“ Brand: Russell Hobbs / Round Steamer „
You are what you eat say Russell Hobbs and I have to agree. Whenever I cook there is always a vegetable on our plates, my husband loves meat and potatoes but I insist on giving him veg whether he likes it or not. One of the best ways these days to cook is with a steamer as it retains the natural vitamins, minerals and moisture in food plus negates the need for added fat. It also is a great way way of cooking and one that we do a lot in our house. In fact, you can literally make your whole meal in a steamer and not have to use the oven or hob at all which I think is great.
This Russell Hobbs steamer has three different sections or trays on it which I think is great as like I've said above this enables you to cook a whole meal at once. The product is very easy to use. In the base unit is the resevoir tray where you add you water. You can add up to 1 and 3/4 pints which will give you about 60 minutes of steaming. I generally only ad enough water to do the food I need but sometimes do the maximum which is just as easy. There is a little indicator on the side of the machine that shows you how much water you have in there which is good to know.
Then you fill up the trays with the food you want to steam. I love to do salmon in my steamer as I think this is the best way of cooking this particular fish. Now, a piece of fish will take about 15 minutes or so to steam but luckily this steamer does come with a really good instruction manual that tells you all the steam times so you don't have to worry about guessing or remembering. There is a dial on the front of the machine that you turn to indicate how many minutes you want you food to steam for.
Then I also do my potatoes and vegetables at the same time. Now, obviously as these have different cook times you just put them in different baskets and then when the time comes to add them onto the steamer you can just remove the lid and place another basket on top of the other, it's as simple as that. Some juices will come off the food as it steams so remember not to put vegetables underneath the salmon as you will get your veg covered in salmon juices which is not nice. I always put my fish at the bottom so it can drip into the tray below and then you can get rid of it and it is not on your food. This steamer has a 9 litre capacity so you will be able to cook a lot of food at one time. I can do enough for a family of four easily and could probably cook for a few more people at the same time too.
Once the time is up there is a bell that indicates when your food is done which is nice. Now, steam is extremely hot so always remember to wear oven gloves as not only will the steam get you when you take apart the baskets but the dripping water will also get you, I learnt from experience in the beginning of using this machine!! As everything comes apart this machine is very easy to wash. Sometimes the skin of the salmon will stick a bit to the bottom of the basket but you will then just need to give it an extra scrub to get rid of it. My machine is quite old now and the trays are becoming a bit discoloured but not so bad that you can't use it anymore.
I have always had amazingly tasty fresh food from this steamer and definitely recommend it as a great way to cook.
When I moved into my new home one of the things on my "must have " list was a vegetable steamer. My mum got me one the same as hers its a Russell Hobbs White Oval Steamer. I think she paid roughly £25.00 for it. I'm not sure where she got it from but they are available on Amazon.
The steamer is so easy to operate. It comes with the following
A base unit
A steam tube
A rice bowl
3 baskets and a lid.
There are no complicated settings it is literally one timer dial which you simply turn to the amount of minuets you want to steam for. The dial slowly moves round back to zero and dings when its finished. If by any chance you forget your steamer and let it boil dry it has a cut of mechanism so you wont damage anything. There is a light on the front of the base with a water level indicator. The steamer will hold 1 1\2 pints of water which will give you 40 minuets of steaming. If you require longer then the reservoir can be topped up at any time. But I do find 40 minuets is plenty for most of the veggies I do in there.
Each basket is made of clear blue plastic and is approximately 3 inches high, 11 inches long and 8 wide. They are oval in shape and each one is fractionally smaller than the other so they stack inside each other nicely. Each basket has a removable base with small holes in it to let the steam through and any liquid out. The bases lay on a small ridge inside the basket and are very easy to put in or take out. There is also a lid also made in the same clear plastic that will sit on the top of the baskets and this has 3 small holes in it to let the steam escape. The steamer stands about 12 inches tall when all 3 baskets are stacked but you can use just 1 or 2 of the baskets depending on what you are cooking.
Using the Steamer
This couldn't be simpler. You place the small tube over the element to protect it. You then take the diffuser tray which directs the steam to the baskets and lay it on the base unit. The diffuser has small handles each side because at the end of cooking it contains some liquid from the vegetables and the handles allow you to pick it up and empty it. This liquid is understandably very hot so care should be taken.
The next step is to fill the water reservoir up to the maximum marker. As I said before this will then give you 40 minuets steaming if you need it .
Next place your vegetables into the baskets. These should not be piled on top of each other so the steam can circulate around them and its best to try and cut them all similar sizes so they cook evenly. Of course this often isn't possible when you are cooking different vegggies so the best thing to do is put the larger things in the bottom basket and the smaller ones at the top. If you want to put 2 different things in one basket it comes with a divider that just slots across the basket to divide it in half.
You should always place the stronger flavours on the lower basket so they don't drip on more delicate flavoured things. And like wise if you are cooking fish or meat these should always be places in the bottom basket for the same reason.
Then its just a matter of turning the dial to your required time and the steamer starts steaming virtually straight away.
