A steamer is one of those products that I've always had on my wishlist but could never justify buying because I wasn't sure how much use it would actually get used. But I said exactly the same thing about a breadmaker, a slow cooker and an Actifry and they've been in constant use ever since I got my hands on them. Well, the Morphy Richards Intellisteam looks like being exactly the same.
When Morphy Richards asked me if - as one of their Innovators - I'd like to try out the Intellisteam, I instantly saw my chance to try out a steamer but, to be perfectly honest, thought that I'd only be able to use it as a healthier, fat-free way of cooking chicken and fish and a great way of keeping the nutrients in vegetables. I didn't think it would be able to knock up family meals or get used on a daily basis.
But it's nothing like any of the other steamers I've ever seen in the shops. First of all, the capacity. It holds an amazing 8.2 litres which is plenty for 4 adults or, in our case, 2 adults and 3 kids. Secondly, the number of things you can cook at once and the variety of food items that can be prepared. When I saw that the Intellisteam was delivered with 1 rice tray, 1 x food plinth, 2 x sauce trays and 1 x removable divider wall, my initial reaction was "ooh, I didn't think you could cook sauces and rice in a steamer". (I should point out at this point that the only steamer I had used before the Intellisteam was one of the contraptions made of two superposed bamboo trays that you placed over a saucepan of water - not very high tech and not very inspiring !)
The Intellisteam can be adapted to suit your needs. It has a big compartment, which can be used with the food plinth to cook meat or fish or without for a large quantity of vegetables. Then it has two other compartments which can be used to cook rice, vegetables, noodles or -believe it or not - sauces. And there was me thinking steamed food had to be bland ! The two compartments can be made into one with the removable divider, again depending on your needs.
Then it starts getting clever. Each compartment has a separate, individually controlled heater so you can cook three different items with three different cooking times. But that's not all. Say you want to cook fish for 15 minutes, potatoes for 35 minutes and peas for 10 minutes. The Intellisteam really is intelligent as it will set each compartment off at staggered times so that they're all ready at the same time. How cool is that ? Even better is, there's no mad panic when it's ready because there's an automatic "keep warm" function that will keep everything piping hot for 40 minutes. This makes it just as convenient as the slow cooker for getting a complete meal on the table with minimal fuss when you've just got in from work.
Programming the Intellisteam is really simple and actually a lot of fun - I guarantee your kids and husbands will want to get involved ! The timer has a whole line of pictures and you select the correct food type for each compartment then push on the button to start cooking. The Intellisteam is preprogrammed to set the cooking times for these food items, but you can also finetune the cooking times by pushing the buttons, once you've experimented and got a better idea of how long things take to cook. You can also save your personalised cooking times for future use.
The whole principal behind a steamer is, obviously, steam so you have to pour in about 2 litres of water before you start. Things are made simple by a maximum/minimum level and also a gauge on the front of the steamer. If you realise you need to add more water during cooking, once the grease/water tray and compartments have been placed on top of the water recipient, that's not a problem because there's a special opening to allow you to do this when in use. Just in case you still mess up, there's a boil dry safety cut-out and alarm.
The Intellisteam is an expensive piece of kit to splash out on and, I have to admit, before trying it out, I probably wouldn't have parted with that amount of money to buy one. But I have been absolutely amazed at how versatile but also time saving (not to mention hassle-saving) it is and it will be used a lot more than I first intended. I haven't had much time for trying it out over the summer because we've been off gallivanting around all over the place (Turkey, Brittany, my parents') but now that we're back - and especially as I'm now embarking on a weightloss/healthy eating plan - it will be in constant use. There's a recipe book included and also various recipe suggestions on the Morphy Richards website (here) so have a look at those - I'm sure you'll be amazed at some of the ideas. I'll keep you posted here on my blog too as we get more adventurous.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £99.99
for more information : http://www.morphyrichards.co.uk/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=48780
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