As a must-have appliance in any kitchen, modern fridges have made remarkable advancements over the years. A far cry from the bulky boxes of yesteryear, today’s fridges are designed to keep food fresher and make lives easier – and look good doing it. Automatic Defrosting Apart from having to take all your food out into room temperature for defrosting, ice build-up in your fridge can be a huge pain to get rid of. But with automatic defrosting, we have an innovative solution to this problem. By cycling between cooling and short periods of slight warming, a fridge with automatic defrosting ensures you don’t lose valuable storage space every few months. Power Failure Systems Though it may not happen often, a power failure can cost you a whole month worth of groceries in one go. State-of-the-art insulation technologies can guarantee minimal warming in the event of a power failure, with some models able to keep food fresh for up to 12 hours. They can also come with a battery powered thermostat and warning system, telling you whether the food inside is still safe. Smart Temperature Control A great feature both for maintaining freshness and conserving energy, many modern fridges monitor the temperature in multiple areas of the interior and automatically adjust when there is restricted airflow. Further, because there is no ideal one-size-fits-all temperature, compartments for different food types can be set individually, ensuring everything stays tasting the way you bought it. Water and Ice Dispenser A consistently popular feature, water and ice dispensers ensure chilled water and ice are available 24/7, perfect for when both guests and hot days are unexpected. These are great for saving on your power bill too, as they mean your fridge loses less cold from frequently opening the door. While these have been available for a while, keep a look out for modern advancements such as water filtration systems and space saving designs. Antibacterial Protection Since bacteria growth is what spoils food, keeping it at bay is the purpose of a fridge. More than just slowing it down with cold, however, many modern models come with antibacterial lining that further assists with keeping your food fresh, delicious and safe to eat.
With coffee displacing tea as Australia’s pick-me-up of choice, it’s no surprise that coffee machines are becoming more and more popular in Australian homes.
Choosing one that’s right for you can be a confusing task with the huge range available. Perhaps the biggest decision to make is whether to go with an automatic or manual machine.
The benefits of an automatic machine that it’s easy to use, consistent and quick. And does it ever come in handy for that round of coffee and cake after a dinner party! Automatic machines let you wow your guests with ease and let you get back to being a good host as quickly as possible. If you consider yourself a real coffee aficionado, however, an automatic machine is as much a heinous crime as wine in a box is for wine lovers.
A manual machine and a little bit of artistry can make a truly mind-blowing cup of coffee to make your day and impress absolutely anyone.
One recent innovation in coffee machines is the introduction of pod machines. These machines combine the best worlds of automatic machines and gourmet flavours. Using one is as easy as inserting a pod into the machine, pressing a button and enjoying some world class coffee.
Further functionality is best determined by how a good cup of coffee fits into your lifestyle. Those who need to dash out the door early in the morning will certainly appreciate a machine that accommodates a thermos, while those who like to leisurely sip a few cups over the morning news may enjoy a machine with warming trays to keep their hot coffee hot.
Finally, taking your décor into consideration will be an important step in choosing a coffee machine. Even if you don’t care how it looks, coffee often serves as the grand finale to a dinner party and as such, the coffee machine itself needs to impress. Many people agonise over the perfect machine to be the focal point in the kitchen or dining table as much as they would over carpets and curtains. Thankfully, most manufacturers are well aware of this fact and an ugly coffee machine is a rare find – you definitely won’t find one in our stores, at least!
Coffee machines aren’t like other appliances where only one or two features are most people’s main deciding factors. Indeed, everyone likes their coffee a certain way and finding the perfect machine is less about “bigger and better” and more about making it a truly personal choice.
We sure had some tasty entries for our competition to find Australia’s best and most convenient microwave recipes! Thank you to everyone who shared their microwave recipes. It was definitely a challenge for us to pick only three. Congratulations to each of the three winners: Cristina Arganese, Helen, and Anna Cotter. You’ve each won a Panasonic 27l Microwave! Check out the delicious winning entries below.
Microwave Salmon o Leekie
Entered by Cristina Arganese Serves 2 1 leek, finely sliced 500 ml vegetable stock 250gm basmati rice 300 gm salmon fillet, cut into chunks Finely grated zest of lemon and juice Handful parsley Put leek into a large microwave dish with 4-5 tablespoons of the vegetable stock. Cover with cling wrap, pierce the plastic with a knife. Microwave on high for 5 mins. Uncover the dish. Stir in the rice and remaining stock into the leek mixture. Recover with cling wrap (pierce the plastic again). Cook for 13-15 mins, stirring half way through, until rice is cooked. Add salmon, cover again. Cook for another 5 mins. Stir in parsley and lemon juice and zest. Let stand for 5 mins before serving.
