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I got rid of my old cooker about six months ago due to the fact that it had completely broke. It came out of the blue as I did not expect it to break, and as I have a family, a wife and two kids, this was a major disaster, and this was one item in my home which would need replacing immediately. Although I should of known that my cooker would break as it was a second hand gift from a family member, when I first moved in with my family.
It was one of the old styled cookers, the one's you do not really see around much anymore, but it did do a wonderful job for me, and I cooked my family, many great meals on it. But when it finally packed in I decided it was time to try something a little better, a more up to date cooker that would not only look great in my kitchen, but also be much easier to cook on.
So after having a look around for a decent cooker, it was this Hotpoint electric cooker which I finally decided to buy. This cooker looks really modern and nice, and it fitted into my kitchen wonderfully, it has the main fan oven at the bottom, with a grill above, and the four ceramic hobs at the top, and the stainless steel handles which makes opening doors easy. The grill and oven have glass windows which for some reason do not steam up when cooking, which makes it really easy to check on your food whilst it is cooking, this does make cooking much easier, especially compared to my old cooker.
Another great thing about this cooker is that it came with a five year guarantee, so I know that if it breaks in this time it will not be to much trouble to me and my families life. There is a spare metal handle which can be used for taking things out of the oven or grill, it connects to the oven and grill trays making the process of handling hot trays easy. The hobs turn up hot and back down really fast, which makes cooking nice meals very easy, compared to my old styled cooker this one resembles a gas cooker and works just as easily.
My only problem with this cooker is that when spillages from boiling pans or sauces, do by accident splash on the cooker surface, it does leave a stain afterwards, nothing major, I mean it still cleans up well and looks good, but you can notice little marks where the spills were. The grill is fantastic and heats up really well, the only problem with grill is the fact you have to keep a eye on your food so it doesn't burn, which is not really a problem at all.
This cooker is really easy to clean, and even after preparing the messiest of meals, you can wipe and scrub this cooker down with ease. I paid around £500 for this cooker, which is a lot of money for me really, but I can confidently say that so far it has been worth the money I spent completely. It is a great cooker, it looks good, and does a great service when cooking on it, and I would highly recommend this cooker to anybody who is thinking about purchasing.
It's one of the immutable laws of nature that as soon as you start buying new appliances, existing ones will all start to give up the ghost. So, within the space of a few months we have bought a new dishwasher and subsequently needed to replace both the fridge freezer and our cooker. The washing machine doesn't sound too healthy either...
The Hotpoint HUE61K was our ultimate choice of freestanding electrical cooker, based on its size, appearance and features. After comparing prices online, we found Boots Appliances to be amongst the cheapest, after factoring in the delivery charge. Taking into account the extra Advantage Card points this would earn, as well as cashback by buying via Topcashback.co.uk, Boots ended up slightly undercutting the competition.
We paid £418.99 (including delivery) in November 2010 but it is well worth comparing prices online as they varied by well over £100 between different sites.
This cooker is a traditional looking design that should fit in with most kitchens, with a main fan oven at the base and a combination grill/top oven at the top, underneath four ceramic hobs. This is a 60cm wide model with large stainless steel handles to open both the main and top oven. It is predominantly black which was a deliberate choice as a colour unlikely to show up fingerprints or any dirty marks quite as much.
Both the top oven and main oven have a large transparent glass door which, unlike my previous model, doesn't tend to steam up during cooking - making it easy to keep a visual check on progress inside. The dials and timer controls are all logically positioned at the top on the front of the cooker, making them convenient to access and keeping them out of the range of splashing and spitting pots and pans.
===Set Up and Instructions===
Like all modern cookers, this does not come fitted with a plug and needs to be correctly (and safely) connected to the mains electricity supply by a qualified electrician. This cost us £30, including disconnection of our previous cooker.
Once connected, the cooker was pretty much good to go! The hobs all turned on instantly but we did have a minor panic as the main oven wouldn't immediately switch on. Turns out you need to set the clock (even to just 0:00) before the oven will begin to work. We did notice that the hobs and the main oven gave off a slightly unpleasant chemical smell for quite a few days to begin with, as they burnt off all of the dust and residue from production and storage. Once cleared, though, this only smells if I've let something spill on to one of the hobs and forgotten to clean it off!
