Slow cookers are ideal for cooking pâtés, which need a long, slow cooking time in a water bath. Serve slices of pâté on salad greens with melba toast and cranberry sauce.
Whether you purchase a ham hock from the butcher or use a meaty bone left over from your baked ham dinner, this is a delicious soup! An added bonus – it freezes well.
The secret to delicious French onion soup is using a base of really good beef stock, and cooking the onions slowly until they are caramelized – giving the soup its dark colour.
This is a very thick and nourishing soup made with frozen sweetcorn. The addition of bacon and potatoes makes it a meal in itself – perfect on a cold winter day for lunch.
Although this chili is made with turkey, which is healthier, I like it to taste as much like beef as possible, so I use beef stock rather than chicken and add some Worcestershire sauce. Turkey is quite a bland tasting meat, so lots of spices and cranberries add a good depth of flavour.
This spicy fish dish, with the citrus flavours blending with the hot jerk seasoning, is colourful and bright, and delicious served with basmati rice flavoured with a little saffron.
Traditionally called imam bayildi, this takes its name from the Imam, or Muslim holy man. He is said to have swooned with pleasure, or from overeating, after being served this dish.
This is a traditional dish to serve with roast turkey or pork roast, and is delicious cold as well as hot.
Dairy products do not stand up very well to the long slow cooking associated with slow cookers, but of all the cheeses, Parmesan is one of the most robust.
This is an excellent dish to prepare for a dinner party. The flavour is delicious, and you could serve it with either mashed or roasted potatoes. Add some green vegetables to complete the meal.
This casserole is a very hearty and filling dish, one that will satisfy even hardened meat eaters.
This is slightly different from the ratatouille in chapter 4. If you wish, you can cook the onion and garlic in a frying pan for 5 minutes, until softened, instead of heating in the slow cooker.
Mung beans have a rich and creamy texture. They are an unusual, interesting and delicious choice for a casserole.
Quick and easy to make, this Moroccan-inspired dish is full of goodness while being very low in fat.
This is a delicious meal on its own, but you could also serve it as an accompaniment to grilled meat.
On a cold winter’s night, nothing beats a steaming bowl of chili, sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese and with sour cream on the side. Leave out the chili pepper, if you prefer it mild.
This hearty stew of beans, potatoes, and lots of other vegetables blends the subtle flavours of bay and paprika with chili pepper and Hungarian red wine. The beans add protein to the stew.
This lasagne is made with tortillas instead of pasta, and the cheese is added near the end. If you prefer it less spicy, leave out the fresh chilli. If your tortillas are too big, cut them to fit.
Lamb shanks are one of the tastiest cuts of meat, and the redcurrant jelly brings out their natural sweetness. As lamb shanks are quite dense, cook on high rather than on low.
This popular dish in England is now also known as Betty’s Hot Pot after a character in the well-known British soap called Coronation Street. Betty makes it every day in the local pub called the Rovers Return and has done so for nearly fifty years.
Shiraz (also known as Syrah) is a hearty and spicy, fine, dark red wine with intense flavours.
Dry-frying the duck breasts before adding them to the sauce gets rid of quite a bit of fat from underneath the skin. The sweetness of the cherries contrast beautifully with the strong duck flavour.
Chicken is stuffed with sausage and basil, wrapped in parchment paper, and rested on top of hearty ratatouille. All you need to complete the meal is some crusty bread.
This spicy tomato and lamb dish goes very well with roasted vegetable couscous. To make the couscous, soak couscous in boiling vegetable stock for 5 minutes off the heat, stir in finely diced cooked vegetables and herbs, and season with black pepper and salt.
This is a dish from Italy of veal marrow bones braised in tomato and wine, and garnished with a colourful Milanese gremolata, which is lemon and parsley mixed together. Ask the butcher to saw the veal into pieces about 4 cm (11⁄2 in) long. Serve with sugar snap peas for a refreshing summer meal.
When browning meat in the frying pan, do not move it around too much; let it sit in the pan to form a nice brown crust before turning it over to brown the other side.
Marsala wine is very similar to sherry. The wine and prunes together make a surprisingly unusual and delicious combination.
Keep mushroom soup, tinned tuna and fish stock in your cupboard, so this can be your standby recipe when you don’t know what else to serve.
Potatoes take a very long time to cook in the slow cooker, so slice them as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one.
Use any firm-fleshed white fish and do not add too much tamarind, because it can make the dish bitter.
