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One small step for man …

Last week I made a technological breakthrough of sorts. I bought a slow cooker. I’m a big fan of stews of any description or form and I had long suspected that a slow cooker – by which, I’d been led to believe, the deal is that you just bung the ingredients into the receptacle designed for the purpose, switch the dial to the desired cooking time … and eight or so hours later, bingo! … you have a perfectly-cooked meal waiting for you when you return from your hard days’ work (or in my case, hard days’ drinking down the pub) – might be the sort of machine that would remove effort and stress from my life.

Yesterday said cooker had its metaphorical first outing.

The lady of the house had decided (for the inaugural meal) to prepare a classic chilli con carne with rice so, shortly after the conclusion of the Andrew Marr Show I was set out on my morning chore – after which I’d have a pass for the day –  to buy the necessary ingredients. These included such key items as sour cream and premium braising steak. Reporting back, I presented my booty for inspection (I get deducted points for buying the wrong thing and/or far too much of it) and was delighted to be allowed off the clock as a result.

I then watched from a respectful distance as she prepared the dish. It was literally as imagined – a bit of serious preparation as meat was browned off, herbs, chilli powder, onions etc. and beef stock added and then a couple of buttons pressed … and off the machine went.

Returning to the house in the evening, we were greeted by a delicious cooking aroma. Microwave-friendly rice was ‘cooked’ in two minutes at full power, the plates set up and filled and the sour cream applied.

The result was a Grade ‘A’ TV-dinner. The blend of flavours was exquisite – the meat as succulent as any I’ve had the pleasure of devouring in my life. The chilli-factor was hot enough to provide a real kick, but the sour cream took the edge of it (to taste) and I have to say that I’m now a committed slow-cooker devotee.

Watch this space for more culinary adventures as they happen …