“ The unique aqua timer indicates how much water is required for various cooking times - the cooking is stopped when there is no more water. „
>> Why use the Tefel Steamer? <<
~*~ "Good Health To You," ~ HEALTH ~*~
It is now an established fact that steaming food is one of the most beneficial and nutritious means of healthy eating. One of the fundamental reasons for this is that the food being steamed, never actually comes into contact with the water, therefore, the health-giving components of the cuisine are not depleted in the course of the cooking process.
As an example of the advantages of using a food steamer over boiling, is the better percentage rates of vital nutrients retained. Folic acid is reduced by 15% in steaming but 25% by boiling! Why does this matter? As a B vitamin, the right amount of Folic acid during pregnancy is essential in notably reducing the possibility of the baby being born with defects such as spina bifida. During my daughter's pregnancies, I often prepared foods rich in folic acid, such as broccoli. As steaming is a far gentler process of cooking such vegetables, the nutritive substances are retained to a far higher degree. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, health reasons alone present a good motivation to adopt this cooking method.
~*~ "A Taste Of Things To Come" ~ TASTE ~*~
Because the steamer functions by transferring heat by circulating liquid in the form of steam, known as convection, foods retain their natural taste, having their flavonoids sealed in. One of my favourites has to be the common root vegetable Swede. Its scabrous exterior conceals an amber tanned delightful hardy tissue within. Once steamed, the finished product gives a naturally luscious sweet tasting flavour. Although one can add even more flavour to the food by incorporating the juices that are collected in the water compartment, I'd advice against using to make gravy. I didn't want to discard rich in nutrient liquid so I thought it would be a neat idea to make gravy with the fluid. Unfortunately, as the molecular structure changes during the steaming process, the gravy didn't thicken, despite coagulating materials and tasted awful!
~*~ 'Feel-Good Factor' ~ TEXTURE ~*~
Because of the mildly gentle and careful cooking method, foods retain their cellular structure. The structural matter of foods such as pink Salmon fillets maintains their mild delicate yet succulent juicy flavour in their palatable filleted textural form. The appearance of food is only secondary to their taste...ask Gordon!
~*~ "Sweet Smell Of Success" ~ AROMA ~*~
Due to the heat in steaming, foods exude mouth-watering aromatic bouquets. For me, the appetizing and delectable redolence of foods such as sweet petite peas, fragrant seasonal vegetables and exotic fruits appeal scrumptiously to the sensory pleasure!
~*~ "Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder" ~ APPEARANCE ~*~
The calm and steady mode of steaming helps the food to conserve the natural colours. Such foods as green leafy vegetables and butternut squash sustain their vibrant rich colours, furnishing the dining plate with an array of culinary delightful colours.
~*~ "Cooking The Books" ~ Which Foods To Cook ~*~
The list is endless! I use my steamer to cook assorted vegetables, apart from those I've already mentioned, I also cook spinach, aubergines, sprouts, parsnips, carrots, radishes, potatoes, cauliflower....
I love to cook all types of fish, from tuna to mackerel. The steamer enhances their natural flavours whilst leaving them tender and succulent. I adore preparing brown rice in my steamer for curries. The rice comes out with a luxurious soft, velutinous and fluffy texture. Knowing the added benefit of cooking this grain by this method is in fact the singular means that guarantees the keeping of its valuable B1 vitamin!
I generally chop root vegetables into cubes to ensure quicker cooking times. Cutting broccoli and cauliflower into florets promotes a briefer cooking time and fitting into the steamer bowls. But I never cut leafy greens, preferring to further reduce the nutrient loss by popping in whole in the steamer bowl. I find that the two 3 litre oval sieved bowls allows me to cook enough food for a four portion meal.
When my foods are fully cooked, I can then add whatever spices, herbs, extra virgin oil and/or flavourings appeal. Due to the steamer's ability to hold in the natural flavours of the foods, often I don't need to add anything. But, for the sake of a recipe, sauce or preferred taste, I will combine a complementary supplement.
~*~ "Let Off Steam" ~ USAGE ~*~
The steamer is so easy to use. I simply add cold water into the base of the container, place the polo shaped plastic gadget around the central elevated separator, replace the cover, pop the oval cooking bowls on, place the lid on the top, switch on then leave it to steam. The external water gauge indicates the water level. I can choose the appropriate cooking times by filling the water to the various levels. If when the buzzer alerts me to the steamer finishing, and I find the foods not cooked to requirement, I am able top up the water during the cooking process.
There have been times when I've been unable to attend to the foods when the steamer has finished cooking. The automatic switch off feature means that I do not have to be concerned with over cooking or the water being exhausted.
