While I probably shouldn’t be spruiking the benefits of an electrical device that you can plug in and then chose to leave unattended for nine or ten hours (Disclaimer) my winter evenings have been substantially improved by the slow cooker. This nifty device can cook anything from corn beef to steamed chicken to ossu bucco. Of course dedicated cooks with a life and that magical word free time would probably choke on their Stefanie Alexander tome if they saw my technique.  Basically I throw chopped vegies in first, then a meat of choice and cover with liquid and lid. You can be as frugal as stock cubes and water or simply purchase a packet of slow cooker sauce at the supermarket or devise your own concoction. For those of you with an ancient casserole dish or tres chic french equivilant I have to say that for $59.00 devotees of the plug and go variety can get close to oven perfection results and there’s no need for checking and rechecking or even being within a twenty kilometer radius of the kitchen -which frequently I’m  not. Just as well. My chicken, bacon and leak casserole cooked itself (much to my partners delight) while I was out in the paddock innoculating chick peas-we grow them for the Indian market, trying to write the sequel to The Bark Cutters, moving the station work truck and battling with five cows who have decided that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence-the stock route. Here’s the rough recipe.

500 g chicken breast / stock cube /  two onions / two leaks / 2 cups chopped celery / 6 large bacon rashers / salt & pepper / cup chopped  parsley / water to cover. Brown everything in olive oil before throwing into slow cooker Serve with mashed potato. Enjoy!