I'm not often smug. To be honest life doesn't really give me many opportunities to be. If you see a harassed woman chasing an uncouth toddler around Pizza Express whilst trying not to slip on wayward dough balls it is probably me. Likewise if you happen upon someone who's struggling to park in the widest bay in the supermarket or has only managed to straighten half her hair, again, its me.
However there is one item in my life that allows me a big of smugness and that is my slow cooker. I got my cooker about three years ago and I love the way that it makes my life so much easier. I love the way that I can be out and about with the children safe in the knowledge that quietly and reliably my slow cooker is preparing tea for us all. On a slow cooker day there is no worrying about what's for dinner, no mad dash to the supermarket or hastily concocted "freezer special" oh no. Instead I can saunter home when I wish knowing that supper will be ready and perfectly cooked. Not only that but the house will be infused with the wholesome scent of smuggery (or lamb casserole).
A slow cooker can offer hope and self satisfaction to even the worst cook. It's so simple to use that there are only two settings high (4-5hrs cooking time) or low (7-8hrs cooking time). And I can personally attest to the fact that it is practically impossible to burn dinner in a slow cooker. A slow cooker can also offer smugness to the thrifty - turning the cheapest cuts of meat into a succulent stew or casserole.
For the maximum smug factor I usually prepare the ingredients for the casserole the night before in the removable pot, keep it in the fridge and then just pop it into the slow when I wake up. No hassle, no mess, no screaming children, no screaming mummy. Fantastic.
Below is a family favourite slow cooker recipe for Goulash - serve with buttered pasta or creamy mash and green beans:
diced beef (it doesn't have to be an expensive cut as the slow cooker will tenderise it)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
a couple of squirts of tomato puree
2 cloves garlic
paprika (2-4 tsp depending on how spicy you like it!)
2 diced green peppers
Place all ingredients in slow cooker and leave.
Return 8 hours later and voila your meal is ready - add some creme fraiche to serve and enjoy!