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My husband brought me this slow cooker as a present after hearing me moan about how hard it was to get a good family meal cooked with 2 small children to entertain.
For people new to slow cookers, it is basically an appliance which enables you to cook food on a low heat over a long period of time without having to constantly check on it. Ideal for busy families.
This particular model is cream in colour and would look at home in most kitchens, it has a 3.5 litre capacity which is plenty big enough for a medium sized family like us. There are 3 heat settings, low, medium and high and these affect the cooking time required. I usually use the medium setting for most of my meals. It is oval in shape to make it easier to fit joints of meat in and has handles for ease of use and moving it around. The crock pot (bit that the food is in) is removable and we often just lift the pot out with the food in it and serve at the table.
I like that it is simple to work and provides great results everytime. With having 2 children under 3 it is ideal to be able to get up in the morning and start preparing dinner while they are happily eating breakfast. On average it takes about 6 hours to cook a really good chilli, and up to about 8 for the perfect roast beef.
It comes in two parts, the outside which contains all the electrical componants and the crock pot which you put the food in. The crock pot is hard wearing and looks at home on the table when you make a chilli/casserole or other meal which you want to serve directly at the table. The electrical part is easy to use with just a dial on the front which you turn to the temperature you want (the instructions will explain which temperature to use and when) and hey presto it is on.
It is incredibly easy to clean, the electrical part just needs a wipe down occasionally and the crock pot is dishwasher proof so no need for long periods stood at the sink scrubbing the pot down.
I would recommend it to anyone whose life is too full to waste time cooking a healthy family meal every night. It has been a godsend in this family and we often make too much and wind up freezing them for the next day or two.
Usually retails at around £30 at the moment
Now that winter is well and truly on its way and the nights are getting dark in the afternoon in my house that means it's time to start cooking warming stews and making pots of soups. The one kitchen essential I have that I use extensively throughout the winter is my slow cooker.
A present from my mum who was sick of me borrowing hers I have to say that if I had actually paid for it myself I would have got more than my money's worth out of it.
For those that don't know a slow cooker is an appliance that allows you to cook food on a low heat for many hours without having to bother with the hassle of having to keep checking on it. As it is electrical the temperature is regulated so it can be left without supervision without worrying that food will dry out or burn.
The brilliant thing for me is being able to prepare a healthy meal in the morning before the kids go to school and I go to work and leave it all day only to come home and it be ready without me having to prepare and cook everything from scratch being tired after having worked all day.
I am unsure as to why my mum bought me this model as it is cream and my entire kitchen scheme is stainless steel but no matter as it sits in a cupboard when not in use anyway. The cream is a lovely colour and would look right at home in a country kitchen or would work equally as well in a more modern one as long as you had the right colour combinations.
The shape is oval as most slow cookers are so they are easier able to fit joints in etc and has handles on the side for easy lifting and carrying and temperature controls to the front.
A slow cooker is actually really two parts, well any that I have ever used have been anyway. The outside is the cooker part where the electrical elements are for heating and in this is placed a ceramic dish where you put the food for cooking. On top of this is a heavy reinforced glass lid for keeping in the heat and ensuring that the food doesn't evaporate.
I love the fact everything is so incredibly easy to use with this slow cooker. There are only three temperature controls to worry about and the choice you have is low, medium and high. That's all there is to it.
To use it you just need to do is add the ingredients and turn it on and leave for a good few hours to cook.
The size is 3.5 litres which is more than enough room to be able to make something for the whole family.
For people new to slow cooking it does take a little getting used to as although incredibly easy to use it is different from more conventional ways of cooking. I really recommend buying a recipe book for some ideas, this does come with a few recipes but trust me that you will definitely want to get more experimental once you have adjusted to the longer cooking time.
For me my favourite thing to make in it is good old fashioned stew. All it involves is adding the meat (I like to brown mine as the cooker won't do that and even though it will be cooked to perfection unbrowned meat looks unattractive) the veg and the stock.
As the liquid inside doesn't evaporate you will need less liquid than you would normally in a traditional recipe hence why I think it's important to make sure you get a recipe book.
Meat cooked in a slow cooker is unlike meat cooked any other way and it literally melts in the mouth as it is so tender. Unlike with other cooking the type of meat is less important and cheaper cuts of meat do just as well in the slow cooker as the more expensive ones so it could in fact save you money using it to do your family cooking.
