Showing posts with label Kitchen Gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kitchen Gadgets. Show all posts

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Virtually Fat Free Minced Meat - VonShef Premium Meat Grinder Review

We all know how versatile minced beef is when it comes to cooking - burgers, bolognese, cottage pie, beef chilli to name a few.  Of course minced pork is also good and I don't know about you, but I always use half and half mixture of the two when making bolognese.  But I'm always concerned about actually what goes into minced beef no matter where you buy it from.
Standard minced beef in the UK is 20% fat but you really should read the label since you'll find it can also contain all sorts of bits and pieces I'd rather not talk about!

Lean minced beef - labeled 5% fat and there's also 10% 12% and even 15% available - complicated or what?  In fact it gets even more so, have a read of this article by the Daily Mail and you might well be convinced it's a good thing to get a meat grinder and mince your own meat products.
 
Now if you have a meat grinder you can of course mince your own choice of beef, pork, chicken or turkey using prime cuts and at least you know what went in it!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

finum - Salt Pepper or Spice Grinder - Review

LOOK TOUCH TASTE™ by finum:  Winner of Interior Innovation Award 2014 and Good Design Award,  is a patented spice, salt and pepper grinder in the curvy shape of a bell.  At its base there is a patented collecting pool which gathers the ground spices within.  By tapping it, you can direct the desired amount of spices precisely where you want it.
 


Having been sent one of these to try for myself here's how it went:
I have to say this really is a good and proper spice grinder.  It's very comfortable to hold and I love the chubby stylish look.  Grinding up hard spices and peppercorns in this little fellow are no problem at all and it can easily be adjusted to set the coarseness of your grinding.  I noticed that the ceramic grinding mechanism doesn't clog up either as it does with some grinders.

As it's made from ceramic it means salt, pepper or herbs can be ground with no risk of oxidization or any other chemical reaction affecting aroma or flavour.   There's a clip on cover to pop onto the bottom part when the grinder isn't in use so there's no mess on the work top. 
As for cleaning - just wipe with a damp cloth.

Available in 4 colours (black, white, ruby red, apple green) and transparent
Glossy body, matte lower part
Adjustable coarseness of grinding
Easy to clean
RRP £24.95



For more information pop over to finum. Twitter @FinumStyle
Stockist www.loosescookshop.co.uk and www.ictc.co.uk

Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Kitchen Gadget Gift Ideas - My Top Ten

If you're looking for the perfect kitchen related Christmas gift - here in no particular order, is my top ten small kitchen appliances list.  I'm aiming to do a similar post on smaller kitchen gadgets shortly.  You could just be having a look at buying yourself something, whatever it is take a look and hopefully my list might give you some ideas! 

1/ Portable Touch Control Induction Hob from Stellar Cookware - The perfect solution for cooking a big family Christmas or New Years Day dinner.  This induction hob is easy to operate and can be moved to wherever it suits you so even the tiniest of kitchens Christmas dinner won't be a problem. You can see my review here.    

2/ The Tefal Optigrill fantastic health grill enabling you to cook many foods from bacon, burgers, fish, chicken, steak, sausages and more.  The Optigrill takes the guess work out of cooking too - you can choose to have your steak, rare, medium rare or (if you must) well done with perfect results ever time. To read more pop over and have a read of my review.

3/ Also from Tefal the Cook4Me does just that, and is really easy to use.  Sausage casserole for 4 people is ready in just 9 minutes!  I love cooking but sometimes I don't have time and so this is perfect.  Cook4Me is pre-programmed with 50 recipes all of which are dead simple to follow but of course you can use it to cook full scales dinners to desserts.  Rice is perfectly cooked and I use mine pretty much at least 4 times a week for one thing or another.
The vegetables for the Sunday roast are made easy too.  I pile cauliflower, carrots and Brussels sprouts into the machine and select cauliflower since it has the longest cooking time.  As long as you weigh the vegetables you can't go wrong - and once you've done that once you know that next Sunday the veg will be the same so you can visually know the weight if that makes sense.  Take a look at my review here.  

4/ The Tassimo drinks machine is great if you have little space in your kitchen.  Drinks are piping hot and ready in seconds.  A huge range of Coffees, Hot Chocolate, Tea and more are available in the form of discs that you insert into the machine which reads the barcode and prepares your drink for you at the press of a button.  See my review for more details. 

5/ The Tefal ActiFry hasn't long arrived at our house but we've loved everything we've cooked in it so far.  If you follow the instructions and use the recommended variety of potatoes then chips are soft and fluffy inside and crispy on the outside.  But it's not just for cooking chips - see how I got on making Sweet Chilli Chicken Wings in the ActiFry. 

