Morphy Richards Slow Cooker – New Parenting Must-have!
I used to really like cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t cook from scratch every night, and we would have the quick cook oven pizza and chips or a takeaway at least twice a week. But at weekends, I wouldn’t mind taking a couple of hours to make a love beef wellington, or to bake some homemade chocolate brownies. Having a baby changed that, and I learnt to fall in love with my Morphy Richards Slow Cooker. It meant we could still have a lovely home cooked meal without the hassle of preparing everything that evening.
When you have a newborn, you will probably find that they go through what is commonly known as “the witching hour”, but what nobody tells you is that this isn’t only one hour of torture from your inconsolable baby. It can span 3, 4 or 5 hours in an evening, at the crucial time that you would be preparing and enjoying your dinner (in a pre-child world), usually 5pm – 10pm. You’re tired. You’re hungry. And you have no free hands to cook with. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you can prepare the meal far in advance, at a time that suits you, and have it ready for a time that works for your evening (sorry that should read “your baby’s evening”). My first slow cooker was the Morphy Richards Accents Sear and Stew Slow Cooker and it’s time for me to give the lowdown on this wonderful piece of kit.
- Simplicity of cooking a delicious homemade meal
- Sear in the same pot
- Dishwasher-safe cooking pot
- 3.5 litre capacity
- Low energy usage
- 3 heat settings
- Glass lid
- No built in timer
Easy homemade meals
The most obvious reason to buy a slow cooker is that you get to make some lovely homemade meals that can be prepared hours in advance. I’ve even prepared and chopped ingredients the night before whilst hubby is at home to tend to screaming baby, popped them into the fridge in a tupperware, and then started slow cooking them the next morning. By the time he arrives home from work, all we have to do is to boil some rice or potatoes to accompany our slow cooked meal, and we’re good to eat.
I would highly recommend that you purchase a recipe book alongside your slow cooker. The Morphy Richards Slow Cooker comes with one included, but you will want to experiment much further than this. One of my favourites for beginners is the BBC Good Food: Slow Cooker Favourites paperback.
Sear in the same pot
As with all slow cookers, you generally need to sear your meat and veg prior to slow cooking it. This helps to lock in the juices and flavour of the meat, so that it doesn’t just become watery mush upon slow cooking. It is one of the annoyances of slow cooking – when I first got mine, I didn’t realise you still needed to do some cooking before leaving it to simmer away for hours.
One of the best features of this slow cooker though, is that the cooking pot is lightweight aluminium. This means you can use it to sear your ingredients on your normal cooker gas or electric hob, and then pop it back into the slow cooker, add your remaining ingredients, and leave it to work its magic. That means there’s less washing up as you’re using less pans.
I know, I just said “less washing up” 5 seconds ago. Who washes up these days? What you really wanted to know is that the aluminium pot is dishwasher safe! So that’s even less hassle for you once you’ve dished up your meal, just pop it into your dishwasher and you can enjoy your 5 minutes of peace before baby’s next feed is due.
3.5 litre capacity
My mum actually told me I would regret buying such a “large” slow cooker. She, herself, had a 1.5l crock pot, and she told me this would be sufficient to feed myself and my husband and so what was the point of having a larger one? Obviously, being the trusting daughter that I am, went against her advice and bought this 3.5l gem, if only to prove a point to her.
The great thing about this capacity is that for most dishes, it’s the perfect size to serve 3-4 people. Personally, I don’t really see the point in creating some wonderful slow cooked stew or joint of meat, to only be able to enjoy it once. The 3.5l capacity means that we always get at least 2 x 2 servings of a meal, so that’s an extra meal we can freeze and not have to think about cooking in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s also not so huge that you grow sick of the meal after eating the leftovers for 4 weeks in a row.
If you have a larger family, there is also a 6.5 litre version, which I have no doubts will be just as good.
Low energy usage
One of the great selling points of slow cookers is the shockingly small amount of power that they use when compared to a conventional electric oven. This is all down to the size of the cooking space being so much smaller – your standard oven is about 80 litres of air to heat up inside, compared to the 3.5 litres of the slow cooker.
This slow cooker uses a maximum of 163 watts, which isn’t much more than a lightbulb. Sure, your food will take a lot longer to cook, but it will still cost a lot less in electricity usage.
3 heat settings
This slow cooker comes with a low, medium or high heat setting, and it’s likely that you will use all three of them at some point. Your low and medium can make a vast difference to the amount of cooking time for a recipe, and in fact many slow cooking recipes come with instructions for two different heat settings for this exact reason.
So why do you need 3 heat settings? Well, the high setting is great for when your recipe is almost cooked, but is still looking a bit too watery, for example if you’ve made a chilli con carne and you want to reduce the sauce somewhat. Simply turn the Morphy Richards slow cooker onto high for the last hour of your cooking time, and you should see that your recipe begins to lightly bubble away and your sauce will thicken.
It sounds silly, but if you buy a slow cooker without a transparent lid, you will be forever wanting to peek inside to check that it is actually cooking. Remember that I told you the slow cooker only uses 163 watts of power? That also means it only has 163 watts of power in which to heat itself back up to the low, medium or high heat that you have set it to. Each time you take the lid off to look at your creation, you let a lot of heat out, and that heat takes time to build up again – it could result in a much longer cooking time being required.
Having a glass lid means that you take away this childish need to peek in at your food every hour. You can look through the lid and see everything you need to. It means you only really need to remove the lid to stir your food every few hours.
Lack of timer function
The only downside that I can really think of is that the slow cooker doesn’t have a built in timer. I haven’t found this such a burden, since when using this with a newborn, I was at home for a lot of the day. Since returning to work, it’s also not a huge problem if I turn the slow cooker on before leaving for work, as most of the dishes I make are ok on a low setting at 10-12 hours whilst we’re out of the house at work. However, I do know that a lot fo slow cookers come with a built in timer function, and that this would be something handy to have. I also know that these other slow cookers cost a lot more than the Morphy Richards Accents Sear and Stew Slow Cooker, so if I needed to buy a plug in timer at the supermarket, it would still be cheaper than buying a more expensive slow cooker to start with!
Value for money: 5/5
Price from: £18.99
Buy from: Amazon.com
Excellent value for money, and comes in an array of styles so that you can either jazz up your kitchen with a flash of colour, or keep things traditional in a brushed stainless steel finish. As with most Morphy Richards products, it’s built to last a good few years, although I’m a bit wary that the Teflon coating will not fair too well in the long haul. We use the slow cooker at least once per fortnight even now, so it’s definitely come in useful over the last 2 years.
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