Slow Cooking is one of those things that seems like an odd idea until you've given it a go. If you work full time, getting up earlier than usual during the winter months (or summer with the right recipe!) just to prepare your dinner in a slightly different way seems like lunacy, at best.

Picture the scene - stood in the kitchen in my pants chopping up veg whilst my wife is still in bed, whilst simultaneously getting the kettle on the go so that we've got a decent cup of tea to start the day - glamorous it isn't, but, believe it or not - oh so worth it. Actually, I'd quite like to think I do look glamorous, perhaps some sort of sexy boxer-shorted model seductively chopping up some veg in preparation for his romantic dinner in the evening....In fact, scrap that. It's not glamorous.

Anyway, my strange imagination aside, there are a few things you'll need to get into slow cooking.

A Slow Cooker

"REALLY?" I hear you say. Well, yes. Really. You can't just stick your normal cooker on low, it's probably a bit dangerous, and more importantly moisture will escape, meaning you'll come home to a burnt mess. Slow cookers are dirt cheap, and you can pick up our favourite starter model (Morphy Richards Sear and Stew - meaning less washing up!) for as low as £25.

If you're after something bigger (the Morphy Richards one above will happily cook a chilli for six, or a couple of lamb shanks) - then Morphy Richards produce a bigger model of the same thing which will do you nicely.

If a gadget is more your thing, then take a look at the Morphy Richards Accents model - you can set the on and off time, sear on the hob (as with the models above), and set it to a "keep warm" mode after a certain amount of time. Very cool indeed.

A Recipe

Start with something you'll know you'll like, and something easy. The last thing you want is to be stood there (in your pants) rushing to get everything done before you need to get ready for work. Our favourites are the classic Chilli Con Carne or if it's a really cold winter's day, then you can't go wrong with a Beef and Ale Stew. You'll get home from work, your house will smell amazing, your dinner will be ready, and you'll have a great meal waiting for you!

A Bit of Preparation

Some recipes involve a bit of chopping - don't underestimate how long this will take you. We (unfortunately) can't all chop at professional chef speeds, so prepping the veg the night before will save you a good amount of time in the morning. I also like to get all of the bits I'll need out and ready on the kitchen worktop the night before too, perhaps a little OCD, but saves time rooting around the cupboards for something you've not used in a while.

Some Love

It might seem stupid, but the best food is cooked by someone that really wants to do it. Enjoy cooking, and more importantly, enjoy eating!