My Favourite Kitchen Appliance

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Now that it looks like my husband will be around for the long haul and won’t be needing to do any more business travel, I really have to up my dinner game. While he was away, I was on a steady diet of dry cereal, large salads, diet Coke or porridge. On the occasion that I ran out of clean bowls, I ate apples or frozen waffles. My nutritionist (if I had one) would cringe at my food choices, I’m sure. Although I adore baking, I don’t enjoy the process of cooking. My eyes always burn and water when I chop up onions and food smells penetrate my clothes and hair, staying there until I get the chance for a good wash. As if that wasn’t bad enough, dishes, bowls and utensils seem to grow exponentially in my sink. But, most of all, I really despise handling raw meat because I am a bit of a germaphobe.

So, what’s a wife to do when she has to feed a husband who just happens to have an extraordinary appetite? She purchases a magical device called a slow cooker! I know I’m a tad behind on this kitchen appliance but I am urging anyone who doesn’t have one to go out and buy one right away. If time, or lack of it, is your excuse for not making nutritious meals, then this is ideal. You truly just throw all the ingredients into your pot, set the time, heating level and let it cook on its own. Since I bought mine, I spend less time in the kitchen over a hot stove or doing dishes and more time taking long afternoon naps with my husband and dog.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork LoinMy favourite slow cooker meal so far is for slow cooked smoky chipotle brown sugar chicken (seriously, just saying it makes my mouth water!) The chicken is perfect for taco night when served with easy lime and coriander rice. You can even cook up something impressive enough to serve for dinner guests with a slow cooker, such as brown sugar and balsamic glazed pork loin. I mean, did you know you can even bake cakes with your slow cooker and save energy from heating up a giant oven instead? I am very excited to try a crockpot apple cake.

Because the process is so simple and my ingredient list is nice and small, we no longer feel the need to order pizza or go to a restaurant. To save even more time, do some prep work as soon as you bring home your groceries by separating your meat to individual dinner portions for the freezer and cleaning and chopping up all your veggies right then and there.

Since I love my readers, this is a recipe for the staple of every British household – beef stew (courtesy of Jamie Oliver.)

Ingredients

  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 500g diced stewing beef
  • 500ml ale, Guinness or stout 
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Method

  1. Roughly peel and chop veg and place in slow cooker
  2. Roll beef in flour then add to veg
  3. Stir in chopped tomatoes and Guinness, add bay leaves and season to taste with Salt and pepper
  4. Cook on medium temperature for 6 hours, or low for 8 hours.
  5. Before serving, remember to remove bay leaves.

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