6/ Fro-Fru from Judge Cookware - fantastic little gadget.  Frozen desserts made in minutes.  Great for kids and the warmer weather perhaps but with that said, I say any time is a good time for a refreshing dessert.
Pop over to read more on the Fro-Fru here. 

7/ Now this soup maker also from Judge Cookware is marvelous.  I know you can make soup without a soup maker but the fact is I personally wouldn't bother.  Just pop your ingredients into the soup maker along with a stock cube and cold water.  Press the button and piping hot soup is ready in just 20 minutes! Here's my review which has links to a couple of soups I've made using it.  Oh and before I forget, this soup maker also steams eggs which turn out perfect every time.

8/ This very stylish Stainless Steal Bread maker from Panasonic is in a word - brilliant.  Not only does it make many types of bread, dough and cakes but it also can be used to make jam - I tried it and it works.
Take a more detailed look at the Panasonic bread maker.

9/ Very nice looking Stainless Steel Stick Blender by Stellar Cookware - an immersion blender is great for making soups (if you don't have the soup make mentioned above)! Or gravy, sauces and purees. The already powerful 750W motor makes easy work of blending but it does have a Turbo boost function too.  read more about this stick blender in my review.

10/ Sous Vide Supreme - Sous Vide (pronounced "soo-veed") is a luxury kitchen appliance for the more serious cook.  I say that because it isn't cheap to buy.  To use a water oven you will of course also need a vacuum sealer.  I was lucky enough to have been sent both but I can tell you I love this machine.  Fantastic results every time.  You can see my review and some Sous Vide recipes here.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Making Jam in the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 Bread Maker

Having recently reviewed the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 Bread Maker at the time of writing I hadn't tried making jam so as promised I gave it a go. 
Now, how marvelous it would be, but would it actually work?  Well folks I can tell you it certainly does.  No messing about with thermometers - just put the fruit in the bread pan along with jam sugar (sugar with pectin added) and Robert's your father's brother!


































The supplied recipe book says to use sugar and powdered pectin.  Now could I actually find powdered pectin in Asda or Tesco, errr no.  But that said I'm sure if I hunted about a bit in the right shop I'd find it.  But I wanted to make jam now.  So not to be put off I fancied that if I used jam sugar (Tate & Lyle) it would be the same difference, after-all it's just sugar with the right amount of pectin already added.

So, to make jam in the Panasonic bread maker (please note not all models have a menu for making jam) simply layer fruit and jam sugar in the bread pan.
  
 Select the correct menu, press START and sit back while jam happens.


So with the jam making a success it was onto making a Spicy Fruit Loaf.  Once again, faultless - I love this machine!


Nice and spicy and while cooking the kitchen smelt amazing.  Am I impressed with this bread maker - it's a big fat YES from me.   




































Disclaimer:  I was sent this Panasonic Bread Maker for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not meant to influence readers buying choice.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Panasonic Stainless Steel Bread Maker - Review

Now, there are bread makers and there are BREAD MAKERS!  I think the very stylish Panasonic SD-ZB2502 would take some beating in looks and more importantly performance.

Having owned, and been using an older Panasonic model (the SD-255) for a few years now (and I might point out I was still using it till this fancy one arrived) I can tell you even though my older model is fantastic there was one thing that always bugged me - and that was the way you set it the programs.  You selected them and they went round in a loop which made it sometimes quite confusing to set.  That said, believe me it doesn't take much to confuse me.  With this one however I'm pleased to say it really is a doddle to set since it's done by simply select a menu number. 

The bread pan is longways as apposed to sideways as it was in my older machine - this is far better since this breadmaker takes up far less room on the kitchen worktop.
The dimensions are H38.2 x W25.6 x D38.9cm and the maximum loaf size is 0.8kg



Of course this bread maker isn't all about making bread - far from it.  Without an ounce of baking knowledge you can and I did, even if I do say so myself, create pretty decent looking Chocolate Chip Brioche Rolls and even Tear and Share Bread But it can also make Pizza Dough, Bake Cakes and even make Jam.   

Another improvement on older Panasonic models is the Yeast Dispenser - previously to this you would add the yeast to the bread pan along with the other ingredients taking care to keep it away from the water or salt which would ruin the loaf if they mixed using timer delay mode.   With this model the yeast is added to the yeast dispenser (round hole in picture above) which insures the yeast isn't mixed with other ingredients until it needs to be and the machine will automatically add it at the correct time.

