Which of the lat­est gad­gets will have you kvel­ling over your kitchen?

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - BY VIC­TO­RIA PREVER

ONCE UPON a time, kitchens were sim­ple — fridge, hob, oven, done. Ev­ery­thing’s changed. White goods are “in­tel­li­gent” and there’s a mind­bog­gling plethora of gad­gets — hot wa­ter taps with silly names, built-in cof­fee ma­chines, steam ovens and even “domino” hobs. I asked a few ex­perts for the de­vices that will cheer up your cholent and help you host the per­fect Shab­bat. Ap­pli­ance of the mo­ment is the steam oven. “Sales are grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially — dou­bling in the last year,” says Oliver Wick­steed of Cameo Kitchens.

The beauty is that steam keeps food moist with­out over­cook­ing — a per­fect roast chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat can be yours.

“It is not just for fish and veg­eta­bles,” says David Har­ri­son, se­nior de­signer at Nor­man Glenn kitchens. “Any­thing that boils in wa­ter can go in the steamer; and you can cook any­thing in them — bread, cakes, fish, meat and veg­eta­bles —plus they’re good for de­frost­ing and re­heat­ing.”

Steamed food re­tains up to 25 per cent more vi­ta­mins than food that is cooked via tra­di­tional hot air/con­vec­tion. Left­overs re­ju­ve­nated in a steam oven emerge as if freshly cooked, un­like mi­crowaved food, which can over­cook and dry out.

The new ovens have end­less set­tings, Miele and Gagge­nau have a Shab­bat set­ting, which means you can set the oven to your de­sired tem­per­a­ture for up to 72 hours and the light will not go on when you open the door. Gagge­nau also does a spe­cial Yom Tov set­ting.

You will need enough space to house an ex­tra In­duc­tion hobs are the norm ( and ( stor­age is more and more im­por­tant. Pho­tos cour­tesy of Cameo Kitchens ( and Neil Lerner Kitchens ( oven al­though a combi-oven may be the an­swer to that is­sue.

“One of the lat­est Siemens mod­els is a nor­mal fan oven plus a steam oven and it can mi­crowave, which is a fan­tas­tic space saver,” says Eu­gene Amaqui from Mar­vel­lous Kitchens.

Know­ing pre­vi­ous pur­chasers have had no idea how to use them, many man­u­fac­tur­ers now of­fer af­ter-sales steam oven tu­to­ri­als. Poggen­pohl’s concierge ser­vice cleans up your kitchen postin­stal­la­tion (just the once) and sends a home econ­o­mist round to ed­u­cate you.

“Miele and Gaggen­hau have Lon­don show­rooms where you can go and learn about the new ovens,” says Amaqui, and Dana Cukier says Neil Lerner kitchens also of­fer this ser­vice.

The ex­perts agree that elec­tric and even gas hobs are yes­ter­day’s news. In­duc­tion is where it’s at.

“There is no resid­ual heat on an in­duc­tion hob as only the pan heats up, which makes it rea­son­ably safe; and as it is all touch con­trolled it looks very stream­lined,” ex­plains Cukier. “In­duc­tion is so much more en­ergy ef­fi­cient than elec­tric hobs, and it’s even bet­ter than gas; and with flex­i­ble in­duc­tion hobs, you can cook on any of the sur­face and not just within marked cir­cles,” says Amaqui.

The draw­back is you can only use iron or stain­less steel pans as they are poor con­duc­tors of elec­tric­ity, so you may need to re­place a few pans. The test to see if a pan will work on in­duc­tion is whether a mag­net sticks to it. If it does, it should be fine.

At the top end of the mar­ket for the real foodie, “domino” or vario hobs are an­other trend.

“You can di­vide your hob into ‘slices’ of what you want al­low­ing you to pick a range of cook­ing meth­ods,” says Har­ri­son. “Wok ring, Tep­pa­nyaki plate (flat metal plate on which you cook food di­rectly), Lava rock grill, gas, in­duc­tion — what­ever you want.” The price is high, so really for the top of the range cus­tomer.

For the wider mar­ket, boil­ing wa­ter taps make life eas­ier.

“The lat­est ones are very safe for chil­dren, with built-in de­vices that only adults can op­er­ate,” says Cukier, and Amaqui says they are con­ve­nient but also eco­nomic: “There’s no wastage, un­like ket­tles where you don’t use all the wa­ter you boil, and this uses less power.”

“Franka has in­tro­duced the Omni tap that does it all — hot, cold, fil­tered and boil­ing,” says Wick­steed.

Fil­tered wa­ter taps are also gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, as are built-in cof­fee ma­chines — “Ev­ery­one is so keen on barista made cof­fee now­days,” smiles El­speth Prid­ham of Poggen­pohl.

In terms of kitchen fit-out, Cukier and Wick­steed both say in­stalling a num­ber of be­spoke ovens is be­com­ing pop­u­lar. “Cook­ing and en­ter­tain­ing have be­come such big news that those in­stalling top of the range kitchens are now look­ing for a ‘bank’ of cook­ing ap­pli­ances,” says Cukier.

“They may in­stall about six ap­pli­ances — two ovens, a com­bi­na­tion mi­crowave, com­bi­na­tion steam oven, and warm­ing draw­ers.”

And ac­cord­ing to Cukier, warm­ing draw­ers are not just en­sur­ing hot serv­ing dishes for Shab­bat. “They are great for stag­gered meals — if some­one comes home late you can leave their meal in there. Or you can cook ahead and put food in them to keep warm.”

For those with space, larders are making a come­back — “peo­ple want to store more food as we shop less,” ex­plains Cukier, who also shares that “break­fast cup­boards” have be­come a pop­u­lar fea­ture with those want­ing to tidy away kitchen gad­gets like ket­tles and toast­ers and keep a min­i­mal­ist look.

In­tel­li­gent ovens, taps that pro­duce boil­ing wa­ter and barista-style cof­fee at the push of a but­ton. I’m just wait­ing for the gad­get that will magic me up a cup of tea and a bis­cuit.


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Ceil­ing cooker hoods are sleek and stream­lined. Photo: Cameo Kitchens

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