rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


One my favourite things in the kitchen is my slow cooker. We’ve had it for years and it’s a huge one. Sometimes I wish we’d got a smaller version but it just means I have loads of leftovers to freeze for those evenings when I cannot face cooking.

They are not expensive to buy and with Christmas coming up, why not ask Santa.
They are also very cheap to run.

No prep slow cooked beef in red wine

Now you might be put off by the preparation, and the recipe books I have do recommend browning meat in batches and simmering your onions, stock etc. But honestly? You don’t have to. We have had amazing results just from literally bunging in meat, roughly chopped veggies, some water, wine and/or stock and setting it going. No need to warm, no need to spend ages browning meat and coating it in GF flour. No need even to measure out liquids, I have got used to how much mine needs now so don’t even get the recipe book out.

The last time I used it the beef hadn’t even defrosted, despite being out of the freezer for over 24 hours. I wouldn’t do this with chicken, but I had 5 minutes to get the blooming thing on for that evening’s dinner so I just chucked in the still-frozen beef, some red wine, onions, chunky hacked carrots, salt, pepper, bay leaves and one of those tea bags with herbs in (what are they called?) and turned it on. The results were AMAZING! Sometimes it can look a little runny. If that’s the case, just mix up some cornflour or arrowroot in a little cold water and add to the pot about an hour before you want to eat. You could also mix in some GF flour when you add the wine but it can go lumpy if you’re not adding slowly and simmer over the hob.

Slow cooked roast chicken – it even browns

I also put in a whole chicken – fully defrosted obviously – and it just falls off the bone when it’s done. Rub salt and pepper over the skin and just lob it in. No need for anything else. Sometimes I slip a few chunky slices of onion on the base under the chicken but often not. Works amazingly every time and it even browns the chicken!

Roast chicken in slow cooker

Just put the chicken in, rub with salt and pepper and cook for about 6-7 hours on low

Stock in the slow cooker

Save up the carcasses and freeze them in a bag until you have two or three then shove those into your slow cooker with water, some onion, leek, carrot, whatever you have to hand. This makes the most amazing stock. Then you just decant into containers and freeze for when you need it for risotto, casseroles etc. If you don’t have any bones or carcasses, ask at your local farm shop if they have some, they just throw out the bits they don’t use and will probably give it to you for free. Hey presto! Free uneneding suppliers of delicious, safe, totally freefrom home-made stock.

Anyone else in love with their slow cooker?



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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