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TIME FOR A NEW MODEL
My last microwave was made by manufacturers Belling and was a combination oven; meaning as well as microwaving food it cooked as a convection fan oven and could also grill. It lasted a long time. The first thing to fail on it was the grill. This didn't matter too much to me as I mostly used it as a microwave and fairly often as a convection oven. I used the facility of combining microwave and oven at the same time; it's not often that I use the grill in any microwave that I've owned or had the use of; therefore I continued to use it, until recently when it had become very noisy. I also noticed that a lot of heat seemed to be escaping from it and so thought it was time to purchase a new microwave oven.
As I have cooked using microwaves for many years now I knew, more or less, what I wanted. My search was for a microwave oven that was:
A combination type, meaning I wanted it to not only microwave but to also, grill and work as a convection oven.
Of a silver colour, although I preferred it not to be too shiny and therefore show up all fingerprints and marks. I prefer a matt effect over shiny when choosing most appliances as I find matt to be more practical.
A fairly large capacity (I generally cook for five and quite often for more).
I needed a large capacity oven.
Touch control. I find these controls on microwaves to be the quickest and easiest to use, especially for myself as I have some problems with hand dexterity.
Ease of opening and of closing the oven door. I have noticed with some of these appliances the doors can be stiff and need too much force to open or close.
Be of a brand that I believe to be good, reliable and of long lasting quality.
I decided to set my budget at no more than £200 in price, believing this to be adequate.
After looking at several microwaves I felt that the Panasonic NN-CT562MBPQ ticked these boxes.
WHERE TO FIND IT...
I looked at microwaves in the usual high street electrical stores such as Curry's and comet; this was before Comet became bankrupt. I also searched on-line. There were a few models I liked the look of but the one that seemed to tick all of the boxes for me, I thought, was the Panasonic NN-CT562MBPQ.
I did find that it was slightly cheaper to buy this model in some on-line stores and one that I have used is Co-op Electrical but I decided to purchase from a Curry's store as when I made this purchase I was out shopping and close to a Curry's store. I wanted to take the microwave home with me rather than order on-line and have to wait for it to be delivered. And so, Currys it was!
...AND HOW MUCH TO PAY
Co Op Electricals- £179.99
ABOUT THIS COMBINATION MICROWAVE OVEN
This oven is a slimline model although the oven space is still large. Looking at it one can appreciate its clever design. The glass turntable comes to the edge of the oven rather than being slightly set back from the door as it was in my Belling model. There is enough room inside for my very large, family dinner sized, Pyrex casserole dish. Apparently the depth of this slimline model compared to a usual and same capacity oven is 20% less although the cooking space capacity would be the same or similar. This has been achieved by placing the fan in the top instead of the back of the appliance thus reducing depth and keeping cooking space.
The NN-CT562MBPQ is an inverter microwave which means it will cook food more evenly than a conventional microwave as the heat is directed to the centre of the food and so the edges shouldn't get overcooked.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
The microwave oven comes with a glass turntable, a circular black baking tray (for use when using as a convection oven or combination of microwave and convection), a high wire rack (supplied for use with the grill facility) and there is, of course, an instruction booklet.
My last microwave also had a low wire rack which I used often for items such as jacket potatoes. I think a rack such as this would be useful with the Panasonic model.
The booklet is small, which means it doesn't take up too much room inside a kitchen drawer and it is therefore handy if/when needed.
I don't often use instruction booklets unless I have to but they are necessary. The booklet is useful; it contains a conversion chart for imperial weights to metric and a capacity guide e.g. one teaspoon=5 ml
It also contains all the safety and guidance jargon that might be needed but hopefully not, plus, of course, usage instructions, as well as safety guidelines and cleaning instructions.
I find the booklet easy to follow although luckily for me this microwave has similar controls as my last one did although it is more modern, in my opinion.
The booklet has a good selection of microwave recipes, including some for vegetarians. I thought these were easy to follow which, for me, is a great help; I don't really like following recipes but use them as a rough and quick guide on occasion, more to know how long certain dishes should be cooked for than adhering to a recipe.
USES OF THIS COMBINATION MICROWAVE
With this microwave I can defrost, roast, steam, grill, brown, steam or simply warm food up.
