When we moved into our home in Devon, a converted psychiatric hospital on the edge of the Moors, we inherited a large and pretty ancient Aga. I was so excited about this element of the kitchen because I’d always loved other kitchens I’d visited with the cosiness of an Aga or Rayburn, and because my kitchen is well and truly the heart of my home, it felt like the perfect option!
However it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, in fact I find myself making a lot of compromises for it- and I miss my little old gas cooker from our old flat in London! One of the main things that I have missed is having a grill- I would have always grilled bacon, sausages, fish, cheese on toast, but now I find myself doing a lot more frying and the cheese on toast is never as brown and bubbly on top as it should be!
We have supplemented the Aga for the past few years with an old microwave of my brother’s, which we have just used to heat up my daughters’ milk and reheat the occasional freezer meal.
This is a big appliance, with a 33 litre capacity (perfect for a medium-sized family), and you need to be aware that it requires 30cm of ventilation space above it, so if you are thinking it might slot into a gap beneath overhanging cupboards it’s worth just double-checking that the space is sufficient.
Our current kitchen is in desperate need of a complete makeover, so I struggled a bit to find the right space as at the moment we have lots of low, overhanging cupboards which don’t allow the ventilation space. Our hope is to replace our kitchen in the next couple of years to much better utilise the space.
The Hotpoint SUPREMECHEF MWH338SX
looks great, it’s a combination of stainless steel and gloss black, which is easy to keep clean and is very smart. It has both a 750 watt and a 900 watt output (I’ve never been able to choose before, but it makes it much easier to follow microwave specific recipes!).
The real star feature of this for me is the grill function. The appliance comes with it’s own ‘crisp plate’ to use for this type of cooking and you are able to make both perfect, bubbling cheese on toast, but it’s also got impressive dual-crisp technology- this allows for both cooking and crisping up- so perfect roast potatoes and chips, without the need to use much oil at all! It combines both the microwave and the grill function to cook the inside, plus the top and bottom. There is no need for shuffling and turning during cooking, as this will provide an even crisp all over. I’m already seeing how useful it will be to have an extra oven at Christmas to take care of my roast potatoes while my turkey and stuffing takes up all the space in the Aga!
One of the other features that I really like on this microwave oven is the multiwave technology, which basically means that it microwaves evenly, so there is no need to stir- you won’t get hot and cold spots in the food.
- Microwave: I think this is self-explanatory!
- Grill: For browning food (cheese on toast, toasties, sausages etc.)
- Forced Air: for an oven-baked effect- using a heat element and a fan this replicated the function of a traditional oven, so you can cook cakes, souffles, roast meats, pastry and lots more.
- Dual Crisp: For golden-brown results on both the top and bottom of the food. This uses both the microwave and the grill function to brown and crisp the food (pizzas, quiches, chips, burgers). This function is perfect for anyone following Slimming World, or just trying out a healthier diet, as there is no need for oil- or you only need to use the slightest bit.
- Jet Defrost: A quick and easy way to defrost food
- Combi (microwave and grill)- to both cook and brown on top so good for lasagnes, meat, crumbles etc.
- Combi (microwave and forced air)– great for trditionally oven-baked dishes such as jacket potatoes, pre-cooked frozen foods and roast meat
- Keep Warm: Allowing you to keep fresh-cooked food warm- ideal for Christmas!
I’m very happy with this appliance- it stylishly does everything that you would want from a traditional microwave, but offers so much more in terms of multipurpose cooking. With a big kitchen renovation in mind, I can see that we would be able to do all of our family cooking in this while our kitchen is out of action, and also I love the extra features such as dual crisp.
My 8 year old has just discovered the joy of a mug-cake, and I thought I would share with you my recipe for a delicious, healthy and Slimming World friendly mug-caked steamed jam pudding! You can’t beat this for comfort food when you are trying to resist a calorie-loaded snack or pudding!
Here’s the recipe:
Microwave steamed jam sponge- Slimming World friendly (3 syns + healthy extra B):
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tbsp granulated sweetener
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp fat-free Greek yoghurt
-2 tsp raspberry jam
- In a mini-blender/chopper, whizz up the oats to form a flour
- add in the baking powder and sweetener and whizz again
- add in the vanilla extract, Greek Yoghurt and egg and whizz until well combined
- Scrape half the mixture into a large mug, dollop in the jam, and then add the other half of the mixture.
- Microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds- to check it’s cooked, just press gently on the top (just be careful not to burn your fingers!)- it should feel firm and springy. If it’s squishy then pop it in for another 30 seconds.
- Tip out onto a plate, and the jam will be sitting on top. Eat while warm!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by ao.com. All words and images are my own.