“ Brand: Russell Hobbs / 6L Total Capacity: 2L / 4L Split - Digital LED controls and timer providing High/Low settings - Will cook 2 dishes simultaneously, i.e. main course and dessert - Stainless Steel Wrap „
Slow cookers are enjoying a bit of a revival at the moment. There are several very good reasons for this; firstly slow cooking uses very little fuel, secondly it makes food, especially cheaper cuts of meat taste nicer, and thirdly it is convenient to be able to switch a cooker on hours before you want to eat and then serve up when you feel like it.
This model is unusual in that it has two sections in it. I bought it purely as it was on offer in Sainsburys for under £30, it is currently £49.99 at amazon but cheaper prices are available elsewhere.
So is it any good?
There are 2 pots in the cooker, one of 4 litres and one of 2 litres. This means that in theory you could cook two totally different things. In reality I find that this idea does work if eg cooking a vegetable curry in the smaller side and a meat curry in the other. I am not sure whether a dessert in one side and main in the other might not be a step too far though. You can also cook a chilli con carne in 2 portions - I have one simmering now - ideal if you have children as one can be more spicy than the other. The only downside is that you can not really fit a larger joint of meat into what is quite a large capacity, however for stews and the like it is ideal. It would be good if you could purchase a single pot seperately, though this would add to the already quite large storage space this cooker requires. I should point out that you can cook in just one of the sections if you wish and are not obliged to cook two meals at onc.
The digital display on the cooker is easy to read, and the pot lifts out. You can see the food easily through the glass top which is a great advantage. There are 2 cooking levels, low and high. From experience you need a minimum of 4-6 hours on high to cook food well.
The cooker has a cool wall which works relatively well, though some care is advised. In use it has not dinted at all, and the pot cleans well in the dishwasher. The push buttons to change the heat and cooking time are plastic coated and wipe clean - they have become a little dinted with use and I am not sure they will fare well over time.
Overall this is a very good cooker, the lead is sufficiently long, it is quite well made and I definately think it is a good to have a digital display as opposed to a turn button on some of the cheaper models.
I would say that I use this cooker at least 3 times a week, the instruction booklet and recipes have been of some help but generally I find that I can cook many of my favourite one pot dishes in the cooker and it will work well as long as I do not expect the sauce to reduce - you need to use very little water. Results are good as long as you don't make your dishes too liquid, I know that my chilli will be tender and taste perfection by 6pm if I can wait that long!
This slow cooker is a good choice for a busy family - if you are looking into investing in a slow cooker this is a good starter model. If I were to buy one again I would probably try and stretch to a crock pot model where you can transfer the pot from the hob to the cooker - with this model you have to brown mince etc. on the hob in a pan first, you can put some things straight in but browning first is adviseable.
I would recommend this slow cooker and it has been a great addition to my kitchen.
If you get fed up of slaving over a hot cooker every day burning yourself and spilling everything, treat yourself to a slow cooker.
Cooking doesn't get more convenient than using one of these unless you only eat microwaved crap, and as I'm sure all you ladies will agree, long and slow is always better.
I bought this particular model because it's a large pot inside, split into two sections, one part holding 4 litres, the other part holding 2 litres, so you can actually cook a couple of different things together, such as a joint in the large section and your vegatables in the small one, or just use it as one large pot. It does say you can do a main course in one part and a dessert in the other but I never have as you don't want a rice pudding tasting of chilli con carne and cross contamination could quite easily happen as the 2 sections are not sealed from each other.
This is a large attractive looking satin finish stainless steel cooker with easy carry handles, it has a clear glass lid, and a dark brown glazed ceramic pot inside.
It has a digital control panel on the front which allows you to set the mode, High for "fast" slow cooking (4 hours or less) and Low, for long slow cooking, there's increase and decrease buttons for setting the time, but you can only do this in 1 hour increments, there's a start button for when everything's set, and finally there's a small "Warm" light, which comes on when the cooking time is finished and it goes into warm mode, to keep your food warm. This is automatic and not available as a choice.
You also get a comprehensive instruction/recipe booklet with it with all the do's and don'ts explained plus tips on cooking and preparing certain foods, e.g browning a joint of meat first. There's enough recipes, both main meals and puddings, to get you used to slow cooking and it gives you the times for both fast and slow cooking.
The claimed benefits of slow cooking according to the booklet are:
Health: The gentle cooking reduces damage to vitamins and therefore more of the nutrients and flavours are retained
Economy: Long slow cooking tenderises the cheaper tougher cuts of meat, and it also uses roughly a quarter of the power of a small ring on an electric hob.
Convenience: You can prepare meals the night before and switch on in the morning before going out to work or anywhere else and come home in the evening to a delicious meal just waiting to be served.
There are a couple of niggles with this particular slow cooker,
1) It's quite heavy, weighing in at approx 8kgs, most of which is the pot inside.
2) There's no coolwall on this model and it does get hot especially the metal case so you need to be carefull around it and not place it where children can reach it and touch it.
You might not use one of these every day, but they are a handy thing to have in your kitchen, especially if you're a busy person. It varies in price if you search the internet, from around £22 to £40.