“ Brand: Cookworks / Type: Panini Press „
I bought this after going shopping with the intention of buying a toastie machine for quick snacks at
home but after many lunchtime paninis courtesy of the local snack van I decided to buy this panini
This cost us £29 at Argos a few months ago and surprisingly for a kitchen gadget it has been used
regularly since we bought it rather than being a novelty for a couple of weeks then lying in a kitchen
The machine looks good enough to leave out on your worktop with a matt silver and black finish
it looks quite modern and doesn't look cheap unlike some of the Cookworks stuff I've owned in the
past especially the cheap white microwave we bought that hides in the laundry cupboard with the
The machine is easy to use just switch it on and wait for the ready light throw the food on and wait
for your snack to cook. The great thing about this is the top of the machine does not get hot during
cooking it does get warm but not hot enough to burn if you touch it accidentally.
The machine has two non stick plates which are flat so it's a lot easier to clean than the Foreman
type grill we were using for toasties and paninis before I bought this.I find it's easier to clean this
with a cloth and soapy water while it's still warm and the fact that it is so easy to clean means we
use this a lot more than the Foreman. The only mess you really get is when the fillings melt over
from the sandwiches if you over fill them if you are careful the most mess you get is a few crumbs
to wipe away.
The lid on this has a floating hinge which means the lid stays flat over your food rather than
squashing one side and leaving the other half cooked. The floating lid also means you can make
normal toasties on this as well as paninis although my boyfriend can't seem to quite get to grips
with this and has now invented what is known in our house as the Ikea toastie ie very flat packed.
The paninis only take a few minutes to cook and the machine cooks them evenly so no burnt one
side and uncooked on the other. Although it does cook toasties well you obviously don't get the
crunchy crusts you get with a normal toastie machine but although I miss the crunchy crusts
there is a plus side as you don't get third degree burns from the filling either.
Since buying this we've tried many different fillings for toasties and paninis with everything from
the normal cheese and ham to bolognese,curry and my boyfriends latest craze of haggis and
beans! Most of these tend to be Friday night post pub inventions when you can't be bothered to
cook so come home find some random foods to throw in a baguette or bread and see what
I find this great for late night snacks and quick lunches when we have the family kids staying
over it can hold around 4 panins depending on the baguettes you use so nobody has to wait
while others are already eating and even if they do it's only a few minutes cooking time. All
the kids in our family like eating the paninis and toasties and enjoy choosing their fillings and
helping to make them this also means we can cater for all their likes and dislikes without
having the problem of trying to find one meal they all like.
Although it obviously wasn't designed for the purpose because of the flat non stick plates this
is also great for making pancakes on although unfortunately you lose the fun of flipping them
and have to use a spatula to turn them over but the end result is just as good and there's less
chance of the pancakes ending up on the floor instead of your plate.
I'd happily recommend this to anyone looking for a do it all panini and toastie maker it seems to
be well made and the non stick coating has lasted well considering how much it's been used
since we bought it. We bought ours from Argos for £29 and I would say it was worth every penny.
My sister bought me this Cookworks Panini Press for my birthday back in May, when I unwrapped it I rolled my eyes at what I thought would be another useless gadget to clutter up my kitchen. I do love panini sandwiches so sis had the right idea, I plugged it in thinking it would be used once then relegated back into its box ready for next time a charity collection was arranged at the kids' school. Since that day however it's become a much-used appliance, reminding me of my love for breads other than sliced white.
The Panini Press is very easy to use; as soon as you plug it in a red light comes on to show it's working, then a couple of minutes later a green one lights up which tells you the machine is at its optimum temperature and is ready for the sandwich to go in. Either by design or pure fluke the time needed for the press to heat up is roughly how long it takes to put your panini together.
The flat plates mean this is amazingly easy to clean, it has none of the nooks and crannies that get so gunked up in our Breville sandwich maker. A simple wipe down with a hot damp cloth is usually enough to get rid of any crumbs and filling that may have leaked out. Sometimes if you're cooking a panini that has a greasier or saucier filling than usual you may find a small amount will dribble out, this can sometimes be avoided by placing the filling more towards the centre - although cleaning the press is such a quick job that I'd rather a fully-filled panini and spend a quick two minutes wiping the plates over!
The top plate is the perfect weight in my opinion for a perfectly pressed panini, it compresses the sandwich enough to heat the filling through thoroughly but doesn't squash it all down into an unrecognisable mess. This may sound a silly thing to say, but I actually watched a very expensive home panini press in action a couple of years ago and noticed that the lid was flattening down the bread much too much - I didn't think about it again until I had my own panini press but I can now see this relatively cheap Cookworks product is much better than the overpriced Italian tat that my friend had.
The floating hinge helps as this keeps the full weight of the lid from pressing down on the paninis, also enabling you to cook other foods on the press which are thinner than a panini sandwich. It takes just a few short minutes to create a steaming hot panini in this press, obviously having two plates means both sides will heat through at the same time and this also helps to heat/melt the filling.
My favourite panini filling is one I added quite recently to my repertoire, Pizza Panini. For this you thickly spread the bottom section of your cut panini with pizza sauce (or purée mixed with basil), top with either rounds of mozzarella or grated cheddar and slices of pepperoni. Put the top of your panini in place and press until the cheese has melted and the rest of the filling is piping hot. This is one that probably will make a bit of a mess of your panini press but it's easy to wipe up, it's delicious anyway and well worth it plus you can add other fillings such as ham and pineapple to really customise your Pizza Panini experience.
There are so many other fillings to try, I won't list them here as a quick Google will tell you everything you need to know but do try lots of different ones as so many people get stuck on the usual cheese and tomato paninis! Another one I particularly like is cheese and bacon, although obviously you do need to cook the bacon before assembling your sandwich ready for pressing.
One excellent feature of this panini press is that when not in use it can be turned over and stored in a vertical position along it's back end. This saves precious work surface space and it's literally a two second job to flip it back into the correct position again. The feet have non-slip stickies on the bottoms which is a good (and expected!) safety feature. Most of the body of the press stays cool to the touch even while it's cooking your paninis, but be careful when you put your hands when opening the lid as steam escapes from the machine and obviously the metal parts at the edges will get hot.
You can buy this fab Cookworks Signature Panini Press from Argos, where it's currently priced at £19.99. This is an excellent price considering it will (at a push) hold four paninis and can also be used as a regular toastie maker.