Wednesday, 2 November 2011
In October as a part of the Morphy Richards House Proud Innovator scheme I was sent a lovely 4.5 litre Flavour Savour Digital Slow Cooker. As a House Proud Innovator I am encouraged to put the appliances I am sent through their paces and to really give them a good work out, something which I am always happy to do.
I am no stranger to slow cooking. I often use my slow cooker and in fact have two sizes already, both Morphy Richard's as well. I use them most often on Sundays and will cook a meat dish in the larger one and then a side dish in the smaller one.
The new Flavour Savour Digital Slow Cooker though is a machine with a big difference. You can use it in three different ways, which makes it very versatile and useful for more than just slow cooking. The Flavour Savour has 3 in 1 cooking functions, meaning you can seal, fast stew and slow cook all by using the one machine. The pan heats to around 200 degrees giving you an excellent sealing functionality, which means that you are able to brown any meat you are cooking without having to use a separate pot for that purpose. You can now brown and slow cook in the same pan. That is one function that I really loved with this machine.
It has a beautiful glass lid, which means that you are able to look inside and see what's going on without lifting the lid, with cool touch handles which makes it very easy to transport from one location to another. With the older models that have a ceramic insert, this just isn't easy to do. The cooking pot is also dish washer safe, which is a real bonus!
I found the instructions very easy to follow, which is also a bonus. I find that as I am getting older I often have a difficult time understanding instructions . . . blame my menopausal mind! I had no problem with this. The instructions were clear and concise.
Here it is plugged in and warming up to brown some meat in the cookpot. That function worked really well. I was well pleased.
The first dish I cooked in it was a proper slow cooking recipe, using pieces of chicken and a sauce, called Crock Pot Barbeque Chicken. As you can see it turned out quite deliciously scrummy! This I served with rice and a vegetable on the side.
*Crock Pot Barbeque Chicken*
Tender, sticky delicious chicken. You can use only breasts or a combination of breasts and thighs. Delicious.
4 to 6 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken
1 bottle barbeque sauce (I used the Jack Daniels one)
1 ounces white vinegar (1/4 cup)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 ounces soft light brown sugar (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tp 1 tsp garlic powder
Place your chicken pieces into the slow cooker. Stir together the barbeque sauce, vinegar, pepper flakes, brown sugar and garlic powder. Pour this over top of the chicken and give it a stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
The next recipe I tested on it was for a Crock Pot Beef Dip Sandwich. I love Beef Dip Sandwiches. It was always one of my favourite things to order when I lived in Canada and we would go out for supper. I remember having a particularly delicious one in Winnipeg Manitoba back in 1977 whilst we were waiting to board a train for Calgary. (You know something is good when 30+ years later you are still thinking about it!)
This recipe is one I found online (forgive me as I can't remember where right now). The meat turned out deliciously tender and we both enjoyed this very much. I will make again. It was almost as good as that one back in 1977, and I loved that I could brown the roast a bit first by using that function in the Flavour Savour.
*French Dip Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker*
Serves 6 to 8
Easy to make and oh so delicious with meltingly tender beef tucked into a soft roll, topped with cheese and then served with a beef broth for dipping.
1 medium brown skinned onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 fluid ounces beef broth/stock (3/4 cup)
2 fluid ounces dark soy sauce (1/4 cup)
4 fluid ounces water (1/2 cup)
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS grainy mustard
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 pounds beef roast for braising (I used a rolled brisket)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 to 8 soft sandwich rolls
6 to 8 slices of provolone cheese, or an equivalent
amount of grated emmenthal cheese
one pint of beef broth (about 2 1/4 cups)
Rub the beef all over with some salt and pepper. Place the onion slices in the bottom of the crock pot. Stir together the beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, garlic and water. Put the beef into the crock pot on top of the onions. Pour the broth mixture over top. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours until meltingly tender.
To serve, warm the rolls and cut open. Shred the cooked beef and pile onto the warmed rolls, top with some of the onion and a bit of the juice from the pan, along with a slice of cheese. Close over, cut in half diagonally and serve along with a small bowl of beef broth for each person to dip their sandwich in.
I then decided to test out it's normal cookery function and did a tasty stew in it. I was able to brown my meat and vegetables perfectly and then proceed as per the recipe. At the end we were rewarded with a deliciously tasty Irish Lamb and Barley Stew.
As you can see the lamb was beautifully browned. Stews gain a lot of their flavour from the browning step. All those rich caramelized meat juices really add a lot of taste and colour to the gravy.
*Irish Lamb and Barley Stew*
A delicious stew that cooks either on top of the stove or in the slow cooker.
2 TBS olive oil
1 kg (2 pounds) diced lamb shoulder
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped coarsely
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped coarsely
1/2 small swede, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 litre of chicken stock (4 cups)
1/2 litre of boiling water (2 cups)
200g of pearl barley (1 cup)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
1/2 of a small savoy cabbage, finely shredded
a handful of flat leaf parsely, coarsely chopped
Heat half of the oil in a large saucepan; cook the lamb, in batches until browned. Remove from the pan. Add the remaining oil and heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften. Return the lamb to the pan, along with the stock, water, barley and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, for 1 hour, covered. Add the potato and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, until tender. Add the cabbage and simmer for about 10 minutes longer, uncovered, or just until the cabbage is tender. Discard the thyme. Serve the stew ladled out into heated bowls and sprinkled with the parsley.
Note: if using the slow cooker, brown the meat and vegetables and then put them into the cooker along with the barley, hot stock and water and the herbs. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Add the potatoes and recover. Cook on high for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, uncovered on high for 10 to 15 minutes.
Finally I decided to try making some buttery toasted nuts in it. This is the time of year when these are really handy to have around. People will be dropping by off and on during the holidays which are coming up all too quickly and savoury nuts are a delicious little bite to serve along with a drink. (Next time I am going to try a sweet variety) As you can see they turned out fabulous in the Flavour Savour!
*Crock Pot Butter Roasted Pecans*
Makes 6 cups
Moreishly buttery and scrummy.
4 ounces butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 pounds pecan halves
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dried herbs (savoury, basil, oregano)
Place the butter into a 4.5 litre slowcooker. Heat on high for about half an hour to melt the butter. Add the pecans and toss to coat with the butter. Cover and cook on high for 1/2 hour. Uncover and cook on high for another 2 1/2 hours, giving them a stir every 1/2 hour. (You want to keep an eye on them and stir them often so that they don't catch as you are cooking them on a high temperature.) At the end of that time they should be nicely roasted. Spread out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the sale and pepper, and any optional ingredients you wish to use. Give them a good stir together and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.
All in all I am very pleased with this machine. It has a lovely round shape which fits well into my kitchen. The cord is of a nice length and also stores very easily in the base when you want to put it away. I love that the cooking pot and lid wash up beautifully in the dish washer. I love that I can brown and stew with it, as well as slow cookin on a low, medium or high temperature . . . and I just adored the keep warm function, which means that it will hold your food for a further 2 hours at a warm temperature without over cooking it.
I would give the Morphy Richards Flavour Savour Digital Slow Cooker a full 10 out of 10 points for ease, looks and functionality.
Many thanks to Chris and the Morphy Richards people for having afforded me the opportunity to put it through it's paces. I would highly recommend this machine to anyone, absolutely.
Over in The Cottage today, some delicious Maple Glazed Ham Steaks.