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My daughter has been going on about buying a steamer for ages and last week we went into Safeways and saw them on the shelf priced at £19.99. I was surprised at this price as I have seen them in Curry's for £30 and every being the one for a bargain I decided to buy one.
The first thing to do when you get your steamer home is to wash all the compartments as you never know how long it has been boxed and on the shelf. The steamer is made by Russell Hobbs a very well known brand name and comes with a twelve months guarantee. There is a plug already connected to the wire of the steamer so you don't have to worry about wiring it up, there is an instruction booklet included with the steamer which also has a diagram for how to wire up a plug in case you need to change the fuse or replace the plug. You can get spare parts for Russell Hobbs service number which is 0845 658 9700 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is for repairs and faulty goods and they will replace the steamer if it is within the years guarantee.
So, you have your steamer cleaned and ready to go.
What you get. ------------------ The steamer comes with nine different parts, but it's easy to put together, you get the base unit which has the timer and the water indicator on the front. There is a reservoir where you pour the water and a max mark to show you when to stop pouring in the water. There is a steam tube which fits about the element in the middle of the base unit and the diffuser goes on top of this. The diffuser directs the steam from the element into the bottom basket and stops the juices getting on the element. Basket 1 goes on top of this making sure it's fitted snugly and then basket 2 and 3 above with the lid at the top. There is also a rice bowl included and a separator for the baskets if your cooking two lots of veg in one basket.
How to use ------------- Be careful where you place your steamer as it has to be out of the reach of small children, not near any plug sockets, curtains or under shelves as putting it near anything which will be damaged by steam might be unwise. Fill the reservoir to the max mark which is about one and a half pints of cold water. This gives you about 40 minutes of steaming and should be enough for most thing you might want to steam. You can top the water up if your steaming something which takes longer, but remember it's very hot and wear oven gloves to do this. You don't need to add any salt to your vegetables when steaming as this might damage the element. Once you have filled your reservoir with water fit the first basket on top of the diffuser, each basket is numbered so you can see which is which. Put the food which takes the longest to steam in the bottom basket, then the next longest in the next basket and the least longest to steam at the top basket. Pack the food loosely in the baskets and if you are steaming a lot of vegetables layer the vegetables in the basket as leaving spaces between the vegetables will allow the steam to circulate.
You don't have to worry about over cooking as a few minutes won't matter the more you use your steamer the more you get to know the timing. Remember to put the strong flavoured vegetables below the less flavoured vegetables. Things like carrots and peas can go on the top whilst green beans, swedes and other such vegetables can go in the middle basket. Don't forget to put the lid on otherwise the steam will escape. Plug the steamer in and switch the timer clockwise to the time you want. There is a light at the bottom of the water level indicator to show you that it's switched on. As the time goes by you will see the bottom basket filling with steam then the other baskets as the steam rises, the unit itself gets very hot so do be careful where you place it. When the time is up a little bell will sound to let you know it's cooked. Make sure your wearing oven gloves before taking off the lid and don't stand over the unit when opening it. Your vegetables and food is now ready to serve, hot steamed and tasting delicious.
DO's and Don't's ----------------------- Don't put frozen meat in the steamer defrost first. Don't fill over the max mark or the water might overflow and cause damage to the element. Don't use foil or paper to line the baskets as you'll block the steam holes. Don't use near or under shelves or plug sockets. Don't put it in reach of children.
Do wear oven gloves. Do let it cool down before cleaning. Do experiment with different foods as you'll find it enjoyable to use and the taste is so different from boiled food.
Cooking times. ------------------ Here are a few of the cooking times required for different foods, I won't list them all but just give you and idea for some of them.
Potatoes take 20 - 25 minutes. Green Beans - 20 minutes. Broccoli - 15 minutes. Carrots - 15 minutes. Cabbage cut into eight pieces - 20 minutes Peas - 12 -15 minutes. Corn on the cob - 15 minutes. Chicken fillets - 20 - 30 minutes. Fish 10 - 15 minutes.
As you can see some take longer than others so you can judge which goes higher up in the baskets than others.
Some recipes ----------------
Chicken in Lemon and Ginger Marinade.
The marinade:- 1 small piece of fresh ginger - chopped. 1 fresh clove of garlic - chopped. Half a lemon. 1 tbsp dry sherry 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp of soy sauce 1 tsp light brown sauce
4 skinless chicken breasts fillet 1 bag of fresh pasta 1 small knob of butter Salt and pepper.
Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken coat well and cover the bowl, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Wrap the chicken fillets into individual foil parcels and put in the bottom basket. Put the fresh pasta in the second basket and put the lid on. Steam for 20 to 25 minutes, toss the pasta in the salt and pepper with a little butter and serve with the chicken.
Steamed Chocolate Pudding
150ml single cream 150ml milk 75g dark chocolate broken into pieces 2 medium eggs Pinch of salt 1 tsp of vanilla essence 75g caster sugar
Heat the cream and milk in a pan but don't let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and half the sugar, whisk the eggs with the salt, vanilla essence and remaining sugar. Let the milk mixture cool before pouring over the eggs and sugar. Pour into a dish cover loosely with foil and steam for 20 minutes until set.
I have tried these two recipes and have really enjoyed them.
What I think ---------------- Well , I'm hooked I love my steamer. It's so easy to use and the vegetables taste so different than boiled one's. not only is it more tasty, the recipes are simple and easy to follow. The unit is easy to clean and the baskets store inside each other when not in use. I like watching the steamer when it's on and it saves all the steam from the boiling pans steaming up the windows when I'm making Sunday dinner. As well as saving me the hassle of washing up pans, I've found the steamer cooks things to perfection and there is not dried on food which you sometimes get on pans which have been on the boil. It cuts down the risk of burning things or boiling them dry if you leave it unattended then it doesn't really matter. The timer will turn it off when it's done, not like a pan which can boil dry.
The price was a good bargain for me and this is something all my family use in the kitchen. I'm really suited with it and would recommend that if you get the chance buy one. I would never go back to boiling the goodness out of vegetables after tasting the difference with a steamer.