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Winter is here, and that means it's peak staying in and cooking a nice meal season.
We've rounded up our favourite milt-cookers, air fryers and slow cookers so you can master your cold night in meals.
Pressure cookers and Multi-cookers
Popular in the 1970s, pressure cookers went out of fashion for a few decades, until recently when people realised how fast they are at cooking - lamb shanks take seven hours to cook in a slow cooker, but just 45 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Although pressure cookers today are safe, look for ones with more than one locking mechanism to be extra sure. It can also be good to choose one with a steam-release valve, and a pressure indicator which shows you when it's safe to open the lid. Now many pressure cookers come as part of a multi-cooker - or instant pot - which means they also often include options such as baking and yoghurt making.
The Sunbeam PE6100 6L Aviva Pressure Cooker, $135, is a good budget buy; it's versatile and easy to use. The Philips All-In-One Multi Cooker, $169, is a great value all-in-one multi cooker that has an extremely fast pressure cooker. It has an easy to clean pot, and also boasts an auto-pressure release valve plus several other safety features. It has special rice cooking and baking modes too.
Slow cookers mean minimal effort. Although they aren't as quick as pressure cookers, they can be left unattended - which means you can put it on in the morning, leave it all day, and come home to a ready cooked dinner.
Although you might think of them as being ideal for warming winter meals, they can also be great for summer cooking, as they can cook a meal without heating up the kitchen by using the oven. When you're buying a slow cooker, look for ones that have easy to clean bowls, timers and automatic settings.
The Breville Flavour Maker 7L Slow Cooker, $149 is a large cooker, which allows you to sear meat on the stovetop or in the oven first, then put it straight in the slow cooker - saving time and washing up. The Sunbeam Secret Chef 5.5L Sear & Slow Cooker, $135, is smaller, but gets great reviews. It has a non-stick aluminium pan, a tempered glass lid and five different temperature settings.
Airfryers were in high demand during lockdown due to their promise of offering the taste of fried food - without the oil.
They aren't actually fryers, but mini ovens that work by circulating hot dry air to make food crispy. They're great for cooking food that you'd usually fry or grill, including small cuts of meat, veggies, chicken nuggets, and chips. Look for air fryers that have dishwasher safe parts. Those with digital controls usually have more accurate timers and settings than those with dials.
The Tefal Easy Fry Deluxe Air Fryer, $159 is an excellent compact choice if you have a small kitchen. Although it has the same capacity as many other airfryers, it's taller and slimmer than most other models so fits easily on bench tops. It can be used to grill, roast and bake food. The Anko 5.3 Litre Air Fryer $89, is a great budget option. With a 30-minute timer setting and adjustable temperature settingup to 200 degrees celsius, it promises to achieve excellent crispy food and is easy to use.
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