“ Cooker Gas Double Oven 55cm. Double Oven Gas Cooker. 2 Cavities. Variable grill. Cycloheat system. Digital clock / minute minder and programmable oven timer. „
I've owned this cooker for a number of months after my boyfriend bought it on a bit of a whim, and I've used it to cook all manner of dishes. I'm pretty keen and adventurous in the kitchen, and enjoy spending hours messing around with a whole variety of recipes, so I think I've put it through its paces pretty well. The results are pretty mixed - while this is a good appliance for most families who are pressed for time and therefore doing much heating, a keen cook creating recipes from scratch will probably become annoyed with it quite rapidly.
There are four burners, each of a slightly different size, overlaid by two large racks. This arrangement is extremely handy, as it means you have fine control over the heat supplied to each pan. The two back burners are of medium (large) and medium (small) size, while the left front is a fierce beast and the right front a gentle simmerer. This means you have complete freedom - you can cook something very gently if you're trying to extract flavour, or you can hubblebubble it fiercely to reduce it down speedily. Each individual burner is easily taken apart for cleaning: you can actually remove the tops and give them a wash in the sink, which is really handy.
However, the big downside is the recessed nature of the hob. This makes it extremely difficult to clean properly. I'm forever wiping, wiping, wiping it, trying to remove the debris that inevitably falls from pans. It simply gets stuck in the recessed rounded corners. The only way I've found to cope is to wipe it twice with a wet cloth and then once with kitchen towel. A flatter surface would be SO much easier to clean.
There's a glass lid that sits over the hob. I find this a useful feature because I'm really pushed for space. It enables me to use the top as a work surface to chop and prepare ingredients when I'm not actually cooking. However, it is extremely difficult to keep clean, showing up any fingerprints, and any dirt like nothing on earth.
This functions as both a grill and an oven, with a door that folds down rather than across. You have to light it manually, using the ignition on the top, which can be a bit of an irritant if you're busy cooking and have messy hands. Both oven and grill features have an inbuilt safety function: the gas will cut out if you partially close the door, meaning that you don't get incomplete combustion releasing carbon monoxide. However, as someone who has to work in a tight space, I find this a bit of an irritation, as I often go to close the door to get past the oven, only to find that I've actually put the darn thing out!
The grill flame is well-designed and toasts a tray really very evenly for a gas appliance. However, the racks are oddly spaced: the height bars are either a bit high or a bit low to allow for the most even finish.
The oven is less of a success story. The space inside is relatively small (though large enough for a standard size tray), and the line of flame heating it really quite long. The overall result is that it gets hot, hot, hot! Temperatures inside it bear absolutely no resemblance to the 'gas mark' values stated on the knob: at my estimation, gas mark 4 here is like gas mark 7-8 on other ovens (including the lower oven of this cooker). This means that while the oven is great for cooking things that require really high temperatures, like pizza, it's useless for slow roasting of small dishes. This is a shame as having a functional smaller over can be a really energy efficient way of cooking single tray dishes.
Cleaning-wise, the combination of a tight space, high heat, and non-self-cleaning surfaces is a bit deadly. Be prepared to do some scrubbing or to use an oven liner that you can simply remove. However, the glass door is a better piece of design: it has two panes of glass for insulation, one of which simply clips out to allow you to clean it in the sink, while you wipe the second in situ. It's brilliantly easy and really helps keep the cooker looking nice.
The bottom oven is a much larger space, with better temperature regulation, though you do get the usual problem found in most non-fan-assisted cookers, of hot and coolspots. Shelves are regularly and sensibly spaced, and allow you plenty of room for everything from big deep casseroles to shallow trays of roasting veg. I've cooked huge amounts in this oven, and have had great results with everything from fruit cake (cooked slow and cool) to pizza (fast and hot).
Cleaning-wise, this is the best part of the appliance. The sides and top are self-cleaning, which saves an awful lot of time. All you have to do is to "cook" an empty oven at gas mark 5 for 30 minutes and then gas mark 7 for a further 120 minutes and hey presto, clean oven! If only all domestic chores were so easy. It's only the bottom of the oven that needs to be wiped out occasionally. Zanussi recommend cleaners such as cif, but the best results I have had have been with Lakeland's Ovenmate. The door, like the grill door, has an easy-release pane of glass, which means that it's exceptionally straightforward to clean.
ELECTRONICS AND SAFETY
The electronics with this cooker allow you several timer functions with inbuilt safety features that make this a far more worry-free appliance than many gas cookers. There is the usual digital clock with inbuilt countdown timer feature for the oven, but in this case if the bleeper (which is fairly loud) is not switched off, the gas will actually cut out automatically, ensuring that conditions for a domestic fire are not created. You can also program the oven to come on automatically and heat whatever is inside, ensuring that you have hot food on the way home from work. Similarly, if the glass lid is down, the gas won't come on - which prevents accidents if kiddiewinkie fingers play with the dials.
This costs just over £400 in the shops, and is therefore good value for money. On the positive side, the burners provide a great deal of control, and the lower oven cooks beautifully and is easy to clean. On the negative side, the top oven and hob are a bit of a nightmare to clean, and the top oven is also far too hot for most dishes. Safety features, however, are extremely good and I feel very secure using gas in my home in this way. Much depends on how often you cook, and how keen you are. If you're generally making basic recipes, or heating ready-made food, this will see you through without any problems. If you're keen on cooking a wide variety of food, some of its shortcomings may seem more glaringly obvious.
