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Recently I've had lots of time at home due to illness. This has been something that has happened on and off for the last few months and so this has given me lots of free time to clean out cupboards, wardrobes and generally just de-clutter our home. This has actually been quite therapeutic for me as at the end of every day I end up feeling like I have achieved something positive even if I've been too unwell to venture outside or I've had to do a small amount of cleaning or de-cluttering each day because of being tired. One item that has been dug out from the back of my gadget cupboard is this omelette express. Now this isn't something that I'd used before and it had been languishing in the cupboard since we moved in to our home back in 2010! This is something that my Mum had picked up for us for when we moved in to our home and perhaps it was a clear indicator that she was worried I wouldn't even be able to cook an egg! Of course she has been proven wrong now and this has been a fantastic gadget that I've been using lot over the last 6 weeks or so.
This is kind of like a sandwich toaster in that basically you put your item in, close the lid and hey presto, its cooked! There are two 'pans' if you like built in to this omelette maker, just grease these lightly with oil or butter and you pour your ingredients in to these. I tend to use a wodge of kitchen towel and spread a small amount of oil around the two pans as I do when I make pancakes in a frying pan. This works well at greasing every area and so it is the ideal method for me without making a mess.
There is an indicator light with this that tells you that this has been switched on and then that is ready for cooking the perfect omelette. There is a fill line on each pan that indicates the maximum fill and initially I didn't think that this as high as it needed to be but I've learnt, through bitter experience, that overfilling this will lead to the omelette leaking and a mess going absolutely everywhere. The omelette rises up nicely actually based on the fill line so I always stick to that. I normally add fillings before I add the eggs because I don't like my vegetables to be too firm and I have found this to be the best method for me. Of course everyone has different tastes. You just close the lid down and this allows for expansion of the omelette for even cooking and I must say that it works incredibly well.
I love the convenience of this machine and I can't believe that I haven't used this before. This is so incredibly quick and simple to use. The indicator light is handy and I like how I can just whisk some eggs, chop some ham and throw it together basically. It takes just a minute to get an omelette ready and only a few minutes to get a fantastic omelette. Time does vary depending on filling of course but that's to be expected. This machine allows me to make omelettes far superior to my normal ones and they come out looking perfect. I can use the spatula that came with this to remove the omelettes and find that two omelettes makes a wonderful filling dinner or one with salad is a fantastic lunch.
The omelettes that I have made so far using this machine have been fantastic. On the one occasion where I overfilled it I had to scrap them and start again but that was through my own panic more than anything else. They are cooked evenly and as long as I think about the cooking time of the ingredients I'm adding I always get an omelette that is cooked to perfection. This is an ideal gadget for this time of year as I crave more hot dinners and I can make one of these and have it with some salad if I want to stay quite healthy. I love how simple this is to use and that I can just wipe it over to give it a clean. These are not so widely available now but there is still the occasional one on eBay and similar sites if you are looking to snap one up. I feel that this is worthy of 5/5!
As a brand name Micromark have been around since the 1980's making budget appliances for buyers after no-nonsense products. I've had a Micromark hand blender bought in the 1990's that still goes and a Micromark egg boiler that is only used a couple of times a year. However, since my mother joined Slimming World a year ago and has lost six stone on this successful diet plan (I'm taking my time against her!) Both of us have opted for the green plan from Slimming World (but we're not vegetarians per se, we just adore the food menus on offer) that involves eating quite a healthy diet including plenty of omelettes as a base before adding lots of different vegetables or herbs for a healthy snack or main dinner. I was brought up eating eggs and treating them as a healthy snack against the 1980's warnings of Salmonella. When it comes to omelettes whilst I tend to use a frying pan and often do them on a non-stick frying pan without oil, my mother has fallen for the wonderful gadget in the form of the Micromark Omelette Express, a slightly bewildering contraption that looks like a sandwich maker from a distance. Since I've been home, I've been trying this gadget out to see if it is worth considering for myself or if its just another gadget destined to sit in the cupboard gathering dust along with a disused Micromark popcorn maker.
According to my mother, she purchased the Micromark Omelette Express in March 2010 after finding it at a private hardware store at a cost of £22-49. Prices for this small home appliance do vary however from £19-99 where it was previously sold at Argos at and currently £17-80 from www.aycs.co.uk reduced from £39-99. In terms of size the appliance is approximately 20cm by 20cm with a height of 10cm and it a 1000 watt element on board for fast heat up. Similar to a toastie machine, there is a single LED light on top of the hood, which lights up when the plates are ready to cook, or in this gadget's case, permanent irreplaceable wells that supposedly allow owners to put other food prep in for a packed omelette. The whole concept of this appliance isn't as easy as it meets the eye however.
