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~~Introduction~~ I have found a number of Kenwood appliances in the past, to be historically reliable, deciding that the product was also fairly reasonably priced (retailing at around £20 depending on where you go), and desperate to satisfy my overwhelming toasty craving is why I choose to purchase this item. It's a decision that for the most part, I have no regrets. ~~Product specification~~ * Colour: Silver and Black * Guarantee: 1 Year * Material: Plastic * Non Slip Feet * Wattage: 700w * Weight: 2.02kg * Size: 25.0L x 24.5W x 9.0H * Cooking Plate (cm): 23.5 x 13 * Power On & Ready Indicators * Interlock Handle * Non Stick Plates * Slices: 2 ~~Use and opinion~~ The first of very few quibbles I have with this product is in the name "sandwich maker", it's a small and insignificant annoyance I know but it's one that bugs my picky self never the less, as this is in fact, to my mind, a toasty maker and sandwiches are cold not hot. So for arguments sake let's just refer to the Kenwood sandwich maker as Uncle Ken from now on in. Uncle Ken comes housed in his very own cardboard home, he has his picture on the front so we know whose house it is. Open the roof and we are greeted by uncle Ken himself, an instructions leaflet and our one year guarantee. Nice. You should find Uncle Ken's instructions easy to navigate with agreeable terminology that even a simpleton like myself can easily decipher. Should for some reason you find someone has stolen your instructions to add to some kind of bazaar leaflet collection, never fear, the product is very simple to use even without them, and Uncle Ken comes fully constructed so there's no messing about. Giving Uncle Ken the once over (so to speak), we can see he's fairly well thought out and sleek in design comparably to other brands that don't look quite as tidy. For the bulk, he's made up of a predominantly grey plastic outer shell that from a distance mimics an almost metal finish and combines a shape that looks a little futuristic, but also easy on the eye. Looking at his top half, we identify a black plastic centre piece on which sits two lights, one green, one red, and it is these lights that tell us whether or not Uncle Ken is ready to start cooking, but of course they also add an element of cool about him as well. Alas, we also find ourselves with a handy interlock device that sits comfortably between the two half sections of the cooking plates (upper and lower) which is simple to use, you just push up and it opens, this keeps the product secure when not in use but also maximises the products cooking ability by keeping your toasties firm in place and as close to the plates as possible for a much speedier cook. We have the capacity to cook two toasties at once using Ken, and the plates have a ribbed diagonal sandwich divider so that each toasty comes in two practical, easy to eat sections. You will discover the whole thing is fairly light weight and small enough to slot into a draw or cupboard without hogging too much space. To get Uncle Ken working you just need to plug him, and he's off! You'll note the red light comes on straight away which indicates Uncle Ken needs a warm up before he's prepared to start cooking. Once the green light comes on, you've been given the get go and it's time to start building your toasty. This is where you'll find Uncle Ken starts getting a little bit demanding. Firstly, you will need to butter your bread and place each buttered side directly on to the hot plates to prevent your snack from sticking. Uncle Ken absolutely insists that you use butter and not your usual low fat spread option. Should you choose to test his authority and break the rules, you'll find yourself in a whole heap of trouble. Your standard "I can't believe it's not butter" option, might fool the rest of your family but it's not going to fool Uncle Ken and trust me, he'll make you pay for your school boy error. If like me, you consider a toasty without cheese to be like a day without a night, and you have defied Uncle Ken's most stringent of regulations then punishment is without question, I found this out the hard way. And so the drama unfolds........ Anything but butter results in your bread becoming welded to the hot plates, your bread will tear and your contents overflow, cheese will become a total Gordon Ramsey, kitchen nightmare as it cascades like a piping hot cheese volcano across your worktop, that's right, cheesing everything in its path. Your handy interlock device now becomes the devil in disguise as the cheese lava welds it beyond pliability. You are now in......... Total toasty lock down! A quick and easy meal has just become a possible trip to A and E as you unplug it in a 'safety first' blind panic, and find yourself jamming knives into the sides desperately trying to free your humble toasty from immanent doom, and of course, attempting to prevent setting your kitchen ablaze. You will eventually free your toasty from the smokey, angry clutches of Uncle Ken, and it is likely to remain toastilicious, but at what cost my friend, at what cheesy cost? After such a disaster you'll find yourself cleaning Uncle Ken for a good 45 minutes, I even discovered cheese on my plug! On a brighter note, Uncle Ken is a real gent provided you, DO AS YOU ARE TOLD! My favourite toasted sandwich build is a cheese, ham and onion jobby (highly recommended using this). I put the first bread slices, butter side down (on the bottom plates) and then add my ingredients taking care to leave a small gap around the edges to prevent an overflow, I would advise you do the same. I then add the top slices of bread to both potential toasties and push down to fix the lock in place. Job done, and relax. I usually leave them to cook away for about 10 to 15 minutes, this time frame allows them to become really crisp, golden and taste extra special. Once cooked, I encourage my toasties out by using a knife so as not to burn my fingers and then plop them on a plate with a nice chunky side salad. Follow the rules and it all goes fairly swimmingly.Yum! The end result is utterly formidable; with your toasty in 2 sections, it is both crispy and tasty on the outside whilst gooey and evenly cooked on the in. Your toasty edges arguably become the best part, adding that extra bit of crunch. An unbelievably tasty toasty which knocks the socks off any kind of sandwich un yet is curiously made up of exactly the same ingredients, it's culinary wizardry and by far the best toasty extravaganza I have ever indulged in. You'll find it's also much more filling than an ordinary sandwich which is also incredibly strange. Cleaning takes the tone down a little. It's not the easiest thing to mop up, but assuming you followed the rules, it's not the toughest either. I read one review that suggested the plates could be removed for the purposes of cleaning and I felt fairly excited by the revelation, though sadly having re-examined Uncle Ken's functions I'm afraid to report, I really don't think that is possible. There are a few nooks and crevices in and around the hot plates which do tend to get crumbs and bits stuck in them (that might require sliding a knife down), but generally it isn't a difficult thing to execute. All in all, I'd say you're looking at around the 10 minute mark for a really good clean up, so dump it on the side and wait until morning, that's what I say. Rating this product has proved somewhat bothersome. On the one hand it's attractive, easy to use and turns an otherwise mediocre snack into a delicious feast. On the other hand it can be irritating to clean and the fact that you NEED to use butter means you wind up smearing the stuff over other foods you would otherwise use a healthier low fat alternative to. It is therefore, with reluctance, that I award the Kenwood sandwich maker an overall score of 3 out of 5. ~~Also on ciao under the same user name~~
This 2-slice silver toasted sandwich maker from Kenwood has a modern, curvy design while remaining fun and easy to use for adults and children alike. It creates two diagonally sectioned toasted sandwiches with each use. A power light indicates when the sandwich maker is switched on and a temperature light shows when it is time to get cooking, and, once cooked, the non-stick plates make it effortless to remove your sandwiches while the diagonal dividers allow easy sectioning. Safety features include rubberised non-slip feet for stability on your worktop and a discrete interlocking system within the handle to keep the SM435 firmly closed while cooking.