I actually use a microwave often to re-heat food, having a family who arrive home at various times from work, sometimes very late. Being able to quickly warm up a previously prepared meal is a great help, I find, not only for busy families but for anyone. If I cook dishes such as a casserole or pasta sauces I almost always cook more than is needed so that I can freeze some for a later date. This is economical and time efficient.
I also use the microwave function to heat frozen supermarket micro- meals occasionally.
As I have already said I don't use the grill very often but it still be useful at times for instance to grill cheese on toast or finish a dish off that simply needs browning, such as a lasagne. I have found the grill useful when my conventional oven is being used to capacity and I am using the top oven/grill as an oven.
I use the fan convection oven on its own or in combination with the microwave. I find this combination works especially well for cooking jacket potatoes; the microwave function ensures they are soft inside and does this much quicker than a conventional oven and the convection facility results in the jackets tasting as they would if cooked in a conventional way with crisper skins.
Even if my gas oven is on and there is space inside for the jacket potatoes to cook I still prefer to microwave them for a few minutes before using the conventional oven to give them a quick start and cut down the cooking time.
I use the oven facility for lots of things and really anything can be cooked in this. It is smaller than my gas oven and pre-heats quickly and as it's also a fan oven it cooks quickly as well.
I find combining the microwave useful when cooking jacket potatoes as these cook quicker in a microwave than in a conventional oven but I prefer the taste when cooked in a conventional oven, I therefore use the microwave on its own to start the potatoes off and then combine the two functions. I find this the easiest and nicest way to cook jacket potatoes.
In one respect I wasn't as thorough as I should have been in my research. Although I had a look at this microwave in store and opened and closed it a few times I was trying to see if it opened and closed easily, which it does, but I failed to realise that the door isn't hinged to open wider than just past 90 degrees. I think appliance doors are much better if set to open wider. Because the door doesn't open to around 180 degrees, this meant that placing items into the oven and removing them was awkward, especially in the case of heavy and steaming hot casserole dishes. My kitchen is currently being re-fitted and I have a lot more choice now as to the location of this appliance; now the door can open onto a wall meaning access is far easier. If I had kept to my former kitchen design then I would have regretted purchasing this model simply due to the door.
This oven has interior stainless steel lining which makes it easy to clean and to keep clean. The outside usually just needs a wipe with a slightly damp cloth and a quick wipe dry with a tea towel. I find it looks clean enough and doesn't mark much therefore, in my opinion, it is low maintenance. The glass turntable, wire tray and baking tray are easy to remove to clean.
As well as being slimline and using inverter technology, this microwave has an auto defrost function. If, for example, you want to defrost a pack of sausages you enter the weight and type of food to be defrosted it will automatically defrost these without my having to work out how long this might take.
It also has an auto cook facility which works in a similar way.
I love the look of this microwave oven. The matt silver look goes well in my kitchen.
This appliance is very easy to use. I'm not technical and only like to read instructions to get the gist of things and would hate to have to trawl through a manual before using an appliance. A short read of the instructions should get any user started and then a glance here and there should be enough.
The touch controls are simple and feel comfortable to use.
The LCD display is easy to follow too.
Now that the door isn't a problem, I'm very pleased with my purchase.
This microwave is so easy to use, doesn't take up too much space, it's easy to maintain and, as it's a combination microwave, I can cook just about anything in it and quickly.
Another point to mention is that when in use it's very quiet.
Max. Power 1300 W
Oven power 1000 W
Capacity 27 litres
Material Stainless steel
Cooking modes Auto cook, defrost
6 power levels
Auto weight sensor
Dimensions 310 x 520 x 395 mm
Weight 13.5 kg
Manufacturer's guarantee-1 year
The Panasonic Slimline Combination Microwave Oven has been designed with a view to save valuable work top space in the kitchen.Panasonic completely redesigned the mechanics of the Microwave by reducing the depth of the oven by 20% when compared to an equivalent Panasonic model. The repositioning of the fan system in the roof of the oven rather than at its rear has dramatically reduced the depth of the oven. This means that you can enjoy the advantage of Microwave Grill and Convection heating in more compact kitchens which may feature narrower 500mm work surfaces. More importantly this has been achieved without reducing the usable cooking space inside the oven.Additional features include digital control Stainless Steel Lining and 13 auto programs.