Traditional slow-cooked soups, continental casseroles, hearty stews and exotic tagines – the traditional and slow foods from all nations – are back on the food agenda and the poetic and provincial idea of slow cooking inexpensive cuts of meat is seen at some of the finest eateries around the Western world. In short, the slow cooker is back, looking good and ready for service in the modern kitchen. Once you have started cooking with a slow cooker you will soon realise its convenience and economy. The slow cooker is a low-fuss appliance that is also a low-energy user – once the cooker reaches core temperature the mass of the food helps to retain its own heat and very little extra heat is needed to maintain temperature. Flavors are trapped inside the cooking environment and each component imparts its character and takes on the flavors of what is around it. Good quality stocks, fresh vegetables, citrus rinds and robust flavors such as rosemary and thyme are the winning elements to beautiful old-fashioned cookery.