Microwave Plum Pudding
Entered by Helen 1 400 gram jar of fruit mince (from any supermarket) 250 grams brown sugar 250 grams self raising flour 3 eggs – beaten 150 grams marmalade 1/4 cup of sherry or brandy 120 grams chocolate melts 1 tablespoon mixed spice Mix all ingredients together. Line a microwave proof bowl with baking paper. Pour in mixture and cover top with baking paper. Cook on medium for 20 minutes. If skewer doesn’t come out clean cook for 5 minutes more. I cook this often, putting it in the oven just as I serve the main course. Serve with cream, custard or icecream.
Microwave Golden Syrup Pudding
Entered by Anna Cotter 2 tablespoons golden syrup 90g plain flour 2.5 teaspoons baking powder 2 large eggs 125g caster sugar 125g butter, softened In a 1-litre microwave safe mixing bowl, add the golden syrup, turning to coat the bottom and sides of the bowl. In a separate bowl, place the remaining ingredients and beat well for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the mixture on top of the syrup and spread evenly. Cover loosely with glad wrap and cook in the microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and sit for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a warmed plate and serve hot with hot custard and extra syrup and fruit. YUMMY! My kids LOVE it 🙂
For many of us, defrosting a refrigerator or freezer is still a fairly vivid memory. Whether you removed the build-up of ice via melting or chiselling, it’s always an annoying and time-consuming task. While it may seem counter-productive to have a heater inside a fridge, frost-free fridges use this relatively recent innovation to help eliminate this problem. Frost forms in a fridge because the moisture in the air condenses against the cooling coils and then freezes. The more frequently the door is opened, the more moisture is let in and the faster frost builds up. As it accumulates, you’ll quickly find less and less space is available to store food. In a frost-free fridge, the solution is simple. That is, periodically raise the temperature to melt the ice. The execution, however, is slightly more complicated. For a frost-free system to work, a fridge needs a heating coil, timer and temperature gauge. The timer starts the heating coils typically every 6-12 hours to start the process. Since the rate of frost accumulation can vary depending on how much moisture is allowed in during that period, the temperature gauge is there to ensure the heating coils turn off just as all the defrosting is completed. If it was determined by the timer and stayed warmed for a set period, it becomes likely that frost builds up faster than it can be eliminated, or the fridge be heated for longer than necessary. All the liquid water from the melted ice then gets drained to an evaporator tray to dry up, typically located at the bottom or back of the fridge. Occasionally, this drain can itself become frozen, causing the water to pool at the bottom and freeze over again. Left unchecked, this can be just as big a problem as normal frost, though most fridges will come with tools to easily correct the situation. It’s also worth noting that a frost-free fridge regularly raises the temperature slightly above 0°C by necessity. This means that the cabinet, especially areas closest to the heating coils if food isn’t properly stacked, will go through cycles of relative warmth. For most foods, the effect is negligible but it’s always worthwhile to arrange the contents of your fridge to facilitate the flow of air within. Some frost-free fridges try to mitigate this by installing a fan which blows moist air out, meaning slower frost build-up and less heating time.
Toast is a quick and easy breakfast solution that everyone loves, which is why toasters are found in just about every modern home. Simply pop in a slice of bread and the toaster’s heating elements will brown it on both sides, then eject it once it has been toasted to the selected setting. The automatic pop-up toaster has been around since the early twentieth century, but since then several new features have been added, making this simple device handier than ever. Thermal sensors Early model toasters used a timer to enable users to control the degree to which their bread was toasted. The problem with this was that bread toasted in the first cycle was not as dark as those from subsequent cycles because the appliance had not yet warmed up. This led to the advent of thermal sensors that determined the level of toasting by the temperature of the toast itself. A bimetallic strip is the most common form of thermal sensor used in toasters. In addition to regular toasting, a toaster’s thermal sensors enable the appliance to provide the following conveniences:
- Reheating setting– when a slice of bread that has already been toasted is warmed without further browning it.
- Defrost function – to quickly and easily defrost breads and pastries directly from the freezer.
- Lift function – allows you to check your toast at anytime during the toasting process without interrupting the cycle.
- Multiple control settings that enable you to customise the browning level to suit your individual taste.
Capacity and Slot Size Over the years, toasters have not only become better, they’ve also gotten bigger. While 2-slice toasters were once the norm, it is now quite common to find toasters with a capacity for 4 or even 8 slices. No longer is sliced bread the only bread variety that can be browned-off in a bench-top toaster. Many modern toasters now come with more generously sized self-adjusting slots that enable you to toast most varieties of breads including bagels, muffins, baguettes, Panini and Turkish bread. Sleek and Stylish Designs The classic chrome box design toaster was once commonplace however, in more recent times manufacturers have started producing models for users looking for an appliance with a more stylish appearance. Brushed, polished and patterned stainless steel as well as coloured glasses and plastics are all now used for toaster exteriors, enabling you to coordinate the appliance with the rest of your kitchen decor. The toaster’s tradition wide-set body is also giving way to sleeker, more slim-lined designs, giving them a more modern look, while freeing-up kitchen bench space.