The cooker comes complete with a standard 12 month manufacturer's warranty as well as a parts guarantee for a further five years (although that offer is subject to fairly extortionate labour and call-out charges.)
The accompanying user manual is fairly clear and comprehensive, giving useful advice about usage, maintenance and troubleshooting. The only minor issue is that the booklet covers a number of different Hotpoint models so there are some features referred to that aren't applicable to my cooker. I got excited at one point as I discovered that my new appliance had 'solarplus' technology, only to realise that this didn't actually apply to my model.
===Grill and Top Oven===
Despite viewing this cooker in person before deciding to purchase it, we hadn't had the opportunity to look inside. I was disappointed to discover that the grill pan provided didn't have an integrated handle - instead the pan comes with a separate, quite flimsy looking metal handle that simply hooks over the edge of the pan. I really don't like this style of handle although it seems quite commonplace on modern cookers and, to be honest, I would probably not have bought this cooker for that reason alone, had I realised. Having said that, I have soon got used to removing and detaching the handle between uses although I still don't think it feels as safe and sturdy as using a standard grill pan with a handle firmly attached.
The grill and top oven are both easy to operate and have separate dials to set the temperature, only it can only be operated as either a grill or an oven at any one time. I rarely use the top oven feature but it can be handy as a keep-warm facility for larger meals. I did use it for Christmas dinner for example and found it straightforward and reliable, despite not having a fan like the main oven.
As a grill, I would recommend following the advice in the manual and pre-heating before use. I've made cheese on toast without pre-heating and it seems to take an age with absolutely nothing happening and then, within a split second, the toast is completely black! A few minutes pre-heating avoids this problem and toasting is quick and problem-free.
The ceramic hobs are surprisingly fast to heat up and seem to distribute heat evenly, making cooking on them fairly straightforward. Out of the four hobs, one is larger - so ideal for cooking with a wok or large frying pan. There is also a split sized hob, giving the option of either cooking on a single (small) sized hob or larger size, so the hobs are fairly versatile especially when cooking large amounts and with different sized pans.
Once a hob has been turned on, the top of the oven has a series of red lights which correspond to specific hobs and act as a warning that the area is hot. This light remains illuminated for several minutes after the hob has been switched off, until the hob is completely cool and safe to touch. This is an excellent safety feature in a household with children like ours.
I tend to use the main oven a lot and take full advantage of the large viewing window and the fan which does tend to speed cooking up considerably. I was surprised by how quiet this model is in use though as the fan makes hardly any noise, unlike our old cooker that sounded as though it was about to take off! Inside the oven, there are a good number of shelf positions so the shelves can be repositioned easily to accommodate larger joints of meat etc.
This cooker comes complete with several timing functions. The one I use most frequently is the 'minute minder' function, which is essentially just a basic timer that sounds an alarm after a selected number of minutes has elapsed but doesn't automatically turn the oven off. I find this useful when making things like fairy cakes with the kids, so that I don't lose track of the time and I get the chance to check that the cakes are ready without the cooker automatically switching off. It's also handy if different items require different lengths of time to cook as I can set the timer to remind me in case I get distracted. The buzzer itself is a good volume - loud enough to be heard in the next room but not piercing enough to disturb a sleeping baby, for instance.
There is also a timer setting that will automatically turn the cooker off after a pre-set amount of time. My favourite feature, though, is the delayed start function which involves setting a total cooking time and then entering a desired end time. I do sometimes find it a little irritating trying to calculate these as I'm used to just bunging things in the oven but it is a great little feature, especially for the evening meal when I'm often tied up feeding my youngest and don't always get the chance to put things in the oven at the ideal time. Once pre-set the cooker will just switch itself on (and then off) as if by magic! Once the cooking time has completed and the alarm has been switched off, you do need to turn the oven off manually too as it will just switch itself back on otherwise (as the dial has to be manually set to a cooking temperature for this delayed timer function to operate.) The user manual doesn't mention this, so it's clearly not idiot proof! (Fortunately, this particular idiot was only baking jacket potatoes and not cakes when she discovered this!)
