“ Brand: Swan / Capacity: 3.5 L / Removable Crock Pot / Settings: High/low Automatic / Power indicator lid / Guarantee: 2 Year „
I bought this slow cooker last year after reading a few reviews and recipes on line which recommended slow cookers for their energy saving and great tasting meals.
I was very tempted by the idea of preparing potatoes, veg, meat etc. of an evening then throwing them all into the slow cooker before I go to work, leading me to come home to the glorious smell of a beautifully warm ready to serve beef stew. This hasn't exactly worked out though as I have never got around to preparing everything the night before to throw in the next morning and although I haven't had any disasters as yet I'm still not happy about leaving the cooker on from 8:00am to 5:30pm with no-one checking it.
- - How does it look - -
The machine itself is about the size of a small deep fat fryer, my version is silver with a black dial on the front which can be set to off, high, low and warm. Different recipes require either high or low cooking and the keep warm option is presumably to allow you to serve warm second helpings without drying out the food.
There is a very heavy large ceramic bowl which holds 3.5 litres inside the cooker itself which is where the ingredients are placed. Once cooked this ceramic bowl has never been any trouble to clean, with a dollop of fairy and some hot water, its much too high to place in the dishwasher but its so easy to wipe clean that is not a big deal.
There are hundreds of recipes to be found online and I have mixed versions of these with the recipes available in the accompanying leaflet.
- - What can it cook - -
Yoghurt - sterilise the cooker first
Porridge - put it on last thing at night, wake up to steaming hot porridge (haven't tried this but have read about people having problems with dried up gunk, others love it).
Potatoes - Cook on low 8-10 hours
Casseroles & stews - chicken, beef or pork
Curries - I am determined to try this but need to find a recipe that doesn't include fruit
Roast chicken - 8 - 10 hours
Macaroni and cheese
Pot Roasts - I was so looking forward to this and I did find the beef to be amazingly tender but it had very little flavour and was so tender it almost didn't feel like you were eating meat, I like a little bit of chew with a roast.
- - My own creations - -
My most successful dish to date was a very simple one, brown some large braising steaks, place in slow cooker, add chopped carrots, throw over a jar of chicken tonight creamy pepper sauce and cook on high for 2.5 - 3 hours. The braising steak was beautifully tender but still retained the texture of meat and tasted every bit as good as a sirloin at half the price or less. I added large slices of onion in the last five minutes which were warmed through but still crunchy. For the last 30 minutes just place a tray of potato wedges in the oven.
At the moment I have a chicken stew merrily cooking away, I can leave it gently simmering while I sit and write a review or catch up on my reading, as once its on you just leave it. This was simply peeling and cubing potatoes and carrots and par boiling them, before throwing them into the slow cooker, I then added ½ pint of chicken stock, a half glass of red wine and four cubed chicken breasts. As I finish at 1:00 today I had this on cooking before 2:00, and will add some sliced onion around 5:00pm before serving at 5:30pm. I have had this before and the stew will be moist, chicken perfectly cooked and potatoes etc. full of flavour. I'll serve the stew like an extremely thick soup\stew concoction adding only a large dollop of HP brown sauce.
I'm back to finish the review after enjoying my stew, there is plenty left, so no cooking tomorrow simply lift this out of the fridge and microwave it.
Stick everything in and walk away
Lots of free recipes on line
Inexpensive to buy and run
Holds 3.5 litres of stew, curry, soup etc.
The room to store it as its almost as big as a chip pan
You have to plan ahead to get the best from it
Beef\steak need to be browned before putting it in
You need to par boil root vegetables if you want to cut down on cooking times.
Takes a bit of practice to get the best out of it
The accompanying recipe book mentions cups as a measurement and I don't know the UK equivalent. It also tells you for some of the recipes to put it on to auto-shift to cook and there is no such button on this cooker.
This could be great for an organised person who is happy leaving things on while they are out. Check out the recipes online and if they appeal look out for a bargain. I have seen a number of slow cookers of this size on offer in Tesco\Argos for around £15.00 which you would probably save back in electricity costs within a year if you use it enough as the unit claims to only use the same amount of electricity as a lightbulb when cooking.
Short name: Swan SC35A