When I was growing up, I loved shopping almost as much as I do now. My dad (affectionately, I hope) called me the "ultimate consumer", and I had various brand prejudices which were probably based on very little evidence.
For instance, I thought Sony was the best for tellies, Tefal was the kettle maker, Breville made the perfect sandwich toaster, and Hoover made the best, erm, hoover.
Morphy Richards was familiar to me as a good all-rounder - far from super-exciting, but reliable and somehow comforting, the fluffy slippers of the appliance world. So I wasn't that surprised to hear that this year is the 75th Anniversary of Morphy Richards.
As part of their celebrations which will include events and giveaways, Morphy Richards picked a group of bloggers (including me) to become Home of the House Proud Innovators, which basically means they would send us their products and ask us to put them through their paces and then share our thoughts.
I warned them I'd be brutally honest, and they still seemed strangely willing.
So this is a review of the first item they've sent me (yes, I get to keep it) - the Intellisteam, their "intelligent" steamer.
The Intellisteam is ridiculously big. Like, bigger than the Tefal Actifry, and that's really saying something.
It comes in several parts - the base, the section which sits on top of that which you fill with water, and the steam compartments themselves.
There's one long steam compartment at the back and one in the front which you can divide into two. Inside the steam compartments are two optional trays - one for liquid or small portions and one for rice - and a steam rack.
I'm tired just writing all of that.
So why is it intelligent? Because you can set the separate steam compartments to cook for different amounts of time, but they all finish cooking at once. Obviously, this is impossible with a traditional steamer, since with those, the sections stack on top of one another.
That's why the thing is so massive - it has to be, so each compartment can be directly over the steam. Anyway, I decided to make something that would need to use every compartment and came up with a lazy version of kedgeree.
If you see the picture above, I stuck all the ingredients in at the same time and then set the timer for the different compartments. The timer lets you choose the type of ingredient you're steaming and then automatically gives a suggested steaming time which you can then tweak up or down according to the quantities - the booklet also gives guidelines.
Rice went in the back compartment (30 mins), frozen peas in the front right (10 mins), and salmon and eggs in the front left (16 mins).
I then set it going and watched, fascinated, as the back compartment immediately started to mist up as its time began to count down. When that hit 16 minutes, the front left compartment then kicked off, and then when all three were at 10 minutes, the front right joined in.
Obviously, if you're not a massive nerd, the point of the Intellisteam isn't that you'll be watching the steamer compartments kick in one by one, but that you'll set it going and then wander off and do whatever it is you need to do, safe in the knowledge that every part of your dinner will cook for exactly the right amount of time.
And it does. And it's quiet, and the bits, despite being a bugger to clean in the sink, are all dishwasher-able.
An alarm even goes off if the water level gets too low, so you know when to top it up (via a little funnel section).
So the Intellisteam gets a thumbs-up from me as being pretty darn clever, useful if you're busy and obviously good for healthy dishes.
Still bloody massive though.
The Intellisteam is currently on special offer for £64.99
Easy Kedgeree with the Intellisteam
- 2 cups of rice
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 tbsp hot curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 piece of salmon (I used collar)
- 3 eggs
- 100g peas
- Handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
Wash the eggs and place them with the fish in the front left compartment. Put the peas in the small foods tray and place in the front right compartment.
Fit all the lids and then set the timers - press rice then 30 minutes for the back, eggs then 16 minutes for the front left, vegetables then 10 minutes for the front right. Then press the Steam symbol and let it do its stuff.
When the timer goes off, peel and halve the eggs and flake the fish. Fluff the rice in a serving dish and add the peas and fish and stir through. Top with egg slices and parsley.
Ooh look - the Observer Food Monthly Awards are looking for nominations for Best Food Blog ... :)
@Pavel - Nope, the timer on the first section counted down from 30 to 16 and then the second timer started to count down. So when there was 10 minutes left, all three timers displayed 10. (I am more pedantic than you)
I HATE the price tag.
Do you think you'll use it's multi-steaming abilities much?
I always steam my spuds for mash, and could steam eggs in another steamer bit above them for when I make fish pie, brill idea... is 16 mins for hard or sticky eggs?
@josordoni - 16 minutes was for "hard steamed" eggs :)
I LOVE my steamer, it sits on top of the kitchen units and I have to get Ed to stand on a chair and bring it down.
I find some of the given cooking times are too long. But the spuds from it are amazing, as was the chicken I made. As well as being easy to make meals fat free it does not throw out as much heat as turning the oven or hob on. A bonus now summer has come back?
I am going to try some dim sum next and steamed buns.
Would you like to give me yours? ;-)
If you review a product a month for a year, won't you need to buy a new house to store them all?
You should totally try the slow cooker, I love my slow cooker, though it doesn't get used as much in summer...
What you could do is ask Dr Who if he could install a space-warp between our two kitchens so that I can step out of my kitchen door into yours and borrow your goodies.
I am a kitchen gadget freak - a serial offender, as you know ;¬) - but I have made a resolution not to buy things that can't be put away and take up a helluva lot of kitchen counter real estate. So I shall avoid this one and stick with my microwave and pan steamers.
(Sigh, been given a wine chiller/warmer device - top of the range, but although it works it's huge, kept in the utility room now and used only for the best of bottles!)
@effbeeee - Hehe - yes, a very good point - chuck it all in the same time and bob's your uncle.
@Kavey - I reckon I'm gonna have some very lucky friends and family ...
@chumbles - Thank you, sir. I try to tell it like it is :)
I always associated Morphy with curling tongs!! (until now!)
The bloody massiveness of kitchen appliances in general has been lately leading me to peruse Amazon's listings of multi-appliances: steamers that are also slow cookers that are also fryers that are also rice cookers and so on. Problem is, most of those seem to be Jacks of All Trades - ie. bloody useless at everything. Think I'll continue making do with the bambo pots and collanders atop pans of boiling water.
@Sarah, Maison Cupcake - Curling tongs! Lord, that takes me back!
@Alex - Shhh, I often still do that.
@Graphic Foodie - Ooh, love a mini-chopper :)
Would you mind giving me the dimensions, in cms?
That would help in deciding whether to buy (ordering online). Ta :)