If you’ve ever been caravanning and salivated over the idea of cooking an old-fashioned meal like corned beef and vegetables smothered in white sauce, but have shied away because of the long cooking times, don’t fret. There’s a solution.
Thermal cookware takes care of the lengthy cooking times, effort and energy that slow-cooked meals consume. That’s because thermal cookers don’t need any power. They are a bit like an oversized thermos that cooks your food slowly.
Using thermal cookware is easy, no matter which one you choose. Generally speaking, it’s simply a matter of assembling the ingredients, usually in the inner pot, and bringing it to the boil on the stovetop. Then, just reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Before you hit the road for the day, just place the inner pot, with the lid on, into the outer container and close the lid. The thermal cooker does the rest.
It’ll continue to slow-cook your food over the next few hours in the heat generated by the initial cooking. It means you can make tracks to your next destination while your dinner is cooking for you. Better still, you food is never over-cooked because the temperature slowly drops over time.
Here are some thermal cookware ideas that’ll help you overcome your hankering for something more than toasted sandwiches or a tin of beans.
DREAMPOT 6 LITRE
When you’re on the road, in camp one day and gone the next, the idea of slow cooking seems out of reach. After all, nobody wants to sit by a saucepan for hours on end when you should be out enjoying your adventures.
DreampPot reckons you can get away from the stovetop and make cooking while you travel hassle-free and easy. Here’s the breakdown: the DreamPot 6 Litre comes complete with one or two stainless steel inner pots with heavy sandwich bases, strong handles and stainless steel lids with food-grade knobs.
Boasting an energy-efficient design, the Dreampot offers excellent cooking performance and durability. And the pièce de résistance, with a bottom inner saucepan and a top inner saucepan, you can cook a chunky home-style soup and a damper at the same time with little fuss, minimal heat and little supervision.
Dreampot’s Rob Green says, “The versatility of the DreamPot thermal cooker allows you to prepare meals that you would traditionally only create at home using an electric slow-cooker.”
Its ingenious design means the DreamPot can cook almost anything, from rice to roast beef. It’s also capable of making yoghurt, bread, and even keeping your favourite Pinot cool.
PRIMUS 7L THERMAL COOKER
The Primus 7L Thermal Cooker is a heat-retaining, stainless steel-insulated cooking pot.
The thermal cooker’s insulated outer pot retains the heat stored in the ingredients and the compressed copper-steel base of the inner pot allows the meal to continue to cook gently. This means flavours release slowly as your meal becomes tender and delicious.
Able to be used with either electric or gas stovetops, the Primus kit even comes with a cake tin that can be used in conjunction with the trivet to add variety to your cooking. So just add egg, flour, cocoa and milk and you’re on your way to afternoon tea. In fact, it is ideal for cakes, quiches and a variety of other savoury dishes and desserts.
The Primus Thermal Cooker is light and has an easy to read temperature display. What’s more, it’s the only cooker on the market with a glass lid that maximises heat retention while allowing you to keep an eye on your favourite chocolate desert while it’s still cooking.
If your food is already cooked, this unit will keep it warm for up to eight hours thanks to its fully insulated foam walls.
The cooker also comes with a handy mess kit that allows you to cook your main meal and a cake for dessert at the same time.
TRAVEL CHEF THERMAL COOKER
The compact Travel Chef Thermal Cooker stows all relevant pots in the base, making it ideal for caravanners. But don’t let its size fool you: it comes with a 2.5L and a 7L pot, so you’re good to go, whether you need to cook for one person or the whole clan.
The Travel Chef is made of stainless steel, including the base and both internal steel pots. In the box you’ll find all that you need to get going, except the meat and potatoes. There’s the outer thermal pot, cooking pots, trivet and lid. Just load it up and get cooking.
As with all thermal cookware, you begin the cooking process and then transfer the cooking pot into the thermal pot and close the lid. That’s all there is to it. The thermal cooker uses the retained heat of the cooking pot to continue cooking your meal. It doesn’t burn, overflow or overcook.
TRAVELLERS THERMAL COOKER AC/DC
The Travellers Thermal Cooker AC/DC model is all about convenience and versatility.
The point of difference here is the AC/DC aspect – this cooker can be used in the conventional way to cook your meal slowly or, thanks to the included 240V/12V adapter, the thermal cooker can be turned into a food warmer. As a food warmer, this thermal cooker will keep food hot for up to eight hours and it weighs less than 5kg.