With Cauliflower Cheese and Bread!
It appears that Steam is the IN THING when it comes to home cooking and baking, and I have been given the unique opportunity of testing one of the latest Steam Combination Microwave Ovens on the market – I’ve been testing the Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave NN-CS894S. Steam ovens have been around for a while, once only the playthings for affluent or famous chefs and professional bakers, their benefits are well documented, especially when it comes to cooking vegetables, fish and baking bread; steam or bursts of steam can improve the crusts and textures of all yeast-raised bread and delicate fish can be cooked in a gentle haze of steam when being baked, which enhances the flavour and keeps it moist, and by steaming vegetables in the oven, it cuts back in excessive “stove-top” pots and pans.
The Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave NN-CS894S is a marvellous beast! It’s sleek, modern without being too Damien Hirst and boasts an awesome selection of combination cooking and baking programmes. There was an INITIAL problem with fitting it into my kitchen, which is large and well fitted, but even so, a shelf had to be taken down in order to accommodate its rather tall dimensions – it’s 5cms taller than my old microwave, and needs a minimum of 15cms clearance around it. However, once it was slotted into its new home, it looked fabulous and has been used EVERY DAY since I received it over a week ago. So, what do you get for £499? You get a fabulously useful combination microwave oven that almost replaces the need for a big family cooker, especially when there is just the two of us. The Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave NN-CS894S offers the following features and programmes:
- A very large 32L flatbed oven, with no annoying glass turntable that goes round and round AND that cuts back on what you can cook and bake in a standard microwave oven.
- A handy 2-Level Convection Cooking facility – this means you can cook on TWO levels, just as you would in a normal oven, and I have cooked this way several times now.
- A 1300 watt Quartz Grill which means RAPID heating and is ready to grill in under a minute.
- Steam cooking – this is the icing on the cake with this oven, and provides healthier options for cooking fish, vegetables and poultry, as well as being a fabulous function for baking bread. The steam cooking can be constant, used as a “burst” of steam when needed or used in a combination of other functions such as convection cooking and grilling.
- A VERY easy to use programming panel – swipe and touch LCD display provides smart and easy operation with small icons to represent each cooking function: the functions on offer are – Steam; Convection; Microwave; Grill; Turbo-Cook; Timer and Clock; Chaos “Auto” Defrost; Auto Steam Programmes and Auto Sensor Programmes. I found it VERY easy to operate after only two cooking sessions, as all you have to do it touch the appropriate programme icon, and then slide the slider bar to set the time OR the weight of the food that is being cooked. There are also start and stop icons too.
- Five VERY handy accessories and recipe book – with each oven you get a concise operation manual and recipe book, glass tray, steaming trivet, wire shelf, enamel shelf and drip tray. When steaming vegetables, as I did when I made my cauliflower cheese, you just sit the prepared vegetables on the steaming trivet over the glass drip tray and away you go – I WILL be featuring several recipes over the next few weeks where I used this method of cooking, but suffice to say, my raw cauliflower was cooked to the par-boiled stage as need for cauliflower cheese in 10 minutes. (There is also a water tank too)
- Self-cleaning panels – this combination microwave oven is also simple to clean with catalytic self-cleaning and fluoric coating on the walls and roof of the cavity, making it simple to wipe away grease and grime – this was an absolute Godsend after my butter splattered everywhere when making my cheese sauce!
- Intelligent cooking technology – it boasts the latest microwave technology that features intelligent Sensor Cooking option that makes preparing perfectly cooked food even easier. Simply select the type of food you want to cook, rather than inputting a time, power or weight, and the sensor analyses the humidity inside the oven, letting you know the exact moment your food is ready to eat.
One of the most exciting aspects about the oven, for me at least, was the facility to be able to bake bread and cakes; the convection function can be heated up to 240 degrees centigrade and circulates hot air around the oven to bake everything to perfection, and with that extra burst of steam, my home-made bread was baked to perfection. (I normally add a bowl of hot water to the oven when baking bread) The water for the steam is added to a water tank that sits under the oven to one side – on the opposite side there is a drip tray that captures the excess water that is created from the steam. Thus far I have roasted a chicken, baked bread, made cauliflower cheese and steamed vegetables with fish for healthy diet meals, and I simply love the oven – it’s perfect for everyday cooking when there are only the two of us. It would also be very handy for a family, as I mentioned before, the large flat-bed cavity provides greater cooking space which can save you time and money by cooking two dishes simultaneously.
I will be sharing several recipes over the next few weeks with you, all of them have been cooked in the Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave NN-CS894S, you can also cook them in normal oven too, of course, but I do urge you to consider buying this amazing oven if you are in the market for a new microwave oven! Karen
Cooking Power: (IEC) 1000W
Dimensions: H39 x W49.4 x D43.8cm
Oven capacity: 32L
Disclaimer: I was sent the Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave NN-CS894S for free and in return for an honest and unbiased review; all views and opinions are my own and I was not paid to write this post. I shared this review with my readers as I was very impressed with the performance and ease of use with this combination steam microwave oven.
My first recipe using this oven and coming soon will be:
Read Jan’s (A Glug of Oil) review for this oven here:
These were also baked in the oven: