5th Feb 2016
Sammy Foot, BarrKitchens Designer - on Steam Ovens:
Rice sticking to the bottom of the pan?
Unexpectedly al dente veggies?
Too many pans on the go, which you must hover despite longing join your guests for a glass of vino?
Essential vitamins and minerals zapped out of everything, despite that new years resolution to eat 2-3 portions of fish/week & 4 portions of veg a day, to get you looking and feeling the best you’ve ever been?
If only there was something that could give you all of that, and more, without having to try or stress... Welcome to the wonderful world of the steam oven.
Whenever I mention a steam oven to my clients, or they come to me saying they’d like one but haven’t got the foggiest about what it really does or whether it’s really worth the money, I wish I could just cook them up a three course dinner there and then and let the results alone answer their doubts. I’m sure once everyone understands the beauty behind a steam oven, undoubtedly they will soon become a kitchen appliance staple, which will revolutionise your way of cooking.
So, what is a steam oven?
As it states really, an oven with injected steam. The way in which it works allows it’s contents to be enveloped in moisture, locking in all of the essential nutrients and flavour, creating not only beautifully tender and juicy dishes, but retaining those all important vitamins and minerals which can be lost so very easily through boiling (50% less negative impact in fact!).
There are various different forms of the steam oven: built-in, countertop and combination (which is a marriage of a conventional and a steam oven). A combination steam oven can either be used with each of the functions independently or in combination, giving you even more flexibility eg. succulent roast chicken with a crispy skin!. A steam oven can be incorporated into any kitchen, either by integrating alongside your other appliances or, if built-in space is a premium, a free-standing steam oven can sit perfectly on the worktop.
Quite literally anything can be cooked in a steam oven; fish, seafood, meat, potatoes, rice and pasta, vegetables & fruit, boiled eggs, soups and innumerable desserts. It can be used for baking cakes, making yoghurt, proving yeast dough, blanching, skinning, even juicing or melting chocolate.
It also takes the place of a microwave; offering a more natural alternative for reheating (even your last night’s takeaway; no more moisture sucked out by the microwave), defrosting becomes fast and easy and sterilizing baby bottles or jam making vessels is a doddle. If you’re really out to impress your dinner guests at the end of a meal you can even use a steam oven to heat flannels.
We have all worried about combining food such as fish and delicate desserts in the same oven. All you have to do for example is pop your rice in one of the trays, with a yummy stock for added flavour, your veggies in another tray, your piece of salmon on another, together with any added garnishes, and even your dessert in a final tray! You can rest assure that there will be no intermingling flavours and smells (yes, even salmon with your vanilla poached pears!).
A steam oven allows one to not only reduce what is cooking on the hob (and the size of your hob altogether - a domino hob will suffice), but allows you to just stick everything into the oven, go have that glass of wine and chat to your guests in peace. Even if you have one too many or end up engrossed in Julia’s love life, fear not that your food has either burnt to a cinder or it’s created a rubber welly of a joint of beef, because the steam oven will keep everything nicely warm with flavours locked in and without overcooking. At last you really can forget those ‘Oh S@*#t, the supper!’ moments!