The first time, it felt weird – making dinner at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning (not helped by fact that the tin opener had broken, the clock was ticking and I couldn’t prise open the chopped tomatoes).
But when the smell of veggie chilli bubbling away in the slow cooker started wafting through the house by lunchtime and, hey presto, there was something not just edible but yummy to eat by 5pm (when I’ve usually forgotten about getting dinner going), it was as if the domestic Fairy Godmother had visited.
Yesterday, I bunged half a bag of lentils, a roughly chopped onion, spoonful of tomato sauce, cubed bacon and garlic – all raw – into a pot after breakfast and called home to say (running late as usual) “there’s some soup ready ” – rather than “stick the oven on, I’m just nipping into Waitrose for a pizza” – when hunger and crankiness were kicking in late-afternoon. Too grown-up.
I have my friends Cheryl (domestic princess, on top of it) and Lisa (from Texas, equally organised and makes a mean Chicken Enchilada Casserole, taken from www.cooks.com) to thank for introducing me to the slow cooker thing. For interested nonstopmamas, I’ve been using the Crock-Pot 3.5 Litre Slow Cooker, currently on sale for £19.99 at Robert Dyas. It comes with a booklet featuring recipes, but, of course, you can find endless ideas on-line. And do share yours here!