Product Type: Tesco Slow Cooker
Newest Review: ... in and out and wash as it has a good quality glaze inside and outside the pot. The lid is transparent, a plastic I think as it is quite... more
I'm a slow cooking convert
Tesco SC356 Slow Cooker
Member Name: cerys82
Tesco SC356 Slow Cooker
Advantages: Cooks things perfectly, only £15
In an age where people are much more aware of issues such as reducing food wastage and their energy bills it is perhaps no surprise that slowcooking has come back to the fore. Slow cookers, as the name suggests cook dishes over a slow period of time and do not require such a high temperature of cooking as they are so well sealed. Also, you can use cheaper cuts of meat as they cook things to such a tender state.
I love cooking at home but had not really considered a slow cooker (and to be honest did not really know what one was) until a friend started raving about the benefits of her 'crock pot'. What really appealed to me was the idea of setting a meal up in the machine first thing in the morning and it being ready in the evening - a notion which would really suit my lifestyle.
It was an idea I initially put on the backburner when seeing that 'crock pots' typically cost around £40. At the time I felt that this was perhaps too much to pay for something that I may soon grow tired of, like some other kitchen gadgets over the years. My mind was changed when I saw this particular machine on sale in my local Tesco for £15 as I thought for this price I had nothing to lose - a) if I ended up not using it that often I had not spent a fortune on it and b) if it does become something I use a lot I would have gained a great tool and could always upgrade to a branded model when this one goes kaput. Therefore I went into the purchase quite openminded as to what could be achieved.
I bought this slowcooker just after Christmas, so now feel qualified to write a fair review on it.
Essentially the outer of the slowcooker has a stainless steel effect. It has a small red light on the front which indicates when the cooker is 'on'. It has to be said that this light is not very bright and I have often had to find myself blocking off external light with my hand just to check that I have switched it on! There are then four settings activated by the turning of a switch - off, low, high and warm. Low is good for all-day cooking, especially meat dishes, high is for dishes to be cooked over a shorter period of time eg soups and vegetable curries. Warm is ideal for if you plan for dishes to be eaten for more than one sitting - for example if I have had something cooking all day and it has technically finished cooking but I want to keep it warm for my husband to eat from later on in the evening. The
Inside the slowcooker is a removable ceramic style dish which is approximately 3.5 litre in volume. Although I know the pots do vary in quantity - I generally find that this depth when nearly filled gives enough for two decent sized main meals with perhaps enough leftover for next days lunch. The pot has good lips on the side which make it easy to lift out for cleaning. The pot itself is dishwasher safe and in fact comes out really well from cleaning.
The lid just looks like a generic saucepan lid with a circular handle. However, being a slowcooker lid it has a very good quality seal which makes it airtight thereby not letting any moisture out - therefore it cannot be put in a dishwasher - but still comes out really well if washed by hand. The external part of the slowcooker is easy to clean by just wiping down with your normal cleaning spray and a cloth.
When operating the slow cooker it is best to place it on something which will protect your work surface it can get quite warm. I use a glass chopping board to place it on.
Since buying this machine I have used it to cook many different types of dishes - soups, stews/casseroles, curries and even steamed puddings, without exception everyone has come out brilliantly, some even exceeding expectation. It makes really good gravies and also works particularly well on cheaper cuts or defrosted frozen meats - giving them a tender texture that you would not get from conventional cooking.
The seal on the lid is obviously excellent as I have never known a dish to dry out or not be done in the expected time.
It is also quite an attractive looking machine for something so cheap and should fit well in most kitchens. The size is circa 35 length x 30 width and is in a cylindrical shape I personally find it can be tucked away quite easily on a work surface even though I do not have a particularly big kitchen.
In conclusion, this has now become an essential tool in my kitchen. It works perfectly especially considering its price and I have always been impressed with the results. Perhaps the highest compliment I can give it is that I at this point would see no point in getting a more expensive or branded model because there is nothing that I think this is missing, except perhaps a timer - but I would be tempted to use a plug-in electric timer if it was felt that this was essential.
I am well and truly a convert to slow cooking, largely due to the effectiveness of this machine - I would highly recommend it not just for price, but also for performance.
Summary: My cooking has been transformed
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