Product Type: Hinari Slow Cooker
Come home to a hot meal everyday,
Member Name: Gemma_C
Advantages: Makes meat nice and tender, you can cook some nice meals using it.
Disadvantages: No timer for people who are out of the home for most of the day.
There's only me and my partner and in our household, and we both have full time jobs. I thought a slow cooker would be a great addition as the food could cook during the day, and I would come home to a nice hot meal and not have to cook something from scratch. Slow cookers make even the cheapest cuts of meat nice and tender, and I've ate some nice meals from slow cookers in the past so I knew I would like anything I made in it. The Hinari SC395SS has a capacity of 3.5 litres, and the product description actually states that this is perfect for singles, couples or people with small appetites, so I was expecting something quite small. However when it arrived, I was quite surprised at the size. Other slow cookers I have seen in the past are more oval and wide, however this one is tall and thinner. It is stainless steel and there is a black ceramic dish on the inside, and it does seem rather spacious.
You get an instruction guide with the cooker, however as it is extremely easy to use then the vast majority of the book is actually recipes you can try out in your new cooker. I already have a slow cooker recipe book so I haven't yet tried anything from the instruction guide, but there is a nice variety of things to cook in there and for someone who may not have used a slow cooker before then there's certainly plenty to try out!
The cooker itself is quite heavy, but it does contain a large ceramic dish so this is understandable. Because it's tall rather than wide, I found I could easily fit this into one of my smaller cupboards, had it been the other way round I probably would have been stuck for space! The power cord is long enough for me, however I do place it right by the plug anyway as I have space to do so. The cooker is very simple in design, it looks nice enough, and there's one simple knob on the front with 4 different settings, Off, Low, High and Warm. I've never used the High setting, as generally the high setting will cook food in a shorter amount of time. For most recipes I have followed, the High setting cooks food in around 3-4 hours and the Low setting in 7-9 but it does depend on what you are cooking and you should always follow the recipe. As a guide, Low will actually gently simmer food for an extended period of time without over cooking or burning the food, however the High setting will boil food and it should be monitored on this setting in the same way you would when cooking on a hob. The Warm setting will keep any cooked food warm, self explanatory but a great idea if someone's late for meal time as it means the food will be kept nice and warm without burning.
We're generally out of the house for 9 hours during the day, so out of the several meals I have cooked so far in my slow cooker, they have been on for around 8-9 hours which is usually the maximum amount of time for recipes, but I have had mixed results. I followed a recipe involving pork chops once and I couldn't eat my share as I felt it was overcooked, despite it being under the 9 hour mark, however other recipes have tasted just fine. I just wish the slow cooker had a timer on it, which would be perfect. I would love to be able to set it to start cooking an hour or 2 after we have left, so that it's absolutely perfect when we come home from work. I'm often put off from using it as I worry whatever recipe I try might turn out to be a waste as it's been in for 8-9 hours. This isn't the fault of the cooker of course, but a timer would have been brilliant for me personally. Indeed I have cooked some lovely things in this cooker, and it's nice to come home and eat a hot meal straight away! Another downside is you do have to brown the meat before you put it in the slow cooker to cook, and I usually do this on an evening, put it into the cooker and switch it on in the morning before we leave. I know this isn't a good idea but I'm not browning chicken at 6:30am when I can barely stomach the thought of a bowl of cereal, never mind the danger of me falling asleep whilst doing so ;) The meat is always so nice and tender after a day of slow cooking, and I especially love the taste of beef after it's been in the cooker all day.
The ceramic bowl is very easy to remove and clean, and I've had no problems with vents or steam coming from the slow cooker. The glass lid is strong and covers the top of the bowl nicely. I would recommend this cooker not only for singles and couples, but also families with younger children! Every time I cook something there is always lots left over, and I never fill it right up either, so I do think it's got a good amount of capacity. For households like mine, where you are out of the house for a long amount of time, I would look for a slow cooker with a timer which would be much better and give much nicer results!
The Hinari slow cooker costs £19.99 on Amazon UK, which is the same price as the more popular Morphy Richards 3.5 litre slow cooker, and I believe the Hinari is on par with the Morphy Richards appliance.
Summary: A good slow cooker by Hinari.