“ Brand: Giles & Posner / Type: Slow Cooker „
Before buying this slow cooker I had been meaning to get one for a while. One of my favourite meals is pulled pork which takes several hours to cook and would use a fair amount of electricity or gas if prepared in the oven so this seemed a sensible purchase. Whilst trying to decide what a reasonable price to pay was I came across this in a local charity shop for the grand sum of £5! The condition was superb and I think I got quite a bargain.
What Is It?
Slow cookers are small kitchen appliances that can be placed on a counter top. The food is placed inside and a setting of Low or High is selected. Over the course of several hours (depending on the dish) the contents are gently cooked to perfection at a low heat. The result is very tender meat or hearty casseroles and stews.
Giles and Posner make a selection of small appliances for the kitchen as well as "party appliances" such as mini cupcake machines and popcorn makers.
Capacity: 3.5 litres
Heat Settings: Low, High, Keep Warm
Colour: Black, White and Blue
Power: 180w, 220-240V~50Hz
Removable ceramic pot (dishwasher safe)
Clear glass lid (dishwasher safe)
1 year warranty (when bought new).
This slow cooker typically retails for £19.99 instore and online but can be found online for around £15.
I was extremely pleased when I found this slow cooker second-hand for £5 as I had resigned myself to spending between £30 - £40 and the condition was like new. Upon getting home from shopping I gave it a quick clean just to be sure and hunted down my recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork.
Using it is very simple, just place all the necessary ingredients inside and set it to the appropriate heat. For example, to cook the pork on Low Heat takes roughly six hours or about four hours on High Heat. This meant that after lunch on Sunday I switched it on, went to visit family and when I came back dinner was ready and waiting! As the preparation is fairly minor for slow cooked dishes (peel and chop veg, add meat, seasoning and water), it can be done before hand and you don't have to go through the rigmarole of making dinner after a long day. It's almost as if somebody else has done the cooking! Plus, with the Keep Warm function it can be placed on the table and plugged in so people can help themselves without the food getting cold.
Cleaning is wonderfully easy too. Instead of various pans and dishes I only have one pot and a lid to clean. No wrestling with a sink full of pans or scraping burned-on food off casserole dishes! Best of all it's dishwasher safe so if you have one the washing up takes care of itself.
This is a very reliable little machine and holds enough for two to four people depending on whether it's the main dish or just part of it and how hungry people are.
The quality of the slow cooker is very good and easily comparable to much more expensive machines. The build quality is solid and it's quite attractive too, looking something like an old fashioned crock pot with a dial on the front and a small power indicator light.
I love slow cooking, it's so convenient and the majority of recipes are surprisingly healthy and delicious. My Mother bought me a recipe book specifically for slow cookers and it's lovely in the winter months to come home to a hearty stew or spiced rice pudding.
Goodness knows what it would cost to leave the oven on for six hours several times a week and I'd be too worried to leave it and go out. Recently supermarkets have started making sachets of spices specifically for slow cookers which you add to chopped meat and vegetables making things even easier.
I can't recommend this slow cooker highly enough, preparing meals is so much easier and I've saved money as left over vegetables such as the odd carrot and parsnip can be combined with other ingredients into a tasty stew. Cleaning is easy and it's compact enough to store in a cupboard or on a counter without getting in the way.
I discovered the wonderful world of slow cooking afew years ago. I remember reading people on the internet raving about how much they loved their slow cooker, and the fact they could cook such a variety of different things and it was more or less one pot cooking. When I discovered a great deal and price on a slow cooker online plus a discount code thrown in, I purchased my first slow cooker for £5.00. Fast forward afew years later and I purchased this particular model from the TV Shopping Channel QVC for just over £20.00 ( not including the p and p).
Why did I buy this?
I enjoyed using my original slow cooker. But when it died on me one fateful day, I never got round to replacing it. Since then, a house move and two children later, I really wanted another one but one that would fit into the style of my current kitchen. I remember watching this being presented on QVC and I really liked the look of it. The first thing that struck me was the colour They had other colours available such as red, cream, blue etc, but all my small appliances are black, so this in the same colour was perfect. When I bought my original slow cooker the style and fashion at the time was everything was either silver or white-which wasn't something I wanted this time round. But the biggest thing for me was the way it was shaped. Most of the slow cookers Ive seen over the years have been quite wide and short ( if the capacity is 3.5 or 5 litres ). This still had a good capacity but was tall and thin like rather than short and full which was ideal as I didn't want this to take up a huge amount of space on my work top.
