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Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker Product Test Feedback thread: Now with 2nd feedback questions

(69 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-Sep-12 11:59:35

This thread is for the 15 MNers who are putting the new Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker through its paces.

Philips say "Enabling you to prepare homemade meals even on your busiest days, the HomeCooker has been specially designed to achieve authentic home cooking with ease. It can chop, stir, steam and sauté and be left cooking unattended".

As Jamie Oliver explains: "We all know it can be a struggle to get fresh, homemade food on the table every day, especially for busy parents who have to juggle so much. It's often a real tradeoff between spending time with the family and getting fresh food on the table. The beauty of the Philips HomeCooker is that it removes this dilemma - you can now do both! Whether you're a beginner cook or a more experienced chef, the HomeCooker takes the pressure off in the kitchen. Because it stirs itself you don't have to stand over a stove but you can still invest all that love and creativity into your meal."

For more information please see www.philips.co.uk/e/homecooker/home.html

We're asking testers to add feedback at least twice to this thread - first impressions and then we will add some more questions after you've been trying the product for a bit.

~ Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected? How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen?
~ What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?
~ Instructions - easy to follow? Anything you didn't understand
~ And what was the first thing you tried in it? How did it go? Anything you'd change for next time?

Any other comments?

If you're not a tester please do feel free to post any questions to testers on this thread and they or Philips will answer them

Thanks

MNHQ

libelulle Mon 24-Sep-12 13:08:49

Ok, I'll go for it -

1) First impressions were excellent. The cooker looks solid and well-made and the controls are intuitive. The stirrer stirs the food efficiently, and doesn't need any help other than perhaps an initial extra prod when the ingredients first go in. I was happy with the idea of leaving things to cook unattended.

The first thing I made was a stew, and that definitely saved me time. I bunged the onions etc on to fry while I put the kids to bed, came down and added the meat etc, and left it to it for the next two hours at 90c. Magic!

The risotto, on the other hand, was not a time-saver. Sure, it stirred the rice, and the end result was delicious. But once I'd faffed with the cutting tower, roasted the butternut in the oven and fried the bacon in a frying pan, I felt like I was spending a lot of my time hovering over the stove anyway, so stirring a risotto at the same time wouldn't really have been an extra effort. There was also a lot of washing up! I don't understand why more of the recipes didn't focus on using just the homecooker and on ease/speed - many of them seemed to be incredibly complex with many different stages, and involve oven and pan use too, which imo defeats the whole object of the cooker. But ignoring the recipe book, I am seriously impressed by the quality and possibilities of the homecooker and think I will be using it a lot.

2) it doesn't take any more space on the worktop than the slow-cooker I used to use - basically big saucepan-sized. I think it easily justifies the space it takes up.

3) The instructions were fine. However, as some of us already mentioned on the other thread, the temperatures given in the recipe book seemed awfully high compared to the guidelines in the product booklet. The hungarian stew mentioned 130 degrees for nearly 4 hours, I think, which would have left it bubbling furiously and left the meat stringy and tough. The possibilities for slow-cooking stews and meats at low temps are one of the biggest selling points of the cooker imo.

4) First thing I cooked - see above! If I made it again, I'd lower the temperature even sooner next time, I left it at 130 for long enough for it to bubble furiously for a while before I noticed.

5) Any other comments. I found that the cutting tower this didn't match the home cooker either in quality or results. It juddered like crazy and left half the onion unchopped and flying around on top of the cutting blade. The motor couldn't really cope with grating the celery either. It would have been quicker and easier to chop them by hand. Bigger quantities might have made it more worthwhile, and I will keep trying with it, but I think I am likely to stick with my existing food processor!

In summary, I think the homecooker itself, ie the main deal, is really fantastic! The recipe book, on the other hand, was a triumph of style over substance, and I'd give a thumbs down to the cutting tower. I'm looking forward to doing more homecooker experimenting over the coming weeks!

EddieVeddersfoxymop Mon 24-Sep-12 13:54:45

First impressions of the home cooker: Initially, I thought "eek" as the box looked huge. It wasn't too large however when unpacked, but I think I would struggle to give it permanent counter space - my kitchen is average sized but its quite overpowering to look at on the counter. I may get used to it over time, but I think I would probably store it in a cupboard - which then means a lot of hassle to locate it and get it out to use. The build quality seems good....it feels well put together and built to last. Its something different, unique in itself....but I don't think I would have shelled out all the money for it. I was worried the machine was going to be a bit of a scutter to use....and it was, but I know that as I get more familiar with the machine it will become more second nature. That's not really an issue with the machine though, more like operator failure <arf>.