What can the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 Bread Maker do?

What can't it do is more to the point!

Speciality Mode: 
Speciality Mode enables you to use various grains and flours like Spelt flour which cannot be made into a loaf easily on their own. The Rye Bread Program together with the unique mixing blade can create a range of tasty loaves using Rye and Spelt flours.

Yeast and Raisin-Nut Dispensers: 
Unique to Panasonic, the Yeast Dispenser drops the yeast automatically at the optimum time during baking. The Raisin Nut Dispenser adds additional ingredients to your recipe ensuring the best loaf every time.

100% Gluten Free: 
The 100% Gluten Free bread program allows you to bake gluten free loaves, using a wide range of gluten free bread mixes and flours. Giving you the convenience of having freshly baked bread that is tailored specific to your taste and needs.

Loaf Size and Darkness Options: 
The Panasonic bread machine adapts to your life. Whether it’s a smaller loaf for yourself, or an XL loaf for your loved ones, making the perfect loaf couldn’t be simpler. It is even possible to determine how light or dark you would prefer your loaf, by simply selecting the desired browning level.

Jam and Compote mode: 
The Panasonic Breadmaker can not only bake, but using the new Jam and Compote Mode you are spoilt for choice when creating your homemade jams at home. There are 8 jam and 6 compote recipes available in the breadmaker operating instructions to help you along the way.

How did I get on?:
This machine is really very easy to set, just decide which recipe you'd like to make from the recipe book and using the menu button, press until that number is shown, of course you must add your ingredients (the book tells you the ingredients and measurements needed for your chosen recipe) then you can either select START or set the TIMER (up to 13 hours time delay) a few recipes aren't suitable for delayed start but again the book tells you.   
 
As you can see from my picture above I actually managed to make Chocolate Chip Brioche Rolls and let me tell you they were seriously good.  The machine makes the dough for you and all you have to do is roll it out and add the chocolate chips, fold and roll again then shape into rolls, glaze and bake.  The inside honestly looked just like any brioche I've ever had before and tasted equally as good as when bought and baked fresh from a bakers shop.   

Next up I tried Tear and Share Bread, the supplied recipe book gives a few ideas for fillings but since I didn't have everything to hand t make the suggested fillings, I used half a jar of Sun-dried Tomato Paste and sprinkled with a good amount of Cheddar Cheese.  Another good job done I think you'll agree?

























If you're considering buying a bread machine I would highly recommend Panasonic since the automatic Raisin Nut dispenser takes the hard work out of adding them at the correct point in a recipe - for example you would have to listen out for a beep and actually be there to do this.  This machine does all that for you.  After all what would be the benefit of having a bread machine that you have to sit and watch?   So with this one your fruity loaf or seeded bread is all taken care of without the need for you to be there.

Panasonic say; 'The non-stick bread pan and kneading blade are coated with diamond particles, to ensure you will be able to easily remove bread from this unit once cooked'.
I say; Yep, another great improvement and it does work.  A freshly baked loaf easily slips out of the pan whereas before it was a struggle sometimes and I could easily have thrown my old bread maker across the room - just saying.  

Before this post gets so long everyone starts to fall asleep I'm going to leave it at this.  But I'll do another very soon with how I got on making Bread which was all good by the way.  At the time of writing I haven't made Jam so in the next post I'll tell you about that too.  Amendment - I have now made jam you can read how I got on here.

Selling at around £139.99 I think although that although you can buy other brands as cheap as thirty odd quid you really won't get the quality or different functions that this can do, nor would you get the same great results. So it might sound expensive but this machine is worth every penny and certainly wouldn't disappoint.

This Panasonic breadmaker is available in local John Lewis, Currys, Argos, and Lakeland retail stores and online at Amazon.

You can see another review of this breadmaker by Emily over at A Mummy Too. 

Disclaimer:  I was sent this Panasonic Bread Maker for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not meant to influence readers buying choice.  I was not required to write a positive review.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Perfect Kitchen Timer - Review

I don't know about you but I've never seemed to have found what I'd call a really good and proper kitchen timer, until now.   This Two Channel Kitchen Timer from Oregon Scientific also has a Clock and LED Visual Alert too -  a clock and timer within one design. The two-channel timer allows you to alter between the count up and down functions.

The alarm volume can be adjusted, and when set to high it is seriously LOUD but that can only be a good thing.  How many times have you set a kitchen timer and missed it because it just wasn't loud enough?  Seriously this one is excellent and even set the the next volume down it is still louder than any timer I've had before. It has a nice big display too so it's easy to read.


