More than his fantastic recipes, rediscovering my slow cooker has been the greatest gift to come from this book.
Social media star Nathan Anthony has a passion for food, setting up his Bored of Lunch platform in 2020 to share and encourage healthy, flavoursome cooking during the pandemic. He’s not a trained chef, but a foodie whose ideas earned him over a million followers in the first two years across TikTok and Instagram.
Most notably about this first of two cookbooks under the brand is the absolute simplicity of his cooking style. With good use of herbs and spices for flavour, Anthony’s cooking ideas provide around 80 meals that are fast to prep so that the slow cooker does the work. Variety has not been forfeited though, with the recipes ranging from western home comforts like beef stroganoff and roasts, to Indian curries, soups, rice dishes and more.
The six chapters of recipes are practically named: Fakeaways, Weekday Dinners, Light Meals, Family Favourites, Comfort Food, and Feeding a Crowd. They’re preceded by a short author’s introduction and a breakdown of recommended kitchen equipment and pantry essentials, with the expected index of recipes at the back.
Clare Wilkinson’s bright food photography matches the bright colours of the book. The recipes themselves include calories per serve with additional notes about recommended side dishes, alternative ideas, or warnings about additional calories. The pages use a lot of white space and short paragraphs to make the recipes as easy to read as it is to follow Anthony’s instructions. His personal introductions to each recipe are a homely touch.
Many recipes are as easy as one instruction – chuck it all in the slow cooker and set it to X temperature for X hours. Hello, Sweet and Spicy Pork (page 170), Sausage and Baby Potato Casserole (page 143), Beef Stroganoff (page 104), and Creamy Peppercorn Chicken (page 88) to name just a few. The more adventurous cooks might step up the complexity to three short instructions. Here’s to Beef Massaman (page 22), Coconut Salmon (page 57), Pumpkin Risotto (page 58), or Creamy Chicken, Chorizo & Sundried Tomato Pasta (page 132).
Whether short of time or looking for simple recipes that can fit a diet plan without compromising taste, Nathan Anthony has earned his reputation with his first cookbook. There are many familiar meals to try, often dishes which are not normally associated with a slow cooker. The Healthy Slow Cooker Book is a winner winner chicken dinner!
Healthy Chicken Korma (page 26)
At any Indian restaurant, a chicken korma is high on my list of favourites, so I homed in on this one-step dish immediately. While not as creamy and flavoursome as a restaurant alternative, this delicious meal is done in just one step – two steps if you include dusting off the slow cooker first! It goes well with rice, raita, and naan bread if you’re up for the extras or chuck it in a buttered roll for total decadence. Take that, keto diet! With enough to serve four, smaller households will get the added benefit of next day leftovers where the flavour really starts to pop. Add in some extra herbs and spices at the start to suit your taste, just don’t discount the simple joy that this simple recipe is going to bring! I’ll be making it frequently, given the longest part of the prep is to chop up an onion. Thank you, Mr Anthony!
Rich Beef Ragù (page 74)
I’m starting to realise just what a lazy cook I am because this amazing meal is another of Anthony’s one-step recipes (excluding cooking the pasta). I’m loving that I’ve rediscovered the joy of my slow cooker and the convenience of set-and-forget cooking! More than his recipes, this has been the greatest gift to come from the book. The Beef Ragù might be a close second, though. Without tweaking the amounts of each herb or spice, this is so full of flavour that it’s sure to satisfy from the first mouthful. I used a kilo of pre-cut diced beef rather than a 900g slab of beef. The recipe suggests you shred the cooked meat before serving, which I didn’t, but that only served to confirm what a lazy cook I am – and I like being right. With a chunkier texture, the flavour was not impacted so it comes down to personal choice, as always. How ever you choose to serve this Ragù, only a genuine Italian mamma is going to argue against the result. Delicious!
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.
Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: April 2023