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About a week before Christmas my parents came round for an early Christmas meal and as I was cooking in the kitchen they shut the door and sad "don't come in we are hiding your present". I was told not to go in the cupboard and not to put it under the tree on Christmas day because I would guess whet it is by the size and shape of it.
That sent my brain ticking trying to think what it could be, as I have grown older I tend not to spoil surprises and kept my nose out of the cupboard, but I could not think what it could be.
After all the presents had gone on Christmas day I remembered the one in the cupboard and sent my partner in to get it, it was huge and as I opened it I saw it was a microwave, just what I needed, not just any old microwave it was a combi oven. I had done nothing but swear about my cooker not being big enough and had thought about getting one myself for a while.
Of course I took it out of the box and plugged it in straight away.
I set the time on it and proudly admired it, but first I had to read the instructions.
What you need to do before using the oven__
Before I could use it I had to operate the oven without food or accessories in on the grill function 1 for 5 minutes. This allowed the oil that is used for rust protection to be burned off. This is the only time that the oven will be used empty.
I could see the red glow at the back of the oven as it got hot and could also smell the oil burning.
Next I set the clock, this was simple you just press the clock button and change the time using the time pads and then press the clock button again to set it, this is a twelve hour clock.
What functions it has__
It has a control panel with touch pads on, there are a selection of auto reheat buttons for example Curry, Chinese, Pasta, Casserole, Fish along with a few others, for this method of reheating you need to make sure that it is in a suitable container and put in its weight and off it goes, reheating your food to just the right temperature, of course I have to check it is hot enough and it had been every time so far. There is one button called chaos defrost and that works out the time for you according to the weight. It had three choices, Bread, Meat items or meat joints. I defrosted my sausages this way and they were fine, not half cooked on the ends, I found this with my old microwave.
The microwave function has different power settings according to the amount of times you press the button.
Once high 1000 w Twice defrost 270 w 3 times medium 600w 4 times low 440 w 5 times simmer 250 w 6 times warm 100w
This microwave is 1000w and has a 1300w grill, convection oven and a combination of any of them. I couldn't believe the size of the turntable inside it is 34cm, It also has a child lock on it so none of the controls will operate you turn this on by pressing the start button three times and you do the same to turn it off.
If you want to experiment and find out what the buttons do you can press the clock button tree times the clock will disappear and a letter D will appear, this is demo mode and you can safely use the microwave with nothing in it just to find out what all the buttons are about.
My first taste of convection cooked food__
So with my oven full of turkey and roast potatoes I decided to do my sausages wrapped in bacon in the convection oven, id say the only thing I didn't do was pre heat the oven which you can do by selecting the temperature you wish to use and press start, the letter p appears in the display and it beeps at you when it is done then you choose the time you wish to cook for and press start again and off it goes.
I was impressed they came out brown and crisp, there was nothing quick about the convection oven because I did not add any micro power to it, it just saved space in my oven.
Since then I have cooked jacket potatoes on a combination of microwave and convection using the pre programmed button, to do this I had to weigh the potatoes and programme the weight in and it automatically set the cooking times up for me. I would say that they were ok but I like my skins to be really crisp so I think I would set the times myself next time. They were nice enough but I think for a while it will be trial an error until I get used to it.
The instruction manual has a table of all sorts of food and how to cook them which I will be using as a guide for a while, I find this very handy. It also tells you what sort of containers you can use in the microwave grill or convection oven this is handy too because you don't want to put anything plastic in of you are using anything other than the microwave.
What comes with the combi oven__
This comes with the original glass turntable and another metal one just he same as the glass which goes on top when you are using the convection oven and it also has a wire rack on three quite tall legs so when you are using the grill your food is close to the top.
I am very impressed with this microwave. Things come out brown and at twice the speed of a normal oven. My boyfriend has used it to cook battered fish, pasties and reheat mince pies and he seems impressed with it too. I did try oven chips in there but I done it as it said in the instruction book with grill and micro power and I would say that they were a little on the soggy side, as with most things it will be trial and error for a while until I have got used to it because not having one of these before I am not too sure on what it can do. I will have to remember to put metal tins in when using anything other than the microwave. There are lots of helpful hints and tips in the instructions like when to use tinfoil and the fact that kitchen towel comes in handy to stop things spitting every where.
I can only think of one thing that annoys me and that is that I need to find some new homes for things as I can not store anything on the top of the new combi oven because it gets very hot on the outside when it has been on for a while, the fan keeps going for a bit after you have finished cooking and that made me wonder if I had left it on.
No self cleaning walls in this one I will have to keep it extra clean so it does not smoke or smell horrible when I am cooking in it.
As I was bought this as a Christmas present I don't know the exact price but I did look for it in currys and found it for £150 and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a combi oven.
Thanks for reading, Kirsty
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