General ramblings

Wonderbag Update

I blogged last week about the amazing, energy saving wondrous, Wonderbag.
I considered attempting to make my very own homemade wonderbox, but then decided that actually, I think the Wonderbag pretty effectively meets my post Make Do and Mend Year “If I do buy new, make sure it’s ethical” rules. The polystyrene chips that they use are all recycled, and for every bag bought in the UK, one is given to a family in need in Africa, where the benefits go far beyond saving energy.
So I bought one.
And amid much excitement, it has arrived!


AND we’ve used it. Twice. So far.

It comes with a handy recipe book to get you started, but as we didn’t have the things we needed for any of the recipes, I perhaps slightly rashly, decided to adapt a recipe from a slow cooker book I found in the library. It was a kind of cauliflower-y, mild curry thing with potatoes and chickpeas (I think it may have had a catchier title than that…)
It is almost a little eery ‘cooking’ with a Wonderbag. Because everything is all snugly tucked up inside the bag, there are no cooking-y smells. And normally, when cooking, the kitchen warms up a bit, but again, there is none of this. And no noise from the oven, or from anything bubbling away on the hob. As I said, eery.

BjBYgGhIUAA7E76.jpg-thumbI will admit to feeling a certain amount of trepidation as I carried the Wonderbag over to the table for the first ever big reveal. I had ben sorely tempted to have a prod and a poke several times during the ‘cooking’ process, but the advice book advises (for that is what they do) quite sternly that you should not do this, as all the heat escapes, rendering the Wonderbag more of, well, just a bag.
So, drumroll please…..
It was cooked! And hot! And it tasted pretty yum. And 50% of the Smalls ate it 🙂 (Which actually, given that it had cauliflower in , which all small children seem to think is the food of the devil, I am pretty surprised at)

So flushed with success, I wanted to try a pudding, and went for the Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding in the recipe book.
Again, that slightly weird “is it actually doing anything” sensation, and possibly a few butterflies as I unwrapped the pud (mother in law was round to add to the pressure, and we all know mother in laws are aficionados of steamed puddings).
Another drumroll….
Again, it was cooked! And delicious. And this time, 100% of the Smalls ate it 🙂

There was much excitement...

There was much excitement…

I think it is safe to say I am a convert.
It certainly takes some getting used to, and I think might take another few attempts before I stop panicking that things won’t be cooked, but it is most definitely energy saving-tastic, and gets the Make Do and Mend, and Great Energy Race seals of approval.

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  • Reply Nancy Lea August 29, 2015 at 5:41 am

    Have you used it as a cold bag yet? I took mine to the Publix – an hour or so away from our town – and bought two of my fav ice creams that I cannot get locally, and, after over an hour, they arrived home still rock-solid. As to the usual use of it, I like long-cooking, stone-ground grits. I put them in overnight and they are piping hot and creamy and delish for breakfast. Stews, ratatouille, everything goes in there, and, like you, I like the idea that somebody gets a donation for my having bought one. Happy slow food!!!

    • Reply Jen August 31, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      They are fab aren’t they Nancy?
      I haven’t tried as a cool bag yet, but will definitely give it a go!

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  • Reply smallholderwannabe March 28, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Elaine at mfin3 is doing a tutorial on how to make your own Wonderbag lookalike. Thought this might be of use to those for whom £70 sounds a lot. Here is the link to the post about it:

    • Reply Jen March 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Great, thanks for the link!

  • Reply Nic March 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Ooh, how interesting. I have been looking at them for a while and wondering! I don’t have a slow cooker, and this might be a viable alternative! What’s next on your list to try?

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      In terms of recipes or gadgets? Recipe wise, going to try something meat based next!

  • Reply Rae Hodgetts March 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I am impressed! Especially the sponge pudding bit. Did you have to heat this somehow first?
    A couple more things I’m curious about: Is it bulky to find space for in the kitchen and will it replace your slow cooker altogether?

    • Reply Jen March 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Rae
      Here is the recipe for the steamed pudding
      I have stored (chucked) ours on top of the freezer-it is quite big, but is quite squishy too, so not as hard to find space for as maybe a slow cooker.
      Not sure yet whether it will replace my slow cooker-need to do a bit more experimenting-will keep you posted!

  • Reply sarahn March 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    What an awesome result! Would love it here in steamy Sydney, to save heating the WHOLE house

    • Reply Jen March 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      It never really gets hot enough here to see the heating effects of the oven as a bad thing, but I can see that it might be in Sunny Sydney! Go get one 🙂

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