Once the timer is set, the LED alert flashes continuously - now I'd have liked it to have the option to be able to turn that bit off since it will just use battery power unnecessarily - just saying.  Although with that said, being LED it most probably wouldn't drain the batteries in age so isn't a real problem but I do wish it could be turned off all the same.  The alarm comes with stand, magnet and even has hanging holes too.

  • Dual timer with count up/down function
  • Adjustable alarm volume – high / low / mute – with LED alert
  • Digital clock
  • With stand, magnet and hanging hole
  • Batteries are included
  • Product Size : 90(W) x 76(H) x 20(D) mm
So to keep a track of the Christmas dinner (or any other dinner of course) this is the very fellow that will do the job.  You can set one timer for the turkey and one for the roast potatoes!
With a RRP of £19.99 I say it's well worth investing in.
 
Disclaimer:  I was sent this kitchen timer for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opnions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.   

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Flour Tortillas and How to use a Tortilla Press

Flour tortillas aren't something I'd ever thought of making since you can buy them in just about every supermarket across the land.  Plus I would never have thought I actually could make them look authentic.

So when I was asked if I'd like to review a couple more items from KitchenCraft browsing through their website, I fell in love with this World of Flavours Mexican Ceramic Tortilla Warmer - just look at the colour of this dish it's amazing.  Low and behold, displayed right next to it was a Tortilla Press, now I just knew needed one of those too!


Saturday afternoon saw me busy in my kitchen making tortillas and yes out came the mixer (see my Instagram) I meant business! 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Soup Maker by Judge Cookware - Review

Brrrrr! It's just the weather for a nice bowl of lovely homemade steaming hot soup - but this Soup Maker by Judge Cookware isn't all about soup you can use it to make hot chocolate, milk shakes, smoothies and to cooks eggs too by using the 4 hole egg cooker attachment.
Recently scoring 9/10 in Your Home Magazine for best soup maker.  Having been sent one to review myself here's how it went.
 

 Now it has to be said I do love me a kitchen gadget or two dozen!  So within half an hour of it arriving at my door I was cooking eggs.  They turned out perfectly cooked in 11 minutes.
Next up, Spicy Red Pepper and Sweet Paprika Soup had to happen.....

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tassimo Vivy Hot Drinks and Coffee Machine - Review

 Tassimo hot drinks machines have intelligent barcode technology which means the barcode on Tassimo T DISCs are scanned by the machine and register the correct brewing time, temperature and the amount of water required for each beverage.  It's all completely automatic, all you have to do is pop in a disc, press the button and your drink is prepared and dispensed into your cup.


Having been asked to review the Tassimo Vivy machine here's how it went:
The instructions that are supplied with the machine are a series of pictures which are really easy to follow. 
 The Tassimo Vivy TAS1202GB is compact and quite small with dimensions of just 249 x 169 x 298 mm (H x W x D) so doesn't take up valuable work space in the kitchen - well space is valuable to me since my kitchen is really tiny!  The coffee machine holds up to 0.7 litres of water which is enough to make approximately three standard cups of coffee.


Operation is really easy - as you can see from my pictures above you can remove the drip tray if your chosen cup or glass happens to be too tall.
Put the cup underneath, lift the top and insert your chosen T DISC (upside down) don't worry it will only go in one way so you can't go wrong.  Pull the top back down and it will pierce the disc.  The barcode will then be read so the machine knows which drink you have chosen and therefore it knows how much water to add and how long it needs to brew.  Once the light next to the picture of the cup illuminates, press the button and your drink will be made for you.
In this case I was making a Oreo drink so once the chocolate part had dispensed and the light goes out you just lift the lid and insert the cream part of the drink. Pull the lid back down and press the button again to add the cream to your drink.  Of course some beverages such as tea don't have cream so therefore the above operation is just done once.

 There are a huge selection of T DISCs available online and supermarkets (apparently there are over 35 varieties including a range of Costa coffees including Cappuccino and others such as Kenco Medium Roast Coffee and Caffe Crema, Twinings Breakfast Tea and Chai Latte, Oreo, Cadbury Hot Chocolate and more) so I think that's plenty to choose from and something for everyone!

Oreo T DISCs:
The kitchen smelt amazing as the drink was being made but although the Oreo drink was very chocolaty in smell, sadly we both thought it was quite thin and had a slightly watered down taste and not half as nice as the Cadbury's hot chocolate drink which is good!

