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I had never considered buying a steamer before I was given this as a present by my mother in law last Christmas, purely for selfish reasons. I’m not a veggie lover myself, I can take them or leave them so have never been that concerned about the way they are cooked. I must admit since using this, I have noticed a difference in the way the vegetables look and taste.
The steamer costs between £30 and £40 and can be purchased from Argos and other department stores.
The steamer comprises the following parts:-
The base unit which is white, and on which there is a water level indicator, the timer button and an LED light to show that the machine is switched on. The water reservoir holds a litre of water and will last for an hour but if you are only cooking vegetables, you will not need to use the steamer for this length of time.
Into the base unit is placed a removable turbo ring and on top of this, a juice collector, which does as it says, collects the juices from your steaming vegetables. This can also be used as an egg boiler, which holds up to six eggs. The juices collected in this can be used for soups etc, but I can’t say I’ve tried this method.
There are two plastic steaming bowls that can be stacked on top of the base unit. One has a separator in the middle, enabling the compartment to be divided into two sections, and the top bowl has a both a lid and a handle. Both bowls have removable grids on their bottoms, which can be taken out if you wish to steam a large item of food, for example a chicken.
There is also a rice bowl provided with the steamer, which can be used by putting one part rice and two of water.
The steamer must be placed on a flat surface and the reservoir can then be filled with water until the maximum level is reached. Keep the appliance away from any objects that could be damaged by the steam (I’ve often wondered if a cabbage facial might be a good idea whilst cooking the tea).
Place the juice collector onto the base. Always make sure there is water in the base before you switch on. I’ve not tried it without water, but I’m sure it could do a lot of damage :O)
If you do not need to use both bowls, one can be used on its own. If you are using two, it is sensible to put the food that requires the most steaming in the bottom section. If you do not want the food in the bottom compartment to get tainted with the flavours from the top, the juice collector can be placed between them.
Don’t pack the food too tightly together in the bowls, as the steam circulates in the spaces, and this can impede the steaming process.
Now set the timer to the time you want your food to cook. I normally do about 20 mins for vegetables, apart from swede which takes a bit longer. Now, at this stage make sure your steamer is plugged in. The timer works without it being turned on, so you’ll think the veg is done and when you get there, you haven’t even switched the thing on!!!! I have done this before and it is so frustrating!
Whilst cooking, it is advisable to keep an eye on the water level indicator. If it goes below the line, it can be filled up during the cooking time.
Once your items have finished cooking, remove the lid carefully, as the steam escapes quickly, and it is painful if you decide to plunge your face over the top of the appliance.
The steamer can be descaled after a few uses, naughty me hasn’t done hers yet.
The instruction leaflet with the steamer is very good, and lists the times needed to cook foods, along with step by step instructions, which even an idiot can follow.
As the steamer can easily be dismantled into seperate parts, it is very simple to clean, just wash with a normal washing liquid in the sink.
So, overall, yes I recommend the use of this steamer. Not only does the food taste better, it is better for you. The steamer is easy to use, easy to clean and does not take up a lot of worktop or cupboard space. The only negative thing I can find is that the handle has snapped off mine, so for that reason I am going to take a star away, as I’m a bit disappointed that it wasn’t made of tougher material.
I got mine at the ideal home exhibition , so much healthier and no need for salt wouldnt be without it !
ybowman 26.09.2003 23:04
I got a steamer purley cos my mother-in-law has one and when we all go to hers for Sunday lunch, everything is under control. Im my house Im a wreck! Not enough pans or rings on the cooker so i invested in one of these and haven't looked back...i love doing chicken brasts in this, so juicy and moist....healthy too of course :) all the best yvonne
Andy.mack 22.06.2003 00:19
Searching the Kitchen this evening (whilst cooking my dinner) I discovered my mum does have one of these, and its actually what she use for the steak for ther steak pies and its rather tasty. Andy :D