* Prices may differ from that shown
My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, the first time either of us was not living in shared accommodation. Although we had accumulated a few kitchen bits between us the one thing we did not own was a toasted sandwich maker - this was quite an issue for us as we both love a good toasted sandwich, especially as it is a quick, easy lunch. As it was nearing Christmas (and our recent house move had used up most of our savings) we decided to ask for a sandwich maker for Christmas. After doing a bit of online research and talking to a few friends we opted for this Panini maker as not only does it do your regular toasted sandwich but it can also make bigger panini-style sandwiches and also works as a griddle when opened fully.
About the product
This panini maker has a black base and griddle and a silver top and handle. In my opinion it looks quite sleek and I would have no problem leaving it out on the counter, in terms of looks - although we tend to put it away when not using it as we don't have much counter space.
On the front it has two lights, a power light to show that it is on and a 'ready light' to show when it is ready to use. The handle is very solid and easy to lift and you can either open it up halfway for when you are making sandwiches/paninis or open it the full way out to use it as a griddle. It also has a removable drip tray which slots in and out at the front of the machine.
Using the product
Using this product is extremely simple and straightforward and it comes with an instruction manual for anyone who is not sure. Basically you push the drip tray fully in (although we leave ours in when we put it away so it is already there), open the grill and wipe the plates with a small amount of oil/butter and then close it. Plug the machine in, the power light will come on, and wait for the ready light to come on. Once the ready light is on you simply open it up, (the manual suggest you use an oven glove to do this but we don't bother as the handle doesn't get that hot) put your desired sandwich on the bottom grill plate and then close the grill plate and wait for the food to toast, then remove the product when it is cooked.
Unlike traditional sandwich makers this product does not fully shut with a lock, this is obviously because it is designed to cook bulky items. Because of this you do not get the sealed edges on a toasted sandwich that you get on a toasted sandwich maker but in my experience this is not a problem as the filling does not spill out of the sides.
To use as a griddle you open up the top grill, press the release button on the side of the machine and this allows you to pull the handle back until the grill is fully open. You then lift the front of the grill up and there are extendable feet underneath which you flip out to even out the grill. Once open you can use both sides of the grill pan to cook on. The instruction manual refers to this as a bbq and gives you a few recipe ideas of things you can make when the machine is in this position, as well as a handy listing of approximate cooking times for various items you may wish to cook. This is very useful as there is not temperature control on the machine. To be honest we have so far only used this position to cook bacon but it worked very well and cooked the bacon much quicker than if we had used the grill on our oven.
Cleaning the product
It is very quick and simple to clean this product. Obviously you should wait for the machine to cool down after use before attempting to clean it as the grill plates do get extremely hot. We use a damp cloth to wipe down the grills and as the drip tray sticks out at the back of the machine we push all the little bits of food onto this then remove the drip tray, empty it and give it a wipe to clean. Because the grills are non-stick cleaning has always been a very quick thing for us as any bits just wipe off easily.
We are really pleased with this Panini maker and we use it at least once a week, more when we are working from home. We do tend to use it as a sandwich/Panini maker although as I said we have used it a couple of times as a griddle and as we do not yet own a BBQ perhaps we will use it more often in the summer in this way - some of the recipes in the instruction manual are very tempting! The grills heat up very quickly to the ready temperature and once the food is inside it also cooks very quickly which is perfect for us as we are usually after a quick snack. The fact that this product does not close and seal like traditional sandwich makers is also great for us as we can make great big paninis with baguette-style bread as well as the usual sliced bread sandwiches.
The manual itself is really good too, as well as outlining in very basic ( and slight OTT health and safety-wise) instructions , it provides a number of nice sounding recipe ideas, as well as recipe for making your own burgers, and a list of cooking times which is really helpful. When researching this product before purchase I noted that a few people did comment negatively on the fact that there is no temperature control on this machine. To be honest this does not bother me as I always stand near it when I am cooking something, waiting for it to cook so I can keep an eye on how it is progressing and am yet to burn anything. Even if I had a temperature control I would likely put it on full anyway because I am impatient!
Overall I would definitely recommend this product, particularly to those who like to be more adventurous with their lunches than just a simple cheese toastie.
As this was a present I am not sure how much it was purchased for but it is currently selling for £34.80 with free delivery on Amazon, which I think is a fair price, as the product is capable of quite a lot and does come with a 2 year guarantee.
Paninis have of recent years become the most popular sandwich to serve and buy in most nice restaurants. I generally never have a normal two slices of bread sandwhich and always go for the panini option as they are usually packed with lots of nice ingredients such as foreign meats and cheeses.
Paninis are Italian in origin as the word for sandwich in Italian is panino. A panini is always a pressed sandwich, pressed by a warming grill, but is never toasted so that is the difference between a toasted sandwich and a panini.
You can now make paninis at home which is always good fun and a nice way to serve a sandwich. I bought this panini press from Sainsburys a while ago in one of their homeware sales and I think it cost about £15 which I didn't think was too bad. To be honest it does pretty much look like a sandwich maker and in the instructions included it says you can toast all sort of sandwiches on it but as I have a sandwich toaster I tend to just do my paninis on this. Paninis are easy to make on this machine. I firstly plug it on and switch it on at the wall and then wait for it to warm up. There is a power red light which shows you it is on and then once it is ready to cook there is a ready to cook green light which tells you that the temperature is perfect and you can put your sandwiches in. Meanwhile I will have constructed my sandwich with all sorts of ingredients, cheese, meat, sauce etc. As you are not actually toasting this and just warming it then you can put more sort of gooey foods in that than I find you can with a toastie machine. What's nice is that on the back of this machine there is hinge that moves so you can open up the top to quite a high height. This means that you can really pack your sandwiches out and make them quite thick as once you have put them in you can always pull the top of the machine over a bit more to accommodate the extra height and still be able to press it down and close it to press your panini.
You can fit two closed paninis on this grill which I like as you can do lunch for two of you at one time and do not have to do one sandwich at a time. There is a latch which you can close one the sandwiches are on and the lid is down so it keeps them still in the machine and not moving around until you have finished pressing them. What I also like about this machine is that is has a grooved cooking surface on the hot plates inside the machine so it puts that burnt line effect on your panini just like they do in restaurants so to me this machine gives you are reall y nice authentic panini look.
A nice way to make a different sandwich!
Cook healthy and delicious food with the help of this Russell Hobbs 17888 3-in-1 Panini Press, Grill & Griddle ! This stylish and versatile appliance can be used closed as a Panini press or grill, and employs an adjustable hinge so that foods are cooked evenly regardless of thickness. The Russell Hobbs 17888 3-in-1 Panini Press, Grill & Griddle also opens out 180 degrees for use as a griddle, with excess cooking fats automatically running into the built-in drip tray rather than being saturated by the food! Thanks to its non-stick coated plates, this 17888 3-in-1 Panini Press, Grill & Griddle is easy to clean, and incorporates a handy cord wrap for tidy storage when you're done. For a convenient and nutritious way of cooking tasty food, this great-value Russell Hobbs 17888 3-in-1 Panini Press, Grill & Griddle is an ideal solution! Technical information Type of grill Panini press, Grill & Griddle Cookitop 504 cm² Capacity: 4 slice panini press, 5 chicken breast grill Opens 180 degrees into griddle position for cooking bacon, eggs & veg Thermostat No Reversible plate No Double plate Yes Numbers of plates 2 Grease trough Removable No Dishwasher suitable No Visual indicator Power on / ready light indicator Cold sidewalls No Isolated handle Information not provided