Once you figure out how to use it properly, a slow cooker is kind of your best friend in the kitchen. Use it in the summer when you don’t want to fire-up an oven (a slow cooker doesn’t give off any heat), prepare your meals when you have time then leave them cooking for hours, never have to stand over a pan of risotto lading in stock again… there are loads of benefits, plus there is that smell.
Prepping your dinner in the morning, then coming home from work in the cold and being hit by that delicious smell will never get old. I bought my slow cooker in a sale, it was really cheap and then because I was a little intimidated by it and not sure how it worked, I left it sitting in the box for ages.
Then I spotted a book – Slow Cooking Properly Explained – I picked up and copy and it really did tell me everything I need to know about using a slow cooker. Not only does it give you some fantastic recipes, but it truly explains how slow cooking works, so you can put together your own dishes as well.
One of the most versatile recipes I’ve made from the book so far is the Ratatouille Nicoise; it is easy to make, very healthy and nutritious; my favourite so far is to pop some on a huge baked potato and sprinkle some cheese on top.
SCROLL DOWN TO ENTER A GIVEAWAY AND WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF SLOW COOKING PROPERLY EXPLAINED *GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED*
Making Ratatouille Nicoise mainly involves chopping! Once you’ve chopped up all the vegetables, cook them for about 5 minutes in a large pan, add your seasoning and then pop it all in your slow cooker and leave it for 7 hours. When you’re ready to serve, add the herbs, extra seasoning and a shaving of Parmesan if you wish, it’s as simple as that!
Although not in the book, I also added 2 tsp of smoked paprika just before I added it to the slow cooker. The recipe calls for peeled fresh tomatoes, which are really easy to do, this article will tell you everything you need to know. I would suggest doing this first and then while they are cooling, preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed, diced
- 2 aubergines, diced
- 8 plum tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 courgettes, cut into 5mm slices
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese savings, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and red and yellow pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
- Add the aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes, garlic and seasoning and cook for a further few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Put the lid on and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste and, just before serving stir in the basil and parsley. If desired, serve sprinkled with shavings of Parmesan cheese.
AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
Win your very own copy of Slow Cooking Properly Explained, just follow the instructions below – this is my first giveaway (how exciting!), it isn’t sponsored in any way, I just loved the book and wanted to give a copy to one of my lovely readers.