Last week I was writing about my experiences of using a slow cooker. Over the past few days I’ve been experimenting with something entirely different; the Tefal Cook4me multicooker.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the Cook4me when it first arrived. Appearance wise, it reminded me of a small, Soviet-era satellite and it struck me that it was simply a modern take on the pressure cooker.
The first time I used it, I decided to keep it simple. I steamed some vegetables for the kids’ dinner and was very pleasantly surprised when they came out having been cooked to perfection. When I say perfection, I mean to absolute, complete and utter perfection. This persuaded me the Cook4me had potential and that I should get more adventurous with it.
Before I get on to that, what exactly is the Cook4me multicooker? Primarily, it is a pressure cooker. It is also operates as a hob so you can brown off or partially cook ingredients prior to steaming them. Once cooked, it keeps the food warm like an oven. As you can see, it has multiple functions and this explains the title.
The unique selling point of the Cook4me is the fact is it has its own on-board computer. It is pre-programmed with a variety or recipes. It features everything from; lamb shanks, houmous and bread and butter pudding to sweet and sour pork and prawn and coriander bisque.
When you’ve chosen your dish, a small screen on the front of the device tells you what ingredients you need. It will then walk you through how to prepare and cook the meal. At some point this will involve sealing the lid so the food can be pressure cooked.
When finished, the Cook4me trips over to a warming mode. This ensures the food stays at a nice temperature until you’re ready to eat.
In addition to steaming vegetables, I have cooked a variety of dishes including beef tacos, chicken tikka and beef stew. In doing so, I have formed some firm opinions.
In my opinion, the Cook4me is designed for convenience. The recipes are mostly very straightforward and simple to cook. Some of them are great and the beef and ale stew I made was delicious. Even so, some of them rely heavily on off the shelf sauces. One other point to add; it it very easy to clean.
It’s down to the individual, but personally I prefer to cook with fresh ingredients as much as possible. This is perfectly possible with the Cook4me, but you need to select your recipes accordingly.
I have noticed one limitation with the Cook4me. You must prepare all the ingredients and go from the first to final step with no deviation. As the recipes are preloaded, there is no flexibility once you start cooking. You can’t flick backwards and forwards through a recipe to review what you should be preparing or to see the serving suggestions. If you do so, the cooking process starts all over again.
Tefal’s suggestion for getting round this is to look at the recipes on its website. It’s one way to review a recipe during and while cooking, but I found it to be a little inflexible.
Would I recommend the Cook4me? If you had a child leaving home for the first time and wanted to introduce them to the idea of cooking for themselves, the Cook4me might be ideal for them. It may also be great for someone living in a small flat or bedsit who has limited cooking facilities. It may also prove useful if you were going on, say, a camping holiday or staying in a static caravan (although you would need an electrical hook up).
If, like me, you’re reasonably experienced in the kitchen or catering for a family, the Cook4me possibly isn’t the correct device for you. Unless, that is, you simply want something to compliment you existing oven and hob.
For convenience, speed and ease of use, the Cook4me is great. It could be a great introduction to cooking for the inexperienced or for a singleton / couple without children. If I ever come across vegetables elsewhere that have been this well steamed, I’ll be stunned.
The Tefal Cook4me is available from a range of retailers including Tesco and Argos. Expect to pay around £249.99. For further information visit the Tefal website.
Disclosure; For review purposes I was provided with a Tefal Cook4me. Thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.