Coffee and Tea:
Paul (the husband) is a coffee lover and really likes the Costa Cappuccino - it's really creamy and a good consistency and he can't fault it.  Obviously you can't expect an hot drinks machine to recreate the proper coffee served in Costa which of course is made by coffee machines costing a fortune.  That said, Paul says the Tassimo does a pretty good job.
Although I'm a tea lover I've never been a fan of any kind of breakfast tea and so it would be unfair of me to comment on the Twinings Breakfast tea that was sent to us along with the machine.  

Cost:
The T DISC sell for around £4.25 so for example with Costa Cappuccino discs you will get 8 in a pack so each drink works out at around 53p per cup.   I suppose it depends on how many drinks you of your family are lightly to drink in a day as to whether or not that could be expensive.

Cleaning the Tassimo Vivy Hot Drinks Machine:
Maintenance of the Tassimo Vivy is effortless as the machine indicates when there is a need for cleaning or descaling, and this can be done simply with the on-board cleaning disc.  Cleaning takes around 30 minutes to complete but of course you can just leave the machine to it and get on with something else as it doesn't require you to do anything once the operation has started.  I should point out that the spout part comes out completely so you can clean and rinse once a day and the barcode reader window just needs a wipe.

All in All:
The Tassimo Vivy is a great little hot drinks machine - fantastic for home or in the office.  Drinks are quick and made without any mess, it's easy to clean and convenient and is small enough to fit in any kitchen.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the Tassimo Vivy and a selection of T DISCs for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are in no way meant to influence readers buying choice.    


Monday, 22 September 2014

Great Products from KitchenCraft - Review

KitchenCraft are one of the UK's largest kitchenware companies and have a range of kitchen, dining and housewares.  Having just launched a new range of Masterclass Crusty Bakeware they asked if I'd like to try that and a couple of other products.  So since I really needed a new cooks blowtorch and just love anything terracotta my choices were soon picked. 


Masterclass Crusty Bakeware:
Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes but I love this dinky (24cm x 18cm) cute little tray.  It's true there are no soggy bottoms with this one - the perforated holes allow food to crisp since the moisture can escape.  The tray is excellent quality and it feels heavy for it's size.  It doesn't warp when in use and is oven safe to 220C/428F
Guaranteed for 20 and 5 years non-stick.  Yep this is a proper good tray. 

 Medium Terracotta Baker - World of Flavours Mediterranean Collection:
Perfect for lasagne or roasting veg.  This baking dish is traditional style and is glazed all over apart form the bottom.  Dishwasher and microwave safe  and oven safe to 250C/482F
This particular one is 29cm x 21cm although it is available in other shapes and sizes and I just love the KitchenCraft terracotta tapas dishes they also sell.  Guaranteed for 12 months with proper use of course.
Since I'm quite lazy I did put mine in the dishwasher and it came out just fine.


Master Class Deluxe Cook's Blowtorch:
Perfect for finishing a Crème brûlée as you can see in my picture.   Oh yes, this blowtorch made short work of caramelising the sugar top.  Of course the anti-flare flame is adjustable and is easy to light, just hold the trigger down and it's good to go.  Fear not, there is a safety catch on the side for when it's not in use!
The flame works at all angles too.  The blowtorch is easy to fill too and has a fill level window.  The stand is detachable making it easier to use.  All in all yes I say this is well worth investing in - great also for browning meringues and melting cheese etc.


To find out more pop over to KitchenCraft - you can also follow them on Twitter @KitchenCraft

Disclaimer:  I was send these items in order to write this review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Express Sausage Casserole using Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker

The Tefal Cook4Me is a Multicooker which means it can brown, cook, reheat, steam, pressure cook, or cook 50 different pre-programmed recipes or be used manually to create your own thing.  All in all this really is a brilliant invention.  Having been sent one to review (you can read about the Cook4Me in more detail here) and also see how easy it is to make a dish such as Beef Madras in just 20 minutes.

Well today let me tell you about this seriously quick and very tasty Sausage Casserole with cooking time of just 9 minutes.  No fancy ingredients either, in fact I used a shop bought cook-in sauce in order to show just how very easy and simple this multicooker really is.  

 
The Cook4Me as I said come with 50 pre-programmed recipes and to create your own recipe is just find a similar recipe, in this case it was Sausage and Bean Casserole.  Now, none of the recipes are difficult at all nor do they require any fancy ingredients.  But the pre-programmed recipe called for dicing a carrot and a red pepper and a glass of red wine.  Okay that's nothing tricky as I say but what if you actually can't be bothered to even do that?  

