As some of you may have noticed from my previous posts I like eating out, however I do also enjoy cooking. From the age of 11 my mum taught me the basics of cooking and my passion for cooking has grown from there. At university I wasn’t your typical student, I cooked my own dinner and can count on one hand how many times I ordered take-away. Since moving out of home my love for cooking has grown, compliments from my boyfriend have definitely helped. Over the past couple of years there are a few kitchen gadgets that I couldn’t imagine not having now.
I don’t know why I didn’t buy a slow cooker sooner, I am always recommending these to my friends and family. I think it is the best invention for people who work but want to come home to a nice home cooked meal. I normally work a standard eight-hour day and love knowing that something is happily cooking at home. Nothing makes me happier than opening my front door and smelling something yummy coming from the kitchen. Personally I would rather leave something on low in the slow cooker than in the oven as I think it’s safer. The idea behind slow cookers is as it says in the name it cooks food slowly allowing you to leave things in there for a long period of time.
I have found the best things to cook in slow cookers are meat, in particular lamb, beef and pork. The bigger the joint of meat (as long as it can still fit in the slow cooker) the better as it benefits for being cooked slowly and doesn’t risk being over cooked. You can also do chicken however it takes less time, I usually put a chicken in the slow cooker on the weekend when I am going shopping for a few hours. Root vegetables are also great to cook in a slow cooker as they take a while to cook on a low setting, perfect if you are doing a stew. Most slow cookers have three heat temperatures; I usually choose low as I leave my slow cooker on for at least 8 hours, however if you have less time you can choose a higher setting.
The particular slow cooker that I have allows you to put the dish on the stove, which is great for sealing in the flavour of the meat before adding the sauce, for example in a curry. Also once the meat is cooked I usually remove the meat, add gravy granules and bring to a boil on the stove. In my opinion nothing beats gravy made with the meat juices. If I am cooking a curry, I normally fry the onions and spices on the stove first as this allows the spices to release their flavour. The first slow cooker I owned the dish was ceramic so I would have to use a normal frying pan and transfer ingredients in or out of the slow cooker.
Here is a list of my favourite things to cook in my slow cooker, let me know in the comments if you would like any of the recipes:
- Pulled Pork
- Lamb Curry
- Beef Stew
- Roast Chicken
- Roast sweet potato
- Pasta sauce
- Thick pork chops
- Potato dauphinoise
- Spare ribs
In a bid to get healthy, when offered a second-hand ActiFry from my boyfriend’s parents I jumped at the chance. I had tried food cooked in the ActiFry so I knew that I would enjoy using this gadget. The principal behind an ActiFry is that it allows you to fry food using hot air and a small amount of oil. When we first got the ActiFry the first thing I cooked was home-made potato chips, as I knew that they would come out lovely. Cooking in an ActiFry takes the same amount of time as it would take to normally cook food, however it is healthier as there is less oil involved. One of the things I love about this is the clean-up, as you only use a small amount of oil all you have to do is remove the basket and wash as you would a plate, it’s that easy.
I have also seen on Pinterest that you can make home made crisps in the ActiFry, this is something I am interested in trying as I love vegetable crisps but don’t like the price. If you have tried this, please let me know in the comments how you have got on. Also if you have any other recommendations please share, I love trying new things.
Tip: If you are cooking frozen chips there is no need to add oil due to the potatoes being coated. Also if you are cooking meat with fat on it, there is no need to add oil as it will cook in its own fat.
Here is a list of my favourite things to cook in my ActiFry.
- Potato chips (home-made or shop brought)
- Sweet potato fries
- Frozen roast potatoes
- Bacon Bits
- Stir- fry
- Chick-peas (To eat as a snack)
My last kitchen gadget is something that I don’t use every day, but I don’t know how I coped without it previously. The Magic Bullet is a slightly more affordable version of the Nutri-bullet. Mine sits on my work-top so that I can use it at any moment. The Magic Bullet comes with two blades and a range of containers as well as containers with handles and a lid so you can make smoothies and take them with you. The principal of a Magic Bullet is that it allows you to blend items together quickly. My main use when I am being healthy is smoothies, I love the fact I can make it in the morning or the night before and then take it to work with me if I am in a hurry, which is most mornings ( I love my bed) Here is a list of what I use my Magic Bullet for:
- Salad Dressing
What’s your favourite kitchen gadget? What do you recommend that I try next? Leave me your thoughts in the love comments, I love a good recommendation.