The risotto recipe was delicious - but not a time saver at all. By the time I fiddled about trying to use the cutting tower, then sweeping up the debris, I would have been better to chop by myself. The recipe was fiddly, involving using the hob as well as the homecooker - why not give out recipes that use the home cooker alone, as otherwise it seems to be defeating the purpose. Once it was cooking though, the smell was delicious and it was effortless to make a risotto. However, it did burn to the bottom of the pan and it didn't appear to stir the food evenly....I had all the asparagus, my DH all the celery and my poor DD was left with mainly rice and picking bits off our plate!! I wish I had given it a bit of a stir myself.

Size-wise, it looks very large in my average sized family kitchen. I find it glaring at me when I walk into the room, but don't think it would fit in a cupboard very successfully!!! I may get used to it sitting there, time will tell on that one. I have a slow cooker and its larger than it. I use a Kenwood mixer with a food processor attachment which i doubt the cutting tower would ever replace.

Instructions - I found them quite confusing to get it to start heating up. When I set my temperature to 130deg for the risotto recipe it just sat there, stone cold. I had to start the timer in order to start heating it up....not sure if that's me wanting to treat it like an oven and preheat it.....perhaps I should have just started the timer when I was adding my butter and onions. I found the red heating light confusing too......again, I wanted to think of it like my oven i.e its red when its heating and goes out when its up to temperature then cycles on and off. The instructions, to me, were not clear on how to heat the machine to get started and the significance of the red light. We're both pretty savvy people, but even my super intelligent DH was a bit baffled to start with!!

The first ( and only thing so far due to DD having a birthday party to plan, prepare and organise) thing I made was the asparagus risotto. It was delicious.....but I think I would change the recipe to make it less fiddly. I have no time at tea time to be blanching then podding beans!!!! Any seasonal veg would have worked well though, and anything that didn't involve faffing about on the hob at the same time would work better. My DH is intrigued about the breakfast recipe....although I am a vegetarian so we will alter the recipe to suit me grin. We plan to use veggie sausages and then follow the recipe. I reckon Sunday will be the day to try that, although I plan to make veggie bolognaise to test it out on some pasta. I would have liked the recipes to have not involved cooking on the hob at the same time, more "one pot" meals are what saves the time. Oh, and more veggie recipes please, we're not all carnivorous!!

MadameOvary Mon 24-Sep-12 16:35:39

~ First impressions. The HomeCooker was easy to assemble and the components looked sturdy
~ It wasn't any bigger than I expected, but I had expected it to be pretty substantial and had made a space on the worktop for it. I liked the way the cord was stored in the base.
~ The instructions were not easy to follow and it took me a while to figure out how to start it heating up. I thought all I'd have to do was set the temperature but I had to set the timer too, which then just counted on uselessly by itself. It was easy to understand how to set the stirring arm and timer though.
~ I made the risotto. The prep time was wildly optimistic. This is not a meal to make if you are in a hurry! The extra steps on the hob made the whole process time consuming and fiddly. The HomeCooker took care of the ingredients in the pan very well and mess and smells were well contained with the lid on while I got to grips with the cutting tower. I was very disappointed in this bit of equipment. As stated upthread it it is very juddery and feels flimsy in comparison to the HomeCooker and did not chop the ingredients efficiently. There was a good deal left that had to be scooped out. It is easy to clean afterwards, although I did rinse it immediately to make this easier.
The finished risotto was very tasty, looked good and I had no issues with food sticking to the pan.
Next time I would chop the onion myself or use a food processor.

I have since made soup by frying up some onions and garlic (giving the tower a second go. Not great results but realised I wasn't using best blade as recommended in manual. Carrots however chopped very well as did courgette and added some cooked butternut squash. Added stock, set it bubbling then finished off with chopped bacon. Left the mix to cool and enjoyed it the following day.

