Saturday, 19 November 2011

This slo cooker is just too darn slow

Today I decided to use my slo cooker, it hasn't been out of the cupboard for about five years. Before that I was using the inner as a plant pot holder for one of my money plants. They can be a bit top heavy so the brown pot was ideal to stop it toppling over. Anyway, the plant has gone so I can use it again for it's original purpose.

First of all I soaked the split peas and beans overnight, then this morning I added carrots, brussel sprouts and onions to it, with some bulgar wheat, garlic and any spices that jumped out of the cupboard. Everything went in the slo cooker.

It was taking ages to warm up, so I transferred it to a pan and put it on the gas ring, and let it simmer for half an hour. Then it went back into the slo cooker, where it remained untill 5pm.

I did a taste test to see if the beans were cooked, they weren't, and I was hungry. It went back in the pan and more simmering on the stove, about an hour. Then I could wait no longer, I had to eat. Yes it's very tasty, the beans are better than they were, could probably do with a bit longer, but hey, I have to eat now.

I'm not sure I like cooking in this way, it all seems a bit long winded even though the food is supposed to cook itself. Anyway, now I have the basis for a week long stew. The beans need more cooking, so tomorrow I will add some spuds and by the time they have cooked the beans will be soft. Should be able to keep it going till the middle of next week by adding more to it :o)

19 comments:

  1. Just switch it on before you go to bed Ilona, then you won't feel impatient :-D

    When I had no kitchen I survived for several months with just a slo cooker and microwave. I got quite inventive. Did you know you can do jacket potatoes in it? I used to put 4 in and cook them, eat one and cool the rest. You can zap them in the micro for a minute or so, when you want to eat them.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear it was frustrating. I love my slow cooker. I use it at least once a week for everything from soups to roasts. I can't do without it. The stew sounds divine.

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  3. I'm not sure if I'd do well with a slow cooker..seems to be a lot of prep, a lot of cooking when I could probably do as well with a big pan. I suppose a slow coooker is like Marmite....love it or hate it!
    Jane x

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  4. A slow cooker is brilliant if you are out the house all day, working. I usually put a stew on before I leave for work and my dinner is cooked when I get home, late afternoon. Never had trouble with mine.

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  5. It might be on the fritz..............sometimes the element does nt function well after some years. It should nt take more than 4 - 5 hours for beans and veggies to cook. I dont use mine as much as I should but I sometimes cook a chicken and veggies in it.

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  6. I LOVE my slow cooker and use it at least once a week. I have to switch it on for 20 minutes before putting anything in. Plenty of time to prep veg. I agree, some veg can take an age to cook, but I get over that by par boiling it for 5mins before adding to the meat. Also, I think you have overfilled it. Look out the booklet you got with it, it should tell you about cooking times. My dog is like the bisto kid when ours is on. Have another go Ilona, well worth it when you get it right and is energy efficient! Sally

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  7. I've never used dried beans in mine - always tinned and those veggie stews have turned out luvverly! x

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  8. Ilona, I got a slow cooker from the local Freegle site, it was a little like yours, with the inner that doesn't come out of the outer, and a pig to wash.

    It did cook but I also found it TOOOOOOO slow. I have a Remoska but found a similar one in a QVC Outlet at half the price, but this one has a regulo on. I thought it would act as a sort of slowish cooker. As I'm not one to get things cooking from crack of dawn, this Czech cooker is great. Can bake cakes too. I gave the slow cooker back to another freegler! No, not my scene at all.

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  9. Interesting to read your thoughts on slow cooking, thanks for your comments. I think tinned beans may be the answer, thanks lovelygrey. I am not one for planning my meals 24 hours in advance, who knows what I will fancy eating tomorrow, I certainly don't.

    Yes Kath, maybe start it off the night before, then it will be ready for tea the next day. Might try that to use up the rest of the beans. They are supposed to be energy efficient, so does this mean that 14 - 15 hours of slow cooking costs less than half an hour of gas ring cooking? And at what point have you stewed the meal to death so that it no longer has any nutritional value? It's all a bit baffling to me.

    As you say Sarina, they're good for working people. Maybe not so good for retired people who have ample time to make a meal. That's when they don't go out walking all day, ha ha.

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  10. My week long stew went on too long. Shouldn't have added more meat apparently. You'll be OK being a veggie.

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  11. WE use ours at night only. It warms the kitchen up a little bit and smells lovely plus we have economy 7 so it is very cheap to run that way.
    Ours has warm,medium and hot settings. The hot one is like boiling things and isn't for long use,the medium is for cooking lengthily and the warm is just to stop it getting cold before you want to serve it up.

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  12. You need to give the Slow Cooker a pre-warm:

    1) Switch it onto full power then add a kettle of boiling water to speed up the process. I leave mine to heat up for a good 30 minutes.
    2) Prepare your dish and bring it to the boil on the hob.
    3) Empty the hot water into the sink and use it for washing up - perhaps using some to add to your dish if it's a bit dry.
    4) Add your dish to the Slow Cooker.

    I hope this helps!

    The Slow Cooker is a wonderful piece of kit but it needs to be driven correctly to get the best out of it - I love mine to bits but it was a long time before I worked out the technique for getting the best out of it.

    John

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  13. I just had a thought...The temperature of the room in which you place your cooker makes a difference. I found out years ago, that when you set your cooker up in a very cold room, it will take almost twice the time to cook.
    This came to me while I was going off to sleep last night HA HA

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  14. I had an old tower slow-cooker and it was a little bit fiddly compared to some of the newer ones (which are now fairly cheap to buy). Eventually it stopped heating up properly so we had to throw it.

    Now we are using a cheap but very good one we got from Wilko. Even though I don't go out to work I find it useful as I can just set it in the morning and then not think about it.

    I wouldn't do whole dried beans in a slow cooker as they will take too long. Split peas and lentils come out fine. You could always do a big batch of beans and then freeze them in portions to add to dishes later.

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  15. There's lots of handy tips there from you all. I gave the instruction manual away to someone because I didn't think I would be using it again. My next attempt should turn out alright, thanks to you.

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  16. I have 2 slowcookers, a large one for when all 7 of us need feeding and a regular sized one for when there's just 3 or 4 of us. I use one or other several times a week. I fill it up first thing in the morning set it to high for a couple of hours and then turn it to low for the rest of the day until we eat at about 6pm. I loe slow cooking because it means I can preapre dinner when I have more energy in the morning and forget about it for the rest of the day. The trick is to use hot water and not to fill right to the brim but about 3/4 full. You also need less water than if cooking on the hob, although you have to check with beans as they absorb a lot of liquid. Also it helps to soak the beans or split peas overnight to soften a bit although red lentil should be all right without soaking. I truly wouldn't be without mine and even cook dumplings on top of a stew by turning up to high again for about an hour before adding the dumplings and giving them about 1/2 hour to cook.

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  17. Well if you still don't get on with it, you can always go back to using it as a plant pot when your other money plants start getting a bit top heavy!

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  18. Morning Ilona. I have never got on with Slow Cookers and am glad its not just me that has reservations. Everything that comes out of mine seems to taste the same, and whenever I use it the results are a bit watery. The only thing that I think cooks really well in it is steamed suet puddings-both sweet and savoury.

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  19. If things come out watery its worth remembering that you only need to use about 1/2 the water you'd use for something cooked on the hob. I have lamb mince and green lentils with root vegetables bubbling gently in mine right now. With a big dollop of mashed potato at dinner time...yummy

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