Monkfish is an ideal fish for cooking in the slow cooker, but it can lose a lot of milky fluid during cooking. Sprinkle it with salt 30 minutes before using, and let stand, then pat dry with paper towels.
These are very moist and chocolatey brownies. Putting the paper towels across the top of the slow cooker helps the brownies to cook properly, by stopping moisture from dropping onto the surface of the cake and making it soggy.
The best way of making the crisp caramel on top of a crème brûlée is with a blowtorch. If you do not own one, you can place the desserts under a very hot grill to caramelise the sugar.
With this dish, you can halve the plums and remove the stones, or leave them whole, with the stones inside. If you like a more mushy texture, cut the plums into quarters before cooking.
Quite often cheesecake baked in the oven will crack as it cools, but cooked in the slow cooker, the steam makes the cheesecake silky smooth while helping to prevent cracking. So do not remove the cover until the end.
A mixture of breadcrumbs, butter and apples, this simple dessert has been popular in America since colonial times, but is still delicious today. Save it for a special treat.
A compote is fruit cooked in syrup for roughly an hour or two. Serve it hot or cold, for dessert or on cereal or with yoghurt at breakfast.
This curd is so versatile; you can make little lemon tarts, a meringue pie or serve it on scones or over ice cream for dessert.
When you are seeding and chopping red chilies, wear rubber gloves and protective glasses. It is very painful to get the juice on your face or in your eyes. This curry dish is delicious over rice.
Although traditionally jambalaya is cooked with rice all in one pot, for the slow cooker, it works better to do the meat and the vegetables together, add the prawns, and then serve it over rice that has been cooked separately.
This is sometimes called Spanish rice because it contains spicy sausage and olives. The flavour from the chorizo permeates the rice and the chicken, and the result is delicious.
This is a great way to get children to eat vegetables, as there are lots of mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots hidden in the sauce.
This is a very similar dish to beef bourguignon. The main difference is the use of herbes de provence – a combination of thyme, marjoram, savory, rosemary, sage and basil. Either mix your own or buy it in the supermarket.
Few foods satisfy as completely as a beef pot roast. The delicious flavour and the ease of cooking all the vegetables and meat in one pot is hard to beat.
The word “gumbo” is derived from the African word, gombo, meaning okra. It is a soup or stew from the New Orleans area in the USA, and when made with seafood is generally acknowledged to be a creole dish.
These delicious stuffed peppers are a colourful Mediterranean-style dish, full of great textures and wonderful flavours.
It is possible to cook fish in the slow cooker, but you need to cook it for less time because it is delicate and can dry out. Be careful not to burn the garlic, as this can make it bitter.
If you cannot find baby bok choy, use two or three large ones. The bean sprouts are added at the very end because they would disintegrate during cooking. Serve with Chinese rice noodles tossed with a little sesame oil.
Generally chicken satay is served as a kebab with a satay dip. Cooking it in the slow cooker makes a delicious change.
Mulled red wine is great to serve at a party, especially one in the winter. When the wine is ready, leave it in the slow cooker so it will stay warm for your guests as they come in from the cold. There is no point in splashing out on great wine and brandy, as the sugar and spices will alter its flavour, opt for cheaper brands and save yourself the difference!
This recipe produces a rich meaty broth. Ask your butcher for oxtail, shanks or any meaty beef bones. Store or freeze it in usable portions.
This is the ultimate tomato sauce to serve over pasta. The long slow cooking ensures a rich flavour that is missing from most hob sauces. It is a great staple to keep in the fridge, and it freezes well.
There is no butter in this dish. Its given its name because of its thick creamy texture and because it is often used as a spread on bread. Apple butter is a concentrated form of apple sauce and lasts much longer.
This is the easiest cranberry sauce you will ever make! The hob method is definitely out of fashion.
This childhood favorite is delicious hot or cold, plain or with maple syrup, chocolate sauce or fruit of any kind.
This is an aromatic lamb curry from Kashmir. If you do not like your food too spicy hot, leave out the chili powder. Serve with naan bread and rice.
The cinnamon and nutmeg in this cobbler give it a wonderful aroma as it cooks, and the taste is simply divine. Serve it with vanilla ice cream.
One would not normally think of making cakes in the slow cooker, but try it. You will be amazed at how moist and light they are. The icing, made with orange juice, contrasts beautifully with the spicy carrot cake, but if you’d prefer, you can simply top the cake with whipped cream.
Black-eyed peas are associated with good luck, and are often eaten at New Year’s celebrations. In America's Deep South, black-eyed peas are cooked with salt pork in a dish known as hoppin’ john. This version is spicier and very tasty.
