Generally my slow cooker is a well-behaved little thing. You put food in it and then when you come back from work the food is cooked. Marvellous. You can certainly add it to Michael McIntyre’s List Of Electrical Appliances That You Can Trust.

However, it has cocked up a couple of recipes recently, which I fully admit was my own fault, combined with the failings of the cookbook my mum gave it me with. Generally, too, it is a rather good cookbook. It insists, though, on putting food into the pot first, followed by the sauce, rather than the other way around. Why????? This means that some food is not protected from the side of the pot by any sauce, meaning that if you cook it on high as instructed, it sticks and burns 😦   This also means that the cookbook’s reassurances of you not needing to check that the food has not stuck or burned or boiled dry are starting to sound a little empty.

It’s also important, as I have discovered, to put in more liquid (such as a cupful of water) if you are reducing the recipe and thus only cooking one portion; this again helps to avoid the burning/sticking problem that can occasionally occur.

So it’s clear from this that slow cooking is not 100% idiot proof. Nevertheless, it does have many benefits (although the only obvious benefit from cooking vegetarian food in it is the fact that it is ready and waiting for you when you come home; see the following as to why). Meat cooked in the slow cooker really is incredibly tender as a result and just falls off the bone; it’s also quite timesaving and energy-saving, and reduces washing up.

Another benefit that could potentially apply to vegetarian cookery in the slow cooker is the fact that flavours are allowed to develop more in the slow cooker. Theoretically all you have to do is put your food into the slow cooker (whether for carnivores or not) and go and get on with your life. However, it’s clear that I still have a fair bit to learn. Anyone out there with some slow cooking tips?

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