The steamer cannot be put in water (obviously) but you should wait until the water has cooled and then tip any liquid out from the small spouts on the side. The diffuser can be lifted of and emptied and the baskets can be washed in soapy water. They are not dishwasher proof. I personally don't have a dishwasher but my mum does and this is the only down side to the steamer as far as she is concerned.
The steamer can be used for cooking many things not just veggies. You can cook meat and fish in there too. Of course it can be used for steam puddings as well although obviously you need to put the mixture in a bowl before you place it in the basket the same goes for rice too.
Any flavourings you want to add can be placed directly on the food for example sprigs of mint laid on potatoes give a lovely flavour and make the kitchen smell nice too! Or parsley or lemon can be placed on fish.
I personally think the veggies taste lovely when they have been steamed, mushrooms particularly. They remain firm and so tasty and keep a lot of their goodness too. I usually put my steamer on for about 35 minuets for 3 trays of veggies, if some are cooked sooner than others it doesn't' matter because steaming is a gentle way of cooking and it wont affect the flavours or overcook the food.
I would recommend anyone to get a vegetable steamer and the Russell Hobbs one I have is a good one to buy.
I don't quite know what I used to do before I bought a steamer to cook my food. I was always at a loss on how to prepare and cook certain foods in particular fish, I try not to fry foods as I know it isn't good for me, no matter how good they taste and it was when I was doing my weekly shop that I decided to ask the fishmonger what the best way to cook the Salmon steak I had just bought was. It was suggested I tried putting it in my steamer for 15 minutes and adding the odd bit of parsley on top to add to the flavour, not wanting to sound embarrassed and say I didn't realise you could cook fish in a steamer, I thought it was just vegetables I decided to order one and quick.
My choice of steamer was the three tier Russell Hobbs 3501 Steamer. I choose it because it looked easy to use and it wasn't too expensive at £19.95 and because the box stated that it cooked "Steams rice, vegetables, fish and sea food whilst retaining maximum flavour" which sounded brilliant and something I couldn't live without. There was also the added extra of a steaming guide to cooking your food which came with this steamer, so I would be able to use it straight away and know what I was doing.
This steamer comes in the classic white colour only and holds a capacity of 9 litres. It comes with a 1.1 litre rice bowl and has three sections. Each section is made up of a hard plastic basket which you can decide whether or not you want to use them and make it one or two tier as required. The base of the steamer is also where you are required to put hot water, preferably from a boiled kettle into so that it can cook your food, there is a clear indicator based on the front so you can see how much water has been added and again depending upon what is being cooked depends on how much water you will need.
The baskets are stackable on top of one another to create the three tier system and between each basket is a divider, the baskets themselves are see through so you can watch your food being cooked and there is a one size fits all lid. On the base of the steamer you will find the 60 minute timer which has a bell ringer to indicate the cooking time has elapsed and depending on what food you cook is dependant on how long you set the timer for, it is a simple twist knob to set the timer, nothing too technical like a digital clock and the bell it quite loud so if I am upstairs I can hear it ring for a few seconds so that I know everything is cooked.
The book which accompanied the Steamer was very easy to read and gave a lot of advice when it comes to steaming your food and it seems that steaming your food has a lot of health benefits because fewer water soluble vitamins such as B an C are lost and the loss of vitamins through contact by air is reduced, steaming your food is also less time consuming and when cooking vegetables and food together such as fish there are no crosses flavors. In fact the one thing I have noticed is that in general my food actually tastes much nicer without any added salt or oil, the vegetables are crunchy which is how I like them instead of being an over boiled sloppy mess and I now each much more fish because I don't struggle with how long I should cook it for and in what I should cook it, everything is steamed. I steam lots of different foods ranging from rice, potatoes, vegetables, fish and even some meats and I have never felt let down.
To clean this food steamer is equally simple. Each of the baskets are removable so you can put them into your washing up bowl to wash them as you would everything else, although I would ask you to take care because they are made of plastic and will crack if something heavy lands on them. The base of the steamer is attached to the electrical cord, so it isn't advisable to put that in the washing bowl, to wash mine I simply use a wet cloth to wipe it clean because the only thing which has been in the bottom on the base if the water which cooks the actual food.
You must also take care when using a food steamer because the vapours which are released get very hot and can burn, so once the timer has rung to let you know that your food is cooked, wear an oven glove or something over your hand to remove the top lip to allow further vapours to escape before attempting to remove the food and take care not to dislodge the base of the steamer because it contains hot water which can scold. Without any water in the steamer it is very lightweight to move around and when it is full of water it is extremely heavy, so it is important to wait until the water has cooled down before attempting to empty it.
Overall I am impressed with my steamer, it is easy to use, it cooks the food really well, it is easy to clean and it was inexpensive to purchase and now I wouldn't be without it. If you are looking to purchase one for yourself you can find it online almost anywhere, although it does range in price quite rapidly and from memory Amazon was the cheapest. I bought mine for £19.95 from Robert Dyas on my high street.
Short name: Russell Hobbs 3501