~*~ "Blow Off Steam" ~ CLEANING ~*~
I basically remove all non electrical parts, everything but the base, and wash in warm soapy water; they are even dishwasher proof! I will say though that there are times that when I wash these items by hand, vegetable and fish residue tends to stick solid to the base and sides. To remove this excess debris, I soak in a concentrated solution of washing liquid for a brief time. After rinsing well in warm water, the containers come up clean and shiny.
The base should be cleaned using a well wrung out clean moistened cloth, and gently wiped over to avoid liquid coming into contact with the electrical components. Gently cleaning the external base will keep it hygienic whilst preserving the green printed usage notations. The water compartment tends to get grimy, with a level yellowing marker. The central separator also becomes very debris ingrained and coated with a dark brown shade. To remove, I find occasional steaming without foods on the 20 minute level mark with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda will safely bring the base up to a fresh and clean 'as new' appearance.
~*~ "Running Out Of Steam" ~ TIMER ~*~
The water gauge is levelled at 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 minute marks. I find this perfect because I can steam leafy veg for 20minutes but a hardy root vegetable for 40 minutes. There's no problem in mixing the differing food constituents. As an example, I will put root veg in the container at the base and runner beans and sweet corn in the top bowl. This way the foods that cook at a quicker time do not spoil. With a 1.1 litre rice bowl included, even whole grain foods can be accommodated; rice comes out perfectly soft and fluffy.
~*~ "Under One's Own Steam" ~ Technical Details ~*~
The steamer Dimensions are 29.5cm length x22.5cm width x33.5 cm height (or 295 length x 225 width x 335 height in mm) with a lovely light weight of 1.4kg
Although the lids and bowls have small protruding side handles, I would advice careful lifting during cooking and after as the steam rises in a sharp gust when lids are raised and all the surfaces are extremely hot!
This transparent, contemporised looking steamer is available on EBay from £4.99 used and new!
Would I recommend? Absolutely. As a healthy option to preparing copious amounts of foods. But one star off due to the innovative current models available!
When i was told about the steamer bye my friends i thought it would be a good idea as every body talking about them was really giving it a good name.
So when i had a few gift vouchers for my birthday for argos i thought why not?
So i checked out the prices and mine was only 14.99 so i purchased one.
And now understand what the such big deal is.
I found its a very good way to eat healthy and a healthy way to cook all your veg and other types of food in and still keeps all that foods goodness in.
I use mine as often as i can and find it very easy to clean and easy to use they range anything from around 9.99 to around 29.99.
I really do recomend this item to any one alot of my family members own one as the food tastes better done in the steamer than in a pan.And doesent really seem to take a great deal of time to cook.
Also i found my self ignoring some of the instructions as it said to leave on for a certain amount of time and after i dished up i found my veg was to soft and soggy so i found myself taking around 8 minutes of the time the instructions said as i like my veg not to soft but not to hard and to keep all the goodness within.
I bought this product for 3 reasons
1 - I was/am trying to be a bit healthy
2 - I was fed up of washing pans
3 - I had £20 of Argos vouchers burning a hole in my pocket!
I found this steamer in Argos on reduced to £14.99 which I thought was quite a good bargain. At the moment they are selling it for £18.99 (the original price is listed at £39.99) so it is still a good deal.
When I got it home I unpacked all the bits and I must agree with the other reviewers that it does look a bit cheap and nasty. However I have had mine a while now and use it nearly every day and it is still working and all in one piece so it must be tougher then it looks! Also there was an awful lot of unnecessary plastic and foam packaging in the box which as a keen recycler I was not too happy with. But that's probably just me being a bit neurotic!
So I chopped up my veg, filled it up with water and plugged it in. I used the booklet that came with the steamer for guidance on how long things took to cook. FYI ignore the book. After the stated 30 mins all I had was mush instead of carrots and broccoli. I would recommend, if like me you like your veg slightly al dente, that you halve the time they give.
One thing I don't really like about this steamer is the timer. Instead it has little markings inside the bowl which you set the water level to. Basically the more water the longer it stays on for. This does mean you have to pay a bit more attention so you don't overcook things. Also if you don't have great eyesight I would think the markings will be a bit tricky to see properly as they are just indents in the plastic.
Timing teething problems aside, I do really like this steamer. It is very easy and quick to clean (bye bye pan scrub), and it folds away very neatly as all the bowls will stack inside each other so it takes up less room then lots of pans too. I also like the fact you can do entire meals in it as you can steam fish and rice too.
This steamer holds a lot too, I have the 3 tier version but only really use 1 tier for myself and my partner, but I cooked Christmas dinner for 8 people and all my veg fit in it (not including potatoes as these must be roasted at Christmas!). I can't tell you how much easier tidying up was :)
The product description on the box (3 tier version) is
* 9 litre capacity.
