But the sad truth is that my child likes...ummm...ham sandwiches and...ummm...no, that's about it, and I simply cannot be arsed to spend more than the absolute minimum of my time cooking, especially when my son is prone to climbing high things and throwing himself off them onto his head while I'm busy in the kitchen.
Maybe the nice people at Littlewoods found out about this. All I know is that they sent me a rather snazzy slow cooker to test out and review.
Here it is - a smart little Morphy Richards number:
I'd heard good things about slow cookers and their wondrous time saving benefits and couldn't wait to try it out, so last week I had a go at a sort of beef casseroley thing in it. I could have used one of the recipes in the booklet that comes with it, but I was being all "I was a chef once, you know" about it, so did what I usually do and made it up as I went along. For reference purposes, I browned some chopped steak and onions and threw them in the slow cooker with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, rosemary, garlic, red wine and beef stock then put the lid on, set it to 'medium' and left it for 8 hours.
Soon the air was full of the best sort of mouthwatering smells and I couldn't wait for dinner time. It really does make one feel like a smug domestic goddess when ones husband gets in from football to the scent of beef stew wafting out of the house (open the window slightly so the neighbours can smell it for extra smug points). The only problem I encountered was that I'd forgotten that as the lid stays on all the way through cooking, liquid can't escape as steam and reduce, so I'd used way too much wine and stock (ahem, should have used a recipe perhaps). This can apparently be fixed by removing the lid and putting the heat up to 'high' an hour before serving.
It was delicious though, if a bit, err, liquid, and - best of all - as I didn't have to spend half an hour cooking at the usual time in the evening, I managed to knock up a quick syrup sponge pudding, thus hitting epic new heights on the smug-o-meter.
A resounding success. So why haven't I used it since? I have chicken sitting in the fridge just begging to be slow cooked, yet somehow it hasn't happened. I think it's the amount of preparation needed first thing in the morning - a time which I usually spend showering with my eyes still shut and running around trying to locate small gloves and packed lunch boxes. I think I need to get the hang of chopping everything up the night before and throwing it all in with one hand in the morning whilst making dinosaur shaped ham sandwiches with the other. Or maybe slow cooking is only good at saving time for people who are organised and efficient to start with. I'll keep you posted.
I would definitely recommend trying one though, and if you use a buy now pay later catalogue, you can afford to get one now to help with the Christmas cooking without eating into your Christmas budget - worth thinking about anyway. Now, do you think I can slow cook a ham sandwich?
Disclaimer: I was sent a slow cooker free of charge in exchange for a review. All views are my own and I was not paid for the review.