SharpObject Mon 24-Sep-12 16:55:46

Just marking my place and will add my feedback this evening. I'm making the minestrone soup this evening although I must admit that I'm a bit scared of the chopping tower blush

Halfling Mon 24-Sep-12 20:48:29

Marking my place and will be back with a detailed feed back in the next couple of days.

Reggiee Mon 24-Sep-12 21:11:01

First impressions
Really very pleased with the HomeCooker so far. I definitely hadn't appreciated how versatile it is, from slow cooker to fryer to steamer to rice cooker. It looks smart and feels longlasting.

I am a huge risotto fan, so it was great to test the butternut squash risotto. The risotto itself was delicious, and the finished product was creamier than I normally make (more "restaurant quality" if that makes sense). But like others have commented, it would have been a time saver and straightforward to make had it not been for the cutting tower and faffing about with cooking bacon and sqaush separately. Oh, and also would have saved time had I not been standing over it enthralled watching it stir itself for 30 minutes.

Size
I am queen of kitchen gadgets in an eternal effort to find a way to make cooking short cuts, so space on my worktop is at a premium. I was pleased that both the HomeCooker and Cutting Tower do not take up a ridiculous amount of space on the work top, being tall rather than bulky. Indeed my slow cooker is on its last legs so the HomeCooker may well find its permanent home in my kitchen replacing the slow cooker space. Although the Cutting Tower slots nicely
together with the HomeCooker, I'm not yet convinced this will remain permanently out on the worktop (see later). I was pleased with the way the electic wire stored on both units so I don't have to contend with long wires all over the place.

Instructions
The HomeCooker was very straightforward to unpack and set up. Slight confusion initially about how to get it started once I'd turned it on, as I expected it to automatically heat up once I'd set the temperature without the timer going.

The Cutting Tower was also easy to set up. The different cutting discs had useful coloured dots on their packaging, so I was expecting a key to which blade was which. This wasn't anywhere so although relatively obvious with a bit of thought and comparing the discs with the pictures in the instructions, it could be made easier to communicate which disc is which.

Jamie's recipe book was great for mouth watering dishes, but it wasn't clear in the recipes or instructions when/if I needed to put the lid on. Most of the recipes seemed to over complicate things, and involve cooking/boiling ingredients before adding them to the HomeCooker. It would be great to have more recipes, particularly plenty of one pot bung everything in type dishes the sort I like to cook cos I'm lazy.

First time...
The risotto (see above).
Second thing was the Crispy Rosemary Potatoes. Absolutely delicious!!Seriously, I cannot recommend these enough. This is a straightforward recipe with excellent results. Just bung in the chopped potato and garlic (I left out the rosemary the second time I cooked them and bunged the garlic in with the tats and oil) and off you go for an hour or so to Mumsnet play with the kids. The second time I cut the potatoes smaller and they needed less cooking time.

Currently sat here whilst a beef casserole is cooking. Chucked the beef/(hand chopped) onions in on the highest setting with the stirrer on for 10 mins, then reduced the temperature and chucked in carrots, mushrooms and stock, removed the stirrer, popped on the lid and it's bubbling away.

Planning to try the home made granola later in the week, and the cooked breakfast. Haven't yet tried the steamer of rice/pasta functions, so could do with experimenting with those.

Comments
I am so far impressed with the HomeCooker. Cleaning the Homecooker hasn't been too traumatic for me yet, but am convinced it's only a matter of time before I burn the bottom of the pot. I'm pleased it is dishwasher safe, although as I've been using it for the past few days I've been hand washing it (do Philips sell spare?).

The timer function has been useful, and I have found myself setting it at various intervals so I can check the food. Hopefully the more I use it the more confident I'll be with the timings and leaving it to stir itself.

Strangely, I've noticed that the HomeCooker emits nicer cooking smells than from my oven.

However, the Cutting Tower scores a big fat zero. The onion and celery from the risotto recipe didn't all make it. I had to fish out large bits of uncut onion and strigey celery from the tower. The plunger bit almost doesn't seem to reach far enough down to push the veggies against the cutter, and the veggies flatten out making them impossible to be cut. I tried the cutting tower on its own to finely chop carrots and had the same problem, with the additional issue that unless I chopped directly into the HomeCooker pan, bits of carrot also ended up covering the work top. If you have a knack, do let me know and I may persevere.

