I’m not a cooking fan and so any meal that takes more than 20 mins to prepare feels like a total bore. In fact I’m famed in our house for making meals that take just 10 mins from scratch. It’s not that I’m a straight from the freezer kind of mum, either. Many of the fast food meals that I cook comprise fish, pasta or couscous and boiled fresh veg.
But recently I have discovered a love of “slow cookers”. It utterly appeals to my hassle-free cooking concept to throw in a load of beans/meat and veg, plus a litre or so of stock, and a few herbs and spices at 9 in the morning – then leave it all to bubble away (sending out delicious smells) for the whole day, before lifting the lid come tea time to serve up to the hungry family.
My fabulous cooking friend Ellen (who lent me the slow cooker) believes that the slow cooker takes away most of the joy of cooking. I have to say I couldn’t disagree more. But then each to their own. (And it is true that Ellen cooks much more delicious and innovative meals than I could ever manage.)
The other great thing about slow cooker meals is that it jigsaws nicely into our family timetable. On nights when I’m off for a run or to circuits and swimming I can eat a bowl of beany hotpot and rice served straight from the slow cooker at 5.30pm. At 6.30pm Mr Outdoors and Miss Outdoors can sit down to their their hotpot and rice. And then I can have some more for my supper when I get home.
Brilliantly, for a fitness mad family, beany hotpot and rice is also extremely sustaining. I ate a bowl of it last Tuesday at 5.30pm, before heading for for an evening of circuits and swimming (from 7pm to 10pm) and it was only when I got out of the pool that I started to feel hungry again.
Now all I need is to buy my own slow cooker, and maybe even one of those nice, plug-it-in-and- leave-it rice cookers that I hear other people talking about.