Don't be tempted to open the lid to check on the food as this will only slow the cooking down by quite a considerate amount of time. Trust me on this, just lifting the lid a few times to look for only a few seconds can add a good couple of hours onto the cooking time! The lid is nice and heavy and feels substantial but is not difficult to pick up but if it fell I would be confident it wouldn't just smash. It also doesn't get extremely hot so there is no need to worry about burning yourself.
I usually only cook for me and the kids in the slow cooker but I always make enough to freeze and with this one it is big enough to enable me to make two meals for all three of us. If you are going to freeze any food that you have prepared don't allow it to cool in the cooker as this will only allow it to reach a temperature where bacteria can and will form.
Sorry for the doom and gloom but I did a food hygiene course once and it really stayed with me and has made me a little paranoid about food poisoning.
Cleaning the cooker is so easy thanks to the removable crock pot. It just lift out and can be put in the sink to soak but be careful to make sure it has cooled enough as it stays hot for a long time after it has been turned off. It is also dishwasher safe but for me it is easier just to wash it in the sink.
As I mentioned the cooker will get hot so be careful and use the handles on the side as they don't conduct the heat.
The best thing about it being cream instead of stainless steel is the fact that it is easier to keep clean on the front as well and it only needs a quick wipe every so often. This is only a tiny thing but a relief for me who has loads of stainless steel that looks great but is such a pain to keep looking nice.
I'm not sure what my mum paid for this but a quick look online shows that it is selling for around the £30 mark which seems reasonable for it as it looks much more expensive than this and it is such a useful item.
Personally I wouldn't be without my slow cooker and I know if my one broke I'd be straight out and buying another one and I would definitely get the same one if the shop had it as it has never been any trouble for me.
I love coming in from work and smelling the cooking on knowing that there is a healthy and very importantly delicious meal waiting for me already cooked and just waiting to be served.
I am the world's worst cook. I can transform pretty much anything into an inedible unidentifiable burnt object. In fact I'm so abysmally awful that I've even managed to burn baked beans. Why is it then that every time a birthday or anniversary rolls around my long suffering other half presents me with yet another kitchen gadget? Is it a subtle hint that perhaps with more practise I may get better or could it possibly be because his mother is a chef.
Most of these gifts are obscure objects that he remembers favourably from his childhood. I have a raclette, a cooking stone, several julienne cutters and some hideously sharp shiny gadget that removes chunks from my fingers whenever I've tried to work out precisely what its for. Once in a while though the boy actually comes up trumps and so I find myself the owner of not one or even two but three slow cooker.
The biggest of the trio is the seemingly indestructible Morphy Richards 3.5 litre slow cooker. Indestructible because I've lost count how many times the glass lid has bounced on the floor and survived.
The beauty to this whole slow cooker malarkey is its idiot proof, assuming that is you remember to turn it on (there have been several occasions when I haven't).
It's the ultimate lazy way of cooking that goes a step beyond instant supermarket food. Instead of peeling the lid off a container and heating the contents you simply lob in some raw meat (unless you're veggie), some vegetable (but not mushrooms because they turn to rubber), slap in some seasoning and some liquid (beers as good as anything), plug it in, turn it on and leave it alone for a minimum of six hours on high or ten hours on low.
The beauty of this baby is that it has three heat settings. High for oops I forgot to put the stuff in and its almost lunchtime, people will be expecting the contents for dinner, medium for small chunks over a long period and low for chicken legs that go in before breakfast (but the likelihood of me being that organise that early in the day is quite frankly laughable).
Of course you're not restricted to variations on a casserole my culinary achievements extend as far as fruit crumbles which can be browned in the oven by simply removing the dish from the outer casing and its electric heating element. I've also tried lasagne and even jam making. The children are rather adept at making porridge by bunging porridge oats and water in at bedtime and waking to hot porridge for breakfast and the other half. There are thousands of internet based recipes out there to try for anything from lobster (although it would need to be a very small one to fit it in) to baby food although 3.5 litres of baby food would be enough to feed a child for a very long time. You can shrink the portion size by putting the food in jam jars and the filling the slow cooker (but not the jars) with water which enables you to make several types of food at the same time.
Washing up is easy (although sadly not in the dishwasher) as you remove the cooking pot from the elements and immerse in the sink. The instructions do warn you not to leave the pot soaking for long periods as the underside of the bowl isn't sealed and may absorb water and subsequently crack.