So, armed with a jar of sausage casserole cook-in sauce 'Homepride' if you must know!
I chopped an onion and a few mushrooms which you don't have to but doing so will of course give more flavour.  I then selected the sausage and bean stew recipe on the Cook4Me and browned the sausages and onions as instructed. Then I poured in the cooking sauce, closed the lid and waited a whole 9 minutes for it to cook!  Now, this caught me out a bit since the mashed potatoes weren't ready.  All my fault as it does tell you at the start how long or should I say quickly it will take to cook. Please note the cooking time of 9 minutes is to serve 4 people - to serve 2 people the cooking time is less and just 6 minutes!


Anyway, no need to fuss since the Tefal Cook4Me automatically switches to keep warm.  Food can be kept warm for up to 90 minutes.


 Up next time is soup using a pre-programmed recipe but I can't decide between Butternut or Leek and Potato, what do you reckon?

To find out more on this and other great products pop over to the Tefal website.

Disclaimer:  I was given the Tefal Cook4Me multicooker for the purpose of a review which can be read by following the link mentioned earlier in this post.  All thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Express Beef Madras - Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker Review

 Imagine being able to cook a Beef Madras Curry with a cooking time of just 20 minutes?  Fantastic, but only of course if the beef is juicy, tender, full of flavour and tastes good.
 Well, this Beef Madras using casserole beef (braising steak) actually did cook in 20 minutes and it was seriously good.  Oh yes we're seriously impressed with the Cook4Me Multicooker from Tefal.



 Having recently been asked if I'd like to review the Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker the answer was of course yes please.  I wasn't really sure what to expect since I've never had a multicooker before and wasn't quite sure how they worked.  So, armed with lots of questions as soon as it arrived I wanted to use it!
I'll answer all of my questions and of course if you have any please leave a comment and I'll answer it.

 Picture of Cook4Me supplied by Tefal since it's so shiny I found it almost impossible to take a picture that didn't show myself  and my kitchen in it!


 Does is really cook meals in super quick time and if so, are they just as tasty as you'd expect?
Can someone that really isn't into cooking (such as Paul the husband) be able to use the Cook4Me to create a proper meal without any stress?
  •  How does Cook4Me work?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • What kind of foods can you cook in it? 
  • Do the pre-programmed recipes actually work?
  • Can you make up your own recipe? 
  • Is it easy to clean after use? 
 About Tefal Cook4Me and how it works:
 Cook4Me comes with 50 pre-programmed recipes and it guides you step by step to cook meals for 2 to 6 people. With just the push of a button you can cook a variety of meals in next to no time - great if you want to spend less time in the kitchen. 
The pre-programmed recipes include Starter and Side dishes, Main dishes and desserts.  I haven't tried any desserts as yet but will include one in another post.  I have to try the Molten Chocolate Puddings, don't you think?
Five cooking settings allow you to pressure-cook, steam, brown, simmer, or reheat your meals.
    There's no need to stand watching it either as when the meal is ready, the cooker automatically switches to keep warm until it's time to eat.

The display menu is both easy to read and understand: 
Ingredients, Recipes, Manual and Favourites. By selecting one of these takes you to the following:  Meat and Chicken, Fish and Shellfish, Rice and Cereals.  The OK button is like a select button, you turn it to your chosen category.  The arrow button is like a return button and takes you back to the last menu.  In a word, it's really simple to use.  Yes tried and tested - Paul (the husband) actually made Chicken Tikka Masala all by himself - let me tell you that really is something! 

What other kinds foods can you cook: 

You can of course set it to cook a specific ingredient such as Rice, Quinoa, Bulgar Wheat,  Apples, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Peas and Spinach to name just a few.  Everything you want to cook the Cook4Me guides you as to how to cook it.

Do the pre-programmed recipes work:
I've used mine a good few times now and have found it really easy to look for a similar recipe and adapt it to your own recipe.  So far I've cooked Chicken Tikka Masala, Beef Madras, Carrots and Cauliflower and every time the result has been perfect.  The Chicken was really tender as was the meat in the Beef Madras.
Just following the instructions on the screen - select how many you are cooking for and it will display the recipe for you to follow.


Can you use a similar pre-programmed recipe in order to make your own:
Yes you can , just find a recipe that's similar to what you want to cook and use your own ingredients rather than those suggested.  For example there is a pre-programmed recipe for Sausage and Bean Stew.  But since I didn't have all the ingredients to make it I chose to make a Sausage Casserole using a jar of shop bought cooking sauce. It turn out just perfect and since this post is already getting quite long I'll include that in a later post.
     
