the new tefal cook4me is a pretty comprehensive piece of kit for your kitchen. an all-encompassing slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker and soup maker, the lcd multicooker promises to be a wizard in your kitchen so you don't have to be.
coming with 50 pre-programmed recipes, i was sent the new appliance to give one or two of them a go myself. would this be the end of my food blogging journey? would the next 50 blog posts be picture of this little fella, with no other input from my fair (ish) hands?
set out in starters, light bites, mains and desserts, the tefal cook4me recipe book had the likes of steamed salmon, casserole, tacos, bread and butter pudding and even crème brûlée. i know, right?
what i firstly loved about the booklet is i didn't have to do any maths. with most recipes serving 4, my dividing by two skills are second to none for myself and my boyfriend's meals. on the other hand, this is no reason alone to spend £250 on a magic machine. how would it fare in the cooking department?
i took the ingredients part very seriously by measuring, stirring, crumbling and chopping everything to the precise amount. i mean, you don't do that for every recipe do you? you do? oh.
with a sleek outer and surprisingly lightweight feel, the inside has a sturdy base with non stick removable 6 litre cooking pot. there is also a steamer basket for the recipes which require it, a matt coating and a metal steamer lid which is detachable for cleaning.
with a cute little robotic beep, the cook4me was on. after a 5-10 minute warm up, i was instructed to add in the sunflower oil and onions. there was no timer on the browning part so i had to stand over and watch this part, which i think may have defeated the object of it as i felt like i was still standing over a pan.
next, when i was happy the onions had softened, i was to add the celery, stock and bay leaves. i think it would be really good if the gadget came with a set of utensils, such as a teflon coated spoon or spatula for the browning and mixing of ingredients.
with all the ingredients except the stilton in, i was instructed to lock the lid and start the ten minute timer. at this point, you can delay the cooking so that you could handily have your dinner ready for a particular time. although by this time, the preparing and cooking had taken more like 30 minutes, so i think it should be made more clear that the 10 minutes doesn't include the warm up, browning the onions and so on.
whilst the soup cooked, the house soon filled with the inviting and homely smells. another melodic beep 10 minutes later and the soup was ready. i was excited. like i was about to open an air-locked time capsule or something.
upon opening the cook4me, the delicious scent of the aromatic bay leaves and earthy celery was mouthwatering. as the ingredient proportions suggested, the amount served two perfect portions which i ate with crusty bread and crumbled over the stilton to melt slightly.
the flavours were delicious and hearty, with a moreish taste which left me mopping up the bowl. on the other hand, i think a blending mechanism within the appliance would have been very beneficial. although the celery and onions had softened, the stock still felt very separate from the clear broth-like consistency with chunky veg dotted about and i would have loved it to have thickened up and blended.
from my first experience, i would recommend the cook4me to someone who is already looking for a slow cooker, steamer and rice cooker and so on, as it would work out as a great investment and take up less kitchen space.
for me, i think i'd be a tougher customer since i love everything about the experience of cooking, even if there is more risk of things going wrong, ingredients all over the floor and more washing up at the end of it. that said, i have used it since for rice cooking and reheating - for which it was fantastic as i don't have a microwave and hate standing over a pan of rice. next on my list is steamed fish and another go at their soup... watch this space.
what are your thoughts on multicookers and all in one kitchen gadgets? do you have any appliances you just can't live without?
note: i was sent a tefal cook4me for purposes of review. all opinions are honest and my own, i was not expected to write a positive review or otherwise.