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Never in the history of television have more hours of programming been devoted to cooking. Whether you belong to a streaming service or are simply browsing free-to-air, you’re bound to stumble over somebody burning something sooner rather than later.
Cooking and eating food are now an essential part of the zeitgeist, which is why the fact that Australians are cooking less than ever is so shocking.
While the lack of kitchen time is a direct consequence of our connected lifestyle, the rise of delivery services and just how time-poor we are these days, it’s still astonishing that we devote so much of our time to watching—and reading—about other people doing it.
Average time per day devoted to cooking has declined by over 30 minutes since 1965, while buying food out of the home has increased from 30% to over 55% of all money spent on food in the same time period.
And we’re walking a dangerous tightrope. Our lives have never been more sedentary and our diets have never been worse. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s pretty easy to make some little changes to turn your lifestyle around.
This is where slow food comes in. Carlo Petrini founded the slow food movement in 1986. The movement was born in Italy and has expanded to include chapters in hundreds of countries. The slow food movement seeks to reverse the detrimental effects of the trend toward fast food by encouraging food producers and consumers to embrace and promote sustainable foods, local businesses and a slower pace of consumption.
But that doesn’t mean meals have to take days to prepare and every ingredient needs to be organically grown. What people forget is that preparing food for 1 person takes roughly the same amount of time as preparing food for 4, and is often more expensive.
At Asian Inspirations, we’ve spoken at length about meal plans and how to best manage your time when preparing food. Well, slow cooking is a great way to save time while cooking food!
Slow cooking —especially broths, braises, stews and even curries—are best when all ingredients are thrown into one pot and left to cook slowly over low heat. Not only does this make cooking easier, as you only have to worry about one pot and one heat source, but it keeps all the nutrients in one place.
And once you’ve put the dish on and started cooking, you can leave it quite happily to simmer away while you go about the rest of your business.
The key to slow cooking is the liquid you cook in. The quality of said liquid will have a profound impact on the overall flavour of the dish, so make sure you’re using something tasty. The other important thing to remember is to keep the liquid topped up. If you let the dish dry out, it will burn in minutes even at low heat, so don’t let this happen.
The perfect tool for slow cooking when your time poor is the exact same tool your parents grew up with—a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. These beauties are great because they turn themselves off after a set period of time so you don’t have to worry about burning anything. They’re often completely sealed so food stays warm for hours and you don’t need to worry about spillages. And they can cook away happily—and safely—while you’re out of the house.
And finally, quantity is another big advantage slow food has over delivered. You get a far greater amount of food per dollar than you do with take away, so you can freeze, refrigerate and store the leftovers for another time and another meal.
We have plenty of great slow food recipes on our website, so go check them out!