How does it look?
Its black. It stands at just short of 9 inches tall and is 8 inches wide. It comes in three parts-the lid which is clear glass with a black rounded ' knob ' smack bang in the centre, so you can lift it up lid when needed.
The ceramic bowl, which is also black, that sits in the actual slow cooker itself. On each side of the bowl it comes out slightly forming small handles to hold onto to ease aid in lifting it out and putting it in the cooker.
Then you have the main part of the cooker itself. On the front right at the top you have a warning that this is a ' hot surface'. Directly underneath is the brand name which is ' Giles & Posner 'and then you have a LED light that turns on when the machine is in use, and you have turned the dial just underneath the light, to one of the following settings-off ( no light on then of course! ), low, high and keep warm. The dial is black, thick, very easy to turn and with very little force you will feel it ' staying put ' at the relevant setting you have turned it to. The main section of the cooker has two handles at each side of it, which stay cool even when in use, so if you need to move it anywhere its not hard to do.The cooker itself has 4 very small feet at the bottom underneath, 3 around the the edge of it and the 4th in the middle. All rubberised.
Right at the back in white lettering it warns you ' do not put crock or base on stove burner '.
When you lift the crock pot out, the interior of the slow cooker itself is a very pale silver and looks quite metallic. At the bottom is where the heating element is. Although you cant see it I can only imagine it sits just underneath what I can see.
This slow cooker requires electricity to function. Its corded, and is 40 inches in length. Not too sure how much electricity this consumes as this was bought over 18 months ago, but can only imagine a proportion of a standard oven, but don't quote me!
What have I cooked in this?
I haven't been as adventurous as I would like with this appliance, and Ive pretty much stuck to tried and tested recipes that I know work. What I have cooked is-
1. Beef stew and dumplings
2. Various soups such as vegetable, spicy sweet potato and carrot, West Indian chicken soup etc
3. Sausage casserole
4. Chicken pie
5. Meatballs in tomato sauce
1. Rice pudding
2. Chocolate pudding
3. Jam sponge
4. Apple sponge
5. Treacle pudding
6. Cinnamon and sultana sponge pudding
7. Chocolate chip cake
In regards to recipes
Most if not all slow cookers come with a little recipe booklet ( mine did! ) Always have a read of them as they give you a good idea of what you can cook in it and also helps you figure out timings. Slow cooking is different to cooking in an oven, but when you get a good idea of whats suited to this type of cooking, different textures and how they may change when cooking and timings, you find your own way of adjusting accordingly and adapting to your own personal tastes.
You can cook a lot of varied recipes in slow cookers that you can in an ordinary oven , but you have to be aware of certain things. Ive discovered the following-
Potatoes even if they've been cooking forever ( just simply peeled and thrown into the it ) always seem not to fall apart and have a slight bite to it. Not the same texture as if you had boiled it on top of the stove.
Sauces/gravys tend to be quite thin and don't thicken very well, despite adding a touch of flour to the mixture before cooking and turning it up to the high setting towards the end. Only when the food has been left afew hours or even left til the next day does the mixture become more thicker.
Some things are better to be browned before they're thrown into this and cooked thoroughly, such as meat. It improves the overall look and provides more flavour I feel.
Food generally doesn't crisp up. Ive cooked pies in this ( pastry placed on the top not the bottom ), Ive used my own hand made shortcrust pastry, and used puff pastry, and although both ' cooked ' they didn't brown nor crisp up. Theres no heating element at the top where the lid is, so the heat really is coming directly from the bottom and this travels around the sides.
Be careful when you take off the lid-not only can it be very hot, but a build up of moisture is on the underside of the lid. Not a huge issue, but if you have pastry on the top you don't want it to get soggy! Ive found this as well when cooking cakes/puddings. I have to lift the lid up so I can have a really good look at how its going, and to test if the mixture is cooking and cooked throughout. So I move the lid swiftly away then wipe with a clean unused tea towel and replace onto cooker once inspection is completed.