This aromatic chickpea stew is filling enough to satisfy even the hungriest member of the family.
This pilaf uses a combination of mixed whole grains, which, when eaten as part of a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Adding vegetables and spices will add flavour.
This is a mild, creamy sauce. The cream is added at the end, as dairy products do not slow-cook very successfully (they tend to separate).
We can all benefit from adding more whole grains to our diets – they are so good for our digestive system. Millet has a similar consistency and taste to couscous. Although this is called a stew, it does not have a lot of liquid. If you use sodium-free vegetable stock, you’ll probably want to add some salt, as whole grains taste very bland and flat without seasoning.
Long cooking can remove colour from vegetables. If you like, you can sauté the onion and red pepper in a little oil, and add them 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time. This dish takes just 5 minutes to prepare.
This soup reminds me of autumn, with its rich, golden coloured leaves. It is low in fat, and deliciously spicy and warming as the days get colder.
This is an amazingly versatile rice dish, to which you can add anything you want. It can be enjoyed on its own or with grilled or barbecued fish or meat. Adding the peas at the end keeps their colour bright.
Sweet potato casserole is a tasty seasonal side, and when your oven is filled with a turkey, it’s great to use the slow cooker to cook this dish. The spices give it a lovely aroma and the sweetness of the potatoes means the kids will love it.
Very popular all around the world, homemade baked beans are far superior to the tinned variety, and you can design them to your own particular preference.
These mildly spiced potatoes are a very popular side dish for any Indian meal. Fresh tomatoes are best, but if you wish, you can use tinned tomatoes.
These onions make an interesting side dish, as well as a flavoursome addition to gravy, soups, stews and casseroles. Keep some in the fridge to use when needed.
Celery is an underrated vegetable, often eaten in a salad, but surprisingly delicious braised in vegetable stock with onions and garlic.
This is very quick to throw together, and the result is a really interesting and different way of enjoying carrots.
Baked, stuffed apples make excellent standby winter desserts. Served warm with whipped cream, they are easy, healthy and delicious. Score around the centre of each apple before cooking to prevent them from bursting.
It is amazing just how versatile your slow cooker can be, and this bread is a great way to get fresh bread with a minimum of fuss.
This takes a little more preparation than most slow cooker recipes, but frying the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker, the result is worth the extra time.
This coarse-textured pâté makes a substantial appetiser with toast, or a delicious supper with French bread and a glass of red wine. You will need a medium-sized loaf pan that will fit in your slow cooker, or use a baking dish if necessary.
Meaning literally “pepper water,” mulligatawny is spicy, satisfying, unusual and interesting.
To make this soup, first you need to cook a chicken and eat most of the meat. You then simmer the carcass for 8–10 hours in the slow cooker so all the goodness from the bones can make a really lipsmacking soup.
When risotto is cooked on the hob, it requires a lot of stirring, so many people don’t want to make it. When it’s made in the slow cooker, however, it needs no attention at all.
If venison sausages are hard to find, use any premium quality fresh sausages. The beer makes a rich and hearty gravy that complements the sausages beautifully.
You can use pheasant or grouse, depending upon your personal preference and what is available.
One of the problems of cooking puddings on the hob is that the milk might burn on the bottom of the saucepan. When you switch to the slow cooker, that problem is completely eliminated.
They do say that if you are a real chocoholic, you will find white chocolate irresistible. This is a delicious way of using up leftover bread, and wonderful served with a cherry sauce or whipped cream.
This soup is one of the easiest and tastiest soups of all. Rich, satisfying and full of flavour, it has been a staple in kitchens for a long time.
Venison is a very low-fat meat. If you want to lower the fat content of this dish even more, leave out the bacon and use 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry the venison.
Rabbit is very lean meat and lower in cholesterol than chicken or turkey. It is almost always sold skinned and cleaned, and either cut-up or left whole. One rabbit weighing about 1.5 kg (3 lbs) will serve 4 people. This recipe works well with chicken, if you prefer.
Ribs always benefit from long slow and gentle cooking, so the slow cooker is ideal for this. They are baked first, then cooked in the slow cooker with barbecue sauce.
This is a Persian curry made with lentils and spices. You can make it with lamb or beef, but it is particularly good made with chicken and served with pilau rice.
These dumplings are traditionally made with suet (I prefer vegetable suet), which can sometimes be found in the ethnic aisle in the supermarket. But they are equally as good made with butter. During the cooking process, dumplings soak up the flavour from the stew and are a delicious way of mopping up the gravy.