I found the Philips HomeCooker website useful, in particular it was good to see the HomeCooker in action before I tried it. I also liked reading the small number of additional recipes on the website, and really hope the recipe section will expand in the future.

mummypigof3 Tue 25-Sep-12 10:40:07

Marking place have a lamb shank on the go for DH birthday meal tonight so will report back.

mummypigof3 Tue 25-Sep-12 10:58:57

Ok testers what temp/how long would you suggest for two large lamb shanks????

Fiveisenough Tue 25-Sep-12 11:51:21

Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected?
First Impressions were good. It all seemed quite logical as to how it all went together. It seemes well built and not too huge and ugly as to be something you wouldn't want sitting on your kitchen side. The Cutting Tower, did not seem as well built and only stands nicely with the home cooker when you dont have the steamer inserts on top. But overall I thought it was nicely made and I was pleased that the main pan was nice and large as someone with a large family these things don't always consider those cooking larger quantities.

How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen?
I though the risotto whilst lovely was overly complicated having to cook some ingredients seperately. Also had issues with the cutting tower not cutting effectively and my ingredients being left in the tower which I ended up chopping by hand. Also thought maybe the speed of the stirring was a little slow and mine did start to stick to the bottom, Certainly not a recepie I would tackle on a weekday. So I would say that this particular recepie did not save time, but I can see the obvious potential to save time.

What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?
As I mentioned earleir the size is pretty much as I expected, thankfully big enough to cook for a large family like mine, but the cutting tower didn't sit so nicely with the main unit when all assembled together. But it didn't take up too much space.

Instructions - easy to follow? Anything you didn't understand

The instuctions were clear and the recepie book that came with it is lovely, however if it is being aimed at families wanting to cook fresh food from scratch every day lots of the recepies took quite along time. I like others had issues with the temperature settings in some of the recipes and was not really sure whether to have the lid on or off.

And what was the first thing you tried in it? How did it go? Anything you'd change for next time?
First thing I tried was a family favourite of Spaghetti Bolognaise. It went well Although I dont think I was any quicker getting dinner to the table, may have even been longer, however I did find myself watching it a lot of the time and hopefully with use I will get better at leaving it to do its thing. Again when making this i used the grater attachement on the chopping tower to hide in the maximum amount of veg I can for my children and some of the vegetables like carrots it coped quite well with but it was awful when used for onion.

I have also made the Rosemary and Garlic Roast Potatoes a couple of times, but did find they stick to the bottom so i think I need to adjust temperature a but more and possibly add more oil. Thankfully it cleans relativley easy although I have only washed by hand and not put in the dishwasher yet.

Next I am going to cook a beef stew and here is where I have a major niggle with the Homecooker. As far as I can see it is trying to be a replacement for many other cookers you may have eg. Steamer, pasta cooker, and slow cooker. And I would agree it would make a great slow cooker, however the maximum it can run for is 99 minutes. This means you have to keep re-setting and turning it back on. Which I assume is from a safety point of view. As a family we regularly slow cook meat as you can use the cheaper cuts and get the meat tender, pulled pork being one of our favouites. As a working parent I will sometimes set this on in the morning so everything is ready for when I get home. You cannot do this with the Homecooker due to the limitation on time it can run for. So I shall be making my beef stew this evening and having to re-heat tomorrow.

On the recipe side I would have expected one 'one pot' meals to have been included as the unit is designes to be time-saving. I am looking forward to trying the steamer unit.

SharpObject Tue 25-Sep-12 16:12:35

Mummy I'd probably heat and brown on 160 and then cook long and slow on the 100 mark, maybe even lower. Will you be adding jus etc for moisture? And I would have the lid half on.

Yum yum, we have the minestrone soup again tonight it is lovely.

libelulle Tue 25-Sep-12 17:18:14

So I just had a go at the rosemary potatoes and it was a disaster - a nice welded on layer of crispy spud at the bottom and a load of steamed potatoes on top. I stopped it before bottom layer burnt to a cinder and have transferred the spuds to the oven (which rather begs a question in itself...)

