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Confession Time - My name is Sandra and as you might have noticed I'm a kitchen gadgetaholic.
I had watched the Xpress 101 on several channels over the space of a few weeks last year and knew by the fact that I continually watched it that I'd soon give in and purchase it.
The various shopping channels were selling this product for £39.99 with £5.99 postage which was just far too much for what it was but as soon as QVC did it as a Todays Special Value for around £25 plus p & p I was straight on the phone to order.
- - Description - -
It's a mix between a George Foreman grill and a sandwich toaster I guess. There are two almost semi circular shaped wells about 1/2" deep into which you can place wet or dry food then you close the lid and the non stick wells cook from both top and bottom to achieve tasty food faster than by any other means. The floating hinge means that you can cook various heights of food.
- - Size - -
The unit measures approx 20cm wide and 6cm high. Probably very close in size to the average toasted sandwich maker. The outside is silver and there is fancy red scroll across the top saying xpress101. It can be stacked on its end to save space.
- - Using - -
My boys had suffered through the infomercial so many times that they knew most the recipes off by heart. As soon as the order was placed they had me down at Tesco buying a chocolate cake mix so we could make the melted chocolate in the middle soufflé desert as soon as the machine was unpacked.
The machine arrived well packaged and we set it out on the counter, wiped the interior and exterior and bushed a small amount of oil around both wells to encourage its nonstickability.
The boys had made up the chocolate cake mix (probably add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water) and once the unit heated up (about 2 minutes they poured half the mix into each of the wells, which reached about ¾ of the way up the well.
Then came the special bit you place a miniature chocolate bar or cookie into the middle of the mix we chose a miniature milky way chocolate bar for each cake. Seven minutes later the most delicious hot chocolate sponge pudding with melt in the middle chocolate was cooked, M & S eat your heart out. The pudding was a huge hit all round and lifted out very easily with the plastic spatula supplied. As the pudding rose it lifted the lid of the machine but due to the floating hinge the machine continued to cook throughout the process.
After removing the melt in the middle cake I began to gently wipe the outside of the lid before putting it away. Much to my surprise the writing just wiped off. I'm not talking attacking it with a brillo pad or pouring loads of fairy liquid onto the rough side of a scouring pad I mean a gentle wipe with a damp cloth. I did begin to doubt the quality of the manufacture at this stage. The remainder of the unit wiped clean easily no soap or rubbing required - just like it showed on TV.
The boys immediately took to making their own snacks, which were easily enough done. Turn the machine on, leave for 2 minutes then:-
Whisk up 2 eggs pour in, add ham, cheese, mushrooms etc. 8 minutes later a soft, gorgeous fluffy omelette You can pre-fry food eg. Chicken, onions etc. before pouring the batter or omelette mix over it.
Fill a well with water add an egg - 5 minutes later, poached egg
Crack egg into well - 4 minutes later, fried egg
Open a pitta pocket, stuff with ham and cheese - 3 minutes later a tasty hot sandwich
Split a part-baked roll, add chicken, bacon and cheese - 4 minutes later a hot Panini type sandwich.
Open a croissant fill with ham and cheese - 3 minutes later a hot crunchy filled croissant
Heat through a couple of small sausage rolls - to remain crispy
I used it mainly for a breakfast treat, fried egg or omelette no mess no fuss, easy clean up, could be put on and left to cook. I love fried eggs but cannot cook them, I don't put enough oil in the pan to baste the top and everytime I try to turn it over I end up breaking the yolk which just isn't as nice that way. My other favourite would be making the little paninis with different ingredients.
But all good things come to an end and after about 3 months I noticed a few little knocks in his fine black shiny non stick coat, after each use more and more nicks and indeed holes began to show. We oiled him regularly, we willed him to recover, we loved this machine, but to no avail, coming up to our six months anniversary together we had to admit that he was completely banjaxed.
I phoned QVC and explained that the non-stick had eroded and asked was this common she wasn't sure but said that she would arrange a courier to pick it up so that it could be examined and I could choose to have a refund or a replacement. We all agreed we wanted a replacement - we really loved this machine. After three false promises from the courier about picking up the machine I phoned QVC who apologized told me just to throw it in the bin and that a new one would be with me in 5 - 7 working days.
A week or so later I opened the door to the nice postman and in his arms was the cardboard box which contained our new 101.
Of course it was on straight away pitta pockets all round, but then disaster I wiped the lid on completion and once again the name rubbed off, I had a good idea then that the first 101 had not been a rogue one but that they had all been badly made.
We did carry on using it but after a few months the non-stick had almost completely disappeared on this one as well. It was time to take our fairytale magic food making machine to that big oven in the sky and much as I would have loved it there was no point in ordering another one.
Quick and easy to use
Cooks from the bottom and the top so no need to turn
Cheaper and faster than using an oven to reheat crispy items
Good range of quick and easy dishes to choose from
The non-stick was just woeful
Doesn't serve particularly big portions of steak or chicken
The accompanying recipe book is full of ingredients which need to be translated from American:- brown 'n' serve sausages, corn muffin mix, a cup or half a cup of something.
Such a great idea, and one of my most often used kitchen gadgets. Its compact, easy to store makes quick hot tasty snacks and keeps crispness in, why did they have to make it so badly.
For handiness and results 5 stars
You can't use it after about 3\6 months 0 stars
Final rating an average of 2 stars and it hurts not to be able to give it more.
With GT Xpress 101, all you do is place food in the preheated cooking wells and close the lid / The dual cooking wells and controlled temperature cook from both top and bottom at once so there is no turning or burning / GT Xpress thermostat controls the temperature so you get perfect results every time / even if you leave it in too long! The hinged lid prevents spillovers and clean ups a cinch too, just wipe with a damp cloth / Enjoy healthy, flavor-packed, satisfying food in no time!