What about Cleaning:
      At first glance of the instructions you could think that cleaning looks a bit of a bother - only due to the fact that you have to remove the pressure valve and wash the drip tray.  Take it from me this honestly takes a couple of minutes in total to remove, clean, dry and reassemble.  The removable pot and steam basket are dishwasher compatible.  The removable pot is non-stick and a doddle to wash by hand in sudsy water so personally I can't see the need to put it in the dishwasher.

All in All:
  Okay, this muliticooker isn't cheap (RRP £249.99) although at the time of writing I see it's now £220.00 but with that said I wonder if cheaper multicookers on the market would perform as well.
Cook4Me is available from Lakeland instore and online - you can also buy it through Amazon too. 
 I'd go as far as to say it really is worth investing in - especially if you work and have a family to feed.  None of the recipes are tricky nor do they require many ingredients either.  Easy to clean and easy to use.  Since it lots of recipes cook in extra quick time - it will of course save you money too.  Remember the beef madras used casserole steak/braising steak which usually requires cooking slowly for at least 3 hours took just 20 minutes in the Cook4Me. Personally I'd recommend this to anyone.

50 pre-programmed savoury and sweet dishes with a maximum of six ingredients
    Keeps food warm for up to 90 minutes after cooking
    Easy to clean - the ceramic- coated bowl is non-stick, removable and dishwasher safe
    Tell it the ingredient and weight and it will automatically suggest the best way to cook your food
    36.5 x 36.5 x 32cm H. Watts 1300 Capacity 6 litres



Many thanks to Tefal for sending me the Cook4Me to review.

Disclaimer:  I was given this multicooker for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Fresh Strawberry Milkshake - Review of the Stellar Stick Blender

 Soups, gravies, purees and sauces all benefit from the use of a blender to make the job easy and quick.  
When the weather is hot a nice ice cold frothy milkshake is just what you need, and in any case strawberries are always a good thing.

 
 If you don't have room for a kitchen processor then the stick blender (or immersion blender) is the way to go. 
Having been recently sent this very nice looking Stainless Steel Stick Blender by Stellar Cookware I couldn't wait to use it.

Photos by Stellar Cookware:
 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

OXO Good Grips Clean Cut Pizza Wheel - Review

New from OXO Good Grips is this rather ingenious pizza wheel. The Clean Cut Pizza Wheel is comfortable to hold and easy to use and the large (approx 4 inch) stainless steel wheel cuts though pizza thin or thick crust effortlessly.  As the Good Grips name suggests it really does give non-slip grip.


The blade guard makes it safe to store since it doesn't fall off easily which is a good thing but it pulls off quite easily when you're ready to the pizza wheel.  I love the slim-line design which makes it suitable to store in a kitchen drawer.  So it was out with my old and rather bulky pizza wheel and into my kitchen drawer with this one!
 

Cleaning:
It opens a bit like a CD case allowing the blade to be completely removed for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe too.


Yep, I say this is yet another excellent product from OXO Good Grips and with a RRP at £10 - I say it's well worth investing in one.

You can see many more of my reviews on OXO products by clicking here.

Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good Grips for sending me this product to review.
Disclaimer:  All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  I only post reviews on products I truly like and therefore would but myself. 

  

Friday, 25 July 2014

Giveaway - Set of ZING Silicone Kitchen Tools

How do you fancy winning a this lovely set of kitchen tools?  Well one lucky reader will do just that in this easy to enter giveaway.  ZING silicone kitchen tools from Premier Housewares are already available in seven ZING colours but now they've added new Sunshine Yellow making a total of eight fabulous colours to choose from. Spatulas, spoons, whisks, colanders and sieves all feature as well as trivets, spoon rests, kitchen scales and rolling pins!


Made from silicone, the range is durable and heat resistant to 240 ᵒc so it not only looks good and performs better for longer.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fro-Fru Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker - Review

Frozen Fruit (Fro-Fru)
This refreshing pineapple sorbet was made in less than a minute (after freezing the fruit beforehand) thanks to this great little gadget 'Fro-Fru' from Judge Cookware.  
Of course you can use whatever fruit takes your fancy, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries - the list is endless.  Dairy products - milk, cream and yogurt can be used to conjure up a delicious dessert in no time at all.  Kids and adults alike will love this little machine! 