This particular slow cooker is a generous size for a family of four and is big enough to cook a whole medium sized chicken. Once you've eaten your chicken you can stick the carcass back into the stock and continue cooking it for another six or so hours with a few handfuls of soup and broth mix to provide soup for the following days lunch. Did I mention I'm the worlds laziest cook too?
I was getting fed up of paying for really expensive pieces of meat or eating chewy cheaper cuts. I then read about slow cookers, because the meat is cooked gently over a longer period of time even the cheapest cuts of meat come out tender. I did a bit of research into which one to buy and I ended up choosing the Morphy Richards 48719 as I liked its 3.5 litre capacity. I felt the 6.5 litre one would be two big since I generally cook for just two of us. It turned out to be the right size for two people who like big portions, however I do not feel the size would be good for anyone with a family wanting to cook for more then three people.
I like the fact it has three settings of low, medium and high. I personally prefer food cooked on low as the longer things are cooked the tendered the come out. However sometimes if Im late putting it on the medium and high settings are very useful.
The ceramic pot cleans very easily after use.
I have used my slow cooker at least once a week for the past two months and have not experienced any problems with it.
The only thing I think would be useful would be for it to have a timer.
However overall I am extremely happy with this product and it does exactly what I want it to.
I have only recently purchased this slow coker but so far i am happy with it. It is extremely easy to use and the instruction book is useful as it contains a selection of recipies. It doesn't take up a lot of room and is one of the nicer looking slow cookers that we looked at.
The crock pot is of a very good quality and easy to clean soit takes a lot of the hassle out of preparing meals.
The sides do get very hot when it is on which may be a concern for some but we happily leave it on while we are out during the day.
The 3.5L model is a good size for soups and stews but I don't think it would be as suitable for cooking joints of meat in.
One disadvantge is that there isn't a timer but it is well worth its price.
I bought this slow cooker a couple of months ago and have found it to be an excellent buy. As I work late and spend time a the gym its a perfect way to eat good food and not have to do too much cooking.
All of the food I have cooked has been cheap (you can put in the cheapest cuts of meat and they come out tender). Its a great way to cook where you just chuck everything in the pot and leave it running whilst out for the day and return to a great dinner.
The only downside is that the majority of meals are based on American measurements but apart from that a good device. The slow cooker has a removable dish which makes it easy to clean and a timer so that you can set the maximum time for cooking, once this runs out it goes into keep warm mode so that your dinner is never cold
As a shift worker I was looking at ways I could have meals that I didn't have to wait an age to cook when I got home from work, but were still healthy.
After reading about slow cookers they seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I would be able to prepare a meal quickly before I went to work, let it cook whilst I was out and then serve up when I got home.
Due to the way a slow cooker works, you can use cheaper cuts of meat and they will still be tender when you serve your meal. They also use less electricity than an electric oven used for the same amount of time.
I then began looking at which one I should buy. They all seemed to look similar design wise so it was just a case of which colour I wanted; white, brushed steel.
I finally chose this one because of two things: The Morphy Richards name and the cream colour. I hadn't seen this colour before and it was aesthetically pleasing.
I bought it from Amazon for around £22.
The 3.5l capacity wasn't an important factor when choosing because there are only 2 of us in the household. But I have found that it means I can cook double quantities and freeze and extra for another day.
The ceramic pot is dishwasher safe, although the glass lid isn't - but as this only comes into contact with steam it is easily cleaned with a wipe down.
The very first time I used it I kept going back and checking up on it, removing the lid to see how things were going - the instructions say that you have to add 10 minutes to the cooking time for each time you take the lid off.
Once you realise that nothing odd is going to happen when your slow cooker is switched on, you feel happy to leave the house and come back to it.
As vegetables take longer to cook it is better to place them at the bottom of the slow cooker with the meat on top of it.
The instruction booklet advises that you should brown meats and onions before you cook them which only takes a couple of minutes and helps seal in the juices.
It also has some really good recipes which is a great help when you first get your slow cooker and are not sure what would be best to cook in it.
The only disadvantage is the limited use in the summer months, although I have used it a couple of times compared to the winter months where it's on practically all the time.
It is definitely one of those things that every kitchen should have.
Last winter, I was determined to cook more meals from scratch, and to do that as well as working, we decided to get a slow cooker. I wasn't sure what to get but I did know that it had to be big enough to feed the whole family, as well as looking the part in my kitchen.
