Being the designated chef in a family of four, I spend a huge amount of my time in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking, and I especially enjoy inviting family and friends over for dinner. A home cooked meal always brings a family together, which for me, is really important. So, when AO challenged me to cook a full blown Christmas dinner in a Beko single oven, I was excited to give it a try and put the AeroPerfect™ feature to the test. It also means that I get to practice before the big day…bonus.
What sort of food do you like to cook, and have you ever cooked anything quite as important as the Christmas dinner before?
I cook all sorts really, but I try to make food that we all enjoy. This could be anything from pasta bakes to fresh pies, and I even like to treat us to a fakeaway on the weekend (homemade burgers or pizzas are our go-to). If you’re asking for my favourite meal, it’s always going to be a roast dinner – they’re what I usually make when we have guests over.
I’ve been cooking the Christmas dinner for a number of years now, for around 7 people. I must admit though, I’ve always found fitting everything in the oven at the right time a bit of a nightmare, to say the least. I usually have to pre-cook some things and reheat them later on - not ideal when you’re trying to show off your skills.
Did you have any reservations about the challenge, or the oven, before you started?
In all honesty, I didn’t think this model would be particularly different to any other oven that I’ve used before. I always struggle with food burning on the outside before it’s properly cooked in the middle, even when it’s been on the top shelf. And if I place something at the bottom, it never seems to cook well enough, so I spend most of my time moving it all around inside.
And how did it go? Can you tell us what dishes you cooked, and how well they turned out?
Amazing! I roasted a big joint of turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes, parsnips and carrots. And to go on the side, I boiled some sprouts and cabbage. I would’ve normally just boiled the carrots with the other greens, and I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the parsnips because I never usually have the oven space for them. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that not all single ovens have the same capacity, and this one could hold 72 litres at once. There was plenty of room to fit everything inside, and I can honestly say that this Christmas dinner was the best one that I’ve ever made.
You’ll be glad to know that my roasties turned out perfectly - crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. I didn’t even think I liked parsnips, but they were so tasty. The pigs in blankets came out exactly how they should too, because the bacon didn’t burn and the sausages themselves were evenly cooked. And to top it all off, the turkey was delicious. I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this whole meal again on Christmas Day, and the best part is that I know I don’t have anything to worry about.
How did you find the AeroPerfect™ feature? Were there any other settings that you particularly liked?
The AeroPerfect™ feature made a huge difference. I mentioned earlier that I usually find it difficult to get meals right, as they either burn on the top or they just don’t cook on the bottom. With this one, that problem was totally taken away. Whatever shelf I put anything on, it came out perfect. I wish someone had told me about AeroPerfect™ before, because I now can’t imagine life without it. In fact, I genuinely believe that it’ll set this Christmas dinner miles ahead of the ones I’ve made previously.
I also found the programmable timer really helpful, because it automatically switches the oven off when food is ready. So, if your main is still cooking while everyone’s digging into the starter, you’ll never have to worry about anything burning. There’s nothing worse than having to get up mid-conversation because you need to turn the oven off.
Did you have a go at cleaning it afterwards? Was it easy?
If there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s cleaning the oven. With this in mind, you can imagine my delight when I heard that this one had a Steam Clean mode.
I wanted to give it a try, so once the oven had cooled down, I removed the shelves and added 500ml of water to the built-in tray. I then set the oven to 100 degrees, waited 15 minutes, switched it off and waited another 10 minutes. When I opened the door, the grease was so easy to wipe away with a damp sponge and some soap. And oh my, it was so much quicker too. It means you can keep on top of it, and it doesn’t have to be this huge job that we put off for ages.
And finally, would you recommend this oven to other people? Who do you think it would be great for?
I would absolutely recommend this oven to anybody who has space for it in their kitchen. Its 72 litre capacity, AeroPerfect™ feature and Steam Clean mode make it great for families. It goes to show as well that having a good-sized oven can make cooking so much more enjoyable on the whole.