Experiment and have fun! Its all trial and error Ive discovered. If I never tried to cook leek and potato soup, I would never have discovered it turns a nasty dirty dishwater light brown colour rather than a lovely creamy hue. Wont be making THAT again in their. In my last slow cooker I made a fruit crumble with berries because I was making a smoothie and half way through blitzing it blew up on me-and I had all this mixture and hadn't a clue what to do with it! So I made a crumble topping over the fruit all in the cooker, and it worked pretty darn good! So, the moral of the story is think about what will lend itself well to slow cooking first e.g certain cuts of meat that would appreciate a number of hours sloshing away silently in juices. Stay away from things that should only be cooked for a shorter length of time or things that can easily lose their colour. I cant think of an occasion where Ive been cooking something in this WITHOUT there being some form of liquid in the cooking process as it can still easily burn if the liquid evaporates but where baking is concerned ( in in a way the batter is the liquid ), make sure the bowl is greased lightly the same way you would grease a baking tin. Puddings/cakes I find don't take too long too cook, acouple of hours, and because it stays very moist don't mistake that for being undercooked ( although there is fine line ) as it can easily be overcooked and be dry and nasty. I leave mine at the point where they appear to be slightly underdone, because after turning it off, I leave it in the bowl and it will continue to cook very gently because its still heated and that should finish the job.
How do I find it?
I love the look of this. It looks so pleasing on the eye and is much ore interesting than silver or chrome coloured. My main appliances are all in silver ( had no choice to continue with that theme as I had to work around my old cooker! ) but swapped all my small appliances, such as my kettle, microwave etc to black.
The slow cooker has the perfect capacity for me. It doesn't look as if it has that much space, but its like a Tardis, and I tend to make so much I have lots of leftovers left. At the same time,I don't feel as if I need to fill this to the top with ingredients, so I can cook as much or as little as I like.
Its easy to keep clean, just needs a wipe once in a while with a damp cloth to ensure it stays in good nick, but other than that no major up keep needed. In regards to washing out the slow cooker, it is the ceramic bowl only that be immersed in water ( the ceraminc bowl is quite weighty-be warned! ), and this cleans very well as you would clean and wash a plate-warm soapy water then dried with a clean tea towel or sometimes I just leave it on the side to dry on its on turned upside down. The lid can be washed the same way.
Food cooks very well. I don't feel you need loads of different cooking settings on this because at the end of the day, your cooking this slowly regardless, so you either want to cook something really slow, or just slow and then you have the option to keep it warm? Perfect. The option to keep it warm is nice but not essential because the food will stay hot for at least a good hour if you keep the ceramic pot in the cooker, as it still contains a lot of heat. Even taking the pot out, it will still keep warm for awhile so as long as the food either way is being eaten reasonably soon after cooking has been completed, no need to use the microwave to reheat.
The ceramic bowl once cooled down sufficiently could be placed on the dining table to serve which is a great option. Not something Ive done as I don't have room for a table, but probably would do it that way so no major faffing about with plates with food coming in and out for the kitchen.
I adore one pot cooking-sometimes I don't have the time to keep checking food in the oven, or having an anxiety attack when Im on the way to school thinking Ive left the cooker on and my house is being surrounded by fire engines! Put ingredients in it and leave it! Check once and awhile but quite pain free.
This is amazing to cook cakes and puddings in. In regards to cakes, as long as they havent been overcooked, they come out soft, moist and almost gives you the impression that they've been steamed. They come out easily as long as the pot has been greased and the look of it is very impressive. My kids are speechless when I turn out a treacle sponge pudding onto the plate because not only does it look amazing, but absolutely huge! So baking in this little miracle worker is a revelation!
Who is this good for?
Everybody! Families ( 4-6 can be fed comfortably ), single people, students, people with caravans. People who may be short of space or dont have a cooker or maybe a microwave. Good for people who want to cook food in batches and maybe freeze. Fab for people who are maybe on a budget and want to cook cheaper, tougher cooks of meat that need to be cooked over along period of time. Great for the first time home or people who have issues bending down to get things in and out of an oven. Perfect for so many people.
Who is this not good for?
People who want their meals instant. People who want their meals fried.
Would I buy this again? Yes I would. The price I paid was fair. The look is minimalist and slightly basic, but quite up to date and sits well in my kitchen. I also don't feel the look of it will date as theres nothing garish about it that stands out. Its very easy to use, pretty much idiot proof, so no real thought or effort required. You would put more energy into the prep of the food going in rather than the workings of the actual machine. It takes up such a small foot print, because most of its capacity is in regards to height rather than width, so perfect for kitchens that are challenged by space. And it cooks food well.
No complaints here!