* 60 minute water timer.
* 3 bowls.
* Auto switch off.
* External water level.
* Boil dry safety cut out.
* Dishwasher safe non electrical parts.
* Power on indicator.
* Rice bowl.
* Non slip feet.
(Mine also has little dimples in the bottom of one of the bowls to stand eggs in, but I haven't tried this so don't know how well it works for eggs).
I would recommend this product especially at the price Argos is selling it for at the moment. It saves time and space and your food really does taste better. Between this and my slow cooker I may get rid of my pans completely!
I, like many, seem to have a thing for kitchen gadgets. You buy them, or receive them as gifts, thinking that they're a great idea and then they languish in the back of a cupboard after the first couple of uses never to be seen again. One of the items that I acquired that this happened to was a steamer, but I can now say that it's back out of the cupboard and firmly attached to my kitchen work top in almost daily use.
Along came baby and daily portions of fresh vegetables were soon required, cooked without salt and in a way that didn't require constant supervision. After ruining a couple of pans that I simply forgot about on the stove I had to come up with a new method - ah, the steamer. It's proven to be a Godsend.
The Tefal Aquatimer steamer is an electrical steamer. Technically it works rather like a kettle, heating water up to boiling. The difference with a steamer is that rather than switching off when the water boils the steamer allows the water to continue to simmer, producing steam with which to cook your food. Your food sits in one of two (or three on some models) clear plastic containers which have holes in the bottom (rather like a colander). The steam is contained by use of a clear plastic lid with a couple of vent holes which let out any excess steam that hasn't condensed back to water. The steam that does condense falls back through the containers and into a collecting reservoir.
The joy of this steamer is that there is no guesswork involved in how much water is required for a given steam time. Clear indicators in the water-reservoir tell you how much water to add for a given cooking time. When the water runs out a buzzer is heard and the unit switches itself off. This makes it ideal for me as it means that I can set the steamer to go and then not have to worry if I'm in the middle of something else when it is due to finish - I know that it will switch itself off.
I find the unit easy to use. It all comes apart for washing and is easy to clean. If there is a cleaning negative then it is twofold. Firstly the reservoir that catches the used water is made from white plastic. Regular cooking of carrots means that this is now stained an orange colour which doesn't look that good. Secondly you will get some standing residual water (and limescale, if like us, you live in a hard water area) in the reservoir that you fill up to set it going. This water is held in the base unit and can only be emptied out by unplugging the unit and tipping it out. This can be awkward as the base unit has the lead with the plug permanently attached and so you have to be careful not to pour water all over the lead.
I like the fact that you can tier the steamer meaning that you can put foods in the steamer at the same time which would normally require different cooking times. For example, if cooking fish and veg I would put the veg at the bottom with the fish, which requires less cooking, above. This way you food can all be ready at the same time.
The unit comes with a special container for rice steaming. I've used this once but must confess that I tend to microwave my rice and it's quicker. It did, however, do the job.
This unit is now in almost daily use. I steam vegetables for my toddler and the steamer allows me to get consistent results. I can vary the cooking time according to how soft I want the vegetables and I know that I'm preserving as many of the nutrients as possible. Twenty minutes will give me nice, soft carrots, potatoes, beans and broccoli with no attention required.
The unit also comes into it's own when entertaining. It's great for cooking larger quantities of vegetables and takes away the worry that a pot will boil over, boil dry or that the vegetables will be over or under done. Simply load it up, add the water and let it go. The containers are easily large enough to do veg for 6 in each.
I found that the recipe booklet that came with the steamer is accurate as to cooking times, quite novel in my (limited) experience. There's also a few handy times printed on the base of the machine, lest you should forget.
The flavours of the food are preserved and you don't get much leeching on the goodness into the water. What you end up with are natural, fresh tasting foodstuffs without the need to add seasoning. The tastes are fresh, as if straight from the field (or sea/river).
I was surprised at how little steam is let out into the room whilst steaming and, although on cold days the windows will steam up we're not talking sauna qualities.
If it does end up in the back of your cupboard it will take up quite a bit of space (particularly height wise) but I'll hazard a guess that it'll be back out quite soon!
