Thermal Cooker – new appliance for rig

We’ve been researching Thermal Cookers, which are a non powered slow cooker, in principle based on the old Hay Box. The Dream Cooker is the most well known version and costs over $300.00. I’m usually of the opinion that you get what you pay for, and most often cheaper substitutes are inferior to the real deal. In this case though I did some research, and decided on a cheaper version. I’ve bought the seven litre Campfire Travel Chef.

My new toy.

My new toy.

It was just over $150 from Ray’s Outdoors. We’ve found Ray’s Outdoors to be a fantastic store to deal with, and the price of faulty or unsatisfactory goods is refunded without question from any Ray’s Outdoors anywhere in the country. Not only that, you don’t even need your receipt providing you have given them your details. In this case our choice of thermal cooker was mainly influenced by our choice of retailer, and this was the only type Rays sold. So, retailer chosen, we headed off to purchase our thermal cooker. Apparently they are going to be having a sale this coming weekend, so the salesman volunteered an unasked for discount. We ended up only paying $102 for it. Gotta be happy about that.

My first attempt was cacciatore chicken. The process is to get all the ingredients to a good simmer in the inside saucepan. When at a good simmer, approximately 20 minutes cooking time on the stove top, you remove the saucepan without lifting the lid and place inside the thermal outer reciprocal, seal the lid and leave unopened for the required amount of time. For this dish it took approximately three hours, of just being left alone untouched in the thermos. (This will be really good for happy hours – prepare before imbibing, then return to delicious fully cooked, hot meal).

My first attempt - chicken cacciatore.

My first attempt – chicken cacciatore.

Before we went to bed  I put together a boiled pineapple fruit cake. The following morning though it was still soft. I think I should have had more water in the bottom saucepan. I put it in the oven for twenty minutes and it’s turned out to be a very tasty,  moist cake. If fully cooked properly in the Thermos outer skin it would have been very pale on top. Next time hopefully I’ll perfect it without the help of the oven.

Fruit cake, not yet perfected in method. Tastes pretty damned good though.

Fruit cake, not yet perfected in method. Tastes pretty damned good though.

The next day before we departed towards Airlie Beach I started off a joint of corned silverside (piece of salted beef similar to a gammon joint), added potatoes and carrots, and sealed it up. Eight hours later after we’d relaxed with a drink at the end of the days traveI I only needed  to add the greens, and the mustard sauce. How easy was that. For those of you familiar with this dish you’ll know it’s usually served with a hot white/mustard sauce. I do a cheats version for on the road – sour cream mixed with whole grain mustard, so easy. Apologies for those of you who would have liked to drool over the fully plated dinner – I forgot to get Paul to photograph it before we dug in. You’ll have to make do with just seeing the left overs ready for salads and sandwiches.

Yummy Aussie corned beef  - shame the UK butchers and supermarkets haven't got onto this gourmet delight.

Yummy Aussie corned beef – shame the UK butchers and supermarkets haven’t got onto this gourmet delight.

I think this little addition to my caravan kitchen is sure to add another dimension to good eats on the road. A welcome break to barbecues and salads.

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2 thoughts on “Thermal Cooker – new appliance for rig

  1. Sounds amazing Chris. I like the idea for the mustard sauce recipe. Sour cream & mustard. My niece on Gold coast has a Thermomix which she loves & uses all the time. I know you bought one of those.

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  2. Yes, I loved my thermomix, but I didn’t have enough bench space in caravan, plus it wasnt good on generator power. The power fluctuations caused damage and I had to get it repaired. I used for the first year but have now given it to Wendy. I think she’s enjoying it.
    This cooker is just a really big well insulated thermos. You have to get the cooking well started and up to a good heat, then the heat is only lost very, very slowly over many hours. I sat it in the sink with corned beef, potatoes and carrots for the whole day while we were travelling. I’ll try a curry in it next.

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