A few years ago, I was given a Netherton Foundry cast iron slow cooker as a very welcome addition to my kitchen kit. It is really lovely but they are rather pricey – it was a biggish number birthday though and I like to think I’m worth it. Everyone who has seen it, amongst my largely foodie group of friends, has had what we call kit envy about it but all have balked at the price tag – around £150!
There are lots of slow cookers on the market with a much lower price tag but none of them in cast iron and many of the crock pot ones have a plastic knob on the lid that you can’t put in the oven.
I’m having a dinner party at the weekend and I wanted two slow cookers for it. I was going to borrow my mum’s crock pot version but she’s away on holiday and I’ve no idea where she keeps it. But then I had a stroke of what I like to think of as genius, you might call it a relatively good idea but I’m feeling positive today so I’m bigging it up!
I have an electric hot plate that I’ve had for years and which I used to take on boating holidays. You can buy them on Ebay for about a tenner. I also have several cast iron casserole dishes – not cheap if you go for brand new Le Creuset but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives on the market (think TK Maxx or second hand on Ebay). I’ve even had one from Freecycle. They might not look quite so pretty as the Netherton version but the pan is at least dishwasher safe which is a real benefit, especially after a dinner party and the obligatory hangover that will entail! Job done – voila – thrifty cast iron slow cooker!
I shall take a photo of it later. Talking of thrifty reminds me of a website I came across recently whilst trawling through the web for budget cooking ideas. I have long been a fan of Jack Monroe, whose website is now renamed as Cookingonabootstrap.com but I also like the down to earth, woman up the street quality of Thrifty Lesley too – cooking for one person on a £1 per day, definitely worth a look.
Mentioning Freecycle reminds me I need to clear out the cupboard under the stairs. Come on, Helen, be ruthless……