I purchased my 2-tier, Aquatimer Steamer from a local discount electrical shop and I must admit that I wondered, when I got it home, why I had bought it. It cost just eighteen pounds, so maybe I was tempted by a bargain. I had intended to keep it as a Christmas present for my daughter, but I decided to use. This is the result. The instructions are very simple to follow so off I went. Vegetables peeled and chopped into smallish cubes and thin slices and arranged in the bowl. Water added to base reservoir and timer turned to twenty minutes. The timer shows how much water you need for each time span, so you can't boil it dry. ( Mmmm, at least the manufacturers are aware that there are lots of people like me out there!) Result: Firm but cooked fresh vegetables. A chef's delight but, sadly, not a favourite of mine. A little cheese sauce soon changed that! My second adventure was with the rice bowl which is included. You add the recommended amount of water (its in the handbook) to the rice and place the bowl inside the larger steaming bowl. Put the lid on. Add water to reservoir. Set the timer according to rice type. American long grained rice took 14 minutes to steam and then I washed and drained it to remove the starch. Decided it wasn't quite cooked so I put it back on to steam some more. Result: Yuk! This would have been excellent for putting up wallpaper. Horrible! My experience with the rice bowl was the result of my inability to follow instructions, Or, rather, my refusal to follow them. My advice here is that you at least read the instructions before starting to cook. I was flushed with success after steaming though vegetables to perfection and came slightly 'unstuck' (or stuck up) with the rice. You get: a base unit, two steamer bowls, a rice bowl, and a lid. You also get instructions (also helpful) and a few cooking suggestions. The benefits of this appliance are many
. Its so easy to use and you can cook a whole meal in your steamer if you like steamed fish, chicken, etc. You can poach, scramble or boil egs in it. Rice, I'm told, is excellent made in a steamer (once you get the hang of it, I presume.) From my own point of view this is a really healthy way to cook and eat. Steamed vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals and will help you with good nutrition and weight control. You can eat a huge plate of vegetables with your meat, fish, or whatever you choose and know that eventhough you feel full after your meal, you won't be putting on huge amounts of weight. Excellent appliance, easy to use (if you follow instructions). I would recommend to anybody.
I bought this steamer about a year ago after a friend bought a (different) steamer and recommended I get one. I didn't want to spend a fortune and this was the cheapest one available at the Dixons I went to at the time. Not a very scientific way of making a purchase I know but it's all worked out really well. I absolutely LOVE my steamer. It is quite simply the most useful kitchen appliance I have ever bought. I eat a lot of Indian and Chinese food and my friend's sister had told him that a steamer is fantastic for cooking rice. I know this is pretty common knowledge but I had always assumed that rice out of a rice cooker would be perfect and rice out of a steamer would be a bit of a compromise. Not so here. The rice this steamer cooks has been perfect first time and every time since. (Another friend who recently bought a Cookworks steamer has never managed to get edible rice out of hers). It is really fluffy, just like you get at an Indian restaurant, doesn't stick together and I've never found it to be under or overcooked. I have always followed the instructions in the little booklet you get and these seem to be spot on. The steamer itself is really easy to use. You just put water into the bottom up to the line that represents the time you want to cook for, add the drip tray and then one or both of the tiers with your food in. The only extra thing is if you do rice you also need to add water to the rice bowl for the rice to absorb. The booklet that comes with the steamer clearly tells you how long you need to cook each food for and how much water to add to the rice depending on how much you're cooking. It gives you two times for each thing. The first one is the time if the food is in the bottom tier and the second is for if it's in the top tier. I find this really useful because if you're cooking things that need different times you can often put the one that takes less time in the top tier so that
they'll need steaming for the same time. Now I've banged on about rice for such a long time you're probably wondering why I didn't just buy a rice cooker so I'd better set that straight. Although I use the steamer for rice about once or twice a week I also use it for fish or vegetables about once a week. Steaming is a really healthy way to cook and the best way to retain natural flavours in food. I'm not really a huge fan of vegetables but I've started eating them much more now I've got the Aquatimer. There's nothing worse than overcooked, soggy vegetables with all goodness beaten out of them. You won't have that problem if you cook your veggies for the time the booklet tells you to and its also easy to add extra flavours to things. The flavours circulate in the steam and gently infuse the vegetables giving a subtle flavour you'd be hard pressed to achieve using other cooking methods. I suggest a couple of garlic cloves in with your potatoes or lemon slices with your fish. I've never used the steamer to cook meat but it says you can and I would imagine you would end up with a lovely moist piece of meat. I suppose I do have one small gripe about the Aquatimer. The booklet that comes with it is great but I would have liked it to include a few more foods. It doesn't tell you how to cook leeks for example. Also it would have been nice if they had suggested whole meals that could be made in the Aquatimer. The Aquatimer might seem a bit bulky to store and it doesn't stack for storage like some other steamers. You have to think of the number of pans it can save you though! The rice bowl is 1.1L (as are most steamers) which is big enough to do 300g of basmati rice which should easily be enough for three people. I would like to have another rice bowl as I usually cook for four but for £19.99 I'm not complaining. (I must have got it in a sale because I think the Aquat
imer is £24.99 now). Basically as you can tell I think its fabulous and I couldn't be without it! Go and buy one. Quick!