The problem with the Micromark Omelette Express is justifying why you would actually want one. It isn't as labour saving as I thought it would be. For example there are only two wells in the maker that allow you to have 1.5cm of extra food placed in each well with helpful fill lines added to the sides to that you know how much egg to put in. However, as the instruction manual points out you can only use 3 eggs are one time when making the mixture so that it fully rises upwards to about 2" in the maker. This isn't very economical if you are on your own and just want a basic omelette using one egg! I tried with two eggs for example but the omelette turned out to be a lot smaller in size and thus didn't look very appetising! There is a floating hinge built in but it doesn't allow for much to be added to the egg once it has been whisked up and dropped into the non-stick wells and it is not the same as the floating hinge on George Foreman grills. The reason for the floating hinge is really to allow the egg to develop a fluffier top and to allow the omelette to rise during the cooking process. It would all be fine and dandy if the Micromark Omelette Express had larger and deeper wells, but they are 14cm in diameter measured across the angle and once cooked, if two wells are used up in tandem, you end up getting a rather fancy pair of curvy rabbit's ears in terms of how the eggs look, or to the egg fanatic a Spanish type fold over omelette shape.
In terms of taste, an average plain omelette made up of three eggs from the Micromark isn't anything new. They are at best light and fluffy to my palate but not anywhere different to what I can make in a frying pan and from the pan an omelette looks quite yellow and fluffy, not deflated and lacking body when made in this appliance. Think having 1000 watts is faster than a gas cooker? The time it takes to cook a basic omelette of three eggs minimum is around five minutes to seven minutes in the Micromark. It doesn't matter whether the wells or the wattage built in has a high element or not or for the fact that it will take half a minute for the appliance to warm up. Five minutes is a joke when I can cook a much bigger omelette in a non-stick frying pan atop a gas stove in two minutes!
There is however a light at the end of the tunnel! I'd probably adore this product if I was back in my flat from last year in a small kitchen too small to swing a cat, where even the only work top space I had was taken up with micro essentials and half the stove taken up by a work top saver. In terms of cooking versatility, the Omelette Express can be used to make poached eggs or fried eggs and with the Slimming World diet on tow, use of Fry Light oil spray is one of the healthier ways to cook eggs even if you aren't on this diet. In this respect you can cook all manner of eggs bar boiled eggs but this maker does need oil to use in the first place to coat the wells even though it has supposedly non-stick sides and although some other owners have used it to cook pizza, mini-muffins etc, I have no time for that based on the Micromark's lack of safety and too-long cooking times.
Secondly as the user instructions point out, the wells can be used to cook food such as meat like bacon or ham before the egg mixture is added or if just using the wells alone without preparing an egg recipe. This is all very handy if the wells had some kind of drip tray underneath to remain healthy - but it does'nt. Instead when preparing bacon or other kinds of suitable meats, the Micromark allows meat to sit in congealed fat once the bacon has cooked even though you can shut the lid or keep it open "al fresco." Why anyone would want to try this is beyond me given that they can use Fry Light or an oil sprat or simply nothing at all in a quality non-stick frying pan. Certainly I can still cook eggs dry-fry on a Tefal frying pan without oil or put bacon in my George Foreman grill for optimum peace of mind where fat removal is concerned. Healthy isn't an option to any appliance that needs oil added.
If however adding food to omelette mix, if the food prep is added first such as cheese, ham, onions or bacon then the egg on top doesn't come out properly cooked and you can end up with an soggy omelette with half the cooked egg in the middle oozing out. Far easier to stick to traditional prep of mixing the egg up first before adding any additional solid food in but you can only put so much in, otherwise the top half of the egg doesn't cook properly. During the cooking process steam from the omelette as it cooks or rises also emerges out the back and to the sides of the machine, only having to open the lid when the LED light comes back onto indicate that the omelette has cooked. I've had a few problems with this indication when packed omelettes haven't fully cooked when taking out of the appliance even with the handy plastic spatula. Thus the Micromark doesn't really give you a chance to check the state of the omelette if it is filled, as it will deflate the moment the lid is lifted.
