Now that the new year is properly underway, many of us – me included – are doing our best to cook and eat more healthily. With all those mince pies and Baileys consumed over the Christmas period, it’s the perfect time to invest in a new small appliance or two, to make that healthy new start even easier to stick with. Here’s my pick of the best on the market right now, whether you’re a keen cook or someone who just likes to whizz up something speedy…
NINJA FOODIE MAX 9-IN-1 MULTI COOKER
With a large 7.5 litre capacity, big enough for families of six and entertaining friends at the drop of a hat, the OP500UK multi cooker offers a whopping nine cooking functions for quick and easy meals, snacks, sides and desserts. It can pressure cook, air fry, slow cook, steam, bake/roast, sear/saute, grill, yoghurt and dehydrate. It can cook and crisp a whole 3kg chicken for instance thanks to its TenderCrisp technology and it cooks meals up to 70% faster than traditional methods. I like the idea of the multifunctional cooking options and the time-saving benefits that make this an essential piece of kitchen kit.
NINJA 3-IN-1 FOOD PROCESSOR WITH AUTO iQ
Check out the BN800UKDB food processor too, which is a 3-in-1 design that works as a food processor, multi blender and personal blender in one for soups, smoothies and healthy juices that don’t need any complicated planning, as it comes with automatic one-touch control and programmes. The 1200W motor is powerful for pretty much any task while interchangeable attachments and stainless steel blades make light work of chopping, slicing, puréeing and blending even the toughest ingredients.
NINJA 2-IN-1 BLENDER WITH AUTO-iQ
Another nifty gadget is Ninja’s BN750UK blender, which is great for smoothies and sauces though I could be tempted to use it for cocktails too! This also has the automatic one-touch blending programmes that do all the hard work and it can cope easily with fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and ice.
PANASONIC 4-IN-1 COMBI STEAM OVEN
I’ve also got my eye on this new combination steam oven, which is ideal if you don’t have room or the inclination to install a built-in design. Sitting neatly on the worksurface, the NN-CS89, delivers healthy cooking, fast. You do get a lot for your money as it is a multi-function oven with four cooking methods – microwave, steam, grill and convection – so you can whip up all sorts of dishes and meals without having to use multiple pots, pans, steamers and other bits and bobs that frankly, just creates extra washing-up. The steam technology cooks food quickly with all the natural flavours and nutrients retained while added benefits include even heat distribution, automatic programmes and a Genius Sensor that takes the guesswork out of cooking times. Try it out with this grilled salmon and vegetables recipe, which is easy to make and looks delicious:
- 4 (150g each) salmon filets
- 50ml soy sauce
- 30ml maple syrup
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 500g green asparagus
- 2 onions
- Marinate the salmon fillets with the soy sauce and maple syrup. Set aside. To cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave oven, use MICRO POWER function and select 1.000W (High). Select cooking time of 5 minutes and press START. Cook until slightly tender. Let them cool. Cut diagonally across into slides. Set aside.
- Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade. To grill the salmon fillets in the microwave oven, touch GRILL, select Grill 2 (Medium) and touch the Set key. Swipe the slide bar to select cooking time of 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side) and touch START. Grill until opaque in the centre. Remove and keep warm.
- Add the sliced sweet potatoes and onions and grill at 200°C for about 5 minutes. Turn the sliced sweet potatoes, add the green asparagus and grill for another 5 minutes, turning the green asparagus frequently.
- Sprinkle the grilled salmon fillets and vegetables with salt and black pepper to taste. Reduce the rest of the marinade in a pot for 1 minute until thickened, and pour over the grilled salmon fillets.
CUISINART ENTERTAINING GRILL
Curious about the secret eating, dining and entertaining habits of the nation? Well Cuisinart’s recent survey reveals that a lot has changed lately and we are now cooking fresher and experimenting with new flavours more than ever before. One third of the UK regularly use fresh ingredients and cook from scratch while 53% now plan to entertain at least once a month at home and 40% are committing to eating healthier this year with over a quarter of us introducing more plant-based foods into our diet. The Entertaining Grill is a great way to keep up, as the large griddle can be used for everything from seared steaks and delicately grilled fish to stir-fried vegetables and noodles. Features include dual zone temperature controls, a built-in drip tray and an extra-large cooking surface with non-stick coating.