* Prices may differ from that shown
The Leisure Rangemaster comes in a variety of guises; gas, electric, dual fuel, and in several colours; red, green, black. The one I've just bought is dual fuel and it's red. I bought the Rangemaster for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, I needed a cooker. I've just got married and moved house and our new home was rather lacking in cooking facilities. So having established a legitimate reason for buying a cooker, why did I choose the Rangemaster? The previous owners of our home had a range style cooker and so the space which they left in the kitchen was very large, I love cooking and have always fancied having a "farmhouse" kitchen complete with Aga - but failing that a range "style" cooker would be fine. Of the various range-style cookers which we looked at the Rangemaster had several features which made it stand out; a large wok burner, a warmer and the "handyrack" (more of which later). The Rangemaster (dual fuel model) has four hotplate gas burners and a larger wok burner, a warmer, an electric grill, conventional electric oven and a fan oven. In addition it comes with a griddle and the handyrack. In the three weeks since it was installed I've used most of these features and I'll go into some basics of each one. Gas burners - there are two small, two large and the wok burner. They all light with the electric ignition button, have heavy duty pan supports which are easy to clean and large dials which turn easily to adjust the flame. As a safety feature, when the glass lid is closed over the hotplate the gas cuts automatically in case you've left one of the burners alight. Warmer - this was one of the extra features which drew me to the Rangemaster. Alongside the hotplate is an electric warmer which can be used to warm plates or keeping food warm whilst finishing cooking the rest of a meal or dishing up. I haven't used this feature of t
he cooker yet but I can see it being very useful when cooking a large meal for guests. Griddle - the Rangemaster comes with a griddle which fits across the pan supports above the hotplate burners. My husband insisted on using this to cook his sausages on about the second night that we had the cooker and was thouroughly impressed, not only by the speed and ease with which they were cooked, but also by the professional "griddle lines" across his sausages. It can also be used for cooking drop scones, chops, steaks, eggs and fish cakes (apparantly) and is definitely a healthier and cleaner option than frying in a saucepan as no oil is needed. Grill - on the dual fuel model the grill is electric. It has two height positions and has two elements so that either the whole grill or just one side can be lit - perfect for a single crumpet! (Whoops, I keep forgeting I'm married now) Conventional oven - this is the smaller of the two ovens and is electric in the dual fuel model. This oven also features a browning element which can be used at the end of normal cooking time to crisp up meat or give extra browning to gratin dishes, this saves moving them from the oven to the grill. I haven't used the conventional oven yet as I prefer to use the fan oven for day to day cooking, as it heats up quicker. Fan Oven - The fan oven is slightly larger than the conventional oven. One unusual feature of this particular fan oven is that it can be used on a "fan only" setting, this means that the fan circulates air but the heating element is not on - apparantly this is good for deforsting frozen foods! This seems much better than having them sitting around on worktops or shoving in the microwave, which always worries me slightly as I'm not sure if they are just defrosting or actually cooking. Handyrack - I said I'd get to it. This is brilliant and practically convinced me to buy this cooker on it's own. The han
dyrack is a wire contrivance which clips on the inside of the oven door and is used to place baking trays on instead of the normal oven shelves. Any food placed onto it is therefore easily accessible as it swings out of the oven as you open the door. No more reaching into a hot oven to slide out a joint of meat and burning your arms in the process. No more putting your back out as you try to manouvre the Christmas Turkey off the oven shelf and up onto the work top. You simply open the door and there's your meat ready to baste, lift out easily or just check on! It's so brilliant and, like most brilliant ideas, so simple. Every cooker should have one. Other features - in addition to the main features listed above, the Rangemaster has the usual cooker features, clock, timers, lights, storage compartment, removable oven lining panels, adjustable oven racks etc So, what do I think of my new cooker? It's fantastic! I know it's quite sad to get excited about a cooker but I love cooking and entertaining and it's always nice to have tools which make your job easier and more pleasant. It's big enough to accomodate the largest dinner parties we're likely to have and will make light of feeding our combined families at Christmas. The benefits of having two ovens are clear,apart from a simple increase in cooking capacity, it allows you to cook simultaneously foods which require different temperatures. So you can cook the Sunday roast and bake the cake for tea at the same time. The Rangemaster was quite expensive compared to some of the other cookers around but we were lucky enough to be given money towards the purchase as wedding presents from our family and friends and, on balance, we decided it was an investment worth making for a cooker we hope will last us a lifetime.