When we moved into our house we brought the cooker that was already there from the previous owners as we did not have one and thought it made sense to make do with the old one until we got round to shopping for kitchen appliances. Finally six years later we are getting there and have brought a lovely new shiny cooker. I have been producing amazing meals on it for around seven months now (Ok maybe not amazing, its not that clever!) but feel I have enough experience to let you know what I think.
We chose this particular model to begin with as it had a glass lid that closes over the hob. Originally I wanted a Halogen hob as I thought they looked really smooth and sleek, however after hearing some bad reports on the actual cooking abilities of them, we decided to go for a gas cooker through and through. So having the black glass lid meant I had the same effect as a Halogen hob but without the hassle in cooking.
The hob itself is great. I was used to having an old gas hob before, with four separate racks over the burners, but this only has two racks. Each one covers two burners so it is much easier to clean. The burners themselves are extremely easy to take apart and put back together for cleaning as well and I have actually managed to keep it looking like new, which is pretty good going for me as I usually ruin the hob and have to get a professional in to steam clean it. There are two average size burners; both at the back of the hob and these are the ones I cook on the most. The ones at the front are an extra big one and an extra small one. The small one is good for mushrooms or courgettes that you want to cook gently and the big one is good for a frying pan or large based pan, although to be honest, unless both back burners are being used I dont really use the front ones much.
The top oven/grill is a little on the small size for me. I would have preferred it to be slightly larger so I could fit pans on both the shelf and the bottom of the oven space, as I often end up cooking more than one variety of meal and it is often imperative that I have both ovens on at different temperatures and therefore need to utilise every scrap of oven space. The grill pan doesnt actually come with the cooker for some reason and we had to phone Zanussi and get them to send it through. It was free but make sure you ask for the grill pan, the wire rack and the grill pan handle. We thought it would be altogether and were sadly let down, having to make separate phone calls and orders. There is only one height bar in the top oven, which I feel is slightly too high and the distance between the grill flame and the contents on the grill pan is too close. We counteract this by having the flame on a lower setting but even then, if you are cooking something with a high fat content, it will spit more than normal and spatter the top of the oven, causing the flame to really go a bit mad at times. The door opens down, providing a kind of shelf to put the grill pan on when turning food etc. This is very helpful because if I have food on the hob too I am limited for space, so the door is ideal.
The bottom oven is larger, with three areas to put tins inside. The top, obviously the hottest, the middle and the bottom of the oven provide plenty of areas for may needs. The sides of the oven are made from what feels like a stone substance and the wire racks make a horrible (nails on blackboard) sound when you remove them. This provides me with the perfect excuse not to remove them for cleaning actually and allows me to call in the oven cleaner to tackle this problem hee hee. The door opens from a side catch on the right hand side and this has proved to be a little bit tricky at times. The catch seems to be not aligned properly and instead of being able to simply push the door closed, you have to lift it very slightly to get it to click shut completely. This is not hard to do but I am sure it was not meant to be that way. Each oven has a clear glass window in the front panel do you can see what is cooking in there but it does get greased up extremely quickly and I would advise you to wipe over with a hot cloth and some liquid soap after every use to keep the grease down.
The controls are all located at the front of the cooker and while this is practical and looks nice, its not really child friendly as they are in perfect reach of little ones and to be honest they are very easy to turn, which could be a problem as it is a gas cooker. The lid does however have a cut out function so if it is down, it will not allow the burners on the hob to be turned on, and likewise it will cut out the gas if the lid is closed whilst they are on. I always keep the glass lid down in case one of the kids turns a knob by accident. All controls are simple dial style knobs, with one for each burner, one for the grill/top oven and one for the bottom oven. All except the bottom oven need to be sparked alight after turning on, using the spark button. The bottom oven will spark itself though and I often wonder why they didnt just add this option for all of them.
There is also a timer control on the end of the panel and I have really been in my element with this. Sad as it is I have never had a working timer on an oven before and it ha really changed the way my cooking turns out. Before I would put stuff in the oven, but forget to look at the clock so ended up guessing on how long things had been in the oven, either burning or under cooking food on a regular basis. The timer is so simple to use by simply turning a little dial to timer and then turning the dial next to it to the required number of minutes. Thats it. When it has counted down to zero it lets of a beep beep noise, which is fairly loud and will be heard in another room. This continues to sound until you turn it off. I have used this a lot for boiled eggs and other things that dont take too long to cook.
It also has a digital clock function, which I have found handy on numerous occasions and this is displayed at all times on the front of the oven, unless the timer or other functions are being used. It does offer other functions like an automatic start time for cooking over night or through the day while you are at work but I find it hard to trust this. I am sure it would be fine but I would be worried it wouldnt work and I would be left with uncooked food or a blown up oven.
Cleaning is extremely simple. If you do it regularly it will be easy as pie and Zanussi recommend using Cif cleaner for normal soils and a soap filled pad like Brillo for tougher stains. It is essential that you do not clean the sides of the oven though as they are coated in a self cleaning material that allows them to maintain their cleanliness if you follow the cleaning cycle every two weeks. To do this simply take out the shelves and cook an empty oven at gas mark 5 for 30 minutes and then gas mark 7 for 2 hours. This encourages the self-cleaning material to work. Otherwise everything else is easy enough to deal with using hot soapy water and CIF if needed.
Overall, it has been a pleasure cooking on this oven and my cooking ahs improved, simply because of the gadgets on here, like the timer. An excellent door seal on the main oven means that food is cooked on time and my family are happier with their dinners then they have been in a while. This wasnt the cheapest oven on the market and we paid £499 from Currys last Christmas, although you can get it for around £435 now and I would recommend it if you are looking for a nice sized oven that looks stylish and cooks marvellously.
Short name: Zanussi ZCG7551