrome finish along with a 6.5-litre stoneware pot that will cook enough to feed up to six people / It also features removable Crockpot and glass lid both of which are dishwasher safe / It also comes with two heat settings and a keep warm function making it ideal for cooking casseroles and 'hot-pots' and is simply a larger version of the very popular 3.5 litre model.6.5-litre capacity that will feed up to six peopleRemovable stoneware crock potDishwasher safe crock pot and safety-glass lid2 heat settings and keep warm functionAvailable in a brushed chrome finish1 year guarantee / Short name: Crockpot SCV655