I love my slow cooker.
It’s the one kitchen gadget I truly wouldn’t be without – and that’s coming from a family who chose not to replace their expired microwave when it gave up the ghost! It’s pretty well-loved these days, especially since it was second-hand when we were given it – but it’s been a reliable bastion of easy dinners when long work days, a newborn baby and a whole host of other hurdles to healthy eating have reared their heads.
It’s such a relief some days to be able to prepare food quickly in the morning while everyone’s eating breakfast and then come back later to a magically-ready, steaming bowl of soup, bolognaise or stew. And no, sadly I am not one of the dedicated cooks who saute their veg before adding to the slow-cooker. Yes, it may add to the flavour, which is all to the good. But if I have to faff around frying off an onion, I might as well carry on with the rest of the meal. The idea here is simplicity. Chop it up, chuck it in, get on with the day, dollop on a plate.
Turning vegan has had little effect on the frequency with which I drag the pot out of the cupboard, as there are plenty of animal-friendly meals which we can use it for. Mr Chickpea has given up processed sugar for Lent and is getting bored of snacking on raw fruit, so I’ve been on a mission to brighten his day with treats he can actually eat (instead of gazing wistfully at). The obvious staple to keep in the fridge for him was a good old jar of stewed apples – they’re delicious, versatile, affordable and no sugar is needed if you pick the right variety. It helps that we like our apples tart, of course, and you could certainly add a tablespoon or two if that’s your taste.
This isn’t so much of a recipe as it is simple instructions, as apple sauce really is about as easy as it gets. Just peel, core, stew in the slow cooker, mash if required and (careful: it’s hot!) decant into your favourite large jar. That said, the house smells amazing and our whole family enjoy it with porridge for breakfast, veggie sausages as a main course or plain yoghurt as a dessert.
- 700 g apples (around 8 medium apples)
- 100 ml water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Place in the slow cooker dish with the water and cinnamon.
Cook on low for 4 hours (or high for 2 hours)
When tender, mash with a fork until you reach your desired consistency.
If you prefer the apples pureed, the sauce can be blended until smooth in a food processor.