Product Type: Tesco Slow Cooker
Newest Review: ... just put in the base in the morning, switch on and walk away. The unit looks basic, but is functional and the outside is easy to wipe cle... more
Cheap AND Hot... 5 Stars!
Tesco SC356 Slow Cooker
Member Name: blonde_girl774
Tesco SC356 Slow Cooker
Advantages: Bargain price and great addition to my kitchen.
Before I got the slow cooker I spent a lot of time wondering what one actually was, obviously I had some idea that it would cook things slower than an oven but that was about all I know. A slow cooker, or a crock pot as it's more widely known in America is a countertop electrical cooking appliance that maintains a relatively low temperature compared to other cooking methods. It cooks food with a low, moist and slow heat in comparison to an oven where relatively high temperatures are used to achieve quicker cooking in general it would seem.
Most slow cooker consist of a lidded round or oval cooking pot which is normally made of ceramic or porcelain which is then surrounded by a metal covering. This metal covering contains a thermostatically controlled electric heating element which is where the heat comes from to cook your foot. The fact that the inside is made from either ceramic or porcelain means that it acts as a container to cook your food in but also a heat reservoir which stores the heat effectively leading to a much slower release and therefore a slower process.
The Tesco slow cooker comes in a silver and white box which displays the brand and product names quite prominently on the front. It also shows a large picture of the slow cooker itself which the back of the box contains information on the power required, the size of the slow cooker and so on. Inside the box you'll find the slow cooker which has a brushed steel effect and a glass lid with a black handle in the centre. There are two black handles on the side of the slow cooker along with an operating dial on the front. All in all it actually looks quite smart.
The slow cooker has a 3.3 litre capacity which means it actually holds quite a lot, you can get bigger and smaller ones if you wish although this is the only one Tesco offers in this value range. The dish itself can be lifted out and, along with the glass lid, is dishwasher proof which is always a huge relief to me. It requires 174 to 207 watts of power to operate and comes with the plug ready to fix into your wall. The slow cooker is just over 20cm in height, about 30cm in width and about 35cm in depth; according to the information on the box it weights 4.2kg.
It's quite easy to operate in that you simply put the pot into the base unit, place the contents into the pot, turn it on at the wall and then select one of three heat settings using the black dial. A typical slow cooker is designed to heat food at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit on low and this can then be increased to a higher setting if you wish. As for how long you need to leave it on for, well, that really depends on what you're cooking to be honest and which temperature setting you're using. The instructions booklet does provide some guidance on this.
So what can you use a slow cooker for? Well I was lucky enough to get a recipe book for Christmas as well which gives you some really handy tips but so far I've tried a casserole, a stew and I've also cooked a large piece of ham too. Some people seem a little wary about cooking meat and suggest you need to fry it in a frying pan before you cook it but I've never opted for this, I've found that the meat can disintegrate a little when cooking which I suppose frying would prevent but I quite like the fact that it does that and it really does melt in your mouth.
For my casserole this weekend I simply chopped up my vegetables, sliced my chicken into small pieces, added an oxo cube which was mixed with water and simply switched it onto a low heat for about six hours while I went out for the afternoon. Obviously different things will take different amounts of time; chicken seems to cook a bit quicker than other meats though. You could also use the slow cooker for other things such as soups and spaghetti bolognaise to mention just a few of the suggested ideas in my recipe book which came from Marks and Spencer.
I personally really like being able to throw everything in my slow cooker, I find it's ideal when I'm going out for the afternoon as at the weekend I stuck everything in before I went around lunch time and came home to a lovely smell throughout my house and a casserole all ready to eat. A slow cooker probably isn't for everyone but if you work during the day and never seem to have enough time to cook when you get in then I'd certainly recommend one... it certainly beats heating up a tin of soup or a microwave meal at night I've found so far!
A couple of things just to point out... I would suggest that you do need to be careful with the inner dish, as it is ceramic it's incredibly easy to break especially when hot and I've not seen that you can buy a replacement at all. Be careful when it's hot too as I made the mistake of lifting the pot out with no gloves! When you first start out it's worth checking the liquid every hour as it does dry out slowly, the first time I used it I made the mistake of not checking it and it did dry out but now I've seemed to work out roughly the right amount of liquid that's needed.
This slow cooker is currently priced at £15 in Tesco which to me does seem to be a bit of a bargain. You can get branded slow cookers which can cost you a small fortune if you've got money to burn. This one seems to do the trick for me though, it's not too big which means I don't end up cooking too much, I think it'd best be suited to a couple of a family with just one child... if you've got a larger family then you'd probably find if you cooked your whole meal in here there wouldn't be enough to go round... or maybe my appetite is just too big!
Thanks for reading.
Summary: A very reasonably priced slow cooker from Tesco.
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