With long working hours, hectic lives and generally spending too much time doing anything and everything else but slaving over a hot stove, more and more people are investing in what they class as a straightforward solution, by buying the best combination microwave they can. This brings together speedy, easy microwave cooking, with the hot air and/or grill of a conventional oven. Combi-microwaves are quick, super easy to use and extremely adaptable for most types of recipes – and people, come to that! So whether it’s a quick bite to eat before a night out, or a proper pie in the cold winter months, it’s worth looking at a Panasonic or Sharp microwave oven – even Bosch could be for you. But just what is the key in finding the right one? Set your cooking timers, as there is only one way to find out…
What type of person are you?
Too busy to think about what you want, let alone cook? Save yourself time by buying a microwave oven that does all the thinking for you. Some microwave ovens have the ability to switch from one method – defrosting, microwaving, roasting, baking or grilling – to another, sometimes without even having to remove the food from the oven. So much choice, with so little effort – surely this is every busy (or lazy!) person’s dream!
Can you be adventurous?
Just because you hear the word ‘microwave,’ it does not mean your food choices are, or indeed should be, limited. Combination cookers are able to produce attractive and delicious tasting meals for a fraction of the time – be it cooking for two or the whole family. Perfect if you’re a working mum of three juggling work life, home life and having a life! The best part? As they’re easily accessible, there’s no bending or kneeling needed to clean!
What does it do?
Cooking by microwave is ideal for fish, sauces, fruit and vegetables (both fresh and frozen), pasta, rice, grains and pulses, soups, sauces, steamed puddings and preserves. It’s also great for all those other fiddly jobs you might put off doing on the hob, such as melting butter and chocolate, blanching veggies or liquefying ingredients such as honey or jam.
i) Small and individual food items like biscuits, scones, rolls and small cakes should be baked using the convection option (food which is cooked by hot air).
ii) Thin chops, hamburgers, bacon, gammon rashers, thin fish portions, sandwiches and ‘things on toast’ can be cooked under the grill with the door closed.
iii) Cakes will rise, roast meats and poultry will crisp and casseroles will cook in a combination microwave. Lasagnes and other baked pasta dishes work well in a microwave and grill combination oven. It’s also good for fish, meat or poultry.
For loads of great recipes to use in your microwave, read: The Combination Microwave Cook: Recipes for combination microwaves and microwaves with built-in grills (£7.99, Robinson) by Annette Yates and Caroline Young.