What? I hear you ask! What could possibly be life changing?!
This bad boy is the Crock-Pot slow cooker and since it entered my life last week, nothing has been the same. A bit dramatic, you might think, but hear me out.
In my PCP days as they shall now be known (Pre-Crock-Pot), hubby and I would get home from work at 6.20pm, wrestle our three year old into the bath after a few snacks (bread sticks and Cheese Strings) and a drink (milk or water). We’d wash her hair, dry her hair, get her into her PJs and then read her two bedtime stories before a 7pm lights out. No doubt there would then be a few calls of “Mummy!” because she was thirsty/needed a wee/thought her Gro-Clock was broken/needed tucking in again/could hear a noise/wanted to know the Cantonese word for avocado, and then once she was settled, we’d come downstairs and start preparing dinner. It might be 8pm or 8.15pm before we’d sit down to eat and by then, there would only be enough time to watch one episode of Breaking Bad before I’d start nodding off on the sofa and head for bed (yes, I’m that middle-aged).
Preparing and cooking dinner took up a large chunk of our precious evening (time we could be spending with Walt and Jesse, godammit!) but not anymore. (Imagine a choir of angels singing right about now….)
Thanks to my new Crock-Pot, I can prepare dinner in the morning before I go to work and it’s READY when we get home at the end of the day. I chop up some meat and veg while my daughter is munching on her Rice Krispies of a morning (disclaimer: I may be doing it a little bit bleary-eyed. Well I’m talking 6.45am here). Then I chuck it all in the Crock-Pot slow cooker, set the timer and OFF IT GOES! Fast forward a few hours, I come home from work and BINGO our dinner is ready to dish up. It’s amazing.
Here’s what I cooked the other day…
I chucked some beef, new potatoes, carrots, a chopped onion, two cloves of garlic, some flour, some balsamic vinegar and some tomato puree into the Crock-Pot. I set it for six hours on the ‘high’ option… and then I made myself a cup of tea before heading for work.
Later that day, I was welcomed home to a gorgeous stewy smell. Really lovely and homely. The beef stew was ready. I have to admit, I was a bit wary when I dished it up, having never used a slow cooker before. Would the potatoes have cooked through? Would the carrots be mushy? Would hubby Mark like it? I needn’t have worried…
It might not look like much to you (and the photo is a bit orange thanks to the lack of natural light in my kitchen at 7pm) but this was delicious. Really really good. Like, probably one of the better things I’ve ever cooked. I’m not talking restaurant quality here (Jamie Oliver, love, you’re not in any danger here of losing your place in the TV chef world) but it was GOOD. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it yourself…
400g diced beef
8 new potatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plain flour
Chop beef and place into slow cooker
Roughly chop onion and carrots and place on top of the beef
Cut any larger new potatoes in half and add to pot
Crush the garlic and add it
Evenly distribute the flour, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
Add bay leaves
Cook on High for six hours
Before serving, give the beef stew a good stir
One of the things I especially love about my Crock-Pot is that the inner pot is dishwasher proof, so it cuts down on faffing around with Fairy Liquid afterwards.
So there we have it: life changing. Oh and PS. If you fancy winning a Crock-Pot slow cooker, The Motherhood is giving one away right now. Go go!
Big (huge) thanks to Crock-Pot for sending me this bad boy to try out. You rock.