Review: The Remoska energy-saving oven
If you cook for just one or two people you might be wasting a lot of gas and electricity. Maria McCarthy road tests an energy-efficient alternative.
Cooking a jacket potato, warming up a pie, making a fish bake – sometimes it feels like such a waste of money heating up a whole oven when you're only cooking something small.
And it was when checking on a lone potato in the oven that I finally decided to take the plunge and buy a Remoska.
The Remoska is an electric mini-oven from the Czech Republic and it is positively miserly with electricity.
It costs only 7p per hour to run as opposed to the 14p an hour the Energy Saving Trust says it cost to run the average oven.
It's clear from reviews that the Remoska has legions of devoted fans, but at £109.99 for the Standard model and £149.99 for the Grand, I was concerned about making an expensive mistake.
However, I shouldn't really have been worried as the cooker is only available in the UK from Lakeland, the kitchen and homewares retailer.
And the Lakeland Guarantee states that if you buy a product and don't like it, you can simply send it back, no questions asked.
Predictably, my first attempt at cooking with my Remoska was indeed a jacket potato.
And I can say without hesitation it was the best I've ever cooked - light, fluffy and done to perfection.
I was particularly impressed by how following the recipe instructions on timing meant I could leave it unattended, return at the stated time and find it was ready to eat.
There was no having to stand over it on the stove or grill and it was the same experience when I came to cook sausages.
I simply left them on the rack, turned them once and they were cooked through and browned to perfection - as opposed to the 'raw on the inside, charred on the outside' combination it's so easy to end up with.
Next, I tried roast chicken and vegetables – another triumph.
And a fish bake worked particularly well, partly because the cooking smells were far less than you'd get from a conventional oven.
On a practical note, it is important to note that as the heating element of the Remoska is in the lid - it gets extremely hot and removing it should be done carefully.
My approach is to have a large bread board nearby and place the lid upside down on the board when taking food out.
It's also important for the lid not to be placed in water – just wipe it down after cooking.
There are additional items such as a rack, pan separator and shallow pan available.
I've found the latter useful for some dishes but they're not essential at the beginning. The Remoska Cooking book is, however.
It's full of recipes adapted to the Remoska and got me off to a confident start, though in the future I'm planning on adapting my tried-and-trusted favourite recipes to it.
I've had my Remoska for a couple of weeks now and I've turned from a cautious sceptic into a complete gushing fan.
It will never become one of those sad, neglected kitchen gadgets that, after an initial honeymoon period, ends up gathering dust at the back of a cupboard.
My Remoska is on my worktop and it's there to stay!