Those who have managed it: what kind of potatoes? what temperature? lid on or off? how much oil? TIA.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Tue 25-Sep-12 18:46:01

I had a go at the rosemary potatoes this evening too......was ok but I turned the temp down as 250 for 70 mins seemed to have them utterly sizzling and would have been burned to a crisp. I did about 10 mins at 250 then settled for 175.....they were still ready sooner than the recipe suggested and there was a layer of burnt rosemary and potato welded to the bottom. We DH had to leave the pan to soak for ages and then scrub and scrape to remove it.....not really time saving.

They were lovely, but weren't really fried and crispy. That's possibly as I turned the temp down but seriously, 250deg for 70 mins and they'd have been inedible!!!

I used a LOT of oil (gleaned from comments on the other thread I think) but still the layer at the bottom of the pan was unreal. I used charlotte potatoes, cut in half so a lot bigger than the 2.5cm cubes that the recipe called for.

Babieseverywhere Tue 25-Sep-12 19:00:04

I'll post my first impression post tomorrow When I have wrote it

However I am being brave and trying to use the pasta basket and steamer tray at the same time. Pasta underneath and cauliflower on the steamer tray to be mixed with a stir in sauce for a one pot gadget meal. I'll report back if it works, doesn't seem to be much steam in the top bit yet and I pre heated to 130c like the instruction book said to do for steaming...watch this space. At least this dish I CAN NOT burn

mummypigof3 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:29:23

Eddie we also had a similar disaster with the potatoes!!
Initial imp- ok looking. Not as bulky as I thought it would be. But takes up a big cupboard as I have limited bench space so no way could I store it out. Cutter I was
Hoping to use for other things but
Was also disappointed that the veg got caught up in it and didn't all go through. Very easy to clean and wash and was fine in the dishwasher.
Risotto- tasted fabulous. We found the recipe easy to follow. Agree that roasting the squash seems a waste of time however it is a good basic risottos recipe and you could add veg like peas or tuna to it instead. Have also made the ragu but adapted with more veg and this was a crowd pleaser with the DCs so much that I plan to double the recipe and freeze half next time. The recipe book looks great and I plan on trying more out. I came stuck today as to how to adapt a simple lamb shank recipe. We are just about to tuck in but it looks good. I used a bbc recipe and fiddled all day with it on various low temps with the lid on and off etc.
Upshot- could see this as a very useful bit of kit in my kitchen but need more recipes/help adapting slow cooker style recipes.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Tue 25-Sep-12 20:18:31

Babieseverywhere I'm interested in how you got on......sounds like something I might try tomorrow evening?

sarahbanshee Tue 25-Sep-12 20:58:07

First impressions: the Home Cooker looked impressive, very solid and well made. I was pleased to see the steamer and pasta cooker inserts. I thought the cutting tower seemed a bit plasticky and cheaply made in comparison with the cooker. Size: it is quite a big beast, it won't easily fit in my cupboards and takes up a fair bit of counter space. I wish it had a longer lead as I don't have many places on the counter where it fits, and what would be the best place is a bit too far from the nearest socket.

I thought the risotto recipe seemed complicated and I was surprised to have a recipe which involved using the oven and the hob as well as the cooker and tower - it created an awful lot of washing up and felt like a lot of work, rather than the easy option I had been promised! The risotto was delicious and very creamy, it came out well and I was pleased with how the cooker had performed. The cutting tower however was a right pain - it got very clogged up with bits of onion and celery, sprayed some of it around on the counter, and only really grated about three quarters of the celery, the rest just bounced around on top of the grating disc.

The instructions for the cooker were a bit confusing. It talks about letting the cooker heat up before starting the timer, but I couldn't get anything to happen until I started the timer so have just been setting it off that way. Also there seemed to be quite a difference between the temperatures given in the cooker instructions and in the recipe book. I would have liked more detailed instructions about using the pasta insert and the steamer tray, I haven't used them yet and I am a bit unclear about how they work. The instructions for the cutting tower seemed fine.

Other than the risotto, I have cooked a dal in the cooker which was lovely, very creamy from all the stirring, and also tonight I braised some red cabbage (autumn has definitely arrived) and while I initially had that on a bit high, again it came out well. I used the cutting tower to shred the cabbage and the slicing disc worked better than the grating disc did, although again it was very messy and created a lot of washing up.

I am enjoying using it very much - next I think it will be either bolognese or the chicken korma from the recipe book.

