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Food Homepage Slider Reviews — 18 February 2013

Dinner on February the 14th was a steamy affair. A really hot one. You see I was trying out the Tefal Compact Steamer – here’s how we got on…

Tefal VC135215 650 Compact Steamer - review on mummy rates it

I’m a big fan of healthy eating and am always trying to find ways to improve on our menus at home. A long time ago I used metal steaming containers but when the lid broke (  a spectacular smash on the floor) I reverted back to boiling with the intention of getting a new one. Of course I never did but it’s always been in the back of my mind that boiling our vegetables is reducing all important vitamin intake. Steaming food, as you probably know, retains more nutrients (particularly Vitamin C and Folic Acid) and is a great way of reducing fat and salt in your diet.

Sent for me to review by Littlewoods, The Tefal VC135215 Compact Steamer is an electric steamer that has 3 tiers and a 7 litre food capacity. Despite saying it was suitable for 2 people I found it was big enough for two adults and two kids and cooked far more vegetables than we would usually have on our plates.

I’ll admit I found the instructions frustrating as they were the all-picture type. I know they’re supposed to make things really easy but it took me ages to decipher the pictures. Once I managed to get the message not to overfill with water and not to pick up the containers with bare hands else a huge X would appear from above I got on with the job in hand.

The steamer comes with a little chart to tell you how long foods will take to cook and this in turn tells you how much water you need to put in. The display on the front of the machine works as a handy timer and once the time is up it turns itself off thereby preventing overcooking.

On this occasion I cooked rice, carrots and broccoli and all at the same time. The chart told me that my 300g of carrots and broccoli and 125g of rice would take 30 mins. I must admit I thought 30 mins seemed a long time for cooking vegetables but I guess this is where the electric and over-the-pan steamers vary.

All the items in place I was able to set about doing other things like clearing the table of debris. Of course I could have used the steamer to cook things like chicken, fish, eggs and even steamed some fruit for dessert too. Had I been preparing a feast or banquet (I save that for weekends) I would have found the hob completely free as everything was cooked over on the counter.

The real proof is of course in the eating. The crunchy/al dente factor of the broccoli and carrots was impressive and the veg certainly looked more appealing too. It was the rice that really shone through though. I quite often mess it up – it’s either too dry or too sloppy – but this came out absolutely spot on.

The steamer was still getting nods of approval after the meal had finished as the washing up was significantly easier than dealing with lots of saucepans. As the name ‘Compact’ implies the containers all packed away into a really small stack and sat on top of the base creating something that took up the same space as a large mixing bowl.

This particular steamer has over 60 very positive reviews on the Littlewoods website. Most say they use it daily and have given their pots and pans the heave-ho. So impressed was I that I rushed out to the library to get a ‘steamy’ cook book (I’m so over 50 Shades). I found a great little book called Healthy Recipes for your Steamer and I’m now looking forward to trying things like Leg of Lamb with Feta and Olives followed by Cherry Mallow Cookie Bars… yum.


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(1) Reader Comment

  1. I love our steamer – it’s an older Tefal version, I love the convenience is brings of bunging it on and then sitting down with a glass of wine instead of juggling timings of everything, Takes the stress right out of cooking, Never thought of a leg of lamb in it though!

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