To make matters worse, the Micromark Omelette Express isn't stable. This is because the permanent fitted plates/wells are put to the rear of the machine whilst the open hole of each handle on the base and top lid are located at the front. The first time I used the maker for example, I inadvertently leaned on the front when adding onions in and half the mixture toppled over onto the worktop as the front was pushed down making a lot more mess than it would do in a standard frying pan. Big wows that one of its claims is that it can be sat in an upright position to minimize taking up space. Taking up future space in my future cupboard is an imaginary future that is foreseen!
Whilst the wells are not removable, the whole gadget is not heat insulated either. This means both the white coloured base and the top can get extremely hot during use, making it an unsuitable product for children to use on their own and when all is finished the wells can be wiped clean with a damp kitchen roll paper or general damp cloth. It certainly gets dusty when not in use made all the worse by the white paint. It is around the edges that the Micromark gets grubby with food marks, particularly if you have over filled the egg mixture or checked it half way. It may take seconds for some, but I find the whole concept of this maker a bit of a time waster and not economical.
Therefore for me the Micromark Omelette Express is a no-brainer and that's a huge pity. It may provide an extra gadget if you don't have enough stove/hob space and act as a mini light fryer for bacon whilst cooking an omelette in the other well at the same time but it doesn't take half the time as it does in a traditional frying pan. The added benefit of being healthy doesn't wash with me though, particularly as oil has to be added to ensure eggs and food prep don't stick to the base. Fair enough it comes with a spatula, but you can use other spatulas to lift the food out when the omelette/others are ready and sadly the time it takes to cook a basic omelette is too long compared to traditional methods. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
This was a Xmas pressie to my mum a couple of years ago, at the time we all laughed because it's not exactly that hard to cook an omelette in the pan and to have a gadget to do it for you seemed a bit stupid! It's weird though because the Omelette Express has turned out to be so quick and easy that we have all used it loads.... and not just for omelettes either!
It is designed to cook 2 large omelettes at one time, it's the same sort of idea as a Breville sandwich maker only the holes where you put the omelette mixture are a nice wavy shape so that when your omelettes are cooked they look like you have made them in the pan and folded them over instead of putting them flat on the plate. I think the omelette maker is an attractive design and it definitely looks nice sitting in the kitchen.... and because you only have to kind of pour eggs onto the hot plates it's a LOT easier to clean than most sandwich makers!
Before you start cooking you need to oil the plates slightly, this is dead easy to do and you can either put a small amount of butter in the bottom and let it melt as the machine warms up.... this means you'll have to use a brush or something though to spread the butter all around the plates once it has melted. Another way is to put a small bit of oil on some kitchen roll and wipe that round the plates, you don't need all that much oil because the plates are non-stick anyway but greasing them stops the risk of anything sticking.
When you switch the Omelette Express on you'll see a light comes on to tell you the machine is plugged in, then another light will come on when it's hot enough for you to add your food. It IS a clever thing because for an omelette all you have to do is beat the eggs and chop your fillings up and the machine will do the rest! Make sure you don't put too much mixture into each omelette hole because the egg rises as it's cooking and if you go above the FILL line then by the time the egg has started cooking it will end up running all over the side of the machine and not setting properly. Even though the FILL line looks like you'll only get a small omelette, while the Express is cooking it the mixture rises up a good couple of inches so you DO end up with an omelette that is a lot fluffier than you think it will be at the start of your experiment.... actually even though I'm pretty good at making omelettes in the pan I can never get them QUITE as fluffy as this little gadget does!
One thing worth me mentioning to you is that if you're using fillings it's a good idea to put them into the omelette holes for a few minutes before the egg mixture, this will give the bacon or mushrooms or peppers chance to start cooking so that you're not going to end up with a beautifully cooked omelette but half raw fillings! Then when you pour the egg in just give it all a bit of a stir with a plastic spoon to make sure the fillings are going through the whole of the omelette and not just stuck on the bottom. When the omelette starts rising you'll notice the lid of the Omelette Express starting to push upwards, don't stress about this because it's supposed to happen! The first time I used it I thought I'd added too much egg and I was about to start shovelling it all out when my mum stopped me and said this is just like a George Foreman with a floating hinge so it can continue to cook both sides of the omelette but will move up to let the egg expand properly.