The Morphy Richards fit my requirements, as well as being oval shaped which is good for fitting joints of meat into should I ever want to, and it did look quite modern and sleek in my cream and green kitchen.
The slow cooker has a 3.5 litre capacity which is adequate for a family of four. It has a toughened glass lid which will stand up to the heat of cooking without letting steam escape during the process.
The pot is dishwasher safe which doesn't affect me but would perhaps factor into the buying decision for some people, and the most important thing for me is the easy removable pot which whilst is sturdy enough to withstand the cooking, it also isn't too heavy for me to lift in when I have prepared my meal.
A slow cooker is designed to cook food items slowly over a period of hours making family life easier. I hadn't realised how much you can actually cook in a slow cooker, but I have learnt fast over the months, and had some success meals as well as some disasters using the cooker.
The main thing to remember when using a slow cooker is not to remove the lid whilst it's cooking. This puts the time of cooking back 15 minutes each time you remove the lid, which I learnt the hard way very soon after buying it.
The Morphy Richards model I have has three temperature settings, low, medium and high. I find I cook almost everything on medium, unless I'm out of the house for hours and hours and then it tends to go on low. For some reason the first time I used this, I was too scared to leave the house in case something went wrong and I started a fire. This is actually a common conception to new users of slow cookers, and you will get over it very quickly once you realise what it can do for your life.
Preparing a meal in the slow cooker is so simple and once you get into the routine of doing so you'll wonder what ever stopped you buying one sooner.
I always chop my vegetables very small as root vegetables don't cook very fast in a slow cooker; in fact they cook slower than meat.
You must remember as well that you don't need as much water as you would add if you were cooking a casserole in the oven. This is because the steam re adds itself to the cooking liquids and process.
Once I have prepared my meal, I sometimes brown my meat if I am leaving the skin on, or if the chicken for example has skin off then I don't worry about browning it at all.
In the slow cooker everything goes, and I decide how long I am going to be out of the house. If the meal is going on in the morning then the cooker goes on the low setting, lunch time then it goes on medium setting, and I only use high if I'm in the house whilst it's cooking.
It really is as simple as making sure the crock pot is placed into the slow cooker when the cooker is off. If you heat the slow cooker before adding the pot you run the risk of cracking the pot and that would spoil your whole product.
Once the lid is securely on, you can turn on at the wall, and switch to your required setting. There is a red light that will glow to show the cooker is on.
Walk away and leave it!
I am always so tempted to peak through the lid when the food is cooking, but the steam prevents you seeing anything through the lid, despite the little vents in the top of the lid, it does a good job of only letting the wonderful aromas of the food escape and nothing else.
The sides of the slow cooker will get hot during cooking so it's important not to touch when it's on, and I would recommend when the food is cooked, to leave the crock pot inside the cooker unless you really need to remove and use a serving spoon to dish the meal out.
The great thing about the slow cooker is that if you cook something like chicken on the bone, it literally will fall off the bone and the meat will be so tender, you'll have a new outlook on a chicken drumstick.
The cleaning process of the cooker is easy, as I mentioned you can put the crock pot into the dishwasher if you have one, but if not just wash as normal. You will get a ring around the pot where the sauce level s sat during cooking, but as long as you don't leave for ages then it'll come off easily.
The lid can also be washed as normal, but the slow cooker outer casing must only ever be wiped over with a damp cloth as required. I find this should be done just quickly after every use to prevent spills from staining and marking the inside of the cooker. You'll prolong its use this way.
The Morphy Richards cooker costs a few pence over £20 and has the potential to last you years, helping you create cheap meals that taste wonderful.
I really can't recommend this cooker enough to anyone who is looking for a low cost slow cooker. I have had lots of experiments in mine and look forward to many more. The only point I would add is that it doesn't tend to get used so much in the summer as it tends to be used for winter warmers such as casseroles, but that's not to say it can't be used in the summer, it's just down to your imagination.
3.5 Litre Slow Cooker / Cream / The healthy alternative to ready meals, slow cookers offer a convenient way to make fresh food / Easy to use, a slow cooker can be left safely cooking away while you are out and about so you can enjoy freshly cooked meals without being tied to the kitchen / Simply add the ingredients to the crock pot and the slow cooker will gradually cook your meal over the course of several hours meaning you're in control of the ingredients and when you eat / Short name: Morphy Richards 48719