I've used a slo cooker for years. I've never used it to cook mince, though. (I can't stand soya mince, yeesh!) I use cheap cuts of meat like braising steak and chicken (cheap to buy a whole one and chop it up). The meat comes out really tender. I seal it first by frying for a minute until just the outside is cooked on both sides, then chuck it in the slo cooker. Veg in first, then meat and enough very hot water to cover. I've never cooked fish in it as it cooks very quickly, though i have made seafood soup using a tin of tuna, shrimps etc. If you want a thick gravy try adding lentils and chickpeas, or when everything's cooked, strain off the liquid and thicken with gravy granules. I add all sorts of herbs, depends what sort of flavour you want. Curries come out ace. Dumplings only take about an hour or so to cook in the slo cooker, just chuck 'em in about an hour before serving. It's a really cheap way to cook. I make soups, casseroles that sort of thing.