Lifestyle cookware at it's best
Introducing the Quarter Acre Pot - every kiwis cooking dream designed for your convenience - to be used indoor or outdoor for cooking healthy, nutritious and delicious meals.
The Quarter Acre Pot is a simple to use non-electrical multifunctional appliance that can be used as a:
• Thermo Cooker
• Rice Cooker
• Yoghurt Maker
Due to the technology of the Quarter Acre Pot, your food - which is placed in the inner pot and boiled at temperature - can be transferred to the outer pot where it will retain its heat and continue to cook slowly without further supervision. Alternatively the QAP can be used as an ice box keeping food or drinks chilled.
The Quarter Acre Pot contains two stainless steel inner pots which are designed to be used as you would your usual saucepans at home they can be used on either electricity or gas stoves. The Quarter Acre Pot has a convenient and safe lock/unlock handle for extra safety while traveling. The outer pot is insulated with special heat insulating material. (Not unlike what you find in your fridge at home).
As someone who used to spend a lot of time sleeping in tents up mountains and on lake-fronts, this is the sort of device I wish I owned 25 years ago, when it would have seen a lot more action. Nowadays, the best I can hope for is to use it for hot-meals-on-the-go or take it with me when I go out on big camps with the local Scout Group. So, to give it a test-run, I started off by making some Mel's Butter Chicken and rice. Because the recipe on the packet wasn't designed for a slow-cooker, I had to wing it, knowing that I should put in less water, since slow-cooking doesn't have much in the way of evaporation going on.
The perk for me, was also being able to use the top pot to do the rice at the same time. This serves a double purpose - not only does it ensure your meal is ready all at the same time, but it is a fundamental part of the cooking system, using the top pot as a 'heat booster' to add extra energy into the system to ensure the chicken was cooked properly. Still, having gone through a few bouts of chicken-related food poisoning in the past, I wanted to make ABSOLUTELY sure this wouldn't happen, so I chopped the chicken down into smaller chunks to ensure a more thorough cooking.
So... prepare the Butter Chicken sauce, add chicken, pop on the stove to start heating up. Boil 3 cups of water, add 1 tablespoon of beef stock to add flavour to the rice, add in 2 cups of well-rinsed short-grain white rice, and pop that on the stove to bring it back to the boil too. Simmer the Butter Chicken for 8 minutes, then bring it to a hard boil and pop it, with the rice pot and lid on top, into the outer case, flip the handle forward to lock it shut... and wait. For about 4-5 hours. Doing this mid-morning gave me the freedom to go off and get some housework and a bit of work done before it was time to serve this up as dinner. Results... fairly strongly positive.
The biggest problem I found wasn't actually a fault of the QAP... it was user fault 100%. I was impatient to see how it was going, and popped the lid a few times. This, of course, stole away all the carefully-retained heat so I was forced to pop both pots back on the stove to bring the heat back up. In the end, I had to leave the house for 2 hours to avoid having another peek! So, please, learn from my mistake and LEAVE. IT. ALONE! It will do a great job if you just keep your sticky beak out of it.
A couple of points - because this system requires a large input of heat, but isn't particularly fussy about how it gets it, the theory holds that you can use it on a gas camping stove, or even on an open fire, if a suitable cooking support is rigged, such as a steel tripod from which you can hang the pot. After a few tests, I can say that as long you aren't worried about the cosmetics of the thing, you can do a fine job. I cooked up some soup using a portable gas camping stove to heat the lower pot, and also make some soft bread in the upper pot. The bread turned out more like a cross between damper and dumplings, but it went really nicely broken up into chunks in the soup.
Overall, I doubt I will ever explore the possibilities of this as a yoghurt maker - since I can't stand yoghurt myself - but I certainly plan to explore many of the recipes that come in the accompanying cookbook. It had some very appealing recipes in it. Some of the ones that caught my eye include the Dijon Mustard Pork with Potatoes, Beef and Beer Stew, and the Apple Crumble. I look forward to seeing if I can manage the challenge of doing a 3-course meal in the QAP - soup starter, meat main and fruit dessert - even if it will take all day to cook the lot.
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