HazeltheMcWitch Wed 26-Sep-12 01:42:58

First impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected?
My first impression was really one of glee, to be picked to do this test! When it arrived at the door, the 2 boxes together looked HUGE, but actually the units themselves seem 'the right size' - not too big, not too small.

Echoing what other people say above, the Home cooker itself seems solid and well made. It seems adequately heavy - not so much so as to be a nuisance or to stop you taking it to and from cupboards, but certainly not flimsy. The pasta and steamer baskets smelt quite plasticy on opening, but this did wash off. It all stacks together nicely aswell, when not in use.

The cutting tower was not as impressive. It is quite plasticy, the blades snap in easily enough, but getting them out is when I think I'd be most likely to cut myself, due to the angle at which you need to get your hands...

What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?
The homecooker's footprint is about that of a slow cooker, but it's taller. The cutting tower is smaller than I'd have guessed it would be.

Instructions - easy to follow? Anything you didn't understand?
Again, I agree with the consensus above, that the timer function is not that clear. Logic would tell you that you can pre-heat the cooker before you (put ingredients in, and) set the time. But you can't, you have to set the timer for it to be on. But a quick fiddle about and you quickly get the hang of it, setting a minute to get the unit heating up, which you then adjust as you put the ingreds in.

I too expected the red light to signify 'still heating up'. Red=Stop, right? Apart from here, where it means ready. OK, actually it means 'don't touch the hot plate', but it does seem a bit nonsensical.
Cutting tower easy to use, but flimsy. It jumps about a bit, and veg can go over the counter if not careful.

How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen? (I did the Primavera Risotto)
I think most of the Jamie recipes are quite involved. They're not that representative of how I'd be likely to use this day to day as they're quite rich. But the recipe was very delicious, and I'd genuinely serve it to 'company'. It did save me time in that I did not have to stand there stirring it the whole time, which I would with an equivalent stove-top risotto.
I was glad that I had the primavera recipe, as it did not require the oven on, and only needed the Homecooker and hot stock. The recipe told you to add the stock in all in one go, but I'm too much of a ponce to do that, so I ladelled it in in stages. So yes, I made a bit more work for myself. Otherwise, the risotto cooking was pretty low maintenance.
My only gripes are that grating the onion and celery was a no go (the strings of the veg blocked up the holes), and also that when cooking the rice with the onions for 5 mins as per recipe, it got a bit scratchy/screechy as the rice stuck and got under the stirrer.

And what was the first thing you tried in it? How did it go? Anything you'd change for next time?
The first thing I tried was a simple carrot and coriander soup. So not a recipe as such, just a simple lunch dish. I used the coarse slicer to slice onions, then 'fried' them in some olive oil, then added coriander. Then I turned down to 110 and added boiling water and stock powder. Even though this is the temp given for boiling, the water would not come back to the boil, I had to whack it back to 175 to get boiling kettle water to boil! - so I am not utterly convinced that the temps stated are actually achieved. The unit easily sliced through a pile of carrots, and then the soup happily bubbled away without any intervention. And it was super-easy to lift the stirrer out of the hot soup so that I could blend it, still in the pan.

Next things I'll try will be those potatoes, the granola and poss the chili/pepper chutney from the Jamie recipes. But I suspect that I'll use it most for slightly more simple, week-day dinner type meals, so will try some kind of mince thing, a curry etc etc. V intrigued by sarahbanshee 's dal... Any top tips for me please?!

Apols for essay. Am nothing if not enthusiastic and thorough!

ChristmasKate Wed 26-Sep-12 20:52:39

First impresions The home cooker looked sturdy and wasn't as heavy as it looked but the tower is too plastic looking and as others have said does judder around a lot. I also struggled to get the blades back out with out slicing my finger off and had to result in wrapping it in a tea towel but that could be clumsy user error!

the size The home cooker looks like a steamer come slow cooker so no issue with room although I wouldn't leave it sitting on the side, it fits in the cupboard along side the tower.

instructions the best instructions on heating the home cooker and assembling the tower are in the back of the recipe book which is not some where I looked at until after a day or 2 of use, I did read the instructions that came with the equipment but they weren't very clear on how to heat the unit and only saw the recipe instructions when reading through the recipes.

I should have paid more attention to the stickers on the cooker and tower as they showed how best to use the blades very clearly but as someone else mentioned There were coloured dots on the blade bags but there was nothing included to tell you what they meant.