The only difficulty with the various timer settings is that they are all operated via the same button. This means that each setting uses different symbols that alternate with every press of the button. To start with I found it really difficult to remember which symbol represents which setting so found myself constantly having to refer back to the user manual to check. After using the various settings for the past few months, I have now got used to the symbols though and do find the different options to be incredibly useful.
===Ease of Cleaning===
One of the reasons we chose this model above others was due to the smooth top and the lack of any obvious ridges and other nooks and crannies where dirt and food spillages can collect and congeal. All of the hobs are easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth after use and I have been treating them with hob brite on a regular basis, as recommended in the manual. I'm pleased to say the top of the cooker still looks in great condition. There is one very tiny little water spot that I can't get rid of on one of the front hobs, which may have been caused by using a saucepan with a wet base but otherwise, this has remained in excellent condition, despite regular use.
I also like how the temperature dials have little rings that can be pulled back slightly, meaning that it is possible to clean behind them. This is really useful as I found this was a place where cooking debris and grime tends to build up and it is usually quite tricky to clean behind the dials.
The oven sides have supposed 'stay clean' technology as they contain specially treated liners which claim to destroy any grease or dirt residues when the oven is operated at 220 degrees. That's quite a high cooking temperature though, especially for a fan oven, so it's rarely used at that setting. Even so, the sides have remained surprisingly clean looking and I have only really needed to keep on top of the base of the oven (lined with a 'magic oven liner' which I bought separately) and the glass oven door.
Cooking items such as a Sunday roast and Toad in the Hole on a regular basis, I did notice that the interior of the glass oven door got soiled very quickly. I was reluctant to use any harsh abrasives or strong chemicals and initially tried sponging down the door with hot soapy water and a cloth which didn't manage to shift it. A quick look through the user manual revealed that the manufacturers recommend using a fine steel wool pad to remove stubborn debris. I was a little apprehensive as I've always considered those sorts of pads to be a harsh, old-fashioned kind of product and I didn't want it to be too abrasive on my shiny new appliance. Amazingly, the soap pads did the trick with ease removing even burnt on stains with hardly any scrubbing, and cost next to nothing for a huge pack from Wilkinson so there is no excuse not to keep this oven looking immaculate!
In all, I'm really pleased with this cooker from Hotpoint. It is straightforward to operate with a good range of features, especially the various timer functions. I also find it easy to clean and maintain, which is a bonus. The only noticeable drawback is the grill pan handle but, on balance, I'm glad that we weren't put off by the lack of an integrated handle and decided to purchase this model. I would definitely recommend the Hotpoint HUE61K to any household looking for an electric fan cooker.
With all the cooking features you need for great home meals and producing fantastic food, the reliable and user friendly Hotpoint HUE61K Electric Cooker , sleek and stylish in a black finish, is a gourmet's delight! With a roomy, 65-litre fanned main oven offering even, stable heat and a 35-litre conventional top oven with variable electrical grill, combined with a fast-heating four-element ceramic hob, the Hotpoint HUE61K Electric Cooker makes cooking everything from a full-course meal to a simple snack easy as pie! Incorporate a programmable electronic timer, easy to operate front-mounted controls and stay-clean catalytic liners for easy maintenance, and you'll understand why the AA-rated Hotpoint HUE61K Electric Cooker will quickly become an invaluable, trustworthy appliance in your kitchen! Overview Type Freestanding Fuel Electric LPG option Kit included Hob Electric Number of elements 4 Oven Electric Number of cavities 1 Controls Programmable Yes Timer No Digital/LED display Yes Touch controls No Retractable dials No Hob Griddle No Wok burner No Warming plate No Pan supports Cast iron Elements Ceramic-glass Ignition system Automatic Hob lid Yes Safety features Flame Supervision Device (FSD) No Ovens Heat 1 x fan oven 1 x conventional oven Size Large (65+ litres) Capacity 39 L Energy rating A Energy consumption 0.6 kWh Viewing window No Interior light Yes Ease of cleaning Catalytic liners Safety features Automatic fan cut-off Grill Separate No Features Full-width Other information Storage drawer No Bar handles No Minimum distance required 650 mm Requires hardwiring Yes Dimensions 900 x 600 x 600 mm (H x W x D) /