Praising the supermarkets & the humble slow cooker

I was so impressed with the new initiatives of some supermarkets linking up with celebrity chefs. They have joined forces to try and educate people with their value saving meal planning, keeping things seasonal and pennies in people’s pockets. Chefs have come up with recipes under £2 per person, so not only value but using fresh ingredients and a no waste approach, which is great. It’s really challenging trying to cook whilst you run your homes, your jobs and look after your children but it is the healthier option and would save you money.

I heard the other day our local food bank has been given a number of slow cookers to be given out to get people cooking again. This is a great idea! I love mine, and they are low energy to run. As a child, we remember our mothers and grandmothers using their hotpots, or slow cooker as they are known today. They’re great for a one-pot meal, soups, stews and all types of casseroles.

One of the easiest slow cooker recipes is a whole chicken, with carrots, onions, potatoes, mixed herbs, and a stock cube, with salt and pepper to taste. You can also do exactly the same with a piece of pork, or any other joint of meat. You have the most wonderful meal ready and waiting when you come home from work with all fresh ingredients. There are endless recipes for slow cookers on the internet, and they are efficient and low cost to run. It helps to tenderise cheaper cuts of meat and brings out the flavour in long-cooked braised dishes. Batch cooking is such a great thing to do and stops the wastage of leftovers, take advantage if there is any left and pop in the freezer for another day.

Real homemade food is at the core of everything we do here at our pub restaurant. I have been talking with my chefs about the massive rising costs of producing some of our wonderful dishes that need long slow cooking. It takes days to make some of our wonderful sauces and I’m just starting to think about cooking my Christmas puddings which is a two-day process. Never again will I let anyone dismiss a great British pie, curry or roast dinner. They all take time and effort to do well and that should be celebrated. There is nothing better than eating these favourites, sitting down with family and friends and enjoying a shared meal. Other countries always think us Brits only eat pizza and kebabs, how wrong they are! We are all getting better at being more aware of what we eat, and education is key.

When I was at school my favourite class was Home Economics, it was such a shame that this was taken out of nearly two generations of education. I’m pleased that it is making a big comeback, it is a life skill and such an important thing to know how to cook. Old as well as new family recipes are such a treasure and a gift to hand down to future generations.

Let’s enjoy getting back to basics and cooking from scratch, back to how our grandparents cooked to save money and fill our tummies.