Winter’s almost here! Time for casseroles!

Dont’ get me wrong – I love summer  - it means tropical fresh fruit, gelato every afternoon and picnics at the beach, followed by sunset cocktails.   But with each new season comes its familiar friends you haven’t seen for a year, and for me this means slow cooking, braises, soups, stews and curries!  What better way to warm your hands and heart after a freezing day at work than over a steaming bowl of <something>?   One thing that I’ve been pondering over the years is – what is the best slow cooking cookware for me?

There’s the traditional french bakeware/stove top ready Le Creuset – top of the range, lifetime warranty.  These babies will certainly help you build up your biceps lifting them to and from the oven and stove!  There are so many gorgeous colours too!  Hot and traditional red, mellow yellow and my favourite – creams.    If you can’t afford to invest in the premium Le Creuset, Le Chasseur is also a great option.  It’s approximately half to 2/3 of the price (depending where you buy it), and is apparently so because Le Creuset uses each mould once, whilst Le Chasseur may use the same mould a number of times.   Can I tell the difference? No way.     But my wallet can!  That’s like saying what’s the difference between the Kitchenaid and the Kenwood.  To some people, brand and prestige matters, but to some, they achieve the same result so why pay more?

Next option is the slow cooker.  Slowly simmering away for hours – prep before work and at a very low heat, your dinner’s ready for you when you come home.    Slow cookers are great if you don’t have time to stand and stir.  But for me, I’m a bit wary of having an appliance turned on all day when I’m out of the house.  I’m occasionally accident prone, and always paranoid as a result! But with the advent of numerous slow cooker simmer sauces, this is a very convenient option that has saved many a working mum!

How about the pressure cooker?  Slow cooking in a fraction of the time?  I haven’t tried one of these, but you know what, I’ve seen shows like Top Chef where contents have exploded! (admittedly, the appliance was faulty).  But what if you accidentally burned yourself with steam?  Have you got one? Do you like it?

Having pondered all my options:  Creuset – exxy, Chasseur – still heavy, Slow cooker – it’s on all day and pressure cooker – me scared! I decided on the ultimate Asian slow cooker, the thermal cooker.  Have you heard of these? Manufactured by Tiger or Thermos, they cook by vacuum.  You simply cook your soup or casserole on the stove in the inner pot for 30 minutes, then put it in the vacuum container and then leave it for 2 -4 hours… and it finishes the cooking off! No joke, my Taiwanese beef noodle soup took 30mins on the stove – I made it at 11am – and by the time I ate it at 8pm, it was still hot – tasty and tender.  Amazing.  It serves me well. No need to have electricity on while I’m out of the house, no need to have it on the stove for hours, in these days of electricity price hikes it’s certainly handy!

Leave a Reply