I've always thought the omelettes that come out of this machine are gorgeous, the smell of them cooking is just like if you was doing it in the old fashioned way in a pan. When I first started using it it was only because of the novelty but now I'm the one who uses it more than anyone else in the house! You can do LOADS in it, it's one of them gadgets you've got to experiment with because there are all sorts of uses that you'll never think about. I've poached eggs in it by letting a bit of water heat up in the omelette holes and then sliding an egg in, my dad uses it quite a bit to fry eggs because you only have to use a very small amount of oil and it's healthier than frying an egg in half a pan full of fat. I've also put sliced mushrooms in it with a bit of soy sauce and they cook gorgeous, you have to kind of work out how it's going to work best for you and keep on trying different things.
The main use is an omelette maker though and I'm a million percent impressed with it for that, I've never had a problem with any omelette I've made out of it apart from the times when we first got it and I overfilled the holes a bit and ended up with a bit of a wet middle. When the food is cooked you just lift it out with the spatula that comes with the machine, it's a special floppy spatula that's made to be strong enough to lift the food out but won't scratch or damage the non stick coating. Cleaning is mega easy as well and you just have to give it a quick rub with kitchen roll, I've never had anything stick so haven't had to give it a massive clean yet but just remember that the plates do not come out so if something does stick you'll have to be careful how you clean it off.
Yes its another gadget but in fairness its not a new gadget simply a replacement for my beloved xpress 101. After a few months without said beloved machine I decided the period of mourning was sufficient to invest in a replacement and scoured the internet and shopping TV.
The closest I could get was the Omelette xpress which is available in either silver or white. It seemed reasonable for £20.00 as I bought it on free post and package day from Ideal World.
- - How does it look - -
This is a sandwich toaster sized machine with two non-stick oval wells into which you can place wet or dry foods which are then cooked from both the top and the bottom. There is a little ridge running around the inside of each bottom plate that is the 'fill line'. Anything above that and your eggs will probably overflow as they expand.
- - How does it work - -
Although you do not need to grease the wells everytime you use it I would recommend applying a little oil around the wells every couple of times you use it. I simply pour a very small amount onto a piece of kitchen roll and wipe it around.
To use simply switch it on and a little light shows to let you know that all is well and once this light goes out you can add your eggs etc. For fried eggs I crack the egg onto a saucer and tip it in from this as its less likely to break, for poached eggs add a little water allow to heat through and then add the egg. For omelettes mix up your eggs before hand (each well has enough space for two eggs) and pour into the well.
As with the xpress 101 you can put bits of bacon, mushrooms, chicken etc. into the wells before the eggs and cook them for a few minutes before adding the eggs. Be careful not to add a ridiculous amount of filling or if that is your preferred recipe cut down on the number of eggs added or the eggs will rise before the inside is cooked and you will end up with an eggy mess around the sides.
Once the food is in the machine you can walk away safe in the knowledge that the food will cook evenly and without mess (providing you didn't put too much in). When you are cooking an omelette it rises to about two inches high and lifts the lid up of the machine. The floating hinge means that this is expected and doesn't interfere in the cooking process at all. By this time the smell coming from the machine is very appetizing and the two inch high fluffy omelette is looking extremely appealing.
- - How easy is it to get the cooked items out - -
Getting the finished item out is really easy there is a non stick spatula supplied which is very flexible and over the past six months or so I haven't had anything stick. Simply put the spatula underneath the omelette, fried egg etc. and lift onto a plate.
- - How does the food look - -
My main use is for fried eggs which look perfectly cooked after about 3 to 4 minutes and they are cooked in a healthier manner than frying, as mentioned in my 101 review I can't actually make a fried egg in a frying pan anyway.
Omelettes take about 7 minutes to cook and as mentioned above puff up to about 2 inches high. Once on the plate the fried egg still looks very appetizing but the omelette deflates into a wrinkled ½ " high yellow blob. Still very tasty but doesn't have the look that we were used to.
- - Clean Up - -
So far cleaning has been a quick wipe out with a damp cloth, no food has stuck and the non-stick doesn't have a single mark or hole in it.
- - Other uses - -
My son finds this equally as good as the 101 for putting part baked rolls with ham and cheese etc. in to cook through to make mini panini melts, as well as filled pitta pockets and croissants. Unlike the 101 the instructions do not recommend recipes such as stuffed steak and chicken cordon bleu so we haven't attempted any meat dishes just in case.
Although not used constantly I do love this machine for fried eggs on the weekend as you can simply put an egg in each well and they are cooked in the time you've made and buttered the toast and made a cup of tea.
Would I buy it again???? Although I wouldn't rush out and purchase a new one I would miss it for a quick brekkie or omelette if I'm late home from work and need something quick, hot and tasty but £20.00 would be as much as I would be willing to pay.