I haven't made the risotto yet as there has been a few problems with my ingredients and voucher delivery but Mary is sorting that all out for me.

first thing you tried DD begged for paella so I did a mini version of that which worked well although the recipe said to heat to 175 but not to turn it down, same with the breakfast and by the sonds of it the potatoes!

I've also made the minestrone soup AND remembered to take pictures which may or may not be on my profile.

Jamie's pet

Babieseverywhere Wed 26-Sep-12 21:06:32

Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker?
The home cooker is pretty, not a bad size or weight. Looks nice and fits in my tiny kitchen, where my slow cooker usually live. The cutting tower is also pretty but looks more flimsy than the home cooker.
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Was it what you expected?
The home cooker was sturdier than expected, the steel bottom pan feels and looks good quality and I like the levels engraved on the inside of the pan.
The cutting tower's height meant I had to use two bowls, one balanced on top of the other upside down bowl one, to allow the cut veg to reach my bowl rather that the kitchen surface.
As it is clear that the design never intended the cutting tower to be used without the home cooker, I am surprised it does not clamp/clip to the home cooker which would stabilise the cutting tower and prevent the spillage and juddering which the cutting tower does on it's own.
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How did you find making the risotto recipe?
More fiddly than expected, as I had to use the oven, hob AND the home cooker. That said the resulting risotto was gorgeous and we'll definitely be trying it again soon. But I would prefer something which only required the home cooker not the oven and hob as well.
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Did it save you time in the kitchen?
Not really as I had to watch the hob and oven, I could of been stirring the risotto on the hob at the same time.
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What about the size?
Size of home cooker is perfect. Big enough to cook food for the family, not too big to have out in a kitchen.
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How does it compare to other appliances you may have?
The home cooker is a similar size to my standard slow cooker. The cutting tower is similar to my kettle but much taller
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Instructions - easy to follow?
Yes, I like the flashing temperature which indicates the cooker has not heated up to that level yet. I also like the timer which counts up if you haven't asked it to count down, so you can see how long it has been on for.
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Anything you didn't understand
Don't understand why the cooker only works for 90 minutes at a time, as it could operate as a posh slow cooker if the timer went up to 10 hours or so. Why restrict the cooking to 90 minutes ?
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And what was the first thing you tried in it?
Classic pan-cooked breakfast
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How did it go?
I liked how I had plenty of time to prepare the next part of the recipe whilst the earlier stuff was cooking. Loved watching the stirrer do it's stuff. I even managed to pop into the living room and parent the children without risking dinner !

Everything cooked, but rather too well, leaving a layer of food burnt to the bottom. This required scrubbing afterwards, hardly a time saver. That said the food on the top didn't taste burnt, the bacon was very crispy and the eggs a bit rubbery but overall a nice meal. Plus I only had one pot to clean which was nice. I think 250c was far too high for this recipe.
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Anything you'd change for next time?
I would use a lower temperature.
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urbanturban Thu 27-Sep-12 12:05:23

First impressions
I was very impressed by the look of the HomeCooker - looks sleek and expensive and doesn't take up too much room in the kitchen - I liked that the cooking pan felt heavy and 'substantial'. The cutting tower was less impressive looking, just being a lump of black plastic! I had no problems fitting the cutting blades into the tower but I was a bit nervous about removing it in case I cut myself, as the blade was quite firmly embedded into the tower!

Was it what you expected
The HomeCooker was as impressive as I was expecting but I must admit to being disappointed in the cutting tower - it left half of the veg we were preparing uncut (we were making the minestrone soup) and so I ended up cutting the rest of it by hand, quite missing the point of actually having the cutting tower! I also found it messy and complicated to clean. The tower seemed to particularly struggle with cutting onion, and so when making subsequent recipes, we just cut the veg by hand and didn't use the tower at all.

How did you find making the risotto recipe
The recipe was delicious - I enjoyed not having to constantly stir the risotto, but found that, as we did not use the cutting tower and had to chop the veg by hand and the roast it in the oven, it wasn't as much of a time saver as I would have liked. However, not having to stand and stir the pot WAS very helpful and allowed me to do other things whilst the HomeCooker did it's stuff!