Digital Controls Digital controls and LCD displays are the latest additions to the modern toaster. This technology if user friendly, enabling you to monitor the progress of your toast as well as allowing for customised precision toasting.
What is a Steam Microwave Oven?
The hottest new trend in microwaves is built-in steaming. Many people who already use their microwave to steam food are probably wondering what the difference is between regular microwaves and the new steam microwaves on the market. Here’s a quick run down on what steam microwave ovens are all about.
How Do Steam Microwaves Work?
Microwaves cook using radio waves that penetrate food, exciting fat and water molecules to heat them quickly and evenly. In a conventional microwave oven, food can be steamed by adding a small amount of water to food in a covered dish. The radio waves will then heat the water to produce steam.
Unlike using a regular microwave where you need to use a separate dish to steam your food, a steam microwave uses the entire oven cavity to steam its contents. This one convenient appliance combines the health benefits of cooking with steam with the power and speed of cooking with microwaves.
In fact, steam microwaves allow you to cook around 4 times faster than traditional cooking methods. Steam penetrates deeper into food, removing excess fat and salt while locking in more of the beneficial nutrients your body thrives on. Cooking with steam is also the gentlest method of cooking, preserving foods natural colours, flavour and textures. Therefore steaming not only makes more nutritious but also more delicious meals for you and your family.
Steaming allows you to prepare healthy meals with minimal use of oil. With obesity and related illnesses becoming more widespread, the steam microwave makes cooking low-fat meals fast and effortless for even the novice home cook.
Other Conveniences of Steam Microwaves
The generous size of steam microwaves enables users to steam on multiple tiers simultaneously (2 to 4 depending on the model), without the transfer of tastes between the levels. This means you save time by being able to cook sweet and savoury dishes in the one device all at the same time.
Many steam microwaves ovens also have convection oven and defrost functions. This means you can steam, microwave, defrost, bake, roast and grill all using one compact device, helping you to save space in your kitchen. Most steam microwaves also feature pre-programmed steam settings that intelligently select the most suitable temperature and cooking duration for particular foods, allowing you to cook with greater precision.
Use the pre-programmed menus to cook anything from vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood to rice, pasta and pastries with ease. With its versatility, efficiency and ability to help you create tasty, nutritious meals for your family, the steam microwave is a great investment for any home, particularly those with limited kitchen space.
Everyone loves the mouth-watering taste and aroma of freshly baked bread. Imagine, being able to enjoy this experience anytime you want to, right in your own home: with home bread making machines this is now possible. There are many advantages to baking with a bread maker rather than buying bread from the shops. Convenience Traditional bread-making methods can be messy, time consuming and hard work. Breadmakers are an all-in-one bench top device capable of mixing, kneading and baking bread, saving you the time and hassle that usually goes into making bread. The machine will mix the ingredients, knead the dough, proof the dough at the optimal temperature then cook the bread to perfection, freeing you to do other things. If you choose to use a ready-made mix instead of measuring out your own ingredients, making your own bread in a breadmaker becomes even simpler. Just add water to the bread mix in the machine, select the cycle and push start then within a few hours your fresh, homemade loaf will be ready. Anything a bakery can produce, so can a breadmaker: Vienna bread, baguettes, Panini, bagels, sourdough, brioche, pizza bases – as long as you have the right ingredients the list is endless. You can program your machine to produce any shape and style of bread, the thickness of the surface crust and slice size. Some machines can even be programmed to add nuts or seeds to the mix at a certain time in the cycle. Machines include a timer you can set to make your bread at the time you choose. Wouldn’t it be great to wake up to a fresh, warm loaf of bread in the kitchen for breakfast? Nutrition Unlike store bought varieties, homemade breads contain no preservatives or artificial additives. As the bread-maker you can control exactly what goes into your loaf. For those with allergies or special dietary requirements, this is a significant advantage, so to is it fantastic benefit for anyone particularly conscious about what they are putting into their bodies. Cost Having a breadmaker saves you money in the long run. Bread is cheap to make and with a bread machine it is so easy to do, so why go to the expense of going to your local store and paying for something that is inferior in taste and quality? Food costs are on the rise and it seems that the more nutritious something is, the more it is going to cost you. In this context, having your own bread-maker makes real economic sense. Bread making is no longer the exclusive domain of professional bakers. Buy your family a bread machine today and start enjoying the homemade taste, nutrition and money-saving this handy appliance can provide.