It’s been a long day at work and my head’s in a daze.
Dan’s stayed in town late tonight so I’m walking from the bus stop. It’s a pleasant walk downhill then along a nice bush track, but it probably takes me 20 minutes. My feet start rubbing, my stomach starts growling. Although daylight savings has retained the sunlight, dinner time is fast approaching.
I fling my heavy bag off my shoulder onto the concrete veranda, zipping and unzipping pockets to reach for my keys. When I finally swing the door open, a warm waft of home-cooking overcomes me. I’m home alone and dinner’s ready.
Oh how I love my slow-cooker. My Mum’s had one for a while but I always saw it as an unnecessary luxury until we picked one up in a $20 BARGAIN at Aldi earlier this year. Since then my eyes have opened to the world of tough cuts of meat and remarkably simple flavours needed to create delicious and easy dinners.
My favourite way to use it is to bung in some chopped casserole meat or chicken thigh with roughly cut veges, a few herbs and spices, and a (large) splash of wine, port or other alcoholic goodness.
I do this the night before, cover it in foil in the fridge and bring it out in the morning for it to cook while I’m at work. It’s the best feeling after a long hard day to come home and not only know you don’t have to worry about dinner, but nobody does. I often just chuck in a bit of pasta, rice or cous cous to finish the dish off, or simply cook that separately and eat them together. Just a couple of bits of toast work just as well on the really lazy nights.
The only drawback to slow-cooker meals is they all seem to have this particular taste of something similar. It’s kind of like when you reheat a meal in a microwave, it doesn’t matter what it is, it kind of tastes, err microwave-y. I swear there is a slow-cooker flavour that you always get! At first we thought it was because we were always putting wine and tomatoes in every dish no matter what other ingredients the recipe called for, but we tried it with satay chicken. No wine, no tomatoes. Same slow-cooker-y taste. I think this has something to do with the electric current that runs through the meal when it’s in the slow-cooker for up to 12 hours some days. Maybe it’s because we have a bargain Aldi machine. It’s not an unpleasant flavour though so I will keep on using it.
I’m looking forward to using my slow-cooker to experiment with different cuts of meat that might not be so desirable cooked in other ways.
We tried ham hocks which were interesting. I’ve also got my eye on a recipe that combines corned beef with cider – sounds weird!
Apparently the slow-cooker also ventures into the realms of meatloaf and even cake if you’ll believe it… we’ll see about that.