17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I love slow cookers,
This review is from: Crock-Pot Union Jack Slow Cooker, 3.5 Litre, Limited Edition (Kitchen & Home)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)It is over 40 years since the "crock-pot" or slow cooker was invented.
I love slow cookers. Slow cookers are one of the few things that, I have found, make life a little easier, especially if you are going to be out all day and need something warm and filling to meet you when you come in.
One of the great things about slow cookers is that you can do all the preparations the night before while watching TV or listening to music. Once you have prepared all your ingredients you simply put them to the crock pot add your stock, herbs, spices and seasoning and let it cook while you are out.
The Union Jack Crock Pot is a 3.5 litre crock pot, which makes a maximum of 2.5 litres of food, which is enough for 2 to 4 people.
This machine doesn't come with a timer. This, however, isn't a problem. Simply buy a security timer (such as Timer Switch) and set the time using that.
The temperature control of the cooker is very basic - "low", "high" and "keep warm". I've found (after a little trial and error) that high is good for getting things started, then down to low heat to continue the cooking. This, of course, doesn't help if you have it on the timer, but one solution is to start the cooking before you leave switching it down to low temperature (and turning the timer on) before you walk out of the door.
The stoneware dish and glass lid are dishwasher safe, but the dish itself is quite heavy so some care is needed to lift it.
Crock-pots used to be used in the winter months to make warming stews, but it is also useful for lighter meals. I have used mine to make a carbonara sauce (requires pre-frying of the bacon, and cooking of the spaghetti before service), macaroni and cheese, chicken pasta bake, and so on.
If you are going to transfer dishes from stove top to crock pot remember that the dish may be better on the low setting (like the carbonara, mac and cheese, and chicken and sweet-corn soup).
For example, the carbonara sauce takes about an hour on the stove top (including approximately 15 minutes for the basic preparation) using the crock pot, on the low setting, takes about 4 hours. The mac and cheese takes about 3 hr 30 mins on low in the crock pot.
I use the rule of thumb that if it contains cream or milk then put it on low. My maternal grandmother taught me that one and it's spot on. Cream and milk tend to split if cooked in the crock pot on high, and I have found that the same "splitting" effect can happen with spicy food too.
The slow-cooker is also great for preparing buffets and/or barbeques. Dishes such as barbeque pork, sticky chicken wings and barbeque chicken wings can be prepared and cooked the day before or over night; as can Taco fillings. From personal experience mini meat balls go down well at a buffet/BBQ too.
The slow cooker can be used to make fondue (or cheese dip if you prefer).
It is still perfect for the colder months. Hotpots, stews, pot roasts, curries, chilli, and so on.
If you want to try making your own preserves then the crock pot can be used to make jams. For example, strawberry jam: strawberries (washed and stalked), sugar and lemon juice. Cook prepared strawberries, sugar and lemon juice on high for 2 hr 30 minutes with lid on, then remove lid and cook for another 2 hours until thickened and passes the jam test. Then bottle in sterilised jars. Yummy.
At Christmas you can make your own cranberry sauce in the slow cooker (though it's just as easy in a pan but you may not have the space on the stove to do it). This can be made in advance and put into sterilised jars for storage.
I really love crock pots.