Did it save you time in the kitchen
Yes it did - being able to 'trust' the timer on the HomeCooker meant that I was able to do other things when normally I would have been standing manually stirring or watching a pot/frying pan. However I was disappointed that the cutting tower didn't make my life easier as I expected!

What about the size
Size was fantastic, no bigger than a normal slow cooker/food processor etc. I was impressed that the whole HomeCooker stacked up (steamer/pan etc) so that it was tidy and took up minimal worktop space.

Instructions - easy to follow?
As other posters had said, DH and I were totally flummoxed when we first tried it - we set the temperature and waited for it to heat up, to no avail! We had to set the timer to make the temperature gauge start, and this was NOT made clear in the instructions! However, after this confusing start, it was easy and intuitive to use. I would say that some of the temperatures in the recipes seem a bit high though, as other posters have mentioned.

First thing you tried-anything you'd change?
The minestrone soup - the recipe was easy to follow and the taste was fantastic - but I would NOT use the cutting tower the next time as I feel I am quicker chopping the veg by hand.

All in all, I would give the HomeCooker 8 out of 10 - looks fantastic, love the timer and stirring functions, cleans and stacks and stores well. Would like more 'one pot' easy recipes where I use ONLY the HomeCooker.

The cutting tower scores 1 out of 10 for me - it's a great concept (hence the score!) but the execution of it is awful - the cutting tower is flimsy, doesn't actually chop or grate that well, and is a faff to use and clean.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Thu 27-Sep-12 12:14:10

After the potato debacle, DH wanted to say that the handles on the main pot are not the best design.....he found that food debris can slip into the tiny crevass between the handle and pot (at the top, as you look down onto the homecooker) and you'd need hands the size of tinkerbells to get in and clean it. He does have a point......

cather Fri 28-Sep-12 13:42:08

Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected?
I was really impressed when I took it out of the box as it looked substantial and big enough to cook a large casserole. I was looking forward to using the cutting tower as I usually chop by hand as my food processor is in the cupboard and it isn't always worth getting it out to chop a few carrots. I did find that the chopper didn't work as well as I expected with the veg getting stuck between the top and the blade, when I was chopping carrots I ended up with some very odd shapes. It was also very tricky if you were using the chopper without the pan (I used it for making coleslaw and grating cheese) as the food went everywhere, perhaps an additional bowl that fits under may be a useful addition for the future. I ended up getting someone else to turn it on whilst I held a bowl underneath with one hand and pushed the veg down with the other!

How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen?
I thought it was a real faff making the risotto as you had to cook the squash in the oven first and use the hob. Once the oven and hob bit was done then it was much easier, although I did keep watching it stir! I had never made a risotto before and it was really tasty and something I will make again.

What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?
It fits nicely in the corner of my work top. It's the size of a normal slow cooker.

Instructions - easy to follow? Anything you didn't understand
Like most others I struggled to work out how to start it heating up! Other than that I found it easy to use. The blades had coloured dots on the bags and I expected to find something in the instructions to tell me which blade was which but there wasn't.
As this is a new idea with the stirrer I was disappointed with the recipes in the book, I felt there should have been a lot more stews and soups as it's only by trying recipes that you get to see the full potential of the machine. I do lots of cooking and have plenty of recipe books but for an inexperienced cook more recipes would have been helpful. The recipes should also have focused more on the one pot idea as it is a gadget that can save time but having to do bits in the oven and hob sort of defeated the object a bit.

And what was the first thing you tried in it? How did it go? Anything you'd change for next time?
I tried the rosemary potatoes which were a bit of a disaster as I ended up with a thick crust on the bottom of the pan. Also I cooked them to go with a meal and there was no where near enough for the 4 of us. The idea was brilliant and I will try it again but add more oil next time.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 20:59:08

A note from the guys at Philips for you all "It's really encouraging to see so much discussion on the HomeCooker and we thank you for all your feedback. We're sorry that a few of you have had issues with the cutting tower and we have passed on your comments to the relevant Philips product team"

ChristmasKate Fri 28-Sep-12 22:01:39

Your welcome guys at Phillips, I wil say that I have used the tower a few more times and the coarse cutter works better than the other ones.

I actually ended up with more veg in the home cooker than whiz zing round the tower and all over my work top with the coarse blade!

can I have the vouchers and ingredients now I have been nice about the tower please?

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