 Here's a few proper pictures of the Fro-Fru from Judge Cookware:




Monday, 30 June 2014

Giveaway - Strawberry Huller and Berry Bowl by OXO Good Grips

You might have seen a recent post of mine in which I reviewed the new Strawberry Huller and Berry Bowl from OXO Good Grips?  Well I have some good news - one lucky reader will have the chance to win one of each of these products for themselves.


The Berry Bowl comes complete with a colander and a clip on lid so you can keep your strawberries nice and fresh.  Of course it's not just for strawberries, it's great for salad too.

The Strawberry Huller is so easy to use and makes quick and tidy work of removing the hulls from your strawberries as you can see:

  
Now for the Giveaway:
One lucky reader will win a Berry Bowl and a Strawberry Huller from OXO Good Grips - but there's more!
The winner will then be entered into a separate giveaway (outside of A Glug of Oil) and will be in for a chance to win  A Years Supply of Strawberries from Berry World!

This giveaway ends 15th July 2014 or as shown in the Rafflecopter widget
 Entries to this giveaway must be via the Rafflecopter widget. Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK mainland only. 
 To see a short video on how easy it is to use Rafflecopter click here.
*Inappropriate comments will be deleted and entry/entries to the competition removed.  
 For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here - Entries that do not show the URL of the Tweet will be removed.
There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries, including bonus daily entries.
Competition end time is as shown on the Rafflecopter widget.
Good Luck Everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note - since Raffflecopter won't allow me to add the Terms and Conditions in the widget I've posted them here:
    This giveaway is open to all readers over 18, who live in the UK mainland only.
The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses random.org) and announced on this page.
The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not respond within 3 days another winner may be chosen.
There is one prize consisting of one OXO Good Grips Berry Bowl and one OXO Good Grips Strawberry Huller.
I am running this competition in good faith on behalf of OXO Good Grips. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
They reserve the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar type / value if the prize above is not available.
Instructions form part of the terms and conditions. Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.
The organiser reserves the right to alter the closing date of the giveaway, either closing early or extending without notice.
Changes to the closing date if they occur will be shown on this page via the Rafflecopter widget.
Where prizes are to be provided by a third party A Glug of Oil will have no responsibility for the acts or defaults of any other persons.
There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries, including bonus daily entries.
Follow the instructions in the form above. If you already like/follow please comment in the Rafflecopter widget and let me know to get your entries.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Strawberries and Ice Cream Eton Mess Dessert

Now this dessert came about since I couldn't wait to try out the Strawberry Huller - new from OXO Good Grips and of course the Berry Bowl.
Perfect for summer this Eton Mess style dessert takes no time at all to make and makes perfect eating whilst watching Wimbledon! 



First things first - you need good tasty strawberries and it has to be said these strawberries (kindly sent to me from Berry World) were seriously the best we've ever had.
 The 'Sweet Eve' is a truly British born-and-bred strawberry. They were so, so sweet and juicy and really didn't need anything else with them.  But I was asked to make a dessert and so I did!

The new Berry Bowl from OXO Good Grips is really handy and just the right size to hold a full punnet of strawberries.  There's a colander so you can wash and drain your berries before removing the hulls with this neat Strawberry Huller, also from OXO Good Grips - more about that in a bit.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Tefal Fresh Express Cube and Stick - Review

Chopping, slicing, grating, sticks and cubes of all kinds of vegetables and fruit are rustled up in next to no time with this marvelous must have kitchen gadget from Tefal.  It can cope with pretty much everything from apples, aubergine, beetroot and bananas to potatoes, carrots, celery, cheese, pineapple and many more.


 This and many other kitchen appliances are available from Tesco Direct.  It comes with five easy to change coloured cartridges which are stored in a transparent cartridge.  Just select the cartridge that corresponds to the desired use - each one is easy to identify simply by looking at the type of blade.  That said, the instructions for this product are excellent and you'll find an easy to follow chart on which colour cartridge is suitable for which food item and tips on how to use it.   

Friday, 2 May 2014

Food Preparation - Right Tools for the Right Job

As we all know whatever it is you're doing having the right tools for the job helps you get it done easier and quicker.  This is especially true in the kitchen - for example, every good cook needs a good knife, chopping board, mixing bowls and a measuring/pouring jug to name but a few.  Having the right equipment makes for better results too.


 I'm a huge fan of OXO Good Grips since their products actually work and do the job they say they will.
Having recently been sent the Batter Bowl and the Large 3 Piece Bowl and Colander set to review here's how it went.

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