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After 9 years of renovating our bungalow, which had not been updated since it had been built in 1954, I have at long last had my new kitchen fitted.
I thought I would respond to the August competition, which ironically is to write an opinion on kitchen appliances! Well, (and Iím showing off now), I looked round my innovative creation and decided on itís best feature, the cooker.
It was in fact the cooker that sold the entire kitchen to me. We had been to almost all the kitchen suppliers in our area but this particular one had stuck in my mind. On returning to see it again, it was perhaps the cooker I had fallen in love with. I had tried everywhere to find a cooker the same but found nothing to match it. It looked so at home in the units so whoever had designed the showroom had done their job to perfection.
On meeting the kitchen planner, I was informed that Diplomat appliances were exclusive to M.F.I. and were not marketed by anyone else, (hence the fruitless search).
The Diplomat 850 Dual Fuel Range cooker is not your average double sized range. It is only 850mm wide as opposed to the larger ones at 1000mm. Having quite a small kitchen a 1000mm range would have been too big. It is the usual 600mm deep to keep in line with the units and has adjustable feet, which can adapt the height from 900-915mm to keep it in line with worktops.
The appearance of the cooker is second only to a real Auger, the old fashioned means of cooking, whereby you would fill a fissure with natural fuel like wood or coal and keep it going. In this day and age of ďspeed is of the essenceĒ, it is no longer practical so therefore this is the next best thing.
It is supplied in two colours, cream or green. If you are looking for an authentic look cream is the one, for a more modern look perhaps the green.
The hob is gas fuelled and has four burners, there are two normal sized burners, one large burner, for woks, stew pots etc., and one small burner for simmering or slower cooking. The base plate is black as are the pot trivets. The controls for the burners have a low setting for simmering which forgoes the need to stand and turn the knobs down without a shutting the gas off! I have found that a quick wipe over with a damp cloth after use keeps the surfaces clean.
The cooker has a separate fixed griddle situated next to the burners. This is fuelled by electricity. I have found this a really useful addition to the kitchen. It makes easy work of burgers, chops and fish and you can cook a whole breakfast in one go, just call me Mrs. Wimpy!! It seems to be a healthy way of cooking as all the fat drains into the channels situated around the hot plate. A wipe over with a damp cloth after use and you can forget the greasy frying pans forever. (Eat your heart our George Forman Grill!!)
THE GRILL/SMALL OVEN
Now this is a new one for me. I have always cooked with gas and still declare you canít beat a gas grill. As you might have guessed this cooker has an electric grill. Situated underneath the burners it is a compartment on itís own. The door must be kept down when being used for grilling, which could be a little dangerous if there are toddles around. You canít control the temperature by the switch but must drop the height of the shelf inside so the grill pan is further away from the element. The cooking time seems to be a lot faster than gas but you have to keep pulling the pan out, as the food is not visible. It is totally in keeping with the appearance of the cooker and the only improvement I could suggest is to make the heat more controllable. This also doubles as a second oven, which I have found great for just keeping cooked food hot until it is needed. Great when youíre entertaining! Again, a quick wipe over after use keeps this looking good.
THE MAIN OVEN
Situated underneath the grill and a bit too close to the floor for my liking, this oven is fuelled by electricity and is fan assisted. It has a glass partition in the door and a light that can be used if required. It needs to be preheated before use but WOW! Does it cut down cooking time. It is taking me time to get used to this feature and as it is fan assisted there are no cooler areas, so it is no good putting those roast potatoes on the bottom shelf if they are done, they will burn! You can also cook cakes and fish at the same time. The fan technology ensures there is no taste transference between foods. As for cleaning, I havenít had to YET!
PLATE WARMING COMPATMENT
This is situated underneath the griddle and is the length of the grill and oven combined. There is an electric element in the bottom of the compartment that can be used to warm plates and serving dishes. I have only used this once but am sure it will be handy come Christmas time or when Iíve got people round. You must not use this compartment to keep food warm.
One of the best features for me is the co-ordinating lids. These pull down over the burners and griddle, not only making things look nice and tidy, but also letting you off the hook if you canít be bothered to wipe the cooker down immediately. They are made of the same material as the cooker so look authentic and not being glass can cover a multitude of sins! The cooker is fitted with an automatic cut out system, which means if the lids should be closed without turning off the gas, it will automatically shut down.
It is also fitted with a clock, minute minder and a programmer which can be used to turn the cooker on whilst you are out. Being a bit safety conscious I will probably not use this feature.
The cost of the cooker should have been £974, but M.F.I. had an offer that if you spent more than £400 on units you could have an appliance at half price, seeing as this was the most expensive, I chose this to be half price, bargain!
All in all I am very pleased with my new cooker. Having been a stickler for gas cookers in the past and although there are some features